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Full text of "Macmillan's magazine"






SC -. ' 






. 




WITHDRAW 



MACMTLLAN'S MAGAZINE 



VOL. LXXIV 






MACMILLAN'S 




VOL. LXXIV 

MAY, 1896, TO OCTOBER, 1896 



MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD. 

NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO. 
1896 




W.J. LlNTON. S* 





The Right of Translation and Reproduction is Reserved, 



R.IOHAIID CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED 
LONDON AND BUNGAV 




CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Apollo in the Latin Quarter 411 

Arm Chair Philosopher, An 114 

Bideford Bay, In 137 

Brigandage in Sicily 378 

Buffs, The Rise of the 392 

Burning of Meiron, The ... 428 

Canada, The English Settlement of 177 

Danish History, An Old Page of 353 

Death, Into the Jaws of 93 

In the Hour of 193 

Examiner's Dream, An 367 

Execution in India, An 286 

Florentine Despot, A 128 

French Royalists, The 457 

Friendly Critic, A 435 

How History is Written in America 237 

How King Shaillu was Punished 419 

How's That? 203 

Hughes, Thomas 78 

Italian Adventurer, An 211 

Lady Margaret Tudor 449 

Living of East Wispers, The , 54 

Lord's Pavilion, In 312 

Mary Stuart at Saint Germains 42 

Modern Sindbad, A 187 

New Mosaics at Saint Paul's, The 16 

Newfoundland 23 

Ossian, The Centenary of 62 

Packet-Service, The Old 34 

Pepys, The Man 345 

Poor Scholar, The 222 

Prince of Wales, A 254 

Racine, Some Thoughts on 227 

Radicals, Old and New . . . f ._ . ^ . . ^, 153 



Contents. 

PAGE 

Rahel Levin and Her Times 264 

Red Deer of New Zealand, The 305 

Romance of a Stall, The- 118 

Schoolmaster at Home, A 444 

Scots Brigade, The First 104 

Secret of Saint Florel, The 

Chapters I. ill ; 1 

iv. vi 81 

,, vn. ix 161 

,, x. xn 241 

,, xin. xvn 321 

,, xviii. xx 465 

Shall we return to the Land ? 279 

Slave of Summer, The 199 

Snake Story, The Best, in the World 373 

Songs of Yesterday, The 359 

Spanish Main, The 70 

Sportsman's Journal, Notes from a 384 

Story of His Life, The 300 

Tobacco Smoking, On the Antiquity of 289 

White Road, The 145 

Yeomanry, Our 401 



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MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE. 



MAY, 1896. 



THE SECRET OF SAINT FLOREL. 



CHAPTER I. 

" I'LL tell you what, Bryant ; I don't 
half like this fellow Holson. There's 
something queer about him. These 
mysterious comings and goings of his 
may be an everyday matter in these 
parts, but in an ordinary Englishman 
I call 'em deuced odd ! " And Hugh 
Strong lit a cigar while waiting for 
his companion's answer which was not 
immediately forthcoming. 

" I don't know," replied the other, 
after a pause, in a deep and de- 
liberate voice. " He's treated us hos- 
pitably enough ; and if he chooses to 
go away for a day or two every now 
and then, he has a perfect right to 
do as he pleases. It's not for us to 
grumble. Moreover, I heard a very 
simple explanation of his fondness for 
looking after his property down at 
Saint Florel." 

" Well ! What did you hear ? " in- 
quired Strong eagerly. 

" Calm yourself, my dear fellow ; 
it was something ordinary enough. 
There dwells at Saint Florel a certain 
Creole lady of considerable personal 
attractions." 

" Oh," said Hugh in a disappointed 
tone, "is that all 1 ? Well, I don't 
admire the lady's taste. Holson looks 
like a gaol-bird." 

" He's not handsome, I admit," re- 
No. 439. VOL. LXXIV. 



turned Bryant ; " and like yourself 
I'm not particularly attracted to him. 
However, if it hadn't been for him 
we shouldn't have seen anything of 
the island, and it's worth seeing," 
he concluded, waving his cigar to- 
wards the landscape that lay stretched 
around and below. 

It was indeed worth seeing. The 
two friends were sitting over their 
after-dinner tobacco on the verandah 
of a country-house among the moun- 
tains of the Island of Reunion. The 
dwelling was perched upon a wide 
natural ledge or shelf, behind which 
the wooded heights towered upwards, 
while the steep fell away in front to 
the winding valley below. The moon 
was just rising, and her faint silvery 
beams, struggling through the even- 
ing mists, made the dim solitudes 
around yet more mysterious. The 
rainy season had just begun by seve- 
ral hours' steady downfall ; but, as 
evening came on, the clouds had dis- 
persed, and no showers obscured the 
waxing brilliance of the moon that 
was slowly climbing up her starry 
road to the zenith. Mountain rose 
behind mountain, and peak beyond 
peak soared skywards, till the land- 
scape resembled a sea whose irregular 
and fantastic billows had been sud- 
denly petrified. In the craggy hol- 
lows below, and among the dusky 



The Secret of Saint Ftorel. 



summits of the wooded slopes, wreaths 
of mist were rising and floating above 
the blackness of the unseen, like ghosts 
that, pale and shapeless, seemed con- 
demned to linger for ever in shadowed 
regions beyond reach of the moon. 

The scent of jasmine and roses came 
in heavy waves of fragrance from the 
garden ; below in the valley the 
waters of a rapid torrent, swollen by 
the afternoon's rain, fretted and chafed 
against gray boulders, with a roar 
softened to music by the distance. 
There was no discordant sound abroad, 
save the groaning of the Indian cook 
as he kneaded his bread in the bakery 
behind the house : and this curious 
and quite unnecessary noise jarred, 
it must be confessed, with the cheer- 
ful chirping of the crickets and the 
rush of the torrent. Strong, who was 
enjoying the view and the coolness 
with that capacity for appreciation 
which proceeds from a well-digested 
dinner, began to feel irritated, and 
removed his cigar the better to ex- 
press his disapprobation. 

" Hang the fellow ! " he cried im- 
patiently. " Why in the world should 
he start his confounded moaning just 
now 1 It's like that hymn about 
' Every prospect pleases, and only man 
is vile.' " 

" Still it's his way of going to work," 
answered Bryant. " You may not 
admire his proceedings just at present, 
but you'd look rather blank if there 
was no bread for breakfast." 

A louder howl from the bakery put 
an additional point to his discourse, 
and so disgusted his companion that 
the latter arose, with an expression 
not loud but deep, and set off in the 
direction of the kitchen, a crazy build- 
ing, half concealed among rose-bushes, 
whose locality was betrayed by a ray 
of yellow light streaming through a 
hole in the window-shutter. Dozens 
of moths fluttered away from the light 
as Strong approached, and a half -wild 



cat fled up the nearest tree. As he 
opened the door the heat presented 
a sufficiently unpleasant contrast to 
the coolness of the garden. The floor 
was of mud, and the tables, which had 
not known a scrubbing-brush for many 
a day, were utilised also as seats, for 
a stalwart Indian, naked save for a 
loin-cloth, was placidly smoking upon 
one, while the other was encumbered 
with a pile of unwashed plates and 
dishes. Cacao, the smoker, hummed 
a native air as he sent the blue clouds 
curling upwards, and watched his 
subordinate's exertions with much 
complacency. Chocolat, whose toilet 
was as simple as that of his com- 
panion, stooped over a wooden trough 
in which lay the mass of dough for 
the morrow's provision of bread. The 
beads of perspiration trickled down 
his face as he rolled and kneaded, 
while keeping up a series of low 
howls and groans which must have 
been emitted for personal encourage- 
ment, inasmuch as they were totally 
needless from any other point of view, 

Cacao and Chocolat were both war- 
ranted to speak English, so Hugh 
Strong began at once. " Chocolat, 
my good fellow, what are you making 
such a noise about 1 " 

" Makee bread," answered Chocolat, 
smiling till every tooth in his head 
was visible, and gladly desisting from 
his toil for a little conversation. 

" But you needn't also make such 
a row." 

"Master angry when come in morn- 
ing, no find bread ready." 

" But surely you can make the 
bread without howling as though you 
were being thrashed." 

"Master angry if no bread," re- 
peated Chocolat with an unmoved 
smile. 

Here Cacao, who had listened with 
some interest, intervened with an 
explanation. " All Indian make same 
noise when him work ; what you call 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



de fashion," he concluded with a grin.- 
that matched Chocolat's. 

"Well, look here," said Strong, 
impatiently, "if you two can keep 
away from the fashion, as you call it, 
for the next two hours, I'll make it 
worth your while ; your noise is a 
beastly nuisance. By the way, what 
time is your master coming back to- 
morrow ? Where has he gone 1 " 

" Gone Saint Florel, look after cane- 
fields there. Come early in morning 
for breakfast," replied Cacao. 

'Hugh shut the kitchen door and 
turned again across the moonlit gar- 
den. Before he had gone more than 
twenty yards, however, there was 
heard a dull ponderous thud as of the 
distant fall of some enormous weight. 
The ground seemed for a second to 
vibrate with the shock, while far 
below in the valley a heavy continuous 
echo rolled along the ravines mutter- 
ing into silence as it sank and died 
away among their furthest recesses. 
Some strangely generated current of 
air seemed at work among the floating 
mists, which were shaken and agitated, 
gathering for a second into closer 
wreaths, then eddying and dispersing, 
and finally accumulating again as 
before. 

The whole occurrence was over 
almost before Strong realised that 
anything unusual had happened. The 
moonlight still shone brightly, not a 
breath stirred the air, and he might 
have deemed the whole thing a matter 
of imagination, had not Bryant hur- 
ried across the grass towards him at 
the same moment that Cacao and 
Chocolat came flying from the kitchen, 
their bare feet almost noiseless on the 
gravel path. 

The two Englishmen looked at each 
other. " Good Heavens, what was 
that?" said Bryant. "What could 
it have been 1 " echoed Strong ; and 
they both turned simultaneously to the 
Indians, whose dusky faces were 



almost ashen with fear and looked 
ghastly in the moonlight. " What 
was it?" asked both Englishmen 
together. 

"Big rock tumble," suggested Cacao, 
as distinctly as his chattering teeth 
would allow, while Choeolat's trem- 
bling lips formulated a still more 
startling alternative : " Tink de debbil 
about to-night." 

" Nonsense," said Bryant, who was 
the first to recover his composure. 
" It's certainly not the devil, and I 
don't see how it could have been a 
rock either ; the sound wasn't sharp 
enough. It sounded more like a 
gigantic feather-bed. I've been among 
the Alps, and if I had heard that noise 
in Switzerland I should have said it 
was an avalanche. There's no snow 
here," he concluded in a puzzled tone. 

" No," said Hugh Strong, with a 
sudden inspiration ; " there's no snow, 
but there's plenty of earth. That was 
a landslip, Bryant ! " 

" By Jove ! " said the other, " I 
believe you're right, Strong. Well, 
it's a sufficiently startling business. 
We can't see or hear anything to-night. 
No doubt Holson will bring us news 
when he returns in the morning ; that 
is, if it has happened anywhere in his 
direction. Now I vote for another 
cigar, and then, we'll turn in." 

They strolled again towards the 
verandah, whose wooden supports were 
all wreathed with stephanotis, and sat 
themselves down in the two luxurious 
arm-chairs which they had so lately 
vacated. Perhaps, though neither of 
them would have liked to confess it, 
the nerves of both were slightly 
shaken. 

" When shall we clear, old fellow ? " 
said Strong, when the cigars were well 
alight. 

" Whenever you like," answered 
the other. 

" We've been here nearly a month, 
you see," went on his companion, " and 

B 2 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



we'd better not miss the next Messa- 
gerie boat. I'm glad we fell in with 
Holson, though I don't like him. 
We've seen some fine scenery, even 
though the shooting is nothing to 
speak of ; and on the whole I think 
we did well to accept his invitation. 
Still, your health's all right now, 
Bryant, thanks to our year's travelling, 
and as far as that goes we've no excuse 
for stopping away any longer. So I 
vote for the next boat home. We'll 
tell Holson when he returns to- 
morrow." 

"All right," said Bryant; "I'm 
your man. We'll go by next boat ; " 
and then they went to bed. 

They ate their breakfast next morn- 
ing without their host, who had appa- 
rently been detained at his sugar- 
factory. It was not until a Creole 
merchant arrived to see him on busi- 
ness that Anthony Holson's prolonged 
absence caused any uneasiness to his 
guests. It being then afternoon and 
the Creole tired of waiting, Chocolat 
volunteered to run to Saint Florel and 
see what had become of his master. 
In two hours or so, by taking short 
cuts, he assured Bryant, he would 
be well on his way home again. 

" Chocolat know dese parts," Cacao 
confided to Hugh Strong. " He got 
wife and lot o' baby at Saint Florel, so 
know all 'bout it." 

The Indian, however, seemed to 
have over-rated his walking powers, 
for five o'clock came, and six, and 
there were still no signs of his return. 
As they sat down to a meal, which 
owing to Chocolat's absence could only 
be called dinner by courtesy, both 
Bryant and Hugh Strong were be- 
ginning to feel a sense of impending 
calamity. As there was still some 
faint daylight left when they had 
finished, the two friends with one 
accord took the path along which 
Chocolat ought to have returned, and 
strolled along it for a short distance 



to see if any signs of the messenger 
were visible. They were just thinking 
that it would be wiser to turn back 
on account of the increasing darkness 
when Hugh made a dart forward and 
closely inspected a seated figure by 
the road-side which he thought he 
recognised. "Why," he cried in 
amazement, " it's Chocolat ! " 

Chocolat it was, sure enough. He 
sat in a kind of dejected stupor at 
the foot of a loquat tree. His clothes 
were torn and disarranged, his face 
scratched and swollen, and his feet 
bleeding. As the Englishmen ap- 
proached, he merely raised his head 
and looked at them with a dazed and 
unseeing expression of face. 

" What's the matter 1 " said Bryant. 
" What has happened 1 Speak, man, 
can't you 1 " 

But Chocolat only shook his head 
and seemed unable to utter a word. 

" Chocolat," said Hugh very slowly 
and distinctly, trying his infallible 
resource, " tell us what has happened, 
and I'll give you a dollar. Have you 
been to Saint Florel ? " 

" Yes, no, yes," said Chocolat 
mechanically. 

" Well, which 1 " said Bryant. " Did 
you go, or did you not go 1 " 

" I went, yes, no, I did not go," 
answered Chocolat in the same dazed 
fashion. 

" Let's get him home," said Hugh. 
" Perhaps Cacao can get his tale out 
of him ; but I'm afraid, Bryant, that 
something very serious has happened. 
I have a strong impression that we 
shall not see Holson again." 

Between them they dragged the 
wretched Chocolat upright ; but when 
he attempted to walk he was in such 
evident pain chat Bryant examined 
bis feet, which were cut and bleeding 
as by sharp stones. He improvised 
a bandage with a pocket-handkerchief, 
and then, each taking an arm, the two 
friends between them supported the 



The Secret of Saint F lor el. 



Indian home, a haven which was 
reached in darkness far too great to 
be comfortable. Cacao met them at 
the gate with a lantern, and seeing 
his brother in such a plight gave a 
shout of astonishment. Chocolat fell 
into his relation's supporting arms 
with a cry of genuine grief ; and then 
ensued a rapid, and, as it appeared to 
the impatient Englishmen, an inter- 
minable conversation in their native 
tongue between the two Indians. 

" Well, what does he say 1 " in- 
quired Hugh, when at last a slight 
pause occurred in the narrative. 

" Saint Fiord's gone ! " said Cacao, 
looking up in affright. 

' ' Gone 1 " ej aculated Bryant. ' ' What 
nonsense ! " 

" Chocolat can't find it," persisted 
Cacao. 

" He must have taken the wrong- 
road," said Bryant. 

" No, no," cried Cacao. " Chocolat 
know road all quite right ; he go little 
way, take good road, rub eye, can't 
see, rub again, no Saint Florel, 
no nothing, nothing at all, all 
gone ! " 

Bryant looked at Hugh, who pursed 
up his mouth into whistling shape, 
but made no sound. Bryant turned 
again to Cacao, who was standing 
there in a complete state of bewilder- 
ment, while poor Chocolat, bereft, 
like Macduff, of all his family at one 
fell swoop, sat upon the ground and 
wept bitterly. 

"Try and make me understand," 
said Bryant. " Do you really mean 
to say that Chocolat can't see Saint 
Florel anywhere ? " 

" He go," explained Cacao, " and 
go and go, very far, up mountain ; 
then take right road over top ; turn 
round where big rocks are, and all 
gone : no big hill where used to be ; 
no hole where used to be ; no nothing 
at all." 

" Then where is Saint Florel 1 " per- 



sisted Bryant. " It must be some- 
where, man." 

" 'Spect all buried under ground. 
Everything tumble on top," answered 
Cacao. 

" Then where's your master 1 " 

" 'Spect he buried too." 

" Then what are we to do 1 " 

"Don't know." 

" Here's a pretty business," said 
Hugh, who had been listening atten- 
tively. " Are we supposed to take 
charge of this house and all Holson's 
belongings till somebody turns up to 
do something 1 " 

" Better send down word to the 
Consul," said Bryant. 

" Let us go over to-morrow to 
where Saint Florel was," said Hugh. 
" It will be an interesting sight, 
though I suppose nothing can be done 
in the way of rescue." 

"Very well," said Bryant; "and 
now to bed." 

CHAPTER II. 

NEXT morning the two friends set 
off accompanied by both servants. 
The path, a mere track, led over 
mountains and along valleys, winding 
in all sorts of unexpected directions. 
The sun was hot, the air clear and 
warm ; exquisite ferns clung against 
the bare gray rocks, or nestled in 
sheltered and stony hollows ; the wild 
raspberries shone upon their pale 
green stems in dazzling flashes of 
scarlet, while the whole ground was 
carpeted with alpine strawberries. 
The great purple mountain's flanks, 
and distant rosy peaks, soared above 
the lowest clouds so that their farther 
ranges seemed suspended in the air. 
Here and there, where the precipitous 
nature of the ground had yielded for 
a moment to some gentler influence 
and afforded a few spare yards of 
comparative level, an Indian had 
planted manioc, or potatoes, or maize, 



6 



The Secret of Saint FloreL 



the vivid emerald green of the latter's 
springing sheathes being visible for a 
long distance and enabling the travel- 
ler to guess where a human habitation 
might be found. 

When they had been walking for 
at least a couple of hours Chocolat, 
who was a few yards ahead, paused 
and made them a sign to come for- 
ward. The track rose at this par- 
ticular spot, and when they stood be- 
side Chocolat, both recoiled at the 
complete and overwhelming nature of 
the catastrophe. 

The point upon which they were 
standing was the summit of a hill, 
and in the ordinary course of things 
the path would here have begun to 
descend. A rock, however, whose 
stony mass was visible, though half 
buried, several yards further down, 
had slipped from its foundations and 
carried with it an immense quantity 
of earth ; for the end of the path, 
broken off short, was literally over- 
hanging a newly formed precipice, 
and an enormous hollow lay beneath 
their feet, partially filled up with the 
fallen earth. 

It would have been difficult to 
picture a more extraordinary scene of 
desolation than the one which now 
met their eyes. Saint Florel had been 
a little village of about a dozen houses, 
whose inhabitants supported them- 
selves by cultivating vegetables or 
working in the patch of ground de- 
voted to sugar-cane. But now there 
was no sign of life visible for miles 
round, no trace of human dwelling 
or cultivation. Some force of nature, 
either a sudden shock of earthquake, 
or the undermining influence of water, 
had loosened the overhanging mass of 
rock-bound soil that rose above it ; 
and in one quick and horrible moment 
all life of man and plant had been 
crushed and extinguished for ever. 
There lay before the travellers a vast 
mass of freshly turned soil, stretching 



downwards till it covered the little 
stream in the valley whose course for 
many yards was completely choked. 
Blade and leaf and frond clothed the 
nakedness of the rocks and stony 
landscape round, softening all sharp 
and rugged lines, spreading a growth 
of tender verdure over the steep sides 
of the hills, and shrinking in more 
fertile hollows into patches of intenser 
green. But here before them lay 
what seemed some hideous scar on the 
fair and spacious bosom of nature ; a 
gaping and cruel wound that marred 
her loveliness. 

They stood and gazed at this deso- 
lation for some moments ; the thought 
of all those fellow-creatures lying 
buried beyond hope of rescue was pres- 
ent to both, and neither felt inclined 
to speak, until Bryant broke the 
silence. " Do you see," he said to 
Strong, "just where the edge of the 
shock has come 1 Down there is quite 
a large tree that has been left upright 
though its roots are bare ; and close 
beside it a palmiste has been snapped 
off for half its length." 

As he mentioned the palmiste, 
Chocolat stepped forward and gazed 
attentively down the ravine. 

" What are you looking for 1 ?" asked 
Strong. 

" Only one palmiste in Saint Florel," 
answered Chocolat ; "in Mam'selle 
Julie's garden. Must have been 
there," he concluded, indicating with 
his finger a spot close to the boundary 
of the landslip's effect. 

" Who was Mam'selle Julie 1 " in- 
quired Bryant. 

" She Master's friend. Much pretty, 
beautiful," replied Cacao. " Master 
stay there always in Saint Florel." 

"How would it be," suggested 
Hugh, " to scramble down and dig a 
bit round that palmiste ? If Holson 
was there the night before last, we 
may find proof of his death." 

Bryant was looking thoughtfully 



The Secret of Saint Fiord. 



round as his companion spoke. " I-~ 
have never been in Saint Florel before," 
he said, " but from the appearance of 
the neighbourhood, I should imagine 
that this peril has been impending for 
years. The village and plantation 
were evidently in a hollow, steeply 
overhung by a bluff, on the remains 
of which we are standing ; the earth 
and rocks of the bluff simply dropped 
into the hole below them, and filled 
it up. You see the chief shock has 
been in one place, the deepest part of 
the hollow, the central space under 
the bluff ; there are thousands of tons 
of earth there. The place is filled up ; 
but the sides of the hollow have not 
nearly as much stuff over them. You 
see that palmiste tree, which must 
have been quite on the edge of the 
rising ground, has merely been snapped 
not buried. There may only be a 
few feet of earth above the virginal 
level there, and we can dig if you 
like, on the chance of finding some- 
thing to re-bury ; but I think it's a 
forlorn hope. There's no need to go 
on long." 

Making their way accordingly down 
to a lower level they were soon at the 
spot indicated. It lay on the extreme 
edge of the track of the landslip, and 
far removed from that part of the 
mountain side which had received the 
greatest weight of earth. The palmiste, 
snapped off for half its height, stood 
like a house-pole above the desolate 
earth. The disturbance had been 
comparatively slight in this direction, 
and only a small quantity of the rich 
reddish soil, which had poured like 
a torrent over the luckless hamlet of 
Saint Florel, had been dispersed here- 
abouts. For a few minutes they 
looked at the scene in silence, their 
unwillingness to begin exploring being 
caused not by inhumanity, but by a 
natural reluctance to expose what 
might possibly prove some terrible 
spectacle. 



The two Indians had brought spades 
in case they might be required, and 
now carefully following Bryant's 
directions they began lifting the 
damp caked earth in slices. It ap- 
peared to be here so shallow, that 
vertical digging would have defeated 
its object. The men worked steadily 
on, and in a very few minutes 
Chocolat's spade, as he lifted a layer 
of earth, had a damp white fold cling- 
ing round it. They all pressed eagerly 
forward, and clearing the mould with 
their hands found that it belonged to 
the corpse of some woman. Soon 
soft dark hair was disclosed, and 
before long the body lying face down- 
wards was exposed to the light. 

" That Mam'selle Julie, right enuff," 
said Cacao. 

"Why should she belying on her face 
now ? " said Bryant in a puzzled tone. 
" I don't believe there was enough 
weight of earth upon her to prevent 
her getting up again." 

" Perhaps some falling stone struck 
her from behind," suggested Strong. 
" Where was her house, Chocolat 1 " 

" Down further from palmiste, much 
slope," answered the Indian. " Can't 
tell where now ; everything lost." 

"Well," said Strong, "I suppose 
we had better lift the poor soul aside 
and bury her decently somewhere." 

They all four stooped and very 
gently turned the corpse over upon its 
back, but no sooner had they done 
so than they simultaneously started 
away. Having lain on her face the 
woman's dress in front had taken 
little or no harm; it was scarcely 
soiled by its contact with the damp 
earth, but a ghastlier stain defiled its 
whiteness, for its folds over her bosom 
showed a dark patch of blood . It was not, 
however, from this that they all shrank, 
though it was sufficiently horrible; 
it was from the dead face, white and 
fixed in a look of pain and terror im- 
possible to describe. The dust- covered 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



eyes were wide open, and the faded 
lips parted as if in a prayer for help 
or mercy, while the beautiful waxen 
fingers of one hand lay rigid upon her 
breast and dyed with the same stain. 

" One can understand now why 
she did not escape," said Hugh, as 
soon as the first fascination of horror 
was past. 

" Yes," answered Bryant slowly ; 
" she must have been murdered just 
as that mass came rolling down. 
Apparently she was in her garden, 
and at some little distance from the 
house. Lift her aside under that 
bush till we can bury her." 

Hugh and the two Indians accord- 
ingly raised the corpse and bore it 
to a short distance. Bryant, who 
remained on the spot, presently stooped, 
and picking up some small object 
thrust it into his pocket before the 
others returned. They now continued 
their search, but an hour's labour 
convinced them of the futility of 
further work, for the soil, slipped 
down from above, grew all at once 
much deeper, a fact which proved that 
there had been a sudden hollow in 
the original surface. Any attempt 
to explore to such a depth was clearly 
hopeless, so, abandoning the task, they 
dug a grave for the murdered woman. 
By the time she was decently buried 
the sun was well on his way down 
the sky, and they set off homewards 
with abundant food for reflection. 

Cacao and Chocolat conversed a 
good deal in their native tongue, but 
the Englishmen only broke the silence 
with an occasional brief remark. Both 
were in reality occupied in speculations 
as to the murderer, and their mental 
conclusions were the same. Arrived 
at the house, Bryant ordered the ser- 
vants at once to prepare a meal, and 
then, drawing Strong into his own 
room, brought from his pocket the 
object he had found at Saint Florel. 
Strong made an exclamation at sight 



of the knife. " Where did you find 
it 1 " he asked. 

" Close to the body of the woman," 
answered Bryant; "only then it was 
open, and I had to shut it to get it 
into my pocket. Look here," and he 
opened the blade. In spite of the 
rust and mould which adhered to it, 
the knife was clearly stained with 
blood ; and on its haft was the mono- 
gram A. H. 

" As I thought," said Strong. 

Bryant did not answer, only laying 
the knife upon the table, with a feeling 
of relief that it was no longer in his 
pocket. 

" What's to be done ? " inquired 
Strong. 

" I don't see that anything can be 
done," replied Bryant. " Holson is 
probably expiating his crime under 
several tons of earth ; and if he were 
alive and well at this moment no one 
could produce a single witness against 
him, even if he were charged. The 
knife is only circumstantial evidence 
after all, and that, I take it, doesn't 
count." 

" But I suppose we must send word 
to the Consulate." 

" Yes, I suppose so," answered Bry- 
ant ; " but I wish we'd cleared out of 
this before all these awful things hap- 
pened. I hate being mixed up in such 
matters," he concluded almost irri- 
tably, feeling his nerves somewhat 
shaken, and feeling also a true English 
objection to exhibiting the least emo- 
tion. 

"I'll tell you what Bryant," said 
Hugh Strong : "I don't see how we 
can possibly write to the Consul in 
a satisfactory way about all this. It 
will be much better to explain things 
personally, and as we both want to 
go off by the next boat I think we'll 
start for Saint Denis a little sooner 
I'm not particularly superstitious, but 
I do not care to stay in this place any 
longer than I can help." 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



"Well," answered Bryant in his 
deliberate fashion, " I think it's a 
good plan ; we will start to-morrow." 

They carried out their programme 
and left the little house among the 
mountains next day with a consider- 
able feeling of relief. Their troubles 
in connection with the unpleasant 
occurrences of the past few days were 
by no means over, for when the Con- 
sul heard their tale, he looked ex- 
ceedingly grave. " The French police 
must be at once informed," he said ; 
" and I fear, gentlemen, that you must 
be content to remain here for another 
month, in case this man Holson is 
found, when you will be required as 
witnesses. Of course he may be 
buried under the landslip, or he may 
very possibly never have committed 
that murder at all ; in any case the 
evidence appears to me to be purely 
circumstantial. Personally I do not 
think it at all likely that Holson has 
escaped ; if he committed that murder 
he need scarcely have run away, seeing 
the landslip covered up his misdeeds, 
or seeing, at any rate, that he might 
easily fancy it had done so. He may 
possibly have stabbed the woman 
in a fit of rage or jealousy ; they two 
were very likely the only creatures 
awake in Saint Florel after nine o'clock, 
for these Indian labourers sleep early. 
She would have been quite beyond 
reach of help ; but if Holson escaped 
the landslip, why did he run away ? 
At any rate I must ask you not to 
take your passages in the next boat 
until we have heard from the French 
police." 

" Do you know anything of Hol- 
son 1 " inquired Bryant of the Consul. 

" Yes ; I know something, and it 
is a sufficiently curious story," was the 
answer. " Holson landed here three 
years ago with only a five-pound note 
in his pocket. I knew the captain of 
the steamer he came out in, and he 
told me that Holson had come on 



board possessed of a considerable sum, 
for during the voyage he gambled 
every night and lost heavily. I first 
saw him down at the hotel in the 
town, and I never wish to see such 
a sight again. He was gambling 
heart and soul, and looked almost 
mad ; indeed to this day I am not 
sure whether at times Holson is com- 
pletely sane. He watched the cards 
turn up, and clutched his winnings, 
with the look of some ferocious and 
persistent animal. The end of it was 
that he recovered some part of his 
original capital, and purchased a plot 
of land that had once been planted 
with cane, but which had gone out of 
cultivation. . He got it cheap, for the 
last occupier had died and the owner 
wanted to get the place off his hands. 
This was his third year on it ; and as 
he worked the place well it ought to 
have paid him." 

" Holson was English, I suppose ? " 
said Hugh Strong. 

" Oh, yes, I believe so," answered 
the Consul. " He came here from 
England and spoke like a gentleman. 
And now you must excuse me for 
suggesting that I have a lot of work 
to get through. By the way, has it 
occurred to either of you that this 
woman may haye committed suicide 1 
Holson was in the habit of spending 
a good deal of time in her house ; he 
may easily have left his knife behind, 
and she may have used it against 
herself." 

Bryant looked doubtful at this sug- 
gestion, but Hugh Strong shook his 
head emphatically. " I am sure it is 
a murder," he said; "and I am sure 
too that Holson did it." 

" Ah, well," said the Consul, " time 
will perhaps show. This is a wild 
place, though it is supposed to be 
civilised, and I fear that more than 
one murderer is still at large here. 
If they can, of course, all criminals 
try and get over to Madagascar ; 



10 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



there is no extradition treaty with 
that country, and malefactors can 
enjoy themselves in perfect peace. 
No one disturbs them. And now 
for the present I must be busy ; but 
if you care to accept bachelor hospi- 
tality, give me the pleasure of your 
company at dinner to-night. My wife 
is away up at our cottage among the 
mountains, but if you will excuse 
shortcomings, I shall be delighted to 
see you. I have a nephew here who 
arrived a week or two ago from Mau- 
ritius. He is going to Madagascar in 
a few days to take charge of the 
English hospital at Antananarivo, and 
then to travel for botanising ; so we 
shall be a regular English party ; a 
real treat in these regions, I assure 
you." 

CHAPTER III. 

IT is needless to say that both 
Bryant and his friend accepted this 
invitation, and spent, in consequence, 
a very pleasant evening. Frank Dal- 
gleish, the medical nephew, was as 
lively and entertaining a companion as 
a young gentleman of twenty-three, 
with high spirits and a turn for fun, 
can well be ; and the Consul was the 
very soul of hospitality. Of course 
the conversation drifted in the direc- 
tion of the landslip and supposed 
murder. 

" What time did you hear the 
earthquake, or whatever it was ? " 
inquired the Consul. 

" It was just ten," replied Bryant, 
"for I looked at my watch." 

" Of course one has no means of 
judging when the woman was actually 
killed," said the Consul, " but I do 
not think that any Indian in Saint 
Florel could have been awake much 
later than nine, or even half-past 
eight. Work in the cane-plantations 
begins early, and the labourers go to 
bed with the sun. If Holson killed 
that woman an hour before the land- 



slip occurred, no one in the village 
might have been any the wiser. She 
may have died almost instantly, and 
had no time to give any alarm." 

" But if she was murdered an hour 
before an unexpected landslip, why 
did the murderer take no pains to 
conceal his crime 1 " inquired Frank. 

" Ah, that is just the point," re- 
turned his uncle. " At present the 
whole affair is a mystery, and rather 
an interesting one. Holson may have 
lingered about Saint Florel and after- 
wards been overwhelmed by the land- 
slip. Personally I think the deed 
must have been done almost at the 
same moment as the earth came down ; 
only then the two corpses would have 
been found close together." 

" Chocolat, Holson's Indian servant, 
knew all about the place ; his wife 
lived on the estate, I believe," said 
Strong ; " and he told us that the 
Creole woman's house was at the 
bottom of her garden, as it were. Ac- 
cording to him the palmists tree was 
at its furthest boundary, and the 
ground from that tree sloped very 
steeply and suddenly towards the 
house. When we began digging, a 
little beyond where the corpse was 
found, we could see at once how much 
deeper the fresh earth had fallen. It 
seems almost a miracle that the body 
was ever found." 

" Murder will sometimes out," ob- 
served the Consul ; " but I fear in 
this instance nothing more will be 
discovered. Holson's body must be 
buried somewhere near his victim's." 

The next few days, which Bryant 
and Hugh Strong were compelled to 
spend in Saint Denis, would have been 
dull enough but for the company of 
Frank Dalgleish, who insisted upon 
dragging them about the town to see 
everything of the slightest interest. 
He enjoyed his own sight-seeing with 
a light-hearted gaiety that proved 
infectious, and the three became ex- 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



11 



cellent friends. Of course both Strong 
and Bryant were requested by the 
French authorities to postpone their 
departure in case of their attendance 
as witnesses being required. In the 
meantime they amused themselves as 
best they could, and became cynosures 
in the eyes of the Creole women of 
Saint Denis. 

Time, however, brought no news of 
the missing man. The police scoured 
the mountainous districts, and all 
vessels leaving the ports were watched ; 
no one, however, in the least resem- 
bling Holson had been seen or heard 
of, and the excitement of his pursuit 
died away under the universal impres- 
sion that the murderer had expiated 
his crime under the landslip. His 
personal possessions were brought down 
to the Consulate, and the Consul, after 
investigating his private papers and 
despatch-box, found the address to 
which the latter should be sent. " If 
you and your friend are going straight 
back to England," he said, "you 
would put me under the greatest obli- 
gation if you would take charge of 
the parcel of papers and things I have 
sorted out to be returned to Holson's 
relatives. Would it be much trouble 
to despatch them by registered parcel ? 
The address is Denehurst, Coltham, 
Sussex." 

"I live in Devonshire," said Hugh 
Strong, to whom the request was ad- 
dressed, "but I know Sussex well 
enough. I shall be delighted to do 
anything I can in the matter, and 
take them myself." 

" Very well," said the Consul ; 
" here is the parcel ; you see it is not 
a large one. There is nothing of value 
enough to send to the Treasury that 
I can find except memoranda relating 
to the title-deeds of the estate called 
Denehurst, which will probably be 
useful to any member of the family. 
This is the only attractive thing I 
have seen, and it's pretty enough, 



isn't it ? " and he held out a leather 
case closing with a snap. 

It contained the miniature of a 
young girl, fair-haired and blue-eyed, 
with a gentle dreamy expression, and 
a dawning smile upon her lips. There 
was a grace and charm about the 
picture suggestive of unconsciousness 
on the part of the sitter ; either the 
portrait had been taken secretly, or 
the girl must have united the sim- 
plicity of childhood to the sweet- 
ness of maturer years. The face was 
neither arch, nor clever, nor intellec- 
tual ; it was " pure womanly " ; the 
delicate features bore the stamp of 
rare beauty, and the large eyes under 
their pencilled brows gazed at the 
spectator with infantine gravity and 
innocence. 

" By George ! " said Hugh Strong, 
as he laid the miniature down after 
looking his fill, which, being an im- 
pressionable young man, took some 
time. " By George, that's something 
worth looking at ! " and he promptly 
took up the portrait again. 

" A very attractive girl," was Bry- 
ant's more seasoned judgment, which 
however his friend did not receive 
with favour. " Is that all you can 
find to say 1 " he asked indignantly. 
" Why, it's the most beautiful face I 
ever saw in my life. She is a most 
lovely creature. I wonder what was 
Holson's connection with her ; there is 
no likeness that I can see." 

" Perhaps she is, or was, his wife," 
suggested Bryant. 

Hugh's face fell. " I never thought 
of that!" he cried. "But I can't 
believe a woman who looked like that 
would ever marry such a man." 

" Women do strange things some- 
times," said his friend ; and then the 
miniature was returned to its case, 
and the brown paper parcel consigned 
to the safe till the mail was due. 

" You're evidently hard hit," ob- 
served Frank Dalgleish laughingly to 



12 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



Strong. "Your best plan is to go 
straight to Denehurst, introduce your- 
self, and marry that charming widow. 
I'll be best man at the wedding, 
and marry the head-bridesmaid. But 
now, if you have sufficiently admired 
your lady-love, I vote we go for a 
stroll. The air is getting cool now, 
and the day after to-morrow, as you 
know, I depart from this hospitable 
shore to shed the light of medical 
science upon the gentle Malagache ; 
therefore we may as well enjoy as 
much of each other's company as we 
can." 

In a few days the two Englishmen 
started for Europe once more, seeing 
the lovely shores of Reunion grow 
fainter and fainter while the steamer 
plunged forward. As the flower- 
decked town faded out of sight both 
Bryant and his friend experienced a 
sense of relief. 

"A pretty place," said Hugh, "but 
I never should care to see it again. 
One seems to have been living under 
the shadow of a crime lately ; and 
now for England, home 

" And beauty," suggested Bryant 
expressively. " I observe, Strong, that 
you have stuck like wax to that 
brown-paper parcel. In point of age 
I have the advantage of you, and I 
might reasonably suggest that I am 
fitter to take care of it than you. 
However, my dear boy, I will refrain, 
and leave you the joy of carrying 
about a miniature which you are dying 
to look at, sealed up in a packet which 
you dare not open." 

It was June when they again reached 
England, and perfect June weather ; 
and it is needless to say that to the 
two travellers the hawthorn-decked 
hedgerows of their native country 
were more beautiful than all the gor- 
geous blossoms of the tropics. Bryant, 
rather solitary man with few rela- 
ons or friends, betook himself at 



once to a favourite bachelors' hotel in 
Jermyn Street, while Hugh Strong 
disappeared temporarily under an 
avalanche of greetings from various 
sisters, cousins, and aunts. 

In a few days, however, which 
Bryant spent in tasting all the de- 
lights of a return to the most com- 
fortable of clubs, Hugh suddenly 
appeared in Jermyn Street. "I 
say, old fellow," he cried. " That 
parcel ! I had nearly forgotten about 
it. The Consul said I could send it 
as a registered packet, but I've half a 
mind to deliver it personally. It 
would be an act of civility, and it 
may also prove a bit of a lark. Pack 
up your things, and we'll run down to 
Coltham together for a couple of 
nights." 

" I was just beginning to feel com- 
fortably settled at home again," began 
Bryant ; " but I own to a certain 
curiosity as to Holson's belongings ; 
so I'll come." 

Coltham, they were told at the 
station, did not boast of a railway 
communication, and they were there- 
fore directed to book to Redford, 
whence they must make their way as 
best they could to their destination. 

" Where we are going to Heaven 
only knows," grumbled Bryant, as he 
seated himself in a smoking-carriage. 
" Coltham may be miles away from 
this station at Redford, and for any- 
thing I know we may be reduced to 
the carrier's cart. This comes of being 
too inquisitive about other people's 
relatives. I wish I'd stayed in Jermyn 
Street," he concluded, for rural soli- 
tudes had few charms for him, and the 
realised comforts of his club presented 
themselves vividly to his imagination 
at the moment. 

" Never mind," said Hugh; "you'll 
feel quite happy by and by. To- 
morrow's Sunday, too, and always a 
beastly day in London." 

" I know very well what you're 



The Secret of Saint FloreL 



13 



driving at," replied his friend ; " y_ou 
want to try and see that girl whose 
picture you were so taken with. How 
do you know she lives at this place, 
Denehurst, at all 1 She may be in 
the Antipodes." 

" Well, never mind the girl," said 
Hugh rather shamefacedly. " If she is 
there, I shall have the pleasure of 
seeing her in the flesh ; and if not, 
it can't be helped." 

Redf ord proved as barren of vehicles 
that afternoon as Bryant had pro- 
phesied, and, after finding that their 
luggage could be sent on by an empty 
cart that was returning to Coltham, 
they set off stoutly on their five-mile 
walk. 

They were an oddly assorted pair : 
Hugh Strong, aged twenty-five, tall 
and broad-shouldered, with a frank 
face and genial smile ; James Bryant, 
short in stature, nearly ten years 
older, inclined to stoutness, as de- 
liberate as the other was impulsive, 
and as even-tempered as Hugh was 
impetuous. Bryant was a bit of a 
cynic moreover, while his friend was 
a confirmed optimist, and possessed 
a prudence and foresight for which 
Hugh had no corresponding qualities. 
The two had an occasional and 
amiable difference ; but during a long 
friendship they had never had a 
serious quarrel. 

They plodded along without much 
conversation, till it suddenly occurred 
to Hugh to ask a question. " I say, 
Bryant," he began, " do you suppose 
this man, this Dennis Dene, to whom 
the parcel is addressed, has any idea 
of the fact that Holson is supposed 
to be a murderer ? " 

" Don't know," returned Bryant. 

" The Consul wrote home as soon 
as we sent word, I know ; but I 
haven't the slightest idea whether he 
ever said anything about that little 
circumstance. I don't think he knew 
soon enough; it is most awkward." 



" Silence is golden ; follow that 
rule," quoth Bryant. " What a length 
this road is. How can people bury 
themselves in such a place ? " 

The road fortunately did not prove 
so interminable as Bryant feared, and 
Coltham, an insignificant but pictur- 
esque little hamlet, was soon reached. 
It boasted a clean, if humble inn, 
whose modest hospitality they both 
appreciated. The landlord too was 
voluble, and from him they learned 
several particulars about the family at 
Denehurst. " Old Mr. Dennis Dene 
was Mr. Anthony Holson's uncle," he 
said. " He never comes out of the park 
now, and not often as far as the gate. 
An. invalid they call him, but I think 
he's a bit touched here," he concluded, 
tapping his forehead significantly. 

" Does old Mr. Dene live alone 
then 1 " inquired Hugh. 

" No, no, there's a nephew with him, 
his sister's son, Mason Sawbridge, a 
poor crooked fellow that nobody likes. 
He and Mr. Anthony were cousins, 
sister's sons ; and then there's Miss 
Phoebe." 

"And who is Miss Phoebe?" de- 
manded the irrepressible Hugh. 

"She was Mr. Anthony's cousin 
too. He, and Mason Sawbridge and 
Miss Phoebe were old Mr. Dene's 
sisters' children. He had three sisters ; 
two, I've heard tell, ran away from 
home to be married, and got a bad 
bargain in husbands ; that was Mr. 
Mason's mother and Miss Phoebe's. 
Mr. Anthony Holson's got a good 
fortune from his family, but Mr. Dene 
was guardian to all three. Eh, dear ! 
I can remember when Denehurst was 
a very different place, but now it's 
nearly in ruins. There's just enough 
for those that are there to live upon, 
and that's all. In Lady Lucilla's 
time, fifteen years ago, things were 
very different." 

"Who was Lady Lucilla?" in- 
quired Hugh. 



14 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



" Old Mr. Dene's wife, and a real 
beauty. There was no one to match 
her in these parts. They tell a queer 
story of her marriage. Old Mr. Dene 
was a terrible one after cards and 
dicing and such like, when he was 
young, and lost a lot of money one 
way and another ; and they say that 
Lady Lucilla married him on condition 
he never touched a card or gambled 
again. He kept his promise while she 
lived ; but when she died he was nigh 
crazy with trouble and began at the 
same thing again. I've heard tell 
he's lost pretty nigh everything, but 
no one rightly knows who things 
belong to now. Lord ! There was a 
great long room at Denehurst all 
decked with carved oak, and pictures 
as thick as flies on the walls, all in 
gilt frames. They say all those have 
gone too now, but no one knows the 
rights of the story. Old Parkins, the 
butler up at Denehurst, never says 
anything that a man can get hold of 
by way of news ; the pints of good 
ale I've stood him, the last six or 
seven year, and never a word to talk 
over in the tap-room by way of 
return ! One is bound to amuse cus- 
tomers, you see," he concluded with a 
trifle of very natural indignation at 
Mr. Parkins's reticence. 

" Does old Mr. Dene see visitors, 
then 1 " asked Bryant, who was be- 
ginning to feel that it was now his 
turn to extract a little information. 

" That I don't rightly know," re- 
turned the landlord. " But you've 
only to go along the high road about 
a quarter of a mile beyond the village, 
and ring at the big gates. The lodge- 
keeper then will tell you. I never 
hear tell of any visitors now at Dene- 
hurst. Mr. Mason Sawbridge is 
master, I believe, since his uncle 
began to fail." 

" And what is Miss Phoebe like ? " 
asked the audacious Hugh. 

" Rarely pretty," said the land- 



lord, his rather bucolic face kindling 
into temporary enthusiasm. "Barely 
pretty, and kind too ; but she seldom 
comes out of the park except to 
church. It must be dull for the poor 
soul, though she's always been fond 
of wandering about the woods and 
such-like places. Still, now she's a 
woman grown she must likely want a 
bit more change." 

" How old is she then V said Hugh, 
disregarding a rather malicious chuckle 
from Bryant. 

" She was seventeen when Mr. 
Anthony went away," said their host. 
" That's three years since, so she's 
nigh twenty now or thereabouts." 

" And what " began Hugh. 

" Look here," interrupted Bryant, 
" I think we've sat here long enough 
for the present. I should like a little 
fresh air as we are in the country." 

" It is close, sir," said the host 
apologetically, for they were sitting 
in the tap-room. " You see the to- 
bacco's a bit strong that they get 
at the shop down the village, and the 
smell stays about the place some- 
how." 

" However you have the face- 
began Bryant, when they were out- 
side and strolling down the little 
garden at the back of the inn. 

"Never mind, never mind, my dear 
fellow," interrupted Hugh hastily ; 
" don't inflict one of your abominable 
disquisitions on me just now. I've 
found out nearly all I wanted to 
know." 

" You'd better ask this man Mason 
Sawbridge, what an odd name to 
show you the family-tree," said Bryant 
grimly. " Perhaps a glance at it may 
complete the information you require." 

" That looks likely water for trout, 
doesn't it 1 " said Hugh with tact 
worthy of a woman. He pointed to 
a narrow but tempting-looking stream 
that ran at the bottom of the land- 
lord's vegetable patch. 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



15 



" By Jove, that it does ! " answered 
Bryant with well satisfied looks as his 
eyes followed the course of the little 
river's windings. " Why didn't I 
bring some tackle from town ? " If 
Bryant could be reckoned enthusiastic 
about anything on earth it was fish- 
ing ; he was a most earnest devotee of 
the sport, which coincided with his 
ideas of enjoyable pleasure. Shooting 
bored him ; hunting he considered 
too much of an exertion to be 
really attractive, though he some- 
times rode to counteract an inclination 
to stoutness which gave him some 
anxiety ; but fishing Straight- 
way Denehurst and its occupants, the 
deceased Holson, even Hugh himself 
disappeared from his mind, and James 
Bryant beheld himself skilfully whip- 
ping a nice-looking stretch of water in 
the adjoining field, and hooking a 
three-pounder by dint of the most 
cunning exertions. He had just men- 
tally landed his prize, and the silvery 
beauty was gasping on the grass, when 
Hugh's next remark brought him back 
to present things once more. " Per- 
haps old Boniface, or whatever his 
name is, down at the inn can lend 
you a rod. He may be a fisherman ; 
there's a mangy-looking fish of some 
kind under a glass case on my bed- 
room mantelpiece." 

" Country tackle is no good," said 
Bryant mournfully. 



" Write to Farlow then, or Bernard; 
they know the sort of thing you like, 
and you can have it down in no 
time." 

"Well, I'll see," said Bryant. "I'll 
go and ask the landlord ^whether there 
is any fish worth catching about here," 
and he went up the box-edged path to 
the homely door again. 

Left to himself Hugh's face assumed 
a look of intense satisfaction ; he 
hated fishing himself, but he hated 
solitude still more. If the proposed 
call at Denehurst opened any agree- 
able prospect, he did not intend to 
hurry away from Coltham, for the 
picture of the girl found among Hoi- 
son's things had made more impression 
on him than he cared to acknowledge. 
Still Bryant's presence would be a 
great addition to his own pleasure in 
the expedition ; and if there was any 
decent fishing to be had, he knew 
that his friend would not quarrel with 
his present quarters. Only one doubt 
remained to mar his hopes. Was the 
pretty Phoebe up at Denehurst the 
original of the miniature 1 However, 
Hugh was a naturally cheerful indi- 
vidual who always looked on the 
sunny side of everything, and he 
presently turned up the path again 
in the best possible spirits whist- 
ling, 

Shall I, wasting in despair, 
Die because a woman's fair ? 



(To be continued] 



16 



THE NEW MOSAICS AT SAINT PAUL'S. 



THE general public are perhaps 
scarcely aware of the wonderful 
scheme of decoration which has been 
carried out at Saint Paul's during the 
last five years. To say that nothing 
like it has been attempted during this 
century is to speak under the mark 
rather than above it. In the opinion 
of many competent judges it would be 
difficult to find either in ancient, 
medieval, or modern times a more con- 
scientious and artistic piece of work 
than that which now adorns the cathe- 
dral church of our great metropolis. 

It is in itself a thing to be proud 
of, that here we have a genuine bit of 
English work, designed by an English 
artist, and wrought by English work- 
men in material made in England. 
It carries us back to old times to 
find an English artist retained by a 
Dean and Chapter at a fixed salary, 
to design and execute the decoration 
of their cathedral as a consecutive 
work of art. But apart from this, 
the decoration of Saint Paul's had 
come to be regarded as one of those 
insoluble problems at which every 
new generation would try its hand 
only to sink back baffled. Not only 
is there the intrinsic difficulty of deal- 
ing with a building of such magni- 
tude ; not only does the climate and 
atmosphere of London add elements 
of difficulty all their own ; but in 
addition all England, certainly all 
London, imagines itself to have 
proprietary rights in Saint Paul's, 
and almost a claim to be consulted as 
to its treatment ; to say nothing of 
the fact that every Englishman 
imagines himself to be a judge of art, 
and takes his personal tastes to be 



the artistic and infallible measure of 
all things. 

Perhaps with these facts in view 
the authorities at Saint Paul's have 
proceeded with more than the usual 
caution of a corporation, and have 
experienced more than most bodies 
the overwhelming difficulties which a 
committee of art can bring to bear on 
progress. Nearly forty years ago, 
under the rule of Dean Mil man, the 
project was first mooted, large sums 
of money were collected, and large 
sums spent in experiment and tenta- 
tive designs. And when at last the 
reredos appeared as the first solid 
instalment of an attempt to beautify 
the cathedral, it was nearly swept 
away in a fanatical outburst, theo- 
logians, antiquaries, and architects all 
putting themselves in evidence as 
persons who must at least be appeased 
by any one who wished to decorate 
Saint Paul's. While this storm was 
blowing itself out, the work of 
decorating the cathedral was quietly 
progressing, in gradual and very 
spasmodic instalments of mosaic, 
which, from the designs of various 
artists and with varying merit, were 
placed slowly in the eight spandrels of 
the dome under the auspices of Doctor 
Salviati of Venice. The boisterous 
figures of prophet and evangelist, 
variously engaged and surrounded by 
angelic ministrants, give at least a 
flash of colour to the solemn magni- 
ficence of the dome as its proportions 
melt away into the gloom of Thorn- 
hill's frescoes, and the eight modern 
images which look down from their 
niches on the worshippers below. 

In 1891 the zeal for decoration, 



The New Mosaics at Saint Paul's. 



17 



which had been sleeping all these 
years, save for the striking and 
brilliant exception mentioned above, 
seems to have burst out into full 
vigour. Mr. W. B. Richmond then 
appears on the scene, not by any 
means, as we are informed, to ex- 
periment on a new subject and feel 
his way to a scheme of decoration, 
but with the carefully developed 
plans of an artistic lifetime, with a 
devotion to Wren's great masterpiece 
dating from childhood, a thorough 
knowledge of Italian methods of 
mosaic work practically studied from 
the early masters, especially at 
Ravenna, and with a complete mastery 
of colour, which in itself is no slight 
advantage under the peculiar con- 
ditions of our foggy atmosphere. 
Since that time the decoration of 
Saint Paul's has been a rapid, con- 
secutive, and continuous process. 
Behind the long lines of scaffolding, 
planking, and canvas, which have 
been so irritating to the visitor, and 
so fatal to the already scanty light 
which penetrates the cathedral, a 
small contingent of mosaic workers, 
under the control of Messrs. Powell of 
Whitefriars, glass-painters and setters 
from the same firm, and painters from 
the firm of McMillan and Houghton 
have been busily engaged. Those who 
have attended the choir-offices during 
these years must have been startled 
to hear the perpetual snip of the 
pliers used by the workmen in cutting 
their tesserce to the right shape, 
and occasionally by the fall of a 
brush or a hammer on the broad 
scaffolding over their heads. The 
men have all seemed to take not only 
an intelligent interest in their work, 
but to have manifested a real love 
and enthusiasm for it, which is the 
more intelligible in a system where 
every workman, instead of mechani- 
cally fixing in his pieces like a child's 
puzzle, has to judge with something 
No. 439. VOL. LXXIV. 



of an artist's eye the angle in which 
to set them to the best advantage of 
light and colour. 

The visitor to Saint Paul's will 
remember that the choir consists of 
an eastern apse with .a sanctuary bay 
with square openings, now shut off by 
the reredos. Westward of this it is 
pierced with three arches, surmounted 
by a cornice and a frieze which run 
down each side of the choir. Above 
this are clerestory windows of the 
usual classical type, with no tracery 
or mullions, having on each side a 
considerable space of a triangular- 
shape. The vaulting of the roof is 
broken up before it reaches the apse 
(from which it is separated by a broad 
stone arch) into three shallow circular 
domes, supported, it would seem, by 
twelve pendentives, whose kite-like 
shape are some of the most prominent 
surfaces in the church. This descrip- 
tion, let it be said, does not aim so 
much at architectural accuracy, as at 
reminding the reader of the view 
which meets his eye as he looks up 
the choir : he will find its architec- 
tural details admirably described in 
the authorised Guide to the Cathe- 
dral by the Rev. Lewis Gilbertson ; 
and he will now, we trust, be in 
a better position to appreciate the 
decoration which has covered these 
bare, yet beautiful, surfaces with a 
blaze of gold and colour. One word 
must be said to comfort those who 
know, perhaps to their cost, the 
tarnishing powers of the London 
atmosphere. The tesserce employed, 
being of glass, are impervious to these 
evil influences, and are set in a sub- 
stance like cement which hardens 
with age ; while the mass of paint, 
being laid on with wax liquefied by 
petroleum instead of oil, forms an 
imperishable surface which is as much 
part of the stone as if it had been 
burned into it. 

On entering the choir the most 



18 



, The New Mosaics at Saint Paul's. 



prominent object is the magnificent 
new reredos, which, stretching across 
the westernmost end of what used to 
be the sanctuary, has converted the 
apse into a chapel, to which we will 
introduce our readers presently. 
Running across the frieze of rosso 
antico in letters of gold, the inscrip- 
tion (the choice of which was little 
short of an inspiration), Sic Deus 
dilexit mundum, links together the 
story of the Redemption and the 
altar in a wonderful harmony. Above 
this, visible to the extreme west end 
of the cathedral, we discover the 
glitter and warm glow of the new 
mosaics. This is the crowning point 
of all the decoration of the cathedral, 
and it required some skill not to pro- 
duce an anti-climax to the reredos. 
Here, in the three triangular spaces 
of the roof as it slopes down to the 
circle of the apse, each space divided 
from the other by architectural bands 
and pierced through a large part of 
its surface by windows, Mr. Richmond 
has placed his Last Judgment ; a 
subject which, while almost demanded 
by the position, allowed him to place 
on a commanding eminence a majestic 
figure of Christ, as the crown and 
glory of the converging lines of decora- 
tion. This figure, for which something 
like forty studies were made, and 
which, if standing erect, would be 
fourteen feet in height, has been 
elaborated with infinite pains. The 
folds of the light-coloured robe hang 
in majestic lines, while falling off the 
shoulders is a cope-like vestment, 
clasped in front with a jewelled 
morse and hanging down the back, 
visible in its inner lining underneath 
the outstretched arms which, while 
raised to bless, convey at the same 
time a suggestion of crucifixion and 
of intercession. The face, with its 
marvellous delicacy of expression, 
marvellous, that is to say, having 
regard to the material of which it is 



composed, was a subject of long and 
careful study. It was relaid by the 
workmen more than once, while the 
artist was running up the scale of ex- 
pression in the human yet divine face, 
from the Rex tremendce majestatis, to 
the Pie Jesu Domine, with which 
Thomas of Celano has made us 
familiar. The background is filled 
up by a maze of red wings and gold, 
significant of Him who comes flying 
upon the wings of the wind, while 
beneath Him are the clouds, and the 
rainbow throne, and the sun turning 
into darkness and the moon into 
blood, where the Judge sits crowned 
with imperial diadem, encircled with 
the thorns now bursting into flowers. 
On either side, separated by the divid- 
ing ribs of the architecture, yet by 
a clever trick of decoration almost 
turned into one surface, is a sugges- 
tion, tenderly and beautifully treated, 
of the reward and doom of the last 
day. 

On the left of the spectator, that is 
to say, on the right of the throne, two 
angels, seated on the arch of the 
window, are scanning a large scroll 
on which the artist conceives to be 
inscribed the names of the blessed. 
Behind stand three other angels, hold- 
ing in their hands crowns of victory 
wherewith to adorn those whose 
names are written on the scroll ; while 
on the left of the throne two others 
are endeavouring to discover what 
names are missing, and behind them 
again are more angels with veiled or 
averted faces, mourning for those 
who have failed to attain salvation. 
The treatment is somewhat novel, 
and the Byzantine feeling which ani- 
mates these groups is striking and 
beautiful, and serves to throw into 
relief the great central figure. The 
subject is continued in the three win- 
dows below, which are perhaps the 
least satisfactory portion of the de- 
sign, as these openings into the light, 



The New Mosaics at Saint Pauls. 



19 



in the place which they occupy, are 
one of the most difficult problems to 
the artist. They will probably need 
to be treated again, or in some way 
adapted. Round the frieze are small 
figures of virtues mentioned in the 
book of Revelation, while below runs 
the great text, Alleluia, Sanctus, 
Sanctus, Sanctus, Alleluia, which is 
not so happily chosen as the text of 
the reredos. 

We now turn from the apse to 
view the decoration of the roof, whose 
vaulting reaches away to the entrance 
of the dome. Here the most striking 
objects are the pendentives which 
hang sloping forward from the roof, 
with a surface curved at a peculiar 
angle, and offering great difficulties to 
the artist. Each of these carries on 
a surface of gold a great angel with 
arms set wide apart, reaching up over 
the head, encircled with six wings. 
The attitude of these angels suggests 
a messenger just alighting with a 
proclamation from on high, while the 
outstretched arms give also a sense of 
support to the circular domes above 
them, and make them a kind of 
Christian caryatides. These form a 
line of beauty along which the eye is 
carried to the central Christ. Above 
them the eye is arrested by the three 
shallow cupolas in which each bay 
terminates, above the semicircular 
arches dividing them from each other. 
In each of these the artist has de- 
picted one of the acts of Creation. 
In the most eastern cupola, which is 
above the sanctuary, is represented the 
creation of the birds. In the centre 
is a golden sun, round which are fly- 
ing circles of birds ; while round the 
outer ring runs a silvery stream with 
a flowery bank, and beyond it rises a 
range of blue mountains. Springing 
from the bank are various trees, the 
olive, the fig, the oak, the quince, the 
chestnut, and the lemon, while under- 
neath them, with all their wealth of 



plumage displayed, are peacocks and 
waterfowl and kingfishers, the whole 
exquisitely finished, and to those who 
have had the privilege of inspecting 
it closely equal in delicacy to a piece 
of tapestry. This cupoja bears the 
date A.D. 1892 ; but we doubt if even 
the strongest glasses will be able to 
detect it. In the next cupola, coming 
west, we have the creation of the 
inhabitants of the sea. This is deeper 
in tone and warmer in colour. The 
centre here again is a sun of glory, 
round which the spray of the waves 
has made a magnificent iris. At 
regular intervals round the outer circle 
sea-monsters are spouting a delicate 
stream of silvery water into the blue 
vault, the soft tones of which lighten 
up with marvellous delicacy the rush 
and swirl of the dark waves, through 
which gambol and dart multitudes of 
brilliant fish just waking into life. 
Not one of the least beautiful features 
in this decoration is the band of 
scallop shells which surrounds the 
outer rim. In the third dome, with a 
firmer touch and stronger outline, we 
have the creation of the beasts. Here, 
as before, there is the central sun and 
flying birds ; but the surface below is 
broken up by palm trees in which sit 
birds of the par rot- type, and beneath 
them every sort of beast, except the 
horse, an exception which we are in- 
clined to deplore. Each of these 
cupolas is separated by a richly deco- 
rated architectural band, in the cloth- 
ing of which Mr. Richmond has shown 
his mastery of colour. Instead of in- 
discriminate gold, which is to painting 
what a drum is to music, there is a 
delicate and careful picking out of the 
decorative features of Wren's work, 
which a blurr of paint might easily 
have obliterated ; and on the surface 
facing the eye room has been found 
for a series of bold, well-chosen texts, 
which link together the design of the 
roof. 

c 2 



20 



The New Mosaics at Saint Paul's. 



If we now gaze at the walls which 
carry the vaulting we are able to see 
one section completely finished, on the 
north-east side of the sanctuary, and 
to realise what the whole will be 
like when the work is done. Over 
the arches are two spandrel spaces, 
making twelve in all, only two of 
which (these we have indicated above) 
are as yet completed. In these are 
represented two warrior angels guard- 
ing the sanctuary in an attitude of 
repose, holding some emblems of the 
Passion in their hand. These are 
the first pieces executed of the new 
mosaic, and, unlike the rest, with 
two other exceptions, are fixed on 
pieces of slate cemented into the wall, 
instead of on the surface of the wall 
itself. Above these spandrels running 
the whole length of the choir is a 
frieze, which has offered more diffi- 
culties to the decorator than almost 
any other part of the design. After 
long discussion mosaic was chosen in 
preference to bronze or marble, but 
even then the choice of subjects was 
full of difficulty. The first idea will 
be seen in the long panels east of the 
reredos, where moving figures have 
been attempted in the two pieces 
representing the sea giving up its 
dead. These, except as a piece of 
colour, are not very successful, as 
the confined space and the height 
from the floor make it difficult to dis- 
tinguish sufficiently the details of 
the subject, and the small figures are 
thrown out of scale by the large forms 
around them. The design finally 
adopted is to be seen in that part of 
the frieze which runs down the choir 
and terminates above the organ. There, 
in each bay, we have an arabesque 
continuation of the subject of the 
cupola, birds and fish treated decora- 
tively, except in the last, where there 
are symbolical but finished treatments 
of Adam and Eve. In the projecting 
and smaller portions of the frieze there 



are carpet-patterns of Persian charac- 
ter, which contain some of the most 
exquisite though the least pretentious 
work in the whole scheme ; while to pre- 
vent them from becoming mere purple 
patches the stone setting in which they 
are placed has been decorated with a 
subdued flush of beautiful arabesque 
ornament. 

Above the frieze are some of the 
most important parts of the decoration, 
the large panels on each side of the 
windows lending themselves to twelve 
large pictures, of which Mr. Richmond 
has fully availed himself. The general 
scheme of subject is as follows : on 
the north side is represented the 
general expectancy of the world wait- 
ing for a Saviour, whether in Jewish 
or Gentile history ; on the south, the 
different temple-builders, who in sacred 
history have realised the place of 
God's habitation among men. 

Beginning at the most eastern panel, 
on the north side, we see the Delphic 
Sibyl, listening to the revelation con- 
veyed to her by a messenger who is 
pointing upwards, as she peers into 
the roll of futurity. The exquisite 
ornamentation of the robes and the 
majestic pose of the figure will be 
familiar to those who saw the full- 
sized cartoon exhibited a year or two 
ago at the New Gallery. On the 
other side of the window towards the 
west is the more richly draped figure of 
the Persian Sibyl, straining forward to 
listen to the voices of winged genii above 
her, while her hand points outward into 
a perplexing future which her open 
scroll hardly helps her to realise. The 
delicate ornamentation of mother-of- 
pearl, the exquisite embroidery, and 
the other rich details call up a 
momentary feeling of regret that so 
much will be lost to sight, while they 
inspire a feeling of gratitude to the 
artist who has paid this homage to 
art, and especially in the House of 
God, that it should be executed not 



The New Mosaics at Saint Paul's. 



21 



merely to please the eye, but also to 
satisfy truth and beauty. 

The next panel towards the west 
contains a vigorous picture of the 
young conqueror Alexander, who 
brought the Eastern and "Western 
worlds together, and by the spread of 
the Greek language and culture in- 
directly prepared the way for Christ. 
The pose of the figure leaning on his 
sword is extremely fine ; and there is 
an animated and highly decorated 
background representing the influx of 
the West of which Alexander was the 
great herald and exponent. On the 
other side of the window is Cyrus, 
gorgeous but designedly effeminate, 
he who was the shepherd of the Most 
High in bringing the Jews back to 
their own land. The background 
here is made up of a procession of the 
returning exiles, and other rich 
decorative work, the two panels to- 
gether forming a magnificent piece of 
colour and design. The two next 
panels in the westernmost group on 
the north side of the choir show the 
more familiar examples of Abraham 
and Job ; and both show groups 
rather than solitary figures. The 
moment chosen by the artist in the 
history of Abraham is the apparition 
of the three angelic beings to him as 
he sat in the door of his tent at 
Mamre, when the child of promise was 
announced and Sarah laughed as she 
heard ; while Job is represented in 
his affliction, surrounded by his friends, 
suffering yet confident of the Re- 
deemer of his life. 

Returning to the south side of the 
choir beginning at the easternmost 
end we see a long line of temple- 
builders and decorators. David and 
Solomon occupy each a side of the 
window in the bay of the sanctuary : 
David, old and somewhat despondent, 
looking forward as it were from 
Pisgah to a temple which another 
must build ; and Solomon, young and 



gorgeously clad, conscious of his 
magnificence and glory, and confident 
of his ability to rear a shrine meet 
for the God of Israel. The next 
pair takes us back to earlier times, 
where Bezaleel and Ahbliab are seen 
surrounded by the furniture of the 
tabernacle which they have been con- 
structing; and in the last two we 
have a conception in the spirit of 
Michael Angelo, Moses in communion 
with the Majesty of God, and Jacob 
asleep at the foot of the ladder, 
realising in the vision of angels what 
was meant by Bethel the House of 
God. In these four panels of the 
westernmost bay there is, designedly 
or not, a point of contact with the 
flowing lines of the pictures in the 
dome, which will help to piece the 
new work on to the old. 

Two points of the decoration have 
still been left unnoticed. The first of 
these is the windows. The problem of 
glazing in a church covered with 
mosaic must always be a difficult one ; 
should there be coloured glass at all, 
and if so, of what character ? The 
effect of ordinary stained glass on 
the walls at the side may be seen to 
advantage in the west window of the 
cathedral. These, on either side the 
surfaces of the panels, have become 
quite black and incapable of receiving 
decoration. Mr. Richmond therefore, 
while deciding to use coloured glass, 
devised a new plan, which, by a free 
use of leading and by employing a 
great deal of unloaded glass, admits 
light sufficiently broken to illuminate 
the surfaces of the wall without 
dazzling the eye. Nearly all the 
clerestory windows, while carried out 
with great success on this pattern, 
are different in tone and design from 
each other, and yet are wonderfully 
harmonious while admitting ample 
light. They \\ill be regarded, we 
anticipate, not only as designs beauti- 
ful in themselves and subordinated 



22 



The New Mosaics at Saint Paul's. 



entirely to the mosaics, but as carry- 
ing out the true aim and object of 
windows. It would be futile, at the 
great height which they are from the 
eye, to describe the design, which, as 
in all Mr. Richmond's work, is of a 
very elaborate character. 

The other portion of the decoration 
to be considered is the space behind 
the reredos, now called the Jesus 
Chapel. Only a part of this comes 
into Mr. Richmond's design, although 
of course the apse roof already de- 
scribed is immediately above the 
chapel altar. But at the entrances on 
either side, above Wren's beautiful 
iron gates, are two magnificent mosaics, 
containing some of Mr. Richmond's 
finest work. That on the north re- 
presents Melchizedic blessing Abra- 
ham, and that on the south the 
sacrifice of Noah. These subjects 
were chosen because from the plane 
of the sanctuary of the high altar 
both these subjects are seen, as it 
were, in connection with it. Here 



will be noticed, in the splendid border 
of fruits which surround the pictures, 
how completely the artist has caught 
the spirit of Grinling Gibbons's work 
for which the cathedral is so famous. 
But although the other decoration of 
this chapel is not from the hands 
of Mr. Richmond, it is exceedingly 
beautiful ; the marble of the small 
reredos, the exquisite recumbent statue 
of Dr. Liddon, and the splendid win- 
dows of Mr. Kempe being all worthy 
of careful inspection. 

To have seen a work like this so 
successfully inaugurated is indeed a 
subject on which this generation may 
congratulate itself. And while we 
rejoice to see our great cathedral 
clothing herself with ornament, it is 
gratifying to be able to feel at the 
same time that a new field has been 
opened for the talents of English 
artists and English workmen, and that 
a great step has been taken towards 
forming an English school of mosaic 
founded on the best models of the past. 



23 



NEWFOUNDLAND. 1 



UPON the subject of Newfoundland 
it is to be feared that most of us are 
somewhat hazy. How far out into 
the Atlantic it thrusts its rugged 
headlands, so far, indeed, that a 
steamer can reach it in a trifle over 
three days from Queenstown, is not, 
we think, as a general rule quite 
realised. Its very position as our 
oldest colony has been obscured, and 
in many minds, no doubt, even 
usurped, by the aggressive personality 
of the Pilgrim Father and the Cava- 
lier. Even for those of us who take 
an interest in colonial history it re- 
quires some mental effort to remember 
that four generations of Englishmen, 
to say nothing of other Europeans, 
had spent their summers on the New- 
foundland coast before a white man 
had set foot in New England or Vir- 
ginia. Before American history, as 
understood by most of us, had in fact 
dawned, the capes and bays of this 
wild island were better known by most 
English sailors than those of Clare or 
Kerry. Indeed, so ignorant, or for- 
getful, are we of the great part played 
by the Newfoundland fishery in his- 
tory, that every chapter of the ad- 
mirable book which Judge Prowse 
has written to remind us of our 
shortcomings seems suggestive of re- 
proach. Nor does the author leave us 
entirely to deal with our own con- 
sciences in this respect ; with the 
ardour of a true patriot he trounces 
us with justifiable severity for both 
our political and historical neglect of 

1 A HISTORY OF NEWFOUNDLAND FROM 
THE ENGLISH, COLONIAL, AND FOREIGN 
RECORDS ; by D. W. Prowse, Q.C., Judge of 
the Central District Court of Newfoundland. 
London, 1895. 



his fog-enveloped fatherland. No 
more fitting name than that of Judge 
Prowse could well stand on the title- 
page of such a work, for in his own 
person he is a representative of one of 
the oldest Newfoundland families, and 
one, too, that hailed from Devonshire, 
the parent, it might almost be said, of 
the English fisheries in the North 
Atlantic. That the judge, moreover, 
has other qualifications than his mere 
patronymic for becoming the historian 
of his native colony will, we think, be 
readily conceded by any one who fol- 
lows him through his eventful story. 

The history of Newfoundland be- 
gan in the year 1498, almost exactly 
four centuries ago. It divides it- 
self into four distinct epochs, each 
one of which so nearly constitutes 
a century that for general purposes 
of memory and description they may 
fairly be so labelled. The sixteenth 
century, for instance, saw the fisher- 
men of all nations resorting thither, 
and plying their trade upon nominally 
equal terms, though in actual fact 
under English rule. Throughout the 
seventeenth century the adventurers 
from Great Britain enjoyed a recognised 
supremacy, and administered rude 
justice through that unique function- 
ary, the Fishing-Admiral. During 
the eighteenth century the colony was 
under naval governors sent from Eng- 
land ; while for the last sixty years or 
so the inhabitants have enjoyed what 
are commonly called the blessings of 
constitutional government. This latter 
period is much the least pleasant 
reading of the whole story, and leaves 
one with something more than an im- 
pression that Newfoundland was both 
a healthier and more prosperous coun- 



24 



Newfoundland. 



try before the local politician came 
upon the scene. 

But after all it would be misleading 
to regard Newfoundland, as one re- 
gards most other British colonies, 
from the standpoint of internal de- 
velopment. From first to last its 
territorial significance has been sim- 
ply that of a vantage-ground for 
fishermen and fish-traders. As a field 
for the ordinary agricultural settler 
the ancient colony has never succeeded 
in obtaining the faintest outside recog- 
nition. There would be no material 
inaccuracy in saying that, away from 
its thinly-peopled sea-coast, to this very 
day Newfoundland is a howling and 
untrodden wilderness. It is probable 
that under compulsion, if such a thing 
were possible, the country might sup- 
port quite a respectable farming com- 
munity ; while its mineral wealth, 
which is quite another matter, may yet 
some day be developed. But if agri- 
cultural emigrants avoided the rugged 
island when it was not only a much 
more notable place of resort, but pos- 
sessed a real advantage in its relative 
propinquity to Great Britain, what hope 
could there be for it now when distance 
has no longer any significance, and the 
most fertile spots of the earth are as 
easy of access 1 Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick, containing large tracts of 
well-settled agricultural country, can 
scarcely retain their rural population, 
while their virgin lands have long since 
ceased to be even considered, and for 
good reason, by European emigrants. 
What chance then can there be for poor 
Newfoundland to create a population 
large enough to make even a faint 
impression on its sombre and bound- 
less solitudes? To the native of 
the island speculations on a task so 
formidable may be of some interest. 
He may repudiate with indignation 
the notion that wheat will not ripen 
and that fogs reign over land and sea 
for a third of the year, and may point 



to potato-patches of prodigious yield 
and strips of oats that even the 
Manitoban could not despise. But all 
these things, and many more, unfortu- 
nately, can be grown in vast abundance 
over illimitable tracts and beneath 
kindlier skies, and even then under 
present conditions produce no great 
result to the grower. The settler's 
axe is almost silent in the still vast 
forests of older Canada. In New 
England farms that have been occu- 
pied and thriftily cultivated for 
generations are being abandoned 
wholesale. In the South Atlantic 
States entire counties are dropping 
out of cultivation. The future of 
Newfoundland in any such sense as 
this is not worth discussion. Nor 
indeed is it our business, which lies 
with its past ; and the past of New- 
foundland has not only a curious and 
interesting record in a domestic sense, 
but in its relations with the mother 
country and her own imperial history 
is one that should appeal strongly to 
English readers. 

It has always been a common notion 
that for the first half of the sixteenth 
century the French, Spanish, and 
Portuguese had the Newfoundland 
fishery to themselves. Judge Prowse 
disposes summarily of this idea, and 
brings forward ample proof not only 
that the English fishing-fleet was 
there in great strength, but that for 
the whole century, and most certainly 
from the accession of Elizabeth, it 
ruled this heterogenous floating colony 
in most masterful fashion. Spain was 
computed to have six thousand sailors 
on the Banks at this period ; Portugal 
was not very far behind her, while 
France was probably more strongly 
represented than either. Though no 
question was made of the right of all 
these nations to an equal share in the 
trade, the supremacy of the British 
seamen, chiefly from Devonshire, half 
fishermen, half pirates, seems never to 



Newfoundland. 



25 



have been disputed, or never, at any 
rate, successfully disputed. The soil 
of Newfoundland or Terra Nuova, it 
is true, was then of no moment. Its 
value was merely that of a refuge in 
stress of weather, and a place upon 
which to dry and pack the spoils of 
the deep. But upon this seemingly 
barren foothold the English adven- 
turers, with that acquisitive instinct 
which foreign nations and ourselves 
are just now calling by such different 
names, kept from the first a firm and 
jealous grip ; while in the floating, 
and upon the whole, peaceful republic 
which spent half of every year be- 
tween the desert shores of Labrador 
and the grim headland of Cape Ray, 
our countrymen seem to have secured 
for themselves undisputed sway. 
The fisheries of Newfoundland are 
to-day, no doubt, an important item 
in the world's economy ; but they are 
as nothing compared to the place they 
occupied in the days of the Tudors 
and the Stuarts. For a hundred 
years the foggy northern island was 
England's only colony, and its rugged 
indented coasts were almost as well 
known by the hardy seamen of 
Plymouth and Topsham, of Bideford 
and Dartmouth, as those of Britain. 
Newfoundland had not, it is true, 
been cleared and ploughed, reaped or 
sown ; but when the Mayflower sailed 
to found the first colony in New 
England, five generations of Devon 
and Cornish men had been going back- 
wards and forwards there with almost 
as little concern as they would have 
visited Ireland or the Scilly Isles. 

We have heard much lately, and 
entirely to our advantage, of the great 
Elizabethan seamen, the privateers, 
that is to say, of the Spanish Main. 
But Judge Prowse most justly says 
that to claim for these alone the 
founding of our sea-power would 
be a monstrous oversight, though we 
.fancy it is hardly an unnatural one. 



The Newfoundland trade made the 
West Country a province of seamen 
and of people interested in maritime 
adventure, and the West Country 
gave to England her maritime ascend- 
ency. By the end of the sixteenth 
century the Spanish navy had been so 
decimated that her seamen had almost 
disappeared from the Newfoundland 
coast, returning later on, however, in 
reduced numbers as whalers and 
sealers rather than fishermen. There 
were nevertheless even then some 
fifteen thousand of the latter, about a 
third, or possibly even more, of whom 
were British. Newfoundland as a 
matter of fact was looked upon by all 
the maritime nations as the training- 
ground of their seamen, as well as a 
great centre of trade. Breasting the 
fierce Atlantic gales of spring and 
autumn in their small ships of one or 
two hundred tons, weathering for 
months at a time the fogs and storms 
of those lonely far-off seas, it was 
here that English and French, and in 
a less degree Spaniards, Portuguese, 
and Dutch learned to be formidable 
to one another whenever the flag of 
battle should fly. 

Nor was it only the amount of 
capital and the number of men em- 
ployed in the trade that made it fill 
such a big space in English life at this 
period. Newfoundland became, in 
addition to its inexhaustible fisheries, 
an important centre of general traffic. 
The oils and wines and fruits of 
Southern Europe were carried there 
by the southern fishing-fleets, while in 
English bottoms went out cargoes of 
cordage, hosiery, cutlery, and other 
articles of British manufacture. Nor 
did Northern and Southern Europe 
only exchange their wares upon this 
remote and barren coast ; when the 
peace of the world allowed it hundreds 
of English ships would beat home- 
wards by the ports of Spain and 
Portugal, bartering their freights of 



26 



Newfoundland. 



cod and herrings for the luxuries of 
the two Peninsula kingdoms. Never- 
theless with all this coming and going, 
any regular settlement upon the soil 
of Newfoundland was as yet but trifling. 
Any movement in that direction was 
discountenanced by the English fishing 
interest, and when it took a serious 
form was strongly resented. With the 
exception of Saint John's, where a few 
merchants and traders from the earliest 
times took permanent root, the scat- 
tered settlements along the shore were 
in the sixteenth century mere clusters 
of shanties through which for the six 
winter months the bear and the wolf 
could roam undisturbed. 

It was in 1623 that the first serious 
attempt was made to colonise New- 
foundland ; and as it was made by 
royal grantees who had no connection 
with the fishing interest, the tradi- 
tional dislike of the latter to any 
permanent settlement was intensified 
into active hostility. These West 
Country vikings, by virtue of a cen- 
tury's occupation of Newfoundland 
seas and a century's overlordship of 
foreign fleets, could ill brook the 
intrusion of a set of landsmen. And 
to make matters worse the latter 
came with charters that would make 
these ancient sons of the sea tributary 
to new men and new laws whenever 
they should set their foot on shore. 
But these land colonies pined and 
languished in the rude Newfoundland 
atmosphere. Sir William Yaughan 
of Carmarthenshire, with a company 
of Welshmen, tried his hand and 
failed; so did Falkland, so did 
Baltimore, the father of the celebrated 
founder of Maryland. But with their 
high-flown constitutions, fanciful organ- 
isations, and poor material they soon 
withered in the rugged Newfoundland 
soil and left scarcely any trace. The 
big stone house, indeed, in which 
Lord Baltimore and his family lived 
manfully for many years, was still 



standing a century later, a solitary 
and pathetic relic of a noble though 
misdirected effort. 

Most of that south-eastern peninsula 
of Avalon upon which Saint John's 
stands was included in the Baltimore 
grant, and 30,000, it is said, was 
expended on the property. But they 
all disappeared, these well-meaning, 
sanguine aristocrats with their motley 
following of lazy unpractical loons, and 
left Newfoundland, even more than 
other colonies, to be settled by those 
hardier spirits whom individual enter- 
prise drew gradually to its shores. In 
the reign of Charles the First those 
terrible scourges of the ocean, the 
Sallee rovers or Moorish pirates, were 
gathering a rich harvest among the 
Newfoundland fleet The town-records 
give us a glimpse of the Mayor of 
W^eymouth, as representing the West 
Country interest, riding post-haste to 
the King at Woodstock to humbly 
pray that the royal fleet might hasten 
westwards to the rescue ; for three 
hundred English ships, two hundred 
and fifty of which hailed from West 
Country ports with five thousand 
Devon and Cornish lads on board, to 
say nothing of the season's cargoes, 
were unprotected and in imminent 
danger of capture or destruction. 
Twenty-seven, it seems, had already 
been cut off and seized. Laud, says 
the Weymouth chronicle, struck his 
hand upon his breast, and promised 
that while he had life he would do his 
utmost in so consequential an affair, 
further declaring that in twelve 
months' time not a Turkish ship 
should be on the sea. Laud's name 
does not suggest itself to one as a 
terror to erratic corsairs, nor, it is 
needless perhaps to add, did it prove 
so. The almost insolent ignorance of 
colonial matters displayed by Charles 
the First and his son is in thorough 
harmony with the rest of their atti- 
tude as guardians of England's honour. 



Newfoundland. 



27 



It was the second Charles who, to- 
wards the close of the century, when 
Eastern Virginia had become quite 
a populous country of freeholders, 
granted half of it with offensive 
frivolity to a couple of Court favour- 
ites. The storm raised was so great 
that the easy-going Sybarite, probably 
to his own surprise, found he had made 
a mistake, and was forced to throw his 
friends over, which he doubtless did 
with a light heart and a good grace. 
But the act sank deep into the minds 
of the Southern colonists, who had 
mainly stood by the Stuarts, and they 
never again put their trust in princes. 
In like, fashion did Charles the First 
treat the Newfoundland colonists, 
who under the benevolent neutrality 
of his father had, as we have seen, 
occupied portions of the sea-coast. 
But this proceeding, we fear, was not 
mere frivolous stupidity, but strictly 
business of a dubious kind. The 
Devonshire faction, that is to say, the 
fishing interest, were always powerful 
at Court, and it appears that in this 
case they backed their petitions by 
those more substantial arguments 
which never came amiss to a Stuart 
king. In brief, this unblushing 
monarch granted the whole island 
of Newfoundland, regardless of his 
father's grantees and friends, to the 
Duke of Hamilton. This great person- 
age represented the fishing as opposed 
to the colonial interest, and in his 
charter was inserted the artful clause 
that no settler was to be permitted to 
dwell within six miles of the shore. 
This was tantamount in Newfoundland 
to decreeing that the settlers of the 
preceding reign, planted at so much 
cost, were to be ruthlessly ejected. 
These monstrous regulations were only 
partially enforced, but they no doubt 
helped to dissipate the already feeble 
colonies of Baltimore, Vaughan, and 
their friends. This brings us back 
again to the further doings of Charles 



the Second, and these as regards New- 
foundland were very bad indeed, much 
worse than even his attempt to make 
the Virginia squires the slaves of a 
couple of dissolute and undeserving 
courtiers. For this light-hearted 
monarch had not been two years on 
the throne before he made a gratuitous 
present of nine-tenths of Newfound- 
land to the French. And one fine 
morning the English colonists, who 
by that time had become fairly numer- 
ous on the south-eastern coasts, beheld 
a French flotilla sail into Placenta 
Bay, and proceed forthwith to erect 
forts and dwelling-houses. This was 
the beginning of that French occupa- 
tion which has ever since been so 
productive of friction between the 
nations, and of so little practical use 
to France. The permanent settlers 
at Placenta were few, but the place 
was unequalled in the island as a 
stronghold, and two hundred ships 
from Saint Malo, many of them, we 
are told, of four hundred tons burthen, 
made their headquarters here. Indeed 
at this time the sea-power of France 
as opposed to that of England was at 
its zenith, and the number of French 
fishermen sailing on these seas had 
risen to something like twenty 
thousand. 

The Dutch too,' in those days of 
Britain's degradation, did not confine 
their insults to the Channel and the 
Thames, but reached their long arms 
even to Saint John's, and made an at- 
tempt to capture the port. It was 
defended, and successfully defended, 
on this occasion by one Christopher 
Martin, who, people familiar with 
Torquay will be interested to know, 
hailed from the romantic hamlet of 
Cockington. This weather-beaten 

O 

sailor has left an account of the en- 
gagement, and also his opinion of the 
general management of the island at 
this period. Though a West Country- 
man himself he was opposed to the 



28 



Newfoundland. 



Devonshire attitude on the subject of 
colonisation, and argued vigorously 
against it. By this time the resident 
population of the Colony had grown 
considerably. Good houses and stores 
had arisen, well equipped with all 
appliances for the fish-trade, and a 
certain amount of land was cleared 
and in cultivation, while many of the 
merchants had become almost wealthy. 
But all this local development was 
regarded by the fishing-adventurers 
as inimical to their interests, and a 
final attempt to crush it was now 
made. 

The plot was hatched and carried 
through by Sir Joshua Childs, a man 
of wealth and influence in England. 
Even Charles and his brother, the 
Duke of York, were somewhat stag- 
gered by the proposals to depopulate 
without compensation an English 
colony. Their easy consciences how- 
ever were quieted in the usual 
financial fashion, and the iniquitous 
order for clearing the island of English 
settlers was acquiesced in by the 
same monarch who had introduced 
the French. 

The removal of the French settlers 
from Arcadia, which Longfellow has 
so idealised in EVANGELINE, was an 
entirely justifiable proceeding com- 
pared to this extirpation of English 
settlers by Englishmen from motives, 
of greed alone. It should be in fair- 
ness stated, however, that a consider- 
able minority even in the Devonshire 
towns, which were the stronghold of 
the fishing interest, were opposed to a 
course so barbarous. We must at 
the same time try to realise, though 
the mental effort is considerable, that 
colonies in those days were not 
regarded by statesmen as wholly un- 
mixed blessings. They were looked 
upon by many as dangerous rivals in 
trade, not as future customers. The 
New Englanders by this time had 
become immensely enterprising, not 



to a very great extent as fishermen, 
but as traders they were to be met 
with on every sea, and that too in 
ships of their own building. It was 
not merely in every harbour of the 
North Atlantic that these Yankee 
craft became familiar objects, but 
laden with fish, and in utter con- 
tempt of the navigation laws, they 
sailed in and out of the Mediterranean 
ports or stole along the dark coasts of 
Africa in quest of negro slaves. The 
captains even sold their ships, it was 
said, in British harbours to the great 
alarm of the local craftsmen. It is 
perhaps no wonder that a generation 
which from commercial susceptibilities 
deliberately ruined the trade of Ire- 
land, was not without petty fears and 
narrow jealousies of its colonial off- 
spring. This last harrying of the 
Newfoundland colonists, though it 
was ruthlessly commenced, was too 
gross an outrage to continue. The 
naval officers upon the station effec- 
tively supported the outcry of a large 
minority both at home and in the 
fishing-fleet : the instruments of this 
official outrage, never perhaps very 
zealous, succumbed at last to the 
force of public opinion ; and the land 
had peace. 

All this time the Colony had been 
under the rule of that characteristic 
Newfoundland functionary the Fishing- 
Admiral. It had been the custom in 
earlier days for the first skipper who 
entered Saint John's Harbour in the 
spring to assume this office by tacit 
consent. As the duties, however, 
became more weighty and the remu- 
neration, in the shape of bribes from 
litigants, more valuable, the old hap- 
hazard method gave way to one of 
selection, tempered, no doubt, by 
favouritism. These rude autocrats, 
who could scarcely sign their names, 
ruled both upon land and sea, and 
seem to have been ever ready to ex- 
change their good offices for any sort 



Newfoundland. 



29 



of commodity, from a basket of apples 
to a cargo of fish, according to the 
means of the litigant. The fishing 
population, however, seemed attached 
to the system, probably because it was 
a time-honoured one and an institution 
peculiarly their own. Nor indeed 
was it entirely abolished till the 
American war. 

But at the close of the seventeenth 
century a worse enemy than the Devon- 
shire fishermen was coming to New- 
foundland. For with the advent of 
William the Third came the great 
struggle with France, and at the same 
time the redoubtable Frontenac, great- 
est of the many able Governors of 
Canada, took up his residence at Quebec. 
The New England colonies now found 
their prosperity checked and their very 
safety threatened. Frontenac was as 
able in diplomacy as in war. The 
Indian nations were brought into the 
field ; French troops fell upon the 
English frontier with fire and sword ; 
a fitting lieutenant was found by 
Frontenac in the Canadian D'Iberville, 
skilful .alike by land or sea ; and on 
Newfoundland fell the heavy hand of 
this resourceful warrior. British and 
French war-ships were in the North 
Atlantic flying at each other's throats, 
and making vain attempts at Placenta 
and Saint John's respectively. The 
French capital was the strongest place 
in the island by nature, while Saint 
John's was practically impregnable to 
the ships of that day, protected as it 
was by forts manned at this time by 
English sailors. But D'Iberville, born 
and reared amid Canadian forests, 
was not to be baulked. Landing at 
Placenta he marched with Indian 
guides and four hundred men through 
the wilderness, and bursting suddenly 
upon the landward and unprotected 
side of Saint John's easily defeated the 
raw bands of astonished fishermen 
who had to meet his troops in the 
open. D'Iberville was supported by 



several ships of war, and the town, 
with all the English settlements, 
now lay at his mercy. Nor was he 
merciful, for he treated Newfound- 
land as he had treated the New 
England frontier. Every fort and 
every house was razed to the ground ; 
the coast-line became again a wilder- 
ness, and the damage was estimated 
at 200,000. In fact the Colony 
from now till the end of the war 
was a constant scene of combat be- 
tween French and English, and the 
fishing-fleet sank from its average of 
three hundred ships to less than thirty. 
At the treaty of Utrecht England 
was weak as usual in her North 
Atlantic policy. She held these French 
possessions in the hollow of her hand ; 
but she gave back the island of Cape 
Breton, and granted those concurrent 
fishing-rights to France which have 
been such a constant source of friction 
to this day. Judge Prowse declares 
that the insignificant fisheries of 
France, now only maintained in these 
waters by a system of bounties, 
cost the government no less than 
50 a year per man, and are of 
practically no use as a naval training- 
ground. In these days, however, use- 
less as the Newfoundland rights are 
to France, they have become a matter 
of national honour and sentiment ; 
and this feeling among civilised na- 
tions not actually at war is regarded 
as legitimate even if inconvenient to 
others. But when England and 
France were fighting in deadly rivalry, 
as they did throughout the eighteenth 
century, such considerations would 
have been ridiculous. England was 
practically the sole enemy for which 
the navy of France existed ; and it 
was chiefly in the interests of this 
navy that France struggled so hard to 
maintain a footing in Newfoundland. 
Yet at every treaty the diplomatists, 
with what surely seems a fatuous 
short-sightedness, undid the work of 



30 



Newfoundland. 



their victorious seamen, and gave 
back those rights to be for ever a 
thorn in the side of Great Britain. 

At the Treaty of Utrecht the much- 
harried island settled down to the 
long period of peace and prosperity 
connected with Walpole's administra- 
tion. The inhabitants had already 
rebuilt their towns, villages, and forts, 
but with increasing civilisation the 
anomaly of the Fishing- Admiral forced 
itself upon the islanders. It was felt 
that such a caricature of justice was 
no longer possible, and after much 
civic disturbance England at last sent 
out the first naval Governor, one 
Captain Osborn. The Crown, it must 
be said, had done this act of common 
sense upon its own responsibility with- 
out the formality of an Act of Parlia- 
ment. So when the new Governor 
joined issue with the Fishing- Admirals 
who had received their original 
authority from Parliament, there was 
a great disturbance ; and the worst 
of it was that the law was on the side 
of the Admirals. The irregularity 
was not set right by the home govern- 
ment for sixty years ; and throughout 
the whole of that period the royal 
Governors with their jails, courthouses, 
magistrates, and police found them- 
selves in constant conflict with the 
rough-tongued skipper who happened 
for that season to be the elected chief 
of the fishing-community. 

Cape Breton had been ceded to the 
French, and thither went many of 
their countrymen from Newfoundland, 
clustering round the great fortress of 
Louisbourg which soon became the 
centre of the French power in these 
seas and the headquarters of their 
fisheries. In 1742 there was war 
again, and three years later an army 
of New England colonists aided by 
the Newfoundland fleet captured 
Louisbourg, the most brilliant achieve- 
ment of colonial arms prior to the 
Revolution. How bitter was the 



language throughout British America 
when it was restored, and what a 
famous siege was that in which it was 
retaken, are matters of some note in 
history. 

Among the many distinguished 
Englishmen who were connected with 
Newfoundland during this century 
was Rodney, who was its Governor in 
1749 and left behind him a great 
reputation for wisdom and justice. 
Mr. Hannay, in his life of the famous 
Admiral, gives the prescribed routine 
which was strictly followed by every 
naval governor of that time. In the 
spring it was his duty to leave the Downs 
with the men-of-war under his command, 
and dropping down the Channel call at 
Poole, Weymouth, Topsham, Dart- 
mouth, Plymouth, and Falmouth. 
Having collected from these ports the 
entire Newfoundland fishing-fleet he 
carried them under his escort straight 
to Saint John's, where he took up his 
station for the summer, and at the 
same time the reins of the colonial 
government. His instructions were 
to keep his warships cruising through- 
out the open season on the look-out 
for pirates, smugglers, or other evil- 
doers. It was a common grievance 
throughout all this period that Eng- 
lish hands shipped for the season were 
carried off or enticed away by Yankee 
skippers, and as sea-going Englishmen 
were regarded by the naval authorities 
as precious and valuable material, 
every effort was made to stop the 
illicit traffic. When the month of 
October came round, His Excellency 
arranged with his deputy and officials 
on shore for the administration of the 
island during the coming winter ; and 
then, gathering his fishing-fleet once 
more beneath his protecting wings, he 
sailed for Europe, though not direct 
to English shores. The consumption 
of dried fish must have dwindled 
enormously by this time in Protestant 
Britain, for the Admiral's standing- 



Neivfoundland. 



31 



orders were to convey the fleet straight 
to the Mediterranean, calling at Cadiz 
and Lisbon, thence to Barcelona, 
Majorca,Minorca, and Alicante, whence, 
disposing of their summer's spoils, 
they returned home laden with 
southern merchandise. The Admiral 
had then to report himself with his 
warships at Gravesend, which remained 
his station till the fishing-season came 
round again. 

The Newfoundlanders of this cen- 
tury seem to have been noted as a 
rough and ready people given to deep 
curses and deep potations. They 
were not without church privileges ; 
but to the New Englanders, whose 
church was the pivot of their existence, 
the boisterous islanders seemed an un- 
regenerate race indeed, sheep wander- 
ing in the wilderness without deacons, 
ministers, or assemblies to guide their 
erring footsteps, or any censorious 
public opinion to regulate their way 
of life. 

The men of Devon remained 
throughout all the eighteenth century 
the prevailing element in Newfound- 
land society. An old inn, still 
standing, at Newton Abbot seems to 
have been the chief of the many West 
Country trysting-places whence the 
great Newfoundland firms collected 
their hands. The period for the going 
and coming of these men was a red- 
letter day in the Devonian calendar. 
A common form of rustic calculation 
ran : " The parson's in Proverbs ; the 
Newfanlan' men 'ull soon be coming 
home." 

In 1762 Saint John's once more fell 
into French hands. Always neglect- 
ful of Newfoundland, important 
though it was to them, the English 
government had allowed the forts to 
decay and the garrisons to dwindle to 
a mere handful of fifty or sixty men. 
The French, sailing from Brest, 
eluded Hawke, and descending on the 
town with four ships and seven hun- 



dred soldiers, occupied it without 
resistance, and set to work forthwith 
to fortify themselves. Colonel Am- 
herst, brother of the famous general, 
was then at New York, and hearing 
of the disaster hastened with several 
ships and seven hundred men of the 
60th, the Royal Scots, and High- 
landers to the scene. There was a 
spirited and gallant fight, first at the 
landing-place, then on the hill-side ; 
till at length the French were driven 
into their quarters and, their fleet 
deserting them, forced to surrender at 
discretion. Then came the Treaty of 
Paris, and the usual restoration to 
the vanquished French of their New- 
foundland possessions, which had 
again of course fallen temporarily 
into the hands of the English. The 
islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon 
were by this treaty permanently 
handed over to France, and remain in 
her possession to this day. There 
was great opposition at the time, 
intense beyond the Atlantic and 
almost equally so among the British 
merchants and sailors M r ho recognised 
in Newfoundland the chief nursery of 
the French navy. 

The period of the American war 
was a lively as well as a prosperous 
one for Newfoundland. Great efforts 
were made by th.6 Americans to seduce 
the old colony from her allegiance ; but 
though the commercial intercourse be- 
tween the island and the main had 
become a very close one, the former 
showed no disposition whatever to 
break with the mother country. In- 
deed if there had been, the chances 
of success would have been but 
slight. 

The Newfoundlanders profited im- 
mensely by the war. British ships, 
privateers, soldiers, and sailors were 
constantly at Saint John's. Much of 
the interrupted New England trade 
found its way there. Prize-money 
was spent freely, and the inhabitants 



32 



Newfoundland. 



had no cause to repent their loyalty, 
The French islands were of course 
seized at once, and the inhabitants, to 
the number of some thirteen hundred, 
shipped off to France. Nor perhaps is 
it necessary to remark that at the 
peace they were given back again as 
usual. At the close of the war New- 
foundland received a few, but very 
few, of those crowds of refugee loyal- 
ists from America who trooped into 
the Eastern provinces and gave a new 
life to Nova Scotia and New Bruns- 
wick, and founded Ontario. Things 
now upon the whole went well with 
her. In the war of 1812 she enjoyed 
another period of prosperous excite- 
ment ; but, after all, the island re- 
mained really dependent on fishing and 
shipping interests. Farms were cleared 
around the sea-ports, but the people 
who cleared and worked them were 
there for other purposes. Such trifling 
development was merely incidental to 
the one absorbing interest of the 
Province. There has of a truth been 
plenty of incident in the last eighty 
years of Newfoundland's history, but 
space forbids us to do much more 
than refer our readers to the interest- 
ing and well-illustrated pages of the 
Judge himself. Fire and famine and 
financial distress have been lamenta- 
bly frequent visitors throughout the 
whole of this century, and within the 
last half dozen years have twice 
brought the ancient Colony into most 
unfortunate prominence. Nor is there 
any question but that the Province 
has for this long time been living 
from hand to mouth, without anything 
to fall back upon in the hour of un- 
foreseen calamity. Newfoundland 
might, no doubt, have failed equally 
as a Crown Colony, but its politicians 
have certainly brought it neither good 
fortune nor success. Home Rule was 
conceded in 1832; and the session 
of its first elected Parliament, the 
most diminutive perhaps ever yet 



assembled, was taken ready advantage 
of by the London humorists. It was 
christened the Bow-wow Parliament, 
and is depicted in an admirable cari- 
cature of the time as a small group of 
Newfoundland dogs in session presided 
over by an astute-looking speaker of 
the same family in wig, spectacles, 
and bands. This functionary is re- 
presented as saying : " All those who 
are of this opinion will say bow ; 
those of the contrary, wow." 

But Newfoundland officialism has 
for all time had a very racy and 
humorous element about it, as might 
from its circumstances be expected. 
One of its earlier Chief Justices was a 
delightful person, almost worthy to 
have been a Fishing- Admiral in the 
seventeenth century. This gentleman, 
a substantial merchant by name 
Tremlett, and renowned for his rough 
unswerving honesty, was in 1802 
made a subject of formal complaint to 
the Governor, Admiral Duckworth. 
The latter was well aware that it was 
the Chief Justice's aggressive honesty 
that was the trouble ; nevertheless he 
had to bring the complaints officially 
to his notice. And this was the 
formal reply handed in to the 
Admiral : "To the first charge, Your 
Excellency, I answer that it is a lie. 
To the second charge I say that it is 

a d d lie. And to the third 

I say that it is a d d infernal lie. 

Your Excellency's obedient Servant, 
Thomas Tremlett." The humour of 
the incident is fully sustained in the 
reply of the complainants to this 
strenuous vindication, which was 
officially communicated to them by 
the Governor. They petitioned that 
there might be a public inquiry, " as 
they felt they were not equal to the 
Judge on paper." Such a paragon of 
judicial purity as the good Tremlett 
had proved could not of course be 
slighted, so the question was solved at 
the expense of Nova Scotia, whither 



Neivfoundland. 



33 



he was removed at a higher salary, 
while a person, as the Governor 
quaintly put it, " of more popular 
manners " was installed at Saint 
John's. 

It was in 1763, the year of the 
Treaty of Paris, that the first survey 
of the island was made, and made 
too by the famous Captain Cook. 
It must have been a formidable task, 
though perhaps not more so than it 
would be at the present day. For 
even yet, as we have said, with an 
area larger than England, it remains 
an almost wholly unredeemed wilder- 
ness. Even in its coast-line, as viewed 
from the ocean, there has always 
seemed to us something appallingly 
forbidding and desolate. The last 
time we saw it was from the deck of 
a trading-steamer, and for the whole 
of a gray December day its savage 
headlands and lonely bays followed 
one another in dreary and monotonous 
succession till they faded into the 
wintry night. There was no company 
on our ship, and the captain hugged 
the shore as close as he dared. We 
spent the day on deck with a pair of 
strong glasses that would have revealed 
any living object upon the melancholy 
russet hills, as yet untouched by 
snow, that swept inland from the 
cruel crags up which the white surf 



was crawling. Here and there at long 
intervals was a tiny hamlet nestling 
in a cove, which only seemed to 
emphasise the desolation reigning over 
so vast an expanse of land and sea, 
for the latter was of course at this 
season of the year almost deserted. 
We had just left the bustling coast of 
New England; in a short time we 
should be amid the busy hum of the 
Mersey. It seemed to us, when in 
the presence of these barren solitudes, 
well nigh incredible that such things 
could be upon a highway thronged, 
as this has been for four hundred 
years, by those forces that above all 
others have tamed the waste places 
of the earth. There is, in truth, 
as this article has endeavoured to 
show, no mystery about the matter. 
But there is something curiously 
fascinating in a coast so long a 
familiar unit in the world's history, 
and yet even now containing upon its 
face such scanty impress of human 
life and at its back none whatever. 
It is vastly different from the desola- 
tion of lands that lie outside the 
sphere of human interests ; for there 
is a strange pathos here in a solitude 
almost as profound as that of Green- 
land, and yet in its very silence so 
eloquent of the famous names and stir- 
ring deeds of the past. 



No. 439. VOL. LXXIV. 



34 



THE OLD PACKET-SERVICE. 1 



" THE mail - steamer Mercury 
grounded on the Lethe shoal while 
entering the port of Guam and is 
reported a total wreck. Mails and 
passengers saved." Such is the type 
of a certain bald and prosaic statement 
which we frequently read without any 
particular emotion in the newspapers. 
We may chance to have a friend in 
Lloyd's, and if so we are for a moment 
anxious for his pocket ; or we may 
have sailed with the self-same skipper 
in the lost vessel, in which case our 
comments will take the colour of our 
recollections of the voyage. But after 
all, mails and passengers are safe, and 
no great harm has therefore been 
done. New ships can be built and 
new cargoes manufactured ; the Lethe 
shoal may be resurveyed if necessary, 
and the captain's certificate suspended 
if he deserves it ; the Government of 
Guam may be subjected to diplomatic 
pressure on the dangerous state of its 
harbour, and so may good come out 
of evil ; but we can turn with a good 
conscience from the shipping-news to 
the fashionable intelligence, for mails 
and passengers are saved. Mails and 
passengers, not passengers and mails ; 
for letters come before lives, at any 
rate in ninety-nine cases out of a 
hundred, and a single missing mail- 
bag causes more stir than three 
seamen washed overboard ; while in 
the ordinary course of things, in the 
prosaic voyage from port to port, it is 
a matter of certainty that the mail shall 
enjoy the privilege of being the last 
aboard and the first ashore. The 

1 A HISTORY OF THE POST OFFICE PACKET- 
SERVICE, between the years 1793 and 1815, 
compiled from Records chiefly official; by 
Arthur H. Norway. London, 1895. 



divinity that hedges a king is a trifle 
to the sanctity that enwraps the mail. 

It is not difficult to trace in a rude 
fashion the growth of this reverence 
for a packet of letters. In the first 
place the essence of a letter is that it 
shall be written, and the smallest 
written document is a very serious 
affair. The pith of the matter is 
that, humiliating though the con- 
fession may be, parchment, or even 
reasonably good paper and ink enjoy 
by nature a longer life than the 
human frame. Carlyle was eternally 
reviling sheepskin, but there is no 
getting over the fact that it is, in 
comparison with ourselves, immortal 
upon earth, and indeed the principal 
agent in conferring immortality upon 
men. Paper of course is less durable. 
We have heard an eminent publisher 
declare with a sigh that by the end of 
three hundred years every book that 
he had brought out would have 
crumbled into dust ; but in truth for 
ninety-nine hundredths of them three 
centuries is an extravagant allowance 
of life. Milton surely understated 
his case when he said and maintained 
that it was almost as great a crime to 
kill a good book as a good man, for 
the best of men must die sooner or 
later, while through the merits of 
sheepskin and paper his books may 
live. The potential immortality of 
every written word invests it with a 
dignity that is forbidden to mere 
flesh and blood ; it is no wonder that 
we bow down before it. 

The signs of this peculiar veneration 
of documents are abundant enough in 
our actions of every day, but none 
perhaps is more striking than the 
name of the writing whereby a man 



The Old Packet-Service. 



seeks to extend his influence beyond 
the term of his own life. A sovereign 
alone ventures to speak of his will 
and pleasure during his lifetime ; but 
every man from the day of his death 
assumes sovereign rights and talks of 
his will, which he carefully calls his 
last will ; for no one knows, and this 
is one of the most interesting features 
in letters, what written document may 
be actually his last. Hence there 
grows up a peculiar responsibility 
about the custody of written words, 
no doubt easily explicable in the days 
when men did not commit trivialities 
to writing, but still having its root in 
a kind of superstition. The destruc- 
tion of a will, to take the strongest 
case, is looked upon not only as a 
crime against the living, but virtually 
as an act of sacrilege. Again, men 
who will remorselessly pull down old 
houses, and under the guise of restora- 
tion mutilate old churches, hesitate 
before they destroy old papers ; they 
will store them away in garrets and 
cellars for a prey to rats and mould, 
but they rarely have the courage 
deliberately to make away with them. 
Women are well known to be the 
most inveterate preservers of letters ; 
they have so little faith in abstract 
immortality, whatever their pro- 
fessions, that they cherish the poor 
bundles of rags as tenderly as though 
they were living creatures. 

Out of these two primary senti- 
ments, reverence for a written word 
and high sense of the duty of pre- 
serving the same, has utimately grown 
the sanctity of Her Majesty's mail. 
The historian of the Post Office has 
furnished us with many instances of a 
devotion to duty on the part of its 
officials which are unsurpassed in the 
annals of any service, civil, religious, 
or military ; and Mr. Arthur Norway 
has now supplemented these by a 
volume, which is interesting not only 
as a contribution to the literature of 



the department, but as a chapter of 
naval and military history which has 
remained too long unwritten. The 
material for such work is not to be 
found without long and painful grop- 
ing among musty and forgotten manu- 
scripts ; but Mr. Norway, avoiding 
the example too often set in more 
pretentious histories, has suppressed 
all parade of research, brushed away 
all dust and cobwebs, and woven the 
dry official records into a plain, 
straightforward narrative, as stirring 
as any fictitious tale of adventure and 
much better written than most. 

The first institution of Packet- 
Services across the two Channels and 
the North Sea probably dates back to 
very ancient times. In the days when 
England was a province of France, and 
during the later period when France 
was a province of England, the need 
of a channel for regular correspondence 
must have made itself irresistibly felt ; 
and even after the loss of Calais the 
long presence of English troops and 
English agents in the Low Countries 
called for almost as constant means of 
communication with Holland. The 
service probably made a great stride 
in the days of the Protectorate ; for 
Secretary Thurloe, who hung the secrets 
of all Europe at the Protector's girdle, 
could do so only by means of unin- 
terrupted ' correspondence with his 
agents abroad, and being Postmaster 
himself could regulate the packets to 
suit his wishes. Still the system was 
not extended outside the narrow 
seas either during Cromwell's reign or 
that of his successor. The need for 
such extension became pressing only 
through the growth of our colonial 
possessions. 

We are accustomed to look upon 
colonial expansion as a movement of 
comparatively modern date, and to 
ignore the share of attention that was 
claimed even two centuries ago by our 
kin beyond sea, and the labour that 

D 2 



36 



The Old Packet-Service. 



their affairs entailed on the Board of 
Trade and Plantations. It is true that 
our colonies had been so established as 
apparently to call for little adminis- 
trative interference from English 
officials. Between Lords Proprietors 
and Chartered Companies the Govern- 
ment appeared to be seated almost 
exclusively in private hands. More- 
over it was a fixed principle of colonial 
policy that every new settlement should 
forthwith be endowed with a constitu- 
tion on the English model, and allowed 
for the most part to manage its own 
affairs. None the less, however, the 
authority of the Crown was constantly 
invoked. There were disputes, particu- 
larly about boundaries, to be settled, 
sovereign rights to be upheld, and 
occasionally rebellions to be suppressed. 
Massachusetts, as may be believed of 
the leader of the rebellion of 1775, 
was a most troublesome possession ; 
Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New 
Plymouth never ceased quarrelling 
about territorial limits ; Virginia was 
much disquieted by a rebellion ; and 
Carolina, though judiciously adminis- 
tered by the Lords Proprietors, had 
not been exempt from the same dis- 
order ; Maine was eternally wailing 
against the misdeeds of Massachusetts, 
and Maryland alone enjoyed a more 
or less peaceful existence under Lord 
Baltimore. Further north there was 
Newfoundland, always a most distress- 
ful country, writhing under the yoke 
of the West Country adventurers in 
whose power it lay, and incessantly 
shrieking to the Crown for help. To 
the south-east there was Bermuda, 
also a hot-bed of grievances owing to 
the high-handed government of the 
Somers Islands Company. Still further 
to the south, Nevis, Montserrat, 
Antigua, part of Saint Kitts, Barbados, 
and Jamaica, each with its own little 
houses of Lords and Commons, lay 
quaking in their shoes before the 
naval power of France, and half tor- 



mented, half comforted by the presence 
of swarms of privateers. 

With all these settlements there 
passed a flood of correspondence to 
and from the Board of Trade and 
Plantations, and more particularly 
with the West Indian islands which 
were shielded by no interposition of 
Proprietors or Chartered Companies. 
The enforcement of the Navigation 
Acts was one principal subject of dis- 
cussion ; unending wrangles between 
the islands and the Royal African 
Company, which possessed the mono- 
poly of the trade in live negroes, 
made another ; the menaces of the 
French squadron constituted a third. 
All were important questions alike to 
mother country and colonies, but the 
difficulty in adjusting them was in- 
creased tenfold by the absence of any 
regular means of communication. 
Merchant vessels were, with the oc- 
casional exception of a man-of-war, 
the only ships that passed between 
England and the islands, and they of 
course would not sail without cargo. 
Once, when the whole year's produce 
of an island was destroyed by a hurri- 
cane, communication with England 
ceased for two and twenty solid 
months ; the merchant vessels on the 
spot waited for the next year's crop 
before they sailed home, and of course 
no more ships came out from England 
meanwhile. Moreover any unarmed 
vessel ran great risk of capture by 
the Algerine pirates that swarmed in 
the Channel. Colonial governors on 
their way to their posts, and colonial 
agents bound homeward with an arm- 
ful of grievances, were impartially 
captured and carried off. The New- 
foundland fishing-fleet sailed under 
convoy of a King's ship, and governors 
nominated by the King always crossed 
the Atlantic in a frigate. 

The difficulties both of trade and 
administration in such conditions may 
easily be conceived. The Board of 



The Old Packet-Service. 



37 



Plantations was longing to exert more 
immediate control over the West In- 
dian islands and reduce them more 
nearly to their present position of 
Crown Colonies, but they were met 
always by the insuperable objections 
of irregular communication. The local 
legislatures were tenacious of their 
privileges, and actually maintained 
them, in spite of a thousand absurdi- 
ties, unaltered until our own time. 
The first attempt to subject them 
more directly to the Board of Trade 
had not been abandoned ten years 
when the Post Office instituted the 
one thing needful to have made it 
feasible. In 1688 a Packet-Service 
was established for regular communi- 
cation to Corunna, or, as it was called, 
the Groyne, 1 from the port of Fal- 
mouth, and four years later additional 
packets were added to ply to the 
West Indies and the Southern States 
of America from the same station. 

Falmouth consequently during the 
following century grew to a wealth 
and importance which, though still 
recollected by a few living men, is in 
these days hardly credible. It is only 
within the last two generations, it 
must be remembered, that there has 
departed from the West Indies the 
glory which, while it lasted, was 
enough of itself to raise their post- 
towns in England to dignity. But 
apart from this, during the eighteenth 
and the earlier years of the present 
century most of the great news came 
from the west, and Falmouth through 
its communication with Spain em- 
braced the field of the Mediterranean 
also. The intelligence for which the 
whole country was waiting, whether 
of Byng at Sicily or Pococke at Ha- 
vanna, of Cornwallis at Yorktown or 
Rodney at Saint Lucia, of Jervis at 

1 Corrupted, of course, from the French 
Corognc. Leghorn is one of the few survivals 
of the barbarous lingo of the old merchant - 
skippers. 



Saint Vincent or Nelson at Trafalgar, 

O * 

of Moore at Corunna or Wellington at 
Vittoria, all reached Falmouth first; 
and, as Mr. Norway tells us, it was 
ventilated and discussed in every 
tavern in the town a full day before 
it reached the hands even of Ministers 
in London. 

A besetting sin of the packets from 
the earliest times was the practice of 
carrying goods for purposes of trade, 
which made the service extremely pro- 
fitable to officers and men, but led to 
overloading the vessels and conse- 
quently to slow passages. It had been 
strictly forbidden by Charles the 
Second as far back as 1660, but, as 
will presently be seen, without any 
great effect. A second failing, which 
was perhaps almost inevitable in early 
days when a vessel went armed to sea, 
was the partiality for a little quiet 
piracy. The temptation was doubtless 
great. England and Spain were con- 
stantly at war during the eighteenth 
century, and Spanish prizes were always 
reputed to be rich. The Admiralty 
Courts could always be bribed to con- 
demn the prize, the Post Office looked 
the other way, the crews made their 
prize-money; and thus every one, except 
of course the Spaniards, was satisfied. 
It is true that the packets fought 
more than one gallant action in their 
early days in honest defence of their 
ships and of their mail; but there 
were far too many engagements of a 
different kind which led to the abuse 
of putting the capture of prizes first 
and the safety of the mail second. In 
fact the time came when the Packet - 
Service required to be overhauled with 
a strong hand, and the moment chosen 
was, curiously enough, the outbreak of 
the great war of 1793. The authori- 
ties then decided that, in spite of the 
risk of French privateers, the arma- 
ment of the packets should be reduced, 
and their commanders instructed to 
run away from any armed vessel, or 



38 



The Old Packet-Service. 



to fight her only when it was impossi- 
ble to run, and, if resistance were im- 
possible, to sink the mails and sur- 
render. To make obedience to these 
orders the surer a special type of vessel 
was selected of about one hundred and 
eighty tons burden, with a crew of 
twenty-eight men and an armament 
of six guns, four four-pounders and 
two six-pounders only. 

It was a daring experiment, for it 
placed the packets at the mercy of the 
majority of the French privateers, if 
the complement of men and the weight 
of metal were made the standard of 
comparison ; and it remained to be 
seen whether the sanctity of the mail 
would inspire its custodians to extra- 
ordinary exertions in its defence. The 
result at first was not discouraging. 
In December, 1793, the Antelope 
packet fought a desperate action off 
the coast of Jamaica against the priva- 
teer Atalanta. Fever was at work 
among the crew of the Antelope, and 
she had but two-and-twenty men fit 
for duty against sixty-five in the 
privateer. The Atalanta, knowing 
where her own superiority lay, bore 
down upon the packet, threw out 
grappling-irons and tried to carry her 
by boarding. By the ready ability of 
the packet's commander, Curtis, the 
first attack was defeated with loss ; 
but he was presently shot dead, and 
the command passed to the boatswain, 
a man named Pasco. He was so 
illiterate that he could not write his 
name : but he quite understood how 
to command a ship in action, and he 
continued the defence with such vigour 
that the privateeersmen cast loose the 
grapples and prepared to sheer off. 
They were not, however, to escape so 
easily. Before the two vessels could 
separate Pasco ran aloft, and lashing 
the Atalanta's square-sailyard to the 
Antelope's fore-shrouds, hammered 
away till the enemy, for all the bloody 
flag of no quarter which was nailed to 



their masthead, cried out for mercy. 
On taking possession of his prize Pasco 
found thirty-two of his opponents 
dead on the deck, and but sixteen of 
the whole sixty-five still unhurt. The 
Antelope's loss was three killed and 
four wounded. It is satisfactory 
to be able to add that Pasco did 
not want for praise and reward on 
his return home after this gallant 
action. 

This brilliant beginning, however, 
was not well followed up. In the 
next seven or eight years packet after 
packet was captured with doleful 
regularity, and the West India mer- 
chants were loud in their complaints. 
It soon became apparent that the 
packets, though nominally built for 
speed, were for some reason overtaken 
with surprising ease ; and there grew 
up unpleasant suspicions that they 
were over ready to surrender to ves- 
sels which they might have beaten off. 
The curious coincidence that nearly 
all packets were captured on the 
homeward voyage led to careful in- 
vestigation, and thus it came out that 
the old abuse of carrying goods for 
trade was at the bottom of the mystery. 
The cargo received on board at Fal- 
mouth was insured for the double 
voyage out and home ; the men sold 
it in the West Indies and remitted 
their proceeds homeward ; and finally 
the ship was surrendered to the first 
enemy with a readiness that encouraged 
the capturing vessel to put all hands 
ashore in their own boat. The crew 
then claimed their insurance-money, 
which was thus added to their 
profits out of the voyage. It was 
a sad discovery, which lamentably 
tarnished the fair fame of the Packet- 
Service. Once again a strong hand 
was necessary to restore efficiency ; 
the abuses were put down in spite of 
much grumbling, and when the short 
breathing-space given by the Peace of 
Amiens was past, the packets had a 



The Old Packet-Service. 



39 



chance of regaining their good char- 
acter. 

To do them justice they made 
worthy use of their opportunity. It 
is difficult out of the number of bril- 
liant actions chronicled by Mr. Norway 
to select one out of half a dozen of 
equal gallantry for special mention. 
The scene until 1812 was generally 
the lovely waters of the Caribbean 
Archipelago, at that time swarming 
with privateers which stole out from 
Guadeloupe to make havoc of the 
English trade. How busy they kept 
the English cruisers, and how for- 
midable they might be as opponents, 
manned as they were by the despera- 
does of all nations, we may read for 
ourselves in the pages of PETER 
SIMPLE and TOM CRINGLE'S LOG. 
Marryat is not ashamed to tell of the oc- 
casional failures even of a man-of-war's 
crew to capture these vessels, so that 
it may be imagined that they were no 
playthings to the poor little packets. 
Yet the packets faced them always 
with extraordinary gallantry, though 
they were sometimes forced after a 
desperate fight to sink the mail and 
haul down the colours. On one me- 
morable occasion a single packet 
actually stepped in to save an English 
island. 

That island was Dominica, the 
loveliest, as some maintain, of all the 
Antilles, the most southerly of the 
Leeward Islands, and unhappily 
situated within dangerous proximity 
to the French island of Guadeloupe. 
The garrison that held it was small : 
men died so fast in the West Indies 
in those days that it could hardly be 
otherwise ; and lying as it does within 
sight of French troops the island was 
a standing temptation to French enter- 
prise. It so happened that the crew 
of the only man-of-war then cruising 
off the island, H.M.S. Dominica, 
mutinied and carried the ship to the 
enemy at Guadeloupe. It is melan- 



choly to have to record so ugly a story, 
but as the tale of the Hermione also 
shows, the troubles that are remem- 
bered by the name of the Nore were 
at work in every British naval station. 
The French at once replaced the 
mutineers with men of their own 
nation, packed her with troops, added 
a sloop, a schooner, and two galleys 
as consorts, and sent the whole 
flotilla away to capture the Dominican 
capital, Roseau. The armament ap- 
peared off the entrance to the port on 
May 24th, 1806. 

The planters of Dominica were at 
their wits' end. Even if they could 
defeat an attempt at a landing, they 
could hardly hope to save the sugar- 
ships in the harbour, the capture of 
which would spell ruin to many of 
them. While still debating they saw 
two more vessels enter the bay, the 
packet Duke of Montrose, Captain 
Dynely, under the convoy of H.M.S. 
Attentive. The Governor of the 
island ordered the Attentive to stand 
off and intercept the French flotilla, 
but being a miserable sailer she was 
easily left behind; and it was plain 
that, unless the packet took up the 
quarrel, the mischief would be done 
before the Attentive could get into 
action. The .Governor therefore ap- 
pealed to Dynely to take a detachment 
of troops on board and fight in defence 
of the island. Dynely hesitated ; his 
vessel was not national property, and 
his instructions covered no such con- 
tingency as this. He asked first that 
the merchants would guarantee the 
value of his vessel in case she were 
lost. They refused. He then offered 
to take upon himself the value of 
masts, yards, and rigging, if they would 
do the like for the hull. Again they 
refused ; the West Indian planter is 
the most hospitable of men, but he 
loses spirit under a tropical sun. 
Dynely therefore accepted the whole 
responsibility, sent his mails ashore, 



40 



The Old Packet-Service. 



and bade any man that had no mind 
to follow him in an action which was 
no part of his business, to go ashore 
with them if he would. The Falmouth 
crew of course stood by him to a man ; 
so forty men of the Forty-sixth and 
Third West India Regiments were 
taken on board as a reinforcement : it 
was likely enough that they were no 
new hands at the work, for in those 
haphazard days even Light Dragoons 
occasionally did duty as Marines ; 
and the Duke of Montrose stood out 
of the bay to meet three vessels, the 
smallest of which was as powerful as 
herself. 

The wind was very light, but the 
packet, a fine sailer and skilfully 
handled, could outmanoeuvre her ad- 
versaries ; and Dynely, noticing that 
the French were separated, seized the 
opportunity to bear down upon the 
largest of them alone. Presently the 
wind dropped altogether ; Dynely got 
out his boats, towed his ship within 
pistol-shot, and opened fire. For 
three-quarters of an hour he hammered 
at her, no one of the French consorts 
daring apparently to interfere, and at 
last forced her to strike. Losing no 
time he turned next to the former 
King's ship Dominica, which turned 
and fled, as it happened, straight into 
the jaws of another English cruiser, 
the Wasp, which had been attracted 
by the firing. Returning from the 
chase Dynely found the rest of the 
work done. The Attentive had cap- 
tured both the galleys : a party of the 
Forty-Eighth Regiment had rowed off 
from shore and captured the remain- 
ing ship by boarding ; and the whole 
affair was over. Dominica had been 
saved by the packet and by nothing 
else ; and Dynely, on arriving home, 
received a special reward and com- 
mendation from the Admiralty. He 
did not live long to enjoy his honours. 
In December of the same year he was 
attacked close to Barbados by a 



powerful French privateer which car- 
ried eighty-five men against his eight 
and twenty. For three hours he fought 
her desperately, till he was shot dead, 
when the crew, disheartened by the 
loss of both their commander and 
mate, who was already fallen, hauled 
down their colours. 

More brilliant even than this was 
an action fought by the Windsor 
Castle under her master William 
Rogers, in 1807. Here again, the 
assailing privateer, more powerful in 
armament and still more powerful in 
men than her intended victim, ran 
alongside the packet and strove to 
carry her by boarding. In the middle 
of the action the wind died away and 
the two vessels lay locked together for 
more than two hours, unable to part, 
and cannonading each other furiously. 
Of the twenty-eight English three 
were killed and ten wounded; but the 
survivors stuck to their guns indomit- 
ably, until at last the French fire 
slackened, and at every discharge of 
their own they heard the enemy 
scream, a ghastly womanish sound to 
be heard among men. Finally the 
packet's men, having repelled the 
French attack, took the offensive in 
their turn and after a sharp struggle 
captured the privateer. It was a 
victory of sheer pluck and skill, won 
by a slaughter which, considering the 
small numbers engaged, is not easily 
matched even in the history of the 
Royal Navy. 

But a far more terrible trial came 
for the packets on the outbreak of the 
American war in 1812. The French 
privateers, well-found though they 
were and manned with desperate men, 
were child's play to the American, 
which were twice as powerful and 
manned by English deserters. Where 
English frigates were overmatched, it 
is hardly surprising that the little 
packets should have gone to the wall. 
And yet they fought even against 



The Old Packet-Service. 



11 



overwhelming odds with a desperate 
courage and an obstinacy remarkable 
even among British seamen. Captain 
Cock in the Townsend, with a crew of 
thirty-two men and four passengers, 
fought against two American pri- 
vateers simultaneously for more than 
three hours before he would consent 
to surrender. Each of his assailants 
was superior to him singly in strength, 
and the two carried together nearly 
five times his Aveight of metal and 
seven times his strength of men. Yet 
even when they had battered the 
packet into a wreck, when half its 
crew was in the surgeon's hands, and 
when she was actually in a sinking 
state, Cock only with great reluctance 
hauled down his colours. He had 
repelled countless attempts to board, 
and it was hard to have to yield to 
sheer weight of metal. The Towns- 
end was so heavily shattered that the 
Americans, finding her not worth 
keeping, restored her for a small sum 
to her captain, who duly brought her 
into her destination, though without 
the mail for which he had struggled 
so gallantly. Cock lived to fight two 
or three more actions before he died, 
worn out with wounds and hard work. 
His name should be remembered at 
the Post Office, for no man ever made 
a nobler fight for his mail. 

With such contests the Packet-Ser- 
vice was occupied during the three 
years from 1812 to 1815. A few 
years later the old arrangements were 
altered, and Falmouth knew the Service 
no more. In spite of occasional lapses 
from the path of rectitude the Cor- 
nishmen had played their part bravely 
for more than a century ; and it is 
interesting to know that the old spirit 
which made the West Country the 
centre of adventure in Elizabeth's day 



still lasted to the close of the great 
French War, and still responded to 
the old cry of Westward Ho ! It 
may be that their time will come 
again, for the Cornish fishermen with 
their handsome half-Jewish type of 
face, great frames, and incomparable 
natural dignity, impress one always as 
a folk that when in earnest can do 
great things. There is not a great 
deal to choose, though there is a good 
deal to contrast, between them and 
their fair-haired, blue-eyed brethren of 
Devon ; and the Devon men have 
proved well enough what they can 
do. 

Meanwhile, as we said at the be- 
ginning, the. result of these stubborn 
packet-fights has been to enhance the 
sanctity of the mail, and give our 
modern steamers a standard by which 
to rate the importance of their trust. 
Though submarine cables spread wide, 
and the repairing steamers of the 
world rest in English hands, there is 
still a chance that the ordeal so 
bravely passed by the Falmouth 
packets in the great war may some 
day have again to be faced. Such 
mails as are carried in these days can 
hardly be sunk at short notice, and the 
steamers, unless they have the ad- 
vantage in speed, must needs fight 
to preserve them. It is a curious 
question, possibly hardly thought out 
yet even by experts, what may be 
the fate of the mails in the next great 
war, and it may be that one day Mr. 
Norway's book may be consulted for 
precedents. Meanwhile for our own 
part we are content to read it for a 
vivid study of English devotion and 
English heroism, which does honour 
alike to the English merchant service, 
and to a great though much abused 
public department. 



42 



MARY STUART AT SAINT GERMAINS. 



HENRY THE SECOND of France often 
declared that his son Chariot, after- 
wards Charles the Ninth, and Mary 
Stuart, received their nurture from 
Ronsard. Nor is it difficult to trace 
this gentle master's influence in the 
poetic essays of the gifted pair, though 
little enough of it, unfortunately, in 
their conduct of life. 

At Saint Germains the young queen, 
Catherine of Medicis, had gathered 
about her a pretty child's court where 
rhyming and romance were the order 
of the day. Little Madam Mary 
Stuart held the sceptre of love and 
beauty in this sylvan world, and Ron- 
sard, Prince of Poets, was its laureate. 
The post could have been no sinecure, 
we imagine, which exacted not only a 
Franciade, and courtly eulogies and 
epithalamiums interminable (weari- 
some writing to judge by the reading), 
but the supervision as well of court 
pageantries, and the composition of 
numerous couplets, cartels, and such 
like conceits, for the players to mouth 
at masks and mummeries. He was 
called upon, no doubt, to help to set 
afoot those joyous games of chivalry 
which the royal nurslings played while 
summer lasted under the greenwood 
tree. Valorous Don Quixote had not 
yet sallied forth, albeit busy just then 
furbishing up his grandsire's rusty 
armour : and the legendary period, 
dear to childhood's heart, of giants, 
fire-breathing dragons, infidels, en- 
chanted princesses with their attendant 
knights-errant, was still, comparatively 
speaking, within hailing distance. We 
catch a pleasant glimpse of the eager, 
blue-eyed poet, his lute under his arm, 
his mantle awry, as he leads afield 
his merry band of rosy-cheeked lads 



and dainty lasses. Up hill and down 
dale they race ; through thickets where 
many a silken shred pays toll for 
the benefit of thrifty nest-builders, 
by mossy banks, by ferny dingles, 
and brown dimpling brooks that make 
sweet laughter in many a silent place. 
Echo tracks their flight down the dim 
aisles of that mysterious shadow- 
world whose secret ways the master 
alone knows. " I was not yet twelve 
years old," he writes, condescending 
to the beautiful old lyrical tongue of 
France which no one could use to 
better purpose when it suited him ; 
" I was barely out of childhood, when, 
far removed from the noise of streets, 
in deep-wooded valleys under the 
hanging trees, in grottoes, leafy, 
hidden, safe from rash intrusion, I 
gave myself up without a care to the 
delights of song-making. Echo an- 
swered me, and the rustic deities 
peeped in upon me ; dryads, fauns, 
satyrs, the nymphs of woods and 
meadows ; wild creatures with horns 
in the middle of the forehead, balanc- 
ing themselves like goats and leaping 
from rock to rock ; and the fantastic 
troop of fairies who dance in ring, 
their kirtles ungirdled and flung to 
the wind." 

As one reads, the centuries roll 
back, and the world grows young 
again. Paris, like fair Rosamund of 
the legend, lies hidden away in a 
green forest labyrinth ; no sky-raking 
tower is there to advertise the last 
wonder of creation ; no clamorous 
iron rails ; no highways broad and 
straight and dusty stretching away to 
the city gates. Even the silver wind- 
ing old Seine seems loath to find the 
road thither, so pleasant is this dally- 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



43 



ing among green osier isles and banks 
of flowering iris, so cool the shadows 
under her hanging woods. 

" After the death of our late Lord 
King of glorious memory," writes a 
local chronicler, one Bonhomme Andre" 
du Chesne, " his son, great Henry, 
second of his name, came to the throne ; 
who likewise honoured his Saint Ger- 
mains above all other royal residences ; 
esteeming it the most rare in beauty, 
the most gracious in sojourn, the 
.most abundant in all sorts of delights. 
To come to it from Paris it is necessary 
to cross three or four fords, unless, 
indeed, one makes a wide detour, or 
takes barge and arrives by water. I 
cannot stop here to describe the 
galleries, the chambers, ante-chambers, 
offices, the chapel (constructed, one 
tells us, in the days of Queen Blanche), 
the terraces, courts, the places for 
tennis and pall-mall, flower gardens, 
willow walks, vineyards, mountains, 
and valleys, the village of Pecq, 
which lies at the foot of the hill 
beside the river Seine. Nor can 
I more than mention that famous 
forest under the walls of the said noble 
castle, full of fine game, and such 
lofty trees covered with a leafage so 
umbrageous, that the sun in its most 
ardent heats can never penetrate ; a 
forest, we are told, where in times 
past the rustic deities were wont to 
make their retreat, as to-day, during 
the honourable repose of peace, it is 
the resort of our King and Princes. 
For of a verity, if ever the Majesty of 
the Lilies hath especially honoured 
and cherished one spot in our France, 
it is, methinks, beyond dispute, the 
same Chateau-en-Laye, after that of 
Fontaine-belle-eau. " 

Legendary Broceliande could not 
have lent a more appropriate scene, 
and with a poet for prompter the 
promising young players of Cathe- 
rine's company were well equipped. 
Handsome Henry of Anjou played 



the part of Amadis of Gaul ; othe rs 
figured in the parts of Giron le 
Courtois, Roland of France, and 
such like paladins of romance. More 
difficult, perhaps, through very em- 
barrassment of riches, was the choice 
of Queen of Love and Beauty. " I 
do declare," cries an enthusiastic 
courtier, "that April in its most 
perfect spring-time hath not so many 
beautiful flowers, nor bears such 
fragrant verdure." Behold them where 
they troop in dazzling array, mar- 
shalled by the courtly Brantome in 
his PRINCESSES OF FRANCE. First of the 
pretty flock steps forth Madam 
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the 
Lilies, or rather, for her rare grace 
and beauty, Elizabeth Queen of the 
World. So highly, we are informed, 
were her excellences appreciated by 
her royal father, that sooner than 
throw her away in an unequal match 
he permitted her younger sister to 
take precedence in marriage ; and 
thus was enabled, after Mary of 
England's death, to secure an alliance 
with the Roy Hespagnol, black Philip 
of Spain, a consummation devoutly to 
be wished. But Heaven has special 
compassion for daughters of the Fleur- 
de-Lis, so the old poets declare, and 
soon released this- gentle princess from 
her vows. She drooped and died 
young, hastened, as was bruited in 
France, by poison. 

After Madam Elizabeth trips the 
younger sister who married into 
Lorraine, a kind and gentle princess, 
we are assured, with that open and 
sunny cast of countenance which gives 
pleasure to all beholders. And after 
Claude the mysterious Diana, legiti- 
mised daughter of France ; Diana of 
the silver bow, lover of arms, horses, 
and the chase. Later on, in the tragic 
pages of history, we catch another 
glimpse of poor blithe Claude where 
she lies huddled at the foot of 
Catherine's bed, weeping bitterly on 



44 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



the eve of Saint Bartholomew ; and 
more than once again she steps upon 
the scene, a majestic figure, " true 
Valois and true Frenchwoman," 
bewailing the trampled lilies of her 
house. But no premonition of such 
dark days now casts its shadow before ; 
and by the bosky ways of Saint Ger- 
mains rides young Diana, prime 
favourite with her royal father, as 
with every intrepid horseman that 
pricks in his train. Mark her rich 
habit of green and silver, and the 
plumed hat she wears, cocked bravely 
to one side a la Guelf. Surely no 
costume could be braver, nor any 
lady in the land sit her horse with 
a better grace, or guide with firmer 
hand that fiery little barb, Le Dottoi, 
which King Henry himself, the more 
to do her honour, has broken for her 
use. 

Pass on, bright Diana ! Another 
follows more dazzling still. No 
mortal, surely, no queen or empress 
of mere earthly mould the one who 
now approaches, trailing her gold 
incrusted robe and veil of shining 
tissue. More like the very goddess 
Aurora in person, who, strolling heed- 
lessly upon the confines of Heaven, 
hath gone astray in our terrestrial 
sphere. The Sieur de Brantome is 
fain to admit that once launched on 
the subject of Madam Margaret's sur- 
passing charms, he shall, perchance, 
lay himself open to the accusation of 
prolixity : " But cry your mere}', 
ladies, whose the fault, indeed, since 
there is not, was not, and never 
can be any limit to the list of her 
most rare perfections *? " Suffice it for 
us, however, to repeat in bald language, 
ignorant of the elegances of courts, 
that this youngest and fairest of 
Catherine's daughters was not one of 
your nabottes, or elbow-high dames, 
who appear quite crushed beneath 
the weight of their own jewels and 
gowns. On the contrary she could 



carry with ease, and for hours together 
if need be, the most magnificent state 
robes, even when fashioned out of 
that fabulous web of molten gold 
which came from the Grand Sultan's 
looms. Neither was she, like some 
beauties of our acquaintance, con- 
strained to dissemble her charms 
behind a veil, or mask, or such-like 
subterfuge, when facing the searching 
light of day. " And I declare to you 
that the privilege of church-going was 
not neglected on such high festivals 
as Palm Sunday, or Candlemas, when 
it was known that this princess would 
walk in the procession, carrying her 
branch (as it were the palm of beauty) 
and her rich parure, with that inimi- 
table air, half haughty, half tender. 
If peradventure we courtiers lost 
something of our devotions, truly it 
was not altogether without compen- 
sation, seeing that the greatest mis- 
creant among us, gazing on such 
divine beauty, could no longer deny 
the power of miracles." 

Farther than this, it must be ac- 
knowledged, the high-swelling com- 
pliment, even of those days, could 
hardly be carried. In fact, we are 
half persuaded that the bestowing of 
the golden apple in Catherine's court 
of Love and Beauty might have proved 
a still more embarrassing affair had 
Madam Margaret, beautiful, scanda- 
lous, all-conquering Queen Margot 
chanced to come into the world a 
few years earlier. As it was she was 
not yet born when the six years' old 
Queen of Scots landed in France. 
Touching this event a letter addressed 
by Henry the Second to the Duke of 
Aumale comes opportunely to hand. 
"I must inform you, my cousin," 
writes the King, all politic suavity, 
"that my daughter, the Queen of 
Scotland, arrived Sunday at Carrieres 
[Saint Germain-en-Laye] where are 
my children. And from what I learn, 
not only by letter from my cousin, 







Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



45 



your mother, but also from the Sieur 
de Humieres, it is apparent that at 
first meeting my son and she struck 
up a mighty friendship, and are as 
familiar together as if they had been 
acquainted all their lives. And no 
one comes from before her who is not 
full of admiration as of something- 
marvellous ; which redoubles in me 
the desire I have to see her ; as I 
hope soon to do, by Heaven's grace : 
praying the same, my cousin, to keep 
you in all good health and safety. 
Written at Moulins, the 18th of 
October, 1548." 

Great Henry, as he was called in 
his lifetime, has not many apologists, 
but to his credit it must be said that 
he was fond of children, and partial 
to their society. " My father took 
me upon his knee to hear my childish 
prattle," Margaret of Valois writes 
pleasantly in one place ; while another 
chronicles how the Dauphin, the sickly 
eldest born, will accept from no hand 
save his father's the obnoxious black 
draught. As for little Madame Marie 
Destrauard (contemporary ortho- 
graphy plays queer havoc with Mary's 
name), that pretty fairy had, as usual, 
but to see to vanquish. We are told 
how at their first interview King 
Henry enthroned the child on his 
knee, passed his great hand, callous 
from much friction of lance, racket, 
and bridle-rein, over her soft curls, 
pinched her peach-blossom cheeks, 
nipped at her dainty fingers, caress- 
ing those budding charms which even 
in infancy cast a spell like witchcraft, 
and later on, at the tragic culmination 
of her career, lent a martyr's halo to 
the pale severed head. If the King's 
Majesty fell straightway under her 
fascination, how much more so his 
faithful courtiers ! Not a voice but 
was ready to cry miracle when this 
little queen, a very sprite of beauty, 
tripped it in one of her wild native 
dances, decked out after the barbarous 



fashion of her country ; or when, at 
the King's instigation, she sang and 
chattered in that strange tongue, 
" the which, uncouth, horrid, and 
most rustical as it sounded in any 
other mouth, when spoken by this 
princess became melodious sweet as 
ever I heard." 

More than one sharp-pointed pen, 
meanwhile, was taking notes for our 
benefit of those upstart Lorrainers (in 
Huguenot nomenclature, les larrons, 
thieves), who stood by, spectators of 
their young kinswoman's success. Six 
brothers in all, sons of the canny old 
Duke Claude and his high and virtu- 
ous spouse Dame Antoinette de Bour- 
bon, frequented the court at this time, 
as who should best set the fashions in 
the cut of a velvet cloak or the lilt of 
a rakish blade. Every one his turn, 
was their audacious motto. Bright 
and early of a morning the younger 
members were astir, hastening to wait 
upon the levee of their eldest, Mon- 
seigneur Due d'Aumale, afterwards 
known as Monsieur de Guise-le-Grand. 
Reinforced by his presence, and each 
one his part well rehearsed, they then 
proceeded to show themselves at the 
King's solemn toilette, where they 
took their turns with other proud 
vassals of France at handing the royal 
shirt, the ewer, the morning draught, 
and so forth. 

Not to this day is it given for all 
who run to read under great Duke 
Francis's haughty brows, or to probe 
the mellifluous urbanity of his illus- 
trious and most reverend brother, 
the Cardinal. Yet what busybody 
among us can refrain from prying and 
pondering 1 Mark the game spread 
out before them : the next move 
theirs, England checkmated (he 
laughs best who laughs last), the 
baby queen between their very fingers, 
to turn, to twist, to face about like 
any bit of sculptured ivory on checkered 
board. The whole court is loud in 



46 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



admiration. Great Henry himself 
allows a smile to relax his lantern 
jaws, the while he calls again for that 
pleasant history of Mary, Queen- 
Regent of Scotland (true Lorraine of 
the race), and of how she outwitted 
every mother's son of them, perfidious 
English and scurvy Scots alike. 

So the story is repeated, with 
Homeric longevity, to judge by the 
accounts handed down. It is told 
how this princess, hard pressed by the 
English, who demanded her daughter 
in marriage at the sword's point, took 
ship under command of Nicolas 
Durand de Villegagnon, and with 
him sped out of Leith harbour in 
plain sight of all, as if to make the 
straight route for France ; but present- 
ly, turning secretly about, stole along 
the north coast of Scotland by a 
passage hitherto deemed impracticable ; 
and thus arrived unexpectedly at 
Dunbritton, where was waiting the 
Sieur Philippe MaiHe" de Breze with 
his vessel, to whom the Queen-Mother 
confided her daughter, and albeit the 
seas ran mountains high and the 
heavens were black with tempest, the 
said de Maiiy incontinently set sail, 
and so, after many perils, cast anchor 
off the coast of Brittany, where the 
little princess was safely disembarked 
and sent on by easy stages to the 
court pf France at Saint Germain-en- 
Laye. 

" Well played, i' faith ! " laughs the 
King, long and loud. And how about 
the English fleet, you ask, my masters ? 
Par la Mordieu ! that was rolling 
about finely in the trough of the sea 
outside Calais, expecting every mo- 
ment to overhaul our wily navigator, 
the said Commander Nicolas, and the 
precious booty along with him. 

To his other qualities, good, bad, 
and indifferent, Henry the Second 
added a strong dash of the mulish ; 
an idea, once fixed in that long, nar- 
row head of his, took firm root. 



Among his cherished prejudices, 
shared in this case by the French at 
large, was a lively aversion he had 
conceived at first sight for his pale 
young Italian wife. At best, it was 
murmured, she had stolen into the 
country under false pretences ; for 
who, out of Italy, could forecast that 
the hearty young Dauphin should 
die as he did without warning (after 
swallowing a cup of cold water fla- 
voured by an Italian hand), and so 
leave place on the throne for this 
Princess of Florence 1 

But Catherine's star was not one 
destined to twinkle in obscurity. 
Through good report and through evil 
it shone on, ever in the ascendant. 
Even the King's distaste of her, or 
rather Diana's jealous satisfaction 
therein, served its turn by enabling 
her to cling to her rights in France 
during the critical ten years of her 
early married life, before the birth of 
her children. They were years of 
hard schooling for a proud spirit, 
of grovelling humiliation and deceit 
which did not fail to leave their 
mark. Scarcely out of childhood her- 
self, an alien among the haughty 
French nobility of the sword, who 
made small count of her mercantile 
extraction, burdened, moreover, by 
secret instructions from home inter- 
lined with covert threats, she lived in 
perpetual dread of the deed of separa- 
tion which would have sent her igno- 
miniously back to her own people like 
a damaged bale of that costly Floren- 
tine silk which figures so largely in 
the court expenditure of the time. 

With our present knowledge of 
Catherine's character it is difficult to 
figure the dreadful heroine of the 
Saint Bartholomew as an inoffensive 
and self-effaced young person, cling- 
ing desperately for protection to the 
skirts of her husband's arrogant mis- 
tress. Madam, indeed, had not a 
more humble, devoted follower in her 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



47 



train, one who covered her with 
sweeter blandishments or more adroit 
flattery, particularly in presence of 
the King. Sometimes, but rarely, 
outraged pride got the better of 
policy ; and once, we are told, in a 
moment of weakness Catherine con- 
fided her distress to the Seigneur de 
Tavannes, whose memoirs are pre- 
served. That downright young soldier 
offered promptly to cut off the Valenti- 
nois's handsome nose, and so put an end 
to her sorceries. The favourite was 
then a woman of forty, yet still in 
full flower of her majestic beauty. 
As for Messieurs of Lorraine, astute 
schemers though they were, they failed 
obviously, at this period, to discover 
any possible contingency by which 
the friendless young Queen could be 
turned to account either for good or 
evil in their far-reaching plans. They 
treated her contemptuously, and made 
an egregious mistake, as time proved. 
Years after, the Papal Nuncio, Santa- 
Croce, wrote to Rome : " We must 
take for an infallible maxim that the 
Queen-Mother detests this Cardinal 
of Lorraine above all other men 
living ; and it is understood that she 
has cause for her dislike. Among 
other things, during the lifetime of 
Francis the Second the Queen of 
Scotland is said to have twitted her 
on the score of her birth, declaring 
that she was no better than a trades- 
man's daughter ; and 'tis believed 
these words were suggested by the 
said Cardinal." 

But in the days of her small begin- 
ning Catherine permitted herself no 
such luxury of hating. Gentle and 
observant, she listened rather than 
talked ; lent an attentive ear to the 
noisy brag of soldiers, to the conversa- 
tion of ambassadors ; was interested in 
despatches, and in religious specula- 
tion, and curious to hear the courtiers 
gossip of secret gallantries and treach- 
ery. Already she possessed a naive 



charm of her own, and was endowed 
with the fascinating smile, the sweet 
and caressing voice, and natural elo- 
quence which afterwards rendered her 
personal influence especially i-edoubt- 
able. With the birth of children the 
Queen's position became more tenable, 
though it did not alter her modest 
attitude. She was now, to all appear- 
ance, absorbed in the care of these 
ailing little beings, whose health from 
their cradle gave rise to continual dis- 
quietude. Of the ten born to her in 
less than that number of years, Mar- 
garet alone could be counted abso- 
lutely sound in mind and body. The 
others, fair in outward show as those 
hectic fruits which hide a secret 
blight, were more or less afflicted by 
strange and nameless maladies, indica- 
tive of a tainted blood and a failing 
race. 

At Saint Germains, the Little Court, 
so called in distinction from the Great 
Court of the King and Madame de 
Valentinois, was under Catherine's 
direct control. Here, at least, within 
limits, she was free to exercise her 
dominating ambition, and the subtle 
Italian spirit, which, for the rest, 
knew how to bide its time, odiate e 
aspettate, to hate and wait. 

" In those days," writes the quaint 
author of LA VIE, MORT, ET TOMBEAU 
DE PHILIPPE DE STKOZZI, " there was 
nurtured at Saint Germains, under 
the Queen's care, together with Mon- 
seigneur le Dauphin, and Messeigneurs 
his brothers, and Mesdames his sisters, 
besides the Queen of Scots (one time 
Queen of our France), a great store of 
noble infants, picked from the princely 
houses of the realm. Pleasant it 
was, of a verity, and right joyous, to 
see this little court, which remained 
apart and stationary, for most times 
in residence at the Foret-en-Laye ; 
whereas that of His Majesty changed 
continually, ambulating from castle 
to castle. Truly this was a school 



48 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



for good manners and generous exer- 
cises, particularly when Monseigneur 
the Dauphin, and the young nobility 
about him, began to wax in years, 
and were prepared to receive instruc- 
tion in dancing, leaping, and the 
dexterous use of arms, besides the 
study of letters, music, painting, 
mathematics, engineering, and such- 
like honourable sciences, suited to 
their noble estate." 

It is not to be supposed that under 
Catherine's fostering care the girls' 
education was any more neglected than 
their brothers. Margaret of Valois 
boasts that before six years of age she 
was past mistress of the complete art 
of coquetry. Each soft-cheeked damsel 
must needs have her chosen esquire 
whose business it was to wear her 
colours, run her errands, in short to 
wait upon her in every emergency. 
The poor little Dauphin Francis 
served his apprenticeship in these 
chivalrous games to Madam Mary of 
Scotland, and by the same token must 
frequently have been more in need of 
succour on his own account than cap- 
able of affording it to his high-spirit- 
ed companion. The Queen's Maries 
also figure in a barely decipherable 
court list of this time : Mary Beaton, 
Mary Seton, Mary Livingstone, and 
Mary Fleming; the latter, "very 
young and fair," presently relegated to 
a convent by Diana's jealous interpo- 
sition. After the Saint Bartholomew 
Queen Catherine is reported to have 
remarked tranquilly that, so far as her 
own conscience was concerned, there 
were not upon it more than four or 
five murders. The cruel intrigue which 
led to Mary Fleming's undoing was 
not likely, then, to rest heavily, though 
what particular satisfaction could have 
been snatched from its transitory suc- 
cess would be curious to learn. 

Meanwhile she watched over her 
little world at Saint Germains with un- 
ceasing vigilance ; always smiling, kind 



and caressing, yet hard as the hand 
of steel in velvet glove. One and all 
were taught on entering life that their 
first duty was to obey the Queen their 
mistress, to love her, fear her, regard 
her as an unfailing power and donor 
of every gift. " I hardly dared speak 
to her," writes Margaret ; " and when 
she looked at me I trembled lest I 
might have done something to dis- 
please her." Equally submissive were 
the three Henries, of Valois, of 
Navarre, and of Lorraine. We are 
told of the futile efforts Charles the 
Ninth made to escape. Often, it is 
said, when following the chase at Saint 
Germains, he would prick his horse as 
if pursued by furies, driving headlong 
at every obstacle ; yet fast and far as 
the unhappy boy fled, often by paths 
that taxed the boldest huntsman, 
there, close on his tracks, smiling as 
ever, and fixing upon him the cold 
Medicis eye, rode his evil genius. And 
it was of a piece that this violent 
exercise, while nothing short of death 
to the sickly young King, should be 
particularly beneficial to Catherine, 
retarding as it did the obesity which 
gained upon her in later life, and 
helped to clog her keen faculties. 

Among Catherine's docile pupils 
Mary Stuart seems to have been the 
least tractable. She certainly eman- 
cipated herself early from the Queen's 
tutelage, either by natural hardiness 
or through her uncle's influence. 
Nevertheless, in her case as in others, 
the race was for the strong. Hardly 
had Francis breathed his last, and 
the Guises fallen from power, than 
the young widow received pretty 
clear intimation that it was not well 
for her to stay in France. But in 
the interval what marvellous self- 
control must have been the Italian's 
under provocation of that insolent 
young beauty. We learn that at her 
son's marriage with the Scottish 
Queen she bestowed on the latter, 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



49 



accompanied by every mark of joy 
and satisfaction, a valuable collection 
of pearls which had formed part of 
her own rich wedding outfit. These 
are the very jewels, perhaps, which 
lend their lustre to Mary's charms in 
that ideal world where she still queens 
it. They gleam across the pages of 
romance bright as the day when first 
they clasped her warm white throat, or 
trembled to the beat of her heart. 
Their pale splendour adorns alike the 
bridal veil and the black robe of 
execution ; not forgetting the 
bewitching cap, which was another 
acquisition, by the way, she owed to 
the tradesman's daughter. In point 
of fact pearls are among the most 
perishable of treasures, and it is 
hardly probable that one precious 
drop of Mary's parure now remains 
in existence. " But where are the 
snows of yester-year 1 " comes back 
Villon's plaintive refrain. 

Insolent and ungrateful as Mary was, 
she studied none the less diligently 
out of her preceptor's book, conned it, 
admired, and imitated. No apter 
pupil could be desired, nor was any 
child of Catherine's own more worthy 
such a mother, or the serpent-nest 
that bred her. When forced to quit 
the shores of her beloved France, she 
sailed away into exile, followed by 
tears and madrigals, and uttering 
that touching cry which finds an 
echo in every heart, " Farewell, my 
young days, my happy days, farewell 
for ever ! " This tender young princess 
did not forget to carry with her, 
hidden in her white bosom, the 
Italian's secret, the poisoned perfume 
and the assassin's dagger. 

One turns with impatience from 
those wooden likenesses of Mary 
Stuart which are still preserved, to 
picture her in the glowing language 
of her poets and lovers. " Who has 
not been led astray in the glamour 
cast by that pale prison rose 1 " cries 

No. 439. VOL. LXXIV. 



Michelet. "Our most learned and 
conscientious historians fall under 
the spell ; nor could I have escaped 
were it not for damning proof on 
proof, lately brought to light, which 
now reveal the fatal fairy in her true 
colours, a danger to the whole world." 
Older by a year than her future 
husband, the young Dauphin, she 
possessed in perfection the physical 
health which he so sorely lacked. 
The radiance of her glance, the 
mingled snow and carnation of her 
complexion, were subjects of continual 
encomium. Later, under the trans- 
parent folds of her white widow's 
veil, the delicate pallor which suc- 
ceded this, first brilliance of the 
opening rose roused still louder en- 
thusiasm. " Contend as it might for 
precedence, the artifice of her veil 
could not compare with the dazzling 
snow of her complexion," Bran tome 
raves. The latter we know for a 
prodigious squire of dames, and one 
well versed in courtly periphrase ; yet 
even he (though hard it seems to 
believe him) confesses himself at a 
loss for words sufficiently fine to 
depict those seductive charms which 
afterwards so scandalised the grim 
Scotch lords of the Reformation. 
"This is no Christian," they 
muttered ; " 'tis that pagan idol, 
Diana, worshipped of old of the 
Ephesians." 

The exact tint of Mary's hair has 
been always a vexed subject of dis- 
cussion. Some give it an unmitigated 
red, Michelet, for instance, who so far 
forgets himself and history as to call 
the poor lady a great red camel ; 
others, siding with chivalrous Sir 
Walter, boldly endow their martyred 
queen and mistress with rich dark- 
brown tresses. It should not be 
forgotten, however, that red hair, even 
modest auburn, suffered a severe 
eclipse during the early years of our 
century, whereas under the Valois no 

E 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



one with any pretensions to elegance 
could be seen wearing it black. In 
this particular, at least, Mary Stuart 
must have had the advantage of Queen 
Margot, who inherited her father's 
dark colouring, and was reduced to 
dissemble nature's shortcomings by 
the perruquier's art. We are told of 
three gigantic blonde lackeys kept in 
her service, and brought to the shears 
as regularly as sheep. Brantome, 
indeed, protests that his incomparable 
princess could carry with grace 
" even her natural black hair, twisted 
and plaited a 1'Espagnol, as she some- 
times wore it, in imitation of her 
sister the Queen of Spain." But no 
such need of insistence, one feels, 
when he comes to praise the curled 
golden tresses of the Scottish Queen. 
" Alas ! " he cries, " what profana- 
tion was that at the dreadful moment 
of her death when the barbarous 
executioner snatched her bonnet, and 
there lay revealed those same fair 
locks, now whitened, thin, and wintry, 
which her friends of France had so 
often seen to admire, curled and 
adorned as befitted their beauty and 
the queen they graced." For the 
rest, Ronsard, Jodelle, Baif , and others 
of the courtly suite (eye-witnesses for 
the most part), are unanimous in as- 
cribing to Mary tresses golden as the 
sun's rays, which cast dark beauty 
into shade as day eclipses night. One 
and all, moreover, as in duty bound, 
prostrate themselves before her beau- 
tiful white hand (cette belle main 
blanche), praising, as who shall praise 
best, its delicate tapering fingers, 
Aurora's very own, wherewith she 
touched the lute, harpsichord, and 
other musical instruments, attuning 
them to the sound of her sweet voice, 
the better to enthral and lead captive 
all mankind. 

" In that court of the Second 
Henry," writes a modern French 
essayist, " of which Rabelais, Mon- 



taigne, and Brantome resume for us 
the naive materialism of morals, the 
strange preoccupation of spirit, science 
was the rage of the hour. Women 
rivalled men in learning, excelled them 
indeed, since they had more leisure at 
their disposal, and were more obedient 
to the dictates of fashion." And here 
again, in learning as in beauty, the 
young Queen of Scots outstripped all 
competitors, plucking the fair fruits 
of science as it were for merest sport. 
Two hours daily the key of her closet 
was turned, and that brief space, 
stolen from the pleasures of her age, 
was devoted to study, and the perusal 
in their original of such masters as 
Virgil, Horace, Ariosto, and Petrarch. 
At fourteen she declaimed before the 
whole Court a Latin oration of her 
own composition. Its theme, freely 
translated, was, " Should women be 
taught the alphabet ? " and no one 
but will be gratified to learn that this 
fair young advocate of women's pro- 
gress carried the point of her argu- 
ment affirmatively, with infinite grace. 
King Henry rejoiced greatly in the 
young beauty's learning. He was not 
much of a classical scholar himself, 
yet he could lay some claim to aca- 
demic honours on the score of athletics, 
in which he actually excelled. The 
modern science of boating was then, 
of course, unknown ; but there was 
no lack of glorious striving in other 
noble sports. The Sieur de Tavannes 
boasts in his memoirs of having broken 
sixty lances in one day, and of dancing 
afterwards all night ; though we are 
led to infer that a certain ointment, 
or salve, of singular virtue, where- 
with the said noble seigneur lubri- 
cated his manly biceps, had some share 
in the remarkable feat. In his plan 
of Saint Germains Francis the First 
had not neglected to provide a spacious 
ballroom, which was considered at the 
time one of the finest and most com- 
modious ever built. After serving for 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



51 



many years the ignoble uses of barrack 
and prison, this noble saloon has lately 
been restored to its original propor- 
tions, and appears at present a long, 
rather narrow, apartment facing the 
west with eight, or more, beautifully 
proportioned windows set back in deep 
embrasures. Compared with the 
grandiose splendour of Versailles, 
Saint Germains's historic banqueting- 
hall strikes the visitor as almost 
homely. It is pervaded by the mellow 
hues of old red brick, and harbours an 
immense open fireplace where the sala- 
mander, Francis's symbol of love and 
glory, disports at large. Time and 
hard usage have more than a little 
warped the beams underfoot ; and the 
countless tiny octagonal tiles which 
cover the floor rise and fall in dizzy 
undulations more suggestive of the 
rolling deep than of terpsichorean 
feats. 

Pleasure, like everything else under 
the Valois, was taken in heroic doses. 
A full-dress ball began shortly after 
midday, and dragged out its long- 
drawn sweetness, with interludes of 
masques, music, games, and proces- 
sions, far into the small hours of the 
morning, fortified opportunely by a 
substantial supper. These were the 
occasions for feminine display and 
rivalry, franker in its expression then, 
if no more genuine, than the same 
sort of thing now. To believe her 
panegyrists, Mary Stuart queened it 
by right of beauty as well as right 
divine. When she took part in a 
ballet, or followed the torchlight 
dance, or, better still, stepped out in 
a pavane of Italy (imported, like all 
things inimitable, from beyond the 
mountains), every man there, from 
king to lackey, trod on each other's 
heels in their efforts to catch sight of 
this triumphant beauty. Behold her 
now pluming herself for conquest ; 
advancing, retreating, gliding past with 
long sideling steps, mincing and ruffl- 



ing, or spreading wide her skirts of 
stiff gold brocade like some magnificent 
peacock to the sun. Every voice pro- 
claims the peerless goddess Aurora 
fairly eclipsed. 

Yet there was always that one dis- 
sentient note. Madame Catherine of 
Medicis wrote drily about this time : 
" Our little queenlet of Scotland has 
but to smile to turn all these French 
heads." It was an evil hour for Mary, 
though she may not have suspected 
it, which made her Queen of France, 
when Henry persisted in breaking one 
more lance with his stout captain of 
the guards. The King doted on the 
golden-haired girl, and would have her 
by him at every leisure moment. 
Nothing drove away black care, which 
sits brooding on kings' shoulders, like 
the sight of the young princess flinging 
away in one of her wild Highland 
reels : " As I have seen her myself, 
many a time," Brantome declares, 
" dressed in native costume, a la sau- 
vage, yet appearing withal (be not in- 
credulous when I tell you) a very 
goddess in mortal frame " ; in other 
words, we presume, a goddess in 
tartans. Ronsard and Jodelle, zealous 
as ever to perform their part, trans- 
lated for her and for the King's plea- 
sure, those wild and haunting melodies 
of the north which we know ; and 
these she committed to memory, sing- 
ing them to the accompaniment of 
her lyre in a voice surpassing sweet. 

During the continuance of fine 
weather, diversions in the open air were 
of frequent occurrence in the forest of 
Saint Germains. To this day the sites 
of green amphitheatres may still be 
traced, and the remains of stone seats, 
" quarried and set about expressly for 
the repose and accommodation of spec- 
tators." We are told of a fail- 
chamber contrived out of intertwined 
ivy leaves, and carpeted with green- 
sward, which was erected on one of 
the river islets. Also of a magnificent 

E 2 



52 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



festival held in the forest itself, under 
hanging boughs, and surrounded by 
secret grottoes whence, to the music 
of hautbois, violin, timbrel, and bag- 
pipe, issued troops of shepherds and 
shepherdesses dressed in the costumes 
of the different parts of France, who 
set themselves to dance right joyously 
in an open glade the various dances 
of the provinces which they repre- 
sented. From time immemorial, how- 
ever, it is evident that al fresco enter- 
tainments have suffered under some 
malign influence,and they were no more 
free from interruption in the sixteenth 
century than we are apt to find them 
under our own cloudy skies. Mar- 
garet of Valois recounts the disaster 
which overtook one such festal occa- 
sion arranged in her honour by Don 
John of Austria. " Of a verity," she 
cries gaily, " the heavens must have 
grown jealous of our too great con- 
tentment, for suddenly, out of a clear 
sky, they burst over us in such a 
tempest of wind and rain as drove 
everything before it. All the same, 
we took our revenge, for next day, in 
recounting the ridiculous adventures 
brought about by the confusion of our 
retreat, we found as much amusement 
as we had in the first instance ex- 
perienced of delight and satisfaction." 
A DISCOURSE, PUBLISHED WITH 
PRIVILEGE (Paris, 1559), describes at 
length the splendid rejoicings over 
Mary Stuart's marriage with the 
French Dauphin. It was celebrated, 
as in duty bound, at Paris, whither 
all the world flocked to make hay 
while the sun shone. There was 
largess of silver pennies in the streets, 
and much spilling of good wine, red 
and white, not to mention processions, 
tournaments, and midnight revels. 
Pages are devoted to the description 
of a superb ball and masque held 
within the precincts of the ancient 
feudal residence of the Kings of 
France, the Castle of Tournelles, of 



which no vestige now remains to 
mark its hundred towers and curious 
ramifications over half Paris. After 
their marriage the youthful pair do 
not appear to have frequented Saint 
Germains. They had left behind child- 
hood and childhood's innocent play, 
and the grim game of life now entered 
upon necessitated a more secure re- 
treat than their forest castle afforded. 
Catherine also avoided the spot, having 
received warning from one of her 
astrologers that its conjunction was of 
evil omen for her. Long after, when 
dying at Blois, she resigned herself to the 
inevitable with characteristic stoicism 
on learning the name of the priest in 
attendance, one Abbe de Saint Ger- 
main. 

Francis and Mary, under Lorraine 
tutorage, held their court at Blois and 
Amboise, which became the theatre 
of their brief but sanguinary reign. 
A year later, when the unfortunate 
Queen was forced to take her final 
departure from France, a crowd of 
disconsolate young lords and weeping 
ladies accompanied her as far as Calais, 
where she embarked. " So long as 
daylight lasted," writes her faithful 
chronicler, " and land remained in 
sight, this sweet princess could not be 
persuaded to quit her post on deck, 
but looking towards France with 
streaming eyes repeated again and 
again, ' Farewell, my France, dear land 
of France, farewell for ever ! ' ' : 

What part the poets took in that 
memorable leave-taking may be easily 
conjectured. Gallant de Maison-Fleur, 
for one, seizing upon the accident of a 
cold and ungenial spring, maintains 
in many melodious stanzas that nature 
herself hath gone into mourning at the 
loss of their most rare princess. 
Reams of verses, wherein the four 
seasons of the year, the floral calendar, 
heaven and earth and heathen mytho- 
logy are ransacked to do her honour, 
still exist, though, as the French say. 



Mary Stuart at Saint Germains. 



53 



a peine. We skim at our ease these 
ornate poesies and euphonies which 
doubtless cost the tuneful Pleiades 
many sleepless nights and days of 
laborious travail. But Queen Mary 
herself, and this is more to the point, 
never wearied of perusing them. 
Often, we are told, when in exile and 
prison, she was seen walking apart, 
the verses in her hands, which she 
bedewed with her fast falling tears. 

Did the fair Queen vouchsafe as 
much for poor, love-lorn Chastelard, 
and his poetic effusions 1 If so history 
makes no mention of it. " Yet for 
certain 'twas a right gallant cavalier," 
Brantdme declares, who knew my 
Lord of Chastelard well in France 
before his madness fell upon him ; "a 
man of good sword and good letters." 
Of good blood also, since he could 
claim kinship on his mother's side 
with the Chevalier Bayard, whom he 
was said to resemble in appearance. 
Alas, fond lovers all ! Let every one 
drop the tear of pity so cruelly denied 
this hapless gentleman of Dauphine 
by " the most beautiful and most 
cruel princess on earth." 

Among the many who ring their 
changes on Mary's charms none strike 
a sweeter note than Ronsard. His 
beautiful lines, inspired by the young 
Queen as she appeared to him one day 
in her white widow's weeds, pacing a 
forest path, are as fresh as the hour 
they were written. An exquisite 
hour it was, fragrant with early dews, 
and flowers scarce yet unfolded " by 
the little acolytes of Zephyr," to quote 
from good Father Amyot. Under 



the poet's charm we are wafted for a 
moment out of our garish world, and 
standing apart in some dim leafy spot 
watch with his eyes this lovely 
apparition gliding between the trees. 
So young, so fair, she seems, yet 
already touched by grief, as if an 
angel had wept. Downcast her gaze, 
whiter than snow-white veil the pure 
young brow ; and as she advances, 
lost in pensive reverie, the very trees 
that line her path, rugged oak, lofty 
pine, and all the sylvan forest growth, 
incline on either side, bending low as 
before something holy. 

Another of Mary's French admirers 
was that noble Michel de 1'Hospital, 
Chancellor of France, who carried 
the lilies unspotted through dark 
days of his country's history. Her 
epithalamium was composed by his 
pen, in sonorous Latin numbers as 
befitted his magisterial gravity. We 
know how this high-minded statesman 
(conscience-keeper of a wicked world) 
was constrained ere long to repudiate 
his muse, denouncing where formerly 
he had worshipped. The same hand 
which welcomed Mary, bride of France 
and queen of every heart, 

Tantus in ore decor, majestas regia tanta 

est ! 

depicts her in a second poem, but 
changed indeed from that dazzling 
bridal splendour. Darkness and shapes 
of horror encompass the scene where 
now she steals, the Furies on her 
track ; a Clytemnestra, murderess of 
her lawful spouse, father of the child 
still at her breast. 



THE LIVING OF EAST WISPERS. 



EAST WISPERS, at this time, was in 
the prayers of the unbeneficed clergy 
of the diocese. " I wish the Bishop 
would offer it to you, Wilfrid," Mrs. 
Hepburn said. 

" I hardly think that is likely, 
Caroline. It is an important living ; 
and there are so many able men 
waiting for preferment." 

" Most of them watch as well as 
wait ; some of them act," said Mrs. 
Hepburn. She knitted in silence 
awhile. Mr. Hepburn drew down 
the blind, the sun being in his wife's 
eyes ; he was an acute observer of 
little things, as touching those he 
loved. " Why is it, Wilfrid, that the 
Bishop has ignored your claims all 
these years ? " 

" I don't know, Caroline. My 
claims ? " said Mr. Hepburn, absently. 

" He persistently passes you over, 
as if you were of no account. It 
would make me angry if I were a 
man. It is far from considerate of 
him to expect you to be always a 
curate ; and a new vicar might turn 
you adrift ; it is often done, when 
they bring their own curates, or have 
daughters, and prefer unmarried men." 

" Caroline ! " 

" Well, you know what happened 
at St. Peter's ; though, to be sure, 
nothing came of that experiment, I 
am glad to say." 

" Caroline ! " 

" And Mr. Lane was a long time 
out before he got the workhouse 
chaplaincy ; nor was that the Bishop's 
appointment. His policy appears to 
be to give good livings only to rich 
men." 

" I have heard his lordship remark 



on the disadvantages of a poor bene- 
ficed clergy," Mr. Hepburn said. 
" He means well, I am sure." 

" I dare say he does. There is a 
place said to be paved with good 
intentions. I have thought what a 
very pathetic pavement that must be." 

" Caroline ! " 

Mrs. Hepburn blushed and held 
down her head ; she had hardly 
meant to say this bitter thing. She 
was a stout, healthy lady, and had 
something of a style in walk and 
manner. She would have made an 
admirable provincial Mayoress ; and 
she had been known (in Mr. Hep- 
burn's absence) to smile at mild pro- 
fanity. She was too robust to have 
visions ; passing Sisters of Mercy in 
the street, Mrs. Hepburn would raise 
her handsome head, in a kind of 
instinctive pitying wonderment, as 
one who should say, Foolish, foolish 
virgins ! " The Bishop," she went 
on, " seems to think nothing of long 
and devoted service. I have induced 
Mr. Grant two or three times to 
write appreciatively of you in THE 
HERALD, and the page (marked) has 
been sent to him ; but he has taken 
no notice." 

" Mr. Grant has been most obliging, 
and I have reason to believe that he 
holds me in some esteem," said Mr. 
Hepburn. " But, Caroline, a reporter, 
even though he is a member of our 
choir, can scarcely be expected to 
write in such a manner as would 
influence the Bishop. His lordship, 
moreover, I believe, has a prejudice 
against newspapers." 

" I have seen him delay a meeting 
till the reporters came, "Mrs. Hepburn 
observed. 



The Living of East Wispers. 



55 



" He may have had some momentous 
announcement to make." 

Mrs. Hepburn sighed. " Still, I 
do think something ought to be done 
for you, Wilfrid. There might be 
some hope for us if the Bishop, when 
he visits the town, would call and 
have tea with us, instead of always 
going to the houses of the rich people. 
I should take care to let him hear 
something that would open his eyes. 
It seems to me," said Mrs. Hepburn, 
with a break in her voice, " that even 
the Church is against the poor. The 
children are growing up, and of 
course, Wilfrid, our expenses increase. 
I keep things from you as much as I 
can. But Selina and Alice are be- 
come old enough to notice how other 
children are dressed ; and, though I 
do not complain of this, I have not 
had a new gown for two years. If it 
were not for my brother I don't know 
what we should do." 

" Caroline," said Mr. Hepburn anx- 
iously, " I shall not need that over- 
coat this winter." 

" You must look respectable, Wil- 
frid ; it is more important in your 
case than in ours. What do you 
think the Bishop would say if he 
were to see you dressed shabbily ? 
Cast him forth into outer dark- 
ness 

" Oh Caroline, Caroline ! " 

" And then I can still make a point 
of going out only on wet days, when 
Gerald's fine cloak covers a multitude 
of sins. I can't work to-day," Mrs. 
Hepburn exclaimed ; " I feel so peevish 
somehow." 

" The weather is very trying," said 
Mr. Hepburn. 

" It is not that, Wilfrid ; it is East 
Wispers. Ah, dear, I wish you could 
understand that this hand-to-mouth 
existence is unjust to you and to us, 
and that it will continue until you 
move on your own behalf. Living 
after living falls vacant, and nothing 



comes our way. The Bishop might 
at least be given a little gentle re- 
minder. I should like to be a friend 
of his pelican daughter ; they say he 
proposes and she disposes. Thus the 
Church typifies Providence. Oh, I 
am not saying this to shock you, 
Wilfrid ; but I have often wished 
that you were not so proud and sen- 
sitive. And I can't really see what 
harm there would be in speaking to 
the Bishop about East Wispers. It 
is in his gift, and he may not, after 
all, know that you have been so 
shamefully neglected. Wilfrid, I am 
utterly tired of this dull, hopeless 
monotony of life ; this miserable 
struggle, year after year, to make 
ends meet and keep out of debt. We 
are actually worse off than many of 
the working people in the parish, and 
then the cruel mockery of our respec- 
tability ! " Mrs. Hepburn rose, and 
made a magnificent figure at the 
window. " I spent a day at East 
Wispers rectory before I married 
you,'' she said ; " and when I recall 
that delightful place 

" Caroline, I can't speak to the 
Bishop ! " Mr. Hepburn cried. 

She turned ; his face was in his 
hands. " It is frequently done, Wil- 
frid. There is nothing disgraceful in 
making a reasonable request. If you 
were in any other profession you 
would have no hesitation in asking 
for advancement. Mr. Jardine, I am 
told, was at the Palace on Tuesday, 
and can you doubt that he went to 
urge his claims 1 " 

Mr. Hepburn looked up. " Jar- 
dine ?" he said. "You must have 
been misinformed, Caroline. It was 
Jardine who wrote that letter in THE 
HERALD on the need of a suffragan 
Bishop for the diocese ; an extremely 
strong letter to my mind." 

" It was rude and malicious, a 
spiteful letter," Mrs. Hepburn said. 

" I should call it hasty and perhaps 



The Living of East Wispers. 



unsympathetic," Mr. Hepburn ad- 
mitted, " remembering the Bishop's 
great age. And, having sent such a 
communication to the public press, 
Jardine would scarcely go to his lord- 
ship to ask a favour." -^ 
" Did he tell you he wrote it 1 It 
was anonymous." 

" No ; young Grant told me ; he 
said he read it in manuscript before 
it appeared. Jardine was so parti- 
cular about it that he went to the 
office to see the proof. The Bishop, 
T understand, is much displeased at 
its appearance, as it insinuates (not 
too felicitously, I think,) that he is 
getting too old for the adequate ad- 
ministration of the diocese. That is 
a subject on which his lordship is 
exceedingly susceptible. Mr. Medway 
was telling me that at the last Dioce- 
san Conference he playfully questioned 
the Bishop as to whether there was 
any truth in the rumour that a suffra- 
gan was to be appointed, and his lord- 
ship cried out, ' Not a word, not a 
word ! ' in quite a spirited way, and 
appeared to be greatly offended at 
the suggestion. It was injudicious, 
no doubt," Mr. Hepburn added, " of 
Grant to disclose, even to me, the 
authorship of the letter ; but of course, 
Caroline, you will not betray his con- 
fidence." 

" Certainly not ; I don't suppose 
I shall think about it again. But if 
Mr. Jardine, after behaving in so 
ungentlemanly a way, could go to the 
Bishop, why should you hesitate, 
Wilfrid ? " 

Mr. Hepburn shook his head. 
" Wilfrid, I should not mind speak- 
ing to the Bishop myself." 

" That, that would never, never 
do, Caroline ! " 

" I should really like to go, as I 
feel so sure I could persuade him 
to do something for us ; if not now, 
then perhaps soon 

" No, no, Caroline ; you must not 



think of such a thing ; it would be 
most unbecoming and unprecedented." 

Mrs. Hepburn pulled up the blind, 
rather slowly, as though thinking of 
something, and stood in the sunshine. 
A young man passing raised his hat ; 
she gave him a charming smile. " It 
is not easy," she said, " in the midst 
of deepening poverty, to regard pre- 
cedent as quite sacred." 

" The Bishop would be shocked," 
Mr. Hepburn cried. 

But to herself Mrs. Hepburn said : 
" I should like to so shock the old 
gentleman. It could not make matters 
worse than they are." 



II. 

CARRIAGES were in waiting at the 
town-hall the Bishop's was drawn 
up under the portico. Four o'clock 
was come ; the meeting, every one but 
the reforming layman seemed to think, 
had already been unreasonably long. 
The Bishop (having renounced all 
affection to enthusiasm) leaned towards 
the secretary, who lowered his head 
reverentially. "This," whispered the 
Bishop, " is the gentleman's fourth 
amendment. How do we stand ? Is 
it possible for him to amend anything 
else 1 " The secretary smiled. " I 
hope," said the Bishop, " he will have 
done reforming us out of existence in 
time for me to catch the next train." 
The secretary coughed ; the Dean 
coughed ; the Archdeacon (roused 
from a pleasant nap) coughed also, to 
show that he had been taking an in- 
telligent interest in the proceedings. 
But the layman with ideas would be 
a-talking ; he was young, not timid, 
and turned so deaf an ear to episcopal 
snubs that curates gasped, and hardened 
vicars imagined humorous things. 
The end came at last, quite suddenly ; 
the right-reverend chairman stopped 
a proposed vote of thanks to himself. 
" If," observed his lordship, " we 



The Living of East Wispers. 



57 



would all do more and talk less, the 
Church at large would undoubtedly 
benefit." And as the clergy and laity, 
with many sighs of relief, rose, Mrs. 
Hepburn made her way to the Bishop. 
He received her with the ripened 
courtesy of assured greatness, and 
invited her to walk with him along 
the corridor. There was no time to 
lose ; the Archdeacon was toddling 
behind, carrying a big black bag ; so 
the lady, in eloquent urgency, and 
with some pathos, made her appeal. 
" I trust," she added, " I have not 
given offence to your lordship in men- 
tioning this." 

" Not at all, not at all ; ladies are 
privileged persons," said the Bishop. 
He smiled pleasantly, and folded his 
hands high up on his breast. With 
every other step he raised his fine old 
head, as if determined to make these 
people understand that he was not 
beginning to stoop. " At the same 
time, Mrs. Hepburn, I regret I cannot 
offer you any positive assurance on 
the subject. Mr. Hepburn has not 
been forgotten. East Wispers has 
given us most anxious thought, to my 
daughter in particular, I may say, 
since the diocese owes so much to her ; 
and we have got so far as the selection 
of two clergymen who appear to be 
most suited for this arduous parish ; 
namely, your husband and Mr. Jar- 
dine." 

" Mr. Jardine ! " Mrs. Hepburn 
exclaimed involuntarily. 

" While fully recognising," said the 
Bishop, " your husband's many excel- 
lent qualities, I cannot avoid the con- 
clusion that Mr. Jardine has an 
advantage over him in having acquired 
just the experience which seems 
peculiarly to mark him out for such a 
parish." 

" Mr. Jardine is unmarried, my 
lord. And your lordship may be 
aware that he is not poor." 

" Yes ; that is in his favour. In 



the existing circumstances of the 
Church, when our schools make so 
great a demand on our resources, by 
reason of the ever-increasing faith- 
lessness of the State, I am strongly 
of opinion that a parish clergyman 
should possess an independent in- 
come. This may appear hard ; but 
the interests of the Church cannot be 
subordinated to personal feeling." 

" Mr. Jardine is very young, my 
lord ; and, -we have a large family. 
If it were not for my brother's kind- 
ness, we could scarcely live in a 
manner becoming Mr. Hepburn's high 
calling." 

' I am sorry to hear that ; I hear 
it so frequently, and it always grieves 
me," said the Bishop. " It is a most 
urgent and weighty problem, this 
upon which you touch ; and I fail to 
comprehend how it is to be solved 
otherwise than by a larger and more 
consistent generosity on the part of 
the laity." 

They had reached the street ; a 
footman opened the door of the 
Bishop's carriage ; the Archdeacon 
put the black bag on the seat. 

" Then, my lord, we must give up 
all hope 1" Mrs.-- Hepburn murmured. 

" Oh, no, no. Nothing has yet 
been definitely decided, beyond the 
selection of what we consider the 
two most suitable persons. It will be 
one or the other. In any event, Mr. 
Hepburn may expect to hear from 
me. Pray assure him of my regard." 

"The station," said the Arch- 
deacon, helping the Bishop into the 
carriage. 

" The workhouse, unless I do 
something," Mrs. Hepburn said to 
herself bitterly. 

III. 

ON a misty warm morning, four 
days later, Mr. Hepburn (who had 
been taking the early celebration) 



58 



The Living of East Wispers. 



came home looking pathetically pale 
and visionary. This, in Mrs. Hep- 
burn's phrase, was his apostolic mood ; 
and his remoteness at such times de- 
pressed her indefinitely, making her 
feel isolated and vagrant, as though 
they had been going in opposite 
directions all their married life. She 
had waited to breakfast with him, 
and he sat down to the table with a 
sacrificial air, which made her think 
of John the Baptist and locusts and 
wild honey. The bacon and eggs 
struck her as being curiously incon- 
gruous, and instinctively she pushed 
the dry toast towards him. The 
children were gone to school, and 
an unwonted quiet reigned in the 
house. 

The talk was conventional for 
some while ; Mr. Hepburn spoke 
mournfully of a young lady whose 
manner of going to the altar to 
communicate had deeply wounded his 
sense of Anglican propriety ; then, 
somewhat abruptly abbreviating the 
ritual question, Mrs. Hepburn re- 
marked on a sudden, there had been 
no news from the Bishop yet. 

" I do not suppose I have been in his 
lordship's thoughts," Mr. Hepburn 
said, in his preoccupied simple way. 
" The Vicar appears to think that 
Mr. Jardine will be offered East 
Wispers." 

"That is impossible now," Mrs. 
Hepburn said. " Quite impossible ! " 

The words tugged at Mr. Hep- 
burn's innocency, and brought him 
out of the clouds. " Why do you 
think so 1 " he asked. 

" Mr. Jardine's chances of East 
Wispers are at an end." This she 
said in a kind of desperation. " I 
have effectually stopped his ambition 
in that quarter." 

" Caroline, you cannot have seen the 
Bishop ? " 

" I have seen him, ' Mrs. Hepburn 
replied. 



" Then oh, Caroline, it is not 
possible that you can have betrayed 
Mr. Grant's confidence in me ? " 

" I spoke to the Bishop when he 
was in the town last week. Yes ; I 
mentioned East Wispers, and ex- 
plained to him briefly about ourselves. 
I gave him to understand that I was 
acting solely on my own initiative. 
He told me that the choice lay be- 
tween you and Mr. Jardine. I was 
strongly moved to acquaint him with 
the authorship of the anonymous 
letter in THE HERALD, but I refrained. 
There was no opportunity, and it was 
clear to me that more convincing 
proof was required. Wilfrid, can't 
you understand how natural it was 
for me to wish to do the best for you 1 
I hope I have been a good wife 

" Yes, yes, Caroline ; but it was 
unwise to speak to the Bishop. You 
cannot believe, on reflection, that it 
was in commendable taste." 

" I have been so worried of late I 
have not had time to reflect." 

" And then," said Mr. Hepburn, 
" you seem to have done something 
besides. What is it you have done, 
Caroline 1 " 

" I may as well tell you everything 
now, Wilfrid. You will be grieved, 
I dare say ; but all this is a heavier 
burden on my mind than I imagined 
it would be. I could not sleep last 
night. Indeed, I held back for two 
days before I could find courage to 
do it. Yet I don't say I am ashamed ; 
it was absolutely necessary to do some- 
thing, for the world is against us, 
the world in the Church, where it 
expresses itself in the most torturing 
refinements of cruelty ; and after all 
I have done nothing worse than fight 
it with its own weapons." 

" Tell me, tell me," Mr. Hepburn 
pleaded. 

"Well, I called on Mr. Grant, 
you know how devoted he is to you 
and induced him to obtain for me the 



The Living of East Wispers. 



59 



manuscript of Mr. Jardine's letter to 
his paper. I may not, perhaps, 
have been perfectly frank with him, 
and of course I feel sorry for that, 
and will some day apologise to him ; 
but I do not see that I need be sorry 
for anything else. He was kind 
enough to bring the manuscript to me. 
It was in Mr. Jardine's handwriting, 
and I have sent it to the Bishop." 

Mr. Hepburn did not speak at 
once. He seemed like a man to whom 
a thing has happened beyond his com- 
prehension. His chest fell in, and he 
sat with his ascetic white hands on 
the arms of his chair, like a copy of 
death. " It was a crime, Caroline. 
You tempted the young man to com- 
mit a theft." 

" Wilfrid ! " 

" He took what did not belong to 
him. He may be sent to prison." 

" But, Wilfrid, the manuscript was 
of no use to any one." 

" You have put it to a dreadful 
use. I do not reproach you ; we are 
one, Caroline ; we have had many 
troubles, and have borne them hand 
in hand. But regard this as we may, 
it is a very, very serious breach of 
confidence." 

" Mr. Grant would not betray 
me." 

" He may not be able to help him- 
self. Something is sure to come of 
this. The Bishop's sense of duty, his 
abhorrence of wrong-doing, may pre- 
vent him from keeping silent." 

" Wilfrid, you frighten me ! You 
can't believe that I would sanction 
anything in the nature of a crime 1 
Oh, I confess I may have been reck- 
less and over-anxious ; but it was for 
your sake and the children's, and 
he would never bring my name 
into it!" 

" The papers were not his to give 
to you or to any one. He could not 
have come by them lawfully." 

" He assured me they would not be 



wanted ; that they would never be 
missed ; I think I promised to let him 
have them back again : it seemed 
possible, somehow. They were all 
crumpled and full of holes, and covered 
with black marks. I believe I told 
him he was not to run any risk on my 
account." 

" That does not make his conduct 
the less culpable. Should the Bishop 
take action in the matter, and I do 
not see how he can avoid doing so 
young Grant, who has been so good to 
me in many ways, will be profession- 
ally ruined, even if the law is not 
invoked." 

" Oh, Wilfrid, you make me feel 
utterly miserable. I acted thought- 
lessly, I admit ; but I did not think 
it could be so serious as you make 
out." 

" When did you send the manu- 
script to the Bishop 1 '' 

" Only last night ; I posted it my- 
self, while you were at church." 

" His lordship would receive it this 
morning. He may be reading it, in 
amazement and pain, at this very 
moment. Caroline, Caroline, this was 
not the way ! We could never have 
been happy at East Wispers had we 
gone there by such methods. Last 
night, you say ; .1 must go to the 
Bishop at once. There is a train in a 
few minutes. Did, did you enclose 
a note of your own 1 " 

" No ; I merely put the manuscript 
in an envelope and addressed it to the 
Bishop at the Palace. I marked the 
envelope private, at least, I think I 
did ; I hardly knew what I was 
doing." 

Mr. Hepburn had risen. " Last 
night," he said. "I remember you 
seemed so anxious. Can you give me 
money to pay the fare ? Oh, Caroline, 
we must hope for the best. Hitherto 
God has been very merciful to us. 
Caroline, Caroline, we must not forget 
His loving-kindness." 



60 



The Living of East Wispers. 



IV 

ROSES after rain, and on the roses 
sunshine, and in the sunshine bees 
and butterflies ; high gray walls, birds 
calling to their young, an atmosphere 
of the sun to-day and of the things 
of long ago ; an old palace in an old 
garden, and in the garden this 
simple, contemplative gentleman, very 
miserable, very feeble, hopeless almost 
of prelatical forgiveness, yet tenderly 
resolute to make his appeal, whatever 
might come of it. 

The cathedral bells rang ; the cathe- 
dral spires rose high in the blue 
and white sky ; a white-robed throng 
might be moving through the stately 
aisles, if one could see them. The 
elusive subtle romance of the religious 
life, the imaginative throb of great 
tradition, the note of sanctity in 
environment ; these are not for all 
minds, but they were for Mr. Hep- 
burn's. Yet not to-day ; in a normal 
mood he would have lingered affec- 
tionately, smiling a thankfulness be- 
yond expression, in this pleasant 
garden, seeing wondei'ful and beauti- 
ful things with the inward sense which 
is created and fed by the heavenly 
vision. But this timid man, of fragile, 
fine character, was sorely afflicted, 
and not all the beauty of all the 
Bishop's garden could give peace to 
his sad heart or ease the torment of 
his thoughts. 

So Mr. Hepburn came at length to 
the place where he would be, to make 
his supplication ; and white roses and 
red hung over him as he stood by the 
Palace door, the door through which 
prelates great and small had passed 
since the Saxon days, and the air was 
heavy with perfume. The Bishop, 
the footman told him, was in Lon- 
don ; he had been speaking in the 
House of Lords on the night before, 
but he was expected home that 
morning ; the carriage, indeed, had 
gone to the station for his lordship. 



Mr. Hepburn expressing a wish to 
wait, the footman said in sympathy, 
" You seem tired, sir," and knowing 
him well, conducted him to the 
Bishop's study, and there left him. 

The study was small and ancient, 
and seemed haunted by invisible 
saintly presences and the voices of 
wise men. The windows were open 
and looked out on the garden, and 
the breeze made the roses incline 
this way, as if they would be where 
wisdom dwelt. Mr. Hepburn, from 
the high-backed chair, which had been 
given him, let his eyes wander timor- 
ously about the room. He saw scarce 
anything in detail, yet was impressed 
deeply, as an epileptic prisoner (doubt- 
ful of the nature of his crime) might 
be in a Court of Assize. The minutes 
passed, and he grew more desolate 
and dreading. At last, his gaze rest- 
ing on the Bishop's table (the only 
table in the room), he perceived there 
a heap of letters. 

The letters were apparently un- 
opened ; they would be waiting till 
the Bishop should come. The curate 
knew how punctilious his Diocesan 
was about his correspondence. Never- 
theless for some moments absolutely 
no speculation regarding the signifi- 
cance, the possibilities of this circum- 
stance entered Mr. Hepburn's mind. 
His was a slow brain naturally ; slower 
still to act where the opportunity of 
doubtful conduct was offered. On a 
sudden he raised his head in a startled 
nervous fashion, for it had occurred 
to him that, as the Bishop had been 
in London since the previous day, 
probably he had not seen Caroline's 
letter containing Mr. Jardine's manu- 
script. 

Mr. Hepburn moved uneasily in his 
chair ; he glanced towards the door, 
the window, and drew his hand across 
his brow in a bewildered way. The 
servant had shut the door ; he was 
alone in the study. His eyes were 



The Living of East Wispers. 



61 



fixed again on the letters ; he sighed 
heavily ; a moisture appeared on his 
face. If Caroline's letter should be 
there ! 

He stood up ; and as he moved to 
the table, the sound of carriage-wheels 
was heard. He was shaken spiritually 
rather than bodily his hand did not 
tremble at all as it turned over the 
letters. Yes here was Caroline's. 
He lifted it, held it over the other 
letters, his arm outstretched ; then 
suddenly let it fall and stood gazing 
at it, like a man who felt that he was 
tampering with the wrath of God. 
Then the Bishop's voice came from 
the stair. Mr. Hepburn's hand 
touched the letter again, but was in- 
stantly withdrawn ; his vital forces 
seemed paralysed. He uttered a low 
moan, and slid back to his chair, 
leaving the letter on the table. 

The Bishop entered, and Mr. Hep- 
burn (his hands on the rests of the 
chair) rose and bowed reverentially. 

" Ah, good morning, Mr. Hepburn. 
You are an early riser too. I am 
pleased to see you." 

The Bishop seated himself at the 
table. The servant placed a black 
bag on it, and left the study. Mr. 
Hepburn remained partially standing. 

" Be seated, Mr. Hepburn, be 
seated. I am sure you won't mind 
my going on with my letters. I 
wished to see you. I hope Mrs. Hep- 
burn is quite well." 

" Thank you, my lord 

The Bishop began to open his 
letters, using a little ivory paper-knife. 
He read each one as he opened it. 
Mrs. Hepburn's was the third which 
he took up. He thrust in the paper- 
knife. 

" My lord- 
Mr. Hepburn had advanced a step. 
He held forth his hands in a pitiful 
imploring way. The Bishop, pausing 
in the act of taking out Mr. Jardine's 
manuscript, looked at him curiously. 



: 'Yes, Mr. Hepburn 1 I think you 
are not well to-day." 

" That letter, my lord, is from my 
wife." 

" Indeed," said the Bishop. He 
smiled benignly. " I suppose it is 
about East Wispers. Mrs. Hepburn 

spo Aha, I must not betray a 

lady's confidence. Oh, no ; oh, no ; 
no, no. You have a careful and 
solicitous wife, Mr. Hepburn, an excel- 
lent wife. Oh, yes ; oh, yes, yes, yes." 

" My lord -" Mr. Hepburn 

moved up to the table as he spoke. 
" Might I beg of your lordship, my 
lord, as a peculiar kindness to me 
personally that you will not read 
my wife's letter 1 " 

The Bishop looked at the super- 
scription. " It is really from Mrs. 
Hepburn 1 " he said. 

" Yes, my lord." 

" Then certainly ; here is the 
letter," said the Bishop. 

Mr. Hepburn put it in his pocket. 
" Thank you, my lord," he faltered in 
a profound humility. "And thank 
thank God ! " he added, raising his 
voice. 

" Oh, it can't be so serious as that," 
the Bishop said, opening another 
letter. " After all, it was not un- 
natural that Mrs. Hepburn should 
desire to say a good word for 
you, though the practice is hardly 
openly to be encouraged. I have 
decided, Mr. Hepburn," the prelate 
added pleasantly, " to offer you the 
living of East Wispers, should you 
care to accept it." 

" My lord 

" I am sure Mrs. Hepburn will be 
pleased." 

" My lord 

" I have perfect confidence in you," 
said the Bishop. "So also has my 
daughter. Oh, yes ; oh, yes, yes, yes. 
And I hope you will remember to take 
some of our roses to Mrs. Hepburn 
when you go home." 



62 



THE CENTENARY OF OSSIAN. 



THE trial of James Macpherson for 
forgery and fraud may be said to 
have lasted a hundred years, from 
1762 to 1862. The former date is 
the year of the publication of the 
first batch of the Ossianic poems ; 
and the latter is the year in which 
was published THE BOOK OF THE DEAN 
OF LISMORE. Macpherson himself died 
in 1796, and the present year is 
therefore the centenary of his death. 
To understand the fury and bitter- 
ness of the Ossianic controversy, one 
of the fiercest of all literary fights, it 
is necessary to turn back for a moment 
into the political atmosphere of the 
eighteenth century. 

There is an Act of Parliament of 
George the Second which clearly 
shows the attitude of the English 
mind towards the Scottish Highlanders 
in the eighteenth century. In that 
Act Parliament solemnly ordained 
that "from and after the 1st day of 
August, 1747, no man or boy within 
that part of Great Britain called 
Scotland, shall on any pretence what- 
ever wear and put on the clothes 
commonly called Highland clothes, 
that is to say, the plaid, philibeag, or 
little kilt, trouse, shoulder-belt, or any 
part whatsoever of what peculiarly 
belongs to the Highland garb, and 
that no tartan or party-coloured plaid 
or stuff, shall be used for great coats or 
upper coats." The Act then went on 
to declare that if the smallest piece of 
tartan plaid could be detected among 
the garments of any Highland man or 
boy he should suffer six months' im- 
prisonment, and for a second offence 
seven years' penal servitude. The 
oath of a single witness before a 
Justice of the Peace was enough to 



effect a conviction. This attempt to 
" take the breeks off a Highlandman " 
by Act of Parliament grew immedi- 
ately out of the terror inspired by the 
rebellion of 1745 ; but underlying and 
reinforcing the panic-stricken legisla- 
tion there was the popular conviction 
that the Scottish mountains were in- 
habited by " black-kneed " cattle- 
thieves barely emerged from the canni- 
bal state. The shopkeepers of Manches- 
ter and Derby after Prince Charlie's 
invasion retained vivid pictures of bar- 
barous giants demanding at the point 
of a very long sword a bawbee, which, 
much to the profit of the invaders, 
the citizens, it is said, understood to 
be Gaelic for a guinea. To escape 
the general odium and contempt at- 
taching to all things Celtic, not a 
few clansmen, driven south by the 
clearances and dispersions of the time, 
were obliged to change their name. 
Many a Smith of London and Glasgow 
is an expatriated Macgregor. 

Into this medley of misconception 
about the Northern Celts came the 
Ossianic poems of 1762. It is worth 
recalling the preliminary circum- 
stances that led to their publication. 
The third quarter of the eighteenth 
century brought to Scotland a period 
of domestic peace after two hundred 
and fifty years of all but continuous 
civil and religious strife. Then for the 
first time grew up a generation of men 
who knew not the faction-fights of rival 
religions and rival royalties. Among 
the cultivators of literature and philo- 
sophy which this time of leisured tran- 
quillity brought forth in Edinburgh 
there were a few men whose sympathies 
were turned towards the Highlands ; 
among others was the Reverend John 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



63 



Home, author of the once famous 
tragedy of DOUGLAS. It was known, 
not to the educated public but to this 
small circle in the Scottish capital, 
that a mass of traditional literature, in 
prose and verse, was current among the 
Highlanders and Islesmen ; and it was 
surmised that at least a portion of this 
traditional literature dated back to 
very ancient times, for the bards of 
the Celtic races had excited the won- 
der and admiration of more than 
one Roman writer. In Ireland and 
Wales English conquerors had well- 
nigh obliterated the bards and bardic 
institutions; but among the Cale- 
donian Celts the bards, though a de- 
cadent race, had preserved to later 
times something of an apostolic 
succession. Looking round for means 
of tapping this Celtic literature, 
Home and his friends stumbled upon 
a young Badenoch Highlander who, 
from training and capabilities, seemed 
made to their hands. This was an 
Aberdeenshire schoolmaster named 
James Macpherson. The youth (he 
was only twenty-one at the time) had 
already shown his aptitude and in- 
clinations both by publishing original 
verse and by collecting various frag- 
ments of traditional Gaelic poems. 
Macpherson was prevailed upon to 
translate the latter into English, and 
they were pronounced by Home and 
his literary friends to be a precious 
discovery. A subscription was imme- 
diately raised, and Macpherson, with 
three assistants, was despatched upon a 
tour of the Highlands and Isles with 
the view of collecting as much Celtic 
poetry as could be found, and publish- 
ing it in an English translation. 
No one seems to have thought then of 
suggesting the publication of the 
Gaelic originals, which is not sur- 
prising, seeing that probably not a 
soul outside the Celts themselves 
could read the language in those days. 
Macpherson and his assistants during 



their tour collected a few manuscripts 
from the chiefs and others to whom 
they had introductions. But by far 
the greater quantity of the material 
they accumulated was composed of 
traditional songs and ballads, poems 
and stories taken down from the oral 
recitation of surviving remnants of 
bards, of herds and boatmen, of old 
men and women, and such others as 
become the repository of floating oral 
literature. At the end of two years a 
first instalment of the result of the 
commissioners' labours was given to 
the world under the title of FINGAL, AN 
ANCIENT EPIC POEM IN Six BOOKS, 

TOGETHER WITH SEVERAL OTHER POEMS 
BY OSSIAN, THE SON OF FlNGAL, TRANS- 
LATED PROM THE GAELIC LANGUAGE 
BY JAMES MACPHERSON. Two years 
later, in 1764, Macpherson published 
a further batch of epic and dramatic 
pieces, purporting to be translations 
of poems by Ossian. 

These publications very soon aroused 
the attention of literary men through- 
out Europe. The first feeling was one 
of surprise and perplexity. It was 
amazing, especially in that age of 
artificial writing, to see an ancient 
epic popping up like a Jack-in-the-box 
out of a No Man's Land. It seemed 
incredible that a blind old Highland 
bard should have composed sublime 
epic poems hundreds of years before 
any modern European nation had crept 
out of its cradle. In the controversy 
that followed England went to the 
north pole of criticism; Continental 
opinion took an opposite direction. 
The partisans of neither side addressed 
themselves dispassionately to the ques- 
tion of the origin of the poems. On 
the one hand vituperative personal 
abuse, and on the other extravagant 
admiration obscured the issues, so that 
both sides lost sight of the funda- 
mental problem, which was briefly 
this : did Macpherson take the de- 
tached and isolated traditional ballads 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



and stories about the exploits of Fingal 
and his warriors, and then himself fuse 
them into one continuous epic poem ; 
or did he find such a continuous epic 
already in existence in the Gaelic, and 
merely put the scattered fragments me- 
chanically together and translate them 
into English ? And further, how far 
was popular tradition correct in attri- 
buting either the Fingalian ballads 
and stories or the epic (if it existed) 
to a bard of the third or fourth cen- 
tury called Ossian 1 In other words, 
was Macpherson the Homer or the 
Pisistratus of the Ossianic poems ; and 
if he was only the Gaelic Pisistratus, 
who was the Gaelic Homer? Instead 
of investigating these problems, the 
English critics promptly put Macpher- 
son on his trial for fraud and forgery, 
while the Continental critics lost their 
heads over the invention of superla- 
tives to describe the glamour and the 
greatness of the poems. Looking to 
the loose literary customs of the 
eighteenth century no convincing ar- 
gument can be adduced from Mac- 
pherson's use of the word translation. 
It is necessary to remember the his- 
toric fact that in former times scribes 
and writers used the words translation 
and transcription with an easy free- 
dom very shocking to modern anti- 
quaries. All through the Middle 
Ages, down to quite recent times, 
few writers were troubled with that 
kind of literary conscience, and their 
readers did not expect it of them. 

Some of his European admirers 
went the length of declaring Ossian to 
be the greatest epic poet of all time, 
greater even than Homer. Macpher- 
son's translation was itself translated 
into half the languages of Europe. 
Even Goethe tried his hand, and in- 
corporated extracts from Ossian in 
WERTHER : Schiller wrote enthusias- 
tically of "the great nature of Ossian"; 
and Herder acknowledged the Gaelic 
poet as a source of inspiration. In 



Italy the Abb^ Csesarotti championed 
Macpherson against his English de- 
tractors. He placed Ossian on a level 
with Homer, if not above him. In 
reply to Johnson's taunt that Mac- 
pherson, and not Fingal, was the 
father of Ossian, the Abb^ rejoined, 
" Whether Ossian was the son of 
Fingal or not, he was certainly the 
son of Apollo." In France (where 
three separate translations appeared) 
Caesarotti's Italian version became, 
it is said, the favourite reading of 
Napoleon. 

It is generally thought that among 
British critics the most vehement op- 
ponent of Macpherson was Doctor 
Johnson. This is scarcely true. The 
most violent attack on the authenticity 
of the poems came from Lowland Scot- 
land, where the native poets possessed 
prescriptive rights of flinging mud at 
Celtic bards. Dean Ramsay of Edin- 
burgh has put it on record that 
Macpherson's OSSIAN was " universally 
damned," but it is to be presumed that 
those who commissioned the book were 
excepted. To prove its spurious cha- 
racter, Malcolm Laing searched with 
malicious minuteness for analogies. 
He found that Macpherson's transla- 
tion was nothing but " a patchwork 
of plagiarism " made up of garbled 
quotations from Milton, Shakespeare, 
the Greek and Latin poets, and the 
Bible. As a monument of erudition 
Laing's book deserves a place beside 
the classic treatise of Zachary Bogan, 
in which are discovered three hundred 
and twenty closely-printed pages of 
coincidences between Homer and the 
Old Testament. At least one Pres- 
byterian clergyman preached against 
the sinfulness of those persons who 
wasted their time in reading the ex- 
ploits of the Fingalian heroes instead 
of studying "the faithful words of 
God." "James Macpherson," he told 
his congregation, " calls the Fingalian 
heroine a blue-eyed maiden. Brethren., 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



65 



it is my firm conviction that the jade 
had been fechtin'." 

The gentle art of literary contro- 
versy was cultivated to a fine point 
in the eighteenth century. The con- 
temporary argument against the au- 
thenticity of the alleged discoveries 
was summarised with admirable 
lucidity by Pinkerton, the historian 
and antiquary. " The Celts," he wrote, 
" are of all savages the most deficient 
in understanding. Wisdom and in- 
genuity may be traced among the 
Samoyeds, Laps, and negroes, but, 
among Celts none of native growth. 
To say that a writer is a Celt is to 
say that he is a stranger to truth, 
modesty, and morality." Pinkerton is 
to be regarded as an expert witness 
in the case, being particularly well 
qualified to detect literary forgery. 
He had himself successfully passed off 
some of his own verses as ancient 
ballads purporting to be discovered in 
a manuscript of the sixteenth century. 
Another critic thought it would be 
easy to find among the Gaelic High- 
landers " good specimens of the ape- 
idiot," but to look " among savages 
burrowing in middens " for epic poems 
was the height of folly. 

Though not the most virulent, 
Doctor Johnson was certainly the 
most formidable of Macpherson's op- 
ponents. He threw all his influence 
into the scale against the poems. He 
uttered the dictum that " Gaelic was 
the rude speech of a barbarous people, 
who were content, as they conceived 
grossly, to be grossly understood." 
This argument, it is true, would have 
carried more weight if the Doctor had 
possessed an elementary acquaintance 
with the Gaelic language. There 
seemed to be nothing more to be said 
for the antiquity of the poems when 
Johnson laid it down that " there was 
not a Gaelic manuscript in the world 
one hundred years old, and there 
could be no polished language with- 

No. 439. VOL. LXXIV. 



out writing." And besides, whether 
ancient or modern, whether by Ossian 
or Macpherson, the poems were worth- 
less ; they were mere " bombast and 
fustian." It was "easy to abandon 
one's mind to write such stuff." Mac- 
pherson's reply to Johnson was to 
send a challenge to fight, couched, it 
is said, in the following elegant piece 
of Latinity : 

Maxime, si tu vis, cupio contendere 
tecum. 

The Doctor answered by purchasing a 
stout oak cudgel, and issuing an ulti- 
matum in which he said, " I hope I 
shall never be deterred from detecting 
what I think a cheat by the menaces 
of a ruffian'." Though Macpherson 
sulked in his tent and made no de- 
tailed reply to his critics and accusers, 
one of his backers kept up the spirit 
of the controversy by a retort in which 
he made a threefold classification of 
liars into ordinary liars, damned liars, 
and literary critics. 

It is an old Saxon taunt that the 
Celts are never happy or at peace ex- 
cept when they are fighting. If that 
be so the publication of OSSIAN must 
have brought much peace and happi- 
ness to the Irish and Scottish branches 
of the Celtic people. Irish scholars 
made it a national grievance that 
Macpherson had claimed the Ossianic 
poems for Scotland. They contended, 
with much warmth of argument, 
that the translation was nothing but 
a freely mangled conglomeration of 
old Irish poems, songs, and tales. The 
recriminations that ensue when mem- 
bers of a family quarrel are not for 
the ears of strangers. But this much 
may be said, that there was at least 
a shadow of excuse for the facetious 
writer who summed up the argument 
of the Irish faction thus : " If there 
is anything of merit and originality in 
Macpherson's CSSIAN, then it is Irish ; 
if not, it is Scottish." The question 

p 



66 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



whether the foundations of the Ossi- 
anic poems are Irish or Scotch, if 
pushed to an extremity, may easily 
degenerate into a quibble ; as though 
one should debate whether, let us say, 
Longfellow is an American or an 
Anglo-Saxon writer. Ballads about 
the Fingalian heroes, of unknown 
antiquity and popularly attributed to 
OSSIAN, are necessarily common to both 
branches of the Gaels ; just as stories 
of King Arthur and his knights are 
common to the Celts of Scotland, 
Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. The 
Marquis of Wellesley became an un- 
conscious partisan in the controversy. 
An old lady in London happened to 
read some parts of the book to him, 
when he suddenly exclaimed : " Why, 
I have heard all these stories before 
from my nurse in Ireland, who related 
them to me in the original Irish." 

Outside this Scoto-Irish storm in a 
teacup, the great tempest continued 
to rage round Macpherson. Apart 
from political prejudice and racial 
animosity it may be said the English 
antipathy to the Ossianic poems rested 
on the popular conviction so forcibly 
expressed by Doctor Johnson, that 
" there was not a Gaelic manuscript in 
the world a hundred years old." It is 
true that darkness is everywhere, to 
the blind. In this instance the per- 
spicuous Doctor was the blind. Yet 
the fault was not altogether his own ; 
the blindness was part of a cosmic 
process, a universal darkness. The 
melancholy fact is that in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries Europe 
lost its head over Guttenberg's inven- 
tion. The literary men of that time 
made a fetish of the printed book, 
as so many do to-day. The old 
manuscripts were neglected or used to 
light fires, if too soiled to make sugar- 
bags. The wisdom locked up in 
ballads and other oral tradition was 
contemptuously dismissed as old wives' 
tales. Percy's RELIQUES, the famous 



book which introduced English ballads 
into the world of reputable literature, 
was aptly christened. It was all that 
was left " of a large folio manuscript 
found lying on the floor under a 
bureau of the parlour, being used by 
the maids to light the fire." There 
was a manuscript book of Gaelic poetry 
at Douai which some think might have 
forestalled Macpherson if it had not 
been used by the students to light 
their pipes. The domestic servant 
who laid Mill's dining-room fire with 
the first volume of Carlyle's manu- 
script of THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 
would, therefore, have been in the 
best literary vogue if she had lived a 
century earlier. The kindest fate 
that could happen to a manuscript 
book in those days was for it to be- 
come concealed by dust in an unfre- 
quented corner of a great library. 

If for no other reason, James Mac- 
pherson would always be remembered 
as a collector of old manuscripts and 
traditional poems. He has a place 
among the few men of the eighteenth 
century whose sympathies were di- 
rected towards that literature of the 
people which lies outside printed 
books. It is no more than a coinci- 
dence, perhaps, that it was another 
Celt, Sir William Jones, whose intro- 
duction of Sanskrit to the scholars of 
Europe laid the foundation of scien- 
tific philology. Thanks to the scientific 
philologists, the Ossianic controversy 
has been lifted from the heated at- 
mosphere of partisan declamation into 
the cool region of impartial enquiry. 
When systematic search was made 
(by the philologists, not by the liter- 
ary men) it was found that an- 
cient Celtic manuscripts were every- 
where. In Dublin there are Celtic 
manuscripts in prose and verse, at 
least as old as the Middle Ages, 
enough to fill many hundred volumes. 
In the national libraries in Great 
Britain, it is estimated that if all 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



67 



the unedited Celtic manuscripts were 
printed, they would fill at least twelve 
to fourteen hundred octavo volumes. 
There is an instructive anecdote which 
tells of the effect produced on Moore 
the Irish poet, by the sudden disclo- 
sure of these old literary treasures. 
Moore one day in 1839 called on 
O'Curry at the Royal Irish Academy, 
to talk about a book on the History 
of Ireland the poet was writing. He 
found O'Curry surrounded by a num- 
ber of old Irish manuscripts. Struck 
by their venerable and imposing ap- 
pearance Moore remarked : " These 
huge tomes could not have been 
written by fools or for any foolish 
purpose. I never knew anything 
about them before, and I had no 
right to have undertaken the His- 
tory of Ireland." But he finished his 
history and published it all the same. 

But Celtic manuscripts are not 
confined to Dublin. There are few 
important libraries in Europe that do 
not possess either Celtic manuscripts 
or Latin manuscripts glossed with 
Celtic words. And as every one 
knows, the BOOK OF KELLS (generally 
conceded to be the most beautiful book 
in the world), though in the Latin 
language, was penned and illustrated 
by Gaelic monks, probably before the 
tenth century of our era. In the 
library of Balliol College there is a 
Gaelic poem of the twelfth century, 
and among the Continental libraries 
where other manuscripts have been 
found are Milan, Wurtzberg, Berne, 
Carlsruhe, Copenhagen, and even as 
far away as Carinthia. Some of 
these were perhaps carried abroad by 
the early missionaries of the Celtic 
Christian Church in Britain, for it 
was the custom of the bard to follow 
in the wake of the missionary. Many 
undoubtedly were scattered on the 
Continent by the expulsion of monks 
from the monasteries during the vari- 
ous attempts made by the English to 



civilise the Celtic fringe. The literary 
critics of the eighteenth century made 
up their minds that the language of 
the Celts was the last of the tongues 
of Europe to emerge from barbarism. 
The philologists of the 'nineteenth 
century have shown that the contrary 
is the fact. Among the Celts the 
vernacular speech was cultivated as a 
literary vehicle long before the Teu- 
tonic and Romance languages. In 
fact the present political insignifi- 
cance of the remnants of the Celtic 
nations makes it hard to realise that 
this handful of peasants is in pos- 
session of a literature " which in 
the Middle Ages exerted an immense 
influence, changed the current of 
European imagination, and imposed 
upon almost the whole of Christianity 
its poetical motives." In Ireland there 
were schools where native poetry was 
rigorously and systematically studied 
as a fine art at the very time that 
the Teutonic barbarians were pulling 
the Roman Empire to pieces, and 
tossing babies on spears for amusement. 
Bede tells us that it was customary 
in the seventh century for many of the 
Saxon nobility in England to attend 
these Irish schools, and it is known 
that their fame drew many students 
from the Continent. 

At the very time that Doctor 
Johnson uttered his famous dictum 
limiting the age of the oldest Gaelic 
manuscript to one hundred years, 
there was lying forgotten in London 
one which, if any person had taken the 
trouble to decipher and translate it, 
would have done more to settle the 
Ossianic controversy than all that 
was said by the combatants on either 
side. This was the manuscript known 
as THE BOOK OF THE DEAN OF Lis- 
MORE. Its history is that of so many 
other old writings, compiled with 
much care and labour, tossed into 
a den of lumber, the remnants rescued 
from rats and other irreverent beings 

F 2 



68 



The Centenary of Ossian. 



by some antiquary of the nineteenth 
century, and now valued by men at more 
than its weight in gold. THE BOOK 
OF THE DEAN OF LISMORE is a sort of 
commonplace book of Gaelic poetry, 
collected by one Sir James Macgregor 
who was Dean of Lismore in Argyle- 
shire in the early part of the sixteenth 
century. In this old collection of 
popular and traditional Gaelic poetry 
there are nine poems (about one thou- 
sand lines), which bear this super- 
scription : The author of this is Os- 
sian, the son of Fionn. Now, though 
none of these poems is literally the 
same as anything in Macpherson's 
Ossian, yet the topics, the treatment, 
and the alleged authorship are the 
same. That is to say, a blind old bard, 
Ossian, the son of Fionn (or Fingal), 
despondently sings of the mighty 
achievements of the patriarchal heroes 
who lived and fought during his youth. 
There are no means of fixing the dates 
of these ballads but internal evidence 
tends to show that possibly they be- 
long to the first century of the 
Christian era, and certainly are very 
much earlier than the sixteenth cen- 
tury, when the collection was made. 
The evidence of the Dean's Book 
thus proves two things. In the first 
place it proves that Macpherson had 
a mass of raw material in the shape 
of legendary ballads to work upon, 
and was therefore no mere literary 
impostor like poor Chatterton, such as 
Doctor Johnson and the Anglo-Scotch 
critics dubbed him. In the second 
place it proves the extreme improba- 
bility of the ballads having been 
forced into a continuous epic before 
the sixteenth century, or how did 
reference to it escape the Dean 1 
The conclusion from this evidence 
is, therefore, that Macpherson's OSSIAN 
is modern in form but ancient in 
matter ; that either Macpherson or 
some other Highland bard between the 
sixteenth and eighteenth centuries 



blended the different cycles of Ossianic 
ballads into one continuous narrative 
and threw it into the epic form. Pro- 
fessor Blackie was of opinion that we 
must look for the Gaelic Homer among 
the Highland bards of the early 
eighteenth century, before Macpher- 
son's time ; and he adduced many 
learned and ingenious arguments to 
establish this, though probably with- 
out convincing any one but himself. 
If it was Macpherson, as the majority 
of Celtic scholars agree, then of course 
he had no right to call FINGAL and 
the other poems a translation. But 
looking to the contemporary literary 
customs, few will be inclined to dispute 
the judgment of Doctor Skene (the 
most dispassionate of Celts), that Mac- 
pherson's fault in calling it a trans- 
lation was a comparatively trivial one, 
and that the real blot on his fame was 
his subsequent conduct. When the 
antiquity of the matter, as well as the 
form of the poems, was disputed, Mac- 
pherson was weak and foolish enough 
to set about concocting a set of 
Gaelic originals, from which the Eng- 
lish version purported to be trans- 
lated. These were published after his 
death by his literary executor ; that 
is to say, Ossian appeared in his own 
language after he had been printed in 
half the other languages of Europe. 
Doctor Skene calls this Gaelic version 
" a curious kind of mosaic constructed 
evidently with great labour afterwards, 
in which sentences, or parts of sen- 
tences, of genuine poems are cemented 
together in a very inferior word-paste 
of Macpherson's own." 

By one of the curiosities of literary 
coincidences, it was in 1862, exactly 
one hundred years after the publica- 
tion of FINGAL, that the BOOK OF THE 
DEAN OF LISMORE was made known to 
the world by means of the extracts 
and translations published by Doctors 
Skene and Maclauchan. But by this 
time the great Ossianic controversy 



The Centenqxy of Ossian. 



69 



had dwindled almost to vanishing 
point. To the great mass of persons 
of education in Europe Ossian had 
become but the faint echo of a storm 
that had long blown itself asleep. 
Besides Gaelic scholars and Celtic en- 
thusiasts there were few who took the 
trouble to form an opinion on the 
matter at all. Of these, some agreed 
with Wordsworth's verdict that " the 
spirit of Ossian was glorious, but Mac- 
pherson's OSSIAN was trash." Others 
sided with Macaulay, who, as trustee 
of the British Museum, refused to 
sanction the purchase of certain rare 
and invaluable Celtic manuscripts on 
the ground that "no Celtic manu- 
script was worth twopence halfpenny." 
Even among Highlanders the great 
Celtic bard, like the epic poets in 
Italy, found more champions than 
readers. A certain Italian gentleman, 
it is said, fought thirteen duels to 
establish the superiority of Tasso over 
Ariosto. In the thirteenth the cham- 
pion of Tasso fell mortally wounded. 
As he lay dying he moaned, " And 
after all I have not read either of 
them " ; whereto his opponent sympa- 
thetically replied, "Nor have I." 
Even so all good Highlanders are 
ready to fight for their favourite bard, 
but they do not read him ; at least so 
said Professor Blackie. 

This neglect is a strange fate for a 
book which cast a lasting ferment 
into the literature of Europe, and in 
regard to which many critics are 
agreed that no single work in British 
literature has had so wide-reaching, 
so potent, and so enduring an in- 
fluence, as Mr. William Sharp puts it 
in the introduction to his charming 
book LYRA CELTICA. The full force of 
Matthew Arnold's powerful advocacy 
failed to immediately popularise Ossian 



among educated men ; but his pleadings 
and arguments did much to break down 
the old Saxon antipathy to all things 
Celtic. In his book on THE STUDY OF 
CELTIC LITERATURE, Arnold showed 
that one of the qualities which 
the English people admire most in 
some of their great poets is the 
very quality which above all others 
is the distinguishing characteristic 
of the Celtic bards, and that Ossian 
in particular is saturated and per- 
vaded with the quintessence of this 
trait. To denote this characteristic 
trait of Celtic poetry Arnold used the 
word Titanism. No one has defined 
Titanism, but it has been caricatured 
in the saying, "The Celtic mind 
seems always sailing nowhere under 
full sail." Those who wished to 
know the full meaning of the word 
were recommended to discover it by 
devout study of Byron and Keats. 
" And where did they get it 1 " asks 
Arnold. "The Celts," he answers, 
" are the prime authors of this vein of 
piercing regret and passion, of this 
Titanism in poetry. A famous book, 
Macpherson's OSSIAN, carried in the 
last century this vein like a flood of 
lava through Europe. . . . Make the 
part of what is forged, modern, 
tawdry, spurious, in the book as large 
as you like, there will still be left a 
residue with the very soul of the 
Celtic genius in it, and which has the 
proud distinction of having brought 
this soul of the Celtic genius into 
contact with the genius of the nations 
of modern Europe, and enriched all 
our poetry by it. Woody Morven 
and echoing Lora and Selma with its 
silent halls, we all owe them a debt 
of gratitude, and when we are unjust 
enough to forget it, may the Muse 
forget us." 



70 



THE SPANISH MAIN. 1 



MR. BODWAY has anticipated one 
of the chief objections to his book 
with so much candour that criticism 
may well feel itself disarmed. To 
narrate the events of four hundred 
stirring years within the compass of 
a single volume of less than four 
hundred pages is indeed a task to 
make the boldest pause. Nor were 
these limitations altogether a matter 
of choice. Mr. Rodway's book has 
been written for the series known as. 
THE STORY OP THE NATIONS, and to 
the laws regulating that series he was 
necessarily forced to submit ; to which 
circumstance must also, we presume, 
be attributed the fact of his pages 
being disfigured by some of the worst 
llustrations which an era of cheap 
devices and hasty work has as yet 
contrived to produce. And of dimen- 
sions proportionate to this imposing 
subject is its literature. From the 
Decades of Peter Martyr to the Blue 
Book issued the other day (if a Blue 
Book may rank as literature) stretches 
an array of volumes in many lan- 
guages that it might puzzle a Heber 
to collect and a Macaulay to read. 
Nor would it be bounded by the do- 
main of print. To treat the subject 
exhaustively it would be necessary to 
explore the archives not only of our 
own country but of Spain also and of 
Portugal, of Italy, France, and Hol- 
land. The story of the Spanish Main 
is indeed a story of the nations, for 
it would be hard to name one of the 

1 1. THE WEST INDIES AND THE SPANISH 
MAIN ; by James Rodway. London, 1896. 

2. DOCUMENTS AND CORRESPONDENCE RE- 
LATING TO THE QUESTION OF BOUNDARY 
BETWEEN BRITISH GUIANA AND VENEZUELA ; 
presented to both Houses of Parliament by 
Command of Her Majesty, March, 1896. 



great Powers of Europe that has not 
at some period during the last four 
centuries stretched out a hand to that 
famous apple of discord. 

It would be unreasonable therefore 
to blame Mr. Bodway for having 
failed to achieve impossibilities. Every 
island and every province, as he says, 
has its own tale. It was inevitable 
that much should be left untold ; and 
inevitable also, to use his own words, 
that every West Indian should find 
something missing, some event un- 
mentioned which is of the greatest 
importance to his particular commu- 
nity. This discovery will extend 
beyond the West Indies. Every one 
whom study or curiosity or the love 
of gallant deeds has led to the sub- 
ject will make his own comment. 
Every Englishman who has dipped 
into the volumes of Hakluyt or Pur- 
chas, or knows them only in the pages 
of Southey, Charles Kingsley, Mr. 
Froude or Mr. Payne, who has read 
what Humboldt and Irving, Sir Arthur 
Helps and Mr. Fiske have written, 
will think himself competent to play 
the critic to Mr. Bodway ; and the 
more sternly he will be inclined to 
play it in proportion as his reading 
has lain more closely among the 
annalists of that earlier time. 1 For 

1 A list of some of the principal works in 
English on this subject published during this 
century may perhaps be of service to our 
readers. Humboldt's EXAMEN CRITIQUE has 
not indeed been translated, so far as we know, 
but good English versions of the others are 
common and cheap. We have not included 
the numerous pamphlets and catalogues of 
Mr. Harrisse, nor the prodigious NARRATIVE 
AND CRITICAL HISTORY OF AMERICA edited 
by Mr. Justin Winsor, as, though containing 
much curious and interesting information 
on many subjects extracted with great industry 
from many quarters, they are, from their 



The Spanish Main. 



71 



it is on that side that Mr. Rodway's 
summary is most deficient. Perhaps 
he was right. He was forced to de- 
cide between ancient history and 
modern, and probably he was wise to 
give his preference to the latter. The 
purveyors of knowledge for the million 
must consult the tastes of the million, 
and those do not, we take it, as a 
rule care to stray too far from their 
own times and interests. By passing 
lightly over the operations of the six- 
teenth century Mr. Rodway has been 
enabled to spare more time to the 

scope and form, rather works of reference 
than books to be read. 

The True History of the Conquest of Mexico ; 
by Captain Bemal Diaz del Castello, one of 
the Conquerors, written in the year 1568 
(translated by Maurice Keating). 

A History of the Buccaneers of America ; 
by Captain James Burney (vol. iv. of his 
Voyages and Discoveries in the South Sea). 

Lives of British Admirals; by Robert 
Southey. 

Life and Voyages of Columbus ; by "Wash- 
ington Irving. 

Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions 
of Columbus ; by Washington Irving. 

Examen Critique de I'Histoire de la Geo- 
graphic du Nouveau Continent; by A. von 
Humboldt. 

Cosmos; by A. von Humboldt (translated 
by E. C. Otte. vol. ii. ). 

Personal Narrative of Travels in the New 
Continent; by A. von Humboldt (translated 
by Thomasina Ross). 

The Despatches of Hernando Cortes, the Con- 
queror of Mexico, addressed to the Emperor 
Charles V. ; written during the Conquest 
(translated by George Folsom). 

History of the Conquest of Mexico ; by "W. H. 
Prescott. 

History of the Conquest of Peru ; by W. H. 
Prescott. 

The Spanish Conquest in America; by Sir 
Arthur Helps. 

The Discovery of America ; by John Fiske. 

Drake; by Julian Corbett (from the series 
of Men of Action). 

Voyages of the Elizabethan Seamen to 
America; by E. J. Payne. 

History of the New World called America ; 
by E. J. Payne. 

English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century ; 
by J. A. Froude. 

To these may be added many of the volumes 
published by the Hakluyt Society, and the 
Calendars of Colonial State Papers (America 
and "West Indies, 15741674) edited by the 
late Mr. Sainsbury. 



operations of the nineteenth. The 
early discoverers, conquerors, and 
settlers make way for the politicians, 
philanthropists, and speculators of a 
later day ; the exterminators of the 
Caribs are set aside in ' favour of 
the emancipators of the negro, and 
the dreams of M. de Lesseps take the 
place of the deeds of Balboa, Drake, 
and Morgan. 

Mr. Rodway was right no doubt ; 
yet we cannot but wish that he had 
dared to be wrong. It is not, of 
course, to be understood that he has 
altogether neglected these old heroes, 
though he has indeed ignored some who 
should certainly have had a place in his 
pages, if their title is to be taken as 
indicating their contents. But we wish 
that his scale of proportion had been 
different. We are partial and selfish, 
it will be said, and are grumbling 
because Mr. Rodway has not written 
to please us instead of some hundreds 
of more important folk. Perhaps, and 
yet we fancy some of our readers may 
be inclined to echo our complaint. 
Preach as he will, that stern and 
heavy-handed pedant whom we call 
the scientific historian, he will never 
eradicate from the general heart of 
man the consciousness of the romantic 
element in history and the love for it. 
Mr. Rodway is conscious of it, and 
loves it, we are persuaded, even as 
we do. " The shores of the Caribbean 
Sea," he writes, " have been the scene 
of marvellous adventures, of intense 
struggles between races and peoples, 
of pain, trouble, and disaster of almost 
every description. No wonder that 
the romance-writer has laid his scenes 
upon its beautiful islands and deep 
blue waters, for nowhere in the world, 
perhaps, could he find such a wealth 
of incident." In truth those three 
little words, the Spanish Main, are 
among the most eloquent in our lan- 
guage, and dull indeed must be the 
man in whom they can kindle no 



72 



The Spanish Main. 



spark of enthusiasm. As in the vision 
which the last of the bards beheld 
from Snowdon rises a shadowy pro- 
cession of great figures who have 
written their names deep upon the 
page of history, and too often, it must 
be owned, in characters of blood. The 
noblest of them all leads the way, 
Columbus with his lofty brow and 
brooding eyes. Thick and fast they 
throng : Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the 
discoverer of the Pacific Ocean, the 
man who knew not when he was 
beaten (hombre que no sabia estar 
par ado) ; Ojeda and Nicuesa, rivals in 
accomplishments, in courage, in enter- 
prise, and in misfortune ; the bold 
Biscayan pilot Juan de la Cosa, who 
was looked up to by his comrades as 
an oracle of the sea, and Americus 
Yespucius, whose name an accident of 
fortune has made immortal beyond 
his deserts ; the great Marquis of the 
Valley, Hernando Cortes, conqueror 
of Mexico, and Francisco Pizarro, 
conqueror of Peru ; Gonzalez Davila 
who discovered Nicaragua, and Con- 
trera, who conceived the magnificent 
design of making himself master of 
all the Main and monarch of the great 
South Sea, but who came no nearer 
to its accomplishment than taking 
Panama and losing his own head in 
return ; Orellana who sailed down 
the Amazon from the Andes to the 
sea, and won undying fame through 
treacherously deserting his captain ; 
and the Apostle of the Indies, 
the good and gentle Las Casas, in 
valour and endurance equal to any 
soldier of them all. The years pass 
and the scene widens. The English 
flag floats on the waters and English 
heretics profane the shores which God, 
so said the Vatican, had given to the 
Spaniard. The Englishman, who cared 
something, after his fashion, for God 
but not a jot for the Vatnan, 
entirely declined to acquiesce in such 
an outrageous interpretation of the 



divine decree. Led by John Hawkins 
and Francis Drake the Lutheran dogs 
swarmed into the golden seas, and 
knocked stoutly at the doors of the 
world's treasure-house. History has 
done them sometimes more and some- 
times less than justice. Their courage, 
stoutness, sagacity, and seamanship 
it is indeed impossible to rate too 
highly. Cruel, with rare exceptions, 
they never were ; the Indians hailed 
them as deliverers wherever they 
came, and even the Spaniards acknow- 
ledged them for gallant and generous 
enemies. But they were not quite 
perhaps the God-fearing, unselfish 
patriots that figure in Kingsley's and 
Froude's pages ; while assuredly they 
were something much more and better 
than the greedy and unscrupulous 
pirates of a later imagination. To 
class such men as Drake and Frobisher 
and Davis, Cumberland, Grenville, 
and Raleigh with the Buccaneers of 
the next century, argues either a 
woeful ignorance or a wilful mis- 
understanding of history. And even 
the Buccaneers themselves, the true 
Brethren of the Coast, not the common 
cut-throats of a later time, played their 
part in the great drama ; a bloody and 
brutal part it too often was, but one 
of which the true importance has not 
perhaps been fully recognised. Here, 
as will sometimes happen, the romance 
of history has overlaid its significance ; 
yet those privateers who, under secret 
commission, harried the Spaniard out 
of his gold and his wits during the 
latter half of the seventeenth century, 
added in their way an important 
chapter to our colonial history. There 
was little in common between the two 
men save courage and sagacity ; never- 
theless the same work which Drake 
begun in 1572 when he picked the 
lock of the new world at Nombre de 
Dios, was still in progress when a 
hundred years later Morgan led his 
men across the Isthmus of Darien to 



The Spanish Main. 



73 



sack the city of Panama. The motives 
which inspired the two men may not 
have been the same. It is possible 
that love of country had no great 
share in Morgan's actions, and that 
all religions were much the same to 
him. He was, as he confessed in the 
later days of his respectability, a 
man of the pike rather than of the 
book. But to probe men's motives 
after the lapse of two or three cen- 
turies must always be hazardous 
work. What they did the historian 
can tell ; why they did it he can only 
guess. It is at least certain that 
in the seventeenth century Morgan 
and his men helped to break the 
power of Spain in the Caribbean Sea, 
as Drake and his men had helped to 
break it in the sixteenth century ; and 
judged by the strict law of nations, 
the acts of both are equally indefen- 
sible. The two nations were ostensibly 
at peace when Drake sacked Cartha- 
gena in 1586 ; they were at peace 
when Morgan sacked Panama in 
1671. But the old forecastle theory 
that there could be no peace within 
the tropical line was in deed, if not in 
word, as steadfastly maintained in the 
sixteenth as in the seventeenth cen- 
tury ; and it is well for England, and 
well for the world, that it was so. 
Nursed in traditions of order, and 
with nothing to gain by disregard- 
ing them, we may shake our heads 
at it all now. The world has 
gained in politeness what it has 
lost in patriotism : men respect the 
law more if they fear God less : 
and nations, when they mean fight- 
ing now, are as precise and punctili- 
ous in the preliminaries as Mon- 
sieur Jourdain's fencing-master. War, 
which Erasmus, were he to revisit 
the earth, would no longer call the 
malady of princes, is a terrible thing ; 
but not in our time, nor in the time 
of our children's children, will arbitra- 
tion take its place. When diplomacy 



has said its last word, and failed, there 
will always remain the arbitrament 
of the sword. The old way was rough 
and ready, illegal, barbarous, what you 
please; but it was wondrously effective. 
Men fought first and arbitrated after- 
wards ; and the man who had proved 
himself strongest pronounced the 
award. That is what it really came to. 
While the men of affairs were writing 
and wrangling in the cabinets and 
councils of the old world, the men of 
action were doing their work for them 
in the seas and on the shores of the 
new world. It was Doctor Arnold's 
creed that the standard of human 
morality has been one and the same 
from the beginning of time, and that 
men of every age and every country 
must be judged only by the eternal 
laws of right and wrong. It is a more 
convenient creed for the churchman 
than the historian. There are indeed 
offences which, in Coleridge's phrase, 
are offences against the good manners 
of human nature itself ; and it may be 
granted that the man who committed 
such offences in the reign of Nebu- 
chadnezzar was as guilty as the man 
who should commit them in the reign 
of Victoria. That such offences were 
committed by some of the earlier 
Spanish conquerors cannot be dis- 
puted, though it seems no less certain 
that Las Casas and the English writers 
who followed his lead have greatly 
exaggerated their number and enor- 
mity ; they were rare, there is every 
reason to believe, among the early 
English adventurers, but in the next 
century there was no Drake to keep 
order and no Raleigh to entreat kind- 
ness. For such offences Spaniard and 
Englishman, Frenchman, Italian, and 
Hollander are all equally culpable. 
But for the rest, whatever moralist or 
historian may say, it would have fared 
ill not with England only, nor with 
all that we mean by the progress of 
the world, but with the general cause 



74 



The Spanish Main. 



of humanity, had there never been a 
moment in the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries when right gave way 
to might. 

The philanthropist will not of course 
agree with Robertson in calling the 
discovery and early settlement of 
America a splendid story ; and it 
must in truth be owned that there are 
many dark stains upon its splendour. 
But it is one which in the sterner 
qualities of daring, courage, and en- 
durance it would be hard to match 
in the annals of the human race ; and 
we cannot but think that Mr. Rodway 
might, even within the small space at 
his disposal, have made more of it 
than he has. To take but one instance 
of omission ; he has nowhere even 
mentioned the name of Balboa. Now 
Balboa, after Columbus and Cortez, 
unquestionably plays the finest part in 
what one may call the first act of the 
great drama. If his magnificent enter- 
prise in discovering the great South 
Sea were not enough to give him a 
place in Mr. Rodway's pages, he 
should at least have been remembered 
for his government of Darien, in which 
he showed not only the fighting 
qualities common to all the early 
conquerors, but a measure of sagacity, 
prudence, and humanity that was 
certainly not common. For the his- 
torian of Elizabeth's reign to omit 
from his pages the name of Francis 
Drake would be hardly more surpris- 
ing than for the historian of the 
Spanish Main to omit the name of 
Yasco Nunez de Balboa. 

And this brings us to a matter 
which has always puzzled us, and 
which Mr. Rodway has done nothing 
to elucidate. We write and talk 
glibly enough of the Spanish Main, 
but when did the phrase first come 
into use and what was its exact geo- 
graphical significance 1 The prevalent 
idea, borrowed, we take it, from the 
delightful romance of WESTWARD 



Ho !, seems to be that the phrase 
was in common use among the 
Elizabethan sailors to signify that 
part of the great American con- 
tinent on which the Spaniards had 
effected a settlement when we first 
broke into the Caribbean Sea ; that is 
to say, from Yera Cruz in the Gulf of 
Mexico to the delta of the Orinoco. 
But we cannot find that the phrase 
was in use at that time. In the pages 
of Hakluyt we read of the Main, of 
the Firm Land (which is of course a 
literal translation of the Spanish term 
Tierra Firma}, of the Mainland Coast, 
of the Coast of the Indies or of the West 
Indies ; but of the Spanish Main we 
have nowhere read. Nor have we 
been able to find it in the writers of 
the next century. Dampier does not 
use it, nor Lionel Wafer, nor the 
translator of Exquemelin's DE AMERI- 
CAENSCHE ZEE-ROOVERS ; it is not to 
be found in Morgan's official reports 
of his buccaneering exploits, nor in 
Ringrose's narrative, nor in Sharp's. 
In the map engraved for Dampier's 
YOYAGES (1729) the term Firm 
Land is employed to designate the 
territory now occupied by the Re- 
publics of Yenezuela and Colombia. 
The original Tierra Firma of the 
Spaniards, according to Ulloa, in- 
cluded only the provinces of Yeragua, 
Panama, and Darien, with the city of 
Panama for its capital. We may be 
in error, and certainly we do not pro- 
fess that our researches have been ex- 
haustive ; but the earliest use we have 
found of the term the Spanish Main 
is in THE JOURNAL OF ADMIRAL 
JAMES, lately published by the Navy 
Records Society, where on Novem- 
ber 12th, 1779, the Admiral notes 
that he " bore away for Truxillo 
on the Spanish Main," Truxillo 
being the port of Honduras. In 
the supplementary volume containing 
the maps and illustrations for the ' 
new edition of Bryan Edward's 



The Spanish Main. 



75 



HISTORY OF THE BRITISH WEST INDIES 
(published in 1818-19) the terms 
Terra Firma and Spanish Main are 
both used ; the former marking much 
the same extent of territory that is 
included in the Firm Land of Dam- 
pier's map, while the latter appears 
to signify only the coast-line extend- 
ing from the Mosquito Gulf to Cape 
la Vela. To this day people in the 
islands speak always of the Main, 
and the Main only. 

There is no doubt that the Spanish 
Main was an elastic phrase often 
vaguely used in our own century to 
include the Caribbean Archipelago as 
well as the mainland. But we doubt, 
with all respect to Mr. Rodway, 
whether it was ever stretched so far 
as to include the three provinces of 
Guiana. Mr. Rodway has lived in 
British Guiana and written an inter- 
esting book on it ; and this may possi- 
bly account for his devoting some of 
his scanty space to a portion of terri- 
tory which, unless we are altogether 
mistaken, does not properly come 
within his province at all. 

But whatever its exact territorial 
significance, or whenever the phrase 
first came into general use, as to its 
origin there can be no doubt. An 
ingenious gentleman has indeed derived 
main from the Spanish word manea, 
a shackle or fetter, holding it to 
signify the West Indian islands, 
which link, as it were, the mainland 
of Florida to the mainland of Vene- 
zuela. This remarkable interpretation 
is supported by a quotation from 
Bacon : " We turned conquerors and 
invaded the main of Spain." It would 
have been difficult to call a more in- 
convenient witness. What Bacon 
really wrote was, " In 1589 we turned 
challengers, and invaded the main of 
Spain ; " and his reference was of 
course to the expedition which Drake 
and Norreys led against the coasts of 
Portugal, then a province of Spain, 



in reprisal for Philip's great Armada 
of the previous year. The misplaced 
ingenuity of this interpretation almost, 
it must be said, finds a parallel in Mr. 
Rodway's own pages. The second 
title of Mr. Froude's delightful book, 
THE ENGLISH IN THE WEST INDIES, is, 
as everybody knows, THE Bow OF 
ULYSSES, which Mr. Rodway supposes 
to have much the same significance as 
the manea or main of our clever friend 
aforesaid. But if he had taken the 
trouble to refresh his memory with a 
peep at page fifteen of Mr. Froude's 
book, he would have been spared this 
rather unfortunate mistake. The 
English main is but the old French 
magne, which is in its turn the Latin 
magnus. It signifies the mainland, 
the great continent as distinguished 
from the islands ; just as, when applied 
to the sea, it signifies the great ocean 
as distinguished from smaller expanses 
of water. 

Such as it was, the Spanish Main 
was discovered by Columbus on his 
third voyage. The territories now 
known as Venezuela and British 
Guiana had been discovered, so the 
new Blue Book informs us, before the 
year 1520. This caution is unneces- 
sary ; the exact date is perfectly well 
known. Columbus sighted the island 
to which from its three mountain 
peaks he gave the name of Trinidad 
on July 31st, 1498 ; and on the fol- 
lowing day he caught his first glimpse 
of the continent in the lowlands which 
form the delta of the Orinoco. He 
at first supposed them to be a continu- 
ation of the Caribbean Archipelago, 
nor was it till he encountered the 
strong current running into the Gulf 
of Paria from the mouths of the 
Orinoco, and noticed the curious dis- 
coloration of the sea, that he realised 
the full importance of his discovery. 
No island, he said, could feed a river 
or rivers capable of discharging so 
vast a volume of water. He must 



76 



The Spanish Main. 



have reached the shores of some huge 
continent laid down on no map and 
as yet undreamed of by mortal man. 
On passing out of the gulf he turned 
to the west and sailed along the coast 
as far as the islands of Margarita and 
Cubagua, collecting from the kindly 
natives a good store of the pearls with 
which those waters abound. And 
ever as he sailed the land stretched 
away on his left hand, westward far 
as the eye could see ; a fair coast 
with many good harbours, and in the 
background a lofty range of moun- 
tains. But the great Admiral's 
bodily strength could endure no more. 
Racked with gout and fever, and 
almost blind, he turned his ship's 
head to the north-west and steered 
across the open sea for Hispaniola, 
proposing to send his brother Bartho- 
lomew back to continue his discoveries, 
while he recruited his health on shore. 
What happened on his arrival at the 
island is no part of our present story. 
For two weary years he and his 
brother laboured to restore order 
among a greedy and mutinous rabble ; 
and when he did at last reach Spain 
it was, to the everlasting disgrace of 
the Spanish nation, as a prisoner in 
irons. 

Meanwhile the liveliest curiosity 
was rife at the Court in Granada. 
The pearls, which Columbus had sent 
home with his despatches and the 
charts of his voyage, seemed an 
earnest of the teeming riches which 
his sanguine imagination attributed 
to the new coast. There was at 
that time idling about the Court a 
young adventurer whose name has 
been already mentioned, Alonzo de 
Ojeda. Brought up in the household 
of the Duke of Medina Celi, he had 
followed his patron to the Moorish 
Wars, had sailed with Columbus on 
his second voyage, and though still 
quite young had already earned a 
name for daring and enterprise. 



Through his intimacy with Bishop 
Fonseca, head of the Council for the 
Indies, he had acquired access to all 
the particulars of the new discovery ; 
and that malignant prelate, the 
Admiral's lifelong enemy, lent a 
ready ear to his suggestions that he 
should be entrusted to reap the rich 
harvest left ungathered by Columbus. 
It is probable that Ferdinand and 
Isabella were ignorant of this viola- 
tion of the privileges granted in their 
original agreement with the Admiral 
of the Ocean. At any rate Ojeda's 
commission was signed by Fonseca 
alone ; and he knew well that if the 
result of the voyage proved beneficial 
to the royal treasury Ferdinand at 
least would ask no inconvenient 
questions. No one will be dis- 
appointed to learn that the voyage 
was not successful. Neither gold nor 
pearls were found, and a cargo of 
slaves barely sufficed to pay the cost 
of the expedition. But a considerable 
addition was made to the geography 
of the new continent. The first land 
sighted (June, 1599) was that now 
known as Surinam, or Dutch Guiana, 
some two hundred leagues south of 
that made by Columbus in the 
previous year ; while the coast was 
explored northward as far as Cape 
la Vela, about one hundred and fifty 
leagues beyond his farthermost point. 
It was while in the Gulf of Maracaibo 
that Ojeda, observing how the houses 
of the natives were built on piles 
driven into the water, gave to the 
place the name of Venezuela, or 
Little Venice, which the who e 
province bears to this day. 

It may have been only an excess of 
caution which determined the histo- 
rian of the British Government to 
leave so ample a margin in the matter 
of these early dates ; in certain other 
matters, and in certain other dates 
also, the determining element would 
appear to have been rather a defi- 



The Spanish Main. 



77 



ciency of knowledge. We do not know 
who is responsible for the historical 
introduction to the Blue Book ; but 
it certainly lacks the precision one 
expects from a work bearing the 
stamp of a Government. It does not 
appear to have occurred to the writer 
that, when in 1580 the Dutch first 
began to establish themselves on the 
coast of Guiana, they were Spanish 
subjects. They were fighting, it is 
true, for their independence ; but they 
had not yet won it, nor indeed were 
they as yet even united in their 
struggle for freedom. A subject 
nation does not become free in a day 
by merely renouncing its allegiance. 
So long as Holland was even in 
theory a province of Spain, whatever 
territory she acquired in any part of 
the world could by the law of nations 
be held only for the Spanish crown. 
The children of slaves could not be 
born free. The independence of the 
Netherlands was acknowledged by 
Spain in 1609. The official histo- 
rian assigns the acknowledgment to 
1648, when the Thirty Years' War 
was closed by the Treaty of Mun- 
ster, or the Treaty of Westphalia 
as it is more commonly called. 
But he forgets, and it is curious 
that, so far as we have seen, nobody 
has reminded him of the Twelve 
Years' Truce which was signed be- 
tween Spain and the States-General 
of the United Provinces in 1609. 
The basis and backbone of that truce, 
over which the Commissioners had 
been wrangling for three years, was 
that Spain should treat with her 
rebellious subjects as with a free 
people. " Recognition of our sove- 
reignty," said Prince Maurice, " is the 
foundation-stone of these negotia- 
tions ; " and though he and John 
Barneveld had long parted company 
on most points, they were agreed on 
this. It was a bitter pill for the 



haughty Spaniard to swallow ; but the 
Dutch burghers stood firm. The 
treaty was signed at Antwerp on 
April 9th, 1609, first by the Am- 
bassadors of the Kings of France and 
Great Britain as mediators, and then 
by the deputies of the Archdukes and 
of the States-General. The first 
article was to this effect : That the 
Archdukes declared, as well in their 
own name as that of the King, that 
they were content to treat with the 
Lords the States-General of the United 
Provinces in quality of, and as holding 
them for, countries, provinces, and 
free states, over which they pretended 
to nothing. Another article declared 
that each party should remain seized 
of their respective possessions, and be 
not troubled therein by the other 
party during the truce. It is true 
that the war was renewed in the year 
following the expiration of the truce, 
but it was waged then on a different 
footing. Spain might solace her 
wounded dignity by professing to be 
occupied once again in chastising her 
rebellious subjects ; but the Powers 
of Europe recognised that the war was 
now between the Kingdom of Spain 
and the Republic of the United 
Provinces. The birth of Dutch 
independence dates not from the year 
1648 but from the year 1609. 

However, these facts do not, we 
presume, affect the matter at issue 
between Great Britain and Venezuela ; 
nor do they come strictly within the 
scope of this article. Here, for the 
present, we must part from Mr. Rod- 
way, and we part, on our side, in all 
good will. If we have been compelled 
to join issue with him on some few 
points, at least we owe him a debt of 
gratitude for the opportunity of re- 
newing our acquaintance with one of 
the most stirring and romantic, and 
certainly not one of the least important, 
chapters in the Story of the Nations. 



THOMAS HUGHES. 



ON March 25th was buried quietly 
at Brighton the body of one whom all 
that knew him, and many who did 
not, spoke of and thought of as Tom 
Hughes. 

The mind of the present writer 
runs back thirty years, and he recalls 
his excitement and joy when, as a 
boy, he first saw the author of TOM 
BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS in the flesh. 
He had come to see his son ; and his 
son's schoolfellow remembers how he 
wrote an extra letter to his home that 
week giving accurate details of the 
hero's height, complexion, hair (of 
this, even in those days, there was not 
much), his look, his voice. The voice 
was heard at the boys' Debating 
Society trouncing a profane young 
Tory who did not speak of Mr. 
Gladstone with the respect due to 
so good and great a man ; during the 
last decade the voice, we may observe, 
altered somewhat on that topic. 

Tom Hughes was just the man to 
join a boys' debate; he was a boy 
himself in all essentials to the very 
end. The title-page of his famous 
book records that it was written by 
an Old Boy; and that is precisely 
what he was. In a recent letter to a 
young and unknown correspondent in 
America, he styled himself an old boy 
of seventy-three. One of the wisest 
women who ever knew him well called 
him Master Tom ; and Master Tom in 
certain ways he always was. 

No one could have written TOM 
BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS who had not 
the heart of a boy ; and coming from 
the heart of one boy it entered into 
the hearts of thousands. "Let it be 
published, "said his old friend Septimus 



Hansard on seeing the manuscript, 
" it will be the book for all future 
Public School boys." Rugby knows 
what he did for cricket and all games. 
He so loved all manly sports that he 
loathed the gambling which has come 
to be so closely connected with too 
many of them. One of his last public 
appearances at Chester (where he was 
a Judge of County Courts) was as the 
opponent of the National Sporting 
League. He loved to confront the 
strong, as his schoolfellow Arthur 
Stanley loved to befriend the weak. 

In Parliament he was a Radical at 
a time when Radicalism was not the 
popular and paying creed that it has 
been sometimes since, but he found it 
a "heart-breaking place." It may be 
a good place for the man who only 
wants to belong to what has been 
called the best club in London, or who 
has axes of his own to grind and 
advertisements of himself to publish, 
but not a cheerful home for a man of 
moral fervour, a man who wants to 
see some wrong righted, some good 
work done. Of Co-operation he was 
a pioneer, and stood much storm and 
stress in its early days, to the no 
small loss of patrimony. That he 
bore as a boy might ; but when the 
better days came and his former 
colleagues waxed fat and kicked, 
behaved, that is to say, much like 
other capitalists, he waxed wroth and 
sad. At one time he was a bit of a 
Chartist, and joining Kingsley, in the 
days of Parson Lot, he became the 
hero of the working men, who in 
due time carried him, so to say, 
shoulder-high into Parliament ; but 
when they found him to be no 



Thomas Hughes. 



79 



delegate, and saw that in that ample, 
well-poised head he could carry two 
ideas and see two sides in some 
questions, they turned against him 
and desired another king, some one to 
represent their narrowness with more 
fidelity. 

As in the State, so in the Church, 
his breadth of mind was not acceptable. 
Of his devotion to the Church none 
who read or heard his words could 
entertain a doubt ; but when, in 
answer to an invitation, he spoke at a 
Church Congress some years ago, he 
was howled at by the bigots of both 
parties. He preferred Christianity to 
Churchmanship, and, though fond of 
faith, thought with Saint Paul that 
there was something to be said for hope 
and love. He had no objection to a 
fight ; but, not thinking a Church 
Congress the best place for one, he did 
not speak at such gatherings again. 

He was for many years a volunteer, 
inspiring enthusiasm and making 
friends there as elsewhere. In the 
army he had two brothers, and to it 
he sent a son. He was all for outdoor 
life, at least in theory ; of late years 
he did not take much air or exercise, 
though he loved the sun to the last, 
and was about to seek it in Italian skies 
when he died. His love of outdoor 
life led him to send two sons out to 
the prairies of America, and perhaps 
was partly responsible for the ill-fated 
scheme of Rugby, Tennessee. Young 
men were to combine the beauty of 
work with the sweetness of home ; 
going out with their own sisters they 
were in due time to exchange their 
society for that of other people's sisters. 
The scheme failed dismally, but the 
Old Boy never acknowledged, to others 
at least, that it was more than prema- 
ture. That scheme recalls America, 
to which he often went and where he 
was almost worshipped. He was an 
ardent Northerner thirty years ago, 
and his letters to THE SPECTATOR, 



recently reprinted as VACATION RAM- 
BLES, show what he felt about America 
and what he said there in 1870. A 
recent letter to THE TIMES from a 
friend tells us how keen a Northerner 
he was, and how he lectured that 
writer on the subject without waiting 
to discover that he was " preaching to 
the converted ; " that, too, was just 
like him to the last. 

These rambling words, let us here 
say, make no pretence to tell the story 
of his life ; they only try to show 
how full of interest and of interests 
he was. He touched life at so many 
points, and had so many friends, to 
say nothing of the thousands who 
seemed to know him and to love him 
through his books. 

If any one wished to see him angry, 
he might have been recommended to 
talk flippant scepticism ; to see him 
bored, nothing was so effective as an 
allusion to his books, especially to 
TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS. He was 
absolutely devoid of vanity, conceit, 
or literary spite ; he did much to make 
Lowell's books popular in England, 
and to the very last was appreciative 
of the humblest effort in the literary 
line, never stamping upon the smoking 
flax. 

He had two human masters, Doctor 
Arnold and F. D. Maurice ; these were 
the mainsprings of his life. The teach- 
ing of the latter he carried to the 
Working Men's College, where he did 
much for a long time, and of which he 
was for eleven years principal. There 
lies near us an address presented to 
him on his resigning that position in 
1883. 

Of the Co-operative Congress he 
was elected chairman in 1866, as is 
testified by a large mug adorned by a 
terrible picture of that official. Of 
the Crystal Palace also he was chair- 
man. For many years his face was 
familiar in the best society in London, 
using the adjective in no fashionable 



80 



Thomas Hughes. 



sense. Personages may have been 
refreshed to meet a man who was 
too much of a boy to approach 
them with bent back or bated breath. 
The author of THE BOOK OP SNOBS, 
it may be observed, was one of his 
closest friends. Most of his early 
intimates, such as Septimus Hansard 
and Matthew Arnold, had gone 
before him, but Dean Bradley, the 
Reverend John Llewelyn Davies, and 
Mr. J. M. Ludlow, to name three 
only, yet remain. Looking back on 
his whole life, one is moved to say of 
him what he said of his brother George 
(in his charming MEMOIR OP A BROTHER) 
and of Theodore Walrond, that he did 
much to keep the atmosphere of life 
clean and sweet about him. He was 
essentially a wholesome and a manly 
man. THE MANLINESS OP CHRIST is, 
some think, one of the most attractive 
of his books. 

He had his oddities, his limitations, 
but they need not be mentioned here. 
He loved, as he expressed it, to " sit at 
home in his own mind," and a roomy, 
well-furnished place to sit in it was. 
His memory was marvellous, not for 
details of daily life, but for long pas- 
sages of poetry, odds and ends, quaint 
Berkshire stories, with which he would 
illustrate and illumine passing topics. 
A talker he was not, save in an inter- 
jectional, exclamatory or declamatory 
fashion, at least in later years. His 
imaginative power was so great that 
he fancied he disliked the daily and 
weekly papers As a fact, few people 
were fonder of them or read them 



with greater assiduity ; and though 
he may have liked " staying in his 
own mind " he was also fond of travel 
in foreign countries, as may be seen 
from his letters sent to THE SPECTATOR 
under the signature Vacuus Viator, 
from 1862 to 1895, and republished, 
as has been said, last year. 

His liberality was wonderful. Until 
the letters addressed to him fell into 
other hands, no one knew how many 
asked help of him, and got it. He 
was not always wise in this matter ; 
his boyish trustfulness being in this, 
as in some other things, his bane. 
He believed almost any story, recog- 
nised fictitious claims, gave large sums, 
forgot that he had given, and there- 
fore gave again. Such a man, such a 
boy, wanted some one by him to shield, 
support, and cheer him, for though 
cheery he was not always cheerful ; 
some one full of sympathy, courage, 
common sense ; some one to see things 
as they are ; some one to attend to the 
small things of life, and not only to the 
panaceas, the great schemes. Those 
who knew Tom Hughes know, and 
those who did not may be glad to hear, 
that such a friend he had. 

He has gone from us and left a gap 
in the world, in many hearts, in many 
homes. His words and deeds have 
helped to make some idle men useful 
citizens and some old men feel young ; 
his sunny face and cheery greeting 
have brightened many lives. If some 
forgot him, Rugby did not, but wished 
to have his body buried at the school 
that he loved and served so well. 



MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE. 



JUNE, 1896. 



THE SECRET OF SAINT FLOREL. 



CHAPTER IV. 

SUNDAY dawned fresh and bright, 
just what an ideal country Sunday 
should be ; a cloudless sky, a soft 
wind, and wild roses garlanding 
every hedge. Bryant had ascertained 
that there was trout in the stream, 
and that a considerable stretch of 
the river was preserved by old Mr. 
Dene, which stretch he might very 
easily obtain permission to fish. 
This knowlege had sent him to bed in 
a particularly happy and contented 
frame of mind, and he was enjoying 
a rather prolonged morning doze when 
the church clock struck nine, and 
Hugh entered the room without any 
ceremony. " Come, I say," he observed, 
" aren't you going to get up 1 " 

Bryant turned over with a yawn, 
and was so startled at beholding the 
other's attire, that he sat bolt up- 
right and rubbed his eyes, thinking 
he must have been mistaken. There 
stood Hugh in his most irreproachable 
trousers and frock-coat, holding his 
cane, gloves, and hat. 

"My dear fellow," said Bryant in 
dismay, " what in the world are you 
going to do ? We can't go and call 
at Denehurst at this hour in the morn- 
ing." 

" I don't want to go and call at 

No. 440. VOL. LXXIV. 



Denehurst just at present," replied 
Hugh coolly. " I'm going to church, 
and it begins at ten." 

" What are you in such a hurry to 
go to church for 1 " asked Bryant, 
when a sudden thought struck him. 
" Ah, I remember now ; Phoebe comes 
to church, doesn't she 1 Well, you 
can go to church without me, I suppose, 
can't you 1 How do you know I 
sha'n't fall in love with her myself, 
and cut you out, eh 1 " 

But the end of it was that Hugh 
somehow prevailed, and ten o'clock, 
thanks to his enthusiasm, found them 
entering the ancient door of the 
Church of St. -Matthew, Coltham. It 
was a quaint little place, with white- 
washed walls whereon were many 
tablets commemorating the virtues of 
bygone Denes ; there were oaken pews 
worn black with age, and the stone 
floor was uneven from the same cause. 
No restorer's hand had as yet invaded 
it, and perhaps there were valuable 
frescoes under the whitewash, and 
unsuspected carving in the clumsy 
oak pews ; nevertheless the rude and 
homely aspect of everything har- 
monised pleasantly enough with the 
sunburned and rather vacant faces of 
the rustic congregation. Several 
windows were open, and a family of 
young swallows, in a nest against one 

G 



82 



The Secret o/ Saint FloreL 



of the heavy rafters of the roof, was 
in process of being fed with many 
chirps from the parent birds as they 
swooped fearlessly in and out. Beyond 
the open door, through the porch, a 
patch of sunlit turf, golden with 
buttercups, looked intensely bright 
in contrast to the cool darkened 
shadows of the church. All round, 
through every window, the ill-kept space 
of graveyard could be seen, its surface 
heaved into grassy mounds that seemed 
like waves on a peaceful and silent 
sea, whose gentle tide had overflowed 
the lives of such of the hamlet as had 
been gathered to their fathers. The 
soft wind murmured among dock and 
nettle and white hemlock ; the bees 
were astir in daisies and clover ; the 
butterflies danced in the sunshine ; 
and all things alive seemed to rejoice 
in the very act of living, with no 
dogging thought of those others who 
slept so near at hand. 

Bryant and his friend reached the 
church in more than ample time for 
service ; and now the former ob- 
served that a game of follow-my-leader 
was about to be begun, and that the 
leader was not to be himself. Hugh, 
(whose familiarity with the interior 
of the sacred edifice suspiciously 
smacked of previous exploration) 
marched straight up the aisle to- 
wards the chancel, in spite of whispered 
protestations from Bryant, who wished 
to be near the door in order to escape 
if desirable. Hugh turned a deaf 
ear to all remonstrances, and finally in- 
troduced himself and his companion 
into a pew in the chancel immediately 
behind one of the benches occupied 
by the rustic choir, to whose melody 
Bryant reflected with a shudder that 
he would be compelled to listen at 
rather close quarters. Immediately 
opposite, and behind the correspond- 
ing bench, was another pew, well 
cushioned and evidently belonging to 
a family of some standing. Bryant 



had just begun to consider the situa- 
tion when the organ struck up, the 
old parson in an ample surplice (they 
were Low Church at Coltham) came 
into the reading-desk, and the service 
began. 

Hugh's face of disgust as the con- 
gregation rose was a sight to see ; but 
the first sentences of the exhortation 
had hardly been read before the door 
under the tower opened and (so in- 
fectious is enthusiastic curiosity) Bry- 
ant felt himself turn as eagerly as his 
companion to see who was coming. 
Just as the exhortation concluded and 
every one knelt, the opposite pew had 
received its occupants, and they saw 
before them the lady of the miniature. 

If her loveliness had been striking 
in her portrait, it was ten times more 
so in reality, for no pictured beauty 
can equal that which lives and 
breathes. You may lay on your 
pigments as cunningly as you please ; 
they will never equal the rose-leaf hue 
on a maiden's cheek, or the sunny 
gleam of her hair. In this particular 
instance, too, beauty was the more 
striking for its remarkable foil. Lovely 
Phoebe was tall for a woman, and 
graceful as a swan ; but standing 
beside her, and of a stature which cer- 
tainly did not greatly exceed four feet 
and a half, was a dwarf, a man prob- 
ably of about five and twenty, though 
his countenance had a hideous kinship 
with an age which his years did not 
warrant. He was faultlessly dressed ; 
indeed the extraordinary nicety of his 
costume rendered his unpleasant ap- 
pearance the more conspicuous. His 
forehead was well-shaped, and be- 
tokened considerable intelligence ; his 
eyes were dark, narrow, and set very 
close to his nose, which was aquiline 
with delicate nostrils ; the upper part 
of his face was clean shaved, but 
round his pointed chin grew a thin 
curly beard, rising into whiskers 
which just touched the corners of- 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



83 



his thin-lipped mouth, accentuating 
its length and straightness. A colder 
or more cunning face it would be im- 
possible to imagine ; and Hugh would 
have been petrified with horror at this 
misshapen creature's contiguity to the 
lady, if the warmth of his admiration 
for the latter had not thawed him. 

They included the Litany and Com- 
munion Service in the morning-prayer 
at Coltham, so that the hours of wor- 
ship were somewhat prolonged ; but 
although Bryant silently rebelled, 
Hugh did not find his religious obser- 
vances at all tedious. Phoebe was 
naturally conscious that there were 
two strangers in church, and, seeing 
that she led the most secluded life, 
felt a little maidenly curiosity about 
them. She was not, however, at all 
a self-conscious young person, and hav- 
ing stolen a look at the two men, and 
decided that the younger and taller 
was the most attractive, though the 
other had a pleasant face, she turned 
her attention to her devotions, and 
to shutting out Mason Sawbridge's 
unpleasant face from her sight by 
an ingenious arrangement of her 
hand when on her knees. The dwarf 
on his part cast crafty and not alto- 
gether propitious glances into the op- 
posite pew, constantly turning his big 
head towards his lovely cousin, as 
though to assure himself that her 
looks were not also wandering in 
that direction. 

Rather to Bryant's surprise Hugh 
hurried out as soon as the last fold of 
the old parson's surplice had disap- 
peared ; he walked round to the op- 
posite side of the church, and standing 
among the graves gave vent to a lusty 
and strong observation, hardly befit- 
ting the sacred surroundings. " D 
it," he cried, " it's enough to make 
a fellow sick ! " 

" Perhaps she has an affection for 
him," suggested Bryant soothingly ; 
for he guessed the other's thoughts, 



and the contrast between the couple 
had not been without its effect even 
on himself. 

" Affection ! " echoed Hugh, with 
some heat. " How can you even 
say such a thing 1 Toleration is all 
she could possibly experience for such 
a creature." 

" Still you don't as yet know any- 
thing of the position of affairs between 
them. You can't possibly be sure of 
anything." 

" Didn't you see how she kept 
shrinking away every time his coat 
happened to brush against her dress 1 
She didn't let him even find the 
hymns, though he kept offering her 
his book. She hates him ; I'm as 
sure of it as though she had told me." 

"You had better riot jump to any 
rash conclusions," advised Bryant. 
" You probably intend to offer yourself 
as knight-errant." 

"There they go ! " interrupted Hugh, 
as he caught sight of a white dress 
round the corner. " Now I intend 
to follow at a respectful distance," 
and off he set. 

As nothing was to be gained by 
meditating among the tombs Bryant 
followed, not without a certain grow- 
ing interest in the development of 
events. 

Phoebe's tall figure, in soft white 
dress and shady hat, sailed gracefully 
along at an easy pace, to which her 
companion kept up with an uncouth 
amble. They followed the road with 
its dusty hedges for some time and 
then turned down a shady lane. 
Along one side ran a broad ditch, 
evidently a little stream in winter, 
though now its stagnant waters were 
covered with a white-flowered plant. 
A few yards down the lane a rustic 
bridge crossed the ditch to a little 
swinging wicket leading to what was 
evidently a private footpath. These 
details Hugh and Bryant discovered 
upon a nearer approach, for they 

G 2 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



naturally did not follow closely enough 
to make themselves conspicuous. 
" And now," said Bryant with a fine 
sarcasm, " perhaps you will condescend 
to some lunch." 

That afternoon about three o'clock 
they presented themselves at the great 
iron gates on the high-road, and in- 
terrogated the lodge-keeper. " No one 
visits here o' Sundays," was the answer 
to their request for admission ; and 
they were obliged to return after 
leaving their cards with On business 
connected with the Island of Reunion 
scribbled on them in pencil. 

There was nothing attractive about 
the bar-parlour of the Red Lion on 
Sunday, so the two friends set out 
for a stroll after dinner. It was 
a lovely evening, so quiet that the 
flight of a startled blackbird seemed 
an event, and the noiseless flitting of 
the ghostly little bats came as a sur- 
prise. It was growing rapidly dark, 
but the moon shone pale in the eastern 
sky, gathering a subtle radiance 
as the light of a lingering sunset 
slowly faded. Overhead in the still 
colourless arch of heaven one or two 
faint stars were trembling, and all 
unquiet things seemed to be holding 
their breath while Nature sank to 
sleep. They walked along silently 
enough, scarcely meeting a soul, and 
Hugh led the way past the church 
and down the lane. He did not hesi- 
tate at the bridge but passed over and 
opened the wicket. 

"I say, Strong," remonstrated his 
friend, " this is downright trespassing." 

" There's no notice-board," returned 
the unabashed Hugh. " If any one 
meets us, we can say we are strangers 
in the neighbourhood." 

They went along a winding path, 
apparently little used and leading 
among trees of every description ; at 
some date an attempt had been made 
to render this more ornamental by 
means of rock-work here and there 



and rustic seats. But all efforts to 
keep them in order had evidently long 
since ceased, for the wooden seats were 
rotting or overthrown, and moss and 
rank weeds had invaded the stone- 
work. Presently some rhododendrons, 
straggling and pale from growing in 
the shade, seemed to hint at a nearer 
approach to a garden, and Bryant, 
hesitating to go further, lingered a 
step or two behind his companion. 
The latter still went on ; but he had 
advanced barely a dozen paces before 
he gave an involuntary exclamation 
of surprise which speedily caused 
Bryant to join him. 



CHAPTER V 

THE path, after running for a few 
yards behind a clump of rhododendrons, 
suddenly ended in a small lawn shut 
in by trees on three sides, while on the 
fourth, exactly opposite to them, rose 
a wing of the old red brick house 
called Denehurst. The lawn was 
narrow, and the night was now bright, 
and so still that every sound reached 
them plainly as they stood concealed 
behind the shrubs. Three gray stone 
steps led up from the grass to the 
open French windows of a large room, 
inside which they could see a dinner- 
table with fruit and wine still upon it. 
The occupants were three : a hand- 
some gray-bearded old man whose 
long white hair gave him a most 
venerable appearance ; the hunchback 
they had seen in church, now arrayed in 
dress clothes as faultless as his morning 
garb ; and the beautiful Phoebe. The 
old man sat at the head of the table in 
an ancient carved oak chair, his magnifi- 
cent profile standing out clearly against 
the background of dark wood with 
which the room was panelled. Mason 
Sawbridge, the hunchback, sat oppo- 
site the window on the other side of 
the table, upon which the strong 



The Secret qf Saint Florel. 



85 



light of a lamp rendered everything 
plainly visible. The decanters and 
dishes of fruit had been hastily 
pushed aside before himself and the 
old man, so hastily indeed that a 
glass of wine had been upset, and its 
red stain on the white cloth somehow 
reminded Hugh of blood. The lamp- 
light shone upon a great pile of gold 
coin heaped between the two men 
who were throwing dice. The spec- 
tators could plainly hear the rattle of 
the cubes as the old man played. 
The number fell. " Mine ! " cried 
Mason exultantly, and he watched his 
antagonist with greedy eyes, as he 
doled out a pile of gold from his own 
heap and pushed it across the table. 
This time it was the hunchback's 
throw, and again he won, announcing 
the fact rather superciliously. Again a 
heap of gold was transferred, and now 
the old man clutched the dice. He 
rattled them with a half senile smile 
for so long that the other grew im- 
patient. 

" Come, don't play the fool," he 
cried roughly ; " throw, if you want to 
go on with the game." Dennis Dene 
threw and again he lost ; the gold 
pieces were counted out grudgingly, 
and the loser's face grew pitifully 
anxious as he saw his pile of money 
diminishing. So the play went on, 
while Phoebe, leaning against the 
frame of the window, turned her sweet 
face full to the moonlight and stood 
gazing out into the garden with her 
back to the game. She wore a look 
of patient weariness and sadness 
that would have touched colder 
hearts than those of the two unseen 
watchers among the shrubs. 

" She looks like an angel turning 
away from sin," whispered Hugh with 
unexpected fancy. " Oh, if I can only 
get her out of this ! " 

James Bryant was certainly not a 
sentimental or impulsive person, but 
the geniality of his nature leaped into 



a warmer feeling as he turned from 
the strange spectacle they were wit- 
nessing to look at his companion. 
Hugh's face had a curious expression 
of concentrated eagerness and tender 
pity, and as the other looked, he 
realised at once that his companion 
was in earnest. 

" If I could only get her out of 
this," murmured Hugh again. 

" I'm with you there, old fellow," 
answered Bryant with less deliberation 
than usual. 

But the strange scene they were 
witnessing was not yet over. The 
play grew more rapid and the players 
more excited ; the dice rattled, and 
the coins clinked as they were hastily 
handled ; the hunchback's laugh be- 
came more exultant, and his manner 
more overbearing as the luck fell to 
him again and again, while the old 
gamester's fingers trembled with ner- 
vousness, and his fine face seemed to 
grow pinched and shrunken with 
anxiety. At last Phoebe turned and 
moved away from the window ; they 
could see her figure pass across the 
room to her uncle's chair. His eager 
fingers were clutching the dice again, 
when she laid her own upon them ; at 
the touch his hands fell nervelessly on 
to the table before him, and he 
glanced up at her beautiful face with 
something like fear, which turned to 
shame at the grave rebuke of her 
eyes. 

" Playing again, Dennis 1 " she said 
quietly. " After your promise ! " 

"Only a throw or two more, 
Lucy 1 ?" he pleaded with pitiful earnest- 
ness. " Just two more, say ; it's true 
I have lost, but a couple of chances 
more may give me all that back again," 
and he pointed wistfully to the pile of 
coin on his antagonist's side of the 
table. 

" Not one ! " she said firmly. " Put 
the dice down, Dennis, and come 
away ; come with me." 



86 



The Secret of Saint Fiord. 



" Let him alone, Phoebe, if he likes 
to play," interrupted Mason. " It's 
amusing to me to see how excited he 
always gets over the rubbish ; and I 
do not get much amusement now- 
adays." 

Phoebe did not answer or even look 
towards the speaker ; she kept her 
hands upon her uncle's, who had bowed 
his head upon his chest, and over 
whose features a painfully senile ex- 
pression had begun to steal, as his 
flush of excitement died away. 

" Come away, Dennis ! Come away 
with me," she repeated. 

" No, no ; go, go ! Why do you 
interrupt me and worry me like this 1 
Go away, my dear ; you are only a 
woman after all, and cannot under- 
s and men's business ! " 

" Dennis," she insisted, " you pro- 
mised." 

" I promised, he repeated after 
her, mechanically and more quietly. 

" Let him alone, Phoebe," said the 
hunchback again, watching her efforts 
with a malicious smile. 

She laid her hands on the old man's 
white head, and smoothed his hair 
gently for a moment. " You will 
come away now, Dennis," she pleaded. 
" Come and dance ; it is such a long 
time since we danced." 

" You danced this morning," said 
Mason in a harsh voice. " You make 
the old man much more addle-brained, 
Phoebe, with humouring him like 
that." 

But the hunchback's contradictory 
tone roused a similar spirit in his 
uncle, who rose and clapped his hands. 
" A good idea, child ; a very good 
idea. I do not approve of Mason's 
interference. We will dance at 
once." 

He pushed back the table with 
some eagerness, and from a chair in 
the far corner of the room produced a 
violin. After a preliminary scrape 
across the strings, he placed it in 



position under his chin, and gravely 
advanced to the open space of floor 
where Phoebe stood waiting. And 
now, as the first movements of the 
minuet began, the music began also ; 
a strange wild strain of rhythmless 
melody, whose mournful and bewilder- 
ing cadences were an echo from the 
player's disordered brain. The sounds 
were as the unwritten harmonies that 
are born of wood and wind and water, 
while every now and then came a 
discordant crash when the bow trem- 
bled in the old man's fingers, and 
swept the strings with a bodily power 
which had no mental guide for its 
balance. Every wave of alternating 
strength and weakness that passed 
over his intelligence was faithfully re- 
produced in the irregular sweetness 
and discord of his music. All the 
time his stately presence moved with 
the utmost correctness through the 
courtly measure of the minuet, which 
Phoebe, with pale face and a certain 
reserved dignity of mien, was dancing 
with him. Behind the table, on which 
the pile of coin glittered like a great 
yellow flame in the lamplight, stood 
Mason Sawbridge, his hands thrust 
deep into his pockets, his shoulders 
curving forward till they literally 
seemed at the level of his ears, his crafty 
face suffused with a sardonic grin of 
mockery which every now and then 
found vent in a harsh guttural laugh. 
The two spectators behind the rhodo- 
dendrons were gazing at this extra- 
ordinary scene with what could only 
be described as fascination. At length, 
however, as the hunchback gave a 
more unpleasant laugh than usual, 
Bryant, who was perhaps less absorbed 
than his companion, seized the latter 
by the arm, just as he was apparently 
meditating a rush forward, and forci- 
bly dragged him back for a few paces. 
Once away from the moonlit lawn and 
open window, and standing in the 
dark little path by which they had 



The Secret q Saint Florel. 



87 



come, Hugh gave a gasp and recovered 
himself. 

" Good God," he cried, " surely we 
must be living in some horrible night- 
mare ! I never saw such a sight in 
my life." 

" Nor I either," returned Bryant 
truthfully. 

" What does it all mean 1 Why, 
that poor girl must be nearly ready 
for a lunatic asylum by now, if this 
sort of thing has been going on 
long." 

" The old gentleman," said Bryant, 
" is of course our deceased friend 
Anthony's uncle ; and, according to the 
innkeeper, he is also uncle to the lady 
and the hunchback. Of course he's 
mad ; and that crooked nephew of 
his obviously does his best to en- 
courage the gambling tastes that 
have ruined him. To-morrow we 
will call : but I should not be at all 
surprised if our interview was of the 
briefest." 

" And that beautiful girl too, to 
be condemned to live with such com- 
panions. It's heartrending ! " Bryant 
did not answer, and Hugh presently 
began again. " What a revolting ex- 
istence ! One can see she is unhappy. 
I don't intend to give her up, Bryant." 
Still his friend made no reply. " I 
don't intend to give her up," repeated 
Hugh with quite a threatening inflec- 
tion in his tone. 

" I don't suggest that you should," 
answered Bryant. 

" Then why don't you say some- 
thing," said Hugh almost angrily, 
" instead of never opening your 
lips ? " 

" What do you want me to say 1 " 

" Well, you might give a fellow a 
little sympathy and advice." 

" Oh, if you want advice, you can 
have it. Be sure of your ground before 
you jump, Strong; men who plunge 
forward after a woman whom they 
know nothing about are very apt, 



metaphorically speaking, to break 
their necks. To judge from what 
little I have seen, this hardly appears 
a very desirable family to marry 
into." 

This was the voice of cold prudence 
with a vengeance ; and, moreover, there 
was a vein of reason running through 
Bryant's observations that Hugh felt 
himself unwillingly compelled to ac- 
knowledge. " There may be some- 
thing in what you say," he admitted, 
" and I don't want to make a fool of 
myself ; but all the same I'm in ear- 
nest, Bryant. There's a saying about 
marriages being made in heaven, you 
know." 

" Look here," said Bryant ; " I'm a 
good ten years older than you, and 
one way and another I've known a 
good deal about women. There may 
be marriages that are made in heaven : 
the powers above forbid that I should 
deny their prerogative ; but it strikes 
me that the percentage of celestially- 
planned unions is very small. I 
wouldn't venture upon one myself on 
such a presumption." 

" Of course I know you're a con- 
firmed old bachelor," answered Hugh. 
" Still, you see, if every one was of 
your opinion mankind would come to 
an end." 

" Well, you won't assist in the ex- 
tinction of humanity by listening to 
anything I say, I am quite aware of 
that," said Bryant; "and now here 
we are on the road again. I think 
we had better both sleep over this 
matter before we talk about it any 
more ; our brains will be clearer." 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE next morning, while they were 
breakfasting, a boy brought a note 
addressed to Bryant. It was written 
on the thickest and most costly of 
crested paper and ran as follows, in 



88 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



an exceedingly clear and minute 
handwriting. 

DENEHURST, 
Monday morning. 

MY DEAR SIR, I exceedingly regret 
that, through, the stupidity of the lodge- 
keeper, you should have been refused 
admittance yesterday, and must apologise 
for a seeming discourtesy that I trust you 
will not impute to myself. My uncle, now 
in failing health, was at one time so much 
worried by visitors upon all sorts of business 
matters, that I was compelled to make 
some arrangement for the prevention of 
the annoyance, by forbidding callers on 
Sundays. If three o'clock this afternoon 
will be a convenient time to come, I shall 
be most happy to see you at that hour, and 
to hear what has brought you to Coltham. 
I presume, from the message on your card, 
that your visit is connected with the sad 
news of my cousin Anthony's death, which 
we received a short time ago. Again 
apologising for the annoyance you have 
been caused, Believe me, Sir, faithfully 
yours, MASON SAWBRIDGE. 

" That's civil enough," observed 
Hugh, when he had read this effusion 
which his companion handed to him 
for perusal. 

Bryant nodded, and forthwith pro- 
ceeded to despatch an answer, intimat- 
ing that they would be at Denehurst 
at the hour suggested. 

In spite of the heavy financial em- 
barrassments which had pressed upon 
the estate, and to meet which a good 
deal of valuable timber had been felled, 
there still remained some magnificent 
clumps of trees in the park, which, 
together with a fine avenue and a con- 
siderable extent of wood beyond, gave 
Denehurst a most attractive appear- 
ance. The afternoon sun was sending 
broad shafts of light upon the cluster- 
ing masses of foliage and the spacious 
tracts of deep grass that grew be- 
tween. The cows ruminated con- 
tentedly, and the sheep stopped 
browsing for a moment to raise their 
heads with an inquiring glance at the 
strangers as they passed up the avenue, 
where the squirrels scampered and 



climbed and the wood-pigeons cooed 
in the topmost branches. In the heat 
of the afternoon most of the birds 
were silent, but the occasional crow 
of a pheasant could be heard from the 
woods behind the house ; and every 
now and again a thrush, that could 
not contain itself for joy at its own 
existence, burst forth with a few 
ecstatic notes. 

" This doesn't look like a place with 
a skeleton in its cupboard, does it 1 " 
remarked Hugh presently. 

"Nevertheless we've heard it rattle," 
replied Bryant ; and so indeed they 
had. 

At the end of the avenue was a 
second pair of gates admitting to the 
garden, and here the lack of funds on 
the Denehurst estate was more appa- 
rent. The paths were grass-grown, 
the flower-beds overrun with weeds, 
and the lawns in sad need of mowing. 
The stone figure of a Triton pouring 
water from a shell, which had once 
been a fountain, was green from damp 
and neglect, while the water which 
had once issued from the shell had 
long since ceased to fall into a basin 
now full only of nettles. The house 
was built of red brick, mellowed by 
age to a harmonious colour ; there 
was a square central block, from which 
a wing extended to right and left, 
while its many windows were closed 
with green jalousies. Only three of 
these, on the left of the white- 
columned portico, were open ; the rest 
of the house seemed uninhabited. 

Hugh seized the ponderous handle 
at the end of a heavy iron chain, which 
evidently communicated with the hall, 
and gave it a lusty pull, in answer to 
which they heard a faint jangle muffled 
by several doors and passages. After 
a pause, so long that they were on the 
point of ringing again, a respectable- 
looking elderly man-servant admitted 
them to a bare and lofty hall paved 
with squares of black and white 



The Secret of .Saint Florel. 



89 



marble ; they followed the man across 
this, their footsteps echoing as though 
down the aisle of a church, to a door 
in a deep embrasure, which introduced 
them to the drawing-room, where they 
were left to their own reflections. 

It was a long narrow room, its walls 
adorned with tarnished white and gold 
paper, while a faded carpet covered 
part of its parquet floor. The three 
windows looking on the garden were 
open, and the fresh air and sunshine 
were doing their best to dispel the 
damp and musty odour which told of 
neglect and disuse. Everything in 
the room seemed to belong to a past 
of sad and haunting memories. The 
tapestry covering the spindle-legged 
chairs was faded to one dull uniform 
tint : the heavy gilt cornices support- 
ing the curtains were tarnished to the 
semblance of old brass ; while the sun 
had robbed the curtains themselves of 
any decided colour. The nymphs and 
cupids, disporting themselves on the 
ceiling in a maze of flowers and float- 
ing ribbons, seemed to partake of the 
general melancholy of the apartment, 
and amid their smirks and dimples to 
gaze down upon its faded glories with 
a sad neutrality of expression. 

The antiquated air of the room was 
presently, however, rudely dispelled 
by the entrance of Mason Sawbridge 
in all the panoply of fashionable tail- 
oring, and with a swagger which 
its attempt at geniality rendered gro- 
tesque. " Good afternoon, gentlemen," 
he began ; "I am delighted to see 
you, and much regret that our meeting 
should have been delayed. As we have 
not the advantage of a common friend 
you will perhaps introduce each other. 
Thanks, thanks," he continued, when 
Bryant, who now took the lead, had 
presented Hugh. " And now allow 
me to ask what has brought you both 
to Coltham 1 " 

" We are entrusted by the Consul 
at Saint Denis with this parcel," re- 



turned Bryant, "which he asked us 
either to convey to Denehurst or to 
post. Owing to the curious circum- 
stances connected with the death of 
Mr. Anthony Holson, it struck us 
both that a personal interview might 
be more satisfactory to you." 

"Most kind of you, I'm sure," re- 
turned Sawbridge, taking the packet. 
"A few questions as to my unfor- 
tunate cousin's affairs will, indeed, be 
a great personal relief. Poor An- 
thony ! " and he broke off with a 
sigh of regret which seemed genuine 
enough. " He was presumed to have 
met his death in a landslip, I think 
the Consul wrote," he continued ; " but 
was the body 'ever found?" 

" It had not been when we came 
away," returned Bn^ant ; "nor is it 
likely ever to be discovered under 
hundreds of tons of earth." 

" There seem also peculiar circum- 
stances," went on the hunchback in 
a lower tone. " My cousin appears 
suspected of murder." 

"Yes, he was," said Bryant shortly. 

"And, pardon my question what 
is your opinion ? " 

" My dear sir," returned Bryant, 
" I can only judge from the same cir- 
cumstances as other people. The body 
of a woman, well known to have been 
on intimate terms with your cousin, 
was found murdered under a shallow 
covering of earth, with his pocket- 
knife lying beside her. The matter 
was considered suspicious enough to 
warrant the arrest of Mr. Anthony 
Holson, if he could be found ; but no 
clue to him could be obtained, and 
there is every reason to believe that 
he is dead." 

"No one ever saw him alive after the 
night of the landslip ? " asked Mason. 

"Not that I am aware of," said 
Bryant. 

" Then the general impression in 
Reunion is that my cousin is dead ? 
You yourself think so ? " 



90 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



The last words were twisted into 
the form of a question, so Bryant 
answered : " Yes ; certainly I think 
so." 

" The finding of Anthony's knife be- 
side the body of the woman was the 
only piece of incriminating evidence 1 
That is merely circumstantial." 

" It was well known, of course, that 
the murdered woman was his mistress," 
returned Bryant ; " and every one in 
his house knew that he left it on the 
day of the landslip to go to Saint Florel, 
when the catastrophe took place. 
More than that, no one knows." 

" Apparently no one can prove that 
my cousin was ever in Saint Florel at 
all on that day, though every one 
knew his intention of going there," 
said the hunchback with thoughtful 
deliberation. 

" I fancy not," said Bryant. " The 
place was very small and some dis- 
tance from the high road ; very few 
people ever went there except upon 
business connected with the estate." 

" I cannot for one moment believe 
that my cousin committed murder," 
said Mason firmly. " He was a man 
of a somewhat passionate tempera- 
ment, but he was certainly incapable 
of such a crime. If he did not do it, 
and was not himself killed by the 
landslip, why did he not return ? If 
he did do it, and escaped the landslip 
by some means, I cannot conceive any 
reason for his remaining in hiding. 
You say that no witness against him 
remained 1 " 

" Every living soul in Saint Florel 
was buried alive, I believe," answered 
Bryant. 

" For the sake of the argument I 
will stretch a point," said Mason, 
" and admit that my poor cousin did 
commit the murder. Supposing that 
to be so, and that every one but him- 
self was killed, why should he have 
shrunk from taking his trial ? The 
mere circumstance of his knife being 



found near the body would not have 
been enough to convict him, and no 
other witness was possible. No ; I fear 
I must allow myself to be forced to the 
conclusion that he is dead," and again 
he sighed. 

" Indeed, I think it is the only 
possible explanation of his disappear- 
ance," said Bryant. 

" And you think the same 1 " in- 
quired Mason turning to Hugh, who 
had listened in silence to the conver- 
sation. 

" Yes, I do," replied Hugh. 

" You accompanied Mr. Bryant, I 
believe, in the exploration of Saint 
Florel ? " 

"Yes," answered Hugh. "I had 
just the same opportunities of judging 
as he had, and I have come to pre- 
cisely the same conclusion." 

" Well, it's a sad business alto- 
gether, and this inability to produce 
proof of death complicates matters," 
said Mason. " My cousin Anthony 
was in a somewhat responsible posi- 
tion here, I must tell you, and looked 
entirely after the interest of our uncle, 
who has been failing for some years. 
Indeed the poor old gentleman is 
really getting a trifle weak in mind. 
Anthony took charge of everything 
connected with this estate, and was 
also by natural relationship guardian 
to our cousin Miss Thayne, who is 
still a minor. For the present I shall 
of course continue to act in business 
matters for my cousin Anthony, as I 
have done by his own wish, and under 
power of attorney, ever since he left 
us three years ago. By the way, 
gentlemen, I suppose I need hardly 
ask you not to mention these unpleas- 
ant suspicions about here. The dead 
may as well have the benefit of silence, 
since there is no object in speaking." 

" Certainly," answered Bryant ; 
" you may rely upon my silence, 
and that of Mr. Strong also." 

" Well, now," said the hunchback 



The Secret q Saint Florel. 



91 



affably, " pray reckon upon me to do 
anything in my power to make your 
stay in Coltham pleasant. Do you 
fish ? " 

Bryant was just beginning an eager 
affirmative when a voice from the gar- 
den interrupted him. Both he and 
Strong recognised it at once and were 
silent ; it was the voice of Phoebe. 

" Well, Mason, so at last you have 
made up your mind to have the windows 
opened a little. Why didn'fc you do it 
before 1 I've reminded you a good 
many times." 

As she said the last words the 
speaker came up to the open window 
which was high enough from the level 
of the ground outside to leave only 
her head and shoulders visible. She 
wore a cotton dress of some kind, 
and a wide hat of pale yellow straw 
made a most effective background to 
the rose-leaf tints of her face and the 
delicate ripples of her fair hair. 

" I beg your pardon ! " she cried, 
flushing with surprise and confusion 
as she saw the occupants of the room. 
" I had no idea" 

" Come in, Phoebe," said the hunch- 
back, " and see these gentlemen." 
Then as she turned away to enter the 
front door he added hastily : " My 
cousin Anthony was practically en- 
gaged to her, and his death has been 
a great shock. Pray say no word of 
this murder. I have not of course 
mentioned the matter." 

Bryant and Hugh both bowed 
assent, and in another second were 
being presented to " my cousin, Miss 
Thayne." 

If Hugh had fallen in love with her 
miniature and worshipped her, to the 
neglect of orthodoxy, in church and 
with the width of the chancel between 
them, what were his feelings when she 
was seated close to him in a chair, 
and conversing amiably within only a 
yard or two of distance 1 She resem- 
bled her portrait in the way that flesh 



and blood always does resemble ivory. 
If a person looks ugly in a life-like 
portrait he will look much uglier in 
reality ; and if he (or she) be beauti- 
ful, life will seem ten times lovelier 
than its presentment. Her young 
grace and vigorous presence seemed 
suddenly, to Hugh at least, to imbue 
the atmosphere of the ghostly draw- 
ing-room with the warmth and bright- 
ness of summer. The spindle-legged 
chairs took an air of fashion, and the 
faded tapestry bloomed again ; the 
very nymphs and cupids on the ceiling 
seemed to renew their smiles, and 
whisper with simpering lips to Hugh 
that he was a lucky fellow. 

" You live in a lovely country, 
Miss Thayne," he said presently, 
when Bryant and the hunchback were 
deep in the engrossing question of 
trout. 

" Do you think so 1 " she said with 
a smile. " I have always fancied that 
other countries were more beautiful ; 
but then, you see, I have never 
travelled." 

"The more one travels," said Hugh 
decidedly, " the more convinced one 
feels that there is no place like home. 
I have seen a good many countries, 
but never one with the charm of 
England." 

" Still one reads of forests and 
prairies and lakes and torrents and all 
sorts of things that sound like fairy 
tales," observed Phoebe. " I think I 
should sometimes like a change to 
scenes of that kind." 

" You have never been abroad 1 " 

" Oh, dear no ! I have never been 
six times out of Coltham, I think. I 
am always here all the year round." 

" Do you paint ? " inquired Hugh. 
" Sketching is a great resource when 
you have such lovely views in every 
direction." 

" No," answered Phoebe. " I don't 
paint, or sing, or play the piano, or do 
anything attractive of that kind. I 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



am not at all clever. I just walk 
about, and enjoy spring and summer 
and autumn and winter, as much, 
that is to say, as I can," she con- 
cluded truthfully. 

Never had accomplishments ap- 
peared so superficial and useless, or 
ignorance so attractive to Hugh, as at 
that moment when he replied with 
fervent conviction : " I think you are 
perfectly right. Most women waste 
a lot of time trying to do things for 
which they haven't the least taste, 
just because they are fashionable and 
considered part of their education. 
My sisters' piano has nearly maddened 
me sometimes." 

" You have a sister "? " inquired 
Phoebe with interest. 



"I have several sisters," he answered 
rather briefly, for the consciousness 
that there were six of them, all older 
than himself, was occasionally a little 
overwhelming. 

" I wish I had," said Phrebe de- 
cisively. " One would always have 
some one to talk to then ; one could 
never be lonely. It would be very 
pleasant." 

"Well," he said, a little doubt- 
fully, " I am not quite sure that 
several is not too many for pleasure." 

" How many is ' several ' ? " inquired 
Phoebe smiling. 

" In my case it means six, and 
really " here he broke off suddenly, 
becoming aware that some one was 
speaking at the door. 



(To be continued.) 



INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH. 



A SCOTCH coal-pit with its dismal 
approaches, its general grimy appear- 
ance, and its various unsavoury fumes 
polluting the atmosphere for a great 
distance around, is not an interesting 
spectacle wherever seen. But a coal- 
pit situated in some parts of the 
Monkland district of Scotland, where 
often, so far as the eye can reach, it 
is surrounded by bleak dismal moss- 
hags, studded here and there with 
equally bleak and dismal marshes, is, 
if it were possible, less inviting still. 
And from considerable experience of 
various mining districts among these 
grim storehouses of wealth, we are of 
opinion that, from a spectacular point 
of view, a Monkland pit is the least 
inviting and most depressing object 
to be found in the world. Yet it is 
wonderful what an amount of poetry 
may be found diffused over these bare, 
unlovely holes. 

Alighting at some wayside station 
on the North British line you find 
yourself within a few paces of a wide 
waste of bog and heath, studded here 
and there with darker objects which are 
emitting columns of solid black smoke 
and white jets of steam, and, like 
little pigmies, striving to uplift them- 
selves from this dreary slough of 
despond. Not a road is to be seen. 
Yonder is one of those pigmies, snort- 
ing and puffing like some outraged 
monster, engulfed and struggling to 
be free; but to reach it seems an 
impossibility. 

By this time you have discovered 
it to be a pit-engine, and a road to it 
there must be somewhere. Then you 
perceive a little, narrow, straggling 
path, that looks like a sheep-pad, 



meandering in and out across a solid- 
seeming bog, jinking around little 
clumps of heather, and anon approach- 
ing the edge of a water-hole where you 
lose it, to pick it up again on the 
opposite side with a gap of six or seven 
feet between. Thus, with sundry 
slips and jumps you near the object of 
your search, the Pee- weep Pit. It got 
its name from the lapwings, whose 
despairing cry of pee-e-weet, pee-e-weet, 
pee-e-weet, morning, noon, and night, 
has earned for them among the 
peasantry the name of Pee-weep. 
This dismal spot seems to have been 
the original home of that migratory 
bird, for it could be seen at all hours 
of the day here, and at all seasons of 
the year, in great numbers. There is 
the pit, in the middle of the moss, 
with its engines puffing and blowing, 
grinding and squeaking during the 
livelong day and all through the 
night ; and round it circle the birds, 
adding their voices to the unending 
noise, pee-e-weet, pee-e-weet, pee-e-weet, 
with the same monotonous persistency. 
It seems strange to name a coal-pit, 
a large deep hole in the bog with its 
engines, machinery, housing, and 
framework, after an insignificant bird. 
But our English language has from 
time immemorial in this way been 
added to, and in large measure built 
up by words coined to express sound, 
situation, and environment. In this 
locality will be found many villages 
with names, suggestive of their position 
and surroundings, derived from their 
location. For example, there is the 
village of Green Dyke. The first 
house of this village was built on the 
site of a large ditch, or dyke, over- 



94 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



grown with green grass, a veritable 
oasis in the wide, dreary waste of 
black bog. This, then, was an apt, 
and at the same time sufficiently ex- 
pressive designation for the new 
village. 

Again we have another consider- 
able village with the expressive appel- 
lation of Courie-Bend. We can re- 
member when there was no sign of 
human habitation on the spot. The 
position is the highest and most un- 
protected on this table-land of heath ; 
and when the wild winter wind comes 
sweeping down from off the snow-clad 
Lead Hills some miles away, woe 
betide the unlucky wayfarer, for there 
is neither shelter nor protection from 
the pitiless blast. His only resource 
was to cower down behind the largest 
bush of heather within reach, and 
secure what shelter it might afford 
until the storm passed. It must be 
borne in mind that he could not squat 
on the ground, or lie down on the 
spongy heath, or he would have been 
immediately immersed in the sap of 
the bog and soaked through with 
another freezing mixture. He assumed 
first the position known as hunker- 
ing, that is, squatting on the heels, 
without allowing the knees to touch 
the ground ; then, if you drop your 
head between the knees, you know 
what it is to courie, which is, in effect, 
to crouch or cower. On the spot 
where cowering was the only refuge 
in a Monkland storm we have now 
the flourishing mining village of Courie- 
Bend. 

Yet again we have another village 
of considerable importance known as 
Blaw Dreary. When the miners first 
pitched their tents on this abomination 
of desolation, they were much disturbed 
by the peculiar sounds made by the 
wind blowing through a small belt of 
trees near by. Their origin was 
simple enough. For nearly thirty 
miles south, east, and west there was 



no shelter from the wind blowing 
from those quarters. When a storm 
tore down from the Lead Hills over 
the bleak moorland it beat full on 
this narrow belt of trees to the north. 
The timber was sparse and thin, and 
not sufficient to stem the force of the 
blast, which swept through the little 
clump, screaming among the branches, 
whistling in the hedge-rows, and rush- 
ing on unchecked in its mad career to 
the valley below. These sounds, so 
unlike anything in the previous expe- 
rience of these simple miners, stirred 
their superstitious imaginations, and 
left them with a feeling of loneliness 
that they were unable to shake off. 
Hence came the poetical designation 
of the young village built on that spot, 
Blaw Dreary. 

It is difficult, even for the most 
adroit artists in words, to interpret 
or explain the Scotch idiom. In our 
native vernacular it is very expressive, 
according to our own notions the most 
expressive in the world ; but we have 
often felt that, by the time it was 
properly translated and rendered into 
intelligible English, all the poetry had 
gone out of it. But the Southron 
has of late years been made sufficiently 
acquainted with Scottish literature 
and the Scotch dialect to enable him, 
if not altogether to catch the real 
meaning, at all events to grasp some- 
thing of the sense of the expression. 
Even with these explanations of the 
inhospitableness of this dreary and 
uncomfortable region it will doubtless 
be still difficult for him to realise the 
great deeds of heroism and devotion 
performed here day by day, week in 
and week out, all the year round, by 
these simple and superstitious people. 
Yet we hesitate not to say that in 
these bleak fastnesses we have wit- 
nessed deeds equal to any of those for 
which medals, crosses, and ribands 
are bestowed; acts of nobleness and 
true valour performed while engaged 



Into the Jcvws of Death. 



95 



in the unromantic pursuit of their 
daily bread, and never known or 
spoken of outside their own narrow 
sphere. And it may be added that 
sftch deeds are so common among 
these men that but little notice is 
taken of them, except in some ex- 
traordinary cases of desperation and 
excitement. 

Let us take a morning in the dead 
of winter on this wild storm-swept 
morass ; a poor shivering wretch crawl- 
ing across wet moss, wading through 
dripping heather, stemming sleet and 
snow, which penetrates every crevice 
and cranny of his wrappings, jumping 
over some bog-holes and tumbling into 
others. After half an hour or so of 
this cheerful work he arrives at the 
pit-head where a large fire-lamp stands 
full of blazing coals, at which he pro- 
ceeds to dry his dripping garments. 
It is not yet six o'clock in the morn- 
ing. The pumping-engine is booming 
and thumping as if every pulsation 
were to be her last. Her gear rattles 
and clatters, and her exhaust-pipe 
puffs and snorts in high dudgeon as if 
something past the ordinary were on 
hand. Our pitman here is the pump- 
doctor, or the one who looks after the 
pumps which drain the mine and 
keep the coal-workings dry. His 
practised ear detects, by the convul- 
sive swish of the water at the de- 
livery-box, and by the movements of 
the machinery, that everything in his 
institution is not right. 

In the midst of his drying opera- 
tions he becomes disturbed at the con- 
tinuance of these suspicious sounds, 
and, only half-clothed, quietly paces 
over to the pump-head. Arriving there 
he whistles shrilly to himself, and re- 
marks in an undertone, " Everything's 
not right here this morning, I doubt. 
I say, Geordie [crying to the engine- 
man], when did this take place ? " 

1 Despite the apparent popularity of what 
has been aptly called "kail-yard literature ' 



" About half an hour since, Robin, 
lad. She [the engine] was going right 
steady all night until about a quarter 
after five, when all at once I noticed 
a difference in the weight of water 
being delivered, and, says I to myself, 
something's up ; I wish Robin was 
here." 

" There's no time to put off, Geordie. 
Here's Dan, the pit-head man. Give 
me up the bottom cage and I'll go 
down and see the trouble." 

It will be as well that we should 
explain here that at a pumping-pit 
there are usually two engines on the 
bank, or surface of the shaft ; one for 
raising the coal and taking the men 
to and from the coal-seam, and one 
for pumping the water out of the 
workings of the mine. The usual 
form of shaft in Scotland, till recent 
years, was oblong, measuring twelve 
feet long by six feet wide inside the 
timber, and, as in this case and in 
all pumping-shafts, the longitudinal 
space was divided into three compart- 
ments, measuring about six feet by 
four feet each. One of the end com- 
partments is always taken up with 
the pumps ; and the other two are 
occupied by the cages for raising the 
minerals. In a position of rest one 
cage stands at 'the bottom of the shaft 
and the other at the top. When 
work is to be resumed in the morning 
the winding engine (the engine for 
raising the cages), under the super- 
vision of the pit-head man and pump- 
doctor, makes one journey up and 
down the shaft with the cage, thus 
putting the one that had been at the 
top down to the bottom, and the one 
which had been at the bottom up to 
the top. It is thus ensured that no 
obstruction is in the shaft on either 
side, and that the cages can pass up 
and down freely. 

we shall, perhaps, best consult the conveni- 
ence of the majority of our readers by employ- 
ing the English form of speech. 



96 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



While these preliminaries are going 
forward the doctor and the pit-head 
man are listening, with every sense 
tautly strung, to discern, by the varia- 
tion in the sounds of the descending 
and ascending cages, whether anything 
is wrong in the shaft, and what the 
nature of the trouble is. The engine- 
man is also alert, and on this occa- 
sion, instead of throwing his engine 
into gear, he hands it every turn 
so as to be ready for any emergency. 
While the cages are being thus manipu- 
lated, the doctor gazes intently down 
into the darkness into which the top 
cage has sunk, as if he could see any- 
thing in that awful pitchiness. All 
at once his ear detects something, 
and, with a short, sharp, cry of halt ! 
the engine suddenly stops with a 
convulsive gasp. 

"Back her a wee bit, Geordie." 
"All right, Robin." "Halt, there, 
Geordie," the doctor shouts. " Done, 
Robin," and the engine grunts and 
again stops. 

" A joint has blown, Geordie, and 
the half of our water is going back 
into the shank. Bring up the down 
cage, and I'll see what can be done to 
stop it before the men go down." 

Robin proceeds to array himself in 
his professional habiliments. First he 
dons a large leathern helmet with a 
broad, deep flap behind to run the 
water far down the wearer's back. 
This head-gear is built on utilitarian 
principles. It is constructed with a 
high, stiff crown so as to resist the 
impact of falling stones and other 
rubbish which too often, through care- 
lessness, goes hurtling into the shaft, 
always maiming and often killing out- 
right the unprotected wight on whom 
they may fall. We have witnessed a 
stone fall into a shaft, crush through 
timber six inches thick, strike a man 
on the head with this covering on, 
and absolutely prostrate him. Taking 
him up for dead we discovered he 



was only slightly stunned ; but the 
hat was knocked down over his face 
with the brim resting on his shoulders 
all round. If this stone had struck 
his unprotected head, his skull must 
have been smashed like matchwood. 
Add to this article of wear a large 
stiff leathern sheet which is thrown 
over the shoulders and under the flap 
of the hat, running the water clear 
off the head and back, and you have 
one of the queerest spectacles that 
ever met the uninitiated eye. When 
dressed in this way, and considered 
from a back view, the pump-doctor 
appears like a huge black turtle 
standing on his hind legs. The won- 
der is that a man can do any work 
at all in such a garb ; but much hard 
and dangerous work is done in it. 

On the arrival of the cage Robin 
steps thereon, holding in his hand a 
blazing lamp, or torch, pi-otected by 
a shield of tin on the top. and, with 
a " Down slowly, Geordie, lad," he 
descends into the abyss. After a 
few minutes of careful engineering by 
Geordie, a resounding " Halt ! " comes 
up from the depths, which is repeated 
by the pit-head man on guard at the 
top, and the engine stops. Looking 
down the long shaft (three hundred 
feet deep to where the damage is, and 
below that again two hundred and 
fifty feet more to the water sump 
or lodgement) you can, by the flare 
of Robin's lamp, see the water in a 
solid sheet scattering all about him, 
disclosing something more serious 
than was at first anticipated. After 
a careful examination the long drawn 
order from below comes, " Heave up," 
which again is repeated by the dutiful 
pit-head man who has been carefully 
scrutinising all the movements in the 
shaft; and forthwith the engine re- 
volves and up comes the cage with 
its human freight. 

"There'll be no coal-raising the 
day, boys," gravely remarks the 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



97 



doctor, who is seen to be dripping 
with water. " We'll have to take 
out a pipe, and put in a new one. A 
piece of the flange, carrying with it a 
piece of the body of the pipe, has 
burst off. Who'll run for the manager ? 
He had better know ; we can get all 
the tackle ready for him coming." 

" I'll tell him, if ye like, Robin ; I 
go near by," said a strapping young 
collier. 

" Oh, ay, Tom, just do that ; and 
ye'll see the maid at the same time. 
Ye'll kill two birds with the one 
stone anyway. And, Tom, go down 
and tell Master John [the assistant- 
manager]. This is a job he'd like to 
see. He'll learn some of his trade 
here, I'll warrant." 

" All right," responds Tom, and off 
he goes, whistling in the darkness, 
joyfully contemplating the prospect of 
a chat with the manager's pretty 
maid. 

Many things must be done ere 
everything is ready for the great 
operation of changing pipes. It is 
not only a particular feat of en- 
gineering, but it is a peculiarly 
hazardous one as well, as the sequel 
will show. About this pit every 
necessary tool was kept in readiness. 
Every implement was in its place, and 
many of the preliminaries could be 
accomplished ere the manager and his 
young assistant would be on the 
ground to superintend the work. 
Owing to the arrangement of the 
pipes it was always necessary to 
remove both cages, and substitute one 
of them by a hanging scaffold. The 
cage on the top was unhooked, and 
the rope suspending withdrawn into 
the engine-drum and secured. The 
cage at the bottom was next brought 
up to the surface, and taken off as 
well. While this was being done 
the manager, his assistant, and the 
mechanics arrived, and were made 
acquainted with the situation. Mr. 

No. 440. VOL. LXXIV. 



Watt, the manager, was of a rather 
kindly disposition outside his duties, 
but in the midst of them was apt 
to exhibit lively traces of temper. 
He knew his work, and saw at a 
glance that no blame could be attached 
to any one for the accident. Never- 
theless the disappointment and loss 
of work caused him much uneasiness, 
and he showed immediate signs of 
testiness. He gave out the order 
that the broken pipe must be re- 
placed by a whole one before two 
o'clock in the afternoon, or he would 
require to know the reason why. 
Turning to his assistant he observed : 
" Now, John, this is a simple but 
rather dangerous job. I have the 
utmost confidence in your caution and 
good judgment, and if you use these 
well I have no fear for the result. 
You know what is required ; every one 
of the ropes is in your hand. Proceed, 
and pull them well. Let me suggest 
before I leave, as I must go to the 
other pits and arrange for our coal- 
supply, that, after you have with- 
drawn your pump-rods, you suspend 
your column of pipes by the largest 
and strongest of the two screws we 
have, and raise them just as much 
as will allow you to take out the 
broken pipe. When that is done, 
have it taken to bank, and your new 
one taken down and put in its place. 
Be at hand yourself, and see it well 
and wisely done." 

" All right, Mr. Watt, I think we 
can manage it," replied the assistant. 

The manager had left, and the 
scaffold was being suspended to the 
rope attached to the engine, when the 
assistant gave directions that stronger 
chains should be attached to the 
scaffold and engine rope. The doctor 
observed, "Those chains, Master 
John, would lift a house." 

" No matter : we have stronger 
ones, Robin ; and as there are four 
or five men's lives to be jeopardised, 



98 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



it is right we should carry out the 
manager's instructions, and make all 
secure. You know the old Scotch 
proverb, Robin ; better tae hand 
weel than mak weel. Besides, this is 
a dangerous job all round, and I 
confess I am a little uneasy." 

" Have no fear, sir. We'll make 
all right and tight ere we're done 
with it." 

" I have no fear of that, Robin , 
but let us go the safest way about 
it." 

" Ah well, Sir John, your way be 
it." 

The scaffold was soon brought 
forward. It consisted of a number 
of two-inch planks bound together 
and properly framed, with three 
bars of the same thickness, nailed 
and bolted to the bottom, holding 
all together. Four chains from each 
corner, about twenty feet each in 
length, were brought together in a 
ring and muzzle, and securely attached 
to the engine-rope. This rope con- 
sisted of strands of steel wire, and 
was about one inch thick. Small as 
it was, it was tested to stand a strain 
of many tons. When suspended, the 
scaffold fitted the space in the shaft 
exactly, and afforded plenty of free- 
dom to move about on. Of necessity 
there was no protection overhead, 
and the open shaft yawned above, 
with the inevitable risk of tools, or 
missiles of some kind, dropping on the 
top of those below. Everything was 
now in readiness : the pump-rods 
were withdrawn, the crane-chain 
ready to lift out the broken pipe and 
lower the new one, the large screw 
in position, and, everything ready 
to raise the column of pipes the 
necessary distance. All now sat 
down to breakfast, before the main 
operation was begun. Just as the 
work was about to be renewed, the 
manager came up, and seemed satisfied 
with what had been done. He had 



felt very anxious, he said, after 
leaving them, and, hurrying over his 
rounds, was now free to join in the 
work. 

The manager, assistant, and doctor 
were the first to descend, to have a 
joint view of the damage, and to de- 
cide on the best means of removing 
the broken pipe. After the final in- 
structions had been given, the scaffold 
was raised, and the manager himself 
elected to superintend operations on 
the surface ; while his assistant, the 
doctor, and three other men, were told 
off for the work in the shaft. All the 
necessary tools were put on the scaf- 
fold, and the five men descended to 
their place, three hundred feet down, 
with a gulf of two hundred and fifty 
feet more below. After about one hour's 
hard twisting and turning and toiling, 
the broken pipe was ready to be lifted 
out. Signals were sent up to lower 
the crane-chain for raising the pipe, 
and in due course the chain was low- 
ered to its position. The first stage 
of the really dangerous part of the 
operations was now reached. This 
danger may be realised when we say 
that the pipe, now swinging above the 
heads of the five men in the open 
shaft, weighed a ton and a half. 

A slip of a man at the crane, a 
defective link in the chain, and all 
would be over with the human souls 
below ! Slowly rises the mass, steadied 
by the watchful hand of the manager. 
Every few seconds he spoke a sentence 
of encouragement to the four men at 
the crane, who were all as keenly alive 
to the responsibility of their efforts 
as he was. Up and up the mass 
came, the manager ever and anon gaz- 
ing down into the pit, in quest of what 
seemed the long looked-for danger. 
" Here she comes," he gasps. " Keep at 
it, lads, and we have her out." Mean- 
time the assistant-manager and his 
comrades, were staring up into the 
little speck of light, none daring to 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



99 



speak, until they saw the fearful 
object drawn out of the pit. Then 
with a fervent "Thank God!" the 
signal was given to raise the scaffold 
to the surface, where opinions could 
be exchanged on the position. 

Half an hour was spent in resting 
and watching the preliminaries going 
forward for the lowering of the new 
pump, when the manager intimated 
he would go down and have a look 
at the arrangements below. A very 
few minutes sufficed to show him that 
all was as it should be there. On his 
return to the surface, the assistant 
and his four men now prepared to 
descend, to receive the new pipe. 
Down they went slowly, to enable 
them to examine the state of the 
supports of the suspended pumps, and 
to discover if anything were required 
to ensure absolute safety. Little sup- 
ports were added here and there, and 
ultimately they reached their position. 
After all the tools had been arranged, 
the signal was given by the assistant 
to lower the new pipe. 

Before the pipe was raised from 
the ground, the manager enjoined the 
four men at the crane to be cool and 
careful, adding that it was much more 
dangerous to lower a pipe by hand 
than to raise one, for in the latter 
case the weight got less as the chain 
came in, but in the former case the 
weight increased as the chain went 
out. With these admonitions he 
directed them to prepare to raise the 
pipe for lowering it into the shaft, 
giving a last glance at the fastenings. 
" Heave up, boys," he said ; and up 
went the pipe, the manager with his 
own hands steadying it into the shaft. 
" Lower slowly and steadily now ; 
and for God's sake, men, keep your 
heads." 

Not a word was spoken in response, 
but each man planted his foot firmly 
in front of him, set his teeth, and bent 
to the perilous work before him. Down, 



down, went the ton and half of metal, 
soon adding to its weight by the in- 
creasing length of chain. Steady goes 
the crane, every inch it traverses 
making the strain heavier. To the 
men in the shaft, four oT whom were 
stationed at the corners of the scaffold 
grasping the suspending chains, with 
the assistant at one side, the huge 
object, twisting and turning far up 
over their heads, seemed scarcely to be 
moving. Nearer and nearer it came 
however, while an unearthly silence 
reigned over all, broken only by the 
continuous drip of water below. When 
it must have been at least thirty yards 
off, those looking up to it saw it give 
a sudden "plunge downward. There 
was a fearful scream, a roar as of ap- 
proaching thunder, a crash, and an 
upheaval, a catastrophe that no pen 
can hope to describe. The thunder- 
ing noise seemed to last an age ; but 
with a convulsive sob the displaced 
air rushed back to fill the place it had 
been so rudely forced from, and all 
wafted back into silence. 

How did it fare on the pit-head 1 
Bodies of men were lying about in 
confusion, with machinery and timber 
in hopeless disorder. Mr Watt, franti- 
cally rushing hither and thither, en- 
couraged the pale-faced men to bestir 
themselves. He had no thought that 
help could be of any service for those 
below ; they must surely all be dead 
men: "Help," he cried, "and save 
those who can be saved ! " But just 
as he, and two others who were also 
unhurt, had begun to succour the 
wounded, the engine-man, who had 
been dutifully grasping the lever of 
the engine, yelled out: "There are 
some living in the shaft. I found a 
movement on the hand here ! " 

At this the manager ran to the 
shaft, and, drawing a full deep breath 
to fill his lungs, shouted down de- 
spairingly, Hallo-o-o ! To his aston- 
ishment he was immediately answered, 
H 2 



100 



Into the Jaivs of Death. 



although faintly, by more than one 
voice. His unerring judgment with a 
flash convinced him that the scaffold, 
or some part of it, must be intact. It 
would be impossible for any one to 
fall to the bottom and live ; and even 
if it were possible, he could not have 
been heard from that distance. 

" Heave up, Geordie, but slowly at 
first. For God's sake be careful ! " 

On the instant the engine began to 
move, and in the shortest possible time 
the broken scaffold appeared above 
the surface with a man clinging to 
each chain. As they were helped from 
their perilous position, the manager 
eagerly asked, " Where is John 1 " 
Each shook his head ; no one could 
tell. But every one of the four 
who had been providentially rescued 
from the very jaws of death, and 
whose nerves were strung to a state of 
high excitement, bustled about, in- 
stinctively securing articles of help, 
and, without exchanging words, mak- 
ing every preparation to join in the 
immediate recovery of their lost com- 
panion. No orders had now to be 
given ; all were eager to assist in the 
rescue of the young fellow who was 
in the depths below, or to recover his 
shattered remains. Where all are 
heroes, no one need show the way of 
duty and humanity. 

Lamps were lit by some ; others 
tore the remains of the broken scaffold 
from the fastenings which kept it 
entangled with the engine-rope. 
Meantime helpers were crowding 
round, and the injured men on the 
surface were being attended to, of 
whom two, alas, were already dead. 
The staid and taciturn doctor had 
speedily converted a small piece of 
tough rope into a loop ; and, quicker 
than it takes to relate the incident, 
he and his companion, Will Grieve, a 
general and handy man (one of the 
four) had thrown aside their helmets 
and leathern back-pieces, and donned 



close-fitting cloth caps crushed down, 
tightly on their heads, into the front 
of which they stuck their flaming 
torches, thus leaving their hands free 
and their whole persons totally un- 
hampered. Both simultaneously grasp 
the now freed engine-rope, each pass- 
ing a leg into the loop the doctor had 
made, from opposite directions for a 
better balance ; and then they swing 
themselves free over the dreadful gulf, 
crying, " Down, Geordie, quick, lad ! " 
Thus voluntarily these brave men hang 
in the immediate presence of G od over 
this chasm of eternity, loyally return- 
ing into the very valley of the shadow 
of death, from which they had only a 
few seconds before been delivered as 
if by the hand of Omnipotence, to 
rescue, if possible, a fellow-being, or 
to recover the shattered and wrecked 
tenement of a human soul. 

Now, with a whish and a whirr 
they descend into the awful abyss ; 
and with a fervent God speed ye ! 
from a number of pale-faced men 
standing 'around, they disappear. 
Down they go, and these two eager 
souls thought the descent would never 
come to an end. When nearing the 
spot where the accident had happened 
the engine was slowed and they pro- 
ceeded more leisurely. The doctor 
was the first to recover his breath, 
and he cried downwards, Hallo, there ! 
and was immediately answered by a 
shout from above. And with this the 
engine stopped. 

A large crowd had now gathered 
round the mouth of the pit, the news 
of these terrible events spreading like 
wildfire over the land ; and there was 
not, we make bold to say, a man there 
who would not have gone as willingly 
down that shaft on the same errand as 
the doctor and his companion. But 
their services were not yet required, 
though no one could say how soon they 
might be. Notwithstanding the ex- 
citement a solemn quiet reigned over 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



101 



all ; nothing could be heard except 
the muffled and stealthy whirr of the 
machinery and the regular panting of 
the engine. 

And now the manager, and some 
others who were leaning over the shaft, 
heard away down in the darkness a 
faint sound of voices hailing some one 
yet afar off. " Merciful God," cried 
the manager, " John is alive ! " The 
news was received with a muffled cheer 
at once suppressed. Then up out of 
the depths came a cry, with a ring of 
eager joy in it that made it heard 
plainer and distincter than ever cry 
was heard from that distance before : 
" Down to the bottom ! " The cry 
was repeated by Mr. Watt, and down 
slipped the rope again until it gradu- 
ally came to a standstill altogether. 

" What's that you stop for, George 1 ?" 
cried the manager. "I'm at the door- 
head now, sir." " Is the water up, 
and do you feel them touch it *? " 
" No, Mr. Watt ; but if I go farther 
with them I fear I'll put them in the 
water." But old Bob Glen, a worker 
in this pit with fifty-six years' experi- 
ence of mining, reassured them all. 
" Never fear, Mr. Watt," he said. " If 
Geordie has them at the door-head 
they're safe, for the water will have to 
fill up all the lower workings in the 
dook, ere it can rise above the pave- 
ment." 

x\t this moment the bell rang one, 
and then two, and many began crying 
with joy. " The God of Israel is with 
us," exclaimed an old Cameronian, " as 
she hangs the third stroke." 

" Geordie, lad, that must be some- 
body else in the bottom than Robin 
or Will," eagerly observed the 
manager. 

" Yes, sir ; I never found any of 
the two lads leave the rope, and I'll 
warrant them eight or ten feet from 
the bottom yet," observed Geordie. 
< But down they go now, sir ; " and 
with that the engine turned, and the 



uplifted hammer struck the bell, and 
the engine stood. 

As each of the two men left the 
rope on reaching the bottom, Geordie 
announced the fact from the engine- 
house. After a painful, and what 
seemed a most prolonged pause, he 
notified that one individual was 
again on the rope, and before he had 
finished speaking all could see it shak- 
ing. At that instant one clear stroke 
of the bell, heard above the excited 
hum of two hundred hoarse voices, 
rang out, and the engine, after a pre- 
liminary snort, bent to its work and 
proceeded to gather home the rope 
with swift and steady motion. 

Peering down into the shaft the 
manager could now see the glare of 
the light, but whether there was 
more than one lamp he could not yet 
make out. Soon it was manifest that 
there was only one, and all were con- 
vinced that the other was keeping 
company with the rescued man until 
further help was secured. In the 
midst of hope we are in fear ; the 
sight of this solitary lamp created 
the suspicion that the assistant was 
either dead or so injured that fresh 
help was needed to bring him to the 
surface. While the crowd was con- 
vulsed with this suspicion the ascend- 
ing cage reached the surface, and a 
dozen hands clutched the rope and 
the rescuer Grieve. His white but 
joyful face told the glad tale. "Is 
the lad safe, Will?" asked the 
manager. " He is safe and sound, 
but a bit dazed," was the answer, and 
a great shout rent the air. In the 
midst of the commotion Grieve was 
heard asking : " Where's the big 
barrel 1 " " Put on the cage, Will," 
cried the manager. " No, sir, two or 
three slides are out of their places, 
and the big barrel is the best. The 
cage wouldn't go down handy." 

And now, while they get the barrel 
ready, let us return to the bottom of 



102 



Into the Jaws of Death, 



the pit. The engine, we know, had 
stopped with the shout from the top 
of the shaft. But there was another 
shout from below, which made the 
hearts of each of the rescuers to leap 
with joy. " Down to the bottom ! " 
shouted the doctor; instantly the 
engineman responded and down the 
two were lowered. Just immediately 
6ver the bottom and at the door-head 
(the space forming the gallery off the 
end of the shaft), the engineman 
stopped the downward movement, 
reckoning that the water (because of 
the stoppage of the pumps) would 
have already risen to this point and 
barred their progress. When in this 
position the doctor again spoke, and 
was instantly answered by the assist- 
ant-manager from immediately beside 
them. 

"Merciful Heaven, Master John, 
are you safe and all right 1 " 

" I am safe, Robin, thank God ! 
What about the others ? Are they 
safe 1 " 

"We're all right. Can you ring 
the bell, Master John, and get them 
to lower us down beside you ? " 

The assistant-manager up till now 
being absolutely bewildered, and hav- 
ing lost his direction in the dark, was 
unable to find the signal-handle. By 
the aid of his rescuers' lights, how- 
ever, he soon recovered his locality, 
and grasping the bell-handle gave two 
pulls, which was the signal to lower 
the rope further. Down came the 
men and they were helped to the 
bottom pavement by the assistant's 
free hand. So soon as they reached 
this spot the hammer fell on the bell 
for the third time, and the machinery 
came to an immediate stand-still. 
Robin and his companion were 
speedily disentangled from their loop 
of rope and were at the side of their 
companion. 

" Are you hurt, sir ? " asked Robin. 
"I don't think I'm much hurt, 



Robin ; but, man, that was a terrible- 
business. What went wrong ? " 

"Oh, I don't know, Master John. 
But we needn't talk now about that. 
We must get you out of this, anyway. 
You can't go up in that rope I doubt, 
sir." 

" Right well enough, Robin. You 
came down in it, and I can go up in 
it all right," 

"Ah, sir, but you're looking ill, 
and we'll not risk it. It takes a good 
tight hand to hold on there, I tell 
you. Will, can you go up and get on 
the cage and come down with it 1 " 

" I can, and will, Robin ; but I 
doubt the cage will do, for as we 
were coming down I noticed two or 
three slides knocked out of their 
places. I'll get the big sinking-barrel 
and bring that down." 

" All right, Will. Go on, lad, and 
come down with all speed, and take 
the lad out of this." 

" But, Robin," asked the assistant- 
manager, " is there any one hurt 1 
What is the meaning of all this 1 I 
fear I am getting bewildered again." 

"Cheer up, Master John. We'll 
be out of here soon now. Will's 
ready to go up for the barrel." 

" Tell me first, Robin; is there any 
one hurt 1 " 

" There is, I fear, sir ; I think I 
noticed them looking after somebody 
when I was on the pit-head ; but I 
was over hurried to see about you to 
take much notice of anything else." 

Meanwhile all was bustle at the 
pit-head getting the big barrel ready. 
" Out with the barrel, boys," and in 
the shortest space of time a large 
iron-bound barrel, weighing over half 
a ton, was brought from under the 
engine-house and hooked on to the 
end of the winding rope. " Stop you 
here, Will. You have had enough 
excitement and done nobly. I'll go 
down ; who will volunteer to help 1 " 
cried the manager. A perfect chorus-. 



Into the Jaws of Death. 



103 



of voices answered. " Only one man 
can go. Come you here, Burns. 
You're brave and strong, and not 
likely to lose your head with too 
much sentiment." This was spoken 
to a sullen, stolid-looking man who 
had method in every movement. 
" Come on, Burns. I am a little out 
of sorts and your coolness will help to 
steady me." In another instant the 
barrel with the two men in it de- 
scended from view, while the crowd 
sat quietly down to wait events. 
On reaching the bottom Mr. Watt 
rushed to his young assistant with his 
eyes full of tears ; and these two 
staid and stolid Scotchmen blubbered 
in each other's arms like two affec- 
tionate children. Robin, honest 
fellow, blew his nose manfully ; but 
all to no purpose. " It's coming on 
me, friends," he gasped ; and he fell 
to with the others. He was the first, 
however, to recover himself with the 
shrewd remark : "If we don't get out 
of here, we'll have more and worse of 
it before long." This roused the 
others, and a few minutes brought 
the barrel and its human freight to 
the surface. Master John was as- 
sisted out by a score of hands, while 
the rest crowded round with streaming: 



eyes to congratulate him on his 
providential and miraculous escape, 
as one old Cameronian dame piously 
expressed it. 

After some slight refreshment and 
a change of dry garments for his soak- 
ing wet ones, Master John was able 
to walk home. It was with pain he 
then learned the sad cause of the 
accident and its terrible result. It 
seems that one man at the handle of 
the crane, who looked the picture of 
strength and health, had, during the 
strain of lowering the heavy pipe, 
given way suddenly ; the rest were 
overpowered ; the revolving handle 
hit one man on the head killing him 
instantly, and scattering the others in 
all directions. The chain paid out to 
the end, snapping the last link ; and 
flying over the wheel got entangled in 
the framework, dragging everything 
before it, until the pipe, reaching the 
bottom of the pit, relieved the strain, 
and it hung suspended the whole 
length of the shaft. If the chain had 
not been thus caught, every soul 
below must have been killed. A 
fresh relay of men from the other pits 
were brought in, and the accident was 
repaired and the pumps put to rights 
within the ne'xt twelve hours. 



104 



THE FIRST SCOTS BRIGADE. 



AT a time when the nations of 
Europe point the finger of scorn at 
isolated England, and even English 
statesmen are reproved for rejoicing 
in that isolation, it may be not un- 
instructive to throw a glance back 
over three or four centuries at the 
history of her alliances and enmi- 
ties. National friendships are often 
severely tried, but they have a 
strange tendency to survive even the 
strongest tests. Once only have tra- 
ditional amities been utterly over- 
thrown, and that was when religious 
took the place of national feeling as 
the motive for war. Then the con- 
fusion was strange indeed. The here- 
ditary friend of England was Spain, 
the hereditary enemy France. For a 
century, roughly speaking, the old 
feud with France was laid aside, and 
all our fighting energy was concen- 
trated against Spain. English and 
French Protestants fought side by 
side in half a hundred engagements 
in France and in the Low Countries ; 
and the climax came when Cromwell 
sent his troops to fight under Turenne 
against the Spaniards. Yet Cromwell 
himself was guilty of an anachronism 
in selecting Spain for his enemy ; and 
before he had been dead thirty years 
the hostility of English and French 
was as bitter as ever. A very few 
years later England was working to- 
gether with Spain as though there 
had been no such thing as the 
Armada, and attacking France as 
bitterly as though John Norris had 
never fought under La Noue at 
Rymenant, or Thomas Morgan under 
Turenne at Dunkirk. 

France on her part had a devoted 



ally in Scotland. The Scots had 
guarded her kings for her, had helped 
to drive the English out of her land, 
and had entertained, not indeed alto- 
gether warmly for the time was grow- 
ing late, her garrisons at. Leith to 
overawe Queen Elizabeth. Here, 
however, the Reformation wrought a 
final and decisive change. Scotland 
was detached for ever from the French 
connection, and France became thence- 
forth the isolated country of Europe. 
It is true that she now clasps Russia 
in an hysterical embrace after a fash- 
ion which scandalises those who pro- 
fess to admire her as a pioneer of 
what they are pleased to call liberty ; 
but she has never shrunk from such 
ill-assorted alliances since the days 
when the most Christian King, 
Francis the First, took the enemy of 
Christendom in desperation to his 
heart ; and it is probable that she 
never will. The withdrawal of the 
Scots from her side to the English 
was a weightier matter than it is 
generally reckoned to be in French 
history ; and its significance is curi- 
ously symbolised in the history of the 
Scots Brigade. 

The first sign of this great change 
was seen perhaps at the siege of 
Rouen in 1562, when English and 
Scotch volunteers fought side by side 
on behalf of the French Huguenots 
against Guise. Ten years later they 
again crossed the water together 
to defend the Protestant Netherlands 
against Catholic Spain ; and they 
continued to do battle in the cause of 
the United Provinces for fully sixty 
years, till the great civil war recalled 
many of, the Scots to their own homes. 



The First Scots Brigade. 



105 



But the Low Countries were the 
special training-ground of the English 
rather than of the Scotch soldier ; 
and it is remarkable that in the two 
most memorable engagements wherein 
the Scotch regiments in the Dutch 
service took part, Nieuport and Killie- 
crankie, they behaved singularly ill, 
while the English on the other hand 
covered themselves with glory. The 
school to which we shall more justly 
look for the making of the Scottish 
soldier is the battle-fields of the 
Thirty Years' War. 

The Scotch seem to have found 
their way very quickly to the banners 
of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, 
and to have fought with him in his 
earlier campaigns long before he had 
established his fame as the Lion of 
the North. To mention but two 
memorable names, Sir John Hepburn 
and Alexander Leslie (the Leven of 
the Civil War) had risen to high rank 
in his service many years before he 
crossed the Baltic for his marvellous 
campaigns in Germany. Moreovei', 
the chief constructor of artillery was 
Alexander Hamilton, the ingenious 
inventor of the leathern guns which 
were called after him by the name of 
" Sandy's stoups." But the most 
famous of -the Scotch corps did not 
join Gustavus until a later day, and 
then came to him not direct but 
through the channel of Denmark. 
The manner of their coming was this. 
King Charles the First had by 
promises of subsidy induced King 
Christian of Denmark to levy an army 
and take the field against the Im- 
perialists for the Protestant cause. 
Christian, perceiving that, if his men 
were regularly paid, he would be able 
to fight a defensive campaign, con- 
sented to raise troops, and having 
collected them applied to Charles for 
the money. Charles, needless to say, 
could not produce it, and the unhappy 
Christian, compelled, in order to keep 



his army together, to take the offen- 
sive, advanced to meet the Imperial- 
ists under Tilly, and was disastrously 
routed at Lutter on the 17th of 
August, 1626. In helpless despair 
Christian again appealed to Charles 
to fulfil his engagement ; but Charles 
could do nothing except despatch four 
weak, untrained English regiments 
to the Elbe, to do what service they 
could, which was naturally little, to- 
wards the salvation of Denmark. 

But it so happened that a short 
time before the defeat of Lutter, one 
of the many gentlemen adventurers 
of Scotland, Sir Donald Mackay, had 
obtained leave to raise and transport 
five thousand men for King Christian's 
ally, the adventurer Count Ernest 
Mansfeld. It does not appear that 
Sir Donald succeeded in recruiting 
even half that number, for the centre 
and south of Scotland had already 
been drawn upon heavily for levies ; 
but some two thousand men were 
raised by fair means or foul, and 
though some of them passed into the 
i^anks from the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, 
it was no more than fitting that in so 
famous a corps there should be a con- 
tingent from the Heart of Midlothian. 
It seems, however, certain that a 
good proportion were taken from the 
northern counties, and in particular 
from the district of the Clan Mackay, 
and that these took the field in their 
national costume. The officers, judging 
by their names and, still more, by 
their subsequent behaviour, seem to 
have been without exception gentle- 
men of birth and standing, most 
worthy representatives of their nation. 
Some of them had probably had 
experience of war ; one at least, 
Robert Munro, the historian of the 
corps, had served in the old school of 
the Scottish Guard of France, and 
had learned the meaning of the word 
discipline. " I was once," he writes, 
" made to stand at the Louvre gate in 



106 



The First Scots Brigade. 



Paris, being then in the King's regi- 
ment of Guards passing my prentice- 
ship, for sleeping in the morning when 
I ought to have been at my exercise 
for punishment I was made to stand 
from eleven before noon to eight 
o'clock of the night sentry, with 
corselet, headpiece, and brasslets, being 
iron to the teeth, on a hot summer's 
day, till I was weary of my life ; 
which ever after made me the more 
strict in punishing those under my 
command." So that there was one 
disciplinarian at least to Sir Donald 
Mackay's hand. 

The regiment sailed in several 
divisions from Cromarty and Aber- 
deen, and arrived at Gliickstadt on 
the Elbe in October, 1626. The win- 
ter was passed in training the men, 
though not without riot and brawling. 
The officers, as was to be expected of 
their nation, quarrelled incessantly ; 
and there was so little discipline 
among the men that a sergeant 
actually fell out of the ranks when at 
drill to beat a foreign officer who 
had maltreated one of his comrades, 
and cudgelled the luckless man almost 
to death. Meanwhile Count Mansfeld, 
who had originally hired the regiment, 
was dead ; and Sir Donald Mackay 
was thus enabled in March, 1627, to 
offer its services to the King of Den- 
mark himself. Christian accordingly 
reviewed it, and having first inspected 
the ranks in parade, " drums beating, 
colours flying, horses neighing," saw 
it march past and paid it a handsome 
compliment. The men were then 
drawn into a ring after the old fashion 
of the landsknechts, when they took 
the oath and listened to a rehearsal 
of the articles of war ; and thus their 
service began. Half of them were 
despatched to Bremen, while the 
remainder were stationed at Lauen- 
burg to guard the passage of the 
Elbe. 

After a vast deal of marching and 



countermarching, the regiment was for 
a short time re-united, but only to be 
presently broken up again ; four com- 
panies being left under Major Dunbar 
at Boitzenburg, at the junction of the 
Boitze and the Elbe, while the re- 
maining seven, under Mackay, were 
moved to Buppin. Three days after 
Mackay's departure, Tilly's army, ten 
thousand strong, marched up to Boit- 
zenburg and prepared to push forward 
into Holstein. Dunbar, V knowing 
the weakness of his position, had 
strengthened his defences so far as he 
could ; but his eight hundred men 
were but a small garrison against a 
whole army. Nothing daunted, how- 
ever, he made a successful sortie 
against the enemy on the very first 
night ; and on the morrow the 
irritated Imperialists assaulted his 
works simultaneously at all points. 
The first attack was brilliantly re- 
pulsed with a loss to the assailants of 
five hundred men. Reinforcements 
were brought up : the attack was 
renewed and again beaten off; and 
finally a third and furious onslaught 
was made upon the little band of 
Scots. In the hottest of the fight the 
ammunition of the garrison failed, its 
fire ceased, and the Imperialists, 
guessing the cause, made a general 
rush for the walls. The Scots met 
them at first with showers of sand torn 
from the ramparts ; then falling on 
with pike and musket-butt they fought 
the enemy hand to hand, and after a 
desperate struggle at last drove them 
out with the loss of yet another five 
hundred men. Tilly then drew off 
and crossed the Elbe higher up, while 
Dunbar, by Christian's order, marched 
proudly out of Boitzenburg. 

This was the first serious engage- 
ment of Mackay's regiment, a fitting 
prelude to the work that was to come. 
But poor Dunbar and his four com- 
panies were destined to have little 
further part in it. Shortly after the 



The First Scots Brigade. 



107 



evacuation of Boitzenburg he again 
defied the whole of Tilly's army ; 
and after a desperate resistance, the 
eight hundred men with their gallant 
commander were almost literally 
annihilated. Seven or eight alone 
escaped to tell the tale to their enraged 
comrades. 

The headquarters of the regiment 
had meanwhile been moved from 
Ruppin to Oldenburg, to guard the 
pass against Tilly's advance ; and here 
they too came into action. They were 
ill supported by their foreign com- 
rades, for the Danes gave way, the 
Germans of Christian's army took to 
their heels, and the whole brunt of 
the fight fell upon half the regiment 
of Scots. After two hours of heavy 
fighting the other half came to its 
relief, and the two divisions, taking 
turn and turn, maintained the struggle 
against vastly superior numbers from 
seven in the morning until four in the 
afternoon, when the enemy at last with- 
drew owing to the darkness. The 
spirit shown by the Scots was superb. 
Ensign David Ross received a bullet 
in the chest ; he retired for a few 
minutes to get the wound dressed, and 
returned to the fight ; nor did he after- 
wards miss an hour's duty on the plea 
of his wound. Hector Munro of Coull, 
being shot through the foot, refused to 
retire until he had fired away all his 
ammunition, and before he could do 
so was shot in the other foot also. 
Hugh Murray, being ordered to bring 
away his brother's corpse under a 
heavy fire, swore that he would first 
empty his brother's bandoleers against 
the enemy, and was shot in the eye, 
though not fatally, while fulfilling his 
oath. And these were young soldiers, 
so inexperienced that they left their 
reserve of ammunition exposed, and 
suffered heavily from the explosion of 
a barrel of powder. They lost sixteen 
officers and four hundred men that 
day. 



That night the Danish army began 
its retreat to its ships at Heiligen- 
haven ; but the German reiters that 
formed part of it were ,so unsteady 
that they speedily turned the retreat 
into a flight ; and when the harbour 
was reached, they crowded on to the 
mole to seize all the transport-vessels 
for themselves. Sir Donald Mackay, 
who was himself wounded, was not 
the man to suffer his regiment to be 
sacrificed. He calmly ordered his 
pikemen to advance with charged 
pikes, swept the whole of the reiters 
into the sea, seized the nearest ship, 
brought others out of the roadstead, 
and proceeded deliberately to the 
work of embarkation. The last boat- 
load shoved off surrounded by the 
enemy's cavalry, and the last of the 
Scots, a gallant boy named Murchison, 
though wounded in the head and shot 
through the arm, swam off to the boat 
under a heavy fire. He was saved 
only to die two days later of his in- 
juries. The rest of the Danish army, 
thirty-five troops of horse and forty 
companies of foot, surrendered with- 
out striking a blow ; and it is hardly 
surprising to learn that, when next 
the Scots found themselves in quarters 
alongside the Danish horse, there was 
a furious riot which could not be sup- 
pressed until eight or ten lives had 
been lost. But in truth Mackay's 
regiment was so much weakened by 
its losses that both Colonel and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel returned perforce to 
Scotland to raise recruits. 

It would be tedious to follow the 
various petty actions of the early 
campaign of 1628 in Holstein. It 
must suffice that Scotch and English, 
of which latter there was a fair con- 
tingent, fought valiantly side by side 
both against the Imperialists in the 
field and against the Danes in camp. 
The reason for the domestic quarrel 
was that the Danes were well fur- 
nished with dry beef and bacon, while 



108 



The First Scots Brigade. 



the English and Scots received only 
hard biscuit and beer. The Britons, 
thinking this arrangement unjust, 
devised a plan of cutting the Danish 
soldiers' knapsacks from their backs 
and making off with them and their 
contents ; a trick which they practised 
with such persistence that the Danes, 
who were the stronger party, at last 
resolved to have no more of it. One 
day therefore they drew their swords 
upon the robbers ; the Britons, no- 
thing loth, drew theirs likewise ; and 
& riotous affray, wherein, many were 
hurt, finally ended in the expulsion 
of the Danes from the camp and their 
flight for safety to the sea. The 
officers at last appeased the tumult ; 
but Major Munro and Captain Cham- 
berlain, who commanded the Scotch 
and English, were "mightily chidden " 
by His Majesty, and in spite of their 
protestations of innocence were in- 
formed that they, and not the men, 
would be punished if the like should 
occur again. They took the hint, 
and Mackay, who evidently thought 
his compatriots perfectly justified, ac- 
knowledges that reason was on His 
Majesty's side, " for it is a hard time 
when one wolf eats up another." 

In May the Imperialists moved up 
in force to occupy Stralsund ; and the 
burghers, having appealed to Christian 
for assistance, were supplied by him 
with the surviving seven companies, 
now reduced to eight hundred men, 
of Mackay's regiment. On their ar- 
rival their commander at once selected, 
as in honour bound, the most danger- 
ous post in the defences, and for six 
weeks the regiment was harassed to 
death by exhausting duty. The men 
took their very meals at their posts, 
and Munro, who was now second in 
command, mentions that he never 
once took off his clothes. They 
suffered heavily, too, from the enemy's 
fire, a single cannon-shot strewing the 
walls with the brains of fourteen men ; 



but they held out always with indo- 
mitable resolution. At last, on June 
26th, the great Wallenstein, impatient 
at the long delay, came up to the 
siege in person, vowing that though 
the town were hung by chains betwixt 
heaven and earth, he would capture 
it in three nights. But the Scots 
were too much even for him ; and his 
first assault was hurled back with the 
loss of a thousand men. Mackay's 
regiment, however, had been severely 
punished ; three officers and two hun- 
dred men had been killed outright, 
and seven more officers, Munro him- 
self among them, were wounded. On 
the following night Wallenstein re- 
newed the attack and was a second 
time repulsed ; but the garrison in its 
weakness was now compelled to open 
a parley in order to gain time ; and 
the negotiations were prolonged until 
the arrival of a second Scotch regiment 
under Lord Spynie enabled the defen- 
ders to renew their defiance. 

Shortly after the King of Sweden 
charged himself with the defence of 
Stralsund. Alexander Leslie, not yet 
dreaming of Naseby fight, was ap- 
pointed to take the command ; and 
Mackay's and Spynie's regiments, 
after a final sortie, were withdrawn 
to Copenhagen. Of Mackay's, five 
hundred out of eight hundred men 
had been actually killed at Stralsund, 
and a bare hundred remained un- 
wounded ; in fact the regiment 
required virtually to be re-made. 
The work of recruiting and reorgani- 
sation occupied the winter months, 
at the close of which the corps, now 
raised to ten companies and fifteen 
hundred men, was honourably dis- 
charged from the service of Denmark 
and free to join itself to that of 
Gustavus Adolphus. This was in 
February, 1630. 

Its first duty was to learn the new 
drill and discipline of the King of 
Sweden, the system which though 



The First Scots Brigade. 



109 



now taught for the first time to British 
soldiers, was destined later to be ac- 
cepted all over Europe. Without 
going into elaborate detail, we may 
say that the reforms of Gustavus 
rested on two leading principles ; the 
matching of mobility against weight, 
and the development of musketry-fire. 
First therefore he lightened the equip- 
ment and the arms, both pike and 
musket, of his men, and ordained that, 
instead of being drawn up according 
to the Dutch system in ten ranks, 
they should never stand more than 
six deep. Secondly, he improved the 
musket by making it a weapon to be 
fired from the shoulder only instead 
of from a rest, which enabled the 
men to fire volleys in three ranks at 
a time, the front rank kneeling and 
the other two standing above them. 
Lastly, he created a new tactical unit 
of musketeers called by the French 
name of peloton, which was soon cor- 
rupted by the Scots into plotton, and 
at last took its place in our language 
in the form platoon. A platoon con- 
sisted of forty-eight men, eight in 
rank and six in file, which being 
doubled for purposes of the new fire- 
tactics into sixteen in rank and three 
in file, could discharge such staggering 
volleys as had never hitherto been seen 
on a battlefield. 

It need hardly be said that the 
moral force, lost by such a reduction in 
the depth of ranks as that ordered by 
Gustavus, needed to be made good by 
superior discipline ; and here again 
the Lion of the North took a long 
stride ahead of his contemporaries. 
The mere perfection of drill which he 
required of his men sufficed to teach 
them the habit of instinctive obedi- 
ence, and this obedience was sternly 
upheld on the march by the halter 
and the rod. Men, however, could 
take a great deal of punishment in 
those days ; and even the gatloup, a 
penalty better known under the 



corrupted form of running the 
gauntlet, which now seems intoler- 
ably barbarous, was so lightly thought 
of that men could be found to submit 
to it again and again 'for a few 
shillings. Under the rule of Gustavus, 
however, the Scots became marvel- 
lously proficient. " You would 
think," writes Munro proudly, " a 
whole regiment, well disciplined as 
this was, were all but one body and 
of one motion ; their ears obeying 
the command all as one, their eyes 
turning all alike at the first sign 
given, their hands going into execu- 
tion as one hand giving one stroke, 
yea many strokes all alike, ever ready 
to strike or to hold up as their com- 
mander pleaseth." One thing alone 
Gustavus could never teach the Scots, 
namely to share his passion for field 
fortification. They always grumbled 
when called upon to use the spade, 
and in spite of the King's reproaches 
always made less progress with field- 
works, in a given time, than any 
other corps in the army. 

In June, 1630, Mackay's regiment 
sailed for Germany as part of the 
thirteen thousand men which formed 
the Swedish expedition, half the com- 
panies embarking at Elfsknaben, the 
remainder under Munro at Pillau. The 
latter detachment was wrecked off 
Riigenwalde, and was only saved by 
Munro's personal exertions in con- 
structing a raft. They landed eventu- 
ally with the loss of one man only, 
but of course without baggage and 
ammunition, and with few arms 
beyond their pikes and swords. They 
were at once greeted with the news 
that the Imperialist troops were 
in the immediate neighbourhood. 
Munro, with ready resource, sent to 
the Duke of Pomerania, who was a 
secret partisan of Gustavus, at the 
Castle of Riigenwalde hard by, 
borrowed fifty muskets and some 
ammunition, and without more ado 



110 



The First Scots Brigade. 



surprised the town of Riigenwalde at 
midnight and captured it for the 
Swedish King. A more daring feat 
of arms by an isolated and unequipped 
force has rarely been achieved in war. 
The Imperialists quickly moved up to 
recapture it ; but Munro having taken 
possession was not going to relinquish 
it easily ; and he held the town against 
all attacks for nine weeks, until 
relieved by his countryman, Sir John 
Hepburn. 

After several brilliant little actions 
Munro rejoined the headquarters of 
his regiment at Stettin ; and in 
January, 1631, Gustavus, who boasted 
with justice that his army was as 
effective for a winter as for a summer 
campaign, invaded Brandenburg and 
marched for the Oder. The Scotch 
were now organised into the famous 
Green, or Scots, Brigade, consisting of 
four picked regiments, Hepburn's, 
Lumsden's, Mackay's and Stargate's, 
the whole under the command of Sir 
John Hepburn. As at the beginning 
of its service Mackay's again dis- 
tinguished itself by extraordinary 
tenacity in maintaining an untenable 
position. A detachment, which had 
been told off as part of a force for the 
defence of New Brandenburg, resisted 
the whole strength of Tilly's army, 
and lost no fewer than six hundred 
men killed. The remainder took 
revenge for their fallen comrades 
at the storm of Frankfort by the 
slaughter of some three thousand Im- 
perialists. 

But the operations on the Oder 
were interrupted by Tilly's advance 
upon Magdeburg, which called Gus- 
tavus in all haste to Saxony. Ar- 
riving too late to save the hapless 
city, he entrenched himself at Werben 
at the junction of the Elbe and the 
Havel ; and Tilly, after losing six 
thousand men in the vain attempt to 
storm the works, invaded Saxony. 
Gustavus at once followed him and 



offered him battle on the plains of 
Leipsic. 

On the 7th September, 1631, the 
redoubtable Tilly took up his position, 
facing northward, on a low line of 
heights running from the village of 
Breitenfeld in the west to that of 
Seehausen in the east. His army was 
formed in a single deep massive line, 
seven regiments of cavalry under 
Pappenheim on the left, seven more 
under Furstenburg on the right, all 
drawn up in dense columns of the old 
fashion. In the centre was Tilly 
himself with eighteen regiments of 
infantry, his famous Walloons among 
them ; and on the heights above him 
were his guns. The whole force 
numbered forty thousand men, and 
their general was a man who through 
seventy years of a life of fighting had 
never lost a battle. 

On the other side the armies of the 
Swedes and of their Saxon allies were 
formed in two lines, the Saxons, 
fourteen thousand strong, on the left, 
the Swedes on the right. The 
Swedish force was drawn up in two 
lines with cavalry on the wings and 
infantry in the centre, Hepburn's 
brigade being in the second line. 
There was considerable difference in 
the appearance of the two nations 
that composed the allied army, the 
Saxons all mustering in their best 
apparel and arms "as if they were 
going to be painted," while the Swedes, 
having lain all through the previous 
night on ploughed ground, looked like 
" a party of kitchen servants in their 
uncleanly rags." The difference in 
quality remained presently to be seen. 

The action opened as usual with a 
duel of artillery, which was continued 
from noon until half-past two, the 
Swedish guns, more numerous and 
better served than Tilly's, firing three 
shots to the enemy's one. At last 
Pappenheim on Tilly's left lost 
patience, and setting his wing of 



The First 'Scots Brigade. 



Ill 



horse in motion without orders, 
plunged down on the Swedish right. 
Tilly wrung his hands in despair 
at this premature attack, but he was 
helpless. Furstenburg on the other 
wing seeing Pappenheim's movements, 
also advanced, and charging down on 
the smart Saxons swept the whole of 
them away like chaff before the wind. 
He followed them in hot pursuit ; and 
had Tilly at once advanced with his 
centre against the Swedish left, which 
stood opposed to it, he might have 
hoped for success, for Gustavus's left 
flank was wholly uncovered. By his 
faulty disposition of his guns, how- 
ever, he could not do so without 
putting his artillery out of action. 
He therefore moved his troops to the 
right, so as to follow on the track of 
Furstenburg and outflank the Swedes; 
and the delay gave Gustavus time to 
alter his dispositions. Hepburn's 
brigade was quickly brought up to 
meet the attack on the flank, and 
after a single volley charged Tilly's 
infantry with pike and musket-butt 
with irresistible force. The Impe- 
rialists broke, and Gustavus, having 
routed Pappenheim on the Swedish 
right, pressed on to the flank of 
Tilly's guns, captured the whole 
battery, and virtually ended the 
battle. The Scots were practically 
the only infantry engaged, and were 
thanked by Gustavus before the whole 
army for their good service. 

From Leipsic Gustavus marched 
for the Main, the Scots being as 
usual put forward for every desperate 
service that was to be encountered on 
the way, and went into winter 
quarters at Mayence. In the spring 
of 1632 he marched down the line of 
the Danube with forty thousand men, 
forced the passage of the Lech in the 
teeth of Tilly's army, entered Bavaria, 
and by May was at Munich. Then, 
finding the towns in his rear to be 
threatened, he doubled back to 



Donauwb'rth, and thence, called 
towards Saxony by the appearance of 
Wallenstein, he turned away to 
Niiruberg. Such marching, if we 
except the advance of the English 
flying column to Agincourt, had not 
been seen since the days of Zisca. 
Gustavus now turned Number^, 

o" 

according to his custom, into a vast 
entrenched camp. He had no more 
than eighteen thousand men against 
Wallenstein's seventy thousand, and 
wished for nothing better than that 
his enemy should dash his force to 
pieces against his field-works. But 
his enemy was too cunning to do 
anything so foolish. He took the 
simple course of entrenching himself 
impregnably alongside Gustavus, cut- 
ting off his supplies from the Rhine 
and Danube and reducing him by 
starvation. Reinforcements raised 
the Swedish force to five and thirty 
thousand 7iien, Wallenstein suffer- 
ing them to pass unmolested that 
they might consume the provisions 
more quickly. The pinch of hunger 
began to make itself felt in the 
Swedish camp : pestilence raged among 
the unhappy troops ; and at last 
Gustavus in desperation launched his 
army in a -vain assault against 
Wallenstein's entrenchments. For 
twelve hours his men swarmed up 
the rugged and broken hill with 
desperate courage, three times ob- 
taining a momentary footing, and as 
often beaten back. The Scots Brigade 
suffered terribly ; officers and men 
exposed themselves gallantly only to be 
shot down, and at the close of the day 
nearly all the musketeers of the 
brigade had fallen, while there were 
hardly pikemen enough to guard the 
colours. Munro, though wounded, 
stuck to his post till nightfall, when 
he had lost two hundred men killed, 
besides wounded. Still the cannonade 
was kept up all night, and the Scotch 
officer who had relieved Munro brought 



112 



The First Scots Brigade. 



back but thirty out of five hundred 
men next morning. Gustavus, seeing 
that there was nothing for it but to 
retreat, evacuated Niirnberg and 
retired to Neustadt. 

Sir John Hepburn, in consequence 
of some quarrel with Gustavus, now 
took his leave of him, and entered 
the service of France ; and the Scots 
Brigade, weakened to a shadow by its 
losses, was left behind at Dunkersbiihl 
to await reinforcements, while Gustavus 
marched away to his last battle-field 
at Lutzen. Here, though the cele- 
brated brigade was perforce absent, 
there were many officers present who 
had formerly served with it, as well 
as other regiments of Scots in the 
pay of Gustavus Adolphus. The total 
number of Britons in the Swedish 
service rose higher and higher till it 
reached a total of some thirteen 
thousand soldiers. Mackay's regiment 
also was recruited to twelve companies 
and fifteen hundred men, and took the 
field again, though no longer with 
Robert Munro at its head. Its last 
great action in the Swedish service 
was the disastrous battleof Nordlingen, 
where it was almost annihilated, 
emerging only with the bare strength 
of a single company. The Swedish 
army was no longer the same since 
Gustavus had fallen. A year later, 
in 1 635, on the alliance of France with 
Sweden, the fragments of the Scotch 
regiments were all blended into one, 
and passed into the service of France 
under the command of their old leader 
Sir John Hepburn. 

The corps was now known by its new 
commander's name, as the Regiment 
d'Hebron, but in little more than a 
year the appellation was changed, for 
Hepburn fell at its head at the siege 
of Saverne in 1636. It then passed 
to a colonel whose name made it the 
Regiment Douglas, and it was as the 
Regiment Douglas that it fought under 
Conde at Rocroi in 1643. Two years 



later found it still in the field under 
Turenne, besieging Gravelines, in 
company with the English regiment of 
Rokeby, which was also in the French 
service. Yet another two years saw 
not only Rokeby but another English 
regiment, that of Prince Robert de 
Baviere, better known to us as Rupert 
of the Rhine, distinguishing them- 
selves extraordinarily under the victor 
of Rocroi at Lens in 1648. Then at 
last came the Peace of Westphalia and 
a season of rest 

But the troubles of France were 
not yet over, and presently Conde and 
Turenne, who had so often fought side 
by side, were seen arrayed against 
each other. Again the Regiment 
Douglas came into the field and dis- 
tinguished itself at the capture of 
Arras, of Quesnoi, Landrecies, and St. 
Ghislain in 1654; and four years 
later, on one memorable day, it fought 
by the side of the English red-coats 
at Dunkirk Dunes. But the time was 
not far distant when it was itself to 
wear the red coat. In 165960 the 
Regiment Rokeby and the Regiment 
of Prince Rupert were merged in 
Douglas, and finally at the Restoration 
the united corps was summoned to 
England as the First Royal, or Scots 
Regiment. After two years, however, 
it went abroad again under the French 
standard, served in the campaign of 
1672 in the Low Countries, fought at 
Turckheim in 1674, at Salzbach, where 
it avenged the death of Turenne, in 
1675, and ended its French service 
under the Marshal of Luxemburg, at 
Kokersberg and Fribourg, in 1677. 

Then came the treaty of Nimeguen 
and the final return of the regiment 
to England. Since 1670 it had 
ranked as the twelfth regiment of the 
French line ; it returned to become 
the first of the English line, with the 
title, which it still bears, of the Royal 
Scots. It is said that the Royal 
Scots quarrelled with the Coldstream 



The First__Scots Brigade. 



113 



Guards and claimed that they ought 
by right to take precedence of them 
as the older regiment. Nothing can 
be more probable. Even when first 
enrolled in the French army Regiment 
d'Hebron had arrogated precedence of 
Picardie, the oldest of the French 
regiments, on the absurd ground that 
it had received a certain number of 
officers from a corps which enjoyed an 
unique antiquity, the Scottish Body- 
guard. If an English regiment were 
to be raised to-morrow, and on taking 
over half a dozen officers from the 
Grenadier Guards were to claim the 
first place in the British infantry, its 
pretensions could not be more ridi- 
culous than those of d'Hebron. 
Picardie was by no means disposed to 
yield to these upstarts, and avenged 
the insult by calling the Scots Pontius 
Pilate's Guards, a nickname which 
gave a Scotch officer the opening for a 
biting retort. " If we had done duty 
at the Holy Sepulchre," he answered, 
well aware that certain sentries of 
Picardie had lately been caught asleep 
at their posts, " the Holy Body would 
never have left it." None the less, 
the phrase Pontius Pilate's Guards 
duly crossed the Channel, and endures 



as a title of honour to this day. 
Probably it was preserved by the 
Coldstream, who were proud, and 
justly proud, of authentic descent 
from the New Model Army of 1645. 
Nevertheless, the Royal Scots, 
though not, as some writers would 
have us believe, the oldest or nearly 
the oldest regiment in the world, have 
still much to be proud of. They 
represent regiments which took part 
in the most brilliant actions of three 
such captains as Gustavus Adolphus, 
Conde, and Turenne ; and to these 
honours they have added distinguished 
service under Marlborough and Wel- 
lington. Is there another regiment in 
the world that can show such a history 
as this 1 We greatly doubt it ; and 
surely this is sufficient without tracing 
an imaginary pedigree to the Scottish 
Guards, and moving the birthday even 
of that famous corps backward for 
two centuries without the slightest 
warrant from history. A regiment 
need not disturb itself to inquire 
whether it covered the retreat of 
Saul's army at the action of Gil boa, 
when it can authentically quote such 
names as Leipsic, Rocroi, Lens, 
Dunkirk, Blenheim, and Waterloo. 



No. 440. VOL. LXXVI. 



114 



AN ARM-CHAIR PHILOSOPHER. 



IT has been shrewdly said that we 
care a great deal for the outward 
aspect of the eighteenth century, its 
fashions in architecture and dress and 
furniture, but for its inward life, its 
literature and thought, we care next 
to nothing. The reason is not hard to 
discover. The outward aspect of the 
eighteenth century, for at least the 
greater part of its course, is all that 
its literature and thought were not, 
various, full of colour, abundant in 
contrasts. Its literature, on the other 
hand, is sober, grey, constrained. 
Thus we fix greedily on the glittering 
exterior, and are utterly careless of 
what lies beneath ; although there are 
many periods of the world's history 
which have been as much distin- 
guished by colour and brilliance, 
none, perhaps, which have been so 
remarkable in moral and intellectual 
character. 

To a period of fierce and ill-regu- 
lated enthusiasm had succeeded a 
period of cool and measured common- 
sense. Men woke to the conscious- 
ness that they had been sacrificing life 
itself in a too fastidious choice of a 
particular kind of life. They elected 
to live how, was become a secondary 
consideration. Every ideal was sub- 
ordinated to the imperious demands 
of practice. Theory was strictly con- 
trolled by utilitarian conditions. The 
ideals and the dogma of a Laud had 
fallen into disrepute, but had not yet 
been displaced by the dogma and 
the ideals of a Wesley. The Divine 
Right of Kings was become a mere 
bugbear, and the Rights of Man 
were as yet not even that. This mad 
world of ours was visited with an 



interval of sanity, was aware of it, 
proud of it, and, for the moment, 
resolved to keep it. 

It is not always the greatest authors 
who best represent the tendencies of 
their age, and a writer who occupies 
a very small niche in the Temple of 
Fame, prosaically symbolised by the 
DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY, 
is probably the most complete and 
satisfactory exponent of the aims and 
aspirations which engaged the English 
mind in the early Georgian era. We 
know very little of the events of Mat- 
thew Green's life, and probably there 
is little to know. We picture him as 
a clerk in the Custom House, of middle 
age, a confirmed bachelor living by 
himself in lodgings, with bookish 
habits and a quiet humour. We can 
hardly imagine him to have been 
ever a young man ; and he was not 
old, only forty-one, when he died. 
By birth and education a Dissenter, 
not a sturdy Presbyterian or un- 
yielding Independent, but bred in 
the milder tenets of the Society of 
Friends, he was at least nominally a 
member of the Established Church, 
in order to hold his appointment at 
the Custom House. For a busy man 
he had read much, and he was not 
averse, though with mock modesty 
disclaiming any tincture of classical 
learning, to display his reading in an 
unhackneyed allusion, or such an un- 
pardonable Latinism as nefandous or 
fecundous. He seems to have written 
with only a remote intention of print- 
ing, but to have been prolific in 
"occasional effusions," and "copies 
of verses addressed to his friends," 
most of which have been lost. A 



An Arm-CTiair Philosopher. 



115 



story runs that some very vigorous 
measures of retrenchment introduced 
at the Custom House were to deprive 
its numerous tribe of cats of their 
daily allowance of a saucer of milk 
apiece, and that a humorous petition 
in verse from our author averted their 
threatened deprivation. We can easily 
believe the author of THE SPLEEN to 
have been a lover of cats. 

THE SPLEEN is the title of his mag- 
num opus ; a magnum opus, which only 
extends to fifty-eight pages in Doctor 
Aikin's neatly-printed edition. Into 
the quaint couplets of this little poem 
Green has packed the whole practical 
philosophy of his day, and all philo- 
sophy then was practical. His verse 
has been praised, and even famous, 
for other qualities. It was once ad- 
mired by Doctor Aikin and others for 
its witty and unexpected turns. Now- 
adays critics prefer, if they ever notice 
Green's work at all, to single it out 
as an anticipation of the revival of a 
feeling for nature. Those who care 
to become intimate with Green grow 
to look upon him in quite another 
light than as a mere literary land- 
mark. 

In light and careless verse, directed 
to an old acquaintance, Green unfolds 
in detail his scheme of living, and the 
measures he took to drive away that 
melancholy which perhaps was not less 
common then than now, but which in 
those days it was not the custom 
to hug and dandle with such affec- 
tion. To live healthily and happily 
was the ideal Green set before him- 
self, and he adjusted all his conduct 
to this end. To love one's fellow- 
men was good, but that was a condi- 
tion of mind most likely to be ob- 
tained through tranquillity and in- 
curiousness. An overscrupulous phil- 
anthropy, which wears the temper 
and jars the nerves, defeats its own 
ends, and is not a virtue to commend 
itself to a thoroughly sane intelligence. 



" Reforming schemes,'' says this apostle 
of common- sense, 

Reforming schemes are none of mine ; 
To mend the world's a vast design ; 
Like theirs, who tug in little boat, 
To pull to them the ship afloat, 
While, to defeat their labour'd end, 
At once both wind and stream contend : 
Success herein is seldom seen, 
And zeal, when baffled, turns to spleen. 

Happy the man who, innocent, 
Grieves not at ills he can't prevent ; 
His skiff does with the current glide, 
Not puffing pull'd against the tide. 
He, paddling by the scuffling crowd, 
Sees unconcern'd life's wager row'd, 
And when he can't prevent foul play 
Enjoys the folly of the fray. 

Every part of life is administered on 
the same plan. Patriotism must not 
be allowed to delude, any more than 
philanthropy. 

A prince's cause, a church's claim, 
I've known to raise a mighty flame, 
Ami priest, as stoker, very free 
To throw in peace and charity. 

That was a lesson which England 
under the first two Georges had 
taken to heart. The country had 
grown sick of causes, of calls and 
counter-cries. That was the secret 
of the Hanoverian rule, and of Wai- 
pole's long successful career. 

It can scarcely be concealed that 
Green's principles were essentially such 
as would now be branded with the 
epithet of Philistine. Not only in 
his refusal to take what we call, 
with conviction, elevated views of the 
claims of the State and the obligations 
of the individual, but in his whole 
outlook he is irredeemably plain, prac- 
tical, absorbed in utility. Passion 
he sedulously excludes. Love is a 
pretty plaything, an amusement to 
be enjoyed with caution, lest one 
burn one's fingers unwittingly. The 
arts are mere handmaids to health. 
Music is excellent to purge away 
the vapours, and the theatre is pre- 

i 2 



116 



An Arm-Chair Philosopher. 



scribed for the harassed man of busi- 
ness. Poetry is an agreeable accom- 
plishment for an idle hour, but worse 
than hypochondria if taken seriously. 
Tt is Thackeray's criticism of life, 
without its bitterness and its incon- 
sistent earnestness. 

Of course Green is writing from a 
special point of view. But it is easy 
to assure one's self that he has chosen 
it because it appeals to him (and, for 
that matter, to all his readers) with a 
special force. It really did seem to 
the men of that time the highest aim, 
to preserve a temper of mind and 
body unagitated and undepressed. A 
horror of what they called the 
spleen entered, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, into every system of politics, 
of theology, and of ethics. A kind 
of ataraxia, an unbroken calm, was 
their ideal good. 

The feeling for nature which critics 
find in Green's poetry is not out of har- 
mony with the prevailing tone of his 
philosophy. There is nothing excessive 
about it. No one could truthfully 
describe it as passion ; it can scarcely 
be classed with the emotions. He 
has the cit's taste for country air, and 
a happy knack at expressing it. He 
finds the quiet and the shade soothing 
after a hot and busy day in town, but 
if condemned to a six months' rustica- 
tion, he would soon be pining for the 
good company at Will's coffee-house. 
He appreciates a sunset, if there is no 
danger from wet feet in looking at it. 
After all, there is some sincerity in 
his pleasantly expressed wish for in- 
dependence and ease and a retreat 
among those rural sights which the 
experience of many a pleasant pic-nic 
and an occasional jaunt of a few days' 
duration had taught him to believe so 
congenial. 

Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r, 

The blithesome goddess soothes my care, 

I feel the deity inspire, 

And thus she models my desire. 



Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, 

Annuity securely made, 

A farm some twenty miles from town, 

Small, tight, salubrious, and my own ; 

Two maids, that never saw the town, 

A serving-man not quite a clown, 

A boy to help to tread the mow, 

And drive, while t'other holds the 

plough ; 

A chief, of temper formed to please, 
Tit to converse, and keep the keys ; 
And better to preserve the peace, 
Commission'd by the name of niece ; 
With understandings of a size 
To think their master very wise. 
May Heav'n (it's all I wish for) send 
One genial room to treat a friend, 
Where decent cupboard, little plate, 
Display benevolence, not state. 
And may my humble dwelling stand 
Upon some chosen spot of land ; 
A pond before, full to the brim, 
Where cows may cool, and geese may 

swim ; 

Behind, a green like velvet neat, 
Soft to the eye, and to the feet ; 
Where od'rous plants in evening fail- 
Breathe all around ambrosial air. 

With op'ning views of hill and dale, 
Which sense and fancy too regale, 
Where the half-cirque, which vision 

bounds, 

Like amphitheatre surrounds ; 
And woods impervious to the breeze, 
Thick phalanx of embodied trees, 
From hills through plains in dusk array 
Extended far, repel the day. 

Those were less laborious days than 
ours. Men's wishes were contained 
in narrower bounds, and were more 
easily gratified. 

Green's views on questions of the- 
ology could be construed from the 
tendency of all his argumentation, if he 
had not stated it explicitly. He has 
spoken somewhat enthusiastically of 
his own sect and their doctrine in 
his lines on Barclay's Apology for the 
Quakers. Their unobtrusive, passive 
demeanour contrasted favourably with 
the aggressive conduct of most of the 
religious. Green too approved very 
highly of a system which made every 
man a criterion to himself. He could 
not, however, but feel strongly the 



An Arm-Chair Philosopher. 



117 



impracticability of their creed, and 
-can have been speaking only in the 
language of affectionate compliment 
when he affirmed that he would have 
thrown in his lot with them, had his 
will and his courage been sufficient. 
Natural bent and a settled habitude, 
quite as much as interest, taught him 
to go " to Mecca with the caravan." 
His real, ultimate convictions he has 
placed on record in language more 
serious and dignified than he generally 
cares to use. He forbears to vex him- 
self with curious questionings or 
subtle interpretations. He leaves 
theology to priests, and asceticism to 
the priest-ridden. He orders his life 
as well as he can by the direction of 
common sense, and has no fear of 
condemnation from the Being who 
gave him that sense. 

In One, no object of our sight, 
Immutable, and infinite, 
Who can't be cruel or unjust, 
Calm and resign'd, I fix my trust ; 
To Him my past and present state 
I owe, and must my future fate. 

He for His creatures must decree 
More happiness than misery, 
Or be supposed to create, 
Curious to try, what 'tis to hate ; 
And do an act, which rage infers, 
'Cause lameness halts, or blindness errs. 

The best type of theologian in the 
earlier years of the century leaned 
more and more to such conclusions. 
The idea of the benevolence of the 



Deity pervaded all that theology. 
Men's minds were striving hard to 
shake off an accumulated burden of 
unwholesome thoughts. They would 
have failed entirely if they had left 
untouched the most painful thought 
of all. And so theology too came 
under the influence of the prevailing 
tendency ; a tendency to aim, in chief, 
at health, comfort, and sanity. 

Among the educated classes there 
was perhaps less superstition and less 
spiritual uneasiness than there has 
ever been, before or after. Educated 
men had more confidence in the 
capacity of human reason than they 
had ever had since the days of Plato. 
Where they admitted or felt a limita- 
tion, the consciousness was not a dis- 
comfort but an anodyne. It gave 
them rest. 

All that was soon changed. Old 
passions and emotions, and some new 
ones, were soon to be aroused by the 
preaching of the Wesleys, the decla- 
mation of Rousseau, by all the forces 
which have made the modern world. 

The period, while it lasted, was not 
heroic. But, looking back, one seems 
to discern a period of calm and light, 
a period of tranquil sanity, of comfort 
and good cheer. There may be much 
more potent elements of good in our 
own atmosphere of storm and unrest 
and fiery ebullitions of emotion ; but 
it is not ill to glance for a moment 
at the other, on occasion, even with 
regret. 



118 



THE ROMANCE OF A STALL. 



ONE fine April morning, in the year 
of our Lord, 1880, Peter Morero awoke 
from the sound healthy sleep which 
was his nightly portion, and began 
hastily to dress himself for first mass. 
It was nearly four o'clock, and the 
bells were ringing when he came out 
into the keen morning air, and ran 
across the green which divided his 
little weatherbeaten house from the 
great white church which invests the 
mountain village of Cavalese with a 
prestige unshared by any other in 
Tyrol. When mass was over, Peter 
left the church with the other wor- 
shippers, but he did not follow them 
out of the churchyard. Instead, he 
stood a moment looking at the bright- 
ening east, then taking the brush out 
of the stoup of holy water attached 
to the outer wall of the church, he 
bestowed a conscientious aspersion 
upon two graves which lay side by 
side in the shadow of the eastern 
portico, and after replacing the brush 
in the stoup, and laying his hat be- 
side him on the grass, he knelt down 
and prayed for the souls of his father 
and mother. 

" And may they too pray for their 
poor orphan," he murmured, as he 
rose from his knees. Peter always 
thought of himself as an orphan, 
although he was forty-eight years old 
(a late hour in the hard-worked life 
of a Tyrolese peasant), and his parents 
had died only the year before at a 
very advanced age. But he had never 
been married, or even betrothed, 
and his affection for his good, loving 
parents, and his grief at their loss, 
had been the single emotion of his 
uneventful life. Now that the old 



couple slept in the churchyard he 
lived on alone, in contented bachelor- 
hood, in the low, two-roomed cottage 
they had bequeathed to him ; and 
notwithstanding the fact that it was 
by many degrees the poorest in Ca- 
valese, and let in the summer rains 
and winter snows, he felt for it all 
the pride of a proprietor. It was a 
very modest and, so to speak, humble 
pride, however, for never, even in 
early youth, had Peter merited the 
description given in Holy Writ of 
certain characters, and of Jeshurun 
in particular, of whom we are told 
that they " waxed fat, and kicked," 
and were in consequence duly dis- 
ciplined by adverse fate. It was true, 
indeed, that all opportunities to wax 
fat, either in a material or moral 
sense, had been denied him ; but it 
was equally true that no amount 
of prosperity could have made him 
aggressive or boastful. 

He was an unobtrusive, silent, sym- 
pathetic little man, and though dingy 
and wrinkled, physically wizened and 
unhandsomely hirsute, he was yet so 
honest and kindly that there was 
something pleasant in his aspect, not- 
withstanding his ugliness. 

The clock was striking five as he 
issued from the churchyard, and he 
made haste home, for he had yet several 
things to do before his departure for 
the summer. His green fustian bag 
lay ready strapped beside his staff, 
but it was still necessary for him to 
arrange his few poor sticks of furni- 
ture, and to leave everything in readi- 
ness for Anna Morero, his cousin 
Paul's widow, who, with her two boys, 
was to occupy his cottage during the 



The Romance of a Stall. 



119 



summer. When all was in order, he 
carefully locked the door, put the key 
in his pocket, and began to water 
some fine carnations which stood on a 
bench placed against the outer wall 
of the cottage. Peter was considered 
to have a lucky hand with carnations, 
and he now looked lovingly at these, 
and cut off One really splendid blossom 
which he fastened in his hat. Then 
he took up the two big pots and 
carried them across the street to the 
postwoman, who had promised to care 
for them during his absence, and also 
to keep the key of his house until 
Anna Morero came to claim it. It 
was not without some qualms of con- 
science that he confided his plants 
to the postwoman. He felt that he 
would have dealt more handsomely 
by his cousin and her children had he 
left the carnations to their care. But, 
as he told himself, Anna had never 
been careful with plants, and her two 
boys, aged respectively thirteen and 
sixteen, were much more likely to 
spoil flowers than to care for them. 
To be sure, there was Luisa Badi, 
Anna's daughter by her first husband, 
she who was, until she could get some- 
thing better, cow-girl at a farm some 
miles away. But Peter had never 
seen her since she was a baby, and 
though he knew her to be twenty-one 
years old, he still considered her too 
young to be trusted with his carna- 
tions. He fulfilled his errand to the 
postwoman therefore, and after due 
thanks and farewells, went his way. 

He had a day's journey before him, 
for he was bound to the distant 
heights on the other side of the 
Adige ; and as he walked on, now 
casting a glance at the mountains, and 
now at the valley to which he was 
descending, his thoughts were busy 
with the work which awaited him, 
for he had engaged himself to the 
landlord of the inn at Kloben- 
stein as cowherd, and had afterwards 



learned that he was a master whom 
it was not easy to please. Now Peter 
liked his work, and understood it, but 
it annoyed him to be followed up and 
interfered with, because, when he had 
any spare time he liked to rest in the 
quiet stall and dream his fill. He 
would not have called it dreaming. 
Though in reality much given to day- 
dreams, he had never heard the 
phrase ; he called these long daily 
meditations " remembering." In 
truth he did delight in remembrance. 
He could neither read nor write, but 
he possessed an extraordinary memory, 
and it was richly stored with the 
folk-lore of the mountains. To lie on 
the warm straw in the cow-stall, and 
listen to that soothing sound, the 
chewing of the cud ; to feel the gen- 
tle, sympathetic, but not importunate 
friendliness of the cows about him ; 
to gaze idly at the motes dancing in 
the rare, slanting rays of sunshine 
which cleft the shadowy darkness of 
the interior, and through the slightly 
open door to see in the far distance 
the splendid pageant of lights and 
shadows and prismatic colours upon 
the fairy peaks of the Dolomites, all 
these delights were dear to the soul 
of Peter Morero, who, though he did 
not know it, was a poet and a sybarite 
in his own humble way. 

Poor Peter, stepping steadily down 
the mountain, with all his personalty 
packed into the green bag he carried 
on his back, with his jacket on his 
shoulder, his staff in his hand, and 
his pipe in his mouth, his mind full 
of a gentle modest contentment, 
delicately tempered by a faint anxiety 
as to the well-being of Herr Mair's 
cows, and a slight apprehension as to 
that individual's treatment of his cow- 
herd, was surely too modest a figure 
to invite, much less to deserve, a fling 
from Destiny. Peter ventured to hope 
for nothing in the future that he had 
not had in the past, and feared no- 



120 



The Eomance of a Stall. 



thing but the poor-house, and too long 
a stay in purgatory. Yet his last 
tranquil day lay behind him. 

He had walked for about three 
hours, when a turn in the rough 
mountain road brought into view a 
narrow and steep path which branched 
off abruptly. Some cows were slowly 
climbing this path, and making their 
way one by one into the field which 
overhung the road. Peter's eyes 
instinctively followed the cows, and 
his ear lent itself half unconsciously 
to the shouts of the cow-girl, who as 
yet was invisible to him. Suddenly 
she appeared above his head, follow- 
ing her cows. She dropped her stick 
for a moment to pick a sprig of pear- 
blossom which she put between her 
teeth, and taking her handkerchief 
from her head, turned and shook it, 
preparatory to putting it on again. 
The action showed to advantage her 
tall youthful figure and the fine poise 
and beautiful shape of her head ; 
while the broad sunlight set off the 
rich bloom of her complexion and 
bronzed the locks on her temples, now 
ruffled up and waving, although the 
mass of dark hair was closely braided 
and bound with the maiden snood. 
As with all cow-girls her feet were 
bare, and she wore the ordinary 
peasant's dress. But she was like no 
peasant girl Peter had ever seen ; and 
as he stood looking up at her his staff 
slipped out of his hand, and fell noisily 
on the stony road. Instantly, the 
girl threw up her head like a listen- 
ing deer ; then she came forward to 
the edge of the field, and let her 
glance fall upon him for the first 
time. Her eyes were large and long, 
and in colour like pools of clear water 
on a bed of brown autumn leaves. A 
dancing light, a ray, a laugh, played 
for ever in the corners of the eyes, 
and produced an indescribably elusive, 
puzzling, but fascinating expression. 
Such eyes look out of Mona Lisa's 



portrait on the wall of the Louvre, 
and they have ever been troubling to 
the sons of men. 

Our poor hero was no exception to 
the rule, and he stood mutely gazing 
upward, while the girl with a slight 
laugh, instantly suppressed, resumed 
the task of shaking and folding her 
handkerchief, replaced it on her head, 
and adroitly catching the ends in her 
teeth, without letting go her sprig of 
pear-blossom, she picked up her stick 
and turned away, glancing out of the 
corners of her eyes as she did so. 

Then Peter had an inspiration. He 
called aloud, " Are you Luisa ? " 

She turned with a leisurely, non- 
chalant grace, and answered, but 
without looking at him, " There are so 
many Luisas ; long Seppel's Luisa, and 
the miller's Luisa, and Anton the shoe- 
maker's Luisa, and many more. How 
do I know which Luisa you want 1 " 

Peter laughed : "I want Anna 
Morero's Luisa." 

" Well, what do you want of her ? " 
answered the girl, with a carelessness 
which would have been wounding but 
for the mysterious smile in her eyes. 

" I am your cousin, Peter Morero," 
said Peter. 

" My brother's cousin, not mine," 
returned the girl promptly. " Where 
are you going 1 " she added. 

" To Klobenstein, plenty of cows, a 
good place. I shall be there until 
November. If the landlord wants a 
cow-girl, will you come 1 You would 
be better paid there than here." 

" Who knows 1 " replied the girl 
with a sweet indifference, as she 
turned more decidedly away and be- 
gan to follow her retreating cows. 
She had not said good-bye ; it was 
apparently not her habit. Peter, left 
standing in the road, scarcely knew 
what he did as he called aloud, 
" Luisa ! " 

" Well ! " said Luisa, glancing over 
her shoulder as she retreated slowly. 



The Romance of a Stall. 



121 



" Will you have this ? " and taking 
the carnation from his hat, he threw 
it up to her. Now she turned, came 
back and picked it up, still with 
the same enchanting, piquant non- 
chalance. " Pretty ! " she said, as she 
turned it over in her hand, but she 
did not thank him. She pushed back 
her handkerchief, placed the carna- 
tion over her right ear, adjusted her 
handkerchief again and prepared to 
go her way. 

"Luisa!" 

" Well ! " 

" Will you give me that flower you 
have in your mouth 1 " 

Luisa's only answer was to tighten 
her lips upon the sprig of pear- 
blossom, and to pull her handkerchief 
further over her head. 

"Luisa!" 

Luisa laid hold of the cow nearest 
her, and began to rub its horns with 
her apron. 

" Luisa ! " 

There was no reply. Luisa was 
still busy with the cow's horn. 

" Luisa, will you give me that 
flower for my hat 1 " 

A shake of the head was the only 
answer, and after waiting a little 
Peter went his way. 

He had been walking some ten 
minutes when he stopped as if an 
invisible hand had been laid upon 
him, stood a moment absorbed in 
thought, shook himself and walked on 
a few steps, then halted again, and 
unslung the pack he carried on his 
back, which was composed of a rough 
pastrano or cloak, and the coarse 
fustian bag which held his personal 
property. When the bag lay before 
him on the road, he stooped to open 
it, and then suddenly hesitated ; once 
more he stood still, looking with un- 
seeing eyes at the distant landscape, 
and turning over a problem in his 
mind. These vacillating movements 
represented a struggle with the tempta- 



tion of improvidence, a temptation 
which now assailed him for the first 
time. He had in his bag an enormous, 
rosy-cheeked, shining apple, an apple 
as round and perfect as if it had been 
made of wax, and this treasure was 
intended for his new master's little 
daughter. He had expatiated upon 
its beauty when he promised it to her, 
and therefore must buy another in 
Bozen if he now gave it away. The 
one in question (which had been given 
to him) was expensive, he knew ; and 
to pay money for fruit had always 
seemed to him the wildest extrava- 
gance. But even while combating 
these scruples he had taken the apple 
from his bag, and was polishing it on 
his sleeve and holding it up to the 
light, the better to admire its ex- 
quisite colour and smooth perfection. 
Suddenly he slung his pack on his 
shoulders again, picked up his staff, 
and began to climb the hill with 
feverish energy. He had feared that 
Luisa would be gone, but she was 
still in the field with her cows. The 
green edge of the field made a long, 
grassy, horizontal line against the sky, 
and her slow walk, as she followed 
her cows along this line, had a certain 
rhythmic beauty in it. " Luisa ! " 

She turned her head, stopped, and 
stood looking down upon him. 

" Luisa, look ! " And he held up 
the apple. " Catch ! " and he threw it. 
She caught it dexterously, laughed, 
threw it in the air, caught it again, 
and put it in her pocket with a smile. 
When the smile had left her lips, she 
still stood looking down upon him 
with smiling eyes, but she did not 
speak ; perhaps because the sprig of 
pear-blossom which she held between 
her teeth rendered speech impossible, 
perhaps because a natural indolence 
predisposed her to silence. Mean- 
while, Peter, standing on the stony 
road, wished for the pear-blossom, but 
dared not ask again for it ; wished to 



122 



The Romance of a Stall. 



begin a conversation but knew not 
how ; and so after two or three uneasy 
minutes bade the girl farewell and re- 
sumed his journey. 

But after walking fast for twenty 
minutes or more he halted at a certain 
turn in the winding path, and gazed 
upward. He was far below Luisa now, 
too far for speech, but he could see 
her distinctly, as she sat on the edge 
of the field with the apple in her hand. 
She had removed her handkerchief, 
and her beautiful dark head and 
charming face stood out in strong 
relief against the sky. Peter looked 
long at her, but he did not possess 
powers of divination, and the three 
weird sisters, who stood behind her 
and with grim impassive countenances 
twisted his skein of life, were invisible 
to him. He only saw girlish grace 
and youthful bloom glowing against 
vast depths of infinite azure ; and yet 
it was with a deep sigh that he at last 
went his way. 

Meanwhile Luisa tossed the sprig of 
pear-blossom, unasked, to a passing 
swineherd, and turning the pink apple 
in her hand with a laugh, set her 
strong white teeth deep in it. 



II. 

PETER found his place at Kloben- 
stein satisfactory, and the work quite 
within his powers ; but he was not 
happy. Remembering was no longer 
the never-failing source of delight 
which it had been hitherto. He lin- 
gered little now in the cow-stall, but 
spent all his spare time either sit- 
ting or lying on the hill outside, and 
gazing across the valley to the moun- 
tains beyond, where on fine days he 
could see Cavalese like a small white 
spot in the blue distance. In former 
years memory would have peopled the 
rocks and hills, the vast pine-forests 
which clad the mountain side, and also 



the vineyards low down in the valley, 
with dancing nymphs and satyrs, with 
fairy kings and queens ; but now he 
only saw a dark-haired girl driving 
her cows, or standing still and looking 
at him with the mysterious smile in 
the corners of her long brown eyes. 

He saw her again at night, in the 
troubled dreams which had taken the 
place of his former quiet slumber. 
What leagues and leagues he walked 
in those dreams behind Luisa and her 
cows ! Always within call, yet never 
within reach ; for ever moving on be- 
fore him through vast stretches of 
green fields, yet always eluding nearer 
approach, until he would groan aloud 
for very weariness, and turn on his 
hard pallet and dream again, more 
painfully than before, for now he made 
his way through interminable pine- 
forests, following Luisa as she flitted 
in and out among the red tree boles, 
playing an endless game of hide and 
seek ; for ever following, but never 
finding, for though now and again the 
bright face seemed near, in an instant 
the vision had dissolved into the 
wavering lights and shadows of 
the forests. Then with a sigh Peter 
would awake and toss, and turn and 
dream once more, the dream which 
always came just before the dawn. It 
never changed. In this dream he was 
with Luisa on the upper Alp, above 
the forest line, with the short, per- 
fumed grass underfoot and the limit- 
less sky overhead. No one was near, 
nor was there any sound, but of the 
cows cropping the soft grass and the 
summer wind whispering by. There 
was the round, flat stone, deep in 
heather and fern, where she had 
spread their simple meal ; but always, 
just as she raised her hand to beckon 
him to a seat by her side, the dream 
broke, and he had to rise, weary and 
aching, and go about his daily task. 

Now, too, apart from dreams by day 
and night, certain grave anxieties per- 



The Romance of a Stall. 



123 



plexed him. He wondered perpetually 
and uneasily whether Luisa were well- 
placed, well-housed, well-fed, above 
all, whether she were well guarded. 
She was so pretty, and men, especially 
boys, were such rascals ; if he could 
only have her under his own eye ! 
And the fat landlord seemed an angel 
in disguise when he one day bade him 
seek for a cow-girl, offering at the 
same time wages which were far be- 
yond anything paid on the other side 
of the Adige. 

III. 

THE journey back to Cavalese, to 
fetch Luisa and her belongings, to 
Klobenstein, seemed like the fulfil- 
ment of years of longing. And yet it 
was but six weeks since he first set 
eyes upon her, when he once more left 
the village in the early morning with 
Luisa's bag strapped upon his back, 
and Luisa herself moving lightly on 
beside him. 

The June morning smiled as never 
morning had smiled before in Peter's 
life, and yet before the day was over 
a vague uneasiness had taken posses- 
sion of his soul. It was not Luisa's 
fault, of course, but all the way down 
the mountain she had not spoken a 
word to him, and she had laughed and 
joked with every man they met. And 
then, when they reached Atzwang and 
prepared to climb the precipitous hill, 
she had sprung on like a young deer, 
only now and then glancing back and 
asking the way but never halting for 
an instant, and only replying in 
monosyllables when addressed. But 
ever and anon her eyes smiled upon 
him, and Peter would take heart of 
grace and trudge on patiently. 

They reached Klobenstein before 
night-fall, and after Ave Maria sat 
down, together with a dozen other 
peasants, at the round table upon 
which smoked the evening meal in a 



huge platter. Each peasant was pro- 
vided with a long iron spoon to dip in 
the dish. Luisa was quite at her ease ; 
but though she had been put by her 
mother under Peter's care, she would 
not sit next him, but slipped into a 
place on the opposite side of the table. 
All these trifling acts distressed and 
puzzled him ; but he had voluntarily 
sought the office of guardian, an office 
not a sinecure at any time, and, as he 
was soon to discover, fraught with 
indescribable misery to a man in love. 
That mortal malady was upon him, 
but he did not recognise its symptoms. 
When he rose the next day, an hour 
before the early summer dawn, in 
order to do the heavier part of Luisa's 
work before she should come over to 
the stall ; when, later in the day, the 
sun was hot on the fields, and he bade 
her sit still, while he ran about col- 
lecting the cows for the return to the 
stall, these acts would have en- 
lightened many men as to their own 
feelings, but Peter was naturally un- 
selfish, and really believed that he only 
wished to save the girl trouble. Luisa 
was apparently devoted to her work 
(it was not her fault if Peter did most 
of it), quiet, taciturn even, and with a 
tranquil indifference and indolence in 
her movements which was the reverse 
of flaunting ; and yet she had not been 
twenty-four hours in the village before 
every marriageable peasant was aware 
of her presence, and more or less agi- 
tated by it. Although the nature of 
their avocations threw Peter and 
Luisa constantly together they were 
never alone. There was always a 
third and often more, for nearly every 
young peasant in or near the village 
managed to pass the cow-stall once or 
twice a day ; and when the cows were 
led forth to the upper fields for their 
daily airing, youths seemed to crop up 
like mushrooms, even in the most 
solitary places, youths at whom Luisa 
would glance half shyly and half 



The Eomance of a Stall. 



mockingly as she went by, and who 
ever after haunted her footsteps. 
Peter began to know the beating heart, 
the throbbing pulses, the ceaseless un- 
rest, which is the portion of those who 
love in vain. In truth, his passion for 
the girl raged in his veins like a devas- 
tating fever. He was transported by 
jealousy too, and this led him to com- 
mit many follies. He followed and 
watched Luisa perpetually, and for his 
reward had the pain of seeing young 
Lieutenant von Stendhorst hold his 
gold watch to her ear that she might 
hear it tick, and Prince Giovanelli's 
dignified white-haired valet try his 
respectable cap with its gold band on 
her pretty head, while he submitted to 
be laughed at by her as she tied her 
own kerchief under his chin. 

After such scenes Peter would 
heap reproofs, reproaches, and warn- 
ings upon Luisa ; and then, when she, 
with undisturbed calm, had let fall 
a few large bright tears, his heart 
would melt within him, and he would 
go to the shop and buy her a present. 
It was in this way that, in the course 
of a few weeks, he bought her a fine 
white cotton handkerchief with a 
border of pink roses for her neck, a 
Sunday gown of black woollen stuff, 
and a blue silk apron. Each gift 
meant repentance on his part, and 
forgiveness on Luisa's. Peter always 
felt like worshipping her when she 
forgave him and accepted his gifts ; 
and then, she was always so calm ; 
she never answered him angrily. But 
if she did not show temper, she still 
did as she pleased, and the tale of her 
admirers increased daily, while Peter's 
jealousy grew in proportion. When, 
after scolding her because of the at- 
tentions of the miller's Johann in the 
evening, he found long Seppel, from 
the upper Alp, at the cow-stall the 
very next morning, he might have 
seen that it was best for him to let 
the girl alone. But love laughs at 



logic, we are told, and Peter's way out 
of the difficulty was to ask her to 
marry him. He had not intended to 
do so, and did not know how he did 
it ; the demand escaped from him un- 
awares, and then he trembled at his 
own temerity. Luisa said nothing at 
first, but went on with her milking ; 
then, when pressed for an answer, she 
murmured her usual, " Who knows ? " 

" At any rate, she did not say 
' no,' " murmured foolish Peter, and 
thereupon he felt himself betrothed. 
" Now I shall be easy in my mind," 
he thought. But ease was not to be 
his portion. A ray of sunlight is not 
more quiet or more elusive than was 
Luisa ; and poor Peter, whose love for 
her racked him like a torturing pain, 
was worn away between uneasy dreams 
by night and fruitless surveillance by 
day, till he grew ill, feverish, and 
irritable. 

One Sunday morning he rose before 
the dawn in order to clean the stall 
betimes, thus leaving Luisa free to 
dress herself for the procession which 
was to take place after ten o'clock 
mass. When, at five o'clock, the girl 
came over, he thought she looked pale 
and tired, and that she replied even 
more absently than usual. He there- 
fore offered to take her work upon 
himself, and though he was very tired 
when he at length went to mass, he 
was rewarded for his fatigue by the 
sight of Luisa walking in the proces- 
sion, and clad in the gown, apron, and 
kerchief that he had given her. She 
had never looked so lovely nor re- 
garded him so kindly, and he enjoyed 
that morning a few moments of real 
happiness. In the afternoon, knowing 
her to have gone to a neighbouring 
village with the landlady's sister, a 
middle-aged and serious married 
woman, he permitted himself a quiet 
rest on the straw in the cow-stall. 
He had been sleeping for two hours 
or more when he dreamed that he was 



The Romance of a Stall. 



125 



stroking Luisa's hair, a privilege never 
yet accorded to him. How soft it 
was, and how she was laughing ! No 
he was stroking the kitten, and it 
was a man's laugh which had wakened 
him. He sat up on the straw and 
listened ; another loud laugh rang 
upon his ear ; then a voice said : 
" Old fool ! She'll lead him a pretty 
dance." It was the voice of the 
miller's Johann, and he heard Rudolf 
Stein, one of the guides, make some 
reply. Then Johann went on : " A 
cunning fox ! She was dancing all 
night at Wolfsgruben, when the old 
fool thought she was asleep." Peter 
wondered vaguely of whom they were 
talking, but he did not care much ; 
and then the voices reached him again 
in fragmentary utterances. " Been 
to Badseis with him this afternoon, 
sitting under the tree behind the stall 
now, billing and cooing." " Lucky 
fellow ! I wish it may be my turn 
next," answered Rudolf with a laugh. 
Then the steps and voices retreated, 
leaving Peter a prey to strange palpi- 
tations and conjectures. Who was 
sitting under the tree behind the stall 
now ? Only one window looked out 
upon that tree, and that window was 
merely a pane of glass, high up in the 
loft. If he climbed up, he could see. 
Pshaw ! What did it matter to him 1 
Then suddenly he heard a kiss, and 
then a little rippling laugh he knew 
well, and then more kisses ; and then, 
he knew not how, he had climbed the 
wall and was looking out. There 
under the tree sat Luisa, with long 
Seppel's arm round her waist, and her 
hand in his. Some sound must have 
disturbed them, for they sprang apart 
with the adroitness of long habit, 
Seppel going negligently up the hill, 
and Luisa picking up her milking-pail. 
When Peter dropped panting and 
gasping to the ground, she was stand- 
ing quietly beside him in all her 
Sunday bravery. 



The passions that make tragedy 
possessed poor Peter then ; and the 
only excuse for what he did is to be 
found in the fact that he was in such 
a whirlwind of emotion that he lost 
consciousness of his own existence. 
It was a madman who now rushed 
upon the girl and struck her, and then 
in an instant was on the ground at 
her feet clasping her knees and pray- 
ing to her to " Forgive forgive ! " 

Luisa, at the first blow, had thrown 
down her milking-pail and screamed 
aloud ; scream followed scream until 
the peasants came rushing in, and 
after them the landlord and landlady, 
in high indignation " at such a scandal, 
and the bells ringing for the Ave 
Maria, and the Herrschaf ten going by 
to church ! " 

Peter seemed to be listening to a 
chorus of reproach and contempt as 
the sobbing Luisa was led off by the 
landlady, and he himself hustled and 
kicked out of the stall. At nine 
o'clock he crept out of the hayloft, 
in which he had taken refuge, heart- 
broken, contrite, and quite calm. He 
went first to the stall, but it was shut 
and locked, and he knew that he 
should never tend Herr Mair's cows 
again. Then ' he crossed the green 
and looked in at the window of the 
inn. Luisa was sitting at the round 
table with the other peasants : her 
eyes were swollen, and her cheeks 
reddened with crying ; but she looked 
lovelier than ever, and his soul melted 
within him as he gazed. He did not 
dare to approach her ; and when, after 
receiving, together with his dismissal, a 
torrent of reprimand and abuse from 
the landlord, he again looked in at 
the window, she had vanished. 

In the gray dawn of the next morn- 
ing, impoverished in purse and injured 
in reputation, Peter left Klobenstein 
to seek his fortune elsewhere. Luisa 
had refused to see him, although he 
had, through the landlady, implored 



The Romance of a Stall. 



her forgiveness with bitter tears, and 
had again and again acknowledged 
that she was too young for him. His 
tears and entreaties were vain, how- 
ever, and he went his lonely way with 
bitterness in his soul. Disappointment, 
remorse, regret, lashed him on like 
whips ; and under their stinging im- 
pulse he fled down the mountain, 
and reached Bozen at nine o'clock. 
Once there, a new thought revived 
hope and lent him wings ; the thought 
that Anna Morero would perhaps not 
allow her daughter to keep her place 
now that he was no longer cowherd. 

He had left Klobenstein at four in 
the morning, and by a miracle of 
walking, difficult and dangerous in 
the hot sun, he readied Cavalese at 
three in the afternoon. Anna was 
knitting at the door of the cottage, 
and received him with much surprise. 
She knew nothing of what had hap- 
pened, nor did Peter tell her of the 
blows which tortured his own soul in 
remembrance. When she heard that 
he had left his place, however, she 
had nothing but blame for him, and 
laughed to scorn the idea of removing 
her daughter. She also ridiculed his 
attachment to Luisa without mercy. 
When Peter rose to go, she did indeed 
offer him food and drink ; but she 
forgot to ask him to step inside the 
doorway of his own house, and he was 
too agitated to notice the omission. 

" You've been an old fool, Peter, 
and that's the truth," was her fare- 
well, and in the depths of his soul 
the poor fellow knew that she was 
right. Then the hammers began to 
beat in his head again, and the 
thought that now Luisa could be with 
long Seppel as much as she pleased 
drove him on. In the blazing noon- 
tide sun he had climbed the moun- 
tain ; in the face of the declining sun 
he again descended it. Descended ! 
that is hardly the word for the way 
in which the raging, panting maniac 



dashed headlong down, bruising him- 
self against rocks and trees but never 
pausing in his mad flight. Dusk had 
fallen when he reached Bozen, and a 
hot, breathless stillness was in the air. 
Save for the fever in his blood Peter 
would have dropped exhausted ; but 
he looked at the heights which rose 
beyond him, and the thought of 
Luisa with long Seppel lashed him 
like a whip. He was crossing the 
railway-track now, and a loud roar- 
ing was in his ears, but he had heard 
it all day ; shouts, too, he heard, but 
they only confused him. He hastened 
on, hearing more shouts ; then sud- 
denly came a crash and a grinding 
pain, which however was but momen- 
tary, and then he found himself lying 
on his back, and looking up at the 
stars with a great calm upon him. 
He was vaguely conscious of being 
surrounded by kindly, compassionate 
faces, and of hearing voices no longer 
speaking in tones of reproach ; but he 
fainted as he was being carried to the 
hospital, and was put under the influ- 
ence of chloroform while his legs were 
being amputated ; and it is doubtful 
if he were ever really clear in his 
mind after that. 

On the fourth day after his accident 
gangrene set in, and on the fifth he 
died. At nine in the morning he 
had received the last sacraments, and 
as the priest stood beside his bed, a 
ray of sunshine shone on the crucifix 
he held, and Peter had a momentary 
gleam of consciousness. " Am I so 
ill as that 1 " he cried, then relapsed 
into unconsciousness and a silence 
never afterward broken. At a quarter 
to eleven he began to breathe loudly 
and irregularly with frequent halts. 
The priest had gone ; only the sisters 
were in the crowded ward. The heat 
was intense, and through the open 
windows the dust entered in clouds. 
The buzzing of innumerable flies, the 
vibration of the window-panes caused 



The Eomance of a Stall. 



127 



"by the continual passing of heavy 
drays, the shriek and whistle of the 
locomotive, as trains entered and left 
the railway station, made a confusion 
of coarse sounds which so filled the air 
that it was difficult to hear that long- 
drawn, labouring breath. At twenty 
minutes past eleven it ceased alto- 
gether, and the curtains were drawn 
about the bed where Number Eighty- 
one had breathed his last. No one 
had known his name. 

While Peter was dying, Luisa was 
sitting in the pine-wood which bor- 
dered the upper field, where her cows 
were grazing. The heat in the field 
was intense, but she sat in deep 
shade, dabbling her feet in a pool of 



water, and holding up in a slanting 
ray of sunlight a string of yellow 
beads which long Seppel had just 
given her. Long Seppel himself was 
lying at full length on the bank beside 
her, and, propped up on his elbows, 
was playing a tune on the mouth- 
organ, that instrument so dear to the 
Tyrolese peasant. 

"Pretty!" said Luisa, as she looked 
at the transparent yellow beads. 

" Do you love me, Luisa ? Will 
you marry me 1 " said long Seppel 
abruptly, ceasing to play. 

"Who knows 1 ?" said Luisa glanc- 
ing sideways at him out of her long 
eyes. But she leaned her round cheek 
towards him as she said it, and Seppel 
kissed her, and knew. 



128 



A FLORENTINE DESPOT. 



SOME three hundred years ago a 
certain Florentine citizen, one Ales- 
sandro Ceccheregli, wrote and pub- 
lished an interesting little book. 1 He 
explains in a short preface that 
he was urged to the composition 
of his work by the consideration 
that there are two things above all 
others which endear men to their 
fellow-creatures, to wit, entertaining 
them and helping them. He appears 
to have had no doubt that the matter 
of his book was such as to entitle him 
to gratitude on both those scores ; 
since it was a record, as full as he 
could make it, of the wise sayings and 
sagacious actions of a prince whom he 
represents as gifted with an extra- 
ordinary degree of insight and of 
judgment, and as possessing every 
quality which could win the respect 
and love of his subjects ; no less a 
person, in fact, than Alessandro de 
Medici, usually known as the first 
Duke of Florence. 

Ceccheregli has thrown his work 
into the form of a conversation carried 
on by six grave and leisurely citizens, 
who, finding the weather extremely 
hot, have wisely resolved to sit chat- 
ting in the shade until it grows 
cool again. Three of them indeed, 
Messer Lodovico Domenichi, a much- 
respected philosopher and historian, 
with two merchants, Messer Francesco 
Mannini and Messer Francesco Rico veri 
have been diverting themselves in 
this agreeable manner for several days, 

1 The full title of the book is DELLE ATTIONI 

KT SONTEUZE DEL S. ALESSANDRO DE'MEDICI, 

PRIMO DUCA DI FIORENZA. It was dedicated 
to M. Giovanettorio Soderini, and was pub- 
lished at Venice in the year 1565. 



and have derived such deep satisfac- 
tion from their discourses on various 
subjects that they can feel nothing but 
sympathy for their three friends, Messer 
Hortensio Brusciati, Messer Lodovico 
del Trevaglia, and Messer Bastiano 
Saluetti, who have only just joined 
them, and thus lost their share in 
these pleasant conversations. How- 
ever, the weather is as hot as on any one 
of those past days ; the delight of 
sitting in the shade of the laurels is 
no less than before ; while the appe- 
tite of the company for conversation 
is rather whetted than blunted by their 
previous discussions. The wise course 
is, therefore, to sit down again; and after 
casting about for some time in search 
of a subject, and much interchange of 
compliments, which, however appro- 
priate to a hot day in Florence, might 
be found tedious in a brisker climate, 
they light at last upon Duke Alexander, 
whose murder by his cousin, Lorenzo 
de Medici, the unworthy namesake of 
a great ancestor, was fresh in all their 
minds. 

Domenichi is the leader of the con- 
versation. His training and position 
as a scholar and a historian have 
enabled him to collect a mass of in- 
formation about Duke Alexander, in 
whose actions he finds not only 
vivacity of spirit, but also incredible 
care for the State, inestimable piety, 
royal justice, and a degree of love 
towards his subjects which was nothing 
less than supernatural. And first 
for his care concerning the public wel- 
fare. 

It was customary in Florence after 
a bad harvest to appoint officers whose 
duty it was by every exertion to keep 



A Florentine Despot. 



129 



down the price of corn. They were 
to make inquisitions, to discover where 
corn was being hoarded, and to insist 
on the stores being immediately thrown 
on the market. Nothing enraged the 
Duke more than any such develop- 
ment of self-interest as constitutes 
what is now, in commercial jargon, 
known as "a corner"; and his in- 
dignation was therefore extreme when 
it reached his ears that the Commission 
of Plenty were themselves hoarding 
grain, and counting on the profit of a 
rising market. The consequence was 
that the price of corn was already half 
as much again as it need be ; and the 
Duke sent in hot haste for the Com- 
missioners. " What is your duty 1 " 
he asked them roughly, when they 
arrived ; and when they answered that 
it was to provide for the public during 
seasons of scarcity, he asked again : 
" If so, how is it that you have 
allowed the price of corn to rise so 
high 1 Can you say you thought that 
my wish 1 " " Signor," they answered 
humbly enough, " it was the bad 
harvest which was to blame." But 
the Duke would have none of it. 
" Once for all," he said, " I tell you 
thus. The market must be fully 
supplied at not more than four grossi 
the bushel. I will have it so," stop- 
ping the excuses which he saw form- 
ing themselves. " You do your duty, 
and be wise." The Commissioners 
were wise, and the thing was done. 

In the same season or in another 
equally bad, the Duke, had laid 
up great stores of corn for public 
use ; and being by no means 
desirous that private persons should 
retain their stores until his own were 
spent, he issued proclamations early 
in March calling upon every one who 
had grain to sell it in that month, 
and ordaining that any one who sold 
after March had expired should forfeit 
the grain, and stand the loss. Now 
there was a certain favourite of the 
No. 40. VOL. LXXVI. 



Duke, a man much about his person, 
who fancied himself able to influence 
his sovereign to his own advantage. 
This man had a huge quantity of corn 
lying in his barns; and, 'Seeing that 
the market price was still low, he made 
up his mind to disregard the proclama- 
tion, and trust to escaping the penalty 
by his friendship with the Duke. 
Time passed, and the price of corn 
rose. But when May was near at 
hand the Commissioners of Plenty 
swooped down suddenly on the 
courtier, and sequestrated all the corn 
lying in his barns. Full of wrath, 
this man of commercial instincts ran 
to the palace, and told his story to 
the Duke, enforcing it with a plain 
statement that if his Highness did 
not allow him to sell the corn, it 
would be impossible for him to main- 
tain his station about the Court. 
The Duke professed great sorrow at 
hearing this. " But how has it 
happened 1 " he asked. " Did you 
not see the proclamations'?" "Yes, 
but at that time the price was 
so low that I could do nothing 
with it." "The devil!" exclaimed 
the Duke. "Pray what did you 
want to do 1 To besiege Florence, 
perhaps, or. make yourself Duke 1 
But the matter is out of my hands ; 
the best I can do for you is, to 
advise you to do nothing and wait." 
the courtier took this speech as a 
hint that the Duke would interfere 
secretly on his behalf, and said 
nothing more, except to point out 
that the corn, being in his barns, 
would be spoiled in the hot weather 
which was now near at hand. 
" Don't be anxious about that ; leave 
it to me," said the Duke ; and the 
courtier went away reassured, fully 
expecting that in a few days he would 
receive permission to dispose of his 
corn. However, a month went by 
and he had heard nothing from the 
Duke. Accordingly one day he 



130 



A Florentine Despot. 



ventured to observe, " Signor, that 
corn is spoiling." To which the 
Duke answered cheerfully, " Don't be 
uneasy ; leave it in my hands." 
The weather grew hotter, and the 
case more serious. Still nothing 
could be extracted from the Duke, 
save a cheery assurance that he had 
not forgotten the matter. Mean- 
while the corn was spoiled. By 
degrees the courtier began to perceive 
that the Duke had been too subtle 
for him ; and thinking it more pru- 
dent to let the matter drop, now that 
the loss had been sustained, he did 
not revert to it until the following 
year, when, the harvest being at hand, 
he went to the Duke again, saying : 
" Signor, now the corn is spoiled, you 
will allow me to clear it out of my 
barns, and throw it away 1 " " Put 
it off a little while," said the Duke. 
And so the matter went on, until at 
last the courtier built him new barns. 
The old ones were never emptied, but 
fell into ruin, and the loss to the 
greedy courtier taught him to obey 
the law in future. 

Thus Domenichi reveals to his 
eagerly listening friends the methods of 
paternal government in Florence ; and 
is rewarded whenever he pauses by a 
little murmur of eulogy, sometimes of 
himself, but more often of the Duke. 
" Oh wondrous resolution ! " exclaims 
Mannini, at the close of the last 
story. " Oh wondrous resolution, 
taking count of nothing but the 
public safety ! " And Travaglia 
chimes in : " Oh astonishing skill 
in procuring obedience ! Worthy 
stratagems ! Subtle devices ! " And 
so forth, until Domenichi, who is less 
interested in their comments than 
they are in his stories, cuts them 
short by saying, " Now listen ! " 

Among the officers of the Court was 
one filling the post of Chamberlain to 
whom the Duke was much attached. 
This man had run up a long account 



for robes with a poor wool-merchant, 
who, being unable to wait longer for 
his money, solicited payment. The 
Chamberlain put him off time after 
time ; and at length told him he came 
too often, and was growing a nuis- 
ance. Still the merchant, who really 
needed his money, persevered, and 
after some months had passed in 
futile efforts to gain his point, he 
took the advice of his friends, and 
went to the palace to seek audience 
of his Highness. The Duke, who 
was always accessible to any one 
of his subjects, listened to the mer- 
chant's story, questioned him, and 
convinced himself of its truth. " Go 
home," he said : " send to the Cham- 
berlain once more, asking for pay- 
ment ; and report the result to me." 
The merchant did as he was bid, but 
had to report only an insolent reply 
to his request. " Very well," said 
the Duke. " I will arrange it for 
you." He sent the man away and 
let a few days pass. Then, choosing 
a favourable opportunity, when the 
Chamberlain was dressing him, he 
began to caress him, patting him 
gently on the head, stroking his 
cheeks, and finally, dropping his 
hand on the Chamberlain's neck, he 
took off a chain of great value, and 
turning to one of his pages, said : 
" Take this chain ; carry it to the 
wool-merchant, and tell him to keep 
it carefully until our friend here pays 
him for the robes he has had." Then, 
in a meaning tone, he added to the 
Chamberlain : " You will oblige me 
very much by redeeming that chain 
within eight days." And with that 
he went off hunting, leaving his dis- 
honest servant overwhelmed with 
shame. 

" I am stupefied," Travaglia de- 
clares, "as I listen to the wise 
speeches of the Duke." 

" You will be more stupefied when 
you hear how generous he was towards 



A Florentine Despot. 



131 



his subjects," says Manniui, and on 
this hint, with the object perhaps of 
reducing Travaglia to the condition 
indicated, Domenichi plunges into 
another anecdote of the Duke's wisdom 
and justice. 

There was a certain citizen in 
Florence who had contracted a good 
many debts, not through misfortune 
but through simple disinclination to 
pay. He was very rich, but concealed 
that fact as much as possible ; and 
by representing himself to the Council 
as a poor man well-nigh crushed with 
misfortunes, had obtained from them 
a letter protecting him from arrest. 
Among his creditors was a poor 
widow, who had placed in his hands 
the chief part of her small provision 
for life, but could get neither interest 
nor principal from him. She impor- 
tuned him for payment ; but he, 
emboldened by impunity, began to 
deny that he had ever known her. 
Then the widow resorted to the law- 
courts. Her case was plain : the mer- 
chant made no defence ; and sentence 
was delivered in the widow's favour. 
The merchant ignored it ; and finding 
that he did so, the widow took steps to 
have him arrested. The officers of the 
law found him in his house, and were 
about to lay hands on him, when he 
suddenly drew forth his letter of pro- 
tection, flourished it in their faces, 
and discomfited them. There was but 
one course left, and the woman took 
it. She went to the Duke, who 
listened to her story patiently, and 
being satisfied of its truth, sent a 
secretary to the merchant bidding him 
do what was right. The secretary 
returned with a plausible answer ; 
but nothing was done, and in a few 
days the widow came again to say 
she was as far as ever from getting 
her money. " Why do you not have 
him arrested ? " asked the Duke. 
" How can I, Signor, when the Council 
protects him 1 " " Then he cannot 



have the means of paying," the Duke 
argued. " On the contrary, he is very 
rich ; and nothing but his avarice led 
him to seek protection." ,. "It is a 
strange case," said the Duke. " Come 
back to me in six days more." That 
period Duke Alexander passed in 
making inquiries as to the real posi- 
tion of the merchant ; and having 
fully informed himself of this, he sum- 
moned the man to the palace, and 
requested him courteously to dis- 
charge his debt, representing that it 
would be a pleasure to himself to 
know the poor woman had her rights. 
The merchant declared he would pay 
her shortly, but added that he was a 
poor man, and could not do it at the 
moment. He left the Duke, assuring 
him that the money would be paid ere 
long ; but when the widow returned 
to the palace at the end of the stipu- 
lated period, the Duke found she had 
heard nothing from her debtor. In- 
stantly he called a page, saying sharply : 
" Find the man who is in debt to this 
poor woman, and bring him here at 
once." His manner was so stern that 
the page lost not a moment on the way, 
but brought back the merchant in less 
time than one might have thought 
possible. The Duke was standing by 
the fire, his cloak thrown about his 
shoulders, for he was going to mass, 
and waited only to despatch the busi- 
ness which he had in hand ; and as he 
stood, he was raking among the coals 
and ashes with a stick. " So," said 
he, when he saw the defaulting citizen 
enter, " then you have not yet paid 
this poor woman?" "Oh, Signor, I 
am too poor," was the reply. " Too 
poor ! " broke in the woman, " too 
poor ! Then sell your farms in this 
place, your stores of corn in that, your 
olive trees and all your other wealth, 
and pay me what you justly owe ! " 
The Duke listened with a smile, and, 
drawing his stick out from the fire, he 
traced a circle on the floor with the 
K 2 



132 



A Florentine Despot. 



blackened end. " Get into that space," 
he said, and the merchant obeyed. 
"Now," said the Duke, "you shall 
not come outside that circle until you 
have paid the widow. If you do, I 
will cut off your head." " Signor, 
signor ! " protested the frightened man. 
" I shall have to stay here for ever." 
" On the contrary," said the Duke 
calmly. "I am now going to mass; 
if I find you here when I return, be 
assured that I will hang you." The 
Duke departed. The merchant, half 
dead with fear (for the Duke was 
quite able to keep his word), sent in 
post-haste for some of his friends, who 
succeeded in telling out the money 
due to the widow just before the Duke 
returned. 

" Less violence," observes Mannini, 
" would not have answered with one 
so pig-headed." Mannini is fond of 
dropping pregnant remarks, sometimes 
couched in language so sententious as 
to be a little over the heads of his 
companions. Perhaps Ricoveri sus- 
pected him of some such design to 
elaborate the present occasion ; for 
he proceeded to suggest that in the 
enjoyment of this banquet of the mind 
which Domenichi had spread before 
them, it would be well not to forget 
that their bodies too had needs. 
Dinner-time was near, and they could 
finish talking about the Duke after- 
wards. Whereupon they all adjourned 
to Ricoveri's house, where they dined 
sumptuously, and then separated, 
some to play at various gentve games, 
others to sleep away the hot hours 
in cool silent chambers. Late in the 
afternoon they met again on the bal- 
cony of the house, whence there was 
a wide view over the valley beyond 
Florence, rich with waving cornfields. 
There these incorrigible talkers fell 
into an argument as to whether 
nature or art were the mightier ; 
and they would probably have spent 
the whole day over that interesting 



topic had not Ricoveri, who seemed 
to care little which view was cor- 
rect, recalled them to the Duke. 
Domenichi was again installed in the 
seat of honour, and the others crowded 
round him to listen. 

Long ago there came to Florence 
in his youth a velvet-maker from Ber- 
gamo, who opened a shop, and, aided 
by fortune and his own good sense, 
became very rich. He had neither 
wife nor child ; and thus in his old 
age, being without any incentive to 
continue his work, he sold his shop, 
and retired to a pleasant house near 
Florence, where he spent his time in 
good works. The life which he had 
renounced still held his interests, 
however, and he constantly visited 
an old friend, also a velvet-maker, 
who still retained his shop, and was 
glad enough to keep in touch with a 
rich man who had no pressing claims 
upon his wealth. Indeed the fact 
that his old gossip had hardly any 
use for his money so impressed itself 
on this astute merchant, that he began 
to ponder some scheme by which that 
money could be worthily employed ; 
and having at last thought the matter 
out, he assumed a very mournful air 
whenever he was in his old friend's 
society. The old man did not fail to 
notice this melancholy, and was made 
the more anxious by it, since all his 
questions as to its cause were deftly 
turned aside. Days passed, and the 
merchant's gloom increased ; at last 
so deep did it become that the old 
man, who had a kindly heart and a 
very strong regard for his former 
fellow-tradesman, took him out to 
dinner at his house one day, and 
as they sat at table in the garden, 
pressed and even conjured him to 
disclose its cause, professing himself 
ready to do anything in his power 
to remove the distress which was op- 
pressing so good a man. The mer- 
chant had hooked his fish, but he was 



A Florentine Despot. 



133 



too clever to bring him to land at 
once. So he returned evasive answers, 
assumed a semblance of gaiety, and 
even told his friend one or two point- 
less little stories which the old man 
knew quite well already. By these 
devices, varied by occasional relapses 
into deep melancholy, he worked up 
his friend's curiosity to the highest 
pitch, and when he judged the proper 
moment to have come, he declared he 
was half dead with anxiety about his 
business, being afraid that he would 
have to close his shop and accept dis- 
grace. Some time ago, it appeared, 
he had bought stock worth eight hun- 
dred scudi. He had paid three hun- 
dred and fifty down at the time, and 
had left the remainder to stand over, 
relying on getting in moneys which 
were due to him. But he had not 
been paid those moneys, Florence was 
full of dishonest fellows ! the time 
was at hand when he must complete 
the payment for his velvets, and he 
was at his wits' ends. He would not 
have distressed his colleague by telling 
him this, he added, if he had not been 
so urgently pressed. The good old 
man was greatly concerned. " Don't 
despair, gossip," he said. " God will 
not desert you. Stay here till I 
return." He ran off to the house, 
and came back with a bag, in which 
was the greater part of the money he 
had obtained from the sale of his shop. 
There was a broken pillar standing 
near, and on it the old man counted 
out four hundred and fifty scudi, say- 
ing, " Take them for six or eight 
months at your convenience." He 
knew his old friend too well to ask 
for a receipt ; such formalities were 
not necessary where both parties 
trusted each other. The merchant 
overwhelmed his friend with thanks, 
and went home gaily, protesting he 
had never until that moment known 
the worth of true affection. Time 
passed ; the six months or eight 



months for which the money had been 
lent sped by, but nothing was said 
about returning it. The old man 
wondered, but felt a delicacy in re- 
minding his friend of the transaction. 
Eighteen months slipped away, how- 
ever, and at last he reminded the other 
gently that the term fixed for repaying 
the money was long past. " Money ! " 
answered the merchant, with a puz- 
zled expression. " What money are 
you talking of?" "What money? 
Why the scudi which I lent you in 
my garden." " Upon my word," the 
man of velvets protested with every 
appearance of good faith, " I think 
you must be jesting. I have not the 
least idea what you are speaking of, 
nor did I ever accept money from you 
without failing to return it promptly." 
The old man continued with rising 
indignation to assert his claim, but 
without the least success, and finally 
the other pushed him out of his shop, 
saying peevishly : " There, go away in 
God's name, before I do or say any- 
thing I shall be sorry for." 

Thus insulted and swindled, the 
old man betook himself to the Duke, 
in whose justice and resource he felt 
that his last hope lay of recovering 
his money. The Duke after listening 
to his story, made inquiries of those 
who knew the other party to the 
transaction. Of the honest old man 
he had some personal knowledge ; and 
having thoroughly satisfied himself 
from their antecedents which was 
likely to be the liar, he caused them 
to be confronted in his presence. 
When he saw the merchant enter, the 
old man, who had been instructed 
what to do, formally demanded his 
money, and was answered exactly as 
before. On this the Duke interposed, 
saying he knew the old man well, and 
was assured he would not claim a 
debt which was not due tohim. "Pray, 
therefore," said he in his most gra- 
cious manner, " pray therefore let him 



134 



A Florentine Despot. 



have the money." " I vow I never 
had it," cried the merchant ; and at 
this the old man lost patience, and 
both adversaries, forgetting the Duke's 
presence, raised their voices at once, 
and began to dispute loudly and 
angrily. " Was there absolutely no one 
present when you lent the money ? " 
the Duke asked. " ISTo, Signor, we were 
alone," the creditor answered ; " there 
was nothing near us except the broken 
shaft of a pillar on which I told the money 
out." " Excellent ! " cried the Duke. 
" Fetch me that pillar ; I will get the 
truth out of it." Off ran the simple 
old man, while the Duke, ordering the 
dishonest merchant to wait, turned to 
other business. After a little while, 
not looking up from the papers he was 
reading, he observed carelessly, " What 
a long time our friend takes in fetch- 
ing that pillar ! " " Signor, he could 
scarcely be back yet ; the pillar is large 
and heavy." The Duke said nothing, 
but glanced up over his papers, and 
fixed a piercing look upon the mer- 
chant, who, being quite acute enough 
to see that he had betrayed too much 
knowledge of the pillar, grew more and 
more uneasy. He felt himself in the 
Duke's power ; he did not feel certain 
what was at the bottom of this business 
of the pillar. The silence weighed on 
him ; from time to time he found the 
Duke's eyes fixed on his, as if he read 
the lie clearly in them. At last 
Duke Alexander spoke again, as if to 
himself : " What sort of men are these 
to lend money without any kind of 
receipt or witness to the transaction ! " 
And then, turning on the merchant 
quickly, he asked : " Is it really the 
fact that no one was present but the 
pillar ? " " No one at all," answered 
the frightened merchant, terrified into 
the truth. " That is quite enough," 
said Duke Alexander ; " the pillar has 
made you tell the truth. Go now, 
and pay the money. Be grateful that 
I do not punish you as a swindler and 



a thief, as I most assuredly shall if I 
have to intervene in the affair again." 
Cowed and disgraced the fraudulent 
merchant slunk away from the palace ; 
and before the day was over, he had 
paid his debt in full. 

In acting the part of the Cadi 
under the palm tree Duke Alexander's 
quick intelligence served him well. 
Another anecdote shows that he could 
be magnanimous to those who had 
been his enemies as well as just to 
those who professed themselves his 
subjects. There was a certain officer 
who, during the troubles of the years 
preceding the imposition of Duke 
Alexander upon the free citizens of 
Florence, had served with honour on 
the side of liberty ; that is, on the 
side of the people, Domenichi explains, 
his native republican feeling showing 
itself this once amid all his affection 
for the ruler whom the people had 
not freely chosen. When the dissen- 
sions were over, this officer tendered 
his services to the Duke ; but more 
than one of the courtiers advised 
against accepting them, saying that 
this man had fought more desperately 
than any other against the Duke's 
party, showing an absolute recklessness 
of life. " Did he indeed fight so 
well ? " said the Duke with interest. 
" Then I would not lose him for the 
world. He will fight as well for us 
as he did against us." 

One of his friends often told him 
that it was not becoming to a prince 
of his rank to go dressed so quietly, 
and quoted Aristotle, who says that 
princes should always be splendidly 
dressed, so that they may be known at 
once by their vassals. But the Duke 
answered that it was more honourable 
to clothe his servants splendidly. 
" For," said he, "it is much better for 
me to dress many and deprive myself, 
than to deprive many that I may 
dress myself." 

We will give one more instance of 



A Florentine Despot. 



135 



this ready tongue. The Duke was at 
Naples, collecting troops for the expe- 
ditions which the Emperor, his father- 
in-law, was preparing against Tunis. 
Among the regiments which passed 
before him, there was a cripple march- 
ing with the rest. Now there stood 
beside the Duke a courtier whose 
courage in war was by no means un- 
doubted, and said he, pointing to the 
cripple, " There is a man who ought 
to be on horseback." " I think not," 
the Duke answered. " I should say 
on foot." "Why, Signor 1" "Be- 
cause in war men are wanted to stand 
still, not to run away." 

It was a biting remark, which 
probably made an enemy, and of 
enemies Duke Alexander had only too 
many. Imposed on the Florentines 
as their ruler by the influence of Pope 
Clement the Seventh, whom many 
believed to be his father, backed by 
the powers of France and Germany, 
he was inevitably associated in the 
minds of his people with the partial 
loss of their free institutions and the 
commencement of a tyranny. Political 
feelings were always fierce in Flor- 
ence. Rome and the other chief 
cities of Italy were never free from 
bands of exiles who were perpetually 
plotting to regain their homes beside 
the Arno, and whose fiery hatred 
towards the existing government of 
their native city was a standing dan- 
ger. These men had partisans within 
the walls, and were ever on the watch 
for blunders which might give them a 
handle against the Duke. 

How far Alexander was qualified 
by his character and talents to occupy 
a throne which was so insecurely 
propped is a question on which his- 
torians do not thoroughly agree. 
Some represent him as an abominable 
tyrant ; others again think Florence 
might have been happy under his rule, 
had not the sword of an assassin cut 
it short. There is no ground for dis- 



trusting the stories which Ceccheregli 
has recorded. They have the ring of 
truth ; and they prove that the Duke 
possessed many qualities of a great 
prince. But the gossips give only the 
bright side of the picture. Of the 
Duke's difficulties Domenichi tells us 
nothing. He is silent as to all the 
circumstances of his death; and in- 
deed there is not a word in Ceccher- 
egli's book from which it could be 
gathered that Alexander's reign was 
not a season of profound peace, a sort 
of golden age. 

Benvenuto Cellini, brightest and 
most graphic of chroniclers, gives us 
many glimpses of the Duke. He tells 
us how Alexander gave him an order 
for a medal, in the progress of which 
he was so much interested that he 
ordered the goldsmith to be admitted 
to the palace at any hour at which he 
might present himself. Accordingly, 
Benvenuto saw him often reclining on 
his couch after dining with his cousin, 
Lorenzino de Medici, a man whom 
Cellini marvels that he trusted. On 
one occasion, when a subject for 
the reverse of the medal was under 
discussion, Benvenuto said : " Signor, 
be at ease. The medal shall be much 
finer than the one I made for Pope 
Clement, which was indeed my first 
attempt ; and Messer Lorenzo here, 
who is a very clever and learned 
person, shall give me some splendid 
reverse for it." Lorenzo answered 
quickly : "I was thinking of nothing 
else than a reverse which would be 
worthy of his Excellency." The Duke 
smiled, and said : " Lorenzo, you 
shall give him the reverse, and he 
shall do it here, without leaving 
Florence." "I will do it as soon 
as ever I can; and I hope it will 
be a thing to astonish the world." 
The Duke turned away smiling at 
his cousin's conceit ; but Lorenzo 
was not a man whose words could be 
so dismissed. There was a double 



130 



A Florentine Despot. 



meaning in them ; and the reverse he 
was preparing was one of the blackest 
treachery which history can disclose. 
Duke Alexander was extravagantly 
licentious. Lorenzo made himself the 
companion of his vices, lured his 
prince to a solitary house, and stabbed 
him with his own hand as he lay in 
bed. 

That night Benvenuto was riding 
towards Rome, when, having reached 
the summit of a small eminence, he 
and his companions cried at the same 
moment : " God in heaven ! What is 
that mighty thing in the sky over 
toward Florence 1 " It was, as Cellini 
describes it, a great mass of fire, 
spreading across the darkened sky and 
throwing out a light of extraordinary 
brilliance. " Certainly," said Ben- 
venuto to his companions, " we shall 
hear to-morrow of some great event at 
Florence." 

Late on the following day came 
the news of Lorenzo's crime ; and 
immediately there arrived a rush of 
Florentine exiles at Cellini's shop. 

First came Francesco Soderini, 
bumping about on a sorry mule of his, 
laughing immoderately all along the 
street like a madman, and crying out : 
" Here is the reverse of the medal 
which Lorenzino promised you for 
that rascally tyrant ! You were for 
immortalising our Dukes ; but I 
tell you we will have no more 
Dukes." 

And then came Baccio Bettini, 
another of the Florentine exiles (an 
ugly fellow, says Benvenuto, with a 
head as big as a basket), crying out : 



" We have unduked him ! And now 
we will have no more Dukes ! " 

Whereupon the whole crew began 
to jeer at Cellini, as if he had 
been the chief supporter of the Dukes. 
He bore their gibes for some time 
in contemptuous silence, but at last 
he turned. " You silly fellows," he 
said, " I am only a poor goldsmith, 
serving whoever pays me, though you 
jeer at me as if I were at the head of 
a party ; but I tell you, however loudly 
you laugh now, you will have 
another Duke within three days, per- 
haps much worse than the last." 

The next day Bettini came back 
again, saying : " There is no use in 
spending money on couriers when you 
know everything before it happens." 
And with that preface, he told Cellini 
that Lorenzo's crime had missed its 
aim, and that Cosimo de Medici had 
been chosen Duke, but only on strin- 
gent conditions which would probably 
keep him within bounds. 

At this hope Benvenuto laughed. 
" These men of Florence," he said, 
" set a young man upon a mettled 
horse ; they give him spurs, throw the 
bridle loose in his hand, and lead him 
out upon a smooth lawn, where are 
flowers and fruits and every delight. 
Then they draw a line, and bid him not 
venture to pass it. Tell me then who 
shall hold him, if he will cross the 
line ? The laws are not for those who 
are masters of them." 

These words, spoken of Duke 
Cosimo, but suggested by the deeds of 
Duke Alexander, sum up tersely 
enough the story of his short life. 



137 



IN BIDEFORD BAY. 



IN the long summer evenings, when 
we were boys, we used to revel in the 
most glorious baths off that ridge of 
pebbles which protected our foreshore 
from the Atlantic rollers. We chose 
the evenings, as a rule, for our bath- 
ing, because by that time we were 
well tired out, whether with cricketing 
or birds-nesting, and a cool bath in 
the brine was the best possible re- 
freshment. Moreover the seaward 
outlook at that hour was the most 
delightful, with the sun sinking low 
over Lundy Island in the distance and 
sending to us a golden pathway of his 
reflected light across the waves. We 
loved best of all to bathe at the 
highest of the tide, for then the 
breakers rolled right up to the ridge 
of pebbles. One could almost dive 
off and be in deep water at once ; 
whereas at other times one had to run 
out over many hundred yards, it might 
be, of level golden sand, and wade out 
a hundred or two more before one 
could trust oneself to swim without 
risk of rasping some valuable epider- 
mis upon the shingle. It was jolly 
diving to meet the incoming wave, 
and letting the breaking foam dash 
over you as you swam beneath it, to 
emerge triumphantly beyond it and 
swim on to meet the next. But there 
was no peaceful pleasure until one had 
gone out beyond the furthest breaking 
line and met the waves, which nearer 
shore curled over like the white manes 
of horses, while they were yet 
nothing more than the placid swell of 
ocean. 

Authority had warned us of fearful 
ground-currents, apt to suck the young 
swimmer seaward, but we never 



encountered these currents in any 
strength ; and indeed on the days 
when the billows came in with any 
furious force it was work enough to 
fight one's way out and stand up at 
all against half a dozen of their 
assaults : one had no breath or energy 
left for swimming out beyond their 
lines. On these days, too, the sea 
beyond would be flecked, as far as the 
eye could see, into white horses, each 
of which would catch the swimmer an 
uncomfortable buffet on the head, fill- 
ing his eyes, his ears, and maybe his 
mouth too, if he attempted an un- 
timely breath, with salt foam. 

The quiet days were the most de- 
lightful, when the sun, as it sank, 
gilded only the top of each successive 
swell with its glory, so that what had 
a while before the likeness of a golden 
pathway, seemed now no more than a 
ladder of golden rungs which we 
contemplated reverently with pious 
memories of Jacob's dream. The de- 
light and marvel of this pathway and 
this ladder was that, no matter where 
we swam, it seemed ever to reach down 
straight towards us, as if designed for 
us alone. It was a sad disillusion 
when some one explained the matter to 
us as a simple example of the laws of 
reflection. 

But that same sea which would 
sometimes be so tempting and com- 
paratively peaceful, in time of storm 
could be furiously and cruelly grand. 
At those times the roaring of the 
great pebbles that it ground and 
churned and dashed against each other 
was deafening. It could be heard 
with ease in the neighbouring country 
town three miles away, for the sea 



138 



In Bideford Say. 



beat on our coast with all the fury of 
the open Atlantic. Now and again 
an unfortunate vessel would be driven 
ashore and broken up in a Wonder- 
fully short space on that stony ridge. 
But this, which to us boys was rather 
a pleasing excitement than an occa- 
sion of grief, happened seldom, for the 
sailors knew and dreaded the coast. 
The usual issue of a severe storm was 
that when it was over we would find 
great stems of monkey-tail seaweed, as 
we called it, on the shore, together 
with numbers of dead birds, white 
below and dark above, which we 
termed little auks. Really they were 
nothing of such rarity, but merely 
razor-bills, mers as the sailors of the 
coast called them which had been 
driven in by the waves and winds and 
either dashed to death on the shore 
or drowned in the tumult of broken 
waters. 

Numbers of them, innumerable 
multitudes, nested, as we knew, on 
the cliffs of that Lundy Island which 
we could see, except when the distance 
was hazy, out in the Bristol Channel. 
We knew it, for more than once it 
had been our good fortune to be taken 
there in a trawling fisher-smack owned 
by a great friend of ours in the port 
which lay a mile or so up the tidal 
river. For a port there was, though 
the coast was so dreaded by the 
sailors ; but it was a port that was 
only accessible at nearly high tide, for 
the mouth of the river was blocked by 
a sandbar over which vessels even of 
very small draught could pass only 
when the tide was fairly full. 

These expeditions were a great joy 
to us, and yet there was a measure of 
disappointment about the first part of 
the voyage. True, there was always a 
certain excitement in watching the 
ship thread her way among the other 
coasters and smacks that would be 
taking advantage of the same tide to 
help them out, passing some, being 



overhauled by others, for which the 
skipper always had some plausible ex- 
cuse at hand. It was interesting, too, 
to see the features of the coast unfold- 
ing themselves successively as we stood 
farther and farther away from the 
land ; features that were perfectly 
familiar, but which now acquired the 
interest of novelty from appearing at 
a different point of view. They all 
looked so small from the sea ; but 
then, we reflected, how small a ship 
looked from the shore, and yet how 
large it really was ; one could almost 
stand upright, being a boy, in the 
cabin. But that which disappointed 
us in the earlier miles of the voyage 
was the absence of any considerable 
amount of bird-life. An occasional 
wandering seagull came and looked at 
us, then passed on, finding us uninter- 
esting. An occasional flight of shear- 
waters scudded past us over the waves 
and into their troughs ; but there was 
nothing to give us any continuous 
interest. We always wanted the fish- 
ing lines to be put out overboard, 
just on chance ; and we would not 
believe it when told that there was 
no chance, that we were sailing too 
fast. Where there was sea there 
must be fish, and where there were 
fish, if you put out a hook with a bait 
there was a chance of catching them ; 
that was our young argument, and it 
was as sound as many others that are 
applied to fishing, which is perhaps 
saying little enough for its wisdom. 
But after the island of Lundy had 
begun to look relatively near at hand, 
and the mainland dim and distant, 
instead of conversely ; that is to say 
when we were more than half way 
across, then the sea began to be dotted 
with birds swimming in pairs, a big 
bird and a little one together, a mother 
razor-bill and its baby. They would 
not fly up at our approach but con- 
tented themselves with diving as the 
smack came near them, to rise again 



In Bideford Bay. 



139 



at a great distance on one side or the 
other. As we neared the island these 
pairs became more frequent. Among 
them appeared a few guillemots, and 
after a while an immense number of 
puffins, those quaint creatures that 
the natives of those parts called dis- 
tinctively Lundy parrots. Overhead 
the gannets would be winging their 
way with powerful strokes of their 
great wings, poising themselves, now 
and again, before diving down at 
tremendous speed into the water, 
dropping with closed wings into its 
surface like a dead weight, and send- 
ing up a fountain of spray such as 
comes from a blowing whale. After 
a moment or two they would rise 
again, with a fish in their bills, and 
soar up into the air as they swallowed 
the prey to be ready for another deadly 
swoop on a fresh victim. 

The sight of the razor-bills, with 
their little ones on the water, would 
fill us with terrible anxiety lest all 
the sea-birds should have left their 
nests ; for the high summer-tide, when 
the weather was most to be relied on, 
was the time that Authority smiled 
on (though even then rather grudg- 
ingly) for these expeditions. Our 
friend, the skipper, however, assured 
us that the wild fowl were later in 
their date of nesting than the small 
birds with which we were familiar ; 
and that though some of the mers, 
with their young ones, were already 
afloat, we should find plenty more on 
the cliffs of the island. 

He might well say plenty. The 
smack came to anchor about a hun- 
dred yards from the beach on the 
eastern side, and we went ashore in 
the dinghy, landing on a very slippery 
little jetty of big stones, and scramb- 
ling over them to the more secure 
land. Then followed a winding ascent, 
past the proprietor's house, to the 
upper level of the island ; for all the 
island had steep cliffs, least steep of 



all at the point of our ascent and land- 
ing ; but, once these precipices were 
scaled, the top was a fairly level 
plateau some three miles in length 
and a mile or so across. It was in- 
habited only by the people of the 
light-house, and by the family and 
dependants of the owner. It was 
seldom that we saw a soul, after we 
had once passed up the combe in 
which were the farmhouses and the 
store, or any sign of cultivation, or 
of domestic animals save a few sheep. 
But rabbits abounded, darting up out 
of every little bush and tussock and 
making for their holes in the cliff- 
sides. And everywhere, and ever 
louder as we went along to the north 
of the island, the air was full of a 
continuous, unceasing sound of the 
cries of the sea-birds. Where we had 
landed there had been few of them. 
We had, by that time, passed the 
ranks of the swimming razor-bills, 
guillemots, and puffins : the gannets 
could not dive with safety in the 
shallow water ; and the only signs of 
bird-life were a few gulls hovering 
around us. 

And yet, to our anxious enquiries 
after the birds, the skipper had told 
us there would be plenty. It was 
impossible to doubt him, as we heard 
the perpetual chorus, and yet we saw 
little except a plover or two flinging 
himself about over our heads, as we 
went along, and uttering his plaintive 
wild cry. The island was very un- 
sympathetic to us, for, save in the 
sheltered combe where a stout elder 
bush flourished, there was nothing in 
the nature of a tree on the whole 
area ; and the bare plateau did not 
appeal to our boyish need for secrecy 
and concealment. 

Yet we kept on. And now, look- 
ing out beyond the northward limit 
of the island, we became aware of 
what appeared like a brown cloud, 
obscuring the bright levels of the sea. 



140 



In Bideford Bay. 



As we approached, it appeared that 
this cloud was composed of minute 
moving particles ; and, drawing nearer 
still, it was seen that what had looked 
like a cloud was in reality a marvel- 
lously dense throng of sea-birds coming 
and going from their nests in the cliff- 
side to the sea and back again. The 
brownish aspect of the cloud had been 
given by the dark colouring of their 
upper parts, which alone were visible 
from above. But among and through 
them the great white gannets went sail- 
ing and swooping majestically, throw- 
ing a fresh note of colour into the mass 
here and there. It was marvellous 
when we came near enough to be able 
to take in the details of the scene, 
that the birds could pass each other 
without collision, swiftly as they flew 
in such countless numbers. Yet if 
that were marvellous, how much more 
wonderful was it to see a bird shoot 
up and perch on a ledge of rock which 
appeared to us, looking from above, 
already so densely crowded, that there 
could not be room for a man to put 
his finger into the midst without 
edging one of the outside sitters off 
the ledge into the sea. And this, 
indeed, over and over again happened ; 
for though the poet of our childhood 
had taught us that " birds in their 
little nests agree " it scarcely appeared 
as if his studies in ornithology could 
have extended to this remote island, 
so strangely did its inhabitants con- 
tradict his pleasant statement by the 
manner in which they fought and 
hustled for their footing on these ledges 
and terraces of rock. 

Of a truth there were, as the 
skipper had said, plenty. From every 
rabbit-hole that seemed within feasi- 
ble reach of our climbing the puffins 
were coming and going, and for their 
eggs we reached down the longest 
arm we could stretch, yet not without 
trembling and much clamour at the 
mouth of the hole, to scare the mother- 



bird away, for we had a profound 
respect for that most useful weapon 
of offence the beak of the Lundy 
parrot. And, after all, our quest of 
the sea-birds' eggs came to very little, 
for there were, no doubt, on the island 
boys, quite as keen bird-nesters as we 
and much better climbers, to whom 
the eggs were of value as articles of 
diet. All the nests within reach had 
probably been already harried, and 
the vast majority were on the pre- 
cipitous cliffs, inaccessible to any 
creature that had not wings, or, fail- 
ing them, a rope by which he might 
be lowered from above. 

But if we did little in the way of 
adding to our collection of eggs, it 
was a sufficing joy to lie there on our 
stomachs, with heads over the edge of 
the cliffs, and look down on this mazy 
throng of winged things coming and 
going or sitting very straight up, as 
is their manner, on the terraces. And 
among the throng of sea-birds we saw, 
sailing out proudly from the cliffs, 
creatures that we had never seen 
before, peregrine falcons to wit, for 
Lundy is a favourite and unfailing 
source for the supply of these birds to 
falconers all over the kingdom. 

The while that we lay and watched, 
the chorus of shrill voices was about 
us, deafening with its clamour and 
unceasing ; increasing only to louder 
energy when we sent down a stone 
to clatter among the densely packed 
terraces and startle out a yet thicker 
cloud of bird-life. It was a wonderful 
sight, and we would make our way 
back to the landing-place feeling that, 
though we returned practically empty- 
handed, we had not lived in vain. 

In the neighbourhood of the land- 
ing-place we found means of making 
up for our scant success in nest-hunt- 
ing, for there would be boys of the 
island, informed no doubt by our 
friend the skipper of our tastes, with 
eggs to sell us of all the birds that 



In Bideford Bay. 



HI 



nested on the island ; and, though our 
finances were at perpetual low ebb, a 
shilling, by judicious bargaining, would 
go a very long way in purchasing quite 
as many specimens as we were at all 
likely to be able to carry home 
unbroken. 

A very interesting question had to 
be asked as soon as we reached the 
smack, were we likely to get home on 
the next tide, or should we have to 
be out all night 1 There was no doubt 
about the answer we desired. The 
cabin was dark and foul and very 
musty ; there was nothing of which 
it did not smell. The deck on the 
other hand was well enough, on a 
fine night, save for one circumstance, 
that one of the several jobs for which 
the smack had come to Lundy Island 
was to carry back a cargo of the crabs 
and lobsters whose fishery is a stand- 
ing industry of the place. These 
creatures were all alive, under no 
particular control, and roamed the 
deck irritably, seeking whom they 
might devour. Nevertheless it needs 
not to say that this diversity of dis- 
comfort was infinitely more attractive 
to our fancy than the cleanliness and 
snugness of our inglorious beds. But 
whether we were destined to enjoy a 
night of this charming nature on the 
open sea depended on a complexity of 
circumstances. For one thing, it de- 
pended much on the length of time 
we had taken on the passage over, as 
well as on the probable duration of 
the return journey ; that is to say, it 
depended on the caprice of the wind. 
And next it depended on the hour 
at which the return mail was ready, for 
it was primarily as a carrier of mails 
and provisions that the smack paid 
its fortnightly visits to the island. 
The island might, indeed, be pro- 
visioned for longer than a fortnight 
at a time, but once in two weeks did 
not seem excessive for receiving news 
of the outer world. Finally there 



was a circumstance which no doubt 
had some weight, but which was 
not communicated to us, and that 
was the estimate formed by the skip- 
per of his chances of a good catch 
with his trawl. In theory his busi- 
ness was to go to and fro the island 
with all speed, bearing the mail ; but, 
with a good steady trawling-breeze, 
it seemed nothing short of wicked to 
go piling on sail over all the nice 
trawling-ground which lay a little to 
the mainland side of the island. It 
was so easy to explain to the pro- 
prietor a fortnight after, when he 
discovered that his letters had come 
to hand a post late, that the wind 
had fallen light in the night and it 
had been impossible to make the 
estuary of the river until the tide 
had so far ebbed that there was 
practically no water on the bar. 
Very often the explanation would 
have all the merit of truth ; and after 
all it could not matter very much to 
the bulk of the English nation whether 
it got its news of Lundy Island a post 
earlier or a post later. Surely it was 
infinitely more important that we 
should not forgo the chance of making 
a nice catch of fish. 

The first part of the voyage, after 
leaving Lundy, was apt to be peculiarly 
exciting, for then we would often sail 
right through the troubled waters of 
Lundy Race. This was not in any 
way different from other reaches of 
troubled water, caused by the meeting 
of conflicting currents, that go by the 
same name all round the coast ; but 
it was the only race we knew, and we 
always looked forward to its encounter 
with a tremulous excitement. The 
smack went larking and bounding 
through the water which swept the 
deck with each successive wave, 
arousing the crabs and lobsters to a 
state of extreme liveliness. If the 
waves were breaking with any force, 
we were consigned to the obscurity of 



142 



In Bideford Bay. 



the cabin, whence we crept up the 
companion way till our heads were on 
a level with the perambulant crus- 
taceans, and we could see the myste- 
rious scene, the ship ploughing her 
way over the dark sea, the dim figures 
of the men moving here and there as 
the skipper shouted his commands, 
and an occasional white splash of a 
wave on the deck which gleamed as a 
ray from the port or starboard light 
fell on it. It was a scene that made 
us think of Grettir the Strong and all 
the heroes of the Sagas that people 
had told us about ; we fancied our- 
selves hardy Norsemen and brave 
Vikings, and felt all the braver so 
soon as the smack had made her way 
out of the breakers of the race into 
calmer water. It was curious that 
the smoother the water fell the more 
confident we were that the heart 
of the storm was our true native 
element. As soon as the trawl-net 
was put down we became increasingly 
doubtful of it. 

Of course the ever-moving sea has a 
wonderful variety in its movements, 
and different movements affect different 
people in different ways. Some espe- 
cially dislike the roll ; to others the 
pitch is peculiarly fatal ; some endure 
with fortitude the motion of a follow- 
ing sea, but succumb to the tossing of 
waves that meet them ; with others 
the sensations are reversed. But none 
of these, which are as it were motions 
natural to the great fluid body of 
ocean, compare at all with the dis- 
comfort of the uneven motion given to 
the ship when it is dragging its trawl- 
net behind. All others are more or 
less regular, rhythmical motions ; but 
this is a horrid discord. We tried our 
best to be brave ; we strove bard to 
think of Grettir the Strong, of whom 
it is never recorded that he was sea- 
sick, and further endeavoured to sus- 
tain our fainting courage by antici- 
pating the delight of seeing the trawl 



hauled up. So the dark hours sped 
on, with fortunes that it is not well 
to chronicle too minutely, and maybe 
before the morning the trawl would 
have been hauled up several times. 

The delight of seeing it come aboard 
was glorious. Its possible contents 
on each occasion were really infinite ; 
we could conceive of nothing that it 
might not hold. In point of fact it 
never did bring up a sea-serpent, but 
it brought creatures that were quite as 
marvellous to us ; devil-fish, whose 
very name (their aspect apart) sug- 
gested fearfully attractive attributes ; 
octopuses, that lay with many tentacles 
and a kind of menacing helplessness 
upon the deck ; dog-fish, that were 
sharks in miniature, with many rows 
of teeth ; queer-shaped thornybacks or 
skates ; and many other curious and 
uncouth fishes. Besides these and 
their congeners, in which we took an 
especial interest, there was all the 
tribe of more edible fishes ; soles of 
various kinds and plaice, John dories, 
brill and turbot, flapping their great 
flatnesses on the boards of the deck. 
It formed an entrancing scene under 
the fitful gleam of the ship's lantern, 
which scarcely bettered the soft sum- 
mer moonlight. 

And then, towards morning, we 
would have " upped trawl," put the 
dinghy, which had been taken on 
board while the net was down, out to 
tow behind again, and be bearing into 
the line of breakers that marked the 
bar at the river's mouth. But about 
this time it would generally happen, 
hardy Vikings though we were, that 
all the excitement we had gone through 
would prove too much for us, and we 
would go off to sleep amidst the thou- 
sand and one mingled odours of the 
cabin. In our dreams we would hear 
the wash of the waves against the 
vessel, accompanying the shrill chorus 
of a multitude of gulls attracted by 
the rich repast that the sailors kept 



In Bideford Bay. 



143 



throwing overboard for them as they 
cleaned the fish. The gulls waited on 
the vessel in a clamouring throng. 
Now and again they would swoop, 
with a united rush, at a fragment of 
waste fish hurtling through the air. 
Sometimes one or other would seize 
and swallow it before ever it came to 
the water's surface ; or again it would 
fall on the water and at once a fierce 
tug of war would begin for its posses- 
sion. Sometimes one would seem to 
prove his title to a certain morsel, and 
he would be left far behind, sitting on 
the waves, discussing it, while the 
rest of our satellites pursued us as 
before, with ceaseless clamour. And 
after a while this laggard, having 
disposed of his portion, would rise 
heavily off the sea and come labouring 
after us. 

All the sounds of this comedy of 
hunger and the struggle for existence 
would come to our dozing ears in the 
stuffy little cabin, forming the sub- 
stance of our dreams ; and the next 
noise to arouse us would be the ratt- 
ling of the anchor-chain, when we 
would stretch ourselves and open 
sleepy eyes, and go blinking up the 
companion-way to find that we were 
back in port, and that there was 
nothing more for us to do than to 
trudge away along a mile or two of 
dusty road to our home. 

But the joy of that expedition was 
not yet altogether over. While we 
were actually engaged in it there had 
been discomforting sensations that 
would intrude themselves no matter 
how we tried to ignore them ; but 
in the delightful retrospect all these 
completely vanished ; nothing but 
the joys remained, and there was 
an added joy in the triumph of detail- 
ing all our adventures to Authority at 
home ; and Authority, prosaic though 
it was, had yet some sparks of enthu- 
siasm left which might be kindled 
into genuine fire by the recital of 



deeds of sea-faring so heroic and so 
remote from its own experiences. 

And really we had some adventures 
worthy of record. On a certain morn- 
ing, as the smack went stealing out 
over the bar, helped rather by the tide 
beneath her than by the breeze which 
scarcely filled her sails, we passed a 
strange coil upon the water. It was 
one of those slumbrous summer morn- 
ings on which everything is bathed in 
the heat-mist that rises from the sea, 
and the few smacks and coasters that 
had come out with us became indis- 
tinct at a few hundred yards' distance. 
Therefore we could make out this coil 
on the water only vaguely. But, a? 
we slipped quietly along, the skipper 
said, " I'm just going off in the dinghy 
to see what I can make of that there." 

" That there," as we well under- 
stood, referred to the strange appear- 
ance ; but what we did not under- 
stand, nor did the skipper, was the 
nature of that coil. We observed 
however, that he took off with him, 
in the dinghy, the gaff with which we 
used to hook up into the boat the big 
whiting pollack that we sometimes 
caught in the tideways, with a bait of 
a bright spinner trailed behind the 
boat. The gaff excited our interest 
to a yet keener pitch ; it looked as if 
business were intended. The smack 
was headed up into the light breeze, 
and we all watched the skipper's 
doings as he shoved off in the dinghy. 
Quietly and slowly he paddled his 
way to where we could still dimly see 
the dark coil on the water. He 
rowed gently, as if with the notion of 
not disturbing the object of his quest. 
At length he came to it, and leaning 
slowly over the boat's side, struck the 
gaff with a sudden jerk into the coil, 
which instantly, from an inert, motion- 
less thing, wicS transformed into a 
writhing, wriggling creature of intense 
vivacity. It was a conger. Presum- 
ably it had been asleep in the sun, on 



144 



In Bideford Bay. 



the water's surface. Now, with the 
sudden sting of the gaff in its side, it 
was aroused into the fiercest and 
most aggressive life, lashing this way 
and that in the little boat while the 
skipper skipped about in a manner 
delightfully suggestive of his title, 
aiming a shower of blows the while 
with the gaff at the shining coils that 
constantly eluded his assault. The 
skipper's measures were by no means 
confined to the offensive, for every- 
where that the creature's head ap- 
peared, now under this thwart, now 
over that, in its furious wrigglings, it 
showed a great mouth menacing him 
with clashing jaws. Presently, how- 
ever, he got some decisive blows home 
upon the creature's head ; its writh- 
ings grew feebler, and soon the battle 
was over and the victory rested with 
our friend. He sculled back in 
triumph, with the body of the foe as 
the trophy of the fight. It is needless 
to say how tumultuously we greeted 
his return, congratulating him on his 
skill, and sharing his triumph over 
the body of the vanquished. Truly 
it was a remarkable achievement, thus 
to have gaffed into the boat the person 
of a free and unscathed conger. To 
catch a conger asleep is an opportunity 
that does not occur to many in a 
lifetime. 

And that same day, though it was 
a day of light winds and calms, so 
that trawling was not to be thought 
of, had further excitement in store 
for us. Towards noon the wind 
altogether died down, so we, leaving 
the smack with sails hanging idle and 
limp, went off in the dinghy to where 



a number of shear- waters were sitting 
quietly on the calm sea. There we 
got out the gurnard lines, at the end 
of short stiff rods, and had a fair 
catch of the ugly big-headed fish. 
But what surprised us most was the 
wonderful tameness of the birds. No 
doubt they had lunched, not wisely 
but too well, on the shoals of small 
fish, which must have been the at- 
traction of the gurnards likewise. 
They would scarcely fly up even when 
the boat came almost on them, and 
then did but flap a few scuttling 
strokes over the water and settle 
down again. Our lines they did not 
regard at all ; and we hauled into 
the boat no less than three of them 
that got entangled by the line winding 
round their wings. They were un- 
grateful birds, for while we were 
freeing them they bit our fingers 
with knife-like bills, leaving scars 
that smarted grievously for many a 
day. 

Towards evening a breeze sprang up 
and we got home on the evening tide. 
On the way we fell in with a boat 
that had been dredging, illegally as 
we believed, for oysters, and of them 
we bought fifty-two (being the whole 
of the catch) each about the size of a 
soup-plate, for a shilling. We thought 
we had done a fine stroke of house- 
keeping finance, rating the value of 
the oyster according to its size. 
When we reached home Authority 
looked with distrust upon our shell 
fish, disdainfully pronouncing them 
cooking-oysters and thus showing 
yet again its persistent disposition to 
belittle our best achievements. 



145 



THE WHITE ROAD. 



IP you were to travel England from 
end to end you would find no two 
stranger places than Churchsea and 
Hillbury, and I make bold to say that 
even in foreign parts, though I know 
them not, you would not find their 
match. It is not that they are large 
and have great trade, for indeed they 
are both somewhat decayed and fallen 
behind the time ; but rather that 
they are singular in themselves and 
very beautiful. Churchsea, from its 
hill-top, looks across to Hillbury on 
its neighbouring height ; and between 
and around them lie level lands and 
pasture, white with sheep and mist, 
and intersected by narrow water- 
ways. Once the sea washed the 
bases of both hills, and even when 
this century was but two years old 
and my blood was hot, it came nearer 
to us than now, when we see it but 
as a beckoning friend a mile away. 
At Hillbury is the mouth of a small 
river, so that at high tide little craft 
can sail up to the town ; but we of 
Churchsea make slight account of this, 
for it is but a poor stream, with flat 
mud banks and no grace of colour ; 
yet the folk of Hillbury take great 
credit to themselves because of it, as 
though God had given it them for 
some special virtue, of which, as He 
knows, they have but little. 

I would have you understand, then, 
that Churchsea looks across to Hill- 
bury, and Hillbury looks across to 
Churchsea, year in, year out ; and 
between them lie the pastures and 
the white road. This road runs as 
straight as a rapier from base to base 
of the two hills, at the Churchsea end 
rising into the town under one of our 

No. 440. VOL. LXXVI. 



great gates, and at Hillbury turning 
by the river, skirting the wharves, 
and so over the bridge up into the 
red-tiled town. What I have to tell 
happened, as I have before put it, 
when my blood was hot, many years 
ago ; yet you may see the road to-day 
as clearly as I saw it then. 

One morning, an hour before noon 
of a late summer day, I sat idly in my 
father's garden, making a great show 
of reading in a new book that my 
cousin, Margery Meryon, had lent me. 
But I held it always open at the same 
page, and if by chance the wind blew 
over a leaf, I turned it back again. 
Our garden faced towards the sea, 
and the heavy, shouting winds that 
swept across it allowed only the 
hardiest plants to live. But a fur- 
long to the right, and with a high 
seaward wall, was my uncle's, Roger 
Meryon's garden, which, because of 
the protection pf this wall, was as full 
of tender flowers as any place in the 
heart of England. On that morning 
I could not keep my eyes from my 
uncle's garden, because my cousin, 
Margery Meryon, was there, tending 
her roses, and wherever Margery was 
both my eyes and my heart were as 
well. I had watched her, I suppose, 
for an hour, and beyond a wave of 
the hand when she came out, she had 
paid no heed to me. Yet I thought 
if she had wished to be free of me 
she could as easily have kept to the 
south side of the house, and so I 
made no scruple to delight myself 
with the sight of her. She must 
have known then that I loved her, 
for I think little is hidden from a 
girl where a man's love is concerned ; 

L 



146 



The White Eoad. 



but she knew me so well, and had 
tumbled and played with me so often, 
that she desired little of my older 
kisses. As she moved slowly from 
bed to bed, with the sun lighting her 
sweet face and hair, and her hands, 
white and tiny, flashing from bush to 
bush, my heart sang and mourned 
together ; for my love for her was 
made happy even to see her afar off, 
yet I feared that her love was out 
upon another quest. 

It was a quiet day, with little air 
stirring, and presently far away on 
the white road I heard the beat of a 
horse's hoofs. Margery heard at the 
same moment, and stood balanced 
ightly upon her feet, with open lips 
and eager eyes, listening. I set my 
teeth together, and turned a page. 
Whether my hand shook, or whether 
it caught against my sleeve, I know 
not, but the leaf tore across ; and 
then in my sorrow I could have wept 
for hurting Margery's book. I looked 
at her again, and as the sound of the 
hoof-beats came nearer she moved 
quickly towards the gate, with never 
a glance towards me. I rose and 
turned my back upon her, the book 
under my arm ; but the rider was 
still some distance off, so I walked 
into the house, and set about arrang- 
ing my room, which sorely needed it. 
Through the open window the sound 
still followed me, and when at last it 
stopped, as I well knew it would, at 
Roger Meryon's gate, I could not 
forbear looking out. I knew it to be 
unworthy, and I felt the blood spring 
to my cheek as I looked ; but I was 
very young, and my love for Margery 
like a leaping fire. 

Robin Penridd swept off his hat to 
her with an air, and dismounted more 
slowly, I thought, than befitted a 
lover with such a girl as my cousin to 
welcome him. He took both her 
hands and made as though he would 
draw her towards him for a kiss ; but 



she held back, and he had to be con- 
tent to let his lips touch her fingers. 
He was a handsome man enough, 
and I knew nought against him 
save that he was not of our country, 
but came from the west ; yet it was 
hard to see him bending over her, 
with laughter shining in his eyes, and 
an answering, loving light in hers. 
Once Margery glanced to where I had 
been sitting, and I was sure she 
thought it kind of me to have left 
her free. This sent the blood into 
my face again, and I turned resolutely 
from the window and watched them 
no more. 

For the rest of that day I laboured 
at setting my room in order, and 
when my mother saw the change I 
think she wondered what had come 
to me ; but she said nothing, and only 
guessed that I had done it with a 
fretting heart. I made myself be- 
lieve that if one of our own people 
had come between me and Margery 
I would have taken the matter less 
like an angry child ; but that Robin 
Penridd should come and rob us of 
our beauty made me feel bitter and 
unkind. In those days, too, the secret 
trade in French brandy, following on 
the heels of the great Revolution, was 
very boldly carried on ; and I knew 
Robin to be deep in that. Not that 
I really thought the worse of him on 
that account, but Margery was no 
girl to mate with a man whose neck 
was in a noose. 

Just before dusk, when the air was 
golden with sunset, and Hillbury 
looked no more than half a mile 
away, I took my hat and went over 
to my uncle's house. There was no 
one sitting in the window where I 
had half expected to see Margery, so 
I walked quietly up the pathway 
between the ranks of flowers and 
lifted the latch without any warning. 
The door gave at once into the living- 
room. It was empty, but Margery's 



The White Road. 



147 



work lay upon the table as though 
she had just laid it aside, the needle 
still sticking in it. I took up the 
dainty stuff to see what work she was 
spoiling her eyes upon. It was a fine 
lace handkerchief, and she was em- 
broidering the edges with a pretty 
fancy of red and golden blossoms, in- 
terlaced with green ivy leaves. I 
laid it down again so hurriedly that 
I pricked my finger with the needle, 
and a little drop of blood fell upon 
the lace. Then I called " Margery." 
I heard her light footstep cross the 
room above, and presently her voice 
answered from the stair-head, " Is 
that you, Oliver 1" 

"Who else," I said, "would come 
in without a knock 1 Come down to 
me, Margery." She came down slowly, 
pausing on each step, and greeted me 
quietly, looking frankly into my eyes. 
I had rather she had entered with 
down-dropping lids and a less even 
colour. I am not sure that she would 
have resented a cousin's kiss, but I 
had no wish to give one. It is easier 
for a man to endure hate than quiet 
indifference ; yet I did my Margery 
an unwitting wrong in that. 

She sat down to her work, while I 
paced the room from end to end, 
scarce knowing why I had come or 
what to say, yet with words crowding 
to my lips. Each time I turned she 
glanced up at me, and the sight of 
her dear face, shining through the 
growing twilight, filled me with such 
longing and bitterness at once that I 
almost cried out as one in sudden 
pain. I had a great passion to take 
her in my arms and force her to my 
love, and as strong a hatred of the 
very thought of such blind cowardice. 
Between the two I did nothing for so 
long that at last I took the first words 
that had come into my mind. 

" Robin Penridd was here to-day," 
I said. " I saw him from the window 
of my room." 



" So you watched," she said proudly, 
kindling at once like a dry leaf in 
flame. 

" And if I did," I said,.. " who is to 
blame me ? Remember, Margery, that 
we are of the same blood." 

"/ blame you," she said; "and, 
cousin Oliver, you blame yourself, or 
will when you are less angry. It was 
not a kind or honourable thing." 

" So you would be always alone 
with him, Margery, truly, it is well 
that some one should be on guard." 

She rose at this, and I bit my 
tongue for sheer vexation to have been 
so unjust, and to see the colour burn 
in her face. 

" If you have nothing better to say 
than this," she said, " I will bid you 
good-night," and she turned to go ; 
but I caught her at the door and held 
her there, begging for her forgiveness. 

" Forgive me ; I did not mean it, 
Margery. It was not I who spoke, 
but the churl in me I thought dead. 
I will never play the spy again ; if 
you wish it I will go away and never 
see you or Robin any more." 

" Nay," she said, looking at me very 
kindly, " why should you go away 1 " 
I saw her love, for Robin in her eyes, 
and that made her bold to keep me. 
I could always read Margery like a 
book. 

"It is hard for me to stay," I said, 
" and go on loving you as I do. I 
have always loved you, Margery, since 
you were a little wild lass who rode 
upon my back. But my man's love 
is less happy than the boy's. If you 
bid me stay, why, then I shall be 
here, always at your call when danger 
comes." 

She held my hand in both her warm 
young palms, and smoothed it kindly, 
" I am very sorry for this, Oliver," 
she said. " For indeed, Oliver, I love 
you very much when you are good." 

" But I do not want that love," I 
said. She was so much a child still 



148 



The White Road. 



that I almost wondered whether she 
understood ; yet there was not five 
years between us. 

" You may think you do not want 
it now, but some day you will be glad 
of it. And as for danger, Oliver, 
what danger can there be 1 " There 
was a tremor of fear in her voice, in 
spite of the quiet words, and I pitied 
her in all sincerity. 

"Robin Penridd," I said, "has 
enough casks of good French liquor 
stowed away to hang him ten times 
over. You must warn him to be 
prudent." 

She laughed lightly, for in these 
matters women have no conscience. 
"And who in Churchsea or Hillbury,'' 
she said, " has not 1 Even you, good 
Oliver as you are sometimes, know 
where some of the kegs lie." 

" Nay," said I, " and I cannot deny 
that ; but Robin runs too boldly, and 
the King's men are awake." 

She thought for a moment, pulling 
at a fold in her gown. It had grown 
so dusk that I could scarcely see her 
face, and so quiet that through the 
open door came the sound of the wind 
over the marshes far below. I put 
my hands upon her shoulders to make 
her look at me. " Bid him be careful, 
Margery," I said, " and so good-night." 
" I will, Oliver, I will," she said ; 
" and don't be unhappy, Oliver. Re- 
member, there are other girls." 

" I think, Cousin Margery," I said, 
my hands still upon her shoulders, 
" that I shall remember only one. 
Good-night." 

When I reached the gate I turned 
and saw her busy lighting the candles; 
then her shadow spread across the low 
ceiling and danced from corner to 
corner as the flames flickered in a puff 
of wind. She looked grave and a 
little troubled, thinking of all that I 
had said. 

That night I went down into the 
marshes, knowing every foot of the 



way, and walked six good miles before 
I climbed the hill again. The moon 
was riding clear by that time, a three 
days' crescent, and the sky was quiver- 
ing with a mist of stars. The bulk of 
Hillbury stood up black against the 
horizon, pricked out here and there 
with lights ; and still below the wind 
came and went like the breath of a 
sleeper. There was a light, too, in 
Margery's chamber, and the sight of 
it made me feel so pitifully alone that 
the tears burned in my eyes, for I 
knew she did not think of me. 

After this, and until autumn wa& 
ripe about us, I saw Margery often, 
sometimes in my mother's house, 
sometimes at my uncle's, Roger 
Meryon's, and often, as I first described 
her, in her garden. At times my love 
slept ; then again, at a chance turn of 
the head, at an inclination of the body, 
at a sudden sweep of skirt or touch of 
hand, my passion for her would awako 
to all the old yearning. For it is by 
these things that love is fed, and I 
believe that when women have ruled 
the world they have ruled it rather by 
the tender pathos of reminiscence than 
by any strength of will or virtue. So 
it was, at least with Margery, and for 
a certain smile of hers, drawing down 
the corners of her mouth and veiling 
her eyes in a morning mist of laughter, 
I would at that time have sold my 
soul. But along the white road, to 
and fro, Robin Penridd came and 
went, until I grew to consider the 
sound of his horse's hoof-beats the 
signal of my own humiliation. 

For a time Robin was more careful 
in his secret dealings, so that I suppose 
Margery must have given him my 
warning ; but when the landward 
roads were yellow with drift of fallen 
leaves and the marshes were brown 
with withered rushes he grew bold 
again. Both Churchsea and Hillbury 
are undermined with great cellars, 
the places, as it were, being built upon 



The White Road. 



149 



a warren. These were made when 
the towns were in the tide of their 
prosperity, the time when all the 
French wine that came into the 
country passed through them. But 
this privilege lapsed long ago, and the 
dim ranges of empty cellars fell into 
decay. Still, to such as Robin, they 
were of great service ; for though the 
King's men knew most of them, they 
did not know all. I think it was the 
spirit of the work that drew Robin 
into it, rather than any common love 
of gain; for he never had much money, 
and what he had he spent freely. A 
musty cellar drew him like a magnet : 
the discovery of a hidden entrance 
made him as happy as a girl with a 
new kerchief ; and the scent of danger 
braced his spirits like wine. 

One morning, in mid-November, I 
had business in Hillbury, and, as my 
custom was, I went round to my 
cousin Margery to see whether she 
had any commands that I could carry 
for her. She gave me one or two 
trifling messages, for a girl will miss 
no opportunity of service, and then, 
as I went, called me back again 
softly. "And, Oliver," she said, "if 
you see Robin, bid him be sure to come 
to-night." This faith in me touched 
me deeply ; I promised, and set forth 
upon my walk. 

It was a gloomy day, the sky heavy 
with low clouds, and at intervals 
blurred with flaws of rain. The sea 
was dull as lead, the marsh more gray 
than green, and the air so heavy that 
the sound of my own footsteps lingered 
long after it should have died. Hill- 
bury, as I neared it, seemed like a 
dead town ; there was little shipping 
at the river-wharves, and the climbing 
streets were as deserted as a church 
betwixt matins and evensong. Yet 
my fancy overran the truth, for though 
little was stirring when I stepped 
across the Market Street, there were 
-a few scattered townsfolk about. 



I did the business that I had with 
my mother's attorney in short time ; 
Margery's little matters took me longer, 
but by two o'clock I was ready to re- 
turn. I had not seen Robin, how- 
ever, and could hear no news of him ; 
so I turned into The George, being in 
no hurry to depart, and ate and drank 
there. Dusk fell early, bringing a 
weeping mist with it, and I sat on in 
the parlour, staring out into the blind 
street, wondering where Robin Penridd 
was, and what Margery was doing, 
and what turn my life would take, as 
a man will on such a day. I took no 
count of time, but filled and refilled 
my glass in a kind of dream. I had 
bade them bring no lights, and as there 
were no others in the room and 
economy jumped with my wish, the 
landlord had respected it and left me 
quietly alone. 

Suddenly, as I sat thus, a great 
terror came upon me, so that I could 
not stir, and my scalp grew cold be- 
neath my hair. It was as though 
invisible hands laid chill fingers upon 
me in the darkness ; as though the 
silence were alive with voiceless echoes, 
so sad that my heart turned upon 
itself for comfort and found none ; as 
though some appalling menace reached 
up from Hell. Hope, faith, even 
memory, died within me for a space. 
I stood upon the borders of the grave 
and smelt the fume and clay of it ; 
my body seemed already slimed with 
worms. I could neither cry out, nor 
pray, nor weep. It was death tri- 
umphant over life while the blood still 
moved in my veins; an awful agony 
and rigor of spirit that, when it passed, 
left me naked as a babe. 

Then a horse galloped up the street, 
was reined in at the door, and a 
moment later Robin Penridd was 
with me. 

" Oliver," he said, " you have been 
searching for me. Others are searching 
too." 



150 



The White Boad. 



I was still dazed, and hardly under- 
stood him. " I have a message from 
my cousin Margery," I said ; " she 
bids you not to fail to come to-night." 

He swept his hand across his brow, 
and an oath slipped between his 
teeth. " Do you know the hour 1 " 
he said. " I should be with her now ; 
but I cannot go, Oliver. The hunt is 
after me. I have gone too far, and to 
ride to Churchsea to-night would mean 
the end of everything. Oliver," he 
said very pleadingly, "you have not 
always been my friend, and indeed I 
cannot blame you ; but be my friend 
and Margery's to-night. Take my 
horse and ride to Churchsea. Even 
now she is waiting to hear my step. 
Tell her that I cannot come, and if 
you are able, comfort her." 

" But you ? " I said. 

" Oh ! " he said laughing, his spirits 
leaping at the danger. " I must hide. 
A horse could be no friend to me 
to-night. Will you go, Oliver ? " We 
could not see each other's faces clearly, 
but our hands met on my unspoken 
promise. Without more words I 
slipped into the street, mounted 
Robin's horse, and rode at a hand-pace 
through the town. When we came 
upon the high road I gave the creature 
rein. 

For a time I was still half blind 
with the fear which had hardly left 
me ; but the wet, flapping wind that 
buffeted my face, the quick motion of 
the ride, and the consciousness of my 
errand, soon served to set the life 
moving in me again. And more than 
that, whether from joy at finding 
myself still sound, or whether from 
some natural habit of the body I can- 
not say, I seemed to have within me 
the- fire, the passion, the clamorous 
exultation of a double life. And as 
I was carried through the rushing 
night my thought took hold of 
Margery, reached forth to Margery, 
fed upon the savour of her name and 



beauty, until I was no more master of 
myself than a man who struggles in 
an ebbing tide. And then the thought 
slipped into my mind that at that 
moment she would be listening for the 
hoof-beats on the white road, that her 
heart would leap and sing at the 
sound of them, and that he who rode 
should be her lover. I leaned forward 
with the blood beating in my ears, 
urged Robin's horse onward with a 
word and a caress, and presently was 
aware of the black opening of the 
great gate before me. We clattered 
through at a gallop. I did not stop 
to think or weigh my course ; I cared 
for nothing but that Margery was 
waiting, and that night and the white 
road were good to me for once. 

I knew where she would wait, just 
under the shadow of the high wall ; 
and sure enough I saw the glimmer of 
her light gown. Suddenly reining in 
I stooped out of the saddle, as I had 
seen Robin do a hundred times, and 
then her arms were about my neck, 
her moist lips pressing warm kisses 
against my face, her voice broken in 
sweet little sobbing murmurs. For a 
moment I was mad with the mere joy 
and touch of her ; then shame and 
remorse struck together at my heart, 
and I freed myself. 

" Margery ! Margery ! " I said. 

I saw her shrink back a step. That 
was her sole reproach to me, then or 
since. " Oh, Oliver ! " she said. 

" I have come from Robin Penridd," 
I said, stumbling over the words. 
"He cannot see you to-night." 

She caught the bridle in one hand, 
and the steam from the hard-ridden 
horse wrapped us in a hot mist. 
" He is in danger," she panted. 
" Oh, Oliver ! dear Oliver ! tell me 
what it is." 

" He is being hunted to-night. He 
has played too deeply, Margery ; but 
he is bold and will throw them off 
the scent. Now go in." 



The White Road. 



151 



" Nay, Oliver," she said. " I must 
go back with you. He will need me 
sorely." 

"But you can do nothing, child. 
Besides, he may be miles along the 
coast ere this." 

" Nay, Oliver," she said again ; " I 
must go back with you now." 

" It is impossible ; you have no 
horse. Go in to rest, Margery." 

For answer I felt her foot on mine, 
and she had leapt up behind me, her 
hands fast about my waist. J could 
not cross her wish. My penitence 
was still burning in my marrow, and 
so I turned the head of Robin's horse 
towards Hillbury once again. Down 
through the gate we went slowly, with 
the wind shouldering at our backs ; 
then down the steep curve at the 
hill's base, and so into the white road 
once more, without a word of good or 
evil fortune, without a sound about 
us but the wind and the crying reed- 
beds and the distant crash of surf. 
Margery's arms were clasped so closely 
round me that I felt their warmth 
stirring at my heart, but I dared not 
think of the love I bore her then. She 
was in my hands of her own free will, 
and the quest on which we went 
together was for her lover's safety. 
It was between her and him, with rne 
for a means at both their service ; and 
that I had overstepped the bounds of 
my commission once made me set an 
iron grip on my will. 

I was beginning to consider the 
folly and uselessness of Margery's 
wish, and wondering what we were 
to do at Hillbury, when, just as we 
turned up over the bridge, a signal 
rang out that made me set heels to 
Robin's horse and my hands tighten 
on the reins. It was a pistol-shot, 
that struck a hundred echoes from 
the houses that climbed the hill, and 
before these had died two more shots 
snapped into the darkness. Then 
silence fell. I judged the sound to 



come from the bottom of Eight Bells 
Street, a kind of cul-de-sac which 
could only be reached from the upper 
streets, because its lower end was 
blocked by a tall house which gave 
upon the wharf. Still Margery said 
nothing, but as I urged the sweating 
horse up the last incline, her hands 
gripped me so hard that my breath 
struggled to get free. A shuffle of 
running feet went before us down 
Eight Bells Street, and at the end 
I saw a crowd gathered and heard 
the sound of angry voices and fierce 
oaths. 

" Shall we go on 1 " I whispered 
back to Margery. By this time I 
was chill and sick for my cousin's 
sake. 

"Oh, for the dear Christ's sake," 
she said, "go on, go on ! " 

At the edge of the crowd, the 
staring faces fitfully lit by lanterns, I 
dropped the reins and turned in the 
saddle to help Margery to her feet. 
But she was down before my hand 
touched her. I followed and glanced 
round upon the group. There were 
King's officers there, and in their 
midst Robin's friend and partner, 
John Drane, with blood upon his 
face. He caught my eye, and cried, 
" There's little good in bringing a live 
horse to a dead man." Then he spat 
blood upon the ground from his 
wounded mouth, and hurled himself 
upon his captors; but in a moment 
he was overcome. 

I would have held Margery back 
until I had had time to think, but 
she went straight through the people, 
who fell back on either hand, I 
following, and in the midst of them a 
man lay upon the ground with his 
face to the black sky. It was Robin 
Penridd, open-eyed and dead, with a 
bullet through the lungs, and upon 
his breast there lay the handkerchief 
which Margery had wrought for him 
so tenderly, dark with blood. 



152 



The White Road. 



She stooped down and looked into 
his face, and then she fell upon her 
knees and fingered at his bosom, and 
then she looked round at me with 
such a hopeless, pleading, questioning 
terror in her eyes that I wished 
myself dead and happy in Robin's 
place. I understood why death had 
laid a hand that day upon my spirit, 
and I, too, fell upon my knees beside 
the dead man within the circle of 
that silent company, and made the 
blessed sign and prayed. Alas, I 
had no comfort for my cousin 
Margery, and even God was very far 
away. 

I rose and gained permission from 
Robin's murderers, for they seemed 
no less to me, to have the poor dead 
body, that had been so blithe and 
strong and loving, carried decently 
and quietly home ; and then I touched 
Margery on the shoulder and said, 
" Come." I feared, at first, that she 
would not leave him ; but happily 
she let me guide her as I would. I 
longed that she might weep, her dry 
eyes hurt me but she only turned 
and gave me her hand. " Come," I 
said, " we must go home." 

" Oh, Oliver, Oliver," she moaned, 
" we were too late." Then she turned 
fiercely, with bared teeth, upon the 
crowd, and cried : " Cowards, cowards, 
why could you not save him 1 What 
were any of your lives to his? 
Cowards, and worse than women ! " 
She kissed him once upon the lips, 
and after he had been carried to his 
lonely house, we mounted the dead 
man's horse once more and set out for 
the last time that night upon the white 
road. 

The wind still surged across the 
marshes, the surf clamoured on the 



beach, and Margery's hands were 
round me again, but she spoke no 
word. She laid her head against my 
shoulder after a time, and I felt her 
breathing ; yet I had no joy even in 
that. At every step a dead hand 
seemed to pluck at my skirts to draw 
me back, and every now and then my 
mind rose into a frenzy o fear and 
pity that shook me to the soul. The 
touch of death seemed to be in the 
clammy, moving darkness round us ; 
we were shadows flying from a 
presence that yet kept pace with us, 
and the night to me was full of this 
presence and a girl's tired heart. 

At last, as we neared the gate, 
Margery's hands relaxed a little and 
then closed again passionately as she 
broke into pitiful weeping. At this 
I was glad, with that gladness which 
is like a scourge ; I dared not have 
left her still dry-eyed at her father's 
door. 

It was in this way that the white 
road, as it were, became the highway 
of my life. And still my thoughts, 
my memories, and my fears, and above 
all my love, go up and down upon it ; 
and in my dreams I see it bright in 
moonlight or blurred with rain, hear 
the beat of hoofs upon it, and live 
over again the piteous tragedy of 
that day and night. I still love my 
cousin Margery as I loved her then, 
and some day I shall tell her of my 
love ; but she has had such sorrow as 
falls to few women to endure, and I 
have learnt the grace of patience in 
the same bitter school of tribulation, 
so that I may be an old man before I 
dare to speak. Nay, even now, my 
youth is far behind me, and I think 
sometimes it left me for ever in that 
wild night upon the white road. 



153 



OLD AND NEW RADICALS. 



" THE year 17 69, "writes Mr. Lecky, 
" is very remarkable in political his- 
tory, for it witnessed the birth of 
English Radicalism, and the first 
serious attempts to reform and control 
parliament by pressure from without, 
making its members habitually sub- 
servient to their constituents." This 
notion of controlling parliament by 
pressure from without, and thereby 
of enabling the people to govern in- 
directly for themselves, was one which 
was hitherto strange to the practical 
politics of England. The Tories, who 
leaned upon the Crown and desired a 
strong executive, claimed to rule as 
lords and masters : the Whigs, who 
rather favoured liberalism, claimed to 
govern as guardians and trustees ; but 
they both agreed in this, that the 
people had nothing to do with the 
laws but to obey them. For about one 
hundred and thirty years, therefore, 
English Radicalism has been an active 
force in politics, though the Radicals 
did not receive their distinctive 
appellation until some fifty years after 
the movement had begun. Within 
this space of time so many changes 
have occurred that the Radicalism of 
to-day must necessarily differ very 
widely from that of the earlier periods 
of its history. A comparison between 
the old Radicalism and the new will, 
it is hoped, present some matter of 
interest and instruction. 

In the first stage of the movement 
there were few of the practical objects 
avowed by the Radicals which they 
did not share with others who plainly 
regarded them with abhorrence. The 
early Radicals were first and fore- 
most parliamentary reformers ; and by 
parliamentary reform they meant a 



widely extended franchise and short 
parliaments. Upon all points they 
were not themselves agreed ; some 
wished for universal suffrage, while 
others would not go so far as this ; 
some demanded annual, and some 
triennial parliaments ; some thought 
that members should be paid ; the 
question of the ballot belongs to a 
rather later 'stage, and upon this point 
too it was long before opinion be- 
came unanimous. But the early 
Radicals were at least agreed in this, 
that Parliament was fatally corrupt, 
that parliamentary privilege was out- 
rageously abused, that representation 
was in the majority of cases a mere 
travesty and farce ; and they resolved 
that, so far as in them lay, these 
things should no longer be. But 
these views were also shared in a 
large degree by some who could in 
no sense be classed as Radicals at 
all. Parliamentary reform was not 
for many years the peculiar programme 
of one party rather than another ; a 
Whig or a Tory might have ad- 
vocated it with equal propriety. We 
find, for instance, Swift remarking 
that he admired "that Gothic in- 
stitution which made parliaments 
annual " ; that Bolingbroke advocated 
triennial or annual parliaments and 
the greater representation of the 
landed interest : " the landed men," 
he said, " are the true owners of our 
political vessel ; the moneyed men are 
but passengers in it." Chatham was 
perhaps the first statesman to openly 
maintain the necessity of parliament- 
ary reform ; but he meant something 
very different from what the Radicals 
demanded. It is true that he wished 
for shorter parliaments with a view to 



154 



Old and New Radicals. 



overcome the influence of the Crown ; 
but he was absolutely opposed to the 
theory that the possession of the 
suffrage is a sort of personal or natural 
right. Property, and above all landed 
property, the soil, as he liked to 
call it, should, he thought, be repre- 
sented. " The representation of the 
counties," he said, " is still preserved 
pure and uncorrupted " ; and holding 
this opinion he wished that the 
number of county members should be 
raised, and that thus " a portion of 
new health " should be infused into 
the constitution. But the Great 
Commoner was enthroned in the 
affections of the people ; he derived 
his power from popularity ; he was, as 
Dr. Johnson well remarked, not like 
Walpole, a minister given by the King 
to the people, but a minister given by 
the people to the King. He would in 
these days perhaps have been called a 
Tory Democrat. It is, then, evident 
that Chatham was in sympathy with 
many of the Radical ideas, and even 
Burke has uttered sentiments which 
breathe the purest spirit of democracy. 
Such phrases as "I like a clamour 
where there is an abuse " ; the people 
are " the masters " ; pai'liament must 
not defraud " its employers " ; the 
people are its " natural lords " ; in all 
disputes between the people and their 
rulers " the presumption is at least 
upon a par in favour of the people," 
show him to have had popular 
sympathies at heart. And his political 
conduct was in harmony with these 
opinions which he openly expressed. 
He took the popular side in the case 
of the Middlesex election, in questions 
of privilege, in parliamentary reporting, 
in the promotion of financial reform, 
in the diminution of corruption. But 
if there ever was a man who from his 
heart and soul loathed radical reform, 
that man was surely Burke ; with 
him the hatred almost amounted to a 
mania or disease. He vehemently 



opposed short parliaments and a wider 
extension of the suffrage ; above all, 
he strove with all his power against 
the notion, which then was new and 
strange, that a parliamentary repre- 
sentative is a mere delegate or mouth- 
piece, and ought to be strictly bound 
by instructions from his constituents. 
He called the Radicals " a corps of 
schemers," and "a rotten subdivision 
of a faction." Parliamentary reform 
was then by no means at first a Radical 
monopoly. So far from this being the 
case, the man who in the last century 
brought it the nearest to its consum- 
mation was the younger Pitt himself, 
who was the bitterest foe the Radicals 
ever had. The early Radicals were 
ardent reformers, it is true, but for 
their distinctive note we must look for 
something more than this, and in fact, 
both in principles and practice, they 
differed very greatly from the other 
parties in the State. 

In the very beginning the Radical 
leaders descended to the lowest of the 
agitator's arts ; and they brought 
reform into such disrepute that the 
more liberal of the Whigs, who, in- 
deed, were not a few, felt a strong 
disinclination to co-operate at all. 
Wilkes, who was the first of the 
Radicals of the demagogue type, was 
invariably in the right in his consti- 
tutional struggles, as his opponents 
were invariably in the wrong, and he 
became with some justice the popular 
hero of the hour. But the violence 
of his methods, his audacity, his 
vulgar impertinences, and his evil 
moral reputation made him a by- 
word of reproach in respectable 
society. Possessing few principles 
and no profound convictions, he was 
a Radical by accident, who, by the 
blunders of his adversaries, was 
exalted to the station of a hero and a 
martyr. As Horace Walpole well 
remarked, "the storm that saved us 
was raised in taverns and nisfht 



Old and Nciu Radicals. 



cellars " ; and he goes on to make the 
observation, which is fortunately not 
true, that "nations are most commonly 
saved by the worst men in them." 
Wilkes and Liberty was in truth an 
unlucky combination, which brought 
the movement into unmerited con- 
tempt ; but nevertheless there is some- 
thing to be set down to the credit 
of the early Radical agitators. They 
were the first to make popular meet- 
ings an important element in the lives 
of English citizens. They struck a 
blow at the perversion of the privilege 
of parliament, which was rapidly bring- 
ing the lower House into hatred and 
contempt. They did much to establish 
the legality of the publication of 
parliamentary debates ; an innovation 
which, despite the forebodings of 
George the Third, has been justified by 
the happiest results. Lastly, they are 
responsible for what is probably not 
so beneficial, namely, the introduction 
of the now widely spread belief that 
a Member of Parliament is a delegate 
and nothing more. They were the 
first to insist on the necessity of 
electors exacting pledges from their 
representatives and giving them 
instructions. 

But it is into their ultimate prin- 
ciples of thought, deep down into 
the heart of their philosophy and 
theory, that we must look for the dis- 
tinguishing marks of the Radicals at 
this early period of their history. 
The thinkers of the party, the dis- 
interested theorists, who gave the 
movement its colour arid direction, 
were distinguished by some well- 
marked mental and moral character- 
istics. Their creed was, to put it 
briefly, that the whole social order 
should be based upon a few univer- 
sal and abstract propositions. From 
certain axioms and assumptions they 
deduced a scheme of polity in which 
they believed with all the earnest- 
ness of unshakable conviction. Such 



things as custom or tradition, or even 
expediency, they deemed of small ac- 
count. They began by assuming that 
there were certain Natural Rights or 
Rights of Man, and from these they 
concluded that certain consequences, 
such as universal suffrage, must neces- 
sarily follow. From among these 
early Radical thinkers and philosophers 
we may take Major Cartwright, Dr. 
Price, and Dr. Priestley to represent 
the type. The writings of the simple- 
minded, single-hearted Major Cart- 
wright, and who has been justly 
styled the father of reform, were 
instinct with the kind of thought 
we have attempted to describe. With 
him the problems of statesmanship 
were very simple. He believed that 
it was only necessary to comprehend 
and to apply the laws of nature and 
the maxims of morality, and that 
there were wanted " but half a dozen, 
honest men to save a city." From such 
premises he went to the farthest 
logical extremes ; he held all compro- 
mise to be immoral, and that to be 
moderate in principle was in fact to 
be unprincipled. Men had, he thought, 
but to restore the simplicity of the 
Anglo-Saxon system, and to remove- 
the standing army, and the millennium 
in England would speedily arrive. 
The writings of Dr. Price and Dr. 
Priestley showed more learning and 
more philosophy than those of Major 
Cartwright, and attracted more atten- 
tion, but in essence they did not 
greatly differ. Both of these two- 
writers lie in close association with 
two important incidents in the history 
of opinion ; a sermon by the first was 
the immediate cause of Burke's im- 
mortal REFLECTIONS ON THE FRENCH 
REVOLUTION, and an Essay on Govern- 
ment by the latter provided Bentham 
with the germ which he was destined 
later to develope into the utilitarian 
philosophy. By the merest accident 
the pamphlet fell into his hands in a 



156 



Old and New Radicals. 



coffee-house at Oxford, and the phrase 
" the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number " opened to his delighted vision 
a universe of thought. But the writ- 
ings of both philosophers were dis- 
tinguished by the same violence of 
unwarranted assumption, the same 
love of metaphysical abstraction, the 
same disregard of history and of fact, 
which drew from Burke his indignant 
refutation. He likened abstract rights 
to " the great Serbonian bog " which 
Milton has so graphically painted ; he 
refused to consider human actions " in 
all the nakedness and solitude of meta- 
physical abstraction " ; he thought the 
new philosophy " mechanic " ; that 
" simple governments are fundament- 
ally defective " ; that the propensity 
of the people to resort to theories 
was " a symptom of an ill-conducted 
state " ; that " nothing universal can 
be rationally affirmed on any moral or 
any political subject '' ; that circum- 
stance is all-important, and that the 
foundation of government is laid, not 
in imaginary Rights of Man, but in 
convenience and expediency. Now on 
all these points he differed from the 
metaphysical philosophers, who formed 
the brain, so to speak, of the Radical 
party of his day. Between Burke, 
who may be taken as the spokesman 
of the moderate party, and such men 
as Price and Priestley the distance was 
immense ; and though in some practi- 
cal objects they agreed, in all essential 
points their views of life were dia- 
metrically opposed. 

With the advent of the French 
Revolution the history of Radicalism 
may be said to enter on a second 
stage. At the time when that event 
began the hopes of the reformers were 
bright and full of promise, but tran- 
sient and fallacious. For even the 
House of Commons seemed inclined 
to take up reform in earnest, and the 
Revolution was hailed by many gener- 
ous natures with a transport of de- 



light. Such men as Coleridge and 
Wordsworth were infected with the 
fever ; to their rapt vision France 
seemed " standing on the top of golden 
hours." But what was to come of 
acting upon abstract rights the whole 
w Drld was only too soon to understand. 
The Revolution was as the letting out 
of waters, and as the tragedy unrolled 
a violent revulsion of feeling was pro- 
duced. With the reaction there set 
in a long period of oppression, which 
only ended with the passing of the 
first Reform Act. The Radicals fell 
on evil days and evil tongues. It 
was the era of State prosecutions for 
sedition, of coercive legislation, of 
muzzling the Press, of suppressing 
public meetings. And for these re- 
sults it must be said that the Radicals 
themselves were in a large degree re- 
sponsible. The more violent continued 
to praise the Revolution long after it 
had lapsed into a course of bloody 
and insensate crime. Some of them 
openly proclaimed republican ideas, 
and Paine's RIGHTS OF MAN brought 
the reaction to a climax. In the eyes 
of moderate people that pamphlet was 
nothing less than a digest of anarchy ; 
but it was read everywhere, and 
eagerly listened to by those who could 
not themselves read it. During the 
French war some of the Radicals 
openly advocated the cause of their 
country's enemies, and it cannot be a 
matter of surprise that the Govern- 
ment was seriously alarmed. But it 
was during the latter portion of this 
period that the school of what are called 
philosophic Radicals arose, and of this 
important movement something must 
now be said. 

Of this school Bentham was the 
founder, and James and John Stuart 
Mill were two of the most eminent 
disciples ; but it will be enough if we 
take Bentham to represent it as a 
whole. The political dogma of the 
utilitarian philosophers was, to put 



Old and Neiv Radicals. 



157 



it briefly, that the existing social 
order was maintained in the interest 
of the aristocratic few. Bentham, it 
has been said, was the first to speak 
disrespectfully of the British Con- 
stitution. He called it "a cover for 
rascality " ; he maintained that " all 
parties are, in fact, resolvable into 
two, that which is in possession, and 
that which is in expectancy of the 
sweets of government"; that "the 
world of politics is divided into two 
opposite regions, the world of major 
and the Avorld of minor purity " ; that 
if the lower orders are the dregs of 
the population, the higher are much 
more justly to be called the scum. 
Unlike Price and Priestley, he had the 
wisdom to perceive the folly of trying 
to build up a constitution upon meta- 
physical abstractions ; but his writings 
were nevertheless marked by many of 
the characteristic faults of the meta- 
physical philosophers. For his con- 
clusions were based on such assumptions 
as that a monarch or an aristocracy will 
inevitably govern in the interest of no 
one but themselves ; that the people 
will always desire their own interest 
and will know it ; and that to obtain 
it they have only to wish it. He was 
almost equally indifferent to local 
custom and tradition. He offered a 
constitution to Mehemet Ali and a 
code of laws to the Czar with the 
same equanimity, and thought it 
equally strange that both his offers were 
refused. His utilitarian philosophy 
was as " mechanic " as any at which 
Burke had ever scoffed. He thought 
that morals might be made as accurate 
a science as mathematics ; he treated 
mankind as though they were ma- 
chines, without any regard to the 
possessions of feelings or affections ; 
he roundly asserted that all poetry 
was a misrepresentation, and could not 
see the slightest use in the literature 
of fancy and imagination. His utili- 
tarianism was in itself something 



not absolutely new ; the novelty lay 
rather in his method and his manner. 
In the sphere of jurisprudence he 
achieved some magnificent results, and 
might almost be said indeed to have 
found the law a chaos and left it a 
science. But in practical politics he 
cannot be said to have done much 
more than to sow the seeds which 
were to germinate later. His disciples 
took up the work which he was forced 
to leave unfinished, and the philoso- 
phic Radicals were for a time a really 
powerful political and intellectual 
force. 

From this, short account of Ben- 
tham some notion may be formed of 
the predominant characteristics of 
the type of Radicalism which affected 
English politics during the earlier 
portion of this century. With the 
passing of the first Reform Act 
English Radicalism may be said to 
have entered upon its last and modern 
stage. Parliamentary reform had 
been the main object of the Radicals, 
and when that had been accomplished, 
a large portion of the task which they 
had laid upon themselves was done. 
In the purely political sphere the 
movement rather fell into discredit 
through the Chartist agitation. But 
it took also a form which was abso- 
lutely new ; it threw the whole of its 
energies into the discussion of a 
question which was almost purely 
economic. In the introduction of 
free trade the Radicals of that day, 
the Manchester School, as they were 
called, played a part which is probably 
the most brilliant portion of their 
history. 

We have now seen how the old Radi- 
calism took its origin in the desire for 
parliamentary reform ; how, after 
falling at first into the hands of the 
demagogue and the agitator, it was 
subsequently maintained by a group of 
metaphysical philosophers, and later 
by a group of Benthamites of the 



158 



Old and New Radicals. 



utilitarian school. We are therefore 
in a position to compare the old type 
of Radical with that we see to-day. 

In the first place, there was an art- 
less simplicity about some of those old 
Radical philosophers which was re- 
freshing, because it was so obviously 
sincere. Bentham himself is said to 
have been boyish to the end ; in his 
constitution youth and age were by 
some magic touch so nicely inter- 
mingled, that he was in some respects 
never really young and never really 
old. There was, too, a robust cheeri- 
ness, a rosy optimism about their 
views of life, which stand in striking 
contrast with the pessimism which it is 
now rather the fashion to profess. 
Godwin, for instance, in his POLITICAL 
JUSTICE argued strongly for the per- 
fectibility of human nature ; while 
Priestley expressed his belief that 
" the end will be glorious and para- 
disaical beyond what our imagination 
can now conceive." His optimism even 
verged on the absurd ; he prophesied 
that by the French Revolution all 
national prejudice would be extin- 
guished ; that there would be universal 
peace ; that no civil war could possibly 
occur, not even in America ; that 
standing armies would be unknown ; 
and that the expenses of government 
would be enormously diminished. But 
these are follies which it is easy to 
forgive. These old Radicals, in fact, 
thought too nobly of mankind. To be 
painfully alive to the evils of the pres- 
ent and to be anxious to remove them, 
while still retaining faith in human 
nature and a lively sense of hope, is 
not, perhaps, such a very easy thing ; 
but that it is perfectly possible many 
of the old Radicals showed. With 
quietness and confidence they looked 
forward to the time when their 
own principles would dominate the 
world. " Twenty years after I am 
dead," said Bentham, " I shall be a 
despot." This is the kind of faith 



that removes mountains ; and the 
Radicalism which produced it must 
have had a robust vitality for which 
we at present look in vain. 

Secondly, these old Radicals were 
men full of expectation ; the pro- 
mised land still lay before them ; they 
had all the victories yet to gain. But 
now the victories have been won. Most 
of the reforms which they demanded 
have long since been accomplished 
facts ; parliamentary reform, the 
ballot, the reporting of debates, the 
restriction of privilege, economical 
reform, the abolition of the taxes 
upon knowledge, religious freedom 
and equality, and the introduction 
of free trade. The new Radicals 
have therefore much less to hope for 
than the old ; they are already in the 
enjoyment of fulfilled desire ; they live 
mostly in the triumphs of the past. 
Short Parliaments and the payment 
of Members are almost the only two 
objects which the old Radicals de- 
manded which still remain to be 
conceded. The abolition of the House 
of Lords was not, it should be noted, 
at first a part of the Radical pro- 
gramme, at least not until the time 
of the Benthamites. It was the 
House of Commons, and not the 
House of Lords, which was origin- 
ally the object of popular suspicion 
and dislike. There were many Peers 
who were quite as liberal as, and 
much more independent than, some of 
the progressive Members of the Lower 
House. Such were Earl Stanhope 
and Earl Grey ; such too was Lord 
Shelburne, who made Priestley his 
librarian, who gave Bentham a home at 
Bowood, and, to use the philosopher's 
own words, raised him from the bottom- 
less pit of humiliation and made him 
feel himself a man. It is therefore diffi- 
cult to escape from the conclusion that 
Radicalism, at all events the Radical- 
ism of the old traditional type, must 
be now a spent and waning force. With 



Old and New Radicals. 



159 



every victory gained the Radical Party 
has lost one of the reasons of its being ; 
and in truth there do not seem to be 
many reasons left. 

The new Radicals, now that their 
legitimate work has been accomplished, 
have taken up a programme of which 
their forerunners in their wildest 
visions never dreamed. They would 
federalise the Constitution upon the 
lines of universal Home Rule. They 
would disestablish, or rather disendow 
the Church. Their policy is branded 
everywhere with that odious word 
compulsion. It would compel parents, 
whatever their feelings, to send their 
children to schools where denomi- 
national teaching in religion is for- 
bidden ; it would compel a large 
minority to go without the use of 
intoxicating liquors if the majority in 
any district should require it, and 
would deprive a publican of his means 
of livelihood without a proper com- 
pensation ; it would forbid any one 
to work more than eight hours a day ; 
it would forbid a workman to make 
any terms, however beneficial, with 
his employers for compensation for 
injuries received or, to put it shortly, 
it would forbid " contracting out " ; 
it would compel every Member of 
Parliament, however much he might 
dislike it, to receive payment from 
the State. These would be some of 
the characteristics of the Radical 
Utopia ; and of course, if the Inde- 
pendent Labour Party had their way, 
there would be more compulsion still. 
Here surely is something very dif- 
ferent from the creed of the old 
Radicals. Their work, as they con- 
ceived it, was to strike off the fetters of 
privilege and prejudice, and to liberate 
the oppressed. If they desired the 
greatest happiness, they believed that 
the surest way to reach it was to 
secure to every man his freedom. 
To take a single example, which is 
especially pertinent at the present 



moment : Priestley energetically pro- 
tested against the establishment of a 
stereotyped form of education by the 
State ) but Priestley's degenerate de- 
scendant wishes for nothing so much 
as to strangle all voluntary effort ; 
and he is up in arms against a Bill 
which proposes to render more elastic 
the elementary education of the 
country. Thomas Paine, that Radical 
of Radicals, used to say that laws 
were a necessary evil, and, like clothes, 
a badge of lost innocence. It is all 
the other way now. A social order 
involving loss of freedom may possibly, 
under the conditions in which we 
live, be the best for human nature ; 
but a policy which seeks to frame 
society in this way is not liberal. 
It is a bastard form of liberalism 
which trenches upon liberty. 

Lastly, the old Radicals had some 
well-defined ideas, some clearly thought 
out principles of action, which in- 
formed and permeated all their views 
of life. They knew exactly what 
they wanted, and, knowing it, they 
pursued it with unconquerable zeal. 
With all their deficiencies and mental 
limitations, there was much about 
many of them which we cannot but 
admire. It is true, indeed, that, led 
away by the false lights of abstrac- 
tions and assumptions, they lost them- 
selves in a labyrinth of inextricable 
mazes ; but they were no " light half- 
believers of their casual creeds." The 
principles they held, they grasped 
with hooks of steel. Unpopular as their 
opinions were, they had the courage 
to express them ; for to be a Radical 
at one time was no trivial matter. 
Wilkes, for instance, was outlawed and 
imprisoned, and even he has a claim 
upon our sympathies. By a curious 
irony of fate Priestley's house at 
Birmingham was burned and pillaged 
by the mob, and he himself had to 
take refuge in America. To be a 
Radical used to involve a social 



160 



Old and New Radicals. 



.stigma, and it certainly brought with 
it no chance of advancement or 
pecuniary reward. The picture of 
Bentham, devoting his vast talents 
and a long life of unremitting and 
unrewarded toil to the amelioration of 
mankind, is surely one of the most 
touching and heroic which history has 
to show. He asked only for the 
gratitude of men, and he got but 
very little of it. The sight of that 
venerable figure in the old Hermitage 
at Queen's Square Place, whether 
among his books and papers or pacing 
round his garden, is one upon which 
the imagination loves to dwell. For 
such firmness of conviction, such dis- 
interested zeal, such limitless philan- 
thropy, we may seek among the modern 
Radicals in vain. 

Upon what principle the Radical 
programme is now based it is difficult 
to see. Its supporters, in fact, are 
not agreed upon any principles at all. 
They are not agreed whether they 
wish for Home Rule everywhere or 
Home Rule for Ireland only; they 
are not agreed whether they wish to 
end the House of Lords or only to 
amend it, whether they wish to 



strengthen it or weaken it, whether 
they wish to have two legislative 
Chambers or only one ; some of them 
inveigh furiously against the House 
of Lords, and in the end accept a 
peerage. They are not agreed whether 
they approve of colonial expansion, 
and the strengthening of the Navy. 
They are not agreed how to deal 
with agricultural distress, or, indeed, 
whether such distress exists at 
all. They insist upon the principle 
of one man one vote, but to that of 
one man one value they will not 
listen for a moment. The result is 
what we see. Never before have the 
Radicals presented so disorganised and 
so undisciplined a body. The reason 
is simple and obvious. The old 
Radical policy was based on princi- 
ples, and was perfectly defined ; the 
new is based on none. It is a thing 
of shreds and patches, made up of 
the particular views of a number of 
separate and jealous groups. If it 
is ever to rise again to usefulness 
and power, something of the old 
unity and the old spirit will have to 
be restored. 



MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE. 



JULY, 1896. 



THE SECRET OF SAINT FLOREL. 



CHAPTER VII. 

" COME away, sir, come with me," 
they heard in a voice half of request, 
half of command ; and in reply came 
quavering tones that grew nearer, as 
shuffling footsteps approached the 
door. " I want Miss Phoebe, I tell 
you, and I can hear her in this room. 
She is not in the garden, I know ; 
she is here." 

Mason Sawbridge had started at 
the first sound of this voice, and a 
curious look gathered on his face ; 
annoyance, anger, even a slight appre- 
hension seemed visible, and he rose 
with the evident intention of leaving 
the room. Before he had taken more 
than a single step, however, the door 
was violently opened and the old man 
whom they had seen on the preceding 
night hurried in. He wore a kind of 
long loose coat, above the wide- 
throated collar of which his striking 
features showed to the fullest ad- 
vantage. His handsome face had 
turned instinctively towards Phoebe 
on his entrance, but now becoming 
aware of the presence of strangers 
he hesitated and paused before 
advancing. 

" My dear uncle," cried the hunch- 
back effusively, going towards his 
relative as he spoke, " allow me to 
assist " 

No. 441. VOL. LXXIV. 



" No, no ! " cried old Dene, with a 
look of timid dislike. " Keep away, 
don't come near me ; don't let him 
touch me, Phoebe," he added to the 
girl, who had come up to him and 
taken one of his hands. 

" Hush ! " she said soothingly. 
" No one will do anything you don't 
like, uncle. Shall I come into the 
garden with you ? " 

" Who have I the pleasure of seeing 
here ? " said the old man, looking at 
Bryant and his friend, who stood 
awkwardly enough waiting for any 
development of events which might 
enable them to make their escape. 
"Visitors, -I suppose. Wouldn't they 
like to see the pictures, Phoebe ? It's 
not often people see such a fine 
collection of family portraits as mine." 

" Really I cannot allow this to go 
on," said Mason Sawbridge with angry 
decision. " Phoebe, you must go 
away and leave my uncle to me. 
He is not able to receive visitors," he 
said, turning apologetically to the two 
friends. " This scene is most distress- 
ing and unnecessary." 

But old Dene's half-crazed brain 
having given birth to an idea was 
slow to relinquish it. He persisted 
like a self-willsd child. " I'm sure 
they would like to see the gallery 
now ; wouldn't they, Phoebe ? The 
Denehurst gallery is noted in the 

M 



162 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



county." He turned with eager in- 
sistence to Hugh, who was standing 
nearest. 

Phoebe, too, threw a quick look at 
the younger man ; perhaps she was 
trying to read how far she might 
reckon upon his falling in with her 
plans ; at any rate the rapid scrutiny 
seemed satisfactory, for she spoke 
as clearly and firmly as possible. 
" There need be no scene, Mason, if 
you will have a little patience. The 
room up stairs is a very fine one, and 
there is no reason why these gentle- 
men should not see it." She looked 
rather defiantly at her cousin as she 
said this, and appeared perfectly un- 
moved by his scowl of disapproval. 
Hugh, of course, was ready to undergo 
any personal inconvenience, provided 
it prolonged his time in Phoebe's 
company ; and Bryant, who was in- 
tensely interested in the turn affairs 
were taking, was equally ready to 
assent to any course she might pro- 
pose. They therefore simultaneously 
murmured some polite answer to the 
effect that they would be most happy ; 
and the whole party thereupon crossed 
the hall and began the ascent of 
the old carved oak staircase, her 
uncle conducting Phoebe with some 
ceremony and a delighted expression 
of triumph on his venerable face. 

Up stairs an open corridor ran 
round two sides of the hall, its high 
carved oak balustrades gathering an 
additional richness of colour and detail 
from their contrast to the rigid black 
and white squares of marble below, 
which were visible between them. 
They all paced along in a profound 
and somewhat uncomfortable silence, 
which no one seemed inclined to 
break. At the end of the corridor 
was a deep archway, also in oak and 
closed with heavy faded purple cur- 
tains. Having passed through these 
they found themselves in a room some 
fifty feet long by twenty wide, lighted 



chiefly from the roof, though at the 
far end there was a large square- 
topped window with heavy stone 
mullions ; it contained five lights, the 
upper part of each being filled with a 
coat-of-arms in stained glass, while the 
lower was leaded in tiny diamond- 
shaped panes. The sunshine streamed 
through these, sending a radiance into 
the empty place ; and the waving 
framework of ivy, clustering thickly 
outside, was repeated in shadows upon 
the floor along with ruby and emerald 
gleams from the stained glass. And 
now while the spectators (two at least 
of whom began to fancy themselves 
in a dream) stood waiting for what 
might happen next, old Denis Dene 
cleared his throat, and pointing to- 
wards the right-hand panelling of the 
room, began his discourse. 

" Here is the gem of my collection ; 
an undoubted Holbein, signed, as you 
will perceive. It is a portrait of my 
maternal ancestor Jacob von Golds- 
berg, a wealthy German merchant of 
the Hanseatic League who settled in 
London during the reign of Henry 
the Eighth. The delicate lace upon 
the ruff round the neck of the old man 
is most marvellously rendered, and 
the velvet folds of his cloak are like- 
wise very fine. It is considered a 
magnificent example of the painter." 

The old gentleman stood pointing 
with an air of the utmost exultation 
to an empty space upon the oak panel- 
ling. A nail, from which the picture 
had been originally suspended, was 
still there, with a mark of usage 
clearly indicating the dimensions of 
the frame ; but picture there was 
none ; the wall was bare and a spider 
crawled slowly across that part of it 
which had been once adorned by 
the old German merchant's features. 
Hugh, glancing down the room, 
began to understand things a little 
better. With the exception of one 
portrait, which hung by the window, 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



163 



there was not a single picture in the 
gallery. The landlord's gossip, with 
the scene they had witnessed on the 
previous night, made the story of the 
dismantled walls clear enough, while 
a merciful hallucination had evidently 
fallen upon their former owner, who 
still saw all his treasures daily before 
him. The scowl upon the hunch- 
back's face gave place to a sneer as 
his uncle grew enthusiastic over the 
beauties of Holbein's style ; a sneer 
so insolent and derisive that Hugh 
longed to kick him. But old Dennis 
saw it not, and crossing the room 
drew attention to another imaginary 
portrait. 

" Sir James Dene, or rather Denne 
(for so it was spelled in the sixteenth 
century), knighted by Queen Elizabeth 
for his exertions in raising funds 
towards providing vessels for Fro- 
bisher's first attempt to discover the 
North-West Passage. He was one 
of the Aldermen of London for many 
years, and a member of the Gold- 
smiths' Company. I do not know 
the painter of this picture ; but 
though the execution is somewhat 
rough and unfinished, he evidently 
had a knack of catching a man's 
habitual expression. There is some- 
thing shrewd and reflective in Sir 
James's face which makes me sure 
that it is a good likeness. Indeed 
something of the same look is to be 
seen in more than one of his de- 
scendants. His grandson hangs there," 
he continued, pointing to a place upon 
the wall a few feet off, " in the small 
oval frame. After Sir James Denne 
none of the family seem to have 
distinguished themselves for many 
years, in fact not until the days 
of the Parliamentary wars. I there- 
fore pass over several portraits," 
here he walked on and then, crossing 
the room once more, indicated another 
frame and began again "until we 
come to that of Mistress Elizabeth 



Dene, one of the beauties of the 
Court of Charles the Second, by Sir 
Peter Lely ; a very graceful figure, you 
see, with a girlish charm that never 
palls. Observe how daintily she is 
advancing one foot in its little high- 
heeled slipper; a characteristic atti- 
tude, no doubt. And how exquisitely 
painted is the string of pearls round 
her throat. Those pearls had a 
strange fate too, for I believe they 
are identical with a necklace sold by 
that young lady's son, she married 
an Osbaldistone, and lived to a good 
old age, her son, I say, sold the 
necklace to assist in raising funds for 
the Pretender. 

" The small portrait below hers is 
that of her son, John Osbaldistone, 
who died childless. This young fellow 
in Highland dress is pretty Elizabeth's 
great nephew, the grandson of her 
brother Dennis Dene, who was the 
first of our family to own land in this 
county. That grandson (who was 
also Dennis Dene) was killed at 
Culloden, and the estate devolved 
upon his younger brother James. 
He travelled a good deal, especially 
in Italy, and married an Italian lady 
of good birth. Here is her portrait, 
and a very lovely creature she must 
have been ; large dark eyes and 
masses of black hair, an ordinary 
Italian type. Her daughter Judith 
Here the old man broke off, a vacant 
look crossed his face, and he turned 
appealingly to Phoebe. " What hap- 
pened to Judith, Phoebe 1 ? Excuse 
me," he added, turning to his guests, 
" but among such a large collection as 
mine, one's memory sometimes fails, 
you know. I am fortunate, however, 
for I have another memory close at 
hand here, if mine plays me false." 
Here he laid his hand on the girl's 
arm. "What about Judith, my 
dear?" 

" Better wait now, uncle," said 
Phoebe gently. "Our visitors will 

M 2 



164 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



scarcely be able to spare more time 
this afternoon ; another day, perhaps. 
You must not tire yourself either, you 
know." 

"Do you think so, Phoebe?" he 
answered docilely. " Well, perhaps I 
had better not explain anything more 
just now. I think I am a little tired, 
and my memory is not as good as it 
was. We will take a turn in the 
garden together, my love, the fresh 
air will do me good ; but first I must 
show them the portrait of Lady 
Lucilla, the best of all, the very 
best," he rambled on, beckoning his 
guests with so much insistence that 
they felt bound to follow him to the 
end of the room, where, close to the 
window, hung the one picture in the 
gallery. 

It was the three-quarter-length 
portrait of a dark-haired, gentle-faced 
lady, whose steadfast eyes and firm, 
though smiling mouth, gave the im- 
pression that she must have exercised 
considerable personal influence. 

" My dear wife, gentlemen," said 
old Dene, waving his hand exactly as 
though he was introducing a living 
woman ; " and one who was as good 
as she was beautiful." 

Absurd as it seemed, both Hugh 
and his friend had some difficulty in 
preventing themselves from bowing to 
the portrait, so strongly did the old 
man's manner impress them. 

" As good as she was beautiful," he 
repeated with eyes fixed upon the 
picture ; " and, Phcebe," he added 
after a moment's pause, and with a 
pathetic break in his voice, " I broke 
my promise to her ! You know I 
did, about cards and : 

" Hush, hush ! " she interrupted 
quickly, and with a swift sign 
towards them which made both 
strangers turn aside, and retrace their 
steps along the gallery. "Never 
mind about that now ; come down 
into the garden with me. You 



me, you 



will like a walk with 
know." 

A door behind them at the end of 
the gallery opened and shut, and then 
they heard the gentle tones of Phoebe's 
voice gradually dying away as she 
descended the stairs soothing her 
querulous companion. 

At the curtained archway by 
which they had entered stood Mason. 
Sawbridge, and the three, passing 
into the corridor, went down the 
stairs in silence. When they reached 
the hall, however, the hunchback 
spoke as though nothing remarkable 
had happened. 

" I hope then, Mr. Bryant, that 
we may have the pleasure of fishing 
together to-morrow. I have a spare 
rod very much at your service, and 
there is a stretch of preserved water 
in the woods which is well worth 
trying. Does Mr. Strong fish also ? " 

" No, thanks all the same," inter- 
rupted Mr. Strong, promptly answer- 
ing for himself. " My friend is an 
enthusiastic fisherman, Mr. Sawbridge, 
but I do not much care for the sport. 
I shall avail myself of his absence to 
get through a lot of writing; my 
correspondence was much neglected 
while I was abroad." 

" About eleven then 1 " suggested 
Mason to Bryant. " Will that hour 
suit you to join me at the cross-roads 
about a quarter of a mile past the 
gates 1 There is a short cut from 
there to the river. I'll tell them to 
put up some luncheon for us, and 
then we shall be independent if the 
fish are rising well and it is worth 
while going on. Till to-morrow, 
then." 

Another moment, and the door had 
closed behind them, and they stood 
again in the weed-grown garden. 

" The family skeleton seems grow- 
ing," said Bryant briefly, when they 
were well out of sight of the house. 

Hueh nodded. 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



165 



" It has rattled to some purpose this 
afternoon," continued the other. 

Hugh nodded again. 

" I do trust, Strong, that you'll 
think twice before you commit your- 
self." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Consider," went on Bryant ; " a 
lunatic uncle and a hunchbacked 
cousin here, and another cousin, who 
is a murderer or something very like 
it, no one knows where. Do think 
twice, my dear fellow, before you 
begin running after this girl." 

" I've thought a good many times," 
answered Hugh. " In fact lately I've 
thought about very little else, and 
my mind is quite made up. Of course 
there is the possibility that she won't 
have anything to say to me ; in which 
case there's nothing more for me to 
say. But for Heaven's sake, Bryant, 
don't begin one of your sermons just 
now. I won't stand it." 

After this outburst there was 
silence, and the two walked mutely 
side by side, until they were half-way 
down the great avenue. Then Hugh 
began again. " There is just one 
little matter, Bryant, in which you 
can oblige me. Don't hurry home 
from fishing to-morrow." 

" Certainly not," replied his friend 
promptly. " It would be a thousand 
pities to interrupt your writing, and 
I'm quite sure that if I do return 
quickly there won't be a soul to 
speak to." 

" You might also detain your 
hunchbacked friend as long as you 
conveniently can," continued Hugh. 

" Of course, of course," answered 
the other satirically. " I think we'd 
better take a tent and camp out, so 
that there can be no possible risk of 
disturbing your correspondence. Only 
pray don't disclose any of your 
nefarious plans to me. My ignorance 
of your affairs will serve better than 
knowledge, I fancy." 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE events of the next day seemed 
to suggest that Providence* bestirred 
itself more in the matrimonial con- 
cerns of man than James Byrant sup- 
posed. By some angelically arranged 
combination of circumstances it oc- 
curred to Phoebe, after Mason had 
left for the river, that she would go 
down to the village to purchase some 
watercress of an old man who be- 
guiled his leisure and added to his 
income by the cultivation of that 
useful vegetable. 

Her way home lay past the Red 
Lion, and some celestial being 
prompted Hugh Strong, just before 
she came abreast of the house, to 
issue forth, with the intention of 
smoking a quiet pipe along one of the 
lanes. 

" Good morning, Miss Thayne," he 
said, at once consigning his pipe to his 
pocket, in which it incontinently 
burned a hole. " Pray allow me to 
take that basket," and he relieved her 
of the watercress. 

"It is not heavy," said Phoebe 
smiling ; " and even if it were, I 
should not have far to carry it. " 

" I hope you will allow me to take 
it home for you," said Hugh. 

"Oh, yes," answered Phoebe simply, 
" if you like." 

She was a very unsophisticated 
maiden, and it did not occur to her 
that anything but politeness lay in 
Hugh's desire to accompany her. 
Living as she did in the constant 
company of her cousin Mason Saw- 
bridge, whose policy it was to en- 
courage her mistaken ideas as to her 
own lamentable ignorance and lack of 
attraction, Phoebe was hardly likely 
to suffer much from either self-con- 
sciousness or conceit. The process 
through which she had arrived at this 
state of mind had been a painful one, 
and had cost her some mortification ; 



16G 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



but its result was a charming direct- 
ness of simplicity as rare as it was 
attractive. 

They went down the lane in a 
silence broken only by commonplace 
remarks, until they turned in at the 
little wicket that led into the shrub- 
bery. Once so near home Phoebe 
resolved to put a question to Hugh 
which she was longing to ask him, 
and which she determined not to 
delay, lest such a favourable oppor- 
tunity might not occur again. 

They were walking in single file 
along the narrow path, Phoebe leading 
the way, when she suddenly turned 
and addressed him. " Mr. Strong," 
she began, "you have been to the 
University, I suppose, and are clever 
like other men 1 " 

He stopped, rather surprised. " I 
have been to Oxford, yes, Miss 
Thayne ; but I think the less we say 
about cleverness the better." As a 
rule this young man considered his 
intelligence rather above the average ; 
but on ; the present occasion he felt 
somehow indisposed to magnify him- 
self. 

Phoebe's face fell ; she evidently 
believed him. " I am so sorry," she 
cried. " I hoped you were a clever 
man, and would be able to help me." 

" Any advice or help that I can 
give are very much at your service," 
replied Hugh earnestly, with very 
confused ideas of what services she 
might require. He [was conscious, 
however, of a definite desire that they 
might include a personal assault upon 
Mason Sawbridge. 

" Well," she resumed, " the fact is 
I am most dreadfully ignorant, and 
half educated, and though I can't 
get any masters here or teachers of 
any kind, I can read and study by 
myself as much as I like ; and I 
thought you might suggest some books 
to get, and how to set about it. 
Mason won't." 



" My dear Miss Thayne," said Hugh 
rather dismayed, "I am very sorry ; 
but I assure you I have not the 
slightest idea how a young lady 
should set about educating herself." 

" Still, perhaps you might make a 
few suggestions," persisted Phoebe. 
"I can do nothing systematic without 
some rules to go by." 

"Well," said Hugh, "perhaps you 
would not mind telling me what you 
do know ; then it would be easier to 
advise you." 

" You see, no strangers ever come 
here," said Phoebe apologetically, "and 
that must be my excuse for troubling 
you ; I am obliged to take what 
opportunities fall in my way. As 
for what I know, I don't know any- 
thing. I can't sing, and I can't play 
the piano ; I have literally no accom- 
plishments. I can read and write 
and do some arithmetic, only I never 
quite grasped decimal fractions ; and 
I know French fairly well, gram- 
matically, but I can't speak it at all ; 
oh, and I have a smattering of 
German, and I'm afraid that is- 
all." 

" I am sure that is quite enough," 
answered Hugh promptly. 

" Do you think so 1 " she said with 
a touch of disappointment. " Then 
I suppose you are like a great many 
other men, and disapprove of more 
than a certain amount of education 
being doled out to a woman." 

" How do you know that a certain 
section of mankind does not approve 
of higher education for women 1 " 

" Oh, I see the papers, you know," 
she answered, "and I read them 
nearly all through ; there is very little 
else for me to do here. It sometimes 
gives me quite a strange sensation. 
I feel as though I was a little tiny 
creature living hundreds of miles out 
of the world, and that all the strange 
events that are happening, and the 
great discoveries that are being made, 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



167 



reached me like sounds from a distance. 
I feel as if Life was passing me, and 
I did nothing but stand still, help- 
less." 

" That is only because you live very 
much alone," said Hugh. "When 
you have travelled a little, and come 
more into contact with other people, 
all that feeling will disappear." 

" Well," she answered, " I'm sure I 
hope it may ; but if I must wait 
until I travel, and associate with 
other people, I am afraid it will be a 
long time before I leave off feeling 
lonely." 

"Believe me," said Hugh, "women 
are best alone. I don't think, if 
you will pardon my expressing myself 
rather brusquely that they improve 
each other. For one thing, women's 
chief defects become exaggerated when 
they associate much among themselves. 
Some day, when you know more of 
your own sex, you will understand 
better what I mean." 

" That is rather like what my old 
nur-se used to tell me when I had 
growing pains," said Phoebe smiling. 
" She used to say : ' Never mind, 
miss, it's all for your own good ; by 
and by you'll see that, when you're a 
young lady growed.' " 

"Besides," said Hugh, pursuing 
the thread of his argument, " look 
how much solitude developes talent 
or genius. Thoughts and feelings, 
that would be crushed and diverted 
by what is called society, can grow 
and thrive in loneliness." 

" Now there I don't agree with 
you," replied the girl frankly. " You 
may heat your iron as hot as you like, 
but it takes a hammer and anvil to 
make the sparks fly. It seems to me 
just the same thing with one's intel- 
lect ; there must be contact with 
other people, and with their thoughts 
and words, before one's own ideas can 
be roused." 

" There is some truth, perhaps, in 



what you say," admitted Hugh. " But 
the argument is an interesting one ; 
and if you don't mind sitting down 
on this bench for a few injnutes, we 
can pursue it a little further " Phoebe 
sat down at once, and her companion 
again took up the thread of his dis- 
course. "I think it is only the 
lighter and less enduring kinds of 
intellect that delight in the bustle 
and noise of life. Wit and epigram 
and repartee flourish in those circum- 
stances ; but not the real depth of 
feeling that manifests itself in beauti- 
ful poetry, or prose, or even music." 

" Well, I suppose my own feelings 
are shallow then," said the girl. " At 
any rate I confess to very much wish- 
ing for a little change of scene and 
companionship. Do you know, Mr. 
Strong, that excepting Anthony and 
Mason, my cousins, I really think 
you are the first man I have ever 
spoken to, except in mere common- 
places ? " 

" I am very glad," he answered. 

" Why 1 " asked Phoebe with genuine 
astonishment. 

" Because I may perhaps have the 
privilege of hearing some of your 
thoughts and impressions before they 
can become less original by being 
discussed with other people." 

" I don't see why that should be 
interesting," she said. " I should 
have thought you would find it most 
insipid." 

"Not at all," answered Hugh ; "I 
enjoy it, I assure you. Tell me some 
more of your wishes. You have a 
large field for desire here, at any 
rate." 

" What I wish ! " she said with a 
laugh. " If I were to begin to tell 
you everything I wish for, you would 
soon be tired ; but I'll tell you some 
of the things with pleasure, since it 
interests you. First, [here she began 
counting on her fingers, commencing 
at the thumb] first, I should like to 



168 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



be a genius ; not merely clever, you 
know, but a real genius. I should 
like to be able to paint anything I 
liked, and play exquisitely upon some 
instrument, the violin for preference; 
and I should like to be able to succeed 
in any study I took up. Next [here 
she passed on to her first finger] I 
should like to make some great dis- 
covery, either in astronomy or 
mathematics or science ; something 
that all the world would hear of. 
Then [here the second finger was 
checked] I should like to be beautiful, 
really beautiful, something queenly, 
you know, and unmistakable 

" But," he interrupted, " most 
people would think you already ful- 
filled that last condition." 

She looked at him in frank and 
unembarrassed fashion, becoming a 
little confused as she read some of 
the admiration he was trying to dis- 
semble. " Oh, no," she answered 
lightly. " I suppose I am not really 
ugly or plain ; but I am very far 
from being what I should like to be 
in the way of looks. Mediocrity does 
not content me at all. Next [here 
the third finger was reached] next, I 
should like 

" Wait a moment," he said, resolved 
to put a question which he felt must 
be answered as soon as possible for 
the sake of his own peace of mind. 
" You have reached a very important 
finger there, Miss Thayne ; that is 
the finger for your wedding-ring. 
Suppose you now give me a list of the 
qualities you would most admire in a 
man, regarded in the light of a pro- 
spective husband. But I forgot ; I 
beg your pardon ; you were engaged 
to Mr. Anthony Holson, were you 
not ? " 

It was no maidenly blush, but a 
glow of anger that crimsoned her 
cheek as she started up. " Who told 
you that?" she asked. "Who ven- 
tured to say such a thing 1 " 



" Your cousin, Mr. Sawbridge, 
mentioned it," answered Hugh, think- 
ing that her vexation was very be- 
coming, and experiencing a sense of 
relief at her annoyance. " I am sorry 
if I vexed you by repeating it." 

" Never allude to it again," she 
said with some dignity. " I never 
was engaged to my cousin ; and I 
never should have been, not if he had 
gone on suggesting it for twenty 
years." Here she gave a very de- 
termined little stamp with her foot, 
while tears of vexation came into her 
eyes. 

" I will certainly not allude to the 
matter again," said Hugh. " Let us 
forget it now, and go on talking. I 
do not know into how many heads 
you want to divide your discourse, 
Miss Thayne, but you had reached 
the fourth. You wanted to be a 
genius, and a beauty, and to make 
some great discovery, and 1 " 

" Oh, I think that is a long enough 
catalogue for the present," she an- 
swered, smiling and recovering some 
of her composure. " Upon second 
thoughts the wishes I have named 
would satisfy even me, I think." 

At that moment a great bell began 
to ring upon the roof of the rambling 
old house close at hand. "There 
goes the luncheon-bell," cried Phoebe. 
" Oh, dear, what a lot of time I have 
wasted this morning ! At least, 
no, I don't mean that," she grew con- 
fused at her own unintentional rude- 
ness. " I have been wasting your 
time, Mr. Strong." 

" Quite the contrary, I assure you," 
he answered politely. "I have en- 
joyed our conversation very much ; 
so much, that I hope we may soon 
have another. I dare say you some- 
times stroll down here when you have 
nothing better to do, don't you? 
And I do not suppose your cousin 
would mind my taking an occasional 
turn here either, would he ? " 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



169 



" Oh, no ; I don't see how he could," 
answered the girl. 

" Then it is settled," he said. " We 
will have another talk some day.'' 

As Phoebe went home she began to 
wonder what had made the morning 
pass so quickly. Generally, in spite 
of her active mind and dislike of idle- 
ness, time hung much more heavily on 
her hands. It was so seldom, so very 
seldom, that any new event broke the 
monotony of her days, that Hugh 
Strong's arrival seemed to her to have 
for a time centred itself round her 
chief interests. There was a good 
library at Denehurst which was rarely 
entered save by herself ; and Phoebe 
determined that, luncheon once over, 
she would set to work forthwith on her 
great scheme of education. How 
pleasant it would be to have one's 
energies, that were burning for em- 
ployment, directed into a beneficial 
-channel. It would be so much more 
interesting to work in concert with 
some one else, to be guided by a wiser 
intelligence ; one's progress must neces- 
sarily be much more rapid than if 
one felt one's own slow path to- 
wards knowledge. He was pleasant 
to talk with too, this new teacher she 
had been fortunate enough to meet. 
He did not seem in the least shocked 
or discouraged at the meagreness of 
her accomplishments ; in fact, he had 
(so it seemed to her) kindly concealed, 
or charitably denied, the vastness of 
his own attainments. Phoebe had a 
great idea of the mental superiority 
of the sterner sex. Both Anthony 
and Mason, with whom she had been 
brought up, were, she knew, clever 
and accomplished men ; and with her 
own sex she had had no opportunity 
of comparing herself. She reflected, 
however, that Mr. Strong carried his 
superiority in much more pleasing 
fashion than her cousins, especially 
Mason, whese chief method of exhibit- 
ing it was by snubbing her, a process 



which she had spirit enough not to 
take too quietly. Mr. Strong also 
presented a most favourable contrast 
to Mason, in personal appearances. 
She privately considered that his fore- 
head, which was well-shaped and 
intellectual, was the only portion of 
her cousin's physiognomy which would 
bear looking at. She hated his thin 
delicate nose, and oblique crafty eyes ; 
while the straight cruel line of his 
mouth seemed to her more repulsive 
than that of her watercress merchant 
who chanced to have a hare-lip. 
Hugh's face, she remembered, was 
very open and honest, and his eyes 
sincere and frank ; they had none of 
the shiftiness of Mason's orbs, while 
his nose, though far from being such 
a classical organ as the hunchback's, 
appeared to her a much more comely 
feature in a man's face. In conclusion 
she thought Mr. Strong rather hand- 
some and, here she abruptly broke 
off her reflections which, as she 
mentally reproached herself, were 
beginning to resemble those of some 
silly school-girl. Phoebe had never 
known a school-girl, but had formu- 
lated her own ideas of the species, 
which were perhaps hardly favourable 
to the youth of her sex. 

Thought travels fast, and all these 
meditations had ample time to pass 
through her mind with various elabor- 
ations before she had traversed the 
short distance between the wood and 
home. As she emerged from behind 
the hedge of rhododendrons which 
had concealed the subject of her 
thoughts a few days before, she saw 
her uncle sitting in his large oak 
chair under the shade of a tree near 
the dining-room window. She crossed 
the lawn towards him, and as the old 
man looked for her coming with his 
usual smile of welcome, a sudden 
surprise crossed his face. " Where 
have you been, Phoebe 1 " he asked. 

"In the wood plantation talking 



170 



The Secret of Saint Morel. 



to Mr. Strong," answered the girl ; 
" but why do you ask, uncle ? " 

" You look so pretty, my love ; 
your eyes are bright, and your hair is 
shining in the sun, and your mouth 
is smiling. It reminds me of a little 
song that Lady Lucilla used to sing, 
it was in German but she trans- 
lated it all about some one who 
went into a wood to look for nothing 
and found something." 

" What did she find 1 " asked Phoebe. 

" I don't know whether it was she 
or he," answered her uncle ; " but I 
seem to remember that the person 
was much happier after being in the 
wood, and looked so, too." 

" Perhaps she or he found some- 
thing they had lost and did not ex- 
pect to see again," suggested Phoebe. 

" No, no," answered the old man. 
" It is much better to find a new joy 
than an old one, I think ; but lately 
my mind seems to have grown con- 
fused, Phoebe ; my memory is not 
what it was, my dear, and perhaps I 
have been talking nonsense. Mason, 
you know, often says I talk nonsense. 
What do you think, child?" And 
he paused, and looked anxiously at 
her while waiting for a reply. 

" Mason talks a great deal of non- 
sense himself," said the girl warmly, 
for the old man's humble confidence 
in her judgment awakened in even 
greater strength her invariable sense 
of protection over him. " Don't take 
any notice of what he says." 

" Still I fear he may be right, 
Phoebe. I fear that in this he may 
be right," rejoined her uncle shaking 
his head sadly. 

" It is lunch-time now," said the 
girl, abruptly changing the subject, 
for above all things she dreaded her 
uncle's fits of despondency. "Come 
in, and I'll tell you all about Mr. 
Strong, who is very kind and pleasant 
indeed ; then you will forget Mason 
and his ridiculous ideas." 



CHAPTER IX. 

" ARE you going fishing again this 
morning?" inquired Hugh next day 
as James Bryant appeared at break- 
fast. 

"I've seen better sport, perhaps," 
answered that gentleman; "but I 
caught four pounds of trout yesterday 
in three hours, and that is too good 
to leave." 

"You seem to have got on well 
with your host," observed Hugh. 

"He's not a bad little chap," 
returned Bryant ; " though I confess 
I like him best when he's out of 
sight, say, round the next bend in 
the stream. At any rate he can fish ; 
I never saw a fly better thrown in 
my life. He says I am to fish as 
much as I like, provided I give him 
notice when I'm going, so that he 
can accompany me when business 
permits." 

" I shouldn't care to fish under 
those conditions," observed Hugh. 

" Now there you go ! " said his 
friend, pausing, coffee-cup in hand, to 
look at him. " There you go, off on 
one of your unreasonable dislikes at 
once. I don't want to pry into your 
affairs : I don't [here he raised his 
hand to enjoin the silence which 
Hugh seemed disposed to break] wish 
to know anything about them ; but it 
does strike me as an unfortunate 
thing for you to have taken this 
aversion to Miss Thayne's only guar- 
dian. At least I suppose he's her 
only guardian. In certain circum- 
stances he might make it unpleasant 
for you, I think. Miss Thayne is not 
yet of age." 

" You are such a confoundedly 
cold-blooded fellow," cried Hugh 
hastily. " How can you talk about 
my unreasonable aversion to a little 
monster like that 1 " 

" He didn't make himself, poor 
man," resumed Bryant imperturbably. 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



171 



" He can't help being a hunchback. 
Perhaps his nurse dropped him when 
he was a baby." 

" You saw how he behaved to that 
poor old crazy uncle of his the other 
night," pursued Hugh ; " it was 
simply disgraceful. As for his con- 
duct towards Phoebe, er I mean 
Miss Thayne, it won't bear thinking 
about ; the way he tried to prevent 
her coaxing him away from his gamb- 
ling ! " 

" How many letters did you write 
while I was fishing, eh 1 " asked his 
friend who had made a pretty shrewd 
guess as to his occupation. "Was it 
' Phoebe ' or ' Miss Thayne ' ? " 

" No, we haven't got to Phoebe 
yet," returned Hugh with much self- 
possession, "but 

" But you live in hopes," supplied 
Bryant. 

"Yes. Oh, Bryant, if I could 
only make you understand what sort 
of a woman she is, how simple, 
and 

"There, that will do," said his 
friend decisively, but not unsym- 
pathetically. " Don't waste your 
raptures on an unappreciative soul 
like me ; take 'em where they'll be 
valued." And with this remark he 
rose from the table and went off to 
make ready his fishing-tackle. 

During the next two days Hugh 
walked about the village, and tramped 
for miles along the lanes in the neigh- 
bourhood by way of passing the time ; 
for though he would fain have again 
explored that shrubbery-path, his 
modesty forbade, and it was only on 
the third day that he once more bent 
his steps in that direction. This 
time fortune favoured him for, turn- 
ing in at the wicket was the very 
person he most wished to see, and 
with her old Dennis Dene, who held 
open the gate in the most hospitable 
manner. 

" Come in, pray come in," he said. 



" I am very glad to have met you 
again. Some day we will go over the 
picture gallery together when my 
memory is less fatigued." ' 

Of course Hugh responded to this 
invitation and greeted Phoebe without 
any fear of not being equally wel- 
come. 

" Good morning, Mr. Strong," she 
said ; " you are still here then ? I 
had begun to think you must have 
returned to town." 

" I will leave you for a few 
minutes, my love," said her uncle, 
preparing to walk on. 

" Where are you going ? " cried the 
girl. 

" Only to fetch my violin, Phoebe," 
he answered, like some docile child. 
"You do not mind, do you? Mr. 
Strong will stay here till my return. 
I shall not be long." 

Mr. Strong easily fell in with this 
fortunate arrangement, and seated 
himself beside Phoebe with a com- 
fortable sense of anticipation. " I 
was beginning to think that I should 
not see you again, Miss Thayne," he 
began. 

" You see we have no visitors," 
answered the girl with a smile. " We 
are like hermits ; so I do not very 
well see how we could have seen you 
at all if I had not happened to stroll 
past the drawing-room windows the 
other day when you were calling, 
Somehow I do not think Mason likes 
me to see visitors. Probably he 
thinks me too unused to society." 

" I hardly think that is the reason," 
said Hugh. " But I am very glad we 
have met again, especially since our 
last conversation. I wanted to tell 
you that if you can give me the names 
of any books you want to read, I will 
have them sent down to you from 
London." 

" Oh, that would be delightful ! " 
cried Phoebe. " But unfortunately I 
don't know what to choose. I always- 



172 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



read the reviews of books in the 
papers, but I don't think they help 
one much. If you could make a 
selection for me now, say three or four 
books, I should be so much obliged. 
I have some money of my own ; if 
you would not mind getting cheap 
copies, or second-hand ones would do 
quite well, in case I have not 
enough 

" Indeed I could not dream of such 
a thing," answered this wily lover. 
" I hope you will allow me to lend 
them to you, Miss Thayne ; you can 
return them at your own con- 
venience." He had been on the 
point of insisting that he would make 
her a present of the proposed volumes, 
but recollecting that a loan involved 
future communication, he, with much 
presence of mind, made use of this 
bright idea. 

" That is really very kind of you," 
said Phoebe gratefully ; "I shall be so 
pleased to have them. Only do not 
send me anything too difficult. When 
are you going to London 1 " 

Hugh privately felt this question a 
little undue, and wondered if she 
wanted to get rid of him. "Oh, in a 
few days, I expect," he answered. 
"My friend Bryant stays for the sake 
of the fishing that your cousin so 
kindly gives him, and I, of course 
I stay for the sake of his company," 
he added mendaciously. 

" He is an old friend then 1 " asked 
Phoebe. 

" Oh, yes, and one of the best 
fellows that ever lived. I use to fag 
for him at school. He was one of the 
big boys when I was a very little one, 
he is a good deal older than I am 
and was a very good friend to me. 
He never let any one lick me except 
himself." 

At this point the distant sound of 
a violin made itself audible, and in a 
few seconds old Dennis Dene re- 
appeared, playing some random chords 



as he advanced towards them. " I 
will sit here, my love," he called to 
Phoebe, seating himself at the same 
time on a tree stump at a short dis- 
tance. "Then I shall not disturb 
your talking. I want to try over a 
tune I seem to remember." 

Never was a crazy old man so 
delightfully accommodating ! Sitting 
thus, within sight but out of ear- 
shot, he presented a most picturesque 
spectacle, with the violin laid lovingly 
upon his shoulder, while the flickering 
sunlight through the branches over- 
head touched his white locks and 
beard with gleams of silver. His 
long cloak was flung back, and on the 
middle finger of the hand that was 
holding the bow was an old oriental 
ring, a flat piece of bloodstone set 
heavily in silver. Somehow that 
quaint and uncommon ornament 
seemed to give the finishing touch of 
perfection to his strange appearance. 
Upon the hand of a commonplace 
individual it might have looked cum- 
bersome, but it seemed thoroughly 
appropriate to its present wearer. 

Hugh's eyes involuntarily followed 
Phoebe's as she looked across at her 
uncle, and when she turned she noted 
the interest of his expression. " He 
looks like Zanoni," he said. 

" Who was Zanoni 1 " 

" Zanoni was no, I won't spoil 
your pleasure by anticipating. That 
shall be one of the books I am to lend 
you, Miss Thayne ; then you will 
know all about him." 

" It is sad to see any one like that, 
isn't it ? " she said, her face clouding 
a little as she still looked at the old 
man. 

"Very sad. Has he been long 
so?" 

"For some time he used to have 
strange moody fits, and now and then 
get dreadfully impatient and excited ; 
but he has been rather childish and 
gentle, as you see him now, for about 



The Secret of Saint FloreL 



173 



two years, I should think. It was 
Anthony brought him to this," she 
added in an angry tone. 

" Anthony ? Your cousin, do you 
mean 1 " 

" Yes. I am glad that he is dead, 
though it seems a wicked thing to say, 
for now he can do no more harm." 

" But what had he to do with Mr. 
Dene's condition 1 " 

" I will tell you," said Phoebe ; " it 
is rather a long story, and I should 
think a very strange one. It happened 
in this way. "When my uncle was 
quite young he had a terrible passion 
for gaming. I believe he lost very 
largely ; but he fell in love with a 
beautiful girl, the Lady Lucilla, whose 
portrait you saw the other day ; 
and she had such influence over him 
that for many years he did not gamble 
at all. She was very sweet and 
gentle, and I remember how some- 
times, when I was a very little child, 
she used to stroke my hair and kiss 
me, and say how she wished she had 
had a little girl like me. She had no 
children, and when she died nearly 
fifteen years ago, my uncle was heart- 
broken. About two years afterwards, 
when his sorrow was still making him 
restless and irritable, Anthony one 
day turned some dice out of a little 
old box that had been hidden away 
and forgotten, and the sight of them 
seemed to rouse my uncle's passion 
again. He did not do anything then, 
only looked at the hateful little blocks 
very strangely ; but afterwards when 
Anthony came of age he began to 
incite my uncle to play. In a little 
while he succeeded, and nearly always 
when they played Anthony won. I 
believe he played fairly, but I am 
sure he acted upon a settled plan, and 
that plan was to gradually win from 
my uncle all he had, and take every- 
thing himself." 

"And did he succeed?" asked Hugh 
as the girl paused. 



" Yes, I believe so," asked Phoebe. 
"But Anthony and Mason helped each 
other, and kept everything^very quiet. 
Of course they never told me anything, 
but I know that what I am saying 
is true. By degrees Anthony won 
everything ; all the money and the 
family portraits that my uncle thinks 
are still there, and then, I believe, the 
estate too. No one seems to have 
anything to do with it now, except 
Anthony and Mason. Of course I 
don't know whether that is because 
of my uncle not being quite able to 
manage his own affairs, or not ; but 
it may be because nothing belongs to 
him now." 

" Have you no other relations, 
Miss Thayne, no one who could take 
charge of you, for instance, and give 
you a happier life than you lead 
now 1 " 

" No," she answered, rather sadly ; 
"I do not think I have any other 
relations, certainly none who would 
care to trouble themselves with me. 
Besides," she added, "I would not 
leave my uncle for worlds. I am the 
only pleasure he has left, I think, 
except his gaming." 

" Does "he play now, then 1 " asked 
Hugh, remembering the curious scene 
he had witnessed when concealed 
behind the rhododendron bushes. 

" Oh, yes ; that was Anthony's idea 
too, and Mason has kept it up ever 
since he went away three years ago. 
He had a lot of bright brass coins 
made, looking like sovereigns, and 
when Mason is angry with me, or feels 
dull and wants to amuse himself, he 
sets to work to gamble with my poor 
uncle. It is very dreadful, for I can 
scarcely get him away from his dice 
sometimes, and he is always more 
strange and persistent for several 
days after the excitement. I think 
it makes him remember his youth, 
and the day when his wife persuaded 
him to give up play. When I try to 



174 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



make him leave off he often calls me 
Lucy, and then I know he mistakes 
me for her." 

" But, pardon the expression, 
Miss Thayne your cousin must be a 
perfect fiend." 

"Well," she said calmly, "I am 
not quite sure. I do not think he 
would offer any real violence to my 
uncle or even allow it to be offered, 
and he has never done me any harm. 
I do not like him, but I do not think 
he really dislikes me. He has never 
refused me any reasonable request, 
except to go away somewhere for 
change of air ; and as I have no one 
to go with, he pointed out that that 
would be impossible." 

" He could easily find you a 
chaperon surely." 

" Only at some expense, Mr. 
Strong ; and, as both my cousins 
have often told me, I have no money 
of my own. My uncle took charge of 
me as an orphan ; and since he has 
become deranged Mason and Anthony 
have looked after me, in order, as 
they say, to carry out my uncle's 
wishes." 

" You are very easily satisfied, 
Miss Thayne," observed Hugh. 

" Satisfied," echoed the girl, " satis- 
fied ! Why, Mr. Strong, do yon 
imagine that the life I lead satisfies 
me ? If I had not come to the con- 
clusion a long time ago that one was 
not born in order to be satisfied and 
happy, I should often be very miser- 
able. As it is, I bow to the inevitable. 
It is my fate, and I must make the 
best of it, and get as much pleasure 
out of my narrow existence as I can. 
At any rate I am some comfort to 
him," and she pointed to the quaint 
figure under the trees. 

There was the slightest quiver in 
her voice as she said the last words, 
and if Hugh had chanced to look at 
her, he would have seen that there 
were bright tears in her eyes. He 



had fallen to thinking of the strict 
conditions under which this bright 
and beautiful piece of womanhood 
existed. Here was a maiden with, 
(if he excepted himself) no chance of 
a lover ; with a mind longing to 
exercise its powers in the arena of 
life, with a heart full of the affection 
which should have had husband, 
children, and friends to cherish, and 
which perforce bestowed all its 
generous sweetness and patience upon 
a poor half-crazed old man. He 
shrank a little from the picture he 
himself had evoked, but his reflections 
had only confirmed him in the diligent 
pursuit of his wooing, and the loving 
compassion which Phoebe had in- 
spired. 

" You need not look so grave, Mr. 
Strong/' she began again, with a little 
laugh. " I am not so unhappy as 
youmight think, at least not always," 
she corrected herself truthfully. 
" For instance I am not at all un- 
happy enough to despair, or invariably 
to submit. Sometimes, I assure you, 
I am very wicked and revengeful." 

" I don't think your revenge could 
be a very fearful affair," said Hugh 
smiling. 

"Not fearful, perhaps," she admitted 
candidly, " but sufficiently annoying. 
For instance, I will tell you, if it does 
not bore you 

" No, no," interrupted Hugh, 
hastily. 

" What I did the other day, Mon- 
day, when you and Mr. Bryant came, 
was really one of my revenges," she 
continued. " It was rather too bad 
of me, I own, seeing it involved two 
strangers, but I had good reasons for 
what I did. On Sunday night Mason 
enticed my uncle into one of his 
gambling bouts. I entreated him not 
to do it, as it always made him so ill 
afterwards, but he paid no attention 
to me. The next day, as you know, 
you called, and when I heard my poor 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



175 



uncle asking for me outside the 
drawing-room door, and when I saw 
him come in, I determined to do 
something I knew Mason would dis- 
like ; so I backed my uncle up when 
he wanted to take you into the picture- 
gallery, in spite of my cousin, who 
was very anxious you should not go. 
I had my way, you see." 

" But what did your cousin say 
afterwards ? Wasn't he very angry 
with you 1 " inquired Hugh. 

" No ; he was just as suave as 
usual, and behaved with extraordinary 
politeness. You don't understand 
Mason yet, Mr. Strong ; and I hope 
you may never have to know enough 
of him to do so. He may be as 
angry as it is possible for a human 
being to be, but you will never 
be quite sure of it. He keeps his 
rage perfectly quiet till he gets a 
chance of retaliation, and then he 
revenges himself in an equally quiet 
fashion ; and if you storm or get 
angry yourself, he only grows more 
considerate and polite in his manner. 
He is the most inhuman creature 
you can conceive, Mr. Strong. He 
never betrays himself : but he is not 
a man to play with. Sometimes, 
after I have vexed him, I feel afraid 
of my own daring, and wonder what 
unpleasant thing will happen next." 

" He can't be very nice to live with, 
I should think," observed Hugh, 
deeply interested. 

" I don't live with him more than 
I can help," said Phoebe. " We have 
our meals together, but beyond that 
I do not see much of him. I'll tell 
you what he did once, two years ago. 
I had made him, I can't say very 
angry, that would apply to an ordinary 
being but extra polite, which is his 
equivalent, about something, I forget 
what, and then at dinner that day my 
dog bit him. I was very fond of the 
poor thing, and Mason teased it till 
it snapped. The bite was a mere 



nothing : it hardly broke the skin ; 
but it tore Mason's new coat, and he 
loves his clothes better than anything 
else, I think. I had a sort of idea 
that he would try and revenge him- 
self on the poor dog, and for three 
weeks I never let him out of my 
sight. At the end of that time, how- 
ever, one unlucky morning I went out 
without him, and when I came back 
he had been shot." 

"Shot!" echoed Hugh. "You 
don't mean to say he was such a brute 
as to shoot your dog ? " 

" Indeed he was ! " answered Phoebe. 
" But when I reproached him he 
never even answered me on the sub- 
ject. Being angry with Mason is like 
dashing one's self on a rock ; you get 
tired, but the rock doesn't move. A 
month later he had a stone put up to 
mark the dog's grave, with its name 
and the date on it." 

" And what did he say to you 
about that 1 " asked Hugh, who felt 
that he was rapidly obtaining an in- 
sight into a new and most peculiar 
character. 

" He never even alluded to it, and 
neither did I," answered the girl. 
" I am srire he had it done as a sort 
of testimony that his revenge was 
satisfied, and that he bore no malice 
either against the dog or myself." 

" You have told me a very strange 
story," said Hugh. 

" It is quite time I took my uncle 
home," said Phcebe, " and I am afraid 
I have been boring you with a great 
deal of uninteresting talk. After all 
you are a stranger, and I should not 
have troubled you in this way. It is 
because of my solitary life, I am 
afraid ; I should be inclined to talk 
to any one when I get the chance. 
You must forgive me." 

" Indeed," he said earnestly, " you 
owe me no apology, Miss Thayne, 
quite the contrary ; I have been in- 
tensely interested. As for my being 



176 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



a stranger, I hope you will dismiss 
that idea too ; surely now you hardly 
consider me as a stranger, do you ? " 

" Well, no," she said smiling, and 
holding out her hand to say good-bye. 
" Since you are so kind as not to wish 
to be considered a stranger, I will say 
an acquaintance." 

" Something better than that," he 
urged, holding her hand a little longer 
than was positively needful for polite- 
ness. " You have honoured me very 
much by your confidence, Miss 
Thayne. May I not call myself a 
friend ? " 

"Oh, yes," she said brightly, "I 
shall be delighted. I have never had 
a friend." Then as she looked into 
his frank and honest face, her cheeks 
flushed, and she turned away to seek 
her uncle with some confusion. 



Old Dennis Dene stood up as she 
approached, and putting his violin 
under his cloak, folded that garment 
about him, and offered Phoebe his 
arm. " Good-day, sir," he said, ap- 
proaching Hugh, and gratifying him 
with a most stately and magnificent 
bow. " I am greatly obliged to you 
for so kindly entertaining my niece, 
and indeed for helping me, too. I 
have been rehearsing a most intricate 
piece of composition, sir, and the 
sound of your voices has been of much 
assistance to me. It was like the 
murmur of bees, soothing, very sooth- 
ing ; and my brain, sir, a great 
brain, if you will pardon me requires 
ease and rest. I am extremely obliged." 

And with another bow he replaced 
his hat with a wide nourish, and 
turned homewards with Phoebe. 



(To be continued.} 



177 



THE ENGLISH SETTLEMENT OF CANADA. 



THE loyalists of the Revolutionary 
War have been treated by historians 
with scant justice. Their excesses 
have been emphasised, their virtues 
and their fidelity ignored, their im- 
perishable work, so far as the mother 
country is concerned, almost forgotten. 
Most people have some sort of notion 
that the Cavaliers founded Virginia, 
whereas they merely stimulated its 
development. Comparatively few re- 
member that the loyalist refugees from 
the United States created Canada. 

The British Settlements in what are 
now Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Is- 
land, and New Brunswick were of 
little consideration, and the great pro- 
vince of Ontario an untrodden wilder- 
ness, at the period when so many 
thousands of these exiles entered into 
an inheritance that seemed to them 
at the time the abomination of desola- 
tion, the very Ultima Thule of the 
earth. The average of education, of 
ability, and of character among these 
fugitive bands was, from the nature of 
the case, extremely high ; and while 
this fact accentuated perhaps the hard- 
ships of their poverty and primitive 
existence, they possessed at the same 
time experience and powers of adapta- 
bility far beyond that which would 
belong to settlers straight from Europe. 
It would be an interesting reflection 
for. those who concern themselves with 
such questions, as to the course of 
development which these northern 
provinces might have taken had 
George the Third allowed the thirteen 
colonies to pursue the even tenor of 
their contented way. 

Few people, however, could read 
even the most partial accounts of the 

No. 441. VOL. LXXIV. 



Revolutionary War without feeling 
that the treatment of those colonists 
who were not disposed to change their 
allegiance was the greatest blot upon 
the cause of independence. Look at 
it how we will, make every reasonable 
allowance for the exigencies of civil 
war and self-defence, no sort of justi- 
fication remains for the savage treat- 
ment during the war, and the relent- 
less persecution afterwards, of those 
who had honestly espoused the losing 
side. It is openly deplored by the 
best American writers ; it is admitted 
by negation, or by still feebler apology, 
in the works of more partial and less 
discriminating authors ; while it was 
condemned at the time with outspoken 
vehemence by those of the Revolu- 
tionary leaders whose memories their 
countrymen most revere. If the vio- 
lence with which the loyalists were 
treated in the actual heat of the com- 
bat is deplorable, the unrelenting ven- 
geance with which they were pursued 
when the struggle was over is still 
less creditable. Almost as culpable, 
too, seems the action of the English 
Government in neglecting to make 
terms at the Treaty of Paris for their 
American subjects who had both dared 
and suffered so much on their account. 
And this would, in truth, have been 
no difficult matter. The British were 
still in possession of several- seaports 
as well as the Western posts, and well 
able to exercise considerable pressure ; 
whereas all they attempted was per- 
suasion. 

The property and the estates of the 
loyalists, both during and at the close 
of the war, were confiscated wholesale. 
It was not those alone who took up 

N 



178 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



arms, nor even those only who were 
known to sympathise with the loyal 
side, that were punished and despoiled. 
Local committees, steeped in prejudice 
and passion, too often used their 
powers for the gratification of private 
spite. It was not the men who had 
been foremost in the field, who when 
the sword was sheathed cherished this 
implacable spirit. It was not Ameri- 
cans of the stamp of Washington or 
Hamilton, of Green or Schuyler, as 
will readily be imagined, who took 
part in this ignoble work. They in- 
deed bitterly denounced it ; and even 
Patrick Henry risked that popularity 
which to a mere orator is the very 
breath of life, by urging moderation. 
The party of independence had, after 
all, not taken up arms against tyranny 
of a physical kind or against a yoke like 
Alva's ; it is the more honour to them 
that they should have risked their 
lives and fortunes for a principle. 
But for this very reason their neigh- 
bours, who thought differently or who 
objected to changing their allegiance, 
were surely by so much the less de- 
serving of wholesale confiscation, ban- 
ishment, and death ; and many of 
these unfortunate sufferers, it must be 
remembered, belonged to the most 
honoured and respected families in 
the colonies. 

It is true indeed that during the 
war the passions of both sides rose to 
fever heat, and that the Tories in 
many districts were quite numerous 
enough to resent the cruel attacks 
upon them by retaliations of a like 
description. To quibble about the 
exact proportion of outrage to be 
attributed to either side is purpose- 
less. It is at any rate certain that 
the Revolutionists were in most cases 
the aggressors ; but the detailed his- 
tory of this period has been written 
almost wholly by Americans, and the 
poor Tory in their hands has met, 
upon the whole, with scant justice. 



He was not only shot, hanged, ruined, 
tarred and feathered, but he has been 
execrated by posterity for resenting 
such treatment. . Even the most 
liberal-minded of American historians 
have represented him as in great 
measure the scum of the population ; 
the good people in their pages are all 
Revolutionists, the wicked people all 
Tories. But what one would really 
like to know, and what it is quite 
certain we never shall know, is the 
proportion of the three million colo- 
nists in the War of Independence who 
of their own free will took active part 
or even exhibited active sympathy for 
either side. There is no evidence 
whatever to show that it was a large 
one. Indeed, considering the extent 
of territory, and how necessarily 
limited was the actual theatre of the 
strife, it was only natural that a 
majority should have waited till the 
last moment to see which side success 
seemed likely to favour. The neutral, 
or at least wavering, class was beyond 
doubt immense, particularly in the 
middle and southern colonies. The 
actual combatants throughout these 
seven years were but a fraction of the 
full fighting strength ; and one hardly 
knows which to respect most, the few 
thousand men who stood by Washing- 
ton to receive only moderate thanks 
and very often no pay, or the still 
smaller band that gave up everything 
and fought with equal valour for their 
misguided King. The others whose 
active sympathies in this struggle 
were exhibited only under their own 
roof-trees do not commend themselves 
tc\ posterity. Of this sort chiefly 
were the committees who undertook 
to sit in judgment on all men who 
actually were, or were supposed to be, 
Torit's. It was of this class, too, that 
Congress was latterly composed, and 
the record of that decadent body 
throughout the war needs no criticism 
of ours ; it has been sufficiently dealt 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



179 



with by every American writer of 
distinction from that day to this. For 
the apathy, the want of patriotism, 
the selfishness of the mass of the 
people in the very bitterest hours of 
the strife, Washington's indignant, 
almost fierce, letters would be sufficient 
evidence, even if there were not a 
mass of further testimony from other 
sources. 

Few probably will be disposed to 
deny that the conduct of the English 
was no less stupid than exasperating. 
After the lesson of the Stamp Act and 
its repeal, and the very considerable 
return to the good feelings of former 
times, the blunder of the tea-ships 
moves one almost to tears as we read 
it. Still there were thousands who 
regarded the matter as the mere vin- 
dication of a principle that would 
never probably be forced to any prac- 
tical conclusions ; and, strenuously as 
they denied the justice or the equity 
of the contention, they fairly con- 
sidered that if it went no further the 
occasion was not one for armed re- 
bellion. But the destruction of the 
charter of Massachusetts, and the 
forcible suspension of popular govern- 
ment in a colony that, above all others, 
had been the architect of its own for- 
tunes, may well have made men, who 
had been practically independent for 
nearly two hundred years, think that 
life might be no longer worth living. 
It must be remembered, however, that 
armed resistance and independence 
were for some time very different 
things in the American mind. The 
former upon a small scale had been 
more than once resorted to ; of the 
latter there was a real horror as of 
something new and strange. The 
change from this mental attitude, 
owing to various causes which we 
need not now stay to consider, was 
singularly sudden. It is no wonder 
that great numbers of really patriotic 
colonists could not reconcile themselves 



to so rapid a transformation. Some 
had an honest dread of a republic ; 
others regarded a permanent confede- 
ration of the colonies impossible, and 
how nearly right they were we know, 
and without confederation independ- 
ence would have been ridiculous. 
Many, again, were well aware that 
there was a zealous minority in Eng- 
land working for them, while the 
majority was strongly suspected to be 
unrepresentative and was known to 
be corrupt. The King, too, was but 
mortal and might die, when happier 
counsels would certainly prevail and 
halcyon days return. The loyalty of 
a colonist is even in these days in- 
clined, and naturally so, to be of a 
more personal kind than that of his 
fellow-subjects at home. With the 
earlier Georges this difference was for 
obvious reasons still more accentuated. 
The Americans were persuaded for a 
long time that it was Parliament, and 
not the King, who was hostile to their 
liberties. Those notable appeals they 
addressed at the eleventh hour to the 
throne were not merely menaces to 
the British people sent through that 
formal and orthodox channel, as, re- 
garding them from the modern stand- 
point, one might be apt to suppose. 
They were wholly personal and not 
without some pathetic significance. 
When it was at last borne in upon the 
petitioners that it was the monarch 
himself who was their arch enemy, 
the shock was considerable and the 
effect immediate. 

When Patrick Henry thundered 
out in the Virginian assembly, " Our 
petitions have been spurned from the 
foot of the throne," it was not meta- 
phor nor mere oratory ; he meant it 
literally, and it was taken so. One 
phase of the struggle, however, gave 
special impetus to the loyalist cause 
and that was the overtures to France. 
The French alliance seemed to many 
to mitigate even the treachery of 
N 2 



180 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



Arnold, who, as we know, pleaded it, 
and by no means illogically, as his 
excuse. Any student of that period 
can understand what a distasteful 
thing to most, and a horrible thing to 
many, must have been this joining 
hands with the hereditary foe. The 
great triumph of their epoch had been 
achieved at his expense and that, too, 
so recently. He was only known and 
remembered as a ceaseless aggressor 
whose path was strewn with scalps 
and blood. To the colonist, who 
deplored England's policy but yet 
cherished hopes of reconciliation, the 
very talk of a French alliance must 
have been gall indeed ; and it would 
be a strange mind that could not 
respect the consistency which refused 
to join in a bond so unnatural against 
the mother country. The Americans, 
too, it must be remembered, had more 
than once refused all overtures. Per- 
haps they wre right, but we are con- 
sidering now, not the verdict of 
posterity, but the standpoint of old- 
fashioned people over a hundred years 
ago who had to choose a side at a 
moment's notice. Howe, the brother 
of the popular nobleman who had 
been the idol of America and had 
fallen among their militiamen in the 
woods beside Lake George twenty 
years before, was commissioned to treat 
with the enemy after Burgoyne's 
defeat ; but they would not even hear 
him. In 1778, again, Parliament 
were prepared to grant the colonies 
everything ; but it was then too late. 
Had Chatham lived it is possible he 
might have brought peace ; but he 
fell, and as strikingly at the wrong 
moment for his country as Wolfe had 
fallen at the right moment for himself. 
As it was, Congress seems to have 
acted hastily, and to have somewhat 
doubtfully represented the true wishes 
of the mass of the American people. 

We know what a minority of 
Americans were thinking and doinsr 



during this protracted struggle, but 
of the great majority we know nothing ; 
there is no record of them ; historians 
can dispose of them at their pleasure, 
as indeed they do, in a most summary 
and unconvincing fashion. The situa- 
tion was full of paradoxes. Let us 
take, for instance, Virginia, one of the 
most representative of colonies. Its 
population was large, its attitude from 
the first bold and uncompromising. 
It has never been credited with a large 
number of avowed loyalists, and yet 
the old affection for the mother country 
was altogether different from that of 
New England. It was given over 
to primogeniture and entail, and had 
been ruled by an aristocracy for 
generations without protest. This 
aristocracy did not stand for the King ; 
on the contrary they were foremost 
in asserting their independence. Yet 
in the war the proportion of soldiers 
to join Washington's armies was small 
for the population, and even this 
quota contained great numbers of 
Western riflemen who were practically 
outside the social system of the colony. 
" Let not Congress rely on Virginia 
for soldiers," wrote Patrick Henry 
in 1778. "They will get no more 
here until a different spirit prevails." 
And yet what happened at the close 
of the war to the cherished usages 
of a powerful and large upper class 
that to every appearance took the 
popular side? Primogeniture and 
entail were swept away, though there 
is nothing perhaps so very peculiar in 
this, except that their abolition was 
proposed and accepted as if the revolu- 
tion had been a domestic and social 
one. But the treatment of the 
ancient and venerable Church of 
nearly the whole educated class of 
the colony was the most remarkable. 
It was not merely that the Church of 
Virginia was disestablished ; that 
would have been perhaps natural and 
at any rate of small significance ; but 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



181 



it was practically destroyed, and for 
a time literally ceased to exist. To 
suppose that the gentry of Virginia, 
because they had quarrelled with 
England, were anxious to give up the 
faith of their fathers and turn Quaker, 
Presbyterian, or Lutheran, is, of 
course, ridiculous. And yet this 
powerful class, who, so far from re- 
sisting the people, took themselves a 
lead in the revolutionary movement, 
^allowed their parish churches to be 
plundered and even destroyed and 
their creed treated with sacrilegious 
contumely. The Episcopal communion 
was denied legal equality with the 
Dissenting bodies, and was not even 
.allowed to form itself into a corpora- 
tion. Not only were its glebes and 
edifices sold, but its private legacies 
were alienated and the very com- 
munion-plate seized and dissipated. 
At this treatment of their Church the 
great ruling class of Virginia appar- 
ently looked timidly on, and, it is to be 
presumed, said their prayers at home, 
for it was many years before the old 
Church crept apologetically out of 
holes and corners to begin a new 
career which has never since been 
worthy, either in intellect or vigour, 
of a commonwealth that was originally 
its chief defender. This is one of the 
enigmas of the War of Independence ; 
and it seems to suggest a degree of 
apathy and timidity among the 
dominant class that is strangely at 
variance with accepted notions. 

The young colony of Georgia 
.contained probably the most loyalists, 
.as was natural from its comparatively 
.recent settlement. The Carolinas, 
too, have sent down to us a much 
.more luminous picture of their con- 
dition during the war than the more 
middle colonies, though it is, in truth, 
.a sufficiently dismal one. It was 
here, perhaps, alone that civil war 
raged upon a considerable scale, for 
the loyalists, if not actually stronger 



than elsewhere, were more decided 
both in speech and action. The 
colony of New York, also, was very 
strong in its loyalist sympathies, but 
the continuous presence of British 
troops centralised their strength and 
absorbed it into the regular forces. 
The Jerseys, again, had been very far 
indeed from united against the 
British ; but the behaviour of the 
Hessian troops, whose employment at 
all had been an irritating item in 
the account against Great Britain, 
greatly damaged the royal cause. 

But in the Carolinas a shocking 
state of things went on from the 
moment the royal forces turned their 
faces southwards. Hanging, burning, 
shooting, robbing became the normal 
attitude towards each other of men 
who had hitherto been, not merely 
neighbours and friends, but often even 
kin. There were no traditional 
enmities, no religious divisions worth 
mentioning, no geographical or racial 
cleavages. But upon one side or the 
other, from choice or compulsion, men 
ranged themselves in bitter and re- 
lentless strife. From the affluent 
owners of rice and indigo plantations 
near the 'sea-coast to the homelier 
yeomen ploughing the red uplands 
of the inland districts, from the 
outlaws of the pine forests to the 
backwoodsmen beneath the shadow of 
the Alleghanies, all were partisans. 
Private hate and personal feuds 
increased the hideous confusion. It 
was not only in the track of the 
regular armies, but on hundreds of 
lonely plantations, that brother fought 
with brother, neighbour with neigh- 
bour. And yet, strange to say, it 
was here that, at the close of the 
struggle, the only approach to an offer 
of reconciliation was made by the 
victors to the vanquished. 

At the close of the war the loyalists 
were a difficult problem to both the 
American and the British Govern- 



182 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



ments, though the former solved it in 
summary, and, for the most part, 
merciless fashion. Many thousands 
were with the King's troops ; as many 
had fled the country ; while the 
families of both were dragging out a 
miserable existence in garrison towns, 
or suffering continuous persecution in 
their own homes. Great numbers, 
again, who had not actually taken up 
arms were labelled as Tories, some- 
times rightly and sometimes wrongly. 
All, however, were treated alike, or 
nearly alike, and sentences passed 
upon them of banishment and confis- 
cation. South Carolina, curiously 
enough, for the internecine strife had 
there been fiercest, stood alone in 
some measures of clemency. The 
harsh edicts were from the first 
leniently interpreted and finally 
revoked, the confiscated estates under 
certain conditions being, after many 
years, restored to their lawful owners. 
It is true that neglect and rapine had 
so injured them that they were often 
of little value ; but this, after all, was 
not the fault of the South Carolinian 
Government, and due credit should be 
given to them for their comparative 
magnanimity. 

All that the British Government 
had succeeded in securing from Con- 
gress at the treaty of peace was a 
promise that they would urge the 
various States to deal leniently with 
the loyalists. The denunciation in 
Parliament of this failure to insure 
the better protection o^ these unhappy 
people was fierce and scathing. Lord 
Shelburne, who was then Prime 
Minister, scarcely attempted to defend 
his Government, but declared with 
real emotion that there had been 
literally no choice between such poor 
efforts as they had been able to make 
and a continuation of the war. Then, 
said their opponents, till this point 
was gained the war should, as a 
matter of national honour and not 



of material gain, have been con- 
tinued. 

Unlike South Carolina, Massa- 
chusetts, New York, and Virginia 
were relentless in their attitude 
towards their unfortunate fellow- 
countrymen. As usual, those who 
had done the fighting were the most 
inclined towards lenity, those who had 
done the talking the most relentless. 
John Adams, in Massachusetts, had 
from the first been a warm advocate 
for " hanging, confiscating, and fining 
without fear or affection," and has 
left his regrets in writing that this 
policy was not even still more tho- 
roughly carried out. 

Every one, however, was agreed that 
something must be done. The King's 
best side was shown in his activity on 
behalf of the unfortunates who had 
lost all in his cause. In 1783 
a Bill went rapidly through Parlia- 
ment appointing a Commission to in- 
quire into the losses of the loyalists. 
The sufferers were scattered all over 
the United States and the British 
possessions, while many of them were 
lying in English prisons for debts which 
they had no means of discharging. 
Many years had passed away since the 
majority had been driven from their 
homes, and the difficulties of inquiry 
and assessment of loss were immense. 
It will be sufficient to say that the 
Commission took seven years to com- 
plete its task. Of course, only a small 
minority of the loyalists were so 
situated as to be able to present and 
prove their claims, for the obvious 
openings for fraud were so great that 
the proceedings had to be of a most 
thorough and sometimes even offen- 
sive description. An average of about 
forty per cent, of the value of the loss 
on proved claims was paid. Con- 
fiscated estates were only the least 
difficult of these assets to deal with. 
A mass of old debts were due by indivi- 
dual Americans to the refugees, and 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



183 



these were often impossible of legal 
proof ; for the debtor who had repudi- 
ated his private obligation, either with 
the open or tacit sanction of his Govern- 
ment, would be in no hurry to assist 
in proclaiming himself a defaulter. 
Nearly four millions sterling in all 
was paid as compensation, repre- 
senting about ten millions actually 
proved in Court as lost. There is 
not the slightest doubt, however, that 
even this latter figure was but a frac- 
tion of the total loss incurred. 

But the really significant result of 
the war was the treatment of those 
numerous refugees who could not wait 
for Acts of Parliament or Commissions 
of Inquiry. Urgent action was im- 
perative. Numbers had already left 
upon their own account. Some exiles 
from the extreme South had even 
drifted into the West Indies ; but a 
tropical climate had proved but a poor 
field for men left with no means of 
support but their own energies. 

Great Britain still held much of the 
West, and might have stipulated at 
the peace for Western territory far 
outside the somewhat narrow concep- 
tion of the United States at that day 
A great loyalist province where Ohio 
is now suggests some curious possibi- 
lities and strange reflections. But it 
was towards regions in the north and 
east, for the simple fact that they 
were British and more or less known, 
that the thoughts of the exiled loyal- 
ists turned ; and these thoughts were 
anything but pleasant ones. All of 
Canada that was known was French 
in population, and, in common with 
Nova Scotia and what is now New 
Brunswick, was regarded as a dreary 
region of ice and snow and fog ; a 
land of nine months' winter and three 
months' cold weather, as the soldiers 
and militia quartered there in the old 
wars had been wont to tell their 
friends in New York and Philadelphia. 
Canada, west of Montreal, was at that 



time a mere Indian hunting-ground, 
erroneously regarded as too cold to 
live in and unsuspected even of fer- 
tility. Nova Scotia had a,, small popu- 
lation, but they were almost as con- 
spicuous for their stagnant poverty as 
the Acadians who had preceded them. 
Many loyalists, moreover, particularly 
from New England, had fled thither 
before the close of the war, and 
settled on the spot where the city 
of Saint John now stands. This 
gave one objective point, at any 
rate, to the much larger band of 
exiles who at the peace were forced 
to seek new homes at short notice ; 
and in a single year the new settle- 
ments grew to some thirteen thousand 
souls. Men of all classes flocked there, 
officers and soldiers, clergymen and 
lawyers, farmers, mechanics, and mer- 
chants. They were naturally much 
above the average of ordinary emi- 
grants, both in character, education, 
and intelligence ; but all, or nearly 
all, were equally destitute and forced 
to begin the battle of life afresh. A 
year later New Brunswick was sepa- 
rated from Nova Scotia, endowed with 
a Council and House of Assembly, and 
the Capitol moved to its present site 
at Fredericton. The first Council in- 
cluded many well known New England 
names, such as Putnam, Winslow, 
Allen, and Willard. It included, also, 
a late Judge of the Supreme Court 
of New York, another distinguished 
lawyer of that colony, and several 
officers of the loyal regiments. Both the 
New York and the Virginian branch 
of the Robinsons, one of the weal- 
thiest and most influential families in 
Colonial America, were here repre- 
sented, and to this day are conspicuous 
in Upper Canada. From these be- 
ginnings grew New Brunswick, Nova 
Scotia, and Prince Edward Island ; 
and if their founders began with little 
more than the clothes on their backs, 
and the tools and rations provided by 



184 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



the British Government, they had at 
least the satisfaction of finding both 
soil and climate much better than they 
had anticipated and feared. 

The other great stream of emigration 
was still more interesting, for it flowed 
into regions hitherto unsettled and, 
indeed, scarcely known. The emi- 
grants to the maritime province were 
chiefly carried thither in Government 
ships, but those bound for Canada 
had to force their way for the most 
part through a tangled and untrodden 
wilderness. Western Canada seems 
first to have come into notice from 
the difficulty of providing sufficient 
transport to Nova Scotia during the 
great rush at the close of the war. A 
New York loyalist named Grass, who 
had been for long a prisoner among 
the French at Frontenac (now Kings- 
ton) at the eastern end of Lake 
Ontario, reported favourably to the 
authorities of both the soil and climate 
of that district. This opinion seems 
to have been received with as much 
surprise as pleasure, and Grass was 
appointed to conduct a body of emi- 
grants there at the Government's 
expense. Notices were posted to this 
effect throughout New York, and the 
response was prompt enough. This 
first expedition, comprising men, 
women, and children with implements 
and provisions, was sent round by sea. 
They could make no way that season 
beyond the foot of the rapids on the 
Saint Lawrence above Montreal, where 
they erected huts and spent the winter 
in much hardship. In the following 
spring they built boats and toiled 
slowly onwards to Frontenac, arriving 
there about midsummer. Here they 
were soon joined by parties who had 
come up by the Hudson and the Lakes, 
and the Governor of Canada, Sir Guy 
Carleton, arrived upon the scene from 
Montreal. The lands were then par- 
celled out in townships, Grass, though 
but a plain German yeoman, being 



granted the first choice, as was right 
and proper, Sir John Johnson the 
second, Majors Vanalstone and Rogers 
the third and fourth, and Colonel 
McDonnell the fifth, the rest of the 
settlers receiving smaller grants ac- 
cording to their rank and claims. It 
was too late this season to put in 
grain ; a large patch, in the very centre 
of the present site of the City of 
Kingston, was accordingly sown in tur- 
nips, and these served to eke out the 
rations supplied by the Government. 
The latter proceeded shortly to erect 
mills at this spot, and thus was the 
first stone laid of the English settle- 
ment in Canada. 

Almost simultaneously, however, at 
other points the dense forests of 
Upper Canada, growing down to the 
very shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie 
and stretching northwards for ever, 
were invaded by other resolute bands. 
Norfolk County upon Lake Erie, 
which fronts the finest land in all 
Canada, was one of the earliest points 
of refuge, and gradually from there 
eastward to the Niagara river the 
dawn of civilisation spread. The route 
there, however, was of a different and 
still more arduous description. The 
settlers, who came mostly from the 
middle States, followed the Hudson 
up its Mohawk branch and thence by 
stream and long portages till they 
launched their boats again upon Lake 
Oneida. Following the river which 
flows thence down into Lake Ontario 
at Oswego, they coasted along its 
shores, and either carried round Nia- 
gara into Lake Erie or entered Canada 
below the Falls. The other inland 
route was the old military trail 
through Lakes George and Champlain, 
and thence down the Richelieu River 
to the Lower Saint Lawrence. This 
sounds simple enough in print, 
and in fact travellers may to-day 
breakfast in New York and sup in 
Canada. But for the poor exiles of 



The English Settlement of Canada. 



185 



those times the journey occupied 
months, and presented immense diffi- 
culties. They went in parties of from 
a dozen to twenty families, travelling 
in flat-bottomed boats built for the 
purpose, which had to be dragged for 
miles up rapids and in many places to 
be hauled through the trackless woods. 
Even the terrors of the northern 
winter did not wholly check the 
stream of these adventurous souls, 
who then substituted sleighs for boats, 
and over the frozen lakes and through 
unbroken forests toiled painfully with 
their household gods towards that 
remote wilderness which had at least 
the advantage of being British soil. 
The grants of land allotted, both in 
Canada and the maritime provinces, 
to the military exiles, who were very 
numerous, were somewhat upon the 
following scale ; five thousand acres 
for a field-officer, three thousand to a 
captain, two thousand to a subaltern, 
and two hundred to a private soldier. 
The sufferings of the emigrants for 
the first year or two exceeded their 
gloomiest anticipations. Flies tor- 
tured them ; agues prostrated them ; 
their first meagre crops were destroyed 
by insects and vermin ; there were no 
mills for a time to grind what little 
corn they could save ; and, as a climax, 
the ships bringing the Government 
supplies from Montreal were caught 
in the ice and frozen up for the 
winter. The first pioneers of Western 
Canada were perhaps as nearly starved 
as men and women can be and yet 
survive. 

Every one knows that these emi- 
grants were distinguished by the name 
of United Empire Loyalists, and that 
their descendants to this day take a 
justifiable pride in bearing names that 
are inscribed upon such an honoured 
scroll. If the maritime provinces are 
usually more identified with their 
stock it is because the pioneer families 
of Ontario have been more obscured 



by the immense development of that 
province. But for half a century 
British North America was in great 
part ruled by something approaching 
an oligarchy drawn from these sources. 
They brought with them a fierce 
hatred towards the Republic of the 
United States ; and this feeling ac- 
counted in great measure for the ex- 
traordinary success with which for 
three years, in 1812-14, the Cana- 
dians, and particularly the Upper 
Canadians, repelled every attempt of 
the Americans to conquer the country. 
The population of the States at that 
time was five and a half millions, and 
they had scarcely any other occupa- 
tion for their armies ; the population 
of French Canada was two hundred 
thousand, that of Upper Canada 
seventy thousand. Most of the at- 
tacks were directed against the latter, 
who for the greater part of the time 
had but a handful of British regulars 
to assist them. Nor were they merely 
successful in repelling, with one ex- 
ception, their assailants ; on two oc- 
casions they captured the entire 
American army with its general. 
Englishmen know little about this 
war, for no account of it is readily 
available. American historians, who 
are the only sources of information 
open to the general reader, would not 
be human if they failed to touch 
otherwise than lightly on these mili- 
tary disasters, and dwell with empha- 
sis rather on the naval duels which 
their seamen fought with such credit. 
The burning of Washington, for in- 
stance, during that war is recorded 
against the British as a piece of un- 
speakable barbarism ; our own his- 
torians follow suit and apologise for 
this excess of zeal. Two points, how- 
ever, seem to be forgotten : in the 
first place, Washington was burned 
for the deliberate and wanton viola- 
tion of a flag of truce, in which the 
horse of the English general who 



TJie English Settlement of Canada. 



accompanied it was shot under him ; 
and in the second, unprovoked ex- 
cesses of a precisely similar nature had 
been frequently inflicted by the Ameri- 
cans on the struggling settlements of 
Western Ontario. The spirit that 
prompted the memorable defence of 
the Canadians was, of course, an in- 
tensely strong one. Even the brief 
and inadequate account of the Ameri- 
can loyalists here given will sufficient- 
ly indicate how bitter their feelings 
must have been. And it should be 
borne in mind, moreover, that they 
regarded the war as one of pure and 
unprovoked aggression. England was 
struggling single-handed with the 
common t} r rant of the world. Her 
right of search for seamen, which 
was Madison's casus belli, was 
legally permissible. The whole of 
New England, and a most import- 
ant minority in the States, declared 
the war to be iniquitous, and doubly 
iniquitous seeing the company in 
which it was waged. What wonder 
if Canada thought so too, and fought 
with exasperation as well as with the 
inherent valour of a virile and sol- 
dierly race ! Strangers often wonder 



at the fever of excitement into which 
the majority of Canadians still work 
themselves at any mention of fusion 
with the United States. It seems 
almost illogical that people should be 
unable calmly to discuss the possibility 
of an alliance with neighbours who in 
everything but the most trifling details 
are one with themselves. Probably 
not one Canadian in ten has any 
of the old loyalist blood in his veins ; 
nor for that matter has any larger 
proportion of the citizens of the 
United States a claim to revolutionary 
descent. But as the old antagonism 
to England on one side of the line is 
adopted by the sons and grandsons of 
emigrants, so upon the other the old 
United Empire feeling still in a great 
measure influences public opinion. 
There is this curious difference, how- 
ever, that while it is among the old 
and genuinely American population 
that the greatest friendliness to 
England will be found to-day ; in 
Canada there are, on the other hand, 
no such outspoken haters, in a politi- 
cal sense, of the United States as 
the descendants of the old loyalist 
settlers. 



187 



A MODERN SINDBAD. 



SOME men will sail the seas for 
forty years and never once come even 
within hailing distance, as it were, 
of a shipwreck, and scarcely ever 
lose a sail or a spar. Obviously these 
are the lucky ones. Among our sea- 
friends we can claim a member of this 
extremely limited class ; and it has 
been also our fortune to meet with two 
or three examples of the opposite type. 
Some imaginative writer tells the tale 
of a sailor who was shipwrecked three 
times, was in four collisions and two 
fires at sea, suffered from sun- 
stroke and yellow fever, lost a finger 
or two by frost-bite, had one eye 
gouged out in a fight at San Francisco, 
came home, married a shop-keeping 
widow who henpecked him, got out 
of his course one foggy day and walked 
into the river, where he was found 
next morning still chewing his over- 
night quid of tobacco, but without his 
glass eye. This is the novelist's type, 
and is perhaps somewhat highly col- 
oured ; but it may be compared with 
some actual types. One of the men 
we have in mind fell from the main- 
yard and broke his left arm before he 
had been at sea a month on his first 
voyage as an apprentice. On the return 
voyage from San Franscisco he fell 
from the same yard and broke one 
of his legs. The vessel was wrecked 
in a gale off the south-west coast of 
Ireland, and this unhappy youth, fato 
profugus, was saved with three others 
out of a crew of twenty-six ; only, 
however, to find that his next ship, 
laden with coal, took fire on the other 
side of Cape Horn, and had to be 
abandoned by her crew, who were six 
days in their boats before a homeward- 



bound ship picked them up. His third 
vessel ran ashore at the entrance to 
Hong Kong harbour in her hurry to 
get inside before a Yankee with whom 
she was in company. When our friend 
found his fourth ship dismasted in a 
cyclone in the Indian Ocean, he came 
to the conclusion that sea-life, which 
he had been quite prepared to like, 
was too exciting for him ; and he 
decided forthwith, provided he got 
safely out of that scrape, to leave it 
to those with better luck. 

We knew yet another fugitive from 
fate, one of the nicest young fellows 
you could wish to meet ; but him the 
malignant demon overtook. He sailed 
first on the Compadre, which caught 
fire on the voyage from Calcutta to 
Valparaiso with a cargo of gunny- 
bags, and had to be run ashore on 
the Auckland Islands, where her men 
were forced to make such cheer as 
they could for just one hundred days. 
His second voyage was again unlucky ; 
his ship, the Charlwood, was run down 
in the Channel, and he was one of 
seven saved out of a crew of about 
twenty. His third voyage was un- 
eventful. On his fourth, in the Allan- 
shaw, to which he was transferred at 
the last moment to take the place of 
another apprentice, the ship ran ashore 
on Tristan d'Acunha, and he was one 
of three (the captain was another) who 
were drowned in the struggle for land. 
He deserved a better end, poor fellow ! 

A few weeks ago we made the ac- 
quaintance of an old sailor whom we 
will call Sindbad, and indeed he could 
well furnish materials for an eighth 
voyage to the record of that much-en- 
during merchant. He brought the fol- 



188 



A Modern Sindbad. 



lowing introduction from the writer's 
brother in New Zealand : " You will 
probably find him interesting and will 
recognise him from his name, as 
having been one of the Spirit's crew 
when she ran ashore on Antipodes 
Island. And I will say this for him, 
that had it not been for his murderous 
energy in cutting the lashings of the 
lifeboat, every one of us would have 
accompanied the skipper from this 
world into the next. I never met, 
and scarcely ever heard of, a more 
unlucky sailor, one who has been 
oftener shipwrecked and has gone 
through so many hardships. If you 
want any information as to how it 
feels to be shipwrecked, for that great 
novel of yours, which I'll swear is no 
farther advanced to-day than it was 
two years ago when I had the good 
pleasure to see you all last, make use 
of him. No doubt he will be in low 
water. I found him loafing about 
Wellington, unable to get a ship. I 
helped him to a berth in the end. 
He has taken a strange fancy to go 
home, to find out if any of his rela- 
tions are still alive. He was kind to 
me on the island, so be kind to him 
for the sake of," &c., &c. 

Sindbad turned out to be every- 
thing that had been promised ; in the 
cant phrase, he gave us plenty of fun 
for our money. He enumerated as 
many as nine separate shipwrecks in 
which he had been concerned, not all 
successive shipwrecks to be sure ; but 
on two occasions he was shipwrecked 
twice consecutively ; and although the 
Spirit only went down in the autumn 
of 1893, he contrived within the space 
of another twelvemonth to be wrecked 
on the steamer Kanahooka which 
sank in the Gulf of Carpentaria. If 
diversity of experience counts for any- 
thing, he deserves to be known as the 
champion of the seas. He is now 
growing old, and, in spite of the rare 
exception already mentioned, it is 



certain that the man who spends a 
generation at sea witnesses much, 
experiences much, and suffers much. 
This particular individual counts it a 
virtue that he has been only three 
voyages on a steamer, and he points 
to the Kanahooka as a standing warn- 
ing to those who propose to sail on 
other vessels of that class. That he 
should be still before the mast will 
not appear extraordinary to those who 
know the average British sailor's 
recklessness, ignorance, and lack of 
ambition. His first voyage would 
have killed all taste for a seafaring 
life in nine youths out of ten. Two 
days out from Liverpool his ship, one 
of the old emigrant clippers that did 
most of the carrying between New 
York and this country before the 
ocean greyhounds hunted them off, 
was wrecked near Blackwater on the 
Irish coast, and carried down with her 
more than two hundred steerage pas- 
sengers who had proposed to try their 
fortunes in the New World. Only 
twelve were saved, and of these only 
two were passengers. He made three 
voyages in the old Dreadnought, which 
once crossed the Atlantic in less than 
ten days, and beat the best steamer of 
his day ; and he claims to have been 
in her when she lost her rudder, and 
had to be backed and steered by her 
sails for a couple of hundred miles to 
the Azores. A number of years later 
he sailed on the same packet, but by 
this time she had fallen from her high 
estate and was carrying timber from 
North American ports, a sad end to 
which other fine clippers came before 
disappearing from off the face of the 
waters for ever. It made a man feel 
sad, he said, to think of what she had 
been ani what she was then. 

In the years that intervened be- 
tween these voyages on the Dread- 
nought, and in the subsequent years, 
where had Sindbad not been 1 He 
had been in the Thermopylae when 



A Modern Sindbad. 



189 



she made the passage from London to 
Australia in sixty days, an achieve- 
ment of which the latest steel four- 
master from the Clyde is not capable ; 
for the latter is built for cargo, and 
she was built for speed. He claims 
to have been in the James Baines 
when she rounded the Horn with her 
royals up before a heavy south-west- 
erly gale. He had been whaling in 
Dundee ships to the north seas, and 
in the Pacific with a Yankee crew. 
He had been drugged in San Fran- 
cisco and had found himself, when he 
awoke to consciousness, well on his 
way across the North Pacific to 
Canton. He had raced home from 
that port with the new season's tea, 
and, after being chased by pirates 
from Macao, had seen his ship beat 
her rival by a good week. He had 
been on the Don Juan when she 
caught fire while carrying Chinese 
coolies from Macao to Peru ; and next 
year he had formed one of the crew of 
the Northfleet, when she was run 
down off Dungeness by a Spanish 
steamer, which made off and left three 
hundred people to drown. Less than 
three years later the old teak-built 
Cospatrick had caught fire when he was 
making the voyage on her for Auck- 
land. He had been kidnapping in 
the South Pacific, had married a 
native woman of the Pelew Islands, 
whom he very soon left to her 
own devices, had been attacked, 
with the rest of the crew, by 
deluded Solomon Islanders, and had 
participated (because he could not 
help himself, so he said,) in a whole- 
sale butchery to which that on the 
Nora Creina was a mere diversion. 
He had been drugged a second time 
in New York, and had made an en- 
forced voyage to Santos, where he 
caught the inevitable fever. He had 
(and this happened within the past five 
years) seen his captain, both officers, 
and three men swept overboard into 



the Atlantic by one of those abnormal 
waves which sometimes appear without 
any very obvious cause, and had drifted 
and rolled through a succession of 
gales for a week, with only himself 
and a boy to look after the ship ; for 
the rest of the lubberly crew had 
locked themselves into the forecastle 
and got drunk over their desolation. 
He had boarded a schooner which, 
with all her sails up, was drifting 
aimlessly about the Pacific near the 
Line Islands ; and he had counted 
fourteen islanders, all of them dead 
and most of them mutilated, stretched 
about her deck. He had been castaway 
for nearly two months on Trinidad 
Island in the South Atlantic ; and he 
told over again the marvellous story 
of treasure buried there from the sack 
of Lima with which Mr. Knight has 
made vis all familiar. One ship on 
which he sailed had been dismasted 
while carrying coals from Newcastle 
in New South Wales to Coquimbo in 
Chili. Another, bound from the same 
port to San Francisco, had taken fire ; 
her captain with his men had lived 
over a volcano for a fortnight, had 
fought the flames, and, undeterred by 
one explosion after another, had con- 
tinued fighting them, until one tre- 
mendous explosion lifted the main 
deck off, when they thought it ex- 
pedient to take to the boats. Again, 
the Elwell, on which Sindbad sailed 
from Cardiff for Valparaiso, had 
caught fire on this side of Cape Horn, 
had been abandoned, and her crew 
had run in their two boats for the 
Straits of Magellan in the hope of 
being picked up by some passing- 
steamer. The boats were separated, 
and one, with those on board, was 
never heard of again ; rain, hail, sleet, 
biting winds, and frost, with mussels 
and a biscuit a day for food, had 
done for most of those in the other 
before help came. She had made the 
Straits right enough, but lost herself 



190 



A Modern Sindbad. 



in one of the by-channels ; which 
sufficiently accounts for the fact that 
sixty-eight days passed before the poor 
fellows were rescued. 

Such are the chief episodes in the 
earthly pilgrimage of this old sailor ; 
but they are diversified with an infinite 
number of smaller incidents any one 
of which might be enough for most 
men. One vessel, on which he sailed 
some ten or twelve years ago, carried 
kerosene oil in cases, among other 
cargo, from Philadelphia to the Far 
East. At Manila a Spaniard, named 
Salares, was shipped for the remainder 
of the voyage to Hong Kong, to take 
the place of a runaway. Salares 
went mad, and to avoid being put 
in irons, slid down the fore-hatch, 
which happened to be open to let the 
fresh air below, and took refuge in 
the lower hold, where the oil was 
stowed. Nothing could entice him on 
deck again. He kept all intruders 
away at the end of a spear, formed by 
splicing a sheath-knife on to the end 
of a long thin piece of wood ; when he 
felt hungry he threatened to burn the 
ship unless food and drink were passed 
down to him, and there was no doubt 
that he would have done so had his 
demands not been promptly complied 
with. The danger may be imagined ; 
but probably only those above, who 
were afraid of being blown to glory, 
could appraise it at its true value. 
Several expeditions were made below, 
but they were all repulsed, and some 
ten volunteers for the forlorn hope 
found themselves wounded more or 
less severely. At last the captain, 
tired of the suspense and fearing for 
the loss of his ship, in which he himself 
held shares, decided upon a concerted 
plan of action. He went below 
at the head of all his men, save 
those whose presence was necessary 
on deck. Each volunteer was armed 
with a pole like the madman's own, 
but without the knife ; and each one 



was protected by a shield made of the 
top of a packing-case. Even then it 
took four hands to capture the 
wretched creature. They hunted him 
as they might have hunted a vicious 
rat, over piles of cargo and into 
strange corners ; it must have been 
an experience out of the common even 
for Sindbad. When finally taken, 
Salares was found to be wounded in 
the mouth and left arm, besides being 
badly bruised all over. He died ten 
minutes after being brought on deck, 
" and mighty relieved we felt," added 
our friend, "when we found him dead 
and the ship all right. We were for 
dumping him overboard then and there, 
but Captain Fitz was a gentleman and 
a Christian, and buried him with the 
usual honours, funeral service, ship 
hove to, flag half-mast, and all the 
rest. And he threshed one Dutchman 
for heaving a clump of firewood at 
the corpse as it slid off the rail." 

It has fallen to the lot of a very 
few men to take part within the space 
of twelve months in two such tragedies 
as those of the Don Juan and the 
Northfleet. The latter is well-nigh 
forgotten now, but those whose re- 
collection of events goes back nearly 
twenty years will remember the thrill 
of horror that went up from one end 
of the land to the other at the news 
that an emigrant ship for New 
Zealand had been run down off Dun- 
geness by a foreign steamer, which had 
then made off, heedless of the terrible 
cries of the four hundred people on 
board her. The loss of the Don Juan 
involved an even greater waste of hu- 
man life ; but it touched Englishmen 
less, for the poor fellows were not their 
own countrymen, and besides, the 
affair took place almost at the other end 
of the world. The story forms an epi- 
sode in the still unwritten history of 
coolie-labour, which has to tell of 
horrors undreamed of by those who 
have never been in the Pacific, horrors 



A Modern Sindbad. 



191 



which are no longer perpetrated 
openly only because of the tardy 
restrictions placed upon the trade by 
a not too solicitous legislature, and 
because of the presence up and down 
of war-ships instructed to protect the 
savage against the kidnappers and 
against himself. 

The Don Juan left Macao, at the 
mouth of the Canton River, with six 
hundred and fifty Chinese coolies 
bound under contract for three years 
to Peru, where cheap labour is not 
too plentiful. A few days out a fire 
was discovered, caused maliciously, so 
the crew said, by one of the emigrants. 
It broke out in the cabin, so the 
surviving emigrants asserted, though 
they do not seem to have been in a 
position to know this. The exact 
truth never was found out, and never 
will be. Sindbad's version, slightly 
edited in accordance with a landsman's 
ideas of the English language, runs as 
follows. 

" An able seaman named Harker, 
who was on watch among the coolies, 
said that a quarrel broke out because, 
when breakfast was sent down, it 
was found to be three dishes short ; 
that is to say, thirty men had 
no breakfast, and nobody wanted to 
wait until the omission was reme- 
died. There was a scuffle ; one of the 
coolies made a nasty remark to the 
interpreter, who had charge of the lot, 
and he hit the fellow with his cane. 
A dozen of the man's cronies began to 
shy wood, and to shout Ta-Ta, which 
doesn't mean Good-bye but Strike, 
Strike ! The interpreter pulled out 
his revolver, and retired backwards to 
the fore-hatch. The coolies dropped 
their rice-tins and made a rush. The 
interpreter went up the ladder like a 
streak of lightning ; and Harker, 
whose station was at the foot, and 
who scented danger in the roar of the 
coolies, followed him equally fast. 
They got on deck just in time to drop 



the iron grating of the hatch on to 
the heads of the three foremost pur- 
suers ; it probably hurt -them, but 
there wasn't time to inquire into the 
matter. I stood on deck near that 
particular hatch and helped to keep 
the swarming, howling yellow men 
from pushing it up, while some others 
put the padlock on. The coolies then 
got from under the hatchway and 
seized stanchions from their bunks, 
with which they tried to beat up the 
boards of the deck. They were in- 
duced to desist by half a dozen pistol- 
shots fired in their direction ; or 
rather, they shifted their position and 
went aft, where they sprung two 
planks, which, however, the carpenter 
nailed down again as quickly as might 
be. In the floor of the captain's 
cabin there were three small iron 
gratings, through which the first and 
second mate, the storeman (a Maltese), 
and myself watched to see what was 
going on below. On each side of the 
rudder were two small rooms ; one 
full of old sails, old rope, and unmixed 
paint, the other containing bamboo 
hats. I couldn't make it out clearly 
myself, but the Maltese told me that 
he saw a man go into the first of 
these two rooms (which should have 
been locked) and immediately after 
we all saw smoke coming out of the 
room, and then fire. This happened 
about half-past ten, an hour and a 
half after the beginning of the row. 
Matters now became serious, the fire 
altogether changing the complexion of 
the business. Hands were set to the 
pumps, and a hose thrust through the 
ventilators ; but the coolies, though 
drenched to the skin, pushed it back 
with boards. It was then taken to 
the after-hatch ?nd put down there, 
while we fired pistols to frighten the 
men away. But most of them were 
mad by this time, and we clearly saw 
one fellow, who had got hold of the 
hose to carry it along to the seat of 



192 



A Modern Sindbad. 



the fire, clubbed on the head and 
killed with half a dozen stanchions. 
The brutes who murdered him broke 
the glass of the portholes and stuck 
the nozzle through, so that the water 
went into the sea, where it wasn't 
wanted. They had occasion to be 
sorry before long ; that fire spread, 
sir, in the most astonishing way. 
These roaring madmen were now 
trying all they knew to get on deck ; 
they even tried to come up the re- 
volving iron ventilators at the side of 
the ship ; but they would have killed 
everybody on deck had they once got 
there, and we had to look out for our- 
selves. The raving, the shrieking, 
the cursing, and the frantic efforts 
to burst up the decks, are altogether 
beyond my power to describe. All 
this time the smoke was belching up 
from below through the gratings, the 
sides were cracking, and the deck, 
under our feet aft, was becoming too 
hot for comfort. Then the fire burst 
out at the after-end of the ship, and I 
suppose all those coolies who weren't 
already dead made for the forepart. 
We could hear them praying and 
whining, for they had changed their 
tune by this time. Before mid-day, 
the main and mizzen masts went by 
the board, and we thought it time to 
get out the boats. There were four 
of them, but only two were used ; the 
lifeboat sank because the plug was 



lost, and there wasn't time to get the 
remaining one off the davits. Before 
the second boat sheered off, we threw 
all the spare spars, hencoops, and 
other truck overboard, for the benefit 
of whom it might concern. There 
were a few Chinese, about twenty-five, 
who had chanced to be on deck when 
the scrimmage began. They were 
sitting blubbering on the forecastle- 
head when we got over the side, but 
they dived for the floating wood and 
seven of them were picked up. 
There chanced to be a couple of 
junks near us, for we had made only 
a hundred and fifty miles from Macao ; 
and in the end we got on board one 
of them." 

" They did what they could to save 
life 1 " we asked. 

" Not much," was the reply. " The 
junk-master wouldn't take us on 
board until the skipper had promised 
him ten dollars a head for every 
European saved. The ruffian wouldn't 
pick up a single one of his country- 
men ; those who swam alongside were 
pushed back into the water. We 
heard that the few who were saved 
got on board the other junk, and 
refused firmly to be thrown into the 
sea again. When we saw the Don 
Juan last she was burning right 
forward. The coolies 1 I should 
think they were all dead by that 
time." 



193 



IN THE HOUR OF DEATH. 



THERE is a sound of singing that 
travels on the road, long, sweet, 
monotonous ; the deep voices of men 
answering the high flute-like notes of 
children, alternating, meeting, and 
falling apart into silence with a slow 
recurrent melancholy. There is the 
glitter of sunshine upon a silver 
crucifix, whiteness of fine linen and 
the pale flicker of candles ; there is 
a black as of mourning that dims even 
the brightness of the lusty spring ; and 
always the voices rising and falling, 
long-drawn, sweet, and grave, with 
the strange remote sadness of a prayer : 
Oh Lamb of God who takest away the 
sins of the world 

After the tall silver crucifix follow 
the little choristers, singing shrilly 
with the happy indifference of use and 
childhood, the swing of silver censers, 
the rhythmical twinkle of a silver 
bell, the pale unsteady tapers, and 
the priests, with the shining of silver 
wrought into the soft blackness of a 
velvet cope. There are many that 
follow after, and some of them weep ; 
they follow, but at a little distance, 
and between them and the priests 
there is a stretch of sunlit road, 
where the spring sunshine makes a 
riotous glory, and where there is one 
that walks alone. The singers go be- 
fore with taper and bell and the pale 
swaying crucifix ; the mourners follow 
weeping as for one dead. But there 
is no coffin ; only, on the bare patch 
of road, alone in the midst of the 
sunshine and the sweet strong spring 
air, one that walks alone. 

It is a funeral on its way to the 
church, the saddest and strangest in 
the world ; the funeral, as it used to 

No. 441. VOL. LXXIV. 



be in Brittany, of a leper. The 
scourge had been found upon him 
and there was no escape ; he must 
rise and be driven forth, and his 
place would know him no more. He 
had sat waiting for the end, looking 
dully from wife to child, with eyes 
that had already grown lustreless and 
dim ; there' would be time enough 
afterwards to weep, if lepers remem- 
bered how to weep. He could not 
rebel, he could not escape, there was 
not anywhere any hope ; there was 
nothing to be said or done but to 
wait, only to wait till they came tc 
take him away. His wife wept, and 
he watched her with a curious remote 
speculation ; soon, very soon, when he 
was out of sight, her tears would be 
dried. She would laugh again 
presently, when he was dead and put 
away ; and he, he would not be so 
dead, leper as he was, but he would 
hear her- voice when he passed and 
yearn for her, or curse her. Already 
he almost hated her for her clean 
health ; and a cruel pleasure swept 
through him at the thought that 
perhaps, since she had been constantly 

with him Only, when he was 

dead, he would not care; he would hear 
many feet running to avoid his path, 
and he would not know which were 
the feet of his children ; and when 
his wife laughed, it would be no more 
to him than a sound, like other 
sounds ; he would not know, or care. 
Dead men did not feel ; and already 
the sting was surely not so very 
bitter. There was nothing to do but 
to sit and wait, and to watch his wife 
and his young children ; they wept, 
but they sat at the far side by the 

o 



In the Hour of Death. 



window, and they left him alone. It 
would not be long now before those 
came that were to put him outside of 
life. 

And presently the priests and the 
choristers, with the strong smell of 
incense and the shining crucifix, had 
paused upon his doorstep, the doorstep 
which had been his in the days of his 
living ; and he had looked at them, 
with a vague indifferent pleasure in 
the sight, and an impersonal interest 
in the matter which seemed very 
slightly to concern him. It was a 
fine funeral, with the great silver 
crucifix, and the glitter of silver on 
black, and the flickering tapers ; it 
was a funeral such as one gave only 
to persons of position. The villagers 
were content with much less, when 
they had to pay for it ; but it was 
the Church that buried the lepers. 
He had seen such funerals before, and 
he had followed in the crowd, well 
behind, with a careful eye upon the 
way of the wind. He had never 
thought very much about the one 
that walked after the priests, alone. 

Holy water was sprinkled upon the 
threshold, and a blessing laid upon 
the house ; and he was then bidden 
to unclothe himself and to put on a 
black gown that the priest had 
brought, for he might carry nothing 
away with him into death ; all that 
he possessed must be left behind. 
Perhaps he faltered for a moment in 
departing, and looked back ; he was 
already no more than a dead man, 
but this had been his home, and his 
wife and children were there, weeping. 
He looked back ; but they sat at the 
far side, with a breadth of air between 
them, and he was alone. Hence- 
forward he would always be alone. 

The crucifix and the silver bell led 
the way, glittering and twinkling. 
The choristers swung their censers, 
and the tapers flickered in the wind ; 
and the priest's voice spread out 



sonorously to meet the answering 
trebles, in long slow cadences : 
Thou shall ivash me, and I shall be 
ivhiter than snoiv. 

The sun is high and the sky pale 
and clear with the infinite distances 
of spring ; the hedges are flushed with 
the purple of the swollen sap-filled 
branches, and pearled already with a 
multitude of small buds. There is 
here and there blossom, milk-white 
and frosted, or the faint green of 
young leaves ; the bank beneath 
breaks into the yellow of primroses 
or tall slender daffodils, and the air is 
sharp with a fine wild fragrance of 
gorse bloom and new growth and 
fresh-turned earth. The world is 
lusty and full-blooded and superbly 
alive ; it is only he that walks between 
the black-coped priest and the lagging 
crowd, only he that walks alone, that 
is dead. The high sky and the sun- 
light upon the sea, the blue distance 
and the swell of field and orchard he is 
to look upon no more ; for him, after 
to-day, there will be nothing in all 
the world but the spot of ground 
beneath his feet. He may not raise 
his eyes from that earth to which, 
as a dead man, the Church has re- 
turned him, and of which the law 
makes him part. He will be pre- 
sently no more than dust ; from this 
life, that presses so beautifully about 
him, he is henceforward to be shut 
out. 

In the church all is made ready for 
a funeral mass. The chancel is hung 
with black, and in the choir the 
tressels on which the coffin should 
stand are black-draped also ; but there 
is no coffin : there is only, between 
them, a black mat on which kneels 
a man in a black gown. On either 
side, at head and foot, are set the 
tall funeral tapers, with their quaint 
sombre placards of skull and cross- 
bones ; the crucifix is reared in the 
face of the altar ; there is solemn 



In the Hour of Death. 



195 



chanting, and behind the church is 
full of peasants, the women with their 
great white-winged coiffes loosened 
and hanging upon their shoulders in 
sign of mourning. All is in its usual 
place and order ; only there is no 
coffin, but one that kneels, listening 
and looking confusedly, dully. There 
will be time enough to-morrow to 
think and weep, if lepers do either. 

The service comes to its end ; and 
now the dead man must be taken 
to his tomb. Once more they set out 
in the same order ; once more they 
pass, led by the crucifix, the tinkling 
bell, and the swinging censers, out 
of the church, into which the leper, 
alive or dead, will never again enter. 
And between the priest and the lag- 
ging crowd is still the bare space 
where one walks alone. The sun 
shines brightly along the road to the 
village, but now they turn aside till 
they come to a hut upon the edge 
of the wood ; it is a poor hut, a 
leper's hut, and they pause a little 
way off; there is danger in the air, 
and one need not go too close. The 
people huddle in a mass up the wind ; 
only the priest goes forward even to 
the threshold, where he throws down 
the little property that a leper may 
possess. There is the black gown, 
with the huge black hood and the 
terrible red cross upon the shoulder ; 
there are the staff, and the rope-girdle 
with its bell, from the sound of 
which all men fly, the sack to hold 
his food, the blanket which is all his 
bedding. And then he reads the 
commands, which the leper, on pain 
of death, must constantly obey : never 
to leave his hut save with his hood 
drawn down so that none may see his 
face ; without his girdle with its bell, 
that at its sound all may avoid him ; 
without his staff, that if he need food 
he may point to it, or his sack that it 
may be put therein without touch or 
nearing of him. Never to let his 



flesh be seen, so much even as his 
mouth or the tip of his finger ; never 
to speak wheresoever he may be ; 
never to stand within ten yards of 
a clean man, save with the way of 
the wind ; to give help to no man, 
and to receive none, whether for life 
or death ; to look upon the earth con- 
tinually and to remember that he is 
no more than a particle of it ; to re- 
joice in the mercy of God, who made 
Heaven wide enough even for lepers 
to enter in ; to hear mass through the 
leper's window, or standing " under 
the bells ".; and to be buried some 
day in his hut without sacrament or 
service, for he was already a dead 
body, here and now committed to 
the tomb ; a dead man in the eye of 
the law, a dead man in the holding 
of the Church, without rights over 
his possessions, his children, or his 
wife ; a thing without name, to be 
henceforward known of no man, save 
as a leper. 

Next the priest, indifferently piti- 
ful, but accustomed, and not unwill- 
ing to be done with it, takes the 
consecrated earth brought from the 
cemetery, and throws it on the man 
before him, speaking the usual blessing 
on the tomb ; and then he draws back 
a little to the spot where the choris- 
ters stand beside the crucifix. Grant 
them, oh Lord, eternal rest, and let light 
everlasting shine on them. 

From the threshold of his hut the 
leper looks once more abroad for the 
last time. His wife weeps on the 
near edge of the crowd, and his chil- 
dren cling to her skirts ; over her 
loosened coiffe she wears the black 
square of widowhood. They do not 
come near him ; they will never come 
near him again. There has been no 
kind parting for him, as for other 
dead men ; from the moment the 
scourge was found upon him, he had 
been outcast, aloof. They are alive, 
and he is utterly dead ; his wife may 

o 2 



196 



In the Hour of Death. 



choose a new husband, and he, he 
may walk in the wind of her wedding, 
and pick up the alms thrown to him. 
Or he may take, if he will, one to re- 
place her, that like himself wears the 
hood with the terrible red cross, and 
beneath it is not yet grown too horrible. 

The procession moves away, and the 
sunlight glitters on the white linen 
and the silver swaying crucifix, till it 
shines like an upheld point of white 
fire. The sound of singing travels 
down the road, long, sweet, exultant ; 
the men's voices meet the treble of 
the children, in an interminable 
refrain of triumph and joy : Blessed 
are they whose iniquities are forgiven, 
and whose sins are covered. 

It is all over, and they are going home, 
to the wholesomeness of labour and 
sweet air and young life ; and on the 
threshold of his hut the leper, left 
alone, puts on the cloak and the 
hood which are to hide his corrup- 
tion, and is dead. But from far 
along the road that winds through 
fields and orchards to the church, 
comes still the sourd of singing: Blessed 
are they whose iniquities are forgiven. 

Leprosy was, it must be remem- 
bered, a very terrible and widespread 
scourge in Brittany, as elsewhere. It 
was so present a dread among the 
people, that the plague-stricken were 
driven out of the towns as if they 
were criminals, and the clean rose up 
in frantic repulsion against the un- 
clean. Lest their dead bodies should 
lie in the streets and pollute the air, 
they were given, perforce, a trembling 
and unwilling charity ; they were per- 
mitted to shelter themselves in the 
woods, and portions of bread and 
meat were laid on stones beside the 
way, where the leper, or the wolf, 
might seek them at night. If the 
leper died, well, then, no one was 
to blame ; it was no man's fault if the 
wolves grew over-bold, or the disease 



were strong and quick. Sometimes, 
as all the world knew, it was very 
quick in doing its terrible work ; at 
other times it lingered, and that was 
worse. He was dead and there was 
an end ; to all who loved him he had 
been as a dead man already for so 
long. And the next leper that suc- 
ceeded to his hut of twisted branches 
might clear it of his bones. 

But reason and a growing self- 
defence presently compelled a greater 
charity. In the first place there were 
soon too many lepers. When a town 
found its woods haunted with infection, 
when a troop of hideous beings hung 
half-starved and ravenous about its 
gates, or fought for the bread and 
meat thrown out to them as to a 
pack of dogs, it was time to deal 
with this terror that lay constantly 
about it, and as constantly broke out 
in its midst. There were even those, 
fathers and mothers, husbands and 
wives, who at deadly risk kept their 
sick secretly hidden within their 
houses, a continual infection, rather 
than let them be cast out to join the 
hideous band that herded in the 
woods ; it was time, and more than 
time, to meet the danger and pro- 
vide against it according to the avail- 
able means. So leprosy presently lost 
its worst horrors, and was treated, 
within the manners of the day, to 
a systematized but more consistent 
charity. It remained absolutely ne- 
cessary that the leper should be cast 
out from among clean men, whether 
to herd with his like or to live 
alone ; but at least his wants were 
reasonably provided for. He was 
fed sufficiently, lodged within four 
walls, allowed a table, a chair, and 
a pallet, clothes to wear and the 
possibility of hearing mass ; and he 
was treated with no brutality. On 
the other hand he was condemned 
to an extremer isolation than had 
yet prevailed, a living death that 



In the Hour of Death. 



197 



made of him no more than a hideous 
black shape to be avoided by all men. 
He was shut into silence : he was for- 
bidden even to look upon the world 
about him ; and the very splendour of 
the funeral mass that the Church 
gave to a leper, declared the absolute 
death into which he had passed. But 
that he was set apart in a never- 
ending darkness and isolation, or 
forced to herd only with others of his 
kind, was no more than the inevitable 
consequence of the ever-present plague 
that was an equal danger to all men. 

The villages provided huts for their 
sick in a remote corner of the parish, 
which grew presently into small settle- 
ments. Near the large towns hospices 
were built by the charity of princes 
or religious foundations. These were 
usually placed within sight of the 
greater roads on which there was the 
most traffic ; for though the leper was 
isolated, and become in himself a dead 
man, yet he was not to be forgotten ; 
he must be fed, clothed, and sheltered 
by the charity of those who passed 
by. These hospices were very numer- 
ous about the greater towns through- 
out Brittany ; one, for instance, near 
Rennes, kept up a curious feudal 
custom commemorative of its founda- 
tion long after it had ceased to shelter 
lepers within its walls. Once a year 
two of the inmates of the hospital 
were led solemnly to a cerain stone 
" over against the house of Puy- 
Mauger, at the entry of the Rue de 
la Madeleine," where they had to 
" say their song " before the officers 
of the town and of the viscounty. 
The songs are even quoted in the 
ancient deeds which refer to this ; 
they seem to have been mere rhymes 
with little interest, of a few lines 
each ; and the proceedings closed with 
a prayer " for the lepers of the Made- 
leine." As a feudal duty, the song, 
or song and dance, is frequently to be 
met with ; but the custom is a curious 



one as connected with a hospital of 
lepers, considering the absolute se- 
clusion which was otherwise enforced 
on them. 

In time, however, things changed, 
as things inevitably must change in 
the passing of years. The hospices 
and the clusters of isolated huts 
became settlements and even villages, 
where the lepers lived isolated still, 
but in communities, marrying among 
themselves and giving birth to 
children. Perhaps the disease had 
become already less frequent and less 
deadly; or. perhaps the stern system 
of isolation had confined the taint to 
the leprous families, and even there 
in time it grew weaker. At any rate 
the leper, if still set apart and outside 
the lives of others, had inherited a 
life of his own; his settlements bore a 
common name, and gradually prac- 
tised a common industry. They were 
known as Ladreries, or more commonly 
Madeleines, from Saint Madeleine and 
her brother Saint Lazarus or Ladre, 
who, according to tradition, had 
founded a great number of " lepro- 
series," and were the especial patrons 
of the plague-stricken ; and through- 
out Brittany one may trace the leper 
settlements by the names that remain 
to-day. There is the Madeleine near 
Saint-Servan, the Madeleine outside 
Vitre ; the Madeleine at Redon ; the 
Madeleine at Dinan ; there is a 
Madeleine near Vannes, at Pluvigner, 
at the place called the Cross of Saint 
Ladre near Morlaix ; and others, too 
many to name, scattered over the 
country and especially in the neigh- 
bourhood of towns, as they were 
founded long ago when leprosy was a 
very present scourge in High and 
Low Brittany. They are now villages 
like any other, when they are not 
populous suburbs ; and they retain 
from their ancient foundation only 
their name and their industry. For 
at each of these Madeleines there is 



198 



In the Hour of Death. 



still a rope-walk. The leper's settle- 
ment was a Madeleine, the leper 
himself was a ropemaker ; and still 
his children's children live in the 
same village, keep to the same trade, 
and bear witness, it may be, even in 
their names to the forgotten horror of 
their origin. There are names that 
are to-day empty of all significance, 
but once were cruelly descriptive ; 
Le Gall, Le Galloux, Le Cacoux, 
which are now no more than names, 
as the Madeleines are now villages 
like any other, and within them a 
people no longer set apart. And yet 
after so many hundred years the 
ancient tradition of ill-will and re- 
pulsion has not wholly died out. 
They are still, these villagers, in the 
popular instinct outcast and abomina- 
ble, though the feeling has weakened 
till it lingers mostly on the tongue 
and as a vague indefinable aversion. 

Those who live in the Madeleine, 
Do not marry without pain, 

is a proverb still quoted ; and what 
was once entirely true is not yet 
wholly false. Such an one, especially 
if he be a ropemaker, actually does not 
win a wife at the first asking. " There 
are girls good enough for you in the 
Madeleine," or " I'll never marry into 
the Madeleine," are ready responses ; 
and though now such scruples are 



to be overcome, they are yet a strange 
and significant survival of the cen- 
turies. 

And there is one other inheritance 
which has come down through the 
years, bearing pitiful witness to the 
ancient scourge ; an inheritance of 
ill-health that has grown into a 
saying, so that when a child is born 
sickly or feeble, it is called un vrai 
enfant de la Madeleine. It is only, 
now, a saying, and, like most sayings, 
has almost outlived its truth ; but it 
is a very sad and unmistakable testi- 
mony to the tainted blood, inherited 
from the days when leprosy was a 
constant horror, a death in life, for 
which a man was set apart from his 
fellow-men, and stripped of all that 
he possessed save only his corrupt and 
suffering body. It was surely a very 
terrible thing to be a leper in 
Brittany, in the days when he walked 
in his own funeral and heard mass 
said for his own soul ; when he was 
shut out into a never-ending silence 
and isolation, a black shapeless terror, 
heralded by a tolling bell ; a nameless 
unknown thing within sight and 
sound of all that he had loved, so that 
he might hear the voice of his wife 
among those that forgot him in 
laughter, or the feet of his children 
amid the feet that fled from the path 
of the walking Death. 



199 



THE SLAVE OF SUMMER. 



AFTER living for a few years away 
from cities, one begins to feel for all 
townsfolk a tolerant compassion, which 
is too apt to be mingled with a less 
worthy sentiment. For as there are 
some who boast of their connection 
with personages of high station, so we 
who dwell in the country take a 
boastful pride in our intimacy with 
the country life. The infinite air holds 
secrets for us ; the breezes have whis- 
pered them confidentially in our ear ; 
and we are so lifted up that we look 
down upon the Londoner, and would 
like him to recognise how we have been 
honoured. Doubtless in our eyes 
there comes the same expression as 
may be observed by visitors to the 
seaside in the eyes of the chatty shore- 
man who has spent his life upon the 
beach. He appears to know all about 
the sea, as we do about the country. 
Yet he is no seaman ; he lives between 
land and water, ignorant of the ocean. 
And in just his way, we, refugees 
from the city, stand only on the 
margin of the open-air life, where its 
waves break ; we cannot put out and 
voyage away beyond our first horizon. 
On the deep water of the seasons we 
have never been ; it is all unknown 
to us supercilious persons. 

But they who work on the land 
know it well, too well, perhaps. 
Summer and autumn, that are a kind 
of pleasant picture-gallery to us, 
dominate the lives of the labouring 
people in the country, and tyrannise 
over all their thoughts. The winter 
has no such control over them ; at 
best it is an interlude, a time for 
burying the old harvest and preparing 
for the new ; at worst it is a cruel 
enemy that victimises and harasses 



them. But throughout it all their 
tasks show that their relentless deity 
is the summer, to whom they are en- 
slaved by an enchantment that is as 
enthralling to the senses, and some- 
times as full of dread, as a sailor's 
quenchless infatuation for the sea. 

Here is high summer upon us, the 
silent burning splendour of the heart 
of the warm weather. For us in the 
country, who can afford to be idle, 
the time goes gloriously, and we think 
that we love the summer. Yet this 
love of ours, this liking, rather, 
that takes and gives nothing in 
return, this condescending amuse- 
ment of an idle hour, is it not as 
far from true love as the reading of 
a love-tale in a book 1 The stinging 
torments of the lover do not touch us, 
because our care for the heroine is so 
passionless. But who knows how 
lovely and how terrible the summer 
may be to those who are its servants, 
its creatures, its slaves, to those 
whose fate it is to toil in the daylong 
sunshine, like the old man we have 
been talking with 1 To see him is 
to recognise that most of us have 
been merely flirting with the summer ; 
but his love has been the passion of a 
life. In his face, always weather-worn 
and now wearing the rich livery of 
the sun, there is something akin to the 
parched hillside across the valley, 
where the dry grass is turning brown 
and the land looks hard and wrinkled 
in the heat. 

Our friend is in his way a very 
Ulysses, although his travels have 
been confined almost wholly to the 
southern English counties. From one 
hayfield to another, and onwards 
to the Sussex cornlands as they 



200 



The, Slave of Summer. 



stretch out mile after mile ; late one 
night carting timber home from the 
forest, then driving with vegetables 
into Covent-Garden Market ; working 
in hop-gardens, road-making, scaffold- 
ing on new buildings, gravel digging 
in the winter while his boots froze on 
him, or again reaping on cliff-sides 
by the blue sea until he grew lean 
and black from sweating ; visiting 
fairs, hawking on racecourses, travel- 
ling the road with gipsies, the man 
has carried his life through always on 
his own back, has carved it out from 
day to day by the strength and readi- 
ness of his own hands. Come wet, 
come shine, either was met by him 
with unconcern ; for he knew by 
experience that if good luck changes, 
so does the bad with equal certainty. 
Few men of sixty can have spent 
their years more eventfully than he. 

And now, if you catch him in the 
humour, he will gossip as long as you 
care to listen, standing (it is his 
favourite attitude for a talk) and 
squinting away to the well-known 
hills, until he has veered round with 
his back towards you, and the talk, 
with an occasional jerk of the stubbly 
chin, comes back over his shoulder in 
sound not unlike the continuous 
droning of an old bumble-bee. Hum- 
drum talk it is, rambling always and 
sometimes long-winded, but spiced 
with precious touches of strong ver- 
nacular or racy and picturesque 
anecdote. As you listen, observing 
the while his thick stooping back and 
his bent legs, misshapen in their 
patched corduroys by many an ugly 
wrench, you get often, from the 
wagging head, from the hard sun- 
burned skin, and from the dry chuckle 
of his laughter, a consciousness of the 
sort of strength that grew up in 
English weather in England's old 
fighting days. This is Bettesworth's 
best flavour ; it is not a modern one, 
the more is the pity for him now. 



For at last the force that has 
carried him through so far is be- 
ginning to desert him. In the few 
years since we have known him he has 
visibly aged. It was five summers 
ago that he first came to us, then, as 
to-day, looking out for work, and found 
it until the winter set in. We well 
remember one quiet August evening 
that year, when half wistfully he told 
us how numbers of his neighbours 
from this valley had on the previous 
evening started off for harvesting in 
Sussex. " I 'spects they be well into 
it by now," he said dreamily, thinking 
of the jovial tramp by moonlight, the 
long burning days, the ale at 
evening, and the world-old harvest 
rites, still perhaps holding something 
of dim pagan superstition for him. 
It had been his annual holiday, this 
harvesting, which he was missing then 
for the first time during many years. 
Seeing the half-sad smile in his gray 
eyes, and hearing the dry monotonous 
voice, you felt yourself in the presence 
of some survival from far-off anti- 
quity, as though the intimate know- 
ledge of ancient joys and needs were 
still alive in the old man's mind, 
enriching it with a tangled world of 
mystery that grows ever more and 
more unfamiliar in these days of 
machinery and indoor life. 

This marks really the commence- 
ment of his decline, this first failure 
to join the harvesters ; for, as it 
happened, he was to have no other 
opportunity. The following summer 
brought the terrible drought of 1893, 
when the scanty corn, where it came 
at all, was cut with a scythe as though 
it had been hay. Few reapers 
journeyed into Sussex that year ; 
and many men, who had hoped to 
earn a few extra pounds to keep 
them until the spring, were without 
work at all. Bettesworth was one of: 
these. His eyes then had the same 
set glassy look of endurance which we 



The Slave of Summer. 



201 



have seen in them since, during bad 
winter times. But he had weathered 
through [ill-luck before; why should 
he not weather through it again 1 

Well, there was a short respite ; 
but the winter held in store for him 
luck worse than he had ever known, 
the bad luck that left him an old 
man, losing his grip on life. One 
frosty morning he slipped, hurting his 
leg ; and supposing the hurt to be 
a mere sprain, he managed to hobble 
some two hundred yards to his cottage, 
where he lay in agony for two days 
before the club-doctor arrived to 
discover that both shin-bones were 
broken. To hear him then moaning 
to be out of doors, " If on'y I could 
get a smell o' the fresh air, I should get 
stronger " was to understand how 
the weather had made the man its 
bond-slave. Working always in it, 
he had become saturated by it ; the 
air had wrapped him in its enchant- 
ment and won him, until blood and 
tissue and the quick-healing bones 
yearned passionately for its caressing 
presence. Yet he was hardly able to 
crawl about again before influenza 
drove him back to his bed ; weakening 
him so much that when next the 
harvesters started, and an offer of 
work reached him from a Sussex 
farmer, he was obliged reluctantly, 
almost tearfully, to decline it. "I 
can't lay rough, same as I used to do," 
he said. So the world began to with- 
draw from him ; and his keen reaping- 
hook was degraded to the trimming 
of grassy banks in our garden. 

But while the joys of the outdoor 
life are receding from him, there re- 
main undiminished its exacting tor- 
ments, looming darker and gathering 
towards the end, when rain and sun 
and summer air will leave him un- 
touched. The summer, the toilsome 
money-earning season, asks of him as 
much as ever, and tantalisingly now, 
as a mistress demanding services 



beyond his strength. He is wearing 
out. In former days it was his de- 
light to be at work with 'horses; to- 
day he is too stiff to go safely with 
the quietest. Again, not long ago we 
watched him digging side by side 
with a younger man. Pluck and rug- 
ged obstinacy will achieve much, but 
they cannot enable a sixty-years'-old 
back and arms to keep pace with 
those of five-and-thirty. All this tells 
against him. At the best, it is not 
so easy to get work as when he was a 
younger man ; and now it is a month 
or more since Bettesworth has had a 
day's employment. How he and his 
wife live is known only to 
themselves and to others in a like 
predicament. At present, however, 
he seems hardly to foresee that the 
recovery from this spell of bad luck 
may be less easy for him than of 
old. Use and wont help to blind 
him. Often before, in the best season 
of the year, the same forced idleness 
may have pinched him as hard. Last 
year, for instance, was worse than 
this, during that prolonged drought 
in which hundreds of men suffered 
from want, as if in winter. One day, 
we remember, he said to us, " I've bin 
all round Middlesham, and along to 
the Bull at Swankley. They're hay- 
makin' all along by the river there. 
1 walked across the medder wi' Thorn- 
ley's bailiff. He said there'd bin 
dozens along that mornin'-, workin' 
their way from place to place an' 
wantin' a job. Then I looked in at 
Fenwick's. Their mangol' 'en't come 
up ; an' as for the grass, why, there 
wa'n't a load to th' acre. They took 
't up same night as 'twas cut down in 
the mornin'. He've got a job to find 
'nough for his reg'lar 'ands to do. 
'Tis as bad up there at Park Farm. 
Ye see, there 'en't no pea-pickin' nor 
nothin' o' that this year, on account 
'o the dryth, to take any of 'em away 
up country, " and so on, and 



202 



The Slave of Summer. 



so on. The dry summer had the 
labouring people by the throat. On 
the following day Bettesworth's tale 
was similar. He had walked another 
round, dinnerless. One farmer " was 
sackin' some of 'is men nothin' for 'm 
to do." Another was " haymakin', but 
didn't want no more'n his reg'lar 
'ands." The glassy look came into 
the old man's eyes, and his voice 
hummed gloomily as he spoke. 

These, and the like of these, are 
torments known to all the real vo- 
taries of the summer. Bettesworth 
knows them well. As his age in- 
creases, they will cloud his sky com- 
pletely over. 

But, while his strength lasted, there 
must have been in his life a glory that 
one would risk much to experience for 
once. A shining hint of it, a patch 
of blue sky not yet bedimmed, startled 
us after that dismal tale of the vain 
tramping in search of work. We bid 
him look round the garden and see 
what his hands could find to do. He 
thanked us, but without enthusiasm, 
and he made no attempt to find for 
himself even half a day's work. We 
watched him plodding off, and he 
looked neither to the right hand nor 
to the left. 

Our first thought was that he was 
tired of working here, and preferred 
idleness ; but that seemed incredible 
to us, who knew him. Besides, for 
him with his heavy feet, walking is 
more wearisome than work ; yet that 
day and the next he tramped off 
again, wherever they were making 
hay. And then we perceived what 
was going on within him. He had 
seen the summer and its magnificence, 
as he used to see it ; the magic odour 
of the new-mown grass had stirred 
his blood, intoxicating him with a 
passion of longing ; the hot meadows, 



with the sleepy horses and the wag- 
gons and the old familiar tasks had 
resumed upon him their ravishing- 
enchantment. Dinner might go, and 
the chance of dinner ; such trifles 
could not be regarded then. For, as 
in the ancient stories of a mortal who 
has loved a goddess, Bettesworth was 
a man enamoured of the summer ; the 
summer goddess renewing herself for 
ever, holding him by the old charm, 
calling to him once again in the old 
way, so that he had forgotten that 
his own youth was gone. A victim 
he may have been, but an enamoured 
one : amorous of the sweetness of 
the summer grass, of deep continuous 
draughtsof thesummerair ; of the great 
blaze of sunshine heating all the long 
day ; of the homely companionship 
in toil ; of the tired cool evening- 
times, of all the wooing and the 
worship of the summer goddess. 

That was a year ago, and now 
again he is out of work ; but the 
same passion is sleeping in him still. 
Could you suggest it to him, he would 
forget his troubles for a time ; his eyes 
would brighten and his face light up 
with pleasure. His old head is still 
stored and stirring with memories of 
hay-makings and harvestings, with 
pictures of gorgeous weather long 
since past. 

Yet in a few more years it must all 
be over for him. As a dry summer 
grass-hopper, like Tithonus, he might 
perhaps be willing to live on, could 
such a dubious privilege be his. 
Of course one knows what must 
happen to him. He will pass into 
the workhouse, away from his goddess 
and parted from his faithful old wife. 
After that, the sooner he can escape 
the society of the unhappy paupers 
for " the grassy barrows of the happier 
dead," the better it will be for him. 



203 



HOW'S THAT? 



How rare it is in these clays to see 
a cricket-match played really badly 
played, that is to say, in the ancient 
primitive style, subject of course to 
the laws of the game, but without 
further skill than is afforded by a 
quick eye and a ready arm, or further 
art than is taught by simple mother- 
wit. It is almost distressing to see 
the polish that covers all our games. 
The English have long enjoyed the 
reputation of taking their pleasure 
sadly, but now they seem to do worse 
and take it seriously. What was 
begun as a pastime is continued as a 
profession ; what was designed to be- 
guile an afternoon becomes the study 
of a lifetime. New games, or old 
games revived, sucoeed each other in 
rapid sequence in the popular favour, 
and are as rapidly transformed from 
sources of enjoyment to sources of 
income. A few men gifted with 
natural aptitude study the new game, 
improve their skill by assiduous prac- 
tice, and take possession of it as their 
own ; the great majority, turning sor- 
rowfully aside, look for something still 
newer, which men shall not be able, 
at any rate for a time, to play so well. 

The phenomenon is not easily ex- 
plained, but we suspect it to be due 
in great part to that exodus from 
the country to the town which has 
been so marked a feature of English 
life during the present reign. The 
greater number of our games were 
born on the village green, and were 
not designed for transplantation to 
the air of the city. They were 
devised for thick-headed rustic sim- 
plicity, not for the nimble urban intel- 
lect. Your townsman is a great deal 
too acute ; he seizes too quickly on 



the weak points of a game, and turns 
them to his own advantage. It is 
not that he is fonder of sharp practice 
than his rustic neighbour, but that he 
is swifter to see where it may be profit- 
ably employed. He is a methodical 
person, moreover, and requires exact 
definitions for the guidance of his con- 
duct ; a bit of a lawyer, he is fond of 
subtle distinctions, and living as he 
does among a crowd, he has a natural 
turn, as well as a natural facility, for 
organisation. And thus games in his 
hand become a matter of written rules, 
which require constantly to be altered 
and straitened to meet alike his 
scientific skill and his talent for eva- 
sion. They assume an artificial and 
highly organised form which is foreign 
to natural amusement : they demand 
a grander environment and a more ex- 
pensive apparatus ; and finally they 
imbibe sufficient of the competitive 
and commercial spirit to gain an un- 
pleasant flavour of business. 

The influence of the towns on sport 
has been not less marked. Sport, 
though it may seem heresy to say so, 
is essentially a rustic and an aristo- 
cratic thing, not to be understood by 
an urban and democratic population. 
Look at the urban race-meetings, 
Sandown, Kempton, and the like, and 
compare them with Newmarket, or, 
better still, with Doncaster ; could 
anything more plainly show the dis- 
tinction between the townsman and 
the count^man's idea of sport 1 Take 
shooting, again : there can be no ques- 
tion of the extraordinary skill shown 
in bringing the game to the guns, and 
in slaying them artistically when 
brought ; and yet the trail of arti- 
ficiality lies over it all, and the spirit 



204 



Hoio's that ? 



of competition, as distinguished from 
simple rivalry, shows itself painfully 
in the ceremonious counting and public 
recording of enormous bags. We will 
cheerfully plead guilty to idiotcy, if 
required, but we prefer Colonel 
Hawker's exhausting days in pursuit 
of a brace of cock-pheasants to any 
number of such records. As to hunting, 
we fear that our views are not less 
heretical, for we hold that there is 
more real sport in the account of the 
trencher-fed pack in the first chapter 
of HANDLEY CROSS, than in all the 
columns of THE FIELD devoted to the 
shires for the last twenty years. 

Cricket is, of all games, that which 
has emerged most triumphant from 
the ordeal, yet even cricket has been 
strangely transformed. It is governed 
now by rules as careful and scientific 
as those which govern the playing 
of the violin. No doubt this has 
enormously increased its interest to 
the spectators ; and indeed men go to 
see a first-rate cricket-match in much 
the same spirit as they go to hear a 
first-rate orchestra. The great major- 
ity of such matches are played in 
towns before the eyes of a vast throng 
of townsmen and a select circle of 
reporters, whose business it is to pre- 
pare a kind of analytic programme of 
each day's play. There is abundance 
of keen interest and generally no lack 
of enthusiasm ; yet, even so, the more 
provincial and rural the surroundings 
the greater is the excitement and the 
more genuine the appif/Htion. The 
old local rivalry when th f ' nac mtry folk 
gathered round the couutf* ground, 
watched every movement of their 
champions, and wagered pots of beer 
on their prowess, has not by any 
means wholly perished ; but it has 
too often lost its freshness and its 
simplicity. Rivalry has given way to 
competition, the love of fight to the 
lust of victory. Local fame and the 
pride of local championship have paled 



before established rank in the general 
world of cricket. In old days a com- 
pliment at the supper was enough. 
The rapturous applause which greeted 
such a sentiment as, " If I were not 
Dumkins I would be Luffey, and if I 
were not Fodder I would be Struggles," 
conferred sufficient immortality on the 
illustrious representatives of All Mug- 
gleton and Dingley Dell. In our days 
they would be ambitious of quite other 
distinction, and would probably attain 
it through an abominable reproduction 
of their photographs. There would sud- 
denly appear in some ephemeral series 
DISTINGUISHED CRICKETERS, No. 1002, 
Mr. Luffey, with full particulars as 
to his birth, breeding, and education, 
the furniture of his drawing-room, his 
wife's curling tongs, and his firstborn's 
perambulator. And so the hero of 
Dingley Dell would pass for one week 
from obscurity and contentment into 
a spurious notoriety, demoralising alike 
to himself and to his native place. All 
this is of the city, urban. The urban 
mind can indeed appreciate skill, but 
its vulgar curiosity is insatiable, and 
the forms it takes and the pains it 
will be at to gratify it are as mysteri- 
ous and as many as Wiggles's intrigues. 
It is curious to note the failure of 
cricket to take strong root in the old 
Saxon counties ; the west of England 
does not naturally take to it. 
Gloucestershire, indeed, if that be 
reckoned part of the West country, 
has of course made a great name in 
the annals of cricket, but compara- 
tively recently and principally owing 
to the rise of one family. Somerset, 
again, has within the last few years 
struggled to the front, and we are 
curious to see how long she will 
maintain her position. But Dorset is 
guiltless of cricket, and still more so 
are Devon and Cornwall. The explana- 
tion cannot lie in the fact that these 
counties are made over to an agri- 
cultural population ; for such a defini- 



How's that ? 



205 



tion would exclude Kent. Nor is 
there evidence to show that they fell 
behind the rest of England in respect 
of other rural sports, least of all in 
those that had their root in self- 
defence. There is not the least reason 
for supposing that the archers of 
Devon and Cornwall shot one whit 
worse than the rest of their country- 
men, while both counties possessed 
their own schools of wrestling, though 
that, to be sure, has now ceased as a 
village pastime. There are not a few 
men surviving to whom the picture 
of the village-revels as painted in 
GEOFFREY HAMLYN is still full of life; 
and the two champions who divided 
the honours of the Exmoor district 
are still abroad, though past the 
allotted span of years, to tell of the 
days when they wrestled all through 
Saturday afternoon and went to church 
next day, if victorious, with the silver 
spoons which they had won flaunting 
conspicuously in their hats. But all 
this has passed away ; and if the 
wrestling should ever be revived it 
will almost certainly be laid hold of 
by the townsmen for purposes of profit 
and gambling, and will go the way of 
the prize-ring. 

But though there might seem to be 
plenty of room for cricket in Devon, 
we do not believe that it will ever 
flourish there. We have seen it 
planted again and again by enthu- 
siastic parsons from other counties, 
encouraged by the rustics for a time 
with a certain spasmodic energy, and 
incontinently neglected so soon as the 
parson's hand was withdrawn. While 
it lasted it was primitive cricket 
indeed. Such a thing as a pair of 
flannel trousers was never seen except 
on the parson's legs, and the rasping 
sound of the corduroys when, as fre- 
quently happened, the greater part of 
the field ran wildly after some great 
hit, could be heard half a mile away. 
All that physical strength could do 



was done. The bowling was all 
underhand of the most ferocious and, 
in the normal rough condition of the 
pitch, most dangerous description. If 
by chance some favoured mortal, such 
as the schoolmaster's son, had learned 
to bowl round-arm, his efforts, how- 
ever feeble, were treated with the re- 
spect due to superior science. The 
batting was of two kinds, which 
were never combined in any one indi- 
vidual. The eleven was distributed 
into Itlockers and hitters. It was 
the function of the former to keep 
up their wickets and of the latter to 
make runs : in fact the one represented 
the defensive and the other the offen- 
sive element, like the old pikemen and 
musketeers ; but somehow the division 
of labour did not fit in well with the 
nature of the game, and the scores 
were never very large. The hitting, 
indeed, was of like ferocity Avith the 
bowling, for there was no lack of 
quick eyes and strong arms ; but the 
blocker was generally averse to hard 
running, except in favour of some 
feeble stroke of his own, and the 
result was that blockers and hitters 
generally ran each other out. Then 
came recrimination and not unfre- 
quently faction ; for the blocker re- 
presented science and the hitter brute 
force, and these two are everywhere 
and at all times antagonistic. 

The game never really took root in 
those Western hearts. They went 
through it willingly, for in Devon 
they are a v~~'l-,mannered, complaisant 
folk who ' ,-* ' follow a keen leader 
anywhei* '.rom simple tenderness to- 
wards his feelings, but they played 
without real interest or enthusiasm. 
If, as frequently happened, a fisherman 
came flogging down the river which 
bounded one corner of the ground, 
man}'- eyes in the field turned wist- 
fully towards him. The small boys 
ran straight away from watching the 
game and discussed every cast of thp 



206 



How's that ! 



line and every fish that rose in. awe- 
struck whispers, begging permission 
to examine every captive minutely 
before he was put in the basket. 
There was not one of them who would 
not have preferred an hour's groping 
after trout to a whole afternoon at 
cricket ; and the men, if called upon 
at a moment's notice to draw the 
stumps, cut themselves sticks, and fall 
in to beat a covert, would have re- 
sponded with joyful alacrity. We 
would by no means imply that the 
sporting instinct is incompatible with a 
love of cricket ; but it is certain that in 
Devon, where the former is unusually 
strong, the latter is altogether wanting. 
Whether this be due to a relaxing 
climate, or to the ever-present menace 
of rain, we do not pretend to decide ; 
but we are pretty confident that the 
majority of Devonshire boys could be 
lured at any moment from cricket 
even by so unattractive a bait as the 
prospect of taking a wasps' nest. 

Nevertheless we think that the 
most primitive cricket-match that ever 
came under our observation was one 
in which we took part many years ago 
in a tropical island. Nothing shall 
persuade us to give any clue as to the 
identity of the said island ; it must 
suffice that it lies within the tropic of 
Cancer, and that the white people 
therein, being of English descent, have 
a certain knowledge of English pas- 
times and prosecute them with as 
much energy as a high thermometer 
may permit. We must here confess 
to an uneasy feeling that cricket, 
except when played on English turf, 
is somewhat unreal. Deep down in- 
deed in our heart lurks the doubt 
whether the Briton was meant to be 
more than a sojourner and a pilgrim 
in lands where his native grass re- 
fuses to grow. We are well aware 
that we are thereby excluding him 
from many colonies that enjoy a 
reputation for prosperity and a still 



greater reputation for cricket ; but the 
doubt is there, and we have never 
been able wholly to repudiate it. 
There is something about the eternal 
blue sky and the eternal blazing sun 
that seems ill-fitted for the children 
of these foggy islands ; and an eternal 
hard wicket never appears to us quite 
in keeping with the uncertainty of the 
noble game. Even in seasons of 
drought, such as last year and the 
present, the monotony of the weather 
engenders a certain monotony of 
feature in a harvest of great scores. 

After this, it will not surprise our 
readers to learn that we have, for our 
own part, and to our great misfortune, 
never attained to the least skill at 
cricket. Like all Englishmen, we 
played strenuously as a boy, and even 
now are never weary of watching the 
game ; but we have only just sufficient 
knowledge to appreciate its difficulties, 
and the rest is awe. We never thought 
even to have played a match in the 
tropics, for we had a full sense of our 
own incompetence and a dread, which 
sad experience had proved to be not 
unreasonable, of the tropical sun. In 
a strange land it is easy to pass for 
one who, though not a player, is a 
good judge of the game, and this was 
the reputation which we sought by 
judicious reticence to establish. But 
one fine day, when an emissary came 
round to piteously entreat us to make 
one of an eleven to represent the old 
country against the island, our resolu- 
tion began to waver. The match was 
to have been between the garrison and 
the island, but the garrison was too 
weak to take the field without the 
help of civilians, and even the civilians 
who could be depended on were few. 
The honour of the old country was at 
stake, and in a moment of weakness we 
consented. 

The match, by a merciful dispensa- 
tion, did not begin until the afternoon. 
It was a blazing day with a fierce sun 



Hoiv's that .' 



207 



and a cloudless sky. The canes that 
bounded one side of the ground were 
dense and high, and the negroes, who 
were crowding back for the harvest, 
were present in hundreds. The audi- 
ence was distinguished as well as 
large. The wives of nearly all the 
high dignitaries of the island were 
there, and most of the dignitaries : 
the General with his aide-de-camp ; 
the Bishop in holiday, and somewhat 
unepiscopal, garb ; the Military Secre- 
tary with a blue envelope peeping out 
of his pocket, and the Colonial Secre- 
tary in his best white hat ; and, for a 
short time, his Excellency the Governor 
himself. Even the Military Chaplain 
came out with a mob of white-faced 
children hanging on to both hands, 
and gave the monthly nurse a chance 
of leaving her patient for a moment 
to peep at all these great personages 
from the verandah. 

It was no easy matter to make up 
our eleven. Three English non- 
commissioned officers in regulation 
helmets, grey flannel shirts, very dirty 
white trousers, girt about with red 
belts and clasps of extremely florid 
design, were ready and, judging by 
their language, thirsting for the fray. 
A blue-eyed, fair-haired subaltern, 
fresh from England and not yet ex- 
hausted by the cumulative burden of 
the heat, was also on the alert, and a 
young officer of the Pay Department 
with him. A little captain with a 
large moustache was importunate with 
every man he met to play for the 
honour of the British Army ; and a 
young Irish doctor, fresh from the 
hospitals, and apparently not very 
confident of his prowess, was only 
kept up to the mark by two more 
of his own profession, one of whom 
was prepared to play if wanted. 
These, together with ourselves, made 
nine ; whence the other two were to 
come from no one knew and appa- 
rently no one cared. Then came the 



question of a captain. No one had 
thought of this ; but as all the work 
so far had been thrown on the 
subaltern, and as every fresh problem 
that arose was referred to him for 
solution, it was decided that he should 
be captain. With his honours fresh 
upon him he called Heads to the 
spin of the coin, and amid the loud 
murmurs of his side was declared to 
have lost. Fortunately the island 
eleven generously sent our side to the 
wickets, and the danger of immediate 
mutiny was averted. 

The subaltern and the paymaster 
went to the wicket, and then it was 
discovered that our umpire was miss- 
ing. " Billy," yelled half a dozen 
voices at the unlucky subaltern, "who's 



the 



umpire 



The Major," he 



yelled back ; but the Major was not 
to be found, and it was necessary to 
provide a substitute until he should 
think fit to appear. Meanwhile the 
match began, and the two batsmen, 
both of whom could play a little, were 
just getting set, when, in an evil hour, 
the Major arrived and with many 
apologies took his place as umpire. 
He had been to the club, he said, on 
important private business and could 
not get away before. Those who 
knew the gallant officer looked at 
him with some curiosity as he made 
the announcement ; but he walked to 
the wicket with great dignity, and 
there was no more to be said. In 
the very next over a ball struck the 
top of the paymaster's pad and passed 
into the wicket-keeper's hands. 
" How's that 1 " asked the bowler of 
the Major. " Out," said the Major. 
" Why, it hit my pad ! " protested the 
paymaster, who had a liver and there- 
fore a temper. " Pad be d d," 

retorted the Major, who disliked the 
batsman ; " do you think I don't 
know the difference between a pad 
and a bat ? If you had said it hit 
your head, I might have mistaken the 



208 



Hoio's that ! 



sound of that." The paymaster with- 
drew scowling, for he took himself 
seriously as a player. 

Next came the little captain, who 
took guard with extreme care and 
deliberation, and faced the bowler 
with a vacant stare. The very first 
ball sent his bails flying, but he re- 
mained standing in an expectant 
attitude till the subaltern went up and 
led him away, seizing the opportunity 
to implore us to go in next. We 
were by no means anxious, but from 
sheer pity for him we consented. The 
subaltern now had the ball, and for a 
time we contrived by hard running 
that he should keep it ; but at last our 
turn came, sedulously though we had 
shirked it. The glare was blinding, 
the wicket very lumpy, and the bowler 
whom we had to face was a long thin 
young fellow, tough as pin- wire, whose 
pace was a great deal faster than we 
liked. We inwardly prayed that he 
would put us out of our misery by bowl- 
ing a straight ball, but he was merciless, 
and made us tremble for our limbs. 
The second ball grazed our pad and 
went for three. " Hit," sang out the 
Major to the scorer, and down went 
the runs to our account. " You'll be 
wanting a drink presently when you 
get out," he continued, rightly judging 
that our wicket would soon fall, "and 
you might tell them to send me out a 
little whiskey and soda at the same 
time." He became lost in meditation 
at the prospect, and presently a ball 
bumped high and struck the subaltern 
hard on the arm. " How's that 1 " 
asked the bowler, who thought it 
time to rouse the Major from his 
absorption. " Eh 1 " answered the 
Major starting. "Out, of course. 
It's no use rubbing your arm, Billy ; 
you won't catch me with that old 
trick. Out you go ! " The subaltern, 
who had an angelic temper, laughed 
and retired ; and in a minute or two 
a negro came out to the pitch with a 



long glass for the Major. Meanwhile 
the bowler, not a little disconcerted, 
ventured feebly to hint to him that 
his last decision had been, quite un- 
intentionally of course, a little unjust. 
The Major eyed him sternly for a 
time in silence. " Look here, young 
man," he said at length, " I was 
playing cricket before you were born, 
and I never saw a fellow yet who 
didn't rub his arm when he was fairly 
out leg-before. Billy's a good boy 
[here he took the glass from the ser- 
vant], but he shouldn't have tried 
it on with me. I am here to see 
fair play, and I am not going to 
favour my own side or any other side." 
So saying he stalked majestically as 
Achilles to square-leg, and placed him- 
self in the musketry position, sitting 
on his right heel, with the long glass 
on the ground by his side. 

After this disaster the eleven of 
England went rapidly to pieces. Our 
own fate was presently decided by a 
straight ball, and then two of the 
non-commissioned officers were to- 
gether. They called very loud to 
each other to " come on," and " go 
back," with the result that they were 
soon found both at the same wicket, 
discussing with extreme indignation 
the knotty point as to which of them 
was to blame for the disaster. In 
half a minute they were brandishing 
their bats in each other's faces, and 
daring each other to mortal combat. 
Fortunately they were separated with- 
out blows, and one of them was at 
last persuaded to retire, vowing ven- 
geance as he went. The rest of the 
wickets fell quickly, and as we were 
unable to raise more than nine men 
the innings came to a premature end. 
The little captain indeed volunteered 
to go in again if any one would run 
for him, but the offer was rejected, 
less on the ground of irregularity than 
of the unlikelihood of any addition 
to the score. The island eleven made 



How's that? 



209 



haste to get into the shade, and the 
Major majestically pocketed the bails 
and made his way, with the long glass 
empty, to the refreshment-tent. 

And now there appeared a strange 
reluctance among the eleven of 
England to go out into the field. 
The paymaster, who was still rather 
sulky, complained of an old injury to 
his knee and doubted if he should be 
able to play for long. The Irish 
doctor said something about duty in 
the hospital, but was promptly snubbed 
by the offer of several of his brethren 
to take that duty for him. The little 
captain professed himself, like Wel- 
lington's army, ready to go anywhere 
and do anything, but put in a saving 
clause that the action of his heart 
had been weakened by fever on the 
West Coast of Africa and that any 
unusual exertion might lead to fatal 
results. The three non-commissioned 
officers one and all averred that they 
had received medical warning against 
excessive exercise and exposure to the 
sun. After some trouble, however, 
all were coaxed out and disposed with 
considerable difficulty in their places 
in the field. The Major, after dressing 
the stumps with great show of accuracy, 
put on the bails with extraordinary 
caution, and in a stern voice called 
" Play ! " 

Once more the initial efforts of 
England were successful. The sub- 
altern and the paymaster could both 
bowl a little, and after a very few 
overs secured two wickets between 
them. But then the long thin man, 
who had bowled with such ferocity, 
came in and began to hit with ex- 
asperating freedom. Presently the 
paymaster stopped midway in the 
delivery of a ball and declared that 
his knee had given out and that he 
could bowl no longer. He finished 
the over and limped from the field 
with suspicious alacrity ; and the 
awkward question arose, who should 

No. 441. VOL. LXXIV. 



take his place] 1 ? The little captain 
volunteered his services, which were 
accepted, although there was no small 
curiosity as to the result. Hitherto 
he had stood at point, with his mouth 
wide open, staring straight to his 
front and utterly indifferent as to all 
that passed around him ; he now took 
his place at short slip and gazed 
earnestly at the wicket. His chance 
soon came in the shape of a sharp 
catch. He made a feeble gesture 
with both hands ; the ball struck him 
full in the chest, and to the general 
dismay he staggered and fell to the 
ground. The Major called loudly for 
brandy, which was quickly brought 
and liberally administered ; the 
sufferer opened his eyes, rose to his 
feet, and refusing all assistance walked 
to a chair, wherein he settled himself 
with an ineffable smile of comfort and 
relief. 

The subaltern with great readiness 
seized the moment to impress a couple 
of schoolboys as substitutes in the 
field, and then ran up and told us 
abruptly that we must bowl. " Bowl," 
we answered, " we never have bowled 
and never .could bowl." " You must 
bowl," he answered, " for there's no 
one else to do it." This was un- 
answerable, and we bowled accordingly. 
What havoc these two batsmen made 
of our feeble efforts we cannot de- 
scribe, but they made a fabulous 
number of runs. The demoralisation 
of our eleven advanced by leaps and 
bounds. The captain was powerless. 
The three non-commissioned officers, 
forgetting their quarrel, stood in a 
little group apart and ran fitfully after 
a ball, if it came close to them. The 
Irish doctor, still nourishing his wrath, 
posted himself as far from the wicket 
as the ground permitted ; while his 
elder colleague stood at point in an 
attitude of sleepless activity, and did 
nothing. The Major sat, immovable 
as Theseus, on his heel at square-leg : 



210 



How's that ? 



the two schoolboys soon grew tired of 
their share in the wondrous game ; 
and the whole of the bowling and 
most of the fielding fell upon the sub- 
altern and ourselves. 

At last one of the batsmen skied a 
ball to the very heavens over the 
group of non-commissioned officers. 
The centre one of the three solemnly 
waved his companions away and stood 
expectant. We can see him now 
winking and blinking under his 
helmet, with the brass badge gleaming 
like fire in the sun, till the ball 
slipped through his fingers and fell to 
the ground. Then he covered his 
face with his hands and burst into 
tears. " I told you I couldn't hold 
it, sir ! " he exclaimed between his 
sobs. " I told you I couldn't hold it," 
and, quite inconsolable, he was led 
weeping from the field. This inter- 
lude gave us a little rest ; and at the 
very next ball the subaltern brilliantly 
fielded a hard return off his own 
bowling, and threw the ball in beauti- 
fully to us, who put down the wicket 
with a flourish and a triumphant 
" How's that 1 " just after the flying 
batsman had dashed past it. " Out," 
said the Major solemnly. " Out ! " 
indignantly repeated the batsman, who 
had never made so many runs in his 
life before and had framed foolish 
ideas about his first century. " Out," 
re-echoed the Major with great de- 



cision ; " both batsmen at one wicket, 
one must be out." "This is becoming 
ridiculous," said the batsman con- 
temptuously, after a little thought had 
explained to him the duplicity of the 
umpire's vision and the reasoning that 
had been founded on it. " Ridiculous 

be d d," retorted the Major; 

" question my decision and I'll draw 
the stumps." Then, suiting the action 
to the word, he rose to his feet, 
stepped solemnly forward, and swept 
the stumps out of the ground. The 
batsman stood aghast, but the Major 
stalked away with the three stumps 
under his arm, and never paused 
or looked back till he had stowed 
them away safely in his barrack- 
room. 

This ended the match. The offi- 
cial portion of the audience had long 
since discreetly taken its departure, 
and few remained, fortunately, to see 
the end. We were fairly exhausted 
after our exertions, and the subaltern, 
though still sweet-tempered, had also 
had more than enough. We laughed 
till we cried as we talked over the 
day's work after dinner ; and though 
we saw many other cricket-matches in 
the island we never witnessed one 
approaching in peculiarity to this. 
But for our own part we never played 
again. Except as a spectator, we 
had had enough of cricket under the 
tropical sun. 



211 



AN ITALIAN ADVENTURER. 1 

(AN EPISODE IX THE WAR OF THE LEAGUE OF CAMBRAY.) 



A MAN can so easily be pleasant if 
he has no principles. Leonardo 
Trissino was a member of that com- 
munity of agreeable scamps who are 
popular with every one except their 
near relations. He married young, 
his wife being his cousin Tommasina 
Trento. The Trissini and the Trenti 
were two of the leading families 
of Vicenza, enjoying their full share 
of the municipal honours which 
the Venetians, most liberal in the 
matter of local government, left to 
the discretion of their mainland 
towns. Leonardo was married in 
1493, and before long he was fast 
in the grip of the Jews. His father- 
in-law, as usual, bore the brunt ; 
he engaged to satisfy Leonardo's 
creditors, taking over the administra- 
tion of his estate. Before long he 
had also to find a home, and make 
future provision for his daughter and 
grand-children. 

Agreeable as Leonardo was, he one 
night killed a man. The victim was 
a knight, a doctor-of law, and a public 
official ; and Leonardo Trissino was 
forced to fly the country. Several 
of the exile's letters still exist. 
They are always appeals for money, 
which, curiously enough, he always 
seemed to get. Tommasina is never 
mentioned, but the money must be 
sent in desperate haste ; it is almost 
unnecessary to add that the writer had 

1 The writer is under great obligations to 
an article in the Nuovo ARCHIVIS VENETO, 
ii* 1, by the Abbate Domenico Bostolan. 
From this he has derived many details of 
Trissino's career not given by Da Porto and 
Sanuto. 



been extremely ill, but was now a 
little better. 

Leonardo's letters were usually 
posted from the Brenner Pass. An 
exile from Vicenza would naturally 
make for Trent and thence for Inns- 
bruck. The Emperor Maximilian had, 
for political and pecuniary reasons, 
married a Milanese wife, Bianca 
Maria Sforza, whose household was 
controlled by one of the Emperor's 
chief favourites, the Prince of Lichten- 
stein. When Maximilian came, as 
was his custom, to hunt chamois in 
the Tyrol, Prince Lichtenstein came 
with him, and brought in his train 
the Italian refugee who was, like many 
unsatisfactory characters, an admirable 
sportsman. Trissino not only kept up 
with the Emperor in his venturous 
scrambles,- but sometimes beat him. 
Maximilian was too true a sportsman 
and too great a gentlemen, to be 
jealous ; he dubbed his comrade a 
Golden Knight. 

It is still a tragedy to have to leave 
Vicenza, even though no wife be 
deserted, though the only creditor be 
the landlord of the comfortable hotel, 
and though all that has been killed 
be time. The city is set upon the 
plain, but the Bacchiglione which 
sweeps round it has still the swing of 
a mountain torrent, and the grove of 
plane trees without the gate gives a 
sense of cool and comfort unusual to 
Italian towns. Northwards stretches 
the fruitful plain, broken by ridges 
which are the outposts of the Alps ; 
Catherine Cornaro's classic home of 
Asolo still stands upon its wooded 



212 



An Italian Adventurer. 



height ; the walls and towers of 
Marostica, still intact, lie like an out- 
spread fan upon the mountain slope ; 
the ramparts of Bassano bar the 
narrow outlet of the Val Sugana pass, 
which leads into the very mysteries of 
the Alps ; the northern horizon is a 
broken hazy line of rock and snow. 
But Vicenza, strange to say, has a 
mountain of its own. Immediately 
outside its gates to the south rises 
the steep ridge of Monte Berico, an 
unexpected and eccentric outcrop from 
the plain. Hereon are the summer 
houses and the gardens of the Vicen- 
tine gentry. Beyond them wood 
and copse, with violets, Christ- 
mas roses, snowdrops, and yellow 
wood anemones, tempt the walker 
for miles along the promontory which 
breaks the level sea of Lombard plain, 
whose ripples are the young waving 
wheat and its billows the lines of 
mulberry and elm. 

Vicenza is a conservative town ; 
still the centre of a rich agricultural 
district it has never suffered the social 
and architectural distortions of active 
manufacture. The great families of 
the fifteenth century, the Da Porto, 
the Trissini, the Thieni, the Trenti, 
are the leading gentry still ; they live 
in their old palaces ; they occupy the 
same seats in their respective parish 
churches beneath the memorial slabs 
of ancestors some centuries apart. On 
the plain their great villas, half farm, 
half country-house, stand back from 
the old highroads among their ricks 
and vineyards and the cottages of 
their hereditary tenantry. Life in the 
rural districts between the Alps and 
the Po changes only with the cycle of 
the seasons. The deliberate oxen with 
their creaking carts, the toy ladder of 
the vinedresser, and the Virgilian 
plough, the three-cornered spade, and 
the clumsy pruning-hook are as they 
were two thousand years ago. 

Vicenza is beautiful to-day, but at 



the moment when Leonardo fled it 
was at the zenith of its glory, for it 
never quite recovered the storm and. 
stress of the succeeding years. It is 
true that since then Palladio encased 
many a noble's house with columned 
fronts, at once pedantic and poetic, 
hybrids of severe knowledge and ex- 
uberant imagination. In the palaces 
of Trissino's friends the round-headed 
Romanesque windows relieved by little 
diamonds and cubes of projecting 
brick, remnants of which a sharp eye 
may sometimes even now detect, had 
given place to a frontage of Venetian 
Gothic. But the peculiar glory of the 
Vicentine palace was and is its Gothic 
balcony, hung on gala days with Ori- 
ental carpets on which the ladies 
leaned to watch the horsemen pass. 
In the broad court behind the house 
the fountain plashed and the hounds 
lay slumbering in the sun. In the 
shade of the wide balcony above, or 
in the gardens on the hill, the young 
Vicentine gentry read their poems to 
each other or discussed the philosophy 
of love. Among the cynosures of this 
cultivated group was the main authority 
for our scapegrace hero'sstory, theyoung 
Luigi da Porto, poet, letter-writer, and 
novelist, the author of the piteous tale 
of Romeo and Juliet. As yet, how- 
ever, he was still fresh from his train- 
ing in the court of Urbino, the nursery 
of high culture, graceful soldiery, and 
fine manners. Another ornament was 
Leonardo's cousin, Gian Giorgio Tris- 
sino. He too had his failings in 
domestic life, but his spirit of adven- 
ture found vent in literary novelties ; 
as a writer of Platonic dialogues, and 
of the first real Italian tragedy, 
SOFONISBA, he found wealth and fame 
far beyond the limits of his native 
town. 

Under Venetian rule Vicenza had 
enjoyed peace for more than a hun- 
dred years, and this through the 
troubled fifteenth century when other 







An Italian Adventurer. 



213 



Italian States, when France and Eng- 
land, Spain and Germany were racked 
by perpetual war. It is hard to 
realise to the full the bearings of such 
unbroken rest. What great conti- 
nental city can even now boast that 
it has seen no hostile army since 1790? 
But some little foretaste of trouble, 
thanks to Trissino, Vicenza had in 
1508, the year which preceded that 
of wrath. The Venetian armies were 
in the mountains on the frontiers of 
the distant Friuli, beating back the 
Emperor's troops from Cadore, the 
home of the young Titian. Of a 
sudden the news reached Vicenza that 
some seven thousand German foot, 
with three hundred horse, had on a 
dark rainy night scaled the mountains 
to the south of the Val Sugana, and 
were on the march over the wild table- 
land of the Seven Communes. This 
district was inhabited by a German 
colony which some two centuries be- 
fore had pressed downwards from the 
Alps, and then, when the tide of 
Teutonism ebbed, had been left 
stranded as on an Italian Ararat. To 
the present day it speaks an old Ger- 
man dialect and leads an old German 
life. If these Imperialists crossed the 
table-land, nothing could save Vicenza. 
Many families fled the town, and in 
the Seven Communes the villagers, 
with their priest and cross and sacra- 
ment at their head, went out to pro- 
pitiate or conjure the unwelcome 
apparition. The invaders retreated 
as suddenly as they had come ; the 
country was probably too inhospitable 
for their maintenance, for, as a Ve- 
netian envoy at the Court of Charles 
the Fifth once wrote, in a German 
army the horses eat and the men 
drink so much that they are slow to 
move and difficult to keep. Then 
came the news that the leaders of the 
band were four Venetian exiles, and 
that one of them was Leonardo Tris- 
sino. 



In the following year the League of 
Cainbray had banded Europe against 
the Republic of Saint Ma'rk, and all 
her mainland territory was in a 
turmoil. Her chosen leader, Bar- 
tolommeo d'Alviano, visited Vicenza 
and examined the defensive possibili- 
ties of the town. He began to draw 
a ring of trenches round the city ; 
suburbs were destroyed, gardens 
wasted, mulberry trees cut down. 
"Worst of all he must needs enclose a 
part of Monte Berico within his lines, 
and the luxurious villas and gardens 
of the gentry must be sacrificed. The 
peasants instead of gathering their 
spring crops and tending their vines, 
were impressed for work upon the 
trenches ; others were driven from 
their homes and lost their all. There 
was loud lamentation ; the nobles 
sullenly complained that the sacrifice 
was vain, that should the Venetians 
be beaten in the field, the works 
would not be ready for defence, and 
that if they held their ground they 
would not be needed. But Alviano, 
a rough swaggering soldier, would take 
no denial ; a Roman Orsini by adop- 
tion, he took upon him the overbearing 
manners of the house which to the 
gentler Florentines had long been a 
by-word. As war came nearer, Cre- 
monese gentlemen passed eastwards 
under Venetian escort, that their dis- 
affection might be damped by the air 
of the lagoons until the storm was 
over. Then through Vicenza, west- 
wards towards the Adda, poured 
Alviano's levies, clad in his colours, 
in tight parti-coloured stockings and 
jerkins of red and white. Mere militia 
were most of these, men who had 
never known war, and were torn weep- 
ing from their homes. They would 
make little fight, said the professional 
cavalry officers and young nobles like 
Da Porto ; yet when they were called 
milch-cows by the regulars they proved 
quarrelsome. A month more and 



214 



An Italian Adventurer. 



Alviano was a prisoner in the great 
rout of Vaila. The lion of Saint 
Mark himself could not have fought 
more fiercely than the too venturous 
general. The milch-cows had gone 
straight at the French, a feat un- 
paralleled for Italian infantry of that 
age. They had beaten back the foot 
and charged the guns, only to be mown 
down line behind line by the unrivalled 
French artillery. Bayard, with his 
rear-guard wading to the waist through 
the flooded meadows, had completed 
the discomfiture. But never, said the 
experienced Captain Lattanzio of 
Bergamo, had he seen infantry fight 
like these raw recruits. 

Nothing could now stay the French 
advance which swept forward to the 
Mincio. Here at length it paused, 
content with hanging the defenders 
of Peschiera from their ramparts for 
daring to resist a King of France. 
The King had conquered his allotted 
share; the land from the Mincio to 
the lagoons was Maximilian's portion. 
Verona, Vicenza, and Padua shut 
their gates against the retreating 
troops. In the panic, the Venetian 
Governors, the Captain and the Judge, 
lost their customary influence. The 
local gentry once more, after a hun- 
dred years, reassumed the lead. Popu- 
lar as Venetian rule was with peasants 
and artisans, the nobles were seldom 
quite content. They resented their 
inferiority to the Republic's Rectors 
who came to rule them ; they found 
little employment in the Republic's ser- 
vice ; their faction-fights were quelled, 
and any injustice towards the poor 
rigorously repressed. Now too they 
were tempted by the prospect of Im- 
perial titles, while a foreign Emperor 
would ride with a looser rein " the 
restive Italian steed " of Dante's 
verse. 

Strangely enough there was no Em- 
peror to take the magnificent terri- 
tory left at his disposal. Maximilian 



was hunting in the Tyrol ; he was no 
longer young, but for him a pair of 
cities was never worth a chamois. In 
their perplexity the Vicentine nobles 
bethought them of their townsman, 
Leonardo Trissino. His own and his 
wife's relations begged him to offer to 
the Emperor the city which would 
give itself to the first comer ; they 
implored him to return, promising 
money and all that he could need. 
Trissino went joyously to Prince Lich- 
tenstein ; with an Imperial commission 
he would win the whole Trevisan 
March, nor cost the Emperor a ducat 
or a man. The Prince despatched him 
on his venture, promising to send the 
commission after him : he thought to 
himself that no German officer could 
go without a considerable force, and 
he had not the money to raise a 
soldier ; should Trissino prosper, well 
and good, if he should fail, there was 
no great loss, and his master was not 
committed. 

Trissino crossed the Brenner to 
Trent, and there he found six Stra- 
diots, light horsemen from Albania, 
deserters probably from the Venetian 
army. With these as a nucleus he 
gathered some ten horsemen and sixty 
foot and went on his way to ' Ro- 
veredo. Meanwhile his extemporised 
force began to dwindle, and he soon 
found himself at the head of some 
five-and-twenty ragamuffins, " bandits, 
charcoal-burners and vagabonds, all 
black and greasy, dirty and tattered." 
Of brave words and men in buckram, 
however, Trissino had abundance. He 
wrote to the town of Schio, which had 
Imperial sympathies, ordering quarters 
for five thousand foot and four hun- 
dred horse ; he had already demanded 
the submission of Vicenza ; if she 
would not open her gates to Caesar, 
he would spare neither life, property, 
nor sc~<. 

The Venetian governors were still 
in Vicen.za, but they had sent off their 



An Italian Adventurer. 



215 



artillery and ammunition, their books 
and military chest to Padua. They 
vainly protested against the proposal 
of the local Committee of Government 
to surrender to Trissino. Sensible as 
all Venetians were they recognised 
defeat; they abandoned the insignia 
of office, closed the governmental 
palace, and refused to administer jus- 
tice. A deputation of nobles and law- 
yers, clothed in silk, with gold chains 
round their necks, rode out to Malo 
to beg the exile to re-enter his native 
town. They persuaded him without 
much ado to abstain from quartering 
upon the city his numerous phantom 
force. Trissino was by this time in 
condition to meet his fashionable 
friends, for his ill-used father-in-law 
had made him a present of ,10, 
and sent him twenty yards of velvet 
with five yards of gold braid. Thus 
on June 5th, 1509, Trissino returned 
in splendour after fifteen years of 
exile, escorted by some eighty horse- 
men to the sound of drums and 
trumpets and clanging bells. The 
Committee of Government gave him 
the keys ; its spokesman made an 
elegant address, to which he paid no 
attention and attempted no reply. 
Leonardo had in fact almost forgotten 
his native tongue ; but he pleased 
every one by his modesty, and was 
equally agreeable to all comers. The 
self-appointed Governor dismounted 
at the Captain's palace, where a mag- 
nificent dinner awaited him. Hence 
the town-crier received the order that 
no townsman should bear arms, and 
that fathers should be responsible for 
the transgressions of their sons and 
masters for those of their servants ; 
" A most unheard of notice," wrote 
the Venetian chronicler of these events, 
" learned by him from the barbarous 
Germans beyond the mountains, who 
are always studying how to be more 
cruel." The order was doubtless 
needed, for the departure of the 



Venetian Governors, who had slipped 
from their houses in plain clothes and 
ridden off for Padua, was ..the signal 
for disturbance. Some of the citizens 
had marched round the town in arms, 
crying Empire, Empire ! But these 
were met by the men of the poorer 
suburb of Saint Piero headed by one 
who carried a banner with a cock 
thereon, and these artisans with shouts 
of Saint Mark, Saint Mark ! set upon 
the aristocrats and slew a doctor of 
laws and others. Nevertheless the 
classes beat the masses back and 
hoisted the .banner of the Empire. 
Then in the great oblong piazza night 
was made merry. From the Captain's 
palace and the Court of Justice 
torches flared and huge candles 
flickered ; a barrel of powder was 
bought to pass for fireworks ; a blaz- 
ing bonfire on the pavement threw up 
its sparks as though to top the giddy 
height of the ruddy bell-tower. Italian 
men are easily made boys ; and in 
nights so short it is waste of time to 
think of the long to-morrow. 

At the head of the chief square in 
every Venetian town stands a column, 
and on it the winged lion with its 
paw upon the open gospel ; it is the 
symbol of Venetian sovereignty. This 
lion was by Trissino's orders dashed 
into atoms on the pavement, and re- 
placed by a trumpery gilded eagle. 
The item of payment to the de- 
structive mason may still be read. 
To the artistic Da Porto this was a 
Vandal's act; he cared not for the 
shame done to Venice, but for the 
ruin of a masterpiece of beauty, such 
as the most famous sculptor of the 
ancient world might well have carved. 
The lesser people loved their late 
masters and their lion. They gathered 
together the broken limbs and hid 
them till better times. The less 
comely parts, however, were seized 
by some nobles of Cremona who had 
escaped from Venice and were passing 



A n Italian Adventurer. 



homewards through Vicenza. As they 
rode through Montcleone, a large 
village towards Yerona, they jested 
indecently at the poor fragments of 
the lion, whereon the villagers fell on 
them in fury, wounding many and 
killing some. This was perhaps the 
first symptom of reaction in favour 
of Saint Mark, for before long every 
strong village was a hornet's nest to 
German and French invaders. The 
peasants would cut off the convoys, 
break the bridges, delay the siege- 
trains. Day after day they watched 
the Marquis of Mantua, a fierce enemy 
of their lords, until at length they 
pounced upon him sleeping, and seized 
him in his shirt. The secret of this 
was the Republic's even-handed justice, 
elsewhere in Italy, unknown. " One 
thing," wrote Bayard's biographer, no 
friendly witness, "must needs be 
noted, that never on this earth were 
lords so well loved by their subjects 
as the Venetians have always been, 
and this alone for the great justice 
wherewith they rule them." One 
hundred and fifty years later Har- 
rington bore witness to Bayard. Since 
then English and French ignoramuses 
and idealists have conspired to blacken 
the aristocracy, which knew and did 
its duty to the only grateful poor. 

Trissino, meanwhile, had been in- 
vited to take Padua in his master's 
name. To make his entry more effec- 
tive he hired a hundred barefoot 
German lanzknechts for the day, and 
pressed into his procession all the 
nobles of Vicenza. Da Porto, op- 
portunist beyond his years, unwilling 
to commit himself so far, pleaded a 
bad arm, but Trissino would take no 
excuse. The Paduans who rode out 
to meet their new ruler returned 
almost mad with joy : he was the most 
generous of mankind ; he would give 
to the citizens every imaginable pri- 
vilege, and would divide among the 
nobles the wide estates of the Venetian 



gentry ; the Emperor would confirm 
his every act. No wonder that the 
guns thundered and the fifes played, 
and the ladies waved a welcome from 
their balconies as the dandy Governor 
rode by. Then it was that the lion 
over the doorway of the Captain's 
palace was blown into the air by 
bombards thrust into its belly, while 
the Buzzacarini dragged from their 
store-room an Imperial banner hidden 
for a hundred years. As its moulder- 
ing folds first napped in the unwonted 
wind, the Captain alighted at his 
palace, where he found board and 
lodging to befit a king. 

A king in truth Trissino was. For 
fear of offence none dared to ask for 
his commission. From the furthest 
corners of the Friuli came great noble- 
men to crave Imperial confirmation of 
their fiefs, or soldiers to beg the com- 
mand of imaginary squadrons. Trissino 
himself would laugh with Da Porto 
at the eagerness with which all who 
had any job to perpetrate, would turn 
to him, as though he was the Emperor 
in person. The Venetian troops were 
ordered off the territory of the Mag- 
nificent SPaduan Republic. Paduan 
nobles were commissioned to replace 
Venetians in the fortresses and de- 
pendent townships. All the irksome 
duties upon comestibles were abolished, 
and never was living so cheap in 
Padua ; wine there was in such plenty 
that it cost nothing; a halfpenny 
would buy seven eggs or a pound of 
meat. The order was issued that 
every one, under a penalty of fifty 
ducats, should sweep the front of his 
own house ; and every one obediently 
swept. But after all the main func- 
tion was to command the troops, and 
of troops there were none. Trissino, 
imitating the methods of Alviano, at- 
tempted to enrol militia. He ordered 
all the peasants of the territory be- 
tween eighteen and forty-five years of 
age to muster in Padua for drill. Some 



An Italian Adventurer. 



217 



five hundred obeyed the summons, 
and on the summer days Trissino could 
be seen in the piazza eating cherries 
while he drilled his troops. He un- 
doubtedly dressed his part. A dandy 
by nature, he could now satisfy his 
vanity at his country's expense. Very 
effective he looked in his white velvet 
tunic frogged with gold, his little gold 
cap stuck on one ear, his beard worn 
in the German fashion, and always a 
bunch of flowers. When he was tired 
of drill he dismissed his peasant 
soldiers, each with a coin to buy their 
lunch ; for dinner he told them they 
should have half a ducat or more, and 
yet they grumbled. Peasants are 
rarely content when overfed and over- 
paid. 

Meanwhile outside Padua matters 
went none too well. Trissino had 
no administrative genius. The roads 
were at the mercy of disbanded 
soldiers and loyal peasants; thePaduan 
merchants could not travel. Bassano, 
indeed, and Asolo tendered their sub- 
mission. Treviso, the third great 
city, which should complete the con- 
quests promised by Trissino, sent a 
deputation to offer him the keys. But 
he was too timid or too slow ; he 
feared the Venetian forces encamped 
at Mestre, and his delay gave time to 
the popular party to memorialise its 
Venetian masters. When Trissino's 
trumpeter arrived he was well-nigh 
killed. A popular tumult, headed by 
a furrier, over-awed the gentry. The 
Venetians took heart and threw in 
troops ; the suspected nobles were 
carried off to Venice. Nor was this 
the only check. Another luckless 
trumpeter was sent to summon Civi- 
dale; but out came Paolo Contarini, the 
proveditor, and one hundred Stradiot 
horse, and gave the trumpeter such a 
fright that never would he go near 
the town again. 

In decrying the Italian soldiery of 
this age modern writers too blindly 



follow Machiavelli, whose purpose it 
was not to write history, but to prove 
theories. For him every hired captain 
was a coward, a sluggard, and a traitor. 
Yet many soldiers of fortune and 
men of birth, from all parts of Italy, 
stood firm by Venice in her darkest 
hour, re-organising her beaten and 
disordered troops, until they once 
more met the barbarians on no unequal 
terms. Such officers were Mariano 
dei Conti from the Roman Campagna, 
and Count Pietro Martinengo of the 
richest house in Brescia, courteous 
gentlemen and well-knit athletes. 
These two, indeed, fell in the first 
battle near the Adda, side by side, 
for they had sworn to stand together 
though their men had fled. But 
Lattanzio of Bergamo and Zitolo of 
Perugia fell one after the other at 
their guns when the Venetians, after 
the tide had turned, strove to hurl 
the Franco-Spanish-German forces 
from Verona. Dionisio da Naldo 
throughout the war kept training the 
fine infantry which took their name 
from his little Romagnol village of 
Brisighella. From Tuscan Prato came 
theKnightof Saint John, Fra Leonardo, 
who from hatred to the French offered 
his services to Venice in any capacity 
which she might choose. He was no 
hireling, for he gave his whole fortune, 
five thousand ducats, to the Republic 
that she might use it in her need. 
He too fell late in the war at the head 
of his light horse, and the French 
grieved because they had not taken 
him alive to murder him. Another 
Tuscan was the one-eyed Baldassare 
Scipione of Siena, who fought through 
the war from end to end, from the 
western frontier of the Adda to the 
easternmost corner of Friuli ; who 
was taken fighting at the Adda, and 
again at the terrible storm of Brescia ; 
and who performed the last exploit of 
the war by saving from the scoundrelly 
Swiss allies the artillery which they 



218 



An Italian Adventurer. 



had sought to steal. Baldassare was 
the fastidious Da Porto's ideal of 
a soldier, a fierce but scientific fighter, 
combining a high character with 
literary culture. The one chivalrous 
champion of Cresar Borgia, he had 
posted in all the chief squares of 
Europe a challenge to any Spaniard 
who should deny that their Catholic 
Majesties had not disgraced their 
honour and their crown by their 
treachery towards his fallen chief. 

Upon one of these men of ancient 
virtue, one otherwise unknown to 
fame, the clever adventurer Trissino 
chanced to stumble. He sent a 
herald to the Venetian camp to 
order Bernardino Fortebraccio, the 
leader of a thousand horse, to come 
and tender his submission to the 
Emperor, otherwise he would confis- 
cate his patrimony at Lonigo, and 
arrest his wife and children who were 
at Padua. The old soldier's reply is 
an answer not only to Trissino but to 
the Florentine slanderer of Italian 
soldiery : "I have no wish to desert 
my duty to the Signory. For sixty 
years past I have been her servant 
and have eaten her bread, and if I 
had a hundred sons I would give them 
all for her, and would take no heed." 
When, too, Trissino sent a governor 
with a hundred foot to the walled 
township of Mirano, Alvise Dardani 
held the fort with a handful of peasants 
from the neighbouring villages and the 
official slunk back to Padua. 

In winning Padua Trissino virtually 
lost Yicenza. This was natural, for 
in Italy municipal patriotism was so 
strong that every city hated its 
nearest neighbour. The Committee 
of Government could keep no order. 
As soon as the Imperial eagles were 
hoisted, exiled malefactors flocked 
into the town and lorded it over the 
citizens. They set fire to the palace 
and the town-hall, and burned the 
books wherein the sentences against 



criminals were registered. The new 
government of Padua was protectionist 
and forbade the people of Vicenza to 
sell their produce in the Paduan 
market. This infuriated the lower 
classes, already devoted to Saint 
Mark. When a Venetian trumpeter 
under safe conduct rode up to the 
walls, the men of the suburb of San 
Piero with cries of Marco, Marco ! 
escorted him to the public square, 
thinking that he had come to take 
the lordship of their town for Venice. 
Each country makes its little revolu- 
tions differently. Englishmen re- 
christen their Local Board ; French- 
men change the terminology of their 
streets ; Italians would throw some- 
thing, or somebody, into a river or on 
the pavement. Thus when Charles 
the Eighth had entered Pisa, the 
people threw the Florentine lion from 
the bridge into the Arno ; and when a 
few years later the Emperor appeared, 
they served the statue of the French 
King as they had served the lion. 
So too at Vicenza the mob threw the 
gilded eagle from his column, and 
finding in the cathedral some banners 
of the late Bishop with the emblem 
of Saint Mark, they hoisted them in 
the eagle's place. The upper classes 
barricaded themselves in their houses, 
but the people sacked the Captain's 
palace which was sumptuously draped 
to greet the arrival of the Imperial 
Commissioner. Even Trissino had 
now lost his spell. He wrote to the 
Commune demanding suitable apart- 
ments and sufficient funds for the 
entertainment of himself and his 
court. He was answered that the 
city could not undertake the burden ; 
and when he appealed to the Bene- 
dictine monks he received a similar 
refusal. Nevertheless he came by 
torchlight with fifes and drums and a 
company of Germans ; he wore a 
wreath of ivy, and his little cap set 
jauntily on one ear covered but the 



An Italian Adventurer. 



219 



one half of his head and seemed like 
to fall. His sojourn was for one 
night only, for he was forced to lodge 
at his own house and at his own 
expense. This visit made matters 
worse, for he persuaded four hundred 
Vicentine soldiers to follow him to 
Padua, and on their arrival they found 
the gates shut in their faces. Paduans 
were too proud to be dependent on 
Vicentines. In return the soldiers 
ravaged the surrounding fields, and two 
were caught and hanged at eventide 
with their faces veiled. Such lynch- 
law did not improve the feeling be- 
tween the neighbour towns. 

The Venetians naturally tried to 
bribe Trissino. Andrea Gritti prom- 
ised that, if he would restore Padua, a 
complete amnesty should be granted 
and Vicenza allowed to choose her own 
master ; Trissino should be first Baron 
of Saint Mark ; he should receive a 
grant of a fine palace in Venice and 
50 a month for the expenses of his 
table. In addition to this were 
offered to him the two strong towns 
of Cittadella and Castelfranco, which 
face each other, the one with its 
circle, the other with its square of 
walls and towers. Of these Trissino 
should be Count with free sovereignty, 
while a hundred cuirassiers, two 
hundred light-horse, and five hundred 
foot were placed under his command. 
Trissino was an adventurer, but not 
a common blackguard. He played 
the grand game, and refused the 
bribe. His mother city of Vicenza, 
he replied, would receive the widest 
privileges from the Emperor ; for him- 
self he looked for nothing. The 
Republic did not despair of at least 
conciliating their influential foe. 
Many Venetian nobles had for some 
time past withdrawn their capital 
from trade and invested it in real 
estate upon the mainland. They had 
thought that in abandoning their 
sovereignty they would still retain 



their private property ; but they 
found themselves mistaken. Trissino 
scheduled their estates, and it was 
reported that half would be applied to 
the benefit of the Paduan municipal 
pawnbroking office, and the other 
moiety to the advantage of the town. 
Meanwhile the crops were ripe, and 
their proprietors were chafing to 
gather them. The Venetians strove 
to induce Trissino to respect the 
rights of private property. Hearing 
that he had sent to Mestre to buy a 
race-horse, the Government presented 
one, a strange gift from the city of 
canals. More than this, the Secretary 
who conducted negotiations was em- 
powered to offer .1,000. It is not 
known that Trissino took the bribe ; 
but he courteously allowed the Vene- 
tian gentry to harvest their crops for 
the current year. 

Encouraged by this concession, the 
Republic sent Francesco Cappello to 
renew its former offers. Trissino 
cherished a warm regard for the 
old man who, when ambassador in 
Germany, had befriended him in 
exile ; and he had excepted his pro- 
perty from the schedule of confisca- 
tion. Cappello, under pretext of an 
embassy to the Emperor, took his 
chaplain, his secretary, and his barber, 
and made Padua the first stage of his 
fictitious journey. For further se- 
curity he disguised himself in a 
Hungarian dress. But as he entered 
the gate, some soldiers who had served 
under him at Trieste recognised the 
magnificent old man, and reverently 
saluted him. A little further a 
woman, looking him hard in the 
face, cried, "Hurrah for Saint 
Mark ! " A secret interview with 
Trissino was contrived, but the Paduan 
nobles, very jealous of these negotia- 
tions, got wind of Cappello's presence. 
Trissino, moreover, was no longer the 
sole master, for on the same evening 
as his friend three Imperial Commis- 



, v> 

.- 



220 



An Italian Adventurer. 



sibners arrived at Padua. Cappello 
slipped safely down the Brenta as far 
as Stra, but here he was arrested by 
fifty horsemen. It nearly went hard 
with the old diplomatist. In spite of 
his commission to the Emperor, in 
spite of his indignant protests on the 
violation of the law of nations, the 
provisional Government of sixteen 
members debated a motion for his 
immediate execution. The turn of a 
single vote would have cost his life. 

The great coalition against Venice 
was now showing signs of loosening. 
The King of France retired from 
the Mincio to make his triumphal 
entry into Milan. Ferdinand of 
Aragon and the Pope had taken, 
almost without resistance, all that 
they desired. The Ernperor was tim- 
idly clinging to the southern fringes 
of the Alps, concentrating his forces 
at Bassano and the neighbouring 
walled townlets ; his unpaid troops 
were demoralised by plunder. The 
Venetians plucked up courage ; the 
nobles had now realised that in aban- 
doning the territory of their State, 
they were losing their means of liveli- 
hood. In the Senate it was debated 
whether the Levant or Italy, the sea 
or land, offered the fairest field for 
Venetian enterprise ; the issue was a 
resolution carried by one vote only, to 
retake Padua. The town was weakly 
held. Trissino and the Imperial 
officials had but some three hundred 
Germans, a few Italian lances, and 
the volunteer companies of Paduan 
nobles ; the populace was eager to 
welcome Venetian rule. Padua was 
so near Venice that the fortifications 
had been allowed to crumble, and 
Trissino, bent on remitting instead of 
raising taxes, had never looked to 
their repair. 

On the night of July 16th all 
Venice was astir. Andrea Gritti, the 
soul of the enterprise, had marched 
the regulars up to the eastern gate of 



Padua. Every available boat from 
every township on the lagoons, from 
Murano and Malamocco, from Torcello 
to distant Chioggia, had been ordered 
to the channels of the Brenta. Thither 
passed the crews and the workmen 
from the Arsenal ; the nobles came in 
their barges, the citizens in their 
gondolas and pinnaces. Some twenty 
thousand men in a flotilla of four 
thousand boats were gathered on the 
Brenta. From the villages on the 
banks poured forth the peasants, full 
of fight against the plundering Ger- 
mans and the Paduan rebels. Yet 
with all this stir the secret was 
strangely kept, and on that July night 
all Padua was sleeping. At dawn of 
day on the 17th, the anniversary 
of the day on which a little more than 
a century ago Padua had first fallen, 
three waggons with loads of wheat 
summoned the guard to open the 
Codalunga gate, where now there 
stands the monument of the Venetian 
victory. The last waggoner stopped 
upon the bridge, and then the Venetian 
horsemen dashed in from their ambush 
and held the gate. The Greek light 
horse, the Uhlans of their day, gal- 
loped forward to explore the streets ; 
the gentry were in their beds, the 
people made common cause with the 
invaders, and the main Venetian force 
pushed its way into the town. Tris- 
sino was the first to mount, but he 
and his two hundred followers were 
thrust back to the market-place. They 
barricaded themselves in the Captain's 
palace ; but the doors were dashed in, 
the lion banner once more floated 
from the balcony, while the great bell 
clanged out the Venetian triumph. 
Trissino, however, was not yet caught. 
From the palace he broke through 
the wall into the stronger castle ; and 
here he and his comrades were safe 
for at least a night. 

Meanwhile through the gates and 
over the walls of Padua poured sol- 



An Italian Adventurer. 



"W 



221 



diers, villagers, and farmers, pillaging 
the houses of the nobles and the 
Jewish money-changers. Then to- 
wards midday arrived the great flotilla, 
detained for some hours by fifty brave 
Germans who had defended the half- 
way fort of Stra. Nobles, fishermen, 
and boatmen joined indiscriminately in 
pillage ; in vain Gritti risked his life, 
rushing among the plunderers sword 
in hand, until at nightfall he got the 
mastery, and hanged the plunderers 
forthwith. Next morning the Vene- 
tian mortars were dragged to the 
piazza and opened fire upon the castle. 
Seven shots sufficed to effect a breach. 
Then Trissino called for a parley at 
the postern. He bargained for his 
own life and that of the Imperial 
treasurer, surrendering his other com- 
rades at discretion. He took the gold 
chain from his neck and gave it to a 
Venetian officer ; but Gritti, always 
the most generous of victors, returned 
it, saying, " You shall wear this with 
honour." Yet Trissino did not escape 
from Padua without humiliation. As 
he passed through the streets to the 
river-gate, a poor old woman struck 
him with all her might and cursed 
him like a Fury. All Venice was 
waiting to see the captives come ; but 
their arrival was purposely delayed 
till night, and only the nobles were 
abroad when they were landed in 
front of the Doge's palace. Lorenzo 
Loredano to the other prisoners gave 
a courteous greeting ; but to Trissino 
he vouchsafed no word, although the 
adventurer was still finely dressed 
with his golden cap, his massive chain, 
and his white velvet tunic frogged 
with gold. 

The prisoners, ten in all, Germans 
and Italians, were kindly used. The 
Ten examined Trissino, and finding 
him suffering from a wound, gave him 
a better prison. Maximilian did not 
forget his brother sportsman. Per- 



sonally, and through Prince ary 
of Brunswick, he complained of the- . 
treatment of the captives', and threat- " 
ened reprisals. The Doge replied that 
the Emperor was misinformed, that 
the prisoners, including Trissino, were 
kindly treated and were only pre- 
vented from escaping. Towards the 
close of the year Trissino and others 
were taken from the prison and 
lodged in the Captain's house, where 
they could freely hold intercourse 
with their fellows. In February, 1510, 
the four chief Germans abused their 
privilege, and while the guards were 
guzzling, broke through a walled-up 
doorway and escaped. Trissino paid 
the penalty, for he was led back to 
the strong prison, and here just one 
year later he died of a broken heart. 

Thus ended a remarkable adven- 
turer, with his high ambitions, his 
winning manners, his love for velvet 
and gold braid and flowers. He had 
played for a high stake ; that he lost 
was not all a fault of his. Without 
a ducat or a trooper he had kept his 
word, and won for the Emperor a 
priceless territory. Had Maximilian 
followed his friend in the field as 
keenly as he followed him in the 
chase, the quarry might never have 
been let slip. Yet Maximilian was 
a man of sentiment and was not 
forgetful. When in the half light of 
a wet November morning the lion 
of Saint Mark sprang upon Vicenza, 
the house of Trissino fled from its 
claws, and for love of its scapegrace 
member found shelter with the Em- 
peror. And when after seven years 
of fight the war grew weary, Gian 
Giorgio Trissino was chosen to nego- 
tiate the peace ; for Maximilian was 
known to cherish the name of his agile 
comrade in the breezy Tyrol moun- 
tains, who in his cause had pined to 
death behind the prison bars above 
the sluggish waters of the canal. 



222 



THE POOR SCHOLAR. 



FEW subjects in the social history 
of England are more curious and 
interesting than the silent revolu- 
tion which, in the course of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
transformed into institutions for 
the education of the rich the Uni- 
versities whose colleges had been, 
with the rarest exceptions, founded 
expressly for the benefit of the poor. 
For the latter fact is beyond the 
range of controversy. At Merton, 
for example, the model for all subse- 
quent foundations, poverty was under 
the founder's regulations an absolute 
necessity for admission. The founder 
of Corpus Christi, Oxford, prescribed 
that there should be in his college no 
more than four, or at most six, sons of 
lawyers or nobles, the only two rich 
classes which in the early part of the 
sixteenth century would be likely to 
seek a University education, and 
those only upon condition of strict 
compliance with college discipline. 
At Exeter again the twelve fellowships 
which Bishop Stapledon established 
were, in the words of the college 
historian, distinctly given for the 
children of the poor. The transform- 
ation was of course an affair of time. 
At the outset of the sixteenth century 
we find the poor scholar still in the 
ascendant ; and even as late as 1616 
there were in Oxford no less than four 
or five hundred students who could be 
described as poor. But slowly the 
influence of the growing wealth of the 
country, commercial and agrarian, the 
increase in the number of families of 
position which resulted from the 
distribution of the monastery lands, 
began to break through not only the 



statutes and regulations of the 
founders, but their manifest inten- 
tions. Slowly a new class, which 
came to be called in time the gentle- 
men-commoners, began to press the 
poor student to the wall. They 
profited by the rooms which had been 
built for him and the kitchens which 
had been endowed to save his pocket ; 
they so far succeeded in ousting him 
from the colleges, that Laud was com- 
pelled to make some academical pro- 
vision for those who, like the un- 
attached students of our own day, 
found themselves for one reason or 
another debarred from admission to a 
college. By the close of the seven- 
teenth century the new class of richer 
students had succeeded in imparting 
to the University, as a whole, the 
character of idleness and extravagance 
which, aided by the dread of innova 
tion to be found nowhere in such 
perfection as in an Oxford common- 
room, has in some measure managed 
to survive the most determined at- 
tacks of the spirit of reform. 

In the more prominent of the two 
figures there is little to interest us. 
The gentleman-commoner in his habits 
and tastes, his hunting and horse- 
racing, his cock-fighting and coursing, 
his attendances upon the popular 
toasts, his display in the High Street 
or Merton Walks of the latest fashion 
in peruques or buckles, differed but 
little from his counterpart in the 
modern University. But the poor 
student of the seventeenth century, 
were he scholar, servitor, battelar, or 
commoner, is interesting to us not 
only as a member of a class which, as 
a class, is for practical purposes a 



The Poor Scholar. 



223 



thing of the past, but as the last 
remnant of the University of the 
Middle Ages, the University where 
the poor were the rule and not the 
exception. Never in all its history 
had Oxford sunk to such a low level 
of intellectual and moral stagnation 
as in the forty years which succeeded 
the Restoration. The University as a 
whole, as well as the individual colleges, 
had no doubt suffered severely from the 
Civil War. Their plate had gone into 
the melting-pot to pay the royal 
troops, their credit had been deeply 
engaged for the same purpose : their 
estates had suffered from the depreda- 
tions of one side or the other ; and it 
was not only during the war that 
they had been saddled with the 
entertainment of a protracted succes- 
sion of expensive guests. The numbers 
of the University stood in dismal 
contrast to what they had been during 
the earlier part of the century, when 
quite as many undergraduates were in 
residence as to-day, and the four 
principal colleges could each show an 
average of close upon two hundred 
and fifty students. The two succes- 
sive purgations of the University, 
first by the Parliamentary Visitation, 
and secondly under the provisions of 
the Act of Uniformity, had resulted 
in the banishment of a large number 
of the abler and more independent 
spirits ; and the loss of some, scholars 
such as Conant, for example, was 
irreparable. Their places were taken 
by men whose character and attain- 
ments in many cases would in our 
own time be an absolute bar to the 
humblest college preferment. A 
Rector of Exeter who was constantly 
too drunk to walk alone to his 
lodgings, a Warden of Merton whose 
morals were at least doubtful and 
whose greed drove the college to 
desperation, a President of Corpus 
who regarded the foundation as a 
convenient means of providing for 



a perennial supply of great-nephews, 
would have found their counterparts 
in at least the bulk of 'the colleges. 
Public lecturers who never lectured, 
Fellows whose evil life was open and 
notorious, Doctors who sat tippling 
with their own servants, gentlemen- 
commoners who never attended a 
lecture or turned the pages of a book, 
were figures too ordinary to excite 
more than the passing notice of the 
satirist. The whole standard of 
University life and morals seemed to 
have taken a sudden plunge downhill. 
Such was the society and such the 
surroundings in which in the latter 
half of the seventeenth century there 
was still to be found the poor scholar. 
In many respects circumstances were 
in his favour, at any rate more so than 
at the present day. The comparatively 
small number of rich men at the 
University rendered it far easier for 
a student whose purse was light to 
obtain admission to a college : a large 
proportion of the scholarships and 
emoluments were filled up by the old- 
fashioned method of nomination, or 
by an examination little more than 
nominal ; and it was seldom difficult 
for a man of any influence to obtain 
for a promising lad who had been 
brought under his notice, a footing of 
one kind or another in the University. 
Even if no scholarship were available, 
the student might still find an ex- 
tremely cheap byway to his degree in 
the duties of servitor or bible-clerk, 
functions which now are discharged 
by the scout or the under-porter. 
And once the footing in the Univer- 
sity gained, the rest was simple, far 
simpler than it is to-day. Fellowships 
were not only proportionately far more 
numerous than at the present time, 
when in the average college perhaps 
one may fall vacant in two years and 
is competed for by practically the 
whole University, but far easier of 
attainment, as to a large proportion 



224 



The Poor Scholar. 



of the undergraduates of the seven- 
teenth century their small value (some 
20 or ,30) and the implied necessity 
of holy orders, offered no attractions. 
There were, moreover, even in the latter 
part of the seventeenth century, a 
variety of advantages to the poor stu- 
dent which to us are entirely unknown. 
The single room in which he slept 
.and worked was almost invariably 
shared by a Fellow or senior under- 
graduate. The two meals which were 
all he was supposed to need, early 
dinner at eleven o'clock and supper 
at six, were both simple and cheap ; 
if he required more, a pennyworth of 
toast and ale could be procured at 
the buttery-hatch. Still more in his 
favour was the deep line drawn by 
social prejudices, by habits and tastes 
and by means, between himself and 
the gentleman-commoner. From the 
Smarts and Bloods for whom the 
University was no more than an 
agreeable method of spending two or 
three years, and who as a rule seem to 
have passed their time without the 
slightest semblance of study, the poor 
student could have had little to learn ; 
and it was perhaps well for him that 
any attempt on his part at acquaint- 
ance would have been scouted as an 
impertinence. As it was, he found 
himself a member of a class that was 
a society in itself and all the members 
of which were as poor as he was. 
The chances were that, whether 
scholar, servitor, or commoner, he 
entered the college at a considerably 
earlier age than is customary to-day, 
and was subject to a discipline and 
supervision which was practically that 
of a modern public school. His move- 
ments were far more strictly regulated 
than those of the modern under- 
graduate : his tutor kept, or was 
supposed to keep, his pocket-money, 
supervised the amusements he indulged 
in and the company he kept ; and 
breaches of discipline were punished 



by imposition and the birch. Every- 
thing of his surroundings and life, 
the dinners he ate, the clothes he 
wore, the fees he paid, his furniture, 
his recreations, were on a simpler, 
perhaps on a rougher scale than would 
be possible to-day. In his keeping- 
room, for example, it may be doubted 
whether there was much beyond a 
table, a chair or two, a shelf for his 
books, a very few needful utensils, and 
the beds of his room-mate and himself, 
one of which was in the daytime, to 
save space, pushed beneath the other. 
He and the other members of the 
society dined and supped together in 
hall, doing their best to keep up the 
old custom of conversing in Latin. 
His pleasures were as simple and in- 
expensive as his other surroundings. 
A game of bowls upon the college- 
gi'een, a main of quoits at a country 
inn, the shows of the annual fairs, 
an evening's gossip in the coffee-house, 
or the stolen joys of the tavern, were 
the amusements of the poorer scholar. 
Rough as the life may have been, it 
had its strong points as a training for 
the lad of narrow means. 

Of the teaching and examinations 
perhaps the less said the better. The 
college tutor had scarcely come to be 
responsible for his pupil's teaching ; for 
that there were professors and public 
lecturers, who lectured, or more usually 
failed to lecture, as the case might be. 
Tutors too are no more than human, and 
it is not surprising if the critical detected 
in them a decided inclination to devote 
their attention to the gentleman- 
commoner in preference to the poor 
scholar, who in the main had to rely 
upon himself, and what he could pick 
up at lectures or from the exercises in 
the college hall. Fortunately the 
ordeal which he had to pass through 
was no very serious one. The first 
of his two examinations consisted only 
in the public repetition of certain 
well-worn logical dialogues, so trite 



The Poor Scholar. 



225 



and stale indeed, that they were 
usually known by heart. The second 
essential was a certificate of attendance 
in succession at the public lectures 
in grammar, rhetoric, logic, moral 
philosophy, and geometry ; or in lieu 
of the certificate he " supplicated a 
dispensation" for the attendance, as 
the undergraduate does to-day. The 
actual examination for the degree, if 
we are to believe even a proportion of 
the pungent criticisms of Terrse Filius, 
ran upon such hackneyed lines, that 
the candidates had both questions and 
answers at their fingers' ends before 
they entered the room. A shrewd 
fellow who could find five shillings for 
the proctor's man, would have no 
difficulty in appointing one of his 
own friends examiner ; and the same 
authority avers that it was common 
enough for examiner and candidate 
to spend the night previous to the ex- 
amination in a drinking-bout at the 
latter's expense. The last step was 
the determination, a public disputa- 
tion not less farcical in its character 
than the first examination ; and then 
the undergraduate was a full-fledged 
Bachelor of Arts. 

A fortunate accident, the discovery 
of an undergraduate's account-book 
for the years 1682 1688, 1 enables 
us to trace in comparatively minute 
detail the expenses and in some 
measure the life of an Oxford student 
of no great means at the close of 
the seventeenth century. The under- 
graduate in question, one James 
Wilding, seems to have been a 
servitor of Saint Mary's Hall, and 
afterwards became a member of 
Merton College. The total cost of 
his degree, or rather his total 
expenses up to the end of the term in 
which he took his degree, were some- 
thing less than 57, a sum which 

1 These accounts have been printed by the 
Oxford Historical Society, in Vol. V. of their 
publications. 

No. 441. VOL. LXXIV. 



might represent in modern values 
about three times as much. But 
even such an expenditure was large 
compared with such cases as that of 
Whitfield, whose popularity as a 
servitor, gained by his previous ex- 
perience as a tapster, enabled him to 
take his degree in 1735 at a cost to 
his friends of less than 24 ; and 
Bishop Wordsworth has recorded 
instances where the entire outlay was 
even less than that. Board and lodg- 
ing, as we have said, were extremely 
cheap. Though James Wilding seems 
to have lived in Oxford the whole 
year round, his total expenses for 
chamber-rent and food were no more 
than 10 for nearly five years. His 
terminal payments were on a similarly 
modest scale. Ten shillings a term 
was his tutor's fee ; half-a-crown to 
the barber, four or five shillings to 
his bedmaker and laundress, an occa- 
sional largess of sixpence to the 
buttery-boy and the cook, seem to 
have included all of what we may 
term his fixed charges. His matricu- 
lation cost him seven and sixpence, 
his entrance at Merton, when he 
migrated to that college, five shillings, 
and the fees upon taking his degree 
something over 3. 

More interesting perhaps are the 
varied lights which the accounts throw 
upon the surroundings of such a stu- 
dent. The furniture and utensils he 
bought in his first term consisted of a 
candle-stick and lantern, an inkhorn, 
a lead pen, a trunk and a glass ; and 
the cost of the whole was five shillings 
and tenpence. In his third term 
there are signs of growing luxury, 
curtain-rods and hooks, to say 
nothing of a bed-mat. At other 
points in the four years we find 
mentioned the purchase or sale of 
tongs and bellows, a couple of chairs 
and a bedstead, and it may be 
doubted whether there was much 
more in his room, as the total value 

Q 



226 



The Poor Scholar. 



of its furniture is set down at fifteen 
shillings. 

In his wardrobe our student was 
certainly of a thrifty turn. He was 
constantly having his clothes turned, 
mended, and cleaned ; and one must 
suppose that it was clothes, or at all 
events cloth from his home, that are 
the cause of some of the many pay- 
ments to the carrier ; for a new suit 
never appears in the accounts, though 
sometimes we have an entry of the 
cost of making one. But gowns were 
an expensive item. They needed not 
only frequent mending, but twice in 
five years our undergraduate buys 
new ones, a taste scarcely compre- 
hensible to the modern Oxonian ; and 
a new gown, costing as it did a guinea 
or so, was a serious matter. Once in 
a way Wilding buys a pair of gloves ; 
more" frequently he has his stockings 
coloured ; towards the end of his time 
he indulges in a pair of silver buttons ; 
and his improved position at Merton, 
it seems, leads him into the extrava- 
gance of a wig and a red fur cap. 
In books he was more luxurious, and 
his library of close on a hundred 
volumes, mostly classics and theology, 
must have been an exceptionally large 
one for an undergraduate. But even 
the most studious of poor scholars 
cannot always be at his books, and it 
is plain that James Wilding, like 
some of his successors, found time 
for a good deal which would probably 
have caused some searchings of heart 
in the Shropshire vicarage from which 
he had come. We need not be too 
hard upon him for the " fresh fees and 
drink " to the amount of eleven and 
sixpence, which signalised his matri- 
culation, or the treatings of " oppo- 
nents " demanded by custom after his 
examination in the schools, for custom 
is not to be lightly set aside in Oxford. 
But wine, ale, cider, and similar 
entries appear in the accounts more 



frequently and in larger items than, 
one suspects, the undergraduate's 
reverend father would have approved. 
An excursion to Abingdon, with its 
accompaniments of strawberries and 
cream, was all very well ; and so 
might be journeys to London, Cam- 
bridge, and Worcester. But here and 
there one regrets to find memoranda 
relating to the pleasures of the chase, 
or " lost at cards " ; while the attain- 
ment of our undergraduate's degree, 
like the attainment of degrees in later 
ages, was celebrated by certain pro- 
ceedings at a tavern whose cost 
indicates that they were of a protracted 
and convivial character. Sometimes 
Wilding allows himself such little 
surplus luxuries as herrings, coffee, 
sugar, a lobster at twopence, or a 
couple of rabbits. We catch a glimpse 
too, of the homely doctoring of the 
period, the purges, ointments, and 
blood-letting. We see our friend 
among the shows, paying two- 
pence for seeing the rhinoceros, or 
for a view of a Turk ; while an outlay 
of a shilling for a mountebank's 
packet seems to indicate that in the 
seventeenth, as two centuries later, 
there were limits to the shrewdness of 
the undergraduate. 

In some respects no doubt we 
have improved upon all this. Ex- 
aminations are no longer the pure 
farce they were in the seventeenth 
century ; we have abolished the 
gentleman-commoner and induced 
lecturers to lecture and tutors to 
teach. But after all our exertions 
we have not yet succeeded in making 
the University as easy of access to 
the poor man as it was two hundred 
years ago. Even if he had to run to 
the tavern for the beer when the 
buttery was closed, to wait at table 
and black the shoes, it was better to 
be at the University even at that 
price than not to be there at all. 



227 



SOME THOUGHTS ON RACINE. 



THE few surviving champions of 
the French classical school have suf- 
fered so much at the hands of the 
critics, that one may be excused for 
approaching Racine with misgiving. 
Are the great exemplars of this school 
to be swept away for ever, and is 
romanticism the last word of the 
artistic mind 1 It is in any case 
certain that Racine is no longer 
the idol of educated Frenchmen, 
as he was a century ago. The 
idols of the theatre, like those of the 
market-place, are not always secured 
against rough handling ; but were it 
otherwise, the stage, like all man's 
work, must suffer change and old 
forms give place to new. In the 
eighteenth century Racine was to 
France more than Shakespeare was 
to England ; in the meantime the 
fame of the Englishman has grown, 
and is still growing, while the French- 
man's fame has suffered eclipse, and 
is not likely to recover its splendour. 
But there is still in this chief of the 
French classical school vitality enough 
to make him profoundly interesting ; 
and if his dramatic method were as 
dead as that of his Greek prototype, 
Euripides, he would still be interest- 
ing as the embodiment of a once great 
and powerful tradition. 

Englishmen have often reproached 
Voltaire for his depreciation of Shake- 
speare ; but have they on the whole 
been happier in their judgments on 
Racine 1 When a French company 
is acting one of Racine's plays in 
London, the work of the dramatic 
critics is more than ever diverting ; a 
remnant of wise critics indeed there 
always is, but what a remnant is 



needed to rescue so large a flock ! 
We have seen PHEDRE, one of the 
noblest tragedies ever written, laughed 
away as dreary and monotonous ; it 
has often been described as " peri- 
wigged Hellenism," a phrase to be 
used again and again, and passed on 
from one critic to another with the 
belief that all Racine is distilled into 
it. We will not stop here ; let us go 
higher, for greater men show them 
the way. Something which Hazlitt 
wrote will serve us ; with all his 
acuteness and sensibility, Hazlitt had 
his full share of British exclusive- 
ness, and in this matter he may be 
said to find expression for the preju- 
dices of his race. " The French," he 
says, " object to Shakespeare for his 
breach of the Unities, and hold up 
Racine as a model of classical pro- 
priety, who makes a Greek hero ad- 
dress a Grecian heroine as Madame. 
Yet this is not barbarous Why 1 
Because it is French, and because 
nothing that is French can be barbar- 
ous in the eyes of this frivolous and 
pedantic nation, who would prefer a 
peruke of the age of Louis the Four- 
teenth to a simple Greek head-dress." 
Again he tells us that Racine gives us 
"the commonplaces of the human heart 
better than any one, but nothing or 
very little more." This was written 
at a time when Racine held a greater 
place in the minds of his countrymen 
than he holds to-day ; let us compare 
with it the words of a French con- 
temporary of Hazlitt, also a gloomy 
spirit, but a man of equal intellectual 
irifts and of far wider attainments. 

o 

Lamennais says : " Racine is the 
Raphael of the drama. Expression 

Q 2 



228 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



and design, brilliance and sobriety 
of colour, we find in him all the 
distinctive qualities of this great 
master, in whom the antique feeling 
for beauty was combined with the 
Christian genius." This seems to 
re-echo the admiration of the old 
school, of such men, for instance, as 
Voltaire, who says of Racine's IPIII- 
GENIE : " Oh, very tragedy ! beauty of 
every age and of every race ! Woe to 
the barbarians who do not feel in 
their souls this wonderful merit ! " 

To English ears such praise sounds, 
to say the least, a little out of mea- 
sure ; but it is well to realise at the 
outset that Voltaire here speaks the 
best mind of France ; and in the last 
resort, as a fine critic has said, every 
nation must be held to be the fittest 
judge of its own literature. Great 
writers are not concerned merely with 
literary form, but are embodiments 
also of the national genius, a thing so 
infinitely complex that it is rarely 
understood even by mature men until 
they are past forty, if indeed it is 
ever understood at all by those who 
are trained outside its circle. Then 
too, we may ask, has any man ever 
mastered two languages 1 In the 
fullest sense we do not know a lan- 
guage until we can by ear distinguish 
in it the nicest shades of rhythmical 
effect ; has any one ever done so with 
two languages ? This alone would 
make every highly civilised nation 
the only competent judge of its own 
literature. Certainly with so pecu- 
liarly national an art as Racine's, we 
must waive any academical concep- 
tion of a cosmopolitan literature. 
But the art of Sophocles was quite 
as national as Racine's ; is not all art 
national or parochial ? Of all modern 
classics DON QUIXOTE is most uni- 
versal in its appeal ; but its full charm 
is reserved for the Spaniard. 

Racine was one of the glories of 
the age of Louis the Fourteenth, and 



in many ways embodied its sentiment ; 
its heroic sentiment, a Frenchman of 
the old school would have said. He 
was born on the 21st of December, 
1639, at the little town of La Ferte- 
Milon, in Aisne, where his father, who 
gave to the boy his own name of 
Jean, was collector of the salt-tax. 
His mother (whose maiden name was 
Jeanne Sconin) gave birth about a 
year later to a second child, a daugh- 
ter, Marie, and died a few days after- 
wards. Widowers may pine, but not 
for ever, and within a couple of years 
the father married again ; but his own 
death followed quickly, and little Jean 
was an orphan before he had completed 
his fourth year. The father left no 
provision for the two children, who 
were taken in charge by the grand- 
parents, Jean going to the father's 
side, and Marie to the mother's. 
Jean was treated with great kind- 
ness by his grandmother, and had 
probably a happier childhood than he 
would have known at home with his 
stepmother, if his father had lived. 
His first schooling was at the College 
of Beauvais, from about 1651 to 1655, 
after which he went to one of the 
famous schools of Port Royal, where 
he remained until 1658. Jean was 
an apt pupil, and appears to have 
shown at an early age a great love 
of ancient literature, especially the 
Greek, which he cultivated sedulously 
all his days. Few anecdotes of his 
youth are worth repeating ; the only 
one that remains in the memory is 
that of his master Lancelot finding 
him reading a Greek book, which had 
for its theme not theology but earthly 
love. The master was scandalised, 
and burned the book ; Racine pro- 
cured a second copy, which also went 
into the fire ; still unyielding, the boy 
obtained a third copy, which he read, 
and afterwards presented to the 
master ; this too, he said, might be 
burned, for he knew it by heart. 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



229 



The masters at Port Royal were per- 
haps easily scandalised, but they were 
humane and long-suffering ; if Racine 
had been under Busby the story would 
not have been so smooth. 

After Port Royal he was about a 
year at the College of Harcourt, where 
the study of logic and philosophy 
could not kill his love of the Muses. 
Then for about four years he made 
experiments, as young men do, in 
the choice of a career. During nearly 
half this period he was with a 
relative of his mother's, who held a 
respectable if not a profitable position 
in the Church. It was certainly the 
wish of this ecclesiastic that Racine 
should take orders ; but the young 
man wisely refrained from taking his 
uncle's advice ; with all his gifts and 
accomplishments, Racine had not in 
him the making of a good priest. It 
was not quite in vain that he had 
done something with the view of 
entering the Church, though in fact 
he had not gone beyond the vestibule. 
He secured a benefice, and perhaps 
for a time he wore the ecclesiastical 
costume ; but this has been generally 
denied. Voltaire, who knew Louis, 
Racine's son, and who therefore may 
be supposed to speak with some 
authority, says : " He wore the 
ecclesiastical costume when he wrote 
THEAGENE, which he offered to 
Moliere, also when he wrote LA 
THEBAIDE, the subject of which 
Moliere suggested to him. In the 
royal license to publish ANDROMAQUE, 
he is styled Prior of Epinay." A 
question of this kind is not in itself 
important, but it shows how un- 
certain is the biographer's ground. 
Racine was back in Paris in 1663, 
and success now came quickly. He 
had before this written a play, or 
plays, of which we know nothing, and 
several poems. It is not singular 
that he had remained unknown, for 
in that age the literary man's chances 



were few ; the patronage of the king 
or his minister was worth more to the 
author than the good opinion of the 
publishers. It was not, however, 
through the publishers but through 
the players that he at length became 
famous. He had indeed already 
attracted the royal notice, but this 
was less than fame ; an ode which he 
wrote on the marriage of the King 
secured him a present of a hundred 
louis, altogether a suitable beginning, 
since the King and the poet had so 
much in common. But for the time 
it ended here ; a great king does 
not allow himself to be taken by 
storm. Again in 1664 he wrote a 
royal ode, inspired this time by the 
recovery of Louis from the most 
unkingly malady of the measles ; and 
the result of this second compliment 
was a pension. In the same year his 
tragedy LA THIBAIDE was performed 
by Moliere's company, and as Racine 
was not yet twenty-five, he cannot be 
said to have waited long for fame. 
Then for thirteen years he continued 
to write for the stage with varying 
fortune. All the plays of what we 
may call his secular period were com- 
posed between 1663 and 1677, in 
which latter year he was thirty- 
eight. 

His life during this period is 
almost entirely in his plays. It is 
only necessary to add that he was the 
lover of two charming actresses, and 
that he figured in more than one 
literary quarrel, which did much to 
embitter his mind and to sully his 
reputation. He quarrelled with Port 
Royal ; one of his old masters, Nicole, 
had published a tract against the 
stage, in which he described play- 
wrights as " wholesale poisoners." 
Racine may have been mistaken in 
thinking the attack directed against 
himself, but in any case he had a 
right to resent it. He replied, with 
much abuse of Port Royal and its 



230 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



teachers, to whom he owed so much. 
Is such ingratitude altogether beyond 
forgiveness 1 It is certainly true that 
gratitude exists chiefly in dictionaries 
and in the imagination of young 
poets ; but even in the noblest minds 
it will hardly stand a shock like this. 
Racine has also been charged with 
ingratitude towards Moliere by with- 
drawing a play from his company ; but 
the evidence is so slender that we 
may justly refuse to deal with the 
question at all. The last public 
quarrel in which he was concerned 
is one in which our sympathies must 
go entirely with him. An aristocratic 
clique in Paris, headed by a duchess, 
made a dead set against Racine, and 
determined to set up as a rival some 
forgotten writer, one of the medio- 
crities of the hour. Their purpose 
was to be accomplished during the 
first performances of PHEDRE ; for 
six nights the theatre was to be 
empty, while all the Parisian world 
of taste was to be at the rival house. 
Money was spent lavishly, and the 
plot in part succeeded. Yet Racine, 
if he had been so minded, might have 
outlived it in a few months ; but he 
was not made of the true fighting 
material, and gave up the game alto- 
gether. It was not in all ways a 
pleasant game, even when success was 
unmistakable. The lovers of fine 
literature are always few, and in 
Racine's day there was no strong 
public opinion to keep in order the 
great army of disappointed spirits. 
He now turned for consolation to 
religion, and had thoughts of retiring 
to the cloister ; his confessor advised 
him to remain in the world and to 
marry. The counsel was good, for 
Racine had above everything the 
temperament of the artist, which 
loves the sunlight and the sensuous 
joys of life; in such a nature the 
stern discipline of the cloister is apt 
to produce an invincible depression 



of mind. Racine wisely followed the 
advice of his confessor, and took to 
wife, about the middle of 1677, 
Catherine de Romanet, a good woman, 
of whom it is sufficient to record 
that she brought happiness to her 
husband and her children. Henceforth 
Racine eschewed literary ambition, 
though he never ceased to write ; 
he even appears to have looked upon 
his early successes as subjects for re- 
pentance rather than for gratulation. 
In a religious atmosphere, not of 
exalted piety, but certainly of re- 
spectable devotion, he passed the re- 
mainder of his days. Between 1688 
and 1691 he wrote two sacred plays, 
ESTHER and ATHALIE, the latter a 
sublime performance, and perhaps the 
greatest of all his works. The first 
was no doubt suggested to him by 
Madame de Maintenon ; and both 
were written as works of piety. They 
were acted, however, only by school- 
girls, and were never brought on the 
public stage during the author's life- 
time. Happy in his married life 
and fond of his children, in com- 
fortable circumstances and at peace 
even with Port Royal, Racine ought 
to have been happy to the last. He 
had public duties which were not 
uncongenial : for about twenty years 
he was historiographer to the King, 
an office which he shared with his 
friend Boileau ; and for a still longer 
period he was a member of the Academy. 
But his closing days were clouded. 
He had incurred the royal displeasure, 
or believed that he had done so, and 
the thought of this haunting the too 
sensitive man, destroyed his peace of 
mind. Under this cloud he died on 
the 21st of April, 1699, in his sixtieth 
year. 

Racine has usually been called an un- 
amiable man, but the reproach is not 
quite just. He was one of those men 
whose sensibility is a disease. It was 
a common fashion among our grand- 



Some Thoughts on Eacine. 



fathers, and perhaps not yet wholly 
extinct, to regard the artist as a being 
apart, subject to none of the unwritten 
laws that prevail in the world which 
calls itself respectable. The truth is 
that the life of the artist is calculated 
to engender an unwholesome suscepti- 
bility. All his days he is putting his 
heart and soul into his work, poetry, 
music, painting, whatever it may be ; 
and in such an atmosphere only the 
greatest men can harmonise body with 
mind. Whether success comes to him 
early or late, he has literally to make 
a way for himself in a world where we 
all pay so heavily for experience. In 
the regular callings of life men are 
helped immensely by tradition and 
usage. But the true artist has none 
of this ; his work is personal above 
all things, and he is the type of 
the self-reliant man. The man of 
action uses his fellows ; indeed his 
chief work consists mainly in making 
them do theirs ; but the work of the 
artist is individual and unique. Twenty 
men might have planned a particular 
campaign ; only one man since time 
began could have written MACBETH. 
And there were other things at 
that time to embitter the dramatic 
artist. There was above all the hos- 
tility of the Church. Racine had 
been trained by pious churchmen ; he 
was all his days a sincere Christian, 
and in later life a devout one ; to him 
this hostility must have been specially 
galling. In France the Church has 
always looked askance at the stage : 
even Christian burial was at one time 
refused to the poor player ; and the 
enmity still lives on, though in recent 
times the teeth of the priest have 
been so closely filed down, that in his 
biting moods he has ceased to be 
terrible. One meets with it still in 
the most unlikely places ; we noticed 
it lately, for example, in an attenuated 
form, in the Abbe Bautain's excellent 
treatise on Public Speaking. In the 



time of Louis the Fourteenth the 
Church was an irreconcilable foe. The 
ecclesiastic regarded the calling of the 
player as unclean, and classed him 
with the leper and the outcast, or 
even perhaps a little lower. He may 
be said indeed to have looked with 
suspicion on every form of art. The 
origin of this feeling can be traced 
back almost to the beginning of 
Christianity. There is in the nature 
of things no reason why the greatest 
of Christian saints should not be also 
the greatest of artists ; but that this 
is not so is shown alike by the history 
of theology and of aesthetics. In the 
Christian Church the first effect of 
the religious idea is to intensify 
the consciousness of sin, and to set 
the believer against all the delights of 
the senses that do not centre in de- 
votion. It is an error to ascribe it to 
superstition or to loose thinking ; nor 
is it a sufficient explanation to say that 
man is a limited creature and can do 
only one thing at a time. The truth 
is that the Greek ideal is not in prac- 
tice compatible with the Christian 
ideal ; Phidias and Paul will never be 
reconciled, and, since the world has 
need of both, it is best to admit it 
and accept them as they are. 

Before considering Racine's subjects 
and method it will be well to give 
some attention to his versification, for 
that is a matter on which there exists 
among English-speaking people a great 
deal of misconception. In one of his 
critical papers Mr. Lowell has quoted 
an opinion of Dryden on this subject : 
" A French hendecasy liable verse [he 
is speaking of the Alexandrine] runs 
exactly like our ballad measure : 

A cobbler there was and he lived in a 
stall." 

This Mr. Lowell confirms by the fol- 
lowing passage from Moore's Diary : 
" Attended watchfully to her recita- 
tive [Mile. Duchesnois's], and find that, 



232 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



in nine lines out of ten, ' A cobbler 
there was,' &c., is the tune of the 
' French heroics.' " The line here 
quoted in English is certainly a hen- 
decasyllable, though Mr. Lowell is 
right in saying that the line in French 
which Dryden quotes is not so ; it is 
an Alexandrine, or verse of twelve 
syllables. 1 Dryden and Moore were 
wise in settling by the ear this ques- 
tion as to the movement of French 
heroic verse, for its appeal is made 
above all things to the ear, not in- 
directly by means of the eye, but 
directly through the speaking voice. 
But while coming near the truth, 
they did not entirely escape error. 
The hendecasyllable is often found in 
old English poems, as in the following 
line from one of the Robin Hood 
Ballads : 

As blithe as the linnet sings in the green 
wood. 

Here is another instance of its use 
from a well-known Irish poem : 

An emerald set in the ring of the sea. 

Would any one trained in the tradi- 
tions of the House of Moliere say 
that these lines are in the measure of 
the Alexandrine ? They are composed 
of three anapaests and an iambus ; but 
the lines which struck Dryden as 
having the same movement are made 
up of four anapaests, as in Campbell's 
line : 

Let him dash his proud foam like a wave 
on the rock ! 

The movement in Racine is not so 
often like this as Moore might lead us 
to believe ; some lines may be called 
spondaic, but many are really iambic, 

1 French writers on prosody tell us that the 
Alexandrine has thirteen syllables when the 
verse is feminine. Each nation makes its own 
laws, even in prosody, but it is not the less a 
fact that the actual number of spoken syllables 
is the same for both masculine and feminine 



though of a rather uncertain kind. It 
must indeed be admitted that to 
English ears French heroic verse is 
generally monotonous, owing mainly to 
its inflexibility, its want of that liquid 
flow which only a movable caesura can 
give. In this respect it is on a level 
with the verse of Pope and his school, 
who for the best part of a century 
determined the character of English 
poetry. Racine, however, has more 
grace, elevation and refinement than 
any English poet of this school ; and 
his verse has greater variety, if tested 
by the speaking voice, the right test 
as we have seen in this case. For it is 
living speech addressed to the ear, and 
its rhythm is that of speech, not of 
high poetic feeling. The latter, in 
nearly all its moods, we get from 
Shakespeare, and with a freedom and 
music far beyond the power of Racine 
or any Frenchman. But here we are 
concerned not merely with the differ- 
ence between two temperaments but 
with the genius of two languages, 
almost, one might say, of two civilisa- 
tions. 

It is a fact worth reflecting upon 
that in any country where men have 
ceased to speak in a hybrid poetical 
manner, and have learned the great 
art of prose, the number of persons 
born into the world with any sense of 
rhythm is infinitely small. In a 
poetical age like the Elizabethan the 
number no doubt was greater ; but as 
soon as the social instincts have de- 
veloped a clear, simple prose style, the 
sense of rhythm certainly decreases. 
Yet there is a rhythm of speech as 
satisfying in its own way as the 
rhythm of song. The Greeks in their 
best days had probably reduced it to 
a science, though as we do not know 
the actual basis of their system of 
accents, nor the exact musical value 
of each, we cannot profit by the dis- 
coveries of these unrivalled artists in 
speech. In music, by means of pitch- 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



233 



fork and pendulum, a melody may be 
produced ; but for the rhythm of 
poetry the first is useless, and the 
pendulum will not go far. Only the 
greatest delicacy of ear will avail 
there, and few gifts are rarer than this. 
Nor are the French, with all their talk 
about art, any better than ourselves 
in this regard. A Frenchman with a 
passionate love of the stage has usually 
to undergo a laborious training before 
he can read French verse even credit- 
ably ; he learns the trick of it from 
those who have inherited the great 
traditions of the French stage. Our 
English actors really fare worse. The 
old musical style of reciting blank 
verse is to all appearance lost ; each 
player has his own way, and seldom 
shows any feeling for rhythm or poetic 
beauty. To bring out the rhythm of 
verse, one of them has obligingly in- 
formed us, is to recite like a school- 
boy. 

Macaulay's theory, that with the 
advance of civilisation poetry must 
inevitably decline is not quite true ; 
he should have said that it changes 
its character, but this is because poetry 
has life for its subject matter. Art 
is an expression of something, and the 
greatest art has always given body and 
shape to the genius of a particular 
race at a certain point of its develop- 
ment ; to this Shakespeare and Racine 
are not exceptions. Shakespeare was 
as highly civilised a man as Racine, 
but he did not belong to a race in 
whom the social instincts are so strong 
as in the French. It is the social 
genius which has given Attic prose to 
the world, and by the great examples 
of Athens and Paris we see how 
averse it is to high colour. Above all 
things it loves sobriety, and both in 
prose and verse demands simplicity 
and ease, grace and quickness of mo- 
tion. Shakespeare finds expression 
for the brooding imagination of his 
race ; and he takes the whole of life 



for his province. Racine, on the other 
hand, has not universal sympathies ; 
nor does nature with her beauties and 
her mysteries appeal to him. He is 
an aristocrat in literature ; his appeal 
is made, not alike to palace, market- 
place, and hovel, but to the drawing- 
room, and to that alone. It is no 
doubt artificial, as all literary language 
must be ; but it is artificial in a noble 
sense. The free life of man amid 
unconventional surroundings other 
literatures do in part give us, but not 
the classical literature of France. Here 
the tone is given by the drawing- 
room ; nor need we regret it, for the 
drawing-room, or its equivalent, is as 
near as possible to the centre of 
civilisation. 

It has often been said that the 
French classical drama owes its ex- 
istence entirely to a misinterpretation 
of THE POETICS of Aristotle ; but it 
is not always remembered that errors 
do not grow in an uncongenial soil. 
The theories of Aristotle on the one 
hand, and on tho other the dramatic 
work of Seneca, had undoubtedly a 
great influence over Cornell! e and 
Racine ; but the predisposition was in 
the French mind with its love of 
exact form. We speak of Racine as 
the head of this school, for Corneille, 
though he reaches at times a greater 
height, is not by temperament a 
classic ; he was in his soul a romantic, 
and should have been born in a later 
day. But Racine is a classic through 
and through ; not only does he work 
joyfully within the prescribed limits, 
but he seems born for this and for 
this alone. The theory which shaped 
the French classical drama has been 
found inadequate, and to-day no man 
whose opinion has a value in the 
world of letters, will uphold the two 
Unities of time and place ; the other 
Unity, that of action, is of course for 
ever true. We do not think that 
Aristotle had been seriously misin- 



234 



Some Thoughts on Eacine. 



terpreted ; the real error was in 
attaching to his writings an import- 
ance which no words, written or 
spoken, can possess. The work of 
Aristotle is founded on an examina- 
tion of literature actually in exist- 
ence ; his theories are the result of a 
close study of the great writers of 
Greece, not, as Frenchmen used to 
believe, an analysis of the artistic soul, 
and an enunciation of the laws which 
underlie all its creations. This belief 
in the authority of Aristotle was 
borrowed from the theologians, as was 
but natural, since the men of letters 
were educated by churchmen. The 
Latin Church has always stood for 
authority, perhaps a little too rigidly ; 
the scholastic philosophers, who owed 
so much to Aristotle, had come to re- 
gard him as an absolute authority in 
the natural order, as Augustine was 
in the supernatural ; the one gave 
laws in the domain of pure intellect, 
the other in that of divine truth. 

But what after all were the Unities, 
and what actual support can be found 
for them in THE POETICS 1 The three 
Unities prescribed that a tragedy 
should be the evolution of an action, 
that it should occur within the limit 
of a single day or thereabouts, and 
that the place throughout should be 
the same. Aristotle insisted upon the 
first ; " Tragedy," he maintains, " is 
the imitation of an action which is 
serious and complete, having a certain 
magnitude." This is beyond dispute. 
The unity of place was not derived 
at once from THE POETICS, but fol- 
lowed from the unity of time ; more- 
over it was part of the Latin tradition. 
It was imposed by the conditions of 
dramatic representation in Greece, but 
there its narrowing effect was in part 
overcome by means of the chorus, 
which possessed considerable power 
over both time and place. As to the 
unity of time, we think the dramatists 
of the French classical school had 



ground enough for believing that 
Aristotle does support it. Here is 
the passage : " It is the endeavour of 
tragedy as far as possible to confine 
its action to one revolution of the 
sun, or to exceed this but slightly ; 
but the end of epic action is in- 
definite." If Aristotle had ended 
there, no doubt could exist as to his 
view, but he goes on : " Tragedy, how- 
ever, had at first the same freedom as 
epic poetry." Can these words be said 
to qualify the rest so much as to 
make his real view doubtful 1 At the 
height of its glory the Attic stage, 
he says, favoured the unity of time. 
He is expounding the Greek dramatic 
art in its highest forms, and might 
not unreasonably be said to give his 
support only to what is highest. But 
he did not say these conditions were 
essential : he did not say to the stream 
of time that it should flow thus for 
ever ; and even if he had done so, no 
man is too great to be laughed at 
when he is ridiculous. 

Under these conditions Racine's 
choice of subjects is easily understood. 
He treads devoutly in the footsteps 
of the classical authors ; even with 
regard to his delightful comedy LES 
PLAIDEURS, he is evidently glad to 
confess his debt to Aristophanes. The 
Greek dramatists, especially Sophocles 
and Euripides, are his chief bene- 
factors, for he loves to deal with the 
cycle of legends and traditions in 
which they worked. The stories of 
Antigone and Iphigenia, of Andro- 
mache and Phaedra, the love of Alex- 
ander for a princess of India and of 
Titus for a queen of Palestine, the 
wonderful doings of Mithridates, King 
of Pontus, and the gloomy despotism 
of Nero, these are his chief though 
not his only subjects. His comedy is 
modern in sentiment and treatment, 
whatever may have been his debt to 
the author of THE WASPS. BAJAZET 
is Mahomedan, and the scene is in 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



Constantinople : ESTHER and ATHALIE 
are scriptural ; but when all is said 
the bulk is classical, and, setting aside 
the comedy, the method is much the 
same in all. There is perhaps no 
modern dramatist whose art is so 
even, whose diction is so unfailingly 
on the same high level. Such an art 
has of necessity a certain remoteness 
from life, as indeed must be the case 
with all art which is not a reflection 
of the life around us. His men are 
not quite human characters ; they are 
rather ideas in action. Such a de- 
scription would also in part apply to 
his women, though we are inclined to 
believe with the French that Racine 
understood women better than any 
modern dramatist. The fault is in 
the method, for in his comedy he 
shows a genuine capacity for fine and 
clear characterisation. The figures of 
Greek legend were real to the men of 
Athens, perhaps as real as Alfred and 
Becket are to us ; but Iphigenia is no 
longer a reality to anybody, only a 
legendary figure. This was equally 
true in the age of Louis the Four- 
teenth, though it was not perceived. 
The genius of modern civilisation is 
different from the ancient, and our 
heroic figures are cast in another 
mould. No man, whether Christian 
or not, can dispose of the fact that 
Christianity has altered the genius of 
civilisation. The true heart of man 
no doubt speaks from one age to 
another, but the mental attitude of 
the modern civilised man is widely 
different from that of the ancient. In 
attempting to vivify the past, the 
writer inevitably makes use of the 
ideas, the symbols, and the phrases 
which are saturated with the genius 
of his own time ; and after all his 
effort, the genius of the past will 
elude him. 

Yet, severe as are the limitations 
of the dramatic art as practised by 
Corneille and Racine, it is the highest 



in the literature of their country, and 
is incontestably greater than that of 
any playwright of the French romantic 
school. For nearly two centuries it 
gave a keen intellectual delight to 
everybody in France who possessed a 
cultivated mind or a refined taste ; 
and it is worthy of the admiration 
which it has received. To have 
served so long, among a people so 
fastidious as the French, as a model 
of unerring taste, of elegance, and 
distinction, is glory of a rare kind. 
Like every true classic, Racine has 
been a guide and standard in the 
world of good taste, such as the men 
of greatest genius like Dante and 
Shakespeare never are ; these humanise 
and enchant us, but the} 7 do not im- 
press upon us, as the classics do, those 
qualities of reticence and reserve 
which are the charm of all aristocratic 
art. What then are the marks of 
this literature which is called classical ? 
It is seldom wise to give one's own 
definitions, so let us go to French 
sources for help in this matter. Here, 
with a little expansion and with great 
freedom of rendering, is the most 
compact definition we have been able 
to discover. The literature of the true 
classic is chaste and reticent, observing 
the law of measure and proportion ; 
everywhere, while it seeks distinction, 
it recognises the sovereignty of taste ; 
it deals with the finer elements of life, 
and is above all things a harmony of 
form and matter, a fusion of reason 
with imagination. This is, of course, 
inadequate, as every definition must 
be, but it will serve ; certainly nobody 
would apply it to any writer of the 
romantic school, not even to Shake- 
speare, in whom the imagination runs 
riot a little. Yet is it really possible, 
some one may be inclined to ask, 
nicely to distinguish between classic 
and romantic art 1 It cannot be done 
with great exactness, but on broad 
lines something of the kind is possible ; 



236 



Some Thoughts on Racine. 



indeed whole literatures are marked 
by these characteristics. Such are 
the literatures of France and England, 
where the typical art of the one is 
classical, of the other romantic. The 
classic is faultless in form, the 
romantic is rich in life and colour. 
The classic never moves out of his 
bounds ; but he has an intellectual 
power so sure as to be almost infallible 
within its proper limits. The romantic 
on the other hand speaks with the 
freedom of the prophets of old ; some- 
times he soars above the classic, some- 
times he is trivial, which the classic 
never is. But whether a writer shall 
be a classic or a romantic, is not a 
thing which he may decide for himself, 
for to no man is it given utterly to 
transform his nature. 

There is another and still higher 
claim which is made on behalf of 
Racine and Corneille by lovers of the 
French classical drama ; they are 
classed with the Greek dramatists, 
and with the great teachers who, 
whether in a formal manner or by the 
entrancing methods of art, have 
sought to purify the souls of men, 
and to bring them in touch with an 
exalted moral ideal. Such tragedies 
as BRITANNICUS and POLYEUCTE, says 
M. Ernest Legouve, " have an imprint 
of moral grandeur, an ideal beauty of 
composition which is to be found 
nowhere else in poetry." Again, still 
speaking of the best work of Racine 
and Corneille, he says : "It is at 
once the noblest and most satisfying 
sustenance which has ever been given 



to the imaginations of men." Such 
a judgment could not be taken quite 
seriously out of France ; yet who 
could read PHEDRE or ATHALIE, or 
witness a peformance of either, with- 
out feeling something of this en- 
thusiasm 1 In English dramatic 
literature there is nothing which 
exactly corresponds with the work 
of Racine. Even Shakespeare, as the 
same distinguished Frenchman has 
pointed out, is concerned only with 
the delineation of character ; superbly 
and incomparably he does this, but he 
does not bring us in contact with a 
moral ideal. It is Milton and not 
Shakespeare whom we should compare 
with Racine, for both have the high 
aim of the Greek dramatists. Racine, 
making an immediate appeal by the 
living voice, is effectively saved from 
Milton's long excursions into the 
realm of dreariness ; yet Milton, in 
his supreme moments, reaches a height 
far beyond Racine. If Longinus 
could come back to us, he would find 
in Racine and in Milton many 
examples of elevation, of that flower 
of expression in literary form which 
the translators, having no fitter word, 
have called the sublime. He would 
be repelled by Milton's Puritanism, 
and would think that Racine had not 
the true Greek flavour ; but he would 
hardly cavil at such a claim as M. 
Legouve's, even if he could not feel 
so completely as the Frenchman that 
it is a just claim. And if Longinus 
would accept the companionship, we 
would go with him in this matter. 



237 



HOW HISTORY IS WRITTEN IN AMERICA. 



WE are told that some part of 
the antipathy which Americans are 
said to entertain towards Englishmen 
arises from the extraordinary perver- 
sions of history which are taught in 
their schools. In these, so the story 
goes, the Englishman habitually figures 
as a monster of greed, injustice, and 
tyranny towards the rest of the world, 
and especially towards that part of it 
whose history begins in the year 1776. 
We do not know how this may be ; 
perhaps the antipathy and the perver- 
sions have both been exaggerated. 
There must of course be many reasons 
why the great Powers should enter- 
tain no deep or lasting affection for 
each other ; and it is not easy for 
Englishmen to see one why their 
country should be an exception to the 
natural rule. 

By many names men call us, 
In many lands we dwell. 

The nations multiply apace, and the 
globe grows no larger. Not in our 
time, nor in the time of our children's 
children, will the war-drums cease to 
throb and the battle-flags be furled. 
But for the perversions, there has 
been lately published a book which 
certainly seems to lend some colour to 
the belief that history can be written 
rather recklessly in America. 

The book is called VENEZUELA, A 
LAND WHERE IT'S ALWAYS SUMMER, and 
the author is Mr. William Eleroy 
Curtis. The reviewers seem to have 
been unanimous in praising it, and 
as a description of that pleasant land 
and of the habits, manners, and pur- 
suits of the people who inhabit it, it 
is, we doubt not, a very good book ; 



it is certainly in this respect an en- 
tertaining one to read. And it may 
be found entertaining in another way 
by those who find more amusement 
in the study of human nature than 
in the study of history, in a way 
which seems to have escaped the re- 
viewers' notice. In the fourth chapter- 
Mr. Curtis describes the remarkable 
line of railway which connects Caracas 
with the port of La Guayra, and takes 
that occasion to give some particulars 
of the early history of the Venezuelan 
capital. These particulars are so 
curious that they can only be described 
adequately in the writer's own words; 
no summary or paraphrase of our own 
would be credited for an instant. 

" After the victory of the English 
fleet over the Spanish Armada in the 
English Channel, Captain Drake sailed 
down this way hunting for galleons 
that carried gold and silver between 
the South American colonies and the 
ports of Spain. He took great interest 
in visiting the cities along the coast, 
and on every one of them left his 
autograph, written with fire and 
powder and the sword. 

" Arriving at La Guayra, he de- 
stroyed the shipping that lay at anchor 
and then went ashore. When he had 
stripped the city of all that was valu- 
able and destroyed what he did not 
want, he made an excursion to 
Caracas. 

" The people of the latter place had 
due notice of his arrival, for the in- 
habitants of La Guayra fled into the 
mountains. The governor called out 
every man capable of bearing arms, 
and fortified himself upon a cart-road 
which had been constructed between 



238 



How History is Written in America. 



the two cities some years before. 
This was the ordinary route of travel 
three centuries before the railway was 
laid, and of course it was expected 
that Drake and his pirates would go 
up that way. But he knew better 
than to try it, for his scouts reported 
fortifications and an army of men be- 
hind them nearly the entire distance. 
He captured a miserable fellow by the 
name of Villapando, a veritable Judas, 
who for a gift of gold agreed to pilot 
the Englishmen up the old Indian path 
through the ravines. Thus, while the 
gallant alcalde and the men of Caracas 
were waiting breathlessly to annihi- 
late Sir Francis, the latter crept up 
the mountain and was looting the city 
they had gone out to protect. 

" For three days Drake remained 
at the capital, plundering the houses, 
ravishing the women, and feasting his 
soldiers upon the wine and luxuries 
they found. There was but one man 
left in the entire place, a nervy old 
knight named Alonzo de Ladoma. 
Although he was too old to go out 
with his neighbours to meet the 
Englishmen, he offered to fight them 
one at a time as long as his strength 
lasted. Sir Francis was much im- 
pressed with the old gentleman's val- 
our, and would have spared his life, 
but the latter became involved in a 
controversy with a drunken pirate, 
who cut off his head. 

" When Sir Francis had gathered 
all the valuables in the city, and 
loaded them upon the backs of his 
men, he hung Villapando in the prin- 
cipal plaza, marched down the ravine, 
and sailed away with more than a 
million of dollars in treasure. He did 
not lose a single man, and although 
the city was practically destroyed, the 
only lives sacrificed were those of the 
brave old Ladoma and the traitor. 
The Spaniards encamped upor- the 
wagon-road got news of the raid at-'ut 
the time Sir Francis was kissing their 



wives and daughters good-bye, and 
hurried back to Caracas, but were too 
late to do any good." 

In another chapter may be read 
how " the ghost of that most famous 
of all freebooters, Sir Francis Drake," 
haunts the harbour of Puerto Cabello 
in the Golfo Triste, a few leagues 
westward of La Guayra. Drake, it 
appears, died of yellow fever here, and 
" was dropped into the water with a 
bag of shot at his heels." 

There are things, wrote Carlyle 
once, in a burst of indignation more 
reasonable than were all his out- 
breaks, " There are things at which 
one stands struck silent, as at first 
sight of the Infinite." And really 
one hardly knows what to say to such 
an astounding tissue of fable. On 
the question of taste or style we say 
nothing ; those are matters of opinion. 
Mr. Curtis may also call Drake's cha- 
racter a matter of opinion, though the 
conduct attributed to him at Caracas, 
if contemporary evidence, Spanish no 
less than English, is to go for anything, 
constitutes about as gross a libel as 
perhaps has ever been perpetrated on 
a man who has been for three hundred 
years in his grave. But where, in 
the name of Clio, can Mr. Curtis 
have found this marvellous version of 
facts familiar surely to everybody in- 
terested in the history of those times 
and countries, at all events so easily 
to be ascertained by anybody desirous 
to write about them 1 And what, 
we should much like to know, has Mr. 
John Fiske to say to his countryman's 
new readings in that early history of 
the American Continent which he has 
told so well 1 

For in truth it seems almost an im- 
pertinence to remind Americans as 
well as Englishmen that Francis Drake 
was never at Caracas in his life. 
If he was ever at La Guayra it 
must have been in one of those two 
mysterious voyages in 1570 and 



How History is Written in America. 



239 



1571, of which no record was ever 
published, and of which nothing is 
known beyond what he himself is re- 
ported to have told his nephew, that 
he got in them " certain notices of the 
persons and places aimed at as he 
thought requisite." As Drake was 
never off La Guayra in any of his 
recorded voyages, and as Caracas, or, 
to give it its ancient title, Santiago 
de Leon de Caracas, was only founded 
in 1567, it is not likely that either 
the port or the capital of Venezuela 
was among the places aimed at. For 
his death, can there be an English 
schoolboy who does not know that the 
place off which he died was not the 
little modern seaside town of Puerto 
Cabello in the Golfo Triste, but Puerto 
Bello on the coast of Darien, a very 
different place, many hundred lea- 
gues to the westward, and one of the 
most ancient and famous settlements 
on the Spanish Main 1 His death may 
indeed be called the crowning romance 
of his life. It was off the coast of 
Darien that he struck the first of his 
great blows at the Spanish power ; it 
was off the same coast, within a few 
leagues of the same place, that four- 
and-twenty years later his body was 
laid to rest in the waves which he had 
ruled so long ; not pitched overboard 
with a shot at its heels, but enclosed 
in a leaden coffin, and solemnly com- 
mitted to the deep amid the blare of 
trumpets and the thunder of cannon. 
There and then, as the old nameless 
rhymester has it, 

The waves became his winding-sheet ; 

the waters were his tomb ; 
But for his fame the ocean sea was not 

sufficient room. 

One grain of truth there is indeed 
in this wondrous tale. Caracas (or 
Santiago de Leon, as it was then 
called) was taken by the English in 
the summer of 1595, seven years after 
the defeat of the Armada, and but a 
few months before Drake's death, 



when there was, and had for some 
time been, open war between Spain 
and England. The leaders of the 
force were Amyas Preston and George 
Sommers, both valiant gentlemen and 
discreet commanders, as the historian 
of the expedition, Robert Davy, 
assures us. His account of their 
journey over the mountains by the 
Indian's trail, or the unknown way 
(as they called it in distinction to the 
great or beaten way) forms one of the 
most stirring narratives in the delect- 
able pages of Hakluyt. They had 
taken a Spaniard prisoner on board a 
caravel at Cumana, who knew this 
Indian path and offered to guide them 
by it if they would give him his 
liberty in return. If the traitor was 
hanged in the market-place, it must 
have been by his own countrymen ; 
the English, as their habit was, kept 
their word with him. It was a terrible 
journey, as this extract from honest 
Davy's narrative will show. 

" We marched until it was night 
over such high mountains as we never 
saw the like, and such a way as one 
man could scarce pass alone. Our 
general, being in the forward, at 
length came whereat a river descended 
down over the mountains, and there 
we lodged all that night. Here, in 
going this way, we found the Spanish 
governor's confession to be true ; for 
they had barricadoed the way in 
divers places with trees and other 
things, in such sort that we were 
driven to cut our way through the 
woods by carpenters, which we carried 
with us for that purpose. The next 
day, being the 29th of May, early in 
the morning we set forth to recover 
the tops of the mountains ; but (God 
knoweth) they were so extreme high 
and so steep-upright, that many of our 
soldiers fainted by the way ; and when 
the officers came unto them, and first 
entreated them to go, they answered 
they could go no further. Then they 



240 



How History is Written in America. 



thought to make them go by compul- 
sion, but all was in vain ; they would 
go a little, and then lie down and bid 
them kill them if they would, for they 
could not and would not go any 
further. Whereby they were enforced 
to depart, and to leave them there 
lying on the ground. To be short, 
at length with much ado we gat the 
top of the mountains about noon : 
there we made a stand till all the 
company was come up, and would 
have stayed longer to have refreshed 
our men ; but the fog and rain fell so 
fast that we durst not stay." 

The city was not undefended, as in 
Mr. Curtis's version ; but the defenders 
ran at the first volley, leaving one man 
dead behind them, and " not any one 
of our companies touched either with 
piece or arrow, God be thanked." 
Nor was it looted, for the sufficient 
reason that all the portable treasure 
had been carried off into the moun- 
tains. But it was burned. For five 
days they occupied it unmolested, 
from May 29th to June 3rd, Preston 
demanding forty thousand ducats for 
ransom, and the Governor refusing to 
give more than four thousand. This 
done, the English marched quietly 
back to their ships along the beaten 
road, halting for the night at the 
great barricade of which they had 
been warned. Not a Spaniard was 
to be seen there ; but so strong it 
seemed to Davy, " that one hundred 
men in it well furnished could have 
kept back from passing that way one 
hundred thousand." On the next day 
they reached La Guayra, and serving 
that as they had served the capital, 
went on board, without any treasure 
but a small quantity of hides and 
some sarsaparilla, but also without 
so much as a single man wounded. 

This is the story of the taking of 
Santiago de Leon by the English in 



1595. That the Spanish version may 
be somewhat different is very pro- 
bable ; victors and vanquished rarely 
see things in quite the same light. 
Robert Davy's version has been in 
print any time these three hundred 
years. Where Mr. Curtis's version is 
to be found, outside his own pages, is 
a secret known, it must be presumed, 
only to himself. His book, let us 
add, is dedicated to his son. If many 
such books are written for the edifi- 
cation of the American youth, one 
can understand that some very queer 
notions may get about among them con- 
cerning the part played by English- 
men in the history of their country. 

Can any one suggest an origin or 
an explanation of this extraordinary 
tale ? The facts are outside the pale 
of controversy. There are indeed, as 
we all know, few matters of history 
which cannot be made subjects of 
controversy ; but it would have 
puzzled the Subtle Doctor himself to 
frame a defence for Mr. Curtis. One 
explanation indeed has occurred to 
us. There is a passage in Macaulay's 
journal which may conceivably have 
something to do with it. " An 
American," it runs, " has written to 
me from Arkansas, and sent me a 
copy of Bancroft's History. Very 
civil and kind ; but by some odd 
mistake he directs to me at Abbots- 
ford. Does he think that all Brit- 
ishers who write books live there 
together ? " Is it possible that in 
American school-books the exploits of 
all the Elizabethan sailors are fathered 
on Francis Drake, just as in some 
histories Claverhouse used to be made 
to bear the burden of all the exploits 
of Dalzell and Lag and the other 
captains of the Killing Time 1 The 
explanation is something inadequate, 
we are conscious ; but we can think 
of no other. 



MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE 



AUGUST, 1896. 



THE SECRET OF SAINT FLOREL. 



CHAPTER X 

IT was all very well for the artful 
Hugh to suggest further interesting 
conversations with the lady of his 
heart, and to insinuate that- the 
shrubbery at Denehurst was the 
very place for such a purpose. Things 
do not always happen as we wish, 
however carefully our own part in 
the future has been planned and re- 
hearsed. Hugh went of course next 
day, and strolled up and down the 
shady road outside the wicket-gate : 
he even penetrated again into the 
private path, and followed it up a 
little way ; bub no Phoebe could 
he see, though his ears were keen to 
catch the least footfall upon the 
mossy track, and his eyes to spy 
the most distant glimpse of her 
appearance. Failing her presence, 
this lover set himself to meditating 
upon all possible causes for her ab- 
sence. Had she been offended yes- 
terday at anything he had said, and 
was his loneliness a mark of that 
displeasure which she had been too 
polite to manifest in person ? But 
though he racked his brains he could 
not blame himself on this score. Per- 
haps, here a most distressing thought 
occurred, perhaps she was utterly in- 
different to him ; or worse still, there 
was the further possibility that he 
might be downright obnoxious ! 

At this point he left his room and 
went out for a stroll, to set himself 
No. 442. VOL. LXXIV. 



steadily to face the problem. Of 
course if she really did not care 
whether he went or stayed, there was 
an end of the matter ; he might as 
well pack his portmanteau and start 
for London again then and there. 
But Hugh had all an Englishman's 
dislike to abandoning an object upon 
which he had set his heart, at any 
rate without a fair trial ; and more- 
over he was (as has been already said) 
of an optimistic disposition. After 
a short period of despondency, there- 
fore, he came to the conclusion that 
some very ordinary reason might be 
keeping Phoebe away. He had just 
reduced himself to this reasonable 
frame of mind when the sound of 
approaching wheels reached his ears, 
and round a sharp bend in the lane 
came a low pony-carriage. As it passed 
him he had the satisfaction of receiv- 
ing a bow and a very bright smile 
from Phoebe herself, together with 
a stately recognition from the old 
gentleman who sat beside her. Her 
friendly greeting and the sight of her 
face were quite sufficient to dispel 
his former melancholy reflections, and 
he turned homewards with increased 
cheerfulness. 

" I must go up to London to-mor- 
row," announced James Bryant at 
luncheon. "There is some business 
that I must see to. Besides, one 
can't rusticate for ever. What are 
you going to do 1 Who is your letter 
from ? " 



242 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



" I have had no letter," returned 
Hugh. 

" But I saw one ; I know there 
was one for you, and by Jove, I 
remember now. The landlord gave 
it to me for you, and I put it in my 
pocket and quite forgot it," and he 
handed it over. 

It was from Hugh's mother, and 
contained the not unreasonable sug- 
gestion that his return ought not to 
be much longer delayed. " You have 
been away for a year," wrote the poor 
lady, " and now you are away again, 
after having remained at home for 
only a week. The delivery of your 
parcel cannot be a very tedious matter, 
and really, my dear Hugh, you must 
not be surprised if your father writes 
and expresses himself rather strongly. 
You know he is quite an invalid now, 
and just at present is more ailing than 
usual. Do pray return as soon as 
possible," and so on. 

Hugh flung the letter over to his 
friend with an ungratefully impatient 
exclamation : " Women always think 
that one can't possibly have any affairs 
of one's own to see after ! " 

Bryant read Mrs. Strong's effusion 
through from beginning to end, in his 
usual careful and deliberate fashion. 
" Well," he said, returning the letter, 
" what are you going to do, eh ? I 
think your mother is quite right ; it 
is rather a shame for you to be cut- 
ting off again so soon after such a long 
absence." 

" My mother always forgets that I 
am out of leading-strings," pursued 
Hugh in an aggrieved tone. " She 
tries to treat me like a little boy." 

" What would you do if you stayed 
here 1 " asked Bryant very pertinently. 
" You can't propose to Miss Thayne 
after a couple of interviews ; and I 
don't know how you are going to see 
very much of her if you do stay. 
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, 
my dear boy. Return to town with 
me, and by and by we will come back 



here again ; I have seen worse fishing. 
Then you can renew your suit, if you 
still wish it." 

" I'm not likely to change my mind 
every few days in a matter of that 
kind," said Hugh. " However, per- 
haps it will do no harm to go away 
for a bit. We'll call at Deneburst 
this afternoon before leaving, though ; 
it would only be civil." 

If, however, Hugh had intended his 
parting civility rather for Phoebe than 
for her cousin, he was disappointed, 
for they saw no one but Mason Saw- 
bridge, who was politely regretful, 
and expressed himself as usual with 
complete good taste, hoping for their 
return at no very distant date. " You 
do not care for fishing, I think, Mr. 
Strong," he observed affably. " But 
if you return during the autumn you 
might get a little mixed shooting 
here. We do not preserve, but there 
are generally a few pheasants and a 
hare or two in the wood." 

Strong as was his prejudice against 
the hunchback, Hugh almost liked 
him at that moment. Here was a 
valid excuse for his return. " Thanks," 
he said ; " I shall be most delighted. 
A run down into the country always 
does one good. I hate town ; London 
is a beastly place." 

"Before I go, Mr. Sawbridge, I 
have brought you one or two of those 
grey flies for a pattern," said Bryant. 
" You will find them capital as soon 
as the evening begins to come on ; 
only I would advise you to have 
stouter hooks. Mine are hardly 
strong enough for the fish in your 
water, though they are just the thing 
for the trout in a Scotch burn where 
I last used them." 

" Thanks ; I'm sure I am very much 
obliged," answered Mason, and then 
the two plunged into an interesting 
and intricate conversation concerning 
various flies and their construction. 

Hugh, who understood about as 
much of the art of fly-fishing as an 



The Secret of Saint Fiord. 



243 



ordinary domestic cat, and who, more- 
over, was not certain of the precise 
meaning of a hackle, turned aside, 
and going to the window looked out 
over the weedy garden and broad 
green stretch of the park. The fusty 
room, the shuttered aspect of the 
house, the neglected grounds struck 
him painfully at the moment, in com- 
parison with the fresh young life that 
was enshrined in these melancholy 
surroundings. As he gazed out, his 
ears filled with the meaningless jargon 
of terms which for him had no signi- 
ficance, he saw far away under a 
group of great trees that flung a 
long refreshing shadow on the grass, 
two figures which he could not mis- 
take, one that of an old man in a 
long, dark cloak, the other that of a 
tall and graceful girl in a white dress. 
He watched them stroll slowly among 
the trees and then disappear in the 
belt of thick shrubbery that lay be- 
yond. This was to be his last sight 
of her then, and for how long 1 Why 
should Fate have perversely decreed 
that, on this particular afternoon 
Phoebe should have chosen to walk 
upon the furthest bounds of the park ? 

In a few moments more they had 
taken leave of their irreproachable 
host, and were walking down the 
drive towards the park gates. 

" What a monster ! " exclaimed 
Hugh suddenly. 

" Who 1 " inquired his friend, rather 
startled, for there had been no pre- 
vious clue to the subject. 

" That hunchbacked fellow ! " 

" Oh," said Bryant, pausing a 
moment. 

" He reminds me of a rattlesnake 
trying to be polite, and delude you 
into the impression that he is harm- 
less," went on Hugh. " I hate to 
think he is near that girl every day." 

" I dare say she can look after her- 
self better than you think. Girls 
are not so helpless as you seem to 
imagine." 



After this Hugh preserved an im- 
penetrable silence, feeling that his 
regretful mood would get very little 
sympathy out of his friend ; and 
that afternoon he turned his back 
upon the green quiet of the country 
and set his face once more towards 
that busy wilderness that men call 
London. How many times, I wonder, 
during the next few weeks, did its 
crowded streets disappear from his 
sight as he conjured up a vision of 
a leafy solitude, with irregular patches 
of blue sky seeming like fairy mosaic 
among the topmost branches ? The 
sounds of London are loud and pene- 
trating enough, one would think, yet 
how many times were they hushed for 
him, as he remembered the clear 
girlish tones that had held such frank 
and delightful converse ? Love is a 
vigilant master, persistent of his pre- 
sence under ever}'- possible condition ; 
we cannot summon him when we will, 
nor dismiss him at pleasure. We must 
either welcome and cherish him, or 
flee from the sound of his childish 
voice and the touch of his baby 
hands, that are so strong to have and 
to hold. Blessed are the young and 
true-hearted, for to them shall be 
given the fulness of his promise. 

CHAPTER XI 

THERE is no loneliness so great as 
that which has known companionship. 
Lack of friends or interests or diver- 
sions may be exceedingly hard to 
bear, but at any rate they are easier 
to endure if we have never existed 
under opposite conditions. It was 
surely some appreciation of this truth 
which inspired the statement that 
" Absence makes the heart grow 
fonder." There is no doubt that it 
does, provided that the heart has 
previously exercised itself in the posi- 
tive degree. 

Phoebe Thayne was a very ordinary 
English maiden, unsustained by any 

R 2 



244 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



especial heroism of character or stern- 
ness of conscience. When she acci- 
dentally discovered that her newly- 
found friend had gone (for her cousin 
never alluded to the matter), it must 
be confessed that she felt a real regret, 
not unmingled, as she acknowledged 
to herself, with a warmer feeling. 
She performed her ordinary self- 
appointed tasks and duties : she at- 
tended her uncle as affectionately as 
before; but Hugh's visits had opened 
to her indefinite though attractive 
horizons, the exploration of which 
was, she felt, impossible. Their slight 
intercourse had put her in touch 
with facts of which she had hitherto 
dreamed as fancies. She had been 
living, as she told Hugh, the life of a 
hermit. She read the papers, and 
therefore had gathered a fair idea of 
what was going on in the world ; but 
a printed paper does not appeal to the 
intelligence with half the force of a 
human voice. Trivial as his conversa- 
tion may seem, she had listened to it 
eagerly as a sound from that outer 
life in whose race she felt so keen a 
desire to mingle; and now that it 
was beyond her reach her loneliness 
was tenfold greater. " If something 
would happen ! If only something 
would happen ! " she repeated to her- 
self a dozen times a day, for she began 
to feel as though she was sinking in 
the stagnation of incident which sur- 
rounded her. Fortune does not invari- 
ably respond with warmth to our dearest 
wishes ; but in this instance, and con- 
sidering that Phoebe had not specified 
the nature of the diversion she desired, 
the blind goddess was kind enough, 
though the suppliant presently re- 
pented heartily of her prayer. 

One day, about a week after Hugh's 
departure, Phoebe and her cousin Mason 
were sitting together at breakfast in a 
room opening on to the small plot of 
lawn. The French windows were wide 
open, and the fresh sweet breath of 
the earlier hours was fragrant with 



the scent of the clematis that hung 
in snowy tangled masses among the 
shrubs. At one end of the long table 
Phoebe presided with languid interest 
over the silver coffee-pot, and watched 
her cousin as he opened one after 
another the large pile of letters he 
had taken from the post-bag. Would 
it never contain a line for her, she 
wondered 1 Would she never know 
the delight of opening an envelope 
addressed to herself and perusing 
words written only for her eyes to see ? 

Mason went through his correspond- 
ence systematically, tearing up some 
communications as soon as he had 
mastered their contents, laying others 
aside for answering, carefully detach- 
ing all fly-sheets and tearing the jagged 
corners off all the envelopes. When 
he had arranged several tidy little 
piles of correspondence, Phoebe spoke 
rather impatiently. " It's not very 
amusing sitting here. You might 
give me the paper, I think." 

Her cousin as a rule reserved The 
Times for his own perusal before hand- 
ing it over to any one else. On this 
particular morning, however, seeing 
that he would not have much time to 
devote to it before answering his let- 
ters, he condescended to pass it to 
Phoebe, and silence reigned afresh as 
they both plunged into reading. Pre- 
sently the girl spoke. " I thought you 
told me I had no relations living ? " 

" I don't know that you have, ex- 
cept that there exists somewhere in 
the north of England an old gentle- 
man who was some distant cousin of 
your father. You can claim him if 
you like, but I don't know that it 
would do you much good, though I 
believe he is wealthy." 

"He's dead," said Phoebe. 

" How do you know 1 " 

" Here it is in the death-column of 
The Times. On the fifteenth inst., at 
Thorpe-Netherwood, Yorkshire, in the 
sixty-six ^i year of his age, Josiah 
Thayne Hetherwood. Funeral at 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



245 



Thorpe-Netherwood, Tuesday, the 
eighteenth." 

" Yes, that's the old man right 
enough," said Mason. " I remember 
the name perfectly now. He had a 
very wild son, a regular scamp. Well, 
I suppose he'll have plenty of money 
now to make ducks and drakes of." 

Then Phoebe resumed her reading 
again, very little troubled by the fact 
that her unknown cousin had departed 
this life, though in reality that circum- 
stance was destined to have a con- 
siderable effect upon her future career. 

When he retired to his study to 
answer his letters, Mason Sawbridge, 
instead of referring to those docu- 
ments, left them lying on his table, 
and leaning back in his chair, plunged 
into a long series of meditations. 
Phoebe's old cousin was dead, that he 
knew ; he was wealthy, that he also 
knew from trustworthy sources ; and 
he had a son (and for anything he, 
Mason, knew to the contrary, a 
grandson also) to leave his money 
to. And yet in the face of all these 
facts, and in the face also of the fact 
that this old cousin had probably 
never set eyes on Phoebe in the 
course of his existence, Mason began 
to wonder whether it might not prove 
a wise step if he, on her behalf, at- 
tended this old man's funeral. No 
one had a shrewder idea of the value 
of money, or even of the slightest 
connection with it, than Mason Saw- 
bridge. As for Phoebe herself, he 
would of course watch over and pro- 
tect her interests ; but somehow he 
did not think it needful to tell her 
of his intentions with regard to the 
funeral. 

Accordingly the next morning he 
informed her that he should be absent 
for three or four days, a circumstance 
which she heard with much secret 
pleasure. A further and greater de- 
light was, however, in store for her. 
The wheels of the carriage which bore 
her cousin to the station had hardly 



died away before a small but heavy 
box arrived directed to herself con- 
taining books, and lying at the top 
was a note which ran thus. 

DEAR Miss THAYNE, I am sending 
you some books to read, which I hope 
will amuse you, and suit your tastes in 
literature. I have put in ZANONI, and 
some travels and a little science, and 
Browning's last volume which every one 
is talking of. I hope I have not made 
many mistakes in my selection ; but if 
I have, you must forgive me and set it 
down to my ignorance. Pray keep all the 
books for the present ; later on I may 
possibly be again at Coltham, and then you 
can return them to rnc if you have finished 
with them. 

"With kind regards, believe me, very 
truly yours, HUGH STRONG. 

Phoebe had the books carried up to 
her own room, and there sat down in 
delight to begin their perusal. 

But while Hugh in London was 
constantly thinking of Phoebe at 
Denehurst, and while Phoebe at Dene- 
hurst was deep in the charms of 
ZANONI, and also thinking pretty fre- 
quently of Hugh in London, it would 
be as well to see what Mason Saw- 
bridge was doing in Yorkshire. 

He arrived at Thorpe-Netherwood, 
attired in a funeral garb of the 
strictest correctness, a long consul- 
tation with his hatter having re- 
sulted in the selection of a hat- 
band whose width testified to a hair 
the degree of its wearer's polite in- 
terest in the deceased. It was not so 
wide as to be ostentatiously insistent 
of the claims of a distant young rela- 
tion ; but neither was it so narrow as 
to signify that he considered the rela- 
tionship of no account. Rich old men 
like Josiah Netherwood, with only one 
or two near relatives, are apt to find 
their remotest connections ready at 
any time to rally round their death- 
bed, and therefore Mason's presence 
at the funeral (where he inti'oduced 
himself with the utmost tact to the 
lawyer who had charge of the affair) 
was not considered at all wonderful 



246 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



by the somewhat small assemblage 
which had gathered to escort a kins- 
man to the tomb. 

The funeral of a wealthy man who 
has been but little loved is a very in- 
structive spectacle. It refreshes the 
cynic, though upon those whose minds 
are cast in a gentler mould it has a 
depressing effect. Here is the corpse, 
coffined probably after the most ex- 
pensive fashion ; here are sable bands, 
scarves, and gloves, memorial wreaths 
and mutes ; every detail of the solemn 
programme is set forth decently and 
in order. No tears are shed ; but the 
same feeling which prompts the com- 
posing of all faces into an expression 
of decorous gravity, prompts also the 
intense desire of every spectator to 
show that he is provided with a 
pocket-handkerchief. Then the clergy- 
man comes, and the magnificent words 
of the Burial Service are spoken. A 
hard-hearted, unforgiving, despotic old 
man, who has for years tyrannised over 
his household, who has been the terror 
of his family and the abhorrence of 
his servants, is committed to the dust 
as " our dear brother " ; while every 
solemn-faced relative standing by, who 
had anything to do with the deceased 
during life, is feelingly joining in the 
responses, and secretly congratulating 
himself that at last the dead is dead 
and incapable of further harm. And 
so the show, a brave show truly, 
comes to its appointed end ; the 
living go home, hypocrisy relaxing 
a little in favour of the permitted 
increase of cheerfulness which accom- 
panies the consumption of the funeral 
baked meats and good wine, and the 
further lawful interest manifested in 
the reading of the will. The dead 
remain ; for them the play is done, 
the mummery finished. There is no 
deception in the awful contact of dust 
and ashes, no hypocrisy in the corrup- 
tion of the grave. Sun and wind and 
rain beat upon the sod ; moons wax 
and wane, seasons come and go, but 



no sense thereof may reach those dis- 
solving elements of humanity hidden 
away beneath. 

Old Josiah Netherwood was buried 
on a wet day. The heavy rain changed 
the newly-turned soil to mud, and 
pitilessly transformed the wreaths 
into a soddened mass of bruised 
petals. The assemblage was a very 
small one. Two or three distant re- 
lations, half-a-dozen servants, the 
squire of the parish (who attended 
as a matter of formal politeness, 
and went home immediately the 
funeral was over), the doctor, and the 
two heads of the legal firm the old 
man had always employed. His only 
son was abroad, and unable to return 
in time to follow his father to the 
grave, and Mr. Chesham, the senior 
legal partner, had arranged every- 
thing. Mason Sawbridge, as repre- 
senting one of the few relatives of 
old Josiah Netherwood, was naturally 
invited to share the funeral feast and 
assist at the reading of the will, with 
both of which suggestions he easily 
fell in, seeing indeed that he had 
undertaken a long railway journey 
for that very purpose. 

After a handsome cold collation, 
the cheerfulness of which was some- 
what marred by the monotonous drip 
of the persistent rain, the whole party 
adjourned to the library, an apartment 
furnished with frowning book-cases 
and chilly busts. Here Mr. Chesham 
seated himself in front of a table, and, 
drawing forth a key, requested the 
junior partner to bring the will from 
a certain escritoire. This being done 
the lawyer unfolded a document with 
some flourish, as befitted his important 
part in the ceremony, and with a pre- 
liminary cough proceeded to enlighten 
the company as to its contents. 

"My client, Mr. Thayne Nether- 
wood, made two wills," he began. 
" Both are recent, and as he neither 
himself destroyed, nor requested me 
to destroy, the first one, I will proceed 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



247 



to read both, although as you will 
shortly perceive, only the last will 
take effect." 

The first will, dated some ten years 
previously, was short and simple 
enough, and was to the effect that, 
save for ten pounds to be divided 
among his servants at his decease, 
Josiah Thayne Netherwood left every- 
thing he died possessed of to his only 
child, Walter Thayne Netherwood, 
absolutely. 

When he had finished reading this 
will the lawyer laid it down. Some 
slight disappointment was visible on 
the faces of the two distant cousins, 
elderly threadbare bachelors, who 
had come by third-class, and who 
were naturally grieved to find that all 
they were likely to get out of the 
unamiable old relative's estate was 
a pair of black kid gloves and a 
good luncheon. Mason Sawbridge too, 
though his face was inscrutable as 
ever, and wore its usual look of polite 
attention, felt some regret at the 
tenor of the document, though he had 
hardly expected it would go other- 
wise. 

" The last will," began Mr. Chesham, 
as soon as a running murmur from 
those present had died away, " is 
dated only a year ago, and was the 
last executed by our deceased friend." 

This second will was also very brief, 
but widely different. The old man 
bequeathed everything that he died 
possessed of to his son Walter Thayne 
Netherwood for his life only ; after 
his death the whole property, chiefly 
in land, reverted to his third cousin, 
Phoebe Thayne, absolutely and without 
any restrictions at all. The servants 
were to have twenty pounds, arid the 
elderly bachelor cousins fifty pounds 
apiece, for which indeed they, in their 
delight, expressed themselves as truly 
thankful. 

After this the company rapidly dis- 
persed, and soon only Mr. Chesham, 
who had directions to give to the 



bailiff, and Mason Sawbridge, who 
was not leaving Yorkshire till the 
next day, remained. The latter took 
the opportunity of walking over part 
of the property with the lawyer, and 
at the same time getting a little infor- 
mation out of him. " What was the 
reason now," he asked, " of the great 
difference between old Mr. Nether- 
wood's two wills ? " 

" About a year ago Walter Nether- 
wood, who was a very wild fellow, 
married some foreign actress abroad. 
He kept the matter a secret, at least 
he fancied he did, but somehow the 
news reached his father's ears, and he 
sent for me and made this last will." 

" I suppose, however, that the son 
is still only a young man ? " observed 
Mason. 

"Oh, yes," answered the lawyer ; "in 
years he is about five-and-thirty ; but 
he has always lived in a fast, dissi- 
pated sort of way. I should say his 
life was a very poor one. What sort 
of a lady is Miss Thayne 1 " 

" Young and handsome," answered 
Mason ; " and if by any chance this 
fortune falls to her, she will have a 
third attraction into the bargain." 

" Well, speaking off-hand, I should 
say she would not have long to wait. 
Walter Netherwood is ill now, though 
not, I believe, very seriously. In a 
year or two he will break up." 

" But what made the old gentleman 
pitch upon her to leave his money to 1 " 
inquired the hunchback. " I don't 
fancy he ever saw her in his life." 

" That was exactly the reason, my 
dear sir," returned the lawyer. " Our 
deceased friend, who was not exactly 
an amiable person, swore to me that 
as those of his relatives whom he did 
know were most disappointing and 
unsatisfactory, he would leave his 
money to the only relative whom he 
had never seen. That is how she 
comes by it. His son's marriage was 
a great trouble to the old man ; he 
had not seen him since, and I do not 



248 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



believe that even now Walter Nether- 
wood knows that his father was ever 
aware of it." 

" Very good land this," observed 
Mason changing the subject, now that 
he had got all the information he re- 
quired. 

" It is some of the best corn-land 
in the neighbourhood," returned Mr. 
Chesham; "and in the next parish 
there are some excellent pastures that 
always let well." 

" About what is the total rental 1 " 

" About fifteen hundred, I fancy," 
answered the lawyer ; " and then there 
are some good colliery shares worth 
about five hundred a year more." 

As he journeyed up to London the 
next day Mason had enough to 
occupy his thoughts. Here was 
Phoebe, by an extraordinary piece of 
luck, heiress to a very comfortable 
income, instead of being, what he had 
hitherto considered her, rather an 
encumbrance upon his uncle's estate. 
If only Anthony could return now, 
his cousin thought, and marry the 
girl ! It seemed a thousand pities 
that the money should be allowed to 
go out of the family. If he cared for 
any living creature at all, Mason 
Sawbridge cared for his cousin 
Anthony. His own polished inflexi- 
bility always yielded to his cousin's 
imperiousness ; from his boyhood 
Mason had been Anthony's willing 
tool ; he guarded the other's interests 
as a dog will guard his master's 
clothes. It would be difficult to 
define the feeling which this singular 
character experienced for his cousin ; 
it was something between fear and 
admiration, and it would be hard to 
say whether regret or relief was 
paramount when he heard of his 
death. He could hardly persuade 
himself even now that Anthony really 
was dead ; somehow it seemed to him 
impossible that Providence could 
ignore this good chance for the Dene 
family by persistently confirming the 



news of Anthony's decease. Of 
course he was perfectly aware that 
Phoebe had no particular liking for 
her cousin ; but Mason had a wide 
contempt for the inclinations of 
women in general, and held that their 
manifest inferiority entitled his own 
sex to their own way. If Anthony 
had lived and desired it, he felt sure 
that he would have married Phcebe. 
No one could resist him for long. 
But now he was dead, and there was 
Phoebe ! The fortune must be kept 
in the family if possible ; it would go 
a long way towards putting the Dene- 
hurst estate into a more satisfactory 
condition ; obviously there was only 
one person left, and that was himself. 
He was by no means in love with 
Phcebe ; but then the exercise of the 
affections played little part in the 
actions of his life. He was willing, 
considering the circumstances, to 
sacrifice himself to the extent of 
matrimony, a step he had not hitherto 
contemplated ; and he told himself 
that, as the girl had seen no one else 
to fall in love with, the offer of being 
made the mistress of a large house 
and a handsome allowance of pin- 
money, would be surely sufficient to 
win her. He embarked upon this 
enterprise with no idea of the possi- 
bility of failure. He contemplated it 
in exactly the same way as he would 
have contemplated the selling of a 
field, or the purchase of a house. 
Hitherto he had seen but little of 
Phcebe, considering that they lived 
under the same roof ; she had seemed 
almost a child still, and he had taken 
little or no interest in her. It 
certainly never occurred to him that 
the reason he seldom saw Phoebe, 
except at meals, was because she 
avoided him ; his unbounded conceit 
and self-confidence were sufficient to 
preclude the possibility of such an 
idea. He resolved at once that this 
state of affairs must be altered ; and 
he determined to lay himself out to 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



249 



be really attentive and agreeable to 
his cousin in order to pave the way 
for his proposal of marriage. 

CHAPTER XII 

FOR the next few weeks Phoebe 
felt as though she was living in a 
nightmare. Hitherto Mason's acqui- 
escence in her own avoidance of him 
had robbed the odium of his presence, 
when necessary, of some of its 
strength. After his return from 
Yorkshire, however, it seemed to the 
girl impossible to feel herself safe 
from his intrusion, and a vague horror 
seized her whenever she tried to 
account to herself for his persistence. 
Her dislike of him, though increased, 
was, she could not but confess, ren- 
dered much more unreasonable by his 
imperative kindness. Her twentieth 
birthday fell soon after this altered 
state of things, and early on the 
morning of the anniversary her maid 
brought her a small paper parcel, 
which being opened proved to contain 
a velvet case holding a delicately 
wrought gold bracelet. The giver's 
taste was artistic enough to insure 
the gift being perfect of its kind ; 
and yet, though girl-like she felt 
pleasure in its possession, it seemed 
somehow to be an evil omen. 
" Really," she said to herself while 
dressing, " I am getting very super- 
stitious, or very uncharitable. It is 
wrong and cruel to dislike and dis- 
trust a man because he happens to be 
deformed. I must try and get over 
my feelings." 

Full of a brave resolution to thank 
her cousin warmly for his thought of 
her, she went downstairs to breakfast. 
It was worse and worse. Her plate 
was heaped with flowers, not such as 
Denehurst, or indeed any place nearer 
than London could produce ; deli- 
cately tinted orchids, sprays of rare 
fern, waxen masses of stephanotis. 
What did all these sudden attentions 



portend 1 She shrank back, in spite 
of herself, as Mason approached. 

" Many happy returns of the day, 
Phoebe," he said, and his tone of 
grave politeness partly reassured her. 
For a moment she feared he was 
going to kiss her face ; but he 
stopped short at her hand which he 
was holding, and bestowed a courtly 
salute upon that instead. 

"It is very kind of you to remem- 
ber it," she faltered, " and to give me 
all these lovely flowers." 

"And your bracelet, why do you 
not put it on 1 Would you like a 
different one 1 I can change it quite 
easily," he said. 

" Indeed no ! " she cried hastily. 
"It is a beautiful thing ; too much 
so for me to wear, I think." 

" Not at all," he answered. " Wo- 
men should wear such ornaments, and 
you are a woman now, Phoebe. I 
had quite forgotten how old you were 
till the other day, and had been look- 
ing upon you as a sort of school-girl." 

" Some girls are at school at my 
age, or very little younger," said 
Phoebe. " I wish I could go to school 
myself and learn something." 

" Some girls of your age are married 
and settled in life," observed the 
hunchback. " As for your going to 
school and learning something, you 
can learn quite as much here ; that is 
if you need it, of which I have my 
doubts," he added with a smile which 
was meant to be complimentary, but 
which so far failed in its object as to 
make Phoebe shiver with repulsion. 

" Are you cold 1 Let me shut the 
window," he said, and suited the 
action to the word, thus relieving her 
for a moment of his near proximity. 

" How shall we celebrate the day ? " 
he inquired, taking his place at the 
end of the table. " What would you 
like to do 1 " 

" Oh, I am quite happy here at 
home," she answered. "I have my 
books, and work, and and things." 



250 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



" You can have those any clay," 
he answered ; "a birthday only comes 
once a year. Would you like a good 
long drive to some place you have not 
seen 1 Shall we go to Snaithburn 
Castle ? My uncle can come too, if 
you like," he added. 

Now if it had not been for this 
last suggestion, Phoebe would have 
unhesitatingly refused the drive. 
There was, however, nothing that old 
Dennis Dene enjoyed so much as 
driving, and a day's excursion would 
be the greatest possible delight to 
him. Remembering this, she had no 
heart to refuse, and off they set 
accordingly to Snaithburn Castle. 

The crazed old man was probably 
the only member of the party who 
was thoroughly at ease or enjoying 
himself ; and her uncle's enthusiasm 
roused even Phoebe from her half- 
defined fears, and Mason from his 
rather dark and devious cogitations. 
She had only seen the old ruined castle 
once before, and forgot her uneasiness 
while admiring the gray ivy-clad 
stones that stood out clear against the 
cloudless blue sky. 

" It is not such a very ancient 
place after all," said Mason, while old 
Dennis Dene was awakening soft 
echoes with his violin. " It was only 
built in 1550." 

" How did it get ruined 1 '' asked 
Phoebe. 

"I believe in the Civil Wars," 
answered her cousin. " If I remember 
rightly, Cromwell is responsible for 
these ruins, as he is for a good many 
others. That outer wall down there 
is of earlier date than the rest of the 
building, and was probably the re- 
mains of some former fortress which, 
remodelled and added to, formed the 
present castle. It was the scene of a 
siege " 

" Oh, don't trouble about the 
history of the place," cried the girl 
with a movement of irresistible im- 
patience. " One doesn't want to be 



burdened with names and dates and 
historical facts. The day is too fine, 
and life is too short ! " 

" I dare say you would like to be 
left alone for a bit," said Mason, who 
was full of tact, and knew quite well 
when he was not wanted. "These 
places conduce to meditations, don't 
they 1 I think I will have a stroll 
and a cigar," and he went off with a 
bland smile, and an internal resolve 
that Phoebe Sawbridge would not be 
allowed to show as much impatience as 
had been pardoned to Phoebe Thayne. 

As she saw his grotesque figure 
disappear round the angle of an ivy- 
covered buttress, the girl breathed 
more freely and hastened to hide 
herself in a corner of the roofless and 
dismantled tower. The ground-floor 
was open to the sky, all intervening 
storeys and the roof having vanished ; 
and as she sat down on a fallen 
stone the sun shone warmly into the 
deserted place, silent save for an 
occasional chirping of sparrows in the 
ivy, and the strange sweet modu- 
lations that came from old Dennis 
Dene's violin. 

Phoebe sat there lost in thought, and 
conscious of a most helpless position. 
The more she dwelt upon it, the more 
she wondered what was going to be 
the outcome of it all. What was 
going to happen 1 How was she to 
save herself from the vague danger of 
which her instinct warned her ? And 
slowly as she pondered over these 
things, there rose before her eyes the 
vision of a sunburned, honest face 
with frank eyes that had looked 
straight into hers, as her memory 
heard again the tones of a voice that 
had bidden her think of the speaker 
as a friend. Would he ever return, 
she wondered ? Would the future 
ever bring forth anything to justify 
the germs of a hope which had begun 
to stir within her 1 Would she 
always feel herself so helpless and 
deserted 1 As all these depressing 



v\ 



The Secret of Saint Floret. 



251 



thoughts crowded into her mind, the 
hot tears welled slowly into her eyes, 
and an expression of intense sadness 
stole over her face. 

It is extraordinary how frequently 
Fate separates individuals, just when 
they might be of the greatest service 
to one another. If Hugh Strong had 
suddenly arrived at Snaithburn Castle 
that afternoon, and wandering round 
the tower had come upon the Niobe- 
like face of the girl who was sitting 
there, everything would have happened 
that ought to have happened, and 
this story would have ended here. 
But, as is universally known, the course 
of true love never did run smooth ; 
sometimes indeed it stops short, and 
never runs any more, or perhaps 
protracts its course along the most 
circuitous channels ; and the latter 
eventuality is the reason why a 
proper novel should always be in 
three volumes, for a less space of 
print and paper could not contain the 
wanderings of the passion. 

After she had indulged her grief 
for some time, Phcebe rose and 
moved to a less secluded part of the 
ruins, fearing less Mason should 
return and question her as to the 
cause of her depression. Moreover, 
her uncle's violin was silent, and she 
was not sure if he had wandered too 
far. Accordingly she began to search 
the place, without any result for a 
short time, when, just as she was 
becoming anxious, she saw the old 
man, his head propped against a 
mossy stone, fast asleep, while his 
violin, which had dropped from his 
hands, lay upon the turf beside him. 
Phoebe sat down close by, and in 
a few minutes was joined by her 
cousin. She lifted her hand to im- 
pose silence, as he approached. 

" Fallen asleep, has he 1 " remarked 
the dwarf in a low tone. " Really, 
he gets more childish every day. I 
believe he would be better off under 
more strict supervision." 



" What do you mean ? " she asked 
apprehensively. 

" Well, there are places, very com- 
fortable places too, where such irre- 
sponsible persons as our uncle can be 
properly taken care of." 

" You don't mean to say you would 
send him to an asylum," cried the 
girl indignantly ; "a poor, weak, 
old man like that, who never does any 
harm ? " 

" I don't know about not doing any 
harm," answered Mason. " He caused 
me considerable annoyance the other 
day by taking two strangers up-stairs, 
and romancing to them for the best 
part of an hour. However, I grant 
you he is not actively mischievous. 
You must remember, though, that he 
quite prevents our seeing any visitors ; 
that is impossible, with him wandering 
about the house. His presence is 
your loss, and I fancy that lately, 
Phoebe, you have been rather dull." 

" If my seeing visitors depends 
upon my uncle's being sent away 
from his home, I would rather live as 
I do now," answered Phoebe in a low 
tone. 

" That is quite enough for me," said 
Mason. " I am quite ready to fall in 
with any views you may express upon 
the subject. If you prefer that my 
uncle should stay at Denehurst, he 
shall stay. You have only to say 
what you wish ; I would rather do as 
you like." 

" Then I wish him to stay at home," 
said the girl. 

" Very well, then ; I will not sug- 
gest sending him away," replied the 
hunchback. "I do not know why, 
but it seems to me, though I may be 
mistaken, that you are chary of letting 
me know your inclinations. Is it 
because you think I am likely to 
thwart them 1 " 

Phoebe was silent, partly from 
surprise, as she remembered many 
previous occasions on which her desires 
had been imperatively pronounced 



252 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



impossible. Here was a revolution in 
what she had learned to consider as 
the natural order of things. 

" If you have that idea," went on 
Mason after a slight pause, " pray 
disabuse your mind of it. I assure 
you it is an entirely mistaken one, 
and I may add a state of affairs 
exceedingly painful to myself. If it 
has been brought about by any con- 
duct of mine, I apologise, though I 
confess no instance occurs to me at 
this moment. You cannot, I hope, 
recall any occasion upon which I have 
treated you with rudeness or dis- 
courtesy 1 " 

No, she could not. His most 
crushing comments had invariably 
been uttered in the most faultless 
language, and his cruellest sarcasms 
had been unimpeachably polite. It 
was only when she interfered between 
him and his uncle that his annoyance 
was apt to get the upper hand, and 
some remembrance of this prompted 
her next words. " If you want to 
accede to my wishes, I do wish one 
thing very much." 

" And what is that ? " 

" I wish you would not play at cards 
with my uncle, or dice, or game at all. 
You know how it excites him, and 
how ill he always is afterwards." 

" Very well," he answered without 
any hesitation. " I will destroy the 
cards to-night, and give all the dice 
in the house into your own keeping, 
if you like. Is that enough, or can 
you suggest anything else ? " 

" I do not want to keep the dice 
myself," replied the girl ; "as long as 
you do not entice my uncle to play, 
it is all I want, and I thank you very 
much for saying you won : t do so." 

" I am delighted to fulfil your 
wishes," said her companion ; " and I 
am very glad to have had this chance 
of ascertaining them. Now, I hope 
you will no longer wrong me by 
imagining that I try to oppose my 
interests to yours. I assure you my 



dearest wish is to make them iden- 
tical." 

The latter part of his speech was 
sincere enough, and the ring of truth 
in his voice gave Phoebe a disagreeable 
suspicion, which, however, she stifled 
as impossible. Luckily too for her, 
her uncle woke at this moment, and 
thus further private conversation 
between her cousin and herself was 
for the time prevented. 

But the day's surprises were not at an 
end yet for Phoebe. At dinner Mason 
produced champagne, in which he 
gravely and cei'emoniously drank her 
health, and after dessert when she was 
preparing to leave the dining-room, 
he proffered a most unexpected re- 
quest. " Could you come into the 
library presently, Phcebe ? I have 
something to show you, and shall be 
very grateful if you can give me half 
an hour to-night." 

She assented with a feeling of 
frightened wonder. The library was 
Mason's especial sanctum now, as it 
had once been Anthony's. Here he 
read, wrote his letters, held interviews 
on business, and in general transacted 
the affairs of the estate. It was very 
seldom that Phcebe entered the room, 
and she was conscious of considerable 
apprehension as she presented herself 
on this particular evening. The nights 
were beginning to get already a little 
chilly, so a log was smouldering with 
a dim glow upon the wide hearth. 
The twilight was still visible at the 
two long windows that opened on to 
the garden, but away from them, in 
the recess where Mason's writing-table 
stood, the darkness was sufficiently 
pronounced to render candles a neces- 
sity. Two of these were lighted upon 
the table, and with their coloured paper 
shades threw a halo of dull red into 
the surrounding dusk. Behind these 
and with his back to the wall sat the 
hunchback, his grotesqueness intensi- 
fied by the half-light of the shaded 
candles, which looked to Phoebe like 



\ 



The Secret of Saint Florel. 



253 



two angry red eyes glaring through 
the obscurity. 

Her cousin rose as she entered, and 
remained standing while she seated 
herself in a large leather arm-chair 
placed ready for her opposite to him- 
self on the other side of the table. 
When she was fairly established, 
Mason laid his hand upon a large 
blue envelope which with unbroken 
seal lay before him. "I am exceed- 
ingly obliged by your coming, Phoebe ; 
I hope you have no reason to hurry 
away again, as I have one or two 
most important matters to speak of." 
She merely made a gesture of assent 
and waited for what was coming next, 
too much puzzled to speculate what it 
might be. " The other day when I 
left home," he went on, " I did so 
to attend the funeral of your third 
cousin, the old man whose death you 
saw in the paper." 

"Why did you not tell me where 
you were going 1 " she asked, for Phoebe 
was frank enough herself, and disliked 
an absence of this quality in others. 

" Pardon me," he went on, " but I 
do not precisely see why I should in- 
form you of my movements. What 
difference would it have made if you 
had known 1 " This was unanswer- 
able, so she was silent, and again he 
continued his smooth speech. " I 
thought it wisest to attend the funeral, 
as representing yourself, and in case, 
which seemed however very improbable, 
you had any interest in the will." 
Here he paused again to give her an 
opportunity for speech, but finding 
she did not avail herself of it, he went 
on again : " I was mistaken. I heard 
the will read, and found that, upon 
the death of old Mr. Netherwood's son, 
you would inherit the whole of his 
property. This son is still a com- 



paratively young man, and it may be 
many years before you come into the 
estate ; on the other hand, unexpected 
things happen, and it may be yours 
almost immediately." 

" For the present I suppose my ex- 
pectations will make no difference to 
me," she said. 

" The expectation, I may say the 
certainty, of one day coming into a 
handsome income, must make a differ- 
ence," said Mason drily. " You are a 
woman with at present little experi- 
ence of the world ; when you have 
more knowledge of things in general 
you will find that your expectations will 
make the greatest possible difference." 

" They do not make me any better 
off now," she said, a little wearily. " I 
am still dependent upon my uncle for 
everything I call my own. I am 
practically penniless." 

" Here is a copy of the will, which 
has been forwarded by Mr. Chesham, 
your cousin's lawyer," said Mason, 
taking up the blue envelope. " It 
came this morning directed to your- 
self ; but as I did not wish business 
to intrude upon the pleasures of the 
earlier part of the day, I took the 
liberty of detaining your letter till 
this evening. I will now hand it to 
you, and will ask you to be so kind as 
to glance over it. It is very short, 
and quite clearly expressed." He 
placed the stiff blue envelope with 
its shining red seal in her hand, 
pushed the candles towards her, re- 
moving their shades so that she might 
see more clearly, and then prepared to 
leave the room. " I have some orders 
to give," he observed, " and will return 
in a few minutes. In the meantime, 
you can master this document," and 
he went out leaving the girl to her 
own reflections. 



(To be continued.) 



254 



A PRINCE OF WALES. 



THE recent gathering at Aberyst- 
wybh, to celebrate the opening of the 
new University of Wales, is significant 
of that ardour for learning which to 
such a high degree animates the people 
of the Principality. But it is the 
more sentimental functions of the 
new foundation, the preservation 
and encouragement, that is to say, of 
Welsh literature and history, which 
most appeal perhaps to the alien. It 
is impossible to think of this con- 
genial part of the University's duties, 
to say nothing of those singularly 
suggestive and romantic scenes among 
which it is set, without recalling the 
last great struggle against the English, 
or, to be strictly accurate, the Nor- 
man yoke. And with that struggle 
one name, a name in Wales imperish- 
able and immortal, is alone identified. 
For among a host of kings and bards 
and warriors, whose memory Welsh- 
men delight to honour, Owen Glen- 
dower, as the national hero, is without 
a rival. 

The presence, moreover, at Aberyst- 
wyth of the gracious personage who 
now bears the ancient title of Prince 
of Wales, suggests the grim contrast 
five hundred years ago, when two re- 
doubtable warriors, the one in his first 
youth, the other a grizzled veteran, 
contested in arms the right to bear 
it, till West Britain was almost a 
desert from the Severn to the sea. 
And even yet more directly pertinent 
than all these reflections is the one 
that, in the very forefront of Glen- 
dower's scheme of independence was 
the establishment of two national 
universities for Wales. 

There is something almost pathetic 



in this enduring gratitude, this canoni- 
sation of a personage whom the Saxon 
historian has for the most part treated, 
with curt brevity, as an unsuccessful 
rebel. Most people are beyond a doubt 
indebted to the pages of Shakespeare 
for their introduction to the W T elsh 
hero ; and the poet has touched chiefly 
upon those peculiarities which con- 
tribute to the humorous portions of 
the play of HENRY THE FOURTH. If 
that much harried monarch could 
speak to us from the grave he would 
have plenty to say, we make no doubt, 
of the serious side of his indomitable 
opponent, who, for nearly the whole 
fifteen years of that turbulent reign, 
never ceased from troubling, and for 
the first half dozen was the very 
burden of his life. 

Of the three parallel lines which 
traverse North Wales from the marches 
to the sea, the route over which the 
Great Western railway runs from 
Ruabon to Barmouth is by far the love- 
liest ; there is, perhaps, no lovelier in 
all Britain. Ruabon is, of course, on 
the main line from Paddington to 
Liverpool, a cosmopolitan highway 
surely if there is one anywhere, and 
the flat plains that lie along one side 
of it are as wholly Saxon as Sussex. 
In the train that waits for the express 
at the siding, however, every third- 
class passenger is talking Welsh, and 
in ten minutes with no undue velo- 
city we are transported into another 
land. Lofty hills tower upon either 
hand, and plunging down into the 
gorge between them we meet the Dee, 
as laden with its tribute of a hundred 
mountain streams and tarns it comes 
bursting out of the Yale of Llangollen. 



A Prince of Wales. 



255 



There is no space here to dwell 
upon the beauties of this enchanting 
region. Mr. Ruskin has praised it as 
the most exquisite blending of wood- 
land and river scenery known to him, 
and this may perhaps suffice. 

We pass the old gray town that 
names the vale, and against whose 
walls the broad Dee beats perpetually 
with the fury of a mountain torrent. 
Eight hundred feet above us the 
rugged ruins of Dinas Bran, unsur- 
passed in Britain surely for pride of 
place, still defy the rage of the winds 
and the curiosity of the antiquaries. 
A few miles further and the hills 
swell into mountains, while the river, 
ever near us, but buried in groves of 
oak and sycamore, churns upon its 
rocks in yet louder key. Here ends, 
strictly speaking, the Vale of Llan- 
gollen ; and we pause for a moment 
to take up a stray rustic or fisherman 
at a country station whose name, 
written large upon a white board 
against an ivied wall, may fairly strike 
terror into the Saxon tongue. Not 
many, we fancy, of the chattering 
travellers who make merry without 
fail over what seems to them so fear- 
some an arrangement in black and 
white, realise the significance of the 
name Glyndyfrdwy. 1 As a matter of 
fact, this was the home and these were 
the lands, the ancestral acres, of the 
great Glendower, of Owain de Glyn- 
dyfrdwy, or Owain of the Glen of 
the Dee, for dyrfdwy or dwrfdwy was 
the old Welsh name of the Dee, and 
signifies the sacred water. Owen was 
no mere mountain chieftain, no ob- 
scure gentleman, as English historians 
have rather led us to infer ; he was in 
truth a powerful noble and a large 
landed proprietor. All along the rail- 
way, and along the Dee for the next 
five miles to Corwen, and far into the 
hills on either side, westward to the 
populous Vale of Edeirnion, south- 

1 The modern spelling is followed here. 



ward across to the head-waters of the 
Ceiriog, and northward to_ the infant 
springs of the Clwyd, ran the lord- 
ship of Glyndyfrdwy. Nor was this 
by any means the whole of Owen's 
property ; but what is of more import- 
ance for the moment is a spot about 
a mile beyond the station, where the 
river, after hugging the line, turns 
suddenly off at a right angle. Here is a 
deep heaving pool beloved by trout and 
grayling, and where the salmon, travel- 
ling up in autumn, pause before breast- 
ing the line of tumbling rapids that 
gleam against the foot of the huge 
wall of larch and fern and heather 
that climbs up into the sky behind. 
High above both river and railroad, 
so close indeed to the latter that it 
might well pass unobserved, rises a 
lofty tumulus. From its summit 
spring a dozen ancient pine-trees, 
which perched thus aloft in the very 
neck of the valley sing mournful 
dirges with every breeze that blows. 

Whatever the origin of the mound, 
it was no doubt used as a signal station 
by Glendower, whose name it bears. 
It marks, moreover, the actual site of 
his residence, traces of which yet 
remain in the meadow that divides 
the railroad from the old Holyhead 
turnpike. Beyond this spot the nar- 
row valley widens, and makes room 
for what in Owen's day was a fine 
park full of game, as testify not only 
the native chroniclers but Henry the 
Fifth himself, who thus describes it 
in a letter to his father's Council. 
The village of Llansantffraid just be- 
yond clings to a steep bank on the 
further side of the Dee. Within a 
stone's throw of the station an ancient 
homestead marks the site of Glen- 
dower's stables and farm-buildings. 
A neighbouring enclosure still bears 
the name of Parliament Field, while 
on the river brink a small stone house 
still stands, within which for many 
vears Owen's handful of valuable 



256 



A Prince of Wales. 



prisoners was confined. Three miles 
away the little town of Corwen, 
nestling somewhat coldly in the deep 
shadow of the Berwyn mountains, 
marks the old boundary between the 
vales of Glyndyfrdwy and Edeirnion, 
and the limits of Glendower's domain, 
and here, as is natural, traditions of 
the hero lie thick at every turn. 

We have dwelt somewhat at length 
upon this country of Glendower's, not 
merely with a view of illustrating as 
it were a familiar page of Bradshaw, 
but because its very situation was in 
truth the prime cause of a movement 
which for so many years set all Great 
Britain agog. For adjoining the lands 
of Glyndyfrdwy upon the English 
border was the lordship of Dinas 
Bran, already spoken of, and the great 
castle of Chirk, still so perfect, then 
in the hands of the potent Lord 
Marcher Warren. Upon the north 
the Greys of Ruthyn had, since the 
days of the first Edward, dominated 
and terrorised the Vale of Clwyd in 
the interest of the English king ; and 
it was a boundary dispute, as we shall 
see, that lit the flame of war. 

Owen Glendower was a son of 
Gryffydd Vychan, and a descendant 
of Elinor Goch (or the red), daughter 
of the great Llewellyn ; and Glyn- 
dyfrdwy was but a remnant of the 
family property which had formerly 
embraced the lordships of Dinas 
Bran, of Chirk, Bromhead, and Yale, 
a sufficiently noble inheritance. 
Owen himself, as we have already 
said, was no rough borderer, no plain 
Welsh squire, but a polished gentleman 
and an accomplished courtier. Like 
many of the young nobles of his day 
he had been a Bencher of the Temple, 
and was afterwards attached to the 
persons of Bolingbroke and Richard, 
being with the latter till his final 
surrender at Flint Castle. In ad- 
dition to Glyndyfrdwy and some 
property in South Wales, he owned 



the fine estate of Syccherth near 
Oswestry, and thither, after the closing 
scene at Flint, he betook himself. 
Like all Welshmen he was attached 
to Richard, no doubt, and resented 
Henry's treachery ; but there is no 
reason to suppose that Owen then 
meditated any active opposition. 
He was at this time somewhat past 
forty, and no doubt had seen much of 
life both in England, Ireland, and 
elsewhere. The exact year of his 
birth is disputed, but that he was 
ushered in by fearful portents came 
afterwards to be universally conceded 
by every good Welshman. Glen- 
dower's own opinion on this point is 
of course matter of history. 

Give me leave 

To tell you once again that at my birth 
The front of heaven was full of fiery 

shapes, 
The goats ran from the mountains, and 

the herds 
Were strangely clamorous to the frighted 

fields. 

These signs have marked me extra- 
ordinary ; 

And all the courses of my life do show 
I am not in the roll of common men. 

But it was to be a year or two yet before 
he burst on his country as hero and 
magician. At present he was only 
quarrelling with his great neighbour 
on the north, Lord Grey de Ruthyn, 
who, secure in the support of the 
newly crowned Henry, had thought it 
only reasonable to seize a strip of 
land belonging to Owen whose attach- 
ment to Richard had been so marked. 
Owen seems really to have been in 
favour of peaceful measures, for he 
carried the case before the King's 
court of justice. Unhappily for the 
country the court dismissed his suit 
with contumely and without a hear- 
ing, and this in spite of the urgent 
warnings of the Bishop of Saint 
Asaph, who not only knew the rights 
of the matter, but dreaded the con- 
sequences of driving to extremities a 



A Prince of Wales. 



257 



man of such power and influence 
among the Welsh as Owen. " What 
care we for the barefoots 1 " was the 
scornful reply of Henry's friends. 
For Lord Grey de Ruthyn was a 
special favourite of Henry, and, as 
will be seen, had before long good 
cause to be thankful for it, as well as 
to rue his reckless injustice. The 
Greys, as Lords of the Marches, seem 
to have been for some time the evil 
geniuses of the English power in 
Wales, and had earned for themselves 
unusual hatred. One more incident 
completed the breach between Glen- 
dower and Henry. The latter opened 
his reign with a campaign against the 
Scots, and had summoned Owen to- 
gether with other Welsh barons to 
join his forces. The summons, how- 
ever, was sent through Lord Grey, 
who purposely delayed its trans- 
mission till it was too late for 
his rival to obey, and Owen's failure 
to appear was put down to disaffection. 

Glendower now took the law into 
his own hands, seized the common of 
Croesau to the north of Corwen which 
Grey had robbed him of, and in due 
course, after some successful skir- 
mishing, retired, not to Glyndyfrdwy, 
but to his larger mansion at Sycharth. 
It seems even now more than probable 
that Owen would have moved no 
further in the matter if the impractic- 
able Ruthyn ha,d let well alone ; but 
this is just what he would not do. 
Procuring on his own representation 
of the state of Wales an order from 
Henry to proceed against Glendower, 
he and his neighbouring Lord 
Marcher, Talbot, surprised him at his 
house at Sycharth. Owen was sur 1 - 
rounded and very nearly captured, 
but contrived to escape into the 
woods ; and from that moment in the 
summer of 1400 till his death in 
1415 he remained an irreconcilable 
and unconquered foe of the English 
crown. 

No. 442 VOL. LXXIV. 



This mansion of Sycharth is de- 
scribed by the famous bard lolo Goch. 
With characteristic bombast he com- 
pares it to Westminster Abbey, and 
then, condescending to details, tells 
us that it had nine halls each contain- 
ing a wardrobe filled with the clothes 
of its lord's retainers, and that there 
was a separate building, roofed with 
tiles, for the accommodation of guests. 
There were a gate-house and moat, 
a church in the form of a cross with 
several chapels, a park, warren, and 
pigeon-house, mill, orchard, vineyard, 
fi shponds, and h eronry . The hospi tality 
here, and no doubt at Glyndyfrdwy, 
was boundless, and lolo does as full 
justice in verse as he doubtless did in 
person to the wine and metheglin 
and general good cheer. Owen married 
a daughter of Sir David Hanmer, a 
Knight of Flint and a Justice of the 
King's Bench, and had many children. 
The fate of the sons, who mostly 
followed their father to his wars, 
seems doubtful ; but his daughters 
married into notable Herefordshire 
families, Scudamores, Monningtons, 
and Crofts, and many descendants of 
the great AVelshman are now living. 

The Lords Marchers had now let 
loose a whirlwind they were quite 
incapable of stemming unaided. 
Glendower, renouncing the private 
aspect of his quarrel with the King's 
friends, now publicly proclaimed him- 
self leader of a fresh struggle for 
Welsh independence, and the men of 
Merioneth, Carnarvon, and Mont- 
gomery flocked by thousands to his 
standard. Ruthyn was attacked upon 
a fair day, burned and plundered ; 
even Shropshire was so harried that 
the town of Shrewsbury had for 
safety's sake to take security from 
its Welsh residents. In September 
Owen was proclaimed Prince of Wales, 
and in the same month Henry, with 
his son, then a boy of twelve, and a 
large army, made his first invasion of 

s 



258 



A Prince of Wales. 



the Principality. By October 19th 
he was back again at Evesham. He 
had penetrated as far as Anglesea, 
effecting nothing but the destruction 
of a monastery or two, which he had 
reason to suspect of disloyalty. Owen 
and his forces had retreated before 
him to that time-honoured sanctuary 
of Welsh patriotism the Snowdon 
Mountains, only to be masters of the 
whole country again the moment the 
King's back should be turned. Pardons 
were liberally offered to all Welshmen, 
Glendower and two or three others 
excepted, who would resort to Chester, 
where the young Prince was left on duty 
throughout the winter for the express 
purpose of granting them. But little 
response was given to Henry's over- 
tures. Wales had been really attached 
to Richard, and the idea that he was 
still alive had been sedulously en- 
couraged. Owen spent the winter in 
collecting men and rousing the country. 
Five counties only at that time existed 
in Wales, Flint, Anglesea, Carnarvon, 
Cardigan, and a part of the present 
Merioneth. These had been the 
creation of Edward the First, and 
here only the King's writ ran, which, 
by the way, it did not of course then 
do in Cheshire or Durham. The rest 
of Wales was governed from a multi- 
tude of castles whose English owners 
were absolute in great matters, though 
in ordinary ones the old Welsh laws 
and local divisions still survived. 

The social state of Wales indeed at 
this time is extremely interesting ; but 
if, as we suspect, there is a tendency 
to think of the Welsh of those days as 
a semi-barbarous people, such as were 
the Highlanders and native Irish, a 
brief protest may here at once be 
entered. The civilisation of Wales in 
Glendower's time was probably upon a 
par with all but the most favoured 
parts of England. This, to be sure, is 
a poor and bald way of dismissing a 
comparison that is full of fascination 



for those who care for such things ; 
but it is necessary, and sufficiently 
accurate for every practical purpose. 

Wales was at that time full of mer- 
cenary soldiers living as peasant 
farmers. The spirit that had aroused 
the agrarian revolt in England not 
long before, a spirit of animosity 
towards the lords of the soil simply 
as such, was still strong and had 
much to do with the enthusiasm 
which greeted the standard of the 
golden dragon which Glendower now 
openly unfurled. The movement, in 
short, was not only patriotic but in a 
measure democratic also. 

Out of their holes and corners, too, 
now crept the bards whose dreaded 
harps had for so long been silenced 
by the edict of the English kings. It 
was a golden age of Welsh poetry. 
Love-songs of much pathos and sweet- 
ness, odes in praise of husbandry, 
and the like, remain to show us how 
the long peace since the death of 
Llewellyn had turned the poetic fer- 
vour of Wales into softer channels. 
Now, however, the halls of Glyndy- 
frdwy, where Owen held high festival 
and kept open house, rang with martial 
song, and troops of bards from every 
quarter of Wales chanted of his high 
destiny and gallant deeds. " Strike 
then your harps," sangGryffyddLlwyd, 
the laureate of Owen's court, 

Strike then your harps, ye Cambrian 

bards ! 

The song of triumph best rewards 
A hero's toils. Let Henry weep 
His warriors wrapt in everlasting sleep. 
Success and victory are thine, 
Owain Glyndyfrdwy divine ! 

Through the following spring and 
summer of 1401 Owen was moving 
rapidly about North Wales, hailed 
everywhere as prince and but feebly 
opposed. With a view no doubt of 
attaching the west he fixed his head- 
quarters for a long time on the slopes 
of Plinlimmon. Here, while on 



> 



A Prince of Wales. 



259 



guard with only a hundred and 
twenty men, a body of fifteen hundred 
Flemings from Pembroke made a 
dash for his person and succeeded in 
completely surrounding him. Capture 
seemed certain there was nothing 
for Owen and his small band to do 
but to cut their way through or perish. 
They succeeded in the former, and 
Owen's reputation rose proportionately. 
Welsh students from Oxford in large 
numbers hastened to his standard ; 
Welsh labourers from all parts of 
England followed in hot haste. 
Parliament grew frightened, and 
enacted various measures against 
Welshmen in general that were as 
exasperating as they were futile. 
France, sore about the death of 
Richard for the sake of his French 
Queen, was threatening war. The 
Scots were openly hostile. The 
harvest of 1400 had been a bad one, 
and corn had risen to thrice its usual 
price. Henry was desperately in need 
of money, and had to risk the popu- 
larity upon which his precarious title 
seemed to depend by demands as 
great as those which had ruined 
Richard. Henry Percy, the famous 
Hotspur, who had been sent to the 
Northern Marches of Wales, vowed 
he would stay there no longer unless 
money was sent him to oppose the 
spreading power of Glendower ; and 
he was shortly as good as his word. 
Having fought at his own expense an 
indecisive engagement with the Welsh 
on the slopes of Cader Idris, he threw 
up his command in disgust and 
retired to the more congenial turmoil 
of the Scottish border. The northern 
counties, saving always the fortified 
castles, were by this time wholly at 
Owen's disposal, and he now swept 
down the valley of the Upper Severn, 
past the high-perched stronghold of 
Montgomery, to where Powis Castle 
looked down upon the border town 
of Welshpool. Here he was baffled 



by Charlton Lord of Powis, but not 
before the town itself had suffered 
grievously from his visit.' It was 
October before Henry, with the levies 
of one and twenty counties, could 
attempt the arrest of his vanishing 
supremacy in Wales. Again he 
clung to the sea-coast, marching by 
Bangor and Carnarvon and south- 
wards into the county of Cardigan, 
which had now risen almost as one 
man for Owen. Winter campaigns 
were unheard of in those days, and in 
Wales indeed absolutely impossible ; 
and the Welsh leader retired with his 
forces to the mountains, well knowing 
that time was his surest ally. Henry 
amused himself by confiscating estates 
in Cardiganshire and bestowing them 
on individuals whose lives, when his 
back was turned, would not be worth 
an hour's purchase should they again 
venture into the neighbourhood. He 
burned many churches, too, sacked 
the noble abbey of Strata Florida, 
drove out the monks, and stabled his 
horses at the high altar. He put to 
death also the wealthiest landowner 
in the county, and perhaps justly. 
This gentleman had two sons with 
Owen, and, offering to guide the 
King's army to the Welsh stronghold, 
misled them of design, and then, with 
heroic cheerfulness, laid his head upon 
the block and received the death he 
had courted. In a fortnight, flying 
before the spectre of winter, Henry 
was hurrying homeward along the 
Severn valley with a thousand children 
as captives, say the chronicles, but 
otherwise leaving Wales precisely as 
he had found it, save for some smoking 
ruins and a few homeless monks. 

With the remnant of Welsh 
loyalty crowded into a score or two 
of yet unconquered castles, the 
virtual dictator of Wales spent the 
winter with his bards and cour- 
tiers at Glyndyfrdwy. The year 
1402 broke upon the troubled land 

s 2 



260 



A Prince of Wales. 



of Britain with portents that stirred 
the imaginations of the Cambrian 
bards to ecstasies ; especially a comet 
that stretched its fiery tail of win- 
ter nights above the dark masses 
of the Berwyn range. Cheered by 
such omens, and by the wine, no 
doubt, which flowed in such abun- 
dance, and by the successes of the 
past year, the harps sounded wilder 
notes than ever by the banks of the 
sacred Dee, and Owen's origin and 
Owen's prowess, his magic and his 
destiny, assumed amazing proportions. 
But the chief himself, valuing no 
doubt all this vocal and musical 
incense at its own worth, knew that 
as a factor in his enterprise it was by 
no means to be despised. He did not 
allow it, however, to interfere with 
his own vigorous action, for in the 
dead of the winter he made a rapid 
march to Ruthyn, beat Grey's forces 
in a pitched battle, and carried off 
his old enemy captive. Nor did he 
let him go again till the enormous 
ransom of ten thousand pounds in 
gold had been paid ; a sum so great 
that the King had to appoint a 
commission to raise it, while its pay- 
ment left the grasping Earl a poor 
man for the rest of a long life ; which 
was perhaps not less than his deserts. 
During the spring of this year 
Owen was moving rapidly with his 
forces over all North Wales, attacking 
the English castles that even with 
their small garrisons were formidable 
in their masonry, and coercing any 
wavering patriots there might still be 
among his countrymen, after the 
fashion of successful revolutionists. 
His rancour towards the Church was 
great, on account, no doubt, of the 
opposition of all its orders but the 
Franciscans, the worst of his many 
sacrilegious acts being the burning of 
the cathedrals of Bangor and Saint 
Asaph. By midsummer, however, he 
was in Radnor and fought much the 



most memorable action he had yet 
engaged in, both in its details and in its 
consequences ; it is with the arrival 
of this ill news of course that Shake- 
speare's play opens. The levies of 
Herefordshire and part of Radnor 
under Mortimer were crushed under 
the hill of Bryn-glas near Knighton ; 
a thousand were slain, and Mortimer 
himself, the uncle of the rightful heir 
to the throne, the lad, that is to say, 
whom Henry had in safe custody, was 
taken prisoner. Whether Mortimer 
really played into Owen's hands, or 
whether he was honestly beaten and 
incensed with the King's refusal to 
ransom him, must ever be doubtful ; 
but the important fact remains that he 
became from henceforward heart and 
soul Owen's man, married his daughter, 
and carried over the whole family 
interest in Hereford, Radnor, and the 
Vale of Clwyd to the Welsh cause. 
A gleam of seeming good fortune, 
however, had come to Henry from the 
north, for the deadly English arrows 
had utterly broken the Scottish 
chivalry at Homildon Hill, and the 
victorious Percies were free once 
more to rally to Henry's side. But 
France was daily threatening war, 
and Breton privateers were harrying 
the southern coasts, while nearly 
all Wales had slipped from his 
grasp. The Percies were sorely 
needed, and we all know in what 
fashion they ultimately came. 

It was September before Henry 
had gathered that great army with 
which he was to crush rebellious 
Wales at a blow, and which Adam 
of Usk with certain exaggeration 
estimates at a hundred thousand men. 
It was to cross the border in three 
divisions under the King, Warwick, 
and Prince Henry respectively. The 
latter indeed, now in his sixteenth 
year, comes down to us from these 
Welsh wars, not as the frivolous 
libertine of popular tradition, but as 



A Prince of Wales. 



261 



a precocious and zealous official in 
whom considerable trust and no little 
responsibility seems to have been re- 
posed. Of glory, however, either by 
the Prince or his seniors very little 
was reaped in this disastrous campaign. 
The elements rose in their wrath and 
fought for Glendower with a fury such 
as no man living had ever seen in 
autumn. Dee, Wye, and Severn 
roared bank-high and over, sweeping 
the rare wooden bridges in fragments 
to the sea, and burying the fords 
deep beneath volumes of brown water. 
Rain fell for days in torrents, thunder 
roared, lightning flashed, and no tents 
could stand against the gales that 
blew from the west. Owen was al- 
ready accounted a magician in Wales. 
If the English had scoffed at his 
powers they now no longer doubted 
them, and Henry's great host fell back 
to the Marches disheartened by a use-, 
less conflict, as they supposed, with a 
man who was allied with the Powers 
of Evil. 

Owen had in the meantime been 
crowned at Machynlleth, and had 
summoned a Parliament from all 
the counties of Wales. Hither 
came, with dark designs on his life, 
a Welsh gentleman of note, one David 
Gam, who was attached to Henry's 
cause. But the new-crowned monarch 
discovered, or as a magician perhaps 
divined, the plot, and securing the 
person of his traitorous compatriot 
proceeded with him to Cardiganshire, 
where he harried his property and 
burned his house before his eyes, up- 
braiding him meanwhile in verse 
which is still preserved. Gam was 
held close prisoner for many years, 
probably in the house at Llansant- 
ffraid, in hopes, no doubt, of a large 
ransom from the King. He was ulti- 
mately released, however, and fell at 
Agincourt amid a group of Welshmen 
who were fighting valiantly round the 
person of the English sovereign. 

The year 1403 was stirring and 



eventful. Owen had been in treaty 
with Scotland, France, and Ireland. 
He had won over Mortimer, and now 
the Percies, offended with the King, 
were coming over too. Shakespeare 
has made memorable the scene at 
Bangor, the famous triple alliance in 
which Percy, Mortimer, and Glendower 
were to divide England and Wales 
between them. It is sad to relate, 
however, the historian, as in the case 
of Prince Henry's frolics, is inclined 
to shake his head over the incident. 
But whatever the conditions of the 
triple alliance, its existence was solid 
fact enough. For in June the Percies, 
hastening to their new Welsh allies, 
were caught by the King at Shrews- 
bury, and the bloodiest battle was 
fought between Englishmen that had 
yet been seen. Had Owen come up 
in time with his ten thousand men 
the issue would have been different ; 
but Henry, who when once started 
was a marvel of celerity, was too quick 
for him. It was yet but early sum- 
mer. The Percies were crushed and 
Hotspur killed. Henry with his vic- 
torious army was at the gates of 
Wales. Once more good luck served 
Owen's turn, and the harassed King 
had to hurry off in hot haste to defend 
the north against the Scots. When 
he returned again to the Welsh border 
it was the ominous season of autumn, 
and, what was worse, his exchequer 
was absolutely empty ; not a man 
could be moved forward, and for yet 
another winter Owen was left the 
virtual master of Wales. He had 
been already strengthened by a large 
body of Breton troops, who spent the 
winter in South Wales ; and in the 
spring of 1405 his chancellor, Gryffydd 
Yong, and his brother-in-law, Jenkin 
Hanmer, were sent to Paris to con- 
clude a solemn treaty with Charles. 
The latter received them in the pres- 
ence of his court with much ceremony, 
and the alliance was formally declared. 
In the meantime piteous appeals came 



262 



A Prince of Wales. 



to Henry from his friends in Shrop- 
shire and Hereford. The battle of 
Shrewsbury, so far as the West was 
concerned, had been fought in vain ; 
French troops were wasting the 
country from Pembroke to the gates of 
Shrewsbury, while Breton rovers were 
harrying the coasts of South Devon, 
Cornwall, and the Isle of Wight. 

If want of space to touch upon the 
internal condition of Wales through- 
out these eventful years has conveyed 
an impression that the Principality 
was at peace within itself, let us has- 
ten to correct it. A score or more 
centres of English influence fought 
for existence behind the castle walls 
to which they had been confined. 
Some of these strongholds could be re- 
victualled and re-manned from the 
sea, others by reinforcements thrown 
rapidly across from Chester or the 
Marches; but the great majority sooner 
or later fell into Owen's hands. There 
was scarce a castle in all Wales, indeed, 
but took its share in the long struggle 
of Glendower. Many of the massive 
fragments of masonry which still tower 
to heaven on lofty hill-tops, or cling 
to wave-beaten cliffs, or stand 
amid more peaceful scenes upon the 
banks of rivers whose fords they once 
guarded, date their decline from the 
rude treatment they received at this 
tempestuous time. The details of 
these memorable sieges are copious 
for those who care to study them, 
even to the names very often of the 
garrisons and the inventories of their 
provisions. One can only wonder, 
what with the annual though brief 
incursions of the English armies, and 
the internal harryings that went on 
continually, that a bullock or a barrel 
of flour was left in Wales. The help- 
less state of the English Marches after 
five years of this warfare may be judged 
from the fact that the town of Welsh- 
pool in despair of support made a 
separate truce with the formidable foe. 
Yet the England that Glendower so 



long defied was no decadent, enfeebled 
country, but the England of Cressy, 
Poictiers, and Agincourt, the scourge 
of France, the best fighting-machine 
in Europe. 

The early spring of 1405 brought 
Owen his first serious reverses. Eight 
thousand Welshmen were badly beaten 
at Usk by Talbot, and the chief 
himself was defeated in Breconshire 
with a loss of fifteen hundred men. 
Among the slain was a brother, so 
like in form and feature, it is said, 
that for some time the victors thought 
the corpse to be that of the great 
Glendower himself. 

The latter's fortunes seemed now on 
the wane ; numbers of his followers 
sought the pardons that Henry was 
always liberal with ; his armies 
vanished away, and Owen himself 
with a few adherents was forced to 
hide for weeks in caves and on moun- 
tains. A ravine on the slopes of 
Moel Hebog is still connected with 
him ; a cave near the mouth of the 
Dysynni still bears his name. Henry 
himself records in a letter to his 
Council, still extant, how he burned 
Owen's mansion in Glyndyfrdwy and 
encamped in his park. The bards, 
too, were scattered and their harps 
silent. The voice of lolo Goch, how- 
ever, comes to us from this period, in 
wild laments for Owen's absence and 
summoning him home in impassioned 
tones. The whole story seems on the 
point of closing, when suddenly, in 
June, ten thousand Frenchmen, under 
Jean de Rieux, Marshal of France, 
and a brilliant company of officers, 
land at Milford Haven ; at the 
same time Glendower springs into life 
again at the head of an equal force. 
There was some skirmishing with the 
loyal garrisons of Pembroke, and then 
the united army, twenty thousand 
strong, marched right through South 
Wales and up to Worcester, where 
the King was waiting for them. A 
series of indecisive engagements fol- 



A Prince of Wales. 



263 



lowed, the invaders always retreating, 
and the King pursuing till the usual 
want of provisions and money drove 
him back. It was a singularly un- 
enterprising campaign and effected 
absolutely nothing. As many of the 
French as ships could be found for 
returned home in October ; the re- 
mainder spent the winter in Wales. 

The chief events of Glendower's re- 
bellion have now been briefly noted. 
The heyday of his power was over, 
and his royalty, though nominally 
maintained, had henceforward little 
meaning. The French gave him no 
further help, and great numbers of 
Welshmen sued for pardon ; the names 
of two thousand men from Anglesea 
alone, the only county, by the way, in 
which no actual fighting had taken 
place, are preserved with the fines 
they severally paid. Owen, however, 
never lost heart. For five years more 
he kept Wales practically unconquered, 
and more than once the old warrior 
carried terror over the border. Prince 
Henry, however, and the Lords of the 
Marches under him, seemed henceforth 
sufficient to keep matters from getting 
worse. The King's repeated failures, 
which are surely among the greatest 
curiosities of English history, seeing 
what a capable soldier and alert man 
he was, may well have filled him with 
a superstitious dread of the stormy 
hills of Wales. Probably, however, 
the perennial impecuniosity under 
which he laboured, and against which 
he was powerless, kept him from any 
further attempts. 

From this time forward Owen ceased 
to be a menace to the peace of Eng- 
land and to the throne ; but for five 
years longer at least he kept Wales 
and its borders in a turmoil, and when 
even his exhausted country had re- 
lapsed into comparative peace, the 
stubborn patriot in the mountain fast- 
nesses he knew so well still defied his 



enemies. He was yet unconquered 
when his almost lifelong foe, Henry 
the Fourth, was laid in his coffin. One 
of the first acts of the new King's 
reign was actually a pardon to the 
indomitable Welshman whom his own 
military talents and energy had been 
taxed to the utmost in resisting. There 
is something pathetic in the fact that 
the pardon came just too late. The 
solitary figure of Glendower repre- 
sented alone at this time the move- 
ment that for years had shaken Eng- 
land. Glyndyfrdwy and Sycharth 
had long passed by confiscation into 
other hands. Their once dreaded 
owner, if he was a wanderer, was at 
least not a hunted outlaw as is com- 
monly represented. He had outlived 
the terror and the fear he had once 
inspired, and of the last two or three 
years of Glendower's life almost nothing 
is known. We have no authority for 
supposing, but we may surely do so, 
that it was a generous admiration for 
genius and valour that made the young 
King issue to so unreconcilable and 
so undaunted an enemy a pardon 
unsolicited. But Owen was dead. 
The actual details of his death and 
place of burial are matters of dispute 
with the Welsh antiquaries ; but it 
seems probable that the house of his 
son-in-law, Monnington of Monnington, 
in Herefordshire, was the scene of his 
last hours ; and it is generally sup- 
posed that his dust still lies in the 
churchyard there in some unrecorded 
grave. And if the paean of triumph 
sung by Gryffydd Llwyd in the heyday 
of Owen's glory was sadly falsified by 
events, his last stanza at any rate 
rings out to us over these five hundred 
years in tones whose prophetic signifi- 
cance no one can gainsay : 

And when thy evening sun is set 
May grateful Cambria ne'er forget 
Thy noontide blaze ; but on thy tomb 
May never-fading laurels bloom ! 



264 



RAHEL LEVIN AND HER TIMES. 



THERE exist rare personalities, 
principally among women, which are 
both original and magnetic. They 
can draw together the most various 
characters, while at the same time 
they hold peculiarities in suspension 
by virtue of a comprehensive sym- 
pathy. A society thus held together, 
centred round one person, frequently 
meeting and anxious to meet fre- 
quently, is generally known as a 
salon. The woman who successfully 
presides over a salon helps to raise 
social life to a fine art. 

The salon was Parisian in its origin, 
and its very name brings sparkling 
memories of fine gentlemen in powder 
and fine ladies in brocade ; but the 
prototype formed in the Ville-Lumiere 
gradually found itself reproduced in 
the heavier Germanic circles. Madame 
de Stael, when she came to Berlin 
in 1803, found that all the most dis- 
tinguished citizens were in the habit 
of meeting at the house of the brilliant 
Jewess who is the subject of our sketch. 
The influence of Rahel's salon extended, 
with certain interruptions, over twenty 
years, while during that period she 
may be fairly said to have represented 
what Sainte-Beuve so aptly calls the 
tinctive social current of her time. 
Rahel's salon differed from its older 
rival in Paris in the breadth of its 
interests. Madame de StaeTs visitors 
were chiefly politicians and diploma- 
tists ; in the circle which surrounded 
Rahel were seen such ;men as Prince 
Louis Ferdinand, Prince Radziwill, 
Von Humboldt, Gentz, Heine, Schleier- 
macher, Schelling, and Jean Paul 
Richter. 

The circle to which she belonged 



was to a certain extent exceptional. 
She was born in 1771, a Jewess, the 
daughter of a well-known and fairly 
wealthy Berlin jeweller, and received 
the name of Rahel Antonie Frederike. 
Her health was naturally delicate, and 
her home not a very happy one. She 
had also to face the fact that in 
the eyes of some her race was a dis- 
advantage. On her deathbed she 
could say : " That which was during 
the early part of my life the greatest 
ignominy, the cause of bitterest sorrow, 
to have been born a Jewess, I would 
not now have otherwise at any price." 

Wealth and intellect, however, can 
always find their admirers in a great 
city ; and the Jews of Berlin, like so 
many other Jews, possessed a fair 
share of both. Moses Mendelssohn, 
the philosopher, was an intimate friend 
of Rahel Levin's family ; his daughters 
were among her dearest companions. 

To associate with the guests as- 
sembled at the Mendelssohns' house 
was in itself an education ; Lessing 
was a lifelong friend and frequent 
visitor ; Lavater, Von Humboldt, and 
the brothers Grimm were often to be 
met there. Moses Mendelssohn had the 
strongest belief in giving a solid 
education to girls as well as to boys, 
and his own daughters were accom- 
plished linguists. The girls and their 
friends read fiction in all languages ; 
",We were possessed with the desire 
to become heroines of romance," 
says Henriette Herz. Indeed their 
lives were not entirely unromantic. 
Dorothea Mendelssohn was to pass 
through half her existence as a 
Jewish matron, wife of David Veit, 
then to leave her home for the sake of 



Haliel Levin and her Times. 



265 



that eccentric Christian, Frederick 
Schlegel. Henrietta de Lemos, the 
ideal of a lovely Jewish maiden, after 
becoming at fifteen years old the bride 
of Marcus Herz, had a long and toil- 
some pilgrimage before she reached the 
end'of an honourable and honoured life. 
Rahel was less highly educated than 
her friends, but she had an instinctive 
appreciation of intellectual power. 
When sixteen, she met at the house 
of Doctor Marcus Herz, Mirabeau, " a 
burly French gentleman in the in- 
evitable powder and pigtail of the 
day, with fierce eyebrows, pitted with 
smallpox " ; and the enthusiastic energy 
of his talk made her forever after in 
love with the very thought of political 
freedom. The fiery orator of the Revo- 
lution, on his part, was sufficiently 
influenced by what he saw of Jewish 
society in Berlin to join the Abbe 
Gregoire on his return to Paris in a 
movement for the rehabilitation of the 
Jews. About the age of twenty-one 
Rahel became engaged to a Count von 
Finkenstein; but inevitable religious 
difficulties separated them, and the 
anxieties of this affair overshadowed 
her life for a time. She next went to 
Paris ; and during a long stay there 
her animated sketches of people and 
things in 1800 were circulated even 
among strangers. Jean Paul Richter 
vowed that they were worth ten 
descriptions. " No one," he said, " has 
thus at a glance understood and 
characterised the French people. 
What eyes they were to see so keenly 
and clearly the truth and only the 
truth ! " Richter always considered 
her the only woman in whom he had 
found a sense of humour. It was 
during these years that Rahel fell 
once and for ever under the influence 
of Goethe, and was soon accepted by 
her friends as an interpreter of his 
works. The master himself never met 
her till years later, but he knew her 
letters and her talk by report. " Yes," 



he says, " she is a charming girl, strong 
in her emotions and yet prompt in 
their utterance. In short, she is what 
I call a beautiful soul." This admira- 
tion for Goethe attracted kindred 
spirits to make her acquaintance. 
Among them was Ludwig Tieck, the 
son of the Berlin rope-maker, and her 
admiration for his originality led 
Rahel to think him almost equal to 
her idol. 

Already people in Berlin who en- 
joyed brilliant and intellectual talk 
were beginning to break through the 
bonds of caste and prejudice, and to 
frequent the houses of such Jews as 
Moses Mendelssohn, Doctor Herz, and 
Madame Levin, Rahel's mother ; and 
a kind of literary society called the 
Tugendbund had been formed among 
them. We have an account of an 
evening spent in the year 1801 in 
Rahel's house in the Jagerstrasse 
written by a French gentleman who 
had been introduced to her. 



Upon the sofa beside the hostess was 
seated a lady of great beauty, a Countess 
Einsiedel, ... in the background stood 
Frederick Schlegel in conversation with 
Rahel's brother. The door opened sud- 
denly and a laughing, picturesque figure 
entered and rapidly took possession of the 
armchair by Rahel. It was Madame Un- 
zelmann, a well-known actress. " What 
is this," cried Rahel ; " is there no Maria 
Stuart ? " " Iffland has brought out an- 
other piece in which there is nothing for 
me to do. I turn it therefore to the best 
account, by coming to spend the evening 
with you!" "This is charming," said 
Rahel ; "and best of all you already find 
here two special admirers, Schlegel and my 
brother." Baron Brinckmann was about 
to step forward, when Frederick Schlegel, 
with the awkwardness peculiar to him, 
advanced and said in a solemn confused 
way, that it was not he, but his brother 
August Wilhelm, who was the enthusiastic 
admirer of Madame Unzelmann. The 
talk became very animated, ranging over 
the most varied topics. I heard the boldest 
ideas, the acutest thoughts, the most cap- 
ricious play of fancy, all linked and sug- 
gested by the simple thread of accidental 



266 



Eahel Levin and her Times. 



chit-chat. Most remarkable of all was 
Mademoiselle Levin herself. . . . About 
Goethe she said some astonishing things, 
such as I have never heard equalled. Gentz 
entered, but was careful not to go near 
Schlegel, who thought him a " paid scrib- 
bler, miserable enemy of freedom." Eahel, 
ever observant, succeeded in drawing him 
into an animated discussion which was in- 
terrupted by the entrance of Prince Louis 
Ferdinand. All rose for a moment but 
resumed their places and conversation as 
before. The handsome face of the Prince 
was clouded, and his manner uneasy and 
pre-occupied ; he entered at once into con- 
versation with Rahel. He spoke with 
angry indignation against Napoleon, and 
of the friendly relations still maintained 
towards him by the Prussian Court ; he 
accused the Emperor of undermining the 
freedom of Europe. Some one referred to 
his brother-in-law, Prince Radziwill, to 
whom he was strongly attracted by their 
common love of music. The Prince in- 
quired if he had not already been there. 
" No," was the reply ; " he has probably 
gone to his hunting-seat." " Gone to 
hunt ! you do not know my brother-in- 
law," said the Prince with a smile. " He 
hunts/ of course, when he must, but it is all 
done in a musical sense. His love of 
sport is abundantly gratified by leaning, 
rifle in hand, against a tree and singing 
La Caccia ! La caccia." When the Prince 
took up his hat to go the company followed 
his example. But upon the staircase 
Prince Radziwill met and brought him 
back into the room. The departing guests 
as they passed beneath the windows of the 
house heard delightful strains of music 
stealing upon the night air. It was Prince 
Louis improvising, as he was wont to do in 
certain moods. Rahel and Prince Radzi- 
will stood by the window listening. 

Rahel is described at this time as 
neither tall nor handsome, but deli- 
cately formed and most agreeable in 
appearance ; with pure, fresh com- 
plexion and dark expressive eyes. 
The room in which she received her 
guests was simply furnished, but gave 
evidence of her refined taste and love 
of music ; the refreshments offered 
were the plainest. Guests in such 
meetings as these came for social 
intercourse not for show, and hostesses 
had the courage to invite their friends 



when wit and good-humour were the 
chief attractions they could offer. 

Jean Paul Richter came to Berlin 
in 1804, and his first introduction 
was to Rahel. She was so surprised 
to find that the whimsical author 
could talk just like common-place 
people that she repeatedly exclaimed, 
" You cannot be he ! " 

When Madame de Stael came to 
Berlin she was invited to spend an even- 
ing with Baron Brinckmann, Rahel's 
lifelong admirer and friend, for the 
special purpose of meeting her. After 
a lively conversation with Rahel, 
she remarked to Brinckmann : " You 
have exaggerated nothing ; she is ex- 
traordinary. I can only repeat what 
I have often said during my travels, 
that Germany is a mine of genius 
whose depths are yet unexplored." 
Then addressing Rahel, she said r 
" Mademoiselle, if I stayed here, I 
believe I should become jealous of 
your superiority." "Oh, no, Madame," 
replied Rahel. "I should come to love 
you, and that would make me so 
happy that you would only be envious 
of my happiness." 

It appears, however, that the bril- 
liant French writer retained some 
feeling akin to jealousy, for when she 
received guests at her own house, 
Rahel was not among the few ladies 
admitted. To Rahel Madame de 
Stael appeared " like a disturbing 
hurricane " ; while her book, L'ALLE- 
MAGNE, she characterised as " one 
lyrical sigh that she can no longer 
lead the Paris conversation." There 
was no room for two such women in 
one capital. 

It was in 1803 that Rahel, then 
thirty-two years of age, met the man 
she was afterwards to marry, Varn- 
hagen von Ense, whose memoirs and 
letters throw such a direct light upon 
his generation. He was at that time 
acting as tutor to the sons of an 
intimate friend of Rahel, the banker 



Rahel Levin and her Times. 



267 



Cohen, and he had often heard her 
discussed as one who was in touch 
with the best life of the great cen- 
tury of German letters, and was 
therefore anxious to make her ac- 
quaintance. One night, when he was 
reading to the Cohens some extracts 
from Wieland, Rahel was announced. 
" From what I had heard from 
others," says Yarnhagen in his Remi- 
niscences, " I was prepared to see a 
most extraordinary person ; what I 
did see was a light graceful figure, 
small but vigorous, with delicate, 
well-rounded limbs, and hands and 
feet peculiarly small. The forehead, 
which was shaded by a profusion of 
black hair, announced intellectual 
superiority ; the quick, determined 
glances left one in doubt whether 
they were more disposed to receive 
impressions or to communicate them, 
and a settled expression of melancholy 
added a charm to her clear and open 
face ; while in the short conversation 
I had with her I found that the chief 
feature and quality of her mind was 
that natural, unborrowed vivacity 
which throws upon every subject some 
new light and shadow. Three years 
afterwards," he continues, " I hap- 
pened to meet Rahel one cold spring 
morning under the lime-trees. I knew 
her companion to whom I spoke, and 
while I walked a short distance with 
them, Rahel to my delight joined in 
the conversation, and asked me to 
visit her in her mother's house in the 
Jagerstrasse. Our intimacy strength- 
ened daily; I told Rahel all my secret 
thoughts, and nowhere could I have 
found truer sympathy or more useful 
advice." 

It would be impossible to tell the 
story of any cultivated German of 
this period without some reference 
to the stirring European events which 
then affected all classes. The great 
democratic French Revolution had 
developed into a military tyranny ; 



Napoleon, as Emperor, aspired to 
universal despotism. Th,e Prussian 
Court still preserved a neutral atti- 
tude towards the conqueror, the secret 
hope of the acquisition of Hanover 
being its real motive. A treaty of 
alliance was almost signed between 
Prussia and Napoleon in August, 
1805. But French troops having 
forced their way through Prussian 
territory, the battles of Ulm and 
Austerlitz laid all Germany at the 
feet of France. Prussia then saw 
herself as others saw her, and knew 
that she was only a tool in Napo- 
leon's hand. The patriotic Queen 
Louisa, Prince Louis, and the war- 
like party in Berlin rejoiced that 
their countrymen's eyes should thus 
be opened. Pitt had clearly pointed 
out that Prussia was responsible for 
this disastrous campaign, and the map 
of Europe was rolled up before his 
dying eyes. 

Even yet, however, the attractions 
of Hanover overcame the King of 
Prussia's patriotism ; a fresh treaty 
was signed with Napoleon, and Count 
Schulenberg seized the coveted terri- 
tory. Great Britain, in retaliation, 
swept nearly every Prussian ship 
from the ocean Napoleon himself 
abundantly showed his contempt for 
his weak ally. Rahel was at one 
with all her distinguished friends in 
feeling the depth of degradation 
into which her country had fallen. 
Jewess as she was, she thought in 
these matters only as a Prussian. 
Her friend Gentz had published a 
patriotic pamphlet which produced a 
great impression ; and when it was- 
publicly known that Napoleon was 
actually entering into negotiations 
with England to restore Hanover, 
then, indeed, Prussia saw how fruit- 
lessly she had sinned. One last 
act of aggression filled up the cup ; 
Palm, the Nuremberg bookseller, who 
had circulated Gentz's pamphlet and 



268 



Rahel Levin and her Times. 



the songs of Arndt and Gleim, was 
shot by order of a French court- 
martial, and the magistrates of his 
town were threatened with the same 
fate. Fox held up this outrage to 
universal odium before he descended 
to his grave. Gentz drew up a noble 
manifesto against Napoleon ; Prince 
Louis was longing to lead his country- 
men into action ; while Napoleon 
answered by describing Queen Louisa 
as an " Armida in her madness setting 
fire to her own palace." 

But it was soon over. Prince Louis 
died bravely in the action at Saalfeld ; 
the crushing blow of Jena felled the 
resisting nation to the earth. Henri- 
ette Herz tells us the announcement 
which reached Berlin : " The King 
has lost a battle. Quiet is the first 
duty of the citizen. I require it from 
the inhabitants of Berlin." " Who 
thought," she asks, " of disturbing its 
' quiet ' ? " The Berliners could even 
find it in their hearts to laugh when 
the French troops rode into their city : 
" Little fellows in grey cloaks, talking 
noisily together, riding three upon one 
horse, and pour comble d'horreur upon 
their three-cornered hats, in close 
proximity to those tricolours which 
had figured victoriously in two hemi- 
spheres, was stuck a leaden spoon 
ready for instant service." At once 
they were dubbed the Spoon 
Guards. 

Napoleon showed his vengeance in 
characteristically petty manner by 
lying bulletins about Gentz and about 
the Queen of Prussia, while he publicly 
declared that he would render the 
German aristocracy so poor " that 
they shall be obliged to beg their 
bread." The pathetic story of his 
interview with the Queen of Prussia 
at Tilsit, and the failure of her 
passionate prayers to influence him, 
made a deep impression on the minds 
of her devoted and admiring subjects. 
Other distinguished women suffered 



from the conqueror's harshness at this 
time ; both Madame de Stael and 
Madame Recamier were banished from 
Paris. 

It was during the winter of 
1807-8, within sound of the French 
guns, that the philosopher Fichte 
delivered his famous DISCOURSES TO 
THE GERMAN NATION, and all classes 
in Berlin were inspired by them. 
They gave the keynote to a band of 
eager young men, Fouque", Chamisso, 
Hitzig, and Neumann, all intimate 
friends of Bahel and of Yarnhagen, 
who became known as the North Star 
Band, and who helped to rouse Berlin 
against Napoleon. 

Rahel and Varnhagen had now 
become betrothed to each other. " I 
was twenty-four years old," he writes, 
" Rahel my senior by more than half 
those years. This circumstance taken 
by itself might seem likely to have 
driven our lives widely asunder. It 
was, however, but an accident ; it was 
essentially of no account. This noble 
life so rich in joy and sorrow retained 
all its youthful vigour ; not only the 
powerful intellect which hovered above 
every-day regions, but the heart, the 
senses, the whole corporeal being were 
as though bathed in clear light. A 
lasting union was, however, at that 
time denied us." 

Meanwhile Goethe, that serene 
Jupiter of the German Olympus, 
preserved a calm unbroken by sight 
of his country's sufferings. When 
asked by Perthes to help the NA- 
TIONAL MUSEUM, a projected pa 
triotic paper, he declined. He found 
it, he said, difficult to be just to the 
passing moment. " Our interest in pub- 
lic events," he was wont to maintain, 
" is mostly the merest Philistinism." 
Nothing indeed seemed certain but 
disgrace, and this, we are told, drove 
the men and women of that day to the 
solace of literature and to the stimu- 
lus of intellectual intercourse. Their 



Rahel Levin and her Times. 



269 



habits whether at. home or in society 
were of enviable simplicity. Rahel, 
Henriette Herz, Schleiermacher, and 
his sister would have their rooms and 
balconies filled to overflowing with 
evening guests, not only independent 
of the adjunct of ices and champagne 
but grateful if the supply of tea and 
bread and butter proved adequate to 
the demand. All suffered from the 
same straitened circumstances and none 
were ashamed of a poverty forced upon 
them from without. 

For two years the French occupied 
Berlin, when suddenly, at a time when 
all seemed hopeless, the Austrians 
won the glorious victory at Aspern. 
This was Napoleon's first defeat, and 
the news was received at Berlin with 
the wildest enthusiasm. Hope again 
revived, and Varnhagen at once left 
to join the Austrian army as a 
volunteer with his friend Von Marwitz. 
He was wounded at Wagram, and 
taken as a prisoner of war to Vienna, 
where his faded and war-worn uniform 
procured him a hearty welcome from 
the Arnsteins, Eskeles, and Pereiras. 
But peace was a necessity to Austria, 
and the hand of Maria Louisa was given 
as its price. Varnhagen accompanied 
Count Bentheim to Paris and wit- 
nessed the fetes in honour of Napo- 
leon's marriage with the Archduchess, 
his visit greatly increasing his dislike 
for the French Caesar. Rahel spent 
a dreary time in Berlin during her 
lover's absence. All her friends were 
dispersed ; Schlegel and his brilliant 
wife were in Paris, Tieck was in 
Dresden, and Henriette Herz atRiigen. 
She corresponded much with Frau von 
Fouque, wife of the creator of Sintram 
and Undine, a quaint unworldly crea- 
ture, who lived among his own medieval 
dreams in his father-in-law's ancestral 
halls of Neunhausen. " Do not live 
so much alone, dear Fouque/' Rahel 
wrote to him. " Nothing should lie 
waste in us, least of all human inter- 



course ; we need the inner stimulus 
which comes of such contact only." 

After a long and dreary 'separation 
Rahel and Varnhagen spent some time 
together at Teplitz. " About this 
time," he writes, " I and Rahel became 
acquainted with the divine musician 
who threw all others into the shade." 
It was Beethoven, of whose presence 
at Teplitz all had heard, but whom 
none had yet seen. His deafness 
made him avoid society, and his pecu- 
liar ideas, increased by solitude, ren- 
dered it difficult to be acquainted 
with him. He had, however, occa- 
sionally seen Rahel in the Castle 
gardens, and had been struck by 
her countenance, which reminded him 
of some beloved face. Beethoven did 
for her what he had obstinately re- 
fused to do for many ; he sat down 
to the pianoforte and played his yet 
unpublished pieces, or allowed his 
fancy to run wild in the most exqui- 
site improvisations. 

Varnhagen was asked by the Prince 
de Ligne to accompany him to Vienna 
as his adjutant ; but he felt that in the 
present state of Austria's alliance 
with France such a position would 
not be congenial to him. He meant 
to work both with sword and pen 
against Napoleon, so he rejoined 
Count Bentheim at Prague and Rahel 
was once more alone. Then came the 
campaign of Russia and Napoleon's 
disastrous retreat. The Russians 
crossed the Vistula into Germany ; 
and early in 1813 Count Wittgenstein 
and his Cossacks chased the French 
soldiers through the streets of Berlin. 
Varnhagen was appointed adjutant 
to General Tettenborn, and together 
they started for that campaign in 
North Germany which was to prove 
fatal to the French army. Victory 
succeeded victory, till at last not a 
Frenchman was left on the right 
bank of the Elbe ; and on the 1 8th of 
March Tettenborn made his entry 



270 



Rahel Levin and her Times. 



into Hamburg At night, when he 
appeared with Yarnhagen and other 
officers at the opera, the audience 
rose in a body and sang the popular 
song " To Hamburg's Success." Some 
play was improvised, we are told, 
and every piece of clap-trap was 
rapturously applauded. The famous 
actress Schroder came upon the stage 
with a Russian cockade and was 
greeted with a storm of applause. 
Rahel meanwhile was in Berlin spend- 
ing her time and money in caring for 
the wounded, organising the hospitals, 
and collecting subscriptions for widows 
and orphans. " The Jews give all 
they possess," she writes. " It was 
to them I first turned. Dear good 
August, in this terrible time do make 
an effort to write something about 
the hospitals. My heart has been so 
oppressed by all that I learn about 
the mismanagement. You must tell 
people plainly, earnestly that it is the 
most dreadful of all sins to cheat the 
sick and wounded. ..." Early in the 
summer she removed to Prague and 
carried on the same good work. " Each 
poor fellow," she writes again, " wrings 
my heart ; mere villagers, but they be- 
have admirably. Everywhere there is 
courage, goodwill, help of all kinds. 
I have no room for the number of 
.anecdotes which are on the lips of all. 
In Breslau a number of ladies were in 
consultation about collecting money. 
A young girl suddenly left them and 
presently returned with three thalers. 
They saw at once that she had parted 
with her hair. A messenger was sent to 
the hairdresser, the long locks of hair 
were brought back and made up into 
rings which were sold at high prices 
for the good cause." And again, a 
few months later, she writes of 
the wounded soldiers : " The unfortu- 
nate creatures lay last week in carts, 
crowded together in the narrow streets, 
all under drenching rain. As in the 
olden times it is the townsfolk who 



did everything. They fed and tended 
the sufferers in the streets or on the 
floors of the houses. The Jewish 
women distinguished themselves ; one 
alone bound up three hundred wounds 
in one day." 

It was at Prague that Rahel re- 
ceived the news of Fichte's death. 
During the winter he had resumed 
his stirring lectures, but was attacked 
by nervous fever and died after a 
few days' illness on January 27th, 
1814. Rahel, who loved him as a 
friend and always called him her 
dear master, mourned him in a beau- 
tiful tribute: "With him Germany 
loses half its power of sight ; we may 
well tremble for the rest. . . . Fichte 
can sink and die ! Is it not like an 
evil enchantment 1 Yesterday, I saw 
it in a Berlin paper. I felt more 
ashamed than shocked, ashamed that 
I should be left alive ; and then I felt 
a sudden fear of death. If Fichte 
must die no one is safe. I always 
think there is no safeguard against 
death like really living ; and who 
lived more fully than he 1 Dead 
however he is not, cannot be ! Is 
Fichte not to see the country recover- 
ing itself from the war, border-marks 
and hedges replaced, the peasantry 
improved, the laws mended .... 
thought free to utter itself to King 
and people this alone a happiness 
for all future ! Lessing ! Lessing 
too is gone, remembered only by a 
few. He who had to fight for ideas 
which now stand in every day's news- 
paper ; which have become so common- 
place that people forget the originator 
and repeat them time after time in 
stolid imbecility ! . . . . Lessing, 
Fichte, all such honoured men, may 
you see our progress, and bless it 
with your strong spirits ! It is 
thus I think of the saints, enriched 
by God, loved by God and faithful 
to Him. Peace be with our revered 
master ! " 



V 



Hahel Levin and her Times. 



271 



In 1814, during the general cessa- 
tion of hostilities, Varnhagen and 
Rahel returned to Berlin and their 
romance, begun under the lime-trees, 
ended in a happy marriage, soon after 
which they left for Vienna, Varnhagen 
being among the diplomatists sum- 
moned to the Congress. 

In the city of the blue Danube Varn- 
hagen and his wife found themselves in 
a circle of brilliant personages. The 
Emperors of Austria and Russia were 
there, with Talleyrand, Nesselrode, 
Pozzo de Borgo, Prince Hardenberg, 
Wellington, Castlereagh, and Gentz, 
who alone is said to have seen every 
one else's cards while skilfully conceal- 
ing his own. Varnhagen adds : "I 
need scarcely say that the Imperial 
Court had prepared the most brilliant 
reception and kept open table for all 
its illustrious guests and their numer- 
ous retainers and dependants. . . . 
But what I must mention as remark- 
able and what no one could have con- 
ceived, had he not witnessed it, was 
the atmosphere of Viennese life, the 
element in which days slipped away, 
the jovial luxury, the strong out-pour- 
ing of fun and laughter, the happy 
good-humour . . . the half-Italian 
dolce far niente and its concomitant 
half-Italian humour." Day after day 
festival succeeded festival ; the love of 
display, amusement and dancing as- 
serted its full power till the old Prince 
de Ligne was felt to have summed 
up the situation once for all in 
his celebrated epigram : Le Conyres 
danse bien, mais il ne marche pas. 
Rahel found at Vienna many intimate 
friends and even relations among the 
Jewish circles there. Marianne Meyer, 
her cousin, now Frau von Eybenberg, 
the morganatic wife of Prince Reuss, 
was a celebrated beauty. The Schlegels, 
now Roman Catholics, rejoined her 
there. She was a welcome guest at the 
Arnsteins' brilliant reunions, and it 
was with them she stayed when the 



Congress broke up in confusion on the 
news of Napoleon's flight from Elba. 

When Varnhagen was summoned to 
Berlin on diplomatic business, Rahel 
removed to Frankfort-on-Maine ; a 
truly memorable visit to her, for it 
was in this city that she first met 
Goethe. Having made an excursion 
with her friends to Niederrad, the 
scene of the Gretchen - episode in 
Goethe's early days, a carriage 
passed them, and Rahel, looking in, 
saw the poet. " He too was making 
a pilgrimage back into the days of his 
youth. The shock, the delight makes 
me wild. I cry out, ' There is Goethe ! ' 
Goethe laughs, the ladies laugh. I 
seize hold of Vallentin, and run on 
ahead of the carriage ; then, facing 
round, I see him once more." 

But better still was to come. On 
September 8th, 1815, she writes: 
"This is a letter worth having. Now 
will you rejoice that I am still here, 
good, dear August. Goethe was with 
me this morning at a quarter past ten. 
This is my diploma of nobility. But 
I behaved myself so badly, like one to 
whom the stroke of knighthood is given 
before all the world by the wise brave 
king whom he honours above all. . . . 
Toothbrush in hand, in a state of 
red powder, I stood in my dressing- 
room when the landlord came up and 
said to Dora, a gentleman wished to 
speak with me. I thought, a messen- 
ger from Goethe. I ask who it is, and 
Dora returns with Goethe's card, and 
the message, he will wait a little." 
Thus like so many long-looked-for 
interviews this one came inoppor- 
tunely at last, and the admirer said 
not all she wished to the admired one. 
"... He said, with a somewhat 
Saxon, very flowing accent, that he 
regretted he had not known I was at 
his house. ... I told him about the 
Congress and the impression it had 
made on me. About that he was 
very wise, looking at it as an affair 



272 



Bahel Levin and her Times. 



done with two centuries before, and 
said it was not a thing to be re- 
corded as it had no form or outline. 
Altogether he was like the most 
aristocratic prince, like the most 
amiable man ; easy but dignified and 
avoiding personalities. . . . No 
Olympian deity could make me more 
honourable or show me greater honour. 
At first I thought of sending you his 
card, but I will not trust it to the 
post." 

It is strange to find the patriotic 
Bahel's devotion uncooled by her 
idol's philosophic indifference, on ac- 
count of which so many rising men 
of the day almost hated him. 
Years afterwards she writes to her 
brother Ludwig Robert, on hearing 
that Goethe had been decorated with 
the Black Eagle of Frederick the 
Great : " Now my work has not been 
for nought. I have the Black Eagle 
Order of Frederick the Great. It 
fully covers my rewarded heart .... 
That this man (Goethe) should thus 
experience that his contemporaries 
acknowledge, study, comprehend, 
idolise, love him with sincerity is the 
summit of all my earthly desire and 
effort. This I have helped forward, I, 
a ball in the hand of Providence, 
Madame Guyon says she is that and 
of this happiness I am proud." 

In 1819 the Varnhagens again 
settled in Berlin, but to find every- 
thing changed. The angel of death had 
been abroad in the land, and Bahel, 
writing to her friend Baron Brinck- 
mann, alludes very pathetically to the 
gaps made by the cruel war. " Death 
upheld by war, has made great havoc 
among those friends whom your 
description shows to have been deeply 
engraved upon your memory. In 
every corner of our quarter, where we 
used to see our dear ones, are now 
strangers. They are all tombstones. 
Scattered like dust is the whole con- 
stellation of beauty, grace, coquetry, 



wit, preference, cordiality, pleasantry., 
unrestrained intercourse, earnest pur- 
pose, and spiritual development. 
Every house is becoming a shop ; 
every social meeting a dinner or 
a party .... Everybody is wise 
and has bought his wisdom at the 
nearest market." 

Such is the inevitable experience of 
all who live long enough. Bahel's 
letters and diaries were shown to her 
friends, and by many were copied and 
admired ; she seems to have felt a 
kind of pride in being a voluminous 
unprinted author. It was not till 
1830 that Varnhagen collected pas- 
sages from her manuscinpts and pub- 
lished a short book of aphorisms 
entitled STRAY THOUGHTS OP A 
BERLINER. She says of herself : " I 
am certainly not unwilling to become 
an author : I should not be ashamed 
to write a work like Newton's on 
astronomy or mathematics ; but to be 
able to produce no work ?and yet to 
be in print, is a thing I abhor." 

As to religious belief, Bahel had 
ceased to be a Jewess of the stricter 
sort for many years ; she had indeed 
been brought up, as she herself says, 
"as if I were in a wild wood, without 
any religious teaching." We have 
seen that she regretted her Jewish 
birth ; but as time went on her heart 
and intellect led her to appreciate her 
noble heritage as we may glean from 
the following quotation : " What a 
history is mine ! I, a fugitive from 
Egypt and Palestine, find with you 
help, love and tender care ! It was 
/God's will, dear August, to send me 
to you, and you to me. With de- 
lighted exaltation I look back upon 
my origin, upon the link which my 
history forms between the oldest 
memories of the human race and the 
interests of to-day, between the 
broadest interval of time and space." 

It does not appear when, if ever, 
she made a public profession of the 



Rahel Levin and her Times. 



273 



Christian faith, though undoubtedly 
she embraced its doctrines in a broad, 
humanitarian, perhaps rationalistic 
spirit. Many mystic works of Christian 
authors were beloved by her, notably 
those of Angelus Silesius. Custine said 
of her that she had the mind of a phi- 
losopher with the heart of an apostle. 
One of her sayings about herself will 
throw some light on her beautiful and 
sympathetic nature : " When I come 
to die, you may think : 'she knew every- 
thing because she entered into it all, 
because she never was or pretended to 
be anything in herself ; she only loved 
thought and tried to make thought 
connected and harmonious. She under- 
stood Fichte, loved green fields, loved 
children, knew something of the arts 
both of use and beauty ; endeavoured 
to help God in His creatures always, 
uninterruptedly, and thanked Him 
that He had made her thus.' " 

In the summer of 1832 her health, 
which had long been a matter of 
serious anxiety to Varnhagen, began 
to fail. In March, 1833, she died; 
and we may fitly close our account of 



Rahel with the noble and touching: 

. ^ 

tribute offered to her memory by Heine, 
who had already dedicated to her the 
Heimkehr poems of his BOOK OF SOXGS. 
He speaks of the delight with which 
her published letters were received 
by all her friends : " It was a great 
deed of August A^arnhagen when he, 
setting aside all petty objections, pub- 
lished those letters in which Rahel's 
whole personality is revealed. This 
book came at the right time when it 
could best take effect, strengthen and 
console. It was as if Rahel knew 
what posthumous mission should be 
hers. She died quickly that she 
might more quickly rise again. She 
reminds me of the legend of that 
other Rachel, who arose from her 
grave and stood weeping by the high- 
way as her children went into cap- 
tivity. I cannot think of her without 
sorrow, that friend so rich in love, who 
ever offered me unwearied sympathy 
and often felt not a little anxious for 
me, in those days when the flame of 
truth rather heated than enlightened 
me. Alas those days are over ! ; ' 



No. 442. VOL. LXXIV. 



274 



THE LONG VACATION. 



OXFORD has settled down for the 
Long Vacation. What this means 
only those who live there the year 
through can fully understand. It is 
true that we are nowadays much less 
of a city apart than we were sixty 
years since, when our visitors came 
over the old Magdalen Bridge on the 
coach from London, and when the 
seclusion of our colleges was still 
guarded by the statutes enforcing 
celibacy. Since then, a new world 
has grown up in that region where 
King Charles once parked his artillery, 
while trains, alas ! too frequent and 
too rapid, have put the quiet Univer- 
sity town at the mercy of the motley 
throng of visitors who come pouring 
in from London and the great towns 
of the north. Yet even now the 
city has at certain happy moments 
a touch of the old-world tranquillity 
that was once its perpetual charm ; 
and the stir and bustle of the Long 
Vacation, even at its busiest season, 
cannot destroy the serenity of its 
ancient gardens and beloved byways 
for those who know how to avoid the 
throng. Perhaps in no other place in 
England is the world so strangely and 
so regularly turned upside down once a 
year as in this most conservative of 
cities. For the tendencies that shyly 
show themselves in the short intervals 
of Christmas and Easter blossom into 
full assertion and dignity when the 
murmur of the bees begins to be 
heard along the lime-trees of Trinity 
and New College, and when the 
last lingering undergraduate has dis- 
appeared from the schools, only to 
return for a brief term of viva voce 
in the depth of July, to find himself 



almost forgotten by his landlady, a 
stranger in a strange world. 

Now, as by the stroke of an en- 
chanter's wand, the parts are reversed ; 
the University retires into the back- 
ground and the citizen dominates the 
scene. Only once and again in the 
dead midsummer slumber the Vice- 
Chan cellor and Proctors will proceed 
to the Convocation House to confer 
degrees ; and for one short moment 
the streets will be sprinkled with 
academic figures, college deans hurry- 
ing to present their pupils, or new- 
made graduates hastening to put off 
the untried and cumbersome honour 
of the bachelor's gown. But the 
town pays little heed to these pass- 
ing ceremonies (saving indeed your 
unpaid tradesman, who will still bar 
his debtor's graduation, though no 
longer by the picturesque form of 
plucking the proctor's gown), and 
the waves of civic society soon close 
again over the sleeping life of the 
University. The happy shopkeeper 
now finds it possible to put up his 
shutters early on Saturday as well as 
Thursday, for the University is away 
and his fellow townsmen are making 
holiday. Late into the summer nights 
the lonely dweller in a college, as he 
sits high above the street at his 
window inhaling the fragrant summer 
scents, of lilies and woodbine and 
late-gathered hay, that come floating 
up from the moonlit gardens and 
the wide Thames valley, may hear 
boisterous sounds from coach or brake, 
full of college servants or other city 
folk returning from some country 
festival ; and it must be granted that 
for rousing clamour at nights your 



The Long Vacation. 



275 



townsman, who lives in no fear of 
the proctors, is fully the equal of the 
undergraduate whose part he is play- 
ing. For now is the people's holiday : 
Jack is as good as his master ; and 
from shy shelves and cupboards sud- 
denly appears the summer finery of 
wives and daughters, while the citizen 
himself, who has gravely pursued his 
duties through the term in sober 
black or grey, bursts forth in all the 
easy glory of some boating or cricket- 
ing costume as gay as any term could 
show. Go into some college chapel 
where there is a choral service on a 
Sunday afternoon in July, and you 
shall see the strangest transformation 
from the days of term. Along the 
benches, where a month ago you saw 
the boyish faces of undergraduates, 
now throng happy families of towns- 
folk beaming in the bravery of silks 
and muslins, and enjoying vastly 
the music of the service and the 
anthem, and joining with a simple 
vigour in some familiar hymn. It is 
a pleasant sight, and the democratic 
rearrangement of the congregation 
gives it a piquant interest of its own. 
The Warden and Fellows are allowed 
to sit in their accustomed places ; but 
for the rest, the college servant in 
charge dispenses his favours with a 
fine disregard of social precedence. 
You may see his friend, the good lady 
from behind a counter in the High 
Street, throned, half-proud, half-bash- 
ful, in the stalls, while the wife of a 
professor or a principal quietly takes 
a lower place. There are few more 
simple or sincere hours of worship 
than those of Long Vacation Sundays, 
when the college chapel becomes for 
a moment the people's church. 

Nor is the freedom of the citizen 
limited to one day in seven. On 
many a weekday evening, far up the 
reaches of the Cherwell, where the 
white water-lilies are afloat in full 
bloom, and loose-strife and meadow- 



sweet and the pink willow-herb line 
the banks, you may see the young 
clerk or college scout rowing his 
sweetheart in a dinghey or paddling 
with her in a trim Canadian canoe. 
Or beside some favourite pool on 
the upper river you may see a 
proctor's servant, who a few weeks 
ago was busy as a bull-dog (name 
abhorred !), casting his line for a far 
other prey, and disporting himself at 
his ease as though the noisy under- 
graduate would never return again. 

And the townsman is not the only 
person who rejoices in the end of term. 
The studious tutor who has spent 
eight weeks of hard work amid the 
playful throng of " young barbarians " 
who live in blissful ignorance that 
colleges subsist for the benefit of 
others than themselves, rejoices in the 
leisure that the Vacation gives him to 
pursue his special studies in Bodley or 
among his own books at home. Too 
many indeed have escaped the service 
of the undergraduate only to pass into 
another slavery, for now is the season 
of examinations. Yet even such as 
these have 'their compensations, and, 
when the day's task is done and the 
proper tale of papers marked and laid 
aside, they have the college garden for 
their own. There they may watch 
the unfolding of the flowers in some 
old-fashioned border beneath the city 
wall, and trace the season's changes 
from the first blossoming of the limes 
to the happy morning in late July 
or early August when from among 
the vivid green leaves of the quaint 
catalpa tree the white spikes of blos- 
som, flecked with gold and purple, 
surprise the drowsy garden, where all 
else has subsided into the dark green 
shade of the falling year. And here, 
in his own garden, where thrush and 
blackbird and wagtail have grown 
friendly and familiar, or far away 
among the water-ways where the shy 
kingfisher now makes bold to show 

T 2 



276 



The Long Vacation. 



himself, he may at last possess his 
soul in quietness and taste something 
of the academic calm of an earlier 
age. 

How wide a range of interest he 
has at hand within the city itself 
only those who have taken to explor- 
ing it will realise ; what strange alleys 
and byways, known to few save proc- 
tors and their men, yet often carrying 
one back to the days of Oxford Parlia- 
ments and the settlements of the 
Black Friars and the Grey; how many 
forgotten or buried remnants of the 
earlier age ! How many even of Oxford 
residents have penetrated to the old 
Norman chapel within the walls of the 
gaol, and climbed the historic tower of 
the castle, the last survivor of the 
towers that guarded the city in the 
Middle Ages, and thought of the 
Empress Maud and her flight over 
the snow-covered meadows 1 It was 
a summer afternoon when we made 
the ascent ; the ragwort and other 
flowers that haunt our Oxford walls 
were in bloom on the tower-roof, 
whence we looked out over the spread- 
ing valley with its winding streams, 
away to Ferry Hinksey with its ancient 
church and cross, and Arnold's field 
beyond it, named after Thomas Arnold, 
for his memory as well as that of the 
writer of THYKSIS is linked with the 
pleasant land about us. Fewer still 
perhaps have found their way into 
the mill-house, a bow- shot westward 
beyond the castle, where, in a pointed 
roof and a few immemorial sculptured 
stones, are to be seen the last relics of 
Oseney Abbey, once the noblest build- 
ing about Oxford and among the 
most splendid of religious houses. 
How gladly would one trace the 
history of its scattered stones among 
the buildings of a later day ; even as 
now one may see in Witham church 
the transported walls of the vanished 
Cumnor Hall, or in a certain massive 
house upon the Seven-bridges road 



the dismembered stones of the old 
front quadrangle of Balliol, which 
charmed our fathers' eyes and still 
charms ours in the old prints, though 
for thirty years Broad Street has 
known it no more. How many de- 
lightful places are within the compass 
of a summer day's journey ! There 
is Dorchester, for example, with its 
memories of the ancient see, before 
Lincoln was, with its beautiful church 
where many glories survive to recall its 
departed greatness, and monuments of 
many generations tell their tale; among 
them the quaint record from the end of 
the last century of the young married 
lady " who sank and died a martyr 
to excessive sensibility." A fine con- 
fused historic sense pervades these 
regions, as is natural enough where so 
many ages meet. It is not long since 
that at Ewelme, not much further 
afield, the driver, who pointed out to 
us the fine old hospital and the church 
with Thomas Chaucer's tomb, added, 
" They do say that at t>,e time of the 
Roman invasion it was used as a 
stable." So completely are the ages 
blent together that on another day, as 
we drove in past the quaint market- 
hall of Watlington and he discoursed 
of the wonders of the Roman road 
and the earthworks on the Chilterns, 
he ended with the information that it 
was " made by the Romans, time of 
'Ampden, you know, sir." Even so 
will the natives of Saint Jean de Luz 
assure the traveller that their grand- 
fathers saw Roland and his peers 
fighting by their side in the Peninsular 
War. 

An easy walk westward takes 
one to Cumnor, where Giles Gosling's 
inn has outlived the Hall ; and only a 
little further on is Stanton, with its 
memories of the Harcourts and of 
Pope, and Besselsleigh, where the last 
of the Lenthalls keeps alive the name 
of the famous Speaker. Or, if you 
choose the river rather than the road, 



The Long Vacation. 



277 



there is the winding voyage past Bab- 
lockhythe, amid white-starred ranun- 
culus and waving flags and brilliant 
masses of golden-rod, till you come, if 
the day be long enough and the river 
weeds not impassable, to the gabled 
manor-house of Kelmscott, and so on 
to Lechlade, whence, leaving the river, 
you may look in on Fairford and the 
painted windows of its little church, 
that came there by so strange a 
chapter of accidents. Further north 
is Burford, on the Windrush (a tiny 
midland river) with its priory, where 
the Lenthalls lived, and its manor 
that was held by the great King- 
Maker and the gentle Falkland before 
it came to them. And there are a 
score of quiet places besides to last 
out many a summer's day, when there 
are no lectures to give or hear, and 
when dreary delegacies meet no more. 
So the home-keeping Fellow, whom his 
restless colleagues pity as they hurry 
away to towns or mountains beyond 
the seas, may be well content to spend 
his summer on this country-side. 

But what of the visitors 1 They are, 
like other birds of passage, merely 
episodes in the long summer calm of 
the Vacation. There are the sudden 
inroads of missions from the East End 
of London or country choirs, like troops 
of noisy starlings awakening a drowsy 
land. There is the more constant 
stream of American visitors, saunter- 
ing round the college with a defiant 
air of duty or an ill-concealed indiffer- 
ence ; you know them from a certain 
severity of costume and a tendency to 
wear blue veils. There are the rarer 
parties of French or German or Italian 
travellers, wandering with unceasing 
amazement in search of a University 
which escapes them in the throng of 
colleges. But these are not the 
visitors who come nearest to the 
heart of the place, though Oxford has 
an unruffled welcome for them all, and 
gives to each as he deserves. We 



like to think rather of the foreign 
students, American, French, German, 
Russian, who choose this quiet season 
to make acquaintance with our scholars 
and our manuscripts ; whereby the 
best of them make friends among us, 
and good feeling and sound learning 
are advanced. And, besides, there 
are a few choice spirits, quiet lovers 
of Oxford, men and women, who pitch 
their tent among us for a month, not 
to collate a manuscript or to consult a 
library, but to live their quiet life, 
coming here because they love our 
city and find that here, if anywhere, 
they can pursue with pleasure the 
work of their choice or their profession. 
Such an one may be seen setting up an 
easel in favourite places, some loved 
corner of the Physic Garden or a 
quiet coign of vantage in college 
cloister or quadrangle; another writing 
day by day the chapters of a new 
novel ; a third editing the weary 
piles of other writers' work with an 
impartial dignity attuned by the 
quiet atmosphere of some academic 
street, and enlivened from time to 
time by converse with the select 
society of Common-room. For only 
in the Long Vacation can resident or 
visitor taste the full flavour of the old 
leisurely college life, when the nightly 
stillness is not broken by the shout of 
the playful undergraduate, and the 
evening's freedom is no longer tram- 
melled by the stated hours of tutorial 
duty. 

This season beyond all others is a 
time of meeting for Oxford men whose 
lives are spent in a hundred different 
pursuits, scattered in many lands. 
They leave a pleasant memory, these 
summer evenings, when we have sat 
talking over our tobacco in some cool 
and fragrant garden, watching the last 
light fade from the college windows, 
long after the last stroke of Tom has 
died away on the still air. Then the 
porter has made all fast in quadrangle 



278 



The Long Vacation. 



and garden and retired to his drowsy 
lodge, and the evening's quiet is ours, 
to muse and talk of a thousand things ; 
it may be of the scholarship and the 
games of thirty years ago, or of the 
potsherds and papyri which one of us 
has just gained by traffic or his 
own hard digging, in Cilicia or the 
Fayoum or the Isles ; or perhaps 
the talk chances on Italy, and one 
and another tells of his adventures in 
old Roman towns that lie off the 
beaten track, Yolterra or Gubbio, or 
Lucera, and we discuss our plans for 
coming travel, till our mentor calls 
us home to our own country with its 
regions of high romance. Then some 
one, fresh from India or Egypt, 
has wondrous stories to tell of the 
mysterious East ; and so we pass by 
way of Asia and Omar Khayyam into 
the world of letters, and are launched 
upon a boundless sea, where we 
voyage at large, until of a sudden we 
discover that the hour has come when 
college porters must be abed, and we 
sadly say farewell, sadly but all the 
richer for this mingled talk. Yet 
these memories have their melancholy 
side. One delightful evening comes 
back to our mind when we sat, for 



the night was dark and cool, in a high, 
wide-windowed room in an ancient 
college, talking of men and things, till 
our pleasant company broke up 
towards midnight with laughing fare- 
well words about Johnson and Lamb 
and their visits to their young college 
friends. But that merry company 
has never met again, for a few weeks 
later the choicest spirit among us had 
died battling with a mountain storm 
on the high Alps. 

So time makes sad gaps among us, 
but college life still goes on, and 
these gatherings of old friends and 
new in the Long Vacation help to 
make the college still a living bond 
of fellowship. There are some of 
our number who have no old ties 
with Oxford ; she bids them welcome 
as her true lovers, who would have 
been her sons had their luck been 
different. But her warmest greeting 
is given to those who come with 
familiar faces that she has known 
long years ago, returning to their 
nursing-mother to renew their youth 
amid the old scenes, and once again 
for a brief while " to fleet the time 
carelessly as they did in the golden 
world." 



279 



SHALL WE RETURN TO THE LAND? 



THIS was the title of a debate an- 
nounced to take place at a certain 
club in the West End of London 
some few months ago. The proposer 
was to be a celebrated authoress, and 
the opposer an almost equally cele- 
brated barrister. A member of the 
club offered to take me to hear the 
debate ; and we held an animated 
discussion as to the probable signifi- 
cance of the title. She was of opinion 
that it referred to non-resident land- 
lords, and was intended to bring the 
Upper Classes to a sense of their duty. 
My surmise was different. In my early 
girlhood there had been a great cry 
about our Israelitish origin. A book 
was published called TWENTY-SEVEN 
REASONS WHY WE ARE THE TEN LOST 
TEIBES. I remember hearing my 
respected parents weighing the evi- 
dence, and myself being corrected for 
saying that I did not care whether I 
were a Jew or not, but of the two 
preferred not to be. This memory 
suggested to me the idea that we 
were about to have a resuscitation of 
the old subject, with a recommenda- 
tion to adjourn immediately to the 
Land of Promise. However, we were 
both wrong, as we found when the 
evening arrived. 

The great authoress was introduced 
to the audience by the chairman with 
a few appropriate words, as the re- 
porters say. I think he mentioned that 
she wrote A GIRL'S WALK THROUGH 
THE GREAT PLAIN, or something like 
that. A slight girlish woman, with 
a pleasant face, arose. She went 
straight into her subject with very 
little preliminary nourish, and gave 
us many good and substantial reasons 



why the great Middle Class, with small 
incomes, should cast the dust of the 
town from off its shoes for ever and a 
day, and settle down " between the 
purple earth and the blue sky," a 
phrase which made me think of the 
water-colour drawings of my school- 
time. 

Her arguments were most con- 
vincing. They were, in brief, that 
men who are earning incomes from 
600 to 2,000 per annum pay too 
dear for their money ; that their 
personal gain is merely a " stuffy 
brougham and an evening paper " ; 
that their loss is every grace of mind 
and body, everything, in fact, " that 
we fell in love with them for." Their 
children in the meantime are being- 
over - taught and under - educated, 
mind and body suffering, when in the 
country they could develope into full 
manly and ' womanly beauty. She 
urged them, with all the force of 
oratory, to sacrifice half their incomes 
and go and live on the land. She did 
not definitely explain how they were 
to supply the other half ; but she read 
copious extracts from a charming book 
about a man who had retired to the 
country, grown peaches, and made a 
fortune, by writing a book about 
them. This mode of earning a liveli- 
hood could hardly be within every 
man's reach in this uncertain climate ; 
but there are the wives and daughters ! 
She said that women could become 
scientific dairymaids ; so perhaps they 
would be responsible for the other 
half of the income, while Papa and 
Adolphus regulated the household ex- 
penses and saw that the furniture was 
properly dusted. But on the whole 



280 



Shall ^ve Return to the Land ? 



she waxed, I think, most eloquent 
over the beautiful food. She was 
positively scathing over the potatoes 
on which we poor deluded townsfolk 
are in the habit of feeding. They 
bear no resemblance to the real thing, 
she assured us ; " they have been too 
long out of the earth." Then she 
spoke of the social attractions of the 
country. In town we have no time 
for our friends. Much as we may 
wish to see them, we pass our days in 
writing to put them off. The village 
butcher would be more interesting to 
her, she said, than half the men that 
took her down to dinner, because " he 
did something." I immediately be- 
came enamoured of that ideal butcher. 

I cannot pretend to remember the 
whole speech. It was not only veiy 
practical, but pre-eminently poetical, 
a prose idyl. When she spoke of 
" the lark embroidering the sky with 
his song," I could see that all the 
highly educated listeners were much 
impressed with the beauty of the 
thought. Although I am not poetical 
myself, and prefer ideas in good sound 
prose, still, as I sat and listened, I 
felt no doubt that an embroidered sky 
was a beautiful thing. 

She sat down amid loud cheers, and 
with one, at least, of her audience 
converted. 

Then the great barrister arose in 
his greatness. If there is ont thing 
I pride myself on it is my strength of 
mind ; therefore I stood, or sat, care- 
fully on my guard against being led 
by the last speaker merely because 
he was the last. We have been told 
from our childhood that a skilful 
lawyer can make black seem white ; 
one could well believe it when this 
man spoke. Such a presence he had, 
such a voice ! Those sonorous rolling 
tones were enough to carry conviction 
to a Burmese idol. I cannot re- 
member all he said, or how he put it, 
which is perhaps the more important 



point. I know he told us that he 
had been born and brought up in the 
country, but could not dream of a 
worse purgatory than a country life. 
Some one afterwards remarked that 
he did credit to it ; and I could not 
but think one would put up with a 
little purgatory to see one's children 
grow up with such a physique. He 
was distractingly facetious over " find- 
ing time to write postcards to put off 
our friends " and about " bringing up 
our eggs and growing plums " in the 
country. He said something which 
evoked great applause about the 
proposer being very hard on the 
evening paper because she herself 
wrote for a daily journal which 
" misled the public," and spoke with 
pretended rapture of a certain evening 
sheet which he enjoyed going home 
from the Temple in a third-class 
carriage of the underground railway. 
Also he went into statistics, but 
there I really could not be expected 
to follow him. 

When he sat down a lady rose to tell 
us how she had ridden down on her 
bicycle to some gardens lately thrown 
open to the public. It was all " too 
lovely for anything " ; the gorgeous 
beauty of the rhododendrons, the 
waxen hyacinths, the laburnums, 
" raining down their golden showers," 
appealed to the eye on every side ; 

And all rare blossoms from every clime 
Grew in that garden iu perfect prime, 

while the air was laden with the 
scent of lilies and lilacs. Then, to 
enhance the delight, a cuckoo began 
" his wandering note " and " kept on 
and on and on." " Do you hear 
that 1 " she exclaimed to the in- 
telligent young gardener who was 
acting as her guide. The young man 
was not deaf ; he owned to having 
heard it, but declared " There's a 
good deal too much of it ! " Further 
questions elicited the heartrending 



Shall we Return to the Land ? 



281 



confession that, after living in that 
exquisite earthly paradise for seven 
years he had come to think there was 
" a good deal too much of everything " ; 
and he gave it as his opinion that there 
was only one place to live in, and that 
place was London. 

I have forgotten the other speakers, 
except the chairman, who maintained 
that there would soon be no choice, 
and that we should all be obliged to 
live in the country, for money was 
growing daily dearer, and living in 
town would soon be impossible for 
anybody but an African millionaire. 
That capital which now brings in 
1,000 yearly, he said, will in ten 
years' time be worth only 500. At 
the same time provisions rise in price. 
He always found that soles went up 
in a storm, and that in calm weather 
they did not come down again, but 
waited to rise still higher in the next 
storm. Provisions seem to me to 
have grown much cheaper in the last 
few years ; but then I have lived in 
an unfashionable part since my poor 
husband died, and do not habitually 
regale myself on soles. But altogether 
the meeting was very convincing. Any- 
body with a grain of sense could see 
what an Elysium we were neglecting 
by persisting in living among bricks 
and mortar instead of green pastures. 

The next day my rooms in Blooms- 
bury felt particularly hot and airless, 
and I noticed how pale my little boy 
and girl were looking. My income 
would be the same whether I lived 
in country or town. It is a very 
modest one ; and if in the country I 
got more value for my money, that 
was an additional reason for going 
there. My mind was made up. By 
a diligent search of the newspapers I 
found exactly what would suit me. 
The advertisement ran as follows : 
" To let with immediate possession a 
farm-house furnished with every con- 
venience. Large flower and kitchen 



gardens well stocked with vegetables, 
a chicken-house, well, and pump." I 
wrote to the agent and found that 
this little paradise was .within my 
means, and a few days after, on a 
fresh morning in early summer I and 
my two children started to inspect 
Valley's End Farm in the parish of 
Stoke in the Marshes. 

It was three miles from the station, 
but the air was so invigorating that 
we decided to walk. The hedges were 
covered with hawthorn blossom. 
Screams of delight were every moment 
announcing the discovery of some new 
treasure of the hedge-row or the bank. 
We found the farm-house charming. 
Roses and jasmine covered the front, 
and the lattice windows were almost 
hidden by the young shoots. The 
garden was certainly rather out of 
order and the fence broken, but that 
could soon be remedied. A board 
announced that the key was kept at 
a neighbouring cottage, and my little 
boy was despatched to fetch it. The 
peasant, whom he found leaning over 
a pig-stye smoking a short pipe, rose 
with the slosv dignity of his class, and 
accompanied him to show us over the 
premises. The front door was bolted, 
so he took us through the straw-yard 
to a door at the side. It opened into 
a large old-fashioned kitchen ; " the 
House," he called it. There were dog- 
irons on an open hearth with the snug- 
gest of seats in the chimney-corner, 
and a brick floor so uneven and so 
red that it was a study in chromatics. 
There were almost as many doors to the 
room as to John o 'Groat's house. We 
went up two steps into the hall, and 
then down two steps into the " setting- 
room." This had nothing to do with 
the chicken-house, that was a dilapi- 
dated building in the back garden, 
it was a kind of dining-room covered 
with matting and furnished with 
Windsor chairs and a Pembroke table. 
We went back into the hall and tried 



282 



Shall we Return to the Land ? 



to open the front door unsuccessfully. 
" Old master never did 'ave that 
opened 'cept for the funeral, when he 
wur carried out feet foremost," our 
guide told us. The best pai'lour was a 
musty, fusty place with horse-hair 
furniture. We returned to the 
kitchen and opened the other doors. 
One led up stairs, one to the china- 
closet, another to the dairy, and a 
fourth into a large scullery. The 
back garden contained a few goose- 
berry bushes and a patch of spindly- 
looking plants. " Them's taters," said 
the man in answer to my inquiries. 
Potatoes straight out of the earth ! 
That decided me. 

As we left the place we met the 
agent. He was profuse in apologies 
for not having met us at the station, 
and he drove us back. I settled 
everything with him during that drive. 
He undertook to send in some servants, 
to have the front door opened and the 
fence mended ; and I, on my part, 
covenanted to sign an agreement for 

o o 

six months so soon as it should be 
ready. 

When we reached home my land- 
lady met me at the door and begged 
me not to bring the hawthorn indoors, 
it was so unlucky. All day I had 
dreaded having to tell her of my 
determination to return to the land, 
so I decided to get done with it at 
once. It was a bad quarter of an 
hour, but I was upheld by the sym- 
pathy of my children and a sense of 
duty. She treated my announcement 
with supercilious pity, for I had lived 
with her since I returned from India, 
a widow, five years ago. 

A week later, after leaving minute 
orders for the packing and forwarding 
of my household goods, two cabs 
carried us with our necessary luggage, 
a hamper of provisions, and my canary 
to Liverpool Street station and to 
Valley's End Farm ! 

We were all desperately excited at 



this new departure. I meant to 
spend my life teaching the children. 
They should put away dead languages 
and study living nature. 

When we got out of the train, not 
finding the fly I had ordered waiting, 
I went to the station inn to make 
inquiries. The landlady told me that 
a wedding party had " took " it for 
the day ; yes, she had received my 
letter, but gentlefolks from London 
often altered their minds ; she was a 
poor woman, etc., (fee. Mr. Hodge, 
the butcher, was in town ; she had 
seen him pass ; he would give us a 
lift in his spring- cart if we liked to 
wait, and our boxes could go by 
carrier. 

Remembering our pleasant walk 
on the former occasion, we declined 
the spring-cart. We were a long 
time reaching our journey's end, for 
the day was hot and there were many 
things to carry, but at length it came 
in sight. The servants were waiting 
at the door ; Susan, a pleasant-looking 
young woman, wearing a smart hat, 
and Susan's mother, a distorted cari- 
cature of her daughter. Her head 
was adorned with a limp black bonnet, 
which had collapsed on one side and 
fell with a melancholy droop over one 
ear. I never saw her without that 
bonnet. She was loquacious on all 
she had done for our comfort, and 
finished each sentence with an impres- 
sive sniff, as a kind of full stop. 

They had lighted a fire in the big 
kitchen. The light flickered on the 
face of the cuckoo-clock and cast a 
ruddy tint over the brick floor that 
made one think of an old Dutch 
picture. I ordered tea to be put in 
the garden and asked if the carrier 
had come with the luggage. "The 
carrier ! " they both exclaimed. " Why, 
this ain't his day ; he only comes of a 
Saturday." And this was Tuesday ! 

However, we were disposed to make 
the best of things, so Susan was dis- 



Shall we Return to the Land ? 



283 



patched to the village shop and soon 
returned with some tea and butter, 
or with what did duty for those 
delicacies at Valley's End. Cream and 
milk were unattainable ; they kept no 
cows down at Valley's End, and up 
at Sloman's they sent all the milk to 
London. 

After tea the older woman departed 
to find some one to bring up our 
luggage, and we started out with a 
delightful feeling of expectancy to 
explore our estate. The children soon 
tired of the gardens. The other side 
of the fence was a small meadow with 
a single tree in the centre. We 
climbed the fence to examine it ; the 
lessons in nature should begin at once. 
It was either an elm or a beech ; but 
my books had not arrived, and I could 
not decide the point without them. 
The children found a long low branch 
which made an excellent swing. It 
gladdened my heart to hear their 
happy voices as I stood watching 
them ; but all around me it was grow- 
ing very quiet, and a feeling of in- 
cipient dulness was creeping over me, 
so I looked round for something to do. 
I caught sight of the potatoes, and 
after diligent search discovering a 
spade, set to work on them. I dug a 
whole row and blistered my hands 
before I met with any reward for my 
exertions. Then a tiny bulb turned 
up ; it was no bigger than a nut, but 
how much it taught ! There it was 
revealed to us, no root at all, but a 
tuber growing on an underground 
stem. I called the children to see. 
It was rather disappointing that they 
only glanced cursorily at it, and ran 
back to their swing ; but I felt myself 
developing, and was able to suppress 
a secret misgiving that had begun to 
creep into my mind. 

I was still examining it with satis- 
faction when I was startled by a loud 
shout : " Hi, get off that 'ere tree ! 
What are ye doing on 1 I'll give ye 



a hiding if I catch ye." There fol- 
lowed a scamper across the grass, and 
my children tumbled over the fence 
closely pursued by the irate farmer. 
He stopped in his complaint of their 
trespass to contemplate my work. 
After long and deep consideration a 
scornful smile passed over his broad 
face, as he gave utterance to these 
painful words: "Why them taters 
beant agoing to be ready for a month ! 
Wotever are ye digging of 'em up 
now for 1 " 

After that we retired to the house. 
I sent the children to the kitchen to 
ask for lights, as there were no bells 
in the place. Susan was not to be 
found. We explored the premises in 
a body, and eventually came upon 
her gossiping at the front gate with her 
young man. When she did come in she 
grumbled audibly about people who 
were so " shiftless " that they could 
not even light a candle. 

I pass over the domestic discomforts 
of the next few days, which no doubt 
partly arose from my defective house- 
keeping. I will not dwell on my 
parasol and book (from a circulating 
library) being eaten by cows which 
had entered the front garden unin- 
vited ; nor on my little girl nearly 
falling down the well and my boy 
being chased by a bull. Nor will I 
complain of the heavy compensation 
I had to pay for the broken branch 
of the beech-tree (it was a beech), 
nor of the pitying contempt of the 
rustics for " them furriners," whom 
they looked upon as lawful prey for 
any little peculations that entered 
into their simple minds. It was the 
promised delights of the country, the 
things we had come for, that were so 
disappointing. 

Where was the " beautiful food " ? 
The potatoes were black, and I 
was told that it was ridiculous to 
expect anything else at that time of 
year. I was told also that it was too 



Shall we Return to the Land ? 



early for fruit or " green-meat," and 
that was self-evident. The butcher 
called once a week. You ordered 
what you liked two days before, and 
he brought you what he chose with 
a sublime indifference to your order. 
The bread and butter came from the 
general shop and tasted of candles. 
If we took a walk in any bye-path 
or meadow, in fact, anywhere beyond 
the king's highway, the children, who 
usually ran on in front, would come 
flying back with, "We mustn't go 
there, mother, or we shall be perse- 
cuted." In every wood we were 
threatened with spring-guns and man- 
traps. 

Once we took a drive. Under the 
quaint little board in the general 
shop which announced that Higgins 
was licensed to sell tea and tobacco, 
there was written a notice to the 
effect that Higgins was also prepared 
to let you a pony and chaise for the 
day. I sent Susan down to engage them, 
and to tell the man I would drive 
myself. We had a mind to go to 
some hills visible from our windows, 
whose changing beauty under the 
shadows of the clouds was a per- 
petual delight. A luncheon-basket 
was packed and we started in good 
spirits. The road was very dusty, 
which perhaps was the reason why 
the pony (besides shying on every 
conceivable and inconceivable pretext) 
insisted on stopping at every public- 
house. On one of these occasions, 
when the landlord came to the 
door to greet a possible customer, I 
asked him how far off the hills were, 
and was told they might be about six 
miles as the crow flies, but were 
twelve round by the road. As we 
had already gone full three miles, we 
turned back. About a mile from 
home, as I was trying to get by 
the Wheat Sheaf without a halt, a 
man who was sitting on the horse- 
trough came forward. It was Hie;- 



gins. " You needn't wallop the poor 
brute like that, marm," he said re- 
proachfully. " They do say as ladies 
is allays hard upon the beasts. I 
should think the little chap's about 
jacked up a-carrying all that lot." 
To me the little chap appeared quite 
fresh, but my children jumped out 
full of contrition, and declaring that 
they would much rather walk home ; 
so leaving the pony in charge of his 
tender-hearted master, we finished 
our journey on foot. Happening to 
be in the post-office an hour later, 
I saw Higgins drive past. He had 
four other men with him, and I was 
surprised to see what a pace the 
little chap could be persuaded to go 
under proper management. 

The summer being so unusually 
warm and dry, the dust and heat be- 
came intolerable and the pump dried 
up. How we wished for rain ! It came, 
and how we wished it would go ! For 
four days it poured without ceasing. 
The childi'en missed their usual occu- 
pations, and wished themselves at 
school. On the fifth day there was a 
temporary lull. We rushed out of 
doors ; the garden was a lake, the 
road a river. Two farmers, sitting in 
their high chaises, were talking at the 
gate. " Nice little rain," said one. 
" This is only a bucketful, but there's 
more to come," said the other, survey- 
ing the heavens critically. I retired 
indoors with dismal forebodings. The 
children were splashing about in the 
straw-yard, seeing the pigs fed. An 
hour later they came in wet to the skin 
and in a terrible condition. I sent 
them up stairs to change their clothes, 
and sat down to cry. 

Mrs. Smith came in with tea. She 
cast sympathetic glances at me, think- 
ing the children had gone to bed ill. 
When she had done her work she did 
not retire, but stood in the doorway 
and began her commiseration. 

" This 'ave been an unlucky 'ouse," 



Shall we Ibeturn to the Land ? 



285 



she said, shaking her head till a bow 
on the melancholy bonnet gave an 
assenting nod. " Last year, just this 
very day come Wednesday, old master 
wur took bad. I mind me 'cas I wur 
a washing my son's clothes as wur 
going foreign. He wur a sitting on 
that 'ere settle" ; she jerked her thumb 
over her shoulder in the direction of 
the kitchen. " He calls out to me 
' Liza ' ! I says, ' Just you wait while 
I put these things in rinse ' ; and he 
says, ' I can't wait, I'm took that 
awful bad with pains in my inside,' 
and 

" What was the matter with 
him t " 

" Well, I wur a coming to that. 
When the doctor come, he says, 
' He've got double ammonia.' He 
ordered " 

To stop all gruesome details, I asked, 
" Did any one else die here 1 " 

" Anybody else 1 Well, yas ! " She 
held up her hand and counted them 
off on her fingers. " There wur old 
master, he wur the first ; then Mrs. 
Grant's two twins, what died of 
whooping cough. Mrs. Grant, she 
wur teacher at the school ; not Miss 
Greenum, what we've got now ; she 
rides on one of them new-fangle 
things ; I see her agoing by this arter- 
noon. She's a twister, she is. I allays 
did say she's got too much logic and 
gammon for me." 

" Then Mrs. Grant was the teacher 
before ? " 

"Na-a, not just afore; that wur 
Miss Spankum ; and afore her was 
Miss Grindal." 

" So Mrs. Grant left because her 
children died?" 

" Yas, and then old master's nephy 
he come." 

" Did he die 1 " I gasped. 



Mrs. Smith was standing half in 
the room with her back against the 
door-post. She could command a view 
of the garden path from the open front 
door. Instead of answering my ques- 
tion, she said in what sounded an 
awe-stricken tone, " Lor ! if here ain't 
the Spectre coming." 

My little girl, who had crept into 
the room during the conversation, 
jumped up with a shriek. " What ! " 
I shouted. Mrs. Smith looked back 
with a re-assuring nod : " Oh, it's only 
the School-Board." 

I experienced a vague wonder 
whether all the members of that 
august body had hanged themselves 
out of remorse, and if so, why they 
had come back to trouble these simple 
folk. I was re- assured by hearing a 
gruff voice with a very provincial 
burr. It was the Board-School visitor, 
come to demand that my children 
should be sent to school. I explained 
that I taught them myself. He told 
me, with a persuasive grin, that the 
Board " wouldn't 'ave none of them 
tricks." I grew angry and ordered 
him away. He threatened me with a 
summons before the Board. 

That was the last straw. I tele- 
graphed at once to my landlady to 
know if she would take me back. She 
consented to do so at a considerably 
advanced rent. The next afternoon 
saw us back amid the cheerful hum of 
the town, after an absence of ten days 
which seemed ten years. 

Henceforth Regent's Park will be 
country enough for me. As I sit 
beneath its trees listening to the dis- 
tant sound of multitudes astir, I agree 
with the intelligent young gardener 
that, for poor people at least, there is 
only one place to live in, and that 
place is London. 



286 



AN EXECUTION IN INDIA. 



A FEW years ago executions in 
India were, and, I believe, still are, 
public. Hearing, therefore, that a 
native was to be executed on a cer- 
tain morning outside a certain prison 
in Bengal, I rose early, mounted my 
horse, and rode off to the scene of the 
execution, which was some way from 
the town on the grassy plain just 
outside the prison. 

On my arrival I found the work- 
men completing the gallows, which 
they had erected under the high stone 
wall beside the gate. It was a scaf- 
fold, or platform of planks, nine feet 
from the ground, supported on four 
posts, one under each corner. The 
two posts behind arose to a height of 
several feet above the platform, and 
were joined across by a long hori- 
zontal beam, garnished at intervals 
with several thick iron hooks. The 
two front posts were not fixtures, 
but merely supports standing on the 
ground. A push, therefore, would 
overthrow them ; and that would 
cause the platform (Avhich worked on 
hinges at the back, like a trap-door,) 
to swing down and hang vertically 
between the back posts. 

A ladder gave access to the plat- 
form from behind ; and upon this, 
when the workmen had finished and 
gone, the bareheaded hangman now 
mounted, and mechanically commenced 
his own preparations. He was a tall, 
elderly, lean native, clad only in a 
soiled white cotton tunic, leaving the 
lower limbs bare. His face was shaved 
clean, and his head nearly bald, save 
for a few frizzled colourless hairs, like 
threads of glass, on the top. I watched 
him as he stood under the beam, being 
curious to ascertain what look his face 



might wear on such an occasion as, 
for example, whether there might be 
in it a look of interest in his task, or 
of dislike to it, or of nervousness at 
the scrutiny of so many eyes, for by 
this time a small crowd had collected 
under the gallows. But, as I watched 
it, I became gradually aware, with a 
feeling that deepened into awe, that 
his countenance differed in an un- 
earthly and horrible way from that of 
any other human being. It was abso- 
lutely without expression ; his eyes 
were as the eyes of one who seeing 
sees not. My feelings were evidently 
shared by the rest of the crowd ; for 
whenever the hangman's face hap- 
pened to turn towards them, as he 
mechanically went about his task, they 
seemed plainly disconcerted by it. 

He now put his hand into the 
breast of his tunic, and drew out an 
ill-looking piece of cord, a few feet 
long and about as thick as a man's 
finger ; and at one end of this cord 
he began to tie a noose. When he 
had fashioned the noose, he reached 
up to the hook in the beam above 
him, and tied the other end of the 
cord to it. Then he waited. 

A guard of native foot-police, armed 
with rifles, whose sombre uniforms 
and turbans harmonised well with the 
gloomy scene around, now marched 
up to the gallows under their of- 
ficer. They stationed a sentry be- 
side each of the two front posts, and 
then withdrew to their own position 
by the prison-gate, which they now 
flanked, and, facing inwards in two 
lines by the path, ordered arms and 
waited. 

Each sentinel now made fast a 
rope to the foot of the post by which 



An Execution in India, 



287 



he stood ; and standing thus, with the 
free ends of the ropes in their hands, 
they also waited. 

The crowd, which had been gradu- 
ally collecting in front of the gallows, 
was not a large one, and was com- 
posed mainly of the poorer class of 
natives, though a few white faces 
could be seen among it. But it was 
the most quiet crowd imaginable ; 
no one spoke to his neighbour, not 
even in a whisper. As they stood 
there, more like sheep than human 
beings, on their dusky upturned faces 
expectancy seemed so blended with 
Asiatic apathy, that it is difficult to 
say which sentiment predominated ; 
while their dull eyes wandered in 
turn from one object to another of 
the dark scene before them. From 
the high stern prison wall opposite, 
whose every stone wore a look of 
doom, those watchful eyes roved to 
its great gate, barred with iron and 
closely shut, that admitted no view of 
the secrets within ; to the armed and 
silent guard thereby ; to the scaffold 
on which that dreadful executioner 
was standing aloof and motionless ; to 
the fatal beam above him, stretching 
dark and distinct against the bright- 
ening sky ; to the noosed rope in 
readiness dangling from it, and 
swaying in the breeze. And watching 
thus, they also waited. 

The hour for the execution was, I 
think, eight, and already the mist was 
dispersing before the powerful beams 
of the rising sun, at whose touch the 
flat roofs, minarets, and domes of the 
walled and battlemented eastern city 
were beginning to flash and glitter in 
the light ; but as yet no sign from 
within the prison gave notice of the 
last act of the tragedy now being 
enacted before it. 

At last, from within the wall, was 
heard the distant, measured clanking 
of a chain. The ominous sound came 
nearer and nearer, and approached the 



gate, which now opened wide and 
disclosed three natives coming out 
abreast through it. Two of them 
wore the Government uniform and 
were evidently warders. They seemed 
to support, rather than to hold, the 
man between them, on whom, as they 
emerged from the police ranks and 
slowly bent their way towards the 
gallows, every eye was now fixed. 
He was a young man of twenty-five 
or thereabouts, light-skinned for a 
native, well-built, and handsome. He 
was naked, save for the usual loin- 
cloth, and his head was shorn close 
as a convict's ; his two hands were 
bound together behind his back, and 
his legs were heavily shackled with a 
thick iron chain, whose weight 
resisted their every movement, and 
which, rising and falling alternately 
with his steps, clanked dismally 
behind him along the ground. 

When with slow and halting gait 
he had reached the ladder, the 
warders assisted him to mount it ; and 
as he stepped from its last rung on to 
the scaffold, he saluted the gazing 
crowd below, bidding them good- 
morrow in a loud voice, in the orthodox 
fashion of Hindustan. 

The warders now placed him under 
the beam, after which they removed 
the irons from his legs, having first 
bound his feet together with a 
cord. They then descended the 
ladder, leaving the criminal to the 
hangman, who until that moment had 
been still standing apart and motion- 
less. But now he moved silently like 
a spirit up to the condemned man, 
and stood in front of him. Then, 
perceiving him to be not in the 
necessary position under the beam, 
the executioner, with an indescrib- 
able and almost deprecating little 
motion of his hand, automatically 
signified the fact to the prisoner, 
who forthwith placed himself upon 
the exact spot. The executioner then 



288 



An Execution in India. 



raised his arms, and taking hold of 
the rope behind the man's back, lifted 
it quietly, and lowered the noose 
around his neck. Then he tightened 
it a little. After that, he put his 
hand inside the breast of his tunic, and 
drew out a kind of headgear, white 
and shaped somewhat like a horse's 
nosebag, which lie placed on the 
head, and drew down over the face of 
the felon who had now looked his 
last on the sun. He next tightened 
the noose a little more, and moving 
partly behind the prisoner, appeared 
to be adjusting it at his ear. 

And now, beyond doubt, in the 
minds of those present a conflict of 
various opinions must have been 
stirred by the cold-blooded, deadly 
scene enacting before their eyes, which 
stood out with such ghastly distinct- 
ness amidst the quietude and serenity 
of the world around. For there was 
such a contrast between it and those 
other fair, everyday scenes of life 
passing all about us, the peasant 
cheerily wending to his daily labour, 
the birds flitting amid the trees so 
near us, the squirrels frisking on the 
bough beside them, the distant city 
awakening every moment into louder 
life and stir, the sun shining on 
benevolently in the heavens over all, 
and the hangman deliberately adjust- 
ing the noose at his victim's ear, 
that the senses were shocked at it ; 
and an overpowering impulse arose to 
fly from the place ; but, at the same 
time, a stronger impulse compelled 
one to remain and watch. 

At last the executioner, having 
accomplished all the niceties of the 
noose, came round again in front of 
the prisoner, and, glancing his e T es 
upwards, critically surveyed his 
finished work. Directing his eyes 
first to the beam above, then to the 



hook, then down the rope to the 
noose around the man's neck, he lastly 
fixed them on the man himself. Yes, 
at that supreme moment a look was 
born in the executioner's impenetrable 
face. But it was such a look as 
Death gave, when, to bridge the gulf 
from hell to this world, and to fix the 
floating mass which he had brought 
together for his bridge, 

The aggregated soil, 
Death witli his mace petrific, cold and 

thy, 
As with a trident smote, and fixed as 

firm 

As Del os floating once, the rest his look 
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to 

move. 

The hangman saw that his work was 
good ; for he now left the scaffold, 
and, descending the ladder, appeared 
no more. 

After an interval of horrid silence, 
during which the bound white-hooded 
wretch on the scaffold stood erect, 
aloft and alone, the officer in command 
of the police-guard, who was sitting 
on horseback somewhere amid the 
crowd, gave the loud command in 
Hindustani, Pull. At that word the 
two sentries pulled at the ropes they 
were holding ; the two supporting 
posts instantly fell with a loud thud 
to the ground ; the heavy scaffold 
swung down after them, and oscillated 
between the backposts ; and the 
murderer fell, as the plummet falls, 
straight ; till suddenly arrested in 
mid air by the jerk of the taut cord, 
which now seemed alive and angry, 
as it held him by the throat in a bull- 
dog's grip. His head drooped on to 
the right shoulder, while his body 
slowly turned, now this way, now 
that, as in obedience to the law of 
torsion the rope slowly wound and 
unwound itself. 



289 



ON THE ANTIQUITY OF TOBACCO-SMOKING. 



LIKE Horace's Greybeard, we are 
all more or less prone to look lovingly 
towards the past, to regard the days 
of our forefathers as the good old 
times in which they played their part 
in life's drama on a larger and nobler 
scale than we do, or are capable of doing. 
In this spirit of admiration for anti- 
quity we see the beginnings of that 
hero-worship which with the Greeks 
gradually developed into their beauti- 
ful mythology. They, above all other 
people, delighted to extol the powers and 
achievements of their ancestors ; they 
clothed them with the attributes of 
deity, and strove to emulate and hon- 
our them in all manly deeds ; thus 
they exalted their own conceptions of 
life, and idealised the course of their 
national existence. And yet this in- 
nate tendency to magnify and extend 
into the dim, illimitable regions of an- 
tiquity whatever of human effort is 
deemed most worthy, is a source of 
difficulty to the conscientious student. 
Amid the wild growth of myth and 
marvel the antiquary or archaeologist 
warily treads his way to surer 
ground, and out of scattered frag- 
ments of a bygone age constructs 
anew an old order of existence, or 
opens a vista to the mind's eye 
through which glimpses may be gained 
of the habits and inner life of our 
remote ancestors. Then it is we see 
the present linked with the past in 
one unbroken chain ; our knowledge 
is enlarged, and we recognise the 
unity of our race. Needless then to 
say that it is in no narrow spirit of 
mere curiosity that the wise men of 
Europe have devoted much labour 
and learning to the task of discover- 
No. 442. VOL. LXXIV. 



ing if the habit of tobacco-smoking, 
now so common all over the world, 
existed in Eastern countries before 
the discovery of America by Columbus. 
It is justly claimed for the subject 
that it possesses interest for a much 
larger class than professed ethnolo- 
gists ; that it is invested with an 
absorbing fascination for every earnest 
student of the history and habits of 
mankind. For it is maintained that 
nothing but a deep-seated craving in 
the nature of human beings for nar- 
cotics and stimulants can explain the 
immediate, rapid, and over-mastering 
success with which the passion for 
tobacco spread over the world after 
its introduction into Europe by the 
Spaniards. That this should have 
been so, seems to point directly to 
the conclusion that before the dis- 
covery of the New World the tobacco- 
plant and the habit of smoking its 
leaves were unknown elsewhere. Let 
it be remembered, however, that we 
have to take into account the farther 
East, more particularly China, the 
Cathay of our forefathers, who had 
found every approach leading into the 
interior jealously guarded against in- 
trusion from the barbarian of the 
outer world. 

Scattered through the pages of 
ancient historians and naturalists are 
some curious allusions to a practice 
occasionally indulged in of inhaling 
the fumes of burning vegetable sub- 
stances, either for pleasure's sake or 
for medicinal purposes. A few of 
these may suffice to indicate the shifts 
men were put to in remote times in 
order to appease their longing for 
narcotics of one kind or another. 



290 



On the Antiquity of Tobacco- Smoking. 



Herodotus says that the Messa- 
getse, or Scythians, possessed a tree 
bearing a strange fruit which, when 
they met together, they cast into the 
fire and inhaled its fumes till they 
became intoxicated, in much the same 
way as the Greeks did with wine. 
What this strange produce was we 
learn in book IV. cap. 78, where he 
relates the story of the Scythians mak- 
ing themselves drunk with hemp-seed. 
They crept with it under their 
blankets, and throwing it on red- 
hot stones, inhaled the fumes arising 
therefrom. Simple narrations such 
as these fall in quite naturally with 
one's ideas of primitive man adapting 
himself to his circumstances. The 
Father of History never indulges in 
flights of fancy or creations of the 
imagination ; it was enough for him 
to render a straightforward account 
of such things as came under his own 
eyes, or of events as they had been 
related to him. But when we come 
to a modern writer who tells a smok- 
ing-story of far-back times, relating, 
indeed, to none other than the 
" mighty hunter before the Lord " (en- 
joying, we may assume, a quiet pipe 
after a day's hard riding across coun- 
try), then doubt begins to take pos- 
session of the mind, and we are in 
clined to let that tale go I'^r what it 
is worth. Lieutenant Walpole is re- 
sponsible for the story that, Vhen he 
was at Mosul, there came ii&o his 
hands a very old Arabic manuscript, in 
the opening chapter of which the an- 
cient scribe declared that Ninrtod 
used tobacco. Application of |he 
higher criticism to this relic of anti- 
quity would be quite out of plac\; 
why, indeed, should men seek to bfe 
wise above what is written ? But let 
us look a little farther into what Mr. 
Walpole has to narrate of the people 
among whom he sojourned, respecting 
their indulgence in the social pleasure 
of the pipe. From his highly interest- 



ing work on THE ANSAYRII, OR THE 
ASSASSINS (published in 1851) we 
gather that while at Mosul he was so 
impressed by the prevalence of the 
habit of smoking among all classes, 
that he made diligent inquiry of the 
learned of the land respecting its 
origin. For he felt convinced that 
nothing European, much less American, 
could possibly have crept into this 
remote district of the Old World, 
whose inhabitants were living as their 
fathers had lived for ages. " In the 
East," he writes, "it is rare to find 
a man or woman who does not smoke. 
Enter a house, and a smoking-instru- 
ment is put into your hand as naturally 
as you are asked to sit down." Mr. 
Walpole had not long to wait before 
his new friends found means of satis- 
fying his curiosity, and of quickening 
the interest already awakened within 
him as to the antiquity of the habit. 
A venerable sage disclosed to his 
wondering eyes the manuscript afore- 
said. It filled over a hundred closely- 
written pages, and was divided into 
eight chapters, in the first of which 
was related the story of Nimrod. The 
origin of the different opinions for and 
against tobacco are enlarged upon in 
its pages ; this, by the way, seems to 
imply that the Koran had not settled 
the disputed point, but then these 
Hashishins, who had found tobacco a 
far more grateful comforter than their 
fiery hashish, were not good Moslems. 
Unfortunately for Mr. Walpole the 
happy owner of the priceless document, 
this inestimable relic of antiquity, was 
a bibliomanist whom nothing could 
induce to part with it ; but he tells 
the reader that it was being copied,- - 
a lengthy process. Youthful exuber- 
ance of spirit marks Mr. Walpole's joy 
at the discovery. " Lovers of the 
weed," he exclaims, " may reasonably 
hope that the elucidation of the 
A.ssyrian history will show us Nimrod 
making kief over the chibouk, and 



On the Antiquity of Tobacco-Smoking. 



291 



Semiramis calling for her nargilleh. 
It would enhance the grace of Cleo- 
patra could we imagine her reclining 
on a divan of eiderdown toying with 
Marc Antony as she plays with her 
jewelled narpeesh." His enthusiasm 
is kindled by glowing tales of Eastern 
life, stretching back to the remotest 
ages ; he sees the folly of entertaining 
for a moment the thought that Asia 
could be indebted to America for the 
luxury of the pipe. "We can hardly 
suppose," he writes, " that in the com- 
paratively short space of time since 
the continent of America was dis- 
covered by us, the habit could have 
spread through Europe to the very 
utmost corners of Asia ; that the 
Burman would smoke his cigar as he 
does, and the wild man of the forest 
of Ceylon would make his hand into 
a bowl and smoke out of it. These 
people, perfect wild beasts, double up 
the hand, curving the palm, and thus 
form a species of pipe ; a green leaf 
protects the hand ; within this the 
weed is placed, and thus they smoke. 
This is certainly the youth of smoking. 
Adam may have practised this method, 
even in the days of his innocence." 

It is perhaps a pity Mr. Walpole did 
not feel satisfied with this display of 
youthful gaiety. Possibly he saw 
that something was still wanting ; 
that his new-born idea of an Eastern 
origin for the weed he loved was too 
weak to stand without support. At 
that very moment some evil genius 
whispered in his ear the fun of send- 
ing the reader a wool-gathering to the 
British Museum. Then it dawned 
upon him that among the marvels of 
antiquity the excavations of Botta and 
Layard were laying bare to an as- 
tonished world was an Assyrian relic 
which would bear oracular testimony 
to the truth of the old Arabic manu- 
script found at Mosul, and that hence- 
forward Nimrod must be regarded as 
the paladin of the pipe. So Mr. 



Walpole goes on to say : "If the 
curious reader will go to the British 
Museum he will there see an Assyrian 
cylinder, found at Mosul, F and pre- 
sented to the Institution by Mr. 
Badger, whereon is represented a king 
smoking from a round vessel, attached 
to which is a long reed." Hours have 
been spent in vain at the British 
Museum in making careful search for 
this interesting object. Doctor Wallis 
Budge, who presides over the Egyptian 
and Assyrian antiquities, knows 
nothing of a cylinder bearing an in- 
scription of a king smoking a pipe. 
He has, however, a record to the effect 
that Mr. Badger on February 8th, 
1845, gave the Museum "the squeeze 
of an inscription, the impression of a 
seal, and a bronze object." Doctor 
Budge warily remarked : " I must re- 
mind you that in 1845 all sorts of 
nonsense was talked about Assyrian 
objects ; but that two men [a second 
writer had been mentioned who had 
evidently copied, on faith, from Mr. 
Walpole] should state such a thing 
without verification is remarkable. I 
am sorry for your wasted time, and 
my own ! " Assyrian cylinders in the 
British Museum are numerous, and 
interest in them is heightened by 
written explanations in our own tongue 
placed by the side of each of the 
markings upon them, giving also the 
date or period to which the object 
belongs. The student is thus enabled 
to grasp with his senses lessons in 
history which, without this aid, would 
be vague and unreal. Yet, so grotesque 
are some of the figures, that little 
need for wonder if the eye of faith 
should discover what it seeks for. 

The ascetic of the Greek Church, 
however, can eclipse this story of 
Nimrod and the Assyrian monarch 
who loved his pipe, with a tradition 
carefully preserved in its archives of 
Noah himself, tempted by the Evil 
One, having fallen under the intoxicat- 

u 2 



292 



On the Antiquity of Tobacco-Smoking. 



ing fumes of tobacco. The ingenuous 
scribe relates (though this may be 
apocryphal) that Noah, resting upon 
the summit of Mount Ararat after 
his toils on the swollen waters, hap- 
pened to place his hand on a tobacco- 
pipe charged with the comforting 
herb, and Satan, envious of his happi- 
ness, urged the patriarch to prolong 
the indulgence until > sleep fell upon 
his eyes. Where the soil is ready for 
the seed the merest figment takes root 
and flourishes abundantly. 

Persons of a poetic temperament 
who find in speculative dreaming 
pleasure more satisfying than aught 
they can derive from the study of 
prosaic reality, usually turn their 
thoughts towards the East, to the land 
of mystery and gorgeous imagery, 
where man first awoke to a wondering 
contemplation of the phenomena of 
nature, asking himself what the earth 
and sky could be, and marking out in 
bold outline as he gazed into the star- 
lit firmament the signs by which we 
to-day recognise the Zodiac. Enter- 
ing these regions of hoary tradition, 
the marvel-loving wanderer from the 
West finds his path strewn with 
relics of our early progenitors ; here 
he may revel in endless variety of 
legendary lore garnered from rich 
fields of poetic fancy. Does he wish 
to learn of the Moslem sage the origin 
of the weed whose balmy breath 

From East to West 
Cheers the tar's labour, or the Turk- 
man's rest 1 

Let him listen to his words as he 
relates how the Prophet, walking in 
his garden at early dawn, came upon 
a viper stiff with cold, lying in the 
grass. " Full of compassion, he took it 
up and warmed it in his bosom ; but 
when the reptile recovered, it bit him. 
'Why art thou thus ungrateful 1' asked 
the Prophet. The viper answered : 



' Were I to spare thee, another of thy 
race would kill me, for there is no 
gratitude on earth. By Allah, I will 
bite thee.' ' Since thou hast sworn 
by Allah, keep thy vow,' said the 
Prophet, and held out his hand to be 
bitten. But as the reptile bit him 
the Prophet sucked the poison from 
the wound, and spat it on the ground. 
And lo ! there sprang up a plant in 
which the serpent's venom is combined 
with the Prophet's mercy, and men 
call it tobacco." 

Unhappily for the champions of 
Asia's prior claim to the weed, those 
enchanting mirrors of Arabian social 
life, THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, 
reflect no sign, not the faintest shadow 
of aught resembling circling eddies 
from the tobacco-bowl. In the early 
days of the new indulgence its lawful- 
ness was warmly disputed in Ma- 
homedan countries. Both Sultan and 
Shah looked with suspicion at this 
new device of the Giaour, and in- 
flicted the severest punishment upon 
all who ventured to console their 
sorrows with the pipe. In the warmth 
of conflicting opinion the Koran was 
appealed to, and a Moslem ascetic 
was found who read to the 
faithful a passage (from a revised 
version, no doubt) wherein it was 
foretold that, " In the latter days 
there shall be men bearing the name 
of Moslem, but who are not really 
such, and they shall smoke a certain 
weed which shall be called tobacco.'' 
A device so simple, giving the Ameri- 
can name of the plant, could deceive 
no one but those who were willing to 
be deceived. It helped, however, to 
smooth the way towards the desired 
reconciliation ; and then the Turkish 
traveller, Eulia EfFendi, contributed 
towards a peaceful solution of the 
much-vexed question the best fruits of 
what little ingenuity he possessed. 
He declared that he had found deeply 
embedded in the wall of an old edifice, 



On the Antiquity of Tobacco- Smoking. 



293 



so old that it must have been reared 
long before the birth of the Prophet, 
a tobacco-pipe which even then smelt 
of tobacco ! The pious frauds of 
Moslem ascetics could not go beyond 
this. Here was the sanction of an- 
tiquity, if not of the Prophet, for the 
indulgence they all loved, before which 
Sultan, and Shah, and Koran gradu- 
ally gave way, yielding to Nicotiana 
the mild sway she holds over her vota- 
ries. And it must needs be admitted 
that the claim for a knowledge of to- 
bacco in Western Asia before the days 
of Columbus has no stronger prop to 
rest upon than this pipe found in the 
crevice of an old wall, and which still 
smelt of tobacco, dropped in by some 
poor Turk fearful of the torture in 
store for him if caught smoking. 
Russell, in his narrative of a visit to 
Aleppo in 1603, says that tobacco- 
smoking, then so commonly indulged 
in at home, was unknown there. And 
Sandys, writing of the Turks as he 
found them in 1610, speaks of to- 
bacco as just introduced into Con- 
stantinople by the English. How 
rapidly the taste for the weed spread 
over the countries of Western Asia, 
and the hold it had taken upon all 
classes, is shown in many a homely 
saying among the people, such as, 
"A pipe of tobacco and a dish of 
coffee are a complete entertainment " ; 
or in the Persian proverb that, "Coffee 
without tobacco is meat without 
salt." 

Doctor Yates had gone to the land 
of the Pharaohs for enlightenment on 
things hidden from