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Full text of "Traits of travel; or, Tales of men and cities"

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TRAITS 



TALES OF 



lOR OF « HI( 



IN T\^ 



Nl 

niXTRD BY J. 

ASS ANB HANNi 

. B. GILLET, A. 
HOLMES :^PUlLi 



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THE VETERAN. 



It was exactly ten years from the day on which I had last part- 
ed with my old acquaintance, Phil Hartigan, when I happened 
to arrive at the very spot where that parting interview took 
place. Th» Was a fourth-rate town in one of the northern de- 
partments of France, in the very heart of the coal country close 
on the borders of Belgium, where Captain Hartigan had been 
cantoned, for some time previous to the final removal of the 
British army of occupation* 

My acquaintance With him commenced at Valenciennes, of 
the garrison of which place his regiment ibrmed a part : but after 
about a year's continuance there, he had been detached, with 
his company, to the httle town in question, and to his very great 
discomfiture. And well be might be annoyed at the change — for 
newer was a military man in pleasanter foreign quarters, as far 
as Enghsh military society in its best sense could make them 
pleasant, than in that garrison at the time I allude to. In this, 
I am sure to be borne out, by the memories of all who were 
there during 1815 and 181(5, and who have one and all, I '11 be 
bound, often thought of the balls, the dinners, the private plays, 
the gayety and good fellowship, that ran through all the seasons 
in succession. It was early in the summer of the last of those 
years that I rode over, accompanied by two others, to pass a 
day with their old comrade, and allay, for never so brief a space, 
the discontent which broke out, even in the invitation that led to 
our vidt. I have never forgotten the last sentence of poor 
Phil's note— 

*'^ I 'm an nnfoftuntte devil : I seem to be stuck in this damned 
morass for life and death ; I am sure it wiU kill me, so come 
ovCT like honest ibllows as you ought to be, and give me one 
pleasant day on this side of the grave." 

I have called this a sentence: it was so, certainly, a sentence 
ef death; but as to anything like grammatical division, punctu- 
ation, or i^c^ like pedantries, Phil Hartigan knew nothing of, 
or, knowing, despised them. He was a very clever fellow for idl 
that, and bad received a fair education, (as the phrase goes,) for 



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/ N THE VETERAN. 

th^young€8t son of an Irish gentleman. He was a good horse^ 
n^n, a steady shot, and tied his own flies. He could, *ev^n 
t/enty years after he left shool, write legibly, and read running 
^nd ; remembered " Gallia est divisa in tres partes ;" " Tityre 
ill patulas," and ^^ Arma Tirumque cano ;" the first two problems 
of Euclid, and full three parts of the Greek alphabet. He was 
a gallant fellow, full of his profession, in its best and most bril- 
liant parts — so full that he had no room for any of the paltry 
trickery which cramped and degraded it. He was an. extremely 
handsome man ; sung well, with a natural, but uncultivated 
taste ; and although writing a common letter was a matter of 
infinite diflScdty to him, he was the very best teller of a story 
that I ever listened to. Could he have written as he spoke, he 
would have been distinguished even in the present spring-tide of 
authorship, and his best stories would have run no risk of being 
botched by retail. 

Phil Hartigan entered the army young, as young as the regu- 
lations permitted ;' and while yet a boy, was placed in command 
over men, Without any experience as to human nature, ho 
was intrusted with a duty, for which knowledge of character is 
the most essential qualification. But tie learned his profession, 
(somewhat at the' expense of his soldiers to be sure,) and be- 
came in process of time a good officer. 

After dodging about in home quarters for some few years^ 
running the rounds of England, Scotland, and Ireland, in all the 
idleness of domestic duty, he at length entered on foreign ser- 
vice ; was one of the expedition to South Aiperica, which ended 
with General Whitelock's ruinous afiair ; and on his return to 
Europe, he immediately repaired to Spain, where he remained 
in constant and active duty till the remnant of the French armies 
were driven beyond the Pyrenees. After the battle of Tou- 
louse, he was ordered to Canada, where he saw his share of 
whatever was going on ; and recrossed the Atlantic once more, 
to be in time to get the last of his half dozen wounds in the 
desperate iield of Waterloo. While an ensign, he led a forlorn 
hope— what a sadly eloquent title I— and in the usual style of 
reward, he got his lieutenancy— -5^^ semority. While a lieu- 
tenant he had the uncommon distinction of being noticed by 
name in the general-in-chiefs despatch, and was promoted to a 
company — by purchase. As a captain, he on one occasion 
was lucky enough to command the battalion in the latter part of 
a general action, and was sure to obtain his brevet as major — 
when it might regularly come to his turn. 

In fact, Phil Hartigan, like hundreds of fine fellows, had often i 
distinguished himself, paid the last shilling of his little fortune fo^^ . 



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the commisiion he bore^ left his track in his own and the enemy's 
blood, wherever he serred ; but never had the good luck to 
obtain a prize in the lottery of military life, which (Kke other 
lotteries) makes a fine display of fiye, ten, and twen^ thousand 
pounders, while ninety-nhie out of every hundred of its expectant 
dupes, fire nothing but Uank cartridge, from beginning to end 
of their career. It was thus with Phil Hartigan, who after 
twenty years' service, eleven campaigns, sieges, battles, and skir- 
misheis without number ; lus body riddled, one arm disabled, bones 
and muscles shattered, and a constitution shaken^ found himself 
stuck fkst in his little cantonment, ftom which he never stirred, 
until he sunk in his narrow billet in its rustic burying- ground. 

The day that I and my .companion rode over to see him was a 
fine one in June, and as we walked 6ur horses into the town, we 
heard a considerable clamour towards the market-place. We 
trotted in that direction, and the first thing, that struck us was 
the fine figure of Phil, in a crowd of town's-people which sur- 
rounded a squad of four or five Cossacks, who had rode into the 
market, got drunk in a cabaret, and were quarrelling together 
and belabouring each other unmercifully, with the dhort thick 
whips attached to their bridles. These savages did not lay'K>n 
each other more ferociously than did some cowardly scoundrels 
of the town lay on them^ when two or three of them were tumbled 
ffoai their ponies and lay sprawling on the ground. All the 
enmity of the vanquished broke out, and the Cossacks would 
have been roughly handksd indeed, had not a gallant ally been 
ready, in the person of the English captain, who instantly inter- 
fered, wielding his gdod arm powerfully, and making most un- 
ceremonious applic^ions with the toe of his boot to the rear- 
ward demonstrations of the flying enemy, some dozens of whom 
ran before him in electrical dismay. 

When the captain saw us he ceased from his labours, and 
joined heartily in the laugh which burst fi-om us on observing the 
afiiair. The remounted Cossacks grinned forth their alliance 
with our jocularity, and charged through the streets *it full gallop, 
upsetting (but happily not hurting) man, woman, and child, vege- 
tables, fruit, and poultry, without distinction. The crowd dis- 
persed by sneaking units, like a cloud dissolving m single drops, 
and we repaired to the auberge where Phil was quartered, gave 
our horses in charge to his groom, and prepared with good appe« 
tites to attack the capital dinner which had been prepared fpr us. , 
We passed the evening as usual on such occasions-^drinking, 
singing, joking, picking broiled bones to .revive our thirst, and 
swallowing fresh bumpers to<excite new appetite. What a strange 
vision to l<K>k back upon are the scenes of early dissipation, passed 

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in such orgies as these ! How the days, and nights, und years oil 
seem to swim and revolve before one, as the iKtttles and glasses 
did then ! How pleasant, how profitless were those times ! Yet 
not quite profitless either, if their recollection teaches us to relish 
the less, highly spiced enjoyments of our after life. 

We quitted Phil Hartigan and his desolate- cantonment the 
ne;Lt morning. We cantered off after breakfast, on our return to 
Valenciennes ; and as we left the town, we threw bsck a Par- 
thian glance at our solitary friend, ^ho stood (his little white ter- 
rier Snap at his heels,) looking after us, waving his cap, cheering 
us, and striving to cheer himself, with a view halloo, such as 
used to make the Rilworth mountains ring, when he followed 
his fattier'^ fox-hounds. We all remarked what a fine looking 
fellow he was at that parting moment, his black hair and whiskers 
curling gracefully, his cheeks flushed, and his whole ap|)earance, 
such as we often see in florid-complexioned hard livers of five 
and thirty, or thereabouts, who have not begun to break. But 
when the break at last comes, hi such good wearing constitutions, 
what a crash it is. 

We returned Phil Hartigan's shout of salutation, entered a 
wood, lost siglit of the town, and thus ended our visit. 

It was just ten years from that day that I happened to arrive 
on that very spot. It was far out of the way of any reasonable 
purpose of mine ; and I ^scarcely know what led me there, if it 
were not ^^ a truant disposition," such as brought Horatio to 
Wittenburg. I had straggled over a good part of the ancient 
province of Artois, and made pilgrimages to one or two shrines, 
w bich turned out scarcely worth the trouble. One of these was 
what is called in traditional phrase, the ruins of Therouanne, an 
unfortunate town utterly destroyed by Charles V., in the ypar 
1553. So completely has time followed the tracks of the ruth- 
less conqueror, that nO other trace but theirs is left, instead of 
what was onpe a rich and populous garrison. Not a stone is 
to be found, whose juxtaposition with another could tell to what 
structure th^ formerly belonged. Not a vestige is discoverable 
of the habitations of men ; yet the peasant cicerones of the 
wretched village, which now bears the name of the town that 
was, talk of the cathedral And the citadel, the tower end th(| 
church, of this, that, and t'other saint, but can show the travelle i 
nothing but a cultivated ravine, which speaks itself to have bee J 
the ancient fossee that surrounded the place. Marius at Car- 
thage, or Volney at Palmyra, had more positive, but not more 
convincing evidence of desolation. It is the very site for a phi- 
losopher to build on, but tells little to the antiquary, and still less 
to the sketcher of scenes or manners. When I walked across the 



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Ueak and barren heights, which agriculture has not jet succeeded 
to redeem, a husbandman was driTing his ploughshare into the un* 
grateful soil, and a sportsman and his dog ranging over fields, that 
could not produce sufficient grass to shelter a t^ovey of birds. 

I, too, had my gun in my hand, and my dog at my foot ; but 
there was bo business for either of us thera , Three Mpeds and 
a brace of setters formed a population too great for the surface 
which formerly sufficed for thousands. 

Looking to the eastward, I was in^ntly struck with the notion 
of paying a visit to some of the not distant scenes of by<gone 
pleasures, or what passed current for such. I accordingly hur* 
ried off from these dreary heights, and took the road to Lille, 
followed close by Carlo, the son of Ranger— the reader will not 
require me to trace his pedigree farther. 

The church clock was striking twelve (at noon) as I walked 
into the church of Phil Hartigan's cantonment. The sun shone 
strongly on the little place, and brightened up his naturally 
gloomy features into something like a smite. But it was a me- 
lancholy vivacity. I looked along the street, and thought of the 
3gure of poor Hartigan, as 1 had last seen him, and I thought 
.>f my two other companions, who had been dead several years, 
he one a victim to a West India fever, the other killed in a duel. 
decoUection became unpleasant I regretted having returned 
,o the place ; and was half tempted to retrace my steps, when I 
^rasiirrested by two shapos, most startling and questionable. 
These were a man and a dog ; the first presenting a broken out- 
line of Phil Hartigan, the latter a worn down resemblance of his 
terrier Snap. 

" How very strange !" said I, stopping suddenly. The per- 
son I gazed at, stood still also, fixing his eyes on me. 

^< How devilish odd !*' exclaim^ he. 

" Can it be credible ?" uttered L ' . 

"It isn't possible!" muttered he ;. but odd, strange, incredi- 
ble or impossible as we might have thought it, it was nevertheless 
true, that Phil Hartigan and myself were in an instant cordially 
shaking hands ; while old Snap and young Carlo seemed to ac- 
knowledge each other as acquaintances, perhaps from some 
friendly or filial instinct, connected with the memory of poor old 
Kanger, who had been for some time dead and gone. 

" My dear fellow ! How glad I am to see y6\i I How extra- 
ordinary ! How time fiies ! How devilish fat you are grown !" 
were Phil's first exclamations. 

" Do you think so ?*' said I, squeezing myself inwardly up, 
with the usual sensitiveness of corpulent men, striving to shrink 
into themselves. These were the only words I spoke for many 



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minntesy while Phil ran on with a Toluble string of question 
and answer, salutation and exclamation. 

f was not more surprised at first view of him, than I was on 
the closer scrutiny on which I (Entered. I could not convince 
myself for a moment or two, that I was not looking at Phil 
Hartigan's father, or his uncle, or an elder, a much elder bro- 
ther, or I scarcely knew to whom or what — but could this be 
Phil Hartigan himself? Could ten years ha?e so completely 
changed, so broken, so decomposed him ? Where were his 
black curls, and his black whiskers ? The first were cut away 
by the^cythe of Time, which sorrow had sharpened ; the latter 
were shaved toff by Phil's own razors, because they had grown 
griiy. And his florid complexion ? Disease and dissipation had 
first faded and then dyed it a yellow ground, with purple spots ; 
his eyes were sunk, his forehead wrinkled, his cheeks hollow ; and 
if / had grown fat, how had poor Phil grown thin ! He was the 
mere shadow of his former self. A blue frock, of military cut 
(plainly a turn-coat, the first that Phil ever suffered to embrace 
him,) was tightly buttoned up to his chin, and the reverted cape 
itas fastened even higher, with a hook and eye. Heaven knows 
what was the quality or colour of his shirt ; but his rusty ^lack 
handkerchief was surmounted by a stiff white collar^ flanking 
his countenance on either side, and silencing any battery which 
inquisitiveness might direct against him. A brown cloth forag- 
ing cap covered his head, without concealing the baldness of his 
temples ; and a pair of threadbare pantaloons, gray worsted 
stockings, and well worn shoes, brought the picture down as far 
as it coul() go. 

Such were the outworks of the once gay, handsome, dashing 
Phil Hartigan. His worn-down body was the covered way, his 
still open wounds the embrasures, his gallant spirit the rampart, 
and his hebrt the citadel, of this mortal type of some strong 
place, which the enemy had reduced by sap, but which had been 
impregnable to assault. 

Having recovered from my astonishment, and suppressing it as 
best I could, the first burst of recognition over, we walked to- 
gether towards the market-place. 

" Why, my dear fellow,*' exclaimed Phil, " it 's a perfect age 
since I saw you last." 

'* It is indeed a long time," snswered I. 

it Why, let me see — it must be six or seven years ?" 

" Ten, my dear Phil, ten this very day." 

" Ten' years ! why, how can that be t you must be wrong — it 
can't be more than e^ht^ at any rate ?" 

^^ f 'U ea^ly prove it — it was in 1816, 1 came over from Valen- 
ciennes here to see you, with JButler and Tom Wendbume.'' 



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"By Jove, so it was!" 

"And it is now 1826.'* 

"By Jove, 80 it is!" 

The '^ was" and the " is" had exactly the same empliaais, and 
it .appeared as if the past and the present date were alike confused 
in my poor friend's head. 

^' And my old comrades, Butler and Wendburne ? How do 
they get on ?". resumed he. 

^* Get on ! poor fellows^ they are dead this many a day." 

** Indeed ! then the world's a pair of good fellows the less," 
was the careless reply, which seemed to tell that time had carried 
away feeling, as, well as memory in its flight. 

As we walked gn, I was amused by the appearance of Snap, 
who had too evidently moved in a parallel line to that which his 
master had so rapidly taken down the hill^ — of life, I mean. 
Snap^ who had been originally of a youthful white, was now of a 
dusky gray, his ears, and parts of his neck and back, showed 
patches of flesh-coloured baldness. He was blind of one eye ; ex- 
tremely deaf; and altogether a venerably specimen of half-pay ter- 
riers, on the superannuated list. His master observed me eyeing 
him ; and he asked me if ^^ 1 did not think poor Snap greatly 
altered?" . • 

" And his master !" said I to fnygelf; but I answered Phil's 
question, without any personal reference. He had sliifled his 
quarters from the Auberge to 'a small . apartment, consisting of 
two chamber's, in the house of an old woman called Madame 
Penelope, in a narrow street near the market-place. At sight of 
the house, 1 easily divined that it was poverty which gave to the 
unlucky veteran the route from his former comfortable sojourn. 
The abode into which he now ushered me was a sad contrast to 
the other ; quite as much so as poor Hartigan was to what he 
had been. Yet notwithstanding the breaking up in health, ap- 
pearance, manners, and even feelings, Phil had saved something 
from the wreck. His natural character was unharmed, as every 
thing about him gave evidence. His bed room was neat, and 
his little sdhn adjoining it, displayed some of the nickndcks of 
military collection, that he was formerly So fond of. In fact the 
whole air of the place spoke the habits of soldier regularity, with 
somewhat of old bachelor precision. The articles of the vete- 
ran's scanty wardrobe were folded and laid on their shelf, snugly 
covered with a cloth, to keep off the dust : though had it lain 
thickly on most of them, it would have been but neairly the same 
thing as ^^ ashes to ashes." . On nails over the chimney place 
were arranged the old sabre, the battered breast-plate, and Uie gor- 
get, which' had all served so many campaigns, and given or 
joceiv'ed so many hard knocks. A pair of moccassins or Cana- 



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dian slippers, were hung otie at each side of these ; and those 
again flunked by a South American hvff^lo hunter's leathern belt, 
and a pair of Spanish castenets. An Indian warrior's cap sur* 
rounded the whole ; and the veteran's own old sash was festooned 
among them. On the mantlepiece lay several relics, picked up 
in the various countries where he had served ; and the walls 
ivere covered with bows and arrows, snow shoes, and^ divers 
articles of costume or implements of warfare ; while a rusty gun 
and cobweb-covered fishing rod, showed plainly that their owner 
had for many a day ^< foregone all customs of exercise." 

AAer an ofl-repeated welcome, and an offer of a dram, (which 
on my declining, nfiy host took #r himself,} he left me for a 
while to discuss :with his landlady (who was also his housekeeper, 
chamber-maid, and cook) the preparation for dinner ; and then to 
step over and give notice of my arrival to his messmate and only 
companion in the place. This was Toby Underwood, a half- 
pay lieutenant of marines, a*very old ally who had joined com- 
pany with Phil, and settled in this dull place out of pure compas- 
sion, and who was, he also assured roe^ ^^ as brave and as safe 
a fellow as ever stood before a foe, or sat down beside a friend." 

When I was thus left alone, I employed myself, in the usual way 
of killing time in a strange rooaf, looking at every article it coiOr 
tained with a listless scrutiny. Had 1 been disposed to indulge 
the moralising mood, 1 should have stood ruminating before the 
different objects of virtu^ which brought so many associations 
connected with. days of yore. But I preferred thumbing over 
poor Phil's hbrary, which I found (without the aid of a cata- 
logue) to consist of a copy of ^^ Joe Miller's Jest Bopk ;" one of 
the ^' liules. and Regulations," mujch tern ; one number of Mrs. 
Inchbald's ** British Theatre," the frontispiece stained with wine ; 
an army list for November, 18 16," the red cover wanting ; and a 
volume of ^^ Blahr's Lectures^" an old edition — but quite as good 
as new. There was also a ^^ Navy List," of rather a later date, 
a tract on the "Dry Rot," and "The Midshipnaan's Manual," or 
some such title ; but these latter had the name " Tobias Under- 
-wood" written on them, too plainly to let me mistake them for 
Phil Hartigan's. 

I chose the old army list for my reacting, and I saw how closely 
and constantly poor Phil had made it' bis study. Every page 
I bore marginal notes. They were necessarily brief, from the 
narrow space which so edifyingly c<Hitrasts these monthly re- 
cords with other modem works, to the full as ephemeral. A 
little 4, or Ar, or p, before many of the names, denoted ^' i2ead," 
" ftiOftl," ^"^ praiMkedi" as was corroborated by my own know- 
ledge of the men and their fate ; and these brief annotations 
formed a praiseworthy pattern of what ought to be the style of 



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cdmnieatalors ia feiieral. Tiie ji't, 1 wai mnrj to obserre, 
bore a very suiaU proportion to the cf^ and JBf'«« I did net care 
to pur^ae the calculation, or to dwell on the prolmble chances of 
poor Phy hinself beeoming eatiftled to d and b (dead and bttiied) 
before his name, long ere the arriTal of **' the brevet/* which he 
so recItoBed on, as sare to pot him among the p>. 

He soon retamed to me ; and we went to stroll op and down 
the narrow walk lined with stunted limes, named by the amo* 
reus natites the ^ Ail6e d' Amour," but which Phil called fa- 
miliarly *« the BHall." He. could tell the measurement of this ' 
miserablef promenade to an inch, and knew every knot in each 
individual tree, while be had worn a way, by his regular pacing 
to and fro, as deep, though not so lasting, as that indented ill the 
male of Canterbury Cothednd by the pilgrims to the shrine of 
Thomas .si Becket. 

During this stroll, and the *^ half hour" before dinner,and the 
additional quarter, allowed lo the code in all countries, I be- 
came fully informed of my companion's circumstances and suf- 
ferings since the day I had seen him last. His tale was easily 
told, but not his comments on it ; for he bewailed the hardship 
of bis case at great length, and with that fluent bitterness which 
f6w, but those who have themselves suffered, can sympathize 
with, as well as listen to. It was soon after the period of my 
former visit in 1816, that Captain Hartigan, coming within the 
reductions which took place in the army, found that he was on 
the point of being thrown out of his profusion, and on the 
world, with bis half-pay as his only support ; for he had ho ca- 
pability of adding to it in any way to which a gentleman could 
condescend, at least, according to his notions of the thing. The 
nation called for retrenchment, and it fell upon those who might 
have been spared, by the sacrifice of a few sinecures. But the 
adopted species of economy (which was neither political nor 
politic) deprived poor Phil, with many a fellow-sufferer, of the 
pension to which two of his wounds had for several years entitled 
him, and which he had foolishly believed was granted for life^ 
So that at the moment of his pay, his allowances, and means of 
living were reduced one half, he was also cut off from his pen- 
sion ; and thus an income, which to a bachelor soldier was really 
affluence, became suddenly exchanged for one which was little 
more than penury. But even the integrity of this pittance was 
not respected by the tailors, and brokers, and creditors of all 
kinds, who had long encouraged the unthinking debtor to go 
deeper and deeper into debt, and never asked for one guinea, 
while he could have easily paid them ; but now all at once insist^ 



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TBE VETEBAN. 

?ing every shilling of tiieir exorbitant demands^ when 
a penny too much for his bare support, 
ired into a short examination of his sLfTairs, ^hich he 
le for twenty years, that is to say, since be had had 
to examine. He found himself encumbered »beyond 
3f extrication ; he was dunned and threatened with 
to the Horse Guards, and public exposure of all 
e insolent language which low fellows delight in hav- 
ortuhity to use towards a gentleman. Phit was an 
man ; he did all he could do ; he offered the best 
9 in his power, and he made over the half of hi? half* 
date all demands. This was indeed a forlorn hope, 
ess than the one he escaped from fifteen years before. 
.1 fund raised in this way was *> a sinking fund," that 
sts, postage, and commission, could never allow to 
Phil always looked forward to " the Brevet ;" it was, 
a long time before that could arrive ; but looking back 
sr on the rapid flight of years gone by, he thought 
to come would pass over as quickly. Hedid not yet 
Jrawlihg pace of time, that is linked with suffering 
3d by disappointment. 

er year rolled on, till hope was utterly chilled and 
Without society or any other solace for his long career 
ed delight, Phil Hartigan, retrograded in morals as 
d in years. Hard drinking succeeded to good fellow- 
[)rought all the terrible evils that invariably follow in 
The constitution thus assailed surrendered (it discre- 
ther without any, for the prudence of a drunkard is 
to the " Pain a discretion'^ of a Frenchman, who is 
i possesses none whatever. But 1 must not lean 
poor Phil ; I seem to tread on his grave, 
[uced veteran did not, however, all at once sink into 
cy, and to the last he never despaired. He memo- 
[ petitioned, *' ever prayed," and always hoped. His 
IS to b^ put on full pay met with instant attention — a 
efusal. tie had< in fact, ho interest ; and the royal 
e head of the army, could not, with the very best in- 
ccede to the requests of all the claimants that formed 
Vhen Phil prayed for the continuance of his pension, 
itely invited to exhibit his Wounds before the Medical 
jt it not being maoeabU as well as medical, that was im< 
Phil could not show himself in London : the Board was 
3— and neither Mahomet nor the mountain stirred an 



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*SkaB afl&irs stood at a doad bait fi)r Mveiil yeutUy and' 
Phil was siokiiig fkat^ when his M acquaiataiicey Toby 
TTDdeiwoody'hiinadf en half-pej, nNifBaMi and mik small 
resouices, came over on a tisit io his fiioiid. Tobj found 
the place qatteas good as any other for Us purposes; 
thought Phil Hartigan better than Most men for a compa- 
nioa ; and discovered Ihe farttidy fo be for the best he had ever 
procured for ao little money. A close compact was accord- 
iaglf entered into between Ae tnvahded warriors ; and an 
aHiance oflbnsive, and defonsive, against sorrow of all sorts 
and devils of every colour, from the coal*bIack leg^ of a 
broiled tuikey, ta the very htmit that ever blazed in a bowl 
of burnt brandy. Hie partnership answered extremely 
well; there was a perfoct uoion of interests, no dispropor. 
tiofi of capital, and consequently no elements of discord. 
The aesociates tbought very neariy alike on all subjects of 
interest to them 9 abused the government that left them un. 
protDotec^ and mutually forgot that there are men so ex- 
dusifQly suited by nature for subordinate stations^ that 
adtaoieeaient to places for which they have do capacity 
is tbe ^eatest evil whkih can befall them. On two points 
of •enous controversy among the best friends, politics and 
feUgion, neither Phil nor Toby ran risk of dashing ia opi** 
aion, because on those points they had but one between 
Aem. The^ redprocally thought that politics, was but an- 
•tber name tot corruption, and religion J^or hypocrisy. With 
the townspeople, the messmi^tes maintained a high eround, 
and they were much respected. This may be thought curi- 
ous enough, for two men who had together only a crown a 
day to spend ; the secret was they spent no more than they 
had. The contrary is paradoxical, and, I must acknow- 
ledge, somewhat Irish, not only in expression, but inprac^ 
tice. 

I was formally presented to Toby by our mutual friend. 
I found him a blunt, good tempered North of England man, 
with a wooden leg, a fair knowledge of the world he had 
moved in, bat not a person to make discoveries. A marine 
is naturally an amphibious animal. He can live very well 
on land, and if hard pressed there, he takes to the water. 
Such a man, if at all intelligent, ought to be a pleasant mix- 
lure of both ; Toby was so in effect, just like a glass of 
his own grog, half and half. He told several good anec- 
dotes of service at sea and on shore ; and might have pass- 
VoL. II.-B 



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If THB TITXItAK* 

ed for a capHil racontmr (in the bait meaniag of the term), 
had he not been utterly eclipsed byPbil Hart^;an. 
/'No sooner was dinner overi and Phil's heart warmed 
witti a couple of bumpers of strong liqueur, and a botde ^ 
Burgundy, than ^e began to open out, like other night flow« 
ers, in full fragmnce. He by degrees unfolded the leaver 
of recollection (in vulgar analogy *< the tablet of ra^n^* 
ry") ; and by the time the wine bottles had iMicated in fit* 
vour of the brandy flask, he had con^letely resumed po^ 
session of his old character, and burst out in as dazzling a 
display of story-telling as ever* shone upon a night of con- 
viTiality. This was Phil Hartigan's peculiar talent« I 
never heard him say what is called a good thing* He knew 
nothing of repartee, or punniuig« But. give him astory, 
ever so trifling, and from his unique power of deaeription, 
and of mimicry, in idoms, accent, and pronunciation, he 
made more of it than ever may be made by another. 

On the night I speak of, he toM several of his storieS"^ 
they were all old ones, but not a bit the worse for wear* 
His memory was as good as ever, and it was all the jame 
to him whether he handled a grave or a gay subject Toby 
Underwood had heard aU these stories oftener even than I 
had* Still he laughed fit some of them, as though they 
had been bran-new ; and actually wept at others — but not 
till after his second bottle and sixth tumUer. 

Daylight had fairlv extingiushed our candles before we 
broke up. At length Toby departed ifor his lodgings, and 
Phil retired' to bed, having first seen me snugly settled on 
the stretcher which was prepared for me in Uie salon. I 
had drunk but little in proportion to my companions ; and 
Phil made me many a reproach for having become a 
Jlincher. 

'< That's what a man is sure to come to by living in this 
damned country— isn't it, Toby ?" said Phil, filling his 
glass. 

" Indeed it is," answered Toby, envying his. 

<^ It will be our fate too, I suppose," added Phil, 3wal- 
lowing a bumber. 

^< Not before • the Brevet,' " thought I. 

"Ay, and mine, no doubt, after n//," rejoined Toby, re- 
plenishing his tumbler. 

" But not sooner," thought I. 

In cottseqttenoe of my abstinence I bad three or four 



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TBBTBTBRAN. 16 

liours of sound sleep, and got up quite refreshed. There 
was no chance of Phil's rising, fbr he snored audibly in fte 
room beside me. I was at a loss what to do. The libra* 
ry and the museum could afford me no novelty ; so I 
pryed about, into every hole and comer of the salon^ in 
eeareb of some unexamhied object The only thing I dis- 
covered was a little mahogany box. It being unlockedi I 
was induced to open it, supposing it to contain some lit- 
tle token of curiosity, a wild boar's tusk, or some such mat- 
ter of foreign extraction. But all the ear&'s coUections of 
lAtaral philosophy or compamtive anatomy combined, could 
aot have so surprised, so interested, or so affected me, as 
4id the contents of poor Phil Hartigan's mahogany box, and 
the simple inscription which labelled the papers that enfold. 
ed Aem. On the outer envelope was writteqi 

« FriBigments of an oM soldier.'* 

And on the separate little parcels within this cover, 

^* No. 1, Bones of my Leg, Montevideo." 

<< No. ^, Bones of my Head, Talavenu" 

*^ No. 8, Bones of my Arm, Badajos.'* 

A heavier paper, containing a flattened bullet wrapped in* 
cotton, was inscribed, 

<< No* 4, Ball cut out at Waterioo." 

These relics of long service and long suffering, caused 
me a feeling of deep melancholy, which all the efforts of 
their owner and his messmate cov^ not remove. I passed 
the day sadly, and the succeeding night no better. As 
soon as the bottle began to circulate met dinner, Phil ac- 
knowledged the inspiration, and returned to the track of 
his natural vivacity ; but his stories seemed to have lost 
their pleasant flavour. Their gaiety was no longer gay, 
and their sadness was more sad than ever. I could not 
• rouse myself to a free participation in the nightly enjoy- 
ments of the poor fellow whose days were so utterly com- 
fortless ; kai I found that to prolong my visit would be ,to 
increase my discomfort. On the third, morning, therefore, 
i took my leave, promising, and faithfiilly intending, to re- 
new my visit ere long, with strong hopes of bein^ able to 
realize a project for digging poor IMiil out of his solitary sta- 
tion, and transplanting him to a more social soil. 

Phil shook my hand cordially as we parted, entreated me 
<to return soon to see himi assured me that he should not re- 



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)6 7HB vsn&AV. 



r much longer where be wasf as '< (be breyel?' was sure 
to|Dve bim his, promotion almoi|t immediately. 

WifhiD a month from that day I received a letter, writftea 
OQ course paper, witha bread patch of commoi^ black seal- 
ing was, beeiioff the impressioD of an anchor, eurmottoted 
by a firelock, Uko a crest over a cent of arms. It was as 
ioUows:-^ 

"DsaaSir, 

<< You will regret to }eam tMit our po^r friend PbiL Har- 
tigao was buried this morning. He died two days ago, ra- 
ther suddenly, of what the dootor calki a breaking up of the 
system. I think it was his he«'t thai was brdiea. He wte 
as brave and pleasant a fdlow as ever lived or died ; but 
you know that as well as I can tell it. Our poor friead re- 
quested me to y^rite to you as sooa as all was over. I had 
him buried as respectaMy as I could, and 1 thought it but 
right that the little box of his splintered bones, which be 
had so carefully preserved, should be laid in the coffin with 
hjs other remains. *^ I am, Dear Sir, 

<< ¥ours truly, 

<* ToBus Undsrwood." 

<< P. S. Snap died about a week before bis Hoaster." 

I was no^ a little shocked on reading this letter. The sod* 
denneas of the news was aggravated by the fact that I had 
just ooBipieted aa arrangement for poor Harttgan's change 
of residence to the place I had contemplated. But it was, 
perhaps, better that he should have died where he did, where 
ao litUe existed to cause a regret (or the world he quitted. 

His grave is, marked by a smaH -stone with his name cut 
on it, followed by some half dozen Unes, telling truly the 
good qualiticB he possessed. How few, if any, of his many 
acquaintances, companions, and friends, will ever see the 
, spot, or read his epitaph ! 

I ha?e thrown loosely on paper a few of bis anecdotes, 
from recollection, which qpffices for the outline, but cannot 
atteQmt the fiHtng up. These will be scarcely recognised for 
poor Phil's spirited sketches, by those who have heard them 
in his original reoitaL They always, in fact, appeared to roe 
as filter to be tdd by the tongue than the pen. But the great 
opajority of my readers have never heard them, aa I have, 
and may pardon the imperfections of which they do not 
know the extent. 



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17 



NO FIRE! NO FIRE! 



I 0!fc£ happened to be stationed with a small detachment 
la a secluded village in the south of Ireland ; one of those 
ronaantic and wild positions which abound in that country, fit 
theatres for the display of every feeling that agitates manldnd 
in its half civilized state. The district was disturbed* Nightly 
outrages, by wretched marauders, whom misery made despe- 
rate, kept Uie scanty gentry and simple peasantry in perpe- 
iual alarm, and myself ai^ my party in constant preparation. 
Sudden attacks on small military posts were frequent, and 
even daylight was not always a security against the cbiring 
attempts of Caravats and Shanavests — the distinctive appel- 
lations of the insurgents'of those days. 

The little barrack occupied by me and my detachment 
stood on the road side, at the entrance to tbe village, and 
was fronted by a thick wood, which str^tched along the op. 
posite hills, and came down in a mass of shadow to the very 
road. A narrow lane that led into its heart opened upon tho 
road, aome twenty yards from the barrack. This outlet was 
the chief point of suspicion for the wary eye of the sentrids, 
who, day and night, paced before the door ; and the froquebt 
report of musket shots from the wood, made the recruits of 
whom my little' party was chiefljr formed, give many a hm> 
rled glance and take many a rapid turn, as on their hours of 
duty they walked close to the neighbourhood of (hat conve* 
nient spot for treachery and ambush. 

It Was one day in October, that I was on the ppint of saU 
lying out, my gun in hand, and mv dog at my heel, to take 
my usoal hour or two of sport in the wood and on its skirts^ . 



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18 lllLtTAftIr SCENES. 

when a very sudden and heavy shower of rain forced me to 
pause for awhile at the door, and drove the sentry, a raw, 
unfledged hero of about seventeen, into his box. The three 
or four little messes into which my detadmient was formed, 
were just sitting down to their early dinner, and I was rather 
amused by the hungry impatience with which one of the 
groups inquired for their mess-woman, Mrs. Merryweather, 
a comely hen cockney, hatched in Shoreditch, and the vete- 
ran dignity with which the corporal, her husband, repressed 
their voraciousness, assuring them she would be back with a 
table-cloth from its drying place on ^ hedge Which skirted 
the lane, before the beef and potatoes could be ready, 

At the very instant of this explanation, a piercing scream 
from the throat of this identical Mrs. Merry weather, struck 
upon my ear, and was followed by the terrh&ed woman her- 
self dying from the lane, the drenched table cloth held up 
before her, like a sail to the wind, and her dripping hair float- 
ing behind. Toun^ O'Toole, the sentry, as he beard and 
saw heir appalling voice and form, bounded electrically out 
of his box, and with flxed eyes and fixed bayonet stood shak- 
ing in every joint. 

«< What the devil is it^ for the love of Jasus, Mrs. Merry- 
weather r' cried he. *< Turn out the guard, tunf out the 
guard !*• 

« Yes, yes, the devil, the devil/' screamed Mrs. Meiry. 
weather, " the devil or the vild, orrid^ Hirish brutes coming 
to murder, burn, and wiolate us hall \^ and as the three or 
four men composing the guard tumbled out, hastily seizing 
their arms, she flung herself into the embrace of the cor- 
poral, who had rushed into the' road with th^ whoi6 open- 
mouthed detachment, men, women, and children. Shouts 
now issued firom the wood, and an attack seemed certain. I 
cocked my gun, and advanced, foUowed by the guard. 
Approaching the shaking sentinel,! sternly asked him, 

« What, O'Toole, are you trembling t" 

^* Is it tremUing, your honour V replied he ; ** then if I 
am, it's trembling to be at them." 

At this moment a figure rushed from the wood, firightful at 
first sight and shocking on examination. It was mat of a 
man, tall, gaunt, and middle aged. Fever was on his Kp audi 
madness in his eye. His hoHowed cheeks, bushy beard, and 
matted hair, spoke disease, neglect and misery ; and the wild 
{^ce which rolled backwards as be tottered towards m^. 



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N0 riftft — ^Ko rmi ! 19 

gaTe «videiic» <if manite imbteittty and exhauition. His 
ligiit band glluiped a staff, 'wbiob was oseless either for sup- 
port or oftoca, while he hMy waved his arm above fcus 
head. IBs body was wrapped in a eoarse bfamlrat, girded 
round his middle by a rope of straw ; his emaciated limbs 
were all bare, wkb tlie exception <6f his left arm, which was 
enveloped In the rude covering that formed bis only shelter 
against wet and wind. 

While the soldiers litood steadily prepared, not merely for 
the approach ef this apparitioti, but for whatever might fol- 
low ita movements, the poor wretch fearlessly, or rather un- 
coasck)iJsly , moved forwards ; and redoubled his pace as 
about half a dozen ragged village boys, who. pursued him 
Hvith loud shouts, emerged from the lane. Flying from their* 
persecution to the shelter of the barrack, he implored pro- 
tection with an air so piteously helpless, that even the fears 
of O'Toolei and Mrs. Merryweather died away before the 
t:ocnpassionate wonder which irresistibly seized on every by- 
stander. Eveiy one made way for him, and he entered the 
barrack : and seemingly alhired by the savoury fragrance of 
the dinners^ he advanced into one of the inner rooms ; but, 
as it 6)s€inied to me, in momentary consciousness of his for- 
bidding and forlorn appearance, he shrunk back from the 
fire^ace, and crouched low upon a little three legged aiooY, 
in the most distant corneir. He was immediately surrounded 
by the kind hearted soldiers and their kinder wives, who, one 
Bnd all, got over their disgust and fright, and vied with each 
other in attending to tl^ir miserable guest Large portions 
of soup, bread' and meat, were placed before htm, and ve^ 
raciously devoured, while a murmured utterance of thanks 
and blessings broke from him at intervals. When his bun- 
ger was satiated, I said to him, 

c( Now, my poor fellow, ciome warm arid dry yourself«-^ 
get lieat the fire." 

*< Oh, no, no," groaned he, in a hoUow and shuddering 
tone — '< no ^e — no fire !" and, starting up from his sitting 
posture, he rushed to another comer of the room, into which 
he huddled himself, putting his fiice doste to the wdl, and 
shivering in ^be violent impulse of some horrible recoBec- 
tton. This emotion excited in about equal rati^ the pity q( 
the men and the terror of the women, tiius stamping its 
alliance with the first and filust elements of tfiat deep-tragic 
reeling from which it sprung. Perceiving that the coarse 



1 



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30 * BULITAKT SClirtS. 

sympathy oF tbe group arouod biai only worried the poor 
•sufferer, I strove with a little more address to soothe his 
ifritation. My efforts sueoeeded — for after a few mimites 
he looked gratefidly up to rae^ and exdaimedi in a tone of 
deep and savage patho^ 

" God bless you, and keep you and year's from fire and 
flame ! Look here !" cootiooed he, i^ptly, *Mook here, 
where it scorched and withered me ;** aod with gesture and 
action suiting the words, he drew from beneath his blank^ 
(he shrunken and excoriated remnant of his once sinewy 
arm. The marks of the fierce element were fresh on it — 
it was scathed and scorched from the shoulder to the wrist 
—a blasted branch of the decaying stem it hung to. 

<* Good God ! How did this happen, poor creature ?" 
burst from a dozen voices. 

, << Whist, whist, and Fll tell you," hoarsdy whispered the 
maniac, his finger to his lips ; *< but say nothing^don't 
waken them — ^Norah and the childer are sleeping still — 
whist ! It was— let me see^-how many weeks ? seven — 
or eight--or nine — ^no matter, no matter — but the flas was 
taken out of the bog-holes, all dry and ready for scutching 
— the whole roof of the cabin was lined widi it^-it was like 
tinder-— one stmrk was enough to set it blazing, and I stuck 
a whole rush-light against the wall ! But I must tell you — 
that Norah had just been brought to bed — the child was at 
her breast — God help me ! I forget how many days ould 
it was-^but it was at her breast, in the bed wid her-^in the 
little closet — and two more, Biddy and Patrick, were beside 
hw — all, all together. I stuck the rush against the wall 
while I was strippipg myself-— the wind blew through the 
wisp of straw in the window — ^the rush blazed up— the flax 
caught it — the whole house was inflames — ^I run into the 
closet — ^Norah was crying — and the childer^they were 
burning — ^they were smofliering — my body and my braia 
caught fire-r-I was all bkizing— and when I came to my rai- 
son they were all cinders I — house, wife, and childer^-^everj 
sowl of them — burned— 'bumed-*-bumed ! DonU cry — 
don't cry, my sood woman — and the men, too ! God bless 
you all ! but all the salt tears in the wide world couldn't put 
out the flames ! Where did I leave off ! Ay, 

ay — when I come to my raison — ^that's three days agOr-^X 
was on the big mountains by the sea-side— and I run down 
then, and threw myself into the broad wavesi to quench my 



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NO FIBE— NO TIHE ! 21 



heart that was scorching. But somebody took me out — the 
faver was gone — and I got my raison !'*— - 

A long pause- foHowed this hurried and harrowing recital. 
In a few kind words I begged of him to lie down on one of 
the beds and rest his poor mind and body ; but he sprang up 
wildlyi exclaiming, with a sickening emf^asis on the last 
word, 

<< Rest nlijrself ! Oh ! no, your honour — I must go home /" 
'' Home !" involuntarily echoed every voice, *^ home !" 
^< Ay, indeed, home ! and why not ? Aren't they waiting 
for me — poor Norab and the childer ! God bless you all — 
Grod bless you^et me gd, tot me go.'' 

I saw it was in vain to oppose reasoning to a wretch who 
had no lonser << discourse of reason." On the contrary, I 
encouraged him to go — ^and thus kept him in parley while my 
servant brought from my room some old and motley gar- 
ments for decency and comfort sake. But I had not his 
outfit entirely on my hands, fi>r there was not a man or wo- 
iqan in the barracks who did not offer to contribute some- 
ttiing towards the task of clothing him. He was soon 
equipped— but the grotesque mixture of his half military at« 
tire did not raise one. smile in the group, from male or fe- 
male. Blesiiinffsand sobs were mixed togediet in nideelo- 
qlience as^fae kll 4be door i and just as ke started, with my 
servant for his protector through the village, the sun burst 
^iit, a bright arch, like a bended bow, sjprang across the 
heavens, and the maniac's cheerless day of life was gilded 
by one deluttve gleam of hope. 



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3S 



HOAIE SERVICE ; 

STARVlffG MAVUFACTUJIEES AMD WAHUKK WEATCRB. 



Ak explosion of manafac^ring despair, Whicb suddenly 
burst out in the northern counties of England, shook the 
garrisons of some of the remotest towns, and fairly dislodged 
vhole regiments from their quarters. The blowing up of 
. this^ political powder-mill, was, in fact, felt far and near. Onr 
regiment got the route at an hour's notice, and was rattled 
away in waggons, day and nighty without a single halt fiom 
Essex to Lancashire. 

As we entered the scene of disturbance, the cottages for 
whole leagues of the high road were deserted and locked 
up. We could at time perceive the bungiy inhabitants, on 
the tops of hills or the verge of plantations, looking fearfully 
at us, and ready to run into shelter at the near approach of 
*' the paddies.'' We were the only Irish regiment ordered 
into the insurgent districts. 

The sight of the unemployed and haggard population of 
the towns was most affictmg ; but the fierce drollery of 
some of our fellows used at tiroes to burst out, in spite of 
their compassion. 

<< For pity's sake, master,'' said a miserable lookine man, 
in a town where we stopped for breakfast, to Bamy Crrogan^ 
one of the company I belonged to, ^\ don't level low whea 
you fire at us— we are poor starving wretches." 

" Indeed then PU not, honey— not more than aa inch 



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HomsBavicK. 2S 

below the waUibaiid," aomrored Banijr, cutting a loaf which 
he had just purchated. 

'f God bejp us I" sQbbed the weaver, shedding tears of 
actual despair. 

" Arrahj come here, my poor crathur ; is it crying you 
are] Here, take this loaf of bread. But luck to me if I 
meant a word of^ what I said, sorrows the word, and may 
heaven resave me if I don't miss fire or burn priming, every 
time I let fly at yiz, right or wrong." 

The weaver ran off with the loaf to his famishing child* 
ren ; and Barny was, to my knowledge, ai good as his 
wprd ; for he was soon afler flogged for persisting in firing 
over the heads of the assailants, in ^ desperate attack on a 
cotton mill. 

We w^re soon encamped in the heart of the insurrec- 
tion, if the desultory riaings around us deserved the title. 
Small parties were stationed in all the petty towns and vil- 
lages in the neighbourhood ; and I was soon ordered with a 
detachment, to relieve another of ours, twelve miles off, 
which had had rather a serious affray, in whkh the little 
lieutenant who conunanded, was aHbut thrown over the 
battlemients of 'the bridge* 

It was a fine summer morning when we started at day- 
break, and in about five hours we were close to the town to 
which we were bound. As we approached, I heard the 
shrieking crash of an ill-trained miGtary hand ; and pre- 
sently a regiment of local militia, about twelve hundred 
strong, came straggling out, in full marching disorder, on 
their way to the exercise-ground, about half a mile from the 
town* It was the time of annual training, and a season, as 
may be supposed, of prodigious importance to these shuttle- 
throwing veterans, from the colonel to the corporal, 
<< pioneers and all*" 

Being resolved to gratify their pride of military conse- 
quence, I formed my little party m line by the road side, 
drew my sword j ordered ** fixed bayonets ;" and stood, with 
'^shouldered arms," ready to salute the regiment as it 
passed. But I little anticipated the embarrassment I was 
about to cause to the worthy warriors. No sooner we 
iny ambiguous motions observed by the colonel at the hei 
of the cokimn, than he consulted with the lieutenant-colon 
beside him, and called up the major and adjutant, who roi 
in the rear. A halt was commanded; and I saw that 



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24 UlLXtAM flCftn. 

rtftd*Mde council (^ yumwfu hoMett, as to the weatores cf 
etiquette to be pursued in this most diffieidt piedktnient. 

ilie)r teemed at letglb to decide that I was not drawn tip 
in actttai order of battle, and that they were to repay a^^ 
sahite with a return of all possiUe honours. The word 
«< march,'' was aeoordingly given again, and the whole 
oohmm advanced in slow time, the band crashing forth a 
grand sympbenia, witti triangle, cymbak, and great drum, 
each and all obligato. The fottr mounted oncers rode 
abreast, at the head of the regiment t and on my presenting 
arms (as in duty boond) on the music passing me, the colonel ' 
thought he could not do less; and consequently, at hie 
command, the whole of the marching battalioa ^me^^o the 
^^ present;^* the officers leading compailies, and their sub- 
akems, saluted ; and the colours w^re swept down to the 
very dust, in honour of myself and my twenty men« Any 
Johnny Raw, whoever attended -half adoa^a drills, can tell 
what a ludicrous display idl this must have heettw. My own 
men had, I must confi^, a very disorganized appearaneCy 
for almost every one Of them was forced to staff a glove, a 
handkerchief, or a A«n^ into his moiith to avoid laughing' 
outright — but the whole pageant passed off verf well. 

As soon as I got my men into their billets, I dressed, 
roused up my old -friend Toby Underwood, who was recruit- 
ing in the place ; and bein^ resolved on getting a dinner al 
the local miUtia mess, I waited on the colonel on his return 
from the exercise ground) and presented him a report of the 
strength of my detachment, the meaning of which document 
puzsled him amazingly. As I expected, he ask^ me to din- 
ner, and I consented, with rather a patronizing air, on eon* 
dition that my friehd Toby was invited, together with a cor- 
net of heavy dragoons, who was stationed in the place, like 
myself, with a small detachment. The dinner hour was noany 
the usual time with all the weavers, warehousemen, and cot* 
ton spinners of the country. I had scarcely a moment to see 
Toby and the cornet, convey the coloAePs invitation, and 
concert a plan of operations for mystifying the l9calilie9, 
when the dinner bugles sounded, and we repaired to the inn. 

Two rooms had been knocked into one, that is to say, the 
paitition between them was removed, to make accommoda^ 
tien for so large a party. There were upwards of fifty oflS^ 
cars of the regiment present, not one being missing, except 
a couple who were too seriously indteposed to be rt>le, like 



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mmm snmcB. SS 



tbdir br^hrai) to utnt their thiit^Mf't fortaig|it> fn ( 
oo the siege of militaty earioalwwk 

The arraagemeiilof the aknotttefermihable tible wee not 
a little amusing to us who went to oriticiae* At the heed 
nrhere we, the strangers^ wefe-poilecl^ with the field offieon, 
several bottles of wine, red and wfatte^ were placed* ** Mid^ 
wajr down," hbe the samphiie gatherer, on Dover Cliil^ and 
below the c&|ilain» who oame next to us, decantemi of tarn 
and brandy punch marked the station for the subalterns ^ 
senior rank ; and the lowest compartment of the festive 
board was garnished with bottleaof beer and ale, fit beverage 
for the ensigns, the quarter-master, and adjutant^ who occu- 
pied the foot of tiie table. 7ke colonel sat at the head ; 
Tehy Underwood next to him at one side, the dragoon oor- 
net at the other \ the Ueotenant-coleiiel was between Tobjr 
and roei aad on ray left was the eaptaia of grenadiers^ a 
gauot, raw-booed attorney from one of the aeighboering 
tovms. Opposite to roe, and next to the comet, sat til* 
nnqor, a complete specimen of the species ^Sturgeon^" a 
corpulent and red-£ioedold fhllow, in a brown bob vrig — a 
wealthy pubtican of die place, who seemed, like Benifa^ to 
httve lived on his owe ale. The rest of the ce^ains were 
shop-keepers or master manafactnreie. The colooe) was 
himself a landowner, who, fi«»m bavi^ffongioally swepta 
warehouse, became immensely rich; and gradual advanced 
fresR porter to cotton spinner, from cotton spinner to pr^ri* 
etor, and was then on the very point of purchasing a rotten 
botOQgh) and going into parliament. The Heeteoant-colonel 
was a man of pretty neariy the same original stamp, though 
he had not the talent to wear it out, in the progress of ad- 
vancement in the world, like his superior officer. In^ fact, 
the latter was, though ignorant, a cleverish fellow in his 
way-^the other; my a^xtneighhom-, a mere vulgarian, and 
one of that decided kind that feels, or affects « pride in h^ 
. vi^garity. During the dinner he gave me several skelehee 
of the persons at tabic, of himself aSMmg the rest; aat 
vaunting his owa and others^ wealth, lie finished, hy t^ 
ingme, 

<<Tes, Lieuteaat Hardygun— that's your name^ isn't it, 
eh ?^Tes, lieutenant, we are all spnwg from the d i^ ^iM y 
every one of us ; but dammee, d'ye hear, we ha' boon m^ 
than the code in the old stoty, (or when we fl^und tie jev«t 
we knew its valued' 
Vol.!!.— C 



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^ HULttASY SCIirEfl. 

The importance altadied to the titles of even the lowest 
grades of tiiese heroes, was droll enough. In military society 
all officers below the rank of captain are indiscriminately 
called mister. But on this occasion no man's rank wa9 
. slurred over. It was lieutenant thisy ensign that, adjutant 
such a one, quartermaster so and so, all through the day. 

** Pass the punch, Lieutenant Twist," said one ; << Clear 
off your heel taps, Ac|jutadt Wheeler,^ cried another. ** Tho 
pleasure of a glass of hale with you. Ensign Spinaway V* 
asked the quartermaster. 

^' Two, if you please. Quartermaster Windwell," answer- 
ed the ensign. ' 

There was tremendous execution done among the dishes ; 
some of the feasters -seemed put to a nonplus, certainly, in 
the usages of a table bandsoinely served, and displaying a 
profusion of plate ; the silver forks came very unhandy to 
sundry of the hard-fisted subalterns, and various mouths ran 
imminent risk of being enluged, by the edges of the knife 
blades which were thnist into them. These, are, however, 
but invidious observations^-'let them pass. 

There was a profusion of wine, punch, and ale, consum- 
ed during dinner, and many of our entertamers were nearly 
drunk before the cloth was removed. . The clamorous con- 
versation, the joking and jibing of the uncultivated youths 
in the region of malt liquor, was mixed with the more spirit- 
ed sallies of the pundi drinkers ; aiid such a Babel-like con- 
fusion arose, that the colonel felt it necessary to put it down 
by the mere force of lungs. The toasts acccordingly be- 
gan, and any man who has ever been in the north can well 
imagine the speechifying which followed. 

The King, the Duke of York and the Army, the Duke of 
Clarence and the Navy, the Church, the State, the Ministers 
— ^religious and political, and many other toasts of a general 
nature were given, with suitable exordiums by ** Mister the 
Colenel-Pres^ent," the title by which every one at table 
scrupulously addressed him. But '* a health," of a nature 
morjS immediate to the company, was now about to be pro- 
posed. 

** Clear off, gentlemen !" cried the colonel, in a tone of 
command, ^^ fill a bumper ! I give you the health, happiness, 
and prosperity, gentlemen, of our gallant and distinguished 
guests, the re|^ilar officers of the army and marines, now 
present ; the representatives of three branches of the tree 



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1 



BOMB sBmvics. 37 

«f our nntiftfial glory, the warp, the woor* and the weft, of 
the land service ; the horse, foot, and drsfoons of the Bri* 
tish aroiv/' Toby had told the major, that he belonged to 
the .*< Horse Marines ;" the nuyor passed it to the colonel, 
and so the thing stood. 

It became necessary to make a reply, in acknowledgment 
of the honour just done us. My neighbour, the grenadier 
captain, told me, it was expected we should each make a 
speech, but Toby declined plump, while the comet merely 
stood up, and briefly said, *' Gentlemen, all your healths !'' 
Seeing the disappointment of our entertainers, who receiv- 
ed that short sentence with loudly expectant cries of <* Hear 1 
hear P' I stood up, and after a- few sentences Of thanks, I 
burst into a warm euloghim. of the institution of die local 
militia ; talked of serving one's country, fighting for one's 
firesides, covering one's self with glory — of patriotism, he- 
roism, laurels, liberty, cannons, musketry, broad-ewqrds, 
and battering rams» in a most edifying mixture of spleodid 
incomprehensibility. The room echoed with cheers, the 
table groaned with thumps ; glasses were upset, bottles bror 
ken, and most honourable testimonies to my eloquence 
overflowed the table, in rivers, of port, sherry, brandy, and 
strong ale. I propotsed the colonePs health. He niade an 
oration, and gave the lieutenaat-celonePs. From him the 
toasts and the speeches went gradually down one side of 
the ta^le and up at the other. Some vowed that '< It was 
the happiest, day of their lives ;" others declared, ^ Thej 
wanted words ;" others again, that '< They were overpower- 
ed by the unexpected honour ;" one fellow said *< His heart 
was as full as his rummer of punch ;^' and another still 
more Qriginalf begao^ <* Unaceustoned as I am to public 
speaking — " 

put when it came to the major's turn to make his speech, 
and put an end to the oratorical dispkiy, my friend, the gre» 
nadier attorney, gave me a nudge with his bony elbow in 
the ribs, and said— 

" Listen now, lieutenant,' listen, I say ; now you'll hear 
something good, depend on't, the major's a pithy oul' fellow» 
and when he speaks 'tis to th' purpose— listen !" 

The old major rose from his chair with due solenmi^ ; 
broad blotches xsovered his face in variegated riiades of pur- 
ple and crimson. He looked all of a Uasei he took a quid 



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28 MIUTAR7 SGENJES. 

of tobiicoo otit of his mouth) frfaced it in his waiatooat pock- 
et, lyifMsd hia brow with ihe tahle cloth and began — 

<< GemoieB ! I am do great dabster of a speech, d'ye 
dee-^I thatik ye all for driiikiDg my heahh — ^I drmk yoara**— 
and I'll give you a toast or a sentiment — May no gemmen 
offieerof the Hoxton and Hustleberry united regiment of lo- 
cal milttiay -ever want a clean shirt or a guinea* Three times 
tiuee, gemmen '!^-here's your healths all round the table !" 

^< I touM you, didn't 1 1" asked the grenadier oaptiin, 
with another puach of his elbow in my side ; and it would 
be quite impossible to describe the effect of the major's ora- 
tory. It had literally c^me home id ^^ the business and 60- 
$<nM 0f ineD ;" and that's the secrst-^the truest touch- 
atone of etoqueoce, whenever, and wherever it roa^ be. 

Tho iH^gles now sounded for evening pairade. The colo-* 
ael left tho room, followed, by his next in command, the ail- 
jutaat, and tiie assistant surgeon. But the mi^or swore 
tbU ** may be be tapped, if he'd stir without another hot* 
tIeP'--4he captains idl with one voice, ohorussed this veso* 
lotion; and he was lifted by acclamation into the vacant 
dMir. The iieatenmitB insisted on having morepuneh ; the 
ensigns ealled for mah liquoir in ail its possible varieties-^ 
pipes and tobacco were inti^uced-- -and I and my delight* 
edtcompanions saw that the full tide of mutiny had reached 
Ugh water mark. We sttrted the cauldron of inflammable 
aratter, swore we never hoard of such despotism, ashreak- 
Mig up ft dinner party for an evening parade ; and Toby 
tmerwQod declaied it to be contrary to the articles of war. 
In vain the bugle blewits blasts through the streets : the ad- 
jutant was Jcaocked on the head with an empty bread bus- 
Jfiftt, as he came for the tenth time to summon the officers 
away ; and in fact the whole business ended by our remain- 
iog at table, drinking, singing, and speechifying, twelve mor- 
tal hottss, till the dock pealed midnight into the ears of To- 
hgr, the cornet, and myself; every other man being either 
carried off to bed by the waiters, or lying scattered in utter 
Anakenness in various parts of tiie mess room. 
. The next tnorning a message from the colonel requested 
our attendance at a little council of war, held between him- 
mM; tbo fieotenant-colonel, and the adjutant. The recent 
mdation of all the rules and regulations of military disci- 
plioe was tho subject in discussion ; and stmnge as it nuiy 
seem, we were summoned to give our advice as to the most 



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HOMKSBBVICE. {9 

proper means or punishment for the very offence of which 
we iiad been the instigators and abettors. 

« What ought I to do with these officers of mine ?*' asked 
the colonel. 

'< Put them under arrest," said the comet. 
*^ Bring them to a court-martial," cried Toby. 
<< Smash them all," exclaimed L ^ 
*< I'll be d — d if I don't," replied the colonel, shipping his 
hand on the table ; and the adjutant was ordered forthwith 
to take a wheelbarrow and a pioneer, to go to the respec* 
tive quarters of the mutineers, gather their swords, and 
place the disgraced owners in close arrest. 

My companions and myself immediately took our de» 
parture, to go the rounds of the unsuspecting offenders, and 
spirit them up to a still more refractory misconduct. A» we 
passed out from the inn door, we saw the barber, who was 
in the habit of operating upon Toby, coming from the room 
which was occupied by Major Bungbutt. (I do not really 
kbowif this was a true#cognometi er a sobriquet.) Toby 
knew the barber for a wagi and asked him what he had been 
about ? 

« Ecod, Master Underwood," replied he, << I ha' been 
jist a shaving o' th' oul' majors-he's all afire — 'he'd fizz like 
a hot iron if he was thrown into the river." 
*' How do you know that?" asked Toby. 
" Why, when I took un by th' nose, awhile agone, by 
gom, I felt my fingers and thumb aw scorching, so I nat'ral- 
]y popped 'em into th' ott water in jug on th' table ; an' 
ecod, I got both burnt an' sca'ded !" 

I scarcely remember what measures were taken, what re« 
signations sent in, what punishments inflicted ; but 1 am 
sure the united regiment of Hoxton and Hastlebury was as 
thoroughly demoralized and decomposed in one day of home 
service, as they could have been by the hardest fought cam- 
aig n abroad. 



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30 



CAPTAIN X- 



During my career of aemce I ha?« flaet. with nundiers 
of brave meo, and ^ few cowards. 1 have seen courage 
and fear display themselves in*various ways, and many mo- 
difications $ but I never met with but one instance of a 
thorough mixture of audacity with poltrpomry, of the basest 
faint-heartedttess with presence of mind. 

On joining the regiment to which 1 exchanged, for the 
sake of serving in Spain, the very first of my hrcMther offi- 
cers to whom' I was presented by the major commanding, 
was the captain of the company to which 1 was attached. I 
never was so prepossessed in favour of any one at first 
sight. He was a fine handsome young man, of most ele- 
gant address, full of ready wit, and apparently burning with 
military ardour. He was a prodigious favourite in the re- 
giment. Nothing could exceed his attentions to me, except 
the pi^ms which he took to instil a portion of his own gaU 
lant spmi into mine. 

The Brst time I went into action with this new regiment, , 

Captain X was unfortunate^ taken ill, just before our 

brigade was ordered to advance. He was obliged to let 
me lead on bis company, and his regret made a deep im- 
pression on me. It appeared to me tbat he suffered more^ 
mental anguish than bodily, even theugh, I think, he speci- 
fied his being desperately ill in three places. 

After we had succeeded in driving the enemy from a 
strong redoubt, the captain joined us, in great spirits and 
good health, all his spasms having given way to some vio- 
lent habitual remedy, which he told me was either « kill or 
cure*' with him. He almo^ wept at finding that the fight- 
ing was all over. 

We had severd smart skirmishes soon after this affair. 
Captaih X-; — was often in the field, bvi I never happen- 



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CAPTAIHX— -. 81 

^ to see hiQi tbiough the sntoke, except en one occasion, 
when he shewed great tact in the use of a pocket-glass, 
with which he constantly looked eat from behind a tree or 
a mound of earth, and gave orders with, great co<^iiess to 
me and the other subalterns, to advance and retreat, as oc- 
casion required. 

In a stormlog business, when I was detached with a few 
men,* a serious accident was near happening to Captain 
X——* As soon as the place was taken, and { returned 
to the regiment, I received a pressing request to repair im^ 
mediately to Um, as he feued he was at his last gasp^- 
dreadfuUy wounded. I ran to his quarters, in a house just 
under the rampart, to which he had crawied ; and I picked 
up the surgeon of the regiment on my way, forcing him to 
abandon some other patisots to give his whole attention to 
my friend. We found him lying on a mattrass, aluKMt in- 
sensible. 

'* Good Godi" 4mid I, '< what has happened t where are 
you hit, my dear X ?* • 

He could not speak, but placed his hand on his side. 

*^ Let me examine you, Captain X——," said the sur- 
geon. ** I have not a minute to lose—we have many others 
wounded, oflksers and men.'' 

** Ah, my dear doctor, are you there V* sai^ the suftrer, 
opening his eyes for the first time. << How kind this is-— 
but never mind me — ^hurry off to my poor fellow-soldiers — 
it is of little outter what iMoomes of me — I am too far 
gone for help-^I am a dying man-^yet you need not ex* 
actly say *< killed?* hk your report ; I don't wish to shock my 
friends too suddenly. Merely put me down <* dangerously 
vfowidtiL** 

<I can piut down nothing. Captain X—-—, till I see ydur 
kind,'* said the surgeon, drily. *^ Where are you hit, 
3irr^^ 

«<Why, as to that, my dear doctor, I really canH exactly 
epecify — ^that is to say, I cannot say durectly, ttsit I am ah- 
sobtely Ai^^bm— but— " 

<*B«it what. Sir? I am m a hurry—the life of many a 
(roes man is risked by this delay-^I cannot be trifled with," 
Mdained the eui|[eon, with, moat unfeeling emphasis. 

• PhU Hartigan hen modettlj alhided to the occtsioa of his tosdibg th« 
foriom host. 



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32 MILITAET 8C1NSS. 

" My dear fellow," remiraed X , " I am the Ia9t man 

in the world— the very last — ^" 

" What is your wound, Captain X—, if you are wound- 
ed at all ?" peremptorily asked the surgeon. 

^ Ah, never mind me, never mind me," replied the cap- 
tain ; " leave me to my fate— but spare my friends — break 
it gently to them-*-only say ** ^tvtrtly woundedi" - and let 
medio!" 

« What is your wound, Sir? Of what nature, I ask you 
again?"' 

« It must, I think, have been a cannon shot — ^I feel ray 
side almost battered in — that is to say, a 9peni shot." 

" Is thejre any,mark V^ 

"Why, no — no— not decidedly, a marfc— 'I <»innot say 
there is a direct contusion : it might have been, in fact, the 
windot a twelve pound shot, or something of that kind-^ 
yeu may, in short, put me down (to save the feelings of 
others, very dear to me) you may put me ddwnt " slightly 
wounded." 

" Why really, Captain X ^" 

« Not a word, not a word, my worthy friend — off to your 
duty— go, go along — you must put me down *' slightly" — 
whatever you like, in short — something — anything — only 
pray let my name be in the list of the wounded I'Wot ano- 
ther word — ^good by, good by, my dear, my very dear doc- 
tor!" 

The .doctor smiled, as bitterly as though he had just 
swallowed a dose of rhubarb. He left the place ; and to 
ray infinite surprise, and that of the whole army, I may say, 
the London Gazette, which some weeks after brought us 
the official account of the storming, shewed us the unpre- 
cedented notification, in the list of casualties, of Captain 

X being " very slightly" wounded. He was the only 

individual of the regiment who was not thoroughly ashamed 
of this, and who did not feel the actual cautery of the siir* 
goon's printed sarcasm. 

I now began to know my man ; and was not much sur* 
prised, at the night attack on a f<H>tress boon after, to hear 
myself called loudly from the head of th^ company, (I oc- 
cupying my post in the rear, as we advanced in subdivision^ 
to the breach), by Ned Flanagan, of Galway towD^ Cap^ 
tain X — r's covering seijeant. 

<<Mr. Hartigan, Mr. Hartigan! For Godfs sake^yoor 



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ii0iilHn% ODme ixp, come vp <iuiok, and lade ttm companj,*— 
the ctftaiii'B rim awajr alrtady.^^ 

Ermty one knows what a hot affiur PMiito dVnore wqs 
•^>-¥iit no one took it so ^00% as Captain X ■ , The 
Tfllage had been taken and retaken several times, tili a final 
eharge in which our regioient b6pe e part, drove the enemy 
out, and ieft us ia poseession of die place. As we forded 

the river, in close cohiron of companies^ Captain X 

^oietljr. dipped behkNl, and took up a position among the 
/rubbish of an old house, which afforded him a fine view of 
the business. The colonel by whom we were that day led 
on, a Scotchman, who was by hereditary right as brave as a 
lion, turned round suddenly to the adjutant, and asked him, 

" Where is Captain I--^ V" 

^'HidiDg under that wall, Sir," answered the adjutant, 
poinling to the rtconiudt^rvr. 

« By €r— ^, that's too bad !^«xclainied tiie indi^;nant colonel. 
^'Gallop up to him — «l bim^-<ny«r him — and if he does not 
rejoin the regimeat instantly, cut him down on the spot! 
ifoWf my bmve lads, on them, steadily and oooHy — give 
them die steel, the flieel, my bof s, and plenty of it !'' add<)> 
ed the colonel, tuning to the Togiment, and quite forgetting 

Captain X . But the adjutant rode fiercely up to hitti,, 

end humedfy i^peated tb^ tNrdeia he had received. 

•* Nay, nay, my good friend," said X , " whaf s the 

use of being so comoondedly hasty? Just let mesav a 
few woids ia expladation. May I die, my dear friend, ih— " 

'< Die and be d—d !" abruptly uttered the adjutant, putr 
ling spurs I0 bis horse, and dashing back to his post, where 
be had scarcely arrived, when a musket shot through both 
his cheeks tumUed him to the ground, and put an epd to 
his gallant conduct for that day. 

£n soon as we were thoroughly in for it at Salamanca, 
when die grape shot began to pepper the head of the co- 
iamn, and the men dropped right and left, an officer of ours 
was seen to dirow himself bodily into a dry ditch ; and those 
who could not distinguish who it was, thought we had ano- 
dier brave fellow knocked over. ' But those who identified 
Captahl X'—-—, were quite satisfied that Ae was in safe 
cpittrtisMk As soon as the business of that hard fought day 
was wen and thoroughly done, we had ceased firing, aad 
were ehargmg aflLer the broken enemy, when an effic^ was 
dimly dbsened through the smoke tba^ was ckarlBg oS; 



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34 MILITARY 8C£ires. 

about fifty yvdB in front of oor liiMy waving his hat wi^ its 
long streaming feather, in one hand, and flourishing his 
sword in the other, cheering on the regiment^ with shouts of 
roost vociferous valour, the Arapilles ebh(Mng to his ciy. 
A roar of laughter burst along the line, and became parti- 
cularly loud when our company joined in it, for we soon re- 
cognized our resuscitiited captain, and knew better than any 
others how to appreciate his prowess. . 

Bjat his best, and, poor fellow, it was bis last exploit, oc- 
curred not long after this, at the siege of a place memorable, 
for the determination of its defence, as well as the vigour 
with which it was attacked and carried. 

The approaches of the English array were pushed on with 
a frightful proximity to the place; so much so, that the guns 
frOm the bastioqs, were fired point blank at individual offi- 
cers and men, who had the temerity to raise their heads 
above the trenches ; and they were often hit from cannon of 
large calibre, with as dead a certainty, as though the most 
unerring sharpshooters had levelled at them with rifles. 

Our entire company was ordered down from the camp, on . 
a working party, one fine mornings out of our turn of duty, 
and not a Uttle to x>ur surprise, to replace another which 
had taken its place in the trenches during theni^t, but was 
almost annihilated soon aflter day4ireak, by the terrible can- 
nonade from the enemy's works. One of our subs was 
killed the day before, so that Captain X— had but myself 
and the ensign, a gigantic Kerryman of about twenty years 
old, and six feet five inches high, under his Qommand. We 
were under cover, as soon as we came within range *of the 
enemy's guns ; and so hot was the fire, that not one of us 
felt disposed to despise the captain's example of keeping as 
close as possible* 

There were several small redoubts thrown up along the 
trenches, from whieh elevationsi the officers on duty could 
keep a sharp eye on the men at work. I stept or rather 
crept into one of these, to relieve the last surviving officer of 
the company we replaced. He was in the act of eating a 
crust of bread, which his servant had procured him for br^- 
fast; and as be was leaving his post to my occupation, he 
incautiously raised his head, to look at the hostile ramparts, 
when it was carried clean away by a twenty*four pound shot, 
and the body knocked several jrards out i^ the redoubt 

These were not pleasant occurrences for any man's com% 



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CAPTAIN X——. 35 

fart, bot lea3t of an so to omi of CaptMa IC— ^8 tompera^ 
iilent I was scarcely settled in the redoybt, when I saw* 
him moving towards me along the trendi, stooping much 
lower than the utmost prudence required ; and he soon 
came crawling into the redoubt, requesting me to change 
phces with bira, and take the command of the whole party^ 
as he wished much to sketch die bastions of the fortress : 
and he took out his sketch-book and pencil for the purpose* 
I could not refuse his request, a most unlucky one for him, 
for had he stayed where bis duty required, he had most pro- 
bably escaped the catastrophe which ensued. 

I had not changed places with my captain fire minutes, 
and had just step^ up on the ridge of the trench, where the 
soMiers. worked, to look about, as it was my duty from time 
to time to do, when the general of the day galloped up, 
attended by two aids-de-camp, and a couple of orderly dra* 
goon^./ He was One of the bravest of the brave ; too brave, 
indeed, as was proved by his death not long ailer, on a dis- 
tant service unworthy of his fine talents. He, too, was an 
iTishman, and knew our regiment well. 

'^ Who commands this party, Mr. Hartigan ?" asked he. 

'* I do, Sir," answered I. 

<< There is a whole cotnpany here, isn't ihere ? Who is 
the captain? Where iojip?" were the rapid questions next put. 

** There is an enture company — Captain X — — is the cap- 
tain — he is sitting in that redoubt. Sir," were my immediate 
answers. 

« Sitting in that redoubt ! May he be doubly d d ! 

What is he doing there X Hark ye, Sir,'' added he, address- 
iog our finger-post of an ensign, '' you have long legs ; step 
out then quickly — ^go to that redoubt, and bring back Gap- 
tain X here instantly. Stoop, Sir — stoop low— lower, I 

teOyou, or youll not have a head left on your shoulders." 

The intrepid Eerryman strode along, but cared nothing 
for the general's caution, and scorned the shelter of gabions 
or fascines. When he came to the redoubt, he summoned 
oat the captain, repeating vtrhatim iSi^ gdneral's speech. 
. <5 What ft cursed hot-headed fellow !" exclaimed X——'. 
'' Go^back to him, my trusty ensign, and tell him I am taking 
a sketch of the first importance ; I am. proving the engineers 
to have been all wrong. Tell him the service will abso- 

Eely sufier if he disturt)s, me." 

The ensign strode back again, and delivered this message 



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36 HiuTAw aoirts. 

to the ffinmlf who.ttM taoiani «k(Mitlwiiil]r» gif iog tatiow 
ovdoii aiMUMlhini* 

«( lakiig a skateb ! The m^oem all wroDg! IVhat an 
impodeat aoaaipl D'ye hear m% Sir^*^^ back— tell joor 
captain, oace agaun, that I prder him to come hwe; and if 
he refaaes, drag him neck and heele outoC tke^jtlMbiif and 
1^ to this spot" 

<< ru (ell you what, my firiendy" said X«-f->^ io reply ta 
thiSvSeoQnd summons, and hoping that while he teo^rnsed, 
the general would take himself off— -or; possiblyi that he 
might he taken off— «< I'll tell you what—" 

«< Don't give yourself the trouble to tell me any tUog, 
Captain X—-, but come out of this immediately, I tetl 
you again," said the ensign. At this instant his cap, whieh 
was visible above the wall, was knocked off his head^ per- 
forated by a cannon ball. 

««.6od bless me, what a narrow eecape! how v^lueby 
that you were not three inches taller /" exdaifloed the ^t^ 
tain. 

*^ Never mind whether I'm tailor little. Captain X-m*~,'? 
said the Kerryman, coolly clapping the shattered cap on tim 
bead again. << I'll tell you what, the short and the lonfi; of 
it is — by Jasus, if you don't come with me^ qmetly and by 
fair manee, I'll drag you out of it, dsM^ or alive — aocome 
•long, I advise you." 

X—- finding all tesistaBce or subterfuge to be vaio^ 
stood slowly up and followed the Kerryman along the treneh; 
muttering that ** a man's life was not safe a mintite en 
service with these infernal mad*bmined Irishmen ; but that 
with persons of common discretion, one might go through a 
dozen campaigns, as s^urely as though doe had never 
smelitpowder." 

The enemy seeing a. general ofieec so close^ sent their 
mtsailes towards us in double quantities^ One of the or- 
derlies was literally cut across with a shot, and an aid-d»- 
camp's; horse severely struck with the splinter of a shdl« 
CaptMn X-*-*<^ saw aUthis as became forward^ and by 
way^ of endmg the bunness, and stepping the general's 
QMlh^ he held forth the little sketch hooky and be^m some 
stammering' sentencei^ 

^ Note word, not a word, but listen to me, Sir !" said 
the general. ** Resume your place here^^o your &ty^-* 
eTt J^ Heaven^ 111 mdm yoasueh an examj^ as teirer— "* 



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CAPTAINX— — . S7 

Here the geoel^l was himself stopped short, by the ex- 
plosion, of aaother shell, directly over the heads of the group 
—and the report was instantly followed by a terrified miztore 
of groao and shriek from poor X—- ^, who clasped both his 
hands across his' breast, and wkh a dreadful expression of 
agony in bis face, fell flat on his back, almost under the feet 
of the general's horse. 

^< Good God, is it possible !" cried the kind-hearted ge* 
neral, his wrath at once appeased. <' Who could have 
thought of his ever dying so fine a death 1 Well, he's gone, 
poor devil ! He was at any rate a clever, a pleasant fellow, 
and a gentleman — ay, every inch, but his heart — but, damn 
him, he could not help that ! . Here, soldiers, throw one of 
those great coats over the body of your captain, and b^ur 
him to the camp. We could, afler all, ' have better spared 
a better man.' " 

With this quotation, the general coolly trotted o^ with his 
aid-de-camp and orderly, in the midst of a shower of shot 
and shelL The ensign and myself were too much shocked 
by what had passed, to think of any thing for a minute or 
4wo, but the fate of our captain, and, we stood ga^ng after 
the body, as it was borne away, the Ihnbs already st^ening 
before it was out of sight. 

What was the astonishment of the general, who thus pro- 
nounced Captain X 's fimeral oration, on riding back to 

the camp about an hour afterwards, to see the identical Cqi- 
tain X — — unharmed, unblushing, and unabashed, dressed, 
as was his wont, better than any man in the army ; and can- 
tering his little Arabian pony along the lines with a feather 
streaming from his hat nearly as long as the pony's tail? 
And what was my surprise when I met hitoi the next mom- 

But this could not last. A significant hint was that day 
conveyed to him from the highest authority. The following 
morning brought him (he said) letters, requiring his instant 
return to England. He set out at once. The next 6a* 
zette. announced his resignation ; and as Captain X «— ^ 
has been ever ^ since an ex-captain, I have noUiing more to 
sayjofhinu 



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38 



THE 



IHONKS OF RONCESVAULES. 



The battle of Vittoria was a glorious affair; We had 
been ne^vertheless roughly handled, and a week's repose 
would have been worth half the riches of the east. But 
that Go.uld not be. We trod in the footsteps of a flying ene- 
my, and we had but three days halt in six weeks. We 
broke up from Placentia on the 16th of May, and marched 
into Ronqejsvalles the 1st of July. 

The Spanish scenery of the Pyrenean range turned us all 
into lovers of the picturesque ; and we looked at the moun- 
tains with feelings that we could lie down at their feet, and 
sleep there for ever. Harassed and jaded, men and cattle 
alike, we entered the old town in that state of good spirits 
and good temper which anticipated comfort is sure to pro- 
duce. 

On the following day we learned with great joy that we 
. were to remain in the place taking our lurn of duty on the 
summits of the hills which surrounded us. The French ar- 
my had stopped to take breath dn the mountains farther on ; 
and the advanced post of their position was visible on an 
overhanging rock of prodigious size, called Ch&tei^u Pig- 
non. 

Soldiers know better than any other class of men how to 
make themselves comfortable. In a couple of days the 
whole division felt quite at home. It was my good luck to 
be quartered in the monastery, the brotherhood of which 
treated us very well. The whole (dace belonged to these 
monks, who were considered a most pious and exemplary 
aet of men. The shrine of our Dame of Roncesvallies is 



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THE MONKS eP BOffCESVALLES. SV 

10. great vogue for inanj a leagoe rouiidi and pilgrims took 
from all parts to offer up their prayers and watch for mira- 
cles. Soine of our lads who were deep in literature, used 
to amu^e themselves quoting Arios^o and Bishop Turpin, 
and we all began to get familiar with the names of Oharle-> 
magne and his Paladins. We uised to gaze at the Br^che 
de Kolandy which gaped widely on the summit of the dis- 
tant mountains, seeming to offer a passage into heaven that 
shone through it. 

The monks shewed us, in the sacristy, Bishop Turpin's 
slipper, and Roland's mace, and many other curiosities, quite 
as authentic. That was 9II very well for the antiquaries ; 
but some of us, I among the rest, found shooting the wild 
goats, and frightening the eagles, the most romantic pursuits 
of the place. On the 4th we received ten days pay. VVe 
had a capital dinner — the. first really good one since Placen- 
tia. We enjoyed it amply, and got to our beds as straight 
as we could. 

Being completely rested by the end of a week, we foUVid 
the place beginnmg to grow devilish dull. A change was 
loudly called tor, no matter of what kind. Some of the lads . 
wished for more fighting, others for more money ; all for 
some fun. We found it hard to amuse ourselves.. Some 
read, some puffi^d on the flute or scraped the fiddle, others 
sketched views of the glorious scenery. I took great de* 
light in climbmiT the mountains, by the rudest and most un- 
frequented ways, and rolling down from the summits huge 
stones, which brok^ int > a thousand fragments on their de* 
scent, and dis|tersed in a shower of dust, before they reach- 
ed the bottom of the ravines. Thus we contrived to kill 
time. 

Nothing could be more singular than the aspect of the 
country seen from thOite high stations, in all the animation 
of military possession^ The valleys shewed all the bustle 
of bivouacs, and irregular encampment. The mountains 
were studded with tents, wherever a tent could be pitched 
for small parties of out-pdsts and piquets. Above these 
again, and more advanced from the lines of the respective 
armies, videttes were to be seen pacing the rocky solitudes, 
and keeping a sharp look-out. Trumpets and bugles were 
constanUy echoing around, and at times an occasional dis* 
charge of musquetry or field-pieces varied the desuHorf 



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40 lfff.ITARir ICBITBS. 

sounds. ' Bat it was all the wbOe dead peace ; knd, odd a^ 
it oiay seem, we all began to long for war again. 

Not being able to fight the enemy, nothing-was left but 
to quarrel among ourselves. This was ftot frequent with 
broAer officers, certainly, but we had several affairs with 
our Spamsh allies. The little commissary of the brigade I 
belonged to, was insulted by a Don Lorenzo, or Francisco. 
or^Diabolo, something or other. The commissary was irate 
to the last degree, and looked as big as one of his bullocks ; 
but he could not get any one to be his second on the spot. 
Few of us liked to be identified so closely with these pur- 
veyors. As I, however, saw that the Utile fellow was in 
earnest/ 1 thought it hard that he frhoqld be forced to submit 
to an affront, for want ot some one to load his pistols ; so I 
stepped forward, and offered to carry his message. I had 
not far to carry it, for the Spaniard was standing close by, as 
proud as a don could be, in the notion that be had bullied an 
jBnglishman. But when I talked of au immediate meeting, 
and pistols, I saw that he was a true bobadil. He swore 
**by the life of his saint," (and in fear for his own) that he 
would fight in no other \\ay, than with a sword in one hand 
and a dagger in the other — the only manner worthy a de- 
scendant of ** lot antiguQi cavalieros.^^ Seeing that my hi- 
dalgo Was not a fellow of real Castilian kidney, I took the 
liberty of giving him au umeremoni^ius kick-^the readers 
of Hudibras may imagine where ; and with a *' Fa usted con 
Dios /" 1 turtied on my heel> and neFer heard more of the 
don. Not so of the commissary. That very day he sent 
me a kid, two bottles oi' real cogniac, und a skin of excel- 
lent wine—- a delicious windfall to our little. mess. 

A day or two afterwards, some suspicious circumstances 
induced me to turn my more particular attention to the pa- 
dtts ; and I took it int<» my head that their sanctity was not 
so unquestionable as it was thought to be. My room was 
in a recess, formed by a wing branching off from the main 
body of the building, and a wide corridor separated it from 
the dormitory of the monks, and this again was partitioned 
and subdivided into several little pigeon-hole roonas, where 
a great deal of billing^and-cooing might be quietly carried 
on. I had observed, on more than one occasioo, a nice lit- 
tle girl, called Maraquttta, the reputed niece of the secreta^ 
9*i9, coming from her uncle's room, but with a pace so steaU 



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TBB MOHKS OF RQItcaSVAtLSS. 41' 

thy, and « look 80 confijUMdi as noianooeiit viMtae^liife 
caused. ^ 

TUs was evidence enough for an idle or prejudicdd judg^ 
tad I was both. I ioimediately passed a sentence of eon- 
demnation on the tecretarioy resolved to lie on the watch lo 
entrap hie reverence, and forthwith gave secret instroplioiis 
to my Portuguese lad, Antonio, to keep a careful eye on 
what was going on in the stcrttario^t quarter^, and more 
particularly on what might go in. 

Antoaid was an apt scholar. I had educated him myself. 
He used to tend my goats ia the Peninsula ; but lutving 
bravely borne a few beatings, in the execution of some se- 
cret services, I promoted him to the attendance on my per- 
son. His mattrass was placed near my room, ia the corri* 
dor before mentioned, in. a most favourable position for the 
purposes I intended ; and every thing promised a discovery, 
if there were any thing to be discovered. But the wary 
secretario had nearly frustrated all our projects, by com- 
plaining to the quarter'-master-general, that my servant, 
sleeping in the corridor, disturbed the devotion of the holy 
fraternity. Antonio was, in consequence, sent to the right 
about, but hi»acuteness was put doubly on the alert. 

On the very ilext night I had a jovial party, of five or six, 
in my own room. The last of the commissary's last bot- 
tle of brandy was disappearing fast. We were all ready for 
a frolic, and full of mischief. Most apropos to a state of 
such excitement, the door slowly opened, about loidnight, 
and Antonio came stealing in on tiptoe ; and with a raduuit 
glow on his countenance, he whispered me that he had just 
»een Maraquitta slipping into the seeretario's cell, and heard 
the doo|r bolted on the inside. 

'* Soho !" cried I, raising my hand ; and AntoniOy like a 
staimch and well-trained pointer, made a full stop. ** Now 
for it| lads," continued I, <* all's safe and right — we've got 
the old fox into cover — and now, here goes to make Um 
break in prime style I" 

Without another word of preparation, I rose from the old- 
fashioned, damask-covered, hair-stuflfed arm<chair, which I 
occupied as president for the night. I immediately ripped it 
open, back, bottokn, and sides ; while Antonio, with infinite 
alertness, almost anticipating my orders, emptied the con- 
tents of my large powder-flask into a iMtsiOt with the re- 
mains of the brandy* I tore the horse-hair into shredsi and 

D2 



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42 UlLlTARTiCSirBa. 

mixed it well with the damp powder ; while one of tha par* 
if (a violin plajrer) added ^ lump of rosin, and another 
iM^Ottght frofii hiB room, next door to mine, a piece of stone 
sulpbir. In a few minutes all the materials wei^ pulveriz- 
ed, melted, and amalgamated, and we had manufaetufed ^ 
dosen of fire-halh, sufficient to destroy a fleet. 

Ail being ready, I slipped off my shoes, stole across the 
corridor, and heaped ^e balls against the door of the se- 
cretario^s cell. I then, returned for a moment to my room^ 
when a bumper being quaffed to the success of the burning, 
we all moved gently out, and I thrust a lighted candle right 
iqto the' combustible mass. 

In a moment the whole corridor was in flames. The 
gi&npowder fizzed, the horse-hair crackled, the brimstone 
rosin blazed ; and the conflagration was so sudden and sa 
serious as to surprise and alarm us all. We had no no- 
tion of our own cleverness at such diabolical combinations. 

Antonio instantly roared out lustily in Spanish, << Fire, 
fire, in the priory !" We all chorused bis cry ; and the first 
result was the instant opening of the secretario^s door, fronv 
which Maraquitta rapidly emerged, in that sole and simple 
garment, called on Tarn O'Sbanter's Nannie, a " cutty 
sark.'^ The red-headed secretario followed, in a corres-^ 
ponding costume, and burst with a hirid plunge through the 
flame and smoke before him. While I seized the terrified 
fair one in my arms, one of my trusty accomplices gave an 
ear-splitting view halloo to the flying secretario ; and sung 
out in the words (welKknofpn to most Irishmen) of the ce- 
lebrated blind piper, Kerns Fitzpatrick, 

'^Hoicks! Wind him, and And him, and drive him! 
Push the red rascal through the blackberries ! Hoicks ! on 
him, on hitti f tear him and eat him!** , 

The hunted, belaboured, and bewildered secretario ran 
forward and backward, doubled and redoubled, through smoke 
and flame ; and at last attempting to seize the screaming 
Maraquitta, he received a facer from an experienced fist, 
which laid him sprawHng. Lamps, candles, torches, lights 
of all kinds, now added to the illumination. The padres 
came running and waddling, in every direction, rubbing the»r 
49yes, calling out « Fire, Fire!" and bellowing lustUy far 
the patf^n saint of the convent — ^but he never came. The 
monks were hustled, tripped up, and rolled over and over, 
without mercy . or ceremony ; and a Babel like mixture of 



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THB Bieraf 010 BOHrCBSVALLBS. 

Fkencb, Snobby Spaniflh* PiMtaMji^^ 
poaos, pmj«rs, ousm, tad comttnoo, cooipleUd th* i 
All the pmopS) W^y «im1 reaenroiri, wore put-in requitttiofi» 
and the whole populatioa of the place plied their reaowoee 
so weU, that the danger of being hurt waa auceeeded by the 
chance of being drowned. Thinking the joke had gone 
quite far enough, I released Maraquilta from my graip, and, 
with my fellow incendiaries, took advantage of the confusion 
to steal unobsenred to my room. 

The next morning the monastic horizon looked gloomy 
enough. Maraquitta was sent off at day-bre^ to Tudek, 
her native town. The moniu drew up a formid complaint 
against me, and the prior declared he would forward it to 
the duke. I lost no time in. running to a Spanish regimental 
chaplain, an honest and liberal divine, and I implored his , 
advice. He immediately prepared a counter statement, de- 
tailing such pf the events of the previous night, as told for 
me and agaiAst the monks ; the truth, a go^ deal of the 
truth, and even a-little more than the truth. I addressed 
this remonstrance to the Bishop of Pampeluna, got it signed 
by all my brother delinquents, and with it in my hand boldly 
entered the prtor^s apartments. On reading it the alarmed 
superior turned as many colours as a dying dolphin ; en-* 
treated me to drop the affair, ^b he did— on finding it too 
hot to hold ; abused the tecrttario^ and vowed he would 
send him to the Indies, that asylum for all the scum of Span- 
ish monkery. To set the seal on our compact, he invited 
me to dinner ; and before I had quitted him ten minutes, he 
sent me a twenty bottle case of prime old Malaga. 

The next news I heard was that the secretario was ban- 
ished from the monastery ; and Antonio (who watched bun ' 
to the last), reported that he had seen him stealing out of 
the direct road to his retreat, and sUly taking to that which 
led to Tudela. 

I had a capital repast with the prior; but left him rather 
early to rejoin my messmates, who were celebratmg our 
treaty of peace in my chamber. As I crossed the corridori 
I encountered the secretario^ s most close ally, the baxonisto^ 
or bassoon and serpent-playing brother of the monkish baod. 
IJe gave me a gloomy scowl, shook his iron fist at me, and 
murmured hollowly that I had not long to Uve. I told hin^ 
of ipy reconciliation with the prior. This intelligence, widx 
a cordial inTitation to make one of our party^ prodtK^edn 



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m- 



44 



HIUTARTSOSirBS* 



pow«rfiil revolution Ml his seiitiiiientfi. He accompanied 
me to my room^ got as drank as a piper, and, sending An- 
tonio for his bassoon, he played to ourdancnig, till the matin 
bell called him to his post in the choir. 



AN AFFAIR OF OUTPOSTS* 






t* 



Being a good Frenchman, the general selected me a few 
mornings after the row with the Stcrttqrio^ to proceed with 
a flag of truce to the enemy's lines, on a mission of rather 
an interesting nature. 

During the retreat from Yittoria, the French army had 
lost not only the whole of their artillery, but almost all their 
baggage. £very extraneous article was abandoned ; and 
the hot pursuit of our advanced guard forced several fair fu- 
gitives to quit their carriages, and escape on foot. One la- 
dy, the wife of an officer of rank, was so tenified at the 
sight of our hussars, who came Suddenly close upon her and 
her escort in a narrow defile, that she sprang fbom her ca- 
leche, and with her/emme de chambre and postilion, plung- 
ed into a cork wood that lined the pass, while the half do- 
zen dragoons made the best of their way en avanL Every 
possible entreaty was shouted after the lady and her attend- 
ants, in English, Spanish, and French, by- the officers of the 
party, to resume their places and continue their route, unmo- 
lested. But no answer was returned from the terrified fugi- 
tives ; and there being no spare time for ceremony or delay, 
the carriage was instantly rifled ; and among the booty was 
discovered a child, a beautiful little girl, of four or five years 
old. 

This was a very puzzling sort of prize to the captors. The 
dragoon who first laid hands on little Zo6, which was the 
child's name, carried her, with as much tenderness as rbugh 
arms and a rough nature allowed, and gave her up to the Ser- 
jeant, who passed her on to the cornet, by whom she was 
handed to the lieutenant, who made her over to the captain, 
who delivered her to the major, who presented her to (he 



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AN AFVAIAOE OUTPOtTfi. 4( 

coloMl) who fek it biaduty to lay her before tho gooer«t« 
with ft regolar report of the traDsaction from begioDiBg to 
end. Thus did little Zo^ nm rapidly up, from th^ lowest to 
the highest rank to which her pronaotion could reach \ for the 
brigade beiog detached from the division it belonged to, the 
responsibility fioally lay at the brigadier's door, and he was 
not long in taking it across the threshold. He willingly took 
charge of the litUe prisoner ; and placed her under the es- 
pecial care of his servant's wife, an excellent woman, and 
old campaigner, who knew well how to secure whatever 
comforts could be had for the child, on the small scale pro- 
portioned to her infant wants, in the rapidly succeeding 
Q90veroents of the brigade. 

During the few w'eeks which elapsed between the route of 
the enemy, and our arrival at Roncesvalles, little Zo6 had 
become immoderately attached to her protectress, and pick- 
ing up many phrases of English, she ^rew extremely amus- 
ing, and, was a constant fund of entertainment to the gene- 
ral, his staff, and all the officers who could conde/scend to 
be interested in the vivacious prattle of childhood. I con-^ 
fess myself to have be^n one of those, and that was perhaps 
a chief reason for my being subsequently selected as a flag 
of truce, in the service of little Zo6. 

As soon as some repose was allowed to the general, he 
began to make every inquiry that could lead tQ th^- disco- 
very of the child's parents. An immediate and aniiiiated 
correspondence took place between him and the French 
coihmander in closest contact with our position ; and a few 
days sufficed to ascertain that the child's mother had by 
good luck succeeded in rejoining her husband's division, 
and that she was at»the moment safely with him at St. Jean* 
Fied-de-port, where he had a commdnd. They had, on 
their part, suffered the crudest anxiety for tluB uncertain 
fate of little Zo6. The mother reproached herself inces- 
santly with her abandonment of her infant, and the Jhusband 
did not spare himself, for the imprudence which induced him 
to risk the safety of both wife and child in the dangers and 
horrors of war. Inquiries of all kinds had been set on foot 
Letters had been interchanged between the opposing ge- 
nerals, rewards offered, descriptions distributed, and all par- 
ties who had been informed of the event at the British head- 
quarters, vied in exertions for recovering the lost treasure^ 
But we, who had it in possession, were all this time the 



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46 UlUTAftT S0UI8. • 

most remote ftom the Boene of these eieHioBs, utmcquemt^ 
ed with tiie general interest excited by theaffair, and as it 
happenedytiie nearest te the parties most interested in il« 
When the delighted mother knew that our little heroine was 
actually at Roncesvalles, she repaired with all speed to the 
advanced quarters of the French army ; and as soon as our 
general heard she was expected, I was dispatched to the 
outpost of Chiteau Pignoo, to see if the lady had actually 
arrived, or to ascertain if the child was to be sent in imme- 
diately to the care of the French commaader. 

I accordingly mounted my pony and set out, accompam- 
ed by a trumpeter and a dragoon beariog a white flag; but 
all this melodious and pacific display did not secure nae 
from a danger which might have cut short my mission, my 
adventure, and my life. I bad not gone five hundred yardsr - 
beyond our outmost piquet, when a band ofmost picturesque 
marauders, armed Basque peasants, started up from among 
the rocks, and began popping down at me and my men 
from their well direcu^d rifles. We shook our flag of trace 
and flourished our trumpet most peaceably, but they gave U8 
no respite, till we gallopped clear out of the range of their 
fire ; and two or three bullets came whizzing after us, even 
close to the side of the advanced vidette a£ the French 
army. 

I was received-at the first post by a corporal and his 
guard, who apologized for the uncivilized salutation of the 
peasants, with amazing politeness, but not enough to have 
extracted a bullet from me or my trumpeter, had we hap- 
pened to have caught one, as the French say. My eyes 
were immediately bandaged, and I was led cautiously up a 
rocky and difficult path, leaving strict directions to my 
mouth-piece, the trumpeter, not to get garrulous or groggy 
— in short, to neither speak or arink. 

When my eyes were uncovered, I found myself in a 
large, wainscotted, ilUfurutshed room in the old chliteaU> 
surrounded by French officers, with a fashionably dressed 
lady, and her femme de chambre, sitting at the table beside 
which I stood. A few words sufficed to explain the pur- 
port of my appearance ; and about as many minutes proved 
enough to obtain me the gratitude and confidenice of the en* 
thusiastic Frenchwomen. When, to her rapid inquiries, I 
answered that her child was safe and well, and ready to be 
conveyed to her, her dehght seemed to have no bounds ; and 



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▲IT AFVim or OUTPO8T0. 47 

ceftainly she sal aooe to its expiressioo. She rose from her 
chair, clasped my hand in both of hers, and did all but fling 
her arms rooad my neck. The witncfsses of the scene, all 
of them soldiers of several campaigns, felt the contagion of 
the mother^s tenderness ; and shewed all the good teeling 
that is sure to appear in Frenchmen whenever a chdd is the 
eobject of interest. 

The mother, in her anxiety to learn every particular of 
the capture and subsequent treatment of little Zo^, over- 
steppeid, in a measure, the bounds of strict propriety, by in- 
viting me to accompany her instantly to the shepherd's hut, 
where she was lodged, and where we might converse amply 
and uninterruptedly. I, of course, gladly accepted the pro- 
posal^ offered my arm in return, made my bow to the offi- 
cers, and walked off with my new friend, followed at some 
paces distance by her maid Gracio^ who, by-the-by, was 
rather too much of a coquette for a Basque peasant girl. 

My companion was a handsome brunette; not e3;actly of 
la premidre jt%nftse^ but of that degree of embnnpoint^ 
which wears gracefully in a woman of thirty, or thereabouts. 
It may be supposed that I vit-wed her with an eye of en- 
twprise. The freedom of her manners, the warmth of her 
disfiosition, the peculiarity of her situation,' seepied to mark 
her as a fair object for conquest. 

Our coQver:si^ion at first ran on Yittoria, the battle, and 
l^e retreat ; next upon Zo6, in talking of whom she never 
tired^ and with her phrases of maternal endearment, were 
mioglid the deepest self-reproaches, against the unnatural 
cowardice which had suffered her to abandon an object so 
beloved While she declaimed and I listened, the maid had 
disappeared, the hut was solitary, and I was just endeavour- 
, ing to britg about a more personal turn to her discourse, 
when Gratiosa entered, more apropos to my appetite than 
my intentions, hhe bore an overflowing supply of ttM 
meat, poultry, cakes, fruit, and wine ; and to every article of 
this sumptuous collation (which had travelled so far for my 
indulgence) I did ample though summary justice. 

The lady talked as fluently as I eat fast ; and warming 

into confidence,, she almost made me th^ depository of a 

, secret* Her hudband, she said was, < < an excellent crealure, 

a good soMier»nni ionne p6ie d^homme^ d'tm certain Ag$ ; 

hraoe camme son ^p^e ; mais hHe ! mai$ M(e, d fnanger du 



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48 MILltAET 8CB1CE8. 



A little fur&er advance in our intiiiiacy opened her heafi 
sCiil wider, but not entireltj. 

** Ah^ inon Dieu ! esUil done posMU que faurais jamais 
pour ami tin Anglaii ! un enn€mijur€ de tna patrU I Mais 
noHf c*t$t impossible ! Vout ites fVan^ait — avoiuz-le^-^ouiy 
vous ites Francois — mon caur m* en fait l^a^surance.^ 

Being prodigiously cosmopolitan on the occasion, I swore 
that I was of any country she pleased ; and her next commu- 
nication was very nearly a confestiom. 

Mickanis que vous Hesy vous autres Anglais! Tou killed 
me tin lien tendre ami at Albuera, my husband's aid'4e- 
camp, mon cker Adolphe ! When a'woman is not quite happy 
in marriage, not perfectly matched, she requires a friend in 
whose bosom she may ipancher set peines. My sweet Zee 
is his very portrait— ^g^fr done sHl Haii beam P* 

All this made me the more assiduous aod condoling. I 

efiered to wipe off her tears, which flowed freely, and I tdd 

her 1 should be delighted if she would ^panehT her peines 

^ with me. She became somewhat tranquillized; again 

changed the subject to little Zo6 ; and suddenly putting imi 

her huge black bonnet, which was half smothered in white 

plumes, she took my arm. and we quitted the cottage for my 

return to the outpost, followed br Graciosa, and escorted by 

I a corporal and a file of men. On our arrival at the piquet, 

I I found my trumpeter dead drunk; and while the Fre^h 

soldiers strove to rouse htm and fasten him on his htfrse, 

Coralie (for such was her name,) walked forwards wit& me, 

close to our outljring post, where we parte<f, and I pursued 

my way to Roncesvalles, lighted by a brilliant mooa 

The nesct morning early I mounted my pony agsin ; aiid» 
Jkttended by a serjeant of dragoons, I proceeded io rest<N!« 
little Zo6 to her mother. The woman who f#r so many 
weeks had had charge of the child, was almost ^onsolaUb 
at thus losing her. She had quite endeared herself to Uiifl 
^ kind-hearted woman ; and when the latter lifUd. her up oa 

the saddle before me, she wept and sobbsd aloud. Zo6 
seeing her to be unhappy, cried bitteriy, and the parting was 
really affecting. But the meeting between mother and chiU 
was still more so. I cantered rapidly on from our own out- 
post to that of the enemy; but I could scarcely make use of 
that word on the present occasion, and I was met at the 
most eitreme point of the French lines by Coralie and her 
maid. She had been watching there since day-break ; and 



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AN AFFAIR OF OUTPOSTS. 

ivben she saw me approach, she flew towards mei and 1 
scarcely time to alight from my horse, when she was b; 
side, and embracing the child with impassioned rapture 

The mutual recognition was a spectacle worth lookinf 
The unbounded delight of the mother and the infantine 
of Zoe, are not to be described. They seemed to fc 
every thing but each other ; while I, and the serjeant, 
the French vidette siood^ all alike, gazing on and enjo 
the scene. But Coralie, Graciosa, and myself, soon reps 
to the cottage, where a capital Pyrenean breakfast 
spread out. I ate heartily; while Corc^ie feasted on 
growing beauty of her daughter, and seemed disposed t< 
vour her with caresses. 

I confess that, in my observation of this maternal en 
ment, which so raised the mother in my esteem, I felt s 
annoyance at the check which it gave to my own indivi 
views. But I let nothing of this escape me, and stro\ 
enter into the scene with feelings as little adulterated as 
sible. I abstained from uttering a word or venturing a 1 
that might clas^ with CoraUe's actual sentiments ; and 1 
after hour passed innocently away. At length I begai 
abandon all hope of making a further progress in the a£ 
a,nd was thinking of at once making my bow, and tal 
final leave, with a good grace, of this now truly interes 
woman, when, to my infinite surprise and pleasure, she 
to me, in a whisper, that Graciosa could not overhear, 

'^ I am all this while forgetting^-no, not forgetting 
neglecting you ; and I feel my ingratitude in doing so^ c 
for a momept. I am wild with joy, in having my d^r c 
once more with me ; but my heart is not dead to ether f 
ings. I may confess that you have inspired m^ with gi 
interest, with warm regard. I can say no moie at prese 
but if you will meet me here to-night, after ay maid and 
peasant family have retired to bed, I shall h<>pe to prove 
gratitude — my friendship — I can say no wore !'* 

Seeing that I was about to reply, in a strain of great \ 
mation, she added, 

'< Not a word, npt a word,! I must not be saspected 
more than a common gratitude towards you, even by 
maid. Let us now part; take your leave in as care! 
and common-place a way as you can." ' 

I obeyed her instructions, bade her adieu, embraced 
child, wished all happmess to both; and saluted the three 

Vol. n.— E 



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four dffieerfl who had coine.4owii from the chateau, with bb 
much nonchalance as if I had not a thought of seeing any 
of the party again. 

During my way back to Roncesvalles, and for the re- 
mainder of the day, I thought of nothing but my adventure, 
which promised so happy a termination^ 1 was in that 
pleasant state of satisfaction with myself and all around me, 
so natural to a man after such success. My vanity was 
gratified by the facility of the conquest, and my love of ad- 
venture excited by its novelty. The danger to be encoun- 
tered did not enter into my thoughts ; they all turned on Co- 
ralie : so handsome, so interesting, so enthusiastic, and so 
fond of me. 

^ I ate but little dinner, drank but little wine, and refused 
two or three invitations to spend the evening. As soon as * 
day closed in I retired to my quarters, and. putting on a 
dark grey frock, and broad leafed Spanish hat, which had 
served me before on some masqfierading frolics, I put my 
loaded pistols in my pockets, took a stout stick in my hand^ 
a^d set off on my adventure*. 

My ready boy, Antonio, contrived to unlock, unperceived, 
a small door in the monastery garden, by which I went out 
into the open fields ; and making a circuit round the town, I 
succeeded in gaining the mountain immediately above. 
The moon was high and bright in the heavens, but the 
night was cloudy, and I thus had the alternate advantage of 
light fdkd shade, lying close when the moon was uncovered, 
and making great way while she was overcast. By these 
means, W knowing all the passes, from ny rambling ex- 
cursions ih the hills, 1 contrived tb pass unperceived by ei- 
ther our o%m or the French piquets, and arrived without 
hindrance at fi^edoor of Coralie's little dwelling. 

I walked cauviously and closely round and round to be 
convinced that atVwas quiet ; I then peeped in at the win- 
dow of Coralie's little room, which was, I knew, separated 
by a slight partition trom the closet occupied by Gniciosa. 
I saw Coralie sitting by the bed-side, looking tenderly on 
Zoe,who slept in her moUier's bed. I thought the child 
more beautifiil than ever, but also that she was not in her 
proper place. The mother appeared in my eyes still more 
lovely. I grew iinpatient and tapped gently at the case- 
ment. I expected' that it would have been instantly open- 
ed ; but instead of that I perceived Coralie put on her bon^ 



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AN AFFAIR OF OUTPOSTS. 51 

net and large shawl, and in a moment she came out by ^ 
door, instead of letting me in at the window. I flew to- 
wards her, and attempted to embrace her, for 1 was ama* 
zingly loving on the occasion. 

<< Hush !" whispered she, « follow me." 

I did so in a pleasant kind of tremor, that arose from any 
thing but fear. She entered a copse of young cork trees 
close to the hut ; and as soon m she washout of hearing 
of those within, she spoke to me pretty nearly as fol- 
lows, gently but firmly repressing the pidvances which I made 
towards a closer alliance. 

^* I see you mistake me and my motives— but I am nei- 
ther surprised nor angry. How otherwise could you think 
of me and them, than as you do ? I am not, however, so 
light, so profligate, I may say. I esteenrand regard you as 
the restorer of my child, the object most dear to me on 
earth ; but that is all, my friend, for 1 wish to feel towards 
you as such. L confess myself to be a mere woman, not 
an angel, as you, deceivers as you are, would persuade us ; 
but I am not to be just asked for and won. Love is the 
growth of impulH, or of time. If it does not spring up in 
' a day, a month is not enough to produce it Now I did not 
fall in love with yon yesterday ; therefore there is no chance 
of it, as to-night we part, in all likelihood, for ever. I set 
off* at day-bredL for St Jean Pied de Port We may never 
see each other again. But to lessen the chances against what I 
should deeply regret — for I shall be happy, oKMit happy to meet 
you again, and know you intimately and long — 1 have begged 
you to meet me here. Could you believe that for any thing 
less than some very solemn reason, I would have made you 
run the risk of passing the lines of two armies, and of being 
caught as a spy in ours ? Hear what I have to say, and 
know me better than you do now. 

*' When I saw you this morning I was but partially in- 
formed of what I am now sure of. God knows if I am not 
a traitor to my country in telling you what I know ; but the 
law of nature is stronger than that of nations. The pro- 
tectors of my child shall not perish if I can save them ! 

•• Clausel's artillery has arrived at the army ; reinforce- 
ment on reinforcement is pouring in ; all is preparing for a 
decisive, a terrible blow. Soult has sworn to exterminate 
you all ; and in five days vma terez ^cras^s ! To-day is the 
20th of July ; the 25th will be Str James's day, the day of 



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52 MILITARY SCENES. 

doom to the English army ! I have thus fulfilled my duty- 
one at least ; and in performing that, I have perhaps sacri- 
ficed another. But it is not my fault ; gratitude has been 
stronger than patriotism-^vout m'arez d^nationalu^e.^ 

A few words of farewell, warm, cordial, and not to be 
mistaken /or morty closed our iaterview. What I said is 
unimportant In fact, I couM oot utter much, for I was lost 
in ^tonishment at the p^w aspect in which this versaffle 
woman appeared. Her tone and conduct during our first 
interview had led Ae to form that false estimate of her cha-^ 
racter, which too often results from the levity of manners 
that distinguishes her countrywomen. Her look and bearing 
on the present occasion, corresponded with the importance 
and solemnity of her warning. She seemed raised above 
all fiivolous or merely personal feelings. I never had a 
more exalted sense of the capability of the feniale mind— of 
the depth of the female heart. 

I retraced my way towards Roncesvalles ; and trod with 
a much less lively step than that with which I had come 
over the same ground an hour before. The heavy sense of 
danger seemed to weigh on ine. Had it been for myself 
ak>ne I might not have felt it so much ; but when I thought 
that a whole army might be compromised, that thousands of 
my fellow soldiers were in peril, and that their safety might 
depend on me, my sensations were in the highest degree 
awful. 

I forgot for a while my own actual situation, until I was 
aroused from my reverie, by the report of a musquet, /e/- 
Itmtd by a rather tardy Qui vivt ? and the well known sound 
of a bullet whistling, as it went past me, '* for want of 
thought." 

I turned round, and saw the French vidette reloading bis 
piece. But I was resolved not to be his target a second 
time, so I took to my heels, with cautious speed, and re<> 
gained the monastery unharmed and undiscovered. 



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53 



SHARF FIGHTING— SPOILED FEASTING— 

BLUNDSRING AND BURYING -PRIESTS 

AND PILGRIMS. 



The ioformatioa gained daring my ** affair of outpoato," 
was too serious to be kept to myself a moment beyond that 
HI which I could communicate it to the highest authority in 
the place. ' Ne^t morning I accordingly reported my having 
obtained s^uch information, without betraying tiie.source from 
which it came. Both I and my intelligeiMie were made light 
of. I was not exactly called an ass, l^I am not quite sure 
that I was not thought so. I nereriAeless remained deeply 
impressed with the convtctioti ihoi the English army would 
be attacked on St. James's day. 

The 'very morning after I had made my report, a singular 
coincidence of information occurred. General Murillo, who 
cooimanded a brigade of Spaniards, received a warning, 
. perhaps not quite so direct as mine, but strongly corrobo- 
rative of it. His soldiers^ having no regular commissariat, 
were in the habit of marauding, even into the French side 
of the mountains, and sweeping the valleys beyond for a 
supply of com and cattle. A party of these foragers h^d, a 
abort time previous, seized and driven to their own canton- 
ments, a consideraMe €ock (^£ sheep. The owner, a French 
Basque, came in and addressed a petition to the Spanish 
|;eneral, promising that if his sheep were restored to him, 
be would sedd regular information of every movement of 
the enemy. He obtained his flock undiminished, and be 
was faittful to his engagement. On the 22d of July, two 
4ays alter my adventure, he sent in one of his shepherdS| 
with a significant recommendation to the general, to beware 
(^ St. James's day. This notice was communicated at 
head quarters, and, like my own, disregarded. 

In the mean time, grand preparatioRS were made by the 
E2 



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MILITARY SCEN£S. 

or the celebration of this important holiday 
alendar. A dinner for fitly officers was 
1 I, among many other British, was in- . 
I appointed to act as one of the stewards 
ly General Murillo, although he, as well as 
}ng presentiment that the feast would ter- 
t. On the 24th, I made another efibrt, 
landing officer, to recommend a more than 
)n — hilt in vain. At least the only results 
[>ur brigade to take its position at the chapel 
and to fire three darm guns, if any move- 
ed along the enemy's lines. Murillo re- 
on to advance into the pass between the 
ench army, and he was sent forward ac- 

the 25th, St. James's day, Coralie's pro- 
arning of the shepherd were terribly fulfill- 
i irresistible attack was made upon Murillo 
It force. He would have been annihilated 
not our brigade rushed forward to his aid. 
perate but unequal conflict took place, 
some hard fighting, turned right and lefl, 
reat. We wer^ only saved from being sur- 
3rly destroyed, by a heavy fog setting in ; 
s still at intervals maintained, tl\|;ough all 
nd solemnity of the mist. We left behind 
M a regiment und six guns, 
ward, (or backwurdy if you like better), to 
ith a verbal despatch. As I gallopped up 
' the — th regiment, ^hich was reluctantly 

; in fine order, poor O'B had his thigK 

a cannon shot. I stopped, dismounted, and 
ly horse ; sprang up agaki behind him, and 
is the town. 

a thorough, rough-spun Irishman, whose 
»torious to the whole army. *£he last and 
made was while he lay bleedi^ to death 

ny boy," said I, << your life may be saved • 

1 a fear of that," replied he ; << the leg may 
is safe; for I insured it, sure enough, the 



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SHARF FIGHTING. 55 

fault time I was in England, and paid doubly dangerous for it, 
ray boy«" 

I hadlknown poor 0'B<— *« several years. I once went 
out shooting with him in Essex, when we were quartered 
together in Colchester barracks. He had just arrived from 
Ireland, where farming was then canied on, on a narrow 
scale. Even a large field of turnips was a rare sight in the 
arable district where he came from ; but an extensive crop 
of red cabbage had never met his eye until the day in ques- 
tion, and he could not associate such a vegetable with any 
thing but a pickle jar. He was crossing from a grass field 
into one the produce of which I could not exactly discover* 
when he stopped suddenly, and with a leg on either side the 
stile, and turning to me^ with the greatest wonderment de- 
picted on his visage, he called out, 

'< Ob, blood and turf, Phil, did you ever see such a field 
of pickled cabbage V* 

One day, defiling neu Braganza, we passed an old and 
extensive mansiorf. ** Aha !" said O'B— *--, '* I suppose 
that's the house of Braganza the Portuguese make so much 
bother about." 

On crossing the Tormes, he rode a tall horse, and put his 
baggage upon a pony. The.consequence was; he got over 
dry but his kit was dripping wet. Recollecting this when 
we were talking of crossing tl^e Pyrenees, he exclaimed^ 
(thinking we meant another rivev), 

<< Then, by the powers, PU p\it my baggage on ttbe big 
horse this time, and ride the potiy myself !" 

Poor O'B had breathed his last before I reached 

Boncesvalles. The rqar of canncn, the rattling of muske- 
try, the enemy's trumpets sounding the advance, and our 
own bugles sounding the retreat, made altogether a din, 
through which I could barely hear hii dying request that I 
would bury him in consecrated ground^ as he was a Catho- 
lic. I fulfilled this injunction faithfully but hurriedly. I 
applied to my friend the prior, to have a gtave dug in all haste 
in the cemetery. Two of the brethren completed a hole 
,deep enough for my purpose, in a few hurried minutes ; and 
the body was committed to the earth, dressed as it was, no 
time being allowed even to take ofiT the gold watch and 
chain, and the other trinkets which the poor fellow had on 
his person. 

This sad business over, I bade a hearty good-by to the prior. 



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56 MILITARY SCENES. 

mid went out iato the street The troopis were in full retreat 
through the town, and the approaching cannonade told vae 
I had no time to lose* I stepped for an instant into the inn, 
to fill my flask with brandy, and I saw, with an ea?ious eye, 
the whole display of roast and boiled, and stewed and baked 
provisions, almost ready for the feast. 

<< My worthy hostess," said I, to the landlady, « I am 
really sorry for your loss — not a morsel of all these good 
things will be eaten — we are retreating as fast as possible—* 
'tis a race for life or death." 

'< It's all one to me, Senor," answered she ; ** French- 
men have as good appetiles as £aglish---they will eat it, 
never fear — roast beef and all." 

^ Damn me if they do, you cold-blooded, ungrateful cM 
fagot !" exclaimed I, in a passion ; and beckoning to my httle 
friend the commissary, who was over head and ears em- 
ployed with horses, baggage-waggoos, and bullocks, I ob- 
tained of him one of the carts, with full permission to use 
it as I pleased. I accordingly fell to work, assisted by some 
straggling soldiers^ and maugre the lamentations, reproaches, 
and imprecations of the laodladf , I heaved into the cart, 
ready roasted ribs of beef, legs of mutton, and turkeys, with 
fowls, hams, pasties— every thing solid, in short, leaving the 
soups, the fricasees, whipped cream, and vol-au'vent^ for the 
hungry Gavaches.* 

We retreated, fighting step by step. The 26th we were 
hard pushed at Zubiri ; the 27th attacked at Urgate ; the 
2Sth at Villa- Alba ; in all which affairs the French were re- 
pulsed on all points, in ths latter with heavy loss. The 29th 
was a day of truce, to ^oHect the wounded and bury the 
dead' la the intervals , of this dreary duty, our people and 
the French regaled themselves together, with a repast of 
raw beans, gathered ^ith great cordiality in the same field. 
Every thing being prepared, several brigades of guns mount- 
ed on the most diffieult heights, and a noble attitude assum- 
ed, the morning df the 3^ was ushered in 1^ a general 
attack on the eaeftiy's position. They were routed in eve- 
ry direction, and driven, in broken bodies, over the same 
^und across which we had retreated a few days before. 
We pressed them hard on the 3l8t through the beautiful 

* ^ick name for the French in Sptio. 



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FXUESTS AND PILGRIMS. 57 

vale of Bastan,* and took a large convoy of brandy at 
Elizonde. Tbd 1st of August we halted at Maya ; bivow 
acked on the 5th at Los Aldoides, amidst torrents of rain^ 
with no tents, but plenty of melted snow ; and on the 6th 
we re-entered Roncestalles once more, where I was re-in-' 
stated in my old quarters in the monastery, which a wound* 
ed French chef d'escadron had occupied ad interim. 

Almost the very first face I recognized was that of the 
re-instated seereiario^ and the next was that of the baxonis- 
to, I learned from the latter that few of the monks had 
quitted the place in consequence of the French possession ; 
and moreover that the enemy had conducted themselves re- 
markably well. 

Being anxious to afford to the remains of my poor friend 

O'B a burial of more solemnity than the last, and also 

recollecting that his friends might be glad of the trinkets he 
had on him, as memorials of the wearer, I applied to the pri- 
or to have the body exhumed. The prior crossed himself, 
and answered by a plump refusal, it being, he said, contra* 
rj to the ordinances of the church to violate consecrated 
ground by such a proceeding. I however found a brother^ 
monk or two less scrupulous, and I had the ffrave opened, 
when I was somewhat shocked to find the mutuated remains 
of poor O'B — ^ stark naked, 

foiling with indignationi I hastily repaired to die prior, 
and detailed the fact He shrugged up his shoulders, and 
exclaimed, '^ Los Franceses, los Franceses /'' laying the blame 
on the backs of the French, they being conveniently turned. 
But a neighbouring carpenter assured my boy Antonio, that 
he had seen the secretario and two or three of the brother- 
hood, rifling the grave and stripping the corpse, the very day 
I had laid it there. I felt the impossibility of obtaining re- 
dress, so I determined to watch an opportunity for revenge. 

The next day I was on duty with my company on the hill. 
While I lounged about, musing on past events and present 
probabilities, I heard a sudden burst of psalm-singing of 
most rough discordance. Looking from a pointed rock, un- 
der which I had been walking, I perceived a posse of pil* 
grims of both sexes, trooping across the hills from the 
French side, a most vagabond collection as ever prostrated 

« This vallejr is a perfect contrast to the desolate ope of the same name 
en the French side of the mountains. 



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58 SOLITARY SCENES. 

themselves before a shrine. The field officer on duty came 
up to me, aad ordered me to drive back these fellows with- 
out the least ceremouy. I accordingly approached theiB» 
and addressed myself to their leader, an able-bodied ruffian, 
with a long beard, broad leafed hat, and coarse cloak, almost 
covered with cockle shells. 

" Where are you going ?" asked I. ^ 

<< To Roncesvalles' serine," replied he. 

"What fori" said I. 

" To pray our souls out of purgatory," answered he. 

" Tou may go farther and fare worse," retorted I, " but 
not this way. You shall not pass here depend on it ; so to 
the right about face — quick march !" and back they went, 
crossing themselves, (and cursing me, no doubt,) and howl- 
ing most piteously, in full chorus. I never had a more tho- 
rough contempt for the humbug and hypocrisy of mock de- 
votion. 

Three mornings after this I was awoke about day-break, 
by a confused murmur of psalm-singing in the court-yard of 
the monastery. I jumped out of bed, ran to the window, 
and to my great surprise, saw the whole division of pilgrioiB, 
filing in through the porch, and starching towards the cha- 
pel I learned from Antonio that, after the repulse Chey met 
with from me, they had made a wide circuit tl^ough the 
mountains, and entered Spain again by the pass of Orbai- 
Cfity, where the guafd of Spaniards idlowed them firee ia- 
gross, on a principle of religious toleration I suppose. 

I perceived that, after about an hour of praying and sing- 
ing in the chapel, the whole body were stowed away in a 
large room near the organ-loft ; and there it was that I was 
resolved to play them a trick — I had not quite decided of 
what kind. 

By the time thpy had, after their day's devotion, supped, 
and settled themselves (as they thought) to their night's re- 
pose, I approached their position, and carefidly reconnoiter- 
ed it i found the door of their apartment to be old and 
ruinous, hanging loosely on its hinges, the pannels broken, 
and presenting a couple of wide and most convenient chinks, 
through which I intended to carry on my offensive opera- 
tions. I had fixed my eye, during the day, on two hand- 
pumps, used by the monks for watering their peach trees, 
which abounded in the monastery garden^ These were 
soon procured, and brought to me by my trusty Antonio ; 



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P&1E8TS AND PILGRIMS. 59 

and I as quickly placed them each in a bucket of putrid wa- 
ter, which he cuefiilly selected from the greenest of the two 
stagnant ponds that adorned the garden. 

I then collected about half a dozen of my companions 
(a couple of whom had been of the merry-midung which 
we gave to the iecretario) ; and all being ready for the as- 
sault, the pumps were placed at the breaches. I peeped in, . 
and saw the pilgrims lying higgledy-piggledy together, old 
and young, men and women, lighted by a single lamp, which 
burned dimly before an image of the vii^in, in a niche not 
far from the door. 

I saw my worthy acquaintance, the leader with the bushy 
beard, stretched full length, and I thought that the sound of 
bis particular snore was not like the mellow Utterance of na- 
tural sleep. In a minute or two this suspicion was fully 
borne out, for the fellow, feeling assured that be was unob- 
served, rose gently up, and stole across several prostrate 
carcasses, which separated him from a young pilgrim, not of 
the doubtful gender, who lay in an expectant attitude, in the 
very niche where the statue stood and the lamp burned* 
The leader sat himself down beside her — but my ardour for 
action would not brook further delay. So I took steady 
aim, and let fly a pumpful from one of my buckets, directly 
in the fellow's beard. Antonio immediately re-loaded ; and 
I, without an instant's pause, sent another discharge smack 
against the lamp, which sputtered and expired — in any odour 
but that of sanctity. 

<< The rain is coming in P' 
" Shut the windows !" 
« Re-light the lamp!" 
^' Rouse up the brethren !" cried some. 
** The rain !" roared another ; << St. Jago protect me, 
my eye is nearly knocked out." 

Two more well-sent discharges completed the general 
confusion, and soaked the victims through and tb'ough* 
The whole body rose en masses and with loud vociferations 
they rushed towards the door, pushing against each other, 
and tumUing about in every direction. 

We now heard the whole fraternity of the monasteiy 
rushing up stairs in loud alarm. We therefore decamped, 
Antdhio leading the way, with the empty buckets and one . 
of the pumps : I covering the retreat, with the other, ready 
loaded, in both bands. Just as we gained the private door, 



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60 IflUTART SCENEl. 

at the head of a flight of little steps which led down to my 
room, I saw the red head of the odious secretariOf blazing 
obnoxiously in the glare of a torch which he carried above 
it, as he mounted the grand staircase, cheering on his bre- 
thren to the jescue. 

Never did I feel my resolution more determined, or my 
hand steadier. Every nerve was wound up for justice. 
What chance, then, had my victim of mercy or escape ? I 
planted one end of my pump on the floor, pointed the other 
where I wished its contents to go — and in an instant the se- 
cretario was struck, almost dumb and blind, with a volley of 
water, mud, and duck's-meat ; and the very memory of bis 
former scorching quenpbed in the dirty deluge. 



THE CARNIVAL. 



. We have been told from high authority that there is a step 
between the sublime and the ridiculous. It is, however, a 
mistake — there is no such thing. Sublime and ridiculous 
are one and the same — co-existent qualities, of difierent 
complexions, perhaps, as looked at in diflerent lights, but 
blending and blooming together, like the green and pink 
shades in a shot poplin. I was quite convinced of this, a 
day or two ago, by witnessing the carnival, to see which I 
came on purpose to Paris. My long wanderings in the 
provinces had left my wardrobe not quite suited to the dis- 
play I expected to witness on this occasion ; so my first bu- 
siness, after I had shaken ofi* the dust of the Diligence, 
was to look out for a tailor, knowing the importance of ap- 
pearances, as well as old Quarles himself, who tells us in 
his '< Enchiridion," that <* the body is the shell of the soul ; 
apparell is the huskeof that shell; the huske often tells 
you what the kernel is." Acting on this principle I was re- 
solved to decorate myself in French costume. Decked out, 
then, at a day's notice, in a Polish frock, black velvet vest, 
with a white, a pink, and a blue one, rbspectively of silk^ 
insidoi Hussar pantaloons, boots d la Vellingtonf and brazen 



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I 



THE CARXflVAt. 61 

spora— French every bit of me, brass from head to foot, as 
Si body might say — I sallied forth to present my recommen- 
datory credentials to the friend of a friend of mine, M. Le 
Yicomte de Yaurien^ who had been represented to me as 
one of a family wonderfully well known in France, a man 
of fashion, literature,, science, taste, and talent ; a sort of 
second Crichton, in short, who had spent many years in 
England during the emigration, and was attached d la folie 
to all that was British, and to the ancient regime at home. 

'* A pleasant sort of person this," thought I, as I ap- 
proached his residence, *< to lead a young fellow like me 
through the labyrinth of learning and pleasure ; fori intend- 
ed to be at all in the ring, as we say familiarly at the clab. 
Arrived at the street to which my friend the proprietor's 
hand-writing on the back of the letter pointed like a finger- 
post, I was not very favourably struck by its appearance. 
It was in the heart of the town, narrow, dark and dirty ; 
but, knowing the ways of Paris, I did not much mmd all 
that, ** No. 18^ le voildb /" said I, , entering the porUcO" 
chircy of a gloomy but good-looking house. Then pulling 
up my shirt-collar and adjusting my hair, I marched up to 
the landing-place of the pf^mier itage^ cast an inquisitive 
glance at the coat of arms on the pannels of a huge old fa- 
mily coach standing in* the rtmisey and was in the act of 
seizing the bell-cord, when a withered old hag shot forth 
her visage from a dismal little den in the entresol below, 
screaming — 

" Diable done ! oil allez-vous ?*' 

"Q^i, moi?^^ I replied, rather indignantly; "/c vats 
chez M. le Vicomtey Madame /" 

«• Monsieur le t^icomte ! Qui est cela ?'* 

An .odd question that, thought I. I cannot surely be 
wrong. " Le Vicomte de Vaurien^ Madame /" 

'* Vicomte / Bah ! et c^est Id que vous le cherchez ! monlez 
au iixiime," 

<< Au sixiime /" sighed I, looking up the dismal staircase, 
so high, that it seemed, like Jacobus ladder, to lead to a 
glimpse of Heaven, which twinkled throngh a sky-light at 
top. I drew a long breath of preparation for the ascent, and 
heard the old wench mutter below : 

'* Diable Vemporte ! c^esi toujours comme eela vous passtz 
partouft d gauche et d droite^ sans rien dtmanderd la por* 
ddre^ vous autres Jinglais,^^ 

toi..IL— F 



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"99 PABIB 8IOBT8* 

<< Faua aMireM Anglait /'' echoed I. ^' Bat it, that's too 
bad, though — she has found me out, in, spite of my frock, 
waistcoats and pantaloons. But never mind ! Au Hxiime ! 
Courage!'' 

Landed at length at the summit, breathless and panting, 
my head dizzied by a glance over the hamsters into the 
interminable chasm below me, I leaned for a moment against 
the wall, and pulled a greasy bit of faded pink ribbon that 
hung dangUng beside a tilthy little door. 

<< Qut est la /" demanded a feeble voice. 

« JMiw," replied I. 

** Aha ! an Englishman ; wait, wait for one leeteel bit, 
Saer," answered the voice, in a tone of gaiety. 

I waited as desired, confounded beyond measure to find 
that the very pronunciation of one syllable had betrayed me 
a second time. While I pondered on this the door opened, 
and a black jsilk nigbt-cap popped itself out. A sallow wiz- 
ened face was under it, and the head it covered, was borne 
upon a narrow pair of shoulders, clothed in a short brown 
woollen jacket, appended to pantaloons of the same, forming 
stockings as well, and ending at the feet in a shabby pair of 
morocco leather slippers. 

<< Walk in, Saor ; walk in, Saer," said the wearer of this 
strange costume, and still stranger |^iz. 

He would have measured about fivf feet and an inch or 
so, and looked a good half-century old. His upper lip was 
horribly embrowned with snuff, and^ he seemed to have but 
two or three straggling teeth in his head. 

" Is your master at home?" asked I. 

" My Got, Saer ! vat you take me for ? I am my master/' 

« I beg your pardon, Sir," cried I ; ** I wish to see the 
yicomte de Vaurien." 

« Why dat is me, my dear Saer, Walk in, Saer.'' 

As he did not seem to wince at my mistake, my '* withers 
were unwrung ;" but any one may imagine my niortificatio!i 
while I contemplated the figure and abode of my anticip<'ite<i 
Cicerone. I shall not touch my readers' sensibility on my 
account, by detailing the appearance of Yaurien's garrr t. A 
truckle-bed, two tottering chairs, a broken deal-tabie, a tar- 
nished mahogany basin-stand, with gilded porcelain basin 
and water-jug cracked and chipped, and standing for show, 
like Goldsmith's celebrated row of broken tea-cups. These 
amd such like commodities, are not matters to enter iot(> a 



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TBB CARNIVAL. 6S 

description meftDtfor the brightest eyes of England. I there- 
fore draw the blankiet (thei^ being neither veil nor curtain at 
handy over the mysteries of the Vicomte's abode. 

A few minutes made us quite known to each other. He 
read my letter with attention, shook my hand with warmth, 
professed himself my most faithful friend and devoted ser- 
vant, and finished many pleasant sayings by begging me, 
with an air of great nonchalance^ to sit down while he took 
bis breakfast. That was soon despatched, for it consisted 
only of a little cup of coffee with* ut cream, which had stood 
simmering in a pipkin by the tire, and a small roll, of about 
the length and consistency of a dried herring, which lay on 
a shelf with the viscount's dressing-apparatus. His repast 
required none of the usual appurtenances of a breakfast- 
table, and being quietly .finished, he begged roe to excuse his 
then makins his toilette. Delighted at an opportunity of be- 
ing initiated into the manoeuvres of a petit matt re de Paris f 
I willingly accorded his pardon. He began by throwing off 
his black cap, and displayed a head completely covered with 
papttlotes^ which he, without shame or ceremony, pulled 
coolly from their respective curls, and folded up in readiness 
for the service of the nijjht. At first sight of him I' thought 
he had been bald, for not a straggling hair wandered on his 
temples Now he had a profusion of dark brown ringlets ; 
and had I not seen the progress of de-f a/)-itation 1 would 
have sworn he had put on a wig, so that he was just as far 
f^om natural appearance one way as the otjier. 

<' Pardon, for two little moments," cried he, squeezing 
my hand in both of his^ as he popped into a closet close by 
the head of hi^ bed. 

In two minutes he was back, but no more like what he 
was before he entered, than I like Hercules. His trans- 
formation was magical — it was " Hyperion to a satyr." A 
rosy flush spread over his face, and seemed faintly fading on 
the tips of his nose and chin, like setting sunbeams on the 
peaks of a mountain. A pair of false whiskers 6f the same 
pattern as his side locks, curled upon his cheeks ; and his 
mouth displayed a regular row of well-set teeth ; while his 
head, in its whole ensemhle^ might be really supposed to 
have just glided gently off the shoulders of a goodk)oking 
fellow of thirty or thereabbuts. 

I started baek. He laughed. << Ha, ha ! vou9 ne me 
eonnaistez paSf^ said he, slapping me on the shoulder; 



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64 PARIS SIGHTS. 

<< my dear Saer, you must not vonder at all dis. Ye French- 
men are enough philosophers to care ver little foe appear- 
aiices in de house, and to know dat 'tis ever ting in de 
street." ' . 

I was so amazed at the metamorphosis, and so pleased 
with the aphorism, which put me so mudi in mind of myself 
and old Quaries, that 1 did not closely observe the process 
of his dressing, which I should otherwise have faithfully re- 
ported. I followed him with my eyes as he went on. but 
fi&w him indistinctly, and heard him chatter without minding 
what he said. Wh^n 1 recovered from my reverie, I ob- 
served him full-dressed all but his coat, wiping the cracked 
gilt basin w^th a towel, and placing it carefully in its proper 
stand. 

<< Mons /" cried he, as he finally settled his collar before 
the looking-glass, and stood revealed in all the perfumed 
bloom of a dashing dandy. ** Now, Saer, shall w« go out 
see de masks on de Boulevards V^ 

'< Masks !" exclaimed I ; << why, it isn't carnival time, is 
it?" 

*' To be sure 'tis," replied he ; " dis is Mardi graz^ de 
gayest of de gay days. Nothing but pleasure, and fun, and 
bosh-posh" 

I may be allowed to mention here, that the vicomte is very 

Eroud of his English, and loses no occasion for displaying 
is familiarity with the niceties of the language, among 
which ^' hosh-posh" is a particular favourite. 

I was electrified at heanng that the carnival was^ really 
going on, for the whole appearance of Paris was really going 
on, for the whole appearance of Paris was so somfrre, so 
muddy, and misty, that f could not imagine any approxima- 
tion to gaiety iu the place or the people. 

" Ahf V0U8 verrez^ vous verrez bientdt," said the vicomte, 
as we descended the stone staircase, picking our steps in its 
perpetual twilight, and directing our course by the iron ban- 
isters. 

Once fairly on the Boulevard, my friend seemed quite in 
hts element ; and though I looked down on him from ai^ ele- 
vation of half a dozen inches, and thought my dress exhi- 
bited a tolerable specimen of style, I confess there was some- 
thing in his swaggering air, fine complexion, floating curls, 
and the red ribbon at his button-hole, that seened to throw 
me into the shade. He talked English loudly all the time, 



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THB CARRITAI.. 65 

proud of displayiog his accomplishmeDt to the ears of his 
couatrymeD ; and his observations were amusing enough* 
The day was gloomy, cold, and comfortless — ^yet the world 
was out. During the hour and half which I bad spent in 
the vicomtf^'s garret, all Pairis seemed to hare been suddenly 
infected with the wish for a walk, ride, or drive. The path- 
way was thronged with pedestrians ; many a mounted ex- 
quisite was cantenng on the centre of the pavement, be- 
tween the rows of carriages going in opposite directions, in 
horizontal analogy to the movements of two buckets in a 
well. These carriages, of all sorts and descriptions, open 
and close, cut a poor figure to a man accustomed to the 
equipages of the Park, There was scarcely one from 
Long Acre to be seen. They were almost all French, 

faudy, shabby, and flimsy; It appeared that though all 
^aris was there,^ yet the confounded weather kept all the 
decent horses at home, for such a sorry collection of jaded 
hacks was never before exhibited in a christian country. 
The masks were few and vile. Now and then a barouche 
hove in sight, crammed with clumsy harlequins, miserable 
mountebanks without a joke, or two or three stupid cari- 
catures of old women, in '* feathery furs and studded sto- 
machers, tippets, cardinals, hoods, and ruffles." A pre- 
tended peasant, here and there, rode silently along ; but 
there was nothing like frolic, or humour, or> happiness. ' The 
Ticomte pointed out to me some well-known characters in 
the carriages which passed ; among others, in his sky-blue 
chariot, his brother vicomte, the romance writer, who has 
described in the heroine of his last work, a better masque- 
rade figure than the whole carnival could produce. '< Charg6e 
de plumes, de fourrures, de fleurs, de pierreries, et de'gaze, 
enveloppee d'un mantel k triple collet, et sa robe bord^e 
d'iroages." I, in my turn, tojd my companion the names of 
a few of my countrymen ; but I saw none who combined 
notoriety with the ludicrous, except the celebrated Squire 
Hold'em-tight, who. mounted on the dicky of a caleche, 
covered with a huge box-coat, whipped along a pair of pitiful 
hacks, and (pufiing his red and bloated cheeks against the 
wind) gave occasion to a group near me to halloo out, <' Foildi 
Voildle bcBuf gras P' — and I certainly never saw a finer 
specimen of John Bullism. 

While the file of carriages was thus dragging, like a 
wounded snake, or an alexandrine, " its slow length aloDg,^ 
F2 



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66 PARIS SIGHTS, 

and every fkce seemed the indes of a melaocholy or a die* 
satisfied miod, the sound of martial music struck upon my 
ear/ and presently several regiments of infantry in full order 
of march, moved along the Boulevards from the direction of 
the Tuileries, where they had been just passed in review, 
preparatory to their departure for the invasion of Spain. A 
train of artillery followed*-^the heavy rolling of the guns 
over tfhe pavement mixing with the clash of the roititary 
bands, bringing to the mind a rush of awful combinations 
touching the tremendous probabilities in which these troops 
were going to be actors. There they were, mingled with 
the fantastic fooleries of the crowd— ^the motley crew of 
masks and mockeries, he*avy hearts and dreary apprehen- 
sions. 1 gazed at the scene with a sarcastic smile and an 
involuntary shudder ; and exclaimed^ as we turned down the 
Rue de la Caix (Napoleon's triumphal pillar staring me in 
the face), ** No, no, there is no step between the «ublicn«> 
and the ridiculous !'' 



LONGCHAMPS^ 



Pleasure is certainly the polar star of a Fri;nchman« 
He is the needle which points to it most faithfully — but one 
that has no variations. North, south, east or west, (foi 
though his magnet shifls, it always preserves its attraction,) 
is quite the same to him. Other men make pleasure a re- 
creation or an enjoyment. It is a Frenchumn's business and 
happiness. His national exaggeration cannot, in, this in- 
stance, go too far, nor far enough. Words have no power 
to express the sensation excited in the breast of a Parisian, 
by the announcement of a fdte, a procession, the spectacle, 
the Carnival, or Longchamps. He looks at the almanack, 
vratches the weather, counts the days, and pants through the 
moments in indescribable agonies of enjoyment. It is as^ 
tonishing with what acuteness he catches up every flying re- 
port, and ascertains every fact, connected with the iumntum 
•(mum of the month or the minute, as the case may be. Ex- 



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LdHOcaAiiPs. 67 

hibitiaos, which take manj weeks and amasung wisdom for 
tiieir airangemeDt, are often suspended or stopped by a sud* 
den caprice, of which the public gets a few hour's notice. 
English travellers, or even those who maj be residents in 
Pans, often cut a foolish figure, hoaxed and mystified hy the 
undesigning frivolity of ministers, mistresses, managers, or 
censors. An announced airing of the king, or the playing 
of the water-works at Versailles or St. Cloud, or the repre- 
sentation of a tragedy at the Fran^ais, or a ballet at the 
Opera, is frequently put off at the very time that the Eng- 
lish part of the population are swallowing their early dinner, 
in danger of choking from fear of being late, stepping into 
thehr carriages, or half way gone to the place of exhibition. 
I have known several of my haughty countrymen, who would 
not confess to being hoaxed even by the whole cabinet coun- 
cil, assert that they saw the king drivibg out, and comment 
upon his looks, on a day that I knew him to be suffering in 
his bed from an indigestion ; and a particularly sensitive ba- 
ronet once gave me a detailed critique on a tragedy, for 
which 1 had seen him take places for himself and family, 
but which was changed for one of Moli^re's comedies, by 
a sudden freak of the censorship, an hour before the rising 
of the curtain. In this case my friend might, to be sure, 
have been honestly deceived ; for I sat in the pit, and saw 
him sound asleep, from the first music to the end of the fifth 
act. 

The weather, also, frequently takes in the English. I 
have seen them of an evening a little misty or threatening, 
but a fine Yauxhall atmosphere, crowding up to Tivoli or 
Beaujon, though the f^te extraordinaire^ fire-works, rope- 
dancing, balloon, elephant, etc, had been all decidedly ad- 
journed, and placarded all over Paris a full hour before. The 
fact is, as I said before, or meant to ^y, we do not make so 
much of these things. We hear of ten intended entertain- 
ment, and we resolve to go to it. We think no more of it 
till the time comes. We employ the interval in otl^er ration- 
al ways — reading, writing, drinking, or what not. Not so 
the Frenchman. He has his mind's eye always on the one 
object He is abstracted from every thing else, but all alive 
to that. He keeps on the fidget etemally ; and looks for 
every shifting of the minister's will as closely as he watches 
every change of the wind — ^for in proportion to a French* 
man's delight at a show is his dread of a shower. Punch 



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68 PARIS 8IOHT8. 

and Judy are not more necessary to his happiness, than an 
I umbrella to his, security. Amusement rules supreme as 
^^ the god of his idolatry ;" but rain divides with ridicule the 
empire over his apprehensions — I ask a thousand pardons, 
his senstbilit^. All this being matter-of-fact, it was quite 
a matter-of-course that my friend Monsieur le Yicomte Yau- 
rien* should present himself, according to appointment, atmj 
lodgings the morning of Longchamps ; and, the morning 
being threatening, it was just as natural that he should ap- 
pear with a brown silk parapluie under hi? arm. 

" My Got, how unfortunate !" exclaimed he as he came 
in, " de vind is veerinsr vesterly." 

*< Yes, a little unlucky, no doubt," said I ; <' but not 
enough to be vexed at. Monsieur le Yicomte— it may clear ' 
up yet." He shook his head despondingly. '* I am quite 
ready," continued I : "is your carriage at the door V* 

*< Yat door ? Got bless my soul, 'tis at de Magasin de 
Foituresdi LouerJ*^ 

*' And how the deuce are we to get to it this raw morn- 
ing T 

'< Diab{e ! ve must valk" — and we did walk accordingly. 
I may here mention, that this appeared as odd as it was un- 
comfortable. The spirit of our contract was, that I should 
go with the vicomte in his carriage : and I therefore (being 
at the time a downright invalid) thought it a curious circum- 
stance that, instead of driving up to my door, he told me 
coolly I should walk to the carriage, instead of the carriage 
rolling towards me. But I thought of Mahomet and the 
mountain, and we set out. 

A dreadful half-hour's promenade through the vvretched- 
cst part of Paris, brought us at length to a sort of bazaar 
for carriages ; and such a collection as presented itself— 

** Barouche and bagg^y, tpndem, random^ 
Jarvey,, gig and whiskey" — 

would have made the fortune of a showman in £ngland; 
We entered the yard, the vicomte first, in due order of pre- 
cedence and propriety. I recollected the good old family- 
coach that first caught my attention at Yaurien's lodgings, 
and I pleased myself into the notion of my approaching 
drive in that rumbling representation of worn-out nobili^ 
tV; heraldic distinctions, and privileges gone by. No abso- 



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tOWOCHAMTS. 60 t 

lute suzerain of the good old times, demanding le droit de 
cuissagCy cbuld have stepped out more boldly to put his spur- ^ 

red and booted le^ into the bed of his new-married vassfil, 
than did i prepare the strut which was to lead to my entrance 
into the family-coach of the Yauriens ; but I looked round 
in vain for this anticipated depository of my pride. I ob- 
served, indeed, ready for immediate use, a miserlible caleche, | 
fastened with the degenerate remains of a truly aristocratic 
cal set of harness to a pair of animals that seemed modell- 
ed from the Rosinante of Don Quixote ; while a scowling I 
and surly-looking driver, miserably dressed, stood beside, 
and threw a look at us as if he did not like his company. 
All this was rather strange ; nor did the aspect of things 
look much brighter from my observifjg my friend the vicomte 
in ardent conversation with a broad-set boisterous woman, ^ 
who <Aras evidently mistress of the place. He seemed elo- 

' queue, and she decided ; and in fact, to let my readers into 
the secret at once, she was, insisting (»n the vicomte's offer- 
ing some security for the hire of the caleche, which was to 
serve as our conveyance to the delights of Longohamps. A 

, word or two explained this to me clearly ; and with ^he vi- 
vacity which men sorpetimes muster up, when they start from ^ 
a fit of castle (or carriage) building, I jumped into the ve- 
hicle, calling out lustily, \ 
" Mons, Monsieur le Ficonte I lAUons^ cocker ! Partons, \ 
partonsP^ ' / 
' '* C^est assez,^^ cried the woman ; " st Monsieur V Anglais f 
Va choisi, c^estbien lui (jui est responsable, Montez^ Fran- 
cois ; montez^ M, Faurien ! Cest une affaire finie.^^ i 

The coachman and the vicomte got up at the word, and 
away we drove ; ray friend endeavouring to smoUier his 
mortification, and 1 doing my best to conceal my observa- 
tion of his embarrassment. He went muttering on, howe- 
ver, every jolt over the pavement giving energetic vibration 
to such expressions as <<Dam beast? Canaille! Hosh- 
posh ! Affront a nobleman!" I let him go on uninterrupted, 
and hstened patiently to his cooler confession, that the car- 
riage I had set tny heart on not beii% his, he was obliged to 
hire one for the day ; and having forgotten the little forma- 
lity of entering mto a written engagement, the wretched 
woman had refused to suffer him to get into the caleche, on 
his remonstrance at her exorbitant demand ; but that my 
being an Englishman was security, she being protected 



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70 ,FARt8 nOHTS. 

without pi^)erfl in her traosactiofW with a foreigner. Thuf 
seemed all so plausible that I swallowed it most credulous* 
Ij, and we drove on ; but after circumstances made roe nb- 
ther anxious to hear the point mooted by some legitimate 
propounder of international law. 

The rain did not fall, luckily for the vieotnte, but most 
unfortunately for me, for the dust rose in whirlwinds, by 
which I was nearly blinded, but to which he seemed quite 
insensible— i-as if ** jVer la pourlre aux yeux** was an opera- 
tion as natural for him to sufier under as to perform. While 
driven along towards the Bois d^ Boulogne he gradually re- 
covered his composure. The world began to be on the 
move. A few early equipages came straggling forward ; 
and the sun darted dovgn his glaring rays upon us, enough 
to raise a smile under any French mustachio, maugre the 
piercing north-east wind, on which the edge of every sun- 
beam seemed sharpened, they cut so keenly. We had near- 
ly reached the terra of our first ctmrse (the site of the an- 
cijent abbey, from which, and the pious processions pf its 
tenants, the degenerate pilgrimage of our day derives its 
name), when 1 was struck by a change of countenance ia 
the vicomte beside me, and by some convulsive twitches and 
contortions in his limbs, that seemed to announce a severe 
nervous attack. 

** My dear friend, you are Unwell, I fear," cned I. 

*' Oh, no, no — 'tis nothing, nothing at all," replied he, 
with a dignified complacency ; — but he kept fumbling at his 
watch-pocket, as if its neighbourhood was the seat of his 
malady. 

" What is the matter, my dear vicomte P^ asked I, im- 
patiently. " Have you lost any thing?" 

'* Oh, noting, noting at ail/' returned he gaily ; ** a mere 
bagatelle —only my vatch ; but "tis no matter.'* 

'* Shall we return and look for it ]'' said I. 

'' Got bless niy soul, no," replied he, with emphasis, 
'^'tis not vorth the vhile. If 'tis lost, 'tis loi«t~dere's end 
of it, you know ; and a Frenchman is toomoHh philosopher 
to care for sosh hosh-posh trifle like dat '' A laugh closed 
the sentence, and I pondered silently upon it. 

The sharp wind, and the jolting of our Mnfernal machine,'* ' 
now began to produce their natural effects— -for a conside- 
rable inclination to eat is the legitimate consequence of air 
and exercise. The vicomte, too, was in want of some- 



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LOffGCHAMFS*. 91 

tiiiog coDBolatorj, and readily agreed to my proposa 

we £ould stop at one of the tent-like conatructions 

tored by the road-aide, and refresh ourselves with soi 

the d fa fourchette temptations of its larder. We 

quickly seated, and as quickly served. A capital frican< 

an unimpeachable omelette, a plate of cold haricot$ bi 

with oil and vinegar, for the vicomte, and a portion oi 

nards au naiurel for myself, were the chief ingredien 

our repast. For our sour and surly tocher^ I ordei 

bottle of vin de Surenne, celebrated for its acidity, h< 

that it would bring him to good humour, on the prm 

that two negatives make an affirmative. He sipp 

growlingly, like a cur picking a bare bone (if I may I 

lowed the Irishism), and I should have moralized de 

no doubt, on his invincible savageness, had not my 8 

tion been excited by the waiter flinging our bill (for wh 

bad called) upon the table, and by the exhibition of i 

symptoms in my friend and boon companion, precisely 

lar to those which had betrayed his anxiety in the carria 

*« What now, vicomte V^ asked I, less anxiously tha 
fore, *' what has got possession of you ?' 

" By Got, 'tis de very deevil !" was the reply, acco 
nied by a most abstracted air and rapid gesticulation.' 

<< Indeed !" s>iid I, ** we must drive him out then. 
a bumper, vicomte." As he took no notice of my 
monsy I did the service for him, and his lefk hand, 

''Raised 

By quick instinciive motion,** 

poured the contents of the glass into their proper reci{ 
but his right kept unceasingly rubbing about the lowe 
tremities of his waistcoat, and had such friction onlj 
lowed the swallowing of the wine it would have been i 
ral enough, for the boisson w^s most execrable, thougl 
nounced to us as " Beaune premiere qualiti,^^ 

** Speak out, my dear vicomte," said I, once more ; ^ 
burthen yourself." 

^< By Got, I am unburdened already," replied he : 
have lost my purse — my money — vingt deux NapoUo 
trots ptices descent sous — sept ou huit francs — et quelque 
tiies piices /" 

The appalling solemnity of this enumeration, and 
prodigiousness of the sum, in comparison with the cir< 



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72 . PARIS 8IOHT0. 

stftDces of the loser, filled me with sympathetic alarm. I 
started up, and swore that I suspected the ill-lookiDg cocker 
of having picked bis pocket as he stepped in and out of the 
carriage. He scouted this idea as impossible I then 
turned the battery of my accusations upon a couple of 
« spunry mechanics," who were regaling themselves at a 
table beside us, and proposed calling in the pohce for a ge- 
neral search. This the vicomte would not listen to for a 
moment, saying aloud, with great feeling, and his hand plac- 
ed on his breast, 

** Je cannuu trop l^honneur Francais ; je n^accuse per^ 
soffunt ; $i le sort m* a fait perdre cent somme inconntUrahle^ 
c^eit perdu : voM tout ! But, my deat Saer," added be in 
English, and in a subdued tone, *' have de goodness to pay 
de bill, if you please." 

On these words he stalked towards the caldche with a veiy 
imposing and rather awful demeanour, leaving me to ex- 
plain to the waiter and the other listeners the cause of his 
magnanimous expressions. I paid the bill, and rejoined the 
representative of the noble race of the Vauriens, with very 
elevated notions of his philosophy, and profound respect for 
himself and his whole family to the remotest generation. 

We soon re-entered the line of carriages, and proceeded 
at the regulation snail's-pace adopted on these occasions. 
My contemplation of the vicomte, who was in a moment as 
lively, as chatty, and as much at his ease, as if he had found, 
instead of losing, twenty guineas and agold watch, prevented 
me from paying much attention to the unmeaning and unih- 
teresting procession in which I made one, and which annu- 
ally sets all Paris in a flutter, and may be called lafite par 
excdlenQe of milliners, mantua-makers, and backney-coach-i 
men. This spectacle of Longchamps is, of all others, the 
most stupid and the most devoutly worshipped of the peri- 
odical frivolities of Paris. No one of any fashion could pre- 
sume to hold up his or her head for the rest of the year, if 
they did not, on this all-fool's day, occupy a seat in some 
kind of vehicle, and sit up for hours to be stared at in the 
open air, by the walking population of the capital. On the 
particular occasion which I describe, the crowd of carriages 
was inconceivable. But the day was not kindly. The aun 
was hot and the air raw. The year and the season did not 
pull together. The first was advanced, but the other back- 
ward—just like the ludicrous imitation of an English equi- 



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jiage which fi|»ied before fne— ra moostrou? UtteandgiUeil 
caricature of loe Lord H^yor'a coac)i» dragged by foos old 
white horses, the leadera and wheelers pulung most obsti- 
nately in di^rent directions, to the great amusement of the 
crowd, and the horrible discomfiture of the old aristocratical 
couple within, their clumsy postillions, with cocked hats and 
huge jack-hoots, and the two footmen, io.tbeur scarlet cloaka 
and yellow plush breeches of the true cut and pattern of the^ 
Slide de Louis XV* This was the most barefaced revival of 
the ancien regime ; but there were many minor attempts, 
and much laughable absurdity of our own day ; — the train of 
king's pages, for instanee, on their piebald horses, and in a 
most quizzical costume, with various laughter-moving efforts 
to look English on the pert of the other equestrians, both 
masters aadj^oans. 

The whole thing had die air of » forced production. The 
white dresses of the ladies were out of all keeping with the 
coldness of the weather^ and a profusion of artificial flowers 
in their bonnets looked quite preposterous, when compared 
wi(fa the- leafless Iwanches of the trees that stretched their 
skeleton arms across the Boulevards. I was out of patienoe 
at the whole display ; yet not so much annoyed by the folly 
of the mvltitude, as indignant at the meanness with whioh 
they submitted to be swore at, and rode over, and shoved, 
and jostled,, and commanded, and abused, by. some dozens 
of mounted gens d'armes — those military masters of the 
ceremonies, whose wand of office is the bare blad^ of n 
sakHre, who give curses instead of courtesy, and put feam of 
despotism uid tyranny into the hearts that should b« filled 
with associations of joy. What hope can there be ^ auch 
a people? thought I. But hold ! I am afraifl I h^e got to 
the length of my tether : and if I give myself coore rope I 
may get hanged, or guillotined, or sometbii^ ^^ ^^ ^^ 
one fine morning. 

I sat it out till six o'clock. lioss I'Ould not satisfy the 
vicomte, and the coachman repelle^^ my efibrt to quit the 
calSohe. He insisted on my remaining until* it was deli- 
vered We and sound into *f 0^ place from whence it came.'' 
I was, therefore, obliged (o suffer half a day's martydom, 
which may partly account for my disapproval of the show j 
and having paid the woman forty franos, (beipg double the 
common price, en account of the fdte), I parted .with the 
vicomte— for ever, I do believe. U^ gave me a squeeae of 

Vol. II.— G 



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74 PABIS SIGHTS. 

the hand, uriiich was forebodiDgl^ forcible, and an assurance 
tliM he woald come the next morning to settle his share of 
our dqr's expenses, a promise whith he most faithfally re- 
membered to forget And it vtmy be well to add, that when 
I called on him two days afterwards, the old portress told 
me he had gone into the country for some weeks ; and to 
my inquiry if he had recovered his watch and money, she re- 
plied by a turn on her heel, slamming the door in my face^ 
and the emphatical utterance of the interjection *< Bah !" 



HORSE RACES— FETE OF ROSIERE-^AINT 
LOUIS'S DAY. 



It is in vain to attempt a separate notice of all the Paris 
sights. They come like blushing honours, <* thick upon 
me ;" and drive me out of my pitifol retail business into a 
line of wholesale combinations. Horse-racing, ballooning, 
dnmkenness, La Rosiere, and La St. Loqis, make but an 
odd jumble, I must confess. It is, like that of a modem 
work, <<rank confusion in the orders of precedence''— but 
no matter ; symmetrical arrangement must not be t^xpected 
from a head which the last month's varieties have set spin- 
ning Vke a merry-go-round. The sun, that so long refused 
to shinyhas at length burst out, and warmed into life all 
the epheicmral enjoyments of France. Before their flut- 
terings sub^e into the winter's inanity, I must endeavour 
to pluck a fewv^ those innumerable feathers which compose 
their butterfly wWs. I have been at about twenty fiStes 
and fairs within a m^h ; and bemg completely disburthened 
of the friendship, anoVyisn presence, of my quondam asso- 
ciate De Yaurien, I was driven out upon the stormy so- 
litudes of public places and avkbuitmn pleasures. I was for 
many days tossed about on << the multitudinous sea ;" borne 
along the moving wave^ of the crowd; carried forward by 
the ^e of the popular breath (not over << spicy," to be 
sure) like any other privateer or pleasure-barge running 
)^9adyH:igged before the wind. Continuing this maritime ftl- 



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HORSB-RACIliO, 75 

luflion to, mjf punoits, I must coafess in this capacity my 
manifold OTOQces in my cruise after curiosities. Maiqr ti 
thousand have I crushed of those 



** VVbe, modesty crimson-tipped flower8»" 
as Bums has it— or 

*^ These floores while and t«de, 

Such that men callea daisies,** 

according to Chaucer— when hringing mjself to an anchor, 
OB beds 



** Of daisies pied, and violets blue, 

And ladyamocks all over white. 

And cuckoo bads of yellow hue," 

as Shakspeare says — I have, upon getting under sail again, 
had the variegated reproaches of many a murdered flower, 
staring in the face — any one who happened to follow me. It 
really grieved me to the heart, to witness and partite in 
these floral depredations ; and it is positively one of the 
chief evils of that propensity for everlasting dance, whieh 
entitles this nation to have St. Vitus for its patron, that there 
is not a spot of meadow or pasture-ground round the capital 
sacred from the trespasses of << Le Qivalier 5ett2," << Chas$ez 
deux" ^* La chaine AnglaUe^" and such like boisterous ve^ 
tuiders. The fact is, that no man likes a f(&te better than 
I do. Once and away, a rural party of joyous peasants, oc 
a group of gay grisettesy tripping it — not on the gr«en, alas! 
but on " the russet lawn or fallow grey," if you will— is as 
pleasant a sight as one could wish. 

I delight in dancing, but then I love moderation, and I 
hate excess, coupled with which, pleasure is (like the pa« 
nishment of What's-his-name, the tyrant of old) a living body 
joined to a dead carcass. Now the French, at this season, 
at least, think of no^/itng butfiltes, and do nothing but dance* 
AU the world goes caperiog, and there is no fear of treason 
certainly, for every one seems to have ** music in his soltJ*\ 
A working-day must be a delightful holiday, I am sure, when 
they can, without being singular, put their feet at full length 
qpon the ground, for at present, all, young, old, well or ail« 



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76 PARIS SIGHTS. 

Bg, are fitmi Sunday morning to Saturday night << on the 
light (kntastic toe"— ^ex^sept one hideous fat old woman, who 
nearly crushed the corn of my left foot with the tread-milt 
pressure of her heavy heel the other day, at the horse-races 
in the Champ de Mars. And this reminiscence brings me 
round quite naturally to my subject. 

Horse-racing, then, in France, is precisely what opera* 
dancing is in England, or opera-singing in America. None 
of them are indigenous to the soil ; the natives are not cut 
out for such exercises of the arm, the leg, or the voice. 
The performers must all be imported ; for the home-breed, 
in their various ways, are too much or too little refined for 
the several accomplishments. It ever will be thus in coun- 
tries so remote in manners and institutions. The social soil 
caa never be ploughed, nor the national feelings harrowed 
up, 80 as to bring forth the fruits, which are looked on as 
the productions of a barbarous or a degenerate clime. Would 
John Bull give his Newmarket for L'Acad6mie Royale de 
Husique — for which last word read danse ? Not he ! any 
more than an independent Yankee would barter his hard- 
eluiied liberty, for the emasculated refinement that 

^ Squeaks and gibbers iQ the Roman streets.** 

For my part, I am always happy to see a people ga2ing 
with pleasure, in the heart of their capital, on an exhibition 
of foreign skill, which they, nevertheless, most heartily 
despise. It is a proof of independence of feeling ; of a no- 
tion of self-superiority in matters of importance, without 
which no people can be gi*eat : and, above all things, it sa- 
tisfies me that, in my time at least, there is no danger of 
those distinctive features being rubbed off, which keep all 
countries from becoming (the most abhorrent of improve- 
ments to my mind) one great, undistinguishable, monstrous 
family. I love to hear an Englishman allow the French to 
be the best dancers, and a Frenchman acknowledge us to be 
the best boxers in the world. There is something so mtf re in 
the fist, and so unso/!«/icated in the latter ; and the admis- 
sion is always made with with so truly bational a toss of the 
head, or shrug of the shoulders, as the case may be ! Yestris 
and Paul, kicking their heels against the fly-scenes of the 
Opera-house, are objects of high delight and deep contempt 
t6 the applauding English audience*— while Tom Cribb or 



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H<|IIS£«RACING. 77 

Rvniially making their best display in the Champs Elys^eSi 
would amuse the Parisians, while they pronbunced the pu* 
gilists to be barbarians. These > national incongruities are 
all as they should be. What we are proud of, the French 
despise, and vice vtrsA^ We are, like our roast beef, too m* 
derdone and too plain for their palates ^ and they, like their 
'fricassees, too unsubstantial and too 'saucy for ours. It is 
just at morally impossible for Jphn Bull and Monsieur do 
GrenouiUes 4o have the same notions of politics and plea- 
sures, as it is p^tzicaUy impossible that they cpuld resemble 
each: other in features or complexion. As to horse-racing, 
in which we excel, it is a matter of course that the French 
should botch it. To succeed in such a pursuit, men must> 
of all things, love the country, and have a relish for rural 
pleasures* Of them the Frenoh gentry know little or no- 
thing, beyond transplanting their natural productions to tho 
towns ; and probably the greatest burlesque existing is the 
annual exhibition of horse-racing in the capital of France—* 
from the simple reason, that the actors and the spectators 
have 90 sympathy in common. The place, too^ appropriated, 
but not adapted, for the race, is enough to destroy all en- 
joyment ef it ; and has been chosen only froraf a stupid re- 
volutionary imitation of the ancient Romans, wjio held their 
Fasta EquirisB in' the Campus Martiusl Instead of a smooth 
and level turf, against which, with us, the noble aninoals 
strike their elastic limbs, aad bound alo^g in grace and 
beauty to .the goal, here they plough through an immense 
bed of sand, labouring and panting, and covered with a coat 
of dust and sweat, js^ed and disheartened, and looking any 
thing, .4n short, but what one expects in a '* high-mettled 
racer." Such as the thing is, it is almast wholly in the 
hands of Englishmen. A French jockey rarely appears ; 
and the only gratifying object, to my eyee, in the display, 
was the knowing air with which the riders moun*^ their 
steeds, and gave them their preparatory eanter iii^ough the 
ranks of gaping spooneys about them. It was^musing,,too, 
(though somewhat humiliating from its ailtiXngUsh look) to 
see the winners of the prizes, two thoroy^^bred horsedeak 
ers, with all the blunt and rather slaqgi^^h air of their pro- 
fession, lead their respective horses Mp to the foot of the bal- 
cony (from which the Duchess of Berty superintended the 
Bcene)) preceded by a band pfmusic^ and escorted by a 
itroop of borse-grenadiers. I did not ij^uch like to see my 



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7S PARIS SIOHIVI. 

tiro countfymeii twirliag their hats in one hand, stuffing tbe 
other into their breeches-pockets, and locking ahogetber so 
coofbundedly gauche in the presence of <Mes augustos por- 
sonnages*'' I could'not help smiling, however, when they 
tdOk their silver coffee»pot and ewer away in triumph under 
their arms ; and as they gave their several scrapes of the 
foot, and bobbed their bows up to the balcony, and turned 
off upon their heels, I thought I distinguished on each of 
their countenances an expression that seemed to say, ^ All 
my eye, Bsotty Martin !" 

Next came Mademoiselle Oamerin and her balloon ; and 
they were much more to the taste of the spectators— she 
gracefully bowing and looking gaily ; it moving along, gmo- 
dy, inflated, and « full of emptiness.'' Up she sailed upon 
her aerial voyage, not to go round the world/but merely (a 
hard task, alas !) to get above it ; and if a man miiy judge 
of his fellows by his own feelinirs or' their faces (roost un- 
certain tests, I allow), there was scarce a looker-on who did 
nOt^ in the enthusiasm of the moment, wish to be yoked in 
the car with the adventurous nymph, ** fat, fair, and forty,'^ 
as she looked to be. 

. I had long had a desire to atsi»t (as we say in France) at 
lafiu de la Roti^re, Early associations, boyish imaginings, 
Madame de GenUs, and other delusions, had fixed this in- 
clination deep in my mind. Pastorality and purity, inno- 
cence and ingenuousness, and such animating alliteratiofis, 
floated before me, and, as might be expected, prepared me 
for— 4in otter disappointment. I had gone to the d^nip de 
Martf my brain crammed, like a Yorkshire newspaper, with 
the anticipated joys of < horse-racing, and I came away 
knocked up like a sorry hack — there are various kinds, read* 
er, as the bookscillers could tell you. I went to the fl^ie of 
the Rosiere, my head as full as a flower-pot of bloom and 
fragranbo. and I returned with every expectation as withered 
as the faae4 wrea<th that adorns the image of the Virgin over 
the porch of ^uresne church. There never were such cruel 
pains taken by &0ur6 with or without the commands of his 
superiors, to rendtr common- place and unpopular an insti* 
tution full of sense and sentiment, as have been taken in the 
j^resent instance by th« Cur6 of Suresne. The f%te of la. 
Rostdre, established on Uie basis of national feeling and 
frue morality, was in its or^ meant to reward witfi a gar- 
land (ftdl as bonoumble per r^as a blue ribbon) the girl of 



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I-£TC PB tk AOUERE. 98 

the village, who combioed.the best life with the most gnee- 
fill liemeaneur. To-day the whole matter, if I am rightly 
informed (aod I beg that this clause may be a Mving one), 
has become an afiair of paltry intrigue and parfy prejudice. 
The fortunate maiden last, year was the daughter of the 
maire ! Now, though I would no more exclude thejiroge- 
ny of a maire from the right to Ihe Rosiere, any more than 
the prize of the horse-race, I think the public fuDctionaiy 
ought not to. have let his daughter enter the lists, lest the peo- 
ple might silppose his situation to have some influence in her 
success. They think so at Suresne, I can assure him ; but 
the discontent is at its height this summer, from the Cure 
havinf^ refused the claims of all the girls of the village who 
could be convicted of having gone to a f^ie or a dance dur- 
ine the year ! Imagine this in France-H>n the banks of the 
Seine»^within sight of Parts ! It is the most preposterous 
inn^ation of modem ^urationsy for it strikes at the yery 
root of national manners and character. A French girl en* 
titled^ be crowned Bbsi^re in proportion as she is ignorant 
of <* Bsdaneer and Rigadoon !" — why it is worthy of John 
Knox, who did not deal harder with Mary, his gay-manner^ 
ed and French-hearted queen, than this Gur6 with his virgia 
parishioners. There were, as may bo supposed, scarcely 
any candidates ; for the favoured maiden, instead of being 
^< one in a hundred,'^ was, of course, only one out of four 
or five ; and these no doubt the pious waU-fiowtrt of for- 
mer balUrooms, who, unable to ^et a flesh and blood part- 
ner in a mortal quadrille, have been forced to «raltz through 
the year with the memory of some deadand-gone saint of 
the second century. Mademoiselle Julienne, something or 
other, may, therefore, arrange her ^rland before the look- 
ing^lass, without exciting the least envy in the majority of 
her fellow-villagers. 

As for me, I turned from the contemplation of these puny 
contentions to the overwhelming enjoyments of ^^ La Saint' 
Lmiis,^^ Hercj thought I, I shall see something worthy of 
the i^uine filte of religion and royalty combined. Saint ^ * 
Xoms.and King Louis are to be celebrated together to-day ^' 
—the throne and the altar— regal splendour with christian 
piety-— aU the national virtues consecrating a few of the na- 
tional vanities^^-eivili^ and sobriety walUng hand-ioJiatd 
with graoefulBess and gaiety I Thai was something like a 
. combination for an amateur of iiites ;«hbo away 1 tnidlgedia 



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92 FARIS StGBTfl. 

king could be honoured, or a saint be glorified, or a man be 
bettered, or Heaven^ be pleased, by such a scene ! 

I pondered all this so deeply, walked so fast, and used 
such energetic action as I inwardly debated, that I saw I 
had attracted the remarks of some of the agents of that 
multocular monster — ^the Police; and fearing to be taken 
up for a malcontent, I wheeled away through die trees, and 
took French leave of the phce. 



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BELGIAN SKETCHES. 



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INTRODUCTION. 



TlEiB {o\\6wing papers are no more than they proj 
be, sketches of a country which I have not knowi 
enough to know it well. I have, however, seen 8u( 
of the world to know the fallacy of first impressions ; 
am, therefore, cautious in forming opinions of natioi 
cept on points of mere external physiognomy. In 
duals, even these may be made subservient to their d 
on the observer ; but a whole populatiota cannot ohai 
face for the purpose of deception. . There are certain 
ing features peculiar to a pebple. When they appeal 
they are not, the deception is engendered in the br 
the observer. He^ sees things undior influences purel 
sonal; he is affected by^pre-conceived opinions; and 
sures the objects he looks at, by the scale of his own c 
cations, not by their quahties. No wonder, then, that 
learned and estimable authors are mistaken on self-^e 
points, and thousands of travellers afler them, who 1 
take things for granted, and look at them with othe 
than their own. The generality of writers of <' visit! 
'* tours," following in single file, like Indian warriorci 
hostile expedition, know nothing to the right or left 
path, each being only mindful to tread in his predecc 
track. They thus form their notions of character 
sources where it does not in reality exist ; they misUil 
composed materials for masses of solid cbmbination 
believe that they depict a nation when they describe i 
tropolis. 

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86 INTBODUCTIOir. 

Anpther miBtake of most authors appears to me their 
readiness to notice faults of character, in preference to me- 
rits. They slide over the smooth sward of bational virtues, 
without remark ; but cannot see a pebble on their path with- 
out making it a stnmbling blotk. They prefer what is sin- 
gular and striking to that which is general and passive* 
They find the former in national defects^ for these* like in- 
dividual failings, stand out in full relief. They are the 
'< beaked promontones,^'' against wliich mopt voyagers are 
afraid of striking, which they describe with a sudder, and 
fly from without examining. But each juttmg rock is fur- 
nished with its beacon, not only to warn the stranger of 
peril, but to light him to safety in many a verdant recess. 
In the French revolution, for instance, the most marked ob- 
jects, view it from what point we will, are its crimes. But 
if we boldly enter on the scenes of their commission, how 
much redeeming softness, what a fund of downy virtues 
niay the mind repose on, to save us from misanthropy, and 
teach us to be men. 

But ju^ allowance is rarely made for the faults of na- 
tions. We forget tbat^hey often spring from the elements 
of purity -*- that a primitive virtue may run into excess — 
that a spark of brightness may be blown into a conflagra- 
tipn. Alarmed and offe tided at the glare, we would extin- 
guish it entirely, and leavq ourselves in the dark. It is not 
be.Uer to soften the light, than smother it ? — to shade our 
eyes, than completely, close thpm? — to leave ouj-s^lves at 
least the means of seeiing our way through the labyrinth in 
which we are se)f-involved ? 

To come at the real, distinctive character of a nation is a 

matter of great difficulty : it is formed of such varying 

shades — §uch infinite blendings — so camekon like in the 

ahifting.accidents of its moral atmosphere ! It is. easy to 

talk of fixed principles, and unbending distinctions. • yfbete 

are they to be found 1 In individuals ? Shew me the mind 

that moy not be warped by circumstances — the nation that 

tnu^r pot be changed by events. Are the English people 

what they were before the reformation — the French the 

.sfime as before the revolution ? And what may not Greece 

J becoipe .again in the splendid renovation that awaits her ? Or 

,J[Teland, in the gradual removal of that mass of misrule, 

which still covers her prostrate energies ? 

But this, perhaps, is *< wandering from the record." I 



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IITTRODUCTIOV. 87 

1- 

have.now to deal with Bel^um; and to no countiy in 
Europe do most of the foregoing observations &pp1y more 
strongly. It is, t thiok^ every way Undervalued By travellers. 
An inconceiivable ignorance as t6 iti capahiKties, even to its 
very boundaries,''' is obsetvable in meitiy works upon it. 
Writers of' mmance can find no matter for their pens, and 
seem, with one truly brilliant exception, f to abandon it in 
despair. I nevertheless conceive it to be rich in subjects of 
great variety ; and see in its many incon;;ru6us peculiarities 
abundant materials for illustration. I by no nieans attempt 
' to say that I have been able to avail myself of thetn. They 
are objects that catch the eye of the traveller, but which the* 
hand of the sojourner alone can reach. ' 
• I admit that there is much that is repulsive at, first sight : 
many faults that shew nothins; evidently redeeming. A 
Spaniard throw?* an air of chivalry into hfs fanatici$m-^the 
bigotry of a Belgian is as dull as it is gross. An Irishman 
<< disguised*' amuses b\ his humour ; the bright spirit of 
his whisky evaporates in fun or fii^rhting. The drunken 
Belgian is besotted as well as brutified — he is but a ferment- 
ed beer barrel. The avarice of a Dutchman is based on 
calculation — that of a Belgian on jcunning. The petty 
cheateries on the road, the impositions of the swaroi of 
blood-suckers that fastens on the traveller, are the plodding, 
realities of roguery. A picturesque highwayman, or senti- ^ 
mental pickpocket, never appears. £lsewhere one is cheated 
sometimes ; but here one never escapes. I met with more 
exactions, I lost more articles of dress, in a few months 
rambling through Belgium, than in twice as many years 
of travelling and residence in France. Yet, after all, I 
maintain that there is much of individual and natural good 
to be found, by those who will take the pains to seek it — and 
I (like my countryman ) think ** the trouble a pleasure." 

The Belgians are reproached by strangers with having no 
ns|(tional character. Their native writers labour hard to prove 
that they have two or three I acknowledge myself to 
believe that they neither have, nor can yet have, any so 
marked and settled, as to be considered peculiarly their onrn. 
Centuries of subjection to vario us European powers, all 

* Les Pastes Universels slate the geographical divisions of Belgium to be 
precisel^r vrhat they ^tre under the Austrian dominion. 
f Qaentin Durward. 



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88 ISTRODUCTION* 

widely oppoAite to each other in manners and customsi h^ve 
left amcHig' the Belgians .evident traces of inconsistency, 
modified by time, and by one brief and brilliant era of li^ 
berty* The taint of each separate tyranny blends with th^ 
bright colouring of freedom ; and their faults combine with 
courage, humanity, industry, and pnde. 

The Netherlands form at this moment a new country ;^ 
and their various provinces are, for the first time, an ac- 
knowledged, independent, unconUtted BtAXe. In this aspect 
they become a subject of peculiar interest. They possess 
moral varieties proportioned to their chequered scenery. 
They know their own hmitii, their masters, and their laws. 
Under the inspiring influences of a constitutional govern- 
qaent, a liberal king, and a gallant heir-apparent, they take a 
present stand, and promise a continued place among *' the 
nations ;" and they inspire me at once with interest and in- 
cUnation to sketch the outlines of a portrait which some, 
abler hand will, in time, fill up and finish. 



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THE FRONTIER^ 



Tab view from Mount Casael, on the northern frontier df 
France, is, I believe, unequdled in its kind. Prospects of 
Ktfiniteiy greater vnrioty, aadconseqiientlybf superior beaa- 
ty, abound even in France. England possesses landscapes, 
seen from many an eminence, of more isolated ricfiness. 
Mountam scenery, in all countries, leave it no chance of 
comparison in point of actual extent — but it is nevertheless 
unrivalled. 

The eye, taking in a circuit of about twenty miles depth 
from the point of observation, but particularly directed to- 
wards Belgium, reposes on a mass of vegetable wealth, a 
profusion of deep green, which might rival the savannahs 
on '' Susquehanna's Side." This luxury of foliage marks 
the scene as one of nature's most fertile districts ; and man 
has not been less prodigal in proofs of his preference. Up- 
wards of thirty townis, and thrice as many villageSi distin- 
guisbablo firom the eminence, shew that civilization has long 
been established in these verdant plains ; and we may fancy 
the immense population that swarms over the teeming soil. 

It is this combmation which forms the extraordinary 
charm of the prospect. It is the vastness and the wealth 
united — ^the evidences' of fertility and industry — tho alliance 
between nature and art. But almost all that constitutes 
beauty in a landscape is wanting. There are trees and 
spires — ^that is all ; and these in such monotonous profu- 
sion that they soon fatigue the sight. Thero are no rivers ; 
not a hill except the one we stand on ; no visible ruins ^ no 
contrast, in short, no variety — ^and, without that, what?i^w 
is beautiful ? / 

H2 



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90 BCLGUV 8UTCBES* 

No sooner is the first burst of astonidimeat fione by — 
and such is certainly excited — than we begin to find fault 
with the scene ; and what caused such wholesale surprise 
we^iostantly depreciate in detail. In the broad plain of ver- 
dure we see only what is '' flat and stale," thotigh we can- 
not in conscience add '< unprofitable." The thin veil of ra- . 
pour, which seemed a fine spun tissue, xovering the fertile 
soil, now takes the aspect of an unwholesome mist, engen* 
dering disease, and shrouding death. The spires Which 
rise up around seem emblems of aa insolent religion, lord- 
ing it over the land. Nothing, strikes us as romantic, wild, , 
or picturesque ; and we prepare to plunge into this low re- 
gion already tired of its monotony, and half sufibcated by 
anticipation in its marshy atmosphere. 

It matters Httle to the readbr when it was that I stood on 
Mount Cassel, or whether it was on my first visit or my last 
that the sensations arose, which I, with the license of au- 
thorship, have supposed common to all ; or whether ray 
feelings received their colouring /rpm, or imparted it to the 
scene. But however different persons might be variously 
affected by its individual peculiarities, there is one feeling 
which I am sure is general, not confined to the immediate 
spot which I describe, but arising on every view taken of a 
rich and pastoral landscape in solitude^^and more strongly, 
in proportion as the weather ts mild and the atmosphere se- 
rene. I mean the deep melancholy which steal?} upon the 
mihd while contemplating a prospect unanimated by human 
beings, and unassociated with feelings of local attachipent. . 
All its beauties secern steeped in pensiveness, and an undefin- 
able heaviness weighs the Spirit down. Yet we do not Che 
less enjoy the scene. Its charms are felt, perhaps the 
deeper, frOm the accompanying sadness in which they. seem 
involved. The brighter the sun, the more powerful these 
. iiensations. If the distant hum of villages, or the chiming 
^f church bells, come swelling on the air, they but add to 
the depression ; and it is then the mind is most prone to 
long for those distant objects of affection, far beyond its 
covetous grasp, and who alone are wanting to turn the op- 
pressive scene into a paradise of joy. 
I;t was a glorious morning in midsummer, when I des- 
" oeaded the paved causeway that winds round the hill ; and> 
soon losing sight of the suburbs of Cassel, I was entering 
one of the passes of the vast and populous plain, which did 
not contain a thing to excite tny interest^ nor a being whom. 



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TBK VBOHTIfift. 91 

' 1 1uk9W. As I hsd no pardeular object bat to break new 
ground f I cared not whether I turned to the right or the 
left ; and unfariiished with itinerary» map, or guide, it was 
totally by chance that I took the road to Popehnguesi the 
nearest town within the Belgic frontier. 

Approaching the Coafinea of a new country, one oatiirally 
becomes watchful «nd anxious for the distinctive marks 
; .which are to tell you that you have quitted the old. We 
I expect, at least, to find in the natives the proud consciousness 
of a line of demarcation, on one side -of which the^ may 
stan^p the imprint of their home-born attachment, and on the 
I other, if needs be, fix their foot in prompt invasion of the 
foreigner. SoUnd policy in governments would surely en- 
courage a separate /«e/m;^, although the dilTereuce were as 
unreal as the imaginary line that divides the globe. For 
^ national /I r«;Wi CM are not more odious than national </u* 
I tinctiontt are wise* People divided from each other, by a 
f sea, a river, a chain of mountains, or even a rivuiet^ as the 
Spanish and Portuguese, are totally distinct in character and 
habits, because they c^n point out their boundary ; and, 
fancying some mai;ic in the visible limit, attribute to the soil 
or the climate (which are the very same) results' that arise 
, from opposing mstitutions, founded on the feeling of a se- 
; parate independence. Their pride is thus blended with the 
love of country ; while hatred and contempt of the neigh- 
bour that is the rival, and mty become the foe, seem the 
natural consequence — the dross in which the ore is enveloped. 
To shake off the one and preserve the other, to foster a ge* 
tierous rivalry and discourage a brute enmity, should be the 
true him of civihzation, and the great object of good go- 
, vernmeot. But to give a people these feelings, in relation 
to their neighbours and themselves, a marked and evident 
boundary between them seems essential. Napoleon main- 
I tained that the Rhine was the natural limit of France. It, 
or some other as decided, most certainly is, in the point of 
\ . view in which I consider the question. But the mockery 
of a separation, which exists between the Netherlands and 
^France, is wholly destructive of the feelings I advocate, and 
actually blends the natives ao completely together, that the 
very potion of ti frontier seems absurd. 

Trudging along the sandy defile which leads from Cassel 
to l^operiiigttes, I vainly inqaired for the frontier line. The 
ibrmer town having been, until the last divisieii of this pvt 



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92 BELGIAN SKETCHES. 

of Europe, included in Flanders, althooghit is now^ in France^ 
Flemish is spoken there exclusively, except fer ^e accom" 
modation of strangers. As I advanced int6 the country, tfa^ 
peasants understood no other language, and I was hard set 
to work my way, with the scanty knowledge I possessed. 
Not one of those I questioned was able to ascertain or 
describe the object I asked after. Some gave me to un- 
derstand that they did not understand me. Others told me I 
was stHl in France — but that, if I continued my journey, I 
should infallibly reach Belgium. One man explained the 
frontier to be a narrow drain, cut in the soil somewhere 
therenbouti; but as to the exact spot, that I could not 
divine* 

I at length gave up the point, and went forwards, through 
fertile tracks of what looked, notwithstanding its high state 
of cultivation, like reclaimed swamp, which sent up teem- 
ing crops of com, flax, and tobacco, while hop plantations 
were thickly scattered around. The whole scene was rich, 
to exuberance. It was utterly cloying. It was ** a land 
pf honey,'' in which one's feet seemed to stick. The air 
was damp and clammy. The heavy smell of the flax, as it 
lay soakiqg in the stagnant pools, brought with it the worst 
associations of ill health. Ague and fever seemed abroad 
— and t hurried on, as if escaping from a lazar-house. 



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I 



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NATIONAL TRAITS. 



While I thus tradged od, oppressed with heat and that 
^fibcation of feelings which I attempted to describe in my 
last sketch, I foaAd a very important, though rather com- 
mon-place, sensation stealing on me, in the giiise of a down- 
right fit of hunger. A houiie opportunely presented itself 
at the road side, with a broad announcement that there was 
no sacredness in it ; but that all comers might, at all times, 
violate its sanctuary. A smartly painted board, fixed over 
the door, spoke thus plainly^ 

** Uisa VBRKOOFT fltElf DRANKE^ 
** En LOOiP.RT tffiN TC VOGT CNTE PEItRD."* 

*^ If," thought I, '''the todtring be as neat a^the boards a 
^ weary traveller may be well off in this hut : but who wouU 
be, of all callings on earth, a publican t— himself the slave 
of every passer by, while the very ;)ene/r< i/tV of his home is 
common to the commonest fellow who shakes the dUst off 
his shoes over the threshold ?" 

^ Give roe a glass of beer V* said I, in lordly illustratioa 
of my moralizing, and in very good Flemish, although it was 
bat plahi Bn^ish. 

*^ Ta, Mynheer,^' said a clumsy wench, ^ving me the li- 
quor. 

" Brooed !" said I. 

« Ya, Mynheer." 

«* Booter !" 

<* Ta, Mynheer ;"— and she accordingly placed before me 
a lump of sak butter, and a hoop of coitrse bread, which, 
might have been used as a Brobdtgnagian wedding-ring, ani 
served for separate maintenance afterwards. I got through 
my repast, which was eked out by a piece of abomlnaMi 
]>titch qheese, as quickly as possible, for I was thoroughlf 
tired of my company — ^four or five boorish fellows, eveif 



« Liqtior iold here, 
And loaeuie for into sad besst. 



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06 8CLLI6AV SKgTCHM. . 

bows which give to our coachmeo such a pecoKa iiidi?i* 
inMjn Tour Bdgittra driver, anugly sealed in the comer 
of his eahridet, do«s not fatigoe his neck, nerves, *or mm* 
cles hy exertions tike these. An open look of recbgnitioQ^ 
or guttural .grunt or two. Is all that he deigns to bestow on 
hii9 friends as he goei ; but on his ttium he is sure to SnA>k)e 
a pipe, and drink a draught of beer, at every house that will 
afford fire for the first, and hospitality enough for the second* 
But in general, there is a roatter-of-fiu:t, road-book kind of 
accuracy about these fellows. They give joo information as 
the pump gives water : you must eternally ply the bimdte^ 
and they go at a jog-trot that would tire the patience of any 
one but their horses,^ Three miles an hour, in a by-road, is 
their regular pace. They are phlegmatic to the last degree* 
Nothing can upset them, any more than their vehide ; and 
both one and the other are so used to the rough work of 
life, that the easy indifference with which they jog along is 
quite a nuisance to a man who cannot so patiently endure it. 

Daring the time that I observed the very different kind of 
animal from those which I have been describing, and won* 
detitig how he could belong to such a gtnu$^ he, of course, 
took his mental measure of me. He eyed me sharply for 
a minute or two, jogging on beside me as I walked along, 
and bumming his retain all the while ; at length, pulling up, 
knd comiog to a full stop^ he said^ touching the tassel of his 
cap by way of salutation — 

" Well, Sir, I can only say that if you were driving this 
return cabriolet,; and I walking up to my ankles in this con- 
founded road, I should not, most assuredly, let you pass roe 
without asking for a place." 

Following his example, I called a halt, and replied, that I 
preferred walking to going at a snail's pace in such a vehicle. 

*' Why, to be sure," said he, ^' we do not go at full gallop, 
and I cannot say much for the carriage ; but it is not that i 
mean. A baggage- waggon would suit me as well, as the 
king's coach, provided I had cotnpany. That's what I want. 
I hate being alone. I am obliged to sing myself hoarse, to 
keep up my spirits. In short, we are going the same road, 
it seems ; I pass through Poperingue, and stop at Ypres,^ 
and if you are so disposed, Sir,' I o&r you this vacant seat, 
and shall be proud of your company." 

So fair an ottet and so original a companion were not to 
be resisted. I had no road to choose ; so I stepped into the 
cabriolet, and away w^ went. 



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Wt fteem to ^rtdk tiM thwKd of 1ii9 #iioiMS8,' iff\Mfpi^4 
Imu m il^ aotM^s <iMtf|Nifee8 me ikiore tbiMi tai|ee a^j 
jmR^ on f^ mho'm 9hl^i» piy for a cartiitfe 6r hire A borae; 
A»I(W iny^Mf^fiirti 'M^Mlel^gtli lof my mlkiog is «pnl ^b^ 
fisiftjlt^itt^ik^^ aM thea, pop ! I sptingjaMwf 

qabriolet, aiid |M a»if tiie ae^l wais patt of nie !* JI|H peTttr 
t^mi ^tiad'-^fam^ it* no aoeoinifing Jm^ (aocies. W^l^ Siti 
IumI w|wir4i»'y«U think of Ibil qomttiyt fyr Iwit ym ftre A 
•tmiga^ir . $or am I» I ai^mf t for'tfiHtKigb I Wafirbonk bare, 
ami ohfiataiiiedt' wMi b«^ ^mi tobee<^ liiMf my eowibfyiireir, 
iImI had^a .{^e^ ed^eatfofr^llMKXim^^^ ftiti I passed 

aH tiva beiit' part.oiP ai^ UiH in Ibt LaiMeni of tbe Oitaria, ani 
made my IM bp^W^tfy^^i^qiw J!ngkU$ eii liie fieM' of 
Waterioo^ Notbing oould teofpt -ato t# ptKsir my li^hole lifc^ ia 
0«eU a ebuMPf aa £ki. .Tbe fMnea, with aae^ofitioa or 
%mi^ M.anpre Janapa* of urartaK^yaiiM the men Mi^mt pAcr 

. Thia faiBvaii^^Waii nqt^fivered air aooaeetrtiirdy as it w 
mnttMtx k tutatf apokea u» fra|g;ib)eBta,^^ ititetapp^raisd wttb 
siMlcdiaa of iik ji^ i aNI«i Ui^ feij^en a gocid deak 
^. Q09«Bional repH^ and, pbservatioBe are not ^nSlk iMfbjg f 
hut Ails 'rte on tb^Whehihle tongue ^f iny. eomrade/ atf Ve 
entoM alittlf, cieae, aaibmittic»'te»kiog rAhge, Mnther^d 
hftwMNi &igli hedges aiidtraea) an4. jleendng impen^lfEtblo 
tea^bl^eQitb-ofair: ■\' .• ■'^' •• ■' '• -V'-^' 

/ «< Bat iiHMit signifies, alter 4A> Hi^tlHefra Maat1i>e Belgian 
ev Frenchman t Tet the -misenftile'heii^ tif dn« plaide pr^^- 
auni^ to ^aarret about it This iM the jk6i0ifr village, ridi- 
eoloufily enough arranged^ Thei^d/witimgia the i^ 
is the line of sepfration^ The figbt i^nd eoft^gea ate in 
Betgbin, the left in Frdaoe. Th^ Dridow Tandeibroeckel- 
teb, /tbet^ on one nde,. Mis you tobaoco aT ten sous a 
pound ; while h^ opposite nej^ifmyour, Francois Delaporte, 
niaat ebarge ]^ea ten ff^Kaes; mbd a^ thit hooao^ on the 
Frofioh Side, jm tuy drink abotitfe of wine for afraac, that 
iB/pi^bfted la fhe eavioiis and thiiety dog who tites Bnfmce. 
iMi^ jai# our cuatom^hotj^e* laws.,: and a nice nest of smug* 
giera they hatch here! And look at those two fellows,. 
aoHPdhera of honeal. ^eo^er-ote Frenc^, the other Bel- 
gian-^how they eye us frem^ mch side of^ the Toadi ThiiT 
vJHiiiattf Ija Moi^ eaii iB-c»i^ I censider^o b^ a crtone*. 
T01..IL— J 



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S9 ^ji^f^A'^ sfn4m» 

iod*iiiQitir< nqMTpftcbM^itwt two .||;&vefiiipeiito that thmli 
diemfielvQ^^ no doubt) vety wise ; i^id «s for the stupid doits 
* thai fwopte it;^ jii^agH^ thoir coming e4ch haK way into their 
^omnibn atriset to fight for ^OshoQOQr of tikm.d0krefit 
CouotriesP' .. • . / *■ v, , . 

« I am heartily glad to* bear lAflt,*';. thought I4 ^^itifewi 
iloob .like natioaal feeling ;^' but J did nbtpare to intar^pt 
my companion, and we left La Belb behind <Sib. 't 

<' Thwe they go !" e3^claiined,he.yvas\we m^s/te about a mjil^ 
but of the yillag^^r-u there the^y go, the fe|il boya of the by* 
ways t Look at those, light-footed fellows !" and i rei)Aark<> 
e4 e(Q^rgiI)g &^iaiA Jitlte laoe, ^% or. six uncommonly ac* - 
tive young mep, but reckles^^ a^d yagabond-looking, epfi^ 
with a sti^ in hii^ haj;»d, aiad imt:^ fiv«, ojf more bladdeva - 
slung ovei'hi^ ^.houldi^, a^d dan^inj^ againet. himu 

<< And w^o are they f' asked I. v 
', « All amvigglers,"- aosw^rej^ he ^ " bmve, open, day-hghl 
feUowa, ,who care jojo n[iore>for a^ gens-^'arme .^eifetaiiH 
house officer, than foir yo^y^or. !• Tht^ ha?e jastaoaie 
back frop» selHng their, tobacco in.Fran^^ ^M.aracweli la- 
den with .brVudy' in. ,r«tuf«* . They: ha^e made a roun^ jto 
avoid the village, and are now oq t^^^ip roq4r.&9rio| aekhei 
mai^oior devil.".. , ' , - \ \ 

Aa. he spoke, two .mounted gens^dVi^s apfiiear^d-*— a' 
loud shoiit from the ?m>^gglers gave th^ salutalioa^and, m 
an instant,, the ^hoie gang ware >oro8s the -hedg^i and 
away k\to th^ thick-planted fields beyoad. The geoA- 
^I'armos p|rt spurs^to theiir hqiseja,, drew their ^words, looked 
in a terrible p^ion;and kicked MP ijuantitiea of d.ust, galr 
leaped about„ up gome Janes ,;^owB others, swore, quite like 
troopto, and at last iroda off in. a quiet pace, aide by aide, 
^ving« no doUbl, doi,^ tlieir du^ most faithfully. . 

We had hot gbnje far when another official «a<«l/ti« of go- 
yeroment, one of those infesters of the Belgie. highwayis, 1^ 
custom-house searcher, peremptorily stopped us^^apd, ia 116 
very civil mcTod, ordered us to descend. Then commeneed 
a search of the carriage, of the mo^t . rigid m^ure. Every 
hole anc( corner wa* lo^oked through and flito, n^ small 
package rummaged, as though it contained a hogshead qf 
^J^y — and we were, at kst dismissed on our way, . 

While tiiis examination weal OOf I ^aid .to tfieaworded 
i^nd belted inspectorT- / ^ .' . * 

» Do you kn9w/my fxmif that ^011107^ are waatio^ 



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fvat time here iMrithtU« dotpty ofttinoMt ]^'^«^ lettilig YMl 
game escape yoa in the woodsy Adder?' ' 

" Never miod that, Sir — I know thj duty,'* was hit )repty: • 

« And Ca^ cere < of yont .tfiTef-efi," wal^ my letort-^fol' I 
was Tex^ with ^d: MoW^ aiid had iid douht of hie bcAig 
bribed .by the ctoii^gM»» 

" Burt the mpsif^m^efid^^rm of the roads, W0re the-M* 
naecoiis huge wooden repvesentathHis of the xrucifizioiiy 
which always appear to tush tifee blasphemous caricatures. 
They, oerertheless, excite diieiMt sensetiofi^in the couo* 
try people, for at the f<H)t )6f eeolf <of tthemi OIle'l8^ sui^ to 
see one qr more pemm^ at prater; As Ve passed one <^ 
these, the driver .obS6r:wBd, l^teg at the itn^ 

«' That is religion, a» the^ call k. .Very well ^ were t 
kiQg, I. urouM.epcoorage it ; ibr as toog-^ m toagliog car- 
l>enter and a little paint areiq-lhe -coumry, I'll engage te 
fulett by the Sid ef these-*^the*«nt€ magistrates of Belgi* 
Um..* fiero' is Ppperjngue>i— tieir ^de y«»u think theburgo- 
aiastercatid^esGhetins have half the a(lthoftty.o^ that image? 
Ndt they, I pronnse you — and to tell- (he. iruth^' tittle worthy 
of ailthoiitjr they are ! Lo0k at tbis nice little towo, oapa*- 
bleof t^Ting,. if ihe rioit inhabitiEUilS' bad- eomrnon. spirit 
3iit theoB.. jare lUl^doKi^ of them with' ap income of tbrQr 
or ^ytbeusand Aaaes 'a*yeareach-«*atid how do- they ap* 
ply ft? Put it up in a sitaa^ box, asd liye like«iteor 
hurghers.oRljttie or nothing, smoking their pipe and drink-« 
ing their beer in the pet-houa^, iaUBh^^ of hops, .add plsymg 
their ganie of ninepiodl Soeh i^a fair speeimo ef the 
sooall towns of this country ; and ywn may Sbe how fhr dti« 
lU^ation has crept in, wben'thsse louts wear bob« wigs, ^short 
hreeches, sthped stDclungs, f^nd^bms^ buckles, in their shoes. 
I^o, the reformation of? loose pantskioea. has not even fal- 
len Ob them*-" and bbw oaa such a country thrire ?" 

' Afier we. had bctited tbo' old horse, who ate well, and.seem*' 
od as if he could goon at his own pace forever, we took 
again to'the^road,. for I had no itiducemenit to stay in Pope- 
ringue, an<l ijre were spoo^ on the wdl-paved. causeway that 
leads to ¥pres% During the two boars, coosamed i^ coyer* 
tag the two leagues that separate these towns, my compa^ 
Hioa was qot idie^; and (he following was the materialpeit 
of his most fluent commumcations. i thought it worth net- 
iag down. Gut, Iaowq it tesiUy astonished me, coming from 
the source it did. His ebeervatioQs^.at the time^ appMfed 



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thej wer^ so, ibra r«iaiiiii vl|ieli thurea^er ahaU him in good 
tima, ^.- ^/. .'v 

; Afyfhf,Siff;lh0 AmbI k, thai B^igMn irs^ IMe fcoowti to 
mmgm^ that CHMT iaigte4Mdlit6^qtKM^0^ firoA (be f^M of 
Hiurdpe* Ita history, its geograpli;^? -the, ttttKHnl ehamater^ 
9r9aU'!mwoderslop4,aii(i that beeause the. hooka of our 
dajra^iifo ooiOposeil Iran thqaa of htm^ timea-rbooauae^ 
mitova prefer sooiag with 4he e^aa of othora to the tioub&o - 
OC uaihg ftoir owiu Whoa mt aothor haa proelakiiod that 
aiiperalitiOiraod fiiOotiaisai are^iho foumlattoas. of the Bol* 
Ifjkc dmroctor, ho t}ikika ho haa cbno^^Ofjety. Aiog. But lot 
us ozaroibe tho^ioaty and took bO<;k:4iiinle. Alter the ftll 
0f iho B(|ioaa almpire this couotvy shared tho cpmfiion fate* 
Slovaatatod Otid\toi;o to atoikia hy its own people, BolgMm 
gRYO birth to (hat ^iniof rootfeaa&eaaiapdiiKejBay aity «i«« 
tipy, which baa boan parp^iiiitad oven tp^^ar daya. By and 
hy oamo the Spaoiah do^iiatioii,.aDd t^t: lasted too long 
OOt to baTo iafluenoed our cfaaractei;, 8041^^ muM cm^ooE^ 
ttat a{br Iteee.iiuii4red years ^at tatnt 4s apt o^ectvfalljr 
washed away« - In i^e h^roio struggle a^inot the ipt^iOf 
of S|Naio»' Bo^inm, in n^aking cominon caus4 with the f>utcb« 
OOoM net 4ie^ coming ioio close ooOltoat. irtrttlh theow Rojii* 
gMua difieiencea separated them again, and vtbeiO'KOtnaiiiod 
Mtbtngto ea IrcMn the aaaooiiUien but a atrotig doae of ara- 
fiao*. The dominion of theiloijiae of Austria) o$» atragglea 
forabort-hved .mdependeaee, the French Revo^tioa^ and 
Ijie final flottlemeat of our eountry into an aoknp^dged 
iodepondOnt kiogdonm nMist necessarily have all more or teas 
ioftaenood tl^ nmiaei^a and tho character of the fiooplo. It 
iathoa tW, ibnoed-ffOBi ao many, vartoua eletaeota, thef 
faiar a portion of theftatuies i^hicb^liatinguish oadi of thoae 
nations ; and it iatbo indeoisioo> of chancter eonsoi|ueot 
on IhiSi thatgiyeathenropbyaiognemy aadiffioult to be.aeiz* 
od by the pen^ <^ the writer. Wears neither Germana, 
Spaoiarda^ nor t'ranetu' « Wo bavepfeked upfram eaoh a 
IttUe of what i»goedy and j*ejeeCed a gioat deal that, ia had. 
We have fomoiaod Bolgtaha) neithot mora nor less, with til 
that conttaiiety of character ao paasliog to sli;ai^gMw)io 
haare not atudiod it. If a Bolgtan appeara iodiffereot and 
oald, it ia leaa from reality thaor for oonOenience aake ; he 
, iaeooBoaaical witfioutbaiag a^bioQy.'aaariciottii ; stu^oua 
Mdfond qS 0aao4 itniaapaaatoiiod $ alForaetOAOvelti^ ; at 



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irjnri0lrAL TB4IT8. fOI 

^soffe- ^ber tM gIsttoiiouB ; m#toit,' f^ pi«t&Bipliiot»'; 
€oldtnhJ8aiiioa»; lttid«ofribte'kifai»SeBiiMtw«-^lMiwem 
I must b1\ov, an eternal profoleui of ihdfi^ttidn^ nnd diiplaya 
aphmdity of character that exists but ifi him.^ 

This was, I think, the tast sentence I heaid fnom my 
iectarer, for an accident happened .to me which I trast may 
«ot occur to my readers— I fell fkst asleep; and weweire 
at.the gates of Yfires when I awoke. My companion was 
carelessly bomming a tune, and when I opened-roy eyes, he 
^^ hoped I had had pleasant dreams.*' I fissured him I was 
rouch edified by the inforoMlion he had gtren rae^ and vtia* 
laired to express my surprise at all he had uttered. 

<^Why, Sir," -^said be, with a most <i^S0quenttai and ira* 
posing air, <« tbe-fact is, I obsetve a little, tbiilk & good deal, 
and sometiffles read ; and J am happy to givjD any informa- 
ia mypoi^ fo^ stranger ^whenever I b^ppen to&li in with 
one. TbisistlieSm#d'Oyv^^beet4noin Ypres» Xetme 
jB«t yoadown bere^ and bidyou farewell ; <Hily raeonmend* 
tag you not to stay mene than a day or>two in this pbice, the 
tH&eatthiqess of which is pm««i^l,'a9 a stekly-iooking^ 
j^soa, all over Flanders, isedled ^a deatit-s-bead iroia 
Ypipe^' Adieu, Sk> -^ 

. I'retamed bis dviltties in the way roost tsongeniat to his 
expedatjbe^^ and we parted excellent friends; I bad « 
capital diHoeiTt most oomlbrtable lodging, and ciWl atten* 
damce ;• isnd I strolled out, lo pass away tlie evening, rather 
thfCn froto any -partiol^r curiosity about the place. -I welb* 
edrbund the ramparts,^out'atone of.thagates, and in at . 
aa6ther, and paid my homage to the royal arms, sculpttnvd 
over it, and was doly apptSJ^Mlby ih^ open-mouthed lions» 
each with a bhinderbuss under' bisai^) tneant, no doubt, ta 
insjMre a wholesome dread df kingly asilbdrity in the otyn* 
beers and. vcowes of the neigb^^ourbood, as they came to 
maffcet^ . •, • • 

When I re-entered the to^m, I stared i^out, like ttoj 
Other stranger, and at last 4iBC0ver^ a bookseller's shop. I- 
went in, and look up a SQMirt little work called > Tablettes 
Beiges*' The very firsi.sentenc^ of the introduelioa struck- 
me as>*net qaite hew. I nread on^ and, to my infinite snr^ 
prise, and no .small 'amesemeat, I found tbere^very word of 
ehe cabrlolet'^driver's essay oh. the national character, and a 
gteat dealmore than bed^vered, wbichtbejwgue had^otby 
li«art, md 'fmmd fiH: bis ownl. I ceuM not be angry wiA 

12 



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m m$tawi amtiOKMMk 



Up: iliisi0«ft iiMoeM(b|lii^pai»Bi^ nail mwavmir ho^^ 
tittt if ev«r tho auUMw ^iaeovers at, Im will isiitat^iiiy in^ 
didgMNie, ui coflrifaitiioB of the mjr onguuil apeeiiMm of 
mtioDalcbatniclBr qflbrad bytiM co^^ 



TOWHS AND cmiBCHBS. 



> God naidff lk» country, sad IMA Aiade Ihe town.?' 

Coirrui. 



Tbk eitfliior atfMet of citiM, or Uieir exaiuntaon merdly 
is wofflqsi of art, lw% never had the shgfateat charm iot me. 
Tfae^flld admiralioa ivUdi we gtrato domes^ or spirefly or 
eoliumus opproMOir-fathey theneacbilaratee us^if eoneaesor 
ciatiDg Imk of &diDg doe* not exdte an ipteiiest for Ifaei 
ebject. I can wander fin* weeks across afoieign districi of 
country, without seeking acqaaintanees or Wanting isoeietgr. 
The ever springing varieties of nature give ample oceupatkni 
to the mind ; bul one day spent alone in a towp. is ialole- 
laUe^ b is the very worst species of solitude, for it gfi* 
aerliites disconteni with one's own desolateness^ and envy 
for the aocid interdQurse which seems shared hy evei^r one 
else. We do-not ctoaider, and console eunselves widi the 
fcet, that other alraogers am labowing under the very same 
feelhigs that opprtei us^ Even if they are, we cannot sym- 
pathise with those we do not know ; and in our solitary self* 
idiness we ody dweUon our own dftseomfort 
• What is toi be dpne to oblm relief t Tm eat one's break- 
fast, dinner, and supper ? Ihen to sleep away the mght ^ 
But the intervals between t <vThet« is the nib&" How to 
Ull time-^th^ commod enemyA-aad to give him an easy' 
and quiet death,' the infikition of which will lie light on one's 
cons^enee. For my cfWB part, I have a reguku* routine of 
methods, which I folbwwith systematic coiutaiMgr, when- 
ever I happen to^nd myself in tb^ dieary situaikNi I alhide 
to* 1 first examine carefully all the eof^vings, bad or in* 
dfftrent, Aat decorate the wdls of «< mine im;'' and then 
thumb over ecropuleoely the torn old ^akaanaeks, or com- 



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TCMnr0Mi^Wime»fi8. 109 



I- 



ttoB-plaoe pMpipUito, iiiiicli nMiy {hf fartieutor good krak) 
beoD « diMty 8b(rif< oc iq a emtm oupboard. I thao ■«<«<» 
tar out iato ti^ atneaUi, diactryUdg all ii^ QflMoaaoaafi of the 
grioBiiig aod ragged cieanmi that offbr tbe^r aid«:aii4 also 
ihe awaggeriog aaaiatancatol' the aaubjr vaflat, ^^'Upad on 
the continent comminioHainj, wfaoi with i^ snoaitering.of 
bad English, forces hta sprvice^ upon each new cocner. , ' 

Fairly buncbed into, the imesplored intricacies of the \ 

place, ray firslobject is, if possible to loM^mys^l/ibffim^e a N 

^[Oarter cf an hour iMy be laudably qonsumed in recorerii^ 
my way. I aemetimea Olamb^ up^the himdiedy and heav^a 
knows how mwy stepSt of ^ome.tower or ateeple,«fiiid gase 
over the parapet on the tilea alnd slates below moi tngirefit 
irondernienttbat the tops of all the housoa, andthehoosea 
of all the towns should be'somanrenousty alike. ' The con- 
tracted streets and Mie jji^aiy passengers only makie me mo- 
ralize on the ttarrownesft. and littleness o( mankind and 
their wnys, but I want0d ii<^ aaoh.ftqtitioo8 elevation «bove 
my feUows to impress the lesion up<Mi me. 80 4own I 
go again, net* mueh the bettec» aa^ certainly not a bit the wis- 
er for my asooDt, and IkKkkupat the buildings I bad just 
bean locAiing aownupon, a gaaing illustration of the upa 
oaddowaaof iiie. . : \ 

But atragglkig about in that kind of way, I often chance to 
stumble upon idome baifburied association of histoiry^ or ro- . 
naaace^ or kn^ck my head against jtjQme legend pr supersti- 
tion, fm>jeoting beyond tbecrumbting walls of jin old nmnsion 
0f decaying monument. Thctse lgenera)iy treasure up for afr 
ler manufacture ; and if l cootider them' vqrth any thing, 
I am, at any rate, not ohur Hsh about their value. . I cer- 
tainly have not reaped a fertfle harvest in the towns of 
Be^ium. There is, geaemlly speaking, e i^iiant air of 
insipidity hanging ovOf Iheaiilike a cloud.. Every attempt 
at gaiety seems abortive; the discordjUit vivacity of their 
CariUmU^-^^JMvi miaeiitble atlampU at iliemioatipna and 6re-^ 
works. 'Ihen the uograceftil satpenesa of fem^ costumf , 
. and atUI mme unpleaMtnt samenese of feiiale occupation — 
every window in every h<Hiae gumished with a languidly in- 
dustrious fair eae, hnittiag , her atooking, aad prying into the 
v«7 aedretaof Ike atreetaby meana of her pair of teteral 
minors. 

. Chttffdies, thoae finronrite loungiag. places of my oonn-^ 
4ijmieBi aftnl me bni anftaqnattt aaactMai^t in ttqr eapaOity 



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I . _ .;, 



104 se^Giiur ssfiTeRi5^ 

of tiin64tiilerr I km kiot otef fond of expiating fiM eritta at 
the fnomeot of its comoiissioii, in the aisles of acathwfral^ 
There i» too mucb^Bimeness in the decorations, th^ pilkue, 
picifures, altars,' iind pdtpits, to excite me ; iand I haTe ano^ 
ther reas6h for pot <:atkig^ much to Drequeat the continental 
Catholic churches, which has less .of propriety than amour, 
propre. iii it. I ^ake-it a ni(e never to look into guide* 
books beforehand, for information as to what I aught to look 
at, and what I should adtnire. A< sort of pelnrorsenesS imitie* 
diatefly opposes itdetf to fhe dictations pf soifdisimt taste^ 
wherey«ir and v^hehever^ it assails .me;^ But t have Some- 
times ^xaoiiOed such oracles aft€rwirds\ to .fiiidif niy tin-' 
taught noitoBs* of beauty or proportion tollie^^ with the re- 
ceived dieta of the learned ; and it has mbretbati once, hap- 
pened to me to find that I had wasted much of my admira^ 
tion, and thrown away my deii^lit^d schiliny on objects per* 
featly worthless ; while i passed by with indifierenee or di»> 
approval d^ef-ti^auvr^s^ thaxl ought jlo have almost idolized. 
Now on Jbese occasions i Invariably stuck fast to my own 
predilection^ and laughed tl^e dictators to soorn ^ aod I got 
into 'several serapes; and arguments^ an4 dispates in coobe^ 
quence. But as I have no pride in the aflbctation, or the firat 
of nngularity, I think it better to keep out of the way of sack 
mishaps. This, after all, is a puerile treason for loot being a 
church-gazer ; and if I had tio betted, I should not have re- 
corded it ; but I have a better, at least I think so. In any 
catboUc country, but particUlady ii^one so pr^ eminently de- 
vout as Belgium, I feel a consrderable objection against 
straggling through the sacred ediiices, at all times occupied 
by many pious individuals, to whoih the intrusion of heret- 
ical cariosity mu^t appear very indelicate and indecorous.^ 
Tfaes^ places of worship are, it is true, open h^^esj but not 
of tntertainmetu. Their pictures and status are placed in 
them not as mere objects of art, butas iiieitements t^ devo- 
tion ; and those (and I avow myself one-) in wfiom Atey pron 
dace but feelings 4£ a very Contrary djBScriptton, had better 
leave them unexamined, than force their way^hrough Ibe 
prejudices and piety of a whole people, or, vas irmay happen, 
the very worthiest f^^rtioi^ of it. Neith^ 4^' I like the gor- 
geousneas of their temples ; their <'graie|ft tmofet" cause 
roe a painful sensation ; and I revolt from the mental and 
bodily prostration of intelligent chriMians,' ixt- a way that t 
believe to be foreign to the troe spirit of their religion asdics 



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TOWlTf Aim OBOBCHtS. I08 

fdunder. Still I venerate religion ^ven in what I think its 
degtaciracy, and I woald not wiUiiU;^ insult or give pain to 
the lowliest fanatic who thinks he glorifies bis Makerby de- 
basing himself: and therefore, it not being my duty to teacli 
llie Alienee between di^base(ment and humility, I seldom 
do more than listen u^der the (Kirch, to the solemn pealings 
of the oigim, .pr tak^ « attim stroll ioto die body of ihe build* 
lag, at a veiy early or late hour, when the shades of twilight 
•hrottd the sacred pile, anct a iDystictd obscurity seems to 
eUvdop at onbe thebuildtngiiils occupants, and its purposes* 
For It is n<^ alone to objedB of rdigion that religious edi^* 
ftses are. 4Byoted. Many a worldly or worthless' motive 
brings thi^ raocik christian there ; and snch scenes have evei 
been considered lejfittmate situations for subjects of ro« 
flumee. Toiled nuns and hooded monks ai^' the very sta|fle 
of lomantfc fiction i and I believe that, even at this day, oc* 
* cmveBices take place tmde|r the agency of anch aetorsi 
oqtitiUtig In mystery aiid horror those which die most intre- 
fid novelist has heretofore detailed or inrented. Human 
nature is, tn4aot, ever the samd ; and if crime does not de- 
«erease under the operation of ciyirization and knowledge^ 
,tfiere w^«^T«aBoath«tit«l^ofiM do ao, withb n convent's 
wtffls, from which both are excluded.. One xSrcumstance 
camele my hearing (I will not exactly say to hnr knowtedge) 
0t recent oceUrreaee, and I lieKevd of no dbotftful authenti* 
eity. i wfll venture to rehtle, without exactly Touching fbr 
It 9 but it wis told to me as fdct^ and ,wiis ptMbly believed 
tdbesoeh. v / 



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k 



the dtttoiiqiUotimw^ ^f.'^ff' ifiti^t A0k n^ blot «liBfM4 
lihudder. Sh^wilBlMUiKiim^^ Herf(Balii|:<Sii««Be 

ragular and in9<fce4 -yf h^t she fV9i»' pdb ^i^^mlkmo^t^msftd 
^er 4lark ofes bad « a r^lteMoeai' of jvotioe^ ^ i^niad 
caused by an uo<£«iet 4nMH -. .' 
The you^ j^ip^tiGia* ^dotUy JMo)ijlMred<. (yiNtt his tRi- 

fo^ the feelings whtch, siiosfMed w^e, sofiaaiKhiit heviUfi^ 
jM. Tafiity, th;6,imtiural W€^ii^99 ^f (iiyi^utfifal.il^ijiidf^cpQ- 
sei^tfth^t it was allied W h^MiM>^ (m«^ M^«& 
strongly 5>a 4be feeliois, o£ the «tm«ttr; jh^ his JMct Ji^^ 
edyH^ bis k$Bd seec^d t^«wm isoifady ak4b^ib0i|ghi^ Oat 
bis Jippea»uice bod'^iic^pd.^oAiMo' iM^ii#^ls .taidsiiieiis ib 
tiie brsast «r flte.mifip Thenotio^ ^Ib^ tfh^ihad^Md \m 
tnp)lgb^.o^ hinit 4<^ ln^^nceto Ikip: fnend whtf ^at bssido 
hiqo, graiifi^ \^kn in a' double. setiS0i'Akid jyis'b^dni.b«S^K 
thus sMteqed hjy ^ inwM. w^^lMllfa of:s(^*»i9«^bedittie 
nMHre susceptible to tb^ «fi]^a^onc ftaiopsd 0{i k by-aM- 
Ui^r. The consequenjoe ivaS| ^i ^ bci^tt to &Bcy ao ii|H 
tereia stronger and deefi^lteii }l^if99l^f^Seit; and i^fadci^ 
himselT up to,tbi^d^^f»%die I)s4o9<flo«^ of ths4xiats»€i0 
of asecretaiid.aiMelwhli^e^ bMMM^ 
and the r«/>fifim<. , ■-■[,'' 't -« . ^y < - \ "•• >•' ••" 

He felt hia«shMM^V^ aniAbsl^pive to bis fooks ihsi . 
tenderest espressAoh>i^^.^ t)^ i^eapahlob Me asm 
an answering fliishjri^ oii^b* injlii broilr of Ik* im^ and 
a sfnile»4be!ttht4lM through binM>i^oot4iFkh4wa»ed 
Jigbt-^y«i for.iiA iostnit oiy hei^ oolsnifless >li|M* : . B^ 
ifSfiOB thea saok ^avfUf mH^^Aw muoiei rte oid« mtA 
soobturod^look. .*.. ..,-,* v..,;^ *,-... * 

He still fixed.^Mr hjs frtr<awfc4gbwii $» ]M iRdid^ bd 
did;^o, a stmuge «Matiiss <if MdsatioiBSsoiMieii i#oii hio^i 
Did sMalrea^kv^ hunt Osrtt ^ be piisilli ? «i<i 
Has her pwi^« db^tnfPljM^ su^ lii# iffeoi ct^Mtimgifm 
whioh fn^dUs^-kaiillPistiJ^^ ^ilMp sh» 

might bd unhappyr^-iil lijiato4-*«it9!t|a4^ ewer ;. ttni Am 
mIglU beiv4 &fiid h4MP supfdindt Isiipel os hin fbr.ftsvtacttoa 
and ndt^. Bk^jagm, jMii dark and tMriripeims 4»» 
sigB might have flmqafttsdhei su^jiietie gasel ' The iaafe 
n^vuig 4i^ iastaotl^ ^dHKnbmod^ aa uoMiiiy mad^mim^^ 
But OBO .pai0|fc%«wi'oastijikrMbe httd.iBsd upouinmitLSi 
matjkMfi and siagiifaMviiMi^ ; Ae had aobiiMrls^tedtfais iosius 
tndseplMl^dwi^Mi 



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^ THE COKTEKT OtZ.L« 100 

jpfoinifled* Th^e might be risk in iblkMrang up the advett- 
ture-^but it might lead to happiness— -or what is considered 
so by the onbridied ardour, of warm and youthful hearts; 
. and come what might, he resolved not to shrink iTrom the 
result. 

Absorbed in these agitating reflections, he did not remark 
the priest quitting the altar and entering the vestry, nor the 
coogregation one by one departing from the church. He 
only saw the one object of his deep attention, and he did not 
even observe that her companions had left their {^ces, and 
that she alone occupied the gallery. 

His friend, who had for some minutes closely watched 
him, at length recalled him to recollection ; and in a sup* 
pressed tone rallied him on his reverie, and on the intense 
manner in which he gazed on the remaining nun, who seem- 
.od buried in the depth of devotion. Thus roused, and 
brought to himself, the young man prepared to accompany 
his friend, ashamed of the seriousness which he had betray- 
ed, and which he felt that he could not shake off. 

They were on the point of quitting their places and re- 
tiring from the almost deserted church ; the friend of the 
young lover, for so we roust call him, had turned round and 
made a few steps in the direction of the door, and the lov^r 
hinis^lf was about to follow, when his parting look at the 
nun was answered by an imploring glance from her quick 
raised eyes, and a momentary, but intelligible motion with 
her finger that he should remain. 

These ambiguous communications made him start, and 
almost tremble. He could not comprehend, nor had he time 
to question the motives of the nun. He bad promptly to 
form his decision — and heat once resolved to stay; be 
therefore stepped quickly after his friend --avowed his inten- 
tion to linger a little longer in the church — received with a 
smile the bantering caution which told him to beware — apd 
then, as his friend went out, he sauntered awhile up and 
down the aisles, in apparent e;i^ination of the pictures and 
^ statues ; and in a little while he was satisfied that the 
church was wholly deserted, except by himself and the ob- 
ject of his growing solicitude. , 

He felt an awkward anxiety to address her ; but there 
wee an awfulness in her bearing that irresistibly repelled 
him, and he felt himself completely the creature of her will* 
She threw an occasional look, in reply to bis impatiefit 

Tot. n.—K • 



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119 BELGIAN snTCBES. 

glances, which told him he must suppress his impetuosity 
and wait her pleasure. He resigned himself willingly t6 
the course of the adventure, every moment adding to his 
excitement, and a tumult of wild sensations revelling in his 
breast 

After some time his fascinator rose slowly from the place 
where she had so long knelt ; and descending by a back 
stair from the private gallei^, she passed by the rear of the 
grand altar ; and once more took a kneeling posture in a 
narrow rdcess opposite a little shrine, where burned a single 
lamp. He followed her movements, encouraged, painfully, 
by her doubtful smile, and the suppressed gesture, which 
pointed out to him the position near her which she wished 
him to take; 

He at length leaned ^igainst a pillar, his hands folded 
across, and as if in close observation of a fine statue of the 
Yirgin, and widiin a few yards of the real object of his 
almost breathless attention. 

With her head low bent, and inclined towards him, while 
she turned over her beads with much apparent devotion, she 
asked him, in a deep whisper, 

« Do you understand French ?'' 

** Yes," murmured he. 

« Do you speak it?" 

<< Not sufficiently to express yeur influence on me." 

This was answered by her wonted smile — *' Good God, is 
it satisfactiaA or triumph /" thought the American. 

" If you can see any thing in me to interest you," con- 
tinued she, ^ are you inclined to do me a service ?" 

** Am 1 !" replied he, with energy— <* try me— put me to 
the proof!" 

<< It is no trifle," said she, solemnly. 

** Any thing is trifling that can enable me to serve you ; 
for any thing short of death command me!" 

<< And if death did cross your path in this adventure?" 
exclaimed she, with a full expression of voice, and a piercing 
solemnity of look.* 

** By Heavens Pd spurn even it,^' cried he ; '< you have 
exalted me to a pitch of excitement, I know not how or 
wherefore." 

«( Tou are an enthusiast !" said 9he, a somewhat more 
.fM)Rened expression blending in her smile. 



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THB CONTXNT CBLL. Ill 

^' I know QOt what I am ; but it is you wha have nnide 
ine so, be it what it may. I am new in this country — I seem 
' to walk in enchantment — I swear myself yours !" 
. Here irresistibly followed the' impulse which bade him to 
kneel down, and he directed looks as fond and thoughts as 
fervent at his neighbour oun as ever devotee could have 
meant fqr the pretended object of her present worship. The 
nun smile<^ one final smile of ghastly solemnity. The Ame- 
rican could less than ever read its m.eaning. She had evi- 
dently a great purpose in view. She had selected him for 
her agent — he was bound to her be knew not how. 

<* I am satisfied with you," resumed she. " I believe you 
to be a man of honour ; and that fine person and striking 
face cannot be allied to an ignoble soul : I feel myself safe 
in your hands. You perceive that the rules of my order are 
not the strictest ; but their discovered infringement is ruin; 
and I am now infringing them. I can speak to you no more 
at present — I have run a fearful risk. But meet me outside 
that little portal to-night at nine. I Will admit you punctual- 
ly as the clock strikes. Yespers will be over, and the church 
in solitude. You must not speak ; but trust to me : follow 
mey and count on my gratitude." 

" May I, then, hope?" 

*\ You may hope every thing from a grateful woman, who 
admires you, and must love you, if you serve her as she ex- 
pects." 

*' Enough ^you must run no further risk — at nine I will 
be at the little portal." 

'' Adieu !" murmured she, in a soft tone ; aod in a minute 
the American had left the church^ 

As he passed away in high exultation, and just as he turn- 
ed one of the massive buttresses which supported the vene- 
rable pile, a man, in a sort of hitlf-official uniform, armed 
ivith a sword; turned his eyes from an advertisement pasted 
against the wall, and fixed them on the American. 

** A word with you, Sir, if you please," said he, in tole- 
rable French, taking off his three*comered and orange- 
cockaded hat. 

" What can you have to say to me, my friend ?" asked 
the American, in a haughty and somewhat abstracted air. 

<' Why, just this much. Sir ; that, as a stranger, you ought 
to be cautious of your conduct. Your indecorous ai^d ffip- 
pant manner during the celebration of mass ha^ made you a 



•\ Digitized by GoOglC 



lid BSLGU^ SKETCHES. 

narked man ; and (he rrfendship of an agent of the police, 
willing to protect you^ is not perhaps to be spcimed." 

<< Oh, I am quite equal to my own protection in ail cases !'' 
proudly replied the stranger. He was in that state of mind 
that makes a sanguine man think every thing must go well 
with him, and that it would be a disgrace, dven in difficulty, 
to look for the help of others. Besides, he thought this man 
m^t, perhaps, be some impostor, lying in wait for foreign- 
ers, to extort money from them under false threats of danger 
and vain promises of support. '* You may pass on," said 
the American. 

« Tou may repent this !" replied the other. 



CHAPTER II. 

The Ameriean found his countryman awaiting him at the 
hotel ; and, after a few preliminary arrangements of thought, 
suited to the important occasion, he told him every tfing^ 
that had passed, from the time he had quitted him in the 
church, until he had himself left it in the sde tenantry of 
the mysterious nun. ' 

The friend, on hearing this confession, felt perhaps, at 
first, a slight sensation of jealousy and envy, at the better 
fortune of his companion. But as they were sincerely at- 
tached to each other, and had started under a fair-agreement 
of non-interference in their mutual adventures, that feehng 
passed lightly over, and only left an anxiety for the perfect 
safety of his fellow traveller. 

Htf did not exactly like the aspect of the affair. There 
was too much romance in it, if real^ too much trickery, if 
prettnce^ to suit his. steady temperament and well regulated 
habits. He thought it strange in any way ; although he 
could not help admitting that his friend was a striking sort of 
fellow, one likely to inspire a feeling more than ordinary, in 
a woman accustomed to adventure, and having an object in 
view. It was then again possible that all this parade about 
doing her some secret, service might be merely meant to 
heat his imagination and in^me his feelings, But what if 



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she really had some quarrel to avenge, and that she had art- 
fully worked on him, and meant further to do so, to involve 
bkn in some matter of serious danger! The friend turned 
all things studiously in his mind ; while the principal care- 
lessly paced the room with buoyant heart, and thinking (if 
he thought at all) that nothing could thwart his success, or 
mar his coming happiness. 

Never did day pass heavier or seem longer than did this 
to the loVer. Hours and half hours, as they sounded their 
monotonous chimes from the various belfries, sending out 
the same tones of tedium and delay, worked him up to a fit 
of nervous fermeutation. His friend did all he could to 
allay it, but he participated himself in the anxiety, which 
spurred them on, while it seemed to retard them from the. 
end of the adventure. 

Every plank of the boarded and sanded salon which they 
occupied, was paced in unreckonable repetitions. Every 
possible method to hasten the wings of time vainly employ- 
ed. At length alt in-door efforts being exhausted, a walk 
without was proposed, accepted, and undertaken. But 
scarcely had the friends sallied forth, when they were as- 
sailed by various insulting symptoms, from a group of boys< 
among whom some men were intermingled, who seemed to 
have lain in wait for, and were now resolved to annoy them. 
The lover walked on for some time* unconscious of what 
passed around him, for he was of that fearless spirit that 
does not anticipate danger, and he never thought of the 
warnings of the police agent. Besides which, he was at 
the moment borne far away, on the wings of the abstraction 
to which he had delivered up his mind. 

His friend was more observing and sensible of peril, 
though a firm and decided man at the time of its approach. 
He therefore spoke to his absorbed companion, and asked 
him if he could account for the evident marks of hostile 
feeUoff in the conduct of the persons near them. 

*< Not I," replied he. ** I neither observed them, nor 
think them worth observation. I suppose they are only 
venting their curiosity, for we can have excited no other 
feeling." 

<< i differ with you, my friend. The expression of those ' 

feces means more than that, and some of those fellows are 

muttering some indolent jargon. Yonder, however, is a 

man in an official dress, one of the police, perhaps ; it 

K2 



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114 BALOUBI SKftTbUEtf. 

would be well to put ourselves under bis proiectioD) I <hiiik> 
for no glory is to be gained in a contest here.'' 

<< Yes, that is the very fellow who teld me I was a marked 
man, and offered to take care of me. I now remember 
him-" 

<< A marked man ? For what ?" 

*' For not having been devout enough at mass, I believe.'' 

*< Indeed ! then we must be cautious. We stand on pe- 
rilous ground ; for if notice has been taken by this bigotted 
people of any indecorum in our bearing, it might go hard 
with us. I will speak to that man, whom you seem to 
slight so much." 

So saying, the cautious traveller at once approached the 
police officer, and addressed him ; but be received nearly 
the same sort of reception which his friend had lately given 
to the municipal object of his application. The fellow put 
on a fierce air, and replied^ to the request that he would not 
suffer two foreigners to be insulted by a parcel of raga- 
muffins, 

<< Ay, now that my assistance is required, you are both ci- 
vil enough ; but you may new take care of yourselves, and 
let your friend suffer for his haughty rejection of my oilbrs." 

<< My good fellow," replied the American, <^ you must at- 
tribute any thing in the manners of that gentleman to his 
' imperfect knowledge of the habits of this country, apd of 
the language perhaps. I Apologize for him, and request . 
that you will now, without hesitation, just walk with us to 
our hotel." 

With these words he stamped an impression on the policOi* 
man^s hand, which led its tangible mark there as he closed 
his fingers upon it ; that impression, which, following such 
a discourse to such a person, is like the seal upon a letter^ 
giving authenticity and consequence to aH that has gone be- 
fore. 

<< Well, I'll tell you so far," said the police-man^ foiling 
the amount of the piece of money, which he did not deiga 
to look at, ^' you are a civil and fair-spoken gentleman, and 
I'll not refuse your request I'll walk with you, and nothing 
shall happen to you, I promise you. Let your proud com* 
panion take care of himself, as I said before ; 1 told him he 
might repent his incivility, and he may yet." 

'' Well, then," said the American^ « I'll just take him 



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TB£ CONVKNT CEtL. 113 

under the aim, for I.must not ddsert hioi^ you know, and you 
will keep dose to me." 

He according}/ took his friend's arm in his, and extricated 
him from the gathering crowd, in reply to whose insiilta he 
threw looks of most aristocratical, repuhlican contempt; 
and, escorted as bgreed upon, they soon regained their hotel. 
Arrived there, these late occurrences were soon forgotten by 
the most prominent actor iu'the events I am recording. His 
mind reverted to the one object of its anxieties, and fixed 
itself upon it His friend, who saw what had Just passed in 
a more serious view, resolved that the result of his compa- 
nion's adventure once over, they should immediately quit the 
place ; and hcf accordingly desired post-horses to be in readi- 
ness for their carriage at a very early hour the next morning. 

This point arranged, dinner was ordered unusually early, 
to break the tediousnesa of the unemployed day ; tuid no 
sooner was it dispatched than the friends regretted it was 
not to come over again, as the vacant hours of evening 
seemed to gape before them like the mouth of some drear 
and unexplored cavern* To add to the discomfort of the 
situation, the decline of day was accompanied by most dis- 
mal weather. Rain and hail rattled against the windows, 
and gusts of wind swept mournfully through the streets. 

One resource alone was left to the friends — wine ! and to 
that genial comforter and care-killer they betook themselves. 
They drank freely and fahrly by their coal fire ; and in the 
warmth of conversation they soon became inattentive to, 
and undisturbed by, the intrusive pattering against the closed 
shutters, and the boisterous swell of the iqcreasing storm. 
Their conversation, following the capricious course which 
imagination suddenly turned into, reverted to home, to old 
friends, dear connexions, and eariy days, when, happily, 
innocent of the fierce joys of manhood, the unreckoned years 
Hew by. Tn these far and bygone recollections the matter 
of the moment was for a while forgotten ; and hour after 
hour chimed out, astonishing the friends at their quick suc- 
cession* At length the earliest clock struck nine. The 
lover, whose temporary abstraction to other days and distant 
acenes had not teft bim unwatchftil of the actual march of 
time, knew that although nine 1>'clock was sounded^ half 
past eight was tneant— half an hour being thus, according to 
the habit of the Belgian belfries, announced in advance, for 



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116 BEL0IA9 SRTOBUI^ 

sotte better reason, no doubti than the most obvious one-^ 
to puzzle the heedless, and tantalize the watchful citizen. 

The lover sprang from his chair, startling his- friend from 
a reverie of home and happiness. Bat he quickly under^ 
stood the cause of the abrupt movement, and he prepared 
to accompany the adventurer as far as he might, consistent 
with propriety (if I may apply the term in such a case) and 
with prudence^ as regarded the safety of his friend* There 
was a full half hour to spare before the time of rendezvous, 
and the friend pressed strongly, but unsuccessfully, the use- 
lessness of quitting the hotel, and braving the storm, which 
raged more violently than ever, before the few minutes re« 
quired to reach the church. But, warmed anew with wine, 
and all the ardent feelings of his nature in action, he cared 
alike for weather or advice, and in spite of both he put on 
his hat, and threw his cloak around him, declaring that fur- 
ther delay was intolerable, and that he mwt be gone. 

His friend, finding him determined, also equipped himself 
for going out, and a sharp contest immediately took place oc^ 
the question, which answered admirably the friend's object, 
to gain time. The lover insisted on his friend's remamiog 
at home, smiling at the notion of danger, and protesting 
strongly against another partaking the unpleasantness of an 
adventure the happiness of which he could not share. The 
friend, however, was obstinate, in his- turn ; and the contest 
ended in both leaving the hous^ together, and making their 
way, through all the obstructions of wind, rain, and darkness, 
tO' the gloomy mass of building which the lover recognized 
as the church of St. ■ ■ ; and they took their station in 
one of the most covered recesses, formed by the projection 
of the grotesque and ancient architecture. 

In this imperfect shelter, shivering in cold and wet, they 
felt the heavy minutes brush past them with their leaden 
wings. No object was abroad, save (he figure of a man 
who twice crossed the pook they were concealed in, but of 
whom they could distinguish nothing more. 

At length the first stroke of the ninth hour came hoUoW' 
ly borne towards them, by a descending gust of wind. The 
lover seized his friend's hand, pressed it in nervous, yet inn 
urophaot agitation, whispered farewell I as faintly as if the 
divine walls might divine his secret in the word, and rapidly 
stepped in the direction of the little portal, at some paces 
distant, round an angular projection. For a moment his 



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tB£ COVVSNT GKtL« ll7 

friend remaned motionlMiy but reeoveriog himself, he (oU 
lawedy with long and cautious strides, the flying footytepa 
that guided him on. He was in an instant elose to the lov- 
er, and giving his strained observation to the portali which 
he could barely distingnish, he saw it darkly open, just wide 
enough to admit the anxious expectant, who rapidly glided 
in. It was instantly closed again ; and the friend, with a 
feeling of heaviness and oppression, he could neither suc- 
cessfully combat nor account for, torned from the church as 
the ninth stroke was hurriedly home away into the clouds by 
tbe rude blast that rioted through the towers and turrets. The 
same flgtare that had crossed them before now passed still 
closer to him ; and exclaiming, loud enough to silence tbe 
roaring wind, " Take care of yourself— you had been better 
at your hotel !''— -it disappeared in the gloem. 

*^ This does look like danger of some secret kind," 
thought the American, as he vidniy atteoi^ted to pierce the 
darkness in the direction which the figure took. " I most 
if possible know moie ;" and he instantly followed with the 
intentioa of stopping and questioning it* But his attempt 
wasvun. Favoured by die deep gloom* the figure had 
tamed into some of the narrow hmes close to th<9 church, 
and was no where to be seen* 

** Take care of myself I" exclaimed the American. ** If 
I have need of care, how much more has my brave and 
reckless friend I No, 1 must not see my hotel agam until he 
ia free from this aflTair. Here will I watch for his return. I 
am not worse off than the sentries who pace the unsheltered 
ramparts-— this is my post." 

He regained the Uttle portal, and buttoning his large tra- 
veiling coat tightly about him, he stood close under the 
porch, which protected him from the straight falling rain, 
but by no means against the sudden and violent squalls 
which at times gathered the rain like a shroud, as they 
swept along, and dashed it in a liquid sheet full against m 
voluntary sufferer. In a short time he was thorou|^y 
drenched, and so benumbed with cold, that he was fain to 
quit his station, and move 'about in open exposure to the 
storm, to force his blood to circulate, and give action to his 
crjamped limbs. 

In this comfortless state of body, which was however un- ' 
heeded in the increasing agitation of his mind, the staunch 
and anxious friend continued to pace close before tbe portali 



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118 BSLGUII SXXTCBBf . 

while the chimes told three times over their half hour V 
IdoDotoiious attempt at melody. The quarter of the town 
where stood the church, was inhabited almost entirely by 
the poorer orders of the people^ and one by one the lightsr 
had disappeared from their wretched 'dwellings; It was* 
near eleven o'clock, and all was desolate : the rain had 
eeased, the wind bad died away, and the American almost 
wished for the fierce fellowship of the storm once more, in 
preference to the dismal calm, whiph, spite of his natural 
intrepidity, made him shudder. 

Almost exhausted by mental and bodily jBgitations he had 
actually resolved tp strike for admittance Jit the portal ; and 
in case of failnre in that attempl to acquire intelligence of 
his friend, he determined to demand the assistance of tiie 
military guard, which he had observed to be statimied in the 
chief square of the town* * 

For the purpose of putting the first of tfiese iteolutionff 
into efiect, he approached die portal, end raised the little 
knocker, but his hand refused to strike. A feeling crossed 
bis mind of the objection to so. direct and persomd an in- 
terference. He thought that it might give ofl^ce to his 
friend, who was perhaps after all in (Mrfect safety, and only 
detained by the happy consequences of his adventure. It 
might compromise the safety— the life even-*-of tiie femalo 
concerned. It was perhaps indecorous, premature,' unne- 
cessary. He paused, and resolved at length to wait still 
half an hour, before he took any more, decided step than 
to continue his watching. 

He accordingly recommenced his steady pace, and had 
scarcely made Uiree or four turns, when he heard die hinges 
of the portal slowly sound. He instantly i^aced himself 
close, but concealed from view. The portal was opened 
and shut, with the greatest speed, and the least possible 
noise. The figure of his friend was visible to the anxious 
American,- and he rejoiced at his rettim from that place of 
peril, and was only restrained by a sense of delicacy from 
abruptly accosting, and congratulating him. He was quite 
close behind him, and he observed him to move forward 
hurriedly, but not wilb that Ught and easy movement which 
marked his usual carriage. The friend stepped on, and waa 
astonished and grieved to dntinsuish, almost beyond a 
doubt, that the lover bore beneath his cloak, and supported 
on his shoulder, a burthen, wbiek from its length and gene-* 



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TiCE CQJtSlHT CE3L^ 1 ]9 

vd shape ivas, as well aa he could form a judgmenti a hu- 
man form. 

This discoverj, or alinpst certaia coojectiirey perplexed and 
distressed him greatly. The imprudence, the risk, in carry- 
ing off this nun, and intruding such an embarrassment on their 
travelling arrangements, appeared unwise, ill-considered, 
and unpardonable in the highest degree. But his first im- 
pulses of angry regret were suppressed by the forgiving 
friend, and he determined to follow closely the movements of 
the offender to be able to judge what were his plans and in* 
tentions. He accordingly kept on his track, just near 
enough to run no risk of Josing him, nor of being in his 
turn oounter-watehed, either by the lover or the prize he 
carried. He easily perceived there was little danger of the 
latter observing him, for the cloak was kept carefully cover- 
ing the head, which reclined loosely on the bearer's shoul- 
der. He heard not even a whisper, as they went along, 
and he felt something solemn, and even unholy, in the si* 
lence, unbroken but by the heavy tramp of his friend's foot- 
steps under his sacrilegious burthen. 

Afler a little time, in which they traversed several by- 
streets, through which the lover passed, as though he had 
been directed well, they reached one of those canals with 
which the town abounded, and the lover unhesitatingly de- 
scended one of the flights of steps, which facilitate the 
landing of goods from the b^ges, and. the embarkation of 
persons employed. 

<< Heavens !" exclaimed the watchful friend to himself, 
/< can he be wild enough to bear her off at night, i^ some 
open boat — God knows where ! Where or how will this ad- 
.venture end 1" 

He placed himself close to the quay wall, and lool^ed over 
the parapet. He saw bis friend oil the steps ; there was |io 
boat of any kind stationed near .or in sight — ^yet the lover 
.continued to descend ! 

'' What can this mean ? what frantic feat can be destined 
to conclude this affiiir ?" muttered the careful guardian, as 
^e watched with intense interest ; «nd a$ he watched, he 
observed the object of his care to disencumber himself of 
.his burthen ; a figure in bl^k emerged from beqeath the 
^loak, and a heavy plunge ^» the stagnant water was the 
signal of its disappearance. ' 

The perpetrator of this appidliog deed immediately as- 



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120 BELGIAN SKBTCHW* 

ceaded the iiteps. The shocked witness felt his Mood run 
curdling through his veins. His eye seemed doubly fixed 
on his jetreating friend, and on the rippled surface of the 
water where the body sank. The Aoiericancould not swim, 
or he would have suffered no hesitation in the coarse to be 
pursued. He was therefore obliged to gaze in motionleos 
horror, and the safety of his friend kept him mute, for to 
call, for assistance ' was to reveal the murderer ! He felt 
' himself, therefore, as it were^ an involuntary accomplice in 
the deed ; but it was no time for acute reflection* The 
figure ef his friend was rapidly passing away ; and as he 
turned from the fatal spot to follow him, he saw the water 
soflly and silently closing over its hidden prey. 

He quickly gained upon his friend, who, to his astonish-^ 
ment, took the direct road to the hotel. They arrived there 
at the same moment ; and they recognised each other with- 
out exchanging a word. A simultaneous pressure of the 
hand was their only salutation ; and the friend shudderedto 
feel, that the one he clasped was cold and clammy. The 
door opened to their summons, and they mounted together to 
their chamber. 



CHAPTER HI. 

The mutual agitation of the young men kept them for 
some minutes silent. The desperate appearance of the un- 
fortunate lovevy if we still must so distinguish him, was quite 
dreadful to his friend : he looked like a man half drunk, 
half dead ; the upper part of his (ace, his brow, and cheeks, 
were flushed ; a flood of perspiration was on Us forehead ; 
and his eyes stared wildly, as if bodily pain was joined with 
mental agony. His lips were livid and contracted, and all 
around them, above and below, with his chin and jaws, were 
pallid, while in two or three places, broad marks of blood 
lay on, and changed the expression of,^is countenance. 
^ Seeing that his friend gazed at him with such an expres* 
sion of terror, he started from his seat, rushed towards the 
looking-glass that hung above the mantle-piece, and coin 



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TflK coiiTENT cmx. 121 

vulsively springing back, uttered in a voice that thrilled 
thteugh his friend — 

*' Oh, Crod ! his blood is on^ my face, but not on my 
kmndg. Look — look-^they are unstained ! Oh let me wipe 
out these (Hghtfui marks !** and, with fhmtic anxiety, he de- 
luged his face with water, until he had successfully cleared^ 
the blood away. 

** My friend, my friend ! what does all this mean ?" cried * 
his agitated companion ; *^ for Heaven's sake, relieve my 
anguish — what has happened to you — what fatal result ?" 

** Hush, hush !" replied the other ; ** give me a moment's 
time— ^you shall know all — every thing that I map tell. Sit , 
down-^r must begin regularly and as collectedly as I can." 

He placed himself beside his (riend, close to the fire, the 
blaze from which threw its lurid flash to mix with the wild 
and varied colouring of his fkce ; and it gave to him alto- 
gether a look of more than human awfiilness and horror. 

^ I left you, my friend, as the clock struck nine — that fatal 
and accursed hour, which sounded the knell of my happi- 
ness, and began the misery ef my life !^' It was in these 
words the unfortunate young man commenced his recital. 
He trembled as he spoke, and looked fearfully round the 
room ; his friend caught the contagion, and listened with ter- 
rified attention as he continued. 

^^ My blood was on fire ; the wine I had drunk worked 
fiercely in my brain ; and the novdty, the wildness, and the 
peril of the adventure, wound me up to a pitch of frenzied 
enthusiasm. I was fit for any thing — I only wanted a 
tempter — and there was one at hand ! — I followed her, hold- 
ing her robe*in trembling agitation — she spoke not, nor did 
I. We walked through the cloisters of the church, cau- 
tiously, and on tip-toe ; yet the echoes of our steps sounded 
through the vast builchng. It was utterly dark. I could 
scarce restrain myself from seizing my conductress in my 
arms—but the sacred place was soon violated ! By winding 
stairs and narrow passages we passed through the pre- 
cincts' of the church, and reached the secret way to the 
convent ©ells. We entered her» — Oh, God ! how that little 
space has'become my world of recollection, of remorse, 
horror ! — We entered her cell. All was silent as death—- 
sisterhood slept, or perhaps performed their guilty orgiei 
secrecy like us. 
'^ A littie lamp gKnimered before a cirucifix and skull t 
Vol. n.— L 



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• 122 f ^iBLQlAX 8K£TCHSS« 

stood upon a table. Two coarse chairs completed the far" 
niture — a bed stood in a recess, concealed by a dark curtain 
— Gpd of Heaven, why was that curtain ever ,drawn 1 

^' She instantly lighted two tapers and illuminated her 
deeply expressive countenance. Her eye? glowed like 
brilliants — that awful smile curled her lip — ^in short, she 
looked to me divine, more than wpman !" 

^' My dearest friend," interrupted his companion, ^^ you 
are unwell ; restrain yourself for the present ; you require 
repose — you speak with difficulty." 

*' No, no, 'tis nothing-^let me go on — I am agitated, but 
no more — I will finish my detail. I cannot, if I would, 
repeat all that I spoke or she replied. The foolish ravings 
of a man half mad, or the confiding converse of a woman — 
of any woman — are not to be told ! Sut should I keep faitb 
. with her ?— What has she driven me to ? The time flew 
past — she was divine — I, excited beyond manly endurancCy 
{tressed her to seal my happiness — she reminded me of my 
vow. I swore — how deeply, how blasphemously I swore ! — 
that I was ready to do her bidding. 

^' ^ You are !' cried she : ' then drink to the safe end of 
your enterprise ! The cell of a nun is not unfurnished for a 
lover's indulgence !' With tliese wordsshe produced wine^ — 
I gplped down bumper after -bumper, and I felt my head 
swim in a fiercer round than ever, and I clasped the nun in 
my arms. * Hold !* cried she, ' not yet— you must first per- 
form your task.' 

^< I alh ready," replied I, '^for aught you can require, or 
man accoippUsh — speak. ^' Her looks here took a new ex- 
pression — awful, and dark, and desperate ! — ^ You will not 
fkil ?' she asked, and her words seemed to rattle in her throat 
— the look and the tone were in terrific unison. < Put me to 
the test,' exclainied I, in furious and impassioned agitation. 
*• Strain your nerves then to their boldest stretch-^you have a 
dark and dismal task to do— nothing to excite your manly 
spirit — ^nought to stir up your young blood. My wrongs 
are already avenged — yoU have but to hide the victim ami 
the deed in equal oblivion. Look here — flnnly and boldly I' 
with these words she drew back the dark, coarse curtain of 
her bed. — Oh ! what a thrill of agony shot through me as I 
gazed. The dead body of a priest, in his professional cos^ 
tume, lay stretched on the bed. His face pronounced him 
to be young. — ^Twoor three wounds were gaping in his. 



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TflE C02WE19T GSLl* 123 

breast and side — ^his features were distorted— *bis eyes wide 
staring — ^his mouth uncldsed. I could not, for some moments, 
turn my looks away. I felt frozen to the spot. At length 
I looked at her. Her face was almost black with strained 
emotion. All the dark passions of the soul seemed strug- ^ 
gling to give it the gloomiest and most hideous expression. 
i felt at the moment nothing but disgust and dread ; for I 
confess it, I thought at the instant I stood by some fiend, in 
human form* ' 

^' *iVell,' said she, with demoniac imperioosness ; ^ now 
to fulfil your vow. Take that base body in your arms, bear 
it hence, and fling it into the first canal.' 

^^\ thought 1 should have sunk on the floor; nothing 
could have been so hateful and revolting to me. Five minutes 
before I could have performed any thing. Murder itself 
would not have arrested my fi*antic passion. But now, all 
was changed, and chilled, and paralyzed ; and this cold- 
blooded participation in the dreadful deed was beyond my 
power. I told her I could not do it. Why, oh, why must 
i remember what followed ! I cantiot repeat it — my oath, 
tny honour are pledged — but, stronger still, her safety is at 
stake. Even she must not be endangered. Nothing that 
wears the female form but is sacred against man's betrayal ! 
-r^Imagine all the rest, my friend — her overpowering bland- 
ishments — my maddening, infuriated delight ! Oh, Heavens ! 
close upon the scene— odious to myself, for ever let me hide 
myself.— ^ The fiend, the fiend ! what refinement in horrible 
guilt — ^thaft deeply, doubly polluted bed ! — that damned cell ! 
The dead man by our side !" 

Exhausted and worn out, the young man sunk do wn^ mut- 
tering impassioned and incoherent ravings like these. His 
friend by assiduous care, brought him to himself; and his 
reviving expressions were of deep anxiety lest he should have 
betrayed the secret of the nun« His fi'iend assured him he 
had not, and he became tranquil, and began to continue his 
recital. 

^^ I took the stiff and bloody body in my arms, and with a 
demon's strength, I flung it on my shoulders. She wrapped 
fliy cloak around us, and she led the way, and toe descended 
. — the lifeless head lay by my face, cheek to cheek, and the 
iiands flapped against me as I walked. How had 1 power 
to bear it on?" 

Just as he finished these words, he was seized with a sad- 



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den and violent fit of Tomitiog f his face became convulaed 
and blackened ; and cold showers of sweat poured from his 
forehead. His eyes rolled, his lips quivered, and everjr simi 
of mortal agony was displayed in hie whole form. He 
^ pressed his friend's hand, but could not speak a word. The 
latter, at once shocked and affrighted, called loudly for help ; 
and at his summons* as it would appear, the room was in a 
moQient filled with police ofiicers, headed by two magis- 
trates, with their satellite attendants — a long official train. 

With true municipal iadifierence^they began to examine and 
accuse the suffering object of their search and vengeance. 
Their authority for the intrusion was proudly demanded by 
the afflicted American, who laboured to assuage the agony of 
his friend They replied, by producing a writing m afenude 
hand^ stating that <^ a murder had that morning been com- 
mitted on the person of a young Dominican Father— *the 
confessor of the convent, that the body was concealed, but 
would be that night between nine o'clock and twelve, flung 
into a canal, specifying its name, by the perpetrator of the 
crime." This paper was said to have been secretly con- 
veyed to a police agent that evenings and that man was 
appointed to watch at the place and time mentioned — and 
be witnessed the truth of the denunciation, and tracked the 
ccnfActed murderer. ^ spoke the legal authority \ This 
man was instantly recognised by the American, as he who 
had figured in the day's proceedings. He remembered his 
pique against his hapless friend, and his smothered expres- 
sions of enmity. Could he be at the bottom of this affair, 
and leagued with the female fiend, that found an instrument 
to hide ber guilt in his ardent and unsuspecting friend, and 
then laid a sure train, to let her secret and her new victim 
perish together ! 

But while this thought passed in his anxious mind, a dead- 
lier and surer means of safety and secrecy on her part was 
fataJUy developed. The suffering culprit, as he now was 
deemed, every moment gave symptoms of increasing agony. 
Ho writhed in torture, and minute by minute lost every 
chance of life. His eyes closed, his hands dro||ped motion- 
less, the coming signs of death pressed on him. The last 
wovds he uttered were, ^<The wine!-^the wine!— pois- 
oned !"— 'When a desperate spasm fireed him from sofibring 
and life. 
The friend, slanned ai if by some heavy blow, atood sta- 



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TfiE COMVEKT CEXX. 126 

4tie-Iike beside the corpse, holding one' clammy hand, and 
gazing on the discoloured and distorted face. The mtini* 
cipal observers were shocked at the unlooked-for catas«- 
trophe, that snatched a victim from the laws. They soon, 
however, commenced to arrange their official reports of the 
strange transactions of that eventful day : and they gave lit- 
tle time to the surviving traveller, before they began their 
interrogatories, plainly warning him that he was implicated as 
being an accomplice in the murder, being distinguished on 
the spot where the body was phinged into the water, and 
seen to return to the hotel, with the unfortunate perpetrator 
of the deed. 

This sounded really serious, and the American amidst his 
anguish had strength and clearnisss of mind sufficient to look 
upon his perilous position, and to see it in all its bearings. 
It was plain to him that matter enough existed (if the venge-^ 
ful spirit of religion -was aroused) to lead to his sacrifice ; 
aiid, in all the difficulty of the trying scene, he summoned 
resolution and firmness sufficient to follow the best straight- 
forward course on every occasion of life— to speak the truth 
wholly, and without reserve ; and be detailed with great pre- 
cision almost word for word as heretofore stated, the trans- 
actions of the day. 

The singular relation startled and puzzled the hearers. 
They could not doubt the truth of the statement, for it bore 
rn every word and every look of the American the stamp of 
implicit veracity. But though they privately and individually 
believed the shocking facts, it was decided that, publicly 
and collectively, they must not be even tolerated. So heavy 
a stroke at the sanctity of the town — the virtue of the pious 
sisterhood — the inviolability of the faitb-^the sacredness, 
and holiness, and infallibility of the Mother Church \ Was 
such to be sounded abroad into the wide ears of the vulgar 
world ? No, no ! The dead priest was to be fished up 
from his watery grave, and quietly placed within an earthly 
tomb. His disappearance was to be wondered at ; his 
murder hf^shed up ; the nun, her actions, and her agents 
]efl in congenial gloom and doubt ; and truth, poor truth, 
for a million of million of times, mercilessly doomed to be 
smothered^ without remorse, and against all chances of 
resuscitation^! , 

But to all this suppression of fkcts there was one objec- 
tion. The deposition of the American wasl study docus 



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126 SELOIAN SKSTCHSS* 

ment ; and he hinmelf seemed a man who would speak out, 
in defence of the i eputation of his murdered friend ; and 
he might cry £br revenge' against the supposed perpetrator 
of the deed? But the junta of authority thought, and 
rightly, that they could overcome this difficulty. 

They accoi dingly, in the first place* represented to the 
young man his own personal danger, were he prosecuted 
on the evidence within their reach ; next, they showed htm 
the impossibility of his establishing the pretended facts of his 
recital, their only witness ^ being no more; again, they 
assured him that his deceased friend's good name should 
suffer no attaint, as the whole of the circumstances being 
suppressed, all mention of him was at an end. They 
therefore proposed to him to quit the place at once— at the 
moment ; leav'mg to them the care of the last Christian 
rites to the body, which could not rise up in reproaches 
against him for a forced abandonment. 

The American, at first, revolted against the idea of 
leaving the last duties to be performed by strangers' hands. 
But he was strong-minded as well as good-hearth. He ex- 
amined the case in every aspect, and he accepted the com- 
promise thus offered. He left the town alane^ in the dark, 
deep night, in desolate bewilderment of mind, and with a 
sad and sinking heart, but thereby securing the safety of his 
own life, and avoiding the scandal to his unfortunate com- 
panion's fame. Whither he turned his course I know not — 
jior could I trace the name of either. 

Every one in the knowledge of these transactions was 
sworn to secrecy ; and an inducement almost as strong held 
out in the threat of instant destUuHon to him who should 
violate the pledge. But (and how it happened must be 
decided by those who know,) the &cts transpired-— the 
recital became public — and, from one of the many mouths 
that were soon filled with it, it found its way to my pen;- 
which, knowing no vow. of secrecy, and having no place to 
lose, may stand acquitted of either impiety or imprudence in 
sending the story fiirther. 



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THE lilVING ALCHYMIST. 



Will jon bdiere antiqiiity 7— teeordt ? 

I 'il show yoa « book where Motei, tmd his sister, 

And Solomon, havo written of the art ; 

Are, and a treatise penned by Adam, 

<r tne philosopher's stone, and in Hi^ Dnteh. 

IISN JONSQK. 

It will scarcely be credited that there still exists a nuui 
w^o believes ia the wild visions of Alcliynif— nlevotes his 
life' to its pursuits, and conceives himself within the reach of 
the deepest of its long sought and long laughed-at mysteries. 
Yet such a mortal does exist— and it baa been my good luck 
to see, converse with, and appropriate him. For be is mine, 
in fee— positive freehold, without quit-rent or crown-rent, 
tithe or tax ; and 1^ like a generous proprietor, am about to 
show him to the world, as, perhaps, the very last specimen 
of a genus supposed to have been totally extinct. 

Nothing could exceed my incredulity when I was informed 
of the existence of this man. I little thought that, in this 
age of knowledge and Sunlight, a human moth could be 
found* singeing his- wings in the taper of suck a superstition. 
But my skepticism soon yielded to conviction ; and that was 
accompanied by the pleasure I always feel from each new 
I>roof of those lingering iUusionst the poetry of life, so fast 
dissolving before philosophy imd fad. 

The singular being in question is an inbabilant and a oar 
tive of one of the cities of Belgium, where many scattered 
remnants are to be met with of those coarse webs, in which 
the speculative ardour of times past enveloped the purity^ of 
art and science. His existence came to my knowbdge by 
mere accident. A circumstance of a strange and somewhat 
' doubtful nature had caused a great deal of conversation aad 
conjecture, just at the time^thal I happened to be sojourning 
in the town. A poor feUow had picked ap, from n heap of 



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128 BELGIAN SXBTCRSS. 

nibbisb in one of the narrowesl and most nnfrequented 
streets, a piece of metal, weighin^r several pounds. He at 
first supposed it to be iron^ as it was covered with a thick 
coat of rust. But even a piece of iron of that weight was no 
small prize ; so he took it home, and began to scrape and 
scour it very industriously. After some labpur hq succeeded 
in getting off the thick crust ; and after a little polishing, he 
began to perceive a yellowish tinge gleaming through the 
dark brown coat. The brazen serpent of the Hebrews was 
not probably gazed at with more devotion than this poor 
fellow gave to what he believed to be the solid lump of brass 
which his good fortune had thrown before him. He never 
imagined the possibility of its being gold — yet gold it was — 
and, after various consultations, and many an assaye, gold it 
was universally admitted to be. 

The lucky possessor of this treasure having got over his 
astonishment and his joy, without running wild from their 
effects ; and becoming extremely scrupulous, either through 
integrity or fear — their operations are very similar — resist- 
ed all the overtures of the jewellers and other Jews, and 
refused to sell his ingot at any price. He resolved on de* 
positing it with the authorities of the town ; and accordingly 
handed it over to the safe keeping of the chief magistrate, 
who immediately m^de an official report of the transaction to 
the Secretary of State for the Home Department. A very 
considerable deal of useless trouble was taken, in conse- 
quence of the minister's orders to find out the real owner of 
the mysterious ingot, or to trace the true history of its ap- 
pearance in the public streets. Every effort was ineffectual 
— no claimant came forward — no evidence appeared — and 
after some delay, and the strictest investigation, the minister 
finally ordered the ingot to be returned to the finder, who, 
. with much praise for his honesty, was pronounced to be the 
lawful proprietor ; and this lucky, but no longer poor fellow, 
was dismissed to the enjoyment of his most unhoped for 
wealth. 

For many weeks after this event the heads of the towns- 
people were almost turned, one way or another. Some 
looked upwards, some downwards, very many sideways — 
but few straightforward to their own business, the sure way, 
notwithstanding, of becoming as rich or richer than their for- 
tunate fellow-citizen. Great numbers indulged in the belief 
that jthe golden age was fairly returned in soUd evidence 



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THE uviKG ALCEmaan:, 129 

upon earth. The most vapoury looked to the clouds in 
hopes of a.Denaean shower ; ,and the least speculative part 
of the pc^ulatioQ (that is to say the poorest part of it, for 
covetousness always goes in a direct ratio with wealth) sifted 
nod searched the most wretched heaps of rajgfs and rubbish, 
on the. chance of turning up ^^ another, and another, and 
another.*' 

At length, the most rational of the citizens came to the 
conclusion that this solitary ingot must have lain, time out of 
nindy concealed in some old house, and upon the demolition 
of the walls, or the clearing out of the cellars, have been 
carelessly flung into the street, to become a source of wealth 
to one man, and of words to thousands. But there were 
some, and not a few, who indul^d another theory on the 
subject. Thete good folk — the credulous and marvel- 
loving — ^the romantic and rigmarole portion of the com- 
munity, settled in their own minds, or imaginaticna — we 
inust not confound terms — that <^ the living alchy mist" was 
the author of all that had happened, that he had at length 
discovered — 

« The dime secret that doth fly id clouds 
From east to west, ^d whose tradition 
Is not from men, bat spirits;^' 

and that the first fruits of his success was this identical ingot, 
thrown thus upon the wide world, like an apple of discord, 
or bone of contention, to set the population by the ears, and 
thus revenge himself for the contumely with which he and 
his studies had been heretofore treated. By this conflict of 
opinion, and the chance mentioned of the last cited, I, as 
any other stranger might, became acquainted with the name 
and residence of ^< the cunning man," who, I was assured, — 

M Coold extract 
The ioolf of all tfainci by his art ; caU aU 
The Tirtnes and the miracles of the san 
Into a temp'rate furnace ; and teach doU Nature. 
What her own fwccs are !** 



Fancy could not &il to be busy on the subject fresh started 
for its pursuit, in the very mention of a ^^ living alchymist.'' 
No sooner did I bring myself to believe in the fact of the 
existence of one of these ^^ smoky .persecutors of Nature,'* 
and had ascertained that be was not an inmate of, or a sab- 



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130 BELGIAN SKETCHES. > 

ject for, a madhouse, than I begtin to picture (dm, in all the 
varieties of moral and physical construction-^his enthusiasm, 
his abstraction, his ardent looks, bis worn-out frame, pale 
cheeks and sunken eye, his picturesque costume, with all 
the auxiliaries of crucible, furnace, and alembic, and the 
chaos of elementary confusion associated with his wild pur- 
suit My mind seemed to fly back for centuries. It ap- 
peared -to suffer a kind of retrograde transmigration, and 
to occupy the body of some contemporary of St. Leon ; 
while the splendid combinations of Godwin peopled the 
actual scene with the very characters and customs, his 
breathing pictures of which had been the charm and the 
magic of my boyhood. 

Ill breathless impatience I approached the alchymist's 
residence. I was truly and most unaffectedly excited to a 
state of high romance. 1 was well introduced, and sure of 
admittance, and a good reception. But the look of the house 
displeased and disa[)pointed me. I had framed it to myself 
as Gothic, dark, and desolate. It was a square, modem 
mansion, plastered and white-washed, with a green door and 
brass knocker, in a well-built street, and provokitigly clean. 
I hoped I had made a make a mistake ; but the chubby* 
cheeked lass, who appeared at my knock, dissipated my 
doubts, and replied to my inquiry, in unquestionable Flem- 
ish, that her master was within — and ju^ returned from 
market. 

I gulped down this carnal and undignified intimation ; and 
OS I followed the juff^row along the narrow and white- washed 
corridor, T strove to keep awake my rather somnulent sen- 
sations of whilom excitement. But I had no time for pre- 
paration ; for my conductor abruptly threw open the door 
of a back parlour — and the alchymist stood before me \ I 
literally started back, and my heart sunk — with what species 
of emotion I shall leave to my readers' fancy, after I sketch 
the object thus suddenly revealed to my astonished obser- 
vation. 

He was a little, pot-bellied, smooth-faced, rosy-g^Ued, old 
fellow, with gray hair, tied behind in '* a round unvarnished" 
pig-tail. He was dressed in a brown fi-ock-coat, buttoned 
half-way up, and displaying a chintz waistcoat, a broad-firilled 
shirt, and a white muslin cravat, tied tight, and terminating 
under his chin in two large bows and flowing ends. I could 
not see his breeches, but his stockings were of white cotton 



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THE LIVING ALCHYHIST. 131^ 

with blue stripes, and a huge pair of plated buckles fastened 
his broad-toed shoes. His face was a dumpling illustration 
of dulness, to which a simper and a chuckle of ineffable 
content added their mortifying evidence. T was utterly as- 
tounded. The whole fabric of my fancy was blown into the 
air. Antiquity, chivalry, and magic vanished from around 
me. Never were the wings of expectancy so closely clipped. 
The vnde ocean of romance, on which I bad been afloat, 
seemed shrunk into the dimensions of a dry dock ; and I 
stood, as it were, with sails tight furled, in the steam-engine 
reality of boiler and black smoke. 

I stared at my alchymist, with a gaze which nothing could 
have transmuted into politenesss. He returned it by a bow 
or two ; and his little gray eyes twinkled stupidly i and he 
muttered some civilities in clumsy French. I made a bad 
return for these attentions, and gave but a sorry specimen of 
national good breeding. Quite satisfied, though by no means 
contented, I was about to make a rapid retreat ; but my host 
(without whom, if I may be allowed the iguivoque^ I had so 
sadly reckoned) was not inclined that I should escape thus 
easily. His vanity was up in bottle — it had been many a 
long year fermenting ; and was, as I soon found out, here- 
ditary. 

"Well, Sir,^* said he, "you were anxious to see a man 
whom every one considers a fool ?" 

" Why, Sir," stammered I, " I confess I was desirous to 
make the acquaintance of a gentleman whose pursuits are 
so uncommon — but—" 

" Come, come, don't mince matters-^you came here to 
laugh at me." 

" Not with that intention^ I assure you." 

" Well, welU never mind^you need not deny it, if you 
did ; you may laugh as much aa you like. Every one laughs 
at me — but I shaB have the cream of the jest by and by — 
ha! ha! ha!" 

" Why, do you really believe that you will ever discover 
the philosopher's stone ?" asked I, my disappointmentyuWiijg' 
down into amusement, at this vulgar caricature of alchymy 
and its sublime absurdities. 

"That I shall ever discover it!^' exclaimed he, with a 
contemptuous vibration of the upper lip, and a chuckle of 
self-consequence ; and wheeling quickly round, and instantly 
talking otit into a little trim-set flower-garden, 



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132 BEIiOIAIT SKZtCRBB. 

*^ Follow me! — ^look there!'' added he, as soon as w« 
reached the farther end of the parterre^ and he pointed to 
half a dozen phials hanging' against the wall in a comer, and 
covered by a glass case. ^' Look there ; do yotf see that 
phial ? that contaii)3 the philosopher's stone. The philoso- 
pher's stone indeed! Ever discover it! Why, it is nothing 
— nothing at all — the very first step." 

^< Indeed !" uttered L ^^ I confess my ignorance, but I 
thought the philosopher's stone was the grand secret. But 
where is it, pray ? I see no stone." 

"Heaven forbid that you should! No stone! why the 
lapis pkUosophomm^ or philosopher's stone, is hot a sUmeJ** 

" What is it then, may I ask ?" 

" Why, it's a powder — that red powder that you see there, 
formed at the bottom of that liquid — that's the philosopher's 
slone — ha, ha, ha !" 

<' Then you expect next to be able to make gold ?'^ 

" Make gold ! why I can make gold, and silver too ; look 
^itfua phial-^and thai. What is in the first? Isn't it 
gold ? — and in the other ? Isn't it silver ? Is there a gold- 
smith or chemist in the Netherlands that can deny it ? But 
could they make it, ha, ha, ha! — ^^not they, not they, not 
they !" and with these words he turned abruptly round — a 
favourite movement of his. 

** My good Sir," cried I, catching him at his rebound, as 
I may say, " you quite astonish me." 

'^ I dare say I do, ha, ha, ha !" 

^' You da indeed. What ! you possess the philosophers 
stone — you can make silver and ^old — you have the pr6o& 
there in those phials ?" and I looked at the dirty white, and 
the green and yellowish compounds. 

" Well, and what of that ? I tell you the philosopher's 
stone is nothing — and my gold and silver is not worth a brass 
farthing." 

" How — what — why ? I don't understand you." 

"Why, because my gold is not solid — it wouldnH stand 
fusion — it would evaporate and fly up the chimney ; and that 
red powder, the Unpis phiiosophorum can't make better. It 
is the transmuting powder I want. Do you understand that ? 
Not the powder thai can only make such pitiliil goM as thii^^ — 
although it is the puresi that can be made of its kind, and 
many a man would think half a century of toil well repaid 
by being able to make it ; but I want the powder thai can 



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VBA uvnio ALcmnnsT. 133 

change base aielab nUtk gold— ^that's what J want; and 
wliat, with the Ueningof HeaTWi I am in a fair way of 
Iia¥iiig/' 

*^ And.that grahd raiult may happen at any moment ?'* 

*^ Ay, at the vary moment we are Udking of it, the pur- 
chase of the globe mod eternal life maybe mine— ha, ha, ha !" 

^' Ton must work hard for all this, STir/^ said I ; '' I should 
like to see your laboratory/' 

** See my laboratory ! you do see it. There it i»-^th]s H . 
it^" said he, p^ting to the corner where hung the phials ; 
Mi4 opening out his bands, to express, as I though^ that he 
worked in the open air, but he «ndecei?ed me immediately^ 
continuing — 

<' Work hard 1 I don't work ol alalia, ha, ha !'' and 
once more he wheeled briskly round oi^ his own pivot* 

«' Who works for you, then ?" asked I. 

** Nature-— the climate — the Heaven<^Uie sun ends moon 
-—the seven planets— li^y ^re my workmen. '^ * 

^' And do you really ibink they understand* their trade f*' 
said I, smiling. « - 

^^ Understand their trade \ Pardii to be sure they do. 
What makes these flowers to grow inthe earth t these trees 
to put forth their shoots and blossom^ f cannot the power 
and the agents that do tl^ilfmake gold land silver generate 
in these ^ials ?" 

To this unanswerable argument I felt no incUnation to 
reply. 

«' Does it take a long time^" asked I, ^' to form this pow- 
der into gdd?" 

^^ Seven months — a month for each planet.'' 

*^ But although you have not arfived at 'the grand secret, 
yciu know how to go abodt it ? you know the matters requi- 
site?" 

^' Yes, I think I do, ha, ba, ha ! The four elements — any 
ft>ol may know that. But how to put them together f there 's 
the p^iot, ha, ba« ha!^! and round he spun once more. 

>^ You must have burned a good deal of charcoal in this 
pursuit,'' said I, laughing outright. 

*^ Not a single bit," replied he, with bis us,ual chuckle ; 
*^but my father burned about four thousand bushels of it." 

" Did your father follow the same trade ?" 

^^ Ay, for sixty years. Ho beggared himself* by it, and 
was at last blown up by the explosion of a retort. But he 

VdL. II.— M 



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TTTJ Me- ' • 



j^4 jwuMM Btaakmaa^ 

luaew QdtluDl;-*^ was a aaero eUUU-he weot onihe wtong 
ti^act— be worked with Jfire, aod kft Mmid bim a lieap ^ 
ashes, that could as soon npake mQtton as gold. My «n^ 
cestprs luLve spent oentuties in the seience." 

^< Your family is an ancieirt one ?'* 

'< I believe it is. indeed, ha, ha, ha ! Follow me," and roond 
he whisked, and walked straight int^tte house. I MIoWed 
as desired* and stopped when he stopped, before a hug* 
genealogical 9fi9aM^ hung up against the wall tii theeivridmr. 
It was bedaubed ,in ail the ooraert ^th coats of arrasy 
heraldic bearings, and hierog^yphical deviees, .and looked 
,dirty enough to ha?e been drawn in. the daik ages. 

*' Stand upon that Ubie," said he, <' and just look at the 
firit, the topmost name, close Ip the ceiling. Stay, stop a 
minute*— put this chair upon the table-*-«ow up with tOii»- 
look sharp, and tell' me if mine is an aoeient family. I 
shonU like to know yamr opinion, ha, ha, ha I'' and he thus 
ran 'on, murmuring iathe# to himself than, to o|ie,wlnieI 
mjMinted the Tecy ricketty pedestal and was A>me#hat repaid 
for the trpuble and rbk, by a new proof of human iittlennsB, 
in reading, in dM misshapen charaetets^ ^ name ^Augustus 
C«sar." r descended, and saw the twinkle of pedigreer 
pride in the M maih^a eye, and the nervous curl that abook 
his tip. I BUide him the Ycry few boW which he seemed to 
expect, and I heartily wished at the moment that he possessed 
the essence of philosophy ratlier than the atone. 

'^ Your foyourite study must have cost you years of read- 
ing," said I^ looking at the dusty shelves, which were bent 
down with heaps of old books, in most unsightly bindings, 
and many of them in *^ Uigb Dutch," ^hich the readers of 
my motio already know to have been Adam's language. 

*^ Yes, yea, it has required some ^plication," replied the 
Alchymist, ^^ but,! might have read for ever, in the way my 
ancestors did, and, lik^ them, not have been a bit the wiser. 
4^ these volumes, mid thousands more, have been written 
on the hermetic science ; but the whole secret might be 
traced on a paper, the* me of your thumb nail — what do you 
think of that?" 

'■ In fact, it lies in a nut-sfadi ?" said I. 

^' Yes, but who can crack the shell, ha, ha, ha ?" chuckled 
be ; *^ ay, you might read to eternity, and not understand 
one single sentence without you possessed the key.'' 

^^ And {»ray how is that to be procured?". 



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THB UVUW AtC&TVIST. 



136 



««The way I ^•eored U-^-^Ini way the whole raoe of 
pbikiiophers who ha?e kdown the seerat procured it-i-the 
way any man may proeufo h, het in whieb no other perhaps 
ever will procure it— the Way by whicl reHgion enters the 
heart— the way the- prophets procured their power— the way 
in wbi,ch God speaks to his creatures, and in which man may 
know his Greai4M^hy i^MptrwflM^/'* 

^Enouji^h, enough, Sir!'' exclaimed I, ^^ spare yourself 
and me any further explanation: I now understand the 
nature and value of your science completely. ' I thank you 
eerdiaUy for your frankness — I wish you idl happiness and 
superhuman success; for you have taught me a new lesson 
in the wide book of nature, and I will do mv best to profit 
by it. Good morning to you, Sir. — Fftreweil !" 

With these words, and a reciprocal profusion of bowings 
and scrapings, we made our way, he forwards, and I back- 
wards^ to the street door, which be insisted :on opening, and 
I made a point of closing ; glad to shut, within the atmos- 
pheve of his own absurdity, a visionpiiy unfit for the rational 
intercourse of life. 

But the reader will, perhaps, be surprised to hear that this 
visit made a strong impression upon me. I cannot reasona- 
bly account for such an effect, produced by so contemptible 
a cause, for nothing could have been more effectually de- 
eaructive of every imaginative illusion, connected with the 
wild secrets of Alchymy, and atl their exciting associations. 
Yet I could no more restrain, than reason with the feeling 
that made me dwell on the insipid enthusiast — ^if I must pro- 
fane the appellation by giving' in to him — and on the pursuit 
over which kU devotion threw so degraded a stain. So it 
tvas, however, and I am almost ashamed to confess that I 
followed an idle impulse, which led me fo^ several days, to 
look out in the old libraries of Betginm, for worksthat treat 
of the Hermetic Philosophy. 

1 lost some precious time in #adtny tlirough a mass of 
authorship, that gave me but little entertainment; and still 
less instruction, but which, nevertheless, led me €H. I 
worked like a machine to which the impetus Was given, no 
matter how or by whom. But I shall ndt repine if, by my* 
testimony to the utter worthlessness of the study, even as an 
amusement, I may prevetat others from a like infatuation. 
The moMt inquisitive may be sfttisfred to remain in ignorance 
of the divine art or Menee^kt its profeundest professors 



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136 SfilXaUN SBmtOBMSi 

do not know which to desigQate it— ^and may leave ia the 
dustj repose of some mouldering collecl^n^ the whole of 
the writers, from Hermes Trismegistus, the Egyptian, down 
to the Abb6 Lenglet da Fresnoy. 

It would he of little comfort to the cvriqus to know (ea I 
do) whether the double mereury of TMyisan^ or t^e mixture 
of mercury with gold of Basil Valedtine, was the materia} 
most approved of, to waste the time and wear out the wits 
of the phantom followers. I am sure no oqe would thank 
me for commuiricaling the, knowledge, so dearly earned, and 
so soon to be foigotten, as to the relative merits of essence^* 
bodies, metala, alkalis^ and vegetables, for the chances of 
forming the real projecting powder or lapis pkUosopkofum^ 
or for detailirjg the diqiiutes of Father Kircher with about a 
dozen of the >^ philosophers,'" in which the renowned Jesuit 
proved himself a perfect ass, by thinking it necessary^ to jprooe 
that his adversaries were the same. 

Who, either, would desn^e a detail 'of the experiments of 
Arnokius de Villanova at .Rome, in the thirteenth century | 
of Raymond Lully in England, in the fourteenth ; of Gus-. 
tenhover of Strasbourg, and Dubois in France, somewhat 
later t — or be interested in the facto of Louis. XllU Gustavus 
Adolphu?, and John, Prince of Mirandola, having counte- 
nanced this humbug, or, as some say, believed in it ; or of 
its being s^dly goaded by, and tossed upon, the horns of 
Pope John the XXIId's most violent Bull ? 

All the stores of information I have procured on these 
beads may be very quietly bonded and warehoused, as food 
too nauseous and unpalatable for even the craving appetite 
of the present generation. But I cannot resist giving one 
extract (as a fair specimen of all that has been written on 
the subject) from a work, that, in the estimation of the initi« 
ated, hangs on the very topmost branch of the tree of know- 
ledge. It bears the modest title of ^' The 8um of perfec- 
tion," and owns for ito author a most renowned Arabian 
philosopher and alchymist called Get>er, who, some centu- 
ries back, received the tiMrptro/ion, and discovered the grand 
secret. The passage which I am about to transcribe, majf 
have lost some of ito spirit in a double translation, but I dare 
say the sense is pretty well preserved. It is the last chapter 
of " The Sum of Perfection," and I only re^et that I did 
not begin to read the book Chinese-ways— for if I had, tn^ 
readers may beUeiOi I would not have gooG Jvtther* 



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THE UVIN6 AICBTVIST. 13? 

•* CHAPTER THE I.AST. 
Of tht Buner iawMohtkt MitluNr hu tamht titeart. 



*^ To remove all sort of pretext on which my caHmmiator s 
could accuse me of duplicity, or of not having spoken with 
full frankness in this treatise, 1 do declare, in the first place, ' 
that I have not attempted to teach the scUnce consecutively 
or with studied form, biit have dispersed my instructions 
here and there, in divers chapters of the work. And I did 
this on purpose^ because had I put them in a regular way, 
and one after another, the wicked (who would have made a 
bad use of their knowledge) would have learned quite as 
easily as the well disposed ; easier^ perhaps, as the devil 
would have no doubt prompted hts children.* 

^ I declare, in the second place, that in ^vttj part of this 
treatise where it appears that 1 have spoken the plainest and 
the most openly of the science, it is just there that I have 
spoken the most obscurely. I have -not, notwithstanding, 
spoken any where by allegories or enigmas ; but I have treated 
my subject in plain and intelligible language, having written 
with sincerity, and in the way 1 was taught by inspiration of 
God, the most mighty, riiost glorious, and above all praise, 
who deigned to reveal it to me ; it being he alone that can 
give it, and take it back, to whom and when he pleases. 

^< Hold up, then, Children of Science ! Do not despair of 
obtaining the power to learn this marvellous secret ! For I 
promise you faithfully that you will infallibly discover it, if 
you seek it, not by the aid of reason, or of any other science, 
but by ardour and impetuosity of mind ! 

^^ Whoever will seek it by the natural intelligence and en- 
lightenment of his understanding, he shall find it. But he 
who would expect to learn it in books need not hope to 
acquire it without long study. For I protest that neither the 
philosophers who have preceded me, nor I myself, have writ- 
ten one sentence but for our own information, and that V)f 
the philosophers and adepts who shall succeed us, and not 
in ike least for others. 

^« As for myself, although I have written in the self same 
way, I can nevertheless say that I have not said what I have 

^"^ Si plura dietrem eiiam pueri inielligirera^K more were said, even 
chUcU-ea might ondentand it— wu a faroudte pluaseof the " Phiiosophen.^ 



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|36 



BELGIAN SKETCHES. 



s?'^ V 



said merely to excite the shrewd and srensible to study this 
sublime science, but that I have said quite enough to give 
them the means of seeking the secret by the only true me* 
thod. Moreover, f can pledge myself that whoever will 
apply diligently, and witlt- good heart, to understand what I 
have said in this book, will assuredly have the pleasure of 
discovering a very great >gift at the hands of the Most High. 

'^ And that is all I have to say, touching the study of an 
ari^ or a gciencey so renowned and very excellent.'* 

Thei reader will no doubt be struck with some passages 
in this m^iss of jargon, resembling a higher order of jugglery; 
but this is enough to deal with at present. 

Like the Indian sage, who reduced the library of the king 
his master, from a hundred camel loads of books into fow 
sentences ; or a cook, who boils down a basket of spinage 
into a saucerful ; I have stewed all my Alchymical informa- 
tion into this— that ^* the sublime science^' ^ was, at its best, 
but a study fitting a mere bubble, to burst at the first prick 
of common sense, whose worthiest motto, inieUige eipoteSf 
best designates its meaning— a game of ^ catch me who 
can!" 

Yet, reader, recollect that there lives one man, who 
firmly believes in aU^ and he is within the reach of Uny one 
who will take the trouble to jSnd him. 



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THE 

I'BAPPISTS OF CATSBERG. 



On the very borders of France and Belgium, and so com- 
pletely ^^ debateable,*' that the inhabitants scarcely know to 
which nation they belong, there is a cluster of hills, which, 
in that flat country, are considered as mountains of no ordi- 
nary importance. There «re six or seven of them, each a 
few hundred feet high, and differing so little in that particu- 
lar, and in their general features, that it is evident that 
Mother Earth threw them from her at one birth. 

After crossing the western division of Belgium, from north 
to south, without seeing any spot of land higher than a mole 
hill ; travelling over a ()ortion of Nature's jface, so smooth 
that one longs for a wart or two, as beauty-spots rather than 
disfigurements— it is delightful to. catch the swelling aspect 
of these frontier hills, and to mark something rising between 
you and the heretofore unbroken circle of the horizon. 

I never saw a mountain^ or indeed a hill of almost any 
height, that 1 did not feel an incliuation to climb it. The 
group of elevatiotis now before me could not fail strongly to 
excite this propensity, if it were merely from their contrast 
with the monotonous insipidity I had left behind me. But 
they are in themselves extremely pictureiique, well wooded, 
and broken into abrupt varieties of landscape. They ap- 
peared most tempting ; but! never was less able to gratify 
my own wish, or explore their beauties. From circumstan- 
ces of no importance to the reader, but of infinite moment 
to the writer ^so passing is the intercourse between intimate$ 
of three volumes' standing — ^I wasfat the time little master of 
my limba. They took advantage of a lopg illness to shake 



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140 BELOIAN SKETCHES. 

off my authority, and refused to obey mb^ although quite 
unable* to ubifl for themselves. The consequence was, that I 
was, for exercise' sake, obliged to have recourse to those 
machines formerly described, the village cabriolets ; and at 
the time I speak of, I was seat^ in the right-hand corner of 
one of the very worst of them, the driver occupying, accord- 
ing to custom, the left But this was a very difierent sort of 
personage from those of the same profession, of whom I have 
previously given a sketch. It was no other in fact than the 
old woman, the proprietor of the vehicle, who, while her 
regular charioteer was shivering in a fit of the low country 
fever, too||L this office upon herself ; and .after first driving 
a hard bargain with me for the price, (to get her band in 
practice,) she scrambled up by the wheel, and settled herself 
beside me, and off we jolted for a couple of leagues, 1 did 
not care in what direction ; but chance led us towards the 
movntains, 

. There never was a more unsociable couple than we were 
for the first leag^ie. No communication of any kind intruded 
on the vacancy which separated us, for I kept inyself so re- 
mote as to give full elbow room to her whip hand. But, 
notwithstanding the space, not a word, even, passed between 
us ; exchange, in that particular, was much below par. She 
was, in fact, repulsive to the last degree — an evident skin- 
flint, without one element of good fellowship, with that nut- 
cracker countenance which bespeaks asperity, and a look so 
sour that it would have been worth a wagon load of vihe- 
gar to Hannibal, when he cut his way through the Alps. She 
was so taciturn as not even to mutter a sound to her old gray 
mare, that shook its scanty tail at her sometimes — ^reproach- 
fully, I thought. 

We had thus silently find unsociably proceeded, until we 
came to the very base of the hills, which gradually displayed 
their secret recesses as we approached. A little village was 
visible, about a quarter of a league before us, close to the 
foot of one of them ; and, as the road began to slope gently 
upwards, the pace^ of the old gray mare were successively 
changed, from a trot to an amble,' and from an amble to a 
walk. The old gray woman, consequently, first loosened 
her loose hold, then pla/sed her whip in the corner beside 
her, next threw the reins on the animal's neck, and finally 
flung herself back in the carriage, took a pinch of snuff, 
offered me another, and began le taUc. 



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' THE TBAPPISTS OF CATSBERo/ 141 

. ^^ Aha !— good — 80 fkr, so well ! now we may take it 
easily. Go along, my lass, at your own pace ; your legs and 
my arms may rest themselves ; and well they require it, after 
near tvrp leagues driving at such a rate." 

So much of her conversation was addressed to herself and 
her mare. She paused for a while, thea pulled from her 
pocket a long ctasp knife, and took up from the straw at the 
bottom of the vehicle an old pocket-handkerchief, which 
contained a feed of oats and beans ready jmixed. Safely 
shrined within tbe«orn, and wrapped in a fold of dirty paper, 
were some thick slices of brown bread and butter, and seve- 
ral layers of cold fat pork ; forming altogether a display of 
sandwiches most solidly disgustuig. As my companion 
offered m^ one of these, her rigid features relaxed into a 
smile, which was a mixture of sweet and acid, as nauseous 
as a cough emulsion. I declined the proffered dainties, and 
saw her, without the least degree of envy, mumble through 
the greater part of tlie repast, and wash it down with a dose 
of beer, from a broad-bottomed bottle which lay in the ca- 
briolet pocket. These stimulants of solid and fluid pro*^ 
duced a powerful effect on my companion, for she became 
all at oiice a^ loquacious as she had been taciturn ; and her 
eonversatiOB turned, luckily for my wishes, on the objects 
which be^an so iduch to excite my attention. 

^^ Well, Sir, here we are among the mountains, and a hard 
pull my poor beast will haveof it, to get as far as the village 
yonder. I ^don't know what demon made me take this road, 
instead of going straight along the level causeway. But 
here we are~*tbere 's no use in repining ; and we shall have 
down- hill Work going back. So cheer up. Sir ; I promise 
you a draught of newv imlk, some fresh bread and butter 
at the village, a repast which some folks may prefisr to cold 
pork and bottled beer. To your better health. Mynheer!" 
and she quaffed the dregs of her bottle of froth. 

^^ Do you know thcT names of these hills ?" asked I. 

^^To be sure I do. It would be odd if I ^didn't know the 
hills, where I lived so long, and whereby poor husband im- 
mortalized himself." 

'^ A hero, by Jupiter!" thought I, and I listened in fixed 
attention. 

^< Yes, 1 do indeed know them, continued the dame, ^^ and 
so. shall you if you wish it. There, right before us, is Ro- 
senberg) so called from the bloody murders that stained its 



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142 IIELfiUJr 8KST0VS8. 

soil deep red, after the battle of Caaael, a thousand yean 
ago, between the men of Bruges and Jtiluis Casar, or the 
Duke of Alva, I don't know which, but my poor man eouUl 
have told yoii all about it, as it's oHen he told me, lone 
woman that 1 am. There 's Scarpenberg, high, and stifl^ and 
rocky, like its name ; and Zwartenberg, as Mack as'thedevM 
himself, that used to sit on the top of it in former tkhoes, and 
watch the hermits ruoting their caves in the earth, long before 
the Benedictine monastery was pulled down, and the villain 
monks massacred by the people, with my own good man, 
Peter Zannekills, for their leader— for which good deei, 
Heaven rest his soul — Amen 1 Then here, doso to us, is 
Catsberg— " 

^' By your leave, dame,*^ saifl I, ^« before yon go- any far- 
ther, pray tell me the particuUr causes that led to the deed 
you mention." 

^^ You must not have much knowledge, if you are yet to 
learn one of the most gallant acts of history/* replied she, 
with a vivacity that set every jnusele of her face in action, 
and a curl of contempt on hp and nostril^ which gave a 
most unsightly twist to her gray MMistachios.. ^^ Yes," con- 
tinued she, ^^ 1 believe every one knows that the BenedictineB 
who last roosted in the old convent on Swartsenberg, were 
killed to a man, and their sinfitl nest pulled about their ears^ 
every stone of it ; as you may see, (torn the foundation ruitis 
lying bare there beftire you, down to the* very eeM^ floors, 
where their miserable victims were entrapped. '% 

Confessing my ignorance of all this, with a most appeasmg 
humility, and showing no dis|K>sttion to doubt her statements 
of geology or chronology, the old woman proceeded to a 
somewhat lengthy detail of the atrocities vulgarly attributed 
to the Benedictine confraternity. Among others, the popular 
belief has stamped their memory with that of inveigling all 
the pretty females of the neighbourhood to a certain part ef 
the monastery, wliere a trapdoor immediately opened under 
their feet, and they were safely precipitated, I forget how 
many fathoms deep,K into- caverns where every luxury but 
fresh air and daylight was provided by the lascivious monks* 
There the hapless victims were doomed to linger^ till pre- 
mature decay withered their youthful bloom, when they were 
successively put to death by the impious priests, to whose 
brutal embraces they had been doomed. The fruits of their 
intercourse were instantly destroyed ; for no gooner had each 



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THB TKAVniTS OV CATSIEBff. t49 

niseraUe mcAet giTcn bfarlii to a child, tbtn it was torn 
6om her ahas, and she was lliue robbed of all that lighted 
the caTern solitude with a ray of hope. The whole country 
vas thua kept fpr aeiile years in a state of ferment, and to 
use the words of my informant, ^^a pretty woman became 
as ecarce an animal on the skirts of Swartzenberg, as a wild 
cat in the woods of Catsberg, ever since Paul Scoonien, the 
hunter, was employed to destroy them at five guilders a 
score." 

At length a most tragical catastrophe put an end to the 
career of monkish- villainy. One of the victims (a married 
woman) escaped hf some miracle which I could scsurcely 
comprehend. She fled at night to. her owq cottage door, 
and almost frightened her husband to death by her unex- 
pected appearance, her ghastly looks, and altered form. 
She briefly recounted the story of her captivity and suflbr* 
logs; told how she was led along by a prowling priest, at 
the close of the evening, when she had wandered rather far 
from home in search of a goat that straggled from its pas- 
ture ; how the reverend father coaxed her on into the con<* 
vent bounds, and finally to the room from which she was 
suddenly plunged down into the abyss ; how her two babesr 
bora in theae dungeons, never saw the Ught, being unraerci* 
fully strangled by thew very reverend fathers; and how, afier 
a captivity of nearly three years, she eluded their vigilance 
and escaped. 

^' How happy the man must have been in recovering his 
wife t" exclaimed i, in my innocence. 

''That he might «rcdl'be*." replied she, with a sdf-sufii^ 
cient toss of her old bead. 
^j <' And what did the husband do ?'' asked I. 

<' Why, he kissed his pretty wife, God bless him ! gave 
thanks to Heaven, stuck a knife in his leathern belt, took 
his bilKhook in one hand, and a blazing fagot in the other ; 
then roused the neighbourhood, and was the first to set the 
monastery in flames, and commenced the butchery by cutting 
the prior's throat !" 
^ **' But you forget, my good dame, having told me that your 
. own husband took the lead in this pious business." 
^ *' And who dares deny it t Was not Peter Zannekills 
^ my husband ?— and didn't 1 go with him hand in hand, and 
^ stand by him to the last till the whole pile fell in, and buried 
^ the very memory of the villain that ruined me ?"j 



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144 BCIftlAH 8XSTCIHB. 

^^ What, then* vere you the pretty troman in queation 1 — 
ffou the wife that the man thanked bearen for sending back 
to him?" 

*^ Yes, Mynheer, I was ; and for thirty years allterward 
he had the blessing of a faithful helpmate tcy repay him for 
bis three years of divorce ; and he only parted ujom ne, on 
bis death-bed, in the hope that I might-^" 

^^ Live many a long day after him ?" 

'* Exactly so, Mynheer." 

«' What a shocking sight the bumiog ruins and the mur- 
dered priests must have presented !" exclaimed I. 

«^ Yes, they did ; but a aight that did one good ! It was 
fine to see lust and cruelty weltering in bkx>d and flame ! 
fiut it was a sad specUcle, indeed*, to watch the ghastly 
women as they fled from the caTemii fcalf wild with Aright 
and joy, and fainting from the fresh air rosbing upon them 
too suddenly ! But never mind looking back to these dead( 
monks, while yeu have plenty of living Trappists to stare at 
here on Catoberg, Heaven preserve me ! if there isn't one 
of them close by !-— 1100, as I am a sinner ! Let us get on 
lit>m this lonely place— I would not trust myself witUn reach 
of them for the world !" 

While she whipped the old mare into something approach- 
ing an amble once more, I could not resist a smile at her 
anxiety, which might have suited with the circumstances of 
forty years before ; and taking for granted her reports of 
her former charms^ I gave a passing thought to the fragile 
nature of personal beauty, and wondered if any yootbfol 
fair one could see the anticipated reflection of her lovdiness 
in the face of this old crone, or value her own bk>om the 
less, from the prospect of what it might become. 

In the mean time, I kept a strict eye on the two ^appists ; 
and curiosity absorbed .reflection, speculation, and philoso- 
phy. The faces of these men were turned from the road, 
as they were employed watching three or four cows that 
grazed in a pasture on the httl side. The figures were en« 
veioped in brown cassocks, with cowls pulled over each 
head ; and nothing more was visible but two sturdy and 
naked pair of legs, as they strode through the furze and 
heath. I perceived that they wore shoes^ but no other ob- 
ject of dress was visible. I could not ascertain whether or 
not thoy had discovered our approach ; but they seemed U> 
turn their backs most scornfully either on us or the world.. 



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!rHB tSAH>iars OF cATsnEao. 145 

We sac»n reached the little village, Which was one of those 
neatly built, 9^ue8tered spots, that seem made for the enj<)|- 
miHit of what is. most amiable as well as (nost hamble in life. 
There Were but two or three houses that exceeded one $tory 
in height, and these had no pretensions over the others btH 
in a few. feet ele?atioa. A pretty girl received ua at the inn, 
jnore blo6ming| than the large tulip (a favourite sign in the 
Netherlands) which was painted over the door. A limping 
hostler •hobbled out to assist my old woman in umraping the 
mare ; while the girl, (whose name might have been Uebe) 
handed me a glass of delicious new milk, which her sm^iles 
seemed to convert into that of ^^ human kindness^' itself. 
Seated on the stone bench, in firotit of the houses I finislied 
my draught, and eat with it a roll of the very best bread I 
^yer tasted, in Belgium or out of it, and butter that merited 
as pretty an imprint as the pretty face of her who had made 
'it. While I was thus employed, the old mare munched het 
mixture in the portable manger which stood at the door ; 
. aed the old woman despatched the remnant of her sand- 
Muches with a rapidity that proved her t^eth to have bid 
defiance to time. 

I looked upon the hill which rose high above the village^ 
and distinguished its barren sides, through the veil of smoke 
wreathing upwards in the light breeze that had scarcely 
•power enough to stir a leaf or a 1>lade of grass. On the 
brow of the hill 9ome straggling cottages appeared, and 
beyond them, on the very summit, stood (as I was told) tiie 
monastery of the Trappists. 

Rousing all my strength of resolution and muscle^ and 
grasping ^rmly my trusty stick, which had ere then ai^ded me 
up acclivities somewhat higher than that I now comtein- 
plated, I proposed to a gaping youth, who seemed to have 
. nothing better to do, to guide me by the easiest path to the 
high point of my ambition, and the very highest, I believe, 
of his knowledge. A piece of ten cents sealed our bargain ; 
and I set out, vigorously leaning on the lad^ and followed by 
many cautions from my old woman, ^< to take care of 
myself, and look out sharply for trap-doors." 

I never.felt more thoroughly the inspiring infiuenbe of aif 
and exercise. At every upward step, I seemed to throw ^ 
Toad of fat^ue and languor down the hill. My limbs 
became elastic, my spu-its light, and I felt stronger and 
yo^inger than I bad been for months before. I now and 

Vexr. IL—N 



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t46 BsxGtAiv sgmcata. 

iben paused for repose ;' but by the time t reached the top» 
fl only halted for the purpose of enjoyiii^ the view : and it 
was really worth enjoying. A wide extent of landscape 
^read aroond, but it seemed secluded and dmnesHe. The 
Iwo or three towns in sight did not look as if they were 
fDue a visiting, like those seen in the mist from loftier 
eminences ; but gave a notion of home and quietness, calm 
enjoyments, and social circles. The prospect was bounded, 
et a reasonable extent, by naing grounds and woods ; and 
the highest object was Mount Caasel, standing in single 
j^ide, and looking far over the heads of all the other eleva* 
tions in my view. I could not help giving this hill somewhat 
more than its due share of veneration, as I marked its pre- 
eminence ; and I thought that men might take example 
from mountains, and understand the value of standing akine. 
The group around me are lost in a common confusion to the 
fazer from Mount Cassel, merely because they are a groups 
Had each stood singly out from its fellows, in originality and 
independence, each might have gained its separate share of 
admiration, and have attracted in its turn the very same 
degree of re9pect that I now gave to another, no higher nor 
better than they. 

^< There, Sir, is the monastery," said my guide, as soon as 
%e caught my eye turned in the proper direction. 

«^The monastery!" exclaimed I, in surprisef, at seeing, 
instead of the gloomy building one associates with the name,- 
a modern house, white- washed and cheerful-looking, stretch- 
ing along the extent of a handsome garden, smiling in sun- 
shine, and the absolute contrast to. aught morose, or dull, 
liooking over a hedge, which was the only enclosure to an 
extensive yard in the rear, of the house, I observed close to 
it two of the trappists, industriously working with carpenter's 
tools. A Httle farther off, two or three more were busily 
employed in spreading out some newly washed linen ; others 
jnoved about, variously occupied, and all wore the saihe 
ooarse and characteristic costume as those I had first en- 
eountered. Some of the fellows I now gazed at were of 
tnost ferocious aspect, with bushy beards and scowling 
^rows ; and I thought I was coming into contact with felony's 
^cked men. 

I moved round the garden hedge, and reached a small 
itoor ^t the other side, which my guide informed me was 
<be entrance to the plsfCd. I aocordingly rang the belli The 



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;rHB TBAPHUrrB of CATSnBBG. 147 

4i^ was immediately opened; and a, figure stopd before 
me^of an aspect totally different from those I had previous^ 
seen. It was that of a yoting man, beardless almost^ of fair 
and mild complexion and demeanour, dressed in a robe of 
white drugget, bis cowl thrown .back, and discovering a head 
with hair so closely cut as to appear as If recently shaved^ 
all bi|t a curcuiar rim of about half an inch broad just above 
the ears, which struck me as an impious imitation of the 
halo usually represented in painting close above the heads 
of saints. 

The young man made me a low obeisance, with ari^s 
crossed on his breast, and he demanded, in Flemish, what 
was the object of my visit?* I replied, in French, that I 
wished to see an establishment so interesting, and hoped I 
might be permitted to indulge my curiosity. He bowed 
assent^ and led the way to the house. I followed, the guide 
at my heels, cap in hand, and looking awfully respectful to 
every thing we app^oaehed. 

We first entered a small square parlour on the ground 
floor, of which a few common articles composed the furni- 
niture ; but* all were extremely neat, and I found one of the 
rush-bottomed, cherry-backed chairs as luxurious a resting-* 
place as a couch of velvety had I been visiting a palace r 
such is the advantage of things being in keeping with 
places. 

The chamberlain left me for a few minutes, m6st proba- 
bly to ^< report progress*' to his superior, for the prior him- 
self soon made his appearance. He was an extremely good- 
looking man of about forty, dressed like those I had first ob- 
served, with the exception of his head being covered by a 
close les^ther cap, and the brown cloth of his robe being of 
a texture not so coarse. After a short conversation, I pro- 
ceeded, under the direction of the reverend ciceron6, wbo- 
waited outside, to examine the remainder of the house, be- 
ginning with the little chapel, which was very plain, having 
none of the disagreeable pomp of Catholic churches in ge- 
neral* We next walked through the narrow corridors, on 
each side of which were ranged,the little cellular divisions^, 
where the monks went through the mockery of repose ; for 
there can be little of its comfortable reality in the four hours' 
rest snatched between eight o'clock and midnight, when 
they rise .again to pray and diant, without changing an ar^ 
i;jicle of their clothing from morning till night, or night till 



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Ji48. BELOrAN SXETCHEE. 

norniRg. Their very shirts of coarse borse-haiv, are worn 
fur a' fortnight together. The beds on which they lie down 
are most ingeniously uncomfortable, being too short for even 
a common-sized man, and 1 have no doubt but their possess* 
ors often wish for a couch of the Procrustes fashion, with 
one-half ttie capabilities of his celebrated machine. A 
scanty rug covers the straw on which these 8elf-toripentor& 
stretch themselves; and no other furniture of any kind 
adorns their cells, the dimensions of which do not exceed 
six feet square, /A small aperture is cut in each door, to ad- 
mit a literal mmiihjul of air, and on each ib inscribed the 
name of its occupant, '* Brother Francis,'* " Brother Am- 
brose," " Brother Symphorien,*' *< Brother Placidus," and 
so oh. 

We next'visited the refectory, where a'table was laid for 
about forty. Beside each plate, of the coarsest earthen 
ware, was a mug of the sam* material, about the size of a 
small drinking-glass. These were filled with beer ; a scanty 
bit of brown bread was beside each plate ; and a still smaller 
portion of cheese ; and 1 found that these, with an undressed 
. salad and a soup made of water, onions, potatoes, and pars- 
ley, composed the entire repast. But it must be observed, 
that at the pertod of my visit the Trappists were living frett. 
They had bread and milk for breakfast, besides the dinner 
luxuries which I haye enumerated ; bot they never eat meat, 
poultry, or even fish. On the first of October their Lent of 
nine months was to commence ; and during the whole of 
that time they allow themselves but one meal a day, exclud- 
ing totally the indulgences of milk > and beer, and wholly 
living (if it can be called so) on vegetables, bread, and water. 
In every room the word ^^ Silekce'* was painted on the 
wall, and I figured to myself these unsocial Cenobites, 
placed at their lonely l)oard, and, in the coarse, though 
scanty indulgence of appetite, discarding these convivial 
accessories which raise eating men above grazing brutes. 
But the whole system of Trappism goes to degrade mankind 
to its lowest possible level. Beggary, needless filth of per* 
son, perpetual silence, (except to the few who must use 
their tongues to keep their commerce open with the world) 
seem the fundamental principles of the order. They herd 
together for no conceivable purpose tjiat might not be 
effected by each man singly, and by thus qongregating tbev. 



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TBB CTAmSTa OF OATdk^BO. 249 

jpve a scope to imaipDalion, or naliifnity, for odious iibputar 
tioos, which after all may have oo r^ity in them. ' 

yet I could not help viewing these monks with a species 

• of compassion that approached to what might be called inte? 
we$i. Whatever may have been the excesses of bigotry or 
crime that have forced these men into such an asy]u|n« 
the life they lead is indisputably one of wretchedness. What- 
ever their sins, the penance is equivalent. For what miserf 
04n eiceed that of the closest intercourse, without the least 
^ockiyy with one's fellow-men ; the mind condemned to 
wallow in the mire of its own dark thoughts, with constant 
yearnings to unburthen itself; a companion, perhaps for 
years, at the very elbow of each wretch, only vianting tlie 
interchange of one word to become intimate, confiding, and 
compassionate^and that word forbidden ; to move about, 
each man a breathing automaton, heart, feelings, and faculr 
ties, all under interdict ? 1 say nothing of their personal aus-' 
terities — but let me be of any order save that of La Trappe 

K *— fasting and praying, as long as nature and the brain can 
be kept on the stretch, flagellated daily, hourly, ^if the vows 
demand it, so as thought is free to vent itself in speech, s4: 
as the healing intercourse of friendship be allowed, even at 
the risk of confidence leading to disappointment ! The best 
fate that awaits the Trappist is, that he cannot livelong, and 
t^at the intellect is worn out, ere the. body sinks under the 
wasting sufiTerings to which it is doomed. 

Wishing to examine the details of the place more closely 
than this hasty morning visit allowed, I readily accepted the 
invitation of the prior to spend a day or two^in the monas- 
tery, a custom prescribed towards all strangen, a law of hos- 
pitality that is sure to meet its recompense. I accordingly^ 
sent back my garden guide,' with a message to my old wo- 
man, that she might return alonCf sending nie, the following 
morning, a change of those articles of dress, which even 
the example of my hosts could not induce me to dispense 
with. 

I was soon served* in the little square parlour, with a very 
f[ood dinner of flesh and fowls, cheese, eggs, beer, wine,, 
and all that, was calculatad at once to \satis^ ana astonish 
the traveller. I only wondered what became of the remawM^ 
or how the supply of the larder was disposed of, when n#. 
claimant like myself consumed its resources. I, however^, 
asked no such questions. I dept in a neat bed, with tokrar 



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bly fine linen, and in a chamber altogether such as nigfat 
conteDt any reasonable visiter. 

During the day, I walked about the garden and 6h the hil^ 
conversing with the prior, and also with the almoner, who 
indulged most freely in his privilege of speech. He wai a 
young fellow under five-and-twenty, good-looking, loqua* 
cious, jovial ; and he seemed well qualified for his efiice of 
managing the household afiTairs, and seeking abroad for re* 
sources which he aided to consume at home. The ofiicea ot 
almoner and begging brother are united, and are by no 
itoeans sinecures, as I was afterward convinced. 

I attended the afternoon service in the chapel, and saw a 
remarkable display of close-cropped heads, apparent humi- 
lity, and the externals of devotion. There were manjr com- 
monplace, and some marked countenamces among the' 
monks who chanted the service ; and these were uniformly 
habited in a white robe, with a black stripe down the back ; 
the heads close trimmed, with the exception of the circle I 
before described. They were almost all young tnen, and 
evidently of an order superior to the coarse and brown-clad 
brethren who worked at the ipenial ofiices. . In* what form 
of gregarious intercourse can perfect equality exist, -since 
there is, even among Trappists, a privileged class ? But it 
is, after all, questionable which is the aristocracy here— 
whether the psalmodist, who performs rto manual labour, has 
not a still harder task, in a seven hours' daily attendance in the 
chape], aiding the hoarse discords of liis brother chorists.. 
Among the latter I was particularly struck with the positive 
air of consumptive delicacy in their faces and hands, and 
the remarkable developement, in many of the heads, of that 
elevation which phrenologists pronounce to be the organ of 
veneration. There was not a prominent forehead among 
theip. There were a very old man and a young one, who 
were fit figures for sculptor or painter — the young man, par* 
ticularly, was one of the finest expressions of resigned and 
pious beauty that I ever contemplated ; and I have him be-* 
fore me as I write, in his fixed posture, with folded arms, 
«nd eyes neither cast upwards nor downwards, in assumei 
devption or false pie!y, and the hectic Bushings that passed 
at times aero;9s.his paie and sunken cheek. 
' During my visit, I acqufred a good deal of information as . 
to the habits aqd rules of this remarkable order, and I. was 
disabused of some errors which I bad formerly entertained ;^ 



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THE nimsM ov e^frmao. Ifik 

among otben vert the vul^r nctR«r that the Trappists 
. never ehange any article of drem till it Nterallj rots on the 
ha^k ; and that a part of their daily duty is, to go through 
the ceremony of digging their own graves. Caose enbu^ 
exists, without having recourse to such exaggerations, to 
make the system of La Trappe eminently objectionable to 
those whose principles are opposed to monachism in all its 
branches. A few of the peculiar rules of this order have 
been mentioned. The most obviously repulsive to gopi 
sense, which it possesses in common with others, is that of 
being wholly subsisted by beggary ; for any little appearance 
of industry among its votaries is confined to offices of house- • 
hold necessity, which they certainly wotild not perform could 
they find any others fools enough to save them the trouble. 
A few words on the subject of monkish mendicity may not' 
be amiss here. 

Of nearly one hundred monastio orders iti the church of 
Rome, upwards of thirty live by charity; <* without any 
Dbligation," as they say, ^^ to work, either corporeally or 
spiritually, for their own« support. For participating the 
sovereignty of God in the empire of the universe, they have 
the right to live at the public cost, without doing any thing 
but what they please."* 

It is^ however, clear that St. Francis, the author of the 
begging system, had no intention that it should reach the 
state of corruption it soon acquired. His principle is thus 
laid down : ^^ Those brothers to whom God has given the 
ability to do it, will labour faithfully, so as to avoid idlenesSp 
without injuring the spirit of prayer ; and as a recompense, 
their bodily wants will be relieved ; ' they and their brethr eii 
joining humility to poverty ; but (hey mvst not take money. ' 
The brethren must have nothing of their own, neither house, 
land, nor other possessions ; but considering themselves as 
strangers in this world, they will. go on with confidence, ask- 
ing charity." 

But these rigid principles of their founder did not suits 
even the Earliest Franciscans ; for four years after his death,^ 
in il230, they obtained from Pope Gregory IX. a bull which: 
fre^d them from the obligation of strictiy observing his testa- 
ment* And thus, ^^ manual labour, so weU practised by the 

* This eipositioD of monkish inralence is to he fonnd in » curiOBS'boolb. 



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IS3> ULGUS SXerOHEfiF. 

origfind monka, became odious; and .meodidty, formerly 
odiood, became honourable.*'* 

In about half a century after the death of St. Francis, hie 
followers grew intolerably presumptuous, importunate, and 
idle. So much so, that several of the bishops loudly de- 
claimed against them. Under' pretext of asking charity, 
these begging brothers mixed themselves up in all sorts of 
affairs, private and public; entering into the most secr^ 
concerns of a family, or obtaining deputations to negotiate 
treaties between states and sovereigns ;t and finally, it was to 
them that was owing the establishment of the Inquisition. 

The society on Catsberg is a branch of a great Trappist . 
establishment in Francis. It was founded a few years back, 
by a painter of some celebidty, called Bujssen, whose gene- 
rosity took this singular channel for indulgence. He made 
a free grant to these monks of the house they inhabit, and a 
considerable portion of the land which surrounds it. The 
latter b not at present of much value, the soil being ppoff^ 
and requiring more industry to make it productive than be- 
longs to its present possessors. But the gift was generous, 
however its object might have been ill-chosen; and the 
monks have not only granted, as is supposed, an equivalent 
in heaven for this earthly donation, but the suspicion is abroad 
that they hastened the journey of their patron from this 
world to the next, to give him more speedy possessioni 
Soon after the painter made his will^ securing the bequest, ' 
he died suddenly; and the general inference is, that the 
Trappists were resolved to secure their succession again&t 
any possible caprice on the piart of their benefactor. One 
would hope that this is a calumny. The will was, I under- 
stand, contested by some of his relatives ; and the monks 
were deprived of a considerable share of the bequest, but 
confirmed in possession' of the part they now enjoy. 

* Tbe folloiriog ptssige from St. Bonaventiire is cited by Voltaire, in hin 
Philosophical Dictionary :— 

« TheM be||isg broUieri, by their i^abf^id life, acuidalize in place oC 
edifying.' Their importunity in demanding makes people afraid to eocounter 
them, as if they were bat robbers. Indeed, this importanity is a species of 
violence, which few can resist^ and particiuarly when it comes from those 
whose rery dress demands req^et. But it is, in faet, the natural conse- 
quences of mendicity ; for the beggar most Ine. Hunger and other pressing 
wants eonqver tbe nntnral modesty of CTcn the well educated ; snd once th«t 
this barrier is passed over, each considers it a merit and an honour to hmv 
more success than tfiothc^ in collecting alms.*? - 

t Ahh^ Hussey, a Trappist, was a celebrated diplomatic intriguer betipee^ 
setetal Etiropean coiat», about the latter end of the last century^ 



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J 



THE TBAPrarrs of GATflBKXG. td9 

Catsberg has, from the earliest times, beeo the fayourite 
resort of Anchorites, who, before the Freneh revolution, 
covered the hill. Soon after the estabUsbment of the new > 
order of thmgs, (which nueana, I fear, a return to. theM^) a 
few of the Fiires Barbeties^ or, as they are commonly called, 
the IgnoranHns^ took possession of the hill, and commenced 
their course of religious enUghtentneni and political endark- 
enmenf, neither of which received any encouragement from the 
neighbouring inhabitants, whose eyes bad been opened too 
widely during a quarter of a century^ to endure the gUare^ or 
be satisfied with the gloom. The ignorant instructers were, 
consequently induced to abandon their position ; and they 
were succeeded by the Trappists^ who, in no way interfering 
with those around them, are tolerated, but by no means 
popular ; and from being at first objects of curiosity, are 
now only subjects for contempt. 

My guide up the hill appeared at my bedside soon after 
daybreak the following morning, -bringing me the refresh- 
ments 1 had requested from my old hostess. I rose early ; 
eat a hearty breakfast of excellent materials ; gave what I 
thought a fair return for my entertainment ; made my adieus 
to the prior, and accepted the almoner^s often to accompany 
me down the hill, to meet the cabriolet which waited for me 
at the village below. 

My animated and talkative companion entered into most 
fluent explanations on every point of my inquiries ; and with 
as much freedom as on any other, into the particulars of his 
own situation. 

^^ What a happy life must yours be, in contrast with that 
of your secluded l)rethren," said I. 

" Why, yes. Sir, it is : thanks to Heaven it is so, for we-^ 
but I have not enjoyed it long. 1 am the successor of ano*v 
tber, even in the short time that our community has been 
formed here ; and perhaps if you knen his story, you would 
Acknowledge that the situation of begging brother is not one 
so desirable, or so free from worldly dangers as you now 
supposp." 

^* Perhaps not. But to enable me to forpi a just opinion 
on the point, you will probably tell me your predecessor's 
story?" . ' 

The hint was sufficient. It was no sooner thrown out,, 
than my compaiiion acted upon k. He not only walked 
down to the village,^ but he joined in my drive ; and did not 



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154 iBEuauA sKfixxanes. 

quit me until he had partaken of my dinner in the old wo- 
man's auberge^ at the cross roads leading to Bailleul and 
Roussebrugge. When we separated in the evening, as he 
returned to his monastery, I put something into his leathern 
purse, slightly adding to the funds of his society, and still 
more insufficiently recompensing his loss of time, and paying 
for the information he had given me. That I now proceed 
to communicate to my readers, with some probable variatioa 
of words, but none whatever of circumstances^ as I learned 
them. 



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STORY OF 

THE BBGOIITG BBOTHBB. 



• 



CHAPTER I. 

It is full seven years since a lad, of about eighteen years 
of age, of delicate appearance, mild manners, and gentle, 
though not polished address, presented himself to the supe- 
rior of the Trappist monastery, near Amiens, in Picardy, and 
dedianded admission into the order. There was something 
altogether about this claimant for living burial that particu- 
larly struck the prior. He was dressed in the style of the 
better kind of farmers, and his air ai^d conversation bespoke 
him of that class ; but a tone of natural refinement gave a 
delicacy to all he said or did. He spoke French well, but 
with a Belgic accent ; and to the prior's inquiries as to the 
motives which, led him, so young, to desire the seclusion, 
and brave the hardsh?ps of the most rigid of the religious 
orders, he answered, with a modest fervour, that ** he felt a 
call from Heaven.'* 

. According to the ^stem of the society, no questions were 
asked of the youthful aspirant after soUtude, silence, and self" 
denial, as to his name or profession, who he was, or whence 
he came. He ^as regularly accepted, the ceremonies per- 
formed, his duties pointed. out, his dress presented to him, 
his cell assigned him, and he installed in it, under the appel- 
of Brother Placidus. The calm facility with which the new 
brother entered into the functions of his station was quite 
remarkable. The closing' of the gate that shut him from 
the world was echoed by no sigh of his ; nor did any smile 
of ^tisfactiofi attend his entry into his newly-9,hosen state. 



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156 BELGIAN SKBTCHES. 

Nottung seemed unfitting or strange. The drapery of his 
costadie hung easily on him ; his shaven head appeared to 
cause shim no inconvenience-; the unbroken silence, the fru- 
gal fare, the midnight risings, nothing came ami3». ft 
appeared as if he had at once dropped into the situation des- 
tined by Nature as his own peculiar place. 

His attention to his duties was exemplary. He performed 
with untiring alacrity, for some months, services to which he 
was evidently unaccustoihed ; and he did works of qianual 
hardship to which the appearance of his hands prov^ him a 
stranger. After the usual time of severe noviciate, hisv<iws 
were completed ; and he was then released from his browa 
dress, distinctive of the labouring brothers. It was replaced 
by the white cassock— and Placidus was accordingly ap« 
pointed one of the singers of the mass. 

In tills new station, to which he succeeded with joi tranquil 
resignation, that spoke neither pride nor pleasure, he con- 
tinued to display the same contente<jl perseve/ance that had 
atom the first distinguished him. His regularity in attendance 
to the seven hours* daily service in the chapel, which hia 
duty claimed, was never once interrupted. He was almost 
always the first to enter ; and the earliest soand of the bell 
was generally struck by his hand. During Ml this while his 
health was unimpared. He retained his delicate appear- 
ance, but was never actually unwell. In strict pursuance of 
his vow, and of the rule of the order, no word escaped his 
iips ; nor could the observing looks of the many who were 
seriously interested for him, obtain even one^ communicative 
glance fi-om his unspeaking eye. His only converse was 
with his own thougnts — be they what they might. • 

Fo^ upwards of four years nothing occurred to break the 
monotonous course of the young Trappist's existence. No 
Inquirers sought him ; no wish or thought escaped him ; and 
he was totally dead to the world. But at the expirieition of 
the period mentioned, a new destiny awaited him ; and, like 
a man risen from the grave, he was doomed to enter again 
up^n the stage of life, and to explore scenes, and mix with 
society, in a way unknown to him, even before he immured 
himself within the monastery walls. 

The establishment of the new branch of the Trappist 
order on Catsberg, required the appointment of a prior and 
almoner, with other offices. The prior, chosen from among 
the (brothers, a man of good manners and education, aa wett 



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, THE B£G0IN6 BROTHER. i^V 

US Strict and exemplary conduct, had no hesitation in ap- 
proving the choice of Brother Plaoidua for his almoner, 
and '* begging brother" to the institution. 

It was not merely the quiet virtues and religious resign 
nation of the young brother that made him the object of elec- 
tion to the elder ones. In abandoning the world the Trap- 
pists had not forgotten its ways ; and they judged that the 
handsome features and interesting manners, the air of truth, 
and the mild enthusiasm o^ Placidus, was the most likely to 
soden the hearts of the benevolent public, and particularly 
that most sensitive sex, of whom donations were to be de< 
manded, for an order of monks, unpopular from their over- 
done austerity, and from the vulgar notions which aggravate 
all that is repulsive in their practices. 'Besides, Brother Pla- 
cidus was beyond doubt a Belgian ; and as his eleemosynary 
efforts would take a round in the direction of his own coun- 
try, not to interfere with those of the main establishment, 
his native language would be, in fact, a necessary qualifi- 
cation for his office. 

When the arrangements were finally settled between the 
principals of the establishment, the newly appointed almoner 
was silently summoned to hear the official announcement of 
his nomination, ^e calmly rose fi'om his seat, and shaking 
off the train of secret meditation in which he was absorbed, 
he followed the mute messenger by whom he had been beck- 
oned, ignorant and indifferent as to the object for which he 
was required. Arrived at the door of the parlour, where 
the prior was used to receive visiters, or transact business, 
the heart of Brother Placidus beat with a palpitation un- 
known to him since he entered the same room, a suppliant 
for admission into the order, above four years before. The 
thought glanced across his mind, that perhaps some intru- 
sive inquirer had come to break the stillness of his seclusion. 
He struggled to keep down his latent emotion ; and, pre- 
pared to meet whoever might accost him, he entered the 
room. 

He made a respectful obeisance as he entered ; and rais- 
ing his eyes, he observed no stranger face, nor yet one of 
those, of early association and endearment, on which the 
keen glance of affection can trace an expression inefface- 
able by absence or age. The objects which presented them- 
selves to bis view were the prior, the brother named to the 
superintendance of the new branch society, and one other^. 

Vol. H.— O 



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)5t ' VEl0lA3Si ^KXWCBFS' 

the almoner and begging brother of the present main estab- 
lishment. These faces were not strange to Placidus ; and 
although he had never exchanged a word with two of the 
persons, and not with the otder for near fiye years, still the 
familiarity of daily intercourse) eating at the same table, and 
being mutually naturalized to the same locality, created a 
sort of visual intimacy, which removed all restraint from the 
young Trappist, and left him quite at his ease to hear what- 
ever communication was about to be made. 

The prior rose, and advancing with a cordial and benevo- 
lent smile, he gave his hand to Placidus, and said, 

^^ Brother, the restriction of years is removed. The time 
is come when you m^y indulge in the privilege which is 
permitted to all of us present, "taciturnity, so salutary to 
the well being of the brotherhood in general, must be dis- 
pensed with in the acting members of the order ; and 1 have 
to announce to you that you are chosen as one.' 

The prior paused, and he and his associates awaited the 
evidences of grateful satisfaction, which they expected to 
witness in the looks and words of the young man. But no 
sound escaped him, and he only bowed obediently and re- 
spectfully, without the slightes.t change of countenance. The 
prior, pointing to a seat, which was taken by Placidus, and 
resuming his own, coatinued, 

^^ A benevolent and pious individual has granted an en- 
dowment, of a house, land, and money, which enables us to 
extend our institution, by a new branch, to the very confines 
of Belgium ; and it is on one of a little range of mountains 
called Catsberg, that our new society is to be placed." 

At these words Brother Placidus seemed to shrink invo- 
luntarily, and a deep glow suffused his cheeks. But it passed 
quickly over. He drew his hand across his brow, and let it 
descend, as if mechanically, on his heart ; while a sigh, half 
suppressed, heaved his bosom. 

"The worthy brotfier here beside me," continued the 
prior, " has been chosen chief of this new formed station ; 
and there, on the verg& of Belgium, if not actually ia it, a 
native brother of exemplary character and conduct, will be 
required to act as an almoner, and to make the usual rounds, 
demanding aid to our scanty funds from those charitable 
Christians in whom the love of religion is superior to the 
vanities of the world. Such a brother, so qualified, we have 
found in ifou^ for you are, I believe, a Belgian, and the rest I 
* ainswer for." 



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TH£ BEOOIKO BBOTHEK. 159 

Wben the prior concluded, a pause of some minutes en- 
sued. The young Trappist evidently laboured under some 
strong hidden emotion, which he strove to overcome, and 
which the observers respected too much to allow of their 
interrupting him. The very use of speech, so long prohi- 
bited to him, was difficult to recover. He made more than 
one effort for utterance before he succeeded ; and when ht 
really spoke, it was in so confused and incoherent a way 
that he was startled and abashed. He, however, expressed, 
in sufficient phrase, his gratitude to bis superiors for their 
confidence and marked approbation ; he declared his readi- 
ness to obey any call made on his services for the good of 
the brotherhood ; but concluded by saying, that^^ taken by 
surprise as he was, having hoped and believed that he should 
have lingered out life and sunk to death in the quiet oblivion 
of his retreat, he must beg a few days to prepare himself for 
his new avocation, and demanded the favour of sotpe instruc- 
tions for his guidance in a calling for which he was sensible 
of his incompetence." 

*' Beloved brother," exclaimed the prior, ** every indul- 
gence, every consideration shall be given to your feelings 
and your wishes ; and our good brother, Petrus Maria here, 
who has so long served in the capacity of almoner to our 
establishment, will give you such suggestions as may render 
light to you, and advantageous to the brotherhood, a task 
for which I am convinced you are pre-eminently suited." 

After salutations and congratulations from the new supe-* 
rior with whom he was to serve, and a blessing from the 
prior, Placidus followed his brother almoner to the little 
room assigned to the latter, for the regulatien of the receipts, 
disbursements, and genera] accounts of the establishment, all 
which were upder his c^re and control. 

Nothing could be more striking than the difference in all 
ways between the two almoners. The calm, pale, hand- 
Some countenance, and tall spare form of Placidus,. were 
strongly contrasted with the coarse and swarthy visage, and 
short round figure of his Brother Petrus Maria. The latter 
had not been almoner and begging brother for seven or 
eight years for nothing. If he scrupulously performed his 
duties, he also conscientiously availed himself of the privi- 
leges allowed kim by his station. Weariig, as permitted, in 
liis begging excursions, the ordinary habiliments of common 
liie, (with the exception of the horse-hair shirt,) and his own 



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160 BELGIAN SKETCHES, 

black shock of hair growing out of all mode of La Trappe- 
ism, be also indulged freely in those points which hungry 
travellers consider necessaries of life. He ate heartily, and 
drank freely ; and bore the natural marks of good living, in 
a speaking rotundity of person^ and rubicundity of face. 

Brother Petrus Maria had been chosen to his office from 
reasons the very opposite to those which led to the appoint- 
ment of Placidus. It was his fluency of speech, his perse- 
vering address, (which might perhaps be translated impu- 
dence^) added to his knowledge of accounts, discovered by 
an accident, which formed the ostensible reason for his pro- 
Qiotion. But he himself was frequently heard to declare 
that the real cause was his uncontrollable passion for talking, 
which made it almost imposi»ible for him to observe the rule 
of taciturnity ; that he was repeatedly near choking from 
being forced to swallow his half uttered words ; and that if 
by chance he succeeded, in keeping silent for a day, he was 
sure to rouse the whole brotherhood of the domitory by 
talking in his sleep at night. I'his was his version of the 
motives for his appointment ; and as he was a Gascon, the 
chances were equal as to its being false or true. But the 
reasons which first induced him to enter such an unsocial 
order, never transpired. It was indeed whispered that he 
chose that sanctuary, in preference to a chance of the galleys; 
and that his present integrity as a monk, was quite neces- 
sary to balance the account against his former roguery as a 
man. As it was, he was considered by the brotherhood 
invulnerably honest in his actual calling ; and no mendicant 
was ever hailed on his rounds with greater pleasure than was 
Brother Petrus Maria, or, as he was familiarly called. Brother 
Pierre, particularly when he put- on the ludricrous grimace 
which he called his begging fa^ce^ and discharged some of his 
most celebrated gasconades. 

" Welcome, Brother Placidus, to my little cabinet," said 
he, as they entered the room ; ^^ it is pleasant to be 
able to say, how do you do ? to a friend for the first time 
after five years* acquaintance. Sit down, and let us see in 
what way I can be of any use to you." 

" The favour 1 would require from you. Brother," said 
Placidus, with as much composure as the agitation of his 
mind and the extreme difiiculty of articulation allowed, <* is 
that of your advice and information, as to the means of 
fulfilling the arduous labours of the office I am appointed tQ> 



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THE BC6G1KS BSOTBIS. IGl 

150 as best to acquit mjrself of so difficult and responsible a 
*duty. But I do not at present wish to press this oo you. I 
irill allow jou a day or two of undisturbed leisure, to form a 
little code of instructions for my guidance ; and durin^f the 
interval I hope to bring my mind to a state fitting to receive 
your kind and brotherly suggestions." 

*^ A day or two, to form a code of instructions !" ex- 
claimed the almoner, in surprise ; the ** arduous labours of 
your office! St. Peter preserve you, child, if these are the 
notions with which you enter upon it. Sit down, I tell you, 
and in ten minutes I '11 give you as much really useful know- 
ledge on our mutual calling, as if f wearied myself and wor- 
ried you with a volume of amphfied trash — sit down — sit 
down." 

Placidus obeyed the repeated invitations, took a chair, and 
prepared himself in equal astopishment and satisfaction, td 
hear the simple secrets of a duty which to him had appeared 
so complicated. 

^' Now, my dear Placidus,** said the almoner, *^ to set your 
mind at ease all at once^ what, let me ask you, is the nature of 
your duty and mine ? In one word, to go a-begging — to go 
a-begging, my boy, neither more nor less ! Wbat so easy, so 
pleasant, so natural to a man ? It 's an i(bsolute instinct. 
Every one is bom a beggar, and lives and dies the same. Many, 
to be sure, disguise their calling under the name of borrowing ; 
but the only diffisrence is, that your beggar makes no promise 
of payment, and your borrower keeps none. Others steal, 
•Tob, cheat — for there are nice distinctions — but all are 
only begging in masquerade : off-shoots from the native ori- 
\ginal root. I am a beggar by inclination as well as profes- 
sion ; and so are you, ray brother, as you will find out on 
your very first essay. Well then, what so easy as to obey a 
natural impulse ? The principal once felt, the practice will 
soon follow. But I will give you a rule or two, and a reason 
for each. 

^^Tirst, never go a-begging, or a-borrowing, with a sad 
face or a shabby coat. Your poor devil, in evident distress of 
mind or circumstances, has no chance of relief. It is your 
joyous, bold-faced, well-led, solvent fellow, that has only to 
ask and have; and why. Brother Placidus? because the- 
cfaarity of half the world is selfishness^ that does a sei^vice^ 
small or great, only in the hope of getting a greater in return. 

^^ Second, alwajs half fill your leather sack, as I de mine» 
O 2 



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iGt SEX.6IA17 SKETCHES. 

before you commence your collection. But take your purse 
out empty, and you will bring it hack empty. And when- 
ever you ask alms, be sure to rattle your money and opea 
the mouth of your sack. There is a powerful magnet in 
gold that has been given to the poor ; and the elements of 
the^ attraction are vanity and envy mixed ; for the charity of 
the other half of the world. Brother Ptacidus, is ostentation^ 
that prompts a man to do as much or more than his neigh- 
bour, although he would let that neighbour starve if he 
chanced to fall into want." 

Placidus, whose look of attention had gradually changed 
into a stare of horror, took advantage of the pause in the 
almoner's discourse, to express his feelings. 

"Brother, brother," exclaimed he, " can this picture be 
real ? You shock and terrify me ! Is this indeed the world 
I am about to enter V* 

" Ay, that it is," replied Petrus Maria, " a very true picture 
of worldly benevolence in general ; but there are, no doubt, 
some exceptions. For instance, in a town of twenty thou- 
sand souls, you may receive aid from iiity who give money 
from mere recklessness, from a love of squandering, they care 
not how ; a couple of hundred cowardly rogues may hope to 
buy off their ill- doings by a false benevolence; and perhaps 
. half a dozen individuals may drop their mite into your sack, 
in the pure spirit of charity." 

. " And such are the exceptions ?" murmured Placidus, 
covering his face with his hands. 

" Excuse me, brother," said his companion, " for causing 
an ungratified longing to your palate, while 1 satisfy mine — a 
man who talks must drink. Liquor is the food of speech :" 
and thus I avail myself of my dispensation :" and he filled 
from a corpulent flagon, a glass of some rosy-coloured liquid, 
which he quaffed instantly. 

Placidus scarcely observed him, and his palate was quite 
unconscious of his brother's indulgence. The latter, afler 
repeated smackings of lips, and accompanying evolutions of 
tongue, that nothing might be lost to the unimbibed liquor, 
resumed his lecture. 

^< Of such materials, my dear brother, is composed the 
mass of beings among whom you are to recruit the funds of 
your young establishment I know them well, in all their 
varieties ; and I will give you a hint or two as to the way of 
managing them." 



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"THE SE60XN0 BBOTHE^. ' 163 

*^ Managing* theoi !" ^hoed Placidus, with a atrong em- 
phasis. 

^^ Ay, manceuvring them — working on their feelings, if 
they have any ; on their /at2ti^«, if not. There is nothing, 
Brother Placidus, that we must not do, for the good of our 
order and the love of God. Remember, then, whenever yoir 
ask alms of a rich man, to appeal to his charity ; if you 
heg from a man of moderate means, talk of his wealth ; if 
women are the objects of your solicitations, you must praise 
the hberality of the old, the freshness of the middle-aged 
and fading, the piety of the young and vain. Thus you 
give credit to all classes, of both sexes, for what they have 
not, the reputation of which is just what they are best 
pleased to pay for ; and, as one grand rule,^/<er aU, Be a 
perfect Turk in that respect — spare neither sea nor age ; and 
you '11 see, Brother Placidus, how fast the strong box of 
Catsberg will fill." 

The harangue finished, Petrus Maria paused for breath, 
ajid poor Placidus sat gasping from agitation. He waited 
a while, in expectation of more ot this revolting advice ; but 
finding, by a significant nod from his companion, that there 
was no more to be said, he rose to depart. Oppressed with 
a thousand conflicting sensations, and unused to the forms of 
the world, he quitted the room in silence ; and he heard his 
late counsellor murmur as he retired, 

" St. Peter preserve the boy I If he does not mend hie 
manners before he goes his. rounds, my poor brothers on 
Catsberg will have their beer- barrel filled with water, and be 
cut short of their inch of cheese for a whole month/' 

Placidus passed with hurried steps along the corridor, and 
liad just reached a landing-place, from which a flight of 
narrow stairs led to his cell, when he encountered the prior, 
who had been paying a pa tro- fraternal visit to a sick brother 
above. This chance meeting seemed to Placidus a dispen- 
sation of Providencet to save him from the fate which 
appeared gaping to ingulph him. Following the hurried 
impulse of the moment, he flung himself at the prior's feet, 
^nd seizing him by the flowing folds of his dress, he sobbed 
forth, in scarce articulate utterance, his incoherent appeal. 
The first words distinctly understood by the prior were 
these : — 

^* For mercy sake, do not insist on this. It is too much 
ibr me — the frightful picture drawn by our brother yonder. 



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1<)4 BtLOIAir 8&SfCH£S. 

of tbe bid^ftis world, hdf drives me nrad. I could not 
serve the brotherhood insucl^ a station — I should sink under 
daties I was unable to perforin — and all Would end in injury 
io our order, and my own disgrace ! Spare me, spate mfe 
from this dreadful result — relieve me from this misery — 
appoint some more fitting brother, I implore you — and lei 
me but retire into the alence and solitude of my former 
state. Oh ! take pity On me, and grant my humble and 
heart-inspired prayer ! " 

'< Beloved brother,'^ said the prior, in his kindest tone, 
feeling sincerely for the agitation of the youth, and at the 
same time remembering the weighty reasons for keeping him 
< firm in his situation, *^this emotion is but natural in a 
youthful and innocent mind. It gives the best surety of your 
fitness for the duties you will have to fulfil. Your appoint- 
ment was the result of mature deliberation — the best interests 
of the new establishment are involved in it-^it is, in short, 
irrevocable. But I am fiilly sensible of what you sufier, 
which, trust me, is only temporary. You will not find the 
world so bad as you expect. An upright man may safely 
hold with it such intercourse as yours, and walk unharmed 
through all its maze of vice« Brother Petrus Maria has 
perhaps coloured his picture too highly. He is rather 
satirical by nature, a little cynical by habit, and praoindaUff 
inclined to exaggeration withal. But I, too, have known 
the world — its bad and its good parts. I have known the 
meanness, the treachery, the selfishness of men, but I also 
have known their integrity and truth ; and I have^el^, dear 
Placidus, the heating breath of woman^s virtue and ever- 
verdant faith, giving balm to the lacerated heart, and ^ing it 
anew with health and hope I Hasten to your silent ceil — to 
your humble couch--commune with your innocent soul — all 
will be well. Yqu have agitated me somewhat, and revived 
long-buried thoughts. This must not be !" 

With these words the prior moved away, leaving Placidus 
struck with his evident emotion ; but how much more a 
victim to his own ! A new train of feeling was revived in 
his mind by the unpreme<titated expression of that which 
had escaped his superior. The newly pictured world had 
faded fit)m his view, and imagination burried him back to 
days and scenes, that even the effacing wing Gt Time had 
faded to blot from his mind. 

In this mood he reached his cell. He ky down on his 



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THE BEGGING BROTHSK. 165 

lowly couch. The ni^ht be passed was pitiable, compared 
even to Trappisf s usual sad and scant repose. Unceasing 
sobs were heard by his solitary neighbours till the chapel 
bell and daybreak summohed tbem away ; and for the first 
time since his admission to the order, Brother Placidus failed 
to aid at the celebration of the midnight mass. 



CHAPTER IL 

In a few weeks afterward the new branch of the brother* 
hood was firmly established on Catsberg. The portion of the 
building assigned to their use was fitted up in the manner 
suited to such tenants ; and never were furnished lodgings 
less encumbered with furniture. The garden-ground was 
soon laid out, and the hungry earth fed with the seeds and 
plants which it was to reproduce in fruits and flowers. The 
working space was enclosed, and the sterile soil beyond it 
dug up and prepared, as much as its savage nature would 
allow, for the refinements of culture. 

The ten or a dozen brothers who, with the prior and Pla- 
cidus, had thus colonized the hill, were all soon named to 
their respective occupations ; and the younger almoner would 
gladly have exchanged his place for any of theirs, even at the 
risk of the healthy, but ungodly, glow that was forced into 
their cheeks by the labours which nature pointed out for 
man. While all these various works went on, Placidus was 
more tranquilly, but not less usefully employed. He had not 
repeated his visit to brother Petrus Maria. He preferred 
rather the conferences and counsel of the venerable prior 
and his own immediate superior ;' and by force of piety and 
resignation, he gradually saw in a less fearful aspect the 
monstrous expanse of difficulty and danger into which he 
was about to be launched. 

But habit, still more powerful than advice, did wonders for 
him. The very day he quitted the monastery walls, and saw 

d not 
fropi 
orted 
really 



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168 BELGIAN SKBTCHSS. . 

him for the white-robed Trappist, to whose occasional vi^is 
of purchase she was accustomed ; and when, on ezaminationv 
she recalled his features, she oould scarcely believe his cheer- 
ful countenance and affable demeanour to belong to her 
former melancholy and unsocial customer. She naturally 
imagined that the young man had emancipated himself from 
his vows, and renounced the fellowship of his austere and ill- 
fed companions, and, stretching out her hand, she wished 
him joy .of the change, in terms of much warmth. 

^^ I always suspected it would end this way," said slie, 
giving him no time for a reply to her first mistaken con- 
gratulation. '- Extremes touch, they say, and I thought such 
' excessive piety would have a wild fling at last — the barrel was 
too fuU to escape bursting I Come in, come into the house, 
Mr. Placidus, if that is the name we are still to give you — * 
but happy I am, for your sake, not to call you brother any 
longer. A good breakfast is a stranger to your stomach. 
You shall have the best that the house affords ; a slice of 
bacon, with the thigh of a potted goose, a bottle of beer, * 
such as they never taste on the mountain, believe me, and the 
best of caffe au-lait^ bread and fresh butter. What do you 
think of that? It does my heart good to see your comely 
countenance brightened with a smile. Come in, come in.'* 

The constitutional serenity of Placidus was not ruffled by 
this abrupt and ill-timed volley of felicitations. " My good 
dame," said he, without obeying her invitation, " your kind 
wishes gratify me, but their expression is founded in mistake. 
I am still a Trappist, still .Sro^A^r.Placidds, still the almoner, 
and still what I have been all along, the caterer for the trifling 
wants of my bretliren !" 

'^ Indeed ! you do astonish me," exclaimed the hostess, 
'' but you are not the less welcome, good Brother Placidus ;" 
and this might have been true, for having a fair portion of 
the natural taste for gain, it was probably equal to her 
whether she made her profit on potted goose or barreled 
beer. Supposing, therefore, that her visiter came on his 
usual purpose of purchasing the latter commodity, she still 
pressed him to come in, assuring him that the last brewing 
surpassed in excellence all that he had before bought of, and 
proposing to send up a small^cask to the monastery before 
the great demand of the neighbouring farmers had censumed 
all. " And pray," continued she, " excuse my error, in sup- 
posing you had parted company from the worthy gentlemen 



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of the moiiyid^; ^-if»i»ito» jJoMiqi ym ia Ite Atiilto 
9iiit'^ olotlMMp,l40i0ttd ^ 4kt #«Attdfab dreoi ip which you 
«ft4 thtEJ>tfaerfMi hi^tiiM iMik%.i^ tthmit theiiU) Ul» 

gt>od «tetmy^ fttM Plaeadnii ^ ^irt^ y6ii «Ib» ij^hmt in t 

bi^g^h»ffl^^ our €KxMbk«Ml^^in Anil #101^ Itese 

sAee ^ tllk ftieij^iMi wlQ^4i»d hithti^s opeiiQ^I befof« Ito 
iftodte^ in mvch better pli|^t, iiiim fseap^ the qujnfaieis 
€C|si'^V«i|4.m«tfMiii veviikidoii oi ^i%WM«xdt6d 

to e^rety H^ theit mpff^myndd to Tn#i»ft iaid -bdgga^y. 
The Ili^pB of Jk»r iMrr toi^iatd* inttm^^tM^i <a|fhteiuiig, ^ 
tlMKijirh^hef moii^yiiid faN» <^pi^silitd ht its odi^. , . 

''' ¥o8^ Miiikihi^'* oontitiM ^lM«d««r ftkiriiig wUtV the 
•mMtd^ii ii(^Mi0< l^^b jMl ^lort b £e. Mrviao of His 
bi^hrtfO^ ^J ooA now/b^t (iw hiniiblo melidkmiitr no hmg^r 
the liber«l pimehmser ^ my §reih#^ TfUfiftei*. You fcnofr, 
fTlthoiy; 4oiAfrv'thftt^owo»d^sub^ ^ fthuB of the )&a- 
ciiftlKlo^; Wt»et> ^Mo'lhncb beiat sow beerly-^^Qded, I 
ihhdfty'Cotiimefiee.;i^^^>lieetioii) to Which i t^^witvybo will be 
tho'Si^'lo^^OiitariMe.'^ ^ '•••'•' • ■• 
*^ V Me indeed f tW yw ht^ i|nehr'niteakeOy IMHst^ Men- 
<dk»nt< ^ fll^ elibein^ lo 4he supfMittof a ^oveel of laay, 
goed-lbl^'1loti^^^^.V^ ^^ aodH^lrat frighten the 
900ir peesiiiiiil wl^ ^r ftim lookti, ftti .h«m>'t as muph 
9ft ft eivS i^erd ro ghs to « body. No^ CMlynot I indeed^— 
not en Of ^^•^Hso^'fddd, iliarninjr, Sir, etod A pfea^ntwalk 
/to you;" • ''['. ^ ■ •.'--. •;■■ ,■'■;.,,- 

'"^ WeB, #e&;^' i^ajd Pfeoiditis, m hertmied ii#fty, trmuffled 
by heJKfnde Mfiiiel, *> this is a bi^dbefinnbg*: but, after all, 
the po0f^ We tt^e tbft less bee^we iw^dtink, and a trifie 
bestowed in chanty nti^tikafe4>eenTe,tiuHieA a iHim^drodf^^ 
*ih honest profit.'* v 

He fkfrly stroek the ehord : aH the bitionia aiid pereonal 
t'<^Ung^ of the hatitefts anipwered in uiAon to his inuendow 
She qutekly returned towards hiiii, anil wifh k hard^wr6ught 
^miie, she exclaimed, ^^ \Tell, thece is no resisting the work- 
ing^ Of one's, heattl I gftvea hasty debial, my good Brother 

^Hdfaftfthiiig; 
Vot.IL— P 



L 



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in 

PkGito,aiid Imn wfnai ool aft over 4^in(oBe« But IdenH 
know what came over me^-^I d6ii't» Meed. I am sore. I 
aaver wcndd hmre refiMed to contrttol^ to the tsomfcrts of 
Ae good brotherhood of the hiil, had I copsidewl.« niiMieiil. 
Opto four litde aack^ and let ihb dr^ .to the botlom of U* 
I k^mkf he{>e it may hiihg you lock. Would yoafike to 
take anftffing^^JQ^t one glaaipfthft new Iqpi?' • 
* Pladdhs excused himaelfi IhaidcM the reroonsiderate land- 
lady fat her bounty, an4 walhed away, iiot 'leali fiatisfied .aft 
the donation than'iit lus own address in ^tzcking the raling 
paamn to whioh it was doe* . / 

Encouffiged by thia^ siieoefts, his neat attemptwas ander*^ 
taken Inth.atUI moxe eonfiifenee and eeifrjeoiQiBand. He 
approached the hoofoof onci of fttdr- wealtinest fantrers ^ tbe 
district, who bad iSaed hiji te^idence in the village^ winch wa^ 
nearly surrounded by Ins. iwious .tenants*, n0^ large apd 
well-built bouse, uid its coffsetfpfmdiag appiKtenaiic^i eli- 
cited high bopea of a ; handsopie d<Hiht|on». and. Placidos 
fllitered.at |be hi&lf open door wHh a feeling of ,gratitode for 
the. anticipated gift. ... r ^ . ; 

Fanner Cloots happened to be at the mo^ient intbe CO01* 
mon rooin^ whi^t aa oioal hi the country, serred for kIteheD 
and parlour^ to the famifyl ^ large lable was spread for Um^ 
breakfast of the whole establishmentvcoaiisting of ipitMm 
' and misfresa,^. their sons and di^ugfaters, and ^11 the smants, 
in-door andottt S«b6tantlallea^eSybiit^,e|^aodchees^> 
gave evidence of Kbisrai housdkecgN.Qg ; while the large 
coflbe-pot^ simmering by tho fireside^ ^ad t))ie.proiportieoato 
sailcepan of milk npon the fire, told thai go6d and generous 
living was commoa to all. Plaeidiur auguired Mill more 
favottrably from Uiese symptoms, and he readily advaaoed, on 
the Invitation of .the &naer, whose portly frame presented 
itself with a fall front, hta back to the fire,, and his hands in 
his breeches pockets^ in each of wjuch be rattled sundry 
pieces of money* At either side of him aat a .female, one the 
partner of all his good fortune for life, who was occupied in 
preparations for making the<cfl/S an ^ /ail; the other was a 
.wo-begone figure in w^w's w«ieds, who silently gaaed. on 
the flamihg fagots, and seemed to read in them the history of 
her own misfortunes* .1. 

/^Welcome, Sk, to house and table!" said the faxmdr, 
with ostentatious hospitality, as ]?lacidus took off his iiat ana 



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TBS BXaom« IBMWaOR. 171 

lK>wed to the trld: >^to wUM, tftd to wbeiii, may I^'isk, ant. 
I indeibted foir this Tint ?*V 

^ I am, Sir, the almshaBking brother of ^ monkK of La 

.Tra(i|ie, eiMftMi^4'hardtty, on Cataberg ; and my olb^eciin 

Mb iothisioD is to solicit yoor iMnty towards the ^pids of 

an order whose sple means o£ st^btifttenbe are the doiiationB 

of the pioiw and charitable.'* 

, *^M^ P hit»rje6ted the farmer^ serewin^ np his nicHith', and 
bottcmiog his breechea pockieftS', ^ I have beeo expocting :the 
famiour of a'lisit liM this : I wondOrOd why yotr gentry for- 
bore «0 long from levying a^ tax oil yoiv indjostrious neighh 
boQrii ; "hot i suppose yoir^ were too busy in digging yom: 
.grav^.,> Yott' saf, Sir, that yo9 hve^n^dona^oiis'from the 
pious alid eharitable. Wefl; I am^ I tiepe and. trust, both 
eine and the i^hei^'--^(faere Ms haiids r^umed their emi^oy- 
melet of r^ttlftig among his'money)-^^^ biit titoither piety nor 
charity tell me to ^y a • premium i^mi sloth; thermre, 
yon 'g'et no doiMi]tlon frpm me V* again buUoatng up Ins 
pockets; ^ Yesy Master Mendiennt, t trust I am pioiu : 
I hear mafis every iBorning, and 1 ooofess on^ a month: I 
|>elieve I am ckiarUMe^ as thid poor woman eaa attest^ who 
lives on my bomrty, and has this very niomeat shari^ it !^' — 
ium( once mere thochkik ^f eoid^aod siher aoundhd <m either 
tUgh ; '' but I have nothing for the idlor^Oothiiig \^' 
'. ' ^^ Nothing, or less than that, il* possible,^ phimed in thef 
for*betlor''foi>-wdr8e compaoioii of the last speaker ; while a ' 
rather .niee''loiAittg girl/ the ddesi da«q|[hier of the Weil- 
nMtched Goupie, putM her mother's aprbn» and elbowed her 
vepseaohMiy^at the same time oaMing a lodi er two at the 
handsiome almoneip. ' : » 

<^ I must receive your refiisal wijkb as nuoh resignatioDi,'' 
said Piactdns, ^ as yoiir*boia^y weiM have exeitedgi^titude. 
I cannol force your puree to open^ nor do I judge your 
iactioiQ, though you aris so uisqiarinf of ours : biit I little* ex- 
jpeoted" (ahd here be addressed the wife) '^that Madame 
Vermoot^ at the Tidip, yonder, Would ka«e giveif while you 
refused ; and I hope^ Sir,'^ turning* te tibe farpier, ^< that a 
Messing wiil not be withheld from the doings of him who 
scorns and insuHs the poor. *? - 

> Placidus bowed loWt and Was quitting the hoos^^ wbei^'he 
perceived Hie widow glide outof Uie door ; aiid at the same 
0K>ment the mistiess oftheaymsien Msk^ deraandedy ^% 
indeed, Madame Vermoot had given my thing V\ 



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I7f jmuatm fmmcmMs^ ' 

bad raceifed from ib^ liMlms. 

.f >< No/* Mid Om^imittMe dwiie, ^^ il di«U nimrM anid In 

]im, and pot kia your wcfc, and hi IhipL jiflgfo tiofodier, 
to tdl wbicfa aoanda the loudest" v. 

<aimmlieeft^lhuKbpf, MM^ Ti^pietV^ «iiielilii9Bd the 
fanaer, even before bit mate biid iiiiiabed her ainiviUeba- 
nui^e, ^*.tfaat eae imgbl «» weU not be eoieetere.ee I vas 
just now, I am save if aay Man nerila a bleasiog, I do. I 

riifr eiKMigb, aiid^ve en^^ to earare Hi at any nle; aad 
must net risk its loss, afieK tiU by any vam of medertte 
aasietanoe to the deeerviag, as no doubt yoa and your bne^^ 
thren may be, in yoar own way.. Pray aoeefit thilH-doyiMi 
thinjc tbat enough, to seeui^ me JTrpm ill Iti^ ? Yoa dbfil 
have more, if you really beli^e^ in honesty fnd tsonsdenoe, 
that thai is b^ suffiefent-^bat I hope it isr^what-doyou say^ 
Bkt V^ and a silfer coiny.0f ao great value, was held forth 
by ttis compound of 'ostenNt^ion and supei^titUrti^ Plaeidxis 
allowed the aaon^ to drc^ into 1^ sadk, anawanng mdy bjr 
a bow of thaidis, and quitted ^ the bouse, g^g a gn^Mbl 
emile'to the dai^hter,. whose eonaidefate .inlarfei!eaee to 
spare his feelings fromburt, bad.not been lest oabim. As 
he paused for a moment in tbe villsge streei, to, consider 
Where he should next apply, a ^ Ham i** tws^ of dRoe tim«B 
repeated, attraeted liis attantien, and looUag lowafds the 
sound, hesaw the farmer'a widowofj pemnoneip standing batf 
o^Mioeiled in .a reeesBi formed by tbe separation of two of 
the liouses near htm. She beckoned hiqi to approa«b, and 
when b<» joined bar, she said in a tiqiid tooe« 

^My good Sir, eauHwe^^ bumble oSiring of % foitom 
womui ; and lat this mite prave her wish to shara her pit- 
taace with (hose aaareely poomr Hm idie is. It is part of 
ihe waakly aUowanee wfaiefa oonseienee wrings from tbat 
bard-heasted OGiaii«-»a AaUe recompense for all the ill bte 
avatiee brought on me and mine. Take this, Sir, and nay 
Uessmg with it, and excuse my b(ddnea9.'^ ^ ^ 

She thens with downcast eyes, offeMi a |nece of mon^. 
Pla«»das wm disq^ly affiMteR) by the bamiliiy of genuiiie 
elHurity, coming in auah soothiDg contrast with tbe spnrieiis 
asamplas he had |ust witnessed. Qe eiased the widow's 
haad upon faer moneyi and pressed it between bis4 



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THB BBfiOXHO JOUmiBIl, 173 

'* ExceBent wobuq,'* said he^ aad ^is voice faltered a9 he 
spoke, *< I will accept your blessiiif^) btit dare not talce from 
your scanty store. In rejecting this sacred offering, I violate 
no fluty to. those wfaeeewaqts have sent me forth. The 
poor must not prey ujkmi the poor ! Your gif't h^ sancti- 
fied the litde I possess, by the very intention of their mixing 
together, and Heaven's treasury will largely repay the prof- 
fered loan.' Farewell, and may your blessing be returned a 
thensand fold ! Farewell !V 

It wasthus^ in such scenei as those, (sketched from his 
ovi^n brief recital of them to; the prior) that Placidas con- 
tiiiued. his rounds of alms asking. In a short time be had 
seen human nature in many of its capricious forms, and he 
did not neglect to profit by Ihs experience. He had, as has 
been seen, on his earliest attempt, availed himself of his in- 
tuitive knowledge of the heart, and of hia acquaintance with 
the two* leading faults of his nation— avat;ice and supersti- 
f ion. Resolved to extract what was good from every thing 
that tended towards the well being of those for whom he 
was the agent, he was notiiomindfiil of Petrud Maria's ad- 
vice,. ^^ to work on the failings of mankind . ' ' This he thought 
all fair, for a just and pions object ; but he n^ver degra&d^ 
himself or his calling by any unworthy tampering with the 
feelings or pasaiolss of those he^^ begged from ; and he acorned 
to blend servility with the natural humbleness of his.spirit. 

He B^xed a gootf deal with rich and poor, as he took the 
circuit of the neighbouring toWns, and he came unharmed 
and unsullicid through the ordeal he had dreaded eo ntuch. 
He had considerable success id bis colleetionsv and brought 
handsome returns to the monastery's store. He throve in 
his vocation ; he looked, in. a few months, heaMiy and strong, 
in comparison to his former delicate appearance ; and he 
feh an elasticity, a vigour, and an expansion of mind, which 
he at once enjoyed afnd was amazed at But th^ wonder is 
eibfiily solved. It was emfioifmetU that performed this magi* - 
cal chaqge— iSat eiasple cure for all ihe indolent and dissi- 
pated portion of mankind, who waste in sloth the precious 
goods of time, and let them slip away like the sands that 
fickle in his glass. 

Bailleul, Poperingue^ Gassel^ and all their surrouodit^ 
' neighbourhood, were in their turns, visited by the begging 
brother ; but i| was remarked, that he studiously avoided the' 
glen which divided Gatsbeig ftcmi Scarpehberg. 



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174 wmmuja skstGHis. 



CHAPTER III. 

The 8fiim9«r montlis were passing r^ftidly awayil The 
last Sunday in July had arrived^ and tbe begging brolber, 
after his most distant and mo^t successful espedilion in search 
of abna, was returning to Gatsberg, on bis route fiom Os- 
tehd, when he altered the town of Fumes, between three 
andfour o'elock ortbe afternooo. Hehad quitted the barge 
that carried him to the end of the open suburb called the 
Nieuport-^ate ; and»ashe walked forwards, that appeUaiioo 
gave rise to tAmnj 9t reflection on. the mutabiltly of human 
creations* Not a fh^gment wats disco?erab)e of what was 
formerly the strong built bulwark of this ancient place. The 
name of ramfort^ atill attached to tbe green hedged walk 
and bordering gardens which. wind rpund Ibcee parts of the 
town, is another instance of the couj^esyofjrecplleotion speak- 
ing to the pride of ruined grandeur.. 

As Pkcuius walked on^ the loud and, rapid tolling of a, 
church bell gave notice of aorae eyening ceremoQy, more 
than the mere chanling of vespers. His pious feelings 
were gratified at the opportunity, sq promised him of joining 
in some holy rite; and a sentiment of religion blended with 
the historic and philosophical refiectione that filled his mind. 
He mofed quickly towards the eentre of the tawn. The 
street he waUwl through, which seemed quite destitute of in* 
habitants, was strewed with herbs atad flowers ; and the 
mean and diminutive houses at each side were hung with 
eyery rag oi drapery that their poverty ceuld supply. Groops 
of peasants were entering the town, and all wending towards 
the church, a deep expression of superstitious eurioaity stamp-* 
ed on the majority of the faces^ from which the ktmospherc 
of their native marshes had forced every wholesome tint 
. The cheerless and poverty-stricken aiqpect of all he aaw^ 
gave the contemplative Trappist ample occasion to moralize 
on the ejusting contrast with the state of this very town^ 
seme centuries hack, wbefi it had eig^t seigneuries and nearly 
fllkf viUagjos in its jufisdictioo, when tbe counts of Flanders 
made it theif occasional residence, and tbe central poipt ot 
their splendour, braving, for its attractions and advantages 



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THE BBflmiHO BjrOWSX. 175 

{iiard at this day to trace or im^giQe), ilMi dkftgw of Us CK* 
mate^ at all times proverbial. 

Piaciduareached the principal aqitiare. Thtscroivd which 
filled ity as well aa hia own curiosity to exuaiQe it, made him 
pause at the opening from tbe atreet which be was quitting. 
Before his n^d wholly gave up ita reVerie on times past, it 
ling^ed a moment on^th^ associations oono^ct^with tbe 
objects around. His eye rested on tbe large brick mansion 
on^ right hand * In . ita cfumbling edges %iid the cprious 
irasonry of its angidar rools, he^read age and respectability, 
\vhile the itbn-grated windowsspoke its modern purpeise, of 
coercion and misery.. . The>fl<^id sircbiteciure of tbe maih 
sion occupying the opposite corner of the square, its eleva'* 
tion over the neig)ibouring dweUings, and the national and 
civic arms ornamenting its. porches and windows, revealed 
ita quality, as the ancient rel^denoei>f sovereigns and govert)- 
ors, and its presibnt use, as the aeat of judicial and corpo- 
rate importance. Bui lys attention was aoon drawn from 
these dull memorials of .past or present scenes to a displ^ 
of human weaknesa,' in the guiae of a rehgioua ceremony, 
almost unparalleled fpr iabaurdity, and which, bad impiety, 
instead of sup^stition, been its motive, woukiranl^. among 
the. most flagranit outrages upon tbat whieb it is meant to 
honour. , * 

The whole of the large square, which aerves formarket^ 
place, was filled with a (hrong of inbabitanta ^nd country 
pe<^»le, mingled together hi a common masa of gaping and 
awe^struck ani^iety. On Placidus inquiring as4o the cause 
of the assemblage, he was told by a man beside btmy in a 
whisper of deep reverence, that the proceaaton of ^^ The 
Passion*' was just on the pc^nt of departure from the chui^h, 
the approach to which b<? pointed out in the oppo^te corner 
of the square, beside the Hotel do Ville. J^lacidua having 
ascertained from his informant the route i^ which the proh 
cession was to move, contrived, in theactiv^y of. his aical, to 
witness it closely^ to work hi^ way through <he crowd, and 
finally to fix himself .in a niche of one of the old houses, 
f>om which he conld command an uninterrupted view^ * ' 

The sudden silence of tbe bell which had ao long pealed 
its notice of tb^ approachiiig cel^e|D[0&7, was now the an- 
nouncement that it had commaoced. An immediate a&d' 
perfect stillness pervaded, the multitude that had hitherto 
mingledJts murmuriiigawith th6 tolling souni!. Everf head 



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}7d ' msuius BX^TCBBs: 

was instanlly oocoTered : ei^ry knee wae oh tbe earth : iU>t 
a voicd was to be heard ; and as PiacidUs overlooked the 
silent massy and marked tbe thousands close jammed 
together, their behded bodies moving involantariiy to and fro, 
id wave-like ^^iati&n, he was impressed, by the solemn spec- 
tacle of humait power bowed down by what fanaticism 
elevates int<» vdigious awe, b(it what pliiiosophy pronounees 
servile iear. - 

Theiibftened hahnonies of a band of mode^ tbe chaot*; 
iag <^ the priests, the voieesof the choristerst broke faintly 
on the ear ; and, as the procession advanced, ineieaaed into 
a full swell of harmony. The banners, common ^ this and 
a hundred other muinmeries, were novr seen moving along ,- 
and the whole display of priestly fraud and pOf^ular folly 
was evident in niinute detail, sanctioned by 4he presence of 
all the judicial and executive authorities or the town, whose 
ctoak of poetical hypocrisy was impervions to the g^e of 
their rustic dupes. • , - 

■ I fball not attempt a minute description of the proee^on 
of the Passion^ annfually e^ibited in tbe town of JPurnes. 
It is enough to sUkie that all the circumstances of that deeply 
affecting, event are parodied,, with a revolting defianee to the 
solemnity of its record. The character ofChriatand his 
apostles, and the other peirsonages connected with the subject^ 
ariB represented in this spectacle, by simple 'villagers^ from 
motives of true piety, and sometimes l^y less inni^ent actors* 
in a spirit not so pure. On aU, howevejp, the masquerade 
sits ludicroiisly ill. The mounteb&nk cpstume and mock 
demeanour being alike disgusting and absurd. 

' To the observing group of town's-people whom the spirit 
of enlightenment ha9 <i wakened from the dark trance which 
still enshrouds the majority of their countrymen, the view of 
thi^ exhibition, taken in conhexion with their knowledge of 
the msHnmers thit enact it, must be infinitely atausing or hi-* 
tensely painfbl, in , proportion to the feebleness or force of 
their religious feelings. But Piacidus saw no subject for 
either levity or regret in the paltry pageant which pa^ed by 
him. His euthusiasm, his long and deep-formed habits, th^ 
absorption whidi his mental faculties had undergone., op mnt- 
ters of reli^ous feeling in concert with sectarian fomif all 
ccmspir^ to blind hioi to the reaJity of what he witnessed t 

*" ^et HB accoaat a£ tS^ ongia of HfiB «elrf moay, fee o»te «) tk« ead. 



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TRfi mG0iv» bumub. . .177 



aa^ ixi^t one of the %8enirt£iii«fm tbtifigoividiy ttoi 
WW iQor9 daddy, nneoiwciout of the ^efradalim thus in- 
ffictad upon pmbi and Cho imidt il impSed tp his M^ker. 

TJie fflilj past of dint piMowion thaiW the leai(>elaiai to 
the. sympnthj of cooHiioe aeMo is t|ial. which doi^.it, mi 
which is formed by i>m2 seitiBieiit eod aaS»iiif eonfained^ 
It consists of the wiva^ aii|ter»f pbildreB, pr attached firieods 
of the victims to disease, who at all times abound ai f uroea, 
but more paftieukrly^ in the Am>-bmdiQg MMdui that elose 
the BOmmer (Swaaen* Altboviffh the moat certain epoch for 
tiiia lodd plague had not| at the time I describe, actual^ 
am^ved^ there was still enough of iUnesa in the town and 
neighborhood to secure a loi^ train of soppliint fiwiales, 
many of whose pale and sunken features gave evidence that 
neither health nor hop^ were strong within them. But 
there mA one obier?aMe emoog the train, the bsentjr of 
whose eopntenence marked her for admiration^ while an d:*- 
pression of aimialed piety diidnguished her whole air Drorn 
the sombre sttperstkion<i|f those that precoded and followed 
her. Her i4am and. modest dress showed her to own no 
higher rai^ than that of the sgnoultural class of smaU 
kndhoiders, who, with thmr tenairt peasantry, chieBy eom- 
posed the proceeBion,- A white^ veil hung loosdy from her 
Ima'd, which waacoveied whh a olose qambric cap, bordered 
with disepr lace. An 'U^embroadeM muslin robe forssed the. 
remainder of her costume, as she walked on, a long Wax 
taper in her hand, ready, when the procession should be 
over, to bum before the shrine Cfi hat peculiar saint. 

As this interesting figure ain^oacbed.the spot where Pla- 
cidus stood) bis eye^ was fixed upon her with an ardent and 
eearching expresBion,.thai lasted but one moment. . }n the 
next, he exolaimed aloud, ^ChracioiiSrHeave&i Itisshe*^ 
Mekfliier. 

At the sound of this vokey and the oeU i^en W by Bame, 
the young female stopped suddeiijiy, looked incvedulousfy 
towards the plac& where PlacidmB had stood, Cndinlerrapted 
for an instant tlie, regular march of the procession. But 
her eyes fbund not what thiraM^ht.,. namdus had left his 
station, and was seen, to tiie utter amaze ^ef the perseos^ 
' round hhn, rOshing into the very eentie of die crowd* whose 
unduiatieg movement marfced where be had fonsod his way. 
The young woman, baffled in Imr apparenl hope pf se e ing 
^e person she sought, attempted tm a while to reefver Mer^ 



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ITS i»«.Gti^ suircBss^ 

tolf, ai^ ^Aen strove' td cbntinue her forward movement. 
Bat she was soon forced, Vf her emotion, to pause oncie moire. 
Her face beoame pale, tears started to her eyes, and she was 
nearly letting fall her consecrated taper to the earth, wh^re 
it was evident she would soon herself have euek, had not a 
fine-looking young man stepped quiekly into the line of the 
procession, cauglrt her in his arms, and led her iitto one of 
.the houses. 

The intrusive and fbgitive Trappist wai soon obliged to 
stop, fiiiding it impossible fo penetrate far into the resistance 
opposed by the passive density of tile crowd. He could not, 
if he would, retracd his passage ; and he was consequently 
forced to remain in^s impridonmentvdihin^the eittire con- 
tinuance of the' solemn modreiy which paraded 'the square 
andstreefa. . * ^ * 

At length the crowd began by* degrees to dissolve. The 
loosened mass of human beings separaCediittie by little, and 
Placidus had free room for egress. But' when the oppor* 
tunity was aflbrded Jre seem<^ unccMscious of it, and he 
stood in a state of stupified abstraction, until the square was 
almost totally abandoned by the assemblage ; and when at 
length he started from this iincmiscioosness, he foand hikn^- 
self quite alone, close by the fountain in th0 fiaiddie <^ the 
aqaat'e. He cast his looks around, and aoon perceived tiwt 
he had attracted the obeeryatioa of a few stragglers, who 
eyed him curiously Worn a distance. 

Recovering at once enough of self-possession to know 
the awkwardness of his situation, and regaih power to fly 
from it, he huri^ed aWay. He hastened towards the nearest 
outlet from the town ; and on inquiring of a lounging in- 
habitant of the subuyb; he found that hejbad taken, by 
chlmce, the very road he aought-rthat leading to Ypres and 
Poperingues. In this direction he walked for full two hoors^ 
mechanically proceeding to warda Catsberg, but every mental 
movement retrogradingfar from all the actual circumstances 
of his present home and state. Still he fled towards that 
cheerless hoine,, as if it were a aanotuaiy from pursuing 
thought, like seime hunted animal, vainly s^ing shelter in 
its soHlary lair. 

He had reaehed the opening' of the by-road, which 
branches froni the main dkiiMj^;^, leading direct to Ypres, 
tad he turned into that secluded and rather gloomy trpek^ 
which the finger-post pointed out as the readiest way to 



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TUB BEGGING' BBATltBB. 119 

SteiowGrt, a bonig in the close neig^bourbood . of the 
modestery. NotiuDg could be more ojppresaive to a mind, 
baraaaed by painful excitemeBt, tban tbe, effect of the sof- 
ixHii^ing aoenoryr with tbe loaded and almost suffocating 
state of' the atmosphere. The country was thickly wooded. 
The oiitstretchist branches of tbe trees were unmoved by 
any 1>reath of air : their heavy shadows lay upon the road, 
without any of those fantastic ahiftings by which they often 
traces moral on the path of a lonely wanderer, and like the 
caprices of fortune on* ^^ the broad highway of the world/' 
lea?e him for a moment in sunshine only to repluhge i^im 
into shad^. Distant thunder had, duripg the whole aAer* 
noon, been faintly echoing in the sky, and its vague mur^ 
muriogs seemed in unison with the oj^es^ve combination 
through which the Trappist slowly plodded along« 
• An interruption conttstent with the scene at length aroused 
him, and; caused .higi ia look up. It was a thick cloud of 
dust that suddenly and silently enTelqped.bim, the state of 
the road having prevented bis hearing the trot of the huge 
cbeenut Flanders* mare, whoi^e .heavy hoofs ploughed up tiie 
sand beside iiifi. Through the dimness of the dust Placi- 
dus observed the figure which bestrode the animal. It was 
that of a.njiant.oi* a size proportionate to his beast, a com* 
plete model of a worthy Belgian farmer. His head was 
cotefed with a fox-skin cSp^the long leather shade in front 
of which stood out far\before the outiine of his face, and 
more than half concealed it from view. A blue cotton 
smock-frock, thickly worked witii red worsted round the 
neck and on the breast, preserved his holiday clothing^from 
damage. The bottom ^ge of this garniiMit, which the trot 
of his jnare had worked up above bis.knees, was met by the 
tops of an unwieldy pair of boots, such as are worn by the 
heaviest of our heavy dragoons. Attached to this important 
portion of the habiliments of a Belgian cavalier, were a pair 
o( silver spurs, of great thickness and length ; a whip, the 
handle heavily mounted with the same metal, in the f^rt^ of 
a hammeri hung by a leather thong on the horsemaii's right 
Afm ; the reins of a cumbrous bridle lay loosely on his left 
wrist, and he sat entrenched in the unshapely depth of a sad- 
dle, which rose high before and behind him, and nearly 
catiered wUh its broad square flaps the whole carcass of the 
animd that was doomed to bear its weight ; it, as well as the 
bridle and cropper^ was thickly studded with br^ss buckles and 



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IW Mtfi^TAgf SKSTCaiBS. 

^8te9 in tnioas deviees. Underaesthwasacriniioiiclotb, 
boond with yeOoir woraled tape; the vrndemuxAoi ill liie 
boofdngsbemi^mgxwniiel^wliieiididBollen^abilof Ike 
owBrkmdtd mare, fien head to tail, free fern enewabieaag of 
one Und or ancftlMr. Efent tile poor taaitatf^wlHeh would 
haye defighted in switebing off tfie 4lee fliat left in mwy 
places bleeding traces of tbeir aasaoka, was elubbed np, and 
tied ID an ungunlj lamp with a wisp bf'straw, quite oat of 
keeping with the t»parison I have dtembed. The hoiee- 
mtn sat, body and limbs alike, in a dangling anrt of loDng^, 
a rather cosdy pipe ii^ his month, #om which he poibd a 
cloud of smoke nearly as thick as that of dnst ascending ail 
around him. 

A half-muttered salutation esc a pe d with one ^ these ex-* 
halations, as the rider came close upon Placidns. The lat« 
ter, taken quite by surprise, did not onkA any 'acknowledge 
ment. The other reputed his words of Vapoury comtesy, 
in a tone not very loud, but suflieiently astoandiog to the 
Trappist to make him start with astonishment. 

«< Good God ! * ' said he» ahnost to the hearing of the hofse' 
man *^ what am 1 to think of this? Am I indeed dise^^iversd 
and beset ?* 

But the horseman did not actually hear the ^Itclamation, 
and in a fit of furious irritation at receiting no reply to bis 
twice-uttered ciTilities, he pulled up^ his reins, with a quick- 
ness and force acting so suddenly on the scTere and heavy 
bit, as to make the mare rear up erect, while she threw her 
ibre legs forward, so close to Placidus, that he suddenly 
sprang across the ditch. A fierce application of the rider's 
spurs brought the mard isigain to her proper equilibrium ; 
but she plunged violently, and while an angry contest took 
place between her and her master, he exclaimed, in a voice 
of thunder, to the alarmed Trappist, 

" Good evening, Sirl Good evening to you, I say ! That 
is the third or fourth time I have said it, and I don*t know 
what you mean by your insulting silence, nor will I bear it — 
p6 good evening, I say, once more !" 

His passionate emotion barely allowed him to hear the 
trappist's timid reply. 

" I am glad you have found your tongue, Sir,*' cried he, 
ill a somewhat softened tone, *^for I h&te quarrelliog— but I 
can't stand an insult. But n^ do you quit the road ? Per- 
haps you are more afraid of me thatf of my mare ? But you. 



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THB BkGOING BSOTBSB. 181 

need not be so, for I am not a robber, young man. Yotr 
may safely come through the hedge again. Joos Cooper* 
slaugen, of Scarpenberg, is not a name to be scared at ; it 
is pretty well known in these parts. Come, come, take to the 
road again, yon will have bad walking in that copse : I have 
told you who I am/' 

«^ I know it but too well i'* said the Trappist mournfully 
to himself; and a deep sigh was the only audible answer to 
the choleric horseman's speech. The instant Placidus had 
heard the sound of his voice, he recognised him for an old 
acquaintance of his earliest years : one connected with all 
that had attached him to the world, and driven hhn from it 
in bis boyish days, the father of that lovely female, whose 
sadden apparition in the procession had forced the astonished 
Trappist tb fly, unconscious of all, but her presence and bi^ 
own danger. 

In much less time than is required for the telling, he re- 
solved in his mind a hundred recollections connected with 
the man now so close to him, whose very mention had, from 
childhood to puberty, been a formidable bane to every plea« 
snrable sensation. Scarcely had he quitted his cradle, and 
began to walk alone, when the name of Joos Cooperslaugen, 
'** the mountain giant," was the by*word of terror that was 
rung in his ii^fant ears. This appeal to his fears was never 
made in vain. The whispered syllables, with a finger held 
up to caution or threaten the child, were sure to silence his 
complaining, whether of ill temper or ill health, and he hid 
his face in the readiest refuge. Joos Cooperslaugen was 
his father^s friend ; and though the distance between their 
residences scarcdy allowed them to be neighbours, he often 
called and sometimes dined at his house, when bursts of his 
violent temper were not unusual. The voice of this unwel- 
come visiter, was sure to cause a shudder in the boy ; and 
his appearance across the threshold was invariably followed 
by the retreat of the latter to some dark 6helier, or by his 
rapid exit from the house. By degrees he became more ac- 
customed to, and less scared at, the ^' big man of Scarpen* 
berg," anotherof Joos'sfamiliarappellatioqs ; but, even when 
shame at bis own timidity, or a stronger motive still — the 
strongest of all motives— acted freely and forcibly on his mind, 
he could never conquer the early dread which the folly of his 
mother or his nurse, or both, had planted in his infant heart. 
Many an instance of the effects of this, and some of them 

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182 BELOIASr 8SETCHJ2S. 

bitterly painful/ now rose reflected to the Trappist in me- 
morjr's officious glass ; and his gentle nature was almost 
agitated into a mental execration of the object which, after 
a lapse of se?eral years, he once more gazed at and shrunk 
from. Instead, of complying with the rather uncourteous 
invitation to abandon the shelter of the copse, the Trap- 
pist pursued its obstructed path, and after a silence of some 
time, he replied, in a low voice, that he preferred it to the 
diist-covered road. 

'• Very well, Sir, as you like, every man to his fancy, as 
the burgomaister of Rousbrugge said, when he married his 
meysthen* — any thing for me but incivility ; work your way 
through the brambles, I will stick to the dust ; and we may 
have some social chat across Uie hedge, to shorten the rpad." 

The Trappist had many a contending emotion to struggle 
with. Question upon question pressed towards his lips, but 
he dj&red not venture to utter them. He would have asked 
after his parents, his brother — for the natural feelings of the 
man were, at the moment, more powerful than those of the 
reeluse, the devotee, the fanatic. He would have mentioned 
another name, more near to his companion's heait than the 
name of his old fi-iend ; but the risk of betraying himself 
closed bis lips against the utterance of a word, beyond a 
few common-place remarks on the weather, and these in a 
tone so timid and obscure, as to create a strong suspicion in 
the mind of the hasty horseman, that the traveller who so 
cautiously avoided his observation, must be of a very ques- 
tionable character. This impression put all his notions of 
courtesy to a rapid flight, for he was an honest man, who 
officially hated a rogue ; and his plain, rough disposition 
scorneil any appearance of what it was not. * 

<^ Hark ye, Sir," said be, in a determined tone, after giving 
himself a moment's pause^ for preparation rather than re- 
flection, and rising high in his stirrups, perhaps to let his 
huge size be more apparent — ^*' Hark ye, Sir, I thought you 
Suspected me just now of being no better than 1 should be, 
so, I told you frankly who I was. I now suspect you to be 
worse than you ought to be, and I tell you so without cere- 
mony. No honest traveller skulks in the shade of the even^ 
ing behind hedges and ditches. The open track is his, as it 
was yourS) a while ago, when you had it all to yourself. It 

. *A8«pnuitgirl. 



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THB BBOOIHO BROTHSB* 183 

18 only for guilt to sfariok out of the public way. That is 
jny rule of the road ; and the judgment of Joos Cooperalau- 
gen on such a point has never been doubted^ 1 believe. I 
am overseer and supervisor of this district, and it is my duty 
to see it kept clear of all s^uspicious persons. You will 
therefore tell me, without hesitation, who and what you ara'' 

The Trappist knew the determined character he had to 
deal with, and was aware of his authority as a public Amc- 
tionary. He was also certain that nothing was more like 
to send him off than the knowledge of the profession of 
him whom he questioned, for he had a deep and most irre- 
verent antipathy to monks and mendicants ; and as he eould 
not punish them for walking in the public roads, his next re- 
source was to abuse them first, and then fly from them. 
The answer to his abrupt inquiries was, therefore, as follows. 

^' Without questioning your official right to ask me who I 
am — a right which it is my duty to accord to the lowliest 
peasant — I tell you. Sir, that I am a brother of the order of 
La Trappe, returning from a mission of alms-seeking for the 
benefit of onr monastery on Catsberg." 

•* The deviJyou are ! then you are the very man I want." 
A painful misgiving seemed to sink the Trappist's heart-7- 
*'* the very man, though any other of your tribe would have 
done as well. 1 wonder you never paid me a visit at Scar* 
penberg ; but that is nothing to the purpose ndw. Hard by 
us here, at tiuysenclau's farm, in a house vihich 1 have just 
now left, lies a sick man, who calls out for the aid of a 
priest, as the doctor has failed him. A friend has tried thS 
procession of the Passion-to-day at Fumes, but the fever is 
too strong for that — and now, poor fellow, finding himself at 
the last, and without a chance of life, be wishes to prepare 
for death. My heart was heavy as I rode along, and sorrow 
never mends a man's temper : so don't you follow a bad ex- 
ample, and be angry with me,.becau8e 1 was somewhat rude 
to you ; but step across yonder ploughed field to that open 
gate ; you will see a house close by — a hut, rather — go into 
it fearlessly, if you are not afraid of the fever— but your 
sanctity protects you from infection, no doubt — tell what you 
are, and who sent you — ^you will be well received — and it 
will be well for him who wants you, if your prayers meet as 
warm a welcome in Heaven. God grant they may !" 

These concluding words were uttered to himself, as if in 
his own despite. The Trappist gazed at him, as he putspun 



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184 HSLGZAN 8XSTCBSS. 

to his mare and gallopped off; and could not help bein^r 
strnck, and somewhat affected, by the softened manner of 
the roogh and boisterous man. He heard the involuntary 
prayer which had escaped him, and it subdued any risng; re- 
sentment at the sneers which had intetlarded his speech. 
Every personal consideration was in a moment buried deep 
in his heart. It was filled with fervid anxiety for the object 
he was so summoned to attend ; and he proceeded, at a 
quick pace, towards the spot indicated byJoos Cooper- 
slaugen. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Fbou the gate, which he soon reached, the Trappist im- 
mediately discerned the dwelling, the only one to be seen 
in the circuit of dreary landscape visible through the mist. 
The loaded clouds obscured the rays which the sun still 
threw above the horizon, beneath which he wa^ sinking, and 
vapours boated on all sides over tliie pools and marshes. The 
cottage, or, as Joos Cooperslaugen h^d rather disparagingly 
corrected the appellation, the hut, was situated in a large pas< 
ture-ground of many acres extent. The little eminence on 
which it stood was planted thick with poplars, and a few 
aquatic irees of the willow tribe drooped down unhealthily 
into the stagnant ditch that surrounded the whole. A 
shroud of vapour rose steaming up, as if ready to enfold the 
hapless tenant of the place ; the herds of cattle scattered in 
the pasture were lowing mournfully, and discordant croakings 
resounded from every sedge. The Trappist paused for an 
instant on the weed-covered path that led to the cottage, 
which appeared, wretched as it was, and sad as was his mis- 
sion to it, a refuge from the dreariness and melancholy 
without. . ^ 

He crossed the narrow plank thrown over the ditch, and 
approached the half-closed door. He stepped cautiously, 
but he was heard by those within ; and just as he prepared 
to tap gently for entrance, the white dress of a female ap- 
peared at the door, which slowly opened, and displayed to 
the 7rsLppist the face and form of her whom he least thought 



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THS BEGOnSO BROTHER* 185 

7 • n 
of meeting— it was Melanie that stood before bim. She i 
was pale and agitated ; and evidently did not recognise the 
visiter, on whom she cast a look at once inquiring and 
fearfql. 

A pang of surprise seemed to transfix the Trappist to the 
spot. He could not fly, as he had done a few hours before. 
He was now stunned by the recurrence of the vision which 
had then affected him so acutely. He was incapable of mo- 
tion or speech, and for a moment or two, sensation itself 
seemed paralyzed. He gazed at her with an expression 
which was rendered more intense by the terrifying doubt 
that the scene before him was the creation of his over ex- 
cited brain. The faint twilight, and the shade of the cottage, 
which fell upon and almost concealed him, secured his emo^- 
lion from self- betrayal ; and the brief space of this inaption 
sufficed to rally his thoughts, to convince him that what he 
saw was no mockery, and to give birth to many an abortive 
surmise, as to the events which brought him so close to the 
being whom, of all others, he was most desirous to shun. 
She, the agitated Melanie, Yatigued, and trembling from 
mixed emotions, little knew at the time the person whose 
embarrassed silence so added to her other alarms. She at 
length falteringly addressed him, and inquired his business. 

It were diflicult to describe the effect produced on the 
Trappist by the sound of the voice which syllabled the words 
of that inquiry. Who has not felt the thrill caused by the 
faintest tone of a being once, and for ever, dear to the heart? 
And who needs be told of the throbbings it sends through 
that heart, like the vibrations of a lake on which the lightest 
leaf has fallen ? The Tra| pist trembled as he listened to 
Melanie 's twice-uttered question. Her voice seemed to 
speak the thoughts of years gone by ; and it called up the 
instantaneous and confused ren embrance of sensations that 
could never again exist. But he was still alive to the pro- 
priety, the necessity of resisting the influence of the past. 
He only wished for strength to escape the fascination which 
threatened to enthral him. With this hope he conceived 
the instant project of breaking away from the spot, feeling, 
through liis agitation, that even the abandonment of a fel- 
low Christian to an unshrined death was veniaK in compari- 
son with risking the breach of his sworn renouncement of 
all that might lead to enjoyment or temptation. 

He therefore prepared to withdraw, and bad he done so. 
Q3 1 






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186 BBUOAN fSSTCBXS, 

abrapdy and silcntlj, he had escaped discovery and all its 
consequences. Safely screened by the shadows of the cot- 
tage, he ventured in his abstraction to address to Melanie a 
sentence of apology for his intrusion^ not supposing that she 
would have recognised his voice, though he felt thai her very 
whisper would have been to him a piercing sound through 
all the united discords of the world. But his want of self- 
confidence, and freedom from self-opinion, had in this in- 
stance deceived him. Mo sooner did he speak his first con- 
fused words of courtesy, than Melanie^ with simultaneous 
movement and utterance, sprang forward, clasped him in her 
arms, and exclaimed, through a half-suppressed scream of joy, 
' ^* It is, it is you, Ernest ! It wu then your voice that 
struck my ear and pierced my heart this evening, like a sound 
fi-om the grave — and you are now with me once again ! And 
you are indeed alive and well, and returned to us aU — to 
those who have so long mourned jou as lost to them for 
ever ! Come in, come in—but oh, Godi where do I ask you 
to come ! No, no, Ernest, you must not enter here. Can 
it, can it be you that I hold in*my arms ? Oh, speak to me 
again, dear Ernest, and tell me that all this is not a dream 1" 

Ernest Vandersteen, for so we must now call our young 
Trappist, listened to this burst of Melanie's tenderness — saw 
the tears that bedewed her cheek — felt the gentle pressure 
of her arms — and trembled like a child in the grasp of a 
giant. He scarcely knew what he said, or would have said, 
but he spoke. 

*^ And is this yeu^ Melanie, again — a second time raised 
up before me ? By what magic are you here, in this wretch^ 
ed place ? Why did your father send me here to find pou? 
He spoke of a dying man, who — " 

** Oh, do not say dying, Ernest— his life is still in the 
hands of Heaven." 

'' Who is the sick man, Melanie ? Is it Nicholas ? It 
must be he. Is Nicholas dying?" 

*^ No, Heaven be praised, he is well ; but, Bmest, what 
ails you and agitates you in this frightful way ? Why do you 
smile so wildly, and tremble so fearfully ? This is not Er- 
nest — ^you are not he — leave me — ^let me enter the house.'^ 
But she could not escape the convulsive embrace that strain* 
ed her to his breast. Her reply to his inquiries-^her doubts 
Of his identity — ^her anxious questioning, were ail unheard^ 



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TBB BBOOXNO BBOTBBB^ 1S7 

and lie incoherenllj spoke agaioi still hoMug faer finnly 
clasped. 

^^ Is he dytii^— your father said be was ? Is Nicholas 
dying r 

^^ He is well, he is well. In mercy loose this deiSperate 
hold. If indeed you are Erpest, take pity on me — you ter- 
rify me — Nicholas is not Rl-^youi brother, my husbaiid, is 
not ill." 

'< Brother — husband— true, true! What am I about? 
What madness is this? And you I Melaniet Gracious 
Heavens, what fiendish notion flashed across me ? Not Nich- 
olas? Thank Heaven, thank Heaven! NcAr then to the 
death-bed duty*~I am quite ready." 

With the rapid enunciation of these broken sentences, he 
had released Melanie from his wild embrace; and, he ab- 
ruptly pushed open the door of the cottage, which she had 
cautiously closed, unheeding the faint efiort which she made 
to prevent his entrance. Alarmed at bis whole air and con- 
duct, which she attributed to insanity, she followed him in. 

He passed rapidly through the empty room which first re- 
ceived him, and thence into an inside closet which contained 
a bed. In this he perceived the sick man lying ; while a 
woman dat beside, and appeared in an attitude of deep watch- 
fulness. The solemn sadness of the scene acted pronfiptly 
and powerfully on the half-distracted Trappist, and he ad- 
vanced with gentle steps to the bedside. The woman rose 
at his approach — the sick man raised his bead — Ernest threw 
his looks from one to the other alternately ; and leaning for 
support upon a table beside him, he groaned deeply, and ex- 
claimed in a hollow murmur, 

^^ God of heaven, can this be ? My father, my mother, 
what can this mean ? Can it, can it be so ?" 

The altered voice and dimly revealed features were in a 
moment acknowledged by the mother as those of her long 
mourned and favourite child. She rose from her chair, and 
in an excess of parental joy, loudly pronounced his name, 
and covered him with caresses, forgetful of the danger which 
the shock of his abrupt appearance might bring to his suf- 
• fering and nearly exhausted father. But the latter felt no 
sudden emotion. The nerves were too much shattered, and 
nature too nearly worn out, to be capable of receiving a 
shock. The announcement of his son's return and presence 
was plainly understood by the once sturdy farmer, who, in 



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168 BSIOIAN fiKEtCHES. 

fortner days, would have bounded with boiaterous joy at the 
happy news ; but who now calmly looked his consciousness 
of it with listless indifference. Indeed, all worldly feelings 
seemed extinct in himi He threw his eyes upwards, and 
looked as if towards heaven ; and he murmured, in anxious 
and even fretful fervour, , , 

" Oh, send me a priest ! must I perish in want of holy 
consolation?" 

These words, uttered in a tone of such despondency, made 
Ernest shudder. He could no longer doubt the evidence of 
his senses, bewildering as was the conviction which they 
brought to him. It was indeed his mother, whose wo- 
stricken countenance was befi:>re him'>— his father, who was 
the occupant of the bed that seemed too wretched for even 
death to liiake his own. Those parents, so dear to him, 
whom he had abandoned with such anguish, in the full pos- 
session of wealth and health, now reduced to the depths of 
poverty, and one of them to the verge of the grave ! Yet 
he saw it was so — and the time did not serve for inquiry as 
to the cau^e. His father's call for 'a priest was the most 
stirring excitement to his feelings ; and gently disengaging 
himself from his mother's embrace, he sunk on his knees by 
the bedside, and in a voice, at first half choked with emo- 
tion, but gradually recovering its wonted fulness and power^ 
he cried — " My dear father, your call is not in vain — Hea- 
ven has hearkened to your prayers — and I, your child, justly 
punished and agonized by witnessing your sufferings, am 
mercifully allowed to be your solace in this awful hour. T, 
' dearest father, am a priest, the lowliest servant of Heaven, 
the least worthy member of our holy church ; and I invite 
you, in the name of that church, by the sanction of that 
Heaven, to repose your weary spirit, and pour forth the ful- 
ness of your heart in confession and prayer." 

Astonishment was depicted on the faces of the listeners 
to these words^ but a feeling of deep respect, ej^cited by the 
sanctity of the speaker's tone and manner, kept down the ex- 
, pression of surprise, which struggled* for utterance with both 
his mother and Melanie. The first threw up her wondering 
eyes towards heaven, while Melanie stood, with clasped 
hands, and looks that seemed to speak a still more heartfelt 
joy than could be excited by the mere accomplishment of the 
old man's wish. He, the object most interested in Ernest's 
avowal of his holy calling, wore a mingled look of eagerness 



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tmd floubt upon bis baggaid featnres. Ernest observed tbis 
expression, and to remove at once tbe skepticism wbicb gave 
it birtb, he bowed down bis bead, so as to expose tbe shaven 
mark upon his crown^ though to avoid a too evident siogu* 
larity be had suffered bis hair to grow again, on the other 
parts of his head. 

^' See, father, see here the humble mark of my profession — 
place your band on the tonsure which denotes my sacre^L 
office"--^and the sick man's shrunken arm was extended, 
and his fingers felt on the Trappist's low-bowed bead, as 
Isaac sought for evidence of bis son's identity — but the 
modern parent was not; like the Hebrew sire, deceived. 

'^ May Heaven bless my child i" feebly, but with an air of 
pious conviction, uttered the old man. And Ernest, catching 
the words, and feeling the weak, yet thrilling pressure of the 
hand that still rested on his head, could not resist the un- 
priestly thought, that he never was truly consecrated until 
then. Both the female witnesses were deeply awed and af- 
fected at the scene. Melanie sobbed audibly ; while the 
prayers and thanksgivings of tbe mother spoke at once her 
gratitude to Heaven, and her mingled pride and reverence 
for her son. An expressive look from the old man, and a 
mild suggestion from Ernest, caused the weeping women to 
retire ; and the door was closed upon this solemn, and, per- 
haps, unparalleled instance, of a repentant father laying bare 
tbe deepest secrets of his heart, before the absolving autho* 
rity of his son. 

, The sanctity of faith, in both communicant and clergyman, 
covers such scenes with a veil, which even those who con- 
demn the rite would hesitate to raise. The confession of 
Martin Vandersteen was, therefore, inviolate in tbe bosom of 
his child ; but the character of the penitent was too common- . 
place and unmarked to have engendered any but such every 
day failings, as the priest might conscientiously have par- 
doned. 



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190 BUOZAN SKITOBBS; 



CHAPTER V. 

Melaioe and her mother-in-law had scarcely retired into 
the outer room, their reverential feelings towards the scene 
that passed within keeping them silent, when Nicholas Van- 
dersteen, the son and husband, Ernest's elder and only 
brother, hurriedly entered the cottage. He was flushed and 
fatigued, and had evidently put forth his utmost speed ; but 
he entered on tiptoe, and his whispered inquiries for his 
father were answered as cautiously by his wife. She ac- 
knowledged, in his solicitude for his parent, and in the hoarse 
muttering of the approaching thunder, sufficient reasons for 
the haste which had urged him toward home, and without 
questioning him as te the cause, she quickly recounted the 
extraordinary appearance of Ernest, and explained his sa- 
cred occupation at the time. 

At any other moment Nicholas would have shown more 
surprise and more pleasure at this unlooked-for intelligence ; 
but an absorbing anxiety pressed on him, and left him little 
power for the susceptibility of these feelings, and less for their 
utterance. He displayed, however, just enough to prevent 
the betrayal of what he strove to conceal, though fearful that 
a very short time must make his painful secret known. He 
looked anxiously from the window of the room, having care- 
fully fastened the doors of the dwelling ; and while he was 
thus occupied, the Trappist slowly came forward from his 
father's little chamber. The spirit o( piety seemed to beam 
from his face, which Melanie could now fearlessly look into, 
and acknowledge as that which in years of young endearment 
she had so often and so innocently gazed on. All the tu- 
mult of its late expression had died away in the performance 
of his sacred functions ; an(^ he wore, for the moment, his 
own wonted look of pure and undisturbed devotion. But bis 
eye fell upon the form of Nicholas, who still anxiously 
watched at the vnndow, and he involuntarily started, and 
shrunk back — and when his brother turned round and stepped 
forward to embrace him, his face and forehead glowed deeply, 
as though his heart had sent up a rush of evidence lo pro« 



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van vxGsasQ BB^vsm. 191 

claim his self-aceusal. But Nicholfus had no suspicion that 
his broUier's embrace was less cordial than his own,* and 
£mest himself was scarcely sensible of the check which an 
over-sensitive conacieace gave to the impulse of natural af- 
fection. 

The looks of all were now directed tpward the bed within ; 
and the invalid was seen placidly lying, bis hands clasped on 
his breast) his eyes closed, an expression of profound con- 
tentment overspreading his face,, and the motion of his lips 
alone giving proof that he still lived and prayed fervently. The 
anxious watchers, taking advantage of this tranquil and com- 
paratively happy state, entered into a hurried interchange of 
inquiry and explanation as to the events of the five years 
which had elapsed silice they had last been together, in the 
midst of festivity, and feasting, and enjoyment to which 
there was but small exception on the wedding-day of Nicholas 
and Melanie. 

A brief recital told Ernest of all the accumulatedills that 
had fallen on his family since that day, the auspicious opening 
of which was blasted by his immediate disi^ppearance from 
his home and frieaijls. The total ignorance of his fate had 
been ever since accompanied by successive misfortune ; and 
ruin and disease had finally brought death within arms' length 
of the chief victim. Failure of crops, mortality among cat- 
tle, and a desolating flood, that swept the country for leagues 
around, were the main evils against which Martin Vander- 
steen was fated to contend. His superior knowledge of farm- 
ings his activity, and fortitude, made a long stand, but ill 
health bore him down ; then it was that grief for the loss of 
his beloved child threw itself, unresisted, on his prostrate 
spirit, which gradually sunk with the worn-out frame it dwelt 
in ; until that hour when, by almost miraculous coincidence, 
the child returned, as if on Heaven's own missiooi to smooth 
the track that led to his parent's grave. 

But all this wretchedness was not without its consolations. 
A faithful and untiring wife watched by the sick bed, and 
ever threw herself to meet the assaults of ill luck, and soften 
their asperity ere they reached the mark. Melanie and her 
busband, who had, ever since their marriage, lived with her 
father, quitted the comforts of his residence in the valley at 
the foot of Scarpenberg, and foUo.wiqgthe fate of poor Van- 
derst^n and his wife, accompanied them from refiige to 
^fuge, when they were driven abroad by mercilQS$ creditors ; 



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192] tmvBtJJs moHBomsB. 

and hai (br soma weeks been with them ki tlus londy and' 
wretched dwelling, situated on a farm of Joos Cooper- 
alaugen, which, many leagnes distant from their once happy 
home, and from his neighbonrhood» promised a safe retreat 
against immediate pursuit. 

And Joos Cooperslaugen himself, coarse, harsh, and 
violent as he was, proved, on this occasion, what redeeming 
virtues Nature can bestow on the sternest men. Of the 
many others of Vandersteen's friends (to use the parlance of 
the world), some stood aloof, feigned to have never receifed 
his application for relief, or found for refusal ample excuses to 
satisfy themselves. Others, slightly contributing to his 
wants, or coldly interfering with some claimant, rose on the 
poor advantage of having conferred a favour, and presumed, 
under cover of afiected kindness, to censure, to sneer at, and 
insult, when they were only called on to do a service or be 
silent. The burthen of such obligations was too great for 
the suflerer's gratitude^ and he at pnce cursed the ill-luck^ 
and loathed the meanness which combined together against 
him. But Joos Cooperslaugen formed a fine contrast to 
Ais mass of every-day littleness. He came forward unso- 
licited ; put his hand in his purse as far as it could in pru- 
dence go ; met the creditors of his friend ; soothed when 
he could not satisfy them ; upheld the honour of the absent 
man against the insolent impeachment of his persecutors ; 
defend^ his interests, sympathized with his feelings, and 
relieved his wants ; and when he could fairly do no more — 
when justice closed the hand that generosity would still 
have held open, he did not abandon the friend he could no 
longer serve, but continued to pour forth a fund of feeling 
more precious than all the minted riches of the realm. 

Ernest, for his part, bad but a short tale to tell, and he 
curtailed it still, by suppressing all allusion to the motives 
of his flight from home^ He only stated his entrance into a 
monastery ; the long day of monotonous seclusion, of which 
months and years formed the divisions ; his office of almo- 
ner ; his last tour of collection ; his presence at the proces- 
sion at Furnes; and his chance meeting with Melanie's 
father. When he spoke of his employment as a begging 
brother of his order, his mother showed an attention mere 
acute than during any other part of his short recital. She 
inquired if he carried the produce of his last collection on his 
p^non, and when he unhesitatingly answered that he did«aii4 



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THB BfiooniG BBinrasB. 19S 

nientiened its amount, ffinUy but not boastiflgly^ she re- 
peated his words, with an emphaais wlacb he did not rightly 
compnehend. 

In a few minutes more the old woman went carefully into 
the sick room. Shutting herself in with her sorrowful em* 
ployroent^ she resumed her place at the bedside, watching 
the countenance of the patient, who now calmly slept* 
Nicholas, on some pretext, left the hut, the door of which he 
closed after him, and Ernest was left, alone with Melanie* 
both retaining the seats they had occupied during the expla* 
natory recital before alluded to. 

Placed thus alone, their sensations were widely different. 
Ernest, in the worldly and personal explanations that had 
just taken place, felt as if abandoned by the spirit of religion 
that had so lately rested upon him. He no longer knew 
the excitement which, seemed to lift him above ea^, when 
he kneh by bis father^ side, and spoke the words of what bo 
felt to be inspiration,. and which consequently was so to him» 
He was now, as it were, replunged into mere taortality ; 
and the sensation excited by the presence of the innocent 
being beside him, was, fear cf her, and^br himself. A man 
even practised in the ways of the world might have been 
embarrassed in such a situation ; but to one like Ernest it 
was utterly overwhelming, and he wieus i^t once the sport of 
every conflicting feeling. Melanie, on die contrary, expe» 
rienced a total relief bo^k the apprehensions caused by 
Ernest's manner on their meeting at the door of thecottage. 
]Bis aiK>wai of his calling, the visible evidences of it, his 
whole bearing while in the actual discharge of its duties, 
threw* a sacredness around him, which raised hirat in her 
eyes, above the level of human n^kness ; and the conduct, 
which in its action so startled, and surprised her, appeared 
new, in the weakness of reflection, accordant with the cha- 
racter of one superior to the common usages and general 
responsibility of men. 

Meianie*s was a mind as simple as it was pure. She pos< 
sessed all the blind reverence given to Aeir priests by the 
greater portion of her sex, in priest-riddeo countries. But 
affection for Ernest mingling with respect for his oflice, her 
immediate feeling towards him was free, without becoming 
familiar. She held him in awe, but not in dread. During 
his long disappearance she had shuddered, in common with 
all his friends, in the apprehension of deaths or some ter- 

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ribfe niisfortime, hMog bem his .lot. WheD, ther^re, Ae 
bsurd from bis owii^ lips Ibe bsppy spkition of the mjeimf 
Id which he had shrouded himself, her delight was i|f itfaoui 
bataids. She longed for the momeiit when she could Ireeljr 
converse with him on the subject of Jiis flight from homOf ^. 
enter at large into the interchange of sentiments 9ttd fad- 
ings, and fully open her heart, undior the guarantee and sane- 
tion of his holiness. . That momeitt had now arrived ; ^and 
Af elanie, without reserve or scrapie, livailed rberself of it. 

^^ Oh, Ernest," said she, and she inclined towards him as 
she spoke, '^ what a day of mixed sensatioBS is this I Oh, 
tM ine, how it is that the heart can beat at : the same 
time with such opposite feelings-* with grief and joy--«-de- 
a|mir and delight ! ' Our poor father, even in his hopeless . 
dtate, joins I am sure in all this--^then bow must I feel it, 
dear Ernest i and what happtiiees to tell you what I feel — 
to speak to you as I think— -to o^mmunicate with yod with- 
out reotraint — and this for the frrst time m. my life !" 

^^ The Jkgi time, Melanie ?" said Ernest, with an invohm- 
thiysigbf^as his mind flew back to the day-spring of Hfe^ 
when he thought that Melanie's heart was as open to him 
as the sky above their beads, or the rootantiG paths of the 
valley in which they wandered ^gether. 

^^ Yes, yes, indeed it is the first time, Ernest ; for, strange 
as it may seem, I riever felt towards you as fearless and mire- 
sirained as on this day. During our early intimacy, although 
you were but a boy, and I a heedless girl, there was a some- 
things 1 knew not what, that'mad^ me shrink from you, even 
when I liked you most. .But now that you are a priest and 
I a( married iv^oman, I posness a confidence that 1 never be- 
fore Icnew : I feel as if called upon to confess to you-^not 
crimes but feelings— and that I ought to avow to you what 
I would never before acknowledge to myself'^ow very 
muchl loved you." 

" That is a strong wprd, Melanie — loved roe ?" . 

" Ob, yes, better than all the world I" 

" What J better thaii Nicholas ? beUer than my brother ?" 

** Oh, yes, yes— I may sutely say it now, without sh^ne 
or sm. Had you not been a priest, or I been married, I 
never- could have said it ; but itaeems to take a weight > cff 
my heart, .and is it ifot right that jfoti shiottld know that heart 
Iruly at last ?" 

Her qtuiokened »s^iration, and Uusfaing cheeks, wera 



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TKB BBOemo BBOCHER. 106 

el«qtt0iit tokeoB of ber^ emotion, and tha tttmofli mUe 
boundingB of the^ heut, .winch ahe described; testified its 
fieedom from the pressuee that secreey had laid upon it. 
Bat not satisfied irith heir, own feeliiig of this, she took the 
hand of her silent, -but deeply agitated companion, and 
placed it on her side. 

- *^ Feel my heart, Br4iest^«M)h) feel it. . Does it not bound 
lightly ? Never, never have I known it to do since the last 
time we walked together up the side of Scarpenberg : the 
day that Nicholas a^ed me to marry him, and I ran out and 
told you, and you caught me in your arms and were so sur- 
prised. But it beat then with fright, I think, but now it is 
with happiness." 

The unresisting hand of the pfiest was placed over 
Melanie's heart, and both hand and heart perhaps stirred 
with reciprocal attraction ; for the pressure of the one, and 
the thro^bbinflr of the other, seemed too electrical for the guile- 
less pair, and they mavualiy recoiled, as if instinctive pro- 
priety had felt itself warned in each. Q^l with the removal 
of Ernest's hand, Mehtnie was released from all restraint, 
for it was through the medium of th^ senses alone that her 
moral feelings had been momentarily afiected. Her thoughts 
were pure and calm, and no words were uttered by Ernest 
to discolour or disturb then^ 

As for him, his priesthood had not the power to unman 
him, nor did his contact with holiness act a miraele on bis 
mortality. He was innocent, but not insensible; and he 
possessed, in common with bis species, feelings which fana- 
ticism calls 9UI, but which are' liot so in tbeniselves, for to 
become sin they must be indulged. When restrained they 
are compdnent parts of irirtue, which is but a mixture of 
temptation and resistance. They are, however, for the wise 
purposes of nature inflicted on aU men, and Efhest had his 
share* But they had hitherto kin dormant and concealed, 
and it was now to be proved Whether in him they were 
meant to lead to good or evil. Melanie's words were 
fraught with powerful interest to the Trappist. He was 
scarcely aware of the act o^ placmg bis hand to feel the pulsa- 
tion of her heart ; but his turbulent sensations soon brought a 
consciousness at once painful and ecstatic. 

^^ What words are you speaking, Melanie? and why do I 
listen to them 1 You recall scenes and revive feelings that 
should be forgotten.'* 



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106 BELUAH aKETCHSS. 

^^'^ Forgotten, Ernest! Oh, no^-they ought not,^at least 
they eamua^ be forgotten by me; and you do not look as if 
you wished to forget them. Tiiey were the happiest of oiy 
life, the only really happy ones till tioto, and now I am almost 
as happy as ever— more so I believe ;" and as she spoke, 
her arm lay gently upon Ernest^s shoulder. He took her 
hand in his, and, drawing closer to her than before, he sakl 
with an air of mild reproach, 

<^ Well, weiU then, Melante, since you must be indulge^, 
answer me truly the only question I will trust, myself with. 
Why did you conceal your love from me?- Why leave me 
^o suppose you indifferent to the passion^-what do I say !-r- 
to the friendship — the affection — the friendly affectioq you 
had inspired me with ? Tell me why V 

*^ Indifferent ! indeed, Ernest, I never thought you 
cared more for me than in common regard you mi^ht. You 
never told me so. It was your place to speak. Wasn't it V 

^' 1 never spoke it, indeed — I never told it in mere words^ 
Melanie ; but my thoughts musjt- have made themselves 
known to you. My*ardent affection^my respect — my des- 
pair at your acceptance of Nicholas — all this must have found 
utterance, though it had ho tongue." 

^^ So help me Heaven^ Ernest, I was ignorant of it all i 
Had I ventured to believe it, could 1 have become the wife 
of another— of your own brother ! Oh, no — the world could 
not. '* 

*^ No more, no more, Melaoie-^another word and wc are 
lost i Fo<4 that I was — my cowardice has been my ruin ! 
I d^red not tell you what I felt-^and your father, Melanie—- 
I jiow reveal it for the first time — your father spurned me, 
scorned my proposal, and sboffed at-What he called my boyish 
presumption. He had, in fact, given his sanction to my 
brother's offers*— and he had made them without deigning to 
imagine the possibility of my intending the same. Thus it 
was that I jost the happiness which 1 now learn was within 
my reach ; and when do 1 learn it ? where ? and from 
whom ? Fool that I was— madman that I am— what thoughts 
am I indulging in— -what language do I hold 1 Heaven pity 
and pardon me— I know not what I say or-do* This is too 
much forme." ( 

»' Oh, Ernest) Ernest, speak not, look not so ! This is not 
fitting you — have you not renounced all feelings that should 
lead to this ? Forgive me, forgive me 1 Little did I dream 



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TKE BEOGXNe BXOTBftR. 197 

of.cfliliMg yoaan instant's paio. I ami a weak, ibalirii girl 
still, as 3^)0 left me years a^o, Ernest ;. ob, tken, fbrgive aie I 
I never dreamed of this-^I knew not that you ever had those 
feelings, and little thought that a priest codd entertain them, 
and for his sister, to». I hoped to make you as;faap|9 aa 1 
wasfiiy8el^^-4Hit I am a ctiminai and unfortunate wceteb ! Oh, 
llien, doib9:give me !" 

**' Sweetest and most innocent," cried Ernest, in a tone of 
passionate tenderness, ^^cease to torture yourself. Be 
Itttppy, be etilt happy in that innoeencer^and think no more 
of me. I^oo late i tee what i have lost^-^top deeply feel 
te loss-^too desperately deplore k I I iaigkt have been, 
then, all that my y<i»ung affisctioni sigbed fati Alas, alas, 
Meknie, Ibis is indeed misfortune! I have lost the only 
object that earth held of value, irretrievably lost it — and I 
aijbor my craven heart ths^t feared to take what Heaven 
meant to be its own. When 1 dared not dream of your lov- 
jog me, I bad power to combat my misery, for wounded 
ftide was strong-^wben I saw you snatched from me for 
^ver, the open bosom of religion seemed to invite me to re> 
pose ; but now that all is revived anew— that I foel the fire 
burst forth which has been so long concealed and consuming, 
what refuge is left for my despair ? Religion will reject 
me — ^I violate even now her mandates — I am false to my 
duties — ^recreant to my oaths — rejected of my faith l-^faut 
t^, this is supreme bliss ; and, suffer as I |nay on earth, I 
will, I must take .this foretaste of Heaven." 

During this speech the Trappist held Melanie in his arms. 
His latter words were interrupted by the repeated and pas- 
sionate kisses which he poured upoi^ her. His lips werepress- 
ed to hers, and the pleasure returned through floods of tears 
which bad burst forth when she ceased to speak. The 
4elirium of the moment caused every thing to b6 forgotten. 
Father, mother, danger, guilt, «e^, and its thousand asso- 
ciationS) ceased to exist for Briiest and Melanie — and they 
stood in each other's embrace, until roused by the sound of 
rapid footst^s, close to the outer door, which was quickly 
l>urst open by Nicholas, whose whole frame shook with agi- 
tation. Thfe pair so miraculously saved fVom a danger, 
the extent of which -they knew not, in the instinctive im- 
pulse of self-preservation loosened their enfolded arms^ and 
sunk on ihe seats which, in their fergetfulness, they had 
'fiuitted. , . • 

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19S SI£6ZA2V axmCHSB. 

Ai 800D AS Nicholu ostcrod, he Mcar^ boiled fbe 
door; end Mien, in half-supp^eesed sod burrM tones, he 
suidt ' ' 

^^ WeH, lieltniey the wont is at last arrived— my smpi* 
cioos irae too well founded 1 You were observed in the 
fcocession to^ay by the harpies, wh^ have so long sought 
our retre^. In the* house to which I carried. y<fu, some of 
our incautious words were overheard-r-we raenlioned iny 
father, and the wietches have nevei ^ince lost sight of us. 
When I left you on the road and went towards Rousbrugge 
to seek the doctor again, I saw that I was watched. Now 
all is confirmed. Four baihfis are entering the (kasture, 
with a cart to convey our poor fiither to jail. What is to 
be done ?* Can we ieonceal him I To remove him would lie 
his death.*' 

Melanie could make no reply*, She strove to speak, but 
her tmigue clove to her palate. . She would have risen, bul 
jher tremUing Hmbs refused tbm office. She wept no mcure. 
Thesources of speeoh and motion, and even of tears, seemed 
at once and indissolvably ccngealed. Ernest reclined upon 
his chair, and covered bis face with his bands. He appeared 
for- a moment insensible to his brother's words ; and Nicholas 
continued : ' , 

^^ Come, come, Melanie, rouse yourself! Ernest, there is 
no use now in giving way to grief: we must all exert our- 
selves. Come, come,.give me your advice— what can we do 
to conceal our father ? His life is at stake." 

The emphasis Isid upon the last words produced an imme- 
diate etfect Both Ernest and Melanie rose quickly, and, by 
a prompt transition of thpught and feeling, ^their minds 
were wholly turned .aside from all that had just absorbed 
them. The dangler to their unfortunate parent produced a 
shock which overpowered every other einotiony crushing, 
for a while, even the giant force of passion. They sprang 
to the closet door, a(S if the first impulse was to flmg them- 
selves as a barrie)r before it ; but Nicholas, with more com* 
mand of himself, and not unprepared for the occasion, 
looked for better means of security. His first thought was 
to remove his father to the loft above, make his mother 
occupy the bed within, and thus lead the bailifb to believe 
their prey bed escaped. With this view he opened the 
door, and seeing that his father stUi lay calmly unconscious « 
cS the coming peril, he beckoned his mother from her place 



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THE BXG0IK6 BBOTHfifi. 199 

of watching. It was a delicate task to break the calami- 
lous news to her ; and Nicholas was not the hest qualified 
for such a task, for he had been too long in contact with the 
rudeness of Jooa Coop^islaugen, and Iwd a too natural ten- 
denejr to copy it. He^ however^ eiplained how matters 
atobd,. in the 'gentlest phrase which his nature and the 
urgency of . the case allowed. The mother received the 
commumcation with a calmness that surprised her children. 
She opposed Nicl^olas's plan of^removing her husband ; and 
when h^ urged tlid necessity of that only chance of aroiding 
iht misfortune which must otherwise befall them, she an- 
swered with words and looks, the drift of which none of 
them understood, 

<^ Be it so, my sph c what is decreed must happen. I 
hare been long prepared for the worst. It has eoihe at 
last, and if there is a change it must be for the better. 
Wait patiently, and fate will take its course. Hearen has 
foredoomed the events of this day, and I feel that relief is 
at hand. But to gather, the fruit we n^i^t not break down 
the branch. Let Providence work out its own ways !" 

Having uttered these words, she quietly sat down, looking 
towards the window, and piously crossing herself, and mut- 
tering a prayer when the lightning flashed, and the thunder 
pealed loudly above the cottage. But Nicholas persevered 
in his intention of active resistance. Moving into his 
father's little chamber, he was alarmed by the whispering of 
strange voices ; and to his astonishment and grief he saw 
that two mei^ had already entered by the window, while a 
third was following their steps. Nicholas, overlooking all 
consideration hot those prompted by his natural boldness of 
heart, sprang on the intruders, and was immediately engaged 
in a desperate contest. The bailifis, being satisfied as to 
the helplessness, and consequent security, of their prey, 
turned their whole force against tlieir daring assailant ; and 
soon overpowering him, they dragged him into the outer 
rcfom, amidst all the confusion of his own imprecations, 
Melanie's screams, the groans of the disturbed sixQerer, and 
the united prayers. and entreaties of Ernest and his mother* 
While two of the fellows held Nicholas, fiercely struggling, 
on the ground, the third opened the door for the admission 
of one, who seemed, by his air of superior ruffianism, the 
4eader of the party. He had remained outside in the safe 
charge of tbe^ horse and cart, while his satellites assailed the 



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SOO BEtOtAN SKETCHES. 

hous^. They w^re only armed ^ith bludgeons, but thfeir 
chief imm^icliately produced a pistol, which heswdre he 
would discharge at ratidom into the group before him, if 
Nicholas made anc^her effort at resistance. This Uireat^ 
and his exhauattion, produced an> obedience which danger to 
himself could not have gained ; and the head baiHff produced 
and read aloud his warrant and authorities, for the seizure 
and lodgnlent in jail of Martin Vandersteen, at the Suit of a 
petty creditor, for the sumof |i few hundred florins — ^wilh all 
the clogging technicalities that are meant, no doubt, to gite 
dignity to such missives. ' ' 

Ernest lii^tened calmly to this performance, and then, 
avowing himself to be a priest, commenced a 'strain of reli- 
gious remonstrance, and implprcd the forbearance of the 
official wretch, picturirfg his father's desjperate and 'almost 
dying state, and dwelling on the impious violation of the 
Sabbath which was about to be committed. But the baiii^ 
had no understanding for considerations of piety or pity. He 
scofied at both ; and pushiiig aside the Trappist, with irreve- 
rent force, exclaimed-— 

" Hkrk ye, mister priest, if you are one, whidh I very 
much doubt, I do not want your preaching. I came here 
for another purposi^-^I must have my man — his body must 
be mine^— and dead or alive is all one to me. As to violating 
the Sabbath, 1 have u special order, and therefore there is 
no impiety in |he case — the law is the law, and mcikes Sun- 
day just as good a day as Saturday, or Monday either. So 
no farther hindrance, to the discharge of my duty^ do ye 
see, or, I'll have you ^11 indicted for a rescue*— every one, 
men, women, or priests, or whatever the devil you may be ; 
— let me pass, I say, to seize the body.'* 

Ernest, stunned and stupified by this ferocity, shrunk as 
the speaker passed by him ; and at the instant, his mother, 
who had anxiously listened to and watched him, flting her- 
self upon him, and spoke!-^ 

*^0h, Ernest, Ernest, my child, can you farther bear that 
this should go on ? Can you see your father dragged dying 
from his bed, with the means of saving him in your hands ? 
You have money about you — more than enough for this de- 
mand—it is the money of charity, and how could charity be 
better applied than in saving your parent ? Heaven sent 
you here expressly provided with the means to avert tbi^ 
calamity. Believe it, my son — it must be so— do not hesi- 



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THE BEGGIKO BKOTBSB. ' SB I 

tate.^Ob, ,Ernest, in tbe name of Heaven,, listen to your 
mother!" 

The moment that Emest caught the meaning of his 
mother's first words, he feh a, pang of terror and affliction. 
His hand instinctively grasped the siecret pocket where the 
money raised by his collection was secured. The blood 
suffered a revulsion in all parts of his franKef and hfs shook 
in every joint. None of his late emotions were equal to 
this, for no mixture of enjoyment now soflened the shock. 
His mother's voice sounded like the summons of some fiend, 
tempting him to the commission of a sacrilege. His oaths 
ot pdelity to his trust, — the wants of his brethren-7-the 
sacredness of the funds which he held-: — the curse .of the 
church on him who dared to-misapply ij^s rights— the eternal 
punishment of the perjured violator of its laws — all rose 
before him, in a confounding chaos of evil, past, present, 
and to come. 

^* Ernest, Ernest," cried his mother, ^' a minute mpre and 
it will be too late. Oh, God ! they are lifting him from the 
bed. — Oh, Nicholas, M^elanie, speak to this hard-hearted 
man ! He is not my son — he is not my once-loved Ernest — 
yet speak to him — speak to him— ;for I -can do no more !" 

She tottered into the closet, where the bailiffahad actually 
commenced to raise (heir victim from the bed, and she 
caught them in her arms with loud cries of mercy. Nicho- 
las, still held on the ground, gnashed bis teeth, and furiously 
uttered reproaches and imprecations ; while Melanie threw 
herself on her knees, and seizing Ernest by the coat, ex- 
claimed, 

^^ Erne8|, 1 call on you, in the name of Heaven ! Ob, 
God ! listen to your father's groans— rsee, they drag him out 
—listen agaih — Heaven and nature speak to you, and com- 
mand you to prevent your parent's murder ! Look at him, 
Ernest, I cannot — 1 cannot!" , , 

At this moment the bailiff came forward, dragging the 
screaming, wife, who clung to him with desperate strength, 
and embarrassed his movements. He carried high in his 
clasped arms the once robust form of Vandersteen, now 
dwindled to a skeleton figure. The victim, thus forced along 
writhed and struggled, and a hideous expression of suffering 
glared from his fece. At Melanie's exclamation, Ernest 
involuntarily cast his eyes to the door of the closet, and this 
spectacle methisgazQ. Melanie still clung to him in an 



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^2 BBLGIAM SKI5TGBE8. 

attitude of entreaty ; and he dpratig forvrard, and violentTy 
tore open his secret pocket from the breast of his coat, pro- 
duced the leather^ purse which contained the whole sum of 
his collection, caught with one hand the arm of the bailtif, 
with the other poured the money on the table, and m^ha- 
nically thrust back the empty purse into bis packet ; then, 
without uttering a word, he snatched his father froi^ the 
bailiffs arms, and lifting him in his own, he tottered back 
to the closet, and sank on the bed, still held in the fast em- 
brace of <J^ corpse — for the Ibst convulsive struggle of Mar- 
tin Yandersteen was this death-grasp clinging to the neck of 
his child. 

The unconscious widow dropped on both knees, and with 
hysteric utterance, poured blessings and praises on the son, 
who had, as she thought, saved his father ! Melante stood 
with ciasped hands, in silent emotion! at the scene. Nicho- 
las, at length released by the Wretches to whom the sight of 
Ernest's money was a warrant of fireedom, sprang hghtly 
on his feet again ; and raising hia mother, and taking Melanie 
by the arm, they proceeded to follow Ernest to the closet, 
leaving the chief bailiff counting the money, which his prac- 
tised eye had at once acknowledged as more than, enough 
to cover his claim. 

Ernest laid his dismal burthen on the bed, gently disen* 
gaged himself from the close-locked arms which encircled 
his neck ; and as he bent over the, body, a vivid flash of 
lightning broke through the dusky twilight, and* showed him 
the fixed and death-struck features of what had been his 
father. 

The, bok of death speaks a laiiguage of terrible veracity. 
It may not be counterfeited nor mistaken. Ernest read the 
truth ^th one glance. A convulsive shriek burst from him 
-—and he sprang upwards, rushed past the group that blocked 
the entrance to the closet, bounded across the outer room, 
and through the open door, followed by a yell of laughter 
from the bailiffs, who were grouped round the table, reckon- 
ing their ill gotten booty. 

Nicholas, still igikorant of the sad catastrophe, left his 
mother and wife to give their aid to his too tandily rescued 
father, and hurried afler Ernest, shocked at his frarttic aif. 
He overtook him just as he had cleared the plank that 
crossed the moat, and seizing htm round tf^e waist, he im- 
plored him in a few words to return to the cottage. But 



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TRB BSGOIKG JmoTilSH. S03 

Srnest wrenched hiaiself from his brother's embracOvand 
in a voice of frantic rage, exclaimed, 

^^ Back, back, hateful wretch ! Leave me to the fate which 
jm have brought upon me. I have robbed my brethren- 
murdered my father — ruined the peace of her 1 adored :^<- 
thanks to whom? I am covered with crime — Heaven is 
ready to blast me — hell yawns for me — listen to the laughing 
fiends ! Who has made me what I am ? Who thrusts him- 
self between me and the bliss that was my own ? Who fol* 
lows me to the edge of the. abyss? You, you! Leave 
9ie then to my despair." 

^'Ernest, for all our sakes, for your mother's, your poor 
father's, Melanie's -« " 

fc^ Monster i dare you to mock my misery !" Uttering these 
frantic words, Ernest raised his hand, and with a force that 
seemed more than his own, he struck a blow upon his 
brother's head that felled him to the earth. He then ran 
headlong into the gloom, his desperate path lighted at times 
by the glaring flashes of the storm, and feeling as though the 
curse of Cain were seared on his throbbing brow. 

Nicholas rose unhurt, and would bave still pursued the 
poor fugitive, had he not been recalled to the cottage by the 
piercing screams of the women, which told him the tale of 
death. 



CHAPTER. VL 

At tlie very time that these distressing scenes wei'e taking 
place, Joos Cooperslaugen, having been safely carried home 
by his valuable, though sometimes restive mare, was seated 
snugly before his own kitchen fire. But ere he betook him- 
self to the refuge of his huge and well-stuffed elhow*chair, 
be saw that the partner of his rapid return from Huysenclaus 
was well cleaned, fed, and bedded in the staUe which she 
exclusively occupied, apart from the coarser animals of the 
farm. Joos then proceeded to disencumber himself of his 
jack-boots, and his other riding habiliments. He next 
ordered Micha, bis ftithful maid, to place upon the table his 
pipe and leaden tobacco-canister, his pint«raeaaure drinking 



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S04 HEtjQtASf 8KETCHSS. 

glass, ant) a pewtdr vessel containing a litre^ filled from d 
cask of Madame Vcrmoof s brewing, at '^ the Tulip,*' in the 
village hard by. Thus provided, the honest farmer and over- 
seer of the roads sat down to his lonely indulgence, listened 
to the storm thal^ rioted throngh the glen, and drank a froth- 
ing bumper towards the better health of his old friend, at 
the very moment in which poor Vand^rsteen heaved his 
dying gasp! 

Joos Gooperslaugen was a man of hope, who never de- 
spaired, set a bold face against fortune, and held ill hick and 
the fever in scorn. In short, he had strong nerves, and no 
superabundance of bile. He had not, therefore, quite given 
up his friend, notwithstanding what he said to the Trap- 
pist. While be was by the sick man*is bedside, and saw his 
sufibring and exhaustion, he could not resist their influence, 
and he thought the case a bad one. But embedded in the 
seat and sides of his arm-chair, warmed by the fire (which 
in tb^ damp valley was always in season,) dozed with strong 
ale, and enveloped in tobacco-smoke, he took a different 
view of things. He began to grow skeptical as to the exist- 
ence of what he had half believed in, and wondered how 
people could be so weak as to give way to illness, or create 
misfortunes, by imagining themselves unfortunate. So that 
by the time he shook the ashes out of his fourth pipe, and 
threw the dregs of his fourth glass into the fire, Joos Goop- 
erslaugen had no memory for the evils of life ; and sat in a 
quiet doze of self contentment and good will towards all 
mankind. 

His old orou^,a strong-built, dumpy little woman, who bad 
many a year's experience of her master's waysr, was as regular 
as clockwork in her duties. She knew to a minute the time 
he took to disqualify the^re; and was never out in 
lier reckoning as to the fit moment for ireplenishment. In 
the intervfils of this duty she used to sit nodding on the rush- 
bottomed chair, whi^, to suit her stature, had sufiered 
amputaticm in all its members, and rested on the stumps of 
its wooden legs in a corner of the chimney. Thus placed, 
she formed a sort of substantial shadow to every movemmit 
of her master ; and while appearing to sleep, she watched 
him from under her half-closed lids, and, by acute observa- 
vation of his habits, was ready to anticipate every wish. She 
oflen surprised her master by this species of divination ; for 
he, like many a wiser man, w^is ignorant of the treacherous 



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THE BBGCOIIP Bllp!EBCBK. MS 



i 



wi^in vUob look»iiDd|ncttions anticipate word^: atbiDiit'to 
be spoken, and betray tboughta that are meant to be concealed; 
He never cakuii^ted that hi» forefinger being buried upfo the 
second joint in tbe^bowl of his pipei> told a tale <^ emptiness 
to Yrowe Michav.h»t'^ sore^as if she had (elf the Void ; nor 
was be nnwim of his'tttvariable trick-of $qD'acktng bis lips, and 
wiping th|9m whh.bi»i>and, brf^pm he. dtmk-^^h^B ter^rsing 
the natiiral and fety deanJf ciistolh of •ale-driitkiBrd in gene- 
]^. Thete^ and many soeb' signals, uncodscionsly ^le- 
graphed bis wishes^ 'which thQ ready vravfe replied to in^oA- 
Unentt; aiid at thp iiiite a]l<id^*tdv aboQt a page ago, (if such 
reckoning be admissible,) when old Joos ha4 despat<^faed ' 
liitf fourth pipjB and fourth pi^t^Micha 9tarted from* hei lowly 
seat^ and shqfiting acrof«r'to 4'Cofiier presi3,'~tobk out the 
renan'fnit of an Antwerp haso:, a (oaf.iof br^sfid, soinecbeese 
and butt^,And plaeed^tbeoo'ontU iable. , '^ ' 

^« Why, what ihe. devil are ymi about, Midia ?" said her 
master, rather gruflly, but with a look at the repast that 
sp^e h^. " nothiag'lothi'' . ^ ;. 

*'You -are hungcy, ar'n't yon?" said she, giving him 
^nestiQA for.questioip. « : : ' - • • v '* 

•^ Yea, I mro^^ut how chd you kno.tsr, it ^ I did not tell 

yottst^r* • - ^ ' ;• ■ •- ••'*•. '.••'. 

"No, but I thought you Wifiire;" .answered the vrowe, 
B^nt she m%ht have hotrestlysaidi^he ibieto it ; for dbe could 
not misconstrpe the fafnaer's constant habit of ritbbing his 
broad atid brawny palm over 4he surface of those regions 
ti^here the appetetic-' action, iff a heahhy map, becomes 
pleasantly importUFidte about three times a-day. . 

^^ril t^ yo]j'wb^,»Mieliav'- exclaimed Joos^ mephani- 
eaUy pyttinff his fUiger into bis mofiMedpipe, <<^tfa£i eortof 
knowledge of* my thoughts, wtiidbrycm certainly have, some- ^ 
•how or another, acqudredi ia eoikVen^B)t enough Mw and 
then ; but it is, aft^ all, a deirtl of a disappointn^ent not to 
]bave occasion sometimes to ' say what one waptSi There 
now, why do you put that canister close to my elbow? 
' couldn't yon wait till T asked yon for it ?' * . 
- *^M thought you would like another pipe/' said Michiu 
Jfily. '- ' 

^« Ay, and so did I think it, birt I must not*be thwarted in 

ibit way^ I tell yon,'* rejoined her master, smacking his 

tdngue agluiot bU ailudce-dried palate, and passing his hmd 

aeroi^i his pafcinad )m» ^^ What ate you about there, Vrowe 

Vol. IL-S 



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m 

Miehal liiiiat nit you doiag in the iwar clirnkV^ cM' 
tinaedhe. 
. «' FBbog Um litre," antweeed Michii. , 

<^ Mmj .tiM big roc^ nof Rosenberg cronh «ie to utoms, if I 
was not just §omg 4o bid you do it!'* .ttxdhMtaOd Cooper- 
^««gen, Blappiog ^e table witb his iiand, and tmn^ up, in 
^11 tbe beigfat and coni^aqneilieo ^f a big man in a paanoa. 
But Micha took no notieo 0S that-*-«t ioasl'sbe disfiiByed 
iHhsne, but qixietiy aat down ; and joos finding no cppoaitioi^ 
in lier imperturbability, dropped into. Iii» chair, wbo'e Ilis 
Wrath cfxploded harmlessly, lUce « Ibdmb-'BheM bunitiog in 9 
iDorastr. '■- ♦ . . 

''! tdl you, JUiGba,'^ grumbled he, '«! don't iike this 
offic30ttsnessr-J bate a, servant wbo/f^HieataDs her master's 
orders.. Jt'^s quite ebough lo obey when you 'ate eom- 
manded. To have tbe word taken ont^ one's inouth is 
downright insult—- ffnd I tsaobear any thiiig but4:hat^ What 
are yon.iooking bo glum for ? Why do yon sit there nadeir 
the chimney, like a toad peeping out of' a faole'in the- wait ? 
Can't you Nbe good tampered, and mot, drive me intx> a 
Passion ? What are you about, Mieba, 1 liay ? C^an I eat 
ham and . €hoese witboni a knife to cut themf Ajinito 
root at them with my snoiit, hke a hog in a troughT ' Why 
don't you give me a knife ?". 

^^ Because you did not askfdrit." . 

" I say I did b&|l for if, Vro«pe." 

" I say you did not, Mynheer." 

*^ I tell you, Mieba, yi^u had better not put me tote a 
passion." , « , ' ' .. 

'M toh 'yon, MynfaeerCoopeialaugen, yxm had4)etterput 
yourself out of a^ passion. H 46 «i afaame^ tou:^ be 
aiwi^3C|uari«U^g tbisnfn^ii, «nd via9Di% js^urself 
doea^all iibat one 'Caiido to please, jrau. Add I 'Jl^tell you 
moi^ Ia don't desenve this fisom you. it^s a f»oor retuEn to 
all siiY serf loss ; >add it^a «-bad hefot tbat gives such a bad 
temper." 

A spufHing bun^ of-ifeBie mit 8l^ort:^iis reproach, but it 
was quite long enough torprobe tbojmaster to die <|aick7 for 
he could not deny that the beginning was truoy and ho was 
, aliarmed lat the tbonghl that tira ending asiigbt be so as well. 
Besides Ae sight «f teart always mdud him ; and ^eba's 
4soepiwA tides meinerf aifadrto (waih avay stba IsBdmftiks ^;bis 
>]iemiftmenl;.' ;Gnihej»eBeBt.oecasioBiliewQs»ia» ostfal^itlie 



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atai ,to seek i^conciliatioa, H^ 9pck% but hisi toH^ fell « 
couple of ootavee; ftfld be slretched out bis hand, wbiob 
AJicba, QoAened in ber turn, seized and blubbered ovei, 

^* Comei Wiibaij iorgW© and forget ;" cried bo ; V^ but I 
am sorry you think my heart so bad — you ougbi to know it.'' 

** I do» I'do kncM^^il; well, for the best tbat ever befil; and 
I am an ungratefal wretch to'sajv wb«tt. did. But I didn't 
tUnk it-*^l didn't indeed^aqd yw may fori^ine-^a word^ or 
tMro-*^£ hasty — oh^ob, oh !V* and tbe imagination ^f ber 
master oompi^ted pobr-Midia's sentence4 

f he qOarrel was tbns. made up ; but tbe vrowe continued 

for a long tim^ her sobbing accompaoiment to Jo0s^ |&asti- 

oBlin^ opemftioDS : for ket tdSKpter, tboDgh. joined to a good 

diMNisitiony wns pf that suQeh jmd d^ged kukl whicb is sure 

* to nave its fling.'. / '^ 

^' Y0s« 1 certainly, was a Kttle too . hot,!' said Joos;, not 
over articttlatelyi tbrougb; obstructions of bam and brown 
bfsad ; ^> bnt> you must make, allowances for me, Mieha. 
You know T miay say, without any offence^ that yo^ are but 
a sorry snbstituie for.my daugbter, To be always rubbing 
against such a hiaap: ad yon is enoogb to seft ooe'f^ tender an 
odgevfike'theleeth 0f> ij^ batrotv^ st^iktojj^ against a fros((n 
fiiqd. I don't wish to flatter yow^but yiou are< a good girl, 
and have been -so for a coufle of dojsen yoa^-s^ to my 
knowledge. ^ But yon biura 119 nttadi Micha ; you can't 
converse with me ; and littio it%I bavo to say to ypui you 
ntinC me even in tba|. * I fbil't like to aii with my pipe in 
iB^ mouth, nod drink beer takiipujktslking, like tbe Blacks- 
- oioor'is bead ovor Madame Vermoot's shop 4<>^* ^ wiaAt* 
-flocicty ; and am n<^ my^^i sinoe MelfMiii^ and ber busVand 
left me. , She waM' such a good bstenor! and Nicbolas 
always bad a- word for ea^of mfaio, noiHattei; of wbatscnrt. 
But lam no^ forlorn, as it wpne. Since *goo4 Mr. Buyatien 
has taken npwilh tbose toad-ealing TrapfisU, I have no 
one to drop in of an evening. I bat« tbe pariab poest, 
because — ^because — ^because be 's a priest<i-^nd the eXl^itMS- 
Bian hates me, because I keep itbe roads clear of his bri|)iog 
cronies the smugglers. I have qus^rrelled with iaimer 
Vranken, and &fmer Cloots, and two , or three niQi« n^igh- 
boars ; and old Casasnootem, tbe notary, says Us neryas 
can't bear myloud talking* All this is ver^ unfertueate, 
Micfaa! It is enoiifb to* waste a mao, miind and body*. 
Just ;to8t a couple of those black puddingfs into tbe ifpf^ 



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SQ]|> . jnelGXAN SKEtCBES. 

pan — I donU much like this, ham ;" and he put aside fair 
plate, with the bare bone he had so industriously unfleshed. 
^^ What would 1 not give for a pleasant oompanipn to pass 
an hour or two with me, and silence the growling of these 
thunderclaps!" 

*^ Hush, hushi Mynheer !" tried Micha» ^ don 't you hear 
avoice outside 1 Some one is caught in the storm !" 

^^ I think I do hear a faint -call — yes— certainly— r-some ira- 
▼eller — though few venture this way fifter dark— who cantit 
be ? To the door, Micha^-^take the lamp^^top a moment 
— just let me cock my guti. Noi go on quickly— the cries 
aire close by thd hoiise/' 

No sooner had Mtcha unlatched the door, than it was 
blown open by >i^ g|ast of wind, and her lamp wad at the same 
time eitrngiiished. But the continued flashes' of lightning 
amply ilhiminated the farm'-ya)rd, which was in front of the 
house, and brought out eVerjr object in vivid relief (rotik the 
intervals of gloom which obscured tbem> Micba, however, 
wanted no light to enal:^. her to steer throogh the obstruc- 
tions of the plfi<^e, every inch.of' which she knew so fiuni- 
liiEirly ; , and her heart being tp the fiill as stomt as her person, 
there* was Ao impediihent to her stepping forth in search of 
the benighted person. Bfae did sd unhesitatingly^ first caUmg 
close to her the two fierce dogs', which prowled about the 
yard, and, luckily for the traveHor,- w«re kept within 4ts pre- 
cints, by their instinctive alarm at the storm. Joos Coop- 
ers] augen stood st^thendoor,' with his. gun cocked to guard 
igainst treachery, and'faaHooed repeatedly, in a 'key that 
s^med meant to challenge' the very thunder. No answer 
was returned to these sotnmonses ; and Joos^'beingoffickdly 
of a suspicious turn,, called put to Micha ta take heed ; but 
Micha did jiot share his miagivinjgs, or if she did; tMy were 
kept in the shade, by the Putspi-eadings of the charity so 
deeply implanted in her heart. Siie heard her master's cau- 
tions, bi^t did not heed them» She knew that a fellow-crea^ 
tu^e had called out for succour, and she felt irresistibly im* 
pelM to a^rd it, without arguing whether the appeal was 
true or false. . 

Micha made an ineffecteal search in every corner of the 
f^m^yard. She gave repeated invitations, in the kindest 
phmse which her Flemish Jargon admitted, but no answer 
was returned ; and she then began to entertain fears for the 
safely oif the poor being whose voice both ehe and her mas** 



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TBI: nmofso jB9X)pwB. pjiB 

ler hwi 8Q iKksHirely hoard. NeiUier the faxsik&t or Jiis 
Vfniwe.beliefediii any Qne of tiie varieties of ghosts and gob- 
lins, which common credence attributed tothe^en.of ^ar- 
penb^rg. lobs i^as ;oae of those noen, emphatically distin- 
^uishedAs'^feAring neither man nor deyil ;*^ and Miclia was 
a matter-of-fact lump, of mortality, unlightened by the poetic 
leaven of mperstition. Tliey l^vefore persisted in support- 
ing 0Mh other's xoRviction that .U vt^ a man's voice they 
hsu^ beiird ; and while Micha go| soaked to the very akin, 
jber nuister, ashamed to be outdone in exertion, prepared 
ito share her labours; and h&ving tied the fl«4> of his, hairy 
cap tinder his chin, and provided himself with the sta&le- 
lahthovti, he was in the act^of wi^piog himself in his do^, 
When Mieha discovered the ob^t of her search, a^d sav^d 
both'Cloak and cap. the necessity of repuking ' the rain, 

The sturdy wench had a heart so kind as to allow of com- 
passion for pigs 3» well as men ; And Whenehe had convihced 
herself that nQfthtng'<of the last mentioned species was within 
the reach of relief, she tiirned her attention tp the large 
compaiiy of the fornier, which grunted and squeaked most 
furiously in the square enclosure whipb they occupied close 
to the ^rm-^yard wall. , . 

^^ Poor tbing[s !" sighed Micha tp herself, *^ they know my 
voice ;" ^jod as she looked oyer into th^ piggery, to speak a 
word o^ recollection, a broad flash of lightning displayed the 
* whdle community standing in a eircle round the body of a 
man, who bad apparently dropped 4mpng tboin ^'ora the top 
x>i the wall. This intruder appAared to Micha seriausly 
hurt» or horribly friffphtened, for he coiled himsc^lf ,]ip,.Uke,a ^ 
^edge-hog, and rosieted every mtimat&on Ir^m the eight or ' 
ten soQutft thftt aipiidtaneQUBly urged has rotnovol. Mipba's 
efferta wave ibose effaclual, fi>r without |i n^oment's delay she 
stooped down^ and raised the body ott jber^iboalder. A pair 
of stout arms in an instant eseiireledher oeck» and tbej^nees 
of her burthen instiuctiseiy fastened themselves 8g«iiist bar 
tiba. Thus loaded, Micha waddled Ibrovf b the itnud a^d 
manure of the yard, followed bjitfaeitbole pepuiatMiPiof the 
piggery, grunting forth thw recogukietn^^ the bawl tbM fed, 
uidltheir leseotoieDt against the bodf ftiwi dtsturhed Ihenu 

Just as Joos Cooperslaugen stepped out of the bowse* 

dfloc, Miofaa. steeled ia, aqd tb^ «ii4ae in conleet rs^ef 

abruptly^ but vnotABOttghao to shAk^ the new oemm fmii 

his seat. ' He, howeveff opened bis reyes at the shook ; finA 

' S2 



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2it asLCSiN attveBBsr. 

tile fiardb arid hair-friiiged fiice of Jom, close to bis oiMf^. 
was an object of l^fhimate alarm, sufficient to , jnaiEe liiiii 
shut tkem again. , '- 

^^ Hearen have mercy upon meV' exclaimed he«8s ttieha 
disborthened herself, by shaking faim off into her master's 
arm-chair. 

^' It has had mercy on you, my friend," said Joos, ^^m 
^vmg you a billet for such saMg quarters: So cheer up ; 
don't be afraid, you now have ,the laugh against the storni. 
Gome, come, open your ejres mnd your mouthy and swallow 
this glass of real Scheidam, dnd look upon a man that no 
one need be frightened at-^oo^ Cooperslaugen of Scar* 
penberg, overseer of ^e roadd, from Ypres to Poperingue^ 
from FU>u^rugge to Steinwort— east and. West, north and 
south^^the same* aU round the compass^^and pretty well 
known in these parts.^' 

The stranger shook himself, and rubbed, his eyes ^t this 
very reassuring speech, end swallowed unresistingly the prof- 
fered bumper of Geneva. 

^^ That's fight, my honest Mow,? said Joos; '^^ don't be 
afraid of it. Let your heaj t once get afloat in stuff like that, 
and nothing can sink it. Will you try andther ? You will f 
ay, silence gi\res co(nsent. But open your eyes, man-^look 
at the glassy and be grateful to it. It was n)y father's before 
me." . . • 

The stranger could not resist the appeal. He«looked for 
H mom^t or twd at the family relic, which was One of those 
capacious dram glasses so common in. Belgium, of thick 
chrystal, .with a white spiral mark in th0 heart of ita 
long shank, like a little snake Worming its way up to the 
liquid at top. The stranger lost no time in useless observa- 
tion, but instantly disposed of the cotitents with which' Jooa 
had liberally brimmed it. 

'^ Well, well»" said the latter, with a plaintive k)ok, '^I 
never take this glaiss in my hand without thinking of my poor 
ikther. But Sorrow is a» useless as it's dry-*-so here goes I" 
* and he tossed off a bumper in his turn» 

*^ Obj Lord 1" moaned the strange^, ^^ if my poor father 
could but see his prodigal «on, like an evil spirit in a herd of 
swinet"' . . . 

Micha shortly expkinedthis allusion to her master, un-r 
derstandiog French and the Bible sufficiently to comprehend 
it* Jpos burst into a fit of iaughter^tnore suitable to Iho 



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THS BBOBOHO BtMUOU ' 2lt 



jtisMt Uian the kitobM^ The stmnger, hmreirer, Ad n^ 
take it ill-teni{>eredly ; but said, with tL Jocose teer at the 
string of Mack pudding which Mkha had laid upoa the 
table, '■.■.'. 

** Laugh away, laugh away, most woK^hipful ovorseer-^it's 
all fair ; and I mean to take niy revenge on the pigs, by an 
iotestine attack on some of their progenitors. 1 confess a 
Cloving for one of theeie puddings, or a sausage, or any 
thing of that kind. Pray, my good girl, wiU you dress a few 
of these? You will join me, perhaps, Mynheer Coop^- 
slaugen? I fear I interrupted your supper ^ but there is 
plenty left for both of us — pray sit down%*' , 

It was Joos's turn to istare, and he did so broadly, as^f 
be expected to aee the brass oostng out of the stranger's 
forehead. So complete a recovery^ of aelf^-possession, b,o 
quick an'ad^tptation to cirqumstaQcea, so much cyftse, and 
such undoubted impudence, had rarely beeii witnessed in 
(he valtey of Scarpenberg. 

^^ Come, come, my worthy host," eonlii^ed the< sUanp;er, 
^^ you see I maWe niyBvif ai Home. That is the best way to 
prore my gratitude ; and true hospitaUty w<u»ts np other rcr- 
turn. Ybu^ hkea joke, I find* and no tioiibt you can ^a& as 
well as give. That is a golden rule, believe me^ A gene- 
rous jester receives:freely,, and spanngiy bestows. Pray sit 
down^ Mynheer. Give a chair to your master, v£o we. Here 's 
to your health. Sir;, your beer is. indeed a fair match for 
your Geneva"-*-^and the pint measure emptily echoed tlje^ 
smack of the drinker's lips. 

*^ It is not bad, I believe," mattered Joes, hesitatingly,- and 
quke confounded ; and then (tp Michals absolute conster* 
nation), he calmly drew over a rushrbottpmed i^hair, and 
placed J^imself lat the table-rnresigning kis cwn side of the 
fire, and kU aifin two- armed, double-stufied ^one to the 
usurper, who dropped ipto these domestic duties,. with as 
nHich ease as though he had (like a mightier monarch) 
^^ found the crown in the mudv' through wjikh he had been 
struggling. r . 

^me desultory conyersation, to which the strangei cqq^ 
tribnted, profusely rather than, generously, according to his 
own theory, now took place, while Micha smothered her. 
wondenaent in the smoke of bee culinary proeeediop* The 
black puddings were ravenously assailed, and the. litre two 
or three times filled and emptied-— fpos Cooperslaugen pat" 



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takiog of AefepaM o abral tiie sane j>roportioB as lie liad 
shared Id the caiifeiaaCioB. For fiiO iweotj jeais Joos bad 
never Mt ao aoeaay. ' He Itad beeo untii tbat moment the 
very despot of his fireside circle. Every nod and wink had 
been a law ; and bis privilefes of plaoe and person were 
held as sacred as tbbae of imy other 80fer«gn of the Fee- 
faw4am dynasty in any coyntry- of the earth. He now a^ 
jpeared, on the contrary, a mere cipher b his own territory, 
having abdicated in fiivoar of he did not Jmow whom, and 
every thing went erosa^ways. He found inconceivable 
difficulty in managinf malleis ; his right hand seemed to be 
doing the work of bis left ; and he ate and drank, as it were, 
at the ,wron|[ side of his mouth. Micha wap just as much 
embarrassed as her master ; and she gazed, from her little 
chair, in siloit bewiUermeiit at his confusion. 

But Joos felt amused, notwithstanding, by th^ fluent rho- 
domontade of his guest. He talked and eat with prodigious 
facility, and there was a quaintneas in hb discourse and 
manner, #hich rather tallied with the fivmer's taste; so tet 
as the glasaes were successively filled and eooiplaed, he began 
to be satisfied that he had actimlly beside him the ** pleasant 
companion" he had been longing for about an hour before. 
There were none of the many sul^eets of the stranger's cpn- 
versation on which he was more amu^ng than Atmaejf. Be 
gave a most kidicrous account of his waiulerings through the 
valley— -of his fears of the storm — ^his jpy at d^overing the 
lights of the ho q a o h is alarm at their sudden extiaelioii, and 
the terrible sounds of Joos and ^is handmaid's lingOi and of 
Jbis prudent deterniiaation to lie dose in the base security 
into which he tumbled by accident, after he succeeded in 
scaling the ftrmyaid #all. But to all this be gave a turn 
of drollery, which deprived the &cts of the ooloiinng of 
cowardice that a less embellished portraiture woald have 
left on theni'^^nand he finished hia personal nanative sa fok' 
lows: 

^But I am somehow thinking, friendCoopeislaa^eii^that 
you yourself have been put a little out of sorts to-night. AU 
men and aS things are alike sabjaet to nushi^ eeckisastics 
and laymen, ehuvch and state, in the bustle of levolotions, 
individuals and empires are both turned topsy^unry^and if 
I have met the common fate, you have not quite escaped; 
fi>r an oreraeer of the roads, deprived ef his am^chair, t 



^P 



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as much oat Of place as a jftiest in a pi^-sty. IsnHihiit 
true?" 

*^ A priest ! why, what the devil do you mean by that V* 
asked Joos^ that cabalistical word havisg banished all the 
other parts of the stranger's speech. 

^< Mean, my worthy host ? why, nothing more than that I 
am a priest.*' 

^* You a priest !'' uttered Joos, in a mixture oif astonish- 
ment, and something very like alarm. 

*^ Ajf that I am, and a man that no one need be frightened 
at. Brother Petrus Maria, of the order of La Trappe,' per- 
ambulator of the roads from Amiens to Aire, from Arras to 
AbbeviUe*^north and souths east and west, and quite as well 
kr^own in Picardy ad Joos Cooperslaugen in Flanders.'? ^ 

" Brother P«etrus Maria, of the order of La Trappe I" .ex- 
claimed Joos, in his former tone. 

" Ay, or if it pleases you better. Father Pierre, the Trap- 
pist, ana begging brother to his convent." 

** Begging brother !" vociferated Joqs, starting from his 
seat; wh\chhe overturnedin his alarm — *' Thunder and furies ! 
What can this mean ? Another of ye I Two in one day ! 
This is too badt and is not to be borne — it is a downright 
insult! What p]ot is'hatchtogr? Wbat demon brought you 
here — and how did F suffer you to cross the threshed? 
Come, come, neighbour, this is- a joke — I '11 be cursed if you 
are a priest, or a beggar either — or, if you are, I forswear, 
from this blessed night, my hatred of both tribes, in honour 
of such -a pleasant^ bold-faced, impudent fellow. So down I 
4tt agaiti, though f have made a vow never to cross my legs 
under the' same plank with monk or mendicant. Tell me 
truly who and what you are ; and, be what you may, I trust 
>to ycfur absolution to wipe out my perjury. 

With these words Joos resumed his seat ; filled fresh 
bumpers for himself and Petrus Maria, and calmly listened 
while the latter related, that having quitted the diligence at 
Bailleul, to cross the valley on foot, he had missed bis way, 
and got entangled in ilie Ihickets in search of the monastery 
on Catsberg, where he was goitig on a special mission from 
his prior.' 'fhis is a brief summary of a very circumlocutory 
recital, interlarded with dozens of Gasconisms, both in man^ 
ner and matter ; and interrupted by an abundance of hiccup- 
ing and hemming ; and. other consequences of what might 
be tetmei VL debmch. 



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S14 ttB^oif ikwcvEs.' 

Jdos !)eemed quite a octflnerpboiacl man, undet ibe in- 
floence of bis companion. By the time they were boUi fbirly 
fudd^^d, they seemed to ha?e.theriigbta« feelings^ glaoMSf and 
goblets all in eomitooiK Tiiejr chaliged sides r^^eatetiy, 
without knowing one from kuMtfaer ; and there was nd an 
object in the room that did not appear to turn roand and 
round, even oitener than themselves. But Michaetoodsttil, 
the steady pivol on whidi tfaey made their various evtrfations^ ' 
and by her continued meditation their balance of power was 
preserved. She kept them dn their feet, and finally put them 
into their respective beds^ Joos Gooperalaugen's last waking 
thoegiit was one of skepticism as to Mioha's assurance that 
hia htfEtd did not He at the foot of th« bed. FaUier Pierre 
chuckled even in his deep, at having bullied so greatabuliy^ 
who was overcome by the main force of impudence— a 6on- 
summatidn that never could have been effected by ali the 
united modesty of mankind. 



CHAPTER VIL 

Tub farmer and the priest both iett as if they (lad but just 
closed their eyes, ahd a^ if their mouths had never been^sbitt, 
when they were roused, at daybreak, drom that stateof fe- 
verish lethargy which hard drinkers call sleep. ^^ Water ! 
water */' was the first word uttered by each, and the very 
call for il seemed to choke them. A couple i^tfae carters^ 
in a room adjoining their master's, started from their whole- 
some repose, with moist palates and clear heads, supposing 
the house to be on fire. Micha rushed into Father Pierre's 
chamber, with the same conviction ; but both he and his 
host were discovered, sitting up in their beds, each with a 
large brpwn pitcher (provided by the forethought of Micha) 
at bis head, and pouring down torrents intatlwir feepective 
throats. Knowing only that they were abriiptty distuHbed, 
they made no effort to ascertain why or wherefore ; and they 
prepared to resume their broken slumbers with unconsoieus 
mutterings of dissatisfaction. But the load fcnoekings against 
the hoase door, and the caHs upon Joos Cooperskuigvn by 
name. w#^r<j not to be slept through. Father Pierre, as soon 



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Tkx jna^Dw ifsmmxR* iid 



&s be could eoHect naHoneDoupixto ^ooipl^eliMMl aay diiiig, 
f«9Ciefl that vobben w«re4>reft|EdDg kf^hid bi$ &t« under the 
bed^-dothesy wd insfcanAty-beeane, sober .ftfiia ^ efiect of 
fear. Joos Cooperslaugto reooirered ^h maea by the force 
of faeliiig* Recognisiiig, with afloddeo.coiiyictiQn9 the Toice 
of bk aoiHii^law Nicboks, be wpiting oai of bed into the 
middle of the floor, and as if a atream cif light bad burst upoQ , 
his mind, and iiB|>arted to it the clearness of a purer source, 
he clajq>ed his hands together^ and with fixed lot^s and pain- 
ful energy, exclaimed^*- '. 

^^ Martin Vandersteen is dead 1" • 

Nicholas, adflutted into the bouse by the serTants, mount- 
ed quickly to their master'^ room, and, as be entered, he 
saw tbd gimit' figure of Joos standing before him, in an atti- 
tude and air of unwonted despondency. Nicholas, not 
imagining that any sinister presentiment could bt/lfe pene- 
trated his &ther4n-law's sternness of ibind, supposed' that 
some personal mishap most have caused bis evident sorrow. 

^ Why, how now, Mr. Cooperslaogea,'' eaid.liei laying 
his hand on that of Joos, << what is the cause of this ? What 
has happened ?" 

^ What has happened !" ' repeated Joos, with' a firm, but 
moitoful tone,. and, 4 eompreised expression of features 
which anoouRced an interna) struggle ; ^^ what has hap- 
pened, Nieboket la it ibr you U> ask that ? Does the 
bearer -of ill-newa need to be ,told hi^ own story f Or is it 
that you think to prepare me for it--^to break it to me ? But 
I bope you know me toe well, Nicholas. Joos Cooper- 
slaugen ia no child, nor chicken-hearted. The old elm in 
the avenue there, may be bent by a storm-gust, but does not 
need a asephyr to tell what is coaoing. Just &o with Joesr 
Oeoperslaugen. I am always ready for the blast, and I feel 
ijiit at is eome nolo, without any one to say so. I am not a 
bit.superstitieas, I believe,^ but I can calculate a little, though 
' no great acbclur : and 1 well know that one thing only could 
have Ibrovgbt you here, Ibeough auch a oight as the last. 
Women may be left to watch by a eorpsej but a son could 
not have quitted a father, cstruggling with death. Martin 
^sndersteen la dead ! ¥ou have lost 4l good &iher, Nicho- 
kun, and I the best of fdeada. He is not to be i^pkced 
. fitter wiqrs. Bat we aiay do auicb for each other, my boy. 
Be you always mff friend, and I will, please God ! be a 
father to you. Let us* bear this blow like men^ Nieholas'r 






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9i« . UQ|iP#V«BVI?Bi:9..; 

What 0Jte f9U wMni)Mrnigr about? Jt i3 for your ppof 
motli^r and Melantetaei^^ bvt^^ii aadl-^two men-r^aye, 
aad 'iMipiTO pDoa, tboogii 1 9ay iN-*we eaouldiK^t^ou^ a weak* 
nesa, aiiy bow, 1^ iia/e^ irJtai we may.'^ 

4a)d with tbia pfailoaiafAicjiii.aaBom: be daabed away the m* 
c269icM* from bis 9yes,;jatfed. strove ,to deceit Nicbolaat-jBA 
well as bimseli^ by hoafte and half-articulated cal}s to Micttt 
io prepare 90ine dry ciotheb and otber refresbments for Jber 
young master. Wbiio tfbB so. employed herself, Joo^ ae 
quicjcly completed bis rustic toilette, Nicholas briefly detail- 
ing- the events of the preceding night, which bad made the 
cottage at Hiiysenclaus so sorrowful a contrast to the resi- 
dence of its owner. '• 

. Jbos listened with deep attention to the cireumstaneee 
affecting the death of his friend, and with unbounded asto-* 
nisbment to all that Belated to Ernest. He fully entered 
into NicbplasV anxiety as to his brother, of whom he was 
now in search, imviog; aa Joes justly suppo^aed, led the du- 
ties to the dead to the cai^ of his.grief-stricfcen wife and 
mother. ' > . - 

The most likely place of discovering Ernest appeared to 
be his monastery-^at least so calculated Jdoa and Nicholas ; 
and there t&ey resolved on going immediatdjK. The latter 
having changed eome parts of his dress, from" his homely 
wardrobe, urged an instant ^^tting out, and J009 deelared 
bis readiness, but suddenly ei^elaiined, in answer to a whis- 
per from Micjia, .1 

" The devil I That 's very tru»-^I bad quite forgotten — 
this sad news drove him utterly out of my head- 1 wish he wjas 
well out of thehous^^he brought nothing l^ut bad luck' into 
it Call him up, Micha,^and tell b;in 1 am ready to show him 
the road to the monastery^ Little did I think I should ever 
pay it a visit, or have one .of its hypocritical tribe withip my 
doora! . Wait a minute or two, .NicboliusL One .of your un- 
fortunate brother's fraternity is here-*-the verv &l|o#, per- 
haps, that kidnapped poor Erneat five years ago. Let us 
wait for bite, be is going to Cat^m as well aavounelves ; 
and, to tell you the truth, J don't like to leave bimin.the 
bouse behind ipe. Nothing haal>eeQ in its own place mnce 
li9 came ; and t)iere is no knowing What migbi stick 4o him, 
should he go off unwatehed.. He ealU hiiaaelf a beggar. 



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THE BEOC^XNO BftOTHEB. 217 

and seems jnst such a one as would never be at a loss to 
find a wallet, and wherewithal to fill it. He says, he is a 
priest. That may be — but if so, the breed is well crossed ' 
since the revolution— he is the first I have sat witb since. 
But here he comes— he must have been ready before Micba 
summoned him/' 

And so, in fact, he had been ; for having cautiously un- 
covered one of his ears, while the rest of his person lay wrapt 
in»the counterpane, he had heard a considerable part of 
Nicholas's communication to Joos. Thus satisfied of his 
safety from the fancied danger, he quickly dressed, and came 
down stairs as soon as summoned, thinking to bide the 
memory of his excess behind an unblushing face, which, how- 
ever, turned truth's evidence, by its scorched and bloated 
appearance. He exchanged salutations with his host, 
wearing an air of daylight propriety ; and darting a glance 
at Nicholas from eyes of liquid flame, he gave his morning 
benediction to both, bowing down his head with a mock 
humility, worthy of any that ever bent to the pressure of the 
mitre which its tongue had just refused. 

Under these ill-omened auspices Joos and Nicholas set 
out, accompanied by him who was fitter to be their secular 
follower than their spiritual guide. They had scarcely 
quitted the farm, and passed by the avenue to the narrow 
road leading through the glen, when they found their pas- 
sage obstructed. One of the oaks that skirted it, but which 
had been shivered by the lightning, lay scattered across the 
way. The rivulets which ran down the acclivities at each 
side were swoln by the rain; and, overflowing their chan- 
nels, they carried down clay, stones, and shrubs, which, 
cementing the prostrate branches, made at that particular 
spot a temporary lake of considerable extent. The wooded 
side of Catsberg was opposite ; and while Joos and Nicholas 
held counsel together, as to the better direction for seeking 
a passage, their companion, whose thirsty glances seemed 
quenching themselves in the pool, perceived nearly at the 
farther side, the body*of a man, partly in the water, and 
partly entangled in the branches. He communicated his 
•discovery to the others, who instantly ran with him dose to 
the spot ; and all three casting eager looks upon, the face 
which lay clearly exposed, excli|imed together, 

" ttacidus !'» 

" Ernest Vandersteen !" 

Vol. II.— T 



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219 ssMNov-flnvGns. 

Tkey vera all ri^t in Ibeir epkb^tp'-f^Mt tbe l^ple» 
hemg rooogoifedt replied, nol to Ibeir joint exclamations* 
Without another wofd they all stepped into the water; 
and vading through it. nearly breast high, they reached 
tbe body, which they immediately lifted to the bank beyond. 

Joos'Cooperslaiigen feeling the pale face, and taking up 
one of the wet cold hands in his^ enelaimed) '^ Poor fellow, 
he is stQne dead !'' 

PeiUrug Maria^ pulKng forth the empty purse from the 
tattered ooat» cried out* ^^ Unfortunate Placidua, he has been 
robbed and murdered !" 

NicbolaSf in the instinct of affection, tore open the vest* 
ments, and placed his hand upon his brother's heart — '^ He 
lives-r-he lives 1 His heart, still beats ! He may yet be 
restored — ^to the monastery i to tbe monastery !*' 

Such were tbe exclamations of Nicholas, and as he spoke 
ha liflsd the body in his arms. He soon gained the summit 
of Catsberg, oocasionally relieved from his pitiable burden 
by his strong*limbed companions, who readily joined in what 
they, nevertheleas^ considered a hopeless exertion. The 
monastery was now dose to them, and Petrus Maria ad- 
vanced to the little door of entrance to the garden* At his 
loud signal it was instantly opened, i^nd the prior, with some 
of the brotherhood, hulrried out, surprised at the unusually 
early visit which the bell so loudly a>nnounced. 

The prior and his followers were struck with horror at 
Petrus Maria's hurried expression of his own worst fears, 
and at the fatal confirmation which seemed stamped on 
]^nest's corpse-like face. With the utmost promptness the 
body was conveyed into the house, and the best means were 
resorted to for restoring iauspend^d animation, with an 
energy, steadiness, and skill, that gave every possible chance 
for success. In a short time those efforts were rewarded. 
All the ^mptoms of life appeared — but no evidence of 
returning reason became viuble. A confused mixture of 
opmions and coi^ectures was put forward, as to the best 
method for leading back the mind to sensibility. Cooper- 
slaugen, Nicholas, and Petrus Maria had each his separate 
theory ; but the prior took upon himself thedvectionof the 
subject ; and the means he employed turned out as efficacious 
as they appeared singular* 

He ordered the freely-breathing b^t motionless body to 



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turn wia&a& -noffaw. S^19 

be g«nllf carried to the open air, and thence into the dmpel, 
where the brethren irere aesembliDg for the morning service. 
Stretched on a mattress in the centre of the aisie, and close 
to the altar atepe — a line of his brother monks on each side, 
and he so placed that his opening glances Would rest upon 
the most sacred objects of a pious Catholic's belief^ay the 
•tHl senseless form of Ernest, awaiting the process of that 
new creation which was to raise him up agauii in all the 
power and spirit of mortal life. 

Nicholas and his father-in-law watched, from the gallery 
above, the progress of the strange and solemn scene. They 
looked down on the monks, with baro heads and bended 
bodies ; on the prior prepared for officiating at the plainly 
decorated altar ; on Ernesi^s outstretched figure atid pallid 
countenance ; and this simple combination of human fortas 
aent a feehng of solemnity through the rough and irreterent 
observers that the proudest display of seetarinn splendours 
would have fiiiled to excite. Both Joos and Nicholas were 
affected, in a manner unknown to them beibre ; a&d Wfaea 
the deep chanting of the matin service commenced, they 
involuntarily sunk on their knees, and joined In the prayers 
which the brotherhood addressed to Heiven for the restora- 
tion to mental life end light of him whotbaorbed the thoughts 
of all. 

During the progress of tho ceremony the measures taken 
by the prior were ampiv Justified. The tolling of the bell, 
the low- murmured sound* of the opening (Service, and then 
the swellings of the choroaed harmonies had acted on the 
mind that gradually tended towards resuscitation. The n^w 
development of its faculties was witnessed with joy by Che 
little eongregMion, each individual ilsehng his sepsrate shire 
hi the rebuh which seemed Co flow from the united suppli- 
catiooB of all. 

The first proof of Et nest'e awakehed senaibility 10 fhet 
scene, were' the spannOdie mbvementsiOf lips and eyelids, 
and the rapid clenching and opening of the bahds, lis if the 
senses were making simultaneoos ofibrts at expreMion. 
Flushings came across the fkoa, the breast heaved, loW sighs 
burst from it, add finally a rush of tiers seemed to iremove 
the last obstruction to returning teasoo. Then memory 
began to work. A sudden alart'*<^a rapid change of posture 
-•Mhe body raissd oft one kftee-^the hand paased acrOM the 
brow'-^ft ^toiiiihed glanoeseal taooih^ ffiomeotitiy gHase 



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220 MRUnAS 8KSTCHSS. 

, upon the priest — andaninalant relapse into insensibility — 
these were the signs that spoke the mind*s re?iya],vand the 

/first impressions by which it was affected. 

The service was now ended, and th6 prior motioned to 
the brethren to retire. He instantly followed them ; and pro- 
ceeding to the gallery^ with a few of the monks, he watched, 
in conjunction with Nicholas and Joos, the further display 
of Ernest's recovery. He had not long to wait. The mo- 
mentary relapse into exhaustion was now past. Ernest 
again raised himself up, and after a brief space, which ap- 
peared occupied in rallying his scattered thoughts^ he rose 
upon bis feet ; and then, with upliAed hands, sunk in the 
attitude of prayer, and finally prostrated himself upon the 
altar steps. The fervent solemnity of his manner spoke a 
full conviction of his situation ; and it was further confirmed 
by his soon quittijig his kneeling posture, and, with clasped 
hands and downcast looks, taking the direct passage to his 
ofvn cell. No obstruction was offered to his way ; and he 
;was observed to enter silently, and sink on his bed, as if his 
strength had failed at the moment he reached that haven of 
refuge from the world. 

It was thus that the considerate good sense of the prior 
had smoothed for the poor sufferer the path of recovery ; 
and by letting him revive, as it were, within the very bosom 
of religion, allaying the anguish o{ recollections which could 
not be suppressed. The broken details which Nicholas 
gave of his father's death, and the unexplained fact of Er- 
nest's loss of the money on his tour, were causes enough for 
the prior's precautions, and for the channel into which he 
80 successfully strove to turn his awakening thoughts. Had 
the prior known aU the combining feelings that drove Ernest 

. out into the storm, and sent bim wandering on, till the rain 
and wind and fatigue had beaten him down, to be saved 
almost by miracle from death, he had probably abandoned 
in despair the task of ministering |o a mind so agonized. 

It would be fruitless to trace Uie labyrinth of conjecture, 
as to Emeat^s sensations while he lay in his solitude. His 
mind must have reproduced, in its own despite, many of the 
scenes and much of the feelings he had so lately acted, in 
and suffered. Butvreligious devotion bad regained its wonted 
ascendancy, and happily for him, its impression was now 
even stronger than before. The past events, mighty as had 

^ been their effect, were totally overpowed by the inspiration 



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TKB BEOOIKO BROTBISB. ' ttl 

l^hich M^med riewly poured into him ; and he felt ad though 
he had wandered in a gloomy dream, and awoke in the suij- 
shine of Hea^ren. His only anxiety was to throw off the 
load Which seerecy hid on his hearty to airow the elidrmities 
of which he was self-accused and self-convicted ; and to 
bnry ifi the dreariest seclusion and sererest penitence the 
very memory of the world, which he now finally and for 
ever renounced. Such was the progress of recovered 
thought in the mind of the young Trappist ; and whilVit 
powerfully worked its way in heart and brain, the prior, 
Nicholas, and Joos conversed together on Ernest's past and 
present state ; Petrus Nana attending on their conference, 
in right of the share he had had in resCinng him from death. 
The prior anxiously entered into particulars relating: to 
the object of his solicitude. His inquiries were not confined 
to the mere circumstances of his immediate situation and its 
causes, but went back into the details of his f»arly life, ere 
he had joined the fraternity. On these points Joos Cooper* 
slaugen felt himself quite competent to speak; and he en- 
tered into a fluent, and somewhat boisterous detail, which 
need not be repeated here. It wound up by a sort of spoken 
appendix, to the following effect : 

^' So you see he was always inclined to laziness, and su- 
perstition, and religion ; and no wonder (saving respect) 
that he took up with you and your like. He never worked at 
the farm, like Nicholas, there ; he employed himself doing 
nothing ; he never took the plough in his hand, nor attended 
markets, nor studied any thing worth while^^nothi ng but 
books, and trash of that kind. God knows what put matri- 
mony into his head ; but when he asked me for Melanie, I 
told him he was fitter for a priest or an opera singer, than a 
husband to a pretty girl— and that, perhaps, gave him the 
notion df joining company with you. And here you have 
hfm now again, and I hope you '11 keep him fast. For my- 
self, i am now more than ever rejoiced at the part I took. 
I see what good luck my daughter had, in getting such ta 
fine rough-handed fellow as Nicholas, instead of a whimper- 
ing booby like Ernest, who is fit for nothing better than 
fasting and praying, starving and begging, wasting himself, 
and worrying Heaven. So Aow, Mr. Prior, I wish you good 
bye ; the morning is Wearing fast ; and Nicholas and T must 
ride some leagues, to bury the poor flither of this good^for* 
nothing SOD ; and I wish you joy of your bargain V* 

T 2 



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232 

DmlB^ this connDunicatioD of facts and opinioDS, to 
which the prior Uatened with cahn attention, Petrus Maria 
had beckoned Nicholas aside. He had learned enough, 
from the broken stateqients of the latter, to take it for granted 
that Ernest had somehow made away with the money he had 
gathered ; and having a tender conscience for the picca- 
dillos of others, whatever might be its severity in relation to 
his own, he whispered into Nicholas's ear, 

^^ Now take a friend's advice, Mr. Nicho]|ts, and when 
you speak to the prior again, say nothing as to how the 
money disappeared. What so likely as that poor Brother 
Flacidus was robbed ? Didn* 1 1 think so when I found him 
in the puddle, with his empty purse in his pocket h Where '6 
the use in denying that ? Will it bring the guelders back ? 
Then leave things just as they are — a silent tongue is a safe 
witness— **if it explains no fact, it tells no lie. Leave the 
money matter all to me. I will state the fact of the empty 
purse and the torn pocket, and when Brother Piacidus is 
able to see me, I will give him a lesson as to what he should 
say, and what he should not say — a point of much more 
importance, and equally great in the ways of the world as 
in a Trappist's cell. So, hush ! not a word about florins or 
stuyvers ; you know, I suppose, that the worst crime agunst 
the church is making away with its money. It is the most 
heinous of heinous sins, if it be found out ; and should ex- 
communication follow the discovery, there is no chance for 
the culprit here or hereafter, for Heaven must ratify the sen- 
tence that sends him to hell. So, St. Peter take care of 
you, and bless you, and keep your tongue from wagging !" 

Nicholas felt no disposition to injure his brother in this 
world or the next, and he observed the hint thus given him. 
Agreeing with the prior, that Ernest should be left for some 
time free from all intrusion, he and Joos took leave of the 
monastery and its inmates ; and, first returning home, they 
provided themselves with horses, and proceeded on their 
painful duty to Huysenclaus' farm. 

As soon as they had left the monastery, Petrus Maria pro- 
ceeded to communicate the object of his mission to the prior. 
It consisted merely of some directions for domestic disci- 
pline, which striot secrecy and their probable insignificance 
put beyond my reach, and left me no inclination to strain aAer. 
Petrus Maria then taking plenary advantage of his dispensa- 
tion, paid a visit to the cck>k, and conscientiously overhauled 



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THS BEGOZKO BBOTSSB. 

the priyate stores of the larder. I cannot say eztctlj what 
he found theriB ; but it may be safely inferred there was not^ 
much of such materials as he rejoiced ui, for he was soon 
seen trudging down the hill, and entering Madame Vermoot's 
hospitable door. A thick vapour curling up from the chim- 
ney gave an almost immediate announcement of his visit and 
its object, but we may safely suppose that, begin as it might, 
it did not end in smoke. 

The prior, in the mean time, visited Ernest in his cell. 
Their conference was a long one, but its particulars did not 
transpire. It may easily be believed that the confession was 
both ample and honest ; and that Petrus Maria's cunning, 
and the caution of Nicholas, were rendered nugatory by the 
conscientious revelations of the penitent. The self-inflicted 
penance was a vow of perpetual silence which no circum- 
stance was ever to absolve ; an attendance for life on every 
religious rite observed in the monastery ; a total seclusion 
from all lay intercourse, without exception ; an abstinence 
from all but one scanty meal a day until nature might sink 
under the privation ; and the public avowal of his story, as a 
warning to all who might follow him in the perilous tempta- 
tions of a " Begging Brother's'* career. 

These hard conditions, towards a reconciliation with him- 
self, and Heaven's forgiveness, had been for a long time 
rigidly observed. The victim to a too fervid imagination 
and over-excited mind, bore up, as best he could, against a 
punishment, outrageously violent in comparison with his 
errors, and murderous in its efiect upon his health. The 
brilliant but consuming meteor of fanaticism shone on his 
cheerless doom ; but it was to him the light of Heaven itself. 
In this delusion he was happy — happy in despite of all he 
had sufiered in reality, and in remembrance again endured. 
For whatever he had known of pleasure was not revived in 
recollection ; but long-buried feelings of misery seemed to 
start from their tombs, and haunted him still. These formed 
the earthly purgatory from which he was at length set free, 
by the force of that exalted and exaggerated fervour, which 
raises the fanatic to a sphere of transport, that exists for him 
alone. 

Thus the young Trappist finisjied his wordly course ; for 
the frail link which held him still to life could scarcely be 
called a tenure of the world. Thus did I see him, and mark 
him, as I have faintly sketched in the Introduction to his story. 



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224 BSLOUN SKtTOfiSa. 

Cotisumptiofi bad too plainly settled in his frame, which was 
al once aapported and woin down by the ibtens^ness of his 
devotion. 

A long winter has pamed iikice then ! I know not what 
results it may have broaght, or What resistance to its wasting 
damps and colds was ofiered by Ernest's broken constitution. 
In all human probability he has ere now sunk into that 
remote and simple grave, which be had claimed from bis 
superior's indulgence, on the little eminence that overhung 
the vale of Scarpenberg. An4« even now, I can fancy the 
gentle form of Melanie gazing Upwards on the spot, and 
putting forth prayers for the repose of his soul, whom she 
had loved so well without sin, and mourned so deeply with- 
out repentance. 



Note* — It was in the year 1650, that one Mannaert, a 
^Idier in the regiment of Colonel Vaubo^uet, at the time in 
garrison at Furnes, urged by want of money and the bad 
advice of a comrade called Mathurin Le Jeusne, committed 
an act of sacrilege, that inspired a horror almost as great as 
did the famous outrage of Jonathas, the Jew of Louvain, 
three hundred years before, which gave rise to the mvrUcle 
of the bleeding Host, and the jubilee by which it is so splen- 
didly celebrated at Brussels every fifty years. 

The crime in question consisted in the soldier Mannaert 
having approached the altar, in the feigned humility of a 
communicant, and having immediately removed the conse- 
crated wafer from his month, wrapped it in a pocket-hand- 
kerchief, and carried it safely and secretly to his quarters. 
There, in conjunction 'with the instigator of his sacrilege, he 
proceeded to burn the sacred Host, hdping, by some prepa- 
ration of the ashes, of which we have not the recipe on 
record, he might succeed in rendering hie person invulne- 
rable, and gain an unlimited command' over the wealth of the 
world, ^t scarcely had he consummated the unholy deed, 
than, conscience-struck, and nearly frantic with remorse, the 
infatuated man rushed from the sdene of his impiety, fled, 
like a maniac, through the town, and at length, eathausted 
and worn out by fatigue and agitifctidn, he tvas arrested : 
wheik, perhaps unconscious of the self-destroying effect of his 



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THfi SBQQVXQ BSOTVES. 225 

avowal, he amply acknowledged bU crime. Mercy, the most 
god-like attribute of Power, slept deeply in those days ; nor 
was she awakened by the sounding voice of Bigotry to 
stretch her protecting arm over the doomed offender. On 
the Ash-Wednesday following the commission of his crime* 
(the interval being spent no doubt in the tortures of repent- 
ance and the que&iian) he was led to the varibus corners of 
the town, amidst the execrations of the people, strangled by 
the common executioner, and his body, with that of his asso- 
ciate in daring ignorance, (then construed wilful guilt,) 
burned in the market-place, and the anathematized ashes 
scattered to tbe winds. 

To appease the divine wrath, and give a warning lesson 
to posterity, the procession of the Passion was instituted; 
and, to the disgrace of human reason and the age we live in, 
it is not yet abolished. 



THB Bin>« 



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PpPUIiAR W0RK8» 

ForSflelqrtliQ 



PBLHAMs or, the ADVBNTURES OF A C^ENTtE- 
UAN. A Novel. In 2 roll. 12mo. [Q;r ^« A^uthor of •« The 
Disowned."] Setond Edition. 

(* If tte tMft bttUlaat wit, a aarrtaTt wten iBMrirt Mver flaffi, and wnM 
pi^tumof tkt nott riv«tinf ittlMlil^ caa aMka a woik papular, 'PtUnai' 
wiUbaMfiiairatelaoaMMtoaaUtateaaMlltenca. TIWK^Bia ait laid al 
Ow pnNDt day, aad ia iUttoaahto Itfc.**— Lmidra Xitararp OoMttt. 



<* The aaOKir, wiMafw bt !■. mar >wll]r prida htaMdf upon a 1 
fttt of apiMton irftaw .i ww o n a d bynegoeatflailwiof ittriiag wit aad i mu l a a » 
liQiiioiur,aBd rciaarkaMa for a po«h and atofaiioe of ftyla that wall bean oul 
the word ^MOiMoa affiled to iha title of tte Lwk."--X<iidM irMh% 

^*Tfae work of amaeier— we knownothlinaiiM, hot wbeever he maj 

!», we offer him our warroeRt admiration. With wit. with elamieal lore, 
with a lieen eye for penetrating passion In ail itn varletfae with genius, and 
taste, and good sense, he is one of the few who deserve rare praise In piopor- 
.ion to the variety of their appearance, la tua wsoba eamob or tbb 

WAVCaLKT NOVKLS, TBKRa tS MOT OBX TO BB OOMPAmBD TO PBLBAM.^ 

JV. r. CtoaWer 

" Seldom have we risen firom the iiennal of watf aoeeL roaiaiiee^ or memoir, 
with sufch vlvM emotions of gratined curloeliy and deUghc as tnm that of 
Pelbam. For masterly and graphic delineation of human eharaeter In all 
its phases, for picturesque grouping of individuals, 'as eoUeeted la soclehr. for 
engrossing Interest of incidisnt and thrilling exhibition of pemion, for dniftii 
deveiopement of plot, spirited and natural dialogue, and, finally, for philo- 
sophical acumen and^acdcal morality, thib rovbl iTAMDS umbivallbd in 
TBa PRBSBNT DAT. To pcrfut out Instanccs crfexceilenoe would be an endless 
task->they will force themselves on the observation of every unbiaased mind. 
Were we inclined to select passages as more partieuiarlyevineing the superior 
powers of the writer, we should quote half of the book." 

A*. F. JMfrrer 4* Zicdisv* ZAL OwtU. 

THE DISOWNED. Bf the Author of *«Pelham.*' A 
Novel. In 2 vole. 12mo. Second EdUioru 

" If P^ttaiR Justly raised for its author a vety high ctaare6ler» The DUomud 
will raise it far higher."— Z^oiuftm Ltterarfi Octette, 

" The great success of PKham, and the high reputathm it has acquired for 
its author, increased our curiosity to peruse iia succesaor. We have examined 
The Disowned, and find it tuUy equal in plot, character, and dhascripcion tu 
Pelham; and vastly more philosophic and reflecting. It is by for the most 
UJtcUectual fiction that we have seeii for a long tkne ; and hi H mu be found 
some of the finest maxinui. and from it may be drawn aouM of the iMst 
morals, for the guidance of (he human heart.**— ^JMen. 

*The Journals throughout this country and bi England have perbepi ' 
spoken more in praise of *■ Pelham* than of any other novel that has issued 
ftem the press in modem days— but all that has oeen said fan commendatieti 
of that work, and much more in our opinion, may be repeated of *The 
Disowned.* The author certainly .posaeasas, to a surprtstaig degroe, boldnaei, 
energy of genius, originality, and shrewdness of observation. ' FaiUam* aad . 
• The Disowned* are not inferior to Sir Walter Scott's novels.>*^G Timu. 



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Popular Wuis RuerUfy Printed, 

DOMESTIC DUTIES ; or, InstroctiooB to Tomig Maxried 
Ladies, on the Management of their iloasehoid, and the Regu- 
lation of their Conduct in the various relations and duties of 
Married Life. By Mrs. William Parkes.— Fifth American from 
the last Joondon Edition, with Notes and Alterations adapted 
to the American Reader. In 1 vol. 12mo. 

This work has received the sppfobation of the prfncipal literaiy publica- 
lloiui in Great Biitaln and in the United States.— The following are but a few 
of the expiMBioos in its fkvottr>— 

** The Tolume before os Is one of those practical worlcs, which are of real ' 
value and utiUty. It is a perftet««d« meemm for the yonng married lady, 
who may resort to it oo aU questions of household economy and eUquette.. . 
There is nothini; omitted with which it behooves a lady to be acquainted." 

M^m Monthly Magoxmt of London, ■ 

** We have not spaoe.to notice this work as H deserves. We cannot, how- 
ever, aitow the present opportunity to pass without strongly leeommending it 
10 the attenUon of fbe general reader, and to the housekeeper in parUcular. 
It would be a useful as weU as elegant holyday present— worth all tne annual 
gifts ever published."— .AT. JT. Mirror ^ Lakes' lot. UaietU. 

" We do not hesitate to say, that the most Aistidious and perfect mJiA. can 
And nothing in this book from which to dissent. It is an admirable condenEa* 
tion of ttie physical and intellectual duties of women ; and we wilimgly 
recommend it to all young ladies, mariled or not."— ^o^tMt Steteoman. 

** This work appears to he partlcutsriy calculated to arrest the attention of 
those young married ladies who wish to shine in the domestic circle." 

Com. Advertuer. 

*l Were tlie sentiments this book inculcates but understood aftd practised by 
•ur ladies, it would be of more real advantage to them than all the fine theoni«« 
tt> be deduced from the coUective wisdom of ail rhe novels since the days of 
eMvalry. Domestic Duties ! The book verifies the title— it is an explanatioD 
and enforcement of the duties incumbent m<ne especially on married ladies, as 
•o them, in a peculiar manner, are committed those arrangements, on which 
tlie domestic happiness of families must depend. It ccmtains many snlijects | 

necessary to be considered by all ladies who are ambitious of deserving the 
eulogy, more to be coveted by a married woman than the loudest psan from 
the trump of fame, "Her children arise up and call her blessed ; her husband 
also, and he praiseth her."— Z^adtss* Jlfa^aznM [Boston]. By Mrs. Bale, 

** We consider * Domestic Duties* a very valuable work, and well calculatep 
to promote the ol^eet fi>r wliich it was intended. It is one that we most cheer 
fully recommend to all young housewives, and to all who intend becoming so 
There are a very few whose education has been so complete as tluu tiicy wifi 
not find much both novel and useful in this vohune, written in a dear and 
agreeable style, and luminously arranged, bought to occupy a place in every 
lady's tibrary."— Tiks CWtic. 

■'Among the i 
Aire the public, t 

present work contains. , , ^ . 

■ent of domestic duties, of manners, tsmprt, accomplishments, deportment, 
ihe culinary art, visiting, dress, treatment of children, tcdc/cexe embodied 
la the most pleasing manner, and in the most familiar style." 

JVWp-Forft JBafnirer, 

** This book contains an ammml of nseftil and interesting Infonnattoo rarely 
IS be met with.. .It ought to be included in themarriaffe portion of every lady." 

CkromcU qfiho Tmu. 



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