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´╗┐Title: Lavengro - The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 1 (of 2)
Author: Borrow, George Henry, 1803-1881
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lavengro - The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest, Vol. 1 (of 2)" ***

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Transcribed from the 1901 Methuen & Co. edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



LAVENGRO
The Scholar--The Gypsy--The Priest


_By_
GEORGE BORROW

_WITH NOTES AND AN INTRODUCTION_
BY F. HINDES GROOME

VOLUME I

_WITH A PORTRAIT FROM A PAINTING_
BY H. W. PHILLIPS

LONDON
METHUEN & CO.
36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.
MDCCCCI

{Portrait of George Borrow, painted by H. W. Phillips, engraved by W.
Hall: p0.jpg}



INTRODUCTION


There have been many Romany Ryes, or "Gypsy Gentlemen," as Gypsies
designate those who, though not of their race, yet have loved that race,
and have mastered the Romany tongue.  The first is one of the
oddest--Andrew Boorde (_c._ 1490-1549).  Carthusian, traveller,
physician, and, perhaps, the original Merry Andrew, he got into trouble
over certain delinquencies, and died a prisoner in the Fleet gaol.  In
1542 he was writing his _Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge_,
and had come to "the xxxviii. chapiter," which "treateth of Egypt, and of
theyr money and of theyr speche."  He started bravely:--

   "Egipt is a countrey ioyned to Jury,
   The countrey is plentyfull of wine, corne and hony.

   "There be many great wyldernes, in the which be many great wylde
   beastes.  In ye which wildernis liuid many holy fathers, as it
   apperith in vitas patrum.  The people--"

But here, I fancy, he suddenly broke off; what did he know of the
Egyptian people?  Greece was the nearest he had ever been to Egypt.
Going, however, for a stroll through his native county of Sussex, he
presently lights on a band of "right Egyptians," belike in front of an
alehouse.  Egyptians! the very thing!  Like any newspaper correspondent
of to-day, he must straightway have whipped out his notebook, and jotted
down the rest of his chapter:--

   "The people of the country be swarte, and doth go disgisid in theyr
   apparel, contrary to other nacions.  They be lyght fyngerd and vse
   pyking, they have litle maner and euyl loggyng, and yet they be
   pleasant daunsers.  Ther be few or none of the Egypcions yt doth dwel
   in Egipt, for Egipt is repleted now with infydel alyons.  Ther mony is
   brasse and golde.  Yf there be any man yt wyl learne parte of theyr
   speche, Englyshe and Egipt speche foloweth."

And there duly follows a neat little Ollendorfian dialogue about meat and
bread, wine and beer, and such-like, in which Dr. Furnivall, Boorde's
editor, left it for Professor Zupitza to recognise excellent Romany.  "Sit
you downe and dryncke," "Drinke, drynke for God's sake," are two of the
phrases.  The interview was probably prolonged, perhaps renewed; Andrew
Boorde would find good fellowship with Gypsies.

No. 2 is _the_ Scholar-Gypsy, of whom, alas! we know all too little,
neither name nor dates, but only just what Joseph Glanvill tells in his
_Vanity of Dogmatizing_ (1661):--

   "There was very lately a Lad in the _University_ of _Oxford_, who
   being of very pregnant and ready parts, and yet wanting the
   encouragement of preferment, was by his poverty forc'd to leave his
   studies there, and to cast himself upon the wide world for a
   livelyhood.  Now, his necessities growing dayly on him and wanting the
   help of friends to relieve him, he was at last forced to joyn himself
   to a company of _Vagabond Gypsies_, whom occasionly he met with, and
   to follow their Trade for a maintenance.  Among these extravagant
   people, by the insinuating subtilty of his carriage, he quickly got so
   much of their love and esteem, as that they discover'd to him their
   _Mystery_: in the practice of which, by the pregnancy of his wit and
   parts, he soon grew so good and proficient as to be able to out-do his
   Instructours.  After he had been a pretty while well exercis'd in the
   Trade, there chanc'd to ride by a couple of _Scholars_ who had
   formerly bin of his acquaintance.  The _Scholars_ had quickly spyed
   out their old friend among the _Gypsies_, and their amazement to see
   him among such society had well-nigh discover'd him: but by a sign he
   prevented their owning him before that Crew: and taking one of them
   aside privately, desired him with his friend to go to an _Inn_, not
   far distant thence, promising there to come to them.  They accordingly
   went thither, and he follows: after their first salutations, his
   friends enquire how he came to lead so odd a life as that was, and to
   joyn himself with such a _cheating beggerly_ company.  The _Scholar-
   Gypsy_ having given them an account of the necessity which drove him
   to that kind of life, told them that the people he went with were not
   such _Impostouirs_ as they were taken for, but that they had a
   _traditional_ kind of _learning_ among them, and could do wonders by
   the power of _Imagination_, and that himself had learnt much of their
   Art, and improved it further then themselves could.  And to evince the
   truth of what he told them, he said, he'd remove into another room,
   leaving them to discourse together, and upon his return tell them the
   sum of what they had talked of: which accordingly he perform'd, giving
   them a full account of what had passed between them in his absence.
   The _Scholars_ being amaz'd at so unexpected a discovery, earnestly
   desir'd him to unriddle the _mystery_.  In which he gave them
   satisfaction, by telling them, that what he did was by the power of
   _Imagination_, his Phancy _binding_ theirs, and that himself had
   dictated to them the discourse they held together, while he was from
   them: That there were warrantable wayes of heightening the
   _Imagination_ to that pitch as to bind anothers, and that when he had
   compass'd the whole _secret_, some parts of which he said he was yet
   ignorant of, he intended to leave their company, and give the world an
   account of what he had learned."

The third of our Romany Ryes is a Scottish peer and a Jacobite, George
Seton, fifth Earl of Wintoun (1679-1749).  He as a young man quarrelled
with his father, and, taking up with a band of Gypsies who frequented the
Seton property, set off with them on their wanderings over Scotland,
England, and the Continent.  He seems to have been away from June 1700
until November 1707: and when, by his father's death in 1704, he
succeeded to the earldom, "no man knew where to find him, till accident
led to the discovery."  The Rev. Robert Patten, the Judas and the
historian of the '15, records how, on the rebels' march from Kelso to
Preston, Lord Wintoun would tell "many pleasant Stories of his Travels
and his living unknown and obscurely with a Blacksmith in France, whom he
served some years as a Bellows-blower and Under-Servant.  He was," Patten
adds, "very curious in working in several Handicraft Matters, and had
made good Proficiency in them, witness the nice way he had found to cut
asunder one of the Iron Bars in his Window in the Tower, by some small
Instrument, scarce perceivable."  It was on 4th August 1716 that Lord
Wintoun made his escape, but, like everything else in his life, it is
wrapped in obscurity.  For, according to the Diary of Mary Countess
Cowper for 19th March 1716, the last day of his trial, "My Lord _Winton_
had sawed an iron Bar with the Spring of his Watch very near in two, in
order to make his Escape; but it was found out."  So, possibly, there is
something in the story told by the author of _Rab and his Friends_, that
he was carried out of the Tower in a hamper, supposed to be full of
family charters, by John Gunn, "the head of a band of roving gipsies."
Anyhow, ever afterwards he lived at Rome, where in 1737 he was great
master of the Lodge of Freemasonry.  He died unmarried, though Lady
Cowper alleges "he has eight Wives."

Charles Bosvile, the scion of a good old Yorkshire house, is another who
must have known much about the Gypsies.  He was buried at Rossington,
near Doncaster, on 30th January 1709; and more than a hundred years later
the Gypsies would visit the churchyard, and pour out a flagon of ale on
his grave by the chancel door.  Joseph Hunter, the historian of South
Yorkshire, tells how he had

   "established a species of sovereignty among that singular people, the
   Gypsies, who before the enclosures frequented the moors round
   Rossington.  His word with them was law, and his authority so great
   that he perfectly restrained the pilfering propensities for which the
   tribe is censured, and gained the entire good-will for himself and his
   subjects of the farmers and people around.  He was a gentleman with an
   estate of about 200_l._ a year; and his contemporary, Abraham de la
   Pryme of Hatfield, describes him as 'a mad spark, mighty fine and
   brisk, keeping company with a great many gentlemen, knights, and
   esquires, yet running about the country.'"

Bamfylde Moore Carew (1693-? 1770), the son of the rector of Bickleigh,
near Tiverton, is semi-mythical, though we know that a man of that name
did really marry at Stoke Damerel, near Plymouth, one Mary Gray on 29th
December 1733.  Gray is an old Gypsy surname, but the Gypsies of his
_Life and Adventures_ are just as unreal as those of any melodrama or
penny dreadful.

The poet-physician, John Armstrong (_c._ 1709-78), was at college at
Edinburgh with Mr. Lawrie, who in 1767 was minister of Hawick; and "one
year, during the vacation, they joined a band of gipsies, who in those
days much infested the Borders."  So says "Jupiter" Carlyle in his
Autobiography; and he adds that "this expedition, which really took
place, as Armstrong informed me in London, furnished Lawrie with a fine
field for fiction and rhodomontade, so closely united to the groundwork,
which might be true, that it was impossible to discompound them."

The fourth Lord Coleraine, better known as Colonel George Hanger (_c._
1751-1824), was a wild, harum-scarum Irishman.  According to the Hon.
Grantley Berkeley's _My Life and Recollections_, "in one of his early
rambles he joined a gang of gipsies, fell in love with one of their dark-
eyed beauties, and married her according to the rites of the tribe.  He
had entered the footguards in 1771, and used to introduce his brother-
officers to his dusky bride, boasting his confidence in her fidelity.  His
married life went on pleasantly for about a fortnight, at the end of
which his confidence and his bliss were destroyed together, on
ascertaining to his intense disgust that his gipsy inamorata had eloped
with a bandy-legged tinker."

Very unlike the Colonel was the mythologist, Jacob Bryant (1715-1804).  We
know the little man, with his thirteen spaniels, through Madame
D'Arblay's Diaries; she often visited Cypenham, his house near Windsor.
It must have been in his garden here that he collected his materials for
the paper "On the Zingara or Gypsey Language," which he read to the Royal
Society in 1785.  For "_covascorook_, laurel," is intelligible only by
supposing him to have pointed to a laurel, and asked, "What is this?" and
by the Gypsy's answering in words that mean "This is a tree."  There are
a number of similar slips in the vocabulary, as _sauvee_, an eagle
(rightly, a needle), _porcherie_, brass (a halfpenny, a copper),
_plastomingree_, couch (coach), and _baurobevalacochenos_, storm.  This
last word posed the etymological skill of even Prof. Pott in his great
work on _Die Zigeuner_, but he hazards the conjecture that _cochenos_ may
be akin to the Greek [Greek text]; really the whole may be dismembered
into _bauro_, great, _baval_, wind, and the English "a-catching us."
Still, Bryant's is not at all a bad vocabulary.

Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton (1803-73), tells in a fragment of
autobiography how at twenty-one he met a pretty Gypsy girl at sunset, was
guided by her to the tents, and "spent with these swarthy wanderers five
or six very happy days."  He committed his money, fourteen pounds in all,
to the care of the Gypsy grandmother, the queen of the camp, who "was
faithful to the customs of the primitive gipsies, and would eat nothing
in the shape of animal food that had not died a natural death"!  Mimy,
the Gypsy girl, and he make passionate love, till at last she proposes
"marriage for five years by breaking a piece of burnt earth."  But the
stars and the Gypsy brethren forbid the banns, so they part eternally.  It
is all the silliest moonshine, the most impossible Gypsies: no, Bulwer
Lytton deserves no place among the real Romany Ryes.

Of these a whole host remain.  Francis Irvine, a lieutenant in the Bengal
Native Infantry, on the outward-bound voyage (1805) to India on board the
_Preston_ East Indiaman, took down a vocabulary of one hundred and thirty
Romany words from John Lee, a Gypsy recruit for the Company's European
force.  No other case is known to me of a Gypsy revisiting the land of
his forefathers.  John Hoyland (1750-1831), a Yorkshire Quaker, in 1814
began to study "the very destitute and abject condition" of the Midland
Gypsies, and wrote _A Historical Survey of the Customs_, _Habits_, _and
Present State of the Gypsies_ (York, 1816).  He is said to "have fallen
in love with a black-eyed gipsy girl," but it does not appear that he
married her.  Which is a pity; a Gypsy Quakeress would be a charming
fancy.  That poor thing, John Clare, the Peasant-Poet (1793-1864), is
said to have "joined some gipsies for a time" before 1817; and Richard
Bright, M.D. (1789-1858), famous as the investigator of "Bright's
disease," must have known much of Gypsies both abroad and at home, to be
able to write his _Travels through Lower Hungary_ (1818).  James Crabb
(1774-1851), Wesleyan minister at Southampton, and Samuel Roberts (1763-
1848), Sheffield manufacturer, both wrote books on the Gypsies, but were
Gypsy philanthropists rather than Romany Ryes.  Still, Roberts had a very
fair knowledge of the language, and at seventy-seven "longed to be a
gypsy, and enter a house no more."  Colonel John Staples Harriot during
his "residence in North Hampshire in the years 1819-20 was led to pay
considerable attention to a race of vagrant men, roaming about the high-
roads and lanes in the vicinity of Whitchurch, Waltham, and Overton"; in
December 1829 he read before the Royal Asiatic Society an excellent
Romany vocabulary of over four hundred words.

These were Borrow's chief predecessors, but the list could be largely
extended by making it include such names as those of Sir John Popham
(1531-1607), Lord Chief-Justice of England; Sir William Sinclair, Lord
Justice-General of Scotland from 1559; Mr. William Sympsoune, a great
Scottish doctor of medicine towards the close of the sixteenth century;
the Countess of Cassillis (1643), who did _not_ elope with Johnnie Faa;
Richard Head (_c._ 1637-86), the author of _The English Rogue_; William
Marsden (1754-1836), the Orientalist; John Wilson ("Christopher North,"
1785-1854); the Rev. John Baird, minister of Yetholm 1829-61; G. P. R.
James (1801-60), the novelist; and Sam Bough (1822-78), the landscape-
painter.  And after Borrow come many; the following are but a few of
them:--John Phillip, R.A., Tom Taylor, the Rev. T. W. Norwood, George S.
Phillips ("January Searle"), Charles Kingsley, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,
Mr. Charles Godfrey Leland ("Hans Breitmann"), Prof. Edward Henry Palmer,
Sir Richard Burton, Bath C. Smart, M.D., of Manchester, Mr. H. T.
Crofton, Major Whyte-Melville, Mr. Joseph Lucas, the Rev. R. N.
Sanderson, Dr. D. Fearon Ranking, Mr. David MacRitchie, Mr. G. R. Sims,
Mr. George Meredith, Mr. Theodore Watts-Dunton, "F. W. Carew, M.D," and
Mr. John Sampson.

Thus, leaving aside all the foreign Romany Ryes, from the great engraver
Jacques Callot to the present Polish novelist Sienkiewicz, we see that
Borrow was not quite so _sui generis_ as he claimed for himself, and as
others have often claimed for him.  The meagreness of his knowledge of
the Anglo-Gypsy dialect came out in his _Word-Book of the Romany_ (1874);
there must have been over a dozen Englishmen who have known it far better
than he.  For his Spanish-Gypsy vocabulary in _The Zincali_ he certainly
drew largely either on Richard Bright's _Travels through Lower Hungary_
or on Bright's Spanish authority, whatever that may have been.  His
knowledge of the strange history of the Gypsies was very elementary, of
their manners almost more so, and of their folk-lore practically _nil_.
And yet I would put George Borrow above every other writer on the
Gypsies.  In _Lavengro_ and, to a less degree, in its sequel, _The Romany
Rye_, he communicates a subtle insight into Gypsydom that is totally
wanting in the works--mainly philological--of Pott, Liebich, Paspati,
Miklosich, and their confreres.  Take his first meeting with Gypsies in
the green lane near Norman Cross.  There are flaws in it: he never would
have spoken of the Gypsy beldame as "my mother there," nor could he
possibly have guessed that the Romany _sap_ means "snake."  Yet compare
it with Maggie Tulliver's Gypsy adventure in _The Mill on the Floss_: how
vivid and vigorous the one, how tame and commonplace the other.  I am not
going to dilate on the beauties of _Lavengro_; they seem to me
sufficiently self-evident.  But there is one point about the book that
deserves some considering, its credibility as autobiography.  Professor
Knapp, Borrow's biographer, seems to place implicit confidence in
_Lavengro_; I find myself unable to agree with him.  Borrow may really
have written the story of _Joseph Sell_ for a collection of Christmas
tales; he may really have camped for some weeks as a tinker near
Willenhall; "Belle Berners" may really have had some prototype; and he
may really have bought the splendid horse of the Willenhall
tavern-keeper, and sold it afterwards at Horncastle.  But is the "Man in
Black," then, also a reality, and the "Reverend Mr. Platitude," who
thanks God that he has left all his Church of England prejudices in
Italy? in other words, did Tractarianism exist in 1825, eight years
before it was engendered by Keble's sermon?  David Haggart, again, the
Scottish Jack Sheppard,--Borrow describes him as "a lad of some fifteen
years," with "prodigious breadth of chest," and as defeating in single
combat a full-grown baker's apprentice.  Borrow well may have seen him,
for in July 1813 he really enlisted as a drummer in Borrow's father's
regiment, newly quartered in Edinburgh Castle; but he was not fifteen
then, only twelve years old.  And the Jew pedlar scene in the first
chapter, and the old apple-woman's son in the sixty-second!

One might take equal exception to Borrow's pretended visits to Iceland,
Moultan, and Kiachta (he was never within three thousand miles of
Kiachta); to his translation of St. Luke's Gospel into Basque, of which
he had only the merest smattering; and to his statement to a Cornish
clergyman in 1854 that his "horrors" were due to the effects of Mrs.
Herne's poison--he had suffered from them seven years before his Gypsy
wanderings.  But the strongest proof of his lax adherence to fact is
adduced by Professor Knapp himself.  In chapter xvi. of _Lavengro_,
Borrow relates how in 1818, at Tombland Fair, Norwich, he doffed his hat
to the great trotting stallion, Marshland Shales, "drew a deep _ah_! and
repeated the words of the old fellows around, 'Such a horse as this we
shall never see again; a pity that he is so old.'"  Yes, but as Professor
Knapp has found out, with his infinite painstaking, Marshland Shales
(1802-35) was not thus paraded until 12th April 1827.

_Lavengro_ {0a} was written in 1843-50, years after the events recorded
there.  Several of its petty slips are probably due to sheer
forgetfulness; _e.g._, as to the four "airts" of Edinburgh Castle, and
the "lofty" town-walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed.  And the rest, I imagine,
were due partly to love of posing, but much more to an honest desire to
produce an amusing and interesting book.  Borrow was not writing a set
autobiography, and it seems rather hard to imagine that he was, and then
to come down on this or that inaccuracy.  He did pose, though, all his
life long, and in every one of his writings.  He posed to poor old Esther
Faa Blythe, the "queen" of the Yetholm Tinklers, when, on entering her
little cottage, he "flung his arms up three times into the air, and in an
exceedingly disagreeable voice exclaimed, '_Sossi your nav_?' etc."
(_Word-Book_, p. 314).  He posed shamefully to Lieut.-Col. Elers Napier
(Knapp, i. 308-312); and he posed even to me, a mere lad, when I saw him
thrice in 1872-73, at Ascot, at his house in Hereford Square, and at the
Notting-hill Potteries (_Bookman_, Feb. 1893, pp. 147-48).  Yet, what
books he has given us, the very best of them _Lavengro_; its fight with
the Flaming Tinman is the finest fight in all the world's literature.
_Lavengro_, nevertheless, met with a very sorry reception.  It was not
genteel enough for the readers of Disraeli and Bulwer Lytton; and it is
only since Borrow's death, on 26th July 1881, that it has won its due
place of pre-eminence.  "No man's writing," says Mr. Watts-Dunton, "can
take you into the country as Borrow's can; it makes you feel the
sunshine, smell the flowers, hear the lark sing and the grasshopper
chirp."  They who would know Borrow thoroughly should pass from his own
works to Mr. Watts-Dunton's "Reminiscences of George Borrow" (_Athenaeum_,
Sept. 3, 10, 1881), to his "Notes upon George Borrow" (_Lavengro_, Ward,
Lock, Bowden, & Co., 1893), to Mr. William A. Dutt's _George Borrow in
East Anglia_ (1896), to Unpublished Letters of George Borrow, first
printed in the _Bible Society Reporter_ from July 1899 onwards, and above
all, to Professor William I. Knapp's _Life_, _Writings_, _and
Correspondence of George Borrow_ (2 vols. 1899).



AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION


In the following pages I have endeavoured to describe a dream, partly of
study, partly of adventure, in which will be found copious notices of
books, and many descriptions of life and manners, some in a very unusual
form.

The scenes of action lie in the British Islands;--pray be not displeased,
gentle reader, if perchance thou hast imagined that I was about to
conduct thee to distant lands, and didst promise thyself much instruction
and entertainment from what I might tell thee of them.  I do assure thee
that thou hast no reason to be displeased, inasmuch as there are no
countries in the world less known by the British than these selfsame
British Islands, or where more strange things are every day occurring,
whether in road or street, house or dingle.

The time embraces nearly the first quarter of the present century: this
information again may, perhaps, be anything but agreeable to thee; it is
a long time to revert to, but fret not thyself, many matters which at
present much occupy the public mind originated in some degree towards the
latter end of that period, and some of them will be treated of.

The principal actors in this dream, or drama, are, as you will have
gathered from the title-page, a Scholar, a Gypsy, and a Priest.  Should
you imagine that these three form one, permit me to assure you that you
are very much mistaken.  Should there be something of the Gypsy manifest
in the Scholar, there is certainly nothing of the Priest.  With respect
to the Gypsy--decidedly the most entertaining character of the
three--there is certainly nothing of the Scholar or the Priest in him;
and as for the Priest, though there may be something in him both of
scholarship and gypsyism, neither the Scholar nor the Gypsy would feel at
all flattered by being confounded with him.

Many characters which may be called subordinate will be found, and it is
probable that some of these characters will afford much more interest to
the reader than those styled the principal.  The favourites with the
writer are a brave old soldier and his helpmate, an ancient gentlewoman
who sold apples, and a strange kind of wandering man and his wife.

Amongst the many things attempted in this book is the encouragement of
charity, and free and genial manners, and the exposure of humbug, of
which there are various kinds, but of which the most perfidious, the most
debasing, and the most cruel, is the humbug of the Priest.

Yet let no one think that irreligion is advocated in this book.  With
respect to religious tenets I wish to observe that I am a member of the
Church of England, into whose communion I was baptized, and to which my
forefathers belonged.  Its being the religion in which I was baptized,
and of my forefathers, would be a strong inducement to me to cling to it;
for I do not happen to be one of those choice spirits "who turn from
their banner when the battle bears strongly against it, and go over to
the enemy," and who receive at first a hug and a "viva," and in the
sequel contempt and spittle in the face; but my chief reason for
belonging to it is, because, of all churches calling themselves Christian
ones, I believe there is none so good, so well founded upon Scripture, or
whose ministers are, upon the whole, so exemplary in their lives and
conversation, so well read in the book from which they preach, or so
versed in general learning, so useful in their immediate neighbourhoods,
or so unwilling to persecute people of other denominations for matters of
doctrine.

In the communion of this Church, and with the religious consolation of
its ministers, I wish and hope to live and die, and in its and their
defence will at all times be ready, if required, to speak, though humbly,
and to fight, though feebly, against enemies, whether carnal or
spiritual.

And is there no priestcraft in the Church of England?  There is
certainly, or rather there was, a modicum of priestcraft in the Church of
England, but I have generally found that those who are most vehement
against the Church of England are chiefly dissatisfied with her, because
there is only a modicum of that article in her--were she stuffed to the
very cupola with it, like a certain other Church, they would have much
less to say against the Church of England.

By the other Church, I mean Rome.  Its system was once prevalent in
England, and, during the period that it prevailed there, was more
prolific of debasement and crime than all other causes united.  The
people and the government at last becoming enlightened by means of the
Scripture, spurned it from the island with disgust and horror, the land
instantly after its disappearance becoming a fair field, in which arts,
sciences, and all the amiable virtues flourished, instead of being a
pestilent marsh where swine-like ignorance wallowed, and artful
hypocrites, like so many Wills-o'-the-wisp, played antic gambols about,
around, and above debased humanity.

But Popery still wished to play her old part, to regain her lost
dominion, to reconvert the smiling land into the pestilential morass,
where she could play again her old antics.  From the period of the
Reformation in England up to the present time, she has kept her
emissaries here, individuals contemptible in intellect, it is true, but
cat-like and gliding, who, at her bidding, have endeavoured as much as in
their power has lain, to damp and stifle every genial, honest, loyal, and
independent thought, and to reduce minds to such a state of dotage as
would enable their old popish mother to do what she pleased with them.

And in every country, however enlightened, there are always minds
inclined to grovelling superstition--minds fond of eating dust, and
swallowing clay--minds never at rest, save when prostrate before some
fellow in a surplice; and these popish emissaries found always some weak
enough to bow down before them, astounded by their dreadful denunciations
of eternal woe and damnation to any who should refuse to believe their
Romania; but they played a poor game--the law protected the servants of
Scripture, and the priest with his beads seldom ventured to approach any
but the remnant of those of the eikonolatry--representatives of
worm-eaten houses, their debased dependants, and a few poor crazy
creatures amongst the middle classes--he played a poor game, and the
labour was about to prove almost entirely in vain, when the English
legislature, in compassion or contempt, or, yet more probably, influenced
by that spirit of toleration and kindness which is so mixed up with
Protestantism, removed almost entirely the disabilities under which
Popery laboured, and enabled it to raise its head and to speak out almost
without fear.

And it did raise its head, and, though it spoke with some little fear at
first, soon discarded every relic of it; went about the land uttering its
damnation cry, gathering around it--and for doing so many thanks to
it--the favourers of priestcraft who lurked within the walls of the
Church of England; frightening with the loudness of its voice the weak,
the timid, and the ailing; perpetrating, whenever it had an opportunity,
that species of crime to which it has ever been most partial--_Deathbed
robbery_; for as it is cruel, so is it dastardly.  Yes, it went on
enlisting, plundering, and uttering its terrible threats till . . . till
it became, as it always does when left to itself, a fool, a very fool.
Its plunderings might have been overlooked, and so might its insolence,
had it been common insolence, but it . . ., and then the roar of
indignation which arose from outraged England against the viper, the
frozen viper which it had permitted to warm itself upon its bosom.

But thanks, Popery, you have done all that the friends of enlightenment
and religious liberty could wish; but if ever there were a set of foolish
ones to be found under Heaven, surely it is the priestly rabble who came
over from Rome to direct the grand movement--so long in its getting up.

But now again the damnation cry is withdrawn, there is a subdued meekness
in your demeanour, you are now once more harmless as a lamb.  Well, we
shall see how the trick--"the old trick"--will serve you.



CHAPTER I


Birth--My Father--Tamerlane--Ben Brain--French Protestants--East
Anglia--Sorrow and Troubles--True Peace--A Beautiful Child--Foreign
Grave--Mirrors--Alpine Country--Emblems--Slow of Speech--The Jew--Strange
Gestures.

On an evening of July, in the year 18--, at East D---, a beautiful little
town in a certain district of East Anglia, I first saw the light. {1a}

My father was a Cornish man, the youngest, as I have heard him say, of
seven brothers. {1b}  He sprang from a family of gentlemen, or, as some
people would call them, gentillatres, for they were not very wealthy;
they had a coat of arms, however, and lived on their own property at a
place called Tredinnock, {1c} which being interpreted means _the house on
the hill_, which house and the neighbouring acres had been from time
immemorial in their possession.  I mention these particulars that the
reader may see at once that I am not altogether of low and plebeian
origin; the present age is highly aristocratic, and I am convinced that
the public will read my pages with more zest from being told that I am a
gentillatre by birth with Cornish blood {2} in my veins, of a family who
lived on their own property at a place bearing a Celtic name signifying
the house on the hill, or more strictly the house on the _hillock_.

My father was what is generally termed a posthumous child--in other
words, the gentillatre who begot him never had the satisfaction of
invoking the blessing of the Father of All upon his head; having departed
this life some months before the birth of his youngest son.  The boy,
therefore, never knew a father's care; he was, however, well tended by
his mother, whose favourite he was; so much so, indeed, that his
brethren, the youngest of whom was considerably older than himself, were
rather jealous of him.  I never heard, however, that they treated him
with any marked unkindness; and it will be as well to observe here that I
am by no means well acquainted with his early history, of which, indeed,
as I am not writing his life, it is not necessary to say much.  Shortly
after his mother's death, which occurred when he was eighteen, he adopted
the profession of arms, which he followed during the remainder of his
life, and in which, had circumstances permitted, he would probably have
shone amongst the best.  By nature he was cool and collected, slow to
anger, though perfectly fearless, patient of control, of great strength;
and, to crown all, a proper man with his hands.

With far inferior qualifications many a man has become a field-marshal or
general; similar ones made Tamerlane, who was not a gentillatre, but the
son of a blacksmith, emperor of one-third of the world; but the race is
not always for the swift, nor the battle for the strong, indeed I ought
rather to say very seldom; certain it is, that my father, with all his
high military qualifications, never became emperor, field-marshal, or
even general: indeed, he had never an opportunity of distinguishing
himself save in one battle, and that took place neither in Flanders,
Egypt, nor on the banks of the Indus or Oxus, but in Hyde Park.

Smile not, gentle reader, many a battle has been fought in Hyde Park, in
which as much skill, science, and bravery have been displayed as ever
achieved a victory in Flanders or by the Indus.  In such a combat as that
to which I allude, I opine that even Wellington or Napoleon would have
been heartily glad to cry for quarter ere the lapse of five minutes, and
even the Blacksmith Tartar would, perhaps, have shrunk from the opponent
with whom, after having had a dispute with him, my father engaged in
single combat for one hour, at the end of which time the champions shook
hands and retired, each having experienced quite enough of the other's
prowess.  The name of my father's antagonist was Brain.

What! still a smile? did you never hear that name before?  I cannot help
it!  Honour to Brain, who four months after the event which I have now
narrated was champion of England, having conquered the heroic Johnson.
Honour to Brain, who, at the end of other four months, worn out by the
dreadful blows which he had received in his manly combats, expired in the
arms of my father, who read the Bible to him in his latter moments--Big
Ben Brain.

You no longer smile, even _you_ have heard of Big Ben.

I have already hinted that my father never rose to any very exalted rank
in his profession, notwithstanding his prowess and other qualifications.
After serving for many years in the line, he at last entered as captain
in the militia regiment of the Earl of ---, {4a} at that period just
raised, and to which he was sent by the Duke of York to instruct the
young levies in military manoeuvres and discipline; and in this mission I
believe he perfectly succeeded, competent judges having assured me that
the regiment in question soon came by his means to be considered as one
of the most brilliant in the service, and inferior to no regiment of the
line in appearance or discipline.

As the headquarters of this corps were at D---, {4b} the duties of my
father not unfrequently carried him to that place, and it was on one of
these occasions that he became acquainted with a young person of the
neighbourhood, for whom he formed an attachment, which was returned; and
this young person was my mother. {4c}

She was descended from a family of French Protestants, natives of Caen,
who were obliged to leave their native country when old Louis, at the
instigation of the Pope, thought fit to revoke the Edict of Nantes: their
name was Petrement, and I have reason for believing that they were people
of some consideration; that they were noble hearts, and good Christians,
they gave sufficient proof in scorning to bow the knee to the tyranny of
Rome.  So they left beautiful Normandy for their faith's sake, and with a
few louis d'ors in their purse, a Bible in the vulgar tongue, and a
couple of old swords, which, if report be true, had done service in the
Huguenot wars, they crossed the sea to the isle of civil peace and
religious liberty, and established themselves in East Anglia.

And many other Huguenot families bent their steps thither, and devoted
themselves to agriculture or the mechanical arts; and in the venerable
old city, the capital of the province, in the northern shadow of the
Castle of De Burgh, the exiles built for themselves a church where they
praised God in the French tongue, and to which, at particular seasons of
the year, they were in the habit of flocking from country and from town
to sing--

"Thou hast provided for us a goodly earth; Thou waterest her furrows,
Thou sendest rain into the little valleys thereof, Thou makest it soft
with the drops of rain, and blessest the increase of it."

I have been told that in her younger days my mother was strikingly
handsome; this I can easily believe: I never knew her in her youth, for
though she was very young when she married my father (who was her senior
by many years), she had attained the middle age before I was born, no
children having been vouchsafed to my parents in the early stages of
their union.  Yet even at the present day, now that years threescore and
ten have passed over her head, attended with sorrow and troubles
manifold, poorly chequered with scanty joys, can I look on that
countenance and doubt that at one time beauty decked it as with a
glorious garment?  Hail to thee, my parent! as thou sittest there, in thy
widow's weeds, in the dusky parlour in the house overgrown with the
lustrous ivy of the sister isle, the solitary house at the end of the
retired court shaded by lofty poplars.  Hail to thee, dame of the oval
face, olive complexion, and Grecian forehead! by thy table seated with
the mighty volume of the good Bishop Hopkins spread out before thee;
there is peace in thy countenance, my mother; it is not worldly peace,
however, not the deceitful peace which lulls to bewitching slumbers, and
from which, let us pray, humbly pray, that every sinner may be roused in
time to implore mercy not in vain!  Thine is the peace of the righteous,
my mother, of those to whom no sin can be imputed, the score of whose
misdeeds has been long since washed away by the blood of atonement, which
imputeth righteousness to those who trust in it.  It was not always thus,
my mother; a time was, when the cares, pomps, and vanities of this world
agitated thee too much; but that time is gone by, another and a better
has succeeded; there is peace now on thy countenance, the true peace;
peace around thee, too, in thy solitary dwelling, sounds of peace, the
cheerful hum of the kettle and the purring of the immense angola, which
stares up at thee from its settle with its almost human eyes.

No more earthly cares and affections now, my mother!  Yes, one.  Why dost
thou suddenly raise thy dark and still brilliant eye from the volume with
a somewhat startled glance?  What noise is that in the distant street?
Merely the noise of a hoof; a sound common enough: it draws nearer,
nearer, and now it stops before thy gate.  Singular!  And now there is a
pause, a long pause.  Ha! thou hearest something--a footstep; a swift but
heavy footstep! thou risest, thou tremblest, there is a hand on the pin
of the outer door, there is some one in the vestibule, and now the door
of thy apartment opens, there is a reflection on the mirror behind thee,
a travelling hat, a grey head and sunburnt face.  My dearest Son!  My
darling Mother!

Yes, mother, thou didst recognise in the distant street the hoof-tramp of
the wanderer's horse.

I was not the only child of my parents; I had a brother some three years
older than myself. {7}  He was a beautiful child; one of those
occasionally seen in England, and in England alone; a rosy, angelic face,
blue eyes, and light chestnut hair; it was not exactly an Anglo-Saxon
countenance, in which, by the bye, there is generally a cast of
loutishness and stupidity; it partook, to a certain extent, of the Celtic
character, particularly in the fire and vivacity which illumined it; his
face was the mirror of his mind; perhaps no disposition more amiable was
ever found amongst the children of Adam, united, however, with no
inconsiderable portion of high and dauntless spirit.  So great was his
beauty in infancy, that people, especially those of the poorer classes,
would follow the nurse who carried him about in order to look at and
bless his lovely face.  At the age of three months an attempt was made to
snatch him from his mother's arms in the streets of London, at the moment
she was about to enter a coach; indeed, his appearance seemed to operate
so powerfully upon every person who beheld him, that my parents were
under continual apprehension of losing him; his beauty, however, was
perhaps surpassed by the quickness of his parts.  He mastered his letters
in a few hours, and in a day or two could decipher the names of people on
the doors of houses and over the shop-windows.

As he grew up, his personal appearance became less prepossessing, his
quickness and cleverness, however, rather increased; and I may say of
him, that with respect to everything which he took in hand he did it
better and more speedily than any other person.  Perhaps it will be asked
here, what became of him?  Alas! alas! his was an early and a foreign
grave.  As I have said before, the race is not always for the swift, nor
the battle for the strong.

And now, doubtless, after the above portrait of my brother, painted in
the very best style of Rubens, the reader will conceive himself justified
in expecting a full-length one of myself, as a child, for as to my
present appearance, I suppose he will be tolerably content with that
flitting glimpse in the mirror.  But he must excuse me; I have no
intention of drawing a portrait of myself in childhood; indeed it would
be difficult, for at that time I never looked into mirrors.  No attempts,
however, were ever made to steal me in my infancy, and I never heard that
my parents entertained the slightest apprehension of losing me by the
hands of kidnappers, though I remember perfectly well that people were in
the habit of standing still to look at me, ay, more than at my brother;
from which premises the reader may form any conclusion with respect to my
appearance which seemeth good unto him and reasonable.  Should he, being
a good-natured person, and always inclined to adopt the charitable side
in any doubtful point, be willing to suppose that I, too, was eminently
endowed by nature with personal graces, I tell him frankly that I have no
objection whatever to his entertaining that idea; moreover, that I
heartily thank him, and shall at all times be disposed, under similar
circumstances, to exercise the same species of charity towards himself.

With respect to my mind and its qualities I shall be more explicit; for,
were I to maintain much reserve on this point, many things which appear
in these memoirs would be highly mysterious to the reader, indeed
incomprehensible.  Perhaps no two individuals were ever more unlike in
mind and disposition than my brother and myself: as light is opposed to
darkness, so was that happy, brilliant, cheerful child to the sad and
melancholy being who sprang from the same stock as himself, and was
nurtured by the same milk.

Once, when travelling in an Alpine country, I arrived at a considerable
elevation; I saw in the distance, far below, a beautiful stream hastening
to the ocean, its rapid waters here sparkling in the sunshine, and there
tumbling merrily in cascades.  On its banks were vineyards and cheerful
villages; close to where I stood, in a granite basin, with steep and
precipitous sides, slumbered a deep, dark lagoon, shaded by black pines,
cypresses, and yews.  It was a wild, savage spot, strange and singular;
ravens hovered above the pines, filling the air with their uncouth notes,
pies chattered, and I heard the cry of an eagle from a neighbouring peak;
there lay the lake, the dark, solitary, and almost inaccessible lake;
gloomy shadows were upon it, which, strangely modified as gusts of wind
agitated the surface, occasionally assumed the shape of monsters.  So I
stood on the Alpine elevation, and looked now on the gay distant river,
and now at the dark granite-encircled lake close beside me in the lone
solitude, and I thought of my brother and myself.  I am no moraliser; but
the gay and rapid river, and the dark and silent lake, were, of a verity,
no bad emblems of us two.

So far from being quick and clever like my brother, and able to rival the
literary feat which I have recorded of him, many years elapsed before I
was able to understand the nature of letters, or to connect them.  A
lover of nooks and retired corners, I was as a child in the habit of
fleeing from society, and of sitting for hours together with my head on
my breast.  What I was thinking about, it would be difficult to say at
this distance of time; I remember perfectly well, however, being ever
conscious of a peculiar heaviness within me, and at times of a strange
sensation of fear, which occasionally amounted to horror, and for which I
could assign no real cause whatever.

By nature slow of speech, I took no pleasure in conversation, nor in
hearing the voices of my fellow-creatures.  When people addressed me, I
not unfrequently, especially if they were strangers, turned away my head
from them, and if they persisted in their notice burst into tears, which
singularity of behaviour by no means tended to dispose people in my
favour.  I was as much disliked as my brother was deservedly beloved and
admired.  My parents, it is true, were always kind to me; and my brother,
who was good-nature itself, was continually lavishing upon me every mark
of affection.

There was, however, one individual who, in the days of my childhood, was
disposed to form a favourable opinion of me.  One day, a Jew--I have
quite forgotten the circumstance, but I was long subsequently informed of
it--one day a travelling Jew knocked at the door of a farmhouse in which
we had taken apartments; I was near at hand, sitting in the bright
sunshine, drawing strange lines on the dust with my fingers, an ape and
dog were my companions; the Jew looked at me and asked me some questions,
to which, though I was quite able to speak, I returned no answer.  On the
door being opened, the Jew, after a few words, probably relating to
pedlary, demanded who the child was, sitting in the sun; the maid replied
that I was her mistress's youngest son, a child weak _here_, pointing to
her forehead.  The Jew looked at me again, and then said, "'Pon my
conscience, my dear, I believe that you must be troubled there yourself
to tell me any such thing.  It is not my habit to speak to children,
inasmuch as I hate them, because they often follow me and fling stones
after me; but I no sooner looked at that child than I was forced to speak
to it--his not answering me shows his sense, for it has never been the
custom of the wise to fling away their words in indifferent talk and
conversation; the child is a sweet child, and has all the look of one of
our people's children.  Fool, indeed! did I not see his eyes sparkle just
now when the monkey seized the dog by the ear?--they shone like my own
diamonds--does your good lady want any--real and fine?  Were it not for
what you tell me, I should say it was a prophet's child.  Fool, indeed!
he can write already, or I'll forfeit the box which I carry on my back,
and for which I should be loth to take two hundred pounds!"  He then
leaned forward to inspect the lines which I had traced.  All of a sudden
he started back, and grew white as a sheet; then, taking off his hat, he
made some strange gestures to me, cringing, chattering, and showing his
teeth, and shortly departed, muttering something about "holy letters,"
and talking to himself in a strange tongue.  The words of the Jew were in
due course of time reported to my mother, who treasured them in her
heart, and from that moment began to entertain brighter hopes of her
youngest born than she had ever before ventured to foster.



CHAPTER II


Barracks and Lodgings--A Camp--The Viper--A Delicate Child--Blackberry
Time--Meum and Tuum--Hythe--The Golgotha--Daneman's Skull--Superhuman
Stature--Stirring Times--The Sea-Board.

I have been a wanderer the greater part of my life; indeed I remember
only two periods, and these by no means lengthy, when I was, strictly
speaking, stationary.  I was a soldier's son, and as the means of my
father were by no means sufficient to support two establishments, his
family invariably attended him wherever he went, so that from my infancy
I was accustomed to travelling and wandering, and looked upon a monthly
change of scene and residence as a matter of course.  Sometimes we lived
in barracks, sometimes in lodgings, but generally in the former, always
eschewing the latter from motives of economy, save when the barracks were
inconvenient and uncomfortable; and they must have been highly so indeed,
to have discouraged us from entering them; for though we were gentry
(pray bear that in mind, gentle reader), gentry by birth, and
incontestably so by my father's bearing the commission of good old George
the Third, we were not _fine gentry_, but people who could put up with as
much as any genteel Scotch family who find it convenient to live on a
third floor in London, or on a sixth at Edinburgh or Glasgow.  It was not
a little that could discourage us: we once lived within the canvas walls
of a camp, at a place called Pett, in Sussex; and I believe it was at
this place that occurred the first circumstance, or adventure, call it
which you will, that I can remember in connection with myself: it was a
strange one, and I will relate it.

It happened that my brother and myself were playing one evening in a
sandy lane, in the neighbourhood of this Pett camp; our mother was at a
slight distance.  All of a sudden, a bright yellow, and, to my infantine
eye, beautiful and glorious, object made its appearance at the top of the
bank from between the thick quickset, and, gliding down, began to move
across the lane to the other side, like a line of golden light.  Uttering
a cry of pleasure, I sprang forward, and seized it nearly by the middle.
A strange sensation of numbing coldness seemed to pervade my whole arm,
which surprised me the more, as the object to the eye appeared so warm
and sunlike.  I did not drop it, however, but, holding it up, looked at
it intently, as its head dangled about a foot from my hand.  It made no
resistance; I felt not even the slightest struggle; but now my brother
began to scream and shriek like one possessed.  "O mother, mother!" said
he, "the viper!--my brother has a viper in his hand!"  He then, like one
frantic, made an effort to snatch the creature away from me.  The viper
now hissed amain, and raised its head, in which were eyes like hot coals,
menacing, not myself, but my brother.  I dropped my captive, for I saw my
mother running towards me; and the reptile, after standing for a moment
nearly erect, and still hissing furiously, made off, and disappeared.  The
whole scene is now before me, as vividly as if it occurred yesterday--the
gorgeous viper, my poor dear frantic brother, my agitated parent, and a
frightened hen clucking under the bushes--and yet I was not three years
old!

It is my firm belief that certain individuals possess an inherent power,
or fascination, over certain creatures, otherwise I should be unable to
account for many feats which I have witnessed, and, indeed, borne a share
in, connected with the taming of brutes and reptiles.  I have known a
savage and vicious mare, whose stall it was dangerous to approach, even
when bearing provender, welcome, nevertheless, with every appearance of
pleasure, an uncouth, wiry-headed man, with a frightfully seamed face,
and an iron hook supplying the place of his right hand, one whom the
animal had never seen before, playfully bite his hair, and cover his face
with gentle and endearing kisses; and I have already stated how a viper
would permit, without resentment, one child to take it up in his hand,
whilst it showed its dislike to the approach of another by the fiercest
hissings.  Philosophy can explain many strange things, but there are some
which are a far pitch above her, and this is one.

I should scarcely relate another circumstance which occurred about this
time but for a singular effect which it produced upon my constitution.  Up
to this period I had been rather a delicate child; whereas almost
immediately after the occurrence to which I allude I became both hale and
vigorous, to the great astonishment of my parents, who naturally enough
expected that it would produce quite a contrary effect.

It happened that my brother and myself were disporting ourselves in
certain fields near the good town of Canterbury.  A female servant had
attended us, in order to take care that we came to no mischief: she,
however, it seems, had matters of her own to attend to, and, allowing us
to go where we listed, remained in one corner of a field, in earnest
conversation with a red-coated dragoon.  Now it chanced to be blackberry
time, and the two children wandered under the hedges, peering anxiously
among them in quest of that trash so grateful to urchins of their degree.
We did not find much of it, however, and were soon separated in the
pursuit.  All at once I stood still, and could scarcely believe my eyes.
I had come to a spot where, almost covering the hedge, hung clusters of
what seemed fruit--deliciously-tempting fruit--something resembling
grapes of various colours, green, red, and purple.  Dear me, thought I,
how fortunate! yet have I a right to gather it? is it mine? for the
observance of the law of _meum_ and _tuum_ had early been impressed upon
my mind, and I entertained, even at that tender age, the utmost horror
for theft; so I stood staring at the variegated clusters, in doubt as to
what I should do.  I know not how I argued the matter in my mind; the
temptation, however, was at last too strong for me, so I stretched forth
my hand and ate.  I remember, perfectly well, that the taste of this
strange fruit was by no means so pleasant as the appearance; but the idea
of eating fruit was sufficient for a child, and, after all, the flavour
was much superior to that of sour apples, so I ate voraciously.  How long
I continued eating I scarcely know.  One thing is certain, that I never
left the field as I entered it, being carried home in the arms of the
dragoon in strong convulsions, in which I continued for several hours.
About midnight I awoke, as if from a troubled sleep, and beheld my
parents bending over my couch, whilst the regimental surgeon, with a
candle in his hand, stood nigh, the light feebly reflected on the
whitewashed walls of the barrack-room.

Another circumstance connected with my infancy, and I have done.  I need
offer no apology for relating it, as it subsequently exercised
considerable influence over my pursuits.  We were, if I remember right,
in the vicinity of a place called Hythe, in Kent.  One sweet evening, in
the latter part of summer, our mother took her two little boys by the
hand, for a wander about the fields.  In the course of our stroll, we
came to the village church; an old, grey-headed sexton stood in the
porch, who, perceiving that we were strangers, invited us to enter.  We
were presently in the interior, wandering about the aisles, looking on
the walls, and inspecting the monuments of the notable dead.  I can
scarcely state what we saw; how should I?  I was a child not yet four
years old, and yet I think I remember the evening sun streaming in
through a stained window upon the dingy mahogany pulpit, and flinging a
rich lustre upon the faded tints of an ancient banner.  And now once more
we were outside the building, where, against the wall, stood a low-eaved
pent-house, into which we looked.  It was half filled with substances of
some kind, which at first looked like large grey stones.  The greater
part were lying in layers; some, however, were seen in confused and
mouldering heaps, and two or three, which had perhaps rolled down from
the rest, lay separately on the floor.  "Skulls, madam," said the sexton;
"skulls of the old Danes!  Long ago they came pirating into these parts;
and then there chanced a mighty shipwreck, for God was angry with them,
and He sunk them; and their skulls, as they came ashore, were placed here
as a memorial.  There were many more when I was young, but now they are
fast disappearing.  Some of them must have belonged to strange fellows,
madam.  Only see that one; why, the two young gentry can scarcely lift
it!"  And, indeed, my brother and myself had entered the Golgotha, and
commenced handling these grim relics of mortality.  One enormous skull,
lying in a corner, had fixed our attention, and we had drawn it forth.
Spirit of eld, what a skull was yon!

I still seem to see it, the huge grim thing; many of the others were
large, strikingly so, and appeared fully to justify the old man's
conclusion, that their owners must have been strange fellows; but
compared with this mighty mass of bone they looked small and diminutive,
like those of pigmies; it must have belonged to a giant, one of those red-
haired warriors of whose strength and stature such wondrous tales are
told in the ancient chronicles of the north, and whose grave-hills, when
ransacked, occasionally reveal secrets which fill the minds of puny
moderns with astonishment and awe.  Reader, have you ever pored days and
nights over the pages of Snorro?--probably not, for he wrote in a
language which few of the present day understand, and few would be
tempted to read him tamed down by Latin dragomans.  A brave old book is
that of Snorro, containing the histories and adventures of old northern
kings and champions, who seemed to have been quite different men, if we
may judge from the feats which they performed, from those of these days.
One of the best of his histories is that which describes the life of
Harald Haardraade, who, after manifold adventures by land and sea, now a
pirate, now a mercenary of the Greek emperor, became king of Norway, and
eventually perished at the battle of Stamford Bridge, whilst engaged in a
gallant onslaught upon England.  Now, I have often thought that the old
Kemp, whose mouldering skull in the Golgotha of Hythe my brother and
myself could scarcely lift, must have resembled in one respect at least
this Harald, whom Snorro describes as a great and wise ruler and a
determined leader, dangerous in battle, of fair presence, and measuring
in height _just five ells_, {19} neither more nor less.

I never forgot the Daneman's skull; like the apparition of the viper in
the sandy lane, it dwelt in the mind of the boy, affording copious food
for the exercise of imagination.  From that moment with the name of Dane
were associated strange ideas of strength, daring, and superhuman
stature; and an undefinable curiosity for all that is connected with the
Danish race began to pervade me; and if, long after, when I became a
student, I devoted myself with peculiar zest to Danish lore and the
acquirement of the old Norse tongue and its dialects, I can only explain
the matter by the early impression received at Hythe from the tale of the
old sexton, beneath the pent-house, and the sight of the Danish skull.

And thus we went on straying from place to place, at Hythe to-day, and
perhaps within a week looking out from our hostel-window upon the streets
of old Winchester, our motions ever in accordance with the "route" of the
regiment, so habituated to change of scene that it had become almost
necessary to our existence.  Pleasant were these days of my early
boyhood; and a melancholy pleasure steals over me as I recall them.  Those
were stirring times of which I am speaking, and there was much passing
around me calculated to captivate the imagination.  The dreadful struggle
which so long convulsed Europe, and in which England bore so prominent a
part, was then at its hottest; we were at war, and determination and
enthusiasm shone in every face; man, woman, and child were eager to fight
the Frank, the hereditary, but, thank God, never dreaded enemy of the
Anglo-Saxon race.  "Love your country and beat the French, and then never
mind what happens," was the cry of entire England.  Oh, those were days
of power, gallant days, bustling days, worth the bravest days of chivalry
at least; tall battalions of native warriors were marching through the
land; there was the glitter of the bayonet and the gleam of the sabre;
the shrill squeak of the fife and loud rattling of the drum were heard in
the streets of country towns, and the loyal shouts of the inhabitants
greeted the soldiery on their arrival, or cheered them at their
departure.  And now let us leave the upland, and descend to the
sea-board; there is a sight for you upon the billows!  A dozen men-of-war
are gliding majestically out of port, their long buntings streaming from
the top-gallant masts, calling on the skulking Frenchman to come forth
from his bights and bays; and what looms upon us yonder from the fog-bank
in the east? a gallant frigate towing behind her the long low hull of a
crippled privateer, which but three short days ago had left Dieppe to
skim the sea, and whose crew of ferocious hearts are now cursing their
imprudence in an English hold.  Stirring times those, which I love to
recall, for they were days of gallantry and enthusiasm, and were moreover
the days of my boyhood.



CHAPTER III


Pretty D-----The Venerable Church--The Stricken Heart--Dormant
Energies--The Small Packet--Nerves--The Books--A Picture--Mountain-like
Billows--The Footprint--Spirit of De Foe--Reasoning Powers--Terrors of
God--Heads of the Dragons--High-Church Clerk--A Journey--The Drowned
Country.

And when I was between six and seven years of age we were once more at
D---, {22} the place of my birth, whither my father had been despatched
on the recruiting service.  I have already said that it was a beautiful
little town--at least it was at the time of which I am speaking; what it
is at present I know not, for thirty years and more have elapsed since I
last trod its streets.  It will scarcely have improved, for how could it
be better than it then was?  I love to think on thee, pretty quiet D---,
thou pattern of an English country town, with thy clean but narrow
streets branching out from thy modest market-place, with thine
old-fashioned houses, with here and there a roof of venerable thatch,
with thy one half-aristocratic mansion, where resided thy Lady
Bountiful--she, the generous and kind, who loved to visit the sick,
leaning on her gold-headed cane, whilst the sleek old footman walked at a
respectful distance behind.  Pretty quiet D---, with thy venerable
church, in which moulder the mortal remains of England's sweetest and
most pious bard.

Yes, pretty D---, I could always love thee, were it but for the sake of
him who sleeps beneath the marble slab in yonder quiet chancel.  It was
within thee that the long-oppressed bosom heaved its last sigh, and the
crushed and gentle spirit escaped from a world in which it had known
nought but sorrow.  Sorrow! do I say?  How faint a word to express the
misery of that bruised reed; misery so dark that a blind worm like myself
is occasionally tempted to exclaim, Better had the world never been
created than that one so kind, so harmless, and so mild, should have
undergone such intolerable woe!  But it is over now, for, as there is an
end of joy, so has affliction its termination.  Doubtless the All-wise
did not afflict him without a cause: who knows but within that unhappy
frame lurked vicious seeds which the sunbeams of joy and prosperity might
have called into life and vigour?  Perhaps the withering blasts of misery
nipped that which otherwise might have terminated in fruit noxious and
lamentable.  But peace to the unhappy one, he is gone to his rest; the
deathlike face is no longer occasionally seen timidly and mournfully
looking for a moment through the window-pane upon thy market-place, quiet
and pretty D---; the hind in thy neighbourhood no longer at evening-fall
views, and starts as he views, the dark lathy figure moving beneath the
hazels and alders of shadowy lanes, or by the side of murmuring trout
streams; and no longer at early dawn does the sexton of the old church
reverently doff his hat, as, supported by some kind friend, the death-
stricken creature totters along the church-path to that mouldering
edifice with the low roof, inclosing a spring of sanatory waters, built
and devoted to some saint--if the legend over the door be true, by the
daughter of an East Anglian king.

But to return to my own history.  I had now attained the age of six:
shall I state what intellectual progress I had been making up to this
period?  Alas! upon this point I have little to say calculated to afford
either pleasure or edification.  I had increased rapidly in size and in
strength: the growth of the mind, however, had by no means corresponded
with that of the body.  It is true, I had acquired my letters, and was by
this time able to read imperfectly; but this was all: and even this poor
triumph over absolute ignorance would never have been effected but for
the unremitting attention of my parents, who, sometimes by threats,
sometimes by entreaties, endeavoured to rouse the dormant energies of my
nature, and to bend my wishes to the acquisition of the rudiments of
knowledge; but in influencing the wish lay the difficulty.  Let but the
will of a human being be turned to any particular object, and it is ten
to one that sooner or later he achieves it.  At this time I may safely
say that I harboured neither wishes nor hopes; I had as yet seen no
object calculated to call them forth, and yet I took pleasure in many
things which perhaps unfortunately were all within my sphere of
enjoyment.  I loved to look upon the heavens, and to bask in the rays of
the sun, or to sit beneath hedgerows and listen to the chirping of the
birds, indulging the while in musing and meditation as far as my very
limited circle of ideas would permit; but, unlike my brother, who was at
this time at school, and whose rapid progress in every branch of
instruction astonished and delighted his preceptors, I took no pleasure
in books, whose use, indeed, I could scarcely comprehend, and bade fair
to be as arrant a dunce as ever brought the blush of shame into the
cheeks of anxious and affectionate parents.

But the time was now at hand when the ice which had hitherto bound the
mind of the child with its benumbing power was to be thawed, and a world
of sensations and ideas awakened to which it had hitherto been an entire
stranger.  One day a young lady, an intimate acquaintance of our family,
and godmother to my brother, drove up to the house in which we dwelt; she
staid some time conversing with my mother, and on rising to depart she
put down on the table a small packet, exclaiming, "I have brought a
little present for each of the boys: the one is a History of England,
which I intend for my godson when he returns from school, the other is
. . ."--and here she said something which escaped my ear, as I sat at some
distance, moping in a corner,--"I intend it for the youngster yonder,"
pointing to myself; she then departed, and, my mother going out shortly
after, I was left alone.

I remember for some time sitting motionless in my corner, with my eyes
bent upon the ground; at last I lifted my head and looked upon the packet
as it lay on the table.  All at once a strange sensation came over me,
such as I had never experienced before--a singular blending of curiosity,
awe, and pleasure, the remembrance of which, even at this distance of
time, produces a remarkable effect upon my nervous system.  What strange
things are the nerves--I mean those more secret and mysterious ones in
which I have some notion that the mind or soul, call it which you will,
has its habitation; how they occasionally tingle and vibrate before any
coming event closely connected with the future weal or woe of the human
being.  Such a feeling was now within me, certainly independent of what
the eye had seen or the ear had heard.  A book of some description had
been brought for me, a present by no means calculated to interest me;
what cared I for books?  I had already many into which I never looked but
from compulsion; friends, moreover, had presented me with similar things
before, which I had entirely disregarded, and what was there in this
particular book, whose very title I did not know, calculated to attract
me more than the rest? yet something within told me that my fate was
connected with the book which had been last brought; so, after looking on
the packet from my corner for a considerable time, I got up and went to
the table.

The packet was lying where it had been left--I took it up; had the
envelope, which consisted of whitish brown paper, been secured by a
string or a seal, I should not have opened it, as I should have
considered such an act almost in the light of a crime; the books,
however, had been merely folded up, and I therefore considered that there
could be no possible harm in inspecting them, more especially as I had
received no injunction to the contrary.  Perhaps there was something
unsound in this reasoning, something sophistical; but a child is
sometimes as ready as a grown-up person in finding excuses for doing that
which he is inclined to.  But whether the action was right or wrong, and
I am afraid it was not altogether right, I undid the packet: it contained
three books; two from their similarity seemed to be separate parts of one
and the same work; they were handsomely bound, and to them I first turned
my attention.  I opened them successively, and endeavoured to make out
their meaning; their contents, however, as far as I was able to
understand them, were by no means interesting: whoever pleases may read
these books for me, and keep them too, into the bargain, said I to
myself.

I now took up the third book: it did not resemble the others, being
longer and considerably thicker; the binding was of dingy calf-skin.  I
opened it, and as I did so another strange thrill of pleasure shot
through my frame.  The first object on which my eyes rested was a
picture; it was exceedingly well executed, at least the scene which it
represented made a vivid impression upon me, which would hardly have been
the case had the artist not been faithful to nature.  A wild scene it
was--a heavy sea and rocky shore, with mountains in the background, above
which the moon was peering.  Not far from the shore, upon the water, was
a boat with two figures in it, one of which stood at the bow, pointing
with what I knew to be a gun at a dreadful shape in the water; fire was
flashing from the muzzle of the gun, and the monster appeared to be
transfixed.  I almost thought I heard its cry.  I remained motionless,
gazing upon the picture, scarcely daring to draw my breath, lest the new
and wondrous world should vanish of which I had now obtained a glimpse.
"Who are those people, and what could have brought them into that strange
situation?" I asked of myself; and now the seed of curiosity, which had
so long lain dormant, began to expand, and I vowed to myself to become
speedily acquainted with the whole history of the people in the boat.
After looking on the picture till every mark and line in it were familiar
to me, I turned over various leaves till I came to another engraving; a
new source of wonder--a low sandy beach on which the furious sea was
breaking in mountain-like billows; cloud and rack deformed the firmament,
which wore a dull and leaden-like hue; gulls and other aquatic fowls were
toppling upon the blast, or skimming over the tops of the maddening
waves--"Mercy upon him! he must be drowned!" I exclaimed, as my eyes fell
upon a poor wretch who appeared to be striving to reach the shore; he was
upon his legs, but was evidently half smothered with the brine; high
above his head curled a horrible billow, as if to engulf him for ever.
"He must be drowned! he must be drowned!" I almost shrieked, and dropped
the book.  I soon snatched it up again, and now my eye lighted on a third
picture: again a shore, but what a sweet and lovely one, and how I wished
to be treading it!  There were beautiful shells lying on the smooth white
sand--some were empty like those I had occasionally seen on marble
mantelpieces, but out of others peered the heads and bodies of wondrous
crayfish; a wood of thick green trees skirted the beach and partly shaded
it from the rays of the sun, which shone hot above, while blue waves
slightly crested with foam were gently curling against it; there was a
human figure upon the beach, wild and uncouth, clad in the skins of
animals, with a huge cap on his head, a hatchet at his girdle, and in his
hand a gun; his feet and legs were bare; he stood in an attitude of
horror and surprise; his body was bent far back, and his eyes, which
seemed starting out of his head, were fixed upon a mark on the sand--a
large distinct mark--a human footprint. . . .

Reader, is it necessary to name the book which now stood open in my hand,
and whose very prints, feeble expounders of its wondrous lines, had
produced within me emotions strange and novel?  Scarcely--for it was a
book which has exerted over the minds of Englishmen an influence
certainly greater than any other of modern times--which has been in most
people's hands, and with the contents of which even those who cannot read
are to a certain extent acquainted--a book from which the most luxuriant
and fertile of our modern prose writers have drunk inspiration--a book,
moreover, to which, from the hardy deeds which it narrates, and the
spirit of strange and romantic enterprise which it tends to awaken,
England owes many of her astonishing discoveries both by sea and land,
and no inconsiderable part of her naval glory.

Hail to thee, spirit of De Foe!  What does not my own poor self owe to
thee?  England has better bards than either Greece or Rome, yet I could
spare them easier far than De Foe, "unabashed De Foe," as the hunchbacked
rhymer styled him.

The true chord had now been touched; a raging curiosity with respect to
the contents of the volume, whose engravings had fascinated my eye,
burned within me, and I never rested until I had fully satisfied it;
weeks succeeded weeks, months followed months, and the wondrous volume
was my only study and principal source of amusement.  For hours together
I would sit poring over a page till I had become acquainted with the
import of every line.  My progress, slow enough at first, became by
degrees more rapid, till at last, under "a shoulder of mutton sail," I
found myself cantering before a steady breeze over an ocean of
enchantment, so well pleased with my voyage that I cared not how long it
might be ere it reached its termination.

And it was in this manner that I first took to the paths of knowledge.

About this time I began to be somewhat impressed with religious feelings.
My parents were, to a certain extent, religious people; but, though they
had done their best to afford me instruction on religious points, I had
either paid no attention to what they endeavoured to communicate, or had
listened with an ear far too obtuse to derive any benefit.  But my mind
had now become awakened from the drowsy torpor in which it had lain so
long, and the reasoning powers which I possessed were no longer inactive.
Hitherto I had entertained no conception whatever of the nature and
properties of God, and with the most perfect indifference had heard the
Divine name proceeding from the mouths of people--frequently, alas! on
occasions when it ought not to be employed; but I now never heard it
without a tremor, for I now knew that God was an awful and inscrutable
being, the maker of all things; that we were His children, and that we,
by our sins, had justly offended Him; that we were in very great peril
from His anger, not so much in this life as in another and far stranger
state of being yet to come; that we had a Saviour withal to whom it was
necessary to look for help: upon this point, however, I was yet very much
in the dark, as, indeed, were most of those with whom I was connected.
The power and terrors of God were uppermost in my thoughts; they
fascinated though they astounded me.  Twice every Sunday I was regularly
taken to the church, where, from a corner of the large spacious pew,
lined with black leather, I would fix my eyes on the dignified
high-church rector, {31a} and the dignified high-church clerk, {31b} and
watch the movement of their lips, from which, as they read their
respective portions of the venerable liturgy, would roll many a
portentous word descriptive of the wondrous works of the Most High.

_Rector_.  "Thou didst divide the sea, through Thy power: Thou brakest
the heads of the dragons in the waters."

_Philoh_.  "Thou smotest the heads of Leviathan in pieces: and gavest him
to be meat for the people in the wilderness."

_Rector_.  "Thou broughtest out fountains, and waters out of the hard
rocks: Thou driedst up mighty waters."

_Philoh_.  "The day is Thine, and the night is Thine: Thou hast prepared
the light and the sun."

Peace to your memories, dignified rector, and yet more dignified
clerk!--by this time ye are probably gone to your long homes, and your
voices are no longer heard sounding down the aisles of the venerable
church--nay, doubtless, this has already long since been the fate of him
of the sonorous "Amen!"--the one of the two who, with all due respect to
the rector, principally engrossed my boyish admiration--he, at least, is
scarcely now among the living!  Living! why, I have heard say that he
blew a fife--for he was a musical as well as a Christian professor--a
bold fife, to cheer the Guards and the brave Marines as they marched with
measured step, obeying an insane command, up Bunker's height, whilst the
rifles of the sturdy Yankees were sending the leaden hail sharp and thick
amidst the red-coated ranks; for Philoh had not always been a man of
peace, nor an exhorter to turn the other cheek to the smiter, but had
even arrived at the dignity of a halberd in his country's service before
his six-foot form required rest, and the grey-haired veteran retired,
after a long peregrination, to his native town, to enjoy ease and
respectability on a pension of "eighteenpence a day"; and well did his
fellow-townsmen act when, to increase that ease and respectability, and
with a thoughtful regard for the dignity of the good Church service, they
made him clerk and precentor--the man of the tall form and of the audible
voice, which sounded loud and clear as his own Bunker fife.  Well, peace
to thee, thou fine old chap, despiser of dissenters, and hater of
papists, as became a dignified and high-church clerk; if thou art in thy
grave, the better for thee; thou wert fitted to adorn a bygone time, when
loyalty was in vogue, and smiling content lay like a sunbeam upon the
land, but thou wouldst be sadly out of place in these days of cold
philosophic latitudinarian doctrine, universal tolerism, and
half-concealed rebellion--rare times, no doubt, for papists and
dissenters, but which would assuredly have broken the heart of the loyal
soldier of George the Third, and the dignified high-church clerk of
pretty D---.

We passed many months at this place: nothing, however, occurred requiring
any particular notice, relating to myself, beyond what I have already
stated, and I am not writing the history of others.  At length {33} my
father was recalled to his regiment, which at that time was stationed at
a place called Norman Cross, in Lincolnshire, or rather Huntingdonshire,
at some distance from the old town of Peterborough.  For this place he
departed, leaving my mother and myself to follow in a few days.  Our
journey was a singular one.  On the second day we reached a marshy and
fenny country, which, owing to immense quantities of rain which had
lately fallen, was completely submerged.  At a large town we got on board
a kind of passage-boat, crowded with people; it had neither sails nor
oars, and those were not the days of steam-vessels; it was a
treck-schuyt, and was drawn by horses.

Young as I was, there was much connected with this journey which highly
surprised me, and which brought to my remembrance particular scenes
described in the book which I now generally carried in my bosom.  The
country was, as I have already said, submerged--entirely drowned--no land
was visible; the trees were growing bolt upright in the flood, whilst
farmhouses and cottages were standing insulated; the horses which drew us
were up to the knees in water, and, on coming to blind pools and "greedy
depths," were not unfrequently swimming, in which case the boys or
urchins who mounted them sometimes stood, sometimes knelt, upon the
saddle and pillions.  No accident, however, occurred either to the
quadrupeds or bipeds, who appeared respectively to be quite _au fait_ in
their business, and extricated themselves with the greatest ease from
places in which Pharaoh and all his hosts would have gone to the bottom.
Night-fall brought us to Peterborough, and from thence we were not slow
in reaching the place of our destination.



CHAPTER IV


Norman Cross--Wide Expanse--Vive l'Empereur--Unpruned Woods--Man with the
Bag--Froth and Conceit--I beg your Pardon--Growing Timid--About Three
o'clock--Taking One's Ease--Cheek on the Ground--King of the
Vipers--French King--Frenchmen and Water.

And a strange place it was, this Norman Cross, and, at the time of which
I am speaking, a sad cross to many a Norman, being what was then styled a
French prison, that is, a receptacle for captives made in the French war.
It consisted, if I remember right, of some five or six casernes, very
long, and immensely high; each standing isolated from the rest, upon a
spot of ground which might average ten acres, and which was fenced round
with lofty palisades, the whole being compassed about by a towering wall,
beneath which, at intervals, on both sides, sentinels were stationed,
whilst outside, upon the field, stood commodious wooden barracks, capable
of containing two regiments of infantry, intended to serve as guards upon
the captives.  Such was the station or prison at Norman Cross, where some
six thousand French and other foreigners, followers of the grand
Corsican, were now immured.

What a strange appearance had those mighty casernes, with their blank
blind walls, without windows or grating, and their slanting roofs, out of
which, through orifices where the tiles had been removed, would be
protruded dozens of grim heads, feasting their prison-sick eyes on the
wide expanse of country unfolded from that airy height.  Ah! there was
much misery in those casernes; and from those roofs, doubtless, many a
wistful look was turned in the direction of lovely France.  Much had the
poor inmates to endure, and much to complain of, to the disgrace of
England be it said--of England, in general so kind and bountiful.  Rations
of carrion meat, and bread from which I have seen the very hounds
occasionally turn away, were unworthy entertainment even for the most
ruffian enemy, when helpless and a captive; and such, alas! was the fare
in those casernes.  And then, those visits, or rather ruthless inroads,
called in the slang of the place "strawplait-hunts," when in pursuit of a
contraband article, which the prisoners, in order to procure themselves a
few of the necessaries and comforts of existence, were in the habit of
making, red-coated battalions were marched into the prisons, who, with
the bayonet's point, carried havoc and ruin into every poor convenience
which ingenious wretchedness had been endeavouring to raise around it;
and then the triumphant exit with the miserable booty; and, worst of all,
the accursed bonfire, on the barrack parade, of the plait contraband,
beneath the view of the glaring eyeballs from those lofty roofs, amidst
the hurrahs of the troops, frequently drowned in the curses poured down
from above like a tempest-shower, or in the terrific war-whoop of "_Vive
l'Empereur_!"

It was midsummer when we arrived at this place, and the weather, which
had for a long time been wet and gloomy, now became bright and glorious;
I was subjected to but little control, and passed my time pleasantly
enough, principally in wandering about the neighbouring country.  It was
flat and somewhat fenny, a district more of pasture than agriculture, and
not very thickly inhabited.  I soon became well acquainted with it.  At
the distance of two miles from the station was a large lake, styled in
the dialect of the country "a mere," {37} about whose borders tall reeds
were growing in abundance, this was a frequent haunt of mine; but my
favourite place of resort was a wild sequestered spot at a somewhat
greater distance.  Here, surrounded with woods and thick groves, was the
seat of some ancient family, deserted by the proprietor, and only
inhabited by a rustic servant or two.  A place more solitary and wild
could scarcely be imagined; the garden and walks were overgrown with
weeds and briars, and the unpruned woods were so tangled as to be almost
impervious.  About this domain I would wander till overtaken by fatigue,
and then I would sit down with my back against some beech, elm, or
stately alder tree, and, taking out my book, would pass hours in a state
of unmixed enjoyment, my eyes now fixed on the wondrous pages, now
glancing at the sylvan scene around; and sometimes I would drop the book
and listen to the voice of the rooks and wild pigeons, and not
unfrequently to the croaking of multitudes of frogs from the neighbouring
swamps and fens.

In going to and from this place I frequently passed a tall elderly
individual, dressed in rather a quaint fashion, with a skin cap on his
head and stout gaiters on his legs; on his shoulders hung a moderate
sized leathern sack; he seemed fond of loitering near sunny banks, and of
groping amidst furze and low scrubby bramble bushes, of which there were
plenty in the neighbourhood of Norman Cross.  Once I saw him standing in
the middle of a dusty road, looking intently at a large mark which seemed
to have been drawn across it, as if by a walking-stick.  "He must have
been a large one," the old man muttered half to himself, "or he would not
have left such a trail; I wonder if he is near; he seems to have moved
this way."  He then went behind some bushes which grew on the right side
of the road, and appeared to be in quest of something, moving behind the
bushes with his head downwards, and occasionally striking their roots
with his foot: at length he exclaimed, "Here he is!" and forthwith I saw
him dart amongst the bushes.  There was a kind of scuffling noise, the
rustling of branches, and the crackling of dry sticks.  "I have him!"
said the man at last; "I have got him!" and presently he made his
appearance about twenty yards down the road, holding a large viper in his
hand.  "What do you think of that, my boy?" said he, as I went up to
him--"what do you think of catching such a thing as that with the naked
hand?"  "What do I think?" said I.  "Why, that I could do as much
myself."  "You do," said the man, "do you?  Lord! how the young people in
these days are given to conceit; it did not use to be so in my time: when
I was a child, childer knew how to behave themselves; but the childer of
these days are full of conceit, full of froth, like the mouth of this
viper;" and with his forefinger and thumb he squeezed a considerable
quantity of foam from the jaws of the viper down upon the road.  "The
childer of these days are a generation of--God forgive me, what was I
about to say?" said the old man; and opening his bag he thrust the
reptile into it, which appeared far from empty.  I passed on.  As I was
returning, towards the evening, I overtook the old man, who was wending
in the same direction.  "Good evening to you, sir," said I, taking off a
cap which I wore on my head.  "Good evening," said the old man; and then,
looking at me, "How's this?" said he, "you ar'n't, sure, the child I met
in the morning?"  "Yes," said I, "I am; what makes you doubt it?"  "Why,
you were then all froth and conceit," said the old man, "and now you take
off your cap to me."  "I beg your pardon," said I, "if I was frothy and
conceited; it ill becomes a child like me to be so."  "That's true,
dear," said the old man; "well, as you have begged my pardon, I truly
forgive you."  "Thank you," said I; "have you caught any more of those
things?"  "Only four or five," said the old man; "they are getting
scarce, though this used to be a great neighbourhood for them."  "And
what do you do with them?" said I; "do you carry them home and play with
them?"  "I sometimes play with one or two that I tame," said the old man;
"but I hunt them mostly for the fat which they contain, out of which I
make unguents which are good for various sore troubles, especially for
the rheumatism."  "And do you get your living by hunting these
creatures?" I demanded.  "Not altogether," said the old man; "besides
being a viper-hunter, I am what they call a herbalist, one who knows the
virtue of particular herbs; I gather them at the proper season, to make
medicines with for the sick."  "And do you live in the neighbourhood?" I
demanded.  "You seem very fond of asking questions, child.  No, I do not
live in this neighbourhood in particular, I travel about; I have not been
in this neighbourhood till lately for some years."

From this time the old man and myself formed an acquaintance; I often
accompanied him in his wanderings about the neighbourhood, and, on two or
three occasions, assisted him in catching the reptiles which he hunted.
He generally carried a viper with him which he had made quite tame, and
from which he had extracted the poisonous fangs; it would dance and
perform various kinds of tricks.  He was fond of telling me anecdotes
connected with his adventures with the reptile species.  "But," said he
one day, sighing, "I must shortly give up this business; I am no longer
the man I was; I am become timid, and when a person is timid in viper-
hunting, he had better leave off, as it is quite clear his virtue is
leaving him.  I got a fright some years ago, which I am quite sure I
shall never get the better of; my hand has been shaky more or less ever
since."  "What frightened you?" said I.  "I had better not tell you,"
said the old man, "or you may be frightened too, lose your virtue, and be
no longer good for the business."  "I don't care," said I; "I don't
intend to follow the business: I daresay I shall be an officer, like my
father."  "Well," said the old man, "I once saw the king of the vipers,
and since then--"  "The king of the vipers!" said I, interrupting him;
"have the vipers a king?"  "As sure as we have," said the old man--"as
sure as we have King George to rule over us, have these reptiles a king
to rule over them."  "And where did you see him?" said I.  "I will tell
you," said the old man, "though I don't like talking about the matter.  It
may be about seven years ago that I happened to be far down yonder to the
west, on the other side of England, nearly two hundred miles from here,
following my business.  It was a very sultry day, I remember, and I had
been out several hours catching creatures.  It might be about three
o'clock in the afternoon, when I found myself on some heathy land near
the sea, on the ridge of a hill, the side of which, nearly as far down as
the sea, was heath; but on the top there was arable ground, which had
been planted, and from which the harvest had been gathered--oats or
barley, I know not which--but I remember that the ground was covered with
stubble.  Well, about three o'clock, as I told you before, what with the
heat of the day and from having walked about for hours in a lazy way, I
felt very tired; so I determined to have a sleep, and I laid myself down,
my head just on the ridge of the hill, towards the field, and my body
over the side down amongst the heath; my bag, which was nearly filled
with creatures, lay at a little distance from my face; the creatures were
struggling in it, I remember, and I thought to myself, how much more
comfortably off I was than they; I was taking my ease on the nice open
hill, cooled with the breezes, whilst they were in the nasty close bag,
coiling about one another, and breaking their very hearts, all to no
purpose: and I felt quite comfortable and happy in the thought, and
little by little closed my eyes, and fell into the sweetest snooze that
ever I was in in all my life; and there I lay over the hill's side, with
my head half in the field, I don't know how long, all dead asleep.  At
last it seemed to me that I heard a noise in my sleep, something like a
thing moving, very faint, however, far away; then it died, and then it
came again upon my ear as I slept, and now it appeared almost as if I
heard crackle, crackle; then it died again, or I became yet more dead
asleep than before, I know not which, but I certainly lay some time
without hearing it.  All of a sudden I became awake, and there was I, on
the ridge of the hill, with my cheek on the ground towards the stubble,
with a noise in my ear like that of something moving towards me, amongst
the stubble of the field; well, I lay a moment or two listening to the
noise, and then I became frightened, for I did not like the noise at all,
it sounded so odd; so I rolled myself on my belly, and looked towards the
stubble.  Mercy upon us! there was a huge snake, or rather a dreadful
viper, for it was all yellow and gold, moving towards me, bearing its
head about a foot and a half above the ground, the dry stubble crackling
beneath its outrageous belly.  It might be about five yards off when I
first saw it, making straight towards me, child, as if it would devour
me.  I lay quite still, for I was stupefied with horror, whilst the
creature came still nearer; and now it was nearly upon me, when it
suddenly drew back a little, and then--what do you think?--it lifted its
head and chest high in the air, and high over my face as I looked up,
flickering at me with its tongue as if it would fly at my face.  Child,
what I felt at that moment I can scarcely say, but it was a sufficient
punishment for all the sins I ever committed; and there we two were, I
looking up at the viper, and the viper looking down upon me, flickering
at me with its tongue.  It was only the kindness of God that saved me:
all at once there was a loud noise, the report of a gun, for a fowler was
shooting at a covey of birds, a little way off in the stubble.  Whereupon
the viper sunk its head, and immediately made off over the ridge of the
hill, down in the direction of the sea.  As it passed by me, however,--and
it passed close by me,--it hesitated a moment, as if it was doubtful
whether it should not seize me; it did not, however, but made off down
the hill.  It has often struck me that he was angry with me, and came
upon me unawares for presuming to meddle with his people, as I have
always been in the habit of doing."

"But," said I, "how do you know that it was the king of the vipers?"

"How do I know!" said the old man; "who else should it be?  There was as
much difference between it and other reptiles as between King George and
other people."

"Is King George, then, different from other people?" I demanded.

"Of course," said the old man; "I have never seen him myself, but I have
heard people say that he is a ten times greater man than other folks;
indeed, it stands to reason that he must be different from the rest, else
people would not be so eager to see him.  Do you think, child, that
people would be fools enough to run a matter of twenty or thirty miles to
see the king, provided King George--"

"Haven't the French a king?" I demanded.

"Yes," said the old man, "or something much the same, and a queer one he
is; not quite so big as King George, they say, but quite as terrible a
fellow.  What of him?"

"Suppose he should come to Norman Cross!"

"What should he do at Norman Cross, child?"

"Why, you were talking about the vipers in your bag breaking their
hearts, and so on, and their king coming to help them.  Now, suppose the
French king should hear of his people being in trouble at Norman Cross,
and--"

"He can't come, child," said the old man, rubbing his hands, "the water
lies between.  The French don't like the water; neither vipers nor
Frenchmen take kindly to the water, child."

When the old man {44} left the country, which he did a few days after the
conversation which I have just related, he left me the reptile which he
had tamed and rendered quite harmless by removing the fangs.  I was in
the habit of feeding it with milk, and frequently carried it abroad with
me in my walks.



CHAPTER V


The Tent--Man and Woman--Dark and Swarthy--Manner of Speaking--Bad
Money--Transfixed--Faltering Tone--Little Basket--High Opinion--Plenty of
Good--Keeping Guard--Tilted Cart--Rubricals--Jasper--The Right Sort--The
Horseman of the Lane--John Newton--The Alarm--Gentle Brothers.

One day it happened that, being on my rambles, I entered a green lane
which I had never seen before; at first it was rather narrow, but as I
advanced it became considerably wider; in the middle was a drift-way with
deep ruts, but right and left was a space carpeted with a sward of
trefoil and clover; there was no lack of trees, chiefly ancient oaks,
which, flinging out their arms from either side, nearly formed a canopy,
and afforded a pleasing shelter from the rays of the sun, which was
burning fiercely above.  Suddenly a group of objects attracted my
attention.  Beneath one of the largest of the trees, upon the grass, was
a kind of low tent or booth, from the top of which a thin smoke was
curling; beside it stood a couple of light carts, whilst two or three
lean horses or ponies were cropping the herbage which was growing nigh.
Wondering to whom this odd tent could belong, I advanced till I was close
before it, when I found that it consisted of two tilts, like those of
waggons, placed upon the ground and fronting each other, connected behind
by a sail or large piece of canvas which was but partially drawn across
the top; upon the ground, in the intervening space, was a fire, over
which, supported by a kind of iron crowbar, hung a caldron; my advance
had been so noiseless as not to alarm the inmates, who consisted of a man
and woman, who sat apart, one on each side of the fire; they were both
busily employed--the man was carding plaited straw, whilst the woman
seemed to be rubbing something with a white powder, some of which lay on
a plate beside her; suddenly the man looked up, and, perceiving me,
uttered a strange kind of cry, and the next moment both the woman and
himself were on their feet and rushing out upon me.

I retreated a few steps, yet without turning to flee.  I was not,
however, without apprehension, which, indeed, the appearance of these two
people was well calculated to inspire: the woman was a stout figure,
seemingly between thirty and forty; she wore no cap, and her long hair
fell on either side of her head like horse-tails half way down her waist;
her skin was dark and swarthy, like that of a toad, and the expression of
her countenance was particularly evil; her arms were bare, and her bosom
was but half concealed by a slight bodice, below which she wore a coarse
petticoat, her only other article of dress.  The man was somewhat
younger, but of a figure equally wild; his frame was long and lathy, but
his arms were remarkably short, his neck was rather bent, he squinted
slightly, and his mouth was much awry; his complexion was dark, but,
unlike that of the woman, was more ruddy than livid; there was a deep
scar on his cheek, something like the impression of a halfpenny.  The
dress was quite in keeping with the figure: in his hat, which was
slightly peaked, was stuck a peacock's feather; over a waistcoat of hide,
untanned and with the hair upon it, he wore a rough jerkin of russet hue;
smallclothes of leather, which had probably once belonged to a soldier,
but with which pipeclay did not seem to have come in contact for many a
year, protected his lower man as far as the knee; his legs were cased in
long stockings of blue worsted, and on his shoes he wore immense
old-fashioned buckles.

Such were the two beings who now came rushing upon me; the man was rather
in advance, brandishing a ladle in his hand.

"So I have caught you at last," said he; "I'll teach ye, you young
highwayman, to come skulking about my properties!"

Young as I was, I remarked that his manner of speaking was different from
that of any people with whom I had been in the habit of associating.  It
was quite as strange as his appearance, and yet it nothing resembled the
foreign English which I had been in the habit of hearing through the
palisades of the prison; he could scarcely be a foreigner.

"Your properties!" said I; "I am in the King's Lane.  Why did you put
them there, if you did not wish them to be seen?"

"On the spy," said the woman, "hey?  I'll drown him in the sludge in the
toad-pond over the hedge."

"So we will," said the man, "drown him anon in the mud!"

"Drown me, will you?" said I; "I should like to see you!  What's all this
about?  Was it because I saw you with your hands full of straw plait, and
my mother there--"

"Yes," said the woman; "what was I about?"

_Myself_.  How should I know?  Making bad money, perhaps!

And it will be as well here to observe, that at this time there was much
bad money in circulation in the neighbourhood, generally supposed to be
fabricated by the prisoners, so that this false coin and straw plait
formed the standard subjects of conversation at Norman Cross.

"I'll strangle thee," said the beldame, dashing at me.  "Bad money, is
it?"

"Leave him to me, wifelkin," said the man, interposing; "you shall now
see how I'll baste him down the lane."

_Myself_.  I tell you what, my chap, you had better put down that thing
of yours; my father lies concealed within my tepid breast, and if to me
you offer any harm or wrong, I'll call him forth to help me with his
forked tongue.

_Man_.  What do you mean, ye Bengui's {48} bantling?  I never heard such
discourse in all my life: play man's speech or Frenchman's talk--which, I
wonder?  Your father! tell the mumping villain that if he comes near my
fire I'll serve him out as I will you.  Take that . . . Tiny Jesus! what
have we got here?  Oh, delicate Jesus! what is the matter with the child?

I had made a motion which the viper understood; and now, partly
disengaging itself from my bosom, where it had lain perdu, it raised its
head to a level with my face, and stared upon my enemy with its
glittering eyes.

The man stood like one transfixed, and the ladle, with which he had aimed
a blow at me, now hung in the air like the hand which held it; his mouth
was extended, and his cheeks became of a pale yellow, save alone that
place which bore the mark which I have already described, and this shone
now portentously, like fire.  He stood in this manner for some time; at
last the ladle fell from his hand, and its falling appeared to rouse him
from his stupor.

"I say, wifelkin," said he, in a faltering tone, "did you ever see the
like of this here?"

But the woman had retreated to the tent, from the entrance of which her
loathly face was now thrust, with an expression partly of terror and
partly of curiosity.  After gazing some time longer at the viper and
myself, the man stooped down and took up the ladle; then, as if somewhat
more assured, he moved to the tent, where he entered into conversation
with the beldame in a low voice.  Of their discourse, though I could hear
the greater part of it, I understood not a single word; and I wondered
what it could be, for I knew by the sound that it was not French.  At
last the man, in a somewhat louder tone, appeared to put a question to
the woman, who nodded her head affirmatively, and in a moment or two
produced a small stool, which she delivered to him.  He placed it on the
ground, close by the door of the tent, first rubbing it with his sleeve,
as if for the purpose of polishing its surface.

_Man_.  Now, my precious little gentleman, do sit down here by the poor
people's tent; we wish to be civil in our slight way.  Don't be angry,
and say no; but look kindly upon us, and satisfied, my precious little
God Almighty.

_Woman_.  Yes, my gorgeous angel, sit down by the poor bodies' fire, and
eat a sweetmeat.  We want to ask you a question or two; only first put
that serpent away.

_Myself_.  I can sit down, and bid the serpent go to sleep, that's easy
enough; but as for eating a sweetmeat, how can I do that?  I have not got
one, and where am I to get it?

_Woman_.  Never fear, my tiny tawny, {50} we can give you one, such as
you never ate, I daresay, however far you may have come from.

The serpent sunk into its usual resting-place, and I sat down on the
stool.  The woman opened a box, and took out a strange little basket or
hamper, not much larger than a man's fist, and formed of a delicate kind
of matting.  It was sewed at the top; but, ripping it open with a knife,
she held it to me, and I saw, to my surprise, that it contained candied
fruits of a dark green hue, tempting enough to one of my age.  "There, my
tiny," said she; "taste, and tell me how you like them."

"Very much," said I; "where did you get them?"

The beldame leered upon me for a moment, then, nodding her head thrice,
with a knowing look, said, "Who knows better than yourself, my tawny?"

Now, I knew nothing about the matter; but I saw that these strange people
had conceived a very high opinion of the abilities of their visitor,
which I was nothing loath to encourage.  I therefore answered boldly,
"Ah! who indeed!"

"Certainly," said the man; "who should know better than yourself, or so
well?  And now, my tiny one, let me ask you one thing--you didn't come to
do us any harm?"

"No," said I, "I had no dislike to you; though, if you were to meddle
with me--"

_Man_.  Of course, my gorgeous, of course you would; and quite right too.
Meddle with you!--what right have we?  I should say, it would not be
quite safe.  I see how it is; you are one of them there;--and he bent his
head towards his left shoulder.

_Myself_.  Yes, I am one of them--for I thought he was alluding to the
soldiers,--you had best mind what you are about, I can tell you.

_Man_.  Don't doubt we will for our own sake; Lord bless you, wifelkin,
only think that we should see one of them there when we least thought
about it.  Well, I have heard of such things, though I never thought to
see one; however, seeing is believing.  Well! now you are come, and are
not going to do us any mischief, I hope you will stay; you can do us
plenty of good if you will.

_Myself_.  What good could I do you?

_Man_.  What good? plenty!  Would you not bring us luck?  I have heard
say, that one of them there always does, if it will but settle down.  Stay
with us; you shall have a tilted cart all to yourself if you like.  We'll
make you our little God Almighty, and say our prayers to you every
morning!

_Myself_.  That would be nice; and, if you were to give me plenty of
these things, I should have no objection.  But what would my father say?
I think he would hardly let me.

_Man_.  Why not? he would be with you; and kindly would we treat him.
Indeed, without your father you would be nothing at all.

_Myself_.  That's true; but I do not think he could be spared from his
regiment.  I have heard him say that they could do nothing without him.

_Man_.  His regiment!  What are you talking about?--what does the child
mean?

_Myself_.  What do I mean!--why, that my father is an officer-man at the
barracks yonder, keeping guard over the French prisoners.

_Man_.  Oh! then that sap {52} is not your father?

_Myself_.  What, the snake?  Why, no!  Did you think he was?

_Man_.  To be sure we did.  Didn't you tell me so?

_Myself_.  Why, yes; but who would have thought you would have believed
it?  It is a tame one.  I hunt vipers, and tame them.

_Man_.  O--h!

"O--h!" grunted the woman, "that's it, is it?"

The man and woman, who during this conversation had resumed their former
positions within the tent, looked at each other with a queer look of
surprise, as if somewhat disconcerted at what they now heard.  They then
entered into discourse with each other in the same strange tongue which
had already puzzled me.  At length the man looked me in the face, and
said, somewhat hesitatingly, "So you are not one of them there after
all?"

_Myself_.  One of them there?  I don't know what you mean.

_Man_.  Why, we have been thinking you were a goblin--a devilkin!
However, I see how it is: you are a sap-engro, a chap who catches snakes,
and plays tricks with them!  Well, it comes very nearly to the same
thing; and if you please to list with us, and bear us pleasant company,
we shall be glad of you.  I'd take my oath upon it, that we might make a
mort of money by you and that sap, and the tricks it could do; and, as
you seem fly to everything, I shouldn't wonder if you would make a prime
hand at telling fortunes.

"I shouldn't wonder," said I.

_Man_.  Of course.  And you might still be our God Almighty, or at any
rate our clergyman, so you should live in a tilted cart by yourself, and
say prayers to us night and morning--to wifelkin here, and all our
family; there's plenty of us when we are all together: as I said before,
you seem fly, I shouldn't wonder if you could read?

"Oh yes!" said I, "I can read;" and, eager to display my accomplishments,
I took my book out of my pocket, and, opening it at random, proceeded to
read how a certain man, whilst wandering about a certain solitary island,
entered a cave, the mouth of which was overgrown with brushwood, and how
he was nearly frightened to death in that cave by something which he saw.

"That will do," said the man; "that's the kind of prayers for me and my
family, ar'n't they, wifelkin?  I never heard more delicate prayers in
all my life!  Why, they beat the rubricals hollow!--and here comes my son
Jasper.  I say, Jasper, here's a young sap-engro that can read, and is
more fly than yourself.  Shake hands with him; I wish ye to be two
brothers."

With a swift but stealthy pace Jasper came towards us from the farther
part of the lane; on reaching the tent he stood still, and looked fixedly
upon me as I sat upon the stool; I looked fixedly upon him.  A queer look
had Jasper; he was a lad of some twelve or thirteen years, with long
arms, unlike the singular being who called himself his father; his
complexion was ruddy, but his face was seamed, though it did not bear the
peculiar scar which disfigured the countenance of the other; nor, though
roguish enough, a certain evil expression which that of the other bore,
and which the face of the woman possessed in a yet more remarkable
degree.  For the rest, he wore drab breeches, with certain strings at the
knee, a rather gay waistcoat, and tolerably white shirt; under his arm he
bore a mighty whip of whalebone with a brass knob, and upon his head was
a hat without either top or brim.

"There, Jasper! shake hands with the sap-engro."

"Can he box, father?" said Jasper, surveying me rather contemptuously.  "I
should think not, he looks so puny and small."

"Hold your peace, fool!" said the man; "he can do more than that--I tell
you he's fly: he carries a sap about, which would sting a ninny like you
to dead."

"What, a sap-engro!" said the boy, with a singular whine, and, stooping
down, he leered curiously in my face, kindly, however, and then patted me
on the head.  "A sap-engro!" he ejaculated; "lor!"

"Yes, and one of the right sort," said the man; "I am glad we have met
with him; he is going to list with us, and be our clergyman and God
Almighty, ar'n't you, my tawny?"

"I don't know," said I; "I must see what my father will say."

"Your father; bah! . . ." but here he stopped, for a sound was heard like
the rapid galloping of a horse, not loud and distinct as on a road, but
dull and heavy as if upon a grass sward; nearer and nearer it came, and
the man, starting up, rushed out of the tent, and looked around
anxiously.  I arose from the stool upon which I had been seated, and just
at that moment, amidst a crashing of boughs and sticks, a man on
horseback bounded over the hedge into the lane at a few yards' distance
from where we were: from the impetus of the leap the horse was nearly
down on his knees; the rider, however, by dint of vigorous handling of
the reins, prevented him from falling, and then rode up to the tent.
"'Tis Nat," said the man; "what brings him here?"  The new comer was a
stout burly fellow, about the middle age; he had a savage determined
look, and his face was nearly covered over with carbuncles; he wore a
broad slouching hat, and was dressed in a grey coat, cut in a fashion
which I afterwards learnt to be the genuine Newmarket cut, the skirts
being exceedingly short; his waistcoat was of red plush, and he wore
broad corduroy breeches and white top-boots.  The steed which carried him
was of iron grey, spirited and powerful, but covered with sweat and foam.
The fellow glanced fiercely and suspiciously around, and said something
to the man of the tent in a harsh and rapid voice.  A short and hurried
conversation ensued in the strange tongue.  I could not take my eyes off
this new comer.  Oh, that half-jockey, half-bruiser countenance, I never
forgot it!  More than fifteen years afterwards I found myself amidst a
crowd before Newgate; a gallows was erected, and beneath it stood a
criminal, a notorious malefactor.  I recognised him at once; the horseman
of the lane is now beneath the fatal tree, but nothing altered; still the
same man; jerking his head to the right and left with the same fierce and
under glance, just as if the affairs of this world had the same kind of
interest to the last; grey coat of Newmarket cut, plush waistcoat,
corduroys, and boots, nothing altered; but the head, alas! is bare, and
so is the neck.  Oh, crime and virtue, virtue and crime!--it was old John
Newton, I think, who, when he saw a man going to be hanged, said, "There
goes John Newton, but for the grace of God!"

But the lane, the lane, all was now in confusion in the lane; the man and
woman were employed in striking the tents and in making hurried
preparations for departure; the boy Jasper was putting the harness upon
the ponies and attaching them to the carts; and, to increase the
singularity of the scene, two or three wild-looking women and girls, in
red cloaks and immense black beaver bonnets, came from I know not what
direction, and, after exchanging a few words with the others, commenced
with fierce and agitated gestures to assist them in their occupation.  The
rider meanwhile sat upon his horse, but evidently in a state of great
impatience; he muttered curses between his teeth, spurred the animal
furiously, and then reined it in, causing it to rear itself up nearly
perpendicular.  At last he said, "Curse ye, for Romans, how slow ye are!
well, it is no business of mine, stay here all day if you like; I have
given ye warning, I am off to the big north road.  However, before I go,
you had better give me all you have of that."

"Truly spoken, Nat, my pal," said the man; "give it him, mother.  There
it is; now be off as soon as you please, and rid us of evil company."

The woman had handed him two bags formed of stocking, half full of
something heavy, which looked through them for all the world like money
of some kind.  The fellow, on receiving them, thrust them without
ceremony into the pockets of his coat, and then, without a word of
farewell salutation, departed at a tremendous rate, the hoofs of his
horse thundering for a long time on the hard soil of the neighbouring
road, till the sound finally died away in the distance.  The strange
people were not slow in completing their preparations, and then, flogging
their animals terrifically, hurried away seemingly in the same direction.

The boy Jasper was last of the band.  As he was following the rest, he
stopped suddenly, and looked on the ground appearing to muse; then,
turning round, he came up to me where I was standing, leered in my face,
and then, thrusting out his hand, he said, "Good bye, Sap; I daresay we
shall meet again; remember we are brothers; two gentle brothers."

Then whining forth, "What, a sap-engro, lor!" he gave me a parting leer,
and hastened away.

I remained standing in the lane gazing after the retreating company.  "A
strange set of people," said I at last; "I wonder who they can be."



CHAPTER VI


Three Years--Lilly's Grammar--Proficiency--Ignorant of Figures--The
School Bell--Order of Succession--Persecution--What are we to
do?--Northward--A Goodly Scene--Haunted Ground--Feats of
Chivalry--Rivers--Over the Brig.

Years passed on, even three years; during this period I had increased
considerably in stature and in strength, and, let us hope, improved in
mind; for I had entered on the study of the Latin language.  The very
first person to whose care I was entrusted for the acquisition of Latin
was an old friend of my father's, a clergyman who kept a seminary at a
town the very next we visited after our departure from "the Cross."  Under
his instruction, however, I continued only a few weeks, as we speedily
left the place.  "Captain," said this divine, when my father came to take
leave of him on the eve of our departure, "I have a friendship for you,
and therefore wish to give you a piece of advice concerning this son of
yours.  You are now removing him from my care; you do wrong, but we will
let that pass.  Listen to me: there is but one good school book in the
world--the one I use in my seminary--Lilly's Latin Grammar, in which your
son has already made some progress.  If you are anxious for the success
of your son in life, for the correctness of his conduct and the soundness
of his principles, keep him to Lilly's Grammar.  If you can by any means,
either fair or foul, induce him to get by heart Lilly's Latin Grammar,
you may set your heart at rest with respect to him; I, myself, will be
his warrant.  I never yet knew a boy that was induced, either by fair
means or foul, to learn Lilly's Latin Grammar by heart, who did not turn
out a man, provided he lived long enough."

My father, who did not understand the classical languages, received with
respect the advice of his old friend, and from that moment conceived the
highest opinion of Lilly's Latin Grammar.  During three years I studied
Lilly's Latin Grammar under the tuition of various schoolmasters, for I
travelled with the regiment, and in every town in which we were
stationary I was invariably (God bless my father!) sent to the classical
academy of the place.  It chanced, by good fortune, that in the
generality of these schools the grammar of Lilly was in use; when,
however, that was not the case, it made no difference in my educational
course, my father always stipulating with the masters that I should be
daily examined in Lilly.  At the end of the three years I had the whole
by heart; you had only to repeat the first two or three words of any
sentence in any part of the book, and forthwith I would open cry,
commencing without blundering and hesitation, and continue till you were
glad to beg me to leave off, with many expressions of admiration at my
proficiency in the Latin language.  Sometimes, however, to convince you
how well I merited these encomiums, I would follow you to the bottom of
the stair, and even into the street, repeating in a kind of sing-song
measure the sonorous lines of the golden schoolmaster.  If I am here
asked whether I understood anything of what I had got by heart, I
reply--"Never mind, I understand it all now, and believe that no one ever
yet got Lilly's Latin Grammar by heart when young, who repented of the
feat at a mature age."

And, when my father saw that I had accomplished my task, he opened his
mouth, and said, "Truly, this is more than I expected.  I did not think
that there had been so much in you, either of application or capacity;
you have now learnt all that is necessary, if my friend Dr. B---'s
opinion was sterling, as I have no doubt it was.  You are still a child,
however, and must yet go to school, in order that you may be kept out of
evil company.  Perhaps you may still contrive, now you have exhausted the
barn, to pick up a grain or two in the barn-yard.  You are still ignorant
of figures, I believe, not that I would mention figures in the same day
with Lilly's Grammar."

These words were uttered in a place called ---, in the north, or in the
road to the north, to which, for some time past, our corps had been
slowly advancing.  I was sent to the school of the place, which chanced
to be a day school.  It was a somewhat extraordinary one, and a somewhat
extraordinary event occurred to me within its walls.

It occupied part of the farther end of a small plain, or square, at the
outskirts of the town, close to some extensive bleaching fields.  It was
a long low building of one room, with no upper storey; on the top was a
kind of wooden box, or sconce, which I at first mistook for a
pigeon-house, but which in reality contained a bell, to which was
attached a rope, which, passing through the ceiling, hung dangling in the
middle of the school-room.  I am the more particular in mentioning this
appurtenance, as I had soon occasion to scrape acquaintance with it in a
manner not very agreeable to my feelings.  The master was very proud of
his bell, if I might judge from the fact of his eyes being frequently
turned to that part of the ceiling from which the rope depended.  Twice
every day, namely, after the morning and evening tasks had been gone
through, were the boys rung out of school by the monotonous jingle of
this bell.  This ringing out was rather a lengthy affair, for, as the
master was a man of order and method, the boys were only permitted to go
out of the room one by one; and as they were rather numerous, amounting,
at least, to one hundred, and were taught to move at a pace of suitable
decorum, at least a quarter of an hour elapsed from the commencement of
the march before the last boy could make his exit.  The office of bell-
ringer was performed by every boy successively; and it so happened that,
the very first day of my attendance at the school, the turn to ring the
bell had, by order of succession, arrived at the place which had been
allotted to me; for the master, as I have already observed, was a man of
method and order, and every boy had a particular seat, to which he became
a fixture as long as he continued at the school.

So, upon this day, when the tasks were done and completed, and the boys
sat with their hats and caps in their hands, anxiously expecting the
moment of dismissal, it was suddenly notified to me, by the urchins who
sat nearest to me, that I must get up and ring the bell.  Now, as this
was the first time that I had been at the school, I was totally
unacquainted with the process, which I had never seen, and, indeed, had
never heard of till that moment.  I therefore sat still, not imagining it
possible that any such duty could be required of me.  But now, with not a
little confusion, I perceived that the eyes of all the boys in the school
were fixed upon me.  Presently there were nods and winks in the direction
of the bell-rope; and, as these produced no effect, uncouth visages were
made, like those of monkeys when enraged; teeth were gnashed, tongues
thrust out, and even fists were bent at me.  The master, who stood at the
end of the room, with a huge ferule under his arm, bent full upon me a
look of stern appeal; and the ushers, of whom there were four, glared
upon me, each from his own particular corner, as I vainly turned, in one
direction and another, in search of one reassuring look.

But now, probably in obedience to a sign from the master, the boys in my
immediate neighbourhood began to maltreat me.  Some pinched me with their
fingers, some buffeted me, whilst others pricked me with pins, or the
points of compasses.  These arguments were not without effect.  I sprang
from my seat, and endeavoured to escape along a double line of benches,
thronged with boys of all ages, from the urchin of six or seven, to the
nondescript of sixteen or seventeen.  It was like running the gauntlet;
every one, great or small, pinching, kicking, or otherwise maltreating
me, as I passed by.

Goaded on in this manner, I at length reached the middle of the room,
where dangled the bell-rope, the cause of all my sufferings.  I should
have passed it--for my confusion was so great, that I was quite at a loss
to comprehend what all this could mean, and almost believed myself under
the influence of an ugly dream--but now the boys, who were seated in
advance in the row, arose with one accord, and barred my farther
progress; and one, doubtless more sensible than the rest, seizing the
rope, thrust it into my hand.  I now began to perceive that the dismissal
of the school, and my own release from torment, depended upon this
selfsame rope.  I therefore, in a fit of desperation, pulled it once or
twice, and then left off, naturally supposing that I had done quite
enough.  The boys who sat next the door, no sooner heard the bell, than
rising from their seats, they moved out at the door.  The bell, however,
had no sooner ceased to jingle, than they stopped short, and, turning
round, stared at the master, as much as to say, "What are we to do now?"
This was too much for the patience of the man of method, which my
previous stupidity had already nearly exhausted.  Dashing forward into
the middle of the room, he struck me violently on the shoulders with his
ferule, and, snatching the rope out of my hand, exclaimed, with a
stentorian voice, and genuine Yorkshire accent, "Prodigy of ignorance!
dost not even know how to ring a bell?  Must I myself instruct thee?"  He
then commenced pulling at the bell with such violence, that long before
half the school was dismissed the rope broke, and the rest of the boys
had to depart without their accustomed music.

But I must not linger here, though I could say much about the school and
the pedagogue highly amusing and diverting, which, however, I suppress,
in order to make way for matters of yet greater interest.  On we went,
northward, northward! and, as we advanced, I saw that the country was
becoming widely different from those parts of merry England in which we
had previously travelled.  It was wilder, and less cultivated, and more
broken with hills and hillocks.  The people, too, of those regions
appeared to partake of something of the character of their country.  They
were coarsely dressed; tall and sturdy of frame; their voices were deep
and guttural; and the half of the dialect which they spoke was
unintelligible to my ears.

I often wondered where we could be going, for I was at this time about as
ignorant of geography as I was of most other things.  However, I held my
peace, asked no questions, and patiently awaited the issue.

Northward, northward, still!  And it came to pass that, one morning, I
found myself extended on the bank of a river.  It was a beautiful morning
of early spring; small white clouds were floating in the heaven,
occasionally veiling the countenance of the sun, whose light, as they
retired, would again burst forth, coursing like a race-horse over the
scene--and a goodly scene it was!  Before me, across the water, on an
eminence, stood a white old city, {65} surrounded with lofty walls, above
which rose the tops of tall houses, with here and there a church or
steeple.  To my right hand was a long and massive bridge, with many
arches, and of antique architecture, which traversed the river.  The
river was a noble one; the broadest that I had hitherto seen.  Its
waters, of a greenish tinge, poured with impetuosity beneath the narrow
arches to meet the sea, close at hand, as the boom of the billows
breaking distinctly upon a beach declared.  There were songs upon the
river from the fisher-barks; and occasionally a chorus, plaintive and
wild, such as I had never heard before, the words of which I did not
understand, but which, at the present time, down the long avenue of
years, seem in memory's ear to sound like "Horam, coram, dago."  Several
robust fellows were near me, some knee-deep in water, employed in hauling
the seine upon the strand.  Huge fish were struggling amidst the
meshes--princely salmon--their brilliant mail of blue and silver flashing
in the morning beam; so goodly and gay a scene, in truth, had never
greeted my boyish eye.

And, as I gazed upon the prospect, my bosom began to heave, and my tears
to trickle.  Was it the beauty of the scene which gave rise to these
emotions?  Possibly; for though a poor ignorant child--a half-wild
creature--I was not insensible to the loveliness of nature, and took
pleasure in the happiness and handiworks of my fellow-creatures.  Yet,
perhaps, in something more deep and mysterious the feelings which then
pervaded me might originate.  Who can lie down on Elvir Hill without
experiencing something of the sorcery of the place?  Flee from Elvir
Hill, young swain, or the maids of Elle will have power over you, and you
will go elf-wild!--so say the Danes.  I had unconsciously laid myself
down upon haunted ground; and I am willing to imagine that what I then
experienced was rather connected with the world of spirits and dreams
than with what I actually saw and heard around me.  Surely the elves and
genii of the place were conversing, by some inscrutable means, with the
principle of intelligence lurking within the poor uncultivated clod!
Perhaps to that ethereal principle the wonders of the past, as connected
with that stream, the glories of the present, and even the history of the
future, were at that moment being revealed!  Of how many feats of
chivalry had those old walls been witness, when hostile kings contended
for their possession?--how many an army from the south and from the north
had trod that old bridge?--what red and noble blood had crimsoned those
rushing waters?--what strains had been sung, ay, were yet being sung, on
its banks?--some soft as Doric reed; some fierce and sharp as those of
Norwegian Skaldaglam; some as replete with wild and wizard force as
Finland's runes, singing of Kalevala's moors, and the deeds of
Woinomoinen!  Honour to thee, thou island stream!  Onward may thou ever
roll, fresh and green, rejoicing in thy bright past, thy glorious
present, and in vivid hope of a triumphant future!  Flow on, beautiful
one!--which of the world's streams canst thou envy, with thy beauty and
renown?  Stately is the Danube, rolling in its might through lands
romantic with the wild exploits of Turk, Polak, and Magyar!  Lovely is
the Rhine! on its shelvy banks grows the racy grape; and strange old
keeps of robber-knights of yore are reflected in its waters, from
picturesque crags and airy headlands!--yet neither the stately Danube,
nor the beauteous Rhine, with all their fame, though abundant, needst
thou envy, thou pure island stream!--and far less yon turbid river of
old, not modern renown, gurgling beneath the walls of what was once proud
Rome, towering Rome, Jupiter's town, but now vile Rome, crumbling Rome,
Batuscha's town, far less needst thou envy the turbid Tiber of bygone
fame, creeping sadly to the sea, surcharged with the abominations of
modern Rome--how unlike to thee, thou pure island stream!

And, as I lay on the bank and wept, there drew nigh to me a man in the
habiliments of a fisher.  He was bare-legged, of a weather-beaten
countenance, and of stature approaching to the gigantic.  "What is the
callant greeting for?" said he, as he stopped and surveyed me.  "Has
onybody wrought ye ony harm?"

"Not that I know of," I replied, rather guessing at than understanding
his question; "I was crying because I could not help it!  I say, old one,
what is the name of this river?"

"Hout!  I now see what you was greeting at--at your ain ignorance, nae
doubt--'tis very great!  Weel, I will na fash you with reproaches, but
even enlighten ye, since you seem a decent man's bairn, and you speir a
civil question.  Yon river is called the Tweed; and yonder, over the
brig, is Scotland.  Did ye never hear of the Tweed, my bonny man?"

"No," said I, as I rose from the grass, and proceeded to cross the bridge
to the town at which we had arrived the preceding night; "I never heard
of it; but now I have seen it, I shall not soon forget it!"



CHAPTER VII


The Castle--A Father's Inquiries--Scotch Language--A Determination--Bui
hin Digri--Good Scotchman--Difference of Races--Ne'er a Haggis--Pugnacious
People--Wha are Ye, Man?--The Nor Loch--Gestures Wild--The Bicker--New
Town Champion--Wild-Looking Figure--Headlong.

It was not long before we found ourselves at Edinburgh, {69a} or rather
in the Castle, into which the regiment marched with drums beating, colour-
flying, and a long train of baggage-waggons behind.  The Castle was, as I
suppose it is now, a garrison for soldiers.  Two other regiments were
already there; the one an Irish, if I remember right, the other a small
Highland corps.

It is hardly necessary to say much about this Castle, which everybody has
seen; on which account, doubtless, nobody has ever yet thought fit to
describe it--at least that I am aware.  Be this as it may, I have no
intention of describing it, and shall content myself with observing, that
we took up our abode in that immense building, or caserne, of modern
erection, which occupies the entire eastern {69b} side of the bold rock
on which the Castle stands.  A gallant caserne it was--the best and
roomiest that I had hitherto seen--rather cold and windy, it is true,
especially in the winter, but commanding a noble prospect of a range of
distant hills, which I was told were "the hieland hills," and of a broad
arm of the sea, which I heard somebody say was the Firth of Forth.

My brother, who, for some years past, had been receiving his education in
a certain celebrated school in England, was now with us; and it came to
pass, that one day my father, as he sat at table, looked steadfastly on
my brother and myself, and then addressed my mother:--"During my journey
down hither, I have lost no opportunity of making inquiries about these
people, the Scotch, amongst whom we now are, and since I have been here I
have observed them attentively.  From what I have heard and seen, I
should say that upon the whole they are a very decent set of people; they
seem acute and intelligent, and I am told that their system of education
is so excellent, that every person is learned--more or less acquainted
with Greek and Latin.  There is one thing, however, connected with them,
which is a great drawback--the horrid jargon which they speak.  However
learned they may be in Greek and Latin, their English is execrable; and
yet I'm told it is not so bad as it was.  I was in company, the other
day, with an Englishman who has resided here many years.  We were talking
about the country and the people.  'I should like both very well,' said
I, 'were it not for the language.  I wish sincerely our Parliament, which
is passing so many foolish Acts every year, would pass one to force these
Scotch to speak English.'  'I wish so, too,' said he.  'The language is a
disgrace to the British Government; but, if you had heard it twenty years
ago, captain!--if you had heard it as it was spoken when I first came to
Edinburgh!'"

"Only custom," said my mother.  "I daresay the language is now what it
was then."

"I don't know," said my father; "though I daresay you are right; it could
never have been worse than it is at present.  But now to the point.  Were
it not for the language, which, if the boys were to pick it up, might
ruin their prospects in life,--were it not for that, I should very much
like to send them to a school there is in this place, which everybody
talks about--the High School I think they call it.  'Tis said to be the
best school in the whole island; but the idea of one's children speaking
Scotch--broad Scotch!  I must think the matter over."

And he did think the matter over; and the result of his deliberation was
a determination to send us to the school. {71}  Let me call thee up
before my mind's eye, High School, to which, every morning, the two
English brothers took their way from the proud old Castle through the
lofty streets of the Old Town.  High School!--called so, I scarcely know
why; neither lofty in thyself nor by position, being situated in a flat
bottom; oblong structure of tawny stone, with many windows fenced with
iron netting--with thy long hall below, and thy five chambers above, for
the reception of the five classes, into which the eight hundred urchins,
who styled thee instructress, were divided.  Thy learned rector and his
four subordinate dominies; thy strange old porter of the tall form and
grizzled hair, hight Boee, {72} and doubtless of Norse ancestry, as his
name declares; perhaps of the blood of Bui hin Digri, the hero of
northern song--the Jomsborg Viking who clove Thorsteinn Midlangr asunder
in the dread sea battle of Horunga Vog, and who, when the fight was lost
and his own two hands smitten off, seized two chests of gold with his
bloody stumps, and, springing with them into the sea, cried to the scanty
relics of his crew, "Overboard now, all Bui's lads!"  Yes, I remember all
about thee, and how at eight of every morn we were all gathered together
with one accord in the long hall, from which, after the litanies had been
read (for so I will call them, being an Episcopalian), the five classes
from the five sets of benches trotted off in long files, one boy after
the other, up the five spiral staircases of stone, each class to its
destination; and well do I remember how we of the third sat hushed and
still, watched by the eye of the dux, until the door opened, and in
walked that model of a good Scotchman, the shrewd, intelligent, but warm-
hearted and kind dominie, the respectable Carson.

And in this school I began to construe the Latin language, which I had
never done before, notwithstanding my long and diligent study of Lilly,
which illustrious grammar was not used at Edinburgh, nor indeed known.
Greek was only taught in the fifth or highest class, in which my brother
was; as for myself, I never got beyond the third during the two years
that I remained at this seminary.  I certainly acquired here a
considerable insight in the Latin tongue; and, to the scandal of my
father and horror of my mother, a thorough proficiency in the Scotch,
which, in less than two months, usurped the place of the English, and so
obstinately maintained its ground, that I still can occasionally detect
its lingering remains.  I did not spend my time unpleasantly at this
school, though, first of all, I had to pass through an ordeal.

"Scotland is a better country than England," said an ugly, blear-eyed
lad, about a head and shoulders taller than myself, the leader of a gang
of varlets who surrounded me in the playground, on the first day, as soon
as the morning lesson was over.  "Scotland is a far better country than
England, in every respect."

"Is it?" said I.  "Then you ought to be very thankful for not having been
born in England."

"That's just what I am, ye loon; and every morning, when I say my
prayers, I thank God for not being an Englishman.  The Scotch are a much
better and braver people than the English."

"It may be so," said I, "for what I know--indeed, till I came here, I
never heard a word either about the Scotch or their country."

"Are ye making fun of us, ye English puppy?" said the blear-eyed lad;
"take that!" and I was presently beaten black and blue.  And thus did I
first become aware of the difference of races and their antipathy to each
other.

"Bow to the storm, and it shall pass over you."  I held my peace, and
silently submitted to the superiority of the Scotch--_in numbers_.  This
was enough; from an object of persecution I soon became one of patronage,
especially amongst the champions of the class.  "The English," said the
blear-eyed lad, "though a wee bit behind the Scotch in strength and
fortitude, are nae to be sneezed at, being far ahead of the Irish, to say
nothing of the French, a pack of cowardly scoundrels.  And with regard to
the English country, it is na Scotland, it is true, but it has its gude
properties; and, though there is ne'er a haggis in a' the land, there's
an unco deal o' gowd and siller.  I respect England, for I have an auntie
married there."

The Scotch are certainly a most pugnacious people; their whole history
proves it.  Witness their incessant wars with the English in the olden
time, and their internal feuds, highland and lowland, clan with clan,
family with family, Saxon with Gael.  In my time, the school-boys, for
want, perhaps, of English urchins to contend with, were continually
fighting with each other; every noon there was at least one pugilistic
encounter, and sometimes three.  In one month I witnessed more of these
encounters than I had ever previously seen under similar circumstances in
England.  After all, there was not much harm done.  Harm! what harm could
result from short chopping blows, a hug, and a tumble?  I was witness to
many a sounding whack, some bloodshed, "a blue ee" now and then, but
nothing more.  In England, on the contrary, where the lads were
comparatively mild, gentle, and pacific, I had been present at more than
one death caused by blows in boyish combats, in which the oldest of the
victors had scarcely reached thirteen years; but these blows were in the
jugular, given with the full force of the arm shot out horizontally from
the shoulder.

But the Scotch--though by no means proficients in boxing (and how should
they box, seeing that they have never had a teacher?)--are, I repeat, a
most pugnacious people; at least they were in my time.  Anything served
them, that is, the urchins, as a pretence for a fray, or, Dorically
speaking, a _bicker_; every street and close was at feud with its
neighbour; the lads of the school were at feud with the young men of the
college, whom they pelted in winter with snow, and in summer with stones;
and then the feud between the Old and New Town!

One day I was standing on the ramparts of the Castle on the south-western
{75} side which overhangs the green brae, where it slopes down into what
was in those days the green swamp or morass, called by the natives of
Auld Reekie the Nor Loch; it was a dark gloomy day, and a thin veil of
mist was beginning to settle down upon the brae and the morass.  I could
perceive, however, that there was a skirmish taking place in the latter
spot.  I had an indistinct view of two parties--apparently of urchins--and
I heard whoops and shrill cries: eager to know the cause of this
disturbance, I left the Castle, and descending the brae reached the
borders of the morass, where was a runnel of water and the remains of an
old wall, on the other side of which a narrow path led across the swamp:
upon this path at a little distance before me there was "a bicker."  I
pushed forward, but had scarcely crossed the ruined wall and runnel, when
the party nearest to me gave way, and in great confusion came running in
my direction.  As they drew nigh, one of them shouted to me, "Wha are ye,
man? are ye o' the Auld Toon?"  I made no answer.  "Ha! ye are o' the New
Toon; De'il tak ye, we'll moorder ye;" and the next moment a huge stone
sung past my head.  "Let me be, ye fule bodies," said I, "I'm no of
either of ye, I live yonder aboon in the Castle."  "Ah! ye live in the
Castle; then ye're an Auld Tooner.  Come gie us your help, man, and dinna
stand there staring like a dunnot; we want help sair eneugh.  Here are
stanes."

For my own part I wished for nothing better, and, rushing forward, I
placed myself at the head of my new associates, and commenced flinging
stones fast and desperately.  The other party now gave way in their turn,
closely followed by ourselves; I was in the van, and about to stretch out
my hand to seize the hindermost boy of the enemy, when, not being
acquainted with the miry and difficult paths of the Nor Loch, and in my
eagerness taking no heed of my footing, I plunged into a quagmire, into
which I sank as far as my shoulders.  Our adversaries no sooner perceived
this disaster, than, setting up a shout, they wheeled round and attacked
us most vehemently.  Had my comrades now deserted me, my life had not
been worth a straw's purchase, I should either have been smothered in the
quag, or, what is more probable, had my brains beaten out with stones;
but they behaved like true Scots, and fought stoutly around their
comrade, until I was extricated, whereupon both parties retired, the
night being near at hand.

"Ye are na a bad hand at flinging stanes," said the lad who first
addressed me, as we now returned up the brae; "your aim is right
dangerous, man; I saw how ye skelpit them; ye maun help us agin thae New
Toon blackguards at our next bicker."

So to the next bicker I went, and to many more, which speedily followed
as the summer advanced; the party to which I had given my help on the
first occasion consisted merely of outlyers, posted about half way up the
hill, for the purpose of overlooking the movements of the enemy.

Did the latter draw nigh in any considerable force, messengers were
forthwith despatched to the "Auld Toon," especially to the filthy alleys
and closes of the High Street, which forthwith would disgorge swarms of
bare-headed and bare-footed "callants," who, with gestures wild and
"eldrich screech and hollo," might frequently be seen pouring down the
sides of the hill.  I have seen upwards of a thousand engaged on either
side in these frays, which I have no doubt were full as desperate as the
fights described in the Iliad, and which were certainly much more bloody
than the combats of modern Greece in the war of independence: the
callants not only employed their hands in hurling stones, but not
unfrequently slings; at the use of which they were very expert, and which
occasionally dislodged teeth, shattered jaws, or knocked out an eye.  Our
opponents certainly laboured under considerable disadvantage, being
compelled not only to wade across a deceitful bog, but likewise to
clamber up part of a steep hill before they could attack us;
nevertheless, their determination was such, and such their impetuosity,
that we had sometimes difficulty enough to maintain our own.  I shall
never forget one bicker, the last indeed which occurred at that time, as
the authorities of the town, alarmed by the desperation of its character,
stationed forthwith a body of police on the hillside, to prevent, in
future, any such breaches of the peace.

It was a beautiful Sunday evening, the rays of the descending sun were
reflected redly from the grey walls of the Castle, and from the black
rocks on which it was founded.  The bicker had long since commenced,
stones from sling and hand were flying; but the callants of the New Town
were now carrying everything before them.

A full-grown baker's apprentice was at their head; he was foaming with
rage, and had taken the field, as I was told, in order to avenge his
brother, whose eye had been knocked out in one of the late bickers.  He
was no slinger or flinger, but brandished in his right hand the spoke of
a cart-wheel, like my countryman Tom Hickathrift of old in his encounter
with the giant of the Lincolnshire fen.  Protected by a piece of wicker-
work attached to his left arm, he rushed on to the fray, disregarding the
stones which were showered against him, and was ably seconded by his
followers.  Our own party was chased half way up the hill, where I was
struck to the ground by the baker, after having been foiled in an attempt
which I had made to fling a handful of earth into his eyes.  All now
appeared lost, the Auld Toon was in full retreat.  I myself lay at the
baker's feet, who had just raised his spoke, probably to give me the
_coup de grace_,--it was an awful moment.  Just then I heard a shout and
a rushing sound; a wild-looking figure is descending the hill with
terrible bounds; it is a lad of some fifteen years; he is bare-headed,
and his red uncombed hair stands on end like hedgehogs' bristles; his
frame is lithy, like that of an antelope, but he has prodigious breadth
of chest; he wears a military undress, that of the regiment, even of a
drummer, for it is wild Davy, {79} whom a month before I had seen
enlisted on Leith Links to serve King George with drum and drumstick as
long as his services might be required, and who, ere a week had elapsed,
had smitten with his fist Drum-Major Elzigood, who, incensed at his
inaptitude, had threatened him with his cane; he has been in confinement
for weeks, this is the first day of his liberation, and he is now
descending the hill with horrid bounds and shoutings; he is now about
five yards distant, and the baker, who apprehends that something
dangerous is at hand, prepares himself for the encounter; but what avails
the strength of a baker, even full grown?--what avails the defence of a
wicker shield?--what avails the wheel-spoke, should there be an
opportunity of using it, against the impetus of an avalanche or a cannon
ball?--for to either of these might that wild figure be compared, which,
at the distance of five yards, sprang at once with head, hands, feet and
body, all together, upon the champion of the New Town, tumbling him to
the earth amain.  And now it was the turn of the Old Town to triumph.  Our
late discomfited host, returning on its steps, overwhelmed the fallen
champion with blows of every kind, and then, led on by his vanquisher,
who had assumed his arms, namely, the wheel-spoke and wicker shield,
fairly cleared the brae of their adversaries, whom they drove down
headlong into the morass.



CHAPTER VIII


Expert Climbers--The Crags--Something Red--The Horrible Edge--David
Haggart--Fine Materials--The Greatest Victory--Extraordinary Robber--The
Ruling Passion.

Meanwhile I had become a daring cragsman, a character to which an English
lad has seldom opportunities of aspiring; for in England there are
neither crags nor mountains.  Of these, however, as is well known, there
is no lack in Scotland, and the habits of individuals are invariably in
harmony with the country in which they dwell.  The Scotch are expert
climbers, and I was now a Scot in most things, particularly in language.
The Castle in which I dwelt stood upon a rock, a bold and craggy one,
which, at first sight, would seem to bid defiance to any feet save those
of goats and chamois; but patience and perseverance generally enable
mankind to overcome things which, at first sight, appear impossible.
Indeed, what is there above man's exertions?  Unwearied determination
will enable him to run with the horse, to swim with the fish, and
assuredly to compete with the chamois and the goat in agility and
sureness of foot.  To scale the rock was merely child's play for the
Edinbro' callants.  It was my own favourite diversion.  I soon found that
the rock contained all manner of strange crypts, crannies, and recesses,
where owls nestled, and the weasel brought forth her young; here and
there were small natural platforms, overgrown with long grass and various
kinds of plants, where the climber, if so disposed, could stretch
himself, and either give his eyes to sleep or his mind to thought; for
capital places were these same platforms either for repose or meditation.
The boldest features of the rock are descried on the southern {82a} side,
where, after shelving down gently from the wall for some distance, it
terminates abruptly in a precipice, black and horrible, of some three
hundred feet {82b} at least, as if the axe of nature had been here
employed cutting sheer down, and leaving behind neither excrescence nor
spur--a dizzy precipice it is, assimilating much to those so frequent in
the flinty hills of Northern Africa, and exhibiting some distant
resemblance to that of Gibraltar, towering in its horridness above the
neutral ground.

It was now holiday time, and having nothing particular wherewith to
occupy myself, I not unfrequently passed the greater part of the day upon
the rocks.  Once, after scaling the western crags, and creeping round a
sharp angle of the wall, overhung by a kind of watch tower, I found
myself on the southern side.  Still keeping close to the wall, I was
proceeding onward, for I was bent upon a long excursion which should
embrace half the circuit of the Castle, when suddenly my eye was
attracted by the appearance of something red, far below me; I stopped
short, and, looking fixedly upon it, perceived that it was a human being
in a kind of red jacket, seated on the extreme verge of the precipice,
which I have already made a faint attempt to describe.  Wondering who it
could be, I shouted; but it took not the slightest notice, remaining as
immovable as the rock on which it sat.  "I should never have thought of
going near that edge," said I to myself; "however, as you have done it,
why should not I?  And I should like to know who you are."  So I
commenced the descent of the rock, but with great care, for I had as yet
never been in a situation so dangerous; a slight moisture exuded from the
palms of my hands, my nerves were tingling, and my brain was somewhat
dizzy--and now I had arrived within a few yards of the figure, and had
recognised it: it was the wild drummer who had turned the tide of battle
in the bicker on the Castle Brae.  A small stone which I dislodged now
rolled down the rock, and tumbled into the abyss close beside him.  He
turned his head, and after looking at me for a moment somewhat vacantly,
he resumed his former attitude.  I drew yet nearer to the horrible edge;
not close, however, for fear was on me.

"What are you thinking of, David?" said I, as I sat behind him and
trembled, for I repeat that I was afraid.

_David Haggart_.  I was thinking of Willie Wallace.

_Myself_.  You had better be thinking of yourself, man.  A strange place
this to come to and think of William Wallace.

_David Haggart_.  Why so?  Is not his tower just beneath our feet?

_Myself_.  You mean the auld ruin by the side of the Nor Loch--the ugly
stane bulk, from the foot of which flows the spring into the dyke, where
the watercresses grow?

_David Haggart_.  Just sae, Geordie.

_Myself_.  And why were ye thinking of him?  The English hanged him long
since, as I have heard say.

_David Haggart_.  I was thinking that I should wish to be like him.

_Myself_.  Do ye mean that ye would wish to be hanged?

_David Haggart_.  I wad na flinch from that, Geordie, if I might be a
great man first.

_Myself_.  And wha kens, Davie, how great you may be, even without
hanging?  Are ye not in the high road of preferment?  Are ye not a bauld
drummer already?  Wha kens how high ye may rise? perhaps to be general,
or drum-major.

_David Haggart_.  I hae na wish to be drum-major; it were na great things
to be like the doited carle, Else-than-gude, as they call him; and,
troth, he has na his name for naething.  But I should have nae objection
to be a general, and to fight the French and Americans, and win myself a
name and a fame like Willie Wallace, and do brave deeds, such as I have
been reading about in his story book.

_Myself_.  Ye are a fule, Davie; the story book is full of lies.  Wallace,
indeed! the wuddie rebel!  I have heard my father say that the Duke of
Cumberland was worth twenty of Willie Wallace.

_David Haggart_.  Ye had better say naething agin Willie Wallace,
Geordie, for, if ye do, De'il hae me, if I dinna tumble ye doon the
craig.

* * * * *

Fine materials in that lad for a hero, you will say.  Yes, indeed, for a
hero, or for what he afterwards became.  In other times, and under other
circumstances, he might have made what is generally termed a great man, a
patriot, or a conqueror.  As it was, the very qualities which might then
have pushed him on to fortune and renown were the cause of his ruin.  The
war over, he fell into evil courses; for his wild heart and ambitious
spirit could not brook the sober and quiet pursuits of honest industry.

"Can an Arabian steed submit to be a vile drudge?" cries the fatalist.
Nonsense!  A man is not an irrational creature, but a reasoning being,
and has something within him beyond mere brutal instinct.  The greatest
victory which a man can achieve is over himself, by which is meant those
unruly passions which are not convenient to the time and place.  David
did not do this; he gave the reins to his wild heart, instead of curbing
it, and became a robber, and, alas! alas! he shed blood--under peculiar
circumstances, it is true, and without _malice prepense_--and for that
blood he eventually died, and justly; for it was that of the warden of a
prison from which he was escaping, and whom he slew with one blow of his
stalwart arm.

Tamerlane and Haggart!  Haggart and Tamerlane!  Both these men were
robbers, and of low birth, yet one perished on an ignoble scaffold, and
the other died emperor of the world.  Is this justice?  The ends of the
two men were widely dissimilar--yet what is the intrinsic difference
between them?  Very great, indeed; the one acted according to his lights
and his country, not so the other.  Tamerlane was a heathen, and acted
according to his lights; he was a robber where all around were robbers,
but he became the avenger of God--God's scourge on unjust kings, on the
cruel Bajazet, who had plucked out his own brothers' eyes; he became to a
certain extent the purifier of the East, its regenerator; his equal never
was before, nor has it since been seen.  Here the wild heart was
profitably employed, the wild strength, the teeming brain.  Onward, Lame
one!  Onward, Tamur--lank!  Haggart. . . .

But peace to thee, poor David! why should a mortal worm be sitting in
judgment over thee?  The Mighty and Just One has already judged thee, and
perhaps above thou hast received pardon for thy crimes, which could not
be pardoned here below; and now that thy feverish existence has closed,
and thy once active form become inanimate dust, thy very memory all but
forgotten, I will say a few words about thee, a few words soon also to be
forgotten.  Thou wast the most extraordinary robber that ever lived
within the belt of Britain; Scotland rang with thy exploits, and England,
too, north of the Humber; strange deeds also didst thou achieve when,
fleeing from justice, thou didst find thyself in the Sister Isle; busy
wast thou there in town and on curragh, at fair and race-course, and also
in the solitary place.  Ireland thought thee her child, for who spoke her
brogue better than thyself?--she felt proud of thee, and said, "Sure,
O'Hanlon is come again."  What might not have been thy fate in the far
west in America, whither thou hadst turned thine eye, saying, "I will go
there, and become an honest man!"  But thou wast not to go there,
David--the blood which thou hadst shed in Scotland was to be required of
thee; the avenger was at hand, the avenger of blood.  Seized, manacled,
brought back to thy native land, condemned to die, thou wast left in thy
narrow cell, and told to make the most of thy time, for it was short: and
there, in thy narrow cell, and thy time so short, thou didst put the
crowning stone to thy strange deeds, by that strange history of thyself,
penned by thy own hand in the robber tongue.  Thou mightest have been
better employed, David!--but the ruling passion was strong with thee,
even in the jaws of death.  Thou mightest have been better employed!--but
peace be with thee, I repeat, and the Almighty's grace and pardon.



CHAPTER IX


Napoleon--The Storm--The Cove--Up the Country--The Trembling
Hand--Irish--Tough Battle--Tipperary Hills--Elegant Lodgings--A
Speech--Fair Specimen--Orangemen.

Onward, onward! and after we had sojourned in Scotland nearly two years,
{88} the long Continental war had been brought to an end, Napoleon was
humbled for a time, and the Bourbons restored to a land which could well
have dispensed with them; we returned to England, where the corps was
disbanded, and my parents with their family retired to private life.  I
shall pass over in silence the events of a year, which offer little of
interest as far as connected with me and mine.  Suddenly, however, the
sound of war was heard again, Napoleon had broken forth from Elba, and
everything was in confusion.  Vast military preparations were again made,
our own corps was levied anew, and my brother became an officer in it;
but the danger was soon over, Napoleon was once more quelled, and chained
for ever, like Prometheus, to his rock.  As the corps, however, though so
recently levied, had already become a very fine one, thanks to my
father's energetic drilling, the Government very properly determined to
turn it to some account, and, as disturbances were apprehended in Ireland
about this period, it occurred to them that they could do no better than
despatch it to that country.

In the autumn of the year 1815, we set sail from a port in Essex; {89a}
we were some eight hundred strong, and were embarked in two ships, very
large, but old and crazy; a storm overtook us when off Beachy Head, in
which we had nearly foundered.  I was awakened early in the morning by
the howling of the wind, and the uproar on deck.  I kept myself close,
however, as is still my constant practice on similar occasions, and
waited the result with that apathy and indifference which violent sea-
sickness is sure to produce.  We shipped several seas, and once the
vessel missing stays--which, to do it justice, it generally did at every
third or fourth tack--we escaped almost by a miracle from being dashed
upon the foreland.  On the eighth day of our voyage we were in sight of
Ireland.  The weather was now calm and serene, the sun shone brightly on
the sea and on certain green hills in the distance, on which I descried
what at first sight I believed to be two ladies gathering flowers, which,
however, on our nearer approach, proved to be two tall white towers,
doubtless built for some purpose or other, though I did not learn for
what.

We entered a kind of bay, or cove, {89b} by a narrow inlet; it was a
beautiful and romantic place this cove, very spacious, and, being nearly
land-locked, was sheltered from every wind.  A small island, every inch
of which was covered with fortifications, appeared to swim upon the
waters, whose dark blue denoted their immense depth; tall green hills,
which ascended gradually from the shore, formed the background to the
west; they were carpeted to the top with turf of the most vivid green,
and studded here and there with woods, seemingly of oak; there was a
strange old castle half way up the ascent, a village on a crag--but the
mists of morning were half veiling the scene when I surveyed it, and the
mists of time are now hanging densely between it and my no longer
youthful eye; I may not describe it;--nor will I try.

Leaving the ship in the cove, we passed up a wide river in boats till we
came to a city, {90} where we disembarked.  It was a large city, as large
as Edinburgh to my eyes; there were plenty of fine houses, but little
neatness; the streets were full of impurities; handsome equipages rolled
along, but the greater part of the population were in rags; beggars
abounded; there was no lack of merriment, however; boisterous shouts of
laughter were heard on every side.  It appeared a city of contradictions.
After a few days' rest we marched from this place in two divisions.  My
father commanded the second, I walked by his side.

Our route lay up the country; the country at first offered no very
remarkable feature, it was pretty, but tame.  On the second day, however,
its appearance had altered, it had become more wild; a range of distant
mountains bounded the horizon.  We passed through several villages, as I
suppose I may term them, of low huts, the walls formed of rough stones
without mortar, the roof of flags laid over wattles and wicker-work; they
seemed to be inhabited solely by women and children; the latter were
naked, the former, in general, blear-eyed beldames, who sat beside the
doors on low stools, spinning.  We saw, however, both men and women
working at a distance in the fields.

I was thirsty; and going up to an ancient crone, employed in the manner
which I have described, I asked her for water; she looked me in the face,
appeared to consider a moment, then tottering into her hut, presently
reappeared with a small pipkin of milk, which she offered to me with a
trembling hand.  I drank the milk; it was sour, but I found it highly
refreshing.  I then took out a penny and offered it to her, whereupon she
shook her head, smiled, and, patting my face with her skinny hand,
murmured some words in a tongue which I had never heard before.

I walked on by my father's side, holding the stirrup-leather of his
horse; presently several low uncouth cars passed by, drawn by starved
cattle: the drivers were tall fellows, with dark features and athletic
frames--they wore long loose blue cloaks with sleeves, which last,
however, dangled unoccupied: these cloaks appeared in tolerably good
condition, not so their under garments.  On their heads were broad
slouching hats: the generality of them were bare-footed.  As they passed,
the soldiers jested with them in the patois of East Anglia, whereupon the
fellows laughed, and appeared to jest with the soldiers; but what they
said who knows, it being in a rough guttural language, strange and wild.
The soldiers stared at each other, and were silent.

"A strange language that!" said a young officer to my father, "I don't
understand a word of it; what can it be?"

"Irish!" said my father, with a loud voice, "and a bad language it is.  I
have known it of old, that is, I have often heard it spoken when I was a
guardsman in London.  There's one part of London where all the Irish
live--at least all the worst of them--and there they hatch their
villanies and speak this tongue; it is that which keeps them together and
makes them dangerous: I was once sent there to seize a couple of
deserters--Irish--who had taken refuge amongst their companions; we found
them in what was in my time called a ken, that is a house where only
thieves and desperadoes are to be found.  Knowing on what kind of
business I was bound, I had taken with me a sergeant's party; it was well
I did so.  We found the deserters in a large room, with at least thirty
ruffians, horrid-looking fellows, seated about a long table, drinking,
swearing, and talking Irish.  Ah! we had a tough battle, I remember; the
two fellows did nothing, but sat still, thinking it best to be quiet; but
the rest, with an ubbubboo, like the blowing up of a powder-magazine,
sprang up, brandishing their sticks; for these fellows always carry
sticks with them even to bed, and not unfrequently spring up in their
sleep, striking left and right."

"And did you take the deserters?" said the officer.

"Yes," said my father; "for we formed at the end of the room, and charged
with fixed bayonets, which compelled the others to yield notwithstanding
their numbers; but the worst was when we got out into the street; the
whole district had become alarmed, and hundreds came pouring down upon
us--men, women, and children.  Women, did I say!--they looked fiends,
half naked, with their hair hanging down over their bosoms; they tore up
the very pavement to hurl at us, sticks rang about our ears, stones, and
Irish--I liked the Irish worst of all, it sounded so horrid, especially
as I did not understand it.  It's a bad language."

"A queer tongue," said I; "I wonder if I could learn it?"

"Learn it!" said my father; "what should you learn it for?--however, I am
not afraid of that.  It is not like Scotch; no person can learn it, save
those who are born to it, and even in Ireland the respectable people do
not speak it, only the wilder sort, like those we have passed."

Within a day or two we had reached a tall range of mountains running
north and south, which I was told were those of Tipperary; along the
skirts of these we proceeded till we came to a town, {93} the principal
one of these regions.  It was on the bank of a beautiful river, which
separated it from the mountains.  It was rather an ancient place, and
might contain some ten thousand inhabitants--I found that it was our
destination; there were extensive barracks at the farther end, in which
the corps took up its quarters; with respect to ourselves, we took
lodgings in a house which stood in the principal street.

"You never saw more elegant lodgings than these, captain," said the
master of the house, a tall, handsome, and athletic man, who came up
whilst our little family were seated at dinner late in the afternoon of
the day of our arrival; "they beat anything in this town of Clonmel.  I
do not let them for the sake of interest, and to none but gentlemen in
the army, in order that myself and my wife, who is from Londonderry, may
have the advantage of pleasant company, genteel company; ay, and
Protestant company, captain.  It did my heart good when I saw your honour
ride in at the head of all those fine fellows, real Protestants, I'll
engage, not a Papist among them, they are too good-looking and honest-
looking for that.  So I no sooner saw your honour at the head of your
army, with that handsome young gentleman holding by your stirrup, than I
said to my wife, Mistress Hyne, who is from Londonderry, 'God bless me,'
said I, 'what a truly Protestant countenance, what a noble bearing, and
what a sweet young gentleman.  By the silver hairs of his honour--and
sure enough I never saw hairs more regally silver than those of your
honour--by his honour's grey silver hairs, and by my own soul, which is
not worthy to be mentioned in the same day with one of them--it would be
no more than decent and civil to run out and welcome such a father and
son coming in at the head of such a Protestant military.'  And then my
wife, who is from Londonderry, Mistress Hyne, looking me in the face like
a fairy as she is, 'You may say that,' says she.  'It would be but decent
and civil, honey.'  And your honour knows how I ran out of my own door
and welcomed your honour riding in company with your son, who was
walking; how I welcomed ye both at the head of your royal regiment, and
how I shook your honour by the hand, saying, I am glad to see your
honour, and your honour's son, and your honour's royal military
Protestant regiment.  And now I have you in the house, and right proud I
am to have ye one and all; one, two, three, four, true Protestants every
one, no Papists here; and I have made bold to bring up a bottle of claret
which is now waiting behind the door; and, when your honour and your
family have dined, I will make bold too to bring up Mistress Hyne, from
Londonderry, to introduce to your honour's lady, and then we'll drink to
the health of King George, God bless him; to the 'glorious and
immortal'--to Boyne water--to your honour's speedy promotion to be Lord
Lieutenant, and to the speedy downfall of the Pope and Saint Anthony of
Padua."

Such was the speech of the Irish Protestant addressed to my father in the
long lofty dining-room with three windows, looking upon the High Street
of the good town of Clonmel, as he sat at meat with his family, after
saying grace like a true-hearted respectable soldier as he was.

"A bigot and an Orangeman!"  Oh yes!  It is easier to apply epithets of
opprobrium to people than to make yourself acquainted with their history
and position.  He was a specimen, and a fair specimen, of a most
remarkable body of men, who during two centuries have fought a good fight
in Ireland in the cause of civilisation and religious truth; they were
sent as colonists, few in number, into a barbarous and unhappy country,
where ever since, though surrounded with difficulties of every kind, they
have maintained their ground; theirs has been no easy life, nor have
their lines fallen upon very pleasant places; amidst darkness they have
held up a lamp, and it would be well for Ireland were all her children
like these her adopted ones.  "But they are fierce and sanguinary," it is
said.  Ay, ay! they have not unfrequently opposed the keen sword to the
savage pike.  "But they are bigoted and narrow-minded."  Ay, ay! they do
not like idolatry, and will not bow the knee before a stone!  "But their
language is frequently indecorous."  Go to, my dainty one, did ye ever
listen to the voice of Papist cursing?

The Irish Protestants have faults, numerous ones; but the greater number
of these may be traced to the peculiar circumstances of their position:
but they have virtues, numerous ones; and their virtues are their own,
their industry, their energy, and their undaunted resolution are their
own.  They have been vilified and traduced--but what would Ireland be
without them?  I repeat, that it would be well for her were all her sons
no worse than these much calumniated children of her adoption.



CHAPTER X


Protestant Young Gentlemen--The Greek Letters--Open Chimney--Murtagh--Paris
and Salamanca--Nothing to do--To whit, to whoo!--The Pack of Cards--Before
Christmas.

We continued at this place for some months, during which time the
soldiers performed their duties, whatever they were; and I, having no
duties to perform, was sent to school.  I had been to English schools,
and to the celebrated one of Edinburgh; but my education, at the present
day, would not be what it is--perfect, had I never had the honour of
being _alumnus_ in an Irish seminary.

"Captain," said our kind host, "you would, no doubt, wish that the young
gentleman should enjoy every advantage which the town may afford towards
helping him on in the path of genteel learning.  It's a great pity that
he should waste his time in idleness--doing nothing else than what he
says he has been doing for the last fortnight--fishing in the river for
trouts which he never catches; and wandering up the glen in the mountain,
in search of the hips that grow there.  Now, we have a school here, where
he can learn the most elegant Latin, and get an insight into the Greek
letters, which is desirable; and where, moreover, he will have an
opportunity of making acquaintance with all the Protestant young
gentlemen of the place, the handsome well-dressed young persons whom your
honour sees in the church on the Sundays, when your honour goes there in
the morning, with the rest of the Protestant military; for it is no
Papist school, though there may be a Papist or two there--a few poor
farmers' sons from the country, with whom there is no necessity for your
honour's child to form any acquaintance at all, at all!"

And to the school I went, where I read the Latin tongue and the Greek
letters, with a nice old clergyman, who sat behind a black oaken desk,
with a huge Elzevir {98} Flaccus before him, in a long gloomy kind of
hall, with a broken stone floor, the roof festooned with cobwebs, the
walls considerably dilapidated, and covered over with strange figures and
hieroglyphics, evidently produced by the application of burnt stick; and
there I made acquaintance with the Protestant young gentlemen of the
place, who, with whatever _eclat_ they might appear at church on a
Sunday, did assuredly not exhibit to much advantage in the school-room on
the week days, either with respect to clothes or looks.  And there I was
in the habit of sitting on a large stone, before the roaring fire in the
huge open chimney, and entertaining certain of the Protestant young
gentlemen of my own age, seated on similar stones, with extraordinary
accounts of my own adventures, and those of the corps, with an occasional
anecdote extracted from the story-books of Hickathrift and Wight Wallace,
pretending to be conning the lesson all the while.

And there I made acquaintance, notwithstanding the hint of the landlord,
with the Papist "gossoons," as they were called, the farmers' sons from
the country; and of these gossoons, of which there were three, two might
be reckoned as nothing at all; in the third, however, I soon discovered
that there was something extraordinary.

He was about sixteen years old, and above six feet high, dressed in a
grey suit; the coat, from its size, appeared to have been made for him
some ten years before.  He was remarkably narrow-chested and
round-shouldered, owing perhaps as much to the tightness of his garment
as to the hand of nature.  His face was long, and his complexion swarthy,
relieved, however, by certain freckles, with which the skin was
plentifully studded.  He had strange wandering eyes, grey, and somewhat
unequal in size; they seldom rested on the book, but were generally
wandering about the room, from one object to another.  Sometimes he would
fix them intently on the wall, and then suddenly starting, as if from a
reverie, he would commence making certain mysterious movements with his
thumbs and forefingers, as if he were shuffling something from him.

One morning, as he sat by himself on a bench, engaged in this manner, I
went up to him, and said, "Good day, Murtagh; you do not seem to have
much to do?"

"Faith, you may say that, Shorsha dear!--it is seldom much to do that I
have."

"And what are you doing with your hands?"

"Faith, then, if I must tell you, I was e'en dealing with the cards."

"Do you play much at cards?"

"Sorra a game, Shorsha, have I played with the cards since my uncle
Phelim, the thief! stole away the ould pack, when he went to settle in
the county Waterford!"

"But you have other things to do?"

"Sorra anything else has Murtagh to do that he cares about; and that
makes me dread so going home at nights."

"I should like to know all about you; where do you live, joy?"

"Faith, then, ye shall know all about me, and where I live.  It is at a
place called the Wilderness that I live, and they call it so, because it
is a fearful wild place, without any house near it but my father's own;
and that's where I live when at home."

"And your father is a farmer, I suppose?"

"You may say that; and it is a farmer I should have been, like my brother
Denis, had not my uncle Phelim, the thief! tould my father to send me to
school, to learn Greek letters, that I might be made a saggart of, and
sent to Paris and Salamanca."

"And you would rather be a farmer than a priest?"

"You may say that!--for, were I a farmer, like the rest, I should have
something to do, like the rest--something that I cared for--and I should
come home tired at night, and fall asleep, as the rest do, before the
fire; but when I comes home at night I am not tired, for I have been
doing nothing all day that I care for; and then I sits down and stares
about me, and at the fire, till I become frighted; and then I shouts to
my brother Denis, or to the gossoons, 'Get up, I say, and let's be doing
something; tell us the tale of Finn-ma-Coul, and how he lay down in the
Shannon's bed, and let the river flow down his jaws!'  Arrah, Shorsha!  I
wish you would come and stay with us, and tell us some o' your sweet
stories of your ownself and the snake ye carried about wid ye.  Faith,
Shorsha dear! that snake bates anything about Finn-ma-Coul or Brian
Boroo, the thieves two, bad luck to them!"

"And do they get up and tell you stories?"

"Sometimes they does, but oftenmost they curses me, and bids me be quiet!
But I can't be quiet, either before the fire or abed; so I runs out of
the house, and stares at the rocks, at the trees, and sometimes at the
clouds, as they run a race across the bright moon; and, the more I
stares, the more frighted I grows, till I screeches and holloas.  And
last night I went into the barn, and hid my face in the straw; and there,
as I lay and shivered in the straw, I heard a voice above my head singing
out 'To whit, to whoo!' and then up I starts, and runs into the house,
and falls over my brother Denis, as he lies at the fire.  'What's that
for?' says he.  'Get up, you thief!' says I, 'and be helping me.  I have
been out into the barn, and an owl has crow'd at me!'"

"And what has this to do with playing cards?"

"Little enough, Shorsha dear!--If there were card-playing, I should not
be frighted."

"And why do you not play at cards?"

"Did I not tell you that the thief, my uncle Phelim, stole away the pack?
If we had the pack, my brother Denis and the gossoons would be ready
enough to get up from their sleep before the fire, and play cards with me
for ha'pence, or eggs, or nothing at all; but the pack is gone--bad luck
to the thief who took it!"

"And why don't you buy another?"

"Is it of buying you are speaking?  And where am I to get the money?"

"Ah! that's another thing!"

"Faith it is, honey!--And now the Christmas holidays is coming, when I
shall be at home by day as well as night, and then what am I to do?  Since
I have been a saggarting, I have been good for nothing at all--neither
for work nor Greek--only to play cards!  Faith, it's going mad I will
be!"

"I say, Murtagh!"

"Yes, Shorsha dear!"

"I have a pack of cards."

"You don't say so, Shorsha ma vourneen?--you don't say that you have
cards fifty-two?"

"I do, though; and they are quite new--never been once used."

"And you'll be lending them to me, I warrant?"

"Don't think it!--But I'll sell them to you, joy, if you like."

"Hanam mon Dioul! am I not after telling you that I have no money at
all?"

"But you have as good as money, to me, at least; and I'll take it in
exchange."

"What's that, Shorsha dear?"

"Irish!"

"Irish?"

"Yes, you speak Irish; I heard you talking it the other day to the
cripple.  You shall teach me Irish."

"And is it a language-master you'd be making of me?"

"To be sure!--what better can you do?--it would help you to pass your
time at school.  You can't learn Greek, so you must teach Irish!"

Before Christmas, Murtagh was playing at cards with his brother Denis,
and I could speak a considerable quantity of broken Irish.



CHAPTER XI


Templemore--Devil's Mountain--No Companion--Force of Circumstance--Way of
the World--Ruined Castle--Grim and Desolate--The Donjon--Old Woman--My
Own House.

When Christmas was over, and the new year commenced, we broke up our
quarters, and marched away to Templemore. {104}  This was a large
military station, situated in a wild and thinly inhabited country.
Extensive bogs were in the neighbourhood, connected with the huge bog of
Allan, the Palus Maeotis of Ireland.  Here and there was seen a ruined
castle looming through the mists of winter; whilst, at the distance of
seven miles, rose a singular mountain, exhibiting in its brow a chasm, or
vacuum, just, for all the world, as if a piece had been bitten out; a
feat which, according to the tradition of the country, had actually been
performed by his Satanic majesty, who, after flying for some leagues with
the morsel in his mouth, becoming weary, dropped it in the vicinity of
Cashel, where it may now be seen in the shape of a bold bluff hill,
crowned with the ruins of a stately edifice, probably built by some
ancient Irish king.

We had been here only a few days, when my brother, who, as I have before
observed, had become one of His Majesty's officers, was sent on
detachment to a village at about ten miles' distance.  He was not
sixteen, and, though three years older than myself, scarcely my equal in
stature, for I had become tall and large-limbed for my age; but there was
a spirit in him which would not have disgraced a general; and, nothing
daunted at the considerable responsibility which he was about to incur,
he marched sturdily out of the barrack-yard at the head of his party,
consisting of twenty light infantry men, and a tall grenadier sergeant,
selected expressly by my father, for the soldier-like qualities which he
possessed, to accompany his son on this his first expedition.  So out of
the barrack-yard, with something of an air, marched my dear brother, his
single drum and fife playing the inspiring old melody,

   "Marlbrouk is gone to the wars,
   He'll never return no more!"

I soon missed my brother, for I was now alone, with no being, at all
assimilating in age, with whom I could exchange a word.  Of late years,
from being almost constantly at school, I had cast aside, in a great
degree, my unsocial habits and natural reserve, but in the desolate
region in which we now were there was no school; and I felt doubly the
loss of my brother, whom, moreover, I tenderly loved for his own sake.
Books I had none, at least such "as I cared about"; and with respect to
the old volume, the wonders of which had first beguiled me into common
reading, I had so frequently pored over its pages, that I had almost got
its contents by heart.  I was therefore in danger of falling into the
same predicament as Murtagh, becoming "frighted" from having nothing to
do!  Nay, I had not even his resources; I cared not for cards, even if I
possessed them, and could find people disposed to play with them.
However, I made the most of circumstances, and roamed about the desolate
fields and bogs in the neighbourhood, sometimes entering the cabins of
the peasantry, with a "God's blessing upon you, good people!" where I
would take my seat on the "stranger's stone" at the corner of the hearth,
and, looking them full in the face, would listen to the carles and
carlines talking Irish.

Ah, that Irish!  How frequently do circumstances, at first sight the most
trivial and unimportant, exercise a mighty and permanent influence on our
habits and pursuits!--how frequently is a stream turned aside from its
natural course by some little rock or knoll, causing it to make an abrupt
turn!  On a wild road in Ireland I had heard Irish spoken for the first
time; and I was seized with a desire to learn Irish, the acquisition of
which, in my case, became the stepping-stone to other languages.  I had
previously learnt Latin, or rather Lilly; but neither Latin nor Lilly
made me a philologist.  I had frequently heard French and other
languages, but had felt little desire to become acquainted with them; and
what, it may be asked, was there connected with the Irish calculated to
recommend it to my attention?

First of all, and principally, I believe, the strangeness and singularity
of its tones; then there was something mysterious and uncommon associated
with its use.  It was not a school language, to acquire which was
considered an imperative duty; no, no; nor was it a drawing-room
language, drawled out occasionally, in shreds and patches, by the ladies
of generals and other great dignitaries, to the ineffable dismay of poor
officers' wives.  Nothing of the kind; but a speech spoken in out-of-the-
way desolate places, and in cut-throat kens, where thirty ruffians, at
the sight of the king's minions, would spring up with brandished sticks
and an "ubbubboo, like the blowing up of a powder-magazine."  Such were
the points connected with the Irish, which first awakened in my mind the
desire of acquiring it; and by acquiring it I became, as I have already
said, enamoured of languages.  Having learnt one by choice, I speedily,
as the reader will perceive, learnt others, some of which were widely
different from Irish.

Ah, that Irish!  I am much indebted to it in more ways than one.  But I
am afraid I have followed the way of the world, which is very much wont
to neglect original friends and benefactors.  I frequently find myself,
at present, turning up my nose at Irish when I hear it in the street; yet
I have still a kind of regard for it, the fine old language:

   "A labhair Padruic n'insefail nan riogh."

One of the most peculiar features of this part of Ireland is the ruined
castles, which are so thick and numerous that the face of the country
appears studded with them, it being difficult to choose any situation
from which one, at least, may not be descried.  They are of various ages
and styles of architecture, some of great antiquity, like the stately
remains which crown the Crag of Cashel; others built by the early English
conquerors; others, and probably the greater part, erections of the times
of Elizabeth and Cromwell.  The whole speaking monuments of the troubled
and insecure state of the country, from the most remote periods to a
comparatively modern time.

From the windows of the room where I slept I had a view of one of these
old places--an indistinct one, it is true, the distance being too great
to permit me to distinguish more than the general outline.  I had an
anxious desire to explore it.  It stood to the south-east; in which
direction, however, a black bog intervened, which had more than once
baffled all my attempts to cross it.  One morning, however, when the sun
shone brightly upon the old building, it appeared so near, that I felt
ashamed at not being able to accomplish a feat seemingly so easy; I
determined, therefore, upon another trial.  I reached the bog, and was
about to venture upon its black surface, and to pick my way amongst its
innumerable holes, yawning horribly, and half filled with water black as
soot, when it suddenly occurred to me that there was a road to the south,
by following which I might find a more convenient route to the object of
my wishes.  The event justified my expectations, for, after following the
road for some three miles, seemingly in the direction of the Devil's
Mountain, I suddenly beheld the castle on my left.

I diverged from the road, and, crossing two or three fields, came to a
small grassy plain, in the midst of which stood the castle.  About a gun-
shot to the south was a small village, which had, probably, in ancient
days, sprung up beneath its protection.  A kind of awe came over me as I
approached the old building.  The sun no longer shone upon it, and it
looked so grim, so desolate and solitary; and here was I, in that wild
country, alone with that grim building before me.  The village was within
sight, it is true; but it might be a village of the dead for what I knew;
no sound issued from it, no smoke was rising from its roofs, neither man
nor beast was visible, no life, no motion--it looked as desolate as the
castle itself.  Yet I was bent on the adventure, and moved on towards the
castle across the green plain, occasionally casting a startled glance
around me; and now I was close to it.

It was surrounded by a quadrangular wall, about ten feet in height, with
a square tower at each corner.  At first I could discover no entrance;
walking round, however, to the northern side, I found a wide and lofty
gateway with a tower above it, similar to those at the angles of the
wall; on this side the ground sloped gently down towards the bog, which
was here skirted by an abundant growth of copsewood, and a few evergreen
oaks.  I passed through the gateway, and found myself within a square
enclosure of about two acres.  On one side rose a round and lofty keep,
or donjon, with a conical roof, part of which had fallen down, strewing
the square with its ruins.  Close to the keep, on the other side, stood
the remains of an oblong house, built something in the modern style, with
various window-holes; nothing remained but the bare walls and a few
projecting stumps of beams, which seemed to have been half burnt.  The
interior of the walls was blackened, as if by fire; fire also appeared at
one time to have raged out of the window-holes, for the outside about
them was black, portentously so.  "I wonder what has been going on here!"
I exclaimed.

There were echoes among the walls as I walked about the court.  I entered
the keep by a low and frowning doorway: the lower floor consisted of a
large dungeon-like room, with a vaulted roof; on the left hand was a
winding staircase in the thickness of the wall; it looked anything but
inviting; yet I stole softly up, my heart beating.  On the top of the
first flight of stairs was an arched doorway, to the left was a dark
passage, to the right, stairs leading still higher.  I stepped under the
arch and found myself in an apartment somewhat similar to the one below,
but higher.  There was an object at the farther end.

An old woman, at least eighty, was seated on a stone, cowering over a few
sticks burning feebly on what had once been a right noble and cheerful
hearth; her side-glance was towards the doorway as I entered, for she had
heard my footsteps.  I stood suddenly still, and her haggard glance
rested on my face.

"Is this your house, mother?" I at length demanded, in the language which
I thought she would best understand.

"Yes, my house, my own house; the house of the broken-hearted."

"Any other person's house?" I demanded.

"My own house, the beggar's house--the accursed house of Cromwell!"



CHAPTER XII


A Visit--Figure of a Man--The Dog of Peace--The Raw Wound--The
Guard-room--Boy Soldier--Person in Authority--Never Solitary--Clergyman
and Family--Still-hunting--Fairy Man--Near Sunset--Bagg--Left-handed
Hitter--.Irish and Supernatural--At Swanton Morley.

One morning I set out, designing to pay a visit to my brother, at the
place where he was detached; the distance was rather considerable, yet I
hoped to be back by evening-fall, for I was now a shrewd walker, thanks
to constant practice.  I set out early, and, directing my course towards
the north, I had in less than two hours accomplished considerably more
than half of the journey.  The weather had at first been propitious: a
slight frost had rendered the ground firm to the tread, and the skies
were clear; but now a change came over the scene, the skies darkened, and
a heavy snowstorm came on; the road then lay straight through a bog, and
was bounded by a deep trench on both sides; I was making the best of my
way, keeping as nearly as I could in the middle of the road, lest,
blinded by the snow which was frequently borne into my eyes by the wind,
I might fall into the dyke, when all at once I heard a shout to windward,
and turning my eyes I saw the figure of a man, and what appeared to be an
animal of some kind, coming across the bog with great speed, in the
direction of myself; the nature of the ground seemed to offer but little
impediment to these beings, both clearing the holes and abysses which lay
in their way with surprising agility; the animal was, however, some
slight way in advance, and, bounding over the dyke, appeared on the road
just before me.  It was a dog, of what species I cannot tell, never
having seen the like before or since; the head was large and round; the
ears so tiny as scarcely to be discernible; the eyes of a fiery red: in
size it was rather small than large; and the coat, which was remarkably
smooth, as white as the falling flakes.  It placed itself directly in my
path, and showing its teeth, and bristling its coat, appeared determined
to prevent my progress.  I had an ashen stick in my hand, with which I
threatened it; this, however, only served to increase its fury; it rushed
upon me, and I had the utmost difficulty to preserve myself from its
fangs.

"What are you doing with the dog, the fairy dog?" said a man, who at this
time likewise cleared the dyke at a bound.

He was a very tall man, rather well dressed as it should seem; his
garments, however, were like my own, so covered with snow that I could
scarcely discern their quality.

"What are ye doing with the dog of peace?"

"I wish he would show himself one," said I; "I said nothing to him, but
he placed himself in my road, and would not let me pass."

"Of course he would not be letting you till he knew where ye were going."

"He's not much of a fairy," said I, "or he would know that without
asking; tell him that I am going to see my brother."

"And who is your brother, little Sas?"

"What my father is, a royal soldier."

"Oh, ye are going then to the detachment at ---; by my shoul, I have a
good mind to be spoiling your journey."

"You are doing that already," said I, "keeping me here talking about dogs
and fairies; you had better go home and get some salve to cure that place
over your eye; it's catching cold you'll be, in so much snow."

On one side of the man's forehead there was a raw and staring wound, as
if from a recent and terrible blow.

"Faith, then I'll be going, but it's taking you wid me I will be."

"And where will you take me?"

"Why, then, to Ryan's Castle, little Sas."

"You do not speak the language very correctly," said I; "it is not Sas
you should call me--'tis Sassanach," and forthwith I accompanied the word
with a speech full of flowers of Irish rhetoric.

The man looked upon me for a moment, fixedly, then, bending his head
towards his breast, he appeared to be undergoing a kind of convulsion,
which was accompanied by a sound something resembling laughter; presently
he looked at me, and there was a broad grin on his features.

"By my shoul, it's a thing of peace I'm thinking ye."

But now with a whisking sound came running down the road a hare; it was
nearly upon us before it perceived us; suddenly stopping short, however,
it sprang into the bog on the right-hand side; after it amain bounded the
dog of peace, followed by the man, but not until he had nodded to me a
farewell salutation.  In a few moments I lost sight of him amidst the
snowflakes.

The weather was again clear and fine before I reached the place of
detachment.  It was a little wooden barrack, surrounded by a wall of the
same material; a sentinel stood at the gate, I passed by him, and,
entering the building, found myself in a rude kind of guard-room; several
soldiers were lying asleep on a wooden couch at one end, others lounged
on benches by the side of a turf fire.  The tall sergeant stood before
the fire, holding a cooking utensil in his left hand; on seeing me, he
made the military salutation.

"Is my brother here?" said I, rather timidly, dreading to hear that he
was out, perhaps for the day.

"The ensign is in his room, sir," said Bagg; "I am now preparing his
meal, which will presently be ready; you will find the ensign above
stairs," and he pointed to a broken ladder which led to some place above.

And there I found him--the boy soldier--in a kind of upper loft, so low
that I could touch with my hands the sooty rafters; the floor was of
rough boards, through the joints of which you could see the gleam of the
soldiers' fire, and occasionally discern their figures as they moved
about; in one corner was a camp bedstead, by the side of which hung the
child's sword, gorget, and sash; a deal table stood in the proximity of
the rusty grate, where smoked and smouldered a pile of black turf from
the bog,--a deal table without a piece of baize to cover it, yet fraught
with things not devoid of interest: a Bible, given by a mother; the
Odyssey, the Greek Odyssey; a flute, with broad silver keys; crayons,
moreover, and water colours; and a sketch of a wild prospect near, which,
though but half finished, afforded ample proof of the excellence and
skill of the boyish hand now occupied upon it.

Ah! he was a sweet being, that boy soldier, a plant of early promise,
bidding fair to become in after time all that is great, good, and
admirable.  I have read of a remarkable Welshman, of whom it was said,
when the grave closed over him, that he could frame a harp, and play it;
build a ship, and sail it; compose an ode, and set it to music.  A brave
fellow that son of Wales--but I had once a brother who could do more and
better than this, but the grave has closed over him, as over the gallant
Welshman of yore; there are now but two that remember him--the one who
bore him, and the being who was nurtured at the same breast.  He was
taken, and I was left!--Truly, the ways of Providence are inscrutable.

"You seem to be very comfortable, John," said I, looking around the room
and at the various objects which I have described above: "you have a good
roof over your head, and have all your things about you."

"Yes, I am very comfortable, George, in many respects; I am, moreover,
independent, and feel myself a man for the first time in my
life--independent, did I say?--that's not the word, I am something much
higher than that; here am I, not sixteen yet, a person in authority, like
the centurion in the Book there, with twenty Englishmen under me, worth a
whole legion of his men, and that fine fellow Bagg to wait upon me, and
take my orders.  Oh! these last six weeks have passed like hours of
heaven."

"But your time must frequently hang heavy on your hands; this is a
strange wild place, and you must be very solitary?"

"I am never solitary; I have, as you see, all my things about me, and
there is plenty of company below stairs.  Not that I mix with the
soldiers; if I did, goodbye to my authority; but when I am alone I can
hear all their discourse through the planks, and I often laugh to myself
at the funny things they say."

"And have you any acquaintance here?"

"The very best; much better than the Colonel and the rest, at their grand
Templemore; I had never so many in my whole life before.  One has just
left me, a gentleman who lives at a distance across the bog; he comes to
talk with me about Greek, and the Odyssey, for he is a very learned man,
and understands the old Irish, and various other strange languages.  He
has had a dispute with Bagg.  On hearing his name, he called him to him,
and, after looking at him for some time with great curiosity, said that
he was sure he was a Dane.  Bagg, however, took the compliment in
dudgeon, and said that he was no more a Dane than himself, but a true-
born Englishman, and a sergeant of six years' standing."

"And what other acquaintance have you?"

"All kinds; the whole neighbourhood can't make enough of me.  Amongst
others there's the clergyman of the parish and his family; such a
venerable old man, such fine sons and daughters!  I am treated by them
like a son and a brother--I might be always with them if I pleased;
there's one drawback, however, in going to see them; there's a horrible
creature in the house, a kind of tutor, whom they keep more from charity
than anything else; he is a Papist and, they say, a priest; you should
see him scowl sometimes at my red coat, for he hates the king, and not
unfrequently, when the king's health is drunk, curses him between his
teeth.  I once got up to strike him; but the youngest of the sisters, who
is the handsomest, caught my arm and pointed to her forehead."

"And what does your duty consist of?  Have you nothing else to do than
pay visits and receive them?"

"We do what is required of us: we guard this edifice, perform our
evolutions, and help the excise.  I am frequently called up in the dead
of night to go to some wild place or other in quest of an illicit still;
this last part of our duty is poor mean work; I don't like it, nor more
does Bagg; though without it, we should not see much active service, for
the neighbourhood is quiet; save the poor creatures with their stills,
not a soul is stirring.  'Tis true there's Jerry Grant."

"And who is Jerry Grant?"

"Did you never hear of him? that's strange; the whole country is talking
about him; he is a kind of outlaw, rebel, or robber, all three I dare
say; there's a hundred pounds offered for his head."

"And where does he live?"

"His proper home, they say, is in the Queen's County, where he has a
band, but he is a strange fellow, fond of wandering about by himself
amidst the bogs and mountains, and living in the old castles;
occasionally he quarters himself in the peasants' houses, who let him do
just what he pleases; he is free of his money, and often does them good
turns, and can be good-humoured enough, so they don't dislike him.  Then
he is what they call a fairy man, a person in league with fairies and
spirits, and able to work much harm by supernatural means, on which
account they hold him in great awe; he is, moreover, a mighty strong and
tall fellow.  Bagg has seen him."

"Has he?"

"Yes! and felt him; he too is a strange one.  A few days ago he was told
that Grant had been seen hovering about an old castle some two miles off
in the bog; so one afternoon what does he do but, without saying a word
to me--for which, by the bye, I ought to put him under arrest, though
what I should do without Bagg I have no idea whatever--what does he do
but walk off to the castle, intending, as I suppose, to pay a visit to
Jerry.  He had some difficulty in getting there on account of the turf-
holes in the bog, which he was not accustomed to; however, thither at
last he got and went in.  It was a strange lonesome place, he says, and
he did not much like the look of it; however, in he went, and searched
about from the bottom to the top and down again, but could find no one;
he shouted and hallooed, but nobody answered, save the rooks and choughs,
which started up in great numbers.  'I have lost my trouble,' said Bagg,
and left the castle.  It was now late in the afternoon, near sunset, when
about half way over the bog he met a man--"

"And that man was--"

"Jerry Grant! there's no doubt of it.  Bagg says it was the most sudden
thing in the world.  He was moving along, making the best of his way,
thinking of nothing at all save a public-house at Swanton Morley, which
he intends to take when he gets home, and the regiment is
disbanded--though I hope that will not be for some time yet: he had just
leaped a turf-hole, and was moving on, when, at the distance of about six
yards before him, he saw a fellow coming straight towards him.  Bagg says
that he stopped short, as suddenly as if he had heard the word halt, when
marching at double quick time.  It was quite a surprise, he says, and he
can't imagine how the fellow was so close upon him before he was aware.
He was an immense tall fellow--Bagg thinks at least two inches taller
than himself--very well dressed in a blue coat and buff breeches, for all
the world like a squire when going out hunting.  Bagg, however, saw at
once that he had a roguish air, and he was on his guard in a moment.
'Good evening to ye, sodger,' says the fellow, stepping close up to Bagg,
and staring him in the face.  'Good evening to you, sir!  I hope you are
well,' says Bagg.  'You are looking after some one?' says the fellow.
'Just so, sir,' says Bagg, and forthwith seized him by the collar; the
man laughed, Bagg says it was such a strange awkward laugh.  'Do you know
whom you have got hold of, sodger?' said he.  'I believe I do, sir,' said
Bagg, 'and in that belief will hold you fast in the name of King George,
and the quarter sessions;' the next moment he was sprawling with his
heels in the air.  Bagg says there was nothing remarkable in that; he was
only flung by a kind of wrestling trick, which he could easily have
baffled, had he been aware of it.  'You will not do that again, sir,'
said he, as he got up and put himself on his guard.  The fellow laughed
again more strangely and awkwardly than before; then, bending his body
and moving his head from one side to the other as a cat does before she
springs, and crying out, 'Here's for ye, sodger!' he made a dart at Bagg,
rushing in with his head foremost.  'That will do, sir,' says Bagg, and,
drawing himself back, he put in a left-handed blow with all the force of
his body and arm, just over the fellow's right eye.  Bagg is a
left-handed hitter, you must know, and it was a blow of that kind which
won him his famous battle at Edinburgh with the big Highland sergeant.
Bagg says that he was quite satisfied with the blow, more especially when
he saw the fellow reel, fling out his arms, and fall to the ground.  'And
now, sir,' said he, 'I'll make bold to hand you over to the quarter
sessions, and, if there is a hundred pounds for taking you, who has more
right to it than myself?'  So he went forward, but ere he could lay hold
of his man the other was again on his legs, and was prepared to renew the
combat.  They grappled each other--Bagg says he had not much fear of the
result, as he now felt himself the best man, the other seeming half
stunned with the blow--but just then there came on a blast, a horrible
roaring wind bearing night upon its wings, snow, and sleet, and hail.
Bagg says he had the fellow by the throat quite fast, as he thought, but
suddenly he became bewildered, and knew not where he was; and the man
seemed to melt away from his grasp, and the wind howled more and more,
and the night poured down darker and darker; the snow and the sleet
thicker and more blinding.  'Lord have mercy upon us!' said Bagg."

_Myself_.  A strange adventure that; it is well that Bagg got home alive.

_John_.  He says that the fight was a fair fight, and that the fling he
got was a fair fling, the result of a common enough wrestling trick.  But
with respect to the storm, which rose up just in time to save the fellow,
he is of opinion that it was not fair, but something Irish and
supernatural.

_Myself_.  I dare say he's right.  I have read of witchcraft in the
Bible.

_John_.  He wishes much to have one more encounter with the fellow; he
says that on fair ground, and in fine weather, he has no doubt that he
could master him, and hand him over to the quarter sessions.  He says
that a hundred pounds would be no bad thing to be disbanded upon; for he
wishes to take an inn at Swanton Morley, keep a cock-pit, and live
respectably.

_Myself_.  He is quite right; and now kiss me, my darling brother, for I
must go back through the bog to Templemore.



CHAPTER XIII


Groom and Cob--Strength and Symmetry--Where's the Saddle?--The First
Ride--No more Fatigue--Love for Horses--Pursuit of Words--Philologist and
Pegasus--The Smith--What more, Agrah!--Sassanach Ten Pence.

And it came to pass that, as I was standing by the door of the barrack
stable, one of the grooms came out to me, saying, "I say, young
gentleman, I wish you would give the cob a breathing this fine morning."

"Why do you wish me to mount him?" said I; "you know he is dangerous.  I
saw him fling you off his back only a few days ago."

"Why, that's the very thing, master.  I'd rather see anybody on his back
than myself; he does not like me; but, to them he does, he can be as
gentle as a lamb."

"But suppose," said I, "that he should not like me?"

"We shall soon see that, master," said the groom; "and, if so be he shows
temper, I will be the first to tell you to get down.  But there's no fear
of that; you have never angered or insulted him, and to such as you, I
say again, he'll be as gentle as a lamb."

"And how came you to insult him," said I, "knowing his temper as you do?"

"Merely through forgetfulness, master: I was riding him about a month
ago, and having a stick in my hand, I struck him, thinking I was on
another horse, or rather thinking of nothing at all.  He has never
forgiven me, though before that time he was the only friend I had in the
world; I should like to see you on him, master."

"I should soon be off him; I can't ride."

"Then you are all right, master; there's no fear.  Trust him for not
hurting a young gentleman, an officer's son, who can't ride.  If you were
a blackguard dragoon, indeed, with long spurs, 'twere another thing; as
it is, he'll treat you as if he were the elder brother that loves you.
Ride! he'll soon teach you to ride if you leave the matter with him.  He's
the best riding master in all Ireland, and the gentlest."

The cob was led forth; what a tremendous creature!  I had frequently seen
him before, and wondered at him; he was barely fifteen hands, but he had
the girth of a metropolitan dray-horse; his head was small in comparison
with his immense neck, which curved down nobly to his wide back: his
chest was broad and fine, and his shoulders models of symmetry and
strength; he stood well and powerfully upon his legs, which were somewhat
short.  In a word, he was a gallant specimen of the genuine Irish cob, a
species at one time not uncommon, but at the present day nearly extinct.

"There!" said the groom, as he looked at him, half admiringly, half
sorrowfully, "with sixteen stone on his back, he'll trot fourteen miles
in one hour; with your nine stone, some two and a half more; ay, and
clear a six-foot wall at the end of it."

"I'm half afraid," said I; "I had rather you would ride him."

"I'd rather so, too, if he would let me; but he remembers the blow.  Now,
don't be afraid, young master, he's longing to go out himself.  He's been
trampling with his feet these three days, and I know what that means;
he'll let anybody ride him but myself, and thank them; but to me he says,
'No! you struck me.'"

"But," said I, "where's the saddle?"

"Never mind the saddle; if you are ever to be a frank rider, you must
begin without a saddle; besides, if he felt a saddle, he would think you
don't trust him, and leave you to yourself.  Now, before you mount, make
his acquaintance--see there, how he kisses you and licks your face, and
see how he lifts his foot, that's to shake hands.  You may trust him--now
you are on his back at last; mind how you hold the bridle--gently,
gently!  It's not four pair of hands like yours can hold him if he wishes
to be off.  Mind what I tell you--leave it all to him."

Off went the cob at a slow and gentle trot, too fast and rough, however,
for so inexperienced a rider.  I soon felt myself sliding off, the animal
perceived it too, and instantly stood stone still till I had righted
myself; and now the groom came up: "When you feel yourself going," said
he, "don't lay hold of the mane, that's no use; mane never yet saved man
from falling, no more than straw from drowning; it's his sides you must
cling to with your calves and feet, till you learn to balance yourself.
That's it, now abroad with you; I'll bet my comrade a pot of beer that
you'll be a regular rough rider by the time you come back."

And so it proved; I followed the directions of the groom, and the cob
gave me every assistance.  How easy is riding, after the first timidity
is got over, to supple and youthful limbs; and there is no second fear.
The creature soon found that the nerves of his rider were in proper tone.
Turning his head half round, he made a kind of whining noise, flung out a
little foam, and set off.

In less than two hours I had made the circuit of the Devil's Mountain,
and was returning along the road, bathed with perspiration, but screaming
with delight; the cob laughing in his equine way, scattering foam and
pebbles to the left and right, and trotting at the rate of sixteen miles
an hour.

Oh, that ride! that first ride!--most truly it was an epoch in my
existence; and I still look back to it with feelings of longing and
regret.  People may talk of first love--it is a very agreeable event, I
dare say--but give me the flush, and triumph, and glorious sweat of a
first ride, like mine on the mighty cob!  My whole frame was shaken, it
is true; and during one long week I could hardly move foot or hand; but
what of that?  By that one trial I had become free, as I may say, of the
whole equine species.  No more fatigue, no more stiffness of joints,
after that first ride round the Devil's Hill on the cob.

Oh, that cob! that Irish cob!--may the sod lie lightly over the bones of
the strongest, speediest, and most gallant of its kind!  Oh! the days
when, issuing from the barrack-gate of Templemore, we commenced our hurry-
skurry just as inclination led--now across the fields--direct over stone
walls and running brooks--mere pastime for the cob!--sometimes along the
road to Thurles and Holy Cross, even to distant Cahir!--what was distance
to the cob?

It was thus that the passion for the equine race was first awakened
within me--a passion which, up to the present time, has been rather on
the increase than diminishing.  It is no blind passion; the horse being a
noble and generous creature, intended by the All-Wise to be the helper
and friend of man, to whom he stands next in the order of creation.  On
many occasions of my life I have been much indebted to the horse, and
have found in him a friend and coadjutor, when human help and sympathy
were not to be obtained.  It is therefore natural enough that I should
love the horse; but the love which I entertain for him has always been
blended with respect; for I soon perceived that, though disposed to be
the friend and helper of man, he is by no means inclined to be his slave;
in which respect he differs from the dog, who will crouch when beaten;
whereas the horse spurns, for he is aware of his own worth, and that he
carries death within the horn of his heel.  If, therefore, I found it
easy to love the horse, I found it equally natural to respect him.

I much question whether philology, or the passion for languages, requires
so little of an apology as the love for horses.  It has been said, I
believe, that the more languages a man speaks, the more a man is he;
which is very true, provided he acquires languages as a medium for
becoming acquainted with the thoughts and feelings of the various
sections into which the human race is divided; but, in that case, he
should rather be termed a philosopher than a philologist--between which
two the difference is wide indeed!  An individual may speak and read a
dozen languages, and yet be an exceedingly poor creature, scarcely half a
man; and the pursuit of tongues for their own sake, and the mere
satisfaction of acquiring them, surely argues an intellect of a very low
order; a mind disposed to be satisfied with mean and grovelling things;
taking more pleasure in the trumpery casket than in the precious treasure
which it contains; in the pursuit of words, than in the acquisition of
ideas.

I cannot help thinking that it was fortunate for myself, who am, to a
certain extent, a philologist, that with me the pursuit of languages has
been always modified by the love of horses; for scarcely had I turned my
mind to the former, when I also mounted the wild cob, and hurried forth
in the direction of the Devil's Hill, scattering dust and flint-stones on
every side; that ride, amongst other things, taught me that a lad with
thews and sinews was intended by nature for something better than mere
word-culling; and if I have accomplished anything in after life worthy of
mentioning, I believe it may partly be attributed to the ideas which that
ride, by setting my blood in a glow, infused into my brain.  I might,
otherwise, have become a mere philologist; one of those beings who toil
night and day in culling useless words for some _opus magnum_ which
Murray will never publish, and nobody ever read; beings without
enthusiasm, who, having never mounted a generous steed, cannot detect a
good point in Pegasus himself; like a certain philologist, who, though
acquainted with the exact value of every word in the Greek and Latin
languages, could observe no particular beauty in one of the most glorious
of Homer's rhapsodies.  What knew he of Pegasus? he had never mounted a
generous steed; the merest jockey, had the strain been interpreted to
him, would have called it a brave song!--I return to the brave cob.

On a certain day I had been out on an excursion.  In a cross-road, at
some distance from the Satanic hill, the animal which I rode cast a shoe.
By good luck a small village was at hand, at the entrance of which was a
large shed, from which proceeded a most furious noise of hammering.
Leading the cob by the bridle, I entered boldly.  "Shoe this horse, and
do it quickly, a gough," said I to a wild grimy figure of a man, whom I
found alone, fashioning a piece of iron.

"Arrigod yuit?" said the fellow, desisting from his work, and staring at
me.

"Oh yes, I have money," said I, "and of the best;" and I pulled out an
English shilling.

"Tabhair chugam?" said the smith, stretching out his grimy hand.

"No, I shan't," said I; "some people are glad to get their money when
their work is done."

The fellow hammered a little longer, and then proceeded to shoe the cob,
after having first surveyed it with attention.  He performed his job
rather roughly, and more than once appeared to give the animal
unnecessary pain, frequently making use of loud and boisterous words.  By
the time the work was done, the creature was in a state of high
excitement, and plunged and tore.  The smith stood at a short distance,
seeming to enjoy the irritation of the animal, and showing, in a
remarkable manner, a huge fang, which projected from the under jaw of a
very wry mouth.

"You deserve better handling," said I, as I went up to the cob and
fondled it; whereupon it whinnied, and attempted to touch my face with
its nose.

"Are ye not afraid of that beast?" said the smith, showing his fang.
"Arrah, it's vicious that he looks!"

"It's at you, then!--I don't fear him;" and thereupon I passed under the
horse, between its hind legs.

"And is that all you can do, agrah?" said the smith.

"No," said I, "I can ride him."

"Ye can ride him, and what else, agrah?"

"I can leap him over a six-foot wall," said I.

"Over a wall, and what more, agrah?"

"Nothing more," said I; "what more would you have?"

"Can you do this, agrah?" said the smith; and he uttered a word which I
had never heard before, in a sharp pungent tone.  The effect upon myself
was somewhat extraordinary, a strange thrill ran through me; but with
regard to the cob it was terrible; the animal forthwith became like one
mad, and reared and kicked with the utmost desperation.

"Can you do that, agrah?" said the smith.

"What is it?" said I, retreating; "I never saw the horse so before."

"Go between his legs, agrah," said the smith, "his hinder legs;" and he
again showed his fang.

"I dare not," said I; "he would kill me."

"He would kill ye! and how do ye know that, agrah?"

"I feel he would," said I; "something tells me so."

"And it tells ye truth, agrah; but it's a fine beast, and it's a pity to
see him in such a state: Is agam an't leigeas"--and here he uttered
another word in a voice singularly modified, but sweet and almost
plaintive; the effect of it was as instantaneous as that of the other,
but how different!--the animal lost all its fury, and became at once calm
and gentle.  The smith went up to it, coaxed and patted it, making use of
various sounds of equal endearment; then turning to me, and holding out
once more the grimy hand, he said, "And now ye will be giving me the
Sassanach ten pence, agrah?"



CHAPTER XIV


A Fine Old City--Norman Master-Work--Lollards' Hole--Good Blood--The
Spaniard's Sword--Old Retired Officer--Writing to a Duke--God help the
Child--Nothing like Jacob--Irish Brigades--Old Sergeant Meredith--I Have
Been Young--Idleness--Only Course Open--The Bookstall--A Portrait--A
Banished Priest.

From the wild scenes which I have attempted to describe in the latter
pages I must now transport the reader to others of a widely different
character.  He must suppose himself no longer in Ireland, but in the
eastern corner of merry England.  Bogs, ruins, and mountains have
disappeared amidst the vapours of the west: I have nothing more to say of
them; the region in which we are now is not famous for objects of that
kind: perhaps it flatters itself that it can produce fairer and better
things, of some of which let me speak; there is a fine old city before
us, and first of that let me speak. {131}

A fine old city, truly, is that, view it from whatever side you will; but
it shows best from the east, where the ground, bold and elevated,
overlooks the fair and fertile valley in which it stands.  Gazing from
those heights, the eye beholds a scene which cannot fail to awaken, even
in the least sensitive bosom, feelings of pleasure and admiration.  At
the foot of the heights flows a narrow and deep river, with an antique
bridge communicating with a long and narrow suburb, flanked on either
side by rich meadows of the brightest green, beyond which spreads the
city; the fine old city, perhaps the most curious specimen at present
extant of the genuine old English town.  Yes, there it spreads from north
to south, with its venerable houses, its numerous gardens, its thrice
twelve churches, its mighty mound, which, if tradition speaks true, was
raised by human hands to serve as the grave heap of an old heathen king,
who sits deep within it, with his sword in his hand, and his gold and
silver treasures about him.  There is a grey old castle {132a} upon the
top of that mighty mound; and yonder, rising three hundred feet above the
soil, from among those noble forest trees, behold that old Norman master-
work, {132b} that cloud-encircled cathedral spire, around which a
garrulous army of rooks and choughs continually wheel their flight.  Now,
who can wonder that the children of that fine old city are proud of her,
and offer up prayers for her prosperity?  I, myself, who was not born
within her walls, offer up prayers for her prosperity, that want may
never visit her cottages, vice her palaces, and that the abomination of
idolatry may never pollute her temples.  Ha, idolatry! the reign of
idolatry has been over there for many a long year, never more, let us
hope, to return; brave hearts in that old town have borne witness against
it, and sealed their testimony with their hearts' blood--most precious to
the Lord is the blood of His saints! we are not far from hallowed ground.
Observe ye not yon chalky precipice, to the right of the Norman bridge?
{133}  On this side of the stream, upon its brow, is a piece of ruined
wall, the last relic of what was of old a stately pile, whilst at its
foot is a place called the Lollards' Hole; and with good reason, for many
a saint of God has breathed his last beneath that white precipice,
bearing witness against popish idolatry, midst flame and pitch; many a
grisly procession has advanced along that suburb, across the old bridge,
towards the Lollards' Hole: furious priests in front, a calm pale martyr
in the midst, a pitying multitude behind.  It has had its martyrs, the
venerable old town!

Ah! there is good blood in that old city, and in the whole circumjacent
region of which it is the capital.  The Angles possessed the land at an
early period, which, however, they were eventually compelled to share
with hordes of Danes and Northmen, who flocked thither across the sea to
found hearthsteads on its fertile soil.  The present race, a mixture of
Angles and Danes, still preserve much which speaks strongly of their
northern ancestry; amongst them ye will find the light brown hair of the
north, the strong and burly forms of the north, many a wild superstition,
ay, and many a wild name connected with the ancient history of the north
and its sublime mythology; the warm heart, and the strong heart of the
old Danes and Saxons still beats in those regions, and there ye will
find, if anywhere, old northern hospitality and kindness of manner,
united with energy, perseverance, and dauntless intrepidity; better
soldiers or mariners never bled in their country's battles than those
nurtured in those regions, and within those old walls.  It was yonder, to
the west, that the great naval hero of Britain first saw the light; {134}
he who annihilated the sea pride of Spain, and dragged the humbled banner
of France in triumph at his stern.  He was born yonder, towards the west,
and of him there is a glorious relic in that old town; in its dark flint
guildhouse, the roof of which you can just descry rising above that maze
of buildings, in the upper hall of justice, is a species of glass shrine,
in which the relic is to be seen: a sword of curious workmanship, the
blade is of keen Toledan steel, the heft of ivory and mother-of-pearl.
'Tis the sword of Cordova, won in bloodiest fray off Saint Vincent's
promontory, and presented by Nelson to the old capital of the much-loved
land of his birth.  Yes, the proud Spaniard's sword is to be seen in
yonder guildhouse, in the glass case affixed to the wall: many other
relics has the good old town, but none prouder than the Spaniard's sword.

Such was the place to which, when the war was over, my father retired: it
was here that the old tired soldier set himself down with his little
family.  He had passed the greater part of his life in meritorious
exertion, in the service of his country, and his chief wish now was to
spend the remainder of his days in quiet and respectability; his means,
it is true, were not very ample; fortunate it was that his desires
corresponded with them: with a small fortune of his own, and with his
half-pay as a royal soldier, he had no fears for himself or for his
faithful partner and helpmate; but then his children! how was he to
provide for them? how launch them upon the wide ocean of the world?  This
was, perhaps, the only thought which gave him uneasiness, and I believe
that many an old retired officer at that time, and under similar
circumstances, experienced similar anxiety; had the war continued, their
children would have been, of course, provided for in the army, but peace
now reigned, and the military career was closed to all save the scions of
the aristocracy, or those who were in some degree connected with that
privileged order, an advantage which few of these old officers could
boast of; they had slight influence with the great, who gave themselves
very little trouble either about them or their families.

"I have been writing to the Duke," said my father one day to my excellent
mother, after we had been at home somewhat better than a year.  "I have
been writing to the Duke of York about a commission for that eldest boy
of ours.  He, however, affords me no hopes; he says that his list is
crammed with names, and that the greater number of the candidates have
better claims than my son."

"I do not see how that can be," said my mother.

"Nor do I," replied my father.  "I see the sons of bankers and merchants
gazetted every month, and I do not see what claims they have to urge,
unless they be golden ones.  However, I have not served my king fifty
years to turn grumbler at this time of life.  I suppose that the people
at the head of affairs know what is most proper and convenient; perhaps
when the lad sees how difficult, nay, how impossible it is that he should
enter the army, he will turn his mind to some other profession; I wish he
may!"

"I think he has already," said my mother; "you see how fond he is of the
arts, of drawing and painting, and, as far as I can judge, what he has
already done is very respectable; his mind seems quite turned that way,
and I heard him say the other day that he would sooner be a Michael
Angelo than a general officer.  But you are always talking of him; what
do you think of doing with the other child?"

"What, indeed!" said my father; "that is a consideration which gives me
no little uneasiness.  I am afraid it will be much more difficult to
settle him in life than his brother.  What is he fitted for, even were it
in my power to provide for him?  God help the child!  I bear him no ill
will, on the contrary, all love and affection; but I cannot shut my eyes;
there is something so strange about him!  How he behaved in Ireland!  I
sent him to school to learn Greek, and he picked up Irish!"

"And Greek as well," said my mother.  "I heard him say the other day that
he could read St. John in the original tongue."

"You will find excuses for him, I know," said my father.  "You tell me I
am always talking of my first-born; I might retort by saying you are
always thinking of the other; but it is the way of women always to side
with the second-born.  There's what's her name in the Bible, by whose
wiles the old blind man was induced to give to his second son the
blessing which was the birthright of the other.  I wish I had been in his
place!  I should not have been so easily deceived! no disguise would ever
have caused me to mistake an impostor for my first-born.  Though I must
say for this boy that he is nothing like Jacob; he is neither smooth nor
sleek, and, though my second-born, is already taller and larger than his
brother."

"Just so," said my mother; "his brother would make a far better Jacob
than he."

"I will hear nothing against my first-born," said my father, "even in the
way of insinuation: he is my joy and pride; the very image of myself in
my youthful days, long before I fought Big Ben; though perhaps not quite
so tall or strong built.  As for the other, God bless the child!  I love
him, I'm sure; but I must be blind not to see the difference between him
and his brother.  Why, he has neither my hair nor my eyes; and then his
countenance! why, 'tis absolutely swarthy, God forgive me! I had almost
said like that of a gypsy, but I have nothing to say against that; the
boy is not to be blamed for the colour of his face, nor for his hair and
eyes; but, then, his ways and manners!--I confess I do not like them, and
that they give me no little uneasiness--I know that he kept very strange
company when he was in Ireland; people of evil report, of whom terrible
things were said--horse-witches and the like.  I questioned him once or
twice upon the matter, and even threatened him, but it was of no use; he
put on a look as if he did not understand me, a regular Irish look, just
such a one as those rascals assume when they wish to appear all innocence
and simplicity, and they full of malice and deceit all the time.  I don't
like them; they are no friends to old England, or its old king, God bless
him!  They are not good subjects, and never were; always in league with
foreign enemies.  When I was in the Coldstream, long before the
Revolution, I used to hear enough about the Irish brigades kept by the
French kings, to be a thorn in the side of the English whenever
opportunity served.  Old Sergeant Meredith once told me, that in the time
of the Pretender there were always, in London alone, a dozen of fellows
connected with these brigades, with the view of seducing the king's
soldiers from their allegiance, and persuading them to desert to France
to join the honest Irish, as they were called.  One of these traitors
once accosted him and proposed the matter to him, offering handfuls of
gold if he could induce any of his comrades to go over.  Meredith
appeared to consent; but secretly gave information to his colonel; the
fellow was seized, and certain traitorous papers found upon him; he was
hanged before Newgate, and died exulting in his treason.  His name was
Michael Nowlan.  That ever son of mine should have been intimate with the
Papist Irish, and have learnt their language!"

"But he thinks of other things now," said my mother.

"Other languages, you mean," said my father.  "It is strange that he has
conceived such a zest for the study of languages; no sooner did he come
home than he persuaded me to send him to that old priest to learn French
and Italian, and, if I remember right, you abetted him; but, as I said
before, it is in the nature of women invariably to take the part of the
second-born.  Well, there is no harm in learning French and Italian,
perhaps much good in his case, as they may drive the other tongue out of
his head.  Irish! why he might go to the university but for that; but how
would he look when, on being examined with respect to his attainments, it
was discovered that he understood Irish?  How did you learn it? they
would ask him; how did you become acquainted with the language of Papists
and rebels?  The boy would be sent away in disgrace."

"Be under no apprehension; I have no doubt that he has long since
forgotten it."

"I am glad to hear it," said my father; "for, between ourselves, I love
the poor child; ay, quite as well as my first-born.  I trust they will do
well, and that God will be their shield and guide; I have no doubt He
will, for I have read something in the Bible to that effect.  What is
that text about the young ravens being fed?"

"I know a better than that," said my mother; "one of David's own words,
'I have been young and now am grown old, yet never have I seen the
righteous man forsaken, or his seed begging their bread.'"

I have heard talk of the pleasures of idleness, yet it is my own firm
belief that no one ever yet took pleasure in it.  Mere idleness is the
most disagreeable state of existence, and both mind and body are
continually making efforts to escape from it.  It has been said that
idleness is the parent of mischief, which is very true; but mischief
itself is merely an attempt to escape from the dreary vacuum of idleness.
There are many tasks and occupations which a man is unwilling to perform,
but let no one think that he is therefore in love with idleness; he turns
to something which is more agreeable to his inclination, and doubtless
more suited to his nature; but he is not in love with idleness.  A boy
may play the truant from school because he dislikes books and study; but,
depend upon it, he intends doing something the while--to go fishing, or
perhaps to take a walk; and who knows but that from such excursions both
his mind and body may derive more benefit than from books and school?
Many people go to sleep to escape from idleness; the Spaniards do; and,
according to the French account, John Bull, the squire, hangs himself in
the month of November; but the French, who are a very sensible people,
attribute the action, "_a une grande envie de se desennuyer_;" he wishes
to be doing something, say they, and having nothing better to do, he has
recourse to the cord.

It was for want of something better to do that, shortly after my return
home, {140} I applied myself to the study of languages.  By the
acquisition of Irish, with the first elements of which I had become
acquainted under the tuition of Murtagh, I had contracted a certain zest
and inclination for the pursuit.  Yet it is probable, that had I been
launched about this time into some agreeable career, that of arms, for
example, for which, being the son of a soldier, I had, as was natural, a
sort of penchant, I might have thought nothing more of the acquisition of
tongues of any kind; but, having nothing to do, I followed the only
course suited to my genius which appeared open to me.

So it came to pass that one day, whilst wandering listlessly about the
streets of the old town, I came to a small bookstall, and stopping,
commenced turning over the books; I took up at least a dozen, and almost
instantly flung them down.  What were they to me?  At last, coming to a
thick volume, I opened it, and after inspecting its contents for a few
minutes, I paid for it what was demanded, and forthwith carried it home.

It was a tessara-glot grammar; a strange old book, printed somewhere in
Holland, which pretended to be an easy guide to the acquirement of the
French, Italian, Low Dutch, and English tongues, by means of which any
one conversant in any one of these languages could make himself master of
the other three.  I turned my attention to the French and Italian.  The
old book was not of much value; I derived some benefit from it, however,
and, conning it intensely, at the end of a few weeks obtained some
insight into the structure of these two languages.  At length I had
learnt all that the book was capable of informing me, yet was still far
from the goal to which it had promised to conduct me.  "I wish I had a
master!" I exclaimed; and the master was at hand.  In an old court of the
old town lived a certain elderly personage, perhaps sixty, or
thereabouts; he was rather tall, and something of a robust make, with a
countenance in which bluffness was singularly blended with vivacity and
grimace; and with a complexion which would have been ruddy, but for a
yellow hue which rather predominated.  His dress consisted of a snuff-
coloured coat and drab pantaloons, the former evidently seldom subjected
to the annoyance of a brush, and the latter exhibiting here and there
spots of something which, if not grease, bore a strong resemblance to it;
add to these articles an immense frill, seldom of the purest white, but
invariably of the finest French cambric, and you have some idea of his
dress.  He had rather a remarkable stoop, but his step was rapid and
vigorous, and as he hurried along the streets, he would glance to the
right and left with a pair of big eyes like plums, and on recognising any
one would exalt a pair of grizzled eyebrows, and slightly kiss a tawny
and ungloved hand.  At certain hours of the day he might be seen entering
the doors of female boarding-schools, generally with a book in his hand,
and perhaps another just peering from the orifice of a capacious back
pocket; and at a certain season of the year he might be seen, dressed in
white, before the altar of a certain small popish chapel, chanting from
the breviary in very intelligible Latin, or perhaps reading from the desk
in utterly unintelligible English.  Such was my preceptor in the French
and Italian tongues.  "Exul sacerdos; vone banished priest.  I came into
England twenty-five year ago, 'my dear.'" {142}



CHAPTER XV


Monsieur Dante--Condemned Musket--Sporting--Sweet Rivulet--The Earl's
Home--The Pool--The Sonorous Voice--What dost Thou Read?--Man of
Peace--Zohar and Mishna--Money-changers.

So I studied French and Italian under the tuition of the banished priest,
to whose house I went regularly every evening to receive instruction.  I
made considerable progress in the acquisition of the two languages.  I
found the French by far the most difficult, chiefly on account of the
accent, which my master himself possessed in no great purity, being a
Norman by birth.  The Italian was my favourite.

"_Vous serez_ _un jour un grand philologue_, _mon cher_," said the old
man, on our arriving at the conclusion of Dante's Hell.

"I hope I shall be something better," said I, "before I die, or I shall
have lived to little purpose."

"That's true, my dear! philologist--one small poor dog.  What would you
wish to be?"

"Many things sooner than that; for example, I would rather be like him
who wrote this book."

"_Quoi_, _Monsieur Dante_?  He was a vagabond, my dear, forced to fly
from his country.  No, my dear, if you would be like one poet, be like
Monsieur Boileau; he is the poet."

"I don't think so."

"How, not think so?  He wrote very respectable verses; lived and died
much respected by everybody.  T'other, one bad dog, forced to fly from
his country--died with not enough to pay his undertaker."

"Were you not forced to flee from your country?"

"That very true; but there is much difference between me and this Dante.
He fled from country because he had one bad tongue which he shook at his
betters.  I fly because benefice gone, and head going; not on account of
the badness of my tongue."

"Well," said I, "you can return now; the Bourbons are restored."

"I find myself very well here; not bad country.  _Il est vrai que la
France sera toujours la France_; but all are dead there who knew me.  I
find myself very well here.  Preach in popish chapel, teach schismatic,
that is Protestant, child tongues and literature.  I find myself very
well; and why?  Because I know how to govern my tongue; never call people
hard names.  _Ma foi_, _il y a beaucoup de difference entre moi et ce
sacre de Dante_."

Under this old man, who was well versed in the southern languages,
besides studying French and Italian, I acquired some knowledge of
Spanish.  But I did not devote my time entirely to philology; I had other
pursuits.  I had not forgotten the roving life I had led in former days,
nor its delights; neither was I formed by nature to be a pallid indoor
student.  No, no!  I was fond of other and, I say it boldly, better
things than study.  I had an attachment to the angle, ay, and to the gun
likewise.  In our house was a condemned musket, bearing somewhere on its
lock, in rather antique characters, "Tower, 1746"; with this weapon I had
already, in Ireland, performed some execution among the rooks and
choughs, and it was now again destined to be a source of solace and
amusement to me, in the winter season, especially on occasions of severe
frost when birds abounded.  Sallying forth with it at these times, far
into the country, I seldom returned at night without a string of
bullfinches, blackbirds, and linnets hanging in triumph round my neck.
When I reflect on the immense quantity of powder and shot which I crammed
down the muzzle of my uncouth fowling-piece, I am less surprised at the
number of birds which I slaughtered, than that I never blew my hands,
face, and old honey-combed gun, at one and the same time, to pieces.

But the winter, alas! (I speak as a fowler) seldom lasts in England more
than three or four months; so, during the rest of the year, when not
occupied with my philological studies, I had to seek for other
diversions.  I have already given a hint that I was also addicted to the
angle.  Of course there is no comparison between the two pursuits, the
rod and line seeming but very poor trumpery to one who has had the honour
of carrying a noble firelock.  There is a time, however, for all things;
and we return to any favourite amusement with the greater zest, from
being compelled to relinquish it for a season.  So, if I shot birds in
winter with my firelock, I caught fish in summer, or attempted so to do,
with my angle.  I was not quite so successful, it is true, with the
latter as with the former; possibly because it afforded me less pleasure.
It was, indeed, too much of a listless pastime to inspire me with any
great interest.  I not unfrequently fell into a doze, whilst sitting on
the bank, and more than once let my rod drop from my hands into the
water.

At some distance from the city, behind a range of hilly ground which
rises towards the south-west, is a small river, the waters of which,
after many meanderings, eventually enter the principal river of the
district, {146} and assist to swell the tide which it rolls down to the
ocean.  It is a sweet rivulet, and pleasant is it to trace its course
from its spring-head, high up in the remote regions of Eastern Anglia,
till it arrives in the valley behind yon rising ground; and pleasant is
that valley, truly a goodly spot, but most lovely where yonder bridge
crosses the little stream.  Beneath its arch the waters rush garrulously
into a blue pool, and are there stilled, for a time, for the pool is
deep, and they appear to have sunk to sleep.  Farther on, however, you
hear their voice again, where they ripple gaily over yon gravelly
shallow.  On the left, the hill slopes gently down to the margin of the
stream.  On the right is a green level, a smiling meadow, grass of the
richest decks the side of the slope; mighty trees also adorn it, giant
elms, the nearest of which, when the sun is nigh its meridian, fling a
broad shadow upon the face of the pool; through yon vista you catch a
glimpse of the ancient brick of an old English hall.  It has a stately
look, that old building, indistinctly seen, as it is, among those
umbrageous trees; you might almost suppose it an earl's home; and such it
was, or rather upon its site stood an earl's home, in days of old, for
there some old Kemp, some Sigurd, or Thorkild, roaming in quest of a
hearth-stead, settled down in the grey old time, when Thor and Freya were
yet gods, and Odin was a portentous name.  Yon old hall is still called
the Earl's Home, {147} though the hearth of Sigurd is now no more, and
the bones of the old Kemp, and of Sigrith his dame, have been mouldering
for a thousand years in some neighbouring knoll; perhaps yonder, where
those tall Norwegian pines shoot up so boldly into the air.  It is said
that the old earl's galley was once moored where is now that blue pool,
for the waters of that valley were not always sweet; yon valley was once
an arm of the sea, a salt lagoon, to which the war-barks of "Sigurd, in
search of a home," found their way.

I was in the habit of spending many an hour on the banks of that rivulet,
with my rod in my hand, and, when tired with angling, would stretch
myself on the grass, and gaze upon the waters as they glided past, and
not unfrequently, divesting myself of my dress, I would plunge into the
deep pool which I have already mentioned, for I had long since learned to
swim.  And it came to pass, that on one hot summer's day, after bathing
in the pool, I passed along the meadow till I came to a shallow part,
and, wading over to the opposite side, I adjusted my dress, and commenced
fishing in another pool, beside which was a small clump of hazels.

And there I sat upon the bank, at the bottom of the hill which slopes
down from "the Earl's home"; my float was on the waters, and my back was
towards the old hall.  I drew up many fish, small and great, which I took
from off the hook mechanically, and flung upon the bank, for I was almost
unconscious of what I was about, for my mind was not with my fish.  I was
thinking of my earlier years--of the Scottish crags and the heaths of
Ireland--and sometimes my mind would dwell on my studies--on the sonorous
stanzas of Dante, rising and falling like the waves of the sea--or would
strive to remember a couplet or two of poor Monsieur Boileau.

"Canst thou answer to thy conscience for pulling all those fish out of
the water, and leaving them to gasp in the sun?" said a voice, clear and
sonorous as a bell.

I started, and looked round.  Close behind me stood the tall figure of a
man, dressed in raiment of quaint and singular fashion, but of goodly
materials.  He was in the prime and vigour of manhood; his features
handsome and noble, but full of calmness and benevolence; at least I
thought so, though they were somewhat shaded by a hat of finest beaver,
with broad drooping eaves. {148}

"Surely that is a very cruel diversion in which thou indulgest, my young
friend?" he continued.

"I am sorry for it, if it be, sir," said I, rising; "but I do not think
it cruel to fish."

"What are thy reasons for not thinking so?"

"Fishing is mentioned frequently in Scripture.  Simon Peter was a
fisherman."

"True; and Andrew and his brother.  But thou forgettest: they did not
follow fishing as a diversion, as I fear thou doest.--Thou readest the
Scriptures?"

"Sometimes."

"Sometimes?--not daily?--that is to be regretted.  What profession dost
thou make?--I mean to what religious denomination dost thou belong, my
young friend?"

"Church."

"It is a very good profession--there is much of Scripture contained in
its liturgy.  Dost thou read aught besides the Scriptures?"

"Sometimes."

"What dost thou read besides?"

"Greek, and Dante."

"Indeed! then thou hast the advantage over myself; I can only read the
former.  Well, I am rejoiced to find that thou hast other pursuits beside
thy fishing.  Dost thou know Hebrew?"

"No."

"Thou shouldst study it.  Why dost thou not undertake the study?"

"I have no books."

"I will lend thee books, if thou wish to undertake the study.  I live
yonder at the hall, as perhaps thou knowest.  I have a library there, in
which are many curious books, both in Greek and Hebrew, which I will show
to thee, whenever thou mayest find it convenient to come and see me.
Farewell!  I am glad to find that thou hast pursuits more satisfactory
than thy cruel fishing."

And the man of peace departed, and left me on the bank of the stream.
Whether from the effect of his words, or from want of inclination to the
sport, I know not, but from that day I became less and less a
practitioner of that "cruel fishing."  I rarely flung line and angle into
the water, but I not unfrequently wandered by the banks of the pleasant
rivulet.  It seems singular to me, on reflection, that I never availed
myself of his kind invitation.  I say singular, for the extraordinary,
under whatever form, had long had no slight interest for me; and I had
discernment enough to perceive that yon was no common man.  Yet I went
not near him, certainly not from bashfulness, or timidity, feelings to
which I had long been an entire stranger.  Am I to regret this? perhaps,
for I might have learned both wisdom and righteousness from those calm,
quiet lips, and my after-course might have been widely different.  As it
was, I fell in with other guess companions, from whom I received widely
different impressions than those I might have derived from him.  When
many years had rolled on, long after I had attained manhood, and had seen
and suffered much, and when our first interview had long since been
effaced from the mind of the man of peace, I visited him in his venerable
hall, and partook of the hospitality of his hearth.  And there I saw his
gentle partner, and his fair children, and on the morrow he showed me the
books of which he had spoken years before, by the side of the stream.  In
the low quiet chamber, whose one window, shaded by a gigantic elm, looks
down the slope towards the pleasant stream, he took from the shelf his
learned books, Zohar and Mishna, Toldoth Jesu and Abarbenel.  "I am fond
of these studies," said he, "which, perhaps, is not to be wondered at,
seeing that our people have been compared to the Jews.  In one respect I
confess we are similar to them; we are fond of getting money.  I do not
like this last author, this Abarbenel, the worse for having been a money-
changer.  I am a banker myself, as thou knowest."

And would there were many like him, amidst the money-changers of princes!
The hall of many an earl lacks the bounty, the palace of many a prelate
the piety and learning, which adorn the quiet Quaker's home!



CHAPTER XVI


Fair of Horses--Looks of Respect--The Fast Trotter--Pair of Eyes--Strange
Men--Jasper, Your Pal--Force of Blood--Young Lady with Diamonds--Not
Quite so Beautiful.

I was standing on the Castle Hill in the midst of a fair of horses.

I have already had occasion to mention this castle.  It is the remains of
what was once a Norman stronghold, and is perched upon a round mound or
monticle, in the midst of the old city.  Steep is this mound and scarped,
evidently by the hand of man; a deep gorge, over which is flung a bridge,
separates it, on the south, from a broad swell of open ground called "the
hill"; of old the scene of many a tournament and feat of Norman chivalry,
but now much used as a show-place for cattle, where those who buy and
sell beeves and other beasts resort at stated periods.

So it came to pass that I stood upon this hill, observing a fair of
horses. {152}

The reader is already aware that I had long since conceived a passion for
the equine race; a passion in which circumstances had of late not
permitted me to indulge.  I had no horses to ride, but I took pleasure in
looking at them; and I had already attended more than one of these fairs:
the present was lively enough, indeed horse fairs are seldom dull.  There
was shouting and whooping, neighing and braying; there was galloping and
trotting; fellows with highlows and white stockings, and with many a
string dangling from the knees of their tight breeches, were running
desperately, holding horses by the halter, and in some cases dragging
them along; there were long-tailed steeds, and dock-tailed steeds of
every degree and breed; there were droves of wild ponies, and long rows
of sober cart horses; there were donkeys, and even mules: the last rare
things to be seen in damp, misty England, for the mule pines in mud and
rain, and thrives best with a hot sun above and a burning sand below.
There were--oh, the gallant creatures!  I hear their neigh upon the wind;
there were--goodliest sight of all--certain enormous quadrupeds only seen
to perfection in our native isle, led about by dapper grooms, their manes
ribanded and their tails curiously clubbed and balled.  Ha! ha!--how
distinctly do they say, ha! ha!

An old man draws nigh, he is mounted on a lean pony, and he leads by the
bridle one of these animals; nothing very remarkable about that creature,
unless in being smaller than the rest and gentle, which they are not; he
is not of the sightliest look; he is almost dun, and over one eye a thick
film has gathered.  But stay! there _is_ something remarkable about that
horse, there is something in his action in which he differs from all the
rest: as he advances, the clamour is hushed! all eyes are turned upon
him--what looks of interest--of respect--and, what is this? people are
taking off their hats--surely not to that steed!  Yes, verily! men,
especially old men, are taking off their hats to that one-eyed steed, and
I hear more than one deep-drawn ah!

"What horse is that?" said I to a very old fellow, the counterpart of the
old man on the pony, save that the last wore a faded suit of velveteen,
and this one was dressed in a white frock.

"The best in mother England," said the very old man, taking a knobbed
stick from his mouth, and looking me in the face, at first carelessly,
but presently with something like interest; "he is old like myself, but
can still trot his twenty miles an hour.  You won't live long, my swain;
tall and overgrown ones like thee never does; yet, if you should chance
to reach my years, you may boast to thy great grand boys, thou hast seen
Marshland Shales."

Amain I did for the horse what I would neither do for earl or baron,
doffed my hat; yes! I doffed my hat to the wondrous horse, the fast
trotter, the best in mother England; and I too drew a deep ah! and
repeated the words of the old fellows around.  "Such a horse as this we
shall never see again; a pity that he is so old." {154}

Now during all this time I had a kind of consciousness that I had been
the object of some person's observation; that eyes were fastened upon me
from somewhere in the crowd.  Sometimes I thought myself watched from
before, sometimes from behind; and occasionally methought that, if I just
turned my head to the right or left, I should meet a peering and
inquiring glance; and indeed once or twice I did turn, expecting to see
somebody whom I knew, yet always without success; though it appeared to
me that I was but a moment too late, and that some one had just slipped
away from the direction to which I turned, like the figure in a magic
lanthorn.  Once I was quite sure that there were a pair of eyes glaring
over my right shoulder; my attention, however, was so fully occupied with
the objects which I have attempted to describe, that I thought very
little of this coming and going, this flitting and dodging of I knew not
whom or what.  It was, after all, a matter of sheer indifference to me
who was looking at me.  I could only wish, whomsoever it might be, to be
more profitably employed; so I continued enjoying what I saw; and now
there was a change in the scene, the wondrous old horse departed with his
aged guardian; other objects of interest are at hand; two or three men on
horseback are hurrying through the crowd, they are widely different in
their appearance from the other people of the fair; not so much in dress,
for they are clad something after the fashion of rustic jockeys, but in
their look--no light brown hair have they, no ruddy cheeks, no blue quiet
glances belong to them; their features are dark, their locks long, black,
and shining, and their eyes are wild; they are admirable horsemen, but
they do not sit the saddle in the manner of common jockeys, they seem to
float or hover upon it, like gulls upon the waves; two of them are mere
striplings, but the third is a very tall man with a countenance
heroically beautiful, but wild, wild, wild.  As they rush along, the
crowd give way on all sides, and now a kind of ring or circus is formed,
within which the strange men exhibit their horsemanship, rushing past
each other, in and out, after the manner of a reel, the tall man
occasionally balancing himself upon the saddle, and standing erect on one
foot.  He had just regained his seat after the latter feat, and was about
to push his horse to a gallop, when a figure started forward close from
beside me, and laying his hand on his neck, and pulling him gently
downward, appeared to whisper something into his ear; presently the tall
man raised his head, and, scanning the crowd for a moment in the
direction in which I was standing, fixed his eyes full upon me, and anon
the countenance of the whisperer was turned, but only in part, and the
side-glance of another pair of wild eyes was directed towards my face,
but the entire visage of the big black man, half stooping as he was, was
turned full upon mine.

But now, with a nod to the figure who had stopped him, and with another
inquiring glance at myself, the big man once more put his steed into
motion, and, after riding round the ring a few more times, darted through
a lane in the crowd, and followed by his two companions disappeared,
whereupon the figure who had whispered to him, and had subsequently
remained in the middle of the space, came towards me, and, cracking a
whip which he held in his hand so loudly that the report was nearly equal
to that of a pocket pistol, he cried in a strange tone:

"What! the sap-engro? {156}  Lor! the sap-engro upon the hill!"

"I remember that word," said I, "and I almost think I remember you.  You
can't be--"

"Jasper, your pal!  Truth, and no lie, brother."

"It is strange that you should have known me," said I.  "I am certain,
but for the word you used, I should never have recognised you."

"Not so strange as you may think, brother; there is something in your
face which would prevent people from forgetting you, even though they
might wish it; and your face is not much altered since the time you wot
of, though you are so much grown.  I thought it was you, but to make sure
I dodged about, inspecting you.  I believe you felt me, though I never
touched you; a sign, brother, that we are akin, that we are dui palor--two
relations.  Your blood beat when mine was near, as mine always does at
the coming of a brother; and we became brothers in that lane."

"And where are you staying?" said I; "in this town?"

"Not in the town; the like of us don't find it exactly wholesome to stay
in towns, we keep abroad.  But I have little to do here--come with me,
and I'll show you where we stay."

We descended the hill in the direction of the north, and passing along
the suburb reached the old Norman bridge, which we crossed; the chalk
precipice, with the ruin on its top, was now before us; but turning to
the left we walked swiftly along, and presently came to some rising
ground, which ascending, we found ourselves upon a wild moor or heath.
{157}

"You are one of them," said I, "whom people call--"

"Just so," said Jasper; "but never mind what people call us."

"And that tall handsome man on the hill, whom you whispered?  I suppose
he's one of ye.  What is his name?"

"Tawno Chikno," {158} said Jasper, "which means the small one; we call
him such because he is the biggest man of all our nation.  You say he is
handsome, that is not the word, brother; he's the beauty of the world.
Women run wild at the sight of Tawno.  An earl's daughter, near London--a
fine young lady with diamonds round her neck--fell in love with Tawno.  I
have seen that lass on a heath, as this may be, kneel down to Tawno,
clasp his feet, begging to be his wife--or anything else--if she might go
with him.  But Tawno would have nothing to do with her: 'I have a wife of
my own,' said he, 'a lawful Rommany wife, whom I love better than the
whole world, jealous though she sometimes be.'"

"And is she very beautiful?" said I.

"Why, you know, brother, beauty is frequently a matter of taste; however,
as you ask my opinion, I should say not quite so beautiful as himself."

We had now arrived at a small valley between two hills, or downs, the
sides of which were covered with furze; in the midst of this valley were
various carts and low tents forming a rude kind of encampment; several
dark children were playing about, who took no manner of notice of us.  As
we passed one of the tents, however, a canvas screen was lifted up, and a
woman supported upon a crutch hobbled out.  She was about the middle age,
and, besides being lame, was bitterly ugly; she was very slovenly
dressed, and on her swarthy features ill nature was most visibly stamped.
She did not deign me a look, but, addressing Jasper in a tongue which I
did not understand, appeared to put some eager questions to him.

"He's coming," said Jasper, and passed on.  "Poor fellow," said he to me,
"he has scarcely been gone an hour, and she's jealous already.  Well," he
continued, "what do you think of her? you have seen her now, and can
judge for yourself--that 'ere woman is Tawno Chikno's wife!"



CHAPTER XVII


The Tents--Pleasant Discourse--I am Pharaoh--Shifting for One's
Self--Horse Shoes--This is Wonderful--Bless Your Wisdom--A Pretty
Manoeuvre--Ill Day to the Romans--My Name is Herne--Singular People--An
Original Speech--Word Master--Speaking Romanly.

We went to the farthest of the tents, which stood at a slight distance
from the rest, and which exactly resembled the one which I have described
on a former occasion.  We went in and sat down one on each side of a
small fire, which was smouldering on the ground; there was no one else in
the tent but a tall tawny woman of middle age, who was busily knitting.
"Brother," said Jasper, "I wish to hold some pleasant discourse with
you."

"As much as you please," said I, "provided you can find anything pleasant
to talk about."

"Never fear," said Jasper; "and first of all we will talk of yourself.
Where have you been all this long time?"

"Here and there," said I, "and far and near, going about with the
soldiers; but there is no soldiering now, so we have sat down, father and
family, in the town there."

"And do you still hunt snakes?" said Jasper.

"No," said I; "I have given up that long ago; I do better now: read books
and learn languages."

"Well, I am sorry you have given up your snake-hunting; many's the
strange talk I have had with our people about your snake and yourself,
and how you frightened my father and mother in the lane."

"And where are your father and mother?"

"Where I shall never see them, brother; at least, I hope so."

"Not dead?"

"No, not dead; they are bitchadey pawdel."

"What's that?"

"Sent across--banished."

"Ah!  I understand; I am sorry for them.  And so you are here alone?"

"Not quite alone, brother."

"No, not alone; but with the rest--Tawno Chikno takes care of you."

"Takes care of me, brother!"

"Yes, stands to you in the place of a father--keeps you out of harm's
way."

"What do you take me for, brother?"

"For about three years older than myself."

"Perhaps; but you are of the Gorgios, and I am a Rommany Chal.  Tawno
Chikno take care of Jasper Petulengro!" {161}

"Is that your name?"

"Don't you like it?"

"Very much, I never heard a sweeter; it is something like what you call
me."

"The horse-shoe master and the snake-fellow, I am the first."

"Who gave you that name?"

"Ask Pharaoh."

"I would, if he were here, but I do not see him."

"I am Pharaoh."

"Then you are a king."

"Chachipen Pal." {162a}

"I do not understand you."

"Where are your languages?  You want two things, brother: mother sense,
and gentle Rommany."

"What makes you think that I want sense?"

"That, being so old, you can't yet guide yourself!"

"I can read Dante, Jasper."

"Anan, brother."

"I can charm snakes, Jasper."

"I know you can, brother."

"Yes, and horses too; bring me the most vicious in the land, if I whisper
he'll be tame."

"Then the more shame for you--a snake-fellow--a horse-witch--and a lil-
reader{162b}--yet you can't shift for yourself.  I laugh at you,
brother!"

"Then you can shift for yourself?"

"For myself and for others, brother."

"And what does Chikno?"

"Sells me horses, when I bid him.  Those horses on the chong {162c} were
mine."

"And has he none of his own?"

"Sometimes he has; but he is not so well off as myself.  When my father
and mother were bitchadey pawdel, which, to tell you the truth, they
were, for chiving wafodo dloovu, {163a} they left me all they had, which
was not a little, and I became the head of our family, which was not a
small one.  I was not older than you when that happened; yet our people
said they had never a better krallis to contrive and plan for them, and
to keep them in order.  And this is so well known, that many Rommany
Chals, {163b} not of our family, come and join themselves to us, living
with us for a time, in order to better themselves, more especially those
of the poorer sort, who have little of their own.  Tawno is one of
these."

"Is that fine fellow poor?"

"One of the poorest, brother.  Handsome as he is, he has not a horse of
his own to ride on.  Perhaps we may put it down to his wife, who cannot
move about, being a cripple, as you saw."

"And you are what is called a Gypsy King?"

"Ay, ay; a Rommany Kral."

"Are there other kings?"

"Those who call themselves so; but the true Pharaoh is Petulengro."

"Did Pharaoh make horse-shoes?"

"The first who ever did, brother."

"Pharaoh lived in Egypt."

"So did we once, brother."

"And you left it?"

"My fathers did, brother."

"And why did they come here?"

"They had their reasons, brother."

"And you are not English?"

"We are not Gorgios." {163c}

"And you have a language of your own?"

"Avali." {164a}

"This is wonderful."

"Ha, ha!" cried the woman, who had hitherto sat knitting, at the farther
end of the tent, without saying a word, though not inattentive to our
conversation, as I could perceive, by certain glances, which she
occasionally cast upon us both.  "Ha, ha!" she screamed, fixing upon me
two eyes, which shone like burning coals, and which were filled with an
expression both of scorn and malignity.  "It is wonderful, is it, that we
should have a language of our own?  What, you grudge the poor people the
speech they talk among themselves?  That's just like you Gorgios, you
would have everybody stupid, single-tongued idiots, like yourselves.  We
are taken before the Poknees of the gav, {164b} myself and sister, to
give an account of ourselves.  So I says to my sister's little boy,
speaking Rommany, I says to the little boy who is with us, run to my son
Jasper, and the rest, and tell them to be off, there are hawks abroad.  So
the Poknees questions us, and lets us go, not being able to make anything
of us; but, as we are going, he calls us back.  'Good woman,' says the
Poknees, 'what was that I heard you say just now to the little boy?'  'I
was telling him, your worship, to go and see the time of day, and, to
save trouble, I said it in our language.'  'Where did you get that
language?' says the Poknees.  ''Tis our own language, sir,' I tells him,
'we did not steal it.'  'Shall I tell you what it is, my good woman?'
says the Poknees.  'I would thank you, sir,' says I, 'for 'tis often we
are asked about it.'  'Well, then,' says the Poknees, 'it is no language
at all, merely a made-up gibberish.'  'Oh, bless your wisdom,' says I,
with a curtsey, 'you can tell us what our language is, without
understanding it!'  Another time we meet a parson.  'Good woman,' says
he, 'what's that you are talking?  Is it broken language?'  'Of course,
your reverence,' says I, 'we are broken people; give a shilling, your
reverence, to the poor broken woman.'  Oh, these Gorgios! they grudge us
our very language!"

"She called you her son, Jasper?"

"I am her son, brother."

"I thought you said your parents were--"

"Bitchadey pawdel; you thought right, brother.  This is my wife's
mother."

"Then you are married, Jasper?"

"Ay, truly; I am husband and father.  You will see wife and chabo {165a}
anon."

"Where are they now?"

"In the gav, penning dukkerin." {165b}

"We were talking of language, Jasper."

"True, brother."

"Yours must be a rum one."

"'Tis called Rommany."

"I would gladly know it."

"You need it sorely."

"Would you teach it me?"

"None sooner."

"Suppose we begin now?"

"Suppose we do, brother."

"Not whilst I am here," said the woman, flinging her knitting down, and
starting upon her feet; "not whilst I am here shall this Gorgio learn
Rommany.  A pretty manoeuvre, truly; and what would be the end of it?  I
goes to the farming ker {166a} with my sister, to tell a fortune, and
earn a few sixpences for the chabes.  I sees a jolly pig in the yard, and
I says to my sister, speaking Rommany, 'Do so and so,' says I; which the
farming man hearing, asks what we are talking about.  'Nothing at all,
master,' says I; 'something about the weather;' when who should start up
from behind a pale, where he has been listening, but this ugly Gorgio,
crying out, 'They are after poisoning your pigs, neighbour!' so that we
are glad to run, I and my sister, with perhaps the farm-engro shouting
after us.  Says my sister to me, when we have got fairly off, 'How came
that ugly one to know what you said to me?'  Whereupon I answers, 'It all
comes of my son Jasper, who brings the Gorgio to our fire, and must needs
be teaching him.'  'Who was fool there?' says my sister.  'Who, indeed,
but my son Jasper,' I answers.  And here should I be a greater fool to
sit still and suffer it; which I will not do.  I do not like the look of
him; he looks over-gorgious.  An ill day to the Romans when he masters
Rommany; and, when I says that, I pens a true dukkerin."

"What do you call God, Jasper?"

"You had better be jawing," {166b} said the woman, raising her voice to a
terrible scream; "you had better be moving off, my Gorgio; hang you for a
keen one, sitting there by the fire, and stealing my language before my
face.  Do you know whom you have to deal with?  Do you know that I am
dangerous?  My name is Herne, and I comes of the hairy ones!"

And a hairy one she looked!  She wore her hair clubbed upon her head,
fastened with many strings and ligatures; but now, tearing these off, her
locks, originally jet black, but now partially grizzled with age, fell
down on every side of her, covering her face and back as far down as her
knees.  No she-bear of Lapland ever looked more fierce and hairy than did
that woman, as standing in the open part of the tent, with her head bent
down, and her shoulders drawn up, seemingly about to precipitate herself
upon me, she repeated, again and again,--

"My name is Herne, and I comes of the hairy ones!--"

"I call God Duvel, brother."

"It sounds very like Devil."

"It doth, brother, it doth."

"And what do you call divine, I mean godly?"

"Oh!  I call that duvelskoe."

"I am thinking of something, Jasper."

"What are you thinking of, brother?"

"Would it not be a rum thing if divine and devilish were originally one
and the same word?"

"It would, brother, it would--"

* * * * *

From this time I had frequent interviews with Jasper, sometimes in his
tent, sometimes on the heath, about which we would roam for hours,
discoursing on various matters.  Sometimes mounted on one of his horses,
of which he had several, I would accompany him to various fairs and
markets in the neighbourhood, to which he went on his own affairs, or
those of his tribe.  I soon found that I had become acquainted with a
most singular people, whose habits and pursuits awakened within me the
highest interest.  Of all connected with them, however, their language
was doubtless that which exercised the greatest influence over my
imagination.  I had at first some suspicion that it would prove a mere
made-up gibberish; but I was soon undeceived.  Broken, corrupted, and
half in ruins as it was, it was not long before I found that it was an
original speech, far more so, indeed, than one or two others of high name
and celebrity, which, up to that time, I had been in the habit of
regarding with respect and veneration.  Indeed many obscure points
connected with the vocabulary of these languages, and to which neither
classic nor modern lore afforded any clue, I thought I could now clear up
by means of this strange broken tongue, spoken by people who dwelt
amongst thickets and furze bushes, in tents as tawny as their faces, and
whom the generality of mankind designated, and with much semblance of
justice, as thieves and vagabonds.  But where did this speech come from,
and who were they who spoke it?  These were questions which I could not
solve, and which Jasper himself, when pressed, confessed his inability to
answer.  "But, whoever we be, brother," said he, "we are an old people,
and not what folks in general imagine, broken Gorgios; and, if we are not
Egyptians, we are at any rate Rommany Chals!"

"Rommany Chals!  I should not wonder after all," said I, "that these
people had something to do with the founding of Rome.  Rome, it is said,
was built by vagabonds; who knows but that some tribe of the kind settled
down thereabouts, and called the town which they built after their name?
but whence did they come originally? ah! there is the difficulty." {169a}

But abandoning these questions, which at that time were far too profound
for me, I went on studying the language, and at the same time the
characters and manners of these strange people.  My rapid progress in the
former astonished, while it delighted, Jasper.  "We'll no longer call you
Sap-engro, brother," said he; "but rather Lav-engro, which in the
language of the Gorgios meaneth Word Master."  "Nay, brother," said Tawno
Chikno, with whom I had become very intimate, "you had better call him
Cooro-mengro. {169b}  I have put on _the gloves_ with him, and find him a
pure fist master; I like him for that, for I am a Cooro-mengro myself,
and was born at Brummagem."

"I likes him for his modesty," said Mrs. Chikno; "I never hears any ill
words come from his mouth, but, on the contrary, much sweet language.  His
talk is golden, and he has taught my eldest to say his prayers in
Rommany, which my rover had never the grace to do."  "He is the pal of my
rom," {170a} said Mrs. Petulengro, who was a very handsome woman, "and
therefore I likes him, and not the less for his being a rye; {170b} folks
calls me high-minded, and perhaps I have reason to be so; before I
married Pharaoh I had an offer from a lord.  I likes the young rye, and,
if he chooses to follow us, he shall have my sister.  What say you,
mother? should not the young rye have my sister Ursula?"

"I am going to my people," said Mrs. Herne, placing a bundle upon a
donkey, which was her own peculiar property; "I am going to Yorkshire,
for I can stand this no longer.  You say you like him: in that we
differs; I hates the Gorgio, and would like, speaking Romanly, to mix a
little poison with his waters.  And now go to Lundra, {170c} my children;
I goes to Yorkshire.  Take my blessing with ye, and a little bit of a
gillie {170d} to cheer your hearts with when ye are weary.  In all kinds
of weather have we lived together; but now we are parted.  I goes broken-
hearted--I can't keep you company; ye are no longer Rommany.  To gain a
bad brother, ye have lost a good mother."



CHAPTER XVIII


What Profession?--Not Fitted for a Churchman--Erratic Course--The Bitter
Draught--Principle of Woe--Thou Wouldst be Joyous--What Ails You?--Poor
Child of Clay.

So the Gypsies departed; Mrs. Herne to Yorkshire, and the rest to London:
as for myself, I continued in the house of my parents, passing my time in
much the same manner as I have already described, principally in
philological pursuits; but I was now sixteen, and it was highly necessary
that I should adopt some profession, unless I intended to fritter away my
existence, and to be a useless burden to those who had given me birth;
but what profession was I to choose? there being none in the wide world
perhaps for which I was suited; nor was there any one for which I felt
any decided inclination, though perhaps there existed within me a lurking
penchant for the profession of arms, which was natural enough, as, from
my earliest infancy, I had been accustomed to military sights and sounds;
but this profession was then closed, as I have already hinted, and, as I
believe, it has since continued, to those who, like myself, had no better
claims to urge than the services of a father.

My father, who, for certain reasons of his own, had no very high opinion
of the advantages resulting from this career, would have gladly seen me
enter the Church.  His desire was, however, considerably abated by one or
two passages of my life, which occurred to his recollection.  He
particularly dwelt on the unheard-of manner in which I had picked up the
Irish language, and drew from thence the conclusion that I was not fitted
by nature to cut a respectable figure at an English university.  "He will
fly off in a tangent," said he, "and, when called upon to exhibit his
skill in Greek, will be found proficient in Irish; I have observed the
poor lad attentively, and really do not know what to make of him; but I
am afraid he will never make a churchman!"  And I have no doubt that my
excellent father was right, both in his premises and the conclusion at
which he arrived.  I had undoubtedly, at one period of my life, forsaken
Greek for Irish, and the instructions of a learned Protestant divine, for
those of a Papist gossoon, the card-fancying Murtagh; and of late, though
I kept it a strict secret, I had abandoned in a great measure the study
of the beautiful Italian, and the recitation of the sonorous terzets of
the Divine Comedy, in which at one time I took the greatest delight, in
order to become acquainted with the broken speech, and yet more broken
songs, of certain houseless wanderers whom I had met at a horse fair.
Such an erratic course was certainly by no means in consonance with the
sober and unvarying routine of college study.  And my father, who was a
man of excellent common sense, displayed it, in not pressing me to adopt
a profession which required qualities of mind which he saw I did not
possess.

Other professions were talked of, amongst which the law; but now an event
occurred which had nearly stopped my career, and merged all minor points
of solicitude in anxiety for my life.  My strength and appetite suddenly
deserted me, and I began to pine and droop.  Some said that I had
overgrown myself, and that these were the symptoms of a rapid decline; I
grew worse and worse, and was soon stretched upon my bed, from which it
seemed scarcely probable that I should ever more rise, the physicians
themselves giving but slight hopes of my recovery: as for myself, I made
up my mind to die, and felt quite resigned.  I was sadly ignorant at that
time, and, when I thought of death, it appeared to me little else than a
pleasant sleep, and I wished for sleep, of which I got but little.  It
was well that I did not die that time, for I repeat that I was sadly
ignorant of many important things.  I did not die, for somebody coming
gave me a strange, bitter draught; a decoction, I believe, of a bitter
root which grows on commons and desolate places: and the person who gave
it me was an ancient female, a kind of doctress, who had been my nurse in
my infancy, and who, hearing of my state, had come to see me; so I drank
the draught, and became a little better, and I continued taking draughts
made from the bitter root till I manifested symptoms of convalescence.

But how much more quickly does strength desert the human frame than
return to it!  I had become convalescent, it is true, but my state of
feebleness was truly pitiable.  I believe it is in that state that the
most remarkable feature of human physiology frequently exhibits itself.
Oh, how dare I mention the dark feeling of mysterious dread which comes
over the mind, and which the lamp of reason, though burning bright the
while, is unable to dispel!  Art thou, as leeches say, the concomitant of
disease--the result of shattered nerves?  Nay, rather the principle of
woe itself, the fountain-head of all sorrow co-existent with man, whose
influence he feels when yet unborn, and whose workings he testifies with
his earliest cries, when, "drowned in tears," he first beholds the light;
for, as the sparks fly upward, so is man born to trouble, and woe doth he
bring with him into the world, even thyself, dark one, terrible one,
causeless, unbegotten, without a father.  Oh, how unfrequently dost thou
break down the barriers which divide thee from the poor soul of man, and
overcast its sunshine with thy gloomy shadow.  In the brightest days of
prosperity--in the midst of health and wealth--how sentient is the poor
human creature of thy neighbourhood! how instinctively aware that the
flood-gates of horror may be cast open, and the dark stream engulf him
for ever and ever!  Then is it not lawful for man to exclaim, "Better
that I had never been born!"  Fool, for thyself thou wast not born, but
to fulfil the inscrutable decrees of thy Creator; and how dost thou know
that this dark principle is not, after all, thy best friend; that it is
not that which tempers the whole mass of thy corruption?  It may be, for
what thou knowest, the mother of wisdom, and of great works: it is the
dread of the horror of the night that makes the pilgrim hasten on his
way.  When thou feelest it nigh, let thy safety word be "Onward"; if thou
tarry, thou art overwhelmed.  Courage! build great works--'tis urging
thee--it is ever nearest the favourites of God--the fool knows little of
it.  Thou wouldst be joyous, wouldst thou? then be a fool.  What great
work was ever the result of joy, the puny one?  Who have been the wise
ones, the mighty ones, the conquering ones of this earth? the joyous?  I
believe not.  The fool is happy, or comparatively so--certainly the least
sorrowful, but he is still a fool: and whose notes are sweetest, those of
the nightingale, or of the silly lark?

* * * * *

"What ails you, my child?" said a mother to her son, as he lay on a couch
under the influence of the dreadful one; "what ails you? you seem
afraid!"

_Boy_.  And so I am; a dreadful fear is upon me.

_Mother_.  But of what? there is no one can harm you; of what are you
apprehensive?

_Boy_.  Of nothing that I can express; I know not what I am afraid of,
but afraid I am.

_Mother_.  Perhaps you see sights and visions; I knew a lady once who was
continually thinking that she saw an armed man threaten her, but it was
only an imagination, a phantom of the brain.

_Boy_.  No armed man threatens me; and 'tis not a thing like that would
cause me any fear.  Did an armed man threaten me, I would get up and
fight him; weak as I am, I would wish for nothing better, for then,
perhaps, I should lose this fear; mine is a dread of I know not what, and
there the horror lies.

_Mother_.  Your forehead is cool, and your speech collected.  Do you know
where you are?

_Boy_.  I know where I am, and I see things just as they are; you are
beside me, and upon the table there is a book which was written by a
Florentine; all this I see, and that there is no ground for being afraid.
I am, moreover, quite cool, and feel no pain--but, but . . .

And then there was a burst of "gemiti, sospiri ed alti guai."  Alas,
alas, poor child of clay! as the sparks fly upward, so wast thou born to
sorrow--Onward!



CHAPTER XIX


Agreeable Delusions--Youth--A Profession--Ab Gwilym--Glorious English
Law--There They Pass--My Dear Old Master--The Deal Desk--Language of the
Tents--Where is Morfydd?--Go to--Only Once.

It has been said by this or that writer, I scarcely know by whom, that,
in proportion as we grow old, and our time becomes short, the swifter
does it pass, until at last, as we approach the borders of the grave, it
assumes all the speed and impetuosity of a river about to precipitate
itself into an abyss; this is doubtless the case, provided we can carry
to the grave those pleasant thoughts and delusions which alone render
life agreeable, and to which even to the very last we would gladly cling;
but what becomes of the swiftness of time, when the mind sees the vanity
of human pursuits? which is sure to be the case when its fondest, dearest
hopes have been blighted at the very moment when the harvest was deemed
secure.  What becomes from that moment, I repeat, of the shortness of
time?  I put not the question to those who have never known that
trial,--they are satisfied with themselves and all around them, with what
they have done, and yet hope to do; some carry their delusions with them
to the borders of the grave, ay, to the very moment when they fall into
it; a beautiful golden cloud surrounds them to the last, and such talk of
the shortness of time: through the medium of that cloud the world has
ever been a pleasant world to them; their only regret is that they are so
soon to quit it; but oh, ye dear deluded hearts, it is not every one who
is so fortunate!

To the generality of mankind there is no period like youth.  The
generality are far from fortunate; but the period of youth, even to the
least so, offers moments of considerable happiness, for they are not only
disposed, but able to enjoy most things within their reach.  With what
trifles at that period are we content; the things from which in after-
life we should turn away in disdain please us then, for we are in the
midst of a golden cloud, and everything seems decked with a golden hue.
Never during any portion of my life did time flow on more speedily than
during the two or three years immediately succeeding the period to which
we arrived in the preceding chapter: since then it has flagged often
enough; sometimes it has seemed to stand entirely still; and the reader
may easily judge how it fares at the present, from the circumstance of my
taking pen in hand, and endeavouring to write down the passages of my
life--a last resource with most people.  But at the period to which I
allude I was just, as I may say, entering upon life; I had adopted a
profession, and--to keep up my character, simultaneously with that
profession--the study of a new language--I speedily became a proficient
in the one, but ever remained a novice in the other: a novice in the law,
but a perfect master in the Welsh tongue. {178}

Yes! very pleasant times were those, when within the womb of a lofty deal
desk, behind which I sat for some eight hours every day, transcribing
(when I imagined eyes were upon me) documents of every description in
every possible hand, Blackstone kept company with Ab Gwilym--the polished
English lawyer of the last century, who wrote long and prosy chapters on
the rights of things--with a certain wild Welshman, who some four hundred
years before that time indited immortal cowydds and odes to the wives of
Cambrian chieftains--more particularly to one Morfydd, the wife of a
certain hunchbacked dignitary called by the poet facetiously Bwa
Bach--generally terminating with the modest request of a little private
parlance beneath the green wood bough, with no other witness than the
eos, or nightingale, a request which, if the poet himself may be
believed, rather a doubtful point, was seldom, very seldom, denied.  And
by what strange chance had Ab Gwilym and Blackstone, two personages so
exceedingly different, been thus brought together?  From what the reader
already knows of me, he may be quite prepared to find me reading the
former; but what could have induced me to take up Blackstone, or rather
the law?

I have ever loved to be as explicit as possible; on which account,
perhaps, I never attained to any proficiency in the law, the essence of
which is said to be ambiguity; most questions may be answered in a few
words, and this among the rest, though connected with the law.  My
parents deemed it necessary that I should adopt some profession, they
named the law; the law was as agreeable to me as any other profession
within my reach, so I adopted the law, and the consequence was, that
Blackstone, probably for the first time, found himself in company with Ab
Gwilym.  By adopting the law I had not ceased to be Lavengro. {180}

So I sat behind a desk many hours in the day, ostensibly engaged in
transcribing documents of various kinds; the scene of my labours was a
strange old house, occupying one side of a long and narrow court, into
which, however, the greater number of the windows looked not, but into an
extensive garden, filled with fruit trees, in the rear of a large,
handsome house, belonging to a highly respectable gentleman, who,
_moyennant un douceur considerable_, had consented to instruct my
father's youngest son in the mysteries of glorious English law.  Ah!
would that I could describe the good gentleman in the manner which he
deserves; he has long since sunk to his place in a respectable vault, in
the aisle of a very respectable church, whilst an exceedingly respectable
marble slab against the neighbouring wall tells on a Sunday some eye
wandering from its prayer-book that his dust lies below; to secure such
respectabilities in death, he passed a most respectable life.  Let no one
sneer, he accomplished much; his life was peaceful, so was his death.  Are
these trifles?  I wish I could describe him, for I loved the man, and
with reason, for he was ever kind to me, to whom kindness has not always
been shown; and he was, moreover, a choice specimen of a class which no
longer exists--a gentleman lawyer of the old school.  I would fain
describe him, but figures with which he has nought to do press forward
and keep him from my mind's eye; there they pass, Spaniard and Moor,
Gypsy, Turk, and livid Jew.  But who is that? what that thick pursy man
in the loose, snuff-coloured great-coat, with the white stockings, drab
breeches, and silver buckles on his shoes; that man with the bull neck,
and singular head, immense in the lower part, especially about the jaws,
but tapering upward like a pear; the man with the bushy brows, small grey
eyes, replete with cat-like expression, whose grizzled hair is cut close,
and whose ear lobes are pierced with small golden rings?  Oh! that is not
my dear old master, but a widely different personage.  _Bon jour_,
_Monsieur Vidocq_! _expressions de ma part a Monsieur Le Baron Taylor_.
But here he comes at last, my veritable old master!

A more respectable-looking individual was never seen; he really looked
what he was, a gentleman of the law--there was nothing of the pettifogger
about him: somewhat under the middle size, and somewhat rotund in person,
he was always dressed in a full suit of black, never worn long enough to
become threadbare.  His face was rubicund, and not without keenness; but
the most remarkable thing about him was the crown of his head, which was
bald, and shone like polished ivory, nothing more white, smooth, and
lustrous.  Some people have said that he wore false calves, probably
because his black silk stockings never exhibited a wrinkle; they might
just as well have said that he waddled, because his shoes creaked; for
these last, which were always without a speck, and polished as his crown,
though of a different hue, did creak, as he walked rather slowly.  I
cannot say that I ever saw him walk fast.

He had a handsome practice, and might have died a very rich man, much
richer than he did, had he not been in the habit of giving rather
expensive dinners to certain great people, who gave him nothing in
return, except their company; I could never discover his reasons for
doing so, as he always appeared to me a remarkably quiet man, by nature
averse to noise and bustle; but in all dispositions there are anomalies:
I have already said that he lived in a handsome house, and I may as well
here add that he had a very handsome wife, who both dressed and talked
exceedingly well.

So I sat behind the deal desk, engaged in copying documents of various
kinds; and in the apartment in which I sat, and in the adjoining ones,
there were others, some of whom likewise copied documents, while some
were engaged in the yet more difficult task of drawing them up; and some
of these, sons of nobody, were paid for the work they did, whilst others,
like myself, sons of somebody, paid for being permitted to work, which,
as our principal observed, was but reasonable, forasmuch as we not
unfrequently utterly spoiled the greater part of the work entrusted to
our hands.

There was one part of the day when I generally found myself quite alone,
I mean at the hour when the rest went home to their principal meal; I,
being the youngest, was left to take care of the premises, to answer the
bell, and so forth, till relieved, which was seldom before the expiration
of an hour and a half, when I myself went home; this period, however, was
anything but disagreeable to me, for it was then that I did what best
pleased me, and, leaving off copying the documents, I sometimes indulged
in a fit of musing, my chin resting on both my hands, and my elbows
planted on the desk; or, opening the desk aforesaid, I would take out one
of the books contained within it, and the book which I took out was
almost invariably, not Blackstone, but Ab Gwilym.

Ah, that Ab Gwilym!  I am much indebted to him, and it were ungrateful on
my part not to devote a few lines to him and his songs in this my
history.  Start not, reader, I am not going to trouble you with a
poetical dissertation; no, no!  I know my duty too well to introduce
anything of the kind; but I, who imagine I know several things, and
amongst others the workings of your mind at this moment, have an idea
that you are anxious to learn a little, a very little, more about Ab
Gwilym than I have hitherto told you, the two or three words that I have
dropped having awakened within you a languid kind of curiosity.  I have
no hesitation in saying that he makes one of the some half-dozen really
great poets whose verses, in whatever language they wrote, exist at the
present day, and are more or less known.  It matters little how I first
became acquainted with the writings of this man, and how the short thick
volume, stuffed full with his immortal imaginings, first came into my
hands.  I was studying Welsh, and I fell in with Ab Gwilym by no very
strange chance.  But, before I say more about Ab Gwilym, I must be
permitted--I really must--to say a word or two about the language in
which he wrote, that same "Sweet Welsh."  If I remember right, I found
the language a difficult one; in mastering it, however, I derived
unexpected assistance from what of Irish remained in my head, and I soon
found that they were cognate dialects, springing from some old tongue
which itself, perhaps, had sprung from one much older.  And here I cannot
help observing cursorily that I every now and then, whilst studying this
Welsh, generally supposed to be the original tongue of Britain,
encountered words which, according to the lexicographers, were venerable
words highly expressive, showing the wonderful power and originality of
the Welsh, in which, however, they were no longer used in common
discourse, but were relics, precious relics, of the first speech of
Britain, perhaps of the world; with which words, however, I was already
well acquainted, and which I had picked up, not in learned books, classic
books, and in tongues of old renown, but whilst listening to Mr.
Petulengro and Tawno Chikno talking over their every-day affairs in the
language of the tents; which circumstance did not fail to give rise to
deep reflection in those moments when, planting my elbows on the deal
desk, I rested my chin upon my hands.  But it is probable that I should
have abandoned the pursuit of the Welsh language, after obtaining a very
superficial acquaintance with it, had it not been for Ab Gwilym.

A strange songster was that who, pretending to be captivated by every
woman he saw, was, in reality, in love with nature alone--wild,
beautiful, solitary nature--her mountains and cascades, her forests and
streams, her birds, fishes, and wild animals.  Go to, Ab Gwilym, with thy
pseudo-amatory odes, to Morfydd, or this or that other lady, fair or
ugly--little didst thou care for any of them; Dame Nature was thy love,
however thou mayest seek to disguise the truth.  Yes, yes, send thy love-
message to Morfydd, the fair wanton.  By whom dost thou send it, I would
know? by the salmon forsooth, which haunts the rushing stream! the
glorious salmon which bounds and gambols in the flashing water, and whose
ways and circumstances thou so well describest--see, there he hurries
upwards through the flashing water.  Halloo! what a glimpse of glory--but
where is Morfydd the while?  What, another message to the wife of Bwa
Bach?  Ay, truly; and by whom?--the wind! the swift wind, the rider of
the world, whose course is not to be stayed; who gallops o'er the
mountain, and, when he comes to broadest river, asks neither for boat nor
ferry; who has described the wind so well--his speed and power?  But
where is Morfydd?  And now thou art awaiting Morfydd, the wanton, the
wife of the Bwa Bach; thou art awaiting her beneath the tall trees,
amidst the underwood; but she comes not; no Morfydd is there.  Quite
right, Ab Gwilym; what wantest thou with Morfydd?  But another form is
nigh at hand, that of red Reynard, who, seated upon his chine at the
mouth of his cave, looks very composedly at thee; thou startest, bendest
thy bow, thy cross-bow, intending to hit Reynard with the bolt just about
the jaw; but the bow breaks, Reynard barks and disappears into his cave,
which by thine own account reaches hell--and then thou ravest at the
misfortune of thy bow, and the non-appearance of Morfydd, and abusest
Reynard.  Go to, thou carest neither for thy bow nor for Morfydd, thou
merely seekest an opportunity to speak of Reynard; and who has described
him like thee? the brute with the sharp shrill cry, the black reverse of
melody, whose face sometimes wears a smile like the devil's in the
Evangile.  But now thou art actually with Morfydd; yes, she has stolen
from the dwelling of the Bwa Bach and has met thee beneath those
rocks--she is actually with thee, Ab Gwilym; but she is not long with
thee, for a storm comes on, and thunder shatters the rocks--Morfydd
flees!  Quite right, Ab Gwilym; thou hadst no need of her, a better theme
for song is the voice of the Lord--the rock shatterer--than the frail
wife of the Bwa Bach.  Go to, Ab Gwilym, thou wast a wiser and a better
man than thou wouldst fain have had people believe.

But enough of thee and thy songs!  Those times passed rapidly; with Ab
Gwilym in my hand, I was in the midst of enchanted ground, in which I
experienced sensations akin to those I had felt of yore whilst spelling
my way through the wonderful book--the delight of my childhood.  I say
akin, for perhaps only once in our lives do we experience unmixed wonder
and delight; and these I had already known.



CHAPTER XX


Silver Grey--Good Word for Everybody--A Remarkable Youth--Clients--Grades
in Society--The Archdeacon--Reading the Bible.

"I am afraid that I have not acted very wisely in putting this boy of
ours to the law," said my father to my mother, as they sat together one
summer evening in their little garden, beneath the shade of some tall
poplars.

Yes, there sat my father in the garden chair which leaned against the
wall of his quiet home, the haven in which he had sought rest, and,
praise be to God, found it, after many a year of poorly requited toil;
there he sat, with locks of silver grey which set off so nobly his fine
bold but benevolent face, his faithful consort at his side, and his
trusty dog at his feet--an eccentric animal of the genuine regimental
breed, who, born amongst red-coats, had not yet become reconciled to
those of any other hue, barking and tearing at them when they drew near
the door, but testifying his fond reminiscence of the former by
hospitable waggings of the tail whenever a uniform made its appearance--at
present a very unfrequent occurrence.

"I am afraid I have not done right in putting him to the law," said my
father, resting his chin upon his gold-headed bamboo cane.

"Why, what makes you think so?" said my mother.

"I have been taking my usual evening walk up the road, with the animal
here," said my father; "and, as I walked along, I overtook the boy's
master, Mr. S---.  We shook hands, and, after walking a little way
farther, we turned back together, talking about this and that; the state
of the country, the weather, and the dog, which he greatly admired; for
he is a good-natured man, and has a good word for everybody, though the
dog all but bit him when he attempted to coax his head; after the dog, we
began talking about the boy; it was myself who introduced that subject: I
thought it was a good opportunity to learn how he was getting on, so I
asked what he thought of my son; he hesitated at first, seeming scarcely
to know what to say; at length he came out with 'Oh, a very extraordinary
youth, a most remarkable youth indeed, captain!'  'Indeed,' said I, 'I am
glad to hear it, but I hope you find him steady?'  'Steady, steady,' said
he, 'why, yes, he's steady, I cannot say that he is not steady.'  'Come,
come,' said I, beginning to be rather uneasy, 'I see plainly that you are
not altogether satisfied with him; I was afraid you would not be, for,
though he is my own son, I am anything but blind to his imperfections:
but do tell me what particular fault you have to find with him; and I
will do my best to make him alter his conduct.'  'No fault to find with
him, captain, I assure you, no fault whatever; the youth is a remarkable
youth, an extraordinary youth, only . . .'  As I told you before, Mr. S---
is the best natured man in the world, and it was only with the greatest
difficulty that I could get him to say a single word to the disadvantage
of the boy, for whom he seems to entertain a very great regard.  At last
I forced the truth from him, and grieved I was to hear it; though I must
confess that I was somewhat prepared for it.  It appears that the lad has
a total want of discrimination."

"I don't understand you," said my mother.

"You can understand nothing that would seem for a moment to impugn the
conduct of that child.  I am not, however, so blind; want of
discrimination was the word, and it both sounds well, and is expressive.
It appears that, since he has been placed where he is, he has been guilty
of the grossest blunders; only the other day, Mr. S--- told me, as he was
engaged in close conversation with one of his principal clients, the boy
came to tell him that a person wanted particularly to speak with him;
and, on going out, he found a lamentable figure with one eye, who came to
ask for charity; whom, nevertheless, the lad had ushered into a private
room, and installed in an arm-chair, like a justice of the peace, instead
of telling him to go about his business--now what did that show, but a
total want of discrimination?"

"I wish we may never have anything worse to reproach him with," said my
mother.

"I don't know what worse we could reproach him with," said my father; "I
mean of course as far as his profession is concerned; discrimination is
the very key-stone; if he treated all people alike, he would soon become
a beggar himself; there are grades in society as well as in the army; and
according to those grades we should fashion our behaviour, else there
would instantly be an end of all order and discipline.  I am afraid that
the child is too condescending to his inferiors, whilst to his superiors
he is apt to be unbending enough; I don't believe that would do in the
world; I am sure it would not in the army.  He told me another anecdote
with respect to his behaviour, which shocked me more than the other had
done.  It appears that his wife, who, by the bye, is a very fine woman,
and highly fashionable, gave him permission to ask the boy to tea one
evening, for she is herself rather partial to the lad; there had been a
great dinner party there that day, and there were a great many
fashionable people, so the boy went and behaved very well and modestly
for some time, and was rather noticed, till, unluckily, a very great
gentleman, an archdeacon I think, put some questions to him, and, finding
that he understood the languages, began talking to him about the
classics.  What do you think? the boy had the impertinence to say that
the classics were much overvalued, and amongst other things that some
horrid fellow or other, some Welshman I think (thank God it was not an
Irishman), was a better poet than Ovid; the company were of course
horrified; the archdeacon, who is seventy years of age, and has seven
thousand a year, took snuff and turned away.  Mrs. S--- turned up her
eyes; Mr. S---, however, told me with his usual good-nature (I suppose to
spare my feelings) that he rather enjoyed the thing, and thought it a
capital joke."

"I think so too," said my mother.

"I do not," said my father; "that a boy of his years should entertain an
opinion of his own--I mean one which militates against all established
authority--is astounding; as well might a raw recruit pretend to offer an
unfavourable opinion on the manual and platoon exercise; the idea is
preposterous; the lad is too independent by half.  I never yet knew one
of an independent spirit get on in the army,--the secret of success in
the army is the spirit of subordination."

"Which is a poor spirit after all," said my mother; "but the child is not
in the army."

"And it is well for him that he is not," said my father; "but you do not
talk wisely; the world is a field of battle, and he who leaves the ranks,
what can he expect but to be cut down?  I call his present behaviour
leaving the ranks, and going vapouring about without orders; his only
chance lies in falling in again as quick as possible; does he think he
can carry the day by himself? an opinion of his own at these years--I
confess I am exceedingly uneasy about the lad."

"You make me uneasy too," said my mother; "but I really think you are too
hard upon the child; he is not a bad child, after all, though not,
perhaps, all you could wish him; he is always ready to read the Bible.
Let us go in; he is in the room above us; at least he was two hours ago,
I left him there bending over his books; I wonder what he has been doing
all this time, it is now getting late; let us go in, and he shall read to
us."

"I am getting old," said my father; "and I love to hear the Bible read to
me, for my own sight is something dim; yet I do not wish the child to
read to me this night, I cannot so soon forget what I have heard; but I
hear my eldest son's voice, he is now entering the gate; he shall read
the Bible to us this night.  What say you?"



CHAPTER XXI


The Eldest Son--Saying of Wild Finland--The Critical Time--Vaunting
Polls--One Thing Wanted--A Father's Blessing--Miracle of Art--The Pope's
House--Young Enthusiast--Pictures of England--Persist and Wrestle--The
Little Dark Man.

The eldest son!  The regard and affection which my father entertained for
his first-born were natural enough, and appeared to none more so than
myself, who cherished the same feelings towards him.  What he was as a
boy the reader already knows, for the reader has seen him as a boy; fain
would I describe him at the time of which I am now speaking, when he had
attained the verge of manhood, but the pen fails me, and I attempt not
the task; and yet it ought to be an easy one, for how frequently does his
form visit my mind's eye in slumber and in wakefulness, in the light of
day, and in the night watches; but last night I saw him in his beauty and
his strength; he was about to speak, and my ear was on the stretch, when
at once I awoke, and there was I alone, and the night storm was howling
amidst the branches of the pines which surround my lonely dwelling:
"Listen to the moaning of the pine, at whose root thy hut is fastened,"--a
saying that, of wild Finland, in which there is wisdom; I listened and
thought of life and death. . . . Of all human beings that I have ever
known, that elder brother was the most frank and generous, ay, and the
quickest and readiest, and the best adapted to do a great thing needful
at the critical time, when the delay of a moment would be fatal.  I have
known him dash from a steep bank into a stream in his full dress, and
pull out a man who was drowning; yet there were twenty others bathing in
the water, who might have saved him by putting out a hand, without
inconvenience to themselves, which, however, they did not do, but stared
with stupid surprise at the drowning one's struggles.  Yes, whilst some
shouted from the bank to those in the water to save the drowning one, and
those in the water did nothing, my brother neither shouted nor stood
still, but dashed from the bank and did the one thing needful, which,
under such circumstances, not one man in a million would have done.  Now,
who can wonder that a brave old man should love a son like this, and
prefer him to any other?

"My boy, my own boy, you are the very image of myself, the day I took off
my coat in the park to fight Big Ben," said my father, on meeting his son
wet and dripping, immediately after his bold feat.  And who cannot excuse
the honest pride of the old man--the stout old man?

Ay, old man, that son was worthy of thee, and thou wast worthy of such a
son; a noble specimen wast thou of those strong single-minded Englishmen,
who, without making a parade either of religion or loyalty, feared God
and honoured their king, and were not particularly friendly to the
French, whose vaunting polls they occasionally broke, as at Minden and at
Malplaquet, to the confusion vast of the eternal foes of the English
land.  I, who was so little like thee that thou understoodst me not, and
in whom with justice thou didst feel so little pride, had yet perception
enough to see all thy worth, and to feel it an honour to be able to call
myself thy son; and if at some no distant time, when the foreign enemy
ventures to insult our shore, I be permitted to break some vaunting poll,
it will be a triumph to me to think that, if thou hadst lived, thou
wouldst have hailed the deed, and mightest yet discover some distant
resemblance to thyself, the day when thou didst all but vanquish the
mighty Brain.

I have already spoken of my brother's taste for painting, and the
progress he had made in that beautiful art.  It is probable that, if
circumstances had not eventually diverted his mind from the pursuit, he
would have attained excellence, and left behind him some enduring
monument of his powers, for he had an imagination to conceive, and that
yet rarer endowment, a hand capable of giving life, body, and reality to
the conceptions of his mind; perhaps he wanted one thing, the want of
which is but too often fatal to the sons of genius, and without which
genius is little more than a splendid toy in the hands of the
possessor--perseverance, dogged perseverance, in his proper calling;
otherwise, though the grave had closed over him, he might still be living
in the admiration of his fellow-creatures.  O ye gifted ones, follow your
calling, for, however various your talents may be, ye can have but one
calling capable of leading ye to eminence and renown; follow resolutely
the one straight path before you, it is that of your good angel, let
neither obstacles nor temptations induce ye to leave it; bound along if
you can; if not, on hands and knees follow it, perish in it, if needful;
but ye need not fear that; no one ever yet died in the true path of his
calling before he had attained the pinnacle.  Turn into other paths, and
for a momentary advantage or gratification ye have sold your inheritance,
your immortality.  Ye will never be heard of after death.

"My father has given me a hundred and fifty pounds," said my brother to
me one morning, "and something which is better--his blessing.  I am going
to leave you."

"And where are you going?"

"Where? to the great city; to London, to be sure."

"I should like to go with you."

"Pooh!" said my brother; "what should you do there?  But don't be
discouraged; I dare say a time will come when you too will go to London."

And, sure enough, so it did, and all but too soon.

"And what do you purpose doing there?" I demanded.

"Oh, I go to improve myself in art, to place myself under some master of
high name, at least I hope to do so eventually.  I have, however, a plan
in my head, which I should wish first to execute; indeed, I do not think
I can rest till I have done so; every one talks so much about Italy, and
the wondrous artists which it has produced, and the wondrous pictures
which are to be found there; now I wish to see Italy, or rather Rome, the
great city, for I am told that in a certain room there is contained the
grand miracle of art."

"And what do you call it?"

"The Transfiguration, painted by one Rafael, and it is said to be the
greatest work of the greatest painter which the world has ever known.  I
suppose it is because everybody says so, that I have such a strange
desire to see it.  I have already made myself well acquainted with its
locality, and think that I could almost find my way to it blindfold.  When
I have crossed the Tiber, which, as you are aware, runs through Rome, I
must presently turn to the right, up a rather shabby street, which
communicates with a large square, the farther end of which is entirely
occupied by the front of an immense church, with a dome, which ascends
almost to the clouds, and this church they call St. Peter's."

"Ay, ay," said I, "I have read about that in 'Keysler's Travels.'"

"Before the church, in the square, are two fountains, one on either side,
casting up water in showers; between them, in the midst, is an obelisk,
brought from Egypt, and covered with mysterious writing; on your right
rises an edifice, not beautiful nor grand, but huge and bulky, where
lives a strange kind of priest whom men call the Pope, a very horrible
old individual, who would fain keep Christ in leading strings, calls the
Virgin Mary the Queen of Heaven, and himself God's Lieutenant-General
upon earth."

"Ay, ay," said I, "I have read of him in 'Fox's Book of Martyrs.'"

"Well, I do not go straight forward up the flight of steps conducting
into the church, but I turn to the right, and, passing under the piazza,
find myself in a court of the huge bulky house; and then ascend various
staircases, and pass along various corridors and galleries, all of which
I could describe to you, though I have never seen them; at last a door is
unlocked, and we enter a room rather high, but not particularly large,
communicating with another room, into which, however, I do not go, though
there are noble things in that second room--immortal things, by immortal
artists; amongst others, a grand piece of Corregio; I do not enter it,
for the grand picture of the world is not there; but I stand still
immediately on entering the first room, and I look straight before me,
neither to the right nor left, though there are noble things both on the
right and left, for immediately before me at the farther end, hanging
against the wall, is a picture which arrests me, and I can see nothing
else, for that picture at the farther end hanging against the wall is the
picture of the world . . ."

Yes, go thy way, young enthusiast, and, whether to London town or to old
Rome, may success attend thee; yet strange fears assail me and misgivings
on thy account.  Thou canst not rest, thou sayest, till thou hast seen
the picture in the chamber at old Rome hanging over against the wall; ay,
and thus thou dost exemplify thy weakness--thy strength too, it may
be--for the one idea, fantastic yet lovely, which now possesses thee,
could only have originated in a genial and fervent brain.  Well, go, if
thou must go; yet it perhaps were better for thee to bide in thy native
land, and there, with fear and trembling, with groanings, with straining
eyeballs, toil, drudge, slave, till thou hast made excellence thine own;
thou wilt scarcely acquire it by staring at the picture over against the
door in the high chamber of old Rome.  Seekest thou inspiration? thou
needest it not, thou hast it already; and it was never yet found by
crossing the sea.  What hast thou to do with old Rome, and thou an
Englishman?  "Did thy blood never glow at the mention of thy native
land?" as an artist merely?  Yes, I trow, and with reason, for thy native
land need not grudge old Rome her "pictures of the world"; she has
pictures of her own, "pictures of England"; and is it a new thing to toss
up caps and shout--England against the world?  Yes, against the world in
all, in all; in science and in arms, in minstrel strain, and not less in
the art "which enables the hand to deceive the intoxicated soul by means
of pictures." {198}  Seekest models? to Gainsborough and Hogarth turn,
not names of the world, may be, but English names--and England against
the world!  A living master? why, there he comes! thou hast had him long,
he has long guided thy young hand towards the excellence which is yet far
from thee, but which thou canst attain if thou shouldst persist and
wrestle, even as he has done, 'midst gloom and despondency--ay, and even
contempt; he who now comes up the creaking stair to thy little studio in
the second floor to inspect thy last effort before thou departest, the
little stout man whose face is very dark, and whose eye is vivacious;
that man has attained excellence, destined some day to be acknowledged,
though not till he is cold, and his mortal part returned to its kindred
clay.  He has painted, not pictures of the world, but English pictures,
such as Gainsborough himself might have done; beautiful rural pieces,
with trees which might well tempt the wild birds to perch upon them: thou
needest not run to Rome, brother, where lives the old Mariolater, after
pictures of the world, whilst at home there are pictures of England; nor
needest thou even go to London, the big city, in search of a master, for
thou hast one at home in the old East Anglian town who can instruct thee
whilst thou needest instruction: better stay at home, brother, at least
for a season, and toil and strive 'midst groanings and despondency till
thou hast attained excellence even as he has done--the little dark man
with the brown coat and the top-boots, whose name will one day be
considered the chief ornament of the old town, and whose works will at no
distant period rank amongst the proudest pictures of England--and England
against the world!--thy master, my brother, thy, at present, all too
little considered master--Crome. {199}



CHAPTER XXII


Desire for Novelty--Lives of the Lawless--Countenances--Old Yeoman and
Dame--We Live near the Sea--Uncouth-looking Volume--The Other
Condition--Draoitheac--A Dilemma--The Antinomian--Lodowick
Muggleton--Almost Blind--Anders Vedel.

But to proceed with my own story; I now ceased all at once to take much
pleasure in the pursuits which formerly interested me, I yawned over Ab
Gwilym, even as I now in my mind's eye perceive the reader yawning over
the present pages.  What was the cause of this?  Constitutional
lassitude, or a desire for novelty?  Both it is probable had some
influence in the matter, but I rather think that the latter feeling was
predominant.  The parting words of my brother had sunk into my mind.  He
had talked of travelling in strange regions and seeing strange and
wonderful objects, and my imagination fell to work and drew pictures of
adventures wild and fantastic, and I thought what a fine thing it must be
to travel, and I wished that my father would give me his blessing, and
the same sum that he had given my brother, and bid me go forth into the
world; always forgetting that I had neither talents nor energies at this
period which would enable me to make any successful figure on its stage.

And then I again sought up the book which had so captivated me in my
infancy, and I read it through; and I sought up others of a similar
character, and in seeking for them I met books also of adventure, but by
no means of a harmless description, lives of wicked and lawless men,
Murray and Latroon--books of singular power, but of coarse and prurient
imagination--books at one time highly in vogue; now deservedly forgotten,
and most difficult to be found.

And when I had gone through these books, what was my state of mind?  I
had derived entertainment from their perusal, but they left me more
listless and unsettled than before, and I really knew not what to do to
pass my time.  My philological studies had become distasteful, and I had
never taken any pleasure in the duties of my profession.  I sat behind my
desk in a state of torpor, my mind almost as blank as the paper before
me, on which I rarely traced a line.  It was always a relief to hear the
bell ring, as it afforded me an opportunity of doing something which I
was yet capable of doing, to rise and open the door and stare in the
countenances of the visitors.  All of a sudden I fell to studying
countenances, and soon flattered myself that I had made considerable
progress in the science.

"There is no faith in countenances," said some Roman of old; "trust
anything but a person's countenance."  "Not trust a man's countenance?"
say some moderns; "why, it is the only thing in many people that we can
trust; on which account they keep it most assiduously out of the way.
Trust not a man's words if you please, or you may come to very erroneous
conclusions; but at all times place implicit confidence in a man's
countenance, in which there is no deceit; and of necessity there can be
none.  If people would but look each other more in the face, we should
have less cause to complain of the deception of the world; nothing so
easy as physiognomy nor so useful."  Somewhat in this latter strain I
thought at the time of which I am speaking.  I am now older, and, let us
hope, less presumptuous.  It is true that in the course of my life I have
scarcely ever had occasion to repent placing confidence in individuals
whose countenances have prepossessed me in their favour; though to how
many I may have been unjust, from whose countenances I may have drawn
unfavourable conclusions, is another matter.

But it had been decreed by that Fate which governs our every action, that
I was soon to return to my old pursuits.  It was written that I should
not yet cease to be Lav-engro, though I had become, in my own opinion, a
kind of Lavater.  It is singular enough that my renewed ardour for
philology seems to have been brought about indirectly by my
physiognomical researches, in which had I not indulged, the event which I
am about to relate, as far as connected with myself, might never have
occurred.  Amongst the various countenances which I admitted during the
period of my answering the bell, there were two which particularly
pleased me, and which belonged to an elderly yeoman and his wife, whom
some little business had brought to our law sanctuary.  I believe they
experienced from me some kindness and attention, which won the old
people's hearts.  So, one day, when their little business had been
brought to a conclusion, and they chanced to be alone with me, who was
seated as usual behind the deal desk in the outer room, the old man with
some confusion began to tell me how grateful himself and dame felt for
the many attentions I had shown them, and how desirous they were to make
me some remuneration.  "Of course," said the old man, "we must be
cautious what we offer to so fine a young gentleman as yourself; we have,
however, something we think will just suit the occasion, a strange kind
of thing which people say is a book, though no one that my dame or myself
have shown it to can make anything out of it; so as we are told that you
are a fine young gentleman, who can read all the tongues of the earth and
stars, as the Bible says, we thought, I and my dame, that it would be
just the thing you would like; and my dame has it now at the bottom of
her basket."

"A book!" said I; "how did you come by it?"

"We live near the sea," said the old man; "so near that sometimes our
thatch is wet with the spray; and it may now be a year ago that there was
a fearful storm, and a ship was driven ashore during the night, and ere
the morn was a complete wreck.  When we got up at daylight, there were
the poor shivering crew at our door; they were foreigners, red-haired
men, whose speech we did not understand; but we took them in, and warmed
them, and they remained with us three days; and when they went away they
left behind them this thing, here it is, part of the contents of a box
which was washed ashore."

"And did you learn who they were?"

"Why, yes; they made us understand that they were Danes."

Danes! thought I, Danes! and instantaneously, huge and grizzly, appeared
to rise up before my vision the skull of the old pirate Dane, even as I
had seen it of yore in the pent-house of the ancient church to which,
with my mother and my brother, I had wandered on the memorable summer
eve.

And now the old man handed me the book; a strange and uncouth-looking
volume enough.  It was not very large, but instead of the usual covering
was bound in wood, and was compressed with strong iron clasps.  It was a
printed book, but the pages were not of paper, but vellum, and the
characters were black, and resembled those generally termed Gothic.

"It is certainly a curious book," said I, "and I should like to have it;
but I can't think of taking it as a gift; I must give you an equivalent;
I never take presents from anybody."

The old man whispered with his dame and chuckled, and then turned his
face to me, and said, with another chuckle, "Well, we have agreed about
the price, but, may be, you will not consent."

"I don't know," said I; "what do you demand?"

"Why, that you shake me by the hand, and hold out your cheek to my old
dame,--she has taken an affection to you."

"I shall be very glad to shake you by the hand," said I, "but as for the
other condition, it requires consideration."

"No consideration at all," said the old man, with something like a sigh;
"she thinks you like her son, our only child, that was lost twenty years
ago in the waves of the North Sea."

"Oh, that alters the case altogether," said I, "and of course I can have
no objection."

And now at once I shook off my listlessness, to enable me to do which
nothing could have happened more opportune than the above event.  The
Danes, the Danes!  And was I at last to become acquainted, and in so
singular a manner, with the speech of a people which had as far back as I
could remember exercised the strongest influence over my imagination, as
how should they not!--in infancy there was the summer-eve adventure, to
which I often looked back, and always with a kind of strange interest,
with respect to those to whom such gigantic and wondrous bones could
belong as I had seen on that occasion; and, more than this, I had been in
Ireland, and there, under peculiar circumstances, this same interest was
increased tenfold.  I had mingled much whilst there with the genuine
Irish--a wild, but kind-hearted race, whose conversation was deeply
imbued with traditionary lore, connected with the early history of their
own romantic land, and from them I heard enough of the Danes, but nothing
commonplace, for they never mentioned them but in terms which tallied
well with my own preconceived ideas.  For at an early period the Danes
had invaded Ireland, and had subdued it, and, though eventually driven
out, had left behind them an enduring remembrance in the minds of the
people, who loved to speak of their strength and their stature, in
evidence of which they would point to the ancient raths or mounds, where
the old Danes were buried, and where bones of extraordinary size were
occasionally exhumed.  And as the Danes surpassed other people in
strength, so, according to my narrators, they also excelled all others in
wisdom, or rather in Draoitheac, or magic, for they were powerful
sorcerers, they said, compared with whom the fairy men of the present day
knew nothing at all, at all; and, amongst other wonderful things, they
knew how to make strong beer from the heather that grows upon the bogs.
Little wonder if the interest, the mysterious interest, which I had early
felt about the Danes, was increased tenfold by my sojourn in Ireland.

And now I had in my possession a Danish book, which, from its appearance,
might be supposed to have belonged to the very old Danes indeed; but how
was I to turn it to any account?  I had the book, it is true, but I did
not understand the language, and how was I to overcome that difficulty?
hardly by poring over the book; yet I did pore over the book, daily and
nightly, till my eyes were dim, and it appeared to me that every now and
then I encountered words which I understood--English words, though
strangely disguised; and I said to myself, courage!  English and Danish
are cognate dialects, a time will come when I shall understand this
Danish; and then I pored over the book again, but with all my poring I
could not understand it; and then I became angry, and I bit my lips till
the blood came; and I occasionally tore a handful from my hair, and flung
it upon the floor, but that did not mend the matter, for still I did not
understand the book, which, however, I began to see was written in
rhyme--a circumstance rather difficult to discover at first, the
arrangement of the lines not differing from that which is employed in
prose; and its being written in rhyme made me only the more eager to
understand it.

But I toiled in vain, for I had neither grammar nor dictionary of the
language; and when I sought for them could procure neither; and I was
much dispirited, till suddenly a bright thought came into my head, and I
said, although I cannot obtain a dictionary or grammar, I can perhaps
obtain a Bible in this language, and if I can procure a Bible, I can
learn the language, for the Bible in every tongue contains the same
thing, and I have only to compare the words of the Danish Bible with
those of the English, and, if I persevere, I shall in time acquire the
language of the Danes; and I was pleased with the thought, which I
considered to be a bright one, and I no longer bit my lips, or tore my
hair, but I took my hat, and, going forth, I flung my hat into the air.

And when my hat came down, I put it on my head and commenced running,
directing my course to the house of the Antinomian preacher, who sold
books, and whom I knew to have Bibles in various tongues amongst the
number, and I arrived out of breath, and I found the Antinomian in his
little library, dusting his books; and the Antinomian clergyman was a
tall man of about seventy, who wore a hat with a broad brim and a shallow
crown, and whose manner of speaking was exceedingly nasal; and when I saw
him, I cried, out of breath, "Have you a Danish Bible?" and he replied,
"What do you want it for, friend?" and I answered, "To learn Danish by;"
"And may be to learn thy duty," replied the Antinomian preacher.  "Truly,
I have it not, but, as you are a customer of mine, I will endeavour to
procure you one, and I will write to that laudable society which men call
the Bible Society, an unworthy member of which I am, and I hope by next
week to procure what you desire."

And when I heard these words of the old man, I was very glad, and my
heart yearned towards him, and I would fain enter into conversation with
him; and I said, "Why are you an Antinomian?  For my part I would rather
be a dog than belong to such a religion."  "Nay, friend," said the
Antinomian, "thou forejudgest us; know that those who call us Antinomians
call us so despitefully; we do not acknowledge the designation."  "Then
you do not set all law at nought?" said I.  "Far be it from us," said the
old man; "we only hope that, being sanctified by the Spirit from above,
we have no need of the law to keep us in order.  Did you ever hear tell
of Lodowick Muggleton?" {208}  "Not I."  "That is strange; know then that
he was the founder of our poor society, and after him we are frequently,
though opprobriously, termed Muggletonians, for we are Christians.  Here
is his book, which, perhaps, you can do no better than purchase; you are
fond of rare books, and this is both curious and rare; I will sell it
cheap.  Thank you, and now be gone; I will do all I can to procure the
Bible."

And in this manner I procured the Danish Bible, and I commenced my task;
first of all, however, I locked up in a closet the volume which had
excited my curiosity, saying, "Out of this closet thou comest not till I
deem myself competent to read thee," and then I sat down in right
earnest, comparing every line in the one version with the corresponding
one in the other; and I passed entire nights in this manner, till I was
almost blind, and the task was tedious enough at first, but I quailed
not, and soon began to make progress: and at first I had a misgiving that
the old book might not prove a Danish book, but was soon reassured by
reading many words in the Bible which I remembered to have seen in the
book; and then I went on right merrily, and I found that the language
which I was studying was by no means a difficult one, and in less than a
month I deemed myself able to read the book.

Anon, I took the book from the closet, and proceeded to make myself
master of its contents; I had some difficulty, for the language of the
book, though in the main the same as the language of the Bible, differed
from it in some points, being apparently a more ancient dialect; by
degrees, however, I overcame this difficulty, and I understood the
contents of the book, and well did they correspond with all those ideas
in which I had indulged connected with the Danes.  For the book was a
book of ballads, about the deeds of knights and champions, and men of
huge stature; ballads which from time immemorial had been sung in the
North, and which some two centuries before the time of which I am
speaking had been collected by one Anders Vedel, who lived with a certain
Tycho Brahe, and assisted him in making observations upon the heavenly
bodies, at a place called Uranias Castle, on the little island of Hveen,
in the Cattegat.



CHAPTER XXIII


The Two Individuals--The Long Pipe--The Germans--Werther--The Female
Quaker--Suicide--Gibbon--Jesus of Bethlehem--Fill Your
Glass--Shakespeare--English at Minden--Melancholy Swayne Vonved--The
Fifth Dinner--Strange Doctrines--Are You Happy?--Improve Yourself in
German.

It might be some six months after the events last recorded, that two
individuals were seated together in a certain room, in a certain street
of the old town which I have so frequently had occasion to mention in the
preceding pages; one of them was an elderly, and the other a very young
man, and they sat on either side of a fireplace, beside a table, on which
were fruit and wine; the room was a small one, and in its furniture
exhibited nothing remarkable.  Over the mantelpiece, however, hung a
small picture with naked figures in the foreground, and with much foliage
behind.  It might not have struck every beholder, for it looked old and
smoke-dried; but a connoisseur, on inspecting it closely, would have
pronounced it to be a Judgment of Paris, and a masterpiece of the Flemish
school.

The forehead of the elder individual was high, and perhaps appeared more
so than it really was, from the hair being carefully brushed back, as if
for the purpose of displaying to the best advantage that part of the
cranium; his eyes were large and full, and of a light brown, and might
have been called heavy and dull, had they not been occasionally lighted
up by a sudden gleam--not so brilliant, however, as that which at every
inhalation shone from the bowl of the long clay pipe which he was
smoking, but which, from a certain sucking sound which about this time
began to be heard from the bottom, appeared to be giving notice that it
would soon require replenishment from a certain canister, which, together
with a lighted taper, stood upon the table beside him. {211}

"You do not smoke?" said he, at length, laying down his pipe, and
directing his glance to his companion.

Now there was at least one thing singular connected with this last,
namely, the colour of his hair, which, notwithstanding his extreme youth,
appeared to be rapidly becoming grey.  He had very long limbs, and was
apparently tall of stature, in which he differed from his elderly
companion, who must have been somewhat below the usual height.

"No, I can't smoke," said the youth, in reply to the observation of the
other; "I have often tried, but could never succeed to my satisfaction."

"Is it possible to become a good German without smoking?" said the
senior, half speaking to himself.

"I dare say not," said the youth; "but I shan't break my heart on that
account."

"As for breaking your heart, of course you would never think of such a
thing; he is a fool who breaks his heart on any account; but it is good
to be a German, the Germans are the most philosophic people in the world,
and the greatest smokers: now I trace their philosophy to their smoking."

"I have heard say their philosophy is all smoke--is that your opinion?"

"Why, no; but smoking has a sedative effect upon the nerves, and enables
a man to bear the sorrows of this life (of which every one has his share)
not only decently, but dignifiedly.  Suicide is not a national habit in
Germany as it is in England."

"But that poor creature, Werther, who committed suicide, was a German."

"Werther is a fictitious character, and by no means a felicitous one; I
am no admirer either of Werther or his author.  But I should say that, if
there ever was a Werther in Germany, he did not smoke.  Werther, as you
very justly observe, was a poor creature."

"And a very sinful one; I have heard my parents say that suicide is a
great crime."

"Broadly, and without qualification, to say that suicide is a crime, is
speaking somewhat unphilosophically.  No doubt suicide, under many
circumstances, is a crime, a very heinous one.  When the father of a
family, for example, to escape from certain difficulties, commits
suicide, he commits a crime; there are those around him who look to him
for support, by the law of nature, and he has no right to withdraw
himself from those who have a claim upon his exertions; he is a person
who decamps with other people's goods as well as his own.  Indeed, there
can be no crime which is not founded upon the depriving others of
something which belongs to them.  A man is hanged for setting fire to his
house in a crowded city, for he burns at the same time or damages those
of other people; but if a man who has a house on a heath sets fire to it,
he is not hanged, for he has not damaged or endangered any other
individual's property, and the principle of revenge, upon which all
punishment is founded, has not been aroused.  Similar to such a case is
that of the man who, without any family ties, commits suicide; for
example, were I to do the thing this evening, who would have a right to
call me to account?  I am alone in the world, have no family to support,
and, so far from damaging any one, should even benefit my heir by my
accelerated death.  However, I am no advocate for suicide under any
circumstances; there is something undignified in it, unheroic,
un-Germanic.  But if you must commit suicide--and there is no knowing to
what people may be brought--always contrive to do it as decorously as
possible; the decencies, whether of life or of death, should never be
lost sight of.  I remember a female Quaker who committed suicide by
cutting her throat, but she did it decorously and decently: kneeling down
over a pail, so that not one drop fell upon the floor; thus exhibiting in
her last act that nice sense of neatness for which Quakers are
distinguished.  I have always had a respect for that woman's memory."  And
here, filling his pipe from the canister, and lighting it at the taper,
he recommenced smoking calmly and sedately.

"But is not suicide forbidden in the Bible?" the youth demanded.

"Why, no; but what though it were!--the Bible is a respectable book, but
I should hardly call it one whose philosophy is of the soundest.  I have
said that it is a respectable book; I mean respectable from its
antiquity, and from containing, as Herder says, 'the earliest records of
the human race,' though those records are far from being dispassionately
written, on which account they are of less value than they otherwise
might have been.  There is too much passion in the Bible, too much
violence; now, to come to all truth, especially historic truth, requires
cool dispassionate investigation, for which the Jews do not appear to
have ever been famous.  We are ourselves not famous for it, for we are a
passionate people; the Germans are not--they are not a passionate
people--a people celebrated for their oaths; we are.  The Germans have
many excellent historic writers, we . . . 'tis true we have Gibbon . . .
You have been reading Gibbon--what do you think of him?"

"I think him a very wonderful writer."

"He is a wonderful writer--one _sui generis_--uniting the perspicuity of
the English--for we are perspicuous--with the cool dispassionate
reasoning of the Germans.  Gibbon sought after the truth, found it, and
made it clear."

"Then you think Gibbon a truthful writer?"

"Why, yes; who shall convict Gibbon of falsehood?  Many people have
endeavoured to convict Gibbon of falsehood; they have followed him in his
researches, and have never found him once tripping.  Oh, he is a
wonderful writer! his power of condensation is admirable; the lore of the
whole world is to be found in his pages.  Sometimes in a single note, he
has given us the result of the study of years; or, to speak
metaphorically, 'he has ransacked a thousand Gulistans, and has condensed
all his fragrant booty into a single drop of otto.'"

"But was not Gibbon an enemy to the Christian faith?"

"Why, no; he was rather an enemy to priestcraft, so am I; and when I say
the philosophy of the Bible is in many respects unsound, I always wish to
make an exception in favour of that part of it which contains the life
and sayings of Jesus of Bethlehem, to which I must always concede my
unqualified admiration--of Jesus, mind you; for with his followers and
their dogmas I have nothing to do.  Of all historic characters Jesus is
the most beautiful and the most heroic.  I have always been a friend to
hero-worship, it is the only rational one, and has always been in use
amongst civilised people--the worship of spirits is synonymous with
barbarism--it is mere fetish; the savages of West Africa are all spirit
worshippers.  But there is something philosophic in the worship of the
heroes of the human race, and the true hero is the benefactor.  Brahma,
Jupiter, Bacchus, were all benefactors, and, therefore, entitled to the
worship of their respective peoples.  The Celts worshipped Hesus, who
taught them to plough, a highly useful art.  We, who have attained a much
higher state of civilisation than the Celts ever did, worship Jesus, the
first who endeavoured to teach men to behave decently and decorously
under all circumstances; who was the foe of vengeance, in which there is
something highly indecorous; who had first the courage to lift his voice
against that violent dogma, 'an eye for an eye'; who shouted conquer, but
conquer with kindness; who said put up the sword, a violent unphilosophic
weapon; and who finally died calmly and decorously in defence of his
philosophy.  He must be a savage who denies worship to the hero of
Golgotha."

"But He was something more than a hero; He was the Son of God, wasn't
He?"

The elderly individual made no immediate answer; but, after a few more
whiffs from his pipe, exclaimed, "Come, fill your glass!  How do you
advance with your translation of Tell?"

"It is nearly finished; but I do not think I shall proceed with it; I
begin to think the original somewhat dull."

"There you are wrong; it is the masterpiece of Schiller, the first of
German poets."

"It may be so," said the youth.  "But, pray excuse me, I do not think
very highly of German poetry.  I have lately been reading Shakespeare;
and, when I turn from him to the Germans--even the best of them--they
appear mere pigmies.  You will pardon the liberty I perhaps take in
saying so."

"I like that every one should have an opinion of his own," said the
elderly individual; "and, what is more, declare it.  Nothing displeases
me more than to see people assenting to everything that they hear said; I
at once come to the conclusion that they are either hypocrites, or there
is nothing in them.  But, with respect to Shakespeare, whom I have not
read for thirty years, is he not rather given to bombast, 'crackling
bombast,' as I think I have said in one of my essays?"

"I dare say he is," said the youth; "but I can't help thinking him the
greatest of all poets, not even excepting Homer.  I would sooner have
written that series of plays, founded on the fortunes of the House of
Lancaster, than the Iliad itself.  The events described are as lofty as
those sung by Homer in his great work, and the characters brought upon
the stage still more interesting.  I think Hotspur as much of a hero as
Hector, and young Henry more of a man than Achilles; and then there is
the fat knight, the quintessence of fun, wit, and rascality.  Falstaff is
a creation beyond the genius even of Homer."

"You almost tempt me to read Shakespeare again--but the Germans?"

"I don't admire the Germans," said the youth, somewhat excited.  "I don't
admire them in any point of view.  I have heard my father say that,
though good sharpshooters, they can't be much depended upon as soldiers;
and that old Sergeant Meredith told him that Minden would never have been
won but for the two English regiments, who charged the French with fixed
bayonets, and sent them to the right-about in double-quick time.  With
respect to poetry, setting Shakespeare and the English altogether aside,
I think there is another Gothic nation, at least, entitled to dispute
with them the palm.  Indeed, to my mind, there is more genuine poetry
contained in the old Danish book which I came so strangely by, than has
been produced in Germany from the period of the Niebelungen lay to the
present."

"Ah, the Koempe Viser?" said the elderly individual, breathing forth an
immense volume of smoke, which he had been collecting during the
declamation of his young companion.  "There are singular things in that
book, I must confess; and I thank you for showing it to me, or rather
your attempt at translation.  I was struck with that ballad of Orm
Ungarswayne, who goes by night to the grave-hill of his father to seek
for counsel.  And then, again, that strange melancholy Swayne Vonved, who
roams about the world propounding people riddles; slaying those who
cannot answer, and rewarding those who can with golden bracelets.  Were
it not for the violence, I should say that ballad has a philosophic
tendency.  I thank you for making me acquainted with the book, and I
thank the Jew Mousha for making me acquainted with you."

"That Mousha was a strange customer," said the youth, collecting himself.

"He _was_ a strange customer," said the elder individual, breathing forth
a gentle cloud.  "I love to exercise hospitality to wandering strangers,
especially foreigners; and when he came to this place, pretending to
teach German and Hebrew, I asked him to dinner.  After the first dinner,
he asked me to lend him five pounds; I _did_ lend him five pounds.  After
the fifth dinner, he asked me to lend him fifty pounds; I did _not_ lend
him the fifty pounds."

"He was as ignorant of German as of Hebrew," said the youth; "on which
account he was soon glad, I suppose, to transfer his pupil to some one
else."

"He told me," said the elder individual, "that he intended to leave a
town where he did not find sufficient encouragement; and, at the same
time, expressed regret at being obliged to abandon a certain
extraordinary pupil, for whom he had a particular regard.  Now I, who
have taught many people German from the love which I bear to it, and the
desire which I feel that it should be generally diffused, instantly said,
that I should be happy to take his pupil off his hands, and afford him
what instruction I could in German, for, as to Hebrew, I have never taken
much interest in it.  Such was the origin of our acquaintance.  You have
been an apt scholar.  Of late, however, I have seen little of you--what
is the reason?"

The youth made no answer.

"You think, probably, that you have learned all I can teach you?  Well,
perhaps you are right."

"Not so, not so," said the young man, eagerly; "before I knew you I knew
nothing, and am still very ignorant; but of late my father's health has
been very much broken, and he requires attention; his spirits also have
become low, which, to tell you the truth, he attributes to my misconduct.
He says that I have imbibed all kinds of strange notions and doctrines,
which will, in all probability, prove my ruin, both here and hereafter;
which--which--"

"Ah!  I understand," said the elder, with another calm whiff.  "I have
always had a kind of respect for your father, for there is something
remarkable in his appearance, something heroic, and I would fain have
cultivated his acquaintance; the feeling, however, has not been
reciprocated.  I met him, the other day, up the road, with his cane and
dog, and saluted him; he did not return my salutation."

"He has certain opinions of his own," said the youth, "which are widely
different from those which he has heard that you profess."

"I respect a man for entertaining an opinion of his own," said the
elderly individual.  "I hold certain opinions; but I should not respect
an individual the more for adopting them.  All I wish for is tolerance,
which I myself endeavour to practise.  I have always loved the truth, and
sought it; if I have not found it, the greater my misfortune."

"Are you happy?" said the young man.

"Why, no!  And, between ourselves, it is that which induces me to doubt
sometimes the truth of my opinions.  My life, upon the whole, I consider
a failure; on which account, I would not counsel you, or any one, to
follow my example too closely.  It is getting late, and you had better be
going, especially as your father, you say, is anxious about you.  But, as
we may never meet again, I think there are three things which I may
safely venture to press upon you.  The first is, that the decencies and
gentlenesses should never be lost sight of, as the practice of the
decencies and gentlenesses is at all times compatible with independence
of thought and action.  The second thing which I would wish to impress
upon you, is, that there is always some eye upon us; and that it is
impossible to keep anything we do from the world, as it will assuredly be
divulged by somebody as soon as it is his interest to do so.  The third
thing which I would wish to press upon you--"

"Yes," said the youth, eagerly bending forward.

"Is"--and here the elderly individual laid down his pipe upon the
table--"that it will be as well to go on improving yourself in German!"



CHAPTER XXIV


The Alehouse Keeper--Compassion for the Rich--Old English Gentleman--How
is This?--Madeira--The Greek Parr--Twenty Languages--Whiter's
Health--About the Fight--A Sporting Gentleman--The Flattened Nose--Lend
us that Pightle--The Surly Nod.

"Holloa, master! can you tell us where the fight is likely to be?"

Such were the words shouted out to me by a short thick fellow, in brown
top-boots, and bareheaded, who stood, with his hands in his pockets, at
the door of a country alehouse as I was passing by.

Now, as I knew nothing about the fight, and as the appearance of the man
did not tempt me greatly to enter into conversation with him, I merely
answered in the negative, and continued my way.

It was a fine lovely morning in May, the sun shone bright above, and the
birds were carolling in the hedge-rows.  I was wont to be cheerful at
such seasons, for, from my earliest recollection, sunshine and the song
of birds have been dear to me; yet, about that period, I was not
cheerful, my mind was not at rest; I was debating within myself, and the
debate was dreary and unsatisfactory enough.  I sighed, and turning my
eyes upward, I ejaculated, "What is truth?"  But suddenly, by a violent
effort breaking away from my meditations, I hastened forward; one mile,
two miles, three miles were speedily left behind; and now I came to a
grove of birch and other trees, and opening a gate I passed up a kind of
avenue, and soon arriving before a large brick house, of rather antique
appearance, knocked at the door.

In this house there lived a gentleman with whom I had business.  He was
said to be a genuine old English gentleman, and a man of considerable
property; at this time, however, he wanted a thousand pounds, as
gentlemen of considerable property every now and then do.  I had brought
him a thousand pounds in my pocket, for it is astonishing how many eager
helpers the rich find, and with what compassion people look upon their
distresses.  He was said to have good wine in his cellar.

"Is your master at home?" said I, to a servant who appeared at the door.

"His worship is at home, young man," said the servant, as he looked at my
shoes, which bore evidence that I had come walking.  "I beg your pardon,
sir," he added, as he looked me in the face.

"Ay, ay, servants," thought I, as I followed the man into the house,
"always look people in the face when you open the door, and do so before
you look at their shoes, or you may mistake the heir of a Prime Minister
for a shopkeeper's son."

I found his worship a jolly, red-faced gentleman, of about fifty-five; he
was dressed in a green coat, white corduroy breeches, and drab gaiters,
and sat on an old-fashioned leather sofa, with two small, thorough-bred,
black English terriers, one on each side of him.  He had all the
appearance of a genuine old English gentleman who kept good wine in his
cellar.

"Sir," said I, "I have brought you a thousand pounds;" and I said this
after the servant had retired, and the two terriers had ceased the
barking which is natural to all such dogs at the sight of a stranger.

And when the magistrate had received the money, and signed and returned a
certain paper which I handed to him, he rubbed his hands, and looking
very benignantly at me, exclaimed--

"And now, young gentleman, that our business is over, perhaps you can
tell me where the fight is to take place?"

"I am sorry, sir," said I, "that I can't inform you, but everybody seems
to be anxious about it;" and then I told him what had occurred to me on
the road with the alehouse keeper.

"I know him," said his worship; "he's a tenant of mine, and a good
fellow, somewhat too much in my debt though.  But how is this, young
gentleman? you look as if you had been walking; you did not come on
foot?"

"Yes, sir, I came on foot."

"On foot! why, it is sixteen miles."

"I shan't be tired when I have walked back."

"You can't ride, I suppose?"

"Better than I can walk."

"Then why do you walk?"

"I have frequently to make journeys connected with my profession;
sometimes I walk, sometimes I ride, just as the whim takes me."

"Will you take a glass of wine?"

"Yes."

"That's right; what shall it be?"

"Madeira!"

The magistrate gave a violent slap on his knee.  "I like your taste,"
said he; "I am fond of a glass of Madeira myself, and can give you such a
one as you will not drink every day; sit down, young gentleman; you shall
have a glass of Madeira, and the best I have."

Thereupon he got up, and, followed by his two terriers, walked slowly out
of the room.

I looked round the room, and, seeing nothing which promised me much
amusement, I sat down, and fell again into my former train of thought.
"What is truth?" said I.

"Here it is," said the magistrate, returning at the end of a quarter of
an hour, followed by the servant, with a tray; "here's the true thing, or
I am no judge, far less a justice.  It has been thirty years in my cellar
last Christmas.  There," said he to the servant, "put it down, and leave
my young friend and me to ourselves.  Now, what do you think of it?"

"It is very good," said I.

"Did you ever taste better Madeira?"

"I never before tasted Madeira."

"Then you ask for a wine without knowing what it is?"

"I ask for it, sir, that I may know what it is."

"Well, there is logic in that, as Parr would say; you have heard of
Parr?"

"Old Parr?"

"Yes, old Parr, but not that Parr; you mean the English, I the Greek
Parr, {225a} as people call him."

"I don't know him."

"Perhaps not--rather too young for that, but were you of my age, you
might have cause to know him, coming from where you do.  He kept school
there--I was his first scholar; he flogged Greek into me till I loved
him--and he loved me: he came to see me last year, and sat in that chair;
I honour Parr--he knows much, and is a sound man."

"Does he know the truth?"

"Know the truth; he knows what's good, from an oyster to an ostrich--he's
not only sound, but round."

"Suppose we drink his health?"

"Thank you, boy: here's Parr's health, and Whiter's."

"Who is Whiter?"

"Don't you know Whiter?  I thought everybody knew Reverend Whiter the
philologist, {225b} though I suppose you scarcely know what that means.  A
man fond of tongues and languages, quite out of your way--he understands
some twenty; what do you say to that?"

"Is he a sound man?"

"Why, as to that, I scarcely know what to say: he has got queer notions
in his head--wrote a book to prove that all words came originally from
the earth--who knows?  Words have roots, and roots live in the earth;
but, upon the whole, I should not call him altogether a sound man, though
he can talk Greek nearly as fast as Parr."

"Is he a round man?"

"Ay, boy, rounder than Parr; I'll sing you a song, if you like, which
will let you into his character:--

   'Give me the haunch of a buck to eat, and to drink Madeira old,
   And a gentle wife to rest with, and in my arms to fold,
   An Arabic book to study, a Norfolk cob to ride,
   And a house to live in shaded with trees, and near to a river side;
   With such good things around me, and blessed with good health withal,
   Though I should live for a hundred years, for death I would not call.'

Here's to Whiter's health--so you know nothing about the fight?"

"No, sir; the truth is, that of late I have been very much occupied with
various matters, otherwise I should, perhaps, have been able to afford
you some information--boxing is a noble art."

"Can you box?"

"A little."

"I tell you what, my boy; I honour you, and provided your education had
been a little less limited, I should have been glad to see you here in
company with Parr and Whiter; both can box.  Boxing is, as you say, a
noble art--a truly English art; may I never see the day when Englishmen
shall feel ashamed of it, or blacklegs and blackguards bring it into
disgrace.  I am a magistrate, and, of course, cannot patronise the thing
very openly, yet I sometimes see a prize fight: I saw the Game Chicken
beat Gulley."

"Did you ever see Big Ben?"

"No! why do you ask?"  But here we heard a noise, like that of a gig
driving up to the door, which was immediately succeeded by a violent
knocking and ringing, and after a little time, the servant who had
admitted me made his appearance in the room.  "Sir," said he, with a
certain eagerness of manner, "here are two gentlemen waiting to speak to
you."

"Gentlemen waiting to speak to me! who are they?"

"I don't know, sir," said the servant; "but they look like sporting
gentlemen, and--and"--here he hesitated; "from a word or two they
dropped, I almost think that they come about the fight."

"About the fight!" said the magistrate.  "No! that can hardly be;
however, you had better show them in."

Heavy steps were now heard ascending the stairs, and the servant ushered
two men into the apartment.  Again there was a barking, but louder than
that which had been directed against myself, for here were two intruders;
both of them were remarkable looking men, but to the foremost of them the
most particular notice may well be accorded: he was a man somewhat under
thirty, and nearly six feet in height.  He was dressed in a blue coat,
white corduroy breeches, fastened below the knee with small golden
buttons; on his legs he wore white lamb's-wool stockings, and on his feet
shoes reaching to the ankles; round his neck was a handkerchief of the
blue and bird's eye pattern; he wore neither whiskers nor moustaches, and
appeared not to delight in hair, that of his head, which was of a light
brown, being closely cropped; the forehead was rather high, but somewhat
narrow; the face neither broad nor sharp, perhaps rather sharp than
broad; the nose was almost delicate; the eyes were grey, with an
expression in which there was sternness blended with something
approaching to feline; his complexion was exceedingly pale, relieved,
however, by certain pock-marks, which here and there studded his
countenance; his form was athletic, but lean; his arms long.  In the
whole appearance of the man there was a blending of the bluff and the
sharp.  You might have supposed him a bruiser; his dress was that of one
in all its minutiae; something was wanting, however, in his manner--the
quietness of the professional man; he rather looked like one performing
the part--well--very well--but still performing a part.  His
companion!--there, indeed, was the bruiser--no mistake about him: a tall
massive man, with a broad countenance and a flattened nose; dressed like
a bruiser, but not like a bruiser going into the ring; he wore
white-topped boots, and a loose brown jockey coat.

As the first advanced towards the table, behind which the magistrate sat,
he doffed a white castor from his head, and made rather a genteel bow;
looking at me, who sat somewhat on one side, he gave a kind of nod of
recognition.

"May I request to know who you are, gentlemen?" said the magistrate.

"Sir," said the man in a deep, but not unpleasant voice, "allow me to
introduce to you my friend, Mr. ---, the celebrated pugilist;" and he
motioned with his hand towards the massive man with the flattened nose.

"And your own name, sir?" said the magistrate.

"My name is no matter," said the man; "were I to mention it to you, it
would awaken within you no feeling of interest.  It is neither Kean nor
Belcher, and I have as yet done nothing to distinguish myself like either
of those individuals, or even like my friend here.  However, a time may
come--we are not yet buried; and whensoever my hour arrives, I hope I
shall prove myself equal to my destiny, however high--

   'Like bird that's bred amongst the Helicons.'"

And here a smile half theatrical passed over his features.

"In what can I oblige you, sir?" said the magistrate.

"Well, sir, the soul of wit is brevity; we want a place for an
approaching combat between my friend here and a brave from town.  Passing
by your broad acres this fine morning we saw a pightle, which we deemed
would suit.  Lend us that pightle, and receive our thanks; 'twould be a
favour, though not much to grant: we neither ask for Stonehenge nor for
Tempe."

My friend looked somewhat perplexed; after a moment, however, he said,
with a firm but gentlemanly air, "Sir, I am sorry that I cannot comply
with your request."

"Not comply!" said the man, his brow becoming dark as midnight; and with
a hoarse and savage tone, "Not comply! why not?"

"It is impossible, sir; utterly impossible!"

"Why so?"

"I am not compelled to give my reasons to you, sir, nor to any man."

"Let me beg of you to alter your decision," said the man, in a tone of
profound respect.

"Utterly impossible, sir; I am a magistrate."

"Magistrate! then fare ye well, for a green-coated buffer and a
Harmanbeck."

"Sir!" said the magistrate, springing up with a face fiery with wrath.

But, with a surly nod to me, the man left the apartment; and in a moment
more the heavy footsteps of himself and his companion were heard
descending the staircase.

"Who is that man?" said my friend, turning towards me.

"A sporting gentleman, well known in the place from which I come."

"He appeared to know you."

"I have occasionally put on the gloves with him."

"What is his name?" {230}



CHAPTER XXV


Doubts--Wise King of Jerusalem--Let Me See--A Thousand Years--Nothing
New--The Crowd--The Hymn--Faith--Charles Wesley--There He Stood--Farewell,
Brother--Death--Sun, Moon, and Stars--Wind on the Heath.

There was one question which I was continually asking myself at this
period, and which has more than once met the eyes of the reader who has
followed me through the last chapter.  "What is truth?"  I had involved
myself imperceptibly in a dreary labyrinth of doubt, and, whichever way I
turned, no reasonable prospect of extricating myself appeared.  The means
by which I had brought myself into this situation may be very briefly
told; I had inquired into many matters, in order that I might become
wise, and I had read and pondered over the words of the wise, so called,
till I had made myself master of the sum of human wisdom; namely, that
every thing is enigmatical and that man is an enigma to himself; thence
the cry of "What is truth?"  I had ceased to believe in the truth of that
in which I had hitherto trusted, and yet could find nothing in which I
could put any fixed or deliberate belief--I was, indeed, in a labyrinth!
In what did I not doubt?  With respect to crime and virtue I was in
doubt; I doubted that the one was blamable and the other praiseworthy.
Are not all things subjected to the law of necessity?  Assuredly; time
and chance govern all things: yet how can this be? alas!

Then there was myself; for what was I born?  Are not all things born to
be forgotten?  That's incomprehensible: yet is it not so?  Those
butterflies fall and are forgotten.  In what is man better than a
butterfly?  All then is born to be forgotten.  Ah! that was a pang
indeed; 'tis at such a moment that a man wishes to die.  The wise king of
Jerusalem, who sat in his shady arbours beside his sunny fish-pools,
saying so many fine things, wished to die, when he saw that not only all
was vanity, but that he himself was vanity.  Will a time come when all
will be forgotten that now is beneath the sun?  If so, of what profit is
life?

In truth it was a sore vexation of spirit to me when I saw, as the wise
man saw of old, that whatever I could hope to perform must necessarily be
of very temporary duration; and if so, why do it?  I said to myself,
whatever name I can acquire, will it endure for eternity? scarcely so.  A
thousand years?  Let me see! what have I done already?  I have learnt
Welsh, and have translated the songs of Ab Gwilym, some ten thousand
lines, into English rhyme; I have also learnt Danish, and have rendered
the old book of ballads cast by the tempest upon the beach into
corresponding English metre.  Good! have I done enough already to secure
myself a reputation of a thousand years?  No, no! certainly not; I have
not the slightest ground for hoping that my translations from the Welsh
and Danish will be read at the end of a thousand years.  Well, but I am
only eighteen, and I have not stated all that I have done; I have learnt
many other tongues, and have acquired some knowledge even of Hebrew and
Arabic.  Should I go on in this way till I am forty, I must then be very
learned; and perhaps, among other things, may have translated the Talmud,
and some of the great works of the Arabians.  Pooh! all this is mere
learning and translation, and such will never secure immortality.
Translation is at best an echo, and it must be a wonderful echo to be
heard after the lapse of a thousand years.  No! all I have already done,
and all I may yet do in the same way, I may reckon as nothing--mere
pastime; something else must be done.  I must either write some grand
original work, or conquer an empire; the one just as easy as the other.
But am I competent to do either?  Yes, I think I am, under favourable
circumstances.  Yes, I think I may promise myself a reputation of a
thousand years, if I do but give myself the necessary trouble.  Well! but
what's a thousand years after all, or twice a thousand years?  Woe is me!
I may just as well sit still.

"Would I had never been born!" I said to myself; and a thought would
occasionally intrude.  But was I ever born?  Is not all that I see a
lie--a deceitful phantom?  Is there a world, and earth, and sky?
Berkeley's doctrine--Spinosa's doctrine!  Dear reader, I had at that time
never read either Berkeley or Spinosa. {233}  I have still never read
them; who are they, men of yesterday?  "All is a lie--all a deceitful
phantom," are old cries; they come naturally from the mouths of those
who, casting aside that choicest shield against madness, simplicity,
would fain be wise as God, and can only know that they are naked.  This
doubting in the "universal all" is almost coeval with the human race:
wisdom, so called, was early sought after.  All is a lie--a deceitful
phantom--was said when the world was yet young; its surface, save a
scanty portion, yet untrodden by human foot, and when the great tortoise
yet crawled about.  All is a lie, was the doctrine of Buddh; and Buddh
lived thirty centuries before the wise king of Jerusalem, who sat in his
arbours, beside his sunny fish-pools, saying many fine things, and,
amongst others, "There is nothing new under the sun!"

* * * * *

One day, whilst I bent my way to the heath of which I have spoken on a
former occasion, at the foot of the hills which formed it I came to a
place where a wagon was standing, but without horses, the shafts resting
on the ground; there was a crowd about it, which extended half-way up the
side of the neighbouring hill.  The wagon was occupied by some half a
dozen men--some sitting, others standing; they were dressed in
sober-coloured habiliments of black or brown, cut in a plain and rather
uncouth fashion, and partially white with dust; their hair was short, and
seemed to have been smoothed down by the application of the hand; all
were bareheaded--sitting or standing, all were bareheaded.  One of them,
a tall man, was speaking as I arrived; ere, however, I could distinguish
what he was saying, he left off, and then there was a cry for a hymn "to
the glory of God"--that was the word.  It was a strange sounding hymn, as
well it might be, for everybody joined in it: there were voices of all
kinds, of men, of women, and of children--of those who could sing and of
those who could not--a thousand voices all joined, and all joined
heartily; no voice of all the multitude was silent save mine.  The crowd
consisted entirely of the lower classes, labourers and mechanics, and
their wives and children--dusty people, unwashed people, people of no
account whatever, and yet they did not look a mob.  And when that hymn
was over--and here let me observe that, strange as it sounded, I have
recalled that hymn to mind, and it has seemed to tingle in my ears on
occasions when all that pomp and art could do to enhance religious
solemnity was being done--in the Sistine Chapel, what time the papal band
was in full play, and the choicest choristers of Italy poured forth their
mellowest tones in presence of Batuschca and his cardinals--on the ice of
the Neva, what time the long train of stately priests, with their noble
beards and their flowing robes of crimson and gold, with their ebony and
ivory staves, stalked along, chanting their Sclavonian litanies in
advance of the mighty Emperor of the North and his Priberjensky guard of
giants, towards the orifice through which the river, running below in its
swiftness, is to receive the baptismal lymph:--when the hymn was over,
another man in the wagon proceeded to address the people; he was a much
younger man than the last speaker; somewhat square built and about the
middle height; his face was rather broad, but expressive of much
intelligence, and with a peculiar calm and serious look; the accent in
which he spoke indicated that he was not of these parts, but from some
distant district.  The subject of his address was faith, and how it could
remove mountains.  It was a plain address, without any attempt at
ornament, and delivered in a tone which was neither loud nor vehement.
The speaker was evidently not a practised one--once or twice he hesitated
as if for words to express his meaning, but still he held on, talking of
faith, and how it could remove mountains: "It is the only thing we want,
brethren, in this world; if we have that, we are indeed rich, as it will
enable us to do our duty under all circumstances, and to bear our lot,
however hard it may be--and the lot of all mankind is hard--the lot of
the poor is hard, brethren--and who knows more of the poor than I?--a
poor man myself, and the son of a poor man: but are the rich better off?
not so, brethren, for God is just.  The rich have their trials too: I am
not rich myself, but I have seen the rich with careworn countenances; I
have also seen them in madhouses; from which you may learn, brethren,
that the lot of all mankind is hard; that is, till we lay hold of faith,
which makes us comfortable under all circumstances; whether we ride in
gilded chariots or walk barefooted in quest of bread; whether we be
ignorant, whether we be wise--for riches and poverty, ignorance and
wisdom, brethren, each brings with it its peculiar temptations.  Well,
under all these troubles, the thing which I would recommend you to seek
is one and the same--faith; faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who made us
and allotted to each his station.  Each has something to do, brethren.  Do
it, therefore, but always in faith; without faith we shall find ourselves
sometimes at fault; but with faith never--for faith can remove the
difficulty.  It will teach us to love life, brethren, when life is
becoming bitter, and to prize the blessings around us; for as every man
has his cares, brethren, so has each man his blessings.  It will likewise
teach us not to love life over much, seeing that we must one day part
with it.  It will teach us to face death with resignation, and will
preserve us from sinking amidst the swelling of the river Jordan."

And when he had concluded his address, he said, "Let us sing a hymn, one
composed by Master Charles Wesley--he was my countryman, brethren.

   'Jesus, I cast my soul on Thee,
   Mighty and merciful to save;
   Thou shalt to death go down with me,
   And lay me gently in the grave.
   This body then shall rest in hope,
   This body which the worms destroy;
   For Thou shalt surely raise me up,
   To glorious life and endless joy.'"

Farewell, preacher with the plain coat, and the calm serious look!  I saw
thee once again, and that was lately--only the other day.  It was near a
fishing hamlet, by the seaside, that I saw the preacher again.  He stood
on the top of a steep monticle, used by pilots as a look-out for vessels
approaching that coast, a dangerous one, abounding in rocks and
quicksands.  There he stood on the monticle, preaching to weather-worn
fishermen and mariners gathered below upon the sand.  "Who is he?" said I
to an old fisherman who stood beside me with a book of hymns in his hand;
but the old man put his hand to his lips, and that was the only answer I
received.  Not a sound was heard but the voice of the preacher and the
roaring of the waves; but the voice was heard loud above the roaring of
the sea, for the preacher now spoke with power, and his voice was not
that of one who hesitates.  There he stood--no longer a young man, for
his black locks were become grey, even like my own; but there was the
intelligent face, and the calm serious look which had struck me of yore.
There stood the preacher, one of those men--and, thank God, their number
is not few--who, animated by the spirit of Christ, amidst much poverty,
and, alas! much contempt, persist in carrying the light of the Gospel
amidst the dark parishes of what, but for their instrumentality, would
scarcely be Christian England.  I would have waited till he had
concluded, in order that I might speak to him, and endeavour to bring
back the ancient scene to his recollection, but suddenly a man came
hurrying towards the monticle, mounted on a speedy horse, and holding by
the bridle one yet more speedy, and he whispered to me, "Why loiterest
thou here?--knowest thou not all that is to be done before midnight?" and
he flung me the bridle; and I mounted on the horse of great speed, and I
followed the other, who had already galloped off.  And as I departed, I
waved my hand to him on the monticle, and I shouted, "Farewell, brother!
the seed came up at last, after a long period!" and then I gave the
speedy horse his way, and leaning over the shoulder of the galloping
horse, I said, "Would that my life had been like his--even like that
man's!"

I now wandered along the heath, till I came to a place where, beside a
thick furze, sat a man, his eyes fixed intently on the red ball of the
setting sun.

"That's not you, Jasper?"

"Indeed, brother!"

"I've not seen you for years."

"How should you, brother?"

"What brings you here?"

"The fight, brother."

"Where are the tents?"

"On the old spot, brother."

"Any news since we parted?"

"Two deaths, brother."

"Who are dead, Jasper?"

"Father and mother, brother."

"Where did they die?"

"Where they were sent, brother."

"And Mrs. Herne?"

"She's alive, brother."

"Where is she now?"

"In Yorkshire, brother."

"What is your opinion of death, Mr. Petulengro?" said I, as I sat down
beside him.

"My opinion of death, brother, is much the same as that in the old song
of Pharaoh, which I have heard my grandam sing--

   'Cana marel o manus chivios ande puv,
   Ta rovel pa leste o chavo ta romi.' {239}

When a man dies, he is cast into the earth, and his wife and child sorrow
over him.  If he has neither wife nor child, then his father and mother,
I suppose; and if he is quite alone in the world, why, then, he is cast
into the earth, and there is an end of the matter."

"And do you think that is the end of a man?"

"There's an end of him, brother, more's the pity."

"Why do you say so?"

"Life is sweet, brother."

"Do you think so?"

"Think so!--There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon,
and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the
heath.  Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?"

"I would wish to die--"

"You talk like a Gorgio--which is the same as talking like a fool--were
you a Rommany Chal you would talk wiser.  Wish to die, indeed!--A Rommany
Chal would wish to live for ever!"

"In sickness, Jasper?"

"There's the sun and stars, brother."

"In blindness, Jasper?"

"There's the wind on the heath, brother; if I could only feel that, I
would gladly live for ever.  Dosta, {240} we'll now go to the tents and
put on the gloves; and I'll try to make you feel what a sweet thing it is
to be alive, brother!"



CHAPTER XXVI


The Flower of the Grass--Days of Pugilism--The Rendezvous--Jews--Bruisers
of England--Winter, Spring--Well-earned Bays--The Fight--Huge Black
Cloud--Frame of Adamant--The Storm--Dukkeripens--The Barouche--The Rain
Gushes.

How for everything there is a time and a season, and then how does the
glory of a thing pass from it, even like the flower of the grass.  This
is a truism, but it is one of those which are continually forcing
themselves upon the mind.  Many years have not passed over my head, yet,
during those which I can recall to remembrance, how many things have I
seen flourish, pass away, and become forgotten, except by myself, who, in
spite of all my endeavours, never can forget anything.  I have known the
time when a pugilistic encounter between two noted champions was almost
considered in the light of a national affair; when tens of thousands of
individuals, high and low, meditated and brooded upon it, the first thing
in the morning and the last at night, until the great event was decided.
But the time is past, and many people will say, thank God that it is; all
I have to say is, that the French still live on the other side of the
water, and are still casting their eyes hitherward--and that in the days
of pugilism it was no vain boast to say, that one Englishman was a match
for two of t'other race; at present it would be a vain boast to say so,
for these are not the days of pugilism.

But those to which the course of my narrative has carried me were the
days of pugilism; it was then at its height, and consequently near its
decline, for corruption had crept into the ring; and how many things,
states and sects among the rest, owe their decline to this cause!  But
what a bold and vigorous aspect pugilism wore at that time! and the great
battle was just then coming off: the day had been decided upon, and the
spot--a convenient distance from the old town; and to the old town were
now flocking the bruisers of England, men of tremendous renown.  Let no
one sneer at the bruisers of England--what were the gladiators of Rome,
or the bull-fighters of Spain, in its palmiest days, compared to
England's bruisers?  Pity that ever corruption should have crept in
amongst them--but of that I wish not to talk; let us still hope that a
spark of the old religion, of which they were the priests, still lingers
in the breasts of Englishmen.  There they come, the bruisers, from far
London, or from wherever else they might chance to be at the time, to the
great rendezvous in the old city; some came one way, some another: some
of tip-top reputation came with peers in their chariots, for glory and
fame are such fair things, that even peers are proud to have those
invested therewith by their sides; others came in their own gigs, driving
their own bits of blood, and I heard one say: "I have driven through at a
heat the whole hundred and eleven miles, and only stopped to bait twice."
Oh, the blood-horses of old England! but they, too, have had their
day--for everything beneath the sun there is a season and a time.  But
the greater number come just as they can contrive; on the tops of
coaches, for example; and amongst these there are fellows with dark
sallow faces, and sharp shining eyes; and it is these that have planted
rottenness in the core of pugilism, for they are Jews, and, true to their
kind, have only base lucre in view.

It was fierce old Cobbett, I think, who first said that the Jews first
introduced bad faith amongst pugilists.  He did not always speak the
truth, but at any rate he spoke it when he made that observation.  Strange
people the Jews--endowed with every gift but one, and that the highest,
genius divine--genius which can alone make of men demigods, and elevate
them above earth and what is earthy and grovelling; without which a
clever nation--and who more clever than the Jews?--may have Rambams in
plenty, but never a Fielding nor a Shakespeare.  A Rothschild and a
Mendoza, yes--but never a Kean nor a Belcher.

So the bruisers of England are come to be present at the grand fight
speedily coming off; there they are met in the precincts of the old town,
near the field of the chapel, planted with tender saplings at the
restoration of sporting Charles, which are now become venerable elms, as
high as many a steeple; there they are met at a fitting rendezvous, where
a retired coachman, with one leg, keeps an hotel and a bowling-green.  I
think I now see them upon the bowling-green, the men of renown, amidst
hundreds of people with no renown at all, who gaze upon them with timid
wonder.  Fame, after all, is a glorious thing, though it lasts only for a
day.  There's Cribb, the champion of England, and perhaps the best man in
England; there he is, with his huge massive figure, and face wonderfully
like that of a lion.  There is Belcher, the younger, not the mighty one,
who is gone to his place, but the Teucer Belcher, the most scientific
pugilist that ever entered a ring, only wanting strength to be, I won't
say what.  He appears to walk before me now, as he did that evening, with
his white hat, white great-coat, thin genteel figure, springy step, and
keen, determined eye.  Crosses him, what a contrast! grim, savage
Shelton, who has a civil word for nobody, and a hard blow for
anybody--hard! one blow, given with the proper play of his athletic arm,
will unsense a giant.  Yonder individual, who strolls about with his
hands behind him, supporting his brown coat lappets, under-sized, and who
looks anything but what he is, is the king of the light weights, so
called--Randall! the terrible Randall, who has Irish blood in his veins;
not the better for that, nor the worse; and not far from him is his last
antagonist, Ned Turner, who, though beaten by him, still thinks himself
as good a man, in which he is, perhaps, right, for it was a near thing;
and "a better shentleman," in which he is quite right, for he is a
Welshman.  But how shall I name them all? they were there by dozens, and
all tremendous in their way.  There was Bulldog Hudson, and fearless
Scroggins, who beat the conqueror of Sam the Jew.  There was Black
Richmond--no, he was not there, but I knew him well; he was the most
dangerous of blacks, even with a broken thigh.  There was Purcell, who
could never conquer till all seemed over with him.  There was--what!
shall I name thee last? ay, why not?  I believe that thou art the last of
all that strong family still above the sod, where mayst thou long
continue--true piece of English stuff, Tom of Bedford--sharp as Winter,
kind as Spring.

Hail to thee, Tom of Bedford, or by whatever name it may please thee to
be called, Spring or Winter.  Hail to thee, six-foot Englishman of the
brown eye, worthy to have carried a six-foot bow at Flodden, where
England's yeomen triumphed over Scotland's king, his clans and chivalry.
Hail to thee, last of England's bruisers, after all the many victories
which thou hast achieved--true English victories, unbought by yellow
gold; need I recount them? nay, nay! they are already well known to
fame--sufficient to say that Bristol's Bull and Ireland's Champion were
vanquished by thee, and one mightier still, gold itself, thou didst
overcome; for gold itself strove in vain to deaden the power of thy arm;
and thus thou didst proceed till men left off challenging thee, the
unvanquishable, the incorruptible.  'Tis a treat to see thee, Tom of
Bedford, in thy "public" in Holborn way, whither thou hast retired with
thy well-earned bays.  'Tis Friday night, and nine by Holborn clock.
There sits the yeoman at the end of his long room, surrounded by his
friends; glasses are filled, and a song is the cry, and a song is sung
well suited to the place; it finds an echo in every heart--fists are
clenched, arms are waved, and the portraits of the mighty fighting men of
yore, Broughton, and Slack, and Ben, which adorn the walls, appear to
smile grim approbation, whilst many a manly voice joins in the bold
chorus:

   "Here's a health to old honest John Bull,
   When he's gone we shan't find such another,
   And with hearts and with glasses brim full,
   We will drink to old England, his mother."

But the fight! with respect to the fight, what shall I say?  Little can
be said about it--it was soon over; some said that the brave from town,
who was reputed the best man of the two, and whose form was a perfect
model of athletic beauty, allowed himself, for lucre vile, to be
vanquished by the massive champion with the flattened nose.  One thing is
certain, that the former was suddenly seen to sink to the earth before a
blow of by no means extraordinary power.  Time, time! was called; but
there he lay upon the ground apparently senseless, and from thence he did
not lift his head till several seconds after the umpires had declared his
adversary victor.

There were shouts; indeed there's never a lack of shouts to celebrate a
victory, however acquired; but there was also much grinding of teeth,
especially amongst the fighting men from town.  "Tom has sold us," said
they, "sold us to the yokels; who would have thought it?"  Then there was
fresh grinding of teeth, and scowling brows were turned to the heaven;
but what is this? is it possible, does the heaven scowl too? why, only a
quarter of an hour ago . . . but what may not happen in a quarter of an
hour?  For many weeks the weather had been of the most glorious
description, the eventful day, too, had dawned gloriously, and so it had
continued till some two hours after noon; the fight was then over; and
about that time I looked up--what a glorious sky of deep blue, and what a
big fierce sun swimming high above in the midst of that blue; not a
cloud--there had not been one for weeks--not a cloud to be seen, only in
the far west, just on the horizon, something like the extremity of a
black wing; that was only a quarter of an hour ago, and now the whole
northern side of the heaven is occupied by a huge black cloud, and the
sun is only occasionally seen amidst masses of driving vapour; what a
change! but another fight is at hand, and the pugilists are clearing the
outer ring;--how their huge whips come crashing upon the heads of the
yokels; blood flows, more blood than in the fight; those blows are given
with right good-will, those are not sham blows, whether of whip or fist;
it is with fist that grim Shelton strikes down the big yokel; he is
always dangerous, grim Shelton, but now particularly so, for he has lost
ten pounds betted on the brave who sold himself to the yokels; but the
outer ring is cleared: and now the second fight commences; it is between
two champions of less renown than the others, but is perhaps not the
worse on that account.  A tall thin boy is fighting in the ring with a
man somewhat under the middle size, with a frame of adamant; that's a
gallant boy! he's a yokel, but he comes from Brummagem, and he does
credit to his extraction; but his adversary has a frame of adamant: in
what a strange light they fight, but who can wonder, on looking at that
frightful cloud usurping now one-half of heaven, and at the sun
struggling with sulphurous vapour; the face of the boy, which is turned
towards me, looks horrible in that light, but he is a brave boy, he
strikes his foe on the forehead, and the report of the blow is like the
sound of a hammer against a rock; but there is a rush and a roar
overhead, a wild commotion, the tempest is beginning to break loose;
there's wind and dust, a crash, rain and hail; is it possible to fight
amidst such a commotion? yes! the fight goes on; again the boy strikes
the man full on the brow, but it is of no use striking that man, his
frame is of adamant.  "Boy, thy strength is beginning to give way, and
thou art becoming confused;" the man now goes to work, amidst rain and
hail.  "Boy, thou wilt not hold out ten minutes longer against rain,
hail, and the blows of such an antagonist."

And now the storm was at its height; the black thunder-cloud had broken
into many, which assumed the wildest shapes and the strangest colours,
some of them unspeakably glorious; the rain poured in a deluge, and more
than one waterspout was seen at no great distance: an immense rabble is
hurrying in one direction; a multitude of men of all ranks, peers and
yokels, prize-fighters and Jews, and the last came to plunder, and are
now plundering amidst that wild confusion of hail and rain, men and
horses, carts and carriages.  But all hurry in one direction, through mud
and mire; there's a town only three miles distant, which is soon reached,
and soon filled, it will not contain one-third of that mighty rabble; but
there's another town farther on--the good old city is farther on, only
twelve miles; what's that! who will stay here? onward to the old town.

Hurry-skurry, a mixed multitude of men and horses, carts and carriages,
all in the direction of the old town; and, in the midst of all that mad
throng, at a moment when the rain gushes were coming down with particular
fury, and the artillery of the sky was pealing as I had never heard it
peal before, I felt some one seize me by the arm--I turned round, and
beheld Mr. Petulengro.

"I can't hear you, Mr. Petulengro," said I; for the thunder drowned the
words which he appeared to be uttering.

"Dearginni," I heard Mr. Petulengro say, "it thundereth.  I was asking,
brother, whether you believe in dukkeripens?"

"I do not, Mr. Petulengro; but this is strange weather to be asking me
whether I believe in fortunes."

"Grondinni," said Mr. Petulengro, "it haileth.  I believe in dukkeripens,
brother."

"And who has more right," said I, "seeing that you live by them?  But
this tempest is truly horrible."

"Dearginni, grondinni ta villaminni! {249}  It thundereth, it haileth,
and also flameth," said Mr. Petulengro.  "Look up there, brother!"

I looked up.  Connected with this tempest there was one feature to which
I have already alluded--the wonderful colours of the clouds.  Some were
of vivid green; others of the brightest orange; others as black as pitch.
The Gypsy's finger was pointed to a particular part of the sky.

"What do you see there, brother?"

"A strange kind of cloud."

"What does it look like, brother?"

"Something like a stream of blood."

"That cloud foreshoweth a bloody dukkeripen."

"A bloody fortune!" said I.  "And whom may it betide?"

"Who knows!" said the Gypsy.

Down the way, dashing and splashing, and scattering man, horse, and cart
to the left and right, came an open barouche, drawn by four smoking
steeds, with postillions in scarlet jackets and leather skull-caps.  Two
forms were conspicuous in it; that of the successful bruiser, and of his
friend and backer, the sporting gentleman of my acquaintance.

"His!" said the Gypsy, pointing to the latter, whose stern features wore
a smile of triumph, as, probably recognising me in the crowd, he nodded
in the direction of where I stood, as the barouche hurried by.

There went the barouche, dashing through the rain gushes, and in it one
whose boast it was that he was equal to "either fortune."  Many have
heard of that man--many may be desirous of knowing yet more of him.  I
have nothing to do with that man's after life--he fulfilled his
dukkeripen.  "A bad, violent man!"  Softly, friend; when thou wouldst
speak harshly of the dead, remember that thou hast not yet fulfilled thy
own dukkeripen!



CHAPTER XXVII


My Father--Premature Decay--The Easy Chair--A Few Questions--So You Told
Me--A Difficult Language--They Call it Haik--Misused
Opportunities--Saul--Want of Candour--Don't Weep--Heaven Forgive Me--Dated
from Paris--I Wish He were Here--A Father's Reminiscences--Farewell to
Vanities.

My father, as I have already informed the reader, had been endowed by
nature with great corporeal strength; indeed, I have been assured that,
at the period of his prime, his figure had denoted the possession of
almost Herculean powers.  The strongest forms, however, do not always
endure the longest, the very excess of the noble and generous juices
which they contain being the cause of their premature decay.  But, be
that as it may, the health of my father, some few years after his
retirement from the service to the quiet of domestic life, underwent a
considerable change; his constitution appeared to be breaking up; and he
was subject to severe attacks from various disorders, with which, till
then, he had been utterly unacquainted.  He was, however, wont to rally,
more or less, after his illnesses, and might still occasionally be seen
taking his walk, with his cane in his hand, and accompanied by his dog,
who sympathised entirely with him, pining as he pined, improving as he
improved, and never leaving the house save in his company; and in this
manner matters went on for a considerable time, no very great
apprehension with respect to my father's state being raised either in my
mother's breast or my own.  But, about six months after the period at
which I have arrived in my last chapter, it came to pass that my father
experienced a severer attack than on any previous occasion.

He had the best medical advice; but it was easy to see, from the looks of
his doctors, that they entertained but slight hopes of his recovery.  His
sufferings were great, yet he invariably bore them with unshaken
fortitude.  There was one thing remarkable connected with his illness;
notwithstanding its severity, it never confined him to his bed.  He was
wont to sit in his little parlour, in his easy chair, dressed in a faded
regimental coat, his dog at his feet, who would occasionally lift his
head from the hearth-rug on which he lay, and look his master wistfully
in the face.  And thus my father spent the greater part of his time,
sometimes in prayer, sometimes in meditation, and sometimes in reading
the Scriptures.  I frequently sat with him, though, as I entertained a
great awe for my father, I used to feel rather ill at ease, when, as
sometimes happened, I found myself alone with him.

"I wish to ask you a few questions," said he to me, one day, after my
mother had left the room.

"I will answer anything you may please to ask me, my dear father."

"What have you been about lately?"

"I have been occupied as usual, attending at the office at the appointed
hours."

"And what do you there?"

"Whatever I am ordered."

"And nothing else?"

"Oh yes! sometimes I read a book."

"Connected with your profession?"

"Not always; I have been lately reading Armenian--"

"What's that?"

"The language of a people whose country is a region on the other side of
Asia Minor."

"Well!"

"A region abounding with mountains."

"Well!"

"Amongst which is Mount Ararat."

"Well!"

"Upon which, as the Bible informs us, the ark rested."

"Well!"

"It is the language of the people of those regions."

"So you told me."

"And I have been reading the Bible in their language."

"Well!"

"Or rather, I should say, in the ancient language of these people; from
which I am told the modern Armenian differs considerably."

"Well!"

"As much as the Italian from the Latin."

"Well!"

"So I have been reading the Bible in ancient Armenian."

"You told me so before."

"I found it a highly difficult language."

"Yes."

"Differing widely from the languages in general with which I am
acquainted."

"Yes."

"Exhibiting, however, some features in common with them."

"Yes."

"And sometimes agreeing remarkably in words with a certain strange wild
speech with which I became acquainted--"

"Irish?"

"No, father, not Irish--with which I became acquainted by the greatest
chance in the world."

"Yes."

"But of which I need say nothing farther at present, and which I should
not have mentioned but for that fact."

"Well!"

"Which I consider remarkable."

"Yes."

"The Armenian is copious."

"Is it?"

"With an alphabet of thirty-nine letters, but it is harsh and guttural."

"Yes."

"Like the language of most mountainous people--the Armenians call it
Haik."

"Do they?"

"And themselves, Haik, also; they are a remarkable people, and, though
their original habitation is the Mountain of Ararat, they are to be
found, like the Jews, all over the world."

"Well!"

"Well, father, that's all I can tell you about the Haiks, or Armenians."

"And what does it all amount to?"

"Very little, father; indeed, there is very little known about the
Armenians; their early history, in particular, is involved in
considerable mystery."

"And, if you knew all that it was possible to know about them, to what
would it amount? to what earthly purpose could you turn it? have you
acquired any knowledge of your profession?"

"Very little, father."

"Very little!  Have you acquired all in your power?"

"I can't say that I have, father."

"And yet it was your duty to have done so.  But I see how it is, you have
shamefully misused your opportunities; you are like one, who, sent into
the field to labour, passes his time in flinging stones at the birds of
heaven."

"I would scorn to fling a stone at a bird, father."

"You know what I mean, and all too well, and this attempt to evade
deserved reproof by feigned simplicity is quite in character with your
general behaviour.  I have ever observed about you a want of frankness,
which has distressed me; you never speak of what you are about, your
hopes, or your projects, but cover yourself with mystery.  I never knew
till the present moment that you were acquainted with Armenian."

"Because you never asked me, father; there's nothing to conceal in the
matter--I will tell you in a moment how I came to learn Armenian.  A lady
whom I met at one of Mrs. ---'s parties took a fancy to me, and has done
me the honour to allow me to go and see her sometimes.  She is the widow
of a rich clergyman, and on her husband's death came to this place to
live, bringing her husband's library with her: I soon found my way to it,
and examined every book.  Her husband must have been a learned man, for
amongst much Greek and Hebrew I found several volumes in Armenian, or
relating to the language."

"And why did you not tell me of this before?"

"Because you never questioned me; but I repeat, there is nothing to
conceal in the matter.  The lady took a fancy to me, and, being fond of
the arts, drew my portrait; she said the expression of my countenance put
her in mind of Alfieri's Saul."

"And do you still visit her?"

"No, she soon grew tired of me, and told people that she found me very
stupid; she gave me the Armenian books, however."

"Saul," said my father, musingly, "Saul; I am afraid she was only too
right there; he disobeyed the commands of his master, and brought down on
his head the vengeance of Heaven--he became a maniac, prophesied, and
flung weapons about him."

"He was, indeed, an awful character--I hope I shan't turn out like him."

"God forbid!" said my father, solemnly; "but in many respects you are
headstrong and disobedient like him.  I placed you in a profession, and
besought you to make yourself master of it, by giving it your undivided
attention.  This, however, you did not do; you know nothing of it, but
tell me that you are acquainted with Armenian; but what I dislike most is
your want of candour--you are my son, but I know little of your real
history; you may know fifty things for what I am aware: you may know how
to shoe a horse for what I am aware."

"Not only to shoe a horse, father, but to make horse-shoes."

"Perhaps so," said my father; "and it only serves to prove what I was
just saying, that I know little about you."

"But you easily may, my dear father; I will tell you anything that you
may wish to know--shall I inform you how I learnt to make horse-shoes?"

"No," said my father; "as you kept it a secret so long, it may as well
continue so still.  Had you been a frank, open-hearted boy, like one I
could name, you would have told me all about it of your own accord.  But
I now wish to ask you a serious question--what do you propose to do?"

"To do, father?"

"Yes! the time for which you were articled to your profession will soon
be expired, and I shall be no more."

"Do not talk so, my dear father; I have no doubt that you will soon be
better."

"Do not flatter yourself; I feel that my days are numbered; I am soon
going to my rest, and I have need of rest, for I am weary.  There, there,
don't weep!  Tears will help me as little as they will you; you have not
yet answered my question.  Tell me what you intend to do."

"I really do not know what I shall do."

"The military pension which I enjoy will cease with my life.  The
property which I shall leave behind me will be barely sufficient for the
maintenance of your mother respectably.  I again ask you what you intend
to do.  Do you think you can support yourself by your Armenian or your
other acquirements?"

"Alas!  I think little at all about it; but I suppose I must push into
the world, and make a good fight, as becomes the son of him who fought
Big Ben; if I can't succeed, and am driven to the worst, it is but
dying--"

"What do you mean by dying?"

"Leaving the world; my loss would scarcely be felt.  I have never held
life in much value, and every one has a right to dispose as he thinks
best of that which is his own."

"Ah! now I understand you; and well I know how and where you imbibed that
horrible doctrine, and many similar ones which I have heard from your
mouth; but I wish not to reproach you--I view in your conduct a
punishment for my own sins, and I bow to the will of God.  Few and evil
have been my days upon the earth; little have I done to which I can look
back with satisfaction.  It is true I have served my king fifty years,
and I have fought with--Heaven forgive me, what was I about to say!--but
you mentioned the man's name, and our minds willingly recall our ancient
follies.  Few and evil have been my days upon earth, I may say with Jacob
of old, though I do not mean to say that my case is so hard as his; he
had many undutiful children, whilst I have only . . .; but I will not
reproach you.  I have also like him a son to whom I can look with hope,
who may yet preserve my name when I am gone, so let me be thankful;
perhaps, after all, I have not lived in vain.  Boy, when I am gone, look
up to your brother, and may God bless you both.  There, don't weep; but
take the Bible, and read me something about the old man and his
children."

My brother had now been absent for the space of three years.  At first
his letters had been frequent, and from them it appeared that he was
following his profession in London with industry; they then became rather
rare, and my father did not always communicate their contents.  His last
letter, however, had filled him and our whole little family with joy; it
was dated from Paris, and the writer was evidently in high spirits.  After
describing in eloquent terms the beauties and gaieties of the French
capital, he informed us how he had plenty of money, having copied a
celebrated picture of one of the Italian masters for a Hungarian
nobleman, for which he had received a large sum.  "He wishes me to go
with him to Italy," added he, "but I am fond of independence; and, if
ever I visit old Rome, I will have no patrons near me to distract my
attention."  But six months had now elapsed from the date of this letter,
and we had heard no farther intelligence of my brother.  My father's
complaint increased; the gout, his principal enemy, occasionally mounted
high up in his system, and we had considerable difficulty in keeping it
from the stomach, where it generally proves fatal.  I now devoted almost
the whole of my time to my father, on whom his faithful partner also
lavished every attention and care.  I read the Bible to him, which was
his chief delight; and also occasionally such other books as I thought
might prove entertaining to him.  His spirits were generally rather
depressed.  The absence of my brother appeared to prey upon his mind.  "I
wish he were here," he would frequently exclaim; "I can't imagine what
can have become of him; I trust, however, he will arrive in time."  He
still sometimes rallied, and I took advantage of those moments of
comparative ease, to question him upon the events of his early life.  My
attentions to him had not passed unnoticed, and he was kind, fatherly,
and unreserved.  I had never known my father so entertaining as at these
moments, when his life was but too evidently drawing to a close.  I had
no idea that he knew and had seen so much; my respect for him increased,
and I looked upon him almost with admiration.  His anecdotes were in
general highly curious; some of them related to people in the highest
stations, and to men whose names were closely connected with some of the
brightest glories of our native land.  He had frequently conversed--almost
on terms of familiarity--with good old George.  He had known the
conqueror of Tippoo Saib; and was the friend of Townshend, who, when
Wolfe fell, led the British grenadiers against the shrinking regiments of
Montcalm.  "Pity," he added, "that when old--old as I am now--he should
have driven his own son mad by robbing him of his plighted bride; but so
it was; he married his son's bride.  I saw him lead her to the altar; if
ever there was an angelic countenance, it was that girl's; she was almost
too fair to be one of the daughters of women.  Is there anything, boy,
that you would wish to ask me? now is the time."

"Yes, father; there is one about whom I would fain question you."

"Who is it? shall I tell you about Elliot?"

"No, father, not about Elliot; but pray don't be angry; I should like to
know something about Big Ben."

"You are a strange lad," said my father; "and, though of late I have
begun to entertain a more favourable opinion than heretofore, there is
still much about you that I do not understand.  Why do you bring up that
name?  Don't you know that it is one of my temptations? you wish to know
something about him.  Well!  I will oblige you this once, and then
farewell to such vanities--something about him.  I will tell you--his
skin, when he flung off his clothes--and he had a particular knack in
doing so--his skin, when he bared his mighty chest and back for
combat--and when he fought he stood so . . . if I remember right--his
skin, I say, was brown and dusky as that of a toad.  Oh me!  I wish my
elder son was here."



CHAPTER XXVIII


My Brother's Arrival--The Interview--Night--A Dying Father--Christ.

At last my brother arrived; he looked pale and unwell; I met him at the
door.  "You have been long absent," said I.

"Yes," said he, "perhaps too long; but how is my father?"

"Very poorly," said I, "he has had a fresh attack; but where have you
been of late?"

"Far and wide," said my brother; "but I can't tell you anything now, I
must go to my father.  It was only by chance that I heard of his
illness."

"Stay a moment," said I.  "Is the world such a fine place as you supposed
it to be before you went away?"

"Not quite," said my brother, "not quite; indeed I wish--but ask me no
questions now, I must hasten to my father."

There was another question on my tongue, but I forbore; for the eyes of
the young man were full of tears.  I pointed with my finger, and the
young man hastened past me to the arms of his father.

I forbore to ask my brother whether he had been to old Rome.

What passed between my father and brother I do not know; the interview,
no doubt, was tender enough, for they tenderly loved each other; but my
brother's arrival did not produce the beneficial effect upon my father
which I at first hoped it would; it did not even appear to have raised
his spirits.  He was composed enough, however: "I ought to be grateful,"
said he; "I wished to see my son, and God has granted me my wish; what
more have I to do now than to bless my little family and go?"

My father's end was evidently at hand.

And did I shed no tears? did I breathe no sighs? did I never wring my
hands at this period? the reader will perhaps be asking.  Whatever I did
and thought is best known to God and myself; but it will be as well to
observe, that it is possible to feel deeply, and yet make no outward
sign.

And now for the closing scene.

At the dead hour of night, it might be about two, I was awakened from
sleep by a cry which sounded from the room immediately below that in
which I slept.  I knew the cry, it was the cry of my mother; and I also
knew its import, yet I made no effort to rise, for I was for the moment
paralysed.  Again the cry sounded, yet still I lay motionless--the
stupidity of horror was upon me.  A third time, and it was then that, by
a violent effort, bursting the spell which appeared to bind me, I sprang
from the bed and rushed downstairs.  My mother was running wildly about
the room; she had awoke, and found my father senseless in the bed by her
side.  I essayed to raise him, and after a few efforts supported him in
the bed in a sitting posture.  My brother now rushed in, and, snatching
up a light that was burning, he held it to my father's face.  "The
surgeon, the surgeon!" he cried; then, dropping the light, he ran out of
the room followed by my mother; I remained alone, supporting the
senseless form of my father; the light had been extinguished by the fall,
and an almost total darkness reigned in the room.  The form pressed
heavily against my bosom--at last methought it moved.  Yes, I was right,
there was a heaving of the breast, and then a gasping.  Were those words
which I heard?  Yes, they were words, low and indistinct at first, and
then audible.  The mind of the dying man was reverting to former scenes.
I heard him mention names which I had often heard him mention before.  It
was an awful moment; I felt stupefied, but I still contrived to support
my dying father.  There was a pause, again my father spoke: I heard him
speak of Minden, {264} and of Meredith, the old Minden sergeant, and then
he uttered another name, which at one period of his life was much in his
lips, the name of . . . but this is a solemn moment!  There was a deep
gasp: I shook, and thought all was over; but I was mistaken--my father
moved, and revived for a moment; he supported himself in bed without my
assistance.  I make no doubt that for a moment he was perfectly sensible,
and it was then that, clasping his hands, he uttered another name
clearly, distinctly--it was the name of Christ.  With that name upon his
lips, the brave old soldier sank back upon my bosom, and, with his hands
still clasped, yielded up his soul.



CHAPTER XXIX


The Greeting--Queer Figure--Cheer Up--The Cheerful Fire--It Will Do--The
Sally Forth--Trepidation--Let Him Come In.

"One-and-Ninepence, sir, or the things which you have brought with you
will be taken away from you!"

Such were the first words which greeted my ears, one damp misty morning
in March, {265} as I dismounted from the top of a coach in the yard of a
London inn.

I turned round, for I felt that the words were addressed to myself.
Plenty of people were in the yard--porters, passengers, coachmen,
ostlers, and others, who appeared to be intent on anything but myself,
with the exception of one individual, whose business appeared to lie with
me, and who now confronted me at the distance of about two yards.

I looked hard at the man--and a queer kind of individual he was to look
at--a rakish figure, about thirty, and of the middle size, dressed in a
coat smartly cut, but threadbare, very tight pantaloons of blue stuff,
tied at the ankles, dirty white stockings and thin shoes, like those of a
dancing-master; his features were not ugly, but rather haggard, and he
appeared to owe his complexion less to nature than carmine; in fact, in
every respect, a very queer figure.

"One-and-ninepence, sir, or your things will be taken away from you!" he
said, in a kind of lisping tone, coming yet nearer to me.

I still remained staring fixedly at him, but never a word answered.  Our
eyes met; whereupon he suddenly lost the easy impudent air which he
before wore.  He glanced, for a moment, at my fist, which I had by this
time clenched, and his features became yet more haggard; he faltered; a
fresh "one-and-ninepence," which he was about to utter, died on his lips;
he shrank back, disappeared behind a coach, and I saw no more of him.

"One-and-ninepence, or my things will be taken away from me!" said I to
myself, musingly, as I followed the porter to whom I had delivered my
scanty baggage; "am I to expect many of these greetings in the big world?
Well, never mind!  I think I know the counter-sign!"  And I clenched my
fist yet harder than before.

So I followed the porter, through the streets of London, to a lodging
which had been prepared for me by an acquaintance.  The morning, as I
have before said, was gloomy, and the streets through which I passed were
dank and filthy; the people, also, looked dank and filthy; and so,
probably, did I, for the night had been rainy, and I had come upwards of
a hundred miles on the top of a coach; my heart had sunk within me, by
the time we reached a dark narrow street, in which was the lodging.

"Cheer up, young man," said the porter, "we shall have a fine afternoon!"

And presently I found myself in the lodging which had been prepared for
me.  It consisted of a small room, up two pair of stairs, in which I was
to sit, and another still smaller above it, in which I was to sleep.  I
remember that I sat down, and looked, disconsolate, about me--everything
seemed so cold and dingy.  Yet how little is required to make a
situation--however cheerless at first sight--cheerful and comfortable.
The people of the house, who looked kindly upon me, lighted a fire in the
dingy grate; and, then, what a change!--the dingy room seemed dingy no
more!  Oh, the luxury of a cheerful fire after a chill night's journey!  I
drew near to the blazing grate, rubbed my hands, and felt glad.

And, when I had warmed myself, I turned to the table, on which, by this
time, the people of the house had placed my breakfast; and I ate and I
drank; and, as I ate and drank, I mused within myself, and my eyes were
frequently directed to a small green box, which constituted part of my
luggage, and which, with the rest of my things, stood in one corner of
the room, till at last, leaving my breakfast unfinished, I rose, and,
going to the box, unlocked it, and took out two or three bundles of
papers tied with red tape, and, placing them on the table, I resumed my
seat and my breakfast, my eyes intently fixed upon the bundles of papers
all the time.

And when I had drained the last cup of tea out of a dingy teapot, and ate
the last slice of the dingy loaf, I untied one of the bundles, and
proceeded to look over the papers, which were closely written over in a
singular hand, and I read for some time, till at last I said to myself,
"It will do."  And then I looked at the other bundle for some time
without untying it; and at last I said, "It will do also."  And then I
turned to the fire, and, putting my feet against the sides of the grate,
I leaned back on my chair, and, with my eyes upon the fire, fell into
deep thought.

And there I continued in thought before the fire, until my eyes closed,
and I fell asleep; which was not to be wondered at, after the fatigue and
cold which I had lately undergone on the coach-top; and, in my sleep, I
imagined myself still there, amidst darkness and rain, hurrying now over
wild heaths, and now along roads overhung with thick and umbrageous
trees, and sometimes methought I heard the horn of the guard, and
sometimes the voice of the coachman, now chiding, now encouraging his
horses, as they toiled through the deep and miry ways.  At length a
tremendous crack of a whip saluted the tympanum of my ear, and I started
up broad awake, nearly oversetting the chair on which I reclined--and,
lo! I was in the dingy room before the fire, which was by this time half
extinguished.  In my dream I had confounded the noise of the street with
those of my night-journey; the crack which had aroused me I soon found
proceeded from the whip of a carter, who, with many oaths, was flogging
his team below the window.

Looking at a clock which stood upon the mantelpiece, I perceived that it
was past eleven; whereupon I said to myself, "I am wasting my time
foolishly and unprofitably, forgetting that I am now in the big world,
without anything to depend upon save my own exertions;" and then I
adjusted my dress, and, locking up the bundle of papers which I had not
read, I tied up the other, and, taking it under my arm, I went
downstairs; and, after asking a question or two of the people of the
house, I sallied forth into the street with a determined look, though at
heart I felt somewhat timorous at the idea of venturing out alone into
the mazes of the mighty city, of which I had heard much, but of which, of
my own knowledge, I knew nothing.

I had, however, no great cause for anxiety in the present instance; I
easily found my way to the place which I was in quest of--one of the many
new squares on the northern side of the metropolis, and which was
scarcely ten minutes' walk from the street in which I had taken up my
abode.  Arriving before the door of a tolerably large house which bore a
certain number, I stood still for a moment in a kind of trepidation,
looking anxiously at the door; I then slowly passed on till I came to the
end of the square, where I stood still, and pondered for a while.
Suddenly, however, like one who has formed a resolution, I clenched my
right hand, flinging my hat somewhat on one side, and, turning back with
haste to the door before which I had stopped, I sprang up the steps, and
gave a loud rap, ringing at the same time the bell of the area.  After
the lapse of a minute the door was opened by a maid-servant of no very
cleanly or prepossessing appearance, of whom I demanded, in a tone of
some hauteur, whether the master of the house was at home.  Glancing for
a moment at the white paper bundle beneath my arm, the handmaid made no
reply in words, but, with a kind of toss of her head, flung the door
open, standing on one side as if to let me enter.  I did enter; and the
handmaid, having opened another door on the right hand, went in, and said
something which I could not hear: after a considerable pause, however, I
heard the voice of a man say, "Let him come in;" whereupon the handmaid,
coming out, motioned me to enter, and, on my obeying, instantly closed
the door behind me.



CHAPTER XXX


The Sinister Glance--Excellent Correspondent--Quite Original--My System--A
Losing Trade--Merit--Starting a Review--What Have You
Got?--Stop!--Dairyman's Daughter--Oxford Principles--More
Conversation--How is This?

There were two individuals in the room in which I now found myself; it
was a small study, surrounded with bookcases, the window looking out upon
the square.  Of these individuals he who appeared to be the principal
stood with his back to the fireplace.  He was a tall stout man, about
sixty, dressed in a loose morning gown.  The expression of his
countenance would have been bluff but for a certain sinister glance, and
his complexion might have been called rubicund but for a considerable
tinge of bilious yellow.  He eyed me askance as I entered.  The other, a
pale, shrivelled-looking person, sat at a table apparently engaged with
an account-book; he took no manner of notice of me, never once lifting
his eyes from the page before him.

"Well, sir, what is your pleasure!" said the big man, {270} in a rough
tone, as I stood there, looking at him wistfully--as well I might--for
upon that man, at the time of which I am speaking, my principal, I may
say my only, hopes rested.

"Sir," said I, "my name is so-and-so, and I am the bearer of a letter to
you from Mr. so-and-so, an old friend and correspondent of yours."

The countenance of the big man instantly lost the suspicious and lowering
expression which it had hitherto exhibited; he strode forward, and,
seizing me by the hand, gave me a violent squeeze.

"My dear sir," said he, "I am rejoiced to see you in London.  I have been
long anxious for the pleasure--we are old friends, though we have never
before met.  Taggart," said he to the man who sat at the desk, "this is
our excellent correspondent, the friend and pupil of our other excellent
correspondent."

The pale, shrivelled-looking man slowly and deliberately raised his head
from the account-book, and surveyed me for a moment or two; not the
slightest emotion was observable in his countenance.  It appeared to me,
however, that I could detect a droll twinkle in his eye: his curiosity,
if he had any, was soon gratified; he made me a kind of bow, pulled out a
snuff-box, took a pinch of snuff, and again bent his head over the page.

"And now, my dear sir," said the big man, "pray sit down, and tell me the
cause of your visit.  I hope you intend to remain here a day or two."

"More than that," said I, "I am come to take up my abode in London."

"Glad to hear it; and what have you been about of late? got anything
which will suit me?  Sir, I admire your style of writing, and your manner
of thinking; and I am much obliged to my good friend and correspondent
for sending me some of your productions.  I inserted them all, and wished
there had been more of them--quite original, sir, quite: took with the
public, especially the essay about the non-existence of anything.  I
don't exactly agree with you though; I have my own peculiar ideas about
matter--as you know, of course, from the book I have published.
Nevertheless, a very pretty piece of speculative philosophy--no such
thing as matter--impossible that there should be--_ex nihilo_--what is
the Greek?  I have forgot--very pretty indeed; very original."

"I am afraid, sir, it was very wrong to write such trash, and yet more to
allow it to be published."

"Trash! not at all; a very pretty piece of speculative philosophy; of
course you were wrong in saying there is no world.  The world must exist,
to have the shape of a pear; and that the world is shaped like a pear,
and not like an apple, as the fools of Oxford say, I have satisfactorily
proved in my book.  Now, if there were no world, what would become of my
system?  But what do you propose to do in London?"

"Here is the letter, sir," said I, "of our good friend, which I have not
yet given to you; I believe it will explain to you the circumstances
under which I come."

He took the letter, and perused it with attention.  "Hem!" said he, with
a somewhat altered manner, "my friend tells me that you are come up to
London with the view of turning your literary talents to account, and
desires me to assist you in my capacity of publisher in bringing forth
two or three works which you have prepared.  My good friend is perhaps
not aware that for some time past I have given up publishing--was obliged
to do so--had many severe losses--do nothing at present in that line,
save sending out the Magazine once a month; and, between ourselves, am
thinking of disposing of that--wish to retire--high time at my age--so
you see--"

"I am very sorry, sir, to hear that you cannot assist me" (and I remember
that I felt very nervous); "I had hoped--"

"A losing trade, I assure you, sir; literature is a drug.  Taggart, what
o'clock is it?"

"Well, sir!" said I, rising, "as you cannot assist me, I will now take my
leave; I thank you sincerely for your kind reception, and will trouble
you no longer."

"Oh, don't go.  I wish to have some farther conversation with you; and
perhaps I may hit upon some plan to benefit you.  I honour merit, and
always make a point to encourage it when I can; but, . . . Taggart, go to
the bank, and tell them to dishonour the bill twelve months after date
for thirty pounds which becomes due to-morrow.  I am dissatisfied with
that fellow who wrote the fairy tales, and intend to give him all the
trouble in my power.  Make haste."

Taggart did not appear to be in any particular haste.  First of all, he
took a pinch of snuff, then, rising from his chair, slowly and
deliberately drew his wig, for he wore a wig of a brown colour, rather
more over his forehead than it had previously been, buttoned his coat,
and, taking his hat, and an umbrella which stood in a corner, made me a
low bow, and quitted the room.

"Well, sir, where were we?  Oh, I remember, we were talking about merit.
Sir, I always wish to encourage merit, especially when it comes so highly
recommended as in the present instance.  Sir, my good friend and
correspondent speaks of you in the highest terms.  Sir, I honour my good
friend, and have the highest respect for his opinion in all matters
connected with literature--rather eccentric though.  Sir, my good friend
has done my periodical more good and more harm than all the rest of my
correspondents.  Sir, I shall never forget the sensation caused by the
appearance of his article about a certain personage whom he proved--and I
think satisfactorily--to have been a legionary soldier--rather startling,
was it not?  The S--- of the world a common soldier, in a marching
regiment--original, but startling; sir, I honour my good friend."

"So you have renounced publishing, sir," said I, "with the exception of
the Magazine?"

"Why, yes; except now and then, under the rose; the old coachman, you
know, likes to hear the whip.  Indeed, at the present moment, I am
thinking of starting a Review on an entirely new and original principle;
and it just struck me that you might be of high utility in the
undertaking--what do you think of the matter?"

"I should be happy, sir, to render you any assistance, but I am afraid
the employment you propose requires other qualifications than I possess;
however, I can make the essay.  My chief intention in coming to London
was to lay before the world what I had prepared; and I had hoped by your
assistance--"

"Ah!  I see, ambition!  Ambition is a very pretty thing; but, sir, we
must walk before we run, according to the old saying--what is that you
have got under your arm?"

"One of the works to which I was alluding; the one, indeed, which I am
most anxious to lay before the world, as I hope to derive from it both
profit and reputation."

"Indeed! what do you call it?"

"Ancient songs of Denmark, heroic and romantic, translated by myself;
with notes philological, critical, and historical."

"Then, sir, I assure you that your time and labour have been entirely
flung away; nobody would read your ballads, if you were to give them to
the world to-morrow."

"I am sure, sir, that you would say otherwise if you would permit me to
read one to you;" and, without waiting for the answer of the big man, nor
indeed so much as looking at him, to see whether he was inclined or not
to hear me, I undid my manuscript, and, with a voice trembling with
eagerness, I read to the following effect:--

   'Buckshank bold and Elfinstone,
   And more than I can mention here,
   They caused to be built so stout a ship,
   And unto Iceland they would steer.

   They launched the ship upon the main,
   Which bellowed like a wrathful bear;
   Down to the bottom the vessel sank,
   A laidly Trold has dragged it there.

   Down to the bottom sank young Roland,
   And round about he groped awhile;
   Until he found the path which led
   Unto the bower of Ellenlyle.'"

"Stop!" said the publisher; "very pretty indeed, and very original; beats
Scott hollow, and Percy too: but, sir, the day for these things is gone
by; nobody at present cares for Percy, nor for Scott, either, save as a
novelist; sorry to discourage merit, sir, but what can I do!  What else
have you got?"

"The songs of Ab Gwilym, the Welsh bard, also translated by myself, with
notes critical, philological, and historical."

"Pass on--what else?"

"Nothing else," said I, folding up my manuscript with a sigh, "unless it
be a romance in the German style; on which, I confess, I set very little
value."

"Wild?"

"Yes, sir, very wild."

"Like the 'Miller of the Black Valley'?"

"Yes, sir, very much like the 'Miller of the Black Valley.'"

"Well, that's better," said the publisher; "and yet, I don't know, I
question whether any one at present cares for the miller himself.  No,
sir, the time for those things is also gone by; German, at present, is a
drug; and, between ourselves, nobody has contributed to make it so more
than my good friend and correspondent;--but, sir, I see you are a young
gentleman of infinite merit, and I always wish to encourage merit.  Don't
you think you could write a series of evangelical tales?"

"Evangelical tales, sir?"

"Yes, sir, evangelical novels."

"Something in the style of Herder?"

"Herder is a drug, sir; nobody cares for Herder--thanks to my good
friend.  Sir, I have in yon drawer a hundred pages about Herder, which I
dare not insert in my periodical; it would sink it, sir.  No, sir,
something in the style of the 'Dairyman's Daughter.'" {278}

"I never heard of the work till the present moment."

"Then, sir, procure it by all means.  Sir, I could afford as much as ten
pounds for a well-written tale in the style of the 'Dairyman's Daughter';
that is the kind of literature, sir, that sells at the present day!  It
is not the Miller of the Black Valley--no, sir, nor Herder either, that
will suit the present taste; the evangelical body is becoming very
strong, sir; the canting scoundrels--"

"But, sir, surely you would not pander to a scoundrelly taste?"

"Then, sir, I must give up business altogether.  Sir, I have a great
respect for the goddess Reason--an infinite respect, sir; indeed, in my
time, I have made a great many sacrifices for her; but, sir, I cannot
altogether ruin myself for the goddess Reason.  Sir, I am a friend to
Liberty, as is well known; but I must also be a friend to my own family.
It is with the view of providing for a son of mine that I am about to
start the Review of which I was speaking.  He has taken into his head to
marry, sir, and I must do something for him, for he can do but little for
himself.  Well, sir, I am a friend to Liberty, as I said before, and
likewise a friend to Reason; but I tell you frankly that the Review which
I intend to get up under the rose, and present him with when it is
established, will be conducted on Oxford principles."

"Orthodox principles, I suppose you mean, sir?"

"I do, sir; I am no linguist, but I believe the words are synonymous."

Much more conversation passed between us, and it was agreed that I should
become a contributor to the "Oxford Review."  I stipulated, however,
that, as I knew little of politics, and cared less, no other articles
should be required from me than such as were connected with
belles-lettres and philology; to this the big man readily assented.
"Nothing will be required from you," said he, "but what you mention; and
now and then, perhaps, a paper on metaphysics.  You understand German,
and perhaps it would be desirable that you should review Kant; and in a
review of Kant, sir, you could introduce to advantage your peculiar
notions about _ex nihilo_."  He then reverted to the subject of the
"Dairyman's Daughter," which I promised to take into consideration.  As I
was going away, he invited me to dine with him on the ensuing Sunday.

"That's a strange man!" said I to myself, after I had left the house; "he
is evidently very clever; but I cannot say that I like him much, with his
'Oxford Reviews' and 'Dairyman's Daughters.'  But what can I do?  I am
almost without a friend in the world.  I wish I could find some one who
would publish my ballads, or my songs of Ab Gwilym.  In spite of what the
big man says, I am convinced that, once published, they would bring me
much fame and profit.  But how is this?--what a beautiful sun!--the
porter was right in saying that the day would clear up--I will now go to
my dingy lodging, lock up my manuscripts, and then take a stroll about
the big city."



CHAPTER XXXI


The Walk--London's Cheape--Street of the Lombards--Strange Bridge--Main
Arch--The Roaring Gulf--The Boat--Clyfaking--A Comfort--The Book--The
Blessed Woman--No Trap.

So I set out on my walk to see the wonders of the big city, and, as
chance would have it, I directed my course to the east.  The day, as I
have already said, had become very fine, so that I saw the great city to
advantage, and the wonders thereof: and much I admired all I saw; and,
amongst other things, the huge cathedral, standing so proudly on the most
commanding ground in the big city; and I looked up to the mighty dome,
surmounted by a golden cross, and I said within myself, "That dome must
needs be the finest in the world;" and I gazed upon it till my eyes
reeled, and my brain became dizzy, and I thought that the dome would fall
and crush me; and I shrank within myself, and struck yet deeper into the
heart of the big city.

"O Cheapside!  Cheapside!" said I, as I advanced up that mighty
thoroughfare, "truly thou art a wonderful place for hurry, noise, and
riches!  Men talk of the bazaars of the East--I have never seen them--but
I dare say that, compared with thee, they are poor places, silent places,
abounding with empty boxes, O thou pride of London's east!--mighty mart
of old renown!--for thou art not a place of yesterday:--long before the
Roses red and white battled in fair England, thou didst exist--a place of
throng and bustle--a place of gold and silver, perfumes and fine linen.
Centuries ago thou couldst extort the praises even of the fiercest foes
of England.  Fierce bards of Wales, sworn foes of England, sang thy
praises centuries ago; and even the fiercest of them all, Red Julius
himself, wild Glendower's bard, had a word of praise for London's
'Cheape,' for so the bards of Wales styled thee in their flowing odes.
Then, if those who were not English, and hated England, and all connected
therewith, had yet much to say in thy praise, when thou wast far inferior
to what thou art now, why should true-born Englishmen, or those who call
themselves so, turn up their noses at thee, and scoff thee at the present
day, as I believe they do?  But, let others do as they will, I, at least,
who am not only an Englishman, but an East Englishman, will not turn up
my nose at thee, but will praise and extol thee, calling thee mart of the
world--a place of wonder and astonishment!--and, were it right and
fitting to wish that anything should endure for ever, I would say
prosperity to Cheapside, throughout all ages--may it be the world's
resort for merchandise, world without end."

And when I had passed through the Cheape I entered another street, which
led up a kind of ascent, and which proved to be the street of the
Lombards, called so from the name of its first founders; and I walked
rapidly up the street of the Lombards, neither looking to the right nor
left, for it had no interest for me, though I had a kind of consciousness
that mighty things were being transacted behind its walls; but it wanted
the throng, bustle, and outward magnificence of the Cheape, and it had
never been spoken of by "ruddy bards"!  And, when I had got to the end of
the street of the Lombards, I stood still for some time, deliberating
within myself whether I should turn to the right or the left, or go
straight forward, and at last I turned to the right, down a street of
rapid descent, and presently found myself upon a bridge which traversed
the river which runs by the big city.

A strange kind of bridge it was; huge and massive, and seemingly of great
antiquity.  It had an arched back, like that of a hog, a high balustrade,
and at either side, at intervals, were stone bowers bulking over the
river, but open on the other side, and furnished with a semicircular
bench.  Though the bridge was wide--very wide--it was all too narrow for
the concourse upon it.  Thousands of human beings were pouring over the
bridge.  But what chiefly struck my attention was a double row of carts
and wagons, the generality drawn by horses as large as elephants, each
row striving hard in a different direction, and not unfrequently brought
to a standstill.  Oh the cracking of whips, the shouts and oaths of the
carters, and the grating of wheels upon the enormous stones that formed
the pavement!  In fact, there was a wild hurly-burly upon the bridge,
which nearly deafened me.  But, if upon the bridge there was a confusion,
below it there was a confusion ten times confounded.  The tide, which was
fast ebbing, obstructed by the immense piers of the old bridge, poured
beneath the arches with a fall of several feet, forming in the river
below as many whirlpools as there were arches.  Truly tremendous was the
roar of the descending waters, and the bellow of the tremendous gulfs,
which swallowed them for a time, and then cast them forth, foaming and
frothing from their horrid wombs.  Slowly advancing along the bridge, I
came to the highest point, and there I stood still, close beside one of
the stone bowers, in which, beside a fruit-stall, sat an old woman, with
a pan of charcoal at her feet, and a book in her hand, in which she
appeared to be reading intently.  There I stood, just above the principal
arch, looking through the balustrade at the scene that presented
itself--and such a scene!  Towards the left bank of the river, a forest
of masts, thick and close, as far as the eye could reach; spacious
wharfs, surmounted with gigantic edifices; and, far away, Caesar's
Castle, with its White Tower.  To the right, another forest of masts, and
a maze of buildings, from which, here and there, shot up to the sky
chimneys taller than Cleopatra's Needle, vomiting forth huge wreaths of
that black smoke which forms the canopy--occasionally a gorgeous one--of
the more than Babel city.  Stretching before me, the troubled breast of
the mighty river, and, immediately below, the main whirlpool of the
Thames--the Maelstrom of the bulwarks of the middle arch--a grisly pool,
which, with its superabundance of horror, fascinated me.  Who knows but I
should have leapt into its depths?--I have heard of such things--but for
a rather startling occurrence which broke the spell.  As I stood upon the
bridge, gazing into the jaws of the pool, a small boat shot suddenly
through the arch beneath my feet.  There were three persons in it; an
oarsman in the middle, whilst a man and woman sat at the stern.  I shall
never forget the thrill of horror which went through me at this sudden
apparition.  What!--a boat--a small boat--passing beneath that arch into
yonder roaring gulf!  Yes, yes, down through that awful water-way, with
more than the swiftness of an arrow, shot the boat, or skiff, right into
the jaws of the pool.  A monstrous breaker curls over the prow--there is
no hope; the boat is swamped, and all drowned in that strangling vortex!
No! the boat, which appeared to have the buoyancy of a feather, skipped
over the threatening horror, and, the next moment, was out of danger, the
boatman--a true boatman of Cockaigne that--elevating one of his sculls in
sign of triumph, the man hallooing, and the woman, a true Englishwoman
that--of a certain class--waving her shawl.  Whether any one observed
them save myself, or whether the feat was a common one, I know not; but
nobody appeared to take any notice of them.  As for myself, I was so
excited, that I strove to clamber up the balustrade of the bridge, in
order to obtain a better view of the daring adventurers.  Before I could
accomplish my design, however, I felt myself seized by the body, and,
turning my head, perceived the old fruit-woman, who was clinging to me.

"Nay, dear! don't--don't!" said she.  "Don't fling yourself over--perhaps
you may have better luck next time!"

"I was not going to fling myself over," said I, dropping from the
balustrade; "how came you to think of such a thing?"

"Why, seeing you clamber up so fiercely, I thought you might have had ill
luck, and that you wished to make away with yourself."

"Ill luck," said I, going into the stone bower, and sitting down.  "What
do you mean? ill luck in what?"

"Why, no great harm, dear! clyfaking perhaps."

"Are you coming over me with dialects," said I, "speaking unto me in
fashions I wot nothing of?"

"Nay, dear! don't look so strange with those eyes of your'n, nor talk so
strangely; I don't understand you."

"Nor I you; what do you mean by clyfaking?"

"Lor, dear! no harm; only taking a handkerchief now and then."

"Do you take me for a thief?"

"Nay, dear! don't make use of bad language; we never calls them thieves
here, but prigs and fakers: to tell you the truth, dear, seeing you
spring at that railing put me in mind of my own dear son, who is now at
Bot'ny: when he had bad luck, he always used to talk of flinging himself
over the bridge; and, sure enough, when the traps were after him, he did
fling himself into the river, but that was off the bank; nevertheless,
the traps pulled him out, and he is now suffering his sentence; so you
see you may speak out, if you have done anything in the harmless line,
for I am my son's own mother, I assure you."

"So you think there's no harm in stealing?"

"No harm in the world, dear!  Do you think my own child would have been
transported for it, if there had been any harm in it? and, what's more,
would the blessed woman in the book here have written her life as she has
done, and given it to the world, if there had been any harm in faking?
She, too, was what they call a thief and a cut-purse; ay, and was
transported for it, like my dear son; and do you think she would have
told the world so, if there had been any harm in the thing?  Oh, it is a
comfort to me that the blessed woman was transported, and came back--for
come back she did, and rich too--for it is an assurance to me that my
dear son, who was transported too, will come back like her."

"What was her name?"

"Her name, blessed Mary Flanders."

"Will you let me look at the book?"

"Yes, dear, that I will, if you promise me not to run away with it."

I took the book from her hand; a short thick volume, at least a century
old, bound with greasy black leather.  I turned the yellow and
dog's-eared pages, reading here and there a sentence.  Yes, and no
mistake!  _His_ pen, his style, his spirit might be observed in every
line of the uncouth-looking old volume--the air, the style, the spirit of
the writer of the book which first taught me to read. {287}  I covered my
face with my hand, and thought of my childhood . . .

"This is a singular book," said I at last; "but it does not appear to
have been written to prove that thieving is no harm, but rather to show
the terrible consequences of crime: it contains a deep moral."

"A deep what, dear?"

"A . . . but no matter; I will give you a crown for this volume."

"No, dear, I will not sell the volume for a crown."

"I am poor," said I; "but I will give you two silver crowns for your
volume."

"No, dear, I will not sell my volume for two silver crowns; no, nor for
the golden one in the king's Tower down there; without my book I should
mope and pine, and perhaps fling myself into the river; but I am glad you
like it, which shows that I was right about you, after all; you are one
of our party, and you have a flash about that eye of yours which puts me
just in mind of my dear son.  No, dear, I won't sell you my book; but, if
you like, you may have a peep into it whenever you come this way.  I
shall be glad to see you; you are one of the right sort, for, if you had
been a common one, you would have run away with the thing; but you scorn
such behaviour, and, as you are so flash of your money, though you say
you are poor, you may give me a tanner to buy a little baccy with; I love
baccy, dear, more by token that it comes from the plantations to which
the blessed woman was sent."

"What's a tanner?" said I.

"Lor! don't you know, dear?  Why, a tanner is sixpence; and, as you were
talking just now about crowns, it will be as well to tell you that those
of our trade never calls them crowns, but bulls; but I am talking
nonsense, just as if you did not know all that already, as well as
myself; you are only shamming--I'm no trap, dear, nor more was the
blessed woman in the book.  Thank you, dear--thank you for the tanner; if
I don't spend it, I'll keep it in remembrance of your sweet face.  What,
you are going?--well, first let me whisper a word to you.  If you have
any clies to sell at any time, I'll buy them of you; all safe with me; I
never 'peach, and scorns a trap; so now, dear, God bless you! and give
you good luck.  Thank you for your pleasant company, and thank you for
the tanner."



CHAPTER XXXII


The Tanner--The Hotel--Drinking Claret--London Journal--New
Field--Commonplaceness--The Three Individuals--Botheration--Frank and
Ardent.

"'Tanner!" said I, musingly, as I left the bridge; "Tanner! what can the
man who cures raw skins by means of a preparation of oak bark and other
materials have to do with the name which these fakers, as they call
themselves, bestow on the smallest silver coin in these dominions?
Tanner!  I can't trace the connection between the man of bark and the
silver coin, unless journeymen tanners are in the habit of working for
sixpence a day.  But I have it," I continued, flourishing my hat over my
head, "tanner, in this instance, is not an English word."  Is it not
surprising that the language of Mr. Petulengro and of Tawno Chikno is
continually coming to my assistance whenever I appear to be at a nonplus
with respect to the derivation of crabbed words?  I have made out crabbed
words in AEschylus by means of the speech of Chikno and Petulengro, and
even in my Biblical researches I have derived no slight assistance from
it.  It appears to be a kind of picklock, an open sesame, Tanner--Tawno!
the one is but a modification of the other; they were originally
identical, and have still much the same signification.  Tanner, in the
language of the apple-woman, meaneth the smallest of English silver
coins; and Tawno, in the language of the Petulengres, though bestowed
upon the biggest of the Romans, according to strict interpretation,
signifieth a little child.

So I left the bridge, retracing my steps for a considerable way, as I
thought I had seen enough in the direction in which I had hitherto been
wandering; I should say that I scarcely walked less than thirty miles
about the big city on the day of my first arrival.  Night came on, but
still I was walking about, my eyes wide open, and admiring everything
that presented itself to them.  Everything was new to me, for everything
is different in London from what it is elsewhere--the people, their
language, the horses, the _tout ensemble_--even the stones of London are
different from others--at least it appeared to me that I had never walked
with the same ease and facility on the flagstones of a country town as on
those of London; so I continued roving about till night came on, and then
the splendour of some of the shops particularly struck me.  "A regular
Arabian Nights' entertainment!" said I, as I looked into one on Cornhill,
gorgeous with precious merchandise, and lighted up with lustres, the rays
of which were reflected from a hundred mirrors.

But, notwithstanding the excellence of the London pavement, I began about
nine o'clock to feel myself thoroughly tired; painfully and slowly did I
drag my feet along.  I also felt very much in want of some refreshment,
and I remembered that since breakfast I had taken nothing.  I was now in
the Strand, and, glancing about, I perceived that I was close by an
hotel, which bore over the door the somewhat remarkable name of Holy
Lands.  Without a moment's hesitation I entered a well-lighted passage,
and, turning to the left, I found myself in a well-lighted coffee-room,
with a well-dressed and frizzled waiter before me.  "Bring me some
claret," said I, for I was rather faint than hungry, and I felt ashamed
to give a humbler order to so well-dressed an individual.  The waiter
looked at me for a moment; then, making a low bow, he bustled off, and I
sat myself down in the box nearest to the window.  Presently the waiter
returned, bearing beneath his left arm a long bottle, and between the
fingers of his right hand two large purple glasses; placing the latter on
the table, he produced a cork-screw, drew the cork in a twinkling, set
the bottle down before me with a bang, and then, standing still, appeared
to watch my movements.  You think I don't know how to drink a glass of
claret, thought I to myself.  I'll soon show you how we drink claret
where I come from; and, filling one of the glasses to the brim, I
flickered it for a moment between my eyes and the lustre, and then held
it to my nose; having given that organ full time to test the bouquet of
the wine, I applied the glass to my lips, taking a large mouthful of the
wine, which I swallowed slowly and by degrees, that the palate might
likewise have an opportunity of performing its functions.  A second
mouthful I disposed of more summarily; then, placing the empty glass upon
the table, I fixed my eyes upon the bottle, and said--nothing; whereupon
the waiter, who had been observing the whole process with considerable
attention, made me a bow yet more low than before, and, turning on his
heel, retired with a smart chuck of his head, as much as to say, It is
all right; the young man is used to claret.

And when the waiter had retired I took a second glass of the wine, which
I found excellent; and, observing a newspaper lying near me, I took it up
and began perusing it.  It has been observed somewhere that people who
are in the habit of reading newspapers every day are not unfrequently
struck with the excellence of style and general talent which they
display.  Now, if that be the case, how must I have been surprised, who
was reading a newspaper for the first time, and that one of the best of
the London journals!  Yes, strange as it may seem, it was nevertheless
true that, up to the moment of which I am speaking, I had never read a
newspaper of any description. {293}  I of course had frequently seen
journals, and even handled them; but, as for reading them, what were they
to me?--I cared not for news.  But here I was now with my claret before
me, perusing, perhaps, the best of all the London journals--it was not
the -----and I was astonished: an entirely new field of literature
appeared to be opened to my view.  It was a discovery, but I confess
rather an unpleasant one; for I said to myself, if literary talent is so
very common in London, that the journals, things which, as their very
name denotes, are ephemeral, are written in a style like the article I
have been perusing, how can I hope to distinguish myself in this big
town, when, for the life of me, I don't think I could write anything half
so clever as what I have been reading.  And then I laid down the paper,
and fell into deep musing; rousing myself from which, I took a glass of
wine, and, pouring out another, began musing again.  What I have been
reading, thought I, is certainly very clever and very talented; but
talent and cleverness I think I have heard some one say are very
commonplace things, only fitted for everyday occasions.  I question
whether the man who wrote the book I saw this day on the bridge was a
clever man; but, after all, was he not something much better?  I don't
think he could have written this article, but then he wrote the book
which I saw on the bridge.  Then, if he could not have written the
article on which I now hold my forefinger--and I do not believe he
could--why should I feel discouraged at the consciousness that I, too,
could not write it?  I certainly could no more have written the article
than he could; but then, like him, though I would not compare myself to
the man who wrote the book I saw upon the bridge, I think I could--and
here I emptied the glass of claret--write something better.

Thereupon I resumed the newspaper; and, as I was before struck with the
fluency of style and the general talent which it displayed, I was now
equally so with its commonplaceness and want of originality on every
subject; and it was evident to me that, whatever advantage these
newspaper-writers might have over me in some points, they had never
studied the Welsh bards, translated Koempe Viser, or been under the
pupilage of Mr. Petulengro and Tawno Chikno.

And as I sat conning the newspaper three individuals entered the room,
and seated themselves in the box at the farther end of which I was.  They
were all three very well dressed; two of them elderly gentlemen, the
third a young man about my own age, or perhaps a year or two older: they
called for coffee; and, after two or three observations, the two eldest
commenced a conversation in French, which, however, though they spoke it
fluently enough, I perceived at once was not their native language; the
young man, however, took no part in their conversation, and when they
addressed a portion to him, which indeed was but rarely, merely replied
by a monosyllable.  I have never been a listener, and I paid but little
heed to their discourse, nor indeed to themselves; as I occasionally
looked up, however, I could perceive that the features of the young man,
who chanced to be seated exactly opposite to me, wore an air of
constraint and vexation.  This circumstance caused me to observe him more
particularly than I otherwise should have done: his features were
handsome and prepossessing; he had dark brown hair and a high-arched
forehead.  After the lapse of half an hour, the two elder individuals,
having finished their coffee, called for the waiter, and then rose as if
to depart, the young man, however, still remaining seated in the box.  The
others, having reached the door, turned round, and, finding that the
youth did not follow them, one of them called to him with a tone of some
authority; whereupon the young man rose, and, pronouncing half audibly
the word "botheration," rose and followed them.  I now observed that he
was remarkably tall.  All three left the house.  In about ten minutes,
finding nothing more worth reading in the newspaper, I laid it down, and
though the claret was not yet exhausted, I was thinking of betaking
myself to my lodgings, and was about to call the waiter, when I heard a
step in the passage, and in another moment the tall young man entered the
room, advanced to the same box, and, sitting down nearly opposite to me,
again pronounced to himself, but more audibly than before, the same word.

"A troublesome world this, sir," said I, looking at him.

"Yes," said the young man, looking fixedly at me; "but I am afraid we
bring most of our troubles on our own heads--at least I can say so of
myself," he added, laughing.  Then, after a pause, "I beg pardon," he
said, "but am I not addressing one of my own country?"

"Of what country are you?" said I.

"Ireland."

"I am not of your country, sir; but I have an infinite veneration for
your country, as Strap said to the French soldier.  Will you take a glass
of wine?"

"Ah, _de tout mon coeur_, as the parasite said to Gil Blas," cried the
young man, laughing.  "Here's to our better acquaintance!"

And better acquainted we soon became; and I found that, in making the
acquaintance of the young man, I had, indeed, made a valuable
acquisition; he was accomplished, highly connected, and bore the name of
Francis Ardry.  Frank and ardent he was, and in a very little time had
told me much that related to himself, and in return I communicated a
general outline of my own history; he listened with profound attention,
but laughed heartily when I told him some particulars of my visit in the
morning to the publisher, whom he had frequently heard of.

We left the house together.

"We shall soon see each other again," said he, as we separated at the
door of my lodging.



CHAPTER XXXIII


Dine with the Publisher--Religions--No Animal Food--Unprofitable
Discussions--Principles of Criticism--The Book Market--Newgate
Lives--Goethe a Drug--German Acquirements--Moral Dignity.

On the Sunday I was punctual to my appointment to dine with the
publisher.  As I hurried along the square in which his house stood, my
thoughts were fixed so intently on the great man, that I passed by him
without seeing him.  He had observed me, however, and joined me just as I
was about to knock at the door.  "Let us take a turn in the square," said
he; "we shall not dine for half an hour."

"Well," said he, as we were walking in the square, "what have you been
doing since I last saw you?"

"I have been looking about London," said I, "and I have bought the
'Dairyman's Daughter'; here it is."

"Pray put it up," said the publisher; "I don't want to look at such
trash.  Well, do you think you could write anything like it?"

"I do not," said I.

"How is that?" said the publisher, looking at me.

"Because," said I, "the man who wrote it seems to be perfectly well
acquainted with his subject; and, moreover, to write from the heart."

"By the subject you mean--"

"Religion."

"And a'n't you acquainted with religion?"

"Very little."

"I am sorry for that," said the publisher, seriously, "for he who sets up
for an author ought to be acquainted not only with religion, but
religions, and indeed with all subjects, like my good friend in the
country.  It is well that I have changed my mind about the 'Dairyman's
Daughter,' or I really don't know whom I could apply to on the subject at
the present moment, unless to himself; and after all I question whether
his style is exactly suited for an evangelical novel."

"Then you do not wish for an imitation of the 'Dairyman's Daughter'?"

"I do not, sir; I have changed my mind, as I told you before; I wish to
employ you in another line, but will communicate to you my intentions
after dinner."

At dinner, beside the publisher and myself, were present his wife and
son, with his newly married bride; the wife appeared a quiet respectable
woman, and the young people looked very happy and good-natured; not so
the publisher, who occasionally eyed both with contempt and dislike.
Connected with this dinner there was one thing remarkable; the publisher
took no animal food, but contented himself with feeding voraciously on
rice and vegetables prepared in various ways.

"You eat no animal food, sir?" said I.

"I do not, sir," said he; "I have forsworn it upwards of twenty years.  In
one respect, sir, I am a Brahmin.  I abhor taking away life--the brutes
have as much right to live as ourselves."

"But," said I, "if the brutes were not killed, there would be such a
superabundance of them, that the land would be overrun with them."

"I do not think so, sir; few are killed in India, and yet there is plenty
of room."

"But," said I, "nature intended that they should be destroyed, and the
brutes themselves prey upon one another, and it is well for themselves
and the world that they do so.  What would be the state of things if
every insect, bird, and worm were left to perish of old age?"

"We will change the subject," said the publisher; "I have never been a
friend of unprofitable discussions."

I looked at the publisher with some surprise, I had not been accustomed
to be spoken to so magisterially; his countenance was dressed in a
portentous frown, and his eye looked more sinister than ever; at that
moment he put me in mind of some of those despots of whom I had read in
the history of Morocco, whose word was law.  He merely wants power,
thought I to myself, to be a regular Muley Mehemet; and then I sighed,
for I remembered how very much I was in the power of that man.

The dinner over, the publisher nodded to his wife, who departed, followed
by her daughter-in-law.  The son looked as if he would willingly have
attended them; he, however, remained seated; and, a small decanter of
wine being placed on the table, the publisher filled two glasses, one of
which he handed to myself, and the other to his son; saying, "Suppose you
two drink to the success of the Review.  I would join you," said he,
addressing himself to me, "but I drink no wine; if I am a Brahmin with
respect to meat, I am a Mahometan with respect to wine."

So the son and I drank success to the Review, and then the young man
asked me various questions; for example--How I liked London?--Whether I
did not think it a very fine place?--Whether I was at the play the night
before?--and Whether I was in the park that afternoon?  He seemed
preparing to ask me some more questions; but, receiving a furious look
from his father, he became silent, filled himself a glass of wine, drank
it off, looked at the table for about a minute, then got up, pushed back
his chair, made me a bow, and left the room.

"Is that young gentleman, sir," said I, "well versed in the principles of
criticism?"

"He is not, sir," said the publisher; "and, if I place him at the head of
the Review ostensibly, I do it merely in the hope of procuring him a
maintenance; of the principle of a thing he knows nothing, except that
the principle of bread is wheat, and that the principle of that wine is
grape.  Will you take another glass?"

I looked at the decanter; but, not feeling altogether so sure as the
publisher's son with respect to the principle of what it contained, I
declined taking any more.

"No, sir," said the publisher, adjusting himself in his chair, "he knows
nothing about criticism, and will have nothing more to do with the
reviewals than carrying about the books to those who have to review them;
the real conductor of the Review will be a widely different person, to
whom I will, when convenient, introduce you.  And now we will talk of the
matter which we touched upon before dinner: I told you then that I had
changed my mind with respect to you; I have been considering the state of
the market, sir, the book market, and I have come to the conclusion that,
though you might be profitably employed upon evangelical novels, you
could earn more money for me, sir, and consequently for yourself, by a
compilation of Newgate lives and trials."

"Newgate lives and trials!"

"Yes, sir," said the publisher, "Newgate lives and trials; and now, sir,
I will briefly state to you the services which I expect you to perform,
and the terms which I am willing to grant.  I expect you, sir, to compile
six volumes of Newgate lives and trials, each volume to contain by no
manner of means less than one thousand pages; the remuneration which you
will receive when the work is completed will be fifty pounds, which is
likewise intended to cover any expenses you may incur in procuring books,
papers, and manuscripts necessary for the compilation.  Such will be one
of your employments, sir,--such the terms.  In the second place, you will
be expected to make yourself useful in the Review--generally useful,
sir--doing whatever is required of you; for it is not customary, at least
with me, to permit writers, especially young writers, to choose their
subjects.  In these two departments, sir, namely, compilation and
reviewing, I had yesterday, after due consideration, determined upon
employing you.  I had intended to employ you no farther, sir--at least
for the present; but, sir, this morning I received a letter from my
valued friend in the country, in which he speaks in terms of strong
admiration (I don't overstate) of your German acquirements.  Sir, he says
that it would be a thousand pities if your knowledge of the German
language should be lost to the world, or even permitted to sleep, and he
entreats me to think of some plan by which it may be turned to account.
Sir, I am at all times willing, if possible, to oblige my worthy friend,
and likewise to encourage merit and talent; I have, therefore, determined
to employ you in German."

"Sir," said I, rubbing my hands, "you are very kind, and so is our mutual
friend; I shall be happy to make myself useful in German; and if you
think a good translation from Goethe--his 'Sorrows' for example, or more
particularly his 'Faust'--"

"Sir," said the publisher, "Goethe is a drug; his 'Sorrows' are a drug,
so is his 'Faustus,' more especially the last, since that fool ---
rendered him into English.  No, sir, I do not want you to translate
Goethe or anything belonging to him; nor do I want you to translate
anything from the German; what I want you to do, is to translate into
German.  I am willing to encourage merit, sir; and, as my good friend in
his last letter has spoken very highly of your German acquirements, I
have determined that you shall translate my book of philosophy into
German."

"Your book of philosophy into German, sir?"

"Yes, sir; my book of philosophy into German.  I am not a drug, sir, in
Germany as Goethe is here, no more is my book.  I intend to print the
translation at Leipzig, sir; and if it turns out a profitable
speculation, as I make no doubt it will, provided the translation be well
executed, I will make you some remuneration.  Sir, your remuneration will
be determined by the success of your translation."

"But, sir--"

"Sir," said the publisher, interrupting me, "you have heard my
intentions; I consider that you ought to feel yourself highly gratified
by my intentions towards you; it is not frequently that I deal with a
writer, especially a young writer, as I have done with you.  And now,
sir, permit me to inform you that I wish to be alone.  This is Sunday
afternoon, sir; I never go to church, but I am in the habit of spending
part of every Sunday afternoon alone--profitably I hope, sir--in musing
on the magnificence of nature and the moral dignity of man."



CHAPTER XXXIV


The Two Volumes--A Young Author--Intended Editor--Quintilian--Loose
Money.

"What can't be cured must be endured," and "it is hard to kick against
the pricks."

At the period to which I have brought my history, I bethought me of the
proverbs with which I have headed this chapter, and determined to act up
to their spirit.  I determined not to fly in the face of the publisher,
and to bear--what I could not cure--his arrogance and vanity.  At
present, at the conclusion of nearly a quarter of a century, I am glad
that I came to that determination, which I did my best to carry into
effect.

Two or three days after our last interview, the publisher made his
appearance in my apartment; he bore two tattered volumes under his arm,
which he placed on the table.  "I have brought you two volumes of lives,
sir," said he, "which I yesterday found in my garret; you will find them
of service for your compilation.  As I always wish to behave liberally
and encourage talent, especially youthful talent, I shall make no charge
for them, though I should be justified in so doing, as you are aware
that, by our agreement, you are to provide any books and materials which
may be necessary.  Have you been in quest of any?"

"No," said I, "not yet."

"Then, sir, I would advise you to lose no time in doing so; you must
visit all the bookstalls, sir, especially those in the by-streets and
blind alleys.  It is in such places that you will find the description of
literature you are in want of.  You must be up and doing, sir; it will
not do for an author, especially a young author, to be idle in this town.
To-night you will receive my book of philosophy, and likewise books for
the Review.  And, by the bye, sir, it will be as well for you to review
my book of philosophy for the Review; the other reviews not having
noticed it.  Sir, before translating it, I wish you to review my book of
philosophy for the Review."

"I shall be happy to do my best, sir."

"Very good, sir; I should be unreasonable to expect anything beyond a
person's best.  And now, sir, if you please, I will conduct you to the
future editor of the Review. {306}  As you are to co-operate, sir, I deem
it right to make you acquainted."

The intended editor was a little old man, who sat in a kind of wooden
pavilion in a small garden behind a house in one of the purlieus of the
city, composing tunes upon a piano.  The walls of the pavilion were
covered with fiddles of various sizes and appearances, and a considerable
portion of the floor occupied by a pile of books all of one size.  The
publisher introduced him to me as a gentleman scarcely less eminent in
literature than in music, and me to him as an aspirant critic--a young
gentleman scarcely less eminent in philosophy than in philology.  The
conversation consisted entirely of compliments till just before we
separated, when the future editor inquired of me whether I had ever read
Quintilian; and, on my replying in the negative, expressed his surprise
that any gentleman should aspire to become a critic who had never read
Quintilian, with the comfortable information, however, that he could
supply me with a Quintilian at half-price, that is, a translation made by
himself some years previously, of which he had, pointing to the heap on
the floor, still a few copies remaining unsold.  For some reason or
other, perhaps a poor one, I did not purchase the editor's translation of
Quintilian.

"Sir," said the publisher, as we were returning from our visit to the
editor, "you did right in not purchasing a drug.  I am not prepared, sir,
to say that Quintilian is a drug, never having seen him; but I am
prepared to say that man's translation is a drug, judging from the heap
of rubbish on the floor; besides, sir, you will want any loose money you
may have to purchase the description of literature which is required for
your compilation."

The publisher presently paused before the entrance of a very
forlorn-looking street.  "Sir," said he, after looking down it with
attention, "I should not wonder if in that street you find works
connected with the description of literature which is required for your
compilation.  It is in streets of this description, sir, and blind
alleys, where such works are to be found.  You had better search that
street, sir, whilst I continue my way."

I searched the street to which the publisher had pointed, and, in the
course of the three succeeding days, many others of a similar kind.  I
did not find the description of literature alluded to by the publisher to
be a drug, but, on the contrary, both scarce and dear.  I had expended
much more than my loose money long before I could procure materials even
for the first volume of my compilation.



CHAPTER XXXV


Francis Ardry--Certain Sharpers--Brave and Eloquent--Opposites--Flinging
the Bones--Strange Places--Dog-Fighting--Learning and Letters--Batch of
Dogs--Redoubled Application.

One evening I was visited by the tall young gentleman, Francis Ardry,
whose acquaintance I had formed at the coffee-house.  As it is necessary
that the reader should know something more about this young man, who will
frequently appear in the course of these pages, I will state in a few
words who and what he was.  He was born of an ancient Roman Catholic
family in Ireland; his parents, whose only child he was, had long been
dead.  His father, who had survived his mother several years, had been a
spendthrift, and at his death had left the family property considerably
embarrassed.  Happily, however, the son and the estate fell into the
hands of careful guardians, near relations of the family, by whom the
property was managed to the best advantage, and every means taken to
educate the young man in a manner suitable to his expectations.  At the
age of sixteen he was taken from a celebrated school in England at which
he had been placed, and sent to a small French university, in order that
he might form an intimate and accurate acquaintance with the grand
language of the Continent.  There he continued three years, at the end of
which he went under the care of a French abbe to Germany and Italy.  It
was in this latter country that he first began to cause his guardians
serious uneasiness.  He was in the hey-day of youth when he visited
Italy, and he entered wildly into the various delights of that
fascinating region, and, what was worse, falling into the hands of
certain sharpers, not Italian, but English, he was fleeced of
considerable sums of money.  The abbe, who, it seems, was an excellent
individual of the old French school, remonstrated with his pupil on his
dissipation and extravagance; but, finding his remonstrances vain, very
properly informed the guardians of the manner of life of his charge.  They
were not slow in commanding Francis Ardry home; and, as he was entirely
in their power, he was forced to comply.  He had been about three months
in London when I met him in the coffee-room, and the two elderly
gentlemen in his company were his guardians.  At this time they were very
solicitous that he should choose for himself a profession, offering to
his choice either the army or law--he was calculated to shine in either
of these professions--for, like many others of his countrymen, he was
brave and eloquent; but he did not wish to shackle himself with a
profession.  As, however, his minority did not terminate till he was
three-and-twenty, of which age he wanted nearly two years, during which
he would be entirely dependent on his guardians, he deemed it expedient
to conceal, to a certain degree, his sentiments, temporising with the old
gentlemen, with whom, notwithstanding his many irregularities, he was a
great favourite, and at whose death he expected to come into a yet
greater property than that which he inherited from his parents.

Such is a brief account of Francis Ardry--of my friend Francis Ardry; for
the acquaintance, commenced in the singular manner with which the reader
is acquainted, speedily ripened into a friendship which endured through
many long years of separation, and which still endures certainly on my
part, and on his--if he lives; but it is many years since I have heard
from Francis Ardry.

And yet many people would have thought it impossible for our friendship
to have lasted a week--for in many respects no two people could be more
dissimilar.  He was an Irishman--I, an Englishman;--he, fiery,
enthusiastic, and open-hearted;--I, neither fiery, enthusiastic, nor open-
hearted;--he, fond of pleasure and dissipation;--I, of study and
reflection.  Yet it is of such dissimilar elements that the most lasting
friendships are formed: we do not like counterparts of ourselves.  "Two
great talkers will not travel far together," is a Spanish saying; I will
add, "Nor two silent people;" we naturally love our opposites.

So Francis Ardry came to see me, and right glad I was to see him, for I
had just flung my books and papers aside, and was wishing for a little
social converse; and when we had conversed for some little time together,
Francis Ardry proposed that we should go to the play to see Kean; so we
went to the play, and saw--not Kean, who at that time was ashamed to show
himself, but--a man who was not ashamed to show himself, and who people
said was a much better man than Kean--as I have no doubt he was--though
whether he was a better actor I cannot say, for I never saw Kean.

Two or three evenings after Francis Ardry came to see me again, and again
we went out together, and Francis Ardry took me to--shall I say?--why
not?--a gaming house, where I saw people playing, and where I saw Francis
Ardry play and lose five guineas, and where I lost nothing, because I did
not play, though I felt somewhat inclined; for a man with a white hat and
a sparkling eye held up a box which contained something which rattled,
and asked me to fling the bones.  "There is nothing like flinging the
bones!" said he, and then I thought I should like to know what kind of
thing flinging the bones was; I, however, restrained myself.  "There is
nothing like flinging the bones!" shouted the man, as my friend and
myself left the room.

Long life and prosperity to Francis Ardry! but for him I should not have
obtained knowledge which I did of the strange and eccentric places of
London.  Some of the places to which he took me were very strange places
indeed; but, however strange the places were, I observed that the
inhabitants thought there were no places like their several places, and
no occupations like their several occupations; and among other strange
places to which Francis Ardry conducted me, was a place not far from the
abbey church of Westminster.

Before we entered this place our ears were greeted by a confused hubbub
of human voices, squealing of rats, barking of dogs, and the cries of
various other animals.  Here we beheld a kind of cock-pit, around which a
great many people, seeming of all ranks, but chiefly of the lower, were
gathered, and in it we saw a dog destroy a great many rats in a very
small period; and when the dog had destroyed the rats, we saw a fight
between a dog and a bear, then a fight between two dogs, then . . .

After the diversions of the day were over, my friend introduced me to the
genius of the place, a small man of about five feet high, with a very
sharp countenance, and dressed in a brown jockey coat, and top-boots.
"Joey," said he, "this is a friend of mine."  Joey nodded to me with a
patronising air.  "Glad to see you, sir!--want a dog?"

"No," said I.

"You have got one, then--want to match him?"

"We have a dog at home," said I, "in the country; but I can't say I
should like to match him.  Indeed, I do not like dog-fighting."

"Not like dog-fighting!" said the man, staring.

"The truth is, Joe, that he is just come to town."

"So I should think; he looks rather green--not like dog-fighting!"

"Nothing like it, is there, Joey?"

"I should think not; what is like it?  A time will come, and that
speedily, when folks will give up everything else, and follow
dog-fighting."

"Do you think so?" said I.

"Think so?  Let me ask what there is that a man wouldn't give up for it?"

"Why," said I, modestly, "there's religion."

"Religion!  How you talk!  Why, there's myself, bred and born an
Independent, and intended to be a preacher, didn't I give up religion for
dog-fighting?  Religion, indeed!  If it were not for the rascally law, my
pit would fill better on Sundays than any other time.  Who would go to
church when they could come to my pit?  Religion! why, the parsons
themselves come to my pit; and I have now a letter in my pocket from one
of them, asking me to send him a dog."

"Well, then, politics," said I.

"Politics!  Why the gemmen in the House would leave Pitt himself, if he
were alive, to come to my pit.  There were three of the best of them here
to-night, all great horators.--Get on with you! what comes next?"

"Why, there's learning and letters."

"Pretty things, truly, to keep people from dog-fighting.  Why, there's
the young gentlemen from the Abbey School comes here in shoals, leaving
books, and letters, and masters too.  To tell you the truth, I rather
wish they would mind their letters, for a more precious set of young
blackguards I never see'd.  It was only the other day I was thinking of
calling in a constable for my own protection, for I thought my pit would
have been torn down by them."

Scarcely knowing what to say, I made an observation at random.  "You
show, by your own conduct," said I, "that there are other things worth
following besides dog-fighting.  You practise rat-catching and badger-
baiting as well."

The dog-fancier eyed me with supreme contempt.

"Your friend here," said he, "might well call you a new one.  When I
talks of dog-fighting, I of course means rat-catching, and
badger-baiting, ay, and bull-baiting too, just as when I speaks
religiously, when I says one I means not one but three.  And talking of
religion puts me in mind that I have something else to do besides
chaffing here, having a batch of dogs to send off by this night's packet
to the Pope of Rome."

But at last I had seen enough of what London had to show, whether strange
or commonplace, so at least I thought, and I ceased to accompany my
friend in his rambles about town, and to partake of his adventures.  Our
friendship, however, still continued unabated, though I saw, in
consequence, less of him.  I reflected that time was passing on--that the
little money I had brought to town was fast consuming, and that I had
nothing to depend upon but my own exertions for a fresh supply; and I
returned with redoubled application to my pursuits.



CHAPTER XXXVI


Occupations--Traduttore Traditore--Ode to the Mist--Apple and
Pear--Reviewing--Current Literature--Oxford-like Manner--A Plain
Story--Ill-regulated Mind--Unsnuffed Candle--Strange Dreams.

I compiled the Chronicles of Newgate; {316a} I reviewed books for the
Review {316b} established on an entirely new principle; and I
occasionally tried my best to translate into German portions of the
publisher's philosophy.  In this last task I experienced more than one
difficulty.  I was a tolerable German scholar, it is true, and I had long
been able to translate from German into English with considerable
facility; but to translate from a foreign language into your own, is a
widely different thing from translating from your own into a foreign
language; and, in my first attempt to render the publisher into German, I
was conscious of making miserable failures, from pure ignorance of German
grammar; however, by the assistance of grammars and dictionaries, and by
extreme perseverance, I at length overcame all the difficulties connected
with the German language.  But, alas! another difficulty remained, far
greater than any connected with German--a difficulty connected with the
language of the publisher--the language which the great man employed in
his writings was very hard to understand; I say in his writings--for his
colloquial English was plain enough.  Though not professing to be a
scholar, he was much addicted, when writing, to the use of Greek and
Latin terms, not as other people used them, but in a manner of his own,
which set the authority of dictionaries at defiance; the consequence was,
that I was sometimes utterly at a loss to understand the meaning of the
publisher.  Many a quarter of an hour did I pass at this period, staring
at periods of the publisher, and wondering what he could mean, but in
vain, till at last, with a shake of the head, I would snatch up the pen,
and render the publisher literally into German.  Sometimes I was almost
tempted to substitute something of my own for what the publisher had
written, but my conscience interposed; the awful words, Traduttore
traditore, commenced ringing in my ears, and I asked myself whether I
should be acting honourably towards the publisher, who had committed to
me the delicate task of translating him into German; should I be acting
honourably towards him, in making him speak in German in a manner
different from that in which he expressed himself in English?  No, I
could not reconcile such conduct with any principle of honour; by
substituting something of my own in lieu of these mysterious passages of
the publisher, I might be giving a fatal blow to his whole system of
philosophy.  Besides, when translating into English, had I treated
foreign authors in this manner?  Had I treated the minstrels of the Koempe
Viser in this manner?--No.  Had I treated Ab Gwilym in this manner?  Even
when translating his Ode to the Mist, in which he is misty enough, had I
attempted to make Ab Gwilym less misty?  No; on referring to my
translation, I found that Ab Gwilym in my hands was quite as misty as in
his own.  Then, seeing that I had not ventured to take liberties with
people who had never put themselves into my hands for the purpose of
being rendered, how could I venture to substitute my own thoughts and
ideas for the publisher's, who had put himself into my hands for that
purpose?  Forbid it every proper feeling!--so I told the Germans in the
publisher's own way, the publisher's tale of an apple and a pear.

I at first felt much inclined to be of the publisher's opinion with
respect to the theory of the pear.  After all, why should the earth be
shaped like an apple, and not like a pear?--it would certainly gain in
appearance by being shaped like a pear.  A pear being a handsomer fruit
than an apple, the publisher is probably right, thought I, and I will say
that he is right on this point in the notice which I am about to write of
his publication for the Review.  And yet I don't know--said I, after a
long fit of musing--I don't know but what there is more to be said for
the Oxford theory.  The world may be shaped like a pear, but I don't know
that it is; but one thing I know, which is, that it does not taste like a
pear; I have always liked pears, but I don't like the world.  The world
to me tastes much more like an apple, and I have never liked apples.  I
will uphold the Oxford theory--besides, I am writing in an "Oxford
Review"--and am in duty bound to uphold the Oxford theory.  So in my
notice I asserted that the world was round; I quoted Scripture, and
endeavoured to prove that the world was typified by the apple in
Scripture, both as to shape and properties.  "An apple is round," said I,
"and the world is round--the apple is a sour, disagreeable fruit; and who
has tasted much of the world without having his teeth set on edge?"  I,
however, treated the publisher, upon the whole, in the most urbane and
Oxford-like manner; complimenting him upon his style, acknowledging the
general soundness of his views, and only differing with him in the affair
of the apple and pear.

I did not like reviewing at all--it was not to my taste; it was not in my
way; I liked it far less than translating the publisher's philosophy, for
that was something in the line of one whom a competent judge had surnamed
Lavengro.  I never could understand why Reviews were instituted; works of
merit do not require to be reviewed, they can speak for themselves, and
require no praising; works of no merit at all will die of themselves,
they require no killing.  The Review to which I was attached was, as has
been already intimated, established on an entirely new plan; it professed
to review all new publications, which certainly no Review had ever
professed to do before, other Reviews never pretending to review more
than one-tenth of the current literature of the day.  When I say it
professed to review all new publications, I should add, which should be
sent to it; for, of course, the Review would not acknowledge the
existence of publications, the authors of which did not acknowledge the
existence of the Review.  I don't think, however, that the Review had
much cause to complain of being neglected; I have reason to believe that
at least nine-tenths of the publications of the day were sent to the
Review, and in due time reviewed.  I had good opportunity of judging--I
was connected with several departments of the Review, though more
particularly with the poetical and philosophic ones.  An English
translation of Kant's philosophy made its appearance on my table the day
before its publication.  In my notice of this work, I said that the
English shortly hoped to give the Germans a _quid pro quo_.  I believe at
that time authors were much in the habit of publishing at their own
expense.  All the poetry which I reviewed appeared to be published at the
expense of the authors.  If I am asked how I comported myself, under all
circumstances, as a reviewer--I answer,--I did not forget that I was
connected with a Review established on Oxford principles, the editor of
which had translated Quintilian.  All the publications which fell under
my notice I treated in a gentlemanly and Oxford-like manner, no
personalities--no vituperation--no shabby insinuations; decorum, decorum
was the order of the day.  Occasionally a word of admonition, but gently
expressed, as an Oxford undergraduate might have expressed it, or master
of arts.  How the authors whose publications were consigned to my
colleagues were treated by them I know not; I suppose they were treated
in an urbane and Oxford-like manner, but I cannot say; I did not read the
reviewals of my colleagues, I did not read my own after they were
printed.  I did not like reviewing.

Of all my occupations at this period I am free to confess I liked that of
compiling the "Newgate Lives and Trials" the best; that is, after I had
surmounted a kind of prejudice which I originally entertained.  The
trials were entertaining enough; but the lives--how full were they of
wild and racy adventures, and in what racy, genuine language were they
told.  What struck me most with respect to these lives was the art which
the writers, whoever they were, possessed of telling a plain story.  It
is no easy thing to tell a story plainly and distinctly by mouth; but to
tell one on paper is difficult indeed, so many snares lie in the way.
People are afraid to put down what is common on paper; they seek to
embellish their narratives, as they think, by philosophic speculations
and reflections; they are anxious to shine, and people who are anxious to
shine can never tell a plain story.  "So I went with them to a music
booth, where they made me almost drunk with gin, and began to talk their
flash language, which I did not understand," says, or is made to say,
Henry Simms, executed at Tyburn some seventy years before the time of
which I am speaking.  I have always looked upon this sentence as a
masterpiece of the narrative style, it is so concise and yet so very
clear.  As I gazed on passages like this, and there were many nearly as
good in the Newgate Lives, I often sighed that it was not my fortune to
have to render these lives into German rather than the publisher's
philosophy--his tale of an apple and pear.

Mine was an ill-regulated mind at this period.  As I read over the lives
of these robbers and pickpockets, strange doubts began to arise in my
mind about virtue and crime.  Years before, when quite a boy, as in one
of the early chapters I have hinted, I had been a necessitarian; I had
even written an essay on crime (I have it now before me, penned in a
round boyish hand), in which I attempted to prove that there is no such
thing as crime or virtue, all our actions being the result of
circumstances or necessity.  These doubts were now again reviving in my
mind; I could not, for the life of me, imagine how, taking all
circumstances into consideration, these highwaymen, these pickpockets,
should have been anything else than highwaymen and pickpockets; any more
than how, taking all circumstances into consideration, Bishop Latimer
(the reader is aware that I had read "Fox's Book of Martyrs") should have
been anything else than Bishop Latimer.  I had a very ill-regulated mind
at that period.

My own peculiar ideas with respect to everything being a lying dream
began also to revive.  Sometimes at midnight, after having toiled for
hours at my occupations, I would fling myself back on my chair, look
about the poor apartment, dimly lighted by an unsnuffed candle, or upon
the heaps of books and papers before me, and exclaim,--"Do I exist?  Do
these things, which I think I see about me, exist, or do they not?  Is
not every thing a dream--a deceitful dream?  Is not this apartment a
dream--the furniture a dream?  The publisher a dream--his philosophy a
dream?  Am I not myself a dream--dreaming about translating a dream?  I
can't see why all should not be a dream; what's the use of the reality?"
And then I would pinch myself, and snuff the burdened smoky light.  "I
can't see, for the life of me, the use of all this; therefore why should
I think that it exists?  If there was a chance, a probability of all this
tending to anything, I might believe; but . . . " and then I would stare
and think, and after some time shake my head and return again to my
occupations for an hour or two; and then I would perhaps shake, and
shiver, and yawn, and look wistfully in the direction of my sleeping
apartment; and then, but not wistfully, at the papers and books before
me; and sometimes I would return to my papers and books; but oftener I
would arise, and, after another yawn and shiver, take my light, and
proceed to my sleeping chamber.

They say that light fare begets light dreams; my fare at that time was
light enough; but I had anything but light dreams, for at that period I
had all kind of strange and extravagant dreams, and amongst other things
I dreamt that the whole world had taken to dog-fighting; and that I,
myself, had taken to dog-fighting, and that in a vast circus I backed an
English bulldog against the bloodhound of the Pope of Rome.



CHAPTER XXXVII


My Brother--Fits of Crying--Mayor Elect--The Committee--The Norman Arch--A
Word of Greek--Church and State--At My Own Expense--If You Please.

One morning {324} I arose somewhat later than usual, having been occupied
during the greater part of the night with my literary toil.  On
descending from my chamber into the sitting-room I found a person seated
by the fire, whose glance was directed sideways to the table, on which
were the usual preparations for my morning's meal.  Forthwith I gave a
cry, and sprang forward to embrace the person; for the person by the
fire, whose glance was directed to the table, was no one else than my
brother.

"And how are things going on at home?" said I to my brother, after we had
kissed and embraced.  "How is my mother, and how is the dog?"

"My mother, thank God, is tolerably well," said my brother, "but very
much given to fits of crying.  As for the dog, he is not so well; but we
will talk more of these matters anon," said my brother, again glancing at
the breakfast things: "I am very hungry, as you may suppose, after having
travelled all night."

Thereupon I exerted myself to the best of my ability to perform the
duties of hospitality, and I made my brother welcome--I may say more than
welcome; and, when the rage of my brother's hunger was somewhat abated,
we recommenced talking about the matters of our little family, and my
brother told me much about my mother; he spoke of her fits of crying, but
said that of late the said fits of crying had much diminished, and she
appeared to be taking comfort; and, if I am not much mistaken, my brother
told me that my mother had of late the Prayer-book frequently in her
hand, and yet oftener the Bible.

We were silent for a time--at last I opened my mouth and mentioned the
dog.

"The dog," said my brother, "is, I am afraid, in a very poor way; ever
since the death he has done nothing but pine and take on.  A few months
ago, you remember, he was as plump and fine as any dog in the town; but
at present he is little more than skin and bone.  Once we lost him for
two days, and never expected to see him again, imagining that some
mischance had befallen him; at length I found him--where do you think?
Chancing to pass by the churchyard, I found him seated on the grave!"

"Very strange," said I; "but let us talk of something else.  It was very
kind of you to come and see me."

"Oh, as for that matter, I did not come up to see you, though of course I
am very glad to see you, having been rather anxious about you, like my
mother, who has received only one letter from you since your departure.
No, I did not come up on purpose to see you; but on a quite different
account.  You must know that the corporation of our town have lately
elected a new mayor, a person of many qualifications--big and portly,
with a voice like Boanerges; a religious man, the possessor of an immense
pew; loyal, so much so that I once heard him say that he would at any
time go three miles to hear any one sing 'God save the King'; moreover, a
giver of excellent dinners.  Such is our present mayor; {326} who, owing
to his loyalty, his religion, and a little, perhaps, to his dinners, is a
mighty favourite; so much so that the town is anxious to have his
portrait painted in a superior style, so that remote posterity may know
what kind of man he was, the colour of his hair, his air and gait.  So a
committee was formed some time ago, which is still sitting; that is, they
dine with the mayor every day to talk over the subject.  A few days
since, to my great surprise, they made their appearance in my poor
studio, and desired to be favoured with a sight of some of my paintings;
well, I showed them some, and, after looking at them with great
attention, they went aside and whispered.  'He'll do,' I heard one say;
'Yes, he'll do,' said another; and then they came to me, and one of them,
a little man with a hump on his back, who is a watchmaker, assumed the
office of spokesman, and made a long speech--(the old town has been
always celebrated for orators)--in which he told me how much they had
been pleased with my productions--(the old town has been always
celebrated for its artistic taste)--and, what do you think? offered me
the painting of the mayor's portrait, and a hundred pounds for my
trouble.  Well, of course I was much surprised, and for a minute or two
could scarcely speak; recovering myself, however, I made a speech, not so
eloquent as that of the watchmaker of course, being not so accustomed to
speaking; but not so bad either, taking everything into consideration,
telling them how flattered I felt by the honour which they had conferred
in proposing to me such an undertaking; expressing, however, my fears
that I was not competent to the task, and concluding by saying what a
pity it was that Crome was dead.  'Crome,' said the little man, 'Crome;
yes, he was a clever man, a very clever man in his way; he was good at
painting landscapes and farmhouses, but he would not do in the present
instance were he alive.  He had no conception of the heroic, sir.  We
want some person capable of representing our mayor striding under the
Norman arch out of the cathedral.'  At the mention of the heroic an idea
came at once into my head.  'Oh,' said I, 'if you are in quest of the
heroic, I am glad that you came to me; don't mistake me,' I continued, 'I
do not mean to say that I could do justice to your subject, though I am
fond of the heroic; but I can introduce you to a great master of the
heroic, fully competent to do justice to your mayor.  Not to me,
therefore, be the painting of the picture given, but to a friend of mine,
the great master of the heroic, to the best, the strongest, [Greek
text],' I added, for, being amongst orators, I thought a word of Greek
would tell."

"Well," said I, "and what did the orators say?"

"They gazed dubiously at me and at one another," said my brother; "at
last the watchmaker asked me who this Mr. Christo was; adding, that he
had never heard of such a person; that, from my recommendation of him, he
had no doubt that he was a very clever man; but that they should like to
know something more about him before giving the commission to him.  That
he had heard of Christie the great auctioneer, who was considered to be
an excellent judge of pictures; but he supposed that I
scarcely--Whereupon, interrupting the watchmaker, I told him that I
alluded neither to Christo nor to Christie; but to the painter of Lazarus
rising from the grave, a painter under whom I had myself studied during
some months that I had spent in London, and to whom I was indebted for
much connected with the heroic. {328}

"'I have heard of him,' said the watchmaker, 'and his paintings too; but
I am afraid that he is not exactly the gentleman by whom our mayor would
wish to be painted.  I have heard say that he is not a very good friend
to Church and State.  Come, young man,' he added, 'it appears to me that
you are too modest; I like your style of painting, so do we all, and--why
should I mince the matter?--the money is to be collected in the town, why
should it go into a stranger's pocket, and be spent in London?'

"Thereupon I made them a speech, in which I said that art had nothing to
do with Church and State, at least with English Church and State, which
had never encouraged it; and that, though Church and State were doubtless
very fine things, a man might be a very good artist who cared not a straw
for either.  I then made use of some more Greek words, and told them how
painting was one of the Nine Muses, and one of the most independent
creatures alive, inspiring whom she pleased, and asking leave of nobody;
that I should be quite unworthy of the favours of the Muse if, on the
present occasion, I did not recommend them a man whom I considered to be
a much greater master of the heroic than myself; and that, with regard to
the money being spent in the city, I had no doubt that they would not
weigh for a moment such a consideration against the chance of getting a
true heroic picture for the city.  I never talked so well in my life, and
said so many flattering things to the hunchback and his friends, that at
last they said that I should have my own way; and that if I pleased to go
up to London, and bring down the painter of Lazarus to paint the mayor, I
might; so they then bade me farewell, and I have come up to London."

"To put a hundred pounds into the hands of--"

"A better man than myself," said my brother, "of course."

"And have you come up at your own expense?"

"Yes," said my brother, "I have come up at my own expense."

I made no answer, but looked in my brother's face.  We then returned to
the former subjects of conversation, talking of the dead, my mother, and
the dog.

After some time, my brother said, "I will now go to the painter, and
communicate to him the business which has brought me to town; and, if you
please, I will take you with me and introduce you to him."  Having
expressed my willingness, we descended into the street.



CHAPTER XXXVIII


Painter of the Heroic--I'll Go!--A Modest Peep--Who is This?--A Capital
Pharaoh--Disproportionably Short--Imaginary Picture--English Figures.

The painter of the heroic resided a great way off, at the western end of
the town.  We had some difficulty in obtaining admission to him; a maid-
servant, who opened the door, eyeing us somewhat suspiciously: it was not
until my brother had said that he was a friend of the painter that we
were permitted to pass the threshold.  At length we were shown into the
studio, where we found the painter, with an easel and brush, standing
before a huge piece of canvas, on which he had lately commenced painting
a heroic picture.  The painter might be about thirty-five years old; he
had a clever, intelligent countenance, with a sharp grey eye--his hair
was dark brown, and cut a-la-Rafael, as I was subsequently told, that is,
there was little before and much behind--he did not wear a neckcloth;
but, in its stead, a black riband, so that his neck, which was rather
fine, was somewhat exposed--he had a broad muscular breast, and I make no
doubt that he would have been a very fine figure, but unfortunately his
legs and thighs were somewhat short.  He recognised my brother, and
appeared glad to see him.

"What brings you to London?" said he.

Whereupon my brother gave him a brief account of his commission.  At the
mention of the hundred pounds, I observed the eyes of the painter
glisten.  "Really," said he, when my brother had concluded, "it was very
kind to think of me.  I am not very fond of painting portraits; but a
mayor is a mayor, and there is something grand in that idea of the Norman
arch.  I'll go; moreover, I am just at this moment confoundedly in need
of money, and when you knocked at the door, I don't mind telling you, I
thought it was some dun.  I don't know how it is, but in the capital they
have no taste for the heroic, they will scarce look at a heroic picture;
I am glad to hear that they have better taste in the provinces.  I'll go;
when shall we set off?"

Thereupon it was arranged between the painter and my brother that they
should depart the next day but one; they then began to talk of art.  "I'll
stick to the heroic," said the painter; "I now and then dabble in the
comic, but what I do gives me no pleasure, the comic is so low; there is
nothing like the heroic.  I am engaged here on a heroic picture," said
he, pointing to the canvas; "the subject is 'Pharaoh dismissing Moses
from Egypt,' after the last plague--the death of the first-born;--it is
not far advanced--that finished figure is Moses:" they both looked at the
canvas, and I, standing behind, took a modest peep.  The picture, as the
painter said, was not far advanced, the Pharaoh was merely in outline; my
eye was, of course, attracted by the finished figure, or rather what the
painter had called the finished figure; but, as I gazed upon it, it
appeared to me that there was something defective--something
unsatisfactory in the figure.  I concluded, however, that the painter,
notwithstanding what he had said, had omitted to give it the finishing
touch.  "I intend this to be my best picture," said the painter; "what I
want now is a face for Pharaoh; I have long been meditating on a face for
Pharaoh."  Here, chancing to cast his eye upon my countenance, of whom he
had scarcely taken any manner of notice, he remained with his mouth open
for some time.  "Who is this?" said he at last.  "Oh, this is my brother;
I forgot to introduce him . . ."

We presently afterwards departed; my brother talked much about the
painter.  "He is a noble fellow," said my brother; "but, like many other
noble fellows, has a great many enemies; he is hated by his brethren of
the brush--all the land and waterscape painters hate him--but, above all,
the race of portrait painters, who are ten times more numerous than the
other two sorts, detest him for his heroic tendencies.  It will be a kind
of triumph to the last, I fear, when they hear he has condescended to
paint a portrait; however, that Norman arch will enable him to escape
from their malice--that is a capital idea of the watchmaker, that Norman
arch."

I spent a happy day with my brother.  On the morrow he went again to the
painter, with whom he dined; I did not go with him.  On his return he
said, "The painter has been asking a great many questions about you, and
expressed a wish that you would sit to him as Pharaoh; he thinks you
would make a capital Pharaoh."  "I have no wish to appear on canvas,"
said I; "moreover he can find much better Pharaohs than myself; and, if
he wants a real Pharaoh, there is a certain Mr. Petulengro."
"Petulengro?" said my brother; "a strange kind of fellow came up to me
some time ago in our town, and asked me about you; when I inquired his
name, he told me Petulengro.  No, he will not do, he is too short; by the
bye, do you not think that figure of Moses is somewhat short?"  And then
it appeared to me that I had thought the figure of Moses somewhat short,
and I told my brother so.  "Ah!" said my brother.

On the morrow my brother departed with the painter for the old town, and
there the painter painted the mayor.  I did not see the picture for a
great many years, when, chancing to be at the old town, I beheld it.

The original mayor was a mighty, portly man, with a bull's head, black
hair, body like that of a dray horse, and legs and thighs corresponding;
a man six foot high at the least.  To his bull's head, black hair, and
body the painter had done justice; there was one point, however, in which
the portrait did not correspond with the original--the legs were
disproportionably short, the painter having substituted his own legs for
those of the mayor, which when I perceived I rejoiced that I had not
consented to be painted as Pharaoh, for, if I had, the chances are that
he would have served me in exactly a similar way as he had served Moses
and the mayor.

Short legs in a heroic picture will never do; and, upon the whole, I
think the painter's attempt at the heroic in painting the mayor of the
old town a decided failure.  If I am now asked whether the picture would
have been a heroic one provided the painter had not substituted his own
legs for those of the mayor--I must say, I am afraid not.  I have no idea
of making heroic pictures out of English mayors, even with the assistance
of Norman arches; yet I am sure that capital pictures might be made out
of English mayors, not issuing from Norman arches, but rather from the
door of the "Checquers" or the "Brewers Three."  The painter in question
had great comic power, which he scarcely ever cultivated; he would fain
be a Rafael, which he never could be, when he might have been something
quite as good--another Hogarth; the only comic piece which he ever
presented to the world being something little inferior to the best of
that illustrious master.  I have often thought what a capital picture
might have been made by my brother's friend, if, instead of making the
mayor issue out of the Norman arch, he had painted him moving under the
sign of the "Checquers," or the "Three Brewers," with mace--yes, with
mace,--the mace appears in the picture issuing out of the Norman arch
behind the mayor,--but likewise with Snap, and with whiffler, quart pot,
and frying pan, Billy Blind, and Owlenglass, Mr. Petulengro, and
Pakomovna;--then, had he clapped his own legs upon the mayor, or any one
else in the concourse, what matter?  But I repeat that I have no hope of
making heroic pictures out of English mayors, or, indeed, out of English
figures in general.  England may be a land of heroic hearts, but it is
not, properly, a land of heroic figures, or heroic posture-making.--Italy
. . . what was I going to say about Italy? {335}



CHAPTER XXXIX


No Authority Whatever--Interference--Wondrous Farrago--Brandt and
Struensee--What a Life!--The Hearse--Mortal Relics--Great Poet--Fashion
and Fame--What a Difference!--Oh, Beautiful!--Good for Nothing.

And now once more to my pursuits, to my Lives and Trials.  However
partial at first I might be to these Lives and Trials, it was not long
before they became regular trials to me, owing to the whims and caprices
of the publisher.  I had not been long connected with him before I
discovered that he was wonderfully fond of interfering with other
people's business--at least with the business of those who were under his
control.  What a life did his unfortunate authors lead!  He had many in
his employ toiling at all kinds of subjects--I call them authors because
there is something respectable in the term author, though they had little
authorship in, and no authority whatever over, the works on which they
were engaged.  It is true the publisher interfered with some colour of
reason, the plan of all and every of the works alluded to having
originated with himself; and, be it observed, many of his plans were
highly clever and promising, for, as I have already had occasion to say,
the publisher in many points was a highly clever and sagacious person;
but he ought to have been contented with planning the works originally,
and have left to other people the task of executing them, instead of
which he marred everything by his rage for interference.  If a book of
fairy tales was being compiled, he was sure to introduce some of his
philosophy, explaining the fairy tale by some theory of his own.  Was a
book of anecdotes on hand, it was sure to be half filled with sayings and
doings of himself during the time that he was common councilman of the
City of London.  Now, however fond the public might be of fairy tales, it
by no means relished them in conjunction with the publisher's philosophy;
and however fond of anecdotes in general, or even of the publisher in
particular--for indeed there were a great many anecdotes in circulation
about him which the public both read and listened to very readily--it
took no pleasure in such anecdotes as he was disposed to relate about
himself.  In the compilation of my Lives and Trials, I was exposed to
incredible mortification, and ceaseless trouble, from this same rage for
interference.  It is true he could not introduce his philosophy into the
work, nor was it possible for him to introduce anecdotes of himself,
having never had the good or evil fortune to be tried at the bar; but he
was continually introducing--what, under a less apathetic government than
the one then being, would have infallibly subjected him, and perhaps
myself, to a trial,--his politics; not his Oxford or pseudo politics, but
the politics which he really entertained, and which were of the most
republican and violent kind.  But this was not all; when about a moiety
of the first volume had been printed, he materially altered the plan of
the work; it was no longer to be a collection of mere Newgate lives and
trials, but of lives and trials of criminals in general, foreign as well
as domestic.  In a little time the work became a wondrous farrago, in
which Konigsmark the robber figured by the side of Sam Lynn, and the
Marchioness de Brinvilliers was placed in contact with a Chinese outlaw.
What gave me the most trouble and annoyance was the publisher's
remembering some life or trial, foreign or domestic, which he wished to
be inserted, and which I was forthwith to go in quest of and purchase at
my own expense: some of those lives and trials were by no means easy to
find.  "Where is Brandt and Struensee?" cries the publisher; "I am sure I
don't know," I replied; whereupon the publisher falls to squealing like
one of Joey's rats.  "Find me up Brandt and Struensee by next morning, or
. . ."  "Have you found Brandt and Struensee?" cried the publisher, on my
appearing before him next morning.  "No," I reply, "I can hear nothing
about them;" whereupon the publisher falls to bellowing like Joey's bull.
By dint of incredible diligence, I at length discover the dingy volume
containing the lives and trials of the celebrated two who had brooded
treason dangerous to the state of Denmark.  I purchase the dingy volume,
and bring it in triumph to the publisher, the perspiration running down
my brow.  The publisher takes the dingy volume in his hand, he examines
it attentively, then puts it down; his countenance is calm for a moment,
almost benign.  Another moment and there is a gleam in the publisher's
sinister eye; he snatches up the paper containing the names of the
worthies which I have intended shall figure in the forthcoming volumes--he
glances rapidly over it, and his countenance once more assumes a terrific
expression.  "How is this?" he exclaims; "I can scarcely believe my
eyes--the most important life and trial omitted to be found in the whole
criminal record--what gross, what utter negligence!  Where's the life of
Farmer Patch? where's the trial of Yeoman Patch?"

"What a life! what a dog's life!" I would frequently exclaim, after
escaping from the presence of the publisher.

One day, after a scene with the publisher similar to that which I have
described above, I found myself about noon at the bottom of Oxford
Street, where it forms a right angle with the road which leads or did
lead to Tottenham Court.  Happening to cast my eyes around, it suddenly
occurred to me that something uncommon was expected; people were standing
in groups on the pavement--the upstair windows of the houses were
thronged with faces, especially those of women, and many of the shops
were partly, and not a few entirely closed.  What could be the reason of
all this?  All at once I bethought me that this street of Oxford was no
other than the far-famed Tyburn way.  Oh, oh, thought I, an execution;
some handsome young robber is about to be executed at the farther end;
just so, see how earnestly the women are peering; perhaps another Harry
Symms--Gentleman Harry as they called him--is about to be carted along
this street to Tyburn tree; but then I remembered that Tyburn tree had
long since been cut down, and that criminals, whether young or old, good-
looking or ugly, were executed before the big stone gaol, which I had
looked at with a kind of shudder during my short rambles in the city.
What could be the matter?  Just then I heard various voices cry "There it
comes!" and all heads were turned up Oxford Street, down which a hearse
was slowly coming: nearer and nearer it drew; presently it was just
opposite the place where I was standing, when, turning to the left, it
proceeded slowly along Tottenham Road; immediately behind the hearse were
three or four mourning coaches, full of people, some of which, from the
partial glimpse which I caught of them, appeared to be foreigners; behind
these came a very long train of splendid carriages, all of which, without
one exception, were empty.

"Whose body is in that hearse?" said I to a dapper-looking individual,
seemingly a shopkeeper, who stood beside me on the pavement, looking at
the procession.

"The mortal relics of Lord Byron," said the dapper-looking individual,
mouthing his words and smirking--"the illustrious poet, which have been
just brought from Greece, and are being conveyed to the family vault in
---shire." {340}

"An illustrious poet, was he?" said I.

"Beyond all criticism," said the dapper man; "all we of the rising
generation are under incalculable obligation to Byron; I myself, in
particular, have reason to say so; in all my correspondence my style is
formed on the Byronic model."

I looked at the individual for a moment, who smiled and smirked to
himself applause, and then I turned my eyes upon the hearse proceeding
slowly up the almost endless street.  This man, this Byron, had for many
years past been the demigod of England, and his verses the daily food of
those who read, from the peer to the draper's assistant; all were
admirers, or rather worshippers, of Byron, and all doated on his verses;
and then I thought of those who, with genius as high as his, or higher,
had lived and died neglected.  I thought of Milton abandoned to poverty
and blindness; of witty and ingenious Butler consigned to the tender
mercies of bailiffs; and starving Otway: they had lived neglected and
despised, and, when they died, a few poor mourners only had followed them
to the grave; but this Byron had been made a half god of when living, and
now that he was dead he was followed by worshipping crowds, and the very
sun seemed to come out on purpose to grace his funeral.  And, indeed, the
sun, which for many days past had hidden its face in clouds, shone out
that morn with wonderful brilliancy, flaming upon the black hearse and
its tall ostrich plumes, the mourning coaches, and the long train of
aristocratic carriages which followed behind.

"Great poet, sir," said the dapper-looking man, "great poet, but
unhappy."

Unhappy? yes, I had heard that he had been unhappy; that he had roamed
about a fevered, distempered man, taking pleasure in nothing--that I had
heard; but was it true? was he really unhappy? was not this unhappiness
assumed, with the view of increasing the interest which the world took in
him? and yet who could say?  He might be unhappy, and with reason.  Was
he a real poet after all? might he not doubt himself? might he not have a
lurking consciousness that he was undeserving of the homage which he was
receiving? that it could not last? that he was rather at the top of
fashion than of fame?  He was a lordling, a glittering, gorgeous
lordling: and he might have had a consciousness that he owed much of his
celebrity to being so; he might have felt that he was rather at the top
of fashion than of fame.  Fashion soon changes, thought I, eagerly to
myself--a time will come, and that speedily, when he will be no longer in
the fashion; when this idiotic admirer of his, who is still grinning at
my side, shall have ceased to mould his style on Byron's; and this
aristocracy, squirearchy, and what not, who now send their empty
carriages to pay respect to the fashionable corpse, shall have
transferred their empty worship to some other animate or inanimate thing.
Well, perhaps after all it was better to have been mighty Milton in his
poverty and blindness--witty and ingenious Butler consigned to the tender
mercies of bailiffs, and starving Otway; they might enjoy more real
pleasure than this lordling; they must have been aware that the world
would one day do them justice--fame after death is better than the top of
fashion in life.  They have left a fame behind them which shall never
die, whilst this lordling--a time will come when he will be out of
fashion and forgotten.  And yet I don't know; didn't he write Childe
Harold and that ode?  Yes, he wrote Childe Harold and that ode.  Then a
time will scarcely come when he will be forgotten.  Lords, squires, and
cockneys may pass away, but a time will scarcely come when Childe Harold
and that ode will be forgotten.  He was a poet, after all, and he must
have known it; a real poet, equal to . . . to . . . what a destiny!  Rank,
beauty, fashion, immortality,--he could not be unhappy; what a difference
in the fate of men!  I wish I could think he was unhappy . . .

I turned away.

"Great poet, sir," said the dapper man, turning away too, "but
unhappy--fate of genius, sir; I, too, am frequently unhappy."

Hurrying down a street to the right, I encountered Francis Ardry.

"What means the multitude yonder?" he demanded.

"They are looking after the hearse which is carrying the remains of Byron
up Tottenham Road."

"I have seen the man," said my friend, as he turned back the way he had
come, "so I can dispense with seeing the hearse--I saw the living man at
Venice--ah, a great poet."

"Yes," said I, "a great poet, it must be so, everybody says so--what a
destiny!  What a difference in the fate of men! but 'tis said he was
unhappy; you have seen him, how did he look?"

"Oh, beautiful!"

"But did he look happy?"

"Why, I can't say he looked very unhappy; I saw him with two . . . very
fair ladies; but what is it to you whether the man was unhappy or not?
Come, where shall we go--to Joey's?  His hugest bear--"

"Oh, I have had enough of bears; I have just been worried by one."

"The publisher?"

"Yes."

"Then come to Joey's, three dogs are to be launched at his bear: as they
pin him, imagine him to be the publisher."

"No," said I, "I am good for nothing; I think I shall stroll to London
Bridge."

"That's too far for me--farewell."



CHAPTER XL


London Bridge--Why Not?--Every Heart has its Bitters--Wicked Boys--Give
me my Book--Such a Fright--Honour Bright.

So I went to London Bridge, and again took my station on the spot by the
booth where I had stood on the former occasion.  The booth, however, was
empty; neither the apple-woman nor her stall was to be seen.  I looked
over the balustrade upon the river; the tide was now, as before, rolling
beneath the arch with frightful impetuosity.  As I gazed upon the eddies
of the whirlpool, I thought within myself how soon human life would
become extinct there; a plunge, a convulsive flounder, and all would be
over.  When I last stood over that abyss I had felt a kind of impulse--a
fascination; I had resisted it--I did not plunge into it.  At present I
felt a kind of impulse to plunge; but the impulse was of a different
kind; it proceeded from a loathing of life.  I looked wistfully at the
eddies--what had I to live for?--what indeed!  I thought of Brandt and
Struensee, and Yeoman Patch--should I yield to the impulse--why not?  My
eyes were fixed on the eddies.  All of a sudden I shuddered; I thought I
saw heads in the pool; human bodies wallowing confusedly; eyes turned up
to heaven with hopeless horror; was that water, or . . . Where was the
impulse now?  I raised my eyes from the pool, I looked no more upon it--I
looked forward, far down the stream in the far distance.  Ha! what is
that?  I thought I saw a kind of Fata Morgana, green meadows, waving
groves, a rustic home; but in the far distance--I stared--I stared--a
Fata Morgana--it was gone . . .

I left the balustrade and walked to the farther end of the bridge, where
I stood for some time contemplating the crowd; I then passed over to the
other side with an intention of returning home; just half way over the
bridge, in a booth immediately opposite to the one in which I had
formerly beheld her, sat my friend, the old apple-woman, huddled up
behind her stall.

"Well, mother," said I, "how are you?"  The old woman lifted her head
with a startled look.

"Don't you know me?" said I.

"Yes, I think I do.  Ah, yes," said she, as her features beamed with
recollection, "I know you, dear; you are the young lad that gave me the
tanner.  Well, child, got anything to sell?"

"Nothing at all," said I.

"Bad luck?"

"Yes," said I, "bad enough, and ill usage."

"Ah, I suppose they caught ye; well, child, never mind, better luck next
time; I am glad to see you."

"Thank you," said I, sitting down on the stone bench; "I thought you had
left the bridge--why have you changed your side?"

The old woman shook.

"What is the matter with you," said I; "are you ill?"

"No, child, no; only--"

"Only what?  Any bad news of your son?"

"No, child, no; nothing about my son.  Only low, child--every heart has
its bitters."

"That's true," said I; "well, I don't want to know your sorrows; come,
where's the book?"

The apple-woman shook more violently than before, bent herself down, and
drew her cloak more closely about her than before.  "Book, child, what
book?"

"Why, blessed Mary, to be sure."

"Oh, that; I ha'n't got it, child--I have lost it, have left it at home."

"Lost it," said I; "left it at home--what do you mean?  Come, let me have
it."

"I ha'n't got it, child."

"I believe you have got it under your cloak."

"Don't tell any one, dear; don't--don't," and the apple-woman burst into
tears.

"What's the matter with you?" said I, staring at her.

"You want to take my book from me?"

"Not I; I care nothing about it; keep it, if you like, only tell me
what's the matter?"

"Why, all about that book."

"The book?"

"Yes, they wanted to take it from me."

"Who did?"

"Why, some wicked boys.  I'll tell you all about it.  Eight or ten days
ago, I sat behind my stall, reading my book; all of a sudden I felt it
snatched from my hand; up I started, and see three rascals of boys
grinning at me; one of them held the book in his hand.  'What book is
this?' said he, grinning at it.  'What do you want with my book?' said I,
clutching at it over my stall; 'give me my book.'  'What do you want a
book for?' said he, holding it back; 'I have a good mind to fling it into
the Thames.'  'Give me my book,' I shrieked; and, snatching at it, I fell
over my stall, and all my fruit was scattered about.  Off ran the
boys--off ran the rascal with my book.  Oh dear, I thought I should have
died; up I got, however, and ran after them as well as I could; I thought
of my fruit, but I thought more of my book.  I left my fruit and ran
after my book.  'My book! my book!' I shrieked.  'Murder! theft!
robbery!'  I was near being crushed under the wheels of a cart; but I
didn't care--I followed the rascals.  'Stop them! stop them!'  I ran
nearly as fast as they--they couldn't run very fast on account of the
crowd.  At last some one stopped the rascal, whereupon he turned round,
and flinging the book at me, it fell into the mud; well, I picked it up
and kissed it, all muddy as it was.  'Has he robbed you?' said the man.
'Robbed me, indeed; why, he had got my book.'  'Oh, your book,' said the
man, and laughed, and let the rascal go.  Ah, he might laugh, but--"

"Well, go on."

"My heart beats so.  Well, I went back to my booth and picked up my stall
and my fruits, what I could find of them.  I couldn't keep my stall for
two days, I got such a fright; and when I got round I couldn't bide the
booth where the thing had happened, so I came over to the other side.  Oh,
the rascals, if I could but see them hanged."

"For what?"

"Why, for stealing my book."

"I thought you didn't dislike stealing--that you were ready to buy
things--there was your son, you know--"

"Yes, to be sure."

"He took things."

"To be sure he did."

"But you don't like a thing of yours to be taken."

"No, that's quite a different thing; what's stealing handkerchiefs, and
that kind of thing, to do with taking my book! there's a wide
difference--don't you see?"

"Yes, I see."

"Do you, dear? well, bless your heart, I'm glad you do.  Would you like
to look at the book?"

"Well, I think I should."

"Honour bright?" said the apple-woman, looking me in the eyes.

"Honour bright," said I, looking the apple-woman in the eyes.

"Well then, dear, here it is," said she, taking it from under her cloak;
"read it as long as you like, only get a little farther into the booth
. . .  Don't sit so near the edge . . . you might . . ."

I went deep into the booth, and the apple-woman, bringing her chair
round, almost confronted me.  I commenced reading the book, and was soon
engrossed by it; hours passed away; once or twice I lifted up my eyes,
the apple-woman was still confronting me: at last my eyes began to ache,
whereupon I returned the book to the apple-woman, and, giving her another
tanner, walked away.



CHAPTER XLI


Decease of the Review--Homer Himself--Bread and Cheese--Finger and
Thumb--Impossible to Find--Something Grand--Universal Mixture--Some Other
Publisher.

Time passed away, and with it the Review, which, contrary to the
publisher's expectation, did not prove a successful speculation.  About
four months after the period of its birth it expired, as all Reviews must
for which there is no demand.  Authors had ceased to send their
publications to it, and, consequently, to purchase it; for I have already
hinted that it was almost entirely supported by authors of a particular
class, who expected to see their publications foredoomed to immortality
in its pages.  The behaviour of these authors towards this unfortunate
publication I can attribute to no other cause than to a report which was
industriously circulated, namely, that the Review was low, and that to be
reviewed in it was an infallible sign that one was a low person, who
could be reviewed nowhere else.  So authors took fright; and no wonder,
for it will never do for an author to be considered low.  Homer himself
has never yet entirely recovered from the injury he received by Lord
Chesterfield's remark, that the speeches of his heroes were frequently
exceedingly low.

So the Review ceased, and the reviewing corps no longer existed as such;
they forthwith returned to their proper avocations--the editor to compose
tunes on his piano, and to the task of disposing of the remaining copies
of his Quintilian--the inferior members to working for the publisher,
being to a man dependants of his; one, to composing fairy tales; another,
to collecting miracles of Popish saints; and a third, "Newgate Lives and
Trials."  Owing to the bad success of the Review, the publisher became
more furious than ever.  My money was growing short, and I one day asked
him to pay me for my labours in the deceased publication.

"Sir," said the publisher, "what do you want the money for?"

"Merely to live on," I replied; "it is very difficult to live in this
town without money."

"How much money did you bring with you to town?" demanded the publisher.

"Some twenty or thirty pounds," I replied.

"And you have spent it already?"

"No," said I, "not entirely; but it is fast disappearing."

"Sir," said the publisher, "I believe you to be extravagant; yes, sir,
extravagant!"

"On what grounds do you suppose me to be so?"

"Sir," said the publisher, "you eat meat."

"Yes," said I, "I eat meat sometimes; what should I eat?"

"Bread, sir," said the publisher; "bread and cheese."

"So I do, sir, when I am disposed to indulge; but I cannot often afford
it--it is very expensive to dine on bread and cheese, especially when one
is fond of cheese, as I am.  My last bread and cheese dinner cost me
fourteenpence.  There is drink, sir; with bread and cheese one must drink
porter, sir."

"Then, sir, eat bread--bread alone.  As good men as yourself have eaten
bread alone; they have been glad to get it, sir.  If with bread and
cheese you must drink porter, sir, with bread alone you can, perhaps,
drink water, sir."

However, I got paid at last for my writings in the Review, not, it is
true, in the current coin of the realm, but in certain bills; there were
two of them, one payable at twelve, and the other at eighteen months
after date.  It was a long time before I could turn these bills to any
account; at last I found a person who, at a discount of only thirty per
cent., consented to cash them; not, however, without sundry grimaces,
and, what was still more galling, holding, more than once, the
unfortunate papers high in air between his forefinger and thumb.  So ill,
indeed, did I like this last action, that I felt much inclined to snatch
them away.  I restrained myself, however, for I remembered that it was
very difficult to live without money, and that, if the present person did
not discount the bills, I should probably find no one else that would.

But if the treatment which I had experienced from the publisher, previous
to making this demand upon him, was difficult to bear, that which I
subsequently underwent was far more so; his great delight seemed to
consist in causing me misery and mortification; if, on former occasions,
he was continually sending me in quest of lives and trials difficult to
find, he now was continually demanding lives and trials which it was
impossible to find; the personages whom he mentioned never having lived,
nor consequently been tried.  Moreover, some of my best Lives and Trials
which I had corrected and edited with particular care, and on which I
prided myself no little, he caused to be cancelled after they had passed
through the press.  Amongst these was the life of "Gentleman Harry."
"They are drugs, sir," said the publisher, "drugs; that life of Harry
Simms has long been the greatest drug in the calendar--has it not,
Taggart?"

Taggart made no answer save by taking a pinch of snuff.  The reader has,
I hope, not forgotten Taggart, whom I mentioned whilst giving an account
of my first morning's visit to the publisher.  I beg Taggart's pardon for
having been so long silent about him; but he was a very silent man--yet
there was much in Taggart--and Taggart had always been civil and kind to
me in his peculiar way.

"Well, young gentleman," said Taggart to me one morning, when we chanced
to be alone a few days after the affair of the cancelling, "how do you
like authorship?"

"I scarcely call authorship the drudgery I am engaged in," said I.

"What do you call authorship?" said Taggart.

"I scarcely know," said I; "that is, I can scarcely express what I think
it."

"Shall I help you out?" said Taggart, turning round his chair, and
looking at me.

"If you like," said I.

"To write something grand," said Taggart, taking snuff; "to be stared
at--lifted on people's shoulders--"

"Well," said I, "that is something like it."

Taggart took snuff.  "Well," said he, "why don't you write something
grand?"

"I have," said I.

"What?" said Taggart.

"Why," said I, "there are those ballads."

Taggart took snuff.

"And those wonderful versions from Ab Gwilym."

Taggart took snuff again.

"You seem to be very fond of snuff," said I, looking at him angrily.

Taggart tapped his box.

"Have you taken it long?"

"Three-and-twenty years."

"What snuff do you take?"

"Universal mixture."

"And you find it of use?"

Taggart tapped his box.

"In what respect?" said I.

"In many--there is nothing like it to get a man through; but for snuff I
should scarcely be where I am now."

"Have you been long here?"

"Three-and-twenty years."

"Dear me," said I; "and snuff brought you through?  Give me a pinch--pah,
I don't like it," and I sneezed.

"Take another pinch," said Taggart.

"No," said I, "I don't like snuff."

"Then you will never do for authorship; at least for this kind."

"So I begin to think--what shall I do?"

Taggart took snuff.

"You were talking of a great work--what shall it be?"

Taggart took snuff.

"Do you think I could write one?"

Taggart uplifted his two forefingers as if to tap,--he did not, however.

"It would require time," said I, with a half sigh.

Taggart tapped his box.

"A great deal of time; I really think that my ballads . . ."

Taggart took snuff.

"If published, would do me credit.  I'll make an effort, and offer them
to some other publisher."

Taggart took a double quantity of snuff.



CHAPTER XLII


Francis Ardry--That Won't Do, Sir--Observe My Gestures--I Think You
Improve--Better than Politics--Delightful Young Frenchwoman--A Burning
Shame--Magnificent Impudence--Paunch--Voltaire--Lump of Sugar.

Occasionally I called on Francis Ardry.  This young gentleman resided in
handsome apartments in the neighbourhood of a fashionable square, kept a
livery servant, and, upon the whole, lived in very good style.  Going to
see him one day, between one and two, I was informed by the servant that
his master was engaged for the moment, but that, if I pleased to wait a
few minutes, I should find him at liberty.  Having told the man that I
had no objection, he conducted me into a small apartment which served as
antechamber to a drawing-room; the door of this last being half open, I
could see Francis Ardry at the farther end, speechifying and
gesticulating in a very impressive manner.  The servant, in some
confusion, was hastening to close the door; but, ere he could effect his
purpose, Francis Ardry, who had caught a glimpse of me, exclaimed, "Come
in--come in by all means;" and then proceeded, as before, speechifying
and gesticulating.  Filled with some surprise, I obeyed his summons.

On entering the room I perceived another individual, to whom Francis
Ardry appeared to be addressing himself; this other was a short spare man
of about sixty; his hair was of badger grey, and his face was covered
with wrinkles--without vouchsafing me a look, he kept his eye, which was
black and lustrous, fixed full on Francis Ardry, as if paying the deepest
attention to his discourse.  All of a sudden, however, he cried with a
sharp, cracked voice, "That won't do, sir; that won't do--more
vehemence--your argument is at present particularly weak; therefore, more
vehemence--you must confuse them, stun them, stultify them, sir;" and, at
each of these injunctions, he struck the back of his right hand sharply
against the palm of the left.  "Good, sir--good!" he occasionally
uttered, in the same sharp, cracked tone, as the voice of Francis Ardry
became more and more vehement.  "Infinitely good!" he exclaimed, as
Francis Ardry raised his voice to the highest pitch; "and now, sir,
abate; let the tempest of vehemence decline--gradually, sir; not too
fast.  Good, sir--very good!" as the voice of Francis Ardry declined
gradually in vehemence.  "And now a little pathos, sir--try them with a
little pathos.  That won't do, sir--that won't do,"--as Francis Ardry
made an attempt to become pathetic,--"that will never pass for
pathos--with tones and gesture of that description you will never redress
the wrongs of your country.  Now, sir, observe my gestures, and pay
attention to the tone of my voice, sir."

Thereupon, making use of nearly the same terms which Francis Ardry had
employed, the individual in black uttered several sentences in tones and
with gestures which were intended to express a considerable degree of
pathos, though it is possible that some people would have thought both
the one and the other highly ludicrous.  After a pause, Francis Ardry
recommenced imitating the tones and the gesture of his monitor in the
most admirable manner.  Before he had proceeded far, however, he burst
into a fit of laughter, in which I should, perhaps, have joined, provided
it were ever my wont to laugh.  "Ha, ha!" said the other,
good-humouredly, "you are laughing at me.  Well, well, I merely wished to
give you a hint; but you saw very well what I meant; upon the whole I
think you improve.  But I must now go, having two other pupils to visit
before four."

Then taking from the table a kind of three-cornered hat, and a cane
headed with amber, he shook Francis Ardry by the hand; and, after
glancing at me for a moment, made me a half bow, attended with a strange
grimace, and departed.

"Who is that gentleman?" said I to Francis Ardry, as soon as we were
alone.

"Oh, that is ---," said Frank, smiling, "the gentleman who gives me
lessons in elocution."

"And what need have you of elocution?"

"Oh, I merely obey the commands of my guardians," said Francis, "who
insist that I should, with the assistance of ---, qualify myself for
Parliament; for which they do me the honour to suppose that I have some
natural talent.  I dare not disobey them; for, at the present moment, I
have particular reasons for wishing to keep on good terms with them."

"But," said I, "you are a Roman Catholic; and I thought that persons of
your religion were excluded from Parliament?"

"Why, upon that very thing the whole matter hinges; people of our
religion are determined to be no longer excluded from Parliament, but to
have a share in the government of the nation.  Not that I care anything
about the matter; I merely obey the will of my guardians; my thoughts are
fixed on something better than politics."

"I understand you," said I; "dog-fighting--well, I can easily conceive
that to some minds dog-fighting--"

"I was not thinking of dog-fighting," said Francis Ardry, interrupting
me.

"Not thinking of dog-fighting!" I ejaculated.

"No," said Francis Ardry; "something higher and much more rational than
dog-fighting at present occupies my thoughts."

"Dear me," said I, "I thought I had heard you say, that there was nothing
like it!"

"Like what?" said Francis Ardry.

"Dog-fighting, to be sure," said I.

"Pooh," said Francis Ardry; "who but the gross and unrefined care
anything for dog-fighting?  That which at present engages my waking and
sleeping thoughts is love--divine love--there is nothing like _that_.
Listen to me, I have a secret to confide to you."

And then Francis Ardry proceeded to make me his confidant.  It appeared
that he had had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of the most
delightful young Frenchwoman imaginable, Annette La Noire by name, who
had just arrived from her native country with the intention of obtaining
the situation of governess in some English family; a position which, on
account of her many accomplishments, she was eminently qualified to fill.
Francis Ardry had, however, persuaded her to relinquish her intention for
the present, on the ground that, until she had become acclimated in
England, her health would probably suffer from the confinement
inseparable from the occupation in which she was desirous of engaging; he
had, moreover--for it appeared that she was the most frank and confiding
creature in the world--succeeded in persuading her to permit him to hire
for her a very handsome first floor in his own neighbourhood, and to
accept a few inconsiderable presents in money and jewellery.  "I am
looking out for a handsome gig and horse," said Francis Ardry, at the
conclusion of his narration; "it were a burning shame that so divine a
creature should have to go about a place like London on foot, or in a
paltry hackney coach."

"But," said I, "will not the pursuit of politics prevent your devoting
much time to this fair lady?"

"It will prevent me devoting all my time," said Francis Ardry, "as I
gladly would; but what can I do?  My guardians wish me to qualify myself
for a political orator, and I dare not offend them by a refusal.  If I
offend my guardians, I should find it impossible--unless I have recourse
to Jews and money-lenders--to support Annette; present her with articles
of dress and jewellery, and purchase a horse and cabriolet worthy of
conveying her angelic person through the streets of London."

After a pause, in which Francis Ardry appeared lost in thought, his mind
being probably occupied with the subject of Annette, I broke silence by
observing, "So your fellow-religionists are really going to make a
serious attempt to procure their emancipation?"

"Yes," said Francis Ardry, starting from his reverie; "everything has
been arranged; even a leader has been chosen, at least for us of Ireland,
upon the whole the most suitable man in the world for the occasion--a
barrister of considerable talent, mighty voice, and magnificent
impudence.  With emancipation, liberty, and redress for the wrongs of
Ireland in his mouth, he is to force his way into the British House of
Commons, dragging myself and others behind him--he will succeed, and when
he is in he will cut a figure; I have heard --- himself, who has heard ---
him speak, say that he will cut a figure."

"And is --- competent to judge?" I demanded.

"Who but he?" said Francis Ardry; "no one questions his judgment
concerning what relates to elocution.  His fame on that point is so well
established, that the greatest orators do not disdain occasionally to
consult him; C--- himself, as I have been told, when anxious to produce
any particular effect in the House, is in the habit of calling in --- for
a consultation."

"As to matter, or manner?" said I.

"Chiefly the latter," said Francis Ardry, "though he is competent to give
advice as to both, for he has been an orator in his day, and a leader of
the people; though he confessed to me that he was not exactly qualified
to play the latter part--'I want paunch,' said he."

"It is not always indispensable," said I; "there is an orator in my town,
a hunchback and watchmaker, without it, who not only leads the people,
but the mayor too; perhaps he has a succedaneum in his hunch: but, tell
me, is the leader of your movement in possession of that which ---
wants?"

"No more deficient in it than in brass," said Francis Ardry.

"Well," said I, "whatever his qualifications may be, I wish him success
in the cause which he has taken up--I love religious liberty."

"We shall succeed," said Francis Ardry; "John Bull upon the whole is
rather indifferent on the subject, and then we are sure to be backed by
the Radical party, who, to gratify their political prejudices, would join
with Satan himself."

"There is one thing," said I, "connected with this matter which surprises
me--your own luke-warmness.  Yes, making every allowance for your natural
predilection for dog-fighting, and your present enamoured state of mind,
your apathy at the commencement of such a movement is to me
unaccountable."

"You would not have cause to complain of my indifference," said Frank,
"provided I thought my country would be benefited by this movement; but I
happen to know the origin of it.  The priests are the originators, 'and
what country was ever benefited by a movement which owed its origin to
them?' so says Voltaire, a page of whom I occasionally read.  By the
present move they hope to increase their influence, and to further
certain designs which they entertain both with regard to this country and
Ireland.  I do not speak rashly or unadvisedly.  A strange fellow--a half
Italian, half English priest--who was recommended to me by my guardians,
partly as a spiritual, partly as a temporal guide, has let me into a
secret or two; he is fond of a glass of gin and water--and over a glass
of gin and water cold, with a lump of sugar in it, he has been more
communicative, perhaps, than was altogether prudent.  Were I my own
master, I would kick him, politics, and religious movements, to a
considerable distance.  And now, if you are going away, do so quickly; I
have an appointment with Annette, and must make myself fit to appear
before her."



CHAPTER XLIII


Progress--Glorious John--Utterly Unintelligible--What a Difference!

By the month of October I had, in spite of all difficulties and
obstacles, accomplished about two-thirds of the principal task which I
had undertaken, the compiling of the Newgate Lives; I had also made some
progress in translating the publisher's philosophy into German.  But
about this time I began to see very clearly that it was impossible that
our connection should prove of long duration; yet, in the event of my
leaving the big man, what other resource had I--another publisher?  But
what had I to offer?  There were my ballads, my Ab Gwilym, but then I
thought of Taggart and his snuff, his pinch of snuff.  However, I
determined to see what could be done, so I took my ballads under my arm,
and went to various publishers; some took snuff, others did not, but none
took my ballads or Ab Gwilym; they would not even look at them.  One
asked me if I had anything else--he was a snuff-taker--I said yes; and
going home, returned with my translation of the German novel, to which I
have before alluded.  After keeping it for a fortnight, he returned it to
me on my visiting him, and, taking a pinch of snuff, told me it would not
do.  There were marks of snuff on the outside of the manuscript, which
was a roll of paper bound with red tape, but there were no marks of snuff
on the interior of the manuscript, from which I concluded that he had
never opened it.

I had often heard of one Glorious John, {365} who lived at the western
end of the town; on consulting Taggart, he told me that it was possible
that Glorious John would publish my ballads and Ab Gwilym, that is, said
he, taking a pinch of snuff, provided you can see him; so I went to the
house where Glorious John resided, and a glorious house it was, but I
could not see Glorious John--I called a dozen times, but I never could
see Glorious John.  Twenty years after, by the greatest chance in the
world, I saw Glorious John, and sure enough Glorious John published my
books, but they were different books from the first; I never offered my
ballads or Ab Gwilym to Glorious John.  Glorious John was no snuff-taker.
He asked me to dinner, and treated me with superb Rhenish wine.  Glorious
John is now gone to his rest, but I--what was I going to say?--the world
will never forget Glorious John.

So I returned to my last resource for the time then being--to the
publisher, persevering doggedly in my labour.  One day, on visiting the
publisher, I found him stamping with fury upon certain fragments of
paper.  "Sir," said he, "you know nothing of German; I have shown your
translation of the first chapter of my Philosophy to several Germans: it
is utterly unintelligible to them."  "Did they see the Philosophy?" I
replied.  "They did, sir, but they did not profess to understand
English."  "No more do I," I replied, "if that Philosophy be English."

The publisher was furious--I was silent.  For want of a pinch of snuff, I
had recourse to something which is no bad substitute for a pinch of
snuff, to those who can't take it, silent contempt; at first it made the
publisher more furious, as perhaps a pinch of snuff would; it, however,
eventually calmed him, and he ordered me back to my occupations, in other
words, the compilation.  To be brief, the compilation was completed, I
got paid in the usual manner, and forthwith left him.

He was a clever man, but what a difference in clever men!



CHAPTER XLIV


The Old Spot--A Long History--Thou Shalt Not Steal--No
Harm--Education--Necessity--Foam on Your Lip--Apples and Pears--What Will
You Read?--Metaphor--The Fur Cap--I Don't Know Him.

It was past mid-winter, and I sat on London Bridge, in company with the
old apple-woman: she had just returned to the other side of the bridge,
to her place in the booth where I had originally found her.  This she had
done after frequent conversations with me; "She liked the old place
best," she said, which she would never have left but for the terror which
she experienced when the boys ran away with her book.  So I sat with her
at the old spot, one afternoon past midwinter, reading the book, of which
I had by this time come to the last pages.  I had observed that the old
woman for some time past had shown much less anxiety about the book than
she had been in the habit of doing.  I was, however, not quite prepared
for her offering to make me a present of it, which she did that
afternoon; when, having finished it, I returned it to her, with many
thanks for the pleasure and instruction I had derived from its perusal.
"You may keep it, dear," said the old woman, with a sigh; "you may carry
it to your lodging, and keep it for your own."

Looking at the old woman with surprise, I exclaimed, "Is it possible that
you are willing to part with the book which has been your source of
comfort so long?"

Whereupon the old woman entered into a long history, from which I
gathered that the book had become distasteful to her; she hardly ever
opened it of late, she said, or if she did, it was only to shut it again;
also, that other things which she had been fond of, though of a widely
different kind, were now distasteful to her.  Porter and beef-steaks were
no longer grateful to her palate, her present diet chiefly consisting of
tea, and bread and butter.

"Ah," said I, "you have been ill, and when people are ill, they seldom
like the things which give them pleasure when they are in health."  I
learned, moreover, that she slept little at night, and had all kinds of
strange thoughts; that as she lay awake many things connected with her
youth, which she had quite forgotten, came into her mind.  There were
certain words that came into her mind the night before the last, which
were continually humming in her ears: I found that the words were, "Thou
shalt not steal."

On inquiring where she had first heard these words, I learned that she
had read them at school, in a book called the primer; to this school she
had been sent by her mother, who was a poor widow, and followed the trade
of apple-selling in the very spot where her daughter followed it now.  It
seems that the mother was a very good kind of woman, but quite ignorant
of letters, the benefit of which she was willing to procure for her
child; and at the school the daughter learned to read, and subsequently
experienced the pleasure and benefit of letters, in being able to read
the book which she found in an obscure closet of her mother's house, and
which had been her principal companion and comfort for many years of her
life.

But, as I have said before, she was now dissatisfied with the book, and
with most other things in which she had taken pleasure; she dwelt much on
the words, "Thou shalt not steal;" she had never stolen things herself,
but then she had bought things which other people had stolen, and which
she knew had been stolen; and her dear son had been a thief, which he
perhaps would not have been but for the example which she set him in
buying things from characters, as she called them, who associated with
her.

On inquiring how she had become acquainted with these characters, I
learned that times had gone hard with her; that she had married, but her
husband had died after a long sickness, which had reduced them to great
distress; that her fruit trade was not a profitable one, and that she had
bought and sold things which had been stolen to support herself and her
son.  That for a long time she supposed there was no harm in doing so, as
her book was full of entertaining tales of stealing; but she now thought
that the book was a bad book, and that learning to read was a bad thing;
her mother had never been able to read, but had died in peace, though
poor.

So here was a woman who attributed the vices and follies of her life to
being able to read; her mother, she said, who could not read, lived
respectably, and died in peace; and what was the essential difference
between the mother and daughter, save that the latter could read?  But
for her literature she might in all probability have lived respectably
and honestly, like her mother, and might eventually have died in peace,
which at present she could scarcely hope to do.  Education had failed to
produce any good in this poor woman; on the contrary, there could be
little doubt that she had been injured by it.  Then was education a bad
thing?  Rousseau was of opinion that it was; but Rousseau was a
Frenchman, at least wrote in French, and I cared not the snap of my
fingers for Rousseau.  But education has certainly been of benefit in
some instances; well, what did that prove, but that partiality existed in
the management of the affairs of the world--if education was a benefit to
some, why was it not a benefit to others?  Could some avoid abusing it,
any more than others could avoid turning it to a profitable account?  I
did not see how they could; this poor simple woman found a book in her
mother's closet; a book, which was a capital book for those who could
turn it to the account for which it was intended; a book, from the
perusal of which I felt myself wiser and better, but which was by no
means suited to the intellect of this poor simple woman, who thought that
it was written in praise of thieving; yet she found it, she read it,
and--and--I felt myself getting into a maze.  What is right, thought I?
what is wrong?  Do I exist?  Does the world exist? if it does, every
action is bound up with necessity.

"Necessity!" I exclaimed, and cracked my finger joints.

"Ah, it is a bad thing," said the old woman.

"What is a bad thing?" said I.

"Why, to be poor, dear."

"You talk like a fool," said I; "riches and poverty are only different
forms of necessity."

"You should not call me a fool, dear; you should not call your own mother
a fool."

"You are not my mother," said I.

"Not your mother, dear?--no, no more I am; but your calling me fool put
me in mind of my dear son, who often used to call me fool--and you just
now looked as he sometimes did, with a blob of foam on your lip."

"After all, I don't know that you are not my mother."

"Don't you, dear?  I'm glad of it; I wish you would make it out."

"How should I make it out? who can speak from his own knowledge as to the
circumstances of his birth?  Besides, before attempting to establish our
relationship, it would be necessary to prove that such people exist."

"What people, dear?"

"You and I."

"Lord, child, you are mad; that book has made you so."

"Don't abuse it," said I; "the book is an excellent one, that is,
provided it exists."

"I wish it did not," said the old woman; "but it shan't long; I'll burn
it, or fling it into the river--the voices at night tell me to do so."

"Tell the voices," said I, "that they talk nonsense; the book, if it
exists, is a good book, it contains a deep moral; have you read it all?"

"All the funny parts, dear; all about taking things, and the manner it
was done; as for the rest, I could not exactly make it out."

"Then the book is not to blame; I repeat that the book is a good book,
and contains deep morality, always supposing that there is such a thing
as morality, which is the same thing as supposing that there is anything
at all."

"Anything at all!  Why, a'n't we here on this bridge, in my booth, with
my stall and my--"

"Apples and pears, baked hot, you would say--I don't know; all is a
mystery, a deep question.  It is a question, and probably always will be,
whether there is a world, and consequently apples and pears; and,
provided there be a world, whether that world be like an apple or a
pear."

"Don't talk so, dear."

"I won't; we will suppose that we all exist--world, ourselves, apples,
and pears: so you wish to get rid of the book?"

"Yes, dear, I wish you would take it."

"I have read it, and have no farther use for it; I do not need books: in
a little time, perhaps, I shall not have a place wherein to deposit
myself, far less books."

"Then I will fling it into the river."

"Don't do that; here, give it me.  Now, what shall I do with it? you were
so fond of it."

"I am so no longer."

"But how will you pass your time; what will you read?"

"I wish I had never learned to read, or, if I had, that I had only read
the books I saw at school: the primer or the other."

"What was the other?"

"I think they called it the Bible: all about God, and Job, and Jesus."

"Ah, I know it."

"You have read it; is it a nice book--all true?"

"True, true--I don't know what to say; but if the world be true, and not
all a lie, a fiction, I don't see why the Bible, as they call it, should
not be true.  By the bye, what do you call Bible in your tongue, or,
indeed, book of any kind? as Bible merely means a book."

"What do I call the Bible in my language, dear?"

"Yes, the language of those who bring you things."

"The language of those who _did_, dear; they bring them now no longer.
They call me fool, as you did, dear, just now; they call kissing the
Bible, which means taking a false oath, smacking calfskin."

"That's metaphor," said I; "English, but metaphorical; what an odd
language!  So you would like to have a Bible,--shall I buy you one?"

"I am poor, dear--no money since I left off the other trade."

"Well, then, I'll buy you one."

"No, dear, no; you are poor, and may soon want the money; but if you can
take me one conveniently on the sly, you know--I think you may, for, as
it is a good book, I suppose there can be no harm in taking it."

"That will never do," said I, "more especially as I should be sure to be
caught, not having made taking of things my trade; but I'll tell you what
I'll do--try and exchange this book of yours for a Bible; who knows for
what great things this same book of yours may serve?"

"Well, dear," said the old woman, "do as you please; I should like to see
the--what do you call it?--Bible, and to read it, as you seem to think it
true."

"Yes," said I, "seem; that is the way to express yourself in this maze of
doubt--I seem to think--these apples and pears seem to be--and here seems
to be a gentleman who wants to purchase either one or the other."

A person had stopped before the apple-woman's stall, and was glancing now
at the fruit, now at the old woman and myself; he wore a blue mantle, and
had a kind of fur cap on his head; he was somewhat above the middle
stature; his features were keen, but rather hard; there was a slight
obliquity in his vision.  Selecting a small apple, he gave the old woman
a penny; then, after looking at me scrutinisingly for a moment, he moved
from the booth in the direction of Southwark.

"Do you know who that man is?" said I to the old woman.

"No," said she, "except that he is one of my best customers: he
frequently stops, takes an apple, and gives me a penny; his is the only
piece of money I have taken this blessed day.  I don't know him, but he
has once or twice sat down in the booth with two strange-looking
men--Mulattos, or Lascars, I think they call them."



CHAPTER XLV


Bought and Exchanged--Quite Empty--A New Firm--Bibles--Countenance of a
Lion--Clap of Thunder--A Truce with This--I Have Lost It--Clearly a
Right--Goddess of the Mint.

In pursuance of my promise to the old woman, I set about procuring her a
Bible with all convenient speed, placing the book which she had entrusted
to me for the purpose of exchange in my pocket.  I went to several shops,
and asked if Bibles were to be had: I found that there were plenty.  When,
however, I informed the people that I came to barter, they looked blank,
and declined treating with me; saying that they did not do business in
that way.  At last I went into a shop over the window of which I saw
written, "Books bought and exchanged:" there was a smartish young fellow
in the shop, with black hair and whiskers.  "You exchange?" said I.
"Yes," said he, "sometimes, but we prefer selling; what book do you
want?"  "A Bible," said I.  "Ah," said he, "there's a great demand for
Bibles just now; all kinds of people are become very pious of late," he
added, grinning at me; "I am afraid I can't do business with you, more
especially as the master is not at home.  What book have you brought?"
Taking the book out of my pocket, I placed it on the counter: the young
fellow opened the book, and inspecting the title-page, burst into a loud
laugh.  "What do you laugh for?" said I, angrily, and half clenching my
fist.  "Laugh!" said the young fellow; "laugh! who could help laughing?"
"I could," said I; "I see nothing to laugh at; I want to exchange this
book for a Bible."  "You do?" said the young fellow; "well, I dare say
there are plenty who would be willing to exchange, that is, if they
dared.  I wish master were at home; but that would never do, either.
Master's a family man, the Bibles are not mine, and master being a family
man, is sharp, and knows all his stock; I'd buy it of you, but, to tell
you the truth, I am quite empty here," said he, pointing to his pocket,
"so I am afraid we can't deal."

Whereupon, looking anxiously at the young man, "What am I to do?" said I;
"I really want a Bible."

"Can't you buy one?" said the young man; "have you no money?"

"Yes," said I, "I have some, but I am merely the agent of another; I came
to exchange, not to buy; what am I to do?"

"I don't know," said the young man, thoughtfully laying down the book on
the counter; "I don't know what you can do; I think you will find some
difficulty in this bartering job, the trade are rather precise."  All at
once he laughed louder than before; suddenly stopping, however, he put on
a very grave look.  "Take my advice," said he; "there is a firm
established in this neighbourhood which scarcely sells any books but
Bibles; they are very rich, and pride themselves on selling their books
at the lowest possible price; apply to them, who knows but what they will
exchange with you?"

Thereupon I demanded with some eagerness of the young man the direction
to the place where he thought it possible that I might effect the
exchange--which direction the young fellow cheerfully gave me, and, as I
turned away, had the civility to wish me success.

I had no difficulty in finding the house to which the young fellow
directed me; it was a very large house, situated in a square; and upon
the side of the house was written in large letters, "Bibles, and other
religious books."

At the door of the house were two or three tumbrils, in the act of being
loaded with chests, very much resembling tea-chests; one of the chests
falling down, burst, and out flew, not tea, but various books, in a neat,
small size, and in neat leather covers; Bibles, said I,--Bibles,
doubtless.  I was not quite right, nor quite wrong; picking up one of the
books, I looked at it for a moment, and found it to be the New Testament.
"Come, young lad," said a man who stood by, in the dress of a porter,
"put that book down, it is none of yours; if you want a book, go in and
deal for one."

Deal, thought I, deal,--the man seems to know what I am coming about,--and
going in, I presently found myself in a very large room.  Behind a
counter two men stood with their backs to a splendid fire, warming
themselves, for the weather was cold.

Of these men one was dressed in brown, and the other was dressed in
black; both were tall men--he who was dressed in brown was thin, and had
a particularly ill-natured countenance; the man dressed in black was
bulky, his features were noble, but they were those of a lion.

"What is your business, young man?" said the precise personage, as I
stood staring at him and his companion.

"I want a Bible," said I.

"What price, what size?" said the precise-looking man.

"As to size," said I, "I should like to have a large one--that is, if you
can afford me one--I do not come to buy."

"Oh, friend," said the precise-looking man, "if you come here expecting
to have a Bible for nothing, you are mistaken--we--"

"I would scorn to have a Bible for nothing," said I, "or anything else; I
came not to beg, but to barter; there is no shame in that, especially in
a country like this, where all folks barter."

"Oh, we don't barter," said the precise man, "at least Bibles; you had
better depart."

"Stay, brother," said the man with the countenance of a lion, "let us ask
a few questions; this may be a very important case; perhaps the young man
has had convictions."

"Not I," I exclaimed; "I am convinced of nothing, and with regard to the
Bible--I don't believe--"

"Hey!" said the man with the lion countenance, and there he stopped.  But
with that "Hey!" the walls of the house seemed to shake, the windows
rattled, and the porter whom I had seen in front of the house came
running up the steps, and looked into the apartment through the glass of
the door.  There was silence for about a minute--the same kind of silence
which succeeds a clap of thunder.

At last the man with the lion countenance, who had kept his eyes fixed
upon me, said calmly, "Were you about to say that you don't believe in
the Bible, young man?"

"No more than in anything else," said I; "you were talking of
convictions--I have no convictions.  It is not easy to believe in the
Bible till one is convinced that there is a Bible."

"He seems to be insane," said the prim-looking man; "we had better order
the porter to turn him out."

"I am by no means certain," said I, "that the porter could turn me out;
always provided there is a porter, and this system of ours be not a lie,
and a dream."

"Come," said the lion-looking man, impatiently, "a truce with this
nonsense.  If the porter cannot turn you out, perhaps some other person
can; but to the point--you want a Bible?"

"I do," said I, "but not for myself; I was sent by another person to
offer something in exchange for one."

"And who is that person?"

"A poor old woman, who has had what you call convictions,--heard voices,
or thought she heard them--I forgot to ask her whether they were loud
ones."

"What has she sent to offer in exchange?" said the man, without taking
any notice of the concluding part of my speech.

"A book," said I.

"Let me see it."

"Nay, brother," said the precise man, "this will never do; if we once
adopt the system of barter, we shall have all the holders of useless
rubbish in the town applying to us."

"I wish to see what he has brought," said the other; "perhaps Baxter, or
Jewell's Apology, either of which would make a valuable addition to our
collection.  Well, young man, what's the matter with you?"

I stood like one petrified; I had put my hand into my pocket--the book
was gone.

"What's the matter?" repeated the man with the lion countenance, in a
voice very much resembling thunder.

"I have it not--I have lost it!"

"A pretty story, truly," said the precise-looking man; "lost it!"

"You had better retire," said the other.

"How shall I appear before the party who entrusted me with the book?  She
will certainly think that I have purloined it, notwithstanding all I can
say; nor, indeed, can I blame her,--appearances are certainly against
me."

"They are so--you had better retire."

I moved towards the door.  "Stay, young man, one word more; there is only
one way of proceeding which would induce me to believe that you are
sincere."

"What is that?" said I, stopping and looking at him anxiously.

"The purchase of a Bible."

"Purchase!" said I, "purchase!  I came not to purchase, but to barter;
such was my instruction, and how can I barter if I have lost the book?"

The other made no answer, and turning away I made for the door; all of a
sudden I started, and turning round, "Dear me," said I, "it has just come
into my head, that if the book was lost by my negligence, as it must have
been, I have clearly a right to make it good."

No answer.

"Yes," I repeated, "I have clearly a right to make it good; how glad I
am! see the effect of a little reflection.  I will purchase a Bible
instantly, that is, if I have not lost . . . " and with considerable
agitation I felt in my pocket.

The prim-looking man smiled: "I suppose," said he, "that he has lost his
money as well as book."

"No," said I, "I have not;" and pulling out my hand I displayed no less a
sum than three half-crowns.

"O noble goddess of the Mint!" as Dame Charlotta Nordenflycht, the Swede,
said a hundred and fifty years ago, "great is thy power; how
energetically the possession of thee speaks in favour of man's
character!"

"Only half a crown for this Bible?" said I, putting down the money; "it
is worth three;" and bowing to the man of the noble features, I departed
with my purchase.

"Queer customer," said the prim-looking man, as I was about to close the
door--"don't like him."

"Why, as to that, I scarcely know what to say," said he of the
countenance of a lion.



CHAPTER XLVI


The Pickpocket--Strange Rencounter--Drag Him Along--A Great
Service--Things of Importance--Philological Matters--Mother of
Languages--Zhats!

A few days after the occurrence of what is recorded in the last chapter,
as I was wandering in the City, chance directed my footsteps to an alley
leading from one narrow street to another in the neighbourhood of
Cheapside.  Just before I reached the mouth of the alley, a man in a
great-coat, closely followed by another, passed it; and, at the moment in
which they were passing, I observed the man behind snatch something from
the pocket of the other; whereupon, darting into the street, I seized the
hindermost man by the collar, crying at the same time to the other, "My
good friend, this person has just picked your pocket."

The individual whom I addressed, turning round with a start, glanced at
me, and then at the person whom I held.  London is the place for strange
rencounters.  It appeared to me that I recognised both individuals--the
man whose pocket had been picked and the other; the latter now began to
struggle violently; "I have picked no one's pocket," said he.  "Rascal,"
said the other, "you have got my pocket-book in your bosom."  "No, I have
not," said the other; and, struggling more violently than before, the
pocket-book dropped from his bosom upon the ground.

The other was now about to lay hands upon the fellow, who was still
struggling.  "You had better take up your book," said I; "I can hold
him."  He followed my advice; and, taking up his pocket-book, surveyed my
prisoner with a ferocious look, occasionally glaring at me.  Yes, I had
seen him before--it was the stranger whom I had observed on London
Bridge, by the stall of the old apple-woman, with the cap and cloak; but,
instead of these, he now wore a hat and great-coat.  "Well," said I, at
last, "what am I to do with this gentleman of ours?" nodding to the
prisoner, who had now left off struggling.  "Shall I let him go?"

"Go!" said the other; "go!  The knave--the rascal; let him go, indeed!
Not so, he shall go before the Lord Mayor.  Bring him along."

"Oh, let me go," said the other: "let me go; this is the first offence, I
assure ye--the first time I ever thought to do anything wrong."

"Hold your tongue," said I, "or I shall be angry with you.  If I am not
very much mistaken, you once attempted to cheat me."

"I never saw you before in all my life," said the fellow, though his
countenance seemed to belie his words.

"That is not true," said I; "you are the man who attempted to cheat me of
one-and-ninepence in the coach-yard, on the first morning of my arrival
in London."

"I don't doubt it," said the other; "a confirmed thief;" and here his
tones became peculiarly sharp; "I would fain see him hanged--crucified.
Drag him along."

"I am no constable," said I; "you have got your pocket-book,--I would
rather you would bid me let him go."

"Bid you let him go!" said the other almost furiously; "I command--stay,
what was I going to say?  I was forgetting myself," he observed more
gently; "but he stole my pocket-book;--if you did but know what it
contained."

"Well," said I, "if it contains anything valuable, be the more thankful
that you have recovered it; as for the man, I will help you to take him
where you please; but I wish you would let him go."

The stranger hesitated, and there was an extraordinary play of emotion in
his features: he looked ferociously at the pickpocket, and, more than
once, somewhat suspiciously at myself; at last his countenance cleared,
and, with a good grace, he said, "Well, you have done me a great service,
and you have my consent to let him go; but the rascal shall not escape
with impunity," he exclaimed suddenly, as I let the man go, and starting
forward, before the fellow could escape, he struck him a violent blow on
the face.  The man staggered, and had nearly fallen; recovering himself,
however, he said, "I tell you what, my fellow, if I ever meet you in this
street in a dark night, and I have a knife about me, it shall be the
worse for you; as for you, young man," said he to me; but, observing that
the other was making towards him, he left whatever he was about to say
unfinished, and, taking to his heels, was out of sight in a moment.

The stranger and myself walked in the direction of Cheapside, the way in
which he had been originally proceeding; he was silent for a few moments,
at length he said, "You have really done me a great service, and I should
be ungrateful not to acknowledge it.  I am a merchant; and a merchant's
pocket-book, as you perhaps know, contains many things of importance;
but, young man," he exclaimed, "I think I have seen you before; I thought
so at first, but where I cannot exactly say: where was it?"  I mentioned
London Bridge and the old apple-woman.  "Oh," said he, and smiled, and
there was something peculiar in his smile, "I remember now.  Do you
frequently sit on London Bridge?"  "Occasionally," said I; "that old
woman is an old friend of mine."  "Friend?" said the stranger; "I am glad
of it, for I shall know where to find you.  At present I am going to
'Change; time, you know, is precious to a merchant."  We were by this
time close to Cheapside.  "Farewell," said he; "I shall not forget this
service.  I trust we shall soon meet again."  He then shook me by the
hand and went his way.

The next day, as I was seated beside the old woman in the booth, the
stranger again made his appearance, and, after a word or two, sat down
beside me; the old woman was sometimes reading the Bible, which she had
already had two or three days in her possession, and sometimes
discoursing with me.  Our discourse rolled chiefly on philological
matters.

"What do you call bread in your language?" said I.

"You mean the language of those who bring me things to buy, or who did;
for, as I told you before, I shan't buy any more; it's no language of
mine, dear--they call bread pannam in their language."

"Pannam!" said I, "pannam! evidently connected with, if not derived from,
the Latin panis; even as the word tanner, which signifieth a sixpence, is
connected with, if not derived from, the Latin tener, which is itself
connected with, if not derived from, tawno or tawner, which, in the
language of Mr. Petulengro, signifieth a sucking child. {386}  Let me
see, what is the term for bread in the language of Mr. Petulengro?  Morro,
or manro, as I have sometimes heard it called; is there not some
connection between these words and panis?  Yes, I think there is; and I
should not wonder if morro, manro, and panis were connected, perhaps
derived from the same root; but what is that root?  I don't know--I wish
I did; though, perhaps, I should not be the happier.  Morro--manro!  I
rather think morro is the oldest form; it is easier to say morro than
manro.  Morro!  Irish, aran; Welsh, bara; English, bread.  I can see a
resemblance between all the words, and pannam too; and I rather think
that the Petulengrian word is the elder.  How odd it would be if the
language of Mr. Petulengro should eventually turn out to be the mother of
all the languages in the world; yet it is certain that there are some
languages in which the terms for bread have no connection with the word
used by Mr. Petulengro, notwithstanding that those languages, in many
other points, exhibit a close affinity to the language of the horse-shoe
master: for example, bread, in Hebrew, is Laham, which assuredly exhibits
little similitude to the word used by the aforesaid Petulengro.  In
Armenian it is--"

"Zhats!" said the stranger, starting up.  "By the Patriarch and the Three
Holy Churches, this is wonderful!  How came you to know aught of
Armenian?"



CHAPTER XLVII


New Acquaintance--Wired Cases--Bread and Wine--Armenian Colonies--Learning
Without Money--What a Language--The Tide--Your Foible--Learning of the
Haiks--Old Proverb--Pressing Invitation.

Just as I was about to reply to the interrogation of my new-formed
acquaintance, a man, with a dusky countenance, probably one of the
Lascars, or Mulattos, of whom the old woman had spoken, came up and
whispered to him, and with this man he presently departed,--not, however,
before he had told me the place of his abode, and requested me to visit
him.

After the lapse of a few days, I called at the house, which he had
indicated.  It was situated in a dark and narrow street, in the heart of
the city, at no great distance from the bank.  I entered a counting-room,
in which a solitary clerk, with a foreign look, was writing.  The
stranger was not at home; returning the next day, however, I met him at
the door as he was about to enter; he shook me warmly by the hand.  "I am
glad to see you," said he; "follow me; I was just thinking of you."  He
led me through the counting-room, to an apartment up a flight of stairs;
before ascending, however, he looked into the book in which the foreign-
visaged clerk was writing, and, seemingly not satisfied with the manner
in which he was executing his task, he gave him two or three cuffs,
telling him at the same time that he deserved crucifixion.

The apartment above stairs, to which he led me, was large, with three
windows, which opened upon the street.  The walls were hung with wired
cases, apparently containing books.  There was a table and two or three
chairs; but the principal article of furniture was a long sofa,
extending, from the door by which we entered, to the farther end of the
apartment.  Seating himself upon the sofa, my new acquaintance motioned
to me to sit beside him, and then, looking me full in the face, repeated
his former inquiry.  "In the name of all that is wonderful, how came you
to know aught of my language?"

"There is nothing wonderful in that," said I; "we are at the commencement
of a philological age, every one studies languages: that is, every one
who is fit for nothing else; philology being the last resource of dulness
and ennui, I have got a little in advance of the throng, by mastering the
Armenian alphabet; but I foresee the time when every unmarriageable miss,
and desperate blockhead, will likewise have acquired the letters of
Mesroub, and will know the term for bread, in Armenian, and perhaps that
for wine."

"Kini," said my companion; and that and the other word put me in mind of
the duties of hospitality.  "Will you eat bread and drink wine with me?"

"Willingly," said I.  Whereupon my companion, unlocking a closet,
produced, on a silver salver, a loaf of bread, with a silver-handled
knife, and wine in a silver flask, with cups of the same metal.  "I hope
you like my fare," said he, after we had both eaten and drunk.

"I like your bread," said I, "for it is stale; I like not your wine; it
is sweet, and I hate sweet wine."

"It is wine of Cyprus," said my entertainer; and, when I found that it
was wine of Cyprus, I tasted it again, and the second taste pleased me
much better than the first, notwithstanding that I still thought it
somewhat sweet.  "So," said I, after a pause, looking at my companion,
"you are an Armenian?"

"Yes," said he, "an Armenian born in London, but not less an Armenian on
that account.  My father was a native of Ispahan, one of the celebrated
Armenian colony which was established there shortly after the time of the
dreadful hunger, which drove the children of Haik in swarms from their
original country, and scattered them over most parts of the eastern and
western world.  In Ispahan he passed the greater portion of his life,
following mercantile pursuits with considerable success.  Certain
enemies, however, having accused him to the despot of the place, of using
seditious language, he was compelled to flee, leaving most of his
property behind.  Travelling in the direction of the west, he came at
last to London, where he established himself, and where he eventually
died, leaving behind a large property and myself, his only child, the
fruit of a marriage with an Armenian English woman, who did not survive
my birth more than three months."

The Armenian then proceeded to tell me that he had carried on the
business of his father, which seemed to embrace most matters, from buying
silks of Lascars, to speculating in the funds, and that he had
considerably increased the property which his father had left him.  He
candidly confessed that he was wonderfully fond of gold, and said there
was nothing like it for giving a person respectability and consideration
in the world: to which assertion I made no answer, being not exactly
prepared to contradict it.

And, when he had related to me his history, he expressed a desire to know
something more of myself, whereupon I gave him the outline of my history,
concluding with saying, "I am now a poor author, or rather philologist,
upon the streets of London, possessed of many tongues, which I find of no
use in the world."

"Learning without money is anything but desirable," said the Armenian,
"as it unfits a man for humble occupations.  It is true that it may
occasionally beget him friends; I confess to you that your understanding
something of my language weighs more with me than the service you
rendered me in rescuing my pocket-book the other day from the claws of
that scoundrel whom I yet hope to see hanged, if not crucified,
notwithstanding there were in that pocket-book papers and documents of
considerable value.  Yes, that circumstance makes my heart warm towards
you, for I am proud of my language--as I indeed well may be--what a
language, noble and energetic! quite original, differing from all others
both in words and structure."

"You are mistaken," said I; "many languages resemble the Armenian both in
structure and words."

"For example?" said the Armenian.

"For example," said I, "the English."

"The English?" said the Armenian; "show me one word in which the English
resembles the Armenian."

"You walk on London Bridge," said I.

"Yes," said the Armenian.

"I saw you look over the balustrade the other morning."

"True," said the Armenian.

"Well, what did you see rushing up through the arches with noise and
foam?"

"What was it?" said the Armenian.  "What was it?--you don't mean the
_tide_?"

"Do I not?" said I.

"Well, what has the tide to do with the matter?"

"Much," said I; "what is the tide?"

"The ebb and flow of the sea," said the Armenian.

"The sea itself; what is the Haik word for sea?"

The Armenian gave a strong gasp; then, nodding his head thrice, "You are
right," said he; "the English word tide is the Armenian for sea; and now
I begin to perceive that there are many English words which are Armenian;
there is --- and ---, and there again in French there is --- and ---
derived from the Armenian.  How strange, how singular!--I thank you.  It
is a proud thing to see that the language of my race has had so much
influence over the languages of the world."

I saw that all that related to his race was the weak point of the
Armenian.  I did not flatter the Armenian with respect to his race or
language.  "An inconsiderable people," said I, "shrewd and industrious,
but still an inconsiderable people.  A language bold and expressive, and
of some antiquity, derived, though perhaps not immediately, from some
much older tongue.  I do not think that the Armenian has had any
influence over the formation of the languages of the world.  I am not
much indebted to the Armenian for the solution of any doubts; whereas to
the language of Mr. Petulengro--"

"I have heard you mention that name before," said the Armenian; "who is
Mr. Petulengro?"

And then I told the Armenian who Mr. Petulengro was.  The Armenian spoke
contemptuously of Mr. Petulengro and his race.  "Don't speak
contemptuously of Mr. Petulengro," said I, "nor of anything belonging to
him.  He is a dark mysterious personage; all connected with him is a
mystery, especially his language; but I believe that his language is
doomed to solve a great philological problem--Mr. Petulengro--"

"You appear agitated," said the Armenian; "take another glass of wine;
you possess a great deal of philological knowledge, but it appears to me
that the language of this Petulengro is your foible: but let us change
the subject; I feel much interested in you, and would fain be of service
to you.  Can you cast accounts?"

I shook my head.

"Keep books?"

"I have an idea that I could write books," said I; "but, as to keeping
them . . . " and here again I shook my head.

The Armenian was silent some time; all at once, glancing at one of the
wire cases, with which, as I have already said, the walls of the room
were hung, he asked me if I was well acquainted with the learning of the
Haiks.  "The books in these cases," said he, "contain the master-pieces
of Haik learning."

"No," said I, "all I know of the learning of the Haiks is their
translation of the Bible."

"You have never read Z---?"

"No," said I, "I have never read Z---."

"I have a plan," said the Armenian; "I think I can employ you agreeably
and profitably; I should like to see Z--- in an English dress; you shall
translate Z---.  If you can read the Scriptures in Armenian, you can
translate Z---.  He is our Esop, the most acute and clever of all our
moral writers--his philosophy--"

"I will have nothing to do with him," said I.

"Wherefore?" said the Armenian.

"There is an old proverb," said I, '"that a burnt child avoids the fire.'
I have burnt my hands sufficiently with attempting to translate
philosophy, to make me cautious of venturing upon it again;" and then I
told the Armenian how I had been persuaded by the publisher to translate
his philosophy into German, and what sorry thanks I had received; "and
who knows," said I, "but the attempt to translate Armenian philosophy
into English might be attended with yet more disagreeable consequences."

The Armenian smiled.  "You would find me very different from the
publisher."

"In many points I have no doubt I should," I replied; "but at the present
moment I feel like a bird which has escaped from a cage, and, though
hungry, feels no disposition to return.  Of what nation is the dark man
below stairs, whom I saw writing at the desk?"

"He is a Moldave," said the Armenian; "the dog [and here his eyes
sparkled] deserves to be crucified; he is continually making mistakes."

The Armenian again renewed his proposition about Z---, which I again
refused, as I felt but little inclination to place myself beneath the
jurisdiction of a person who was in the habit of cuffing those whom he
employed, when they made mistakes.  I presently took my departure; not,
however, before I had received from the Armenian a pressing invitation to
call upon him whenever I should feel disposed.



CHAPTER XLVIII


What to Do--Strong Enough--Fame and Profit--Alliterative
Euphony--Excellent Fellow--Listen to Me--A Plan--Bagnigge Wells.

Anxious thoughts frequently disturbed me at this time with respect to
what I was to do, and how support myself in the great city.  My future
prospects were gloomy enough, and I looked forward and feared; sometimes
I felt half disposed to accept the offer of the Armenian, and to commence
forthwith, under his superintendence, the translation of the Haik Esop;
but the remembrance of the cuffs which I had seen him bestow upon the
Moldavian, when glancing over his shoulder into the ledger or whatever it
was on which he was employed, immediately drove the inclination from my
mind.  I could not support the idea of the possibility of his staring
over my shoulder upon my translation of the Haik Esop, and, dissatisfied
with my attempts, treating me as he had treated the Moldavian clerk;
placing myself in a position which exposed me to such treatment, would
indeed be plunging into the fire after escaping from the frying-pan.  The
publisher, insolent and overbearing as he was, whatever he might have
wished or thought, had never lifted his hand against me, or told me that
I merited crucifixion.

What was I to do? turn porter?  I was strong; but there was something
besides strength required to ply the trade of a porter--a mind of a
particularly phlegmatic temperament, which I did not possess.  What
should I do?--enlist as a soldier?  I was tall enough; but something
besides height is required to make a man play with credit the part of
soldier, I mean a private one--a spirit, if spirit it can be called,
which will not only enable a man to submit with patience to insolence and
abuse, and even to cuffs and kicks, but occasionally to the lash.  I felt
that I was not qualified to be a soldier, at least a private one; far
better be a drudge to the most ferocious of publishers, editing Newgate
Lives, and writing in eighteenpenny Reviews--better to translate the Haik
Esop, under the superintendence of ten Armenians, than be a private
soldier in the English service; I did not decide rashly--I knew something
of soldiering.  What should I do?  I thought that I would make a last and
desperate attempt to dispose of the ballads and of Ab Gwilym.

I had still an idea that, provided I could persuade any spirited
publisher to give these translations to the world, I should acquire both
considerable fame and profit; not, perhaps, a world-embracing fame such
as Byron's; but a fame not to be sneered at, which would last me a
considerable time, and would keep my heart from breaking;--profit, not
equal to that which Scott had made by his wondrous novels, but which
would prevent me from starving, and enable me to achieve some other
literary enterprise.  I read and re-read my ballads, and the more I read
them the more I was convinced that the public, in the event of their
being published, would freely purchase, and hail them with the merited
applause.  Were not the deeds and adventures wonderful and
heart-stirring, from which it is true I could claim no merit, being but
the translator; but had I not rendered them into English, with all their
original fire?  Yes, I was confident I had; and I had no doubt that the
public would say so.  And then, with respect to Ab Gwilym, had I not done
as much justice to him as to the Danish ballads; not only rendering
faithfully his thoughts, imagery, and phraseology, but even preserving in
my translation the alliterative euphony which constitutes one of the most
remarkable features of Welsh prosody?  Yes, I had accomplished all this;
and I doubted not that the public would receive my translations from Ab
Gwilym with quite as much eagerness as my version of the Danish ballads.
But I found the publishers as untractable as ever, and to this day the
public has never had an opportunity of doing justice to the glowing fire
of my ballad versification, {397} and the alliterative euphony of my
imitations of Ab Gwilym.

I had not seen Francis Ardry since the day I had seen him taking lessons
in elocution.  One afternoon as I was seated at my table, my head resting
on my hands, he entered my apartment; sitting down, he inquired of me why
I had not been to see him.

"I might ask the same question of you," I replied.  "Wherefore have you
not been to see me?"  Whereupon Francis Ardry told me that he had been
much engaged in his oratorical exercises, also in escorting the young
Frenchwoman about to places of public amusement; he then again questioned
me as to the reason of my not having been to see him.

I returned an evasive answer.  The truth was, that for some time past my
appearance, owing to the state of my finances, had been rather shabby;
and I did not wish to expose a fashionable young man like Francis Ardry,
who lived in a fashionable neighbourhood, to the imputation of having a
shabby acquaintance.  I was aware that Francis Ardry was an excellent
fellow; but, on that very account, I felt, under existing circumstances,
a delicacy in visiting him.

It is very possible that he had an inkling of how matters stood, as he
presently began to talk of my affairs and prospects.  I told him of my
late ill success with the booksellers, and inveighed against their
blindness to their own interest in refusing to publish my translations.
"The last that I addressed myself to," said I, "told me not to trouble
him again unless I could bring him a decent novel or a tale."

"Well," said Frank, "and why did you not carry him a decent novel or a
tale?"

"Because I have neither," said I; "and to write them is, I believe, above
my capacity.  At present I feel divested of all energy--heartless, and
almost hopeless."

"I see how it is," said Francis Ardry, "you have overworked yourself,
and, worst of all, to no purpose.  Take my advice; cast all care aside,
and only think of diverting yourself for a month at least."

"Divert myself," said I; "and where am I to find the means?"

"Be that care on my shoulders," said Francis Ardry.  "Listen to me--my
uncles have been so delighted with the favourable accounts which they
have lately received from T--- of my progress in oratory, that, in the
warmth of their hearts, they made me a present yesterday of two hundred
pounds.  This is more money than I want, at least for the present; do me
the favour to take half of it as a loan--hear me," said he, observing
that I was about to interrupt him; "I have a plan in my head--one of the
prettiest in the world.  The sister of my charmer is just arrived from
France; she cannot speak a word of English; and, as Annette and myself
are much engaged in our own matters, we cannot pay her the attention
which we should wish, and which she deserves, for she is a truly
fascinating creature, although somewhat differing from my charmer, having
blue eyes and flaxen hair; whilst Annette, on the contrary . . . But I
hope you will shortly see Annette.  Now, my plan is this--Take the money,
dress yourself fashionably, and conduct Annette's sister to Bagnigge
Wells."

"And what should we do at Bagnigge Wells?"

"Do!" said Francis Ardry.  "Dance!"

"But," said I, "I scarcely know anything of dancing."

"Then here's an excellent opportunity of improving yourself.  Like most
Frenchwomen, she dances divinely; however, if you object to Bagnigge
Wells and dancing, go to Brighton, and remain there a month or two, at
the end of which time you can return with your mind refreshed and
invigorated, and materials, perhaps, for a tale or novel."

"I never heard a more foolish plan," said I, "or one less likely to
terminate profitably or satisfactorily.  I thank you, however, for your
offer, which is, I dare say, well meant.  If I am to escape from my cares
and troubles, and find my mind refreshed and invigorated, I must adopt
other means than conducting a French demoiselle to Brighton or Bagnigge
Wells, defraying the expense by borrowing from a friend."



Footnotes:


{0a}  Pronounced _Lav'en-gro_, not _Lav-en'gro_, the two first syllables
exactly like those of _lavender_.  Borrow meant it to stand for "word-
master, philologist," but--_nomen omen_--already in Grellmann (1787)
_latcho lavengro_ stood for "a liar."

{1a}  On 5th July 1803, at East Dereham, Norfolk, 17 miles west-north-
west of Norwich.

{1b}  Captain Thomas Borrow (1758-1824), the youngest of a family of
eight (three daughters and five sons).

{1c}  Trethinnick, near St. Cleer.

{2}  "In Cornwall are the best gentlemen."--_Corn. Prov._ (B.)

{4a}  Earl of Orford.  Borrow's father rose from private to sergeant in
the Coldstream Guards, and, passing in 1792 to the West Norfolk Militia,
was six years later promoted adjutant with the rank of captain (Knapp, i.
7-16).

{4b}  Dereham.

{4c}  Ann Perfrement (1772-1858).  They married in 1793 (Knapp, i. 16-
26).

{7}  John Thomas Borrow (1800-1833), ensign and lieutenant in his
father's regiment, art student under Old Crome and Benjamin Haydon, and
from 1826 a mining agent in Mexico.

{19}  Norwegian ells--about eight feet.  (B.)

{22}  Dereham.

{31a}  Charles Hyde Wollaston (1772-1850), vicar from 1806--my mother's
uncle.

{31b}  James Philo (1745-1829), an old soldier, for fifty years parish
clerk.

{33}  In 1810.

{37}  Whittlesea Mere.  In 1786 it measured 3.5 miles from east to west
by 2.5 miles, and it was drained in 1850-51.

{44}  Much such a man, perhaps a descendant, travelled East Anglia about
1866.  He used to visit schools to exhibit his snakes.

{48}  Better _bengesko_ or _beng's_, devil's.

{50}  _Tiny tawny_ is not Romany.  _Tarno_ means "small" or "young."

{52}  _Sap_, snake; _sapengro_, snake-charmer.

{65}  Berwick-upon-Tweed.  Its walls are not lofty.

{69a}  In 1813.

{69b}  South-western.

{71}  Borrow and his brother seem to have been at the High School in
March 1814, probably only for the one winter session.  James Pillans was
rector, and the four under-masters were William Ritchie, Aglionby Ross
Carson (Borrow's), George Irvine, James Gray.

{72}  William Bowie; probably from Gaelic _buidhe_, yellow, and so not
Norse at all.

{75}  Northern.

{79}  David Haggart (1801-21), thief, was born and hanged at Edinburgh.
He enlisted as a drummer in July 1813, and killed a Dumfries turnkey in
1820.  His curious _Autobiography_ is written largely in thieves' cant.

{82a}  Northern.

{82b}  Perhaps two hundred feet.

{88}  Fifteen months.

{89a}  Harwich.

{89b}  Cork Harbour.

{90}  Cork.

{93}  Clonmel.

{98}  Elzevirs are not generally huge.

{104}  In Tipperary county, twenty miles north of Clonmel.  In 1816.

{131}  Norwich.

{132a}  Till 1886 a prison, and now a museum.  A square Norman keep.

{132b}  The tower is Norman, the spire Decorated, 215 feet high.

{133}  The Bishop's Bridge (1295) over the Wensum.

{134}  Horatio, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805), was born at Burnham-Thorpe
Rectory, Norfolk, near Wells.

{140}  Borrow clean omits his two years (1816-18) at Norwich Grammar
School, under Edward Valpy (1764-1832), headmaster 1810-29.  This was
probably because, horsed on James Martineau's back, he was flogged for
running away to turn smuggler or freebooter.  Sir James Brooke was
another schoolfellow.

{142}  The Rev. Thomas D'Eterville, a Norman _emigre_.

{146}  The Yare.

{147}  Earlham Hall.

{148}  Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847), Quaker banker of Norwich, and
philanthropist, a brother of Mrs. Fry.  See A. J. C. Hare's _The Gurneys
of Earlham_ (2 vols., 1895).

{152}  Tombland Fair, on Norwich Castle Hill, the day before Good Friday.

{154}  _Cf._ Introduction, p. xxv.

{156}  Snake-charmer.

{157}  Monschold (pron. _Muzzle_) Heath, near Norwich.

{158}  Better _Tarno Tikno_, little baby.

{161}  _Petulengro_, farrier, the esoteric Romany name of the Smith
family.  It is derived from the Modern Greek _petalon_, horse-shoe, if
that, indeed, is not borrowed from the Romany.

{162a}  Truth, brother.

{162b}  Book.

{162c}  Hill.

{163a}  Passing bad money.

{163b}  Gypsies.

{163c}  Better _gaujoes_, non-Gypsies or Gentiles.

{164a}  Yes.

{164b}  Magistrate of the town.

{165a}  Child.

{165b}  In the town, telling fortunes.

{166a}  House.

{166b}  Going.

{169a}  In Vol. i. p. 320 of _Etymologicon Universale_ (3 vols., 1822-
25), by the Rev. Walter Whiter (1758-1832), from 1797 rector of
Hardingham, near Wymondham, occurs this suggestion: "It will perhaps be
discovered by some future inquirer that from a horde of vagrant _Gipseys_
once issued that band of sturdy robbers, the companions of Romulus and of
Remus, who laid the foundations of the _Eternal City_ on the banks of the
Tibur."  This sounds truly Borrovian; and scattered through the amazing
_Etymologicon_ are twenty-six Romany words, very correctly spelt, which I
used to think Whiter must have learnt from George Borrow.  But there are
words that Borrow does not seem to have known--_poshe_, near; _kam_, sun;
_ria_, sir (vocative), and _petalles_, horse-shoe (accusative).  Whiter
appears to have known Romany better than Borrow.  Borrow certainly meant
to write a good deal about Whiter, for in a letter to John Murray of 1st
December 1842 he sketches _Lavengro_: "Capital subject--early life;
studies and adventures; some account of my father, William Taylor,
Whiter, Big Ben, etc. etc." (Knapp, ii. 5).  But he barely mentions
Whiter in chap. xxiv. of _Lavengro_.  In the _Gypsy Lore Journal_ (i.
1888, pp. 102-4) I had an article on Whiter.  That on Whiter by Mr.
Courtney, in vol. lxi. of the _Dictionary of National Biography_ (1900),
shows that he was writing on the Gypsy language in 1800 and 1811.

{169b}  Fighter.

{170a}  Husband.

{170b}  Gentleman.

{170c}  London.

{170d}  Song.

{178}  Borrow's _Wild Wales_ gives a full account of his Welsh studies at
this period.

{180}  He was articled on 30th March 1819 to Messrs. Simpson & Rackham
solicitors, for five years.

{198}  Klopstock. (B.)

{199}  John Crome, "Old Crome" (1768-1811), the great landscape-painter
of the "Norwich School."

{208}  Lodowick Muggleton (1609-98), a London Puritan tailor, founded his
sect about 1651.

{211}  William Taylor (1765-1836), "of Norwich," introduced German
literature to English readers, and corresponded with Southey, Scott,
Godwin, etc.  He seems to have made an infidel of Borrow by 1824 (Knapp,
ii. 261-2).  See Life of Taylor by Robberds (1843).

{225a}  Samuel Parr (1747-1825).

{225b}  See note on p. 169.

{230}  John Thurtell (_c._ 1791-1824), the son of a Norwich alderman, was
hanged at Hertford for the brutal murder in Gill's Hill Lane of a fellow-
swindler, William Weare.  He figures also in Hazlitt's "Prize-fight," and
Sir Walter Scott visited the scene of Weare's murder.

{233}  Spinoza.

{239}  Rather shaky Romany.  _Chivios_ and _rovel_ should be _chido si_
and _rovenna_.

{240}  Enough.

{249}  Absolutely meaningless to any English Gypsy that ever walked.
Borrow seems to have fancied it was Hungarian Romany, but it isn't.

{264}  Anglo-Hanoverian victory over the French, 1759.

{265}  2nd April 1824.

{270}  Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840), schoolmaster, hosier, stationer,
publisher, author, Radical, vegetarian, etc., removed from Leicester to
London in 1795, was knighted in 1808, and finally retired to Brighton.

{278}  By the Rev. Legh Richmond (1772-1827).  Elizabeth Wallbridge, the
dairyman's daughter, is buried at Arreton, in the Isle of Wight; and
2,000,000 copies of the tract, which was written in 1809, are said to
have been sold in the author's lifetime.

{287}  _The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders_, by
Daniel Defoe, appeared on 27th January 1722.

{293}  Quite incredible.  Norwich had its own papers.

{306}  By Prof. Knapp identified with William Gifford (1757-1826),
translator of Juvenal, editor of the _Anti-Jacobin_, the _Quarterly
Review_, etc.; but Mr. Leslie Stephen argues, in _Literature_ (April 8,
1899, p. 375), that Gifford was then a rich bachelor with a sinecure of
1000 pounds a year, and that a much likelier identification is with John
Carey (1756-1826), the "_Gradus_ Carey," who edited Quintilian in 1822,
and did work for Sir Richard Phillips.

{316a}  _Celebrated Trials_ (6 vols., 1825).

{316b}  _The Universal Review_, March 1824-Jan. 1825.

{324}  29th April 1824.

{326}  The ex-mayor, Robert Hawkes.

{328}  Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), who shot himself in his
studio.

{335}  George Borrow about this time suffered much from the horrors, and
meditated suicide (Knapp, i. 96-98).

{340}  Byron's corpse, on its way from Missolonghi to Hucknall Church,
near Newstead in Notts, was removed on Monday, 12th July 1814, from Sir
Edward Knatchbull's house in Great George Street, Westminster, at 11 a.m.

{365}  John Murray (1778-1843), publisher, the second of the name, the
first of Albemarle Street.

{386}  _Tarno_ means simply "young" or "little."

{397}  _Romantic Ballads_, _translated from the Danish_, _and
Miscellaneous Pieces_, by George Borrow, did appear in Norwich in 1826.





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