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Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 01 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Good Men and Great
Author: Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915
Language: English
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LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF THE GREAT

Elbert Hubbard

Memorial Edition

Printed and made into a Book by The Roycrofters,
who are in East Aurora, Erie County, New York

Wm. H. Wise & Co.

New York

1916



PUBLISHER'S PREFACE


Elbert Hubbard is dead, or should we say, has gone on his last Little
Journey to the Great Beyond. But the children of his fertile brain still
live and will continue to live and keep fresh the memory of their
illustrious forebear.

Fourteen years were consumed in the preparation of the work that ranks
today as Elbert Hubbard's masterpiece. In Eighteen Hundred Ninety-four,
the series of Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great was begun, and
once a month for fourteen years, without a break, one of these little
pilgrimages was given to the world. These little gems have been accepted
as classics and will live. In all there are one hundred eighty Little
Journeys that take us to the homes of the men and women who transformed
the thought of their time, changed the course of empire, and marked the
destiny of civilization. Through him, the ideas, the deeds, the
achievements of these immortals have been given to the living present and
will be sent echoing down the centuries.

Hubbard's Little Journeys to the homes of these men and women have not
been equaled since Plutarch wrote his forty-six parallel lives of the
Greeks and Romans. And these were given to the world before the first
rosy dawn of modern civilization had risen to the horizon. Without
dwelling upon their achievements, Plutarch, with a trifling incident, a
simple word or an innocent jest, showed the virtues and failings of his
subject. As a result, no other books from classical literature have come
down through the ages to us with so great an influence upon the lives of
the leading men of the world. Who can recount the innumerable biographies
that begin thus: "In his youth, our subject had for his constant reading,
Plutarch's Lives, etc."? Emerson must have had in mind this silent,
irresistible force that shaped the lives of the great men of these twenty
centuries when he declared, "All history resolves itself very easily into
the biography of a few stout and earnest persons."

Plutarch lived in the time of Saint Paul, and wrote of the early Greeks
and Romans. After two thousand years Hubbard appeared, to bridge the
centuries from Athens, in the golden age of Pericles, to America, in the
wondrous age of Edison. With the magic wand of genius he touched the
buried mummies of all time, and from each tomb gushed forth a geyser of
inspiration.

Hugh Chalmers once remarked that, if he were getting out a Blue Book of
America, he would publish Elbert Hubbard's subscription-lists. Whether we
accept this authoritative statement or not, there is no doubt that the
pen of this immortal did more to stimulate the best minds of the country
than any other American writer, living or dead. Eminent writers study
Hubbard for style, while at the same time thousands of the tired men and
women who do the world's work read him for inspiration. Truly, this man
wielded his pen like an archangel.

Not only as a writer does this many-sided genius command our admiration,
but in many chosen fields, in all of which he excelled. As an
institution, the Roycroft Shops would reflect credit upon the business
acumen of the ablest men that America has produced in the field of
achievement. The industry, it would seem, was launched to demonstrate the
practicality of the high principles and philosophy preached by its
founder, not only by the printed page, but from the platform. Right here
let it be noted that, as a public speaker, Hubbard appeared before more
audiences than any other lecturer of his time who gave the platform his
undivided attention. Where, one asks in amazement, did this remarkable
man find the inspiration for carrying forward his great work? It is no
secret. It was drawn from his own little pilgrimages to the haunts of the
great. Again like Plutarch, these miniature biographies were composed for
the personal benefit of the writer. It was his own satisfaction and moral
improvement that inspired the work.

Following Hubbard's tragic death, the announcement was made from East
Aurora that "The Philistine" Magazine would be discontinued--Hubbard had
gone on a long journey and might need his "Philistine." Besides, who was
there to take up his pen? It was also a beautiful tribute to the father
from the son.

The same spirit of devotion has prompted The Roycrofters to issue their
Memorial Edition of the "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great." In
no other way could they so fittingly perpetuate the memory of the founder
of their institution as to liberate the influence that was such an
important factor in molding the career of his genius. If he should cast a
backward glance, he would nod his approval. If there is to be a memorial,
certainly let it be a service to mankind. He would have us all tap the
same source from which he drew his inspiration.



AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL


    The mintage of wisdom is to know that
    rest is rust, and that real life is in love,
    laughter and work.
                       --_Elbert Hubbard_


I have been asked to write an article about myself and the
work in which I am engaged. I think I am honest enough to sink self, to
stand outside my own personality, and answer the proposition.

Let me begin by telling what I am not, and thus reach the vital issue by
elimination.

First, I am not popular in "Society," and those who champion _my cause in
my own town_ are plain, unpretentious people.

Second, I am not a popular writer, since my name has never been mentioned
in the "Atlantic," "Scribner's," "Harper's," "The Century" or the
"Ladies' Home Journal." But as a matter of truth, it may not be amiss for
me to say that I have waited long hours in the entryway of each of the
magazines just named, in days agone, and then been handed the frappe.

Third, I am not rich, as the world counts wealth.

Fourth, as an orator I am without the graces, and do scant justice to the
double-breasted Prince Albert.

Fifth, the Roycroft Shop, to the welfare of which my life is dedicated,
is not so large as to be conspicuous on account of size.

Sixth, personally, I am no ten-thousand-dollar beauty: the glass of
fashion and the mold of form are far from mine.

Then what have I done concerning which the public wishes to know? Simply
this:

In one obscure country village I have had something to do with stopping
the mad desire on the part of the young people to get out of the country
and flock to the cities. In this town and vicinity the tide has been
turned from city to country. We have made one country village an
attractive place for growing youth by supplying congenial employment,
opportunity for education and healthful recreation, and an outlook into
the world of art and beauty.

All boys and girls want to make things with their hands, and they want to
make beautiful things, they want to "get along," and I've simply given
them a chance to get along here, instead of seeking their fortunes in
Buffalo, New York or Chicago. They have helped me and I have helped them;
and through this mutual help we have made head, gained ground upon the
whole.

By myself I could have done nothing, and if I have succeeded, it is
simply because I have had the aid and co-operation of cheerful, willing,
loyal and loving helpers. Even now as I am writing this in my cabin in
the woods, four miles from the village, they are down there at the Shop,
quietly, patiently, cheerfully doing my work--which work is also theirs.

No man liveth unto himself alone: our interests are all bound up
together, and there is no such thing as a man going off by himself and
corraling the good.

When I came to this town there was not a house in the place that had a
lavatory with hot and cold water attachments. Those who bathed, swam in
the creek in the Summer or used the family wash tub in the kitchen in
Winter. My good old partner, Ali Baba, has always prided himself on his
personal cleanliness He is arrayed in rags, but underneath, his hide is
clean, and better still, his heart is right. Yet when he first became a
member of my household, he was obliged to take his Saturday-night tub out
in the orchard, from Spring until Autumn came with withered leaves.

He used to make quite an ado in the kitchen, heating the water in the
wash-boiler. Six pails of cistern-water, a gourd of soft soap, and a
gunny-sack for friction were required in the operation. Of course, the
Baba waited until after dark before performing his ablutions. But finally
his plans were more or less disturbed by certain rising youth, who timed
his habits and awaited his disrobing with o'erripe tomatoes. The
bombardment, and the inability to pursue the enemy, turned the genial
current of the Baba's life awry until I put a bathroom in my house, with
a lock on the door.

This bit of history I have mentioned for the dual purpose of shedding
light on former bathing facilities in East Aurora, and more especially to
show that once we had the hoodlum with us.

Hoodlumism is born of idleness; it is useful energy gone to seed. In
small towns hoodlumism is rife, and the hoodlums are usually the children
of the best citizens. Hoodlumism is the first step in the direction of
crime. The hoodlum is very often a good boy who does not know what to do;
and so he does the wrong thing. He bombards with tomatoes a good man
taking a bath, puts ticktacks on windows, ties a tin can to the dog's
tail, takes the burs off your carriage-wheels, steals your chickens,
annexes your horse-blankets, and scares old ladies into fits by appearing
at windows wrapped in a white sheet. To wear a mask, walk in and demand
the money in the family ginger-jar is the next and natural evolution.

To a great degree the Roycroft Shop has done away with hoodlumism in this
village, and a stranger wearing a silk hat, or an artist with a white
umbrella, is now quite safe upon our streets. Very naturally, the Oldest
Inhabitant will deny what I have said about East Aurora--he will tell you
that the order, cleanliness and beauty of the place have always existed.
The change has come about so naturally, and so entirely without his
assistance, that he knows nothing about it.

Truth when first presented is always denied, but later there comes a
stage when the man says, "I always believed it." And so the good old
citizens are induced to say that these things have always been, or else
they gently pooh-pooh them. However, the truth remains that I introduced
the first heating-furnace into the town; bought the first lawn-mower; was
among the first to use electricity for lights and natural gas for fuel;
and so far, am the only one in town to use natural gas for power.

Until the starting of the Roycroft Shop, there were no industries here,
aside from the regulation country store, grocery, tavern, blacksmith-shop
and sawmill--none of which enterprises attempted to supply more than
local wants.

There was Hamlin's stock-farm, devoted to raising trotting-horses, that
gave employment to some of the boys; but for the girls there was nothing.
They got married at the first chance; some became "hired girls," or, if
they had ambitions, fixed their hearts on the Buffalo Normal School,
raised turkeys, picked berries, and turned every honest penny towards the
desire to get an education so as to become teachers. Comparatively, this
class was small in number. Most of the others simply followed that
undefined desire to get away out of the dull, monotonous, gossiping
village; and so, craving excitement, they went away to the cities, and
the cities swallowed them. A wise man has said that God made the country,
man the city, and the devil the small towns.

The country supplies the city its best and its worst. We hear of the few
who succeed, but of the many who are lost in the maelstrom we know
nothing. Sometimes in country homes it is even forbidden to mention
certain names. "She went to the city," you are told--and there the
history abruptly stops.

And so, to swing back to the place of beginning, I think the chief reason
many good folks are interested in the Roycroft Shop is because here
country boys and girls are given work at which they not only earn their
living, but can get an education while doing it. Next to this is the
natural curiosity to know how a large and successful business can be
built up in a plain, humdrum village by simply using the talent and
materials that are at hand, and so I am going to tell now how the
Roycroft Shop came to start; a little about what it has done; what it is
trying to do; and what it hopes to become. And since modesty is only
egotism turned wrong side out, I will make no special endeavor to conceal
the fact that I have had something to do with the venture.

In London, from about Sixteen Hundred Fifty to Sixteen Hundred Ninety,
Samuel and Thomas Roycroft printed and made very beautiful books. In
choosing the name "Roycroft" for our Shop we had these men in mind, but
beyond this the word has a special significance, meaning King's
Craft--King's craftsmen being a term used in the Guilds of the olden
times for men who had achieved a high degree of skill--men who made
things for the King. So a Roycrofter is a person who makes beautiful
things, and makes them as well as he can. "The Roycrofters" is the legal
name of our institution. It is a corporation, and the shares are
distributed among the workers. No shares are held by any one but
Roycrofters, and it is agreed that any worker who quits the Shop shall
sell his shares back to the concern. This co-operative plan, it has been
found, begets a high degree of personal diligence, a loyalty to the
institution, a sentiment of fraternity and a feeling of permanency among
the workers that is very beneficial to all concerned. Each worker, even
the most humble, calls it "Our Shop," and feels that he is an integral
and necessary part of the Whole. Possibly there are a few who consider
themselves more than necessary. Ali Baba, for instance, it is said, has
referred to himself, at times, as the Whole Thing. And this is all right,
too--I would never chide an excess of zeal: the pride of a worker in his
worth and work is a thing to foster.

It's the man who "doesn't give a damn" who is really troublesome. The
artistic big-head is not half so bad as apathy.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of December, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-four, I
printed the first "Little Journeys" in booklet form, at the local
printing-office, having become discouraged in trying to find a publisher.
But before offering the publication to the public, I decided to lay the
matter again before G.P. Putnam's Sons, although they had declined the
matter in manuscript form. Mr. George H. Putnam rather liked the matter,
and was induced to issue the periodical as a venture for one year. The
scheme seemed to meet with success, the novel form of the publication
being in its favor. The subscription reached nearly a thousand in six
months; the newspapers were kind, and the success of the plan suggested
printing a pamphlet modeled on similar lines, telling what we thought
about things in general, and publishers and magazine-editors in
particular.

There was no intention at first of issuing more than one number of this
pamphlet, but to get it through the mails at magazine rates we made up a
little subscription list and asked that it be entered at the post office
at East Aurora as second-class matter. The postmaster adjusted his
brass-rimmed spectacles, read the pamphlet, and decided that it surely
was second class matter.

We called it "The Philistine" because we were going after the "Chosen
People" in literature. It was Leslie Stephen who said, "The term
Philistine is a word used by prigs to designate people they do not
like." When you call a man a bad name, you are that thing--not he. The
Smug and Snugly Ensconced Denizens of Union Square called me a
Philistine, and I said, "Yes, I am one, if a Philistine is something
different from you."

My helpers, the printers, were about to go away to pastures new; they
were in debt, the town was small, they could not make a living. So they
offered me their outfit for a thousand dollars. I accepted the
proposition.

I decided to run "The Philistine" Magazine for a year--to keep faith with
the misguided and hopeful parties who had subscribed--and then quit. To
fill in the time, we printed a book: we printed it like a William Morris
book--printed it just as well as we could. It was cold in the old barn
where we first set up "The Philistine," so I built a little building like
an old English chapel right alongside of my house. There was one basement
and a room upstairs. I wanted it to be comfortable and pretty, and so we
furnished our little shop cozily. We had four girls and three boys
working for us then. The Shop was never locked, and the boys and girls
used to come around evenings. It was really more pleasant than at home.

I brought over a shelf of books from the library. Then I brought the
piano, because the youngsters wanted to dance.

The girls brought flowers and birds, and the boys put up curtains at the
windows. We were having a lot o' fun, with new subscriptions coming in
almost every day, and once in a while an order for a book.

The place got too small when we began to bind books, so we built a wing
on one side; then a wing on the other side. To keep the three carpenters
busy who had been building the wings, I set them to making furniture for
the place. They made the furniture as good as they could--folks came
along and bought it.

The boys picked up field-stones and built a great, splendid fireplace and
chimney at one end of the Shop. The work came out so well that I said,
"Boys, here is a great scheme--these hardheads are splendid building
material." So I advertised we would pay a dollar a load for niggerheads.
The farmers began to haul stones; they hauled more stones, and at last
they had hauled four thousand loads. We bought all the stone in the
dollar limit, bulling the market on boulders.

Three stone buildings have been built, another is in progress, and our
plans are made to build an art-gallery of the same material--the stones
that the builders rejected.

An artist blew in on the way to Nowhere, his baggage a tomato-can. He
thought he would stop over for a day or two--he is with us yet, and three
years have gone by since he came, and now we could not do without him.
Then we have a few Remittance-Men, sent to us from a distance, without
return-tickets. Some of these men were willing to do anything but
work--they offered to run things, to preach, to advise, to make love to
the girls.

We bought them tickets to Chicago, and without violence conducted them to
the Four-o'Clock train.

We have boys who have been expelled from school, blind people, deaf
people, old people, jailbirds and mental defectives, and have managed to
set them all at useful work; but the Remittance-Man of Good Family who
smokes cigarettes in bed has proved too much for us--so we have given him
the Four-o'Clock without ruth.

We do not encourage people from a distance who want work to come on--they
are apt to expect too much. They look for Utopia, when work is work, here
as elsewhere. There is just as much need for patience, gentleness,
loyalty and love here as anywhere. Application, desire to do the right
thing, a willingness to help, and a well-curbed tongue are as necessary
in East Aurora as in Tuskegee.

We do our work as well as we can, live one day at a time, and try to be
kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

The village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York, the
home of The Roycrofters, is eighteen miles southeast of the city of
Buffalo. The place has a population of about three thousand people.

There is no wealth in the town and no poverty. In East Aurora there are
six churches, with pastors' salaries varying from three hundred to one
thousand dollars a year; and we have a most excellent school. The place
is not especially picturesque or attractive, being simply a
representative New York State village. Lake Erie is ten miles distant,
and Cazenovia Creek winds its lazy way along by the village.

The land around East Aurora is poor, and so reduced in purse are the
farmers that no insurance-company will insure farm property in Erie
County under any conditions unless the farmer has some business outside
of agriculture--the experience of the underwriters being that when a man
is poor enough, he is also dishonest; insure a farmer's barn in New York
State, and there is a strong probability that he will soon invest in
kerosene.

However, there is no real destitution, for a farmer can always raise
enough produce to feed his family, and in a wooded country he can get
fuel, even if he has to lift it between the dawn and the day.

Most of the workers in the Roycroft Shop are children of farming folk,
and it is needless to add that they are not college-bred, nor have they
had the advantages of foreign travel. One of our best helpers, Uncle
Billy Bushnell, has never been to Niagara Falls, and does not care to go.
Uncle Billy says if you stay at home and do your work well enough, the
world will come to you; which aphorism the old man backs up with another,
probably derived from experience, to the effect that a man is a fool to
chase after women, because, if he doesn't, the women will chase after
him.

The wisdom of this hard-headed old son of the soil--who abandoned
agriculture for art at seventy--is exemplified in the fact that during
the year just past, over twenty-eight thousand pilgrims have visited the
Roycroft Shop--representing every State and Territory of the Union and
every civilized country on the globe, even far-off Iceland, New Zealand
and the Isle of Guam.

Three hundred ten people are on the payroll at the present writing. The
principal work is printing, illuminating and binding books. We also have
a furniture shop, where Mission furniture of the highest grade is made; a
modeled-leather shop, where the most wonderful creations in calfskin are
to be seen; and a smithy, where copper utensils of great beauty are
hammered out by hand.

Quite as important as the printing and binding is the illuminating of
initials and title-pages. This is a revival of a lost art, gone with so
much of the artistic work done by the monks of the olden time. Yet there
is a demand for such work; and so far as I know, we are the first
concern in America to take up the hand-illumination of books as a
business. Of course we have had to train our helpers, and from very crude
attempts at decoration we have attained to a point where the British
Museum and the "Bibliotheke" at The Hague have deigned to order and pay
good golden guineas for specimens of our handicraft. Very naturally we
want to do the best work possible, and so self-interest prompts us to be
on the lookout for budding genius. The Roycroft is a quest for talent.

There is a market for the best, and the surest way, we think, to get away
from competition is to do your work a little better than the other
fellow. The old tendency to make things cheaper, instead of better, in
the book line is a fallacy, as shown in the fact that within ten years
there have been a dozen failures of big publishing-houses in the United
States. The liabilities of these bankrupt concerns footed the fine total
of fourteen million dollars. The man who made more books and cheaper
books than any one concern ever made, had the felicity to fail very
shortly, with liabilities of something over a million dollars. He overdid
the thing in matter of cheapness--mistook his market. Our motto is, "Not
How Cheap, But How Good."

This is the richest country the world has ever known, far richer per
capita than England--lending money to Europe. Once Americans were all
shoddy--pioneers have to be, I'm told--but now only a part of us are
shoddy. As men and women increase in culture and refinement, they want
fewer things, and they want better things. The cheap article, I will
admit, ministers to a certain grade of intellect; but if the man grows,
there will come a time when, instead of a great many cheap and shoddy
things, he will want a few good things. He will want things that symbol
solidity, truth, genuineness and beauty.

The Roycrofters have many opportunities for improvement not the least of
which is the seeing, hearing and meeting distinguished people. We have a
public dining-room, and not a day passes but men and women of note sit at
meat with us. At the evening meal, if our visitors are so inclined, and
are of the right fiber, I ask them to talk. And if there is no one else
to speak, I sometimes read a little from William Morris, Shakespeare,
Walt Whitman or Ruskin. David Bispham has sung for us. Maude Adams and
Minnie Maddern Fiske have also favored us with a taste of their quality.
Judge Lindsey, Alfred Henry Lewis, Richard Le Gallienne, Robert Barr,
have visited us; but to give a list of all the eminent men and women who
have spoken, sung or played for us would lay me liable for infringement
in printing "Who's Who." However, let me name one typical incident. The
Boston Ideal Opera Company was playing in Buffalo, and Henry Clay
Barnabee and half a dozen of his players took a run out to East Aurora.
They were shown through the Shop by one of the girls whose work it is to
receive visitors. A young woman of the company sat down at one of the
pianos and played. I chanced to be near and asked Mr. Barnabee if he
would not sing, and graciously he answered, "Fra Elbertus, I'll do
anything that you say." I gave the signal that all the workers should
quit their tasks and meet at the Chapel. In five minutes we had an
audience of three hundred--men in blouses and overalls, girls in big
aprons--a very jolly, kindly, receptive company.

Mr. Barnabee was at his best--I never saw him so funny. He sang, danced,
recited, and told stories for forty minutes. The Roycrofters were, of
course, delighted.

One girl whispered to me as she went out, "I wonder what great sorrow is
gnawing at Barnabee's heart, that he is so wondrous gay!" Need I say that
the girl who made the remark just quoted had drunk of life's cup to the
very lees? We have a few such with us--and several of them are among our
most loyal helpers.

       *       *       *       *       *

One fortuitous event that has worked to our decided
advantage was "A Message to Garcia."

This article, not much more than a paragraph, covering only fifteen
hundred words, was written one evening after supper in a single hour. It
was the Twenty-second of February, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-Nine,
Washington's Birthday, and we were just going to press with the March
"Philistine." The thing leaped hot from my heart, written after a rather
trying day, when I had been endeavoring to train some rather delinquent
helpers in the way they should go.

The immediate suggestion, though, came from a little argument over the
teacups when my son Bert suggested that Rowan was the real hero of the
Cuban war. Rowan had gone alone and done the thing--carried the message
to Garcia.

It came to me like a flash! Yes, the boy is right, the hero is the man
who does the thing--does his work--carries the message.

I got up from the table and wrote "A Message to Garcia."

I thought so little of it that we ran it in without a heading. The
edition went out, and soon orders began to come for extra March
"Philistines," a dozen, fifty, a hundred; and when the American News
Company ordered a thousand I asked one of my helpers which article it was
that had stirred things up.

"It's that stuff about Garcia," he said.

The next day a telegram came from George H. Daniels, of the New York
Central Railroad, thus: "Give price on one hundred thousand Rowan article
in pamphlet form--Empire State Express advertisement on back--also state
how soon can ship."

I replied giving price and stated we could supply the pamphlets in two
years. Our facilities were small, and a hundred thousand pamphlets looked
like an awful undertaking.

The result was that I gave Mr. Daniels permission to reprint the article
in his own way. He issued it in booklet form in editions of one hundred
thousand each. Five editions were sent out, and then he got out an
edition of half a million. Two or three of these half-million lots were
sent out by Mr. Daniels, and in addition the article was reprinted in
over two hundred magazines and newspapers. It has been translated into
eleven languages, and been given a total circulation of over twenty-two
million copies. It has attained, I believe, a larger circulation in the
same length of time than any written article has ever before reached.

Of course, we can not tell just how much good "A Message to Garcia" has
done the Shop, but it probably doubled the circulation of "The
Philistine." I do not consider it by any means my best piece of writing;
but it was opportune--the time was ripe. Truth demands a certain
expression, and too much had been said on the other side about the
downtrodden, honest man, looking for work and not being able to find it.
The article in question states the other side. Men are needed--loyal,
honest men who will do their work. "The world cries out for him--the man
who can carry a message to Garcia."

The man who sent the message and the man who received it are dead. The
man who carried it is still carrying other messages. The combination of
theme, condition of the country, and method of circulation was so
favorable that their conjunction will probably never occur again. Other
men will write better articles, but they may go a-begging for lack of a
Daniels to bring them to judgment.

       *       *       *       *       *

Concerning my own personal history, I'll not tarry long to
tell. It has been too much like the career of many another born in the
semi-pioneer times of the Middle West, to attract much attention, unless
one should go into the psychology of the thing with intent to show the
evolution of a soul. But that will require a book--and some day I'll
write it, after the manner of Saint Augustine or Jean Jacques.

But just now I 'll only say that I was born in Illinois, June Nineteenth,
Eighteen Hundred Fifty-six. My father was a country doctor, whose income
never exceeded five hundred dollars a year. I left school at fifteen,
with a fair hold on the three R's, and beyond this my education in
"manual training" had been good. I knew all the forest-trees, all wild
animals thereabout, every kind of fish, frog, fowl or bird that swam, ran
or flew. I knew every kind of grain or vegetable, and its comparative
value. I knew the different breeds of cattle, horses, sheep and swine.

I could teach wild cows to stand while being milked; break horses to
saddle or harness; could sow, plow and reap; knew the mysteries of
apple-butter, pumpkin pie pickled beef, smoked side-meat, and could make
lye at a leach and formulate soft soap.

That is to say, I was a bright, strong, active country boy who had been
brought up to help his father and mother get a living for a large
family.

I was not so densely ignorant--don't feel sorry for country boys: God is
often on their side.

At fifteen I worked on a farm and did a man's work for a boy's pay. I did
not like it and told the man so. He replied, "You know what you can do."

And I replied, "Yes." I went westward like the course of empire and
became a cowboy; tired of this and went to Chicago; worked in a
printing-office; peddled soap from house to house; shoved lumber on the
docks; read all the books I could find; wrote letters back to country
newspapers and became a reporter; next got a job as traveling salesman;
taught in a district school; read Emerson, Carlyle and Macaulay; worked
in a soap factory; read Shakespeare and committed most of "Hamlet" to
memory with an eye on the stage; became manager of the soap-factory, then
partner; evolved an Idea for the concern and put it on the track of
making millions--knew it was going to make millions--did not want them;
sold out my interest for seventy-five thousand dollars and went to
Harvard College; tramped through Europe; wrote for sundry newspapers;
penned two books (couldn't find a publisher); taught night school in
Buffalo; tramped through Europe some more and met William Morris (caught
it); came back to East Aurora and started "Chautauqua Circles"; studied
Greek and Latin with a local clergyman; raised trotting-horses; wrote
"Little Journeys to the Homes of Good Men and Great."

So that is how I got my education, such as it is. I am a graduate of the
University of Hard Knocks, and I've taken several postgraduate courses. I
have worked at five different trades enough to be familiar with the
tools. In Eighteen Hundred Ninety-nine, Tufts College bestowed on me the
degree of Master of Arts; but since I did not earn the degree, it really
does not count.

I have never been sick a day, never lost a meal through disinclination to
eat, never consulted a doctor, never used tobacco or intoxicants. My work
has never been regulated by the eight-hour clause.

Horses have been my only extravagance, and I ride horseback daily now: a
horse that I broke myself, that has never been saddled by another, and
that has never been harnessed.

My best friends have been workingmen, homely women and children. My
father and mother are members of my household, and they work in the Shop
when they are so inclined. My mother's business now is mostly to care for
the flowers, and my father we call "Physician to The Roycrofters," as he
gives free advice and attendance to all who desire his services. Needless
to say, his medicine is mostly a matter of the mind. Unfortunately for
him, we do not enjoy poor health, so there is very seldom any one sick to
be cured. Fresh air is free, and outdoor exercise is not discouraged.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Roycroft Shop and belongings represent an investment
of about three hundred thousand dollars. We have no liabilities, making
it a strict business policy to sign no notes or other instruments of debt
that may in the future prove inopportune and tend to disturb digestion.
Fortune has favored us.

First, the country has grown tired of soft platitude, silly truism and
undisputed things said in such a solemn way. So when "The Philistine"
stepped into the ring and voiced in no uncertain tones what its editor
thought, thinking men and women stopped and listened. Editors of
magazines refused my manuscript because they said it was too plain, too
blunt, sometimes indelicate--it would give offense, subscribers would
cancel, et cetera. To get my thoughts published I had to publish them
myself; and people bought for the very reason for which the editors said
they would cancel. The readers wanted brevity and plain statement--the
editors said they didn't.

The editors were wrong. They failed to properly diagnose a demand. I saw
the demand and supplied it--for a consideration.

Next I believed the American public. A portion of it, at least, wanted a
few good and beautiful books instead of a great many cheap books. The
truth came to me in the early Nineties, when John B. Alden and half a
dozen other publishers of cheap books went to the wall. I read the R.G.
Dun & Company bulletin and I said, "The publishers have mistaken their
public--we want better books, not cheaper." In Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-two, I met William Morris, and after that I was sure I was right.

Again I had gauged the public correctly--the publishers were wrong, as
wrong as the editors. There was a market for the best, and the problem
was to supply it. At first I bound my books in paper covers and simple
boards. Men wrote to me wanting fine bindings. I said, "There is a market
in America for the best--cheap boards, covered with cloth, stamped by
machinery in gaudy tinsel and gilt, are not enough." I discovered that
nearly all the bookbinders were dead. I found five hundred people in a
book-factory in Chicago binding books, but not a bookbinder among them.
They simply fed the books into hoppers and shot them out of chutes, and
said they were bound.

Next the public wanted to know about this thing--"What are you folks
doing out there in that buckwheat town?" Since my twentieth year I have
had one eye on the histrionic stage. I could talk in public a bit, had
made political speeches, given entertainments in crossroads schoolhouses,
made temperance harangues, was always called upon to introduce the
speaker of the evening, and several times had given readings from my own
amusing works for the modest stipend of ten dollars and keep. I would
have taken the lecture platform had it not been nailed down.

In Eighteen Hundred Ninety-eight, my friend Major Pond wanted to book me
on a partnership deal at the Waldorf-Astoria. I didn't want to speak
there--I had been saying unkind things in "The Philistine" about the
Waldorf-Astoria folks. But the Major went ahead and made arrangements. I
expected to be mobbed.

But Mr. Boldt, the manager of the hotel, had placed a suite of rooms at
my disposal without money and without price. He treated me most
cordially; never referred to the outrageous things I had said about his
tavern; assured me that he enjoyed my writings, and told me of the
pleasure he had in welcoming me.

Thus did he heap hot cinders upon my occiput. The Astor gallery seats
eight hundred people. Major Pond had packed in nine hundred at one dollar
each--three hundred were turned away. After the lecture the Major awaited
me in the anteroom, fell on my neck and rained Pond's Extract down my
back, crying: "Oh! Oh! Oh! Why didn't we charge them two dollars apiece!"

The next move was to make a tour of the principal cities under Major
Pond's management. Neither of us lost money--the Major surely did not.

Last season I gave eighty-one lectures, with a net profit to myself of a
little over ten thousand dollars. I spoke at Tremont Temple in Boston, to
twenty-two hundred people; at Carnegie Hall, New York; at Central Music
Hall, Chicago. I spoke to all the house would hold; at Chautauqua, my
audience was five thousand people. It will be noted by the Discerning
that my lectures have been of double importance, in that they have given
an income and at the same time advertised the Roycroft Wares.

The success of the Roycroft Shop has not been brought about by any one
scheme or plan. The business is really a combination of several ideas,
any one of which would make a paying enterprise in itself. So it stands
about thus:

First, the printing and publication of three magazines.

Second, the printing of books (it being well known that some of the
largest publishers in America--Scribner and Appleton, for instance--have
no printing-plants, but have the work done for them).

Third, the publication of books.

Fourth, the artistic binding of books.

Fifth, authorship. Since I began printing my own manuscript, there is
quite an eager demand for my writing, so I do a little of Class B for
various publishers and editors.

Sixth, the Lecture Lyceum.

Seventh, blacksmithing, carpenter-work and basket-weaving. These
industries have sprung up under the Roycroft care as a necessity. Men and
women in the village came to us and wanted work, and we simply gave them
opportunity to do the things they could do best. We have found a market
for all our wares, so no line of work has ever been a bill of expense.

I want no better clothing, no better food, no more comforts and
conveniences than my helpers and fellow-workers have. I would be ashamed
to monopolize a luxury--to take a beautiful work of art, say a painting
or a marble statue, and keep it for my own pleasure and for the select
few I might invite to see my beautiful things. Art is for all--beauty is
for all. Harmony in all of its manifold forms should be like a
sunset--free to all who can drink it in. The Roycroft Shop is for The
Roycrofters, and each is limited only by his capacity to absorb.

       *       *       *       *       *

Art is the expression of man's joy in his work, and all
the joy and love that you can weave into a fabric comes out again and
belongs to the individual who has the soul to appreciate it. Art is
beauty; and beauty is a gratification, a peace and a solace to every
normal man and woman. Beautiful sounds, beautiful colors, beautiful
proportions, beautiful thoughts--how our souls hunger for them! Matter is
only mind in an opaque condition; and all beauty is but a symbol of
spirit. You can not get joy from feeding things all day into a machine.
You must let the man work with hand and brain, and then out of the joy of
this marriage of hand and brain, beauty will be born. It tells of a
desire for harmony, peace, beauty, wholeness--holiness.

Art is the expression of man's joy in his work.

When you read a beautiful poem that makes your heart throb with gladness
and gratitude, you are simply partaking of the emotion that the author
felt when he wrote it. To possess a piece of work that the workman made
in joyous animation is a source of joy to the possessor.

And this love of the work done by the marriage of hand and brain can
never quite go out of fashion--for we are men and women, and our hopes
and aims and final destiny are at last one. Where one enjoys, all enjoy;
where one suffers, all suffer.

Say what you will of the coldness and selfishness of men, at the last we
long for companionship and the fellowship of our kind. We are lost
children, and when alone and the darkness gathers, we long for the close
relationship of the brothers and sisters we knew in our childhood, and
cry for the gentle arms that once rocked us to sleep. Men are homesick
amid this sad, mad rush for wealth and place and power. The calm of the
country invites, and we would fain do with less things, and go back to
simplicity, and rest our tired heads in the lap of Mother Nature.

Life is expression. Life is a movement outward, an unfolding, a
development. To be tied down, pinned to a task that is repugnant, and to
have the shrill voice of Necessity whistling eternally in your ears, "Do
this or starve," is to starve; for it starves the heart, the soul, and
all the higher aspirations of your being pine away and die.

At the Roycroft Shop the workers are getting an education by doing
things. Work should be the spontaneous expression of a man's best
impulses. We grow only through exercise, and every faculty that is
exercised becomes strong, and those not used atrophy and die. Thus how
necessary it is that we should exercise our highest and best! To develop
the brain we have to exercise the body. Every muscle, every organ, has
its corresponding convolution in the brain. To develop the mind, we must
use the body. Manual training is essentially moral training; and physical
work is, at its best, mental, moral and spiritual--and these are truths
so great and yet so simple that until yesterday many wise men did not
recognize them.

At the Roycroft Shop we are reaching out for an all-round development
through work and right living.

And we have found it a good expedient--a wise business policy. Sweat-shop
methods can never succeed in producing beautiful things. And so the
management of the Roycroft Shop surrounds the workers with beauty, allows
many liberties, encourages cheerfulness and tries to promote kind
thoughts, simply because it has been found that these things are
transmuted into good, and come out again at the finger-tips of the
workers in beautiful results. So we have pictures, statuary, flowers,
ferns, palms, birds, and a piano in every room. We have the best sanitary
appliances that money can buy; we have bathrooms, shower-baths, library,
rest-rooms. Every week we have concerts, dances, lectures.

Besides being a workshop, the Roycroft is a School. We are following out
a dozen distinct lines of study, and every worker in the place is
enrolled as a member of one or more classes. There are no fees to pupils,
but each pupil purchases his own books--the care of his books and
belongings being considered a part of one's education. All the teachers
are workers in the Shop, and are volunteers, teaching without pay, beyond
what each receives for his regular labor.

The idea of teaching we have found is a great benefit--to the teacher.
The teacher gets most out of the lessons. Once a week there is a faculty
meeting, when each teacher gives in a verbal report of his stewardship.
It is responsibility that develops one, and to know that your pupils
expect you to know is a great incentive to study. Then teaching demands
that you shall give--give yourself--and he who gives most receives most.
We deepen our impressions by recounting them, and he who teaches others
teaches himself. I am never quite so proud as when some one addresses me
as "teacher." We try to find out what each person can do best, what he
wants to do, and then we encourage him to put his best into it--also to
do something else besides his specialty, finding rest in change.

The thing that pays should be the expedient thing, and the expedient
thing should be the proper and right thing. That which began with us as a
matter of expediency is often referred to as a "philanthropy." I do not
like the word, and wish to state here that the Roycroft is in no sense a
charity--I do not believe in giving any man something for nothing. You
give a man a dollar and the man will think less of you because he thinks
less of himself; but if you give him a chance to earn a dollar, he will
think more of himself and more of you. The only way to help people is to
give them a chance to help themselves. So the Roycroft Idea is one of
reciprocity--you help me and I'll help you. We will not be here forever,
anyway; soon Death, the kind old Nurse, will come and rock us all to
sleep, and we had better help one another while we may: we are going the
same way--let's go hand in hand!



CONTENTS

PUBLISHER'S PREFACE v
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL xi
GEORGE ELIOT 47
THOMAS CARLYLE 65
JOHN RUSKIN 85
WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE 101
J.M.W. TURNER 121
JONATHAN SWIFT 141
WALT WHITMAN 161
VICTOR HUGO 183
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH 209
WILLIAM M. THACKERAY 227
CHARLES DICKENS 245
OLIVER GOLDSMITH 271
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 299
THOMAS A. EDISON 319



GEORGE ELIOT


            "May I reach
    That purest heaven, be to other souls
    The cup of strength in some great agony,
    Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
    Beget the smiles that have no cruelty--
    Be the good presence of a good diffused,
    And in diffusion ever more intense.
    So shall I join the choir invisible
    Whose music is the gladness of the world."

[Illustration: GEORGE ELIOT]


Warwickshire gave to the world William Shakespeare. It
also gave Mary Ann Evans. No one will question that Shakespeare's is the
greatest name in English literature; and among writers living or dead, in
England or out of it, no woman has ever shown us power equal to that of
George Eliot, in the subtle clairvoyance which divines the inmost play of
passions, the experience that shows human capacity for contradiction, and
the indulgence that is merciful because it understands.

Shakespeare lived three hundred years ago. According to the records, his
father, in Fifteen Hundred Sixty-three, owned a certain house in Henley
Street, Stratford-on-Avon. Hence we infer that William Shakespeare was
born there. And in all our knowledge of Shakespeare's early life (or
later) we prefix the words, "Hence we infer."

That the man knew all the sciences of his day, and had such a knowledge
of each of the learned professions that all have claimed him as their
own, we realize.

He evidently was acquainted with five different languages, and the range
of his intellect was worldwide; but where did he get this vast erudition?
We do not know, and we excuse ourselves by saying that he lived three
hundred years ago.

George Eliot lived--yesterday, and we know no more about her youthful
days than we do of that other child of Warwickshire.

One biographer tells us that she was born in Eighteen Hundred Nineteen,
another in Eighteen Hundred Twenty, and neither state the day; whereas a
recent writer in the "Pall Mall Budget" graciously bestows on us the
useful information that "William Shakespeare was born on the Twenty-first
day of April, Fifteen Hundred Sixty-three, at fifteen minutes of two on a
stormy morning."

Concise statements of facts are always valuable, but we have none such
concerning the early life of George Eliot. There is even a shadow over
her parentage, for no less an authority than the "American Cyclopedia
Annual," for Eighteen Hundred Eighty, boldly proclaims that she was not a
foundling and, moreover, that she was not adopted by a rich retired
clergyman who gave her a splendid schooling. Then the writer dives into
obscurity, but presently reappears and adds that he does not know where
she got her education. For all of which we are very grateful.

Shakespeare left five signatures, each written in a different way, and
now there is a goodly crew who spell it "Bacon."

And likewise we do not know whether it is Mary Ann Evans, Mary Anne Evans
or Marian Evans, for she herself is said to have used each form at
various times. William Winter--gentle critic, poet, scholar--tells us
that the Sonnets show a dark spot in Shakespeare's moral record. And if I
remember rightly, similar things have been hinted at in sewing-circles
concerning George Eliot. Then they each found the dew and sunshine in
London that caused the flowers of genius to blossom. The early
productions of both were published anonymously, and lastly they both knew
how to transmute thought into gold, for they died rich.

Lady Godiva rode through the streets of Coventry, but I walked--walked
all the way from Stratford, by way of Warwick (call it Warrick, please)
and Kenilworth Castle.

I stopped overnight at that quaint and curious little inn just across
from the castle entrance. The good landlady gave me the same apartment
that was occupied by Sir Walter Scott when he came here and wrote the
first chapter of "Kenilworth."

The little room had pretty, white chintz curtains tied with blue ribbon,
and similar stuff draped the mirror. The bed was a big canopy affair--I
had to stand on a chair in order to dive off into its feathery
depths--everything was very neat and clean, and the dainty linen had a
sweet smell of lavender. I took one parting look out through the open
window at the ivy-mantled towers of the old castle, which were all
sprinkled with silver by the rising moon, and then I fell into gentlest
sleep.

I dreamed of playing "I-spy" through Kenilworth Castle with Shakespeare,
Walter Scott, Mary Ann Evans and a youth I used to know in boyhood by the
name of Bill Hursey. We chased each other across the drawbridge, through
the portcullis, down the slippery stones into the donjon-keep, around the
moat, and up the stone steps to the topmost turret of the towers. Finally
Shakespeare was "it," but he got mad and refused to play. Walter Scott
said it was "no fair," and Bill Hursey thrust out the knuckle of one
middle finger in a very threatening way and offered to "do" the boy from
Stratford. Then Mary Ann rushed in to still the tempest. There's no
telling what would have happened had not the landlady just then rapped at
my door and asked if I had called. I awoke with a start and with the
guilty feeling that I had been shouting in my sleep. I saw it was
morning. "No--that is, yes; my shaving-water, please."

After breakfast the landlady's boy offered for five shillings to take me
in his donkey-cart to the birthplace of George Eliot. He explained that
the house was just seven miles north; but Baalam's express is always
slow, so I concluded to walk. At Coventry a cab-owner proposed to show me
the house, which he declared was near Kenilworth, for twelve shillings.
The advantages of seeing Kenilworth at the same time were dwelt upon at
great length by cabby, but I harkened not to the voice of the siren. I
got a good lunch at the hotel, and asked the innkeeper if he could tell
me where George Eliot was born. He did not know, but said he could show
me a house around the corner where a family of Eliots lived.

Then I walked on to Nuneaton. A charming walk it was; past quaint old
houses, some with straw-thatched roofs, others tile--roses clambering
over the doors and flowering hedgerows white with hawthorn-flowers.

Occasionally, I met a farmer's cart drawn by one of those great, fat,
gentle Shire horses that George Eliot has described so well. All spoke of
peace and plenty, quiet and rest. The green fields and the flowers, the
lark-song and the sunshine, the dipping willows by the stream, and the
arch of the old stone bridge as I approached the village--all these I had
seen and known and felt before from "Mill on the Floss."

I found the house where they say the novelist was born. A plain,
whitewashed, stone structure, built two hundred years ago; two stories,
the upper chambers low, with gable-windows; a little garden at the side
bright with flowers, where sweet marjoram vied with onions and beets; all
spoke of humble thrift and homely cares. In front was a great
chestnut-tree, and in the roadway near were two ancient elms where saucy
crows were building a nest.

Here, after her mother died, Mary Ann Evans was housekeeper. Little more
than a child--tall, timid, and far from strong--she cooked and scrubbed
and washed, and was herself the mother to brothers and sisters. Her
father was a carpenter by trade and agent for a rich landowner. He was a
stern man--orderly, earnest, industrious, studious. On rides about the
country he would take the tall, hollow-eyed girl with him, and at such
times he would talk to her of the great outside world where wondrous
things were done. The child toiled hard, but found time to read and
question--and there is always time to think. Soon she had outgrown some
of her good father's beliefs, and this grieved him greatly; so much,
indeed, that her extra-loving attention to his needs, in a hope to
neutralize his displeasure, only irritated him the more. And if there is
soft, subdued sadness in much of George Eliot's writing we can guess the
reason. The onward and upward march ever means sad separation.

When Mary Ann was blossoming into womanhood her father moved over near
Coventry, and here the ambitious girl first found companionship in her
intellectual desires. Here she met men and women, older than herself, who
were animated, earnest thinkers. They read and then they discussed, and
then they spoke the things that they felt were true. Those eight years at
Coventry transformed the awkward country girl into a woman of intellect
and purpose. She knew somewhat of all sciences, all philosophies, and she
had become a proficient scholar in German and French. How did she acquire
this knowledge? How is any education acquired if not through effort
prompted by desire?

She had already translated Strauss's "Life of Jesus" in a manner that was
acceptable to the author. When Ralph Waldo Emerson came to Coventry to
lecture, he was entertained at the same house where Miss Evans was
stopping. Her brilliant conversation pleased him, and when she questioned
the wisdom of a certain passage in one of his essays the gentle
philosopher turned, smiled, and said that he had not seen it in that
light before; perhaps she was right.

"What is your favorite book?" asked Emerson.

"Rousseau's 'Confessions,'" answered Mary instantly.

It was Emerson's favorite, too; but such honesty from a young woman! It
was queer.

Mr. Emerson never forgot Miss Evans of Coventry, and ten years after,
when a zealous reviewer proclaimed her the greatest novelist in England,
the sage of Concord said something that sounded like "I told you so."

Miss Evans had made visits to London from time to time with her Coventry
friends. When twenty-eight years old, after one such visit to London, she
came back to the country tired and weary, and wrote this most womanly
wish: "My only ardent desire is to find some feminine task to discharge;
some possibility of devoting myself to some one and making that one
purely and calmly happy."

But now her father was dead and her income was very scanty. She did
translating, and tried the magazines with articles that generally came
back respectfully declined.

Then an offer came as sub-editor of the "Westminster Review." It was
steady work and plenty of it, and this was what she desired. She went to
London and lived in the household of her employer, Mr. Chapman. Here she
had the opportunity of meeting many brilliant people: Carlyle and his
"Jeannie Welsh," the Martineaus, Grote, Mr. and Mrs. Mill, Huxley,
Mazzini, Louis Blanc. Besides these were two young men who must not be
left out when we sum up the influences that evolved this woman's genius.

She was attracted to Herbert Spencer at once. He was about her age, and
their admiration for each other was mutual. Miss Evans, writing to a
friend in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-two, says, "Spencer is kind, he is
delightful, and I always feel better after being with him, and we have
agreed together that there is no reason why we should not see each other
as often as we wish." And then later she again writes: "The bright side
of my life, after the affection for my old friends, is the new and
delightful friendship which I have found in Herbert Spencer. We see each
other every day, and in everything we enjoy a delightful comradeship. If
it were not for him my life would be singularly arid."

But about this time another man appeared on the scene, and were it not
for this other man, who was introduced to Miss Evans by Spencer, the
author of "Synthetic Philosophy" might not now be spoken of in the
biographical dictionaries as having been "wedded to science."

It was not love at first sight, for George Henry Lewes made a decidedly
unfavorable impression on Miss Evans at their first meeting. He was
small, his features were insignificant, he had whiskers like an anarchist
and a mouthful of crooked teeth; his personal habits were far from
pleasant. It was this sort of thing, Dickens said, that caused his first
wife to desert him and finally drove her into insanity.

But Lewes had a brilliant mind. He was a linguist, a scientist, a
novelist, a poet and a wit. He had written biography, philosophy and a
play. He had been a journalist, a lecturer and even an actor. Thackeray
declared that if he should see Lewes perched on a white elephant in
Piccadilly he should not be in the least surprised.

After having met Miss Evans several times, Mr. Lewes saw the calm depths
of her mind and he asked her to correct proofs for him. She did so and
discovered that there was merit in his work. She corrected more proofs,
and when a woman begins to assist a man the danger-line is being
approached. Close observers noted that a change was coming over the
bohemian Lewes. He had his whiskers trimmed, his hair was combed, and the
bright yellow necktie had been discarded for a clean one of modest brown,
and, sometimes, his boots were blacked. In July, Eighteen Hundred
Fifty-four, Mr. Chapman received a letter from his sub-editor resigning
her position, and Miss Evans notified some of her closest friends that
hereafter she wished to be considered the wife of Mr. Lewes. She was then
in her thirty-sixth year.

The couple disappeared, having gone to Germany.

Many people were shocked. Some said, "We knew it all the time," and when
Herbert Spencer was informed of the fact he exclaimed, "Goodness me!" and
said--nothing.

After six months spent at Weimar and other literary centers, Mr. and Mrs.
Lewes returned to England and began housekeeping at Richmond. Any one who
views their old quarters there will see how very plainly and economically
they were forced to live. But they worked hard, and at this time the
future novelist's desire seemed only to assist her husband. That she
developed the manly side of his nature none can deny. They were very
happy, these two, as they wrote, and copied, and studied, and toiled.

Three years passed, and Mrs. Lewes wrote to a friend:

"I am very happy; happy with the greatest happiness that life can
give--the complete sympathy and affection of a man whose mind stimulates
mine and keeps up in me a wholesome activity."

Mr. Lewes knew the greatness of his helpmeet. She herself did not. He
urged her to write a story; she hesitated, and at last attempted it.
They read the first chapter together and cried over it. Then she wrote
more and always read her husband the chapters as they were turned off. He
corrected, encouraged, and found a publisher. But why should I tell about
it here? It's all in the "Britannica"--how the gentle beauty and
sympathetic insight of her work touched the hearts of great and lowly
alike, and of how riches began flowing in upon her. For one book she
received forty thousand dollars, and her income after fortune smiled upon
her was never less than ten thousand dollars a year.

Lewes was her secretary, her protector, her slave and her inspiration. He
kept at bay the public that would steal her time, and put out of her
reach, at her request, all reviews, good or bad, and shielded her from
the interviewer, the curiosity-seeker, and the greedy financier.

The reason why she at first wrote under a nom de plume is plain. To the
great, wallowing world she was neither Miss Evans nor Mrs. Lewes, so she
dropped both names as far as title-pages were concerned and used a man's
name instead--hoping better to elude the pack.

When "Adam Bede" came out, a resident of Nuneaton purchased a copy and at
once discovered local earmarks. The scenes described, the flowers, the
stone walls, the bridges, the barns, the people--all was Nuneaton. Who
wrote it? No one knew, but it was surely some one in Nuneaton. So they
picked out a Mr. Liggins, a solemn-faced preacher, who was always about
to do something great, and they said "Liggins." Soon all London said
"Liggins." As for Liggins, he looked wise and smiled knowingly. Then
articles began to appear in the periodicals purporting to have been
written by the author of "Adam Bede." A book came out called "Adam Bede,
Jr.," and to protect her publisher, the public and herself, George Eliot
had to reveal her identity.

Many men have written good books and never tasted fame; but few, like
Liggins of Nuneaton, have become famous by doing nothing. It only proves
that some things can be done as well as others. This breed of men has
long dwelt in Warwickshire; Shakespeare had them in mind when he wrote,
"There be men who do a wilful stillness entertain with purpose to be
dressed in an opinion of wisdom, gravity and profound conceit."

Lord Acton in an able article in the "Nineteenth Century" makes this
statement:

"George Eliot paid high for happiness with Lewes. She forfeited freedom
of speech, the first place among English women, and a tomb in Westminster
Abbey."

The original dedication in "Adam Bede" reads thus:

"To my dear husband, George Henry Lewes, I give the manuscript of a work
which would never have been written but for the happiness which his love
has conferred on my life."

Lord Acton of course assumes that this book would have been written,
dedication and all, just the same had Miss Evans never met Mr. Lewes.

Once there was a child called Romola. She said to her father one day, as
she sat on his knee: "Papa, who would take care of me--give me my bath
and put me to bed nights--if you had never happened to meet Mamma?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The days I spent in Warwickshire were very pleasant.

The serene beauty of the country and the kindly courtesy of the people
impressed me greatly. Having beheld the scenes of George Eliot's
childhood, I desired to view the place where her last days were spent. It
was a fine May day when I took the little steamer from London Bridge for
Chelsea.

A bird-call from the dingy brick building where Turner died, and two
blocks from the old home of Carlyle, is Cheyne Walk--a broad avenue
facing the river. The houses are old, but they have a look of gracious
gentility that speaks of ease and plenty. High iron fences are in front,
but they do not shut off from view the climbing clematis and clusters of
roses that gather over the windows and doors.

I stood at the gate of Number 4 Cheyne Walk and admired the pretty
flowers, planted in such artistic carelessness as to beds and rows; then
I rang the bell--an old pull-out affair with polished knob.

Presently a butler opened the door--a pompous, tall and awful butler in
serious black and with side-whiskers. He approached; came down the walk
swinging a bunch of keys, looking me over as he came, to see what sort
of wares I had to sell.

"Did George Eliot live here?" I asked through the bars.

"Mrs. Cross lived 'ere and died 'ere, sir," came the solemn and rebuking
answer.

"I mean Mrs. Cross," I added meekly; "I only wished to see the little
garden where she worked."

Jeemes was softened. As he unlocked the gate he said:

"We 'ave many wisiters, sir; a great bother, sir; still, I always knows a
gentleman when I sees one. P'r'aps you would like to see the 'ouse, too,
sir. The missus does not like it much, but I will take 'er your card,
sir."

I gave him the card and slipped a shilling into his hand as he gave me a
seat in the hallway.

He disappeared upstairs and soon returned with the pleasing information
that I was to be shown the whole house and garden. So I pardoned him the
myth about the missus, happening to know that at that particular moment
she was at Brighton, sixty miles away.

A goodly, comfortable house, four stories, well kept, and much fine old
carved oak in the dining-room and hallways; fantastic ancient balusters,
and a peculiar bay window in the second-story rear that looked out over
the little garden. Off to the north could be seen the green of Kensington
Gardens and wavy suggestions of Hyde Park. This was George Eliot's
workshop. There was a table in the center of the room and three low
bookcases with pretty ornaments above. In the bay window was the most
conspicuous object in the room--a fine marble bust of Goethe. This, I was
assured, had been the property of Mrs. Cross, as well as all the books
and furniture in the room. In one corner was a revolving case containing
a set of the "Century Dictionary" which Jeemes assured me had been
purchased by Mr. Cross as a present for his wife a short time before she
died. This caused my faith to waver a trifle and put to flight a fine bit
of literary frenzy that might have found form soon in a sonnet.

In the front parlor, I saw a portrait of the former occupant that showed
"the face that looked like a horse." But that is better than to have the
face of any other animal of which I know. Surely one would not want to
look like a dog! Shakespeare hated dogs, but spoke forty-eight times in
his plays in terms of respect and affection for a horse. Who would not
resent the imputation that one's face was like that of a sheep or a goat
or an ox, and much gore has been shed because men have referred to other
men as asses--but a horse! God bless you, yes!

No one has ever accused George Eliot of being handsome, but this portrait
tells of a woman of fifty: calm, gentle, and the strong features speak of
a soul in which to confide.

At Highgate, by the side of the grave of Lewes, rests the dust of this
great and loving woman. As the pilgrim enters that famous old cemetery,
the first imposing monument seen is a pyramid of rare, costly porphyry.
As you draw near, you read this inscription:

    To the memory of
    ANN JEWSON CRISP
    Who departed this life
    Deeply lamented, Jan. 20, 1889.
    Also,
    Her dog, Emperor.

Beneath these tender lines is a bas-relief of as vicious-looking a cur as
ever evaded the dog-tax.

Continuing up the avenue, past this monument just noted, the kind old
gardener will show you another that stands amid others much more
pretentious--a small gray-granite column, and on it, carved in small
letters, you read:

    "Of those immortal dead who live again
    In minds made better by their presence."

    Here rests the body of
    "GEORGE ELIOT"
    (MARY ANN CROSS)
    Born 22 November, 1819.
    Died 22 December, 1880.



THOMAS CARLYLE


    One comfort is that great men taken up in any way are profitable
    company. We can not look, however imperfectly, upon a great man
    without gaining something by it. He is the living fountain of
    life, which it is pleasant to be near. On any terms whatsoever
    you will not grudge to wander in his neighborhood for a while.

    --_Heroes and Hero-Worship_

[Illustration: THOMAS CARLYLE]


While on my way to Dumfries I stopped overnight at Gretna
Green, which, as all fair maidens know, is in Scotland just over the
border from England.

To my delight I found that the coming of runaway couples to Gretna Green
was not entirely a matter of the past, for the very evening I arrived a
blushing pair came to the inn and inquired for a "meenister." The ladye
faire was a little stout and the worthy swain several years older than my
fancy might have wished, but still I did not complain.

The landlord's boy was dispatched to the rectory around the corner and
soon returned with the reverend gentleman.

I was an uninvited guest in the little parlor, but no one observed that
my wedding-garment was only a cycling costume, and I was not challenged.

After the ceremony, the several other witnesses filed past the happy
couple, congratulating them and kissing the bride.

I did likewise, and was greeted with a resounding smack which surprised
me a bit, but I managed to ask, "Did you run away?"

"Noo," said the groom; "noo, her was a widdie--we just coom over fram
Ecclefechan"; then, lowering his voice to a confidential whisper, "We're
goin' baack on the morrow. It's cheaper thaan to ha' a big, spread
weddin'."

This answer banished all tender sentiment from me and made useless my
plans for a dainty love-story, but I seized upon the name of the place
whence they came.

"Ecclefechan! Ecclefechan! Why that's where Carlyle was born!"

"Aye, sir, and he's buried there; a great mon he was--but an infideel."

Ten miles beyond Gretna Green is Ecclefechan--a little village of stucco
houses all stretched out on one street. Plain, homely, rocky and
unromantic is the country round about, and plain, homely and unromantic
is the little house where Carlyle was born. The place is shown the
visitor by a good old dame who takes one from room to room, giving a
little lecture meanwhile in a mixture of Gaelic and English which was
quite beyond my ken. Several relics of interest are shown, and although
the house is almost precisely like all others in the vicinity,
imagination throws round it all a roseate wreath of fancies.

It has been left on record that up to the year when Carlyle was married,
his "most pleasurable times were those when he enjoyed a quiet pipe with
his mother."

To few men indeed is this felicity vouchsafed. But for those who have
eaten oatmeal porridge in the wayside cottages of bonny Scotland, or who
love to linger over "The Cotter's Saturday Night," there is a touch of
tender pathos in the picture. The stone floor, the bare, whitewashed
walls, the peat smoldering on the hearth, sending out long, fitful
streaks that dance among the rafters overhead, and the mother and son
sitting there watching the coal--silent. The woman takes a small twig
from a bundle of sticks, reaches over, lights it, applies it to her pipe,
takes a few whiffs and passes the light to her son. Then they talk in
low, earnest tones of man's duty to man and man's duty to God.

And it was this mother who first applied the spark that fired Carlyle's
ambition; it was from her that he got the germ of those talents which
have made his name illustrious.

Yet this woman could barely read and did not learn to write until her
firstborn had gone away from the home nest. Then it was that she
sharpened a gray goose-quill and labored long and patiently, practising
with this instrument (said to be mightier than the sword) and with ink
she herself had mixed--all that she might write a letter to her boy; and
how sweetly, tenderly homely, and loving are these letters as we read
them today!

James Carlyle with his own hands built, in Seventeen Hundred Ninety, this
house at Ecclefechan. The same year he married an excellent woman, a
second cousin, by name Janet Carlyle. She lived but a year. The poor
husband was heartbroken, and declared, as many men under like conditions
had done before and have done since, that his sorrow was inconsolable.
And he vowed that he would walk through life and down to his death alone.

But it is a matter for congratulation that he broke his vow.

In two years he married Margaret Aitken--a serving-woman. She bore nine
children. Thomas was the eldest and the only one who proved recreant to
the religious faith of his fathers.

One of the brothers moved to Shiawassee County, Michigan, where I had the
pleasure of calling on him, some years ago. A hard-headed man, he was:
sensible, earnest, honest, with a stubby beard and a rich brogue. He held
the office of school trustee, also that of pound-master, and I was told
that he served his township loyally and well.

This worthy man looked with small favor on the literary pretensions of
his brother Tammas, and twice wrote him long letters expostulating with
him on his religious vagaries. "I knew no good could come of it,"
sorrowfully said he, and so I left him.

But I inquired of several of the neighbors what they thought of Thomas
Carlyle, and I found that they did not think of him at all. And I mounted
my beast and rode away.

Thomas Carlyle was educated for the Kirk, and it was a cause of much
sorrow to his parents that he could not accept its beliefs. He has been
spoken of as England's chief philosopher, yet he subscribed to no creed,
nor did he formulate one. However, in "Latter-Day Pamphlets" he partially
prepares a catechism for a part of the brute creation. He supposes that
all swine of superior logical powers have a "belief," and as they are
unable to express it he essays the task for them.

The following are a few of the postulates in this creed of The
Brotherhood of Latter-Day Swine:

    "Question. Who made the Pig?

    "Answer. The Pork-Butcher.

    "Question. What is the Whole Duty of Pigs?

    "Answer. It is the mission of Universal Pighood; and the duty of
    all Pigs, at all times, is to diminish the quantity of attainable
    swill and increase the unattainable. This is the Whole Duty of
    Pigs.

    "Question. What is Pig Poetry?

    "Answer. It is the universal recognition of Pig's wash and ground
    barley, and the felicity of Pigs whose trough has been set in
    order and who have enough.

    "Question, What is justice in Pigdom?

    "Answer. It is the sentiment in Pig nature sometimes called
    revenge, indignation, etc., which if one Pig provoke, another
    comes out in more or less destructive manner; hence laws are
    necessary--amazing quantities of laws--defining what Pigs shall
    not do.

    "Question. What do you mean by equity?

    "Answer. Equity consists in getting your share from the
    Universal Swine-Trough, and part of another's.

    "Question. What is meant by 'your share'?"

    "Answer. My share is getting whatever I can contrive to seize
    without being made up into Side-Meat."

I have slightly abridged this little extract and inserted it here to show
the sympathy which Mr. Carlyle had for the dumb brute.

One of America's great men, in a speech delivered not long ago, said,
"From Scotch manners, Scotch religion and Scotch whisky, good Lord
deliver us!"

My experience with these three articles has been somewhat limited; but
Scotch manners remind me of chestnut-burs--not handsome without, but good
within. For when you have gotten beyond the rough exterior of Sandy you
generally find a heart warm, tender and generous.

Scotch religion is only another chestnut-bur, but then you need not eat
the shuck if you fear it will not agree with your inward state.
Nevertheless, if the example of royalty is of value, the fact can be
stated that Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Empress of India, is a
Presbyterian. That is, she is a Presbyterian about one-half the
time--when she is in Scotland, for she is the head of the Scottish Kirk.
When in England, of course she is an Episcopalian. We have often been
told that religion is largely a matter of geography, and here is a bit of
something that looks like proof.

Of Scotch whisky I am not competent to speak, so that subject must be
left to the experts. But a Kentucky colonel at my elbow declares that it
can not be compared with the Blue-Grass article; though I trust that no
one will be prejudiced against it on that account.

Scotch intellect, however, is worthy of our serious consideration. It is
a bold, rocky headland, standing out into the tossing sea of the Unknown.
Assertive? Yes. Stubborn? Most surely. Proud? By all means. Twice as many
pilgrims visit the grave of Burns as that of Shakespeare. Buckle declares
Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" has had a greater influence on
civilization than any other book ever writ--save none; and the average
Scotchman knows his Carlyle a deal better than the average American knows
his Emerson: in fact, four times as many of Carlyle's books have been
printed.

When Carlyle took time to bring the ponderous machinery of his intellect
to bear on a theme, he saw it through and through. The vividness of his
imagination gives us a true insight into times long since gone by; it
shows virtue her own feature, vice her own image, and the very age and
body of the time his form and pressure. In history he goes beyond the
political and conventional--showing us the thought, the hope, the fear,
the passion of the soul.

His was the masculine mind. The divination and subtle intuitions which
are to be found scattered through his pages, like violets growing among
the rank swale of the prairies--all these sweet, odorous things came from
his wife. She gave him of her best thought, and he greedily absorbed it
and unconsciously wrote it down as his own.

There are those who blame and berate; volumes have been written to show
the inconsiderateness of this man toward the gentle lady who was his
intellectual comrade. But they know not life who do this thing.

It is a fact that Carlyle never rushed to pick up Jeannie's handkerchief.
I admit that he could not bow gracefully; that he could not sing tenor,
nor waltz, nor tell funny stories, nor play the mandolin; and if I had
been his neighbor I would not have attempted to teach him any of these
accomplishments.

Once he took his wife to the theater; and after the performance he
accidentally became separated from her in the crowd and trudged off home
alone and went to bed forgetting all about her---but even for this I do
not indict him. Mrs. Carlyle never upbraided him for this forgetfulness,
neither did she relate the incident to any one, and for these things I to
her now reverently lift my hat.

Jeannie Welsh Carlyle had capacity for pain, as it seems all great souls
have. She suffered--but then suffering is not all suffering and pain is
not all pain.

Life is often dark, but then there are rifts in the clouds when we behold
the glorious deep blue of the sky. Not a day passes but that the birds
sing in the branches, and the tree-tops poise backward and forward in
restful, rhythmic harmony, and never an hour goes by but that hope bears
us up on her wings as the eagle does her young. And ever just before the
year dies and the frost comes, the leaves take on a gorgeous hue and the
color of the flowers then puts to shame for brilliancy all the plainer
petals of Springtime.

And I know Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle were happy, so happy, at times, that they
laughed and cried for joy. Jeannie gave all, and she saw her best thought
used--carried further, written out and given to the world as that of
another--but she uttered no protest.

Xantippe lives in history only because she sought to worry a great
philosopher; we remember the daughter of Herodias because she demanded
the head (not the heart) of a good man; Goneril and Regan because they
trod upon the withered soul of their sire; Lady Macbeth because she lured
her liege to murder; Charlotte Corday for her dagger-thrust; Lucrezia
Borgia for her poison; Sapphira for her untruth; Jael because she pierced
the brain of Sisera with a rusty nail (instead of an idea); Delilah for
the reason that she deprived Samson of his source of strength; and in the
"Westminster Review" for May, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-four, Ouida makes
the flat statement that for every man of genius who has been helped by a
woman, ten have been dragged down.

But Jeannie Welsh Carlyle lives in the hearts of all who reverence the
sweet, the gentle, the patient, the earnest, the loving spirit of the
womanly woman: lives because she ministered to the needs of a great man.

She was ever a frail body. Several long illnesses kept her to her bed for
weeks, but she recovered from these, even in spite of the doctors, who
thoroughly impressed both herself and her husband with the thought of her
frailty.

On April the Twenty-first, Eighteen Hundred Sixty-six, she called her
carriage, as was her custom, and directed the driver to go through the
park. She carried a book in her hands, and smiled a greeting to a friend
as the brougham moved away from the little street where they lived. The
driver drove slowly--drove for an hour--two. He got down from his box to
receive the orders of his mistress, touched his hat as he opened the
carriage-door, but no kindly eyes looked into his. She sat back in the
corner as if resting; the shapely head a little thrown forward, the book
held gently in the delicate hands, but the fingers were cold and
stiff--Jeannie Welsh was dead--and Thomas Carlyle was alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

Along the Thames, at Chelsea, opposite the rows of quiet
and well-kept houses of Cheyne Walk, is the "Embankment." A parkway it is
of narrow green, with graveled walks, bushes and trees, that here and
there grow lush and lusty as if to hide the unsightly river from the good
people who live across the street.

Following this pleasant bit of breathing space, with its walks that wind
in and out among the bushes, one comes unexpectedly upon a bronze statue.
You need not read the inscription: a glance at that shaggy head, the
grave, sober, earnest look, and you exclaim under your breath, "Carlyle!"

In this statue the artist has caught with rare skill the look of reverie
and repose. One can imagine that on a certain night, as the mists and
shadows of evening were gathering along the dark river, the gaunt form,
wrapped in its accustomed cloak, came stalking down the little street to
the park, just as he did thousands of times, and taking his seat in the
big chair fell asleep. In the morning the children that came to play
along the river found the form in cold, enduring bronze.

At the play we have seen the marble transformed by love into beauteous
life. How much easier the reverse--here where souls stay only a day!

Cheyne Row is a little, alley-like street, running only a block, with
fifteen houses on one side, and twelve on the other.

These houses are all brick and built right up to the sidewalk. On the
north side they are all in one block, and one at first sees no touch of
individuality in any of them.

They are old, and solid, and plain--built for revenue only. On closer
view I thought one or two had been painted, and on one there was a
cornice that set it off from the rest. As I stood on the opposite side
and looked at this row of houses, I observed that Number Five was the
dingiest and plainest of them all. For there were dark shutters instead
of blinds, and these shutters were closed, all save one rebel that swung
and creaked in the breeze. Over the doorway, sparrows had made their
nests and were fighting and scolding. Swallows hovered above the chimney;
dust, cobwebs, neglect were all about.

And as I looked there came to me the words of Ursa Thomas:

    "Brief, brawling day, with its noisy phantoms, its paper crowns,
    tinsel-gilt, is gone; and divine, everlasting night, with her
    star diadems, with her silences and her verities, is come."

Here walked Thomas and Jeannie one fair May morning in Eighteen Hundred
Thirty-four. Thomas was thirty-nine, tall and swarthy, strong; with set
mouth and three wrinkles on his forehead that told of care and dyspepsia.
Jeannie was younger; her face winsome, just a trifle anxious, with
luminous, gentle eyes, suggestive of patience, truth and loyalty. They
looked like country folks, did these two. They examined the
surroundings, consulted together--sixty pounds rent a year seemed very
high! But they took the house, and T. Carlyle, son of James Carlyle,
stone-mason, paid rent for it every month for half a century, lacking
three years.

I walked across the street and read the inscription on the marble tablet
inserted in the front of the house above the lower windows. It informs
the stranger that Thomas Carlyle lived here from Eighteen Hundred
Thirty-four to Eighteen Hundred Eighty-one, and that the tablet was
erected by the Carlyle Society of London.

I ascended the stone steps and scraped my boots on the well-worn scraper,
made long, long ago by a blacksmith who is now dust, and who must have
been a very awkward mechanic, for I saw where he had made a misstroke
with his hammer, probably as he discussed theology with a caller. Then I
rang the bell and plied the knocker and waited there on the steps for
Jeannie Welsh to come bid me welcome, just as she did Emerson when he,
too, used the scraper and plied the knocker and stood where I did then.

And my knock was answered--answered by a very sour and peevish woman next
door, who thrust her head out of the window, and exclaimed in a shrill
voice:

"Look 'ere, sir, you might as well go rap on the curb-stone, don't you
know; there's nobody livin' there, sir, don't you know!"

"Yes, madam, that is why I knocked!"

"Beggin' your pardon, sir, if you use your heyes you'll see there's
nobody livin' there, don't you know!"

"I knocked lest offense be given. How can I get in?"

"You might go in through the keyhole, sir, or down the chimney. You seem
to be a little daft, sir, don't you know! But if you must get in, perhaps
it would be as well to go over to Mrs. Brown's and brang the key," and
she slammed down the window.

Across the street Mrs. Brown's sign smiled at me.

Mrs. Brown keeps a little grocery and bakeshop and was very willing to
show me the house. She fumbled in a black bag for the keys, all the time
telling me of three Americans who came last week to see Carlyle's house,
and "as how" they each gave her a shilling. I took the hint.

"Only Americans care now for Mr. Carlyle," plaintively added the old lady
as she fished out the keys; "soon we will all be forgot."

We walked across the street and after several ineffectual attempts the
rusty lock was made to turn. I entered. Cold, bare and bleak was the
sight of those empty rooms. The old lady had a touch of rheumatism, so
she waited for me on the doorstep as I climbed the stairs to the third
floor. The noise-proof back room where "The French Revolution" was writ,
twice over, was so dark that I had to grope my way across to the window.
The sash stuck and seemed to have a will of its own, like him who so
often had raised it. But at last it gave way and I flung wide the
shutter and looked down at the little arbor where Teufelsdrockh sat so
often and wooed wisdom with the weed brought from Virginia.

Then I stood before the fireplace, where he of the Eternities had so
often sat and watched the flickering embers. Here he lived in his
loneliness and cursed curses that were prayers, and here for near five
decades he read and thought and dreamed and wrote. Here the spirits of
Cromwell and Frederick hovered; here that pitiful and pitiable long line
of ghostly partakers in the Revolution answered to his roll-call.

The wind whistled down the chimney gruesomely as my footfalls echoed
through the silent chambers, and I thought I heard a sepulchral voice
say:

"Thy future life! Thy fate is it, indeed! Whilst thou makest that thy
chief question, thy life to me and to thyself and to thy God is
worthless. What is incredible to thee thou shalt not, at thy soul's
peril, pretend to believe. Elsewhither for a refuge! Away! Go to
perdition if thou wilt, but not with a lie in thy mouth--by the Eternal
Maker, No!!"

I was startled at first, but stood still listening; then I thought I saw
a faint blue cloud of mist curling up in the fireplace. Watching this
smoke and sitting before it in gloomy abstraction was the form of an old
man. I swept my hand through the apparition, but still it stayed. My lips
moved in spite of myself and I said:

"Hail! hard-headed man of granite outcrop and heather, of fen and crag,
of moor and mountain, and of bleak East wind, hail! Eighty-six years
didst thou live. One hundred years lacking fourteen didst thou suffer,
enjoy, weep, dream, groan, pray and strike thy rugged breast! And yet
methinks that in those years there was much quiet peace and sweet
content; for constant pain benumbs, and worry destroys, and vain unrest
summons the grim messenger of death. But thou didst live and work and
love; howbeit, thy touch was not always gentle, nor thy voice low; but on
thy lips was no lie, in thy thought no concealment, in thy heart no
pollution. But mark! thou didst come out of poverty and obscurity: on thy
battered shield there was no crest and thou didst leave all to follow
truth. And verily she did lead thee a merry chase!

"Thou hadst no Past, but thou hast a Future. Thou didst say: 'Bury me in
Westminster, never! where the mob surges, cursed with idle curiosity to
see the graves of kings and nobodies? No! Take me back to rugged Scotland
and lay my tired form to rest by the side of an honest man--my father.'

"Thou didst refuse the Knighthood offered thee by royalty, saying, 'I am
not the founder of the house of Carlyle and I have no sons to be
pauperized by a title,' True, thou didst leave no sons after the flesh to
mourn thy loss, nor fair daughters to bedeck thy grave with garlands, but
thou didst reproduce thyself in thought, and on the minds of men thou
didst leave thy impress. And thy ten thousand sons will keep thy memory
green so long as men shall work, and toil, and strive, and hope."

The wind still howled. I looked out and saw watery clouds scudding
athwart the face of the murky sky. The shutters banged, and shut me in
the dark. I made haste to find the door, reached the stairway--slid down
the banisters to where Mrs. Brown was waiting for me at the threshold.

We locked the door. She went across to her little bakeshop and I stopped
a passing policeman to ask the way to Westminster. He told me.

"Did you visit Carlyle's 'ouse?" he asked.

"Yes."

"With old Mrs. Brown?"

"Yes, she waited for me in the doorway--she had the rheumatism so she
could not climb the stairs."

"Rheumatism? Huh!--you couldn't 'ire 'er to go inside. Why, don't you
know? They say the 'ouse is 'aunted!"



JOHN RUSKIN


    Put roses in their hair, put precious stones on their breasts;
    see that they are clothed in purple and scarlet, with other
    delights; that they also learn to read the gilded heraldry of the
    sky; and upon the earth be taught not only the labors of it but
    the loveliness.

    --_Deucalion_

[Illustration: JOHN RUSKIN]


At Windermere, a good friend, told me that I must abandon
all hope of seeing Mr. Ruskin; for I had no special business with him, no
letters of introduction, and then the fact that I am an American made it
final. Americans in England are supposed to pick flowers in private
gardens, cut their names on trees, laugh boisterously at trifles, and
often to make invidious comparisons. Very properly, Mr. Ruskin does not
admire these things.

Then Mr. Ruskin is a very busy man. Occasionally he issues a printed
manifesto to his friends requesting them to give him peace. A copy of one
such circular was shown to me. It runs, "Mr. J. Ruskin is about to begin
a work of great importance, and therefore begs that in reference to calls
and correspondence you will consider him dead for the next two months." A
similar notice is reproduced in "Arrows of the Chace," and this one
thing, I think, illustrates as forcibly as anything in Mr. Ruskin's work
the self-contained characteristics of the man himself.

Surely if a man is pleased to be considered "dead" occasionally, even to
his kinsmen and friends, he should not be expected to receive with open
arms an enemy to steal away his time. This is assuming, of course, that
all individuals who pick flowers in other folks' gardens, cut their
names on trees, and laugh boisterously at trifles, are enemies. I
therefore decided that I would simply walk over to Brantwood, view it
from a distance, tramp over its hills, row across the lake, and at
nightfall take a swim in its waters. Then I would rest at the Inn for a
space and go my way.

Lake Coniston is ten miles from Grasmere, and even alone the walk is not
long. If, however, you are delightfully attended by "King's Daughters"
with whom you sit and commune now and then on the bankside, the distance
will seem to be much less. Then there is a pleasant little break in the
journey at Hawkshead. Here one may see the quaint old schoolhouse where
Wordsworth when a boy dangled his feet from a bench and proved his
humanity by carving his initials on the seat.

The Inn at the head of Coniston Water appeared very inviting and restful
when I saw it that afternoon. Built in sections from generation to
generation, half-covered with ivy and embowered in climbing roses, it is
an institution entirely different from the "Grand Palace Hotel" at
Oshkosh. In America we have gongs that are fiercely beaten at stated
times by gentlemen of color, just as they are supposed to do in their
native Congo jungles. This din proclaims to the "guests" and to the
public at large that it is time to come in and be fed. But this
refinement of civilization is not yet in Coniston, and the Inn is quiet
and homelike. You may go to bed when you are tired, get up when you
choose, and eat when you are hungry.

There were no visitors about when I arrived, and I thought I would have
the coffeeroom all to myself at luncheon-time; but presently there came
in a pleasant-faced old gentleman in knickerbockers. He bowed to me and
then took a place at the table. He said that it was a fine day and I
agreed with him, adding that the mountains were very beautiful. He
assented, putting in a codicil to the effect that the lake was very
pretty.

Then the waiter came for our orders.

"Together, I s'pose?" remarked Thomas, inquiringly, as he halted at the
door and balanced the tray on his finger-tips.

"Yes, serve lunch for us together," said the ruddy old gentleman as he
looked at me and smiled; "to eat alone is bad for the digestion."

I nodded assent.

"Can you tell me how far it is to Brantwood?" I asked.

"Oh, not far--just across the lake."

He arose and flung the shutter open so I could see the old, yellow house
about a mile across the water, nestling in its wealth of green on the
hillside. Soon the waiter brought our lunch, and while we discussed the
chops and new potatoes we talked Ruskiniana.

The old gentleman knew a deal more of "Stones of Venice" and "Modern
Painters" than I; but I told him how Thoreau introduced Ruskin to America
and how Concord was the first place in the New World to recognize this
star in the East. And upon my saying this, the old gentleman brought his
knife-handle down on the table, declaring that Thoreau and Whitman were
the only two men of genius that America had produced. I begged him to
make it three and include Emerson, which he finally consented to do.

By and by the waiter cleared the table preparatory to bringing in the
coffee. The old gentleman pushed his chair back, took the napkin from
under his double chin, brushed the crumbs from his goodly front, and
remarked:

"I'm going over to Brantwood this afternoon to call on Mr. Ruskin--just
to pay my respects to him, as I always do when I come here. Can't you go
with me?"

I think this was about the most pleasing question I ever had asked me. I
was going to request him to "come again" just for the joy of hearing the
words, but I pulled my dignity together, straightened up, swallowed my
coffee red-hot, pushed my chair back, flourished my napkin, and said, "I
shall be very pleased to go."

So we went--we two--he in his knickerbockers and I in my checks and
outing-shirt. I congratulated myself on looking no worse than he, and as
for him, he never seemed to think that our costumes were not exactly what
they should be; and after all it matters little how you dress when you
call on one of Nature's noblemen--they demand no livery.

We walked around the northern end of Coniston Water, along the eastern
edge, past Tent House, where Tennyson once lived (and found it
"outrageous quiet"), and a mile farther on we came to Brantwood.

The road curves in to the back of the house--which, by the way, is the
front--and the driveway is lined with great trees that form a complete
archway. There is no lodge-keeper, no flowerbeds laid out with square and
compass, no trees trimmed to appear like elephants, no cast-iron dogs,
nor terra-cotta deer, and, strangest of all, no sign of the lawn-mower.
There is nothing, in fact, to give forth a sign that the great Apostle of
Beauty lives in this very old-fashioned spot. Big boulders are to be seen
here and there where Nature left them, tangles of vines running over old
stumps, part of the meadow cut close with a scythe, and part growing up
as if the owner knew the price of hay. Then there are flowerbeds, where
grow clusters of poppies and hollyhocks (purple, and scarlet, and white),
prosaic gooseberry-bushes, plain Yankee pieplant (from which the English
make tarts), rue and sweet marjoram, with patches of fennel, sage, thyme
and catnip, all lined off with boxwood, making me think of my
grandmother's garden at Roxbury.

On the hillside above the garden we saw the entrance to the cave that Mr.
Ruskin once filled with ice, just to show the world how to keep its head
cool at small expense. He even wrote a letter to the papers giving the
bright idea to humanity--that the way to utilize caves was to fill them
with ice. Then he forgot all about the matter. But the following June,
when the cook, wishing to make some ice-cream as a glad surprise for the
Sunday dinner, opened the natural ice-chest, she found only a pool of
muddy water, and exclaimed, "Botheration!" Then they had custard instead
of ice-cream.

We walked up the steps, and my friend let the brass knocker drop just
once, for only Americans give a rat-a-tat-tat, and the door was opened by
a white-whiskered butler, who took our cards and ushered us into the
library. My heart beat a trifle fast as I took inventory of the room; for
I never before had called on a man who was believed to have refused the
poet-laureateship. A dimly lighted room was this library--walls painted
brown, running up to mellow yellow at the ceiling, high bookshelves, with
a stepladder, and only five pictures on the walls, and of these three
were etchings, and two water-colors of a very simple sort;
leather-covered chairs; a long table in the center, on which were strewn
sundry magazines and papers, also several photographs; and at one end of
the room a big fireplace, where a yew log smoldered. Here my inventory
was cut short by a cheery voice behind:

"Ah! now, gentlemen, I am glad to see you."

There was no time nor necessity for a formal introduction. The great man
took my hand as if he had always known me, as perhaps he thought he had.
Then he greeted my friend in the same way, stirred up the fire, for it
was a North of England summer day, and took a seat by the table. We were
all silent for a space--a silence without embarrassment.

"You are looking at the etching over the fireplace--it was sent to me by
a young lady in America," said Mr. Ruskin, "and I placed it there to get
acquainted with it. I like it more and more. Do you know the scene?" I
knew the scene and explained somewhat about it.

Mr. Ruskin has the faculty of making his interviewer do most of the
talking. He is a rare listener, and leans forward, putting a hand behind
his right ear to get each word you say. He was particularly interested in
the industrial conditions of America, and I soon found myself "occupying
the time," while an occasional word of interrogation from Mr. Ruskin gave
me no chance to stop. I came to hear him, not to defend our "republican
experiment," as he was pleased to call the United States of America. Yet
Mr. Ruskin was so gentle and respectful in his manner, and so
complimentary in his attitude of listener, that my impatience at his want
of sympathy for our "experiment" only caused me to feel a little heated.

"The fact of women being elected to mayoralties in Kansas makes me think
of certain African tribes that exalt their women into warriors--you want
your women to fight your political battles!"

"You evidently hold the same opinion on the subject of equal rights that
you expressed some years ago," interposed my companion.

"What did I say--really I have forgotten?"

"You replied to a correspondent, saying: 'You are certainly right as to
my views respecting the female franchise. So far from wishing to give
votes to women, I would fain take them away from most men.'"

"Surely that was a sensible answer. My respect for woman is too great to
force on her increased responsibilities. Then as for restricting the
franchise with men, I am of the firm conviction that no man should be
allowed to vote who does not own property, or who can not do considerably
more than read and write. The voter makes the laws, and why should the
laws regulating the holding of property be made by a man who has no
interest in property beyond a covetous desire; or why should he legislate
on education when he possesses none! Then again, women do not bear arms
to protect the State."

"But what do you say to Mrs. Carlock, who answers that inasmuch as men do
not bear children, they have no right to vote: going to war possibly
being necessary and possibly not, but the perpetuity of the State
demanding that some one bear children?"

"The lady's argument is ingenious, but lacks force when we consider that
the bearing of arms is a matter relating to statecraft, while the baby
question is Dame Nature's own, and is not to be regulated even by the
sovereign."

Then Mr. Ruskin talked for nearly fifteen minutes on the duty of the
State to the individual--talked very deliberately, but with the clearness
and force of a man who believes what he says and says what he believes.

Thus, my friend, by a gentle thrust under the fifth rib of Mr. Ruskin's
logic, caused him to come to the rescue of his previously expressed
opinions, and we had the satisfaction of hearing him discourse earnestly
and eloquently.

Maiden ladies usually have an opinion ready on the subject of masculine
methods, and, conversely, much of the world's logic on the "woman
question" has come from the bachelor brain.

Mr. Ruskin went quite out of his way on several occasions in times past
to attack John Stuart Mill for heresy "in opening up careers for women
other than that of wife and mother."

When Mill did not answer Mr. Ruskin's newspaper letters, the author of
"Sesame and Lilies" called him a "cretinous wretch" and referred to him
as "the man of no imagination." Mr. Mill may have been a cretinous wretch
(I do not exactly understand the phrase), but the preface to "On Liberty"
is at once the tenderest, highest and most sincere compliment paid to a
woman, of which I know.

The life of Mr. and Mrs. John Stuart Mill shows that perfect mating is
possible; yet Mr. Ruskin has only scorn for the opinions of Mr. Mill on a
subject which Mill came as near personally solving in a matrimonial
"experiment" as any other public man of modern times, not excepting even
Robert Browning. Therefore we might suppose Mr. Mill entitled to speak on
the woman question, and I intimated as much to Mr. Ruskin.

"He might know all about one woman, and if he should regard her as a
sample of all womankind, would he not make a great mistake?"

I was silenced.

In "Fors Clavigera," Letter LIX, the author says: "I never wrote a letter
in my life which all the world is not welcome to read." From this one
might imagine that Mr. Ruskin never loved--no pressed flowers in books;
no passages of poetry double-marked and scored; no bundles of letters
faded and yellow, sacred for his own eye, tied with white or dainty blue
ribbon; no little nothings hidden away in the bottom of a trunk. And yet
Mr. Ruskin has his ideas on the woman question, and very positive ideas
they are too--often sweetly sympathetic and wisely helpful.

I see that one of the encyclopedias mentions Ruskin as a bachelor, which
is giving rather an extended meaning to the word, for although Mr. Ruskin
married, he was not mated. According to Collingwood's account, this
marriage was a quiet arrangement between parents. Anyway, the genius is
like the profligate in this: when he marries he generally makes a woman
miserable. And misery is reactionary as well as infectious. Ruskin is a
genius.

Genius is unique. No satisfactory analysis of it has yet been given. We
know a few of its indications--that's all. First among these is ability
to concentrate.

No seed can sow genius; no soil can grow it: its quality is inborn and
defies both cultivation and extermination. To be surpassed is never
pleasant; to feel your inferiority is to feel a pang. Seldom is there a
person great enough to find satisfaction in the success of a friend. The
pleasure that excellence gives is oft tainted by resentment; and so the
woman who marries a genius is usually unhappy.

Genius is excess: it is obstructive to little plans. It is difficult to
warm yourself at a conflagration; the tempest may blow you away; the sun
dazzles; lightning seldom strikes gently; the Nile overflows. Genius has
its times of straying off into the infinite--and then what is the good
wife to do for companionship? Does she protest, and find fault? It could
not be otherwise, for genius is dictatorial without knowing it,
obstructive without wishing to be, intolerant unawares, and unsocial
because it can not help it.

The wife of a genius sometimes takes his fits of abstraction for
stupidity, and having the man's interests at heart she endeavors to
arouse him from his lethargy by chiding him. Occasionally he arouses
enough to chide back; and so it has become an axiom that genius is not
domestic.

A short period of mismated life told the wife of Ruskin their mistake,
and she told him. But Mrs. Grundy was at the keyhole, ready to tell the
world, and so Mr. and Mrs. Ruskin sought to deceive society by pretending
to live together. They kept up this appearance for six sorrowful years,
and then the lady simplified the situation by packing her trunks and
deliberately leaving her genius to his chimeras; her soul doubtless
softened by the knowledge that she was bestowing a benefit on him by
going away. The lady afterwards became the happy wife and helpmeet of a
great artist.

Ruskin's father was a prosperous importer of wines. He left his son a
fortune equal to a little more than one million dollars. But that vast
fortune has gone---principal and interest--gone in bequests, gifts and
experiments; and today Mr. Ruskin has no income save that derived from
the sale of his books. Talk about "Distribution of Wealth"! Here we have
it.

The bread-and-butter question has never troubled John Ruskin except in
his ever-ardent desire that others should be fed. His days have been
given to study and writing from his very boyhood; he has made money, but
he has had no time to save it.

He has expressed himself on every theme that interests mankind, except
perhaps "housemaid's knee." He has written more letters to the newspapers
than "Old Subscriber," "Fiat Justitia," "Indignant Reader" and "Veritas"
combined. His opinions have carried much weight and directed attention
into necessary lines; but perhaps his success as an inspirer of thought
lies in the fact that his sense of humor exists only as a trace, as the
chemist might say. Men who perceive the ridiculous would never have
voiced many of the things which he has said.

Surely those Sioux Indians who stretched a hay lariat across the Union
Pacific Railroad in order to stop the running of trains had small sense
of the ridiculous. But it looks as if they were apostles of Ruskin, every
one.

Some one has said that no man can appreciate the beautiful who has not a
keen sense of humor. For the beautiful is the harmonious, and the
laughable is the absence of fit adjustment.

Mr. Ruskin disproves the maxim.

But let no hasty soul imagine that John Ruskin's opinions on practical
themes are not useful. He brings to bear an energy on every subject he
touches (and what subject has he not touched?) that is sure to make the
sparks of thought fly. His independent and fearless attitude awakens from
slumber a deal of dozing intellect, and out of this strife of opinion
comes truth.

On account of Mr. Ruskin's refusing at times to see visitors, reports
have gone abroad that his mind was giving way. Not so, for although he is
seventy-four he is as serenely stubborn as he ever was. His opposition to
new inventions in machinery has not relaxed a single pulley's turn. You
grant his premises and in his conclusions you will find that his belt
never slips, and that his logic never jumps a cog. His life is as
regular and exact as the trains on the Great Western, and his days are
more peaceful than ever before. He has regular hours for writing, study,
walking, reading, eating, and working out of doors, superintending the
cultivation of his hundred acres. He told me that he had not varied a
half-hour in two years from a certain time of going to bed or getting up
in the morning. Although his form is bowed, this regularity of life has
borne fruit in the rich russet of his complexion, the mild, clear eye,
and the pleasure in living in spite of occasional pain, which you know
the man feels. His hair is thick and nearly white; the beard is now worn
quite long and gives a patriarchal appearance to the fine face.

When we arose to take our leave, Mr. Ruskin took a white felt hat from
the elk-antlers in the hallway and a stout stick from the corner, and
offered to show us a nearer way back to the village. We walked down a
footpath through the tall grass to the lake, where he called our
attention to various varieties of ferns that he had transplanted there.

We shook hands with the old gentleman and thanked him for the pleasure he
had given us. He was still examining the ferns when we lifted our hats
and bade him good-day.

He evidently did not hear us, for I heard him mutter: "I verily believe
those miserable Cook's tourists that were down here yesterday picked some
of my ferns."



WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE


    As the aloe is said to flower only once in a hundred years, so it
    seems to be but once in a thousand years that Nature blossoms
    into this unrivaled product and produces such a man as we have
    here.

    --_Gladstone, "Lecture on Homer_"

[Illustration: WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE]


American travelers in England are said to accumulate
sometimes large and unique assortments of lisps, drawls and other very
peculiar things. Of the value of these acquirements as regards their use
and beauty, I have not room here to speak. But there is one adjunct which
England has that we positively need, and that is "Boots." It may be that
Boots is indigenous to England's soil, and that when transplanted he
withers and dies; perhaps there is a quality in our atmosphere that kills
him. Anyway, we have no Boots.

When trouble, adversity or bewilderment comes to the homesick traveler in
an American hotel, to whom can he turn for consolation? Alas, the porter
is afraid of the "guest," and all guests are afraid of the clerk, and the
proprietor is never seen, and the Afro-Americans in the dining-room are
stupid, and the chambermaid does not answer the ring, and at last the
weary wanderer hies him to the barroom and soon discovers that the worthy
"barkeep" has nothing to recommend him but his diamond-pin. How
different, yes, how different, this would all be if Boots were only here!
At the quaint old city of Chester I was met at the "sti-shun" by the
Boots of that excellent though modest hotel which stands only a block
away. Boots picked out my baggage without my looking for it, took me
across to the Inn, and showed me to the daintiest, most homelike little
room I had seen for weeks. On the table was a tastefully decorated "jug,"
evidently just placed there in anticipation of my arrival, and in this
jug was a large bunch of gorgeous roses, the morning dew still on them.

When Boots had brought me hot water for shaving he disappeared and did
not come back until, by the use of telepathy (for Boots is always
psychic), I had sent him a message that he was needed. In the afternoon
he went with me to get a draft cashed, then he identified me at the
post-office, and introduced me to a dignitary at the cathedral whose
courtesy added greatly to my enjoyment of the visit.

The next morning after breakfast, when I returned to my room, everything
was put to rights and a fresh bouquet of cut flowers was on the mantel. A
good breakfast adds much to one's inward peace: I sat down before the
open window and looked out at the great oaks dotting the green meadows
that stretched away to the north, and listened to the drowsy tinkle of
sheep-bells as the sound came floating in on the perfumed breeze. I was
thinking how good it was to be here, when the step of Boots was heard in
the doorway. I turned and saw that mine own familiar friend had lost a
little of his calm self-reliance--in fact, he was a bit agitated, but he
soon recovered his breath.

"Mr. Gladstone and 'is Lady 'ave just arrived, sir--they will be 'ere for
an hour before taking the train for Lunnon, sir. I told 'is clark there
was a party of Americans 'ere that were very anxious to meet 'im, and he
will receive you in the parlor in fifteen minutes, sir."

Then it was my turn to be agitated. But Boots reassured me by explaining
that the Grand Old Man was just the plainest, most unpretentious
gentleman one could imagine; that it was not at all necessary that I
should change my suit; that I should pronounce it Gladstun, not
Glad-stone, and that it was Harden, not Ha-war-den. Then he stood me up,
looked me over, and declared that I was all right.

On going downstairs I found that Boots had gotten together five Americans
who happened to be in the hotel. He introduced us to a bright little man
who seemed to be the companion or secretary of the Prime Minister; he, in
turn, took us into the parlor where Mr. Gladstone sat reading the morning
paper, and presented us one by one to the great man. We were each greeted
with a pleasant word and a firm grasp of the hand, and then the old
gentleman turned and with a courtly flourish said, "Gentlemen, allow me
to present you to Mrs. Gladstone."

Mr. Gladstone was wise: he remained standing; this was sure to shorten
the interview. A clergyman in our party who had an impressive cough and
bushy whiskers, acted as spokesman, and said several pleasant things,
closing his little speech by informing Mr. Gladstone that Americans held
him in great esteem, and that we only regretted that Fate had not decreed
that he should have been born in the United States.

Mr. Gladstone replied, "Fate is often unkind." Then he asked if we were
going to London. On being told that we were, he spoke for five minutes
about the things we should see in the Metropolis. His style was not
conversational, but after the manner of a man who was much used to
speaking in public or to receiving delegations. The sentences were
stately, the voice rather loud and declamatory. His closing words were:
"Yes, gentlemen, the way to see London is from the top of a 'bus--from
the top of a 'bus, gentlemen." Then there was an almost imperceptible
wave of the hand, and we knew that the interview was ended. In a moment
we were outside and the door was closed.

The five Americans who made up our little company had never met before,
but now we were as brothers; we adjourned to a side-room to talk it over
and tell of the things we intended to say but didn't. We all talked and
talked at once, just as people do who have recently preserved an enforced
silence.

"How ill-fitting was that gray suit!"

"Yes, the sleeves too long."

"Did you notice the absence of the forefinger of his left hand--shot off
in Eighteen Hundred Forty-five while hunting, they say."

"But how strong his voice is!"

"He looks like a farmer."

"Eighty-five years of age! Think of it, and how vigorous!"

Then the preacher spoke and his voice was sorrowful:

"Oh, but I made a botch of it--was it sarcasm or was it not?"

"Was what sarcasm?"

"When Mr. Gladstone said that Fate was unkind in not having him born in
the United States!"

And we were all silent. Then Boots came in, and we put the question to
Boots, who decided it was not sarcasm.

The next day, when we went away, we rewarded Boots bountifully.

       *       *       *       *       *

William Gladstone is England's glory. Yet there is no
English blood in his veins; his parents were Scotch. Aside from Lord
Brougham, he is the only Scotchman who has ever taken a prominent part in
British statecraft. The name as we first find it is Gled-stane, "gled"
being a hawk--literally, a hawk that lives among the stones. Surely the
hawk is fully as respectable a bird as the eagle, and a goodly amount of
granite in the clay that is used to make a man is no disadvantage. The
name fits.

There are deep-rooted theories in the minds of many men (and still more
women) that bad boys make good men, and that a dash of the pirate, even
in a prelate, does not disqualify. But I wish to come to the defense of
the Sunday-school story-books and show that their very prominent moral is
right after all: it pays to be "good."

William Ewart Gladstone was sent to Eton when twelve years of age. From
the first, his conduct was a model of propriety. He attended every chapel
service, and said his prayers in the morning and before going to bed at
night; he could repeat the catechism backwards or forwards, and recite
more verses of Scripture than any other boy in school.

He always spoke the truth. He never played "hookey"; nor, as he grew
older, would he tell stories of doubtful flavor, or allow others to
relate such in his presence. His influence was for good, and Cardinal
Manning has said that there was less wine drunk at Oxford during the
Forties than would have been the case if Gladstone had not been there in
the Thirties.

He graduated from Christchurch with the highest possible honors the
college could bestow, and at twenty-two he seemed like one who had sprung
into life full-armed.

At that time he had magnificent health, a fine form, vast and varied
knowledge, and a command of language so great that he was a master of
forensics. His speeches were fully equal to his later splendid efforts.
In feature he was handsome: the face bold and masculine; eyes of piercing
luster; and hair, which he tossed when in debate, like a lion's mane. He
could speak five languages, sing tenor, dance gracefully, and was on more
than speaking terms with many of the best and greatest men in England.
Besides all this he was rich in British gold.

Now, here is a combination of good things that would send most young men
straight to perdition--not so Gladstone. He took the best care of his
health, systematized his time as a miser might, listened not to the
flatterers, and used his money only for good purposes. His intention was
to enter the Church, but his father said, "Not yet," and half-forced him
into politics. So, at this early age of twenty-two, he ran for
Parliament, was elected, and has practically never been out of the shadow
of Westminster Palace during these sixty-odd years.

At thirty-three, he was a member of the Cabinet. At thirty-six, his
absolute honesty compelled him for conscience' sake to resign from the
Ministry. His opponents then said, "Gladstone is an extinct volcano," and
they have said this again and again; but somehow the volcano always
breaks out in a new place, stronger and brighter than ever. It is
difficult to subdue a volcano.

When twenty-nine, he married Catherine Glynne, sister and heir of Sir
Stephen Glynne, Baronet. The marriage was most fortunate in every way.
For over fifty years this most excellent woman has been his comrade,
counselor, consolation, friend--his wife.

"How can any adversity come to him who hath a wife?" said Chaucer.

If this splendid woman had died, then his opponents might truthfully have
said, "Gladstone is an extinct volcano"; but she is still with him, and a
short time ago, when he had to undergo an operation for cataract, this
woman of eighty was his only nurse.

The influence of Gladstone has been of untold value to England. His
ideals for national action have been high. To the material prosperity of
the country he has added millions upon millions; he has made education
popular, and schooling easy; his policy in the main has been such as to
command the admiration of the good and great. But there are spots on the
sun.

On reading Mr. Gladstone's books I find he has vigorously defended
certain measures that seem unworthy of his genius. He has palliated
human slavery as a "necessary evil"; has maintained the visibility and
divine authority of the Church; has asserted the mathematical certainty
of the historic episcopate, the mystical efficacy of the sacraments; and
has vindicated the Church of England as the God-appointed guardian of
truth.

He has fought bitterly any attempt to improve the divorce-laws of
England. Much has been done in this line, even in spite of his earnest
opposition, but we now owe it to Mr. Gladstone that there is on England's
law-books a statute providing that if a wife leaves her husband he can
invoke a magistrate, whose duty it will then be to issue a writ and give
it to an officer, who will bring her back. More than this, when the
officer has returned the woman, the loving husband has the legal right to
"reprove" her. Just what reprove means the courts have not yet
determined; for, in a recent decision, when a costermonger admitted
having given his lady "a taste of the cat," the prisoner was discharged
on the ground that it was only needed reproof.

I would not complain of this law if it worked both ways; but no wife can
demand that the State shall return her "man" willy-nilly. And if she
administers reproof to her mate, she does it without the sanction of the
Sovereign.

However, in justice to Englishmen, it should be stated that while this
unique law still stands on the statute-books, it is very seldom that a
man in recent years has stooped to invoke it.

On all the questions I have named, from slavery to divorce, Mr. Gladstone
has used the "Bible argument." But as the years have gone by, his mind
has become liberalized, and on many points where he was before zealous he
is now silent. In Eighteen Hundred Forty-one, he argued with much skill
and ingenuity that Jews were not entitled to full rights of citizenship,
but in Eighteen Hundred Forty-seven, acknowledging his error, he took the
other side.

During the War of Secession the sympathies of England's Chancellor of the
Exchequer were with the South. Speaking at Newcastle on October Ninth,
Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two, he said, "Jefferson Davis has undoubtedly
founded a new nation." But five years passed, and he publicly confessed
that he was wrong.

Here is a man who, if he should err deeply, is yet so great that, like
Cotton Mather, he might not hesitate to stand uncovered on the
street-corners and ask the forgiveness of mankind. Such men are saved by
their enemies. Their own good and the good of humanity require that their
balance of power shall not be too great. Had the North gone down,
Gladstone might never have seen his mistake. In this instance and in many
others, he has not been the leader of progress, but its echo: truth has
been forced upon him. His passionate earnestness, his intense volition,
his insensibility to moral perspective, his blindness to the sense of
proportion, might have led him into dangerous excess and frightful
fanatical error, if it were not for the fact that such men create an
opposition that is their salvation.

To analyze a character so complex as Mr. Gladstone's requires the grasp
of genius. We speak of "the duality of the human mind," but here are half
a dozen spirits in one. They rule in turn, and occasionally several of
them struggle for the mastery.

When the Fisk Jubilee Singers visited England, we find Gladstone dropping
the affairs of State to hear their music. He invited them to Hawarden,
where he sang with them. So impressed was he with the negro melodies that
he anticipated that idea which has since been materialized: the founding
of a national school of music that would seek to perfect in a scientific
way these soul-stirring strains.

He might have made a poet of no mean order; for his devotion to spiritual
and physical beauty has made him a lifelong admirer of Homer and Dante.
Those who have met him when the mood was upon him have heard him recite
by the hour from the "Iliad" in the original. And yet the theology of
Homer belongs to the realm of natural religion with which Mr. Gladstone
has little patience.

A prominent member of the House of Commons once said, "The only two
things that the Prime Minister really cares for are religion and
finance." The statement comes near truth; for the chief element in Mr.
Gladstone's character is his devotion to religion; and his signal
successes have been in the line of economics. He believes in Free Trade
as the gospel of social salvation. He revels in figures; he has price,
value, consumption, distribution, import, export, fluctuation, all at his
tongue's end, ready to hurl at any one who ventures on a hasty
generalization.

And it is a significant fact that in his strong appeal for the
disestablishment of the Irish Church, the stress of his argument was put
on the point that the Irish Church was not in the line of the apostolic
succession.

Mr. Gladstone is grave, sober, earnest, proud, passionate, and at times
romantic to a rare degree. He rebukes, refutes, contradicts, defies, and
has a magnificent capacity for indignation. He will roar you like a lion,
his eyes will flash, and his clenched fist will shake as he denounces
that which he believes to be error. And yet among inferiors he will
consult, defer, inquire, and show a humility, a forced suavity, that has
given the caricaturist excuse.

In his home he is gentle, amiable, always kind, social and hospitable. He
loves deeply, and his friends revere him to a point that is but little
this side of idolatry. And surely their affection is not misplaced.

Some day a Plutarch without a Plutarch's prejudice will arise, and with
malice toward none, but with charity for all, he will write the life of
the statesman, Gladstone. Over against this he will write the life of an
American statesman. The name he will choose will be that of one born in a
log hut in the forest; who was rocked by the foot of a mother whose
hands meanwhile were busy at her wheel; who had no schooling, no wise and
influential friends; who had few books and little time to read; who knew
no formal religion; who never traveled out of his own country; who had no
helpmeet, but who walked solitary--alone, a man of sorrows; down whose
homely, furrowed face the tears of pity often ran, and yet whose name,
strange paradox! stands in many minds as a symbol of mirth.

And when the master comes, who has the power to portray with absolute
fidelity the greatness of these two men, will it be to the disadvantage
of the American?

       *       *       *       *       *

The village of Hawarden is in Flintshire, North Wales. It
is seven miles from Chester. I walked the distance one fine June
morning--out across the battlefield where Cromwell's army crushed that of
Charles; and on past old stone walls and stately elms.

There had been a shower the night before, but the morning sun came out
bright and warm and made the raindrops glisten like beads as they clung
to each leaf and flower. Larks sang and soared, and great flocks of crows
called and cawed as they flew lazily across the sky. It was a time for
silent peace, and quiet joy, and serene thankfulness for life and health.

I walked leisurely, and in a little over two hours reached Hawarden--a
cluster of plain stone houses with climbing vines and flowers and
gardens, which told of homely thrift and simple tastes. I went straight
to the old stone church, which is always open, and rested for half an
hour, listening to the organ on which a young girl was practising,
instructed by a white-haired old gentleman.

The church is dingy and stained inside and out by time. The pews are
irregular, some curiously carved, and all stiff and uncomfortable. I
walked around and read the inscriptions on the walls, and all the time
the young girl played and the old gentleman beat time, and neither
noticed my presence. One brass tablet I saw was to a woman "who for long
years was a faithful servant at Hawarden Castle--erected in gratitude by
W.E.G."

Near this was a memorial to W.H. Gladstone, son of the Premier, who died
in Eighteen Hundred Ninety-one. Then there were inscriptions to various
Glynnes and several others whose names appear in English history. I stood
at the reading-desk, where the great man has so often read, and marked
the spot where William Ewart Gladstone and Catherine Glynne knelt when
they were married here in July, Eighteen Hundred Thirty-nine.

A short distance from the church is the entrance to Hawarden Park. This
fine property was the inheritance of Mrs. Gladstone; the park itself
seems to belong to the public. If Mr. Gladstone were a plain citizen,
people, of course, would not come by hundreds and picnic on his preserve,
but serving the State, he and his possessions belong to the people, and
this democratic familiarity is rather pleasing than otherwise. So great
has been the throng in times past, that an iron fence had to be placed
about the ivy-covered ruins of the ancient castle, to protect it from
those who threatened to carry it away by the pocketful. A wall has also
been put around the present "castle" (more properly, house). This was
done some years ago, I was told by the butler, after a torchlight
procession of a thousand enthusiastic admirers had come down from
Liverpool and trampled Mrs. Gladstone's flowers into "smithereens."

The park contains many hundred acres, and is as beautiful as an English
park can be, and this is praise superlative. Flocks of sheep wander over
the soft, green turf, and beneath the spreading trees are sleek cows
which seem used to visitors, and with big, open eyes come up to be
petted.

Occasional signs are seen: "Please spare the trees." Some people suppose
that this is an injunction which Mr. Gladstone himself has never
observed. But when in his tree-cutting days, no monarch of the forest was
ever felled without its case being fully tried by the entire household.
Ruskin, once, visiting at Hawarden, sat as judge, and after listening to
the evidence gave sentence against several trees that were rotten at the
core or overshadowing their betters. Then the Prime Minister shouldered
his faithful "snickersnee" and went forth as executioner.

I looked in vain for stumps, and on inquiry was told that they were all
dug out, and the ground leveled so no trace was left of the offender.

The "lady of the house" at Hawarden is the second daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Gladstone. All accounts agree that she is a most capable and
excellent woman. She is her father's "home secretary" and confidante, and
in his absence takes full charge of the mail and looks after important
business affairs. Her husband, the Reverend Harry Drew, is rector of
Hawarden Church. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Drew and found him
very cordial and perfectly willing to talk about the great man who is
grandfather to his baby. We also talked of America, and I soon surmised
that Mr. Drew's ideas of "The States" were largely derived from a visit
to the Wild West Show. So I put the question to him direct:

"Did you see Buffalo Bill?"

"Oh, yes."

"And did Mr. Gladstone go?"

"Not only once, but three times, and he cheered as loudly as any boy."

The Gladstone residence is a great, rambling, stone structure to which
additions have been made from one generation to another. The towers and
battlements are merely architectural appendiculæ, but the effect of the
whole, when viewed from a distance, rising out of its wealth of green and
backed by the forest, is very imposing.

I entered only the spacious front hallway and one room--the library.
Bookshelves and books and more books were everywhere; several desks of
different designs (one an American roll-top), as if the owner transacted
business at one, translated Homer at another, and wrote social letters
from a third. Then there were several large Japanese vases, a tiger-skin,
beautiful rugs, a few large paintings, and in a rack a full dozen axes
and twice as many "sticks."

The whole place has an air of easy luxury that speaks of peace and
plenty, of quiet and rest, of gentle thoughts and calm desires.

As I walked across toward the village, the church-bell slowly pealed the
hour; over the distant valley, night hovered; a streak of white mist,
trailing like a thin veil, marked the passage of the murmuring brook. I
thought of the grand old man over whose domain I was now treading, and my
wonder was, not that one should live so long and still be vigorous, but
that a man should live in such an idyllic spot, with love and books to
keep him company, and yet grow old.



J.M.W. TURNER


    I believe that these works of Turner's are at their first
    appearing as perfect as those of Phidias or Leonardo, that is to
    say, incapable of any improvement conceivable by human mind.

    --_John Ruskin_

[Illustration: J.M.W. TURNER]


The beauty of the upper Thames with its fairy house-boats
and green banks has been sung by poets, but rash is the minstrel who
tunes his lyre to sound the praises of this muddy stream in the vicinity
of Chelsea. As yellow as the Tiber and thick as the Missouri after a
flood, it comes twice a day bearing upon its tossing tide a unique
assortment of uncanny sights and sickening smells from the swarming city
of men below.

Chelsea was once a country village six miles from London Bridge. Now the
far-reaching arms of the metropolis have taken it as her own.

Chelsea may be likened to some rare spinster, grown old with years and
good works, and now having a safe home with a rich and powerful
benefactress. Yet Chelsea is not handsome in her old age, and Chelsea was
not pretty in youth, nor fair to view in middle life; but Chelsea has
been the foster-mother of several of the rarest and fairest souls who
have ever made the earth pilgrimage.

And the greatness of genius still rests upon Chelsea. As we walk slowly
through its winding ways, by the edge of its troubled waters, among dark
and crooked turns, through curious courts, by old gateways and piles of
steepled stone, where flocks of pigeons wheel, and bells chime, and
organs peal, and winds sigh, we know that all has been sanctified by
their presence. And their spirits abide with us, and the splendid beauty
of their visions is about us. For the stones beneath our feet have been
hallowed by their tread, and the walls have borne their shadows; so all
mean things are transfigured and over all these plain and narrow streets
their glory gleams.

And it is the great men and they alone that can render a place sacred.
Chelsea is now to the lovers of the Beautiful a sacred name, a sacred
soil; a place of pilgrimage where certain gods of Art once lived, and
loved, and worked, and died.

Sir Thomas More lived here and had for a frequent guest Erasmus. Hans
Sloane began in Chelsea the collection of curiosities which has now
developed into the British Museum. Bishop Atterbury (who claimed that
Dryden was a greater poet than Shakespeare), Dean Swift and Doctor
Arbuthnot, all lived in Church Street; Richard Steele just around the
corner and Leigh Hunt in Cheyne Row; but it was from another name that
the little street was to be immortalized.

If France constantly has forty Immortals in the flesh, surely it is a
modest claim to say that Chelsea has three for all time: Thomas Carlyle,
George Eliot and Joseph Mallord William Turner.

Turner's father was a barber. His youth was passed in poverty and his
advantages for education were very slight. And all this in the crowded
city of London, where merit may knock long and still not be heard, and in
a country where wealth and title count for much.

When a boy, barefoot and ragged, he would wander away alone on the banks
of the river and dream dreams about wonderful palaces and beautiful
scenes; and then he would trace with a stick in the sands, endeavoring,
with mud, to make plain to the eye the things that his soul saw.

His mother was quite sure that no good could come from this vagabondish
nature, and she did not spare the rod, for she feared that the desire to
scrawl and daub would spoil the child. But he was a stubborn lad, with a
pug-nose and big, dreamy, wondering eyes, and a heavy jaw; and when
parents see that they have such a son, they had better hang up the rod
behind the kitchen-door and lay aside force and cease scolding. For love
is better than a cat-o'-nine-tails, and sympathy saves more souls than
threats.

The elder Turner considered that the proper use of a brush was to lather
chins. But the boy thought differently, and once surreptitiously took one
of his father's brushes to paint a picture; the brush on being returned
to its cup was used the next day upon a worthy haberdasher, whose cheeks
were shortly colored a vermilion that matched his nose. This lost the
barber a customer and secured the boy a thrashing.

Young Turner did not always wash his father's shop-windows well, nor
sweep off the sidewalk properly. Like all boys he would rather work for
some one else than for "his folks."

He used to run errands for an engraver by the name of Smith--John Raphael
Smith. Once, when Smith sent the barber's boy with a letter to a certain
art-gallery with orders to "get the answer and hurry back, mind you!" the
boy forgot to get the answer and to hurry back. Then another boy was
dispatched after the first, and boy Number Two found boy Number One
sitting, with staring eyes and open mouth, in the art-gallery before a
painting of Claude Lorraine's. When boy Number One was at last forcibly
dragged away, and reached the shop of his master, he got his ears well
cuffed for his forgetfulness. But from that day forth he was not the same
being that he had been before his eyes fell on that Claude Lorraine.

He was transformed, as much so as was Lazarus after he was called from
beyond the portals of death and had come back to earth, bearing in his
heart the secrets of the grave.

From that time Turner thought of Claude Lorraine during the day and
dreamed of him at night, and he stole his way into every exhibition where
a Claude was to be seen. And now I wish that Claude Lorraine was the
subject of this sketch, as well as Turner, for his life is a picture full
of sweetest poetry, framed in a world of dullest prose.

The eyes of this boy, whom they had thought dreamy, dull and listless,
now shone with a different light. He thirsted to achieve, to do, to
become--yes, to become a greater painter than Claude Lorraine. His
employer saw the change and smiled at it, but he allowed the lad to put
in backgrounds and add the skies to cheap prints, just because the
youngster teased to do it.

Then one day a certain patron of the shop came and looked over the
shoulder of the Turner boy, and he said, "He has skill--perhaps talent."

And I think the recording angel should give this man a separate page in
the Book of Remembrance and write his name in illuminated colors, for he
gave young Turner access to his own collection and to his library, and he
never cuffed him nor kicked him nor called him dunce--whereat the boy was
much surprised. But he encouraged the youth to sketch a picture in
water-colors and then he bought the picture and paid him ten shillings
for it; and the name of this man was Doctor Munro.

The next year, when young Turner was fourteen, Doctor Munro had him
admitted to the Royal Academy as a student, and in Seventeen Hundred
Ninety he exhibited a water-color of the Archbishop's palace at Lambeth.

The picture took no prize, and doubtless was not worthy of one, but from
now on Joseph M.W. Turner was an artist, and other hands had to sweep the
barber-shop.

But he sold few pictures--they were not popular. Other artists scorned
him, possibly intuitively fearing him, for mediocrity always fears when
the ghost of genius does not down at its bidding.

Then Turner was accounted unsociable; besides, he was ragged, uncouth,
independent, and did not conform to the ways of society; so the select
circle cast him out--more properly speaking, did not let him in.

Still he worked on, and exhibited at every Academy Exhibition, yet he was
often hungry, and the London fog crept cold and damp through his
threadbare clothes. But he toiled on, for Claude Lorraine was ever before
him.

In Eighteen Hundred Two, when twenty-seven years of age, he visited
France and made a tour through Switzerland, tramping over many long miles
with his painting-kit on his back, and he brought back rich treasures in
way of sketches and quickened imagination.

In the years following he took many such trips, and came to know Venice,
Rome, Florence and Paris as perfectly as his own London.

When thirty-three years of age he was still worshiping at the shrine of
Claude Lorraine. His pictures painted at this time are evidence of his
ideal, and his book, "Liber Studiorum," issued in Eighteen Hundred Eight,
is modeled after the "Liber Veritatis." But the book surpasses Claude's,
and Turner knew it, and this may have led him to burst his shackles and
cast loose from his idol. For, in Eighteen Hundred Fifteen, we find him
working according to his own ideas, showing an originality and audacity
in conception and execution that made him the butt of the critics, and
caused consternation to rage through the studios of competitors.

Gradually, it dawned upon a few scattered collectors that things so
strongly condemned must have merit, for why should the pack bay so loudly
if there were no quarry! So to have a Turner was at least something for
your friends to discuss.

Then carriages began to stop before the dingy building at Forty-seven
Queen Anne Street, and broadcloth and satin mounted the creaking stairs
to the studio. It happened about this time that Turner's prices began to
increase. Like the sibyl of old, if a customer said, "I do not want it,"
the painter put an extra ten pounds on the price. For "Dido Building
Carthage," Turner's original price was five hundred pounds. People came
to see the picture and they said, "The price is too high." Next day
Turner's price for the "Carthage" was one thousand pounds. Finally, Sir
Robert Peel offered the painter five thousand pounds for the picture, but
Turner said he had decided to keep it for himself, and he did.

In the forepart of his career he sold few pictures--for the simple reason
that no one wanted them. And he sold few pictures during the latter years
of his life, for the reason that his prices were so high that none but
the very rich could buy. First, the public scorned Turner. Next, Turner
scorned the public. In the beginning it would not buy his pictures, and
later it could not.

A frivolous public and a shallow press, from his first exhibition, when
fifteen years of age, to his last, when seventy, made sport of his
originalities. But for merit there is a recompense in sneers, and a
benefit in sarcasms, and a compensation in hate; for when these things
get too pronounced a champion appears. And so it was with Turner. Next to
having a Boswell write one's life, what is better than a Ruskin to uphold
one's cause!

Success came slowly; his wants were few, but his ambition never
slackened, and finally the dreams of his youth became the realities of
his manhood.

At twenty, Turner loved a beautiful girl--they became engaged. He went
away on a tramp sketching-tour and wrote his ladylove just one short
letter each month. He believed that "absence only makes the heart grow
fonder," not knowing that this statement is only the vagary of a poet.
When he returned the lady was betrothed to another. He gave the pair his
blessing, and remained a bachelor--a very confirmed bachelor.

Perhaps, however, the reason his fiancee proved untrue was not through
lack of the epistles he wrote her, but on account of them. In the British
Museum I examined several letters written by Turner. They appeared very
much like copy for a Josh Billings Almanac. Such originality in spelling,
punctuation and use of capitals! It was admirable in its uniqueness.
Turner did not think in words--he could only think in paint. But the
young lady did not know this, and when a letter came from her homely
little lover she was shocked, then she laughed, then she showed these
letters to a nice young man who was clerk to a fishmonger and he laughed,
then they both laughed. Then this nice young man and this beautiful young
lady became engaged, and they were married at Saint Andrew's on a lovely
May morning. And they lived happily ever afterward.

Turner was small, and in appearance plain. Yet he was big enough to paint
a big picture, and he was not so homely as to frighten away all beautiful
women. But Philip Gilbert Hamerton tells us, "Fortunate in many things,
Turner was lamentably unfortunate in this: that throughout his whole life
he never came under the ennobling and refining influence of a good
woman."

Like Plato, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton and his own Claude Lorraine,
he was wedded to his art. But at sixty-five his genius suddenly burst
forth afresh, and his work, Mr. Ruskin says, at that time exceeded in
daring brilliancy and in the rich flowering of imagination, anything that
he had previously done. Mr. Ruskin could give no reason, but rumor says,
"A woman."

The one weakness of our hero, that hung to him for life, was the idea
that he could write poetry. The tragedian always thinks he can succeed in
comedy; the comedian spends hours in his garret rehearsing tragedy; most
preachers have an idea that they could have made a quick fortune in
business, and many businessmen are very sure that if they had taken to
the pulpit there would now be fewer empty pews. So the greatest
landscape-painter of recent times imagined himself a poet. Hamerton says
that for remarkable specimens of grammar, spelling and construction
Turner's verse would serve well to be given to little boys to correct.

One spot in Turner's life over which I like to linger is his friendship
with Sir Walter Scott. They collaborated in the production of "Provincial
Antiquities," and spent many happy hours together tramping over Scottish
moors and mountains. Sir Walter lived out his days in happy ignorance
concerning the art of painting, and although he liked the society of
Turner, he confessed that it was quite beyond his ken why people bought
his pictures.

"And as for your books," said Turner, "the covers of some are certainly
very pretty."

Yet these men took a satisfaction in each other's society, such as
brothers might enjoy, but without either man appreciating the greatness
of the other.

Turner's temperament was audacious, self-centered, self-reliant, eager
for success and fame, yet at the same time scorning public opinion--a
paradox often found in the artistic mind of the first class; silent
always--with a bitter silence, disdaining to tell his meaning when the
critics could not perceive it.

He was above all things always the artist, never the realist. The realist
pictures the things he sees; the artist expresses that which he feels.
Children, and all simple folk who use pen, pencil or brush, describe the
things they behold. As intellect develops and goes more in partnership
with hand, imagination soars, and things are outlined that no man can see
except he be able to perceive the invisible. To appreciate a work of art
you must feel as the artist felt.

Now, it is very plain that the vast majority of people are not capable of
this high sense of sublimity which the creative artist feels; and
therefore they do not understand, and not understanding, they wax merry,
or cynical, or sarcastic, or wrathful, or envious; or they pass by
unmoved. And I maintain that those who pass by unmoved are more righteous
than they who scoff.

If I should attempt to explain to my little girl the awe I feel when I
contemplate the miracle of maternity, she would probably change the
subject by prattling to me about a kitten she saw lapping milk from a
blue saucer. If I should attempt to explain to some men what I feel when
I contemplate the miracle of maternity, they would smile and turn it all
into an unspeakable jest. Is not the child nearer to God than the man?

We thus see why to many Browning is only a joke, Whitman an eccentric,
Dante insane and Turner a pretender. These have all sought to express
things which the many can not feel, and consequently they have been, and
are, the butt of jokes and jibes innumerable. "Except ye become as little
children," etc.--and yet the scoffers are often people of worth. Nothing
so shows the limitation of humanity as this: genius often does not
appreciate genius. The inspired, strangely enough, are like the fools,
they do not recognize inspiration.

An Englishman called on Voltaire and found him in bed reading
Shakespeare.

"What are you reading?" asked the visitor.

"Your Shakespeare!" said the philosopher; and as he answered he flung the
book across the room.

"He's not my Shakespeare," said the Englishman.

Greene, Rymer, Dryden, Warburton and Doctor Johnson used collectively or
individually the following expressions in describing the work of the
author of "Hamlet": conceit, overreach, word-play, extravagance,
overdone, absurdity, obscurity, puerility, bombast, idiocy, untruth,
improbability, drivel.

Byron wrote from Florence to Murray:

"I know nothing of painting, and I abhor and spit upon all saints and
so-called spiritual subjects that I see portrayed in these churches."

But the past is so crowded with vituperation that it is difficult to
select--besides that, we do not wish to--but let us take a sample of
arrogance from yesterday to prove our point, and then drop the theme for
something pleasanter.

Pew and pulpit have fallen over each other for the privilege of hitting
Darwin; a Bishop warns his congregation that Emerson is "dangerous";
Spurgeon calls Shelley a sensualist; Doctor Buckley speaks of Susan B.
Anthony as the leader of "the short-haired"; Talmage cracks jokes about
evolution, referring feelingly to "monkey ancestry"; and a prominent
divine of England writes the World's Congress of Religions down as "pious
waxworks." These things being true, and all the sentiments quoted coming
from "good" but blindly zealous men, is it a wonder that the Artist is
not understood?

A brilliant picture, called "Cologne--Evening," attracted much attention
at the Academy Exhibition of Eighteen Hundred Twenty-six. One day the
people who so often collected around Turner's work were shocked to see
that the beautiful canvas had lost its brilliancy, and evidently had been
tampered with by some miscreant. A friend ran to inform Turner of the bad
news. "Don't say anything. I only smirched it with lampblack. It was
spoiling the effect of Laurence's picture that hung next to it. The black
will all wash off after the Exhibition."

And his tender treatment of his aged father shows the gentle side of his
nature. The old barber, whose trembling hand could no longer hold a
razor, wished to remain under his son's roof in guise of a servant; but
the son said, "No; we fought the world together, and now that it seeks to
do me honor, you shall share all the benefits." And Turner never smiled
when the little, wizened, old man would whisper to some visitor, "Yes,
yes; Joseph is the greatest artist in England, and I am his father."

Turner had a way of sending ten-pound notes in blank envelopes to artists
in distress, and he did this so frequently that the news got out finally,
but never through Turner's telling, and then he had to adopt other
methods of doing good by stealth.

I do not contend that Turner's character was immaculate, but still it is
very probable that worldlings do not appreciate what a small part of this
great genius touched the mire.

To prove the sordidness of the man, one critic tells, with visage awfully
solemn, how Turner once gave an engraving to a friend and then, after a
year, sent demanding it back. But to a person with a groat's worth of wit
the matter is plain: the dreamy, abstracted artist, who bumped into his
next-door neighbors on the street and never knew them, forgot he had
given the picture and believed he had only loaned it. This is made still
more apparent by the fact that, when he sent for the engraving in
question, he administered a rebuke to the man for keeping it so long. The
poor dullard who received the note flew into a rage--returned the
picture--sent his compliments and begged the great artist to "take your
picture and go to the devil."

Then certain scribblers, who through mental disease had lost the capacity
for mirth, dipped their pen in aqua fortis and wrote of the "innate
meanness," the "malice prepense" and the "Old Adam" which dwelt in the
heart of Turner. No one laughed except a few Irishmen, and an American
or two, who chanced to hear of the story.

Of Turner's many pictures I will mention in detail but two, both of which
are to be seen on the walls of the National Gallery. First, "The Old
Temeraire." This warship had been sold out of service and was being towed
away to be broken up. The scene was photographed on Turner's brain, and
he immortalized it on canvas. We can not do better than borrow the words
of Mr. Ruskin:

"Of all pictures not visibly involving human pain, this is the most
pathetic ever painted.

"The utmost pensiveness which can ordinarily be given to a landscape
depends on adjuncts of ruin, but no ruin was ever so affecting as the
gliding of this ship to her grave. This particular ship, crowned in the
Trafalgar hour of trial with chief victory--surely, if ever anything
without a soul deserved honor or affection we owe them here. Surely, some
sacred care might have been left in our thoughts for her; some quiet
space amid the lapse of English waters! Nay, not so. We have stern
keepers to trust her glory to--the fire and the worm. Nevermore shall
sunset lay golden robe upon her, nor starlight tremble on the waves that
part at her gliding. Perhaps where the low gate opens to some cottage
garden, the tired traveler may ask, idly, why the moss grows so green on
the rugged wood; and even the sailor's child may not know that the night
dew lies deep in the warrents of the old Temeraire."

"The Burial of Sir David Wilkie at Sea" has brought tears to many eyes.
Yet there is no burial. The ship is far away in the gloom of the offing;
you can not distinguish a single figure on her decks; but you behold her
great sails standing out against the leaden blackness of the night and
you feel that out there a certain scene is being enacted. And if you
listen closely you can hear the solemn voice of the captain as he reads
the burial service. Then there is a pause--a swift, sliding sound--a
splash, and all is over.

Turner left to the British Nation by his will nineteen thousand pencil
and water-color sketches and one hundred large canvases. These pictures
are now to be seen in the National Gallery in rooms set apart and sacred
to Turner's work. For fear it may be thought that the number of sketches
mentioned above is a misprint, let us say that if he had produced one
picture a day for fifty years it would not equal the number of pieces
bestowed by his will on the Nation.

This of course takes no account of the pictures sold during his lifetime,
and, as he left a fortune of one hundred forty-four thousand pounds
(seven hundred twenty thousand dollars), we may infer that not all his
pictures were given away.

At Chelsea I stood in the little room where he breathed his last, that
bleak day in Eighteen-Hundred Fifty-one. The unlettered but motherly old
woman who took care of him in those last days never guessed his
greatness; none in the house or the neighborhood knew.

To them he was only Mr. Booth, an eccentric old man of moderate means,
who liked to muse, read, and play with children. He had no callers, no
friends; he went to the city every day and came back at night. He talked
but little, he was absent-minded, he smoked and thought and smiled and
muttered to himself. He never went to church; but once one of the lodgers
asked him what he thought of God.

"God, God--what do I know of God, what does any one! He is our life--He
is the All, but we need not fear Him--all we can do is to speak the truth
and do our work. Tomorrow we go--where? I know not, but I am not afraid."

Of art, to these strangers he would never speak. Once they urged him to
go with them to an exhibition at Kensington, but he smiled feebly as he
lit his pipe and said, "An Art Exhibition? No, no; a man can show on a
canvas so little of what he feels, it is not worth the while."

At last he died--passed peacefully away--and his attorney came and took
charge of his remains.

Many are the hard words that have been flung off by heedless tongues
about Turner's taking an assumed name and living in obscurity, but "what
you call fault I call accent." Surely, if a great man and world-famous
desires to escape the flatterers and the silken mesh of so-called society
and live the life of simplicity, he has a right to do so. Again, Turner
was a very rich man in his old age; he did much for struggling artists
and assisted aspiring merit in many ways. So it came about that his mail
was burdened with begging letters, and his life made miserable by appeals
from impecunious persons, good and bad, and from churches, societies and
associations without number. He decided to flee them all; and he did.

The "Carthage" already mentioned is one of his finest works, and he
esteemed it so highly that he requested that when death came, his body
should be buried, wrapped in its magnificent folds. But the wish was
disregarded.

His remains rest in the crypt of Saint Paul's, beside the dust of
Reynolds. His statue, in marble, adorns a niche in the great cathedral,
and his name is secure high on the roll of honor.

And if for no other reason, the name and fame of Chelsea should be
deathless as the home of Turner.



JONATHAN SWIFT


    They are but few and meanspirited that live in peace with all
    men.

    --_Tale of a Tub_

[Illustration: JONATHAN SWIFT]


Birrell, the great English essayist, remarks that, "Of
writing books about Dean Swift there is no end." The reason is plain: of
no other prominent writer who has lived during the past two hundred years
do we know so much. His life lies open to us in many books. Boswell did
not write his biography, but Johnson did. Then followed whole schools of
little fishes, some of whom wrote like whales. But among the works of
genuine worth and merit, with Swift for a subject, we have Sir Walter
Scott's nineteen volumes, and lives by Craik, Mitford, Forster, Collins
and Leslie Stephen.

The positive elements in Swift's character make him a most interesting
subject to men and women who are yet on earth, for he was essentially of
the earth, earthy. And until we are shown that the earth is wholly bad,
we shall find much to amuse, much to instruct, much to admire--aye, much
to pity--in the life of Jonathan Swift.

His father married at twenty. His income matched his years--it was just
twenty pounds per annum. His wife was a young girl, bright, animated,
intelligent.

In a few short months this girl carried in her arms a baby. This baby was
wrapped in a tattered shawl and cried piteously from hunger, for the
mother had not enough to eat. She was cold, and sick, and in disgrace.
Her husband, too, was ill, and sorely in debt. It was Midwinter.

When Spring came, and the flowers blossomed, and the birds mated, and
warm breezes came whispering softly from the South, and all the earth was
glad, the husband of this child-wife was in his grave, and she was alone.
Alone? No; she carried in her tired arms the hungry babe, and beneath her
heart she felt the faint flutter of another life.

But to be in trouble and in Ireland is not so bad after all, for the
Irish people have great and tender hearts; and even if they have not much
to bestow in a material way, they can give sympathy, and they do.

So the girl was cared for by kind kindred, and on November Thirtieth,
Sixteen Hundred Sixty-seven, at Number Seven, Hoey's Court, Dublin, the
second baby was born.

Only a little way from Hoey's Court is Saint Patrick's Cathedral. On that
November day, as the tones from the clanging chimes fell on the weary
senses of the young mother, there in her darkened room, little did she
think that the puny bantling she held to her breast would yet be the Dean
of the great church whose bells she heard; and how could she anticipate a
whisper coming to her from the far-off future: "Of writing books about
your babe there is no end!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The man-child was given to an old woman to care for, and
he had the ability, even then, it seems, to win affection. The
foster-mother loved him and she stole him away, carrying him off to
England.

Charity ministered to his needs; charity gave him his education. When
Swift was twenty-one years old he went to see his mother. Her means were
scanty to the point of hardship, but so buoyant was her mind that she
used to declare that she was both rich and happy--and being happy she was
certainly rich. She was a rare woman. Her spirit was independent, her
mind cultivated, her manner gentle and refined, and she was endowed with
a keen sense of humor.

From her, the son derived those qualities which have made him famous. No
man is greater than his mother; but the sons of brave women do not always
make brave men. In one quality Swift was lamentably inferior to his
mother--he did not have her capacity for happiness. He had wit; she had
humor.

We have seen how Swift's father sickened and died. The world was too
severe for him, its buffets too abrupt, its burden too heavy, and he gave
up the fight before the battle had really begun. This lack of courage and
extreme sensitiveness are seen in the son. But so peculiar, complex and
wonderful is this web of life, that our very blunders, weaknesses and
mistakes are woven in and make the fabric stronger. If Swift had
possessed only his mother's merits, without his father's faults, he
would never have shaken the world with laughter, and we should never have
heard of him.

In her lowliness and simplicity the mother of Swift was content. She did
her work in her own little way. She smiled at folly, and each day she
thanked Heaven that her lot was no worse. Not so her son. He brooded in
sullen silence; he cursed Fate for making him a dependent, and even in
his youth he scorned those who benefited him. This was a very human
proceeding.

Many hate, but few have a fine capacity for scorn. Their hate is so
vehement that when hurled it falls short. Swift's scorn was a beautifully
winged arrow, with a poisoned tip. Some who were struck did not at the
time know it.

His misanthropy defeated his purpose, thwarted his ambition, ruined his
aims, and--made his name illustrious.

Swift wished for churchly preferment, but he had not the patience to
wait. He imagined that others were standing in his way, and of course
they were; for under the calm exterior of things ecclesiastic, there is
often a strife, a jealousy and a competition more rabid than in commerce.
To succeed in winning a bishopric requires a sagacity as keen as that
required to become a Senator of Massachusetts or the Governor of New
York. The man bides his time, makes himself popular, secures advocates,
lubricates the way, pulls the wires, and slides noiselessly into place.

Swift lacked diplomacy. When matters did not seem to progress he grew
wrathful, seized his pen and stabbed with it. But as he wrote, the
ludicrousness of the whole situation came over him and, instead of
cursing plain curses, he held his adversary up to ridicule! And this
ridicule is so active, the scorn so mixed with wit, the shafts so finely
feathered with truth, that it is the admiration of mankind. Vitriol mixed
with ink is volatile. Then what? We just run Swift through a coarse sieve
to take out the lumps of Seventeenth Century refuse, and then we give him
to children to make them laugh. Surely no better use can be made of
pessimists. Verily, the author of Gulliver wrote for one purpose, and we
use his work for another. He wished for office, he got contempt; he tried
to subdue his enemies, they subdued him; he worked for the present, and
he won immortality.

Said Heinrich Heine, prone on his bed in Paris: "The wittiest sarcasms of
mortals are only an attempt at jesting when compared with those of the
great Author of the Universe--the Aristophanes of Heaven!"

Wise men over and over have wasted good ink and paper in bewailing
Swift's malice and coarseness. But without these very elements which the
wise men bemoan, Swift would be for us a cipher. Yet love is life and
hate is death, so how can spite benefit? The answer is that, in certain
forms of germination, frost is as necessary as sunshine: so some men have
qualities that lie dormant until the coldness of hate bursts the coarse
husk of indifference.

But while hate may animate, only love inspires. Swift might have stood at
the head of the Church of England; but even so, he would be only a unit
in a long list of names, and as it is, there is only one Swift. Mr.
Talmage averred that not ten men in America knew the name of the
Archbishop of Canterbury until his son wrote a certain book entitled
"Dodo." In putting out this volume, young Benson not only gave us the
strongest possible argument favoring the celibacy of the clergy, but at
the same time, if Talmage's statement is correct, he made known his
father's name.

In all Swift's work, save "The Journal to Stella," the animating motive
seems to have been to confound his enemies; and according to the
well-known line in that hymn sung wherever the Union Jack flies, we must
believe this to be a perfectly justifiable ambition. But occasionally on
his pages we find gentle words of wisdom that were meant evidently for
love's eyes alone. There is much that is pure boyish frolic, and again
and again there are clever strokes directed at folly. He has shot certain
superstitions through with doubt, and in his manner of dealing with error
he has proved to us a thing it were well not to forget: that pleasantry
is more efficacious than vehemence.

Let me name one incident by way of proof--the well-known one of
Partridge, the almanac-maker. This worthy cobbler was an astrologer of
no mean repute. He foretold events with much discretion. The ignorant
bought his almanacs, and many believed in them as a Bible--in fact,
astrology was enjoying a "boom."

Swift came to London and found that Partridge's predictions were the
theme at the coffeehouses. He saw men argue and wax wroth, grow red in
the face as they talked loud and long about nothing--just nothing. The
whole thing struck Swift as being very funny; and he wrote an
announcement of his intention to publish a rival almanac. He explained
that he, too, was an astrologer, but an honest one, while Partridge was
an impostor and a cheat; in fact, Partridge foretold only things which
every one knew would come true. As for himself, he could discern the
future with absolute certainty, and to prove to the world his power he
would now make a prophecy. In substance, it was as follows: "My first
prediction is but a trifle; it relates to Partridge, the almanac-maker. I
have consulted the star of his nativity, and find that he will die on the
Twenty-ninth day of March, next." This was signed, "Isaac Bickerstaff,"
and duly issued in pamphlet form. It had such an air of sincerity that
both the believers and the scoffers read it with interest.

The Thirtieth of March came, and another pamphlet from "Isaac
Bickerstaff" appeared, announcing the fulfilment of the prophecy. It
related how toward the end of March Partridge began to languish; how he
grew ill and at last took to his bed, and, his conscience then smiting
him, he confessed to the world that he was a fraud and a rogue, that all
his prophecies were impositions; he then passed away.

Partridge was wild with rage, and immediately replied in a manifesto
declaring that he was alive and well, and moreover was alive on March
Twenty-ninth.

To this "Bickerstaff" replied in a pamphlet more seriously humorous than
ever, reaffirming that Partridge was dead, and closing with the statement
that, "If an uninformed carcass still walks about calling itself
Partridge, I do not in any way consider myself responsible for that."

The joke set all London on a grin. Wherever Partridge went he was met
with smiles and jeers, and astrology became only a jest to a vast number
of people who had formerly believed in it seriously.

When Benjamin Franklin started his "Poor Richard's Almanac," twenty-five
years later, in the first issue he prophesied the death of one Dart who
set the pace at that time as almanac-maker in America. The man was to
expire on the afternoon of October Seventeenth, Seventeen Hundred
Thirty-eight, at three twenty-nine o'clock.

Dart, being somewhat of a joker himself, came out with an announcement
that he, too, had consulted the oracle, and found he would live until
October Twenty-sixth, and possibly longer.

On October Eighteenth, Franklin announced Dart's death, and explained
that it occurred promptly on time, all as prophesied.

Yet Dart lived to publish many almanacs; but Poor Richard got his
advertisement, and many staid, broad-brimmed Philadelphians smiled who
had never smiled before--not only smiled but subscribed.

Benjamin Franklin was a great and good man, as any man must be who
fathers another's jokes, introducing these orphaned children to the world
as his own.

Perhaps no one who has written of Swift knew him so well as Delany. And
this writer, who seems to have possessed a judicial quality far beyond
most men, has told us that Swift was moral in conduct to the point of
asceticism. His deportment was grave and dignified, and his duties as a
priest were always performed with exemplary diligence. He visited the
sick, regularly administered the sacraments, and was never known to
absent himself from morning prayers.

When Harley was Lord Treasurer, Swift seems to have been on the topmost
crest of the wave of popularity. Invitations from nobility flowed in upon
him, beautiful women deigned to go in search of his society, royalty
recognized him. And yet all this time he was only a country priest with a
liking for literature.

Collins tells us that the reason for his popularity is plain: "Swift was
one of the kings of the earth. Like Pope Innocent the Third, like
Chatham, he was one to whom the world involuntarily pays tribute."

His will was a will of adamant; his intellect so keen that it impressed
every one who approached him; his temper singularly stern, dauntless and
haughty. But his wit was never filled with gaiety: he was never known to
laugh. Amid the wildest uproar that his sallies caused, he would sit with
face austere--unmoved.

Personally, Swift was a gentleman. When he was scurrilous, abusive,
ribald, malicious, it was anonymously. Is this to his credit? I should
not say so, but if a man is indecent and he hides behind a "nom de
plume," it is at least presumptive proof that he is not dead to shame.

Leslie Stephen tells us that Swift was a Churchman to the backbone. No
man who is a "Churchman to the backbone" is ever very pious: the spirit
maketh alive, but the letter killeth. One looks in vain for traces of
spirituality in the Dean. His sermons are models of churchly commonplace
and full of the stock phrases of a formal religion. He never bursts into
flame. Yet he most thoroughly and sincerely believed in religion. "I
believe in religion, it keeps the masses in check. And then I uphold
Christianity because if it is abolished the stability of the Church might
be endangered," he said.

Philip asked the eunuch a needless question when he inquired,
"Understandest thou what thou readest?" No one so poorly sexed as Swift
can comprehend spiritual truth: spirituality and sexuality are elements
that are never separated. Swift was as incapable of spirituality as he
was of the "grand passion."

The Dean had affection; he was a warm friend; he was capable even of a
degree of love, but his sexual and spiritual nature was so cold and
calculating that he did not hesitate to sacrifice love to churchly
ambition.

He argued that the celibacy of the Catholic clergy is a wise expediency.
The bachelor physician and the unmarried priest have an influence among
gentle womankind, young or old, married or single, that a benedict can
never hope for. Why this is so might be difficult to explain, but
discerning men know the fact. In truth, when a priest marries he should
at once take a new charge, for if he remains with his old flock a goodly
number of his "lady parishioners," in ages varying from seventeen to
seventy, will with fierce indignation rend his reputation.

Swift was as wise as a serpent, but not always as harmless as a dove. He
was making every effort to secure his miter and crosier: he had many
women friends in London and elsewhere who had influence. Rather than run
the risk of losing this influence he never acknowledged Stella as his
wife. Choosing fame rather than love, he withered at the heart, then died
at the top.

The life of every man is a seamless garment--its woof his thoughts, its
warp his deeds. When for him the roaring loom of time stops and the
thread is broken, foolish people sometimes point to certain spots in the
robe and say, "Oh, why did he not leave that out!" not knowing that
every action of man is a sequence from off Fate's spindle.

Let us accept the work of genius as we find it; not bemoaning because it
is not better, but giving thanks because it is so good.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well-fed, rollicking priest is Father O'Toole of Dublin,
with a big, round face, a double chin, and a brogue that you can cut with
a knife.

My letter of introduction from Monseigneur Satolli caused him at once to
bring in a large, suspicious, black bottle and two glasses. Then we
talked--talked of Ireland's wrongs and woman's rights, and of all the
Irishmen in America whom I was supposed to know. We spoke of the
illustrious Irishmen who had passed on, and I mentioned a name that
caused the holy father to spring from his chair in indignation.

"Shwift is it! Shwift! No, me lad, don't go near him! He was the divil's
own, the very worsht that ever followed the swish of a petticoat. No, no;
if ye go to his grave it'll bring ye bad luck for a year. It's Tom Moore
ye want--Tom was the bye. Arrah! now, and it's meself phat'll go wid ye."

And so the reverend father put on a long, black coat and his Saint
Patrick's Day hat, and we started. We were met at the gate by a
delegation of "shpalpeens" that had located me on the inside of the house
and were lying in wait.

All American travelers in Ireland are supposed to be millionaires, and
this may possibly explain the lavish attention that is often tendered
them. At any rate, various members of the delegation wished "long life to
the iligant 'merican gintleman," and hinted in terms unmistakable that
pence would be acceptable. The holy father applied his cane vigorously to
the ragged rears of the more presumptuous, and bade them begone, but
still they followed and pressed close about.

"Here, I'll show you how to get rid of the dirty gang," said his
holiness. "Have ye a penny, I don't know?"

I produced a handful of small change, which the father immediately took
and tossed into the street. Instantly there was a heterogeneous mass of
young Hibernians piled up in the dirt in a grand struggle for spoils. It
reminded me of football incidents I had seen at fair Harvard. In the
meantime, we escaped down a convenient alley and crossed the River Liffey
to Old Dublin; inside the walls of the old city, through crooked lanes
and winding streets that here and there showed signs of departed
gentility, where now was only squalor, want and vice, until we came to
Number Twelve Angier Street, a quaint, three-story brick building now
used as a "public." In the wall above the door is a marble slab with this
inscription: "Here was born Thomas Moore, on the Twenty-eighth day of
May, Seventeen Hundred Seventy-eight." Above this in a niche is a bust of
the poet.

Tom's father was a worthy greengrocer who, according to the author of
"Lalla Rookh," always gave good measure and full count. It was ever a
cause of regret to the elder Moore that his son did not show sufficient
capacity to be trusted safely with the business.

The upper rooms of the house were shown to us by an obliging landlady.
Father O'Toole had been here before, and led the way to a snug little
chamber and explained that in this room the future poet of Ireland was
found under one of his father's cabbage-leaves.

We descended to the neat little barroom with its sanded floor and
polished glassware and shining brass. The holy father ordered
'arf-and-'arf at my expense and recited one of Moore's ballads. The
landlady then gave us Byron's "Here's a Health to Thee, Tom Moore." A
neighbor came in. Then we had more ballads, more 'arf-and-'arf, a
selection from "Lalla Rookh," and various tales of the poet's early life,
which possibly would be hard to verify.

And as the tumult raged, the smoke of battle gave me opportunity to slip
away. I crossed the street, turned down one block, and entered Saint
Patrick's Cathedral.

Great, roomy, gloomy, solemn temple, where the rumble of city traffic is
deadened to a faint hum:

    "Without, the world's unceasing noises rise,
    Turmoil, disquietude and busy fears;
    Within, there are the sounds of other years,
    Thoughts full of prayer and solemn harmonies
    Which imitate on earth the peaceful skies."

Other worshipers were there. Standing beside a great stone pillar I could
make them out kneeling on the tiled floor. Gradually, my eyes became
accustomed to the subdued light, and right at my feet I saw a large
brass plate set in the floor and on it only this:

    Swift
    Died Oct. 19, 1745
    Aged 78

On the wall near is a bronze tablet, the inscription of which, in Latin,
was dictated by Swift himself:

"Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift, Dean of this Cathedral, where
fierce indignation can no longer rend his heart. Go! wayfarer, and
imitate, if thou canst, one who, as far as in him lay, was an earnest
champion of liberty----"

Above this is a fine bust of the Dean, and to the right is another
tablet:

"Underneath lie interred the mortal remains of Mrs. Hester Johnson,
better known to the world as 'Stella,' under which she is celebrated in
the writings of Doctor Jonathan Swift, Dean of this Cathedral. She was a
person of extraordinary endowments and accomplishments, in body, mind and
behavior; justly admired and respected by all who knew her, on account of
her eminent virtues as well as for her great natural and acquired
perfections."

These were suffering souls and great. Would they have been so great had
they not suffered? Who can tell? Were the waters troubled in order that
they might heal the people?

Did Swift misuse this excellent woman, is a question that has been asked
and answered again and again.

A great author has written:

"A woman, a tender, noble, excellent woman, has a dog's heart. She licks
the hand that strikes her. And wrong nor cruelty nor injustice nor
disloyalty can cause her to turn."

Death in pity took Stella first; took her in the loyalty of love and the
fulness of faith from a world which for love has little recompense, and
for faith small fulfilment.

Stella was buried by torchlight, at midnight, on the Thirtieth day of
January, Seventeen Hundred Twenty-eight. Swift was sick at the time, and
wrote in his journal: "This is the night of her funeral, and I am removed
to another apartment that I may not see the light in the church which is
just over against my window." But in his imagination he saw the gleaming
torches as their dull light shone through the colored windows, and he
said, "They will soon do as much for me."

But seventeen years came crawling by before the torches flared, smoked
and gleamed as the mourners chanted a requiem, and the clods fell on the
coffin, and their echoes intermingled with the solemn voice of the priest
as he said, "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes."

In Eighteen Hundred Thirty-five, the graves were opened and casts taken
of the skulls. The top of Swift's skull had been sawed off at the
autopsy, and a bottle in which was a parchment setting forth the facts
was inserted in the head that had conceived "Gulliver's Travels."

I examined the casts. The woman's head is square and shapely. Swift's
head is a refutation of phrenology, being small, sloping and ordinary.

The bones of Swift and Stella were placed in one coffin, and now rest
under three feet of concrete, beneath the floor of Saint Patrick's.

So sleep the lovers joined in death.



WALT WHITMAN


    All seems beautiful to me.
    I can repeat over to men and women, You have done
        such good to me I would do the same to you,
    I will recruit for myself and you as I go.
    I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
    I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them.
                                 --_Song of the Open Road_

[Illustration: WALT WHITMAN]


Max Nordau wrote a book--wrote it with his tongue in his
cheek, a dash of vitriol in the ink, and with a pen that scratched.

And the first critic who seemed to place a just estimate on the work was
Mr. Zangwill (he who has no Christian name). Mr. Zangwill made an attempt
to swear out a "writ de lunatico inquirendo" against his Jewish brother,
on the ground that the first symptom of insanity is often the delusion
that others are insane; and this being so, Doctor Nordau was not a safe
subject to be at large. But the Assize of Public Opinion denied the
petition, and the dear people bought the book at from three to five
dollars a copy. Printed in several languages, its sales have mounted to a
hundred thousand volumes, and the author's net profit is full forty
thousand dollars. No wonder is it that, with pockets full to bursting,
Doctor Nordau goes out behind the house and laughs uproariously whenever
he thinks of how he has worked the world!

If Doctor Talmage is the Barnum of Theology, surely we may call Doctor
Nordau the Barnum of Science. His agility in manipulating facts is equal
to Hermann's now-you-see-it and now-you-don't, with pocket-handkerchiefs.
Yet Hermann's exhibition is worth the admittance fee, and Nordau's book
(seemingly written in collaboration with Jules Verne and Mark Twain)
would be cheap for a dollar. But what I object to is Professor Hermann's
disciples posing as Sure-Enough Materializing Mediums, and Professor
Lombroso's followers calling themselves Scientists, when each goes forth
without scrip or purse with no other purpose than to supply themselves
with both.

Yet it was Barnum himself who said that the public delights in being
humbugged, and strange it is that we will not allow ourselves to be
thimblerigged without paying for the privilege.

Nordau's success hinged on his audacious assumption that the public knew
nothing of the Law of Antithesis. Yet Plato explained that the opposites
of things look alike, and sometimes are alike--and that was quite a while
ago.

The multitude answered, "Thou hast a devil." Many of them said, "He hath
a devil and is mad." Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, thou art
beside thyself." And Nordau shouts in a voice more heady than that of
Pilate, more throaty than that of Festus, "Mad--Whitman was--mad beyond
the cavil of a doubt!"

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two, Lincoln, looking out of a window (before
lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed) on one of the streets of Washington,
saw a workingman in shirt-sleeves go by. Turning to a friend, the
President said, "There goes a MAN!" The exclamation sounds singularly
like that of Napoleon on meeting Goethe. But the Corsican's remark was
intended for the poet's ear, while Lincoln did not know who his man was,
although he came to know him afterward.

Lincoln in his early days was a workingman and an athlete, and he never
quite got the idea out of his head (and I am glad) that he was still a
hewer of wood. He once told George William Curtis that he more than half
expected yet to go back to the farm and earn his daily bread by the work
that his hands found to do; he dreamed of it nights, and whenever he saw
a splendid toiler, he felt like hailing the man as brother and striking
hands with him. When Lincoln saw Whitman strolling majestically past, he
took him for a stevedore or possibly the foreman of a construction gang.

Whitman was fifty-one years old then. His long, flowing beard was
snow-white, and the shock that covered his Jove-like head was iron-gray.
His form was that of an Apollo who had arrived at years of discretion. He
weighed an even two hundred pounds and was just six feet high. His plain,
check, cotton shirt was open at the throat to the breast; and he had an
independence, a self-sufficiency, and withal a cleanliness, a sweetness
and a gentleness, that told that, although he had a giant's strength, he
did not use it like a giant. Whitman used no tobacco, neither did he
apply hot and rebellious liquors to his blood and with unblushing
forehead woo the means of debility and disease. Up to his fifty-third
year he had never known a sick day, although at thirty his hair had
begun to whiten. He had the look of age in his youth and the look of
youth in his age that often marks the exceptional man.

But at fifty-three his splendid health was crowded to the breaking
strain. How? Through caring for wounded, sick and dying men, hour after
hour, day after day, through the long, silent watches of the night. From
Eighteen Hundred Sixty-four to the day of his death in Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-two, he was, physically, a man in ruins. But he did not wither at
the top. Through it all he held the healthy optimism of boyhood, carrying
with him the perfume of the morning and the lavish heart of youth.

Doctor Bucke, who was superintendent of a hospital for the insane for
fifteen years, and the intimate friend of Whitman all the time, has said:
"His build, his stature, his exceptional health of mind and body, the
size and form of his features, his cleanliness of mind and body, the
grace of his movements and gestures, the grandeur, and especially the
magnetism, of his presence; the charm of his voice, his genial, kindly
humor; the simplicity of his habits and tastes, his freedom from
convention, the largeness and the beauty of his manner; his calmness and
majesty; his charity and forbearance--his entire unresentfulness under
whatever provocation; his liberality, his universal sympathy with
humanity in all ages and lands, his broad tolerance, his catholic
friendliness, and his unexampled faculty of attracting affection, all
prove his perfectly proportioned manliness."

But Whitman differed from the disciple of Lombroso in two notable
particulars: He had no quarrel with the world, and he did not wax rich.
"One thing thou lackest, O Walt Whitman!" we might have said to the poet;
"you are not a financier." He died poor. But this is no proof of
degeneracy, save on 'Change. When the children of Count Tolstoy
endeavored to have him adjudged insane, the Court denied the application
and voiced the wisest decision that ever came out of Russia: A man who
gives away his money is not necessarily more foolish than he who saves
it.

And with Horace L. Traubel I assert that Whitman was the sanest man I
ever saw.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some men make themselves homes; and others there be who
rent rooms. Walt Whitman was essentially a citizen of the world: the
world was his home and mankind were his friends. There was a quality in
the man peculiarly universal: a strong, virile poise that asked for
nothing, but took what it needed.

He loved men as brothers, yet his brothers after the flesh understood him
not; he loved children--they turned to him instinctively--but he had no
children of his own; he loved women, and yet this strongly sexed and
manly man never loved a woman. And I might here say as Philip Gilbert
Hamerton said of Turner, "He was lamentably unfortunate in this:
throughout his whole life he never came under the ennobling and refining
influence of a good woman."

It requires two to make a home. The first home was made when a woman,
cradling in her loving arms a baby, crooned a lullaby. All the tender
sentimentality we throw around a place is the result of the sacred
thought that we live there with some one else. It is "our" home. The home
is a tryst--the place where we retire and shut the world out. Lovers make
a home, just as birds make a nest, and unless a man knows the spell of
the divine passion I hardly see how he can have a home at all. He only
rents a room.

Camden is separated from the city of Philadelphia by the Delaware River.
Camden lies low and flat--a great, sandy, monotonous waste of straggling
buildings. Here and there are straight rows of cheap houses, evidently
erected by staid, broad-brimmed speculators from across the river, with
eyes on the main chance. But they reckoned ill, for the town did not
boom. Some of these houses have marble steps and white, barn-like
shutters, that might withstand a siege. When a funeral takes place in one
of these houses, the shutters are tied with strips of mournful, black
alpaca for a year and a day. Engineers, dockmen, express-drivers and
mechanics largely make up the citizens of Camden. Of course, Camden has
its smug corner where prosperous merchants most do congregate: where they
play croquet in the front yards, and have window-boxes, and a piano and
veranda-chairs and terra-cotta statuary; but for the most part the houses
of Camden are rented, and rented cheap.

Many of the domiciles are frame and have the happy tumbledown look of the
back streets in Charleston or Richmond--those streets where the white
trash merges off into prosperous colored aristocracy. Old hats do duty in
keeping out the fresh air where Providence has interfered and broken out
a pane; blinds hang by a single hinge; bricks on the chimney-tops
threaten the passersby; stringers and posts mark the place where proud
picket fences once stood--the pickets having gone for kindling long ago.
In the warm, Summer evenings, men in shirt-sleeves sit on the front steps
and stolidly smoke, while children pile up sand in the streets and play
in the gutters.

Parallel with Mickle Street, a block away, are railway-tracks. There
noisy switch-engines that never keep Sabbath, puff back and forth, day
and night, sending showers of soot and smoke when the wind is right (and
it usually is) straight over Number 328, where, according to John
Addington Symonds and William Michael Rossetti, lived the mightiest seer
of the century--the man whom they rank with Socrates, Epictetus, Saint
Paul, Michelangelo and Dante.

It was in August of Eighteen Hundred Eighty-three that I first walked up
that little street--a hot, sultry Summer evening. There had been a shower
that turned the dust of the unpaved roadway to mud. The air was close and
muggy. The houses, built right up to the sidewalks, over which, in little
gutters, the steaming sewage ran, seemed to have discharged their
occupants into the street to enjoy the cool of the day. Barefooted
children by the score paddled in the mud. All the steps were filled with
loungers; some of the men had discarded not only coats but shirts as
well, and now sat in flaming red underwear, holding babies.

They say that "woman's work is never done," but to the women of Mickle
Street this does not apply--but stay! perhaps their work IS never done.
Anyway, I remember that women sat on the curbs in calico dresses or
leaned out of the windows, and all seemed supremely free from care.

"Can you tell me where Mr. Whitman lives?" I asked a portly dame who was
resting her elbows on a windowsill.

"Who?"

"Mr. Whitman!"

"You mean Walt Whitman?"

"Yes."

"Show the gentleman, Molly; he'll give you a nickel, I'm sure!"

I had not seen Molly. She stood behind me, but as her mother spoke she
seized tight hold of one of my fingers, claiming me as her lawful prey,
and all the other children looked on with envious eyes as little Molly
threw at them glances of scorn and marched me off. Molly was five, going
on six, she told me. She had bright-red hair, a grimy face and little
chapped feet that made not a sound as we walked. She got her nickel and
carried it in her mouth, and this made conversation difficult. After
going one block she suddenly stopped, squared me around and pointing
said, "Them is he!" and disappeared.

In a wheeled rattan chair, in the hallway, a little back from the door of
a plain, weather-beaten house, sat the coatless philosopher, his face and
head wreathed in a tumult of snow-white hair.

I had a little speech, all prepared weeks before and committed to memory,
that I intended to repeat, telling him how I had read his poems and
admired them. And further I had stored away in my mind a few blades from
"Leaves of Grass" that I purposed to bring out at the right time as a
sort of certificate of character. But when that little girl jerked me
right-about-face and heartlessly deserted me, I stared dumbly at the man
whom I had come a hundred miles to see. I began angling for my little
speech, but could not fetch it.

"Hello!" called the philosopher, out of the white aureole. "Hello! come
here, boy!"

He held out his hand and as I took it there was a grasp with meaning in
it.

"Don't go yet, Joe," he said to a man seated on the step smoking a
cob-pipe.

"The old woman's calling me," said the swarthy Joe.

Joe evidently held truth lightly. "So long, Walt!"

"Good-by, Joe. Sit down, lad; sit down!"

I sat in the doorway at his feet.

"Now isn't it queer--that fellow is a regular philosopher and works out
some great problems, but he's ashamed to express 'em. He could no more
give you his best than he could fly. Ashamed, I s'pose, ashamed of the
best that is in him. We are all a little that way--all but me--I try to
write my best, regardless of whether the thing sounds ridiculous or
not--regardless of what others think or say or have said. Ashamed of our
holiest, truest and best! Is it not too bad?

"You are twenty-five now? Well, boy, you may grow until you are thirty
and then you will be as wise as you ever will be. Haven't you noticed
that men of sixty have no clearer vision than men of forty? One reason
is that we have been taught that we know all about life and death and the
mysteries of the grave. But the main reason is that we are ashamed to
shove out and be ourselves. Jesus expressed His own individuality perhaps
more than any other man we know of, and so He wields a wider influence
than any other. And this though we only have a record of just
twenty-seven days of His life. Now that fellow that just left is an
engineer, and he dreams some beautiful dreams; but he never expresses
them to any one--only hints them to me, and this only at twilight. He is
like a weasel or a mink or a whippoorwill--he comes out only at night.

"'If the weather was like this all the time, people would never learn to
read and write,' said Joe to me just as you arrived. And isn't that so?
Here we can count a hundred people up and down this street, and not one
is reading, not one but that is just lolling about, except the
children--and they are happy only when playing in the dirt. Why, if this
tropical weather should continue we would all slip back into South Sea
Islanders! You can raise good men only in a little strip around the North
Temperate Zone--when you get out of the track of a glacier, a
tender-hearted, sympathetic man of brains is an accident."

Then the old man suddenly ceased and I imagined that he was following the
thought out in his own mind. We sat silent for a space. The twilight
fell, and a lamplighter lit the street lamp on the corner. He stopped an
instant to salute the poet cheerily as he passed. The man sitting on the
doorstep, across the street, smoking, knocked the ashes out of his pipe
on his boot-heel and went indoors. Women called their children, who did
not respond, but still played on. Then the creepers were carried in, to
be fed their bread-and-milk and put to bed; and, shortly, shrill feminine
voices ordered the other children indoors, and some obeyed.

The night crept slowly on.

I heard Old Walt chuckle behind me, talking incoherently to himself, and
then he said, "You are wondering why I live in such a place as this?"

"Yes; that is exactly what I was thinking of!"

"You think I belong in the country, in some quiet, shady place. But all I
have to do is to shut my eyes and go there. No man loves the woods more
than I--I was born within sound of the sea--down on Long Island, and I
know all the songs that the seashell sings. But this babble and babel of
voices pleases me better, especially since my legs went on a strike, for
although I can't walk, you see I can still mix with the throng, so I
suffer no loss.

"In the woods, a man must be all hands and feet. I like the folks, the
plain, ignorant, unpretentious folks; and the youngsters that come and
slide on my cellar-door do not disturb me a bit. I'm different from
Carlyle--you know he had a noise-proof room where he locked himself in.
Now, when a huckster goes by, crying his wares, I open the blinds, and
often wrangle with the fellow over the price of things. But the rogues
have got into a way lately of leaving truck for me and refusing pay.
Today an Irishman passed in three quarts of berries and walked off
pretending to be mad because I offered to pay. When he was gone, I
beckoned to the babies over the way--they came over and we had a feast.

"Yes, I like the folks around here; I like the women, and I like the men,
and I like the babies, and I like the youngsters that play in the alley
and make mud pies on my steps. I expect to stay here until I die."

"You speak of death as a matter of course--you are not afraid to die?"

"Oh, no, my boy; death is as natural as life, and a deal kinder. But it
is all good--I accept it all and give thanks--you have not forgotten my
chant to death?"

"Not I!"

I repeated a few lines from "Drum-Taps."

He followed me, rapping gently with his cane on the floor, and with
little interjectory remarks of "That's so!" "Very true!" "Good, good!"
And when I faltered and lost the lines he picked them up where "The voice
of my spirit tallied the song of the bird."

In a strong, clear voice, but a voice full of sublime feeling, he
repeated those immortal lines, beginning, "Come, lovely and soothing
Death."

    "Come, lovely and soothing Death,
    Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
    In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
    Sooner or later, delicate Death.
    Praised be the fathomless universe
    For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
    And for love, sweet love--but praise! praise! praise
    For the sure enwinding arms of cool, enfolding Death.
    Dark Mother, always gliding near with soft feet,
    Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
    Then I chant for thee, I glorify thee above all,
    I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.
    Approach, strong deliveress,
    When it is so, when thou hast taken them
    I joyously sing the death,
    Lost in the loving, floating ocean of thee,
    Laved in the flood of thy bliss, O Death.
    From me to thee glad serenades,
    Dances for thee I propose, saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,
    And the sights of the open landscape and the high spread sky are fitting,
    And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.
    The night in silence under many a star,
    The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I know,
    And the soul turning to thee, O vast and well-veil'd Death,
    And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.
    Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
    Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,
    Over the dense-packed cities all, and the teeming wharves, and ways,
    I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O Death."

The last playing youngster had silently disappeared from the streets. The
doorsteps were deserted--save where across the way a young man and maiden
sat in the gloaming, conversing in low monotone.

The clouds had drifted away.

A great, yellow star shone out above the chimney-tops in the East.

I arose to go.

"I wish you'd come oftener--I see you so seldom, lad," said the old man,
half-plaintively.

I did not explain that we had never met before--that I had come from New
York purposely to see him. He thought he knew me. And so he did--as much
as I could impart. The rest was irrelevant. As to my occupation or name,
what booted it!--he had no curiosity concerning me. I grasped his
outstretched hand in both of my own.

He said not a word; neither did I.

I turned and made my way to the ferry--past the whispering lovers on the
doorsteps, and over the railway-tracks where the noisy engines puffed. As
I walked on board the boat, the wind blew up cool and fresh from the
West. The star in the East grew brighter, and other stars came out,
reflecting themselves like gems in the dark blue of the Delaware.

There was a soft sublimity in the sound of the bells that came echoing
over the waters. My heart was very full, for I had felt the thrill of
being in the presence of a great and loving soul.

It was the first time and the last that I ever saw Walt Whitman.

       *       *       *       *       *

A good many writers bear no message: they carry no torch.
Sometimes they excite wonder, or they amuse and divert--divert us from
our work. To be diverted to a certain degree may be well, but there is a
point where earth ends and cloud-land begins, and even great poets
occasionally befog the things they would reveal.

Homer was seemingly blind to much simple truth; Vergil carries you away
from earth; Horace was undone without his Mæcenas; Dante makes you an
exile; Shakespeare was singularly silent concerning the doubts,
difficulties and common lives of common people; Byron's corsair life does
not help you in your toil, and in his fight with English Bards and Scotch
Reviewers we crave neutrality; to be caught in the meshes of Pope's
"Dunciad" is not pleasant; and Lowell's "Fable for Critics" is only
another "Dunciad." But above all other poets who have ever lived, the
author of "Leaves of Grass" was the poet of humanity.

Milton knew all about Heaven, and Dante conducts us through Hell, but it
was left for Whitman to show us Earth. His voice never goes so high that
it breaks into an impotent falsetto, neither does it growl and snarl at
things it does not understand and not understanding does not like. He was
so great that he had no envy, and his insight was so sure that he had no
prejudice. He never boasted that he was higher, nor claimed to be less
than any of the other sons of men. He met all on terms of absolute
equality, mixing with the poor, the lowly, the fallen, the oppressed, the
cultured, the rich--simply as brother with brother. And when he said to
an outcast, "Not till the sun excludes you will I exclude you," he voiced
a sentiment worthy of a god.

He was brother to the elements, the mountains, the seas, the clouds, the
sky. He loved them all and partook of them all in his large, free,
unselfish, untrammeled nature. His heart knew no limits, and feeling his
feet mortised in granite and his footsteps tenoned in infinity he knew
the amplitude of time.

Only the great are generous; only the strong are forgiving. Like Lot's
wife, most poets look back over their shoulders; and those who are not
looking backward insist that we shall look into the future, and the vast
majority of the whole scribbling rabble accept the precept, "Man never
is, but always to be blest."

We grieve for childhood's happy days, and long for sweet rest in Heaven
and sigh for mansions in the skies. And the people about us seem so
indifferent, and our friends so lukewarm; and really no one understands
us, and our environment queers our budding spirituality, and the frost of
jealousy nips our aspirations: "O Paradise, O Paradise, the world is
growing old; who would not be at rest and free where love is never cold."
So sing the fearsome dyspeptics of the stylus. O anemic he, you bloodless
she, nipping at crackers, sipping at tea, why not consider that, although
evolutionists tell us where we came from, and theologians inform us
where we are going to, yet the only thing we are really sure of is that
we are here!

The present is the perpetually moving spot where history ends and
prophecy begins. It is our only possession: the past we reach through
lapsing memory, halting recollection, hearsay and belief; we pierce the
future by wistful faith or anxious hope; but the present is beneath our
feet.

Whitman sings the beauty and the glory of the present. He rebukes our
groans and sighs--bids us look about on every side at the wonders of
creation, and at the miracles within our grasp. He lifts us up, restores
us to our own, introduces us to man and to Nature, and thus infuses into
us courage, manly pride, self-reliance, and the strong faith that comes
when we feel our kinship with God.

He was so mixed with the universe that his voice took on the sway of
elemental integrity and candor. Absolutely honest, this man was unafraid
and unashamed, for Nature has neither apprehension, shame nor vainglory.
In "Leaves of Grass" Whitman speaks as all men have ever spoken who
believe in God and in themselves--oracular, without apology or
abasement--fearlessly. He tells of the powers and mysteries that pervade
and guide all life, all death, all purpose. His work is masculine, as the
sun is masculine; for the Prophetic Voice is as surely masculine as the
lullaby and lyric cry are feminine.

Whitman brings the warmth of the sun to the buds of the heart, so that
they open and bring forth form, color, perfume. He becomes for them
aliment and dew; so these buds become blossoms, fruits, tall branches and
stately trees that cast refreshing shadows.

There are men who are to other men as the shadow of a mighty rock in a
weary land--such is Walt Whitman.



VICTOR HUGO


    Man is neither master of his life nor of his fate. He can but
    offer to his fellowmen his efforts to diminish human suffering;
    he can but offer to God his indomitable faith in the growth of
    liberty.

    --_Victor Hugo_

[Illustration: VICTOR HUGO]


The father of Victor Hugo was a general in the army of
Napoleon, his mother a woman of rare grace and brave good sense. Victor
was the third of three sons. Six weeks before the birth of her youngest
boy, the mother wrote to a very dear friend of her husband, this letter:

    "To General Victor Lahorie,
        "Citizen-General:

    "Soon to become the mother of a third child, it would be very
    agreeable to me if you would act as its godfather. Its name shall
    be yours--one which you have not belied and one which you have so
    well honored: Victor or Victorine. Your consent will be a
    testimonial of your friendship for us.

    "Please accept, Citizen-General, the assurance of our sincere
    attachment.

    "Femme Hugo."

Victorine was expected, Victor came. General Lahorie acted as sponsor for
the infant.

A soldier's family lives here or there, everywhere or anywhere. In
Eighteen Hundred Eight, General Hugo was with Joseph Bonaparte in Spain.
Victor was then six years old. His mother had taken as a residence a
quaint house in the Impasse of the Feullantines, Paris.

It was one of those peculiar old places occasionally seen in France. The
environs of London have a few; America none of which I know. This house,
roomy, comfortable and antiquated, was surrounded with trees and a tangle
of shrubbery, vines and flowers; above it all was a high stone wall, and
in front a picket iron gate. It was a mosaic--a sample of the Sixteenth
Century inlaid in this; solitary as the woods; quiet as a convent; sacred
as a forest; a place for dreams, and reverie, and rest. At the back of
the house was a dilapidated little chapel. Here an aged priest counted
his beads, said daily mass, and endeavored to keep moth, rust and ruin
from the house of prayer. This priest was a scholar, a man of learning:
he taught the children of Madame Hugo.

Another man lived in this chapel. He never went outside the gate and used
to take exercise at night. He had a cot-bed in the shelter of the altar;
beneath his pillow were a pair of pistols and a copy of Tacitus. This man
lived there Summer and Winter, although there was no warmth save the
scanty sunshine that stole in through the shattered windows. He, too,
taught the children and gave them little lectures on history. He loved
the youngest boy and would carry him on his shoulder and tell him stories
of deeds of valor.

One day a file of soldiers came. They took this man and manacled him. The
mother sought to keep her children inside the house so that they should
not witness the scene, but she did not succeed. The boys fought their
mother and the servants in a mad frenzy trying to rescue the old man.
The soldiers formed in columns of four and marched their prisoner away.

Not long after, Madame Hugo was passing the church of Saint Jacques du
Haut Pas: her youngest boy's hand was in hers. She saw a large placard
posted in front of the church. She paused and pointing to it said,
"Victor, read that!" The boy read. It was a notice that General Lahorie
had been shot that day on the plains of Grenville by order of a court
martial.

General Lahorie was a gentleman of Brittany. He was a Republican, and
five years before had grievously offended the Emperor. A charge of
conspiracy being proved against him, a price was placed upon his head,
and he found a temporary refuge with the mother of his godson.

That tragic incident of the arrest, and the placard announcing General
Lahorie's death, burned deep into the soul of the manling, and who shall
say to what extent it colored his future life?

When Napoleon met his downfall, it was also a Waterloo for General Hugo.
His property was confiscated, and penury took the place of plenty.

When Victor was nineteen, his mother having died, the family life was
broken up. In "Les Miserables" the early struggles of Marius are
described; and this, the author has told us, may be considered
autobiography. He has related how the young man lived in a garret; how he
would sweep this barren room; how he would buy a pennyworth of cheese,
waiting until dusk to get a loaf of bread, and slink home as furtively as
if he had stolen it; how carrying his book under his arm he would enter
the butcher's shop, and after being elbowed by jeering servants till he
felt the cold sweat standing out on his forehead, he would take off his
hat to the astonished butcher and ask for a single mutton-chop. This he
would carry to his garret, and cooking it himself it would be made to
last for three days.

In this way he managed to live on less than two hundred dollars a year,
derived from the proceeds of poems, pamphlets and essays. At this time he
was already an "Academy Laureate," having received honorable mention for
a poem submitted in a competition.

In his twentieth year, fortune came to him in triple form: he brought out
a book of poems that netted him seven hundred francs; soon after the
publication of this book, Louis the Eighteenth, who knew the value of
having friends who were ready writers, bestowed on him a pension of one
thousand francs a year; then these two pieces of good fortune made
possible a third--his marriage.

Early marriages are like late ones: they may be wise and they may not.
Victor Hugo's marriage with Adele Foucher was a most happy event.

A man with a mind as independent as Victor Hugo's is sure to make
enemies. The "Classics" were positive that he was defiling the well of
Classic French, and they sought to write him down. But by writing a man
up you can not write him down; the only thing that can smother a literary
aspirant is silence.

Victor Hugo coined the word when he could not find it, transposed
phrases, inverted sentences, and never called a spade an agricultural
implement. Not content with this, he put the spade on exhibition and this
often at unnecessary times, and occasionally prefaced the word with an
adjective. Had he been let alone he would not have done this.

The censors told him he must not use the name of Deity, nor should he
refer so often to kings. At once, he doubled his Topseys and put on his
stage three Uncle Toms when one might have answered. Like Shakespeare, he
used idioms and slang with profusion--anything to express the idea. Will
this convey the thought? If so, it was written down, and, once written,
Beelzebub and all his hosts could not make him change it. But in the
interest of truth let me note one exception:

"I do not like that word," said Mademoiselle Mars to Victor Hugo at a
rehearsal of "Hernani"; "can I not change it?"

"I wrote it so and it must stand," was the answer.

Mademoiselle Mars used another expression instead of the author's, and he
promptly asked her to resign her part. She wept, and upon agreeing to
adhere to the text was reinstated in favor.

Rehearsal after rehearsal occurred, and the words were repeated as
written. The night of the performance came. Superb was the stage-setting,
splendid the audience. The play went forward amid loud applause. The
scene was reached where came the objectionable word. Did Mademoiselle
Mars use it? Of course not; she used the word she chose--she was a woman.
Fifty-three times she played the part, and not once did she use the
author's pet phrase; and he was wise enough not to note the fact. The
moral of this is that not even a strong man can cope with a small woman
who weeps at the right time.

The censorship forbade the placing of "Marion Delorme" on the stage until
a certain historical episode in it had been changed. Would the author be
so kind as to change it? Not he.

"Then it shall not be played," said M. de Martignac.

The author hastened to interview the minister in person. He got a North
Pole reception. In fact, M. de Martignac said that it was his busy day,
and that playwriting was foolish business anyway; but if a man were bound
to write, he should write to amuse, not to instruct. And young Hugo was
bowed out.

When he found himself well outside the door he was furious. He would see
the King himself. And he did see the King. His Majesty was gracious and
very patient. He listened to the young author's plea, talked book-lore,
recited poetry, showed that he knew Hugo's verses, asked after the
author's wife, then the baby, and--said that the play could not go on.
Hugo turned to go. Charles the Tenth called him back, and said that he
was glad the author had called--in fact, he was about to send for him.
His pension thereafter should be six thousand francs a year.

Victor Hugo declined to receive it. Of course, the papers were full of
the subject. All cafedom took sides: Paris had a topic for gesticulation,
and Paris improved the opportunity.

Conservatism having stopped this play, there was only one thing to do:
write another; for a play of Victor Hugo's must be put upon the stage.
All his friends said so; his honor was at stake.

In three weeks another play was ready. The censors read it and gave their
report. They said that "Hernani" was whimsical in conception, defective
in execution, a tissue of extravagances, generally trivial and often
coarse. But they advised that it be put upon the stage, just to show the
public to what extent of folly an author could go. In order to preserve
the dignity of their office, they drew up a list of six places where the
text should be changed.

Both sides were afraid, so each was willing to give in a point. The text
was changed, and the important day for the presentation was drawing nigh.
The Romanticists were, of course, anxious that the play should be a great
success; the Classics were quite willing that it should be otherwise; in
fact, they had bought up the claque and were making arrangements to hiss
it down. But the author's friends were numerous; they were young and
lusty; they held meetings behind locked doors, and swore terrible oaths
that the play should go.

On the day of the initial performance, five hours before the curtain
rose, they were on hand, having taken the best seats in the house. They
also took the worst, wherever a hisser might hide. These advocates of
liberal art wore coats of green or red or blue, costumes like
bullfighters, trousers and hats to match or not to match--anything to
defy tradition. All during the performance there was an uproar. Theophile
Gautier has described the event in most entertaining style, and in
"L'Historie de Romanticisme" the record of it is found in detail.

Several American writers have touched upon this particular theme, and all
who have seen fit to write of it seem to have stood under umbrellas when
God rained humor. One writer calls it "the outburst of a tremendous
revolution in literature." He speaks of "smoldering flames," "the hordes
that furiously fought entrenched behind prestige, age, caste, wealth and
tradition," "suppression and extermination of heresy," "those who sought
to stop the onward march of civilization," etc. Let us be sensible. A
"cane-rush" is not a revolution, and "Bloody Monday" at Harvard is not "a
decisive battle in the onward and upward march."

If "Hernani" had been hissed down, Victor Hugo would have lived just as
long and might have written better.

Civilization is not held in place by noisy youths in flaming waistcoats;
and even if every cabbage had hit its mark, and every egg bespattered its
target, the morning stars would still sing together.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was next turned out--written in five
months--and was a great success. Publishers besieged the author for
another story, but he preferred poetry. It was thirty years before his
next novel, "Les Miserables," appeared. But all the time he wrote--plays,
verses, essays, pamphlets. Everything that he penned was widely read.
Amid storms of opposition and cries of bravo, continually making friends,
he moved steadily forward.

Men like Victor Hugo can be killed or they may be banished, but they can
not be bought; neither can they be intimidated into silence. He resigned
his pension and boldly expressed himself in his own way.

He knew history by heart and toyed with it; politics was his delight. But
it is a mistake to call him a statesman. He was bold to rashness,
impulsive, impatient and vehement. Because a man is great is no reason
why he should be proclaimed perfect. Such men as Victor Hugo need no
veneer--the truth will answer: he would explode a keg of powder to kill a
fly. He was an agitator. But these zealous souls are needed--not to
govern or to be blindly followed, but rather to make other men think for
themselves. Yet to do this in a monarchy is not safe.

The years passed, and the time came for either Hugo or Royalty to go;
France was not large enough for both. It proved to be Hugo; a bounty of
twenty-five thousand francs was offered for his body, dead or alive.
Through a woman's devotion he escaped to Brussels. He was driven from
there to Jersey, then to Guernsey.

It was nineteen years before he returned to Paris--years of banishment,
but years of glory. Exiled by Fate that he might do his work!

       *       *       *       *       *

Each day a steamer starts from Southampton for Guernsey,
Alderney and Jersey. These are names known to countless farmers' boys the
wide world over.

You can not mistake the Channel Island boats--they smell like a county
fair, and though you be blind and deaf it is impossible to board the
wrong craft. Every time one of these staunch little steamers lands in
England, crates containing mild-eyed, lusty calves are slid down the
gangplank, marked for Maine, Iowa, California, or some uttermost part of
the earth. There his vealship (worth his weight in gold) is going to
found a kingdom.

I stood on the dock watching the bovine passengers disembark, and
furtively listened the while to an animated argument between two rather
rough-looking, red-faced men, clothed in corduroys and carrying long,
stout staffs. Mixed up in their conversation I caught the names of
royalty, then of celebrities great, and artists famous--warriors,
orators, philanthropists and musicians. Could it be possible that these
rustics were poets? It must be so. And there came to me thoughts of
Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Joaquin Miller, and all that sublime company of
singers in shirt-sleeves.

Suddenly the wind veered and the veil fell; all the sacred names so
freely bandied about were those of "families" with mighty milk-records.

When we went on board and the good ship was slipping down The Solent, I
made the acquaintance of these men and was regaled with more cow-talk
than I had heard since I left Texas.

We saw the island of Portsea, where Dickens was born, and got a glimpse
of the spires of Portsmouth as we passed; then came the Isle of Wight and
the quaint town of Cowes. I made a bright joke on the latter place as it
was pointed out to me by my Jersey friend, but it went for naught.

A pleasant sail of eight hours and the towering cliffs of Guernsey came
in sight. Foam-dashed and spray-covered they rise right out of the sea at
the south, to the height of two hundred seventy feet. About them great
flocks of sea-fowl hover, swirl and soar. Wild, rugged and romantic is
the scene.

The Isle of Guernsey is nine miles long and six wide. Its principal town
is Saint Peter Port, a place of about sixteen thousand inhabitants, where
a full dozen hotel porters meet the incoming steamer and struggle for
your baggage.

Hotels and boarding-houses here are numerous and good. Guernsey is a
favorite resort for invalids and those who desire to flee the busy world
for a space. In fact, the author of "Les Miserables" has made exile
popular.

Emerging from my hotel at Saint Peter Port I was accosted by a small
edition of Gavroche, all in tatters, who proposed showing me the way to
Hauteville House for a penny. I already knew the route, but accepted the
offer on Gavroche's promise to reveal to me a secret about the place.
The secret is this: The house is haunted, and when the wind is east, and
the setting moon shows only a narrow rim above the rocks, ghosts come and
dance a solemn minuet on the glass roof above the study.

Had Gavroche ever seen them? No, but he knew a boy who had. Years and
years--ever so many years ago--long before there were any steamboats, and
when only a schooner came to Guernsey once a week, a woman was murdered
in Hauteville House. Her ghost came back with other ghosts and drove the
folks away. So the big house remained vacant--save for the spooks, who
paid no rent.

Then after a great, long time Victor Hugo came and lived in the house.
The ghosts did not bother him. Faith! they had been keeping the place
just a' purpose for him. He rented the house first, and liked it so well
that he bought it--got it at half-price on account of the ghosts. Here,
every Christmas, Victor Hugo gave a big dinner in the great oak hall to
all the children in Guernsey: hundreds of them--all the way from babies
that could barely creep, to "boys" with whiskers. They were all fed on
turkey, tarts, apples, oranges and figs; and when they went away, each
was given a bag of candy to take home.

Climbing a narrow, crooked street we came to the great, dark, gloomy
edifice situated at the top of a cliff. The house was painted black by
some strange whim of a former occupant.

"We will leave it so," said Victor Hugo; "liberty is dead, and we are in
mourning for her."

But the gloom of Hauteville House is only on the outside. Within all is
warm and homelike. The furnishings are almost as the poet left them, and
the marks of his individuality are on every side.

In the outer hall stands an elegant column of carved oak, its panels
showing scenes from "The Hunchback." In the dining-room there is
fantastic wainscoting with plaques and porcelain tiles inlaid here and
there. Many of these ornaments were presents, sent by unknown admirers in
all parts of the world.

In "Les Miserables" there is a chance line revealing the author's love
for the beautiful as shown in the grain of woods. The result was an
influx of polished panels, slabs, chips, hewings, carvings, and in one
instance a log sent "collect." Samples of redwood, ebony, calamander,
hamamelis, suradanni, tamarind, satinwood, mahogany, walnut, maples of
many kinds and oaks without limit--all are there. A mammoth ax-helve I
noticed on the wall was labeled, "Shagbark-hickory from Missouri."

These specimens of wood were sometimes made up into hatracks, chairs,
canes, or panels for doors, and are seen in odd corners of these rambling
rooms. Charles Hugo once facetiously wrote to a friend: "We have bought
no kindling for three years." At another time he writes:

"Father still is sure he can sketch and positive he can carve. He has
several jackknives, and whittles names, dates and emblems on sticks and
furniture--we tremble for the piano."

In the dining-room, I noticed a huge oaken chair fastened to the wall
with a chain. On the mantel was a statuette of the Virgin; on the
pedestal Victor Hugo had engraved lines speaking of her as "Freedom's
Goddess." This dining-room affords a sunny view out into the garden; on
this floor are also a reception-room, library and a smoking-room.

On the next floor are various sleeping-apartments, and two cozy parlors,
known respectively as the red room and the blue. Both are rich in curious
draperies, a little more pronounced in color than some folks admire.

The next floor contains the "Oak Gallery": a ballroom we should call it.
Five large windows furnish a flood of light. In the center of this fine
room is an enormous candelabrum with many branches, at the top a statue
of wood, the whole carved by Victor Hugo's own hands.

The Oak Gallery is a regular museum of curiosities of every sort--books,
paintings, carvings, busts, firearms, musical instruments. A long glass
case contains a large number of autograph-letters from the world's
celebrities, written to Hugo in exile.

At the top of the house and built on its flat roof is the most
interesting apartment of Hauteville House--the study and workroom of
Victor Hugo. Three of its sides and the roof are of glass. The floor,
too, is one immense slab of sea-green glass. Sliding curtains worked by
pulleys cut off the light as desired. "More light, more light," said the
great man again and again. He gloried and reveled in the sunshine.

Here, in the Winter, with no warmth but the sun's rays, his eyes shaded
by his felt hat, he wrote, always standing at a shelf fixed in the wall.
On this shelf were written all "The Toilers," "The Man Who Laughs,"
"Shakespeare" and much of "Les Miserables." The leaves of manuscript were
numbered and fell on the floor, to remain perhaps for days before being
gathered up.

When Victor Hugo went to Guernsey he went to liberty, not to banishment.
He arrived at Hauteville House poor in purse and broken in health. Here
the fire of his youth came back, and his pen retrieved the fortune that
royalty had confiscated. The forenoons were given to earnest work. The
daughter composed music; the sons translated Shakespeare and acted as
their father's faithful helpers; Madame Hugo collected the notes of her
husband's life and cheerfully looked after her household affairs.

Several hours of each afternoon were given to romp and play; the evenings
were sacred to music, reading and conversation.

Horace Greeley was once a prisoner in Paris. From his cell he wrote, "The
Saint Peter who holds the keys of this place has kindly locked the world
out; and for once, thank Heaven, I am free from intrusion."

Lovers of truth must thank exile for some of our richest and ripest
literature. Exile is not all exile. Imagination can not be imprisoned.
Amid the winding bastions of the brain, thought roams free and
untrammeled.

Liberty is only a comparative term, and Victor Hugo at Guernsey enjoyed a
thousand times more freedom than ever ruling monarch knew.

Standing at the shelf-desk where this "Gentleman of France" stood for so
many happy hours, I inscribed my name in the "visitors' book."

I thanked the good woman who had shown me the place, and told me so much
of interest--thanked her in words that seemed but a feeble echo of all
that my heart would say.

I went down the stairs--out at the great carved doorway--and descended
the well-worn steps.

Perched on a crag waiting for me was little Gavroche, his rags fluttering
in the breeze. He offered to show me the great stone chair where Gilliatt
sat when the tide came up and carried him away. And did I want to buy a
bull calf? Gavroche knew where there was a fine one that could be bought
cheap. Gavroche would show me both the calf and the stone chair for
threepence.

I accepted the offer, and we went down the stony street toward the sea,
hand in hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the Twenty-eighth day of June, Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-four, I took my place in the long line and passed slowly through
the Pantheon at Paris and viewed the body of President Carnot.

The same look of proud dignity that I had seen in life was there--calm,
composed, serene. The inanimate clay was clothed in the simple black of a
citizen of the Republic; the only mark of office being the red silken
sash that covered the spot in the breast where the stiletto-stroke of
hate had gone home.

Amid bursts of applause, surrounded by loving friends and loyal
adherents, he was stricken down and passed out into the Unknown. Happy
fate! to die before the fickle populace had taken up a new idol; to step
in an instant beyond the reach of malice--to leave behind the
self-seekers that pursue, the hungry horde that follows, the zealots who
defame; to escape the dagger-thrust of calumny and receive only the
glittering steel that at the same time wrote his name indelibly on the
roll of honor.

Carnot, thrice happy thou! Thy name is secure on history's page, and thy
dust now resting beneath the dome of the Pantheon is bedewed with the
tears of thy countrymen.

Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, died in Five Hundred Twelve.
She was buried on a hilltop, the highest point in Paris, on the left bank
of the Seine. Over the grave was erected a chapel which for many years
was a shrine for the faithful. This chapel with its additions remained
until Seventeen Hundred Fifty, when a church was designed which in beauty
of style and solidity of structure has rarely been equaled. The object of
the architect was to make the most enduring edifice possible, and still
not sacrifice proportion.

Louis the Fifteenth laid the cornerstone of this church in Seventeen
Hundred Sixty-four, and in Seventeen Hundred Ninety the edifice was
dedicated by the Roman Catholics with great pomp. But the spirit of
revolution was at work; and in one year after, a mob sacked this
beautiful building, burned its pews, destroyed its altar, and wrought
havoc with its ecclesiastical furniture.

The Convention converted the structure into a memorial temple, inscribing
on its front the words, "Aux grandes Hommes la patrie reconnaisante," and
they named the building the Pantheon.

In Eighteen Hundred Six, the Catholics had gotten such influence with the
government that the building was restored to them. After the revolution
of Eighteen Hundred Thirty, the church of Saint Genevieve was again taken
from the priests. It was held until Eighteen Hundred Fifty-one, when the
Romanists in the Assembly succeeded in having it again reconsecrated. In
the meantime, many of the great men of France had been buried there.

The first interment in the Pantheon was Mirabeau. Next came
Marat--stabbed while in the bath by Charlotte Corday. Both bodies were
removed by order of the Convention when the church was given back to
Rome.

In the Pantheon, the visitor now sees the elaborate tombs of Voltaire and
Rousseau. In the dim twilight he reads the glowing inscriptions, and from
the tomb of Rousseau he sees the hand thrust forth bearing a torch--but
the bones of these men are not here.

While robed priests chanted the litany, as the great organ pealed, and
swinging censers gave off their perfume, visitors came, bringing
children, and they stopped at the arches where Rousseau and Voltaire
slept side by side, and they said, "It is here." And so the dust of
infidel greatness seemed to interfere with the rites. A change was made.
Let Victor Hugo tell:

"One night in May, Eighteen Hundred Fourteen, about two o'clock in the
morning, a cab stopped near the city gate of La Gare at an opening in a
board fence. This fence surrounded a large, vacant piece of ground
belonging to the city of Paris. The cab had come from the Pantheon, and
the coachman had been ordered to take the most deserted streets. Three
men alighted from the cab and crawled into the enclosure. Two carried a
sack between them. Other men, some in cassocks, awaited them. They
proceeded towards a hole dug in the middle of the field. At the bottom of
the hole was quicklime. These men said nothing, they had no lanterns. The
wan daybreak gave a ghastly light; the sack was opened. It was full of
bones. These were the bones of Jean Jacques and of Voltaire, which had
been withdrawn from the Pantheon.

"The mouth of the sack was brought close to the hole, and the bones
rattled down into that black pit. The two skulls struck against each
other; a spark, not likely to be seen by those standing near, was
doubtless exchanged between the head that made 'The Philosophical
Dictionary' and the head that made 'The Social Contract,' When that was
done, when the sack was shaken, when Voltaire and Rousseau had been
emptied into that hole, a digger seized a spade, threw into the opening
the heap of earth, and filled up the grave. The others stamped with their
feet upon the ground, so as to remove from it the appearance of having
been freshly disturbed. One of the assistants took for his trouble the
sack--as the hangman takes the clothing of his victim--they left the
enclosure, got into the cab without saying a word, and, hastily, before
the sun had risen, these men got away."

The ashes of the man who wrote these vivid words now rest next to the
empty tombs of Voltaire and Rousseau. But a step away is the grave of
Sadi-Carnot.

When the visitor is conducted to the crypt of the Pantheon, he is first
taken to the tomb of Victor Hugo. The sarcophagus on each side is draped
with the red, white and blue of France and the stars and stripes of
America. With uncovered heads, we behold the mass of flowers and wreaths,
and our minds go back to Eighteen Hundred Eighty-five, when the body of
the chief citizen of Paris lay in state at the Pantheon and five hundred
thousand people passed by and laid the tribute of silence or of tears on
his bier.

The Pantheon is now given over as a memorial to the men of France who
have enriched the world with their lives. Over the portals of this
beautiful temple are the words, "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." Across
its floors of rarest mosaic echo only the feet of pilgrims and those of
the courteous and kindly old soldiers who have the place in charge. On
the walls color revels in beautiful paintings, and in the niches and on
the pedestals is marble that speaks of greatness which lives in lives
made better.

The history of the Pantheon is one of strife. As late as Eighteen Hundred
Seventy the Commune made it a stronghold, and the streets on every side
were called upon to contribute their paving-stones for a barricade. Yet
it seems meet that Victor Hugo's dust should lie here amid the scenes he
loved and knew, and where he struggled, worked, toiled, achieved; from
whence he was banished, and to which he returned in triumph, to receive
at last the complete approbation so long withheld.

Certainly not in the quiet of a mossy graveyard, nor in a church where
priests mumble unmeaning words at fixed times, nor yet alone on the
mountain-side--for he chafed at solitude--but he should have been buried
at sea. In the midst of storm and driving sleet, at midnight, the sails
should have been lowered, the great engines stopped, and with no requiem
but the sobbing of the night-wind and the sighing of the breeze through
the shrouds, and the moaning of the waves as they surged about the great,
black ship, the plank should have been run out, and the body wrapped in
the red, white and blue of the Republic: the sea, the infinite mother of
all, beloved and sung by him, should have taken his tired form to her
arms, and there he would rest.

If not this, then the Pantheon.



WM. WORDSWORTH


    Even such a shell the universe itself
    Is to the ear of Faith; and there are times,
    I doubt not, when to you it doth impart
    Authentic tidings of invisible things;
    Of ebb and flow and ever-during power;
    And central peace subsisting at the heart
    Of endless agitation. Here you stand,
    Adore and worship, when you know it not;
    Pious beyond the intention of your thought;
    Devout above the meaning of your will.
                                      --_Wordsworth_

[Illustration: WILLIAM WORDSWORTH]


Some one has told us that Heaven is not a place but a
condition of mind, and it is possible that he is right.

But if Heaven is a place, surely it is not unlike Grasmere. Such
loveliness of landscape--such sylvan stretches of crystal water--peace
and quiet and rest!

Great, green hills lift their heads to the skies, and all the old stone
walls and hedgerows are covered with trailing vines and blooming flowers.
The air is rich with song of birds, sweet with perfume, and the blossoms
gaily shower their petals on the passer-by. Overhead, white, billowy
clouds float lazily over their background of ethereal blue. Cool June
breezes fan the cheek. Distant knolls are dotted with flocks of sheep
whose bells tinkle dreamily; and drowsy hum of beetle makes the bass,
while lark song forms the air of the sweet symphony that Nature plays.
Such was Grasmere as I first saw it.

To love the plain, homely, common, simple things of earth, of these to
sing; to make the familiar beautiful and the commonplace enchanting; to
cause each bush to burn with the actual presence of the living God: this
is the poet's office. And if the poet lives near Grasmere, his task does
not seem difficult.

From Seventeen Hundred Ninety-nine to Eighteen Hundred Eight, Wordsworth
lived at Dove Cottage. Thanks to a few earnest souls, the place is now
secured to the people of England and the lovers of poetry wherever they
may be. A good old woman has charge of the cottage, and for a slight fee
shows you the house and garden and little orchard and objects of
interest, all the while talking: and you are glad, for, although
unlettered, she is reverent and honest. She was born here, and all she
knows is Wordsworth and the people and the things he loved. Is not this
enough?

Here Wordsworth lived before anything he wrote was published in book
form: here his best work was done, and here Dorothy--splendid,
sympathetic Dorothy---was inspiration, critic, friend. But who inspired
Dorothy? Coleridge perhaps more than all others, and we know somewhat of
their relationship as told in Dorothy's diary. There is a little
Wordsworth Library in Dove Cottage, and I sat at the window of "De
Quincey's room" and read for an hour. Says Dorothy:

"Sat until four o'clock reading dear Coleridge's letters."

"We paced the garden until moonrise at one o'clock--we three, brother,
Coleridge and I." "I read Spenser to him aloud and then we had a midnight
tea."

Here in this little, terraced garden, behind the stone cottage with its
low ceilings and wide window-seats and little, diamond panes, she in her
misery wrote:

"Oh, the pity of it all! Yet there is recompense; every sight reminds me
of Coleridge, dear, dear fellow; of our walks and talks by day and night;
of all the bright and witty, and sad sweet things of which we spoke and
read. I was melancholy and could not talk, and at last I eased my heart
by weeping."

Alas, too often there is competition between brother and sister, then
follow misunderstandings; but here the brotherly and sisterly love stands
out clear and strong after these hundred years have passed, and we
contemplate it with delight. Was ever woman more honestly and better
praised than Dorothy?

    "The blessings of my later years
      Were with me when I was a boy.
    She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,
    And humble cares and gentle fears,
    A heart! the fountain of sweet tears,
      And love and thought and joy.
    And she hath smiles to earth unknown,
    Smiles that with motion of their own
      Do spread and sink and rise;
    That come and go with endless play,
    And ever as they pass away
       Are hidden in her eyes."

And so in a dozen or more poems, we see Dorothy reflected. She was the
steel on which he tried his flint. Everything he wrote was read to her,
then she read it alone, balancing the sentences in the delicate scales of
her womanly judgment. "Heart of my heart, is this well done?" When she
said, "This will do," it was no matter who said otherwise.

Back of the house on the rising hillside is the little garden. Hewn out
of the solid rock is "Dorothy's seat." There I rested while Mrs. Dixon
discoursed of poet lore, and told me of how, many times, Coleridge and
Dorothy had sat in the same seat and watched the stars.

Then I drank from "the well," which is more properly a spring; the stones
that curb it were placed in their present position by the hand that wrote
"The Prelude." Above the garden is the orchard, where the green linnet
still sings, for the birds never grow old.

There, too, are the circling swallows; and in a snug little alcove of the
cottage you can read "The Butterfly" from a first edition; and then you
can go sit in the orchard, white with blossoms, and see the butterflies
that suggested the poem. And if your eye is good you can discover down by
the lakeside the daffodils, and listen the while to the cuckoo call.

Then in the orchard you can see not only "the daisy," but many of them,
and, if you wish, Mrs. Dixon will let you dig a bunch of the daisies to
take back to America; and if you do, I hope that yours will prosper as
have mine, and that Wordsworth's flowers, like Wordsworth's verse, will
gladden your heart when the blue sky of your life threatens to be
o'ercast with gray.

Here Southey came, and "Thalaber" was read aloud in this little garden.
Here, too, came Clarkson, the man with a fine feminine carelessness, as
Dorothy said. Charles Lloyd sat here and discoursed with William Calvert.
Sir George Beaumont forgot his title and rapped often at the quaint,
hinged door. An artist was Beaumont, but his best picture they say is not
equal to the lines that Wordsworth wrote about it. Sir George was not
only a gentleman according to law, but one in heart, for he was a friend,
kind, gentle and generous. With such a friend Wordsworth was rich indeed.
But perhaps the friends we have are only our other selves, and we get
what we deserve.

We must not forget the kindly face of Humphry Davy, whose gracious
playfulness was ever a charm to the Wordsworths. The safety-lamp was then
only an unspoken word, and perhaps few foresaw the sweetness and light
that these two men would yet give to earth.

Walter Scott and his wife came to Dove Cottage in Eighteen Hundred Five.
He did not bring his title, for it, like Humphry Davy's, was as yet
unpacked down in London town. They slept in the little cubby-hole of a
room in the upper southwest corner. One can imagine Dorothy taking Sir
Walter's shaving-water up to him in the morning; and the savory smell of
breakfast as Mistress Mary poured the tea, while England's future
laureate served the toast and eggs: Mr. Scott eating everything in sight
and talking a torrent the while about art and philosophy as he passed his
cup back, to the consternation of the hostess, whose frugal ways were
not used to such ravages of appetite. Of course she did not know that a
combined novelist and rhymster ate twice as much as a simple poet.

Afterwards Mrs. Scott tucked up her dress, putting on one of Dorothy's
aprons, and helped do the dishes.

Then Coleridge came over and they all climbed to the summit of Helm Crag.
Shy little De Quincey had read some of Wordsworth's poems, and knew from
their flavor that the man who penned them was a noble soul. He came to
Grasmere to call on him: he walked past Dove Cottage twice, but his heart
failed him and he went away unannounced. Later, he returned and found the
occupants as simple folks as himself.

Happiness was there and good society; few books, but fine culture; plain
living and high thinking.

Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount for thirty-three years, yet the sweetest
flowers of his life blossomed at Dove Cottage. For difficulty, toil,
struggle, obscurity, poverty, mixed with aspiration and ambition---all
these were here. Success came later, but this is naught; for the
achievement is more than the public acknowledgment of the deed.

After Wordsworth moved away, De Quincey rented Dove Cottage and lived in
it for twenty-seven years. He acquired a library of more than five
thousand volumes, making bookshelves on four sides of the little rooms
from floor to ceiling. Some of these shelves still remain. Here he
turned night into day and dreamed the dreams of "The Opium-Eater."

And all these are some of the things that Mrs. Dixon told me on that
bright Summer day. What if I had heard them before! no difference. Dear
old lady, I salute you and at your feet I lay my gratitude for a day of
rare and quiet joy.

    "Farewell, thou little nook of mountain ground,
    Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair
    Of that magnificent temple which does bound
    One side of our whole vale with gardens rare,
    Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair,
    The loveliest spot that man has ever found,
    Farewell! We leave thee to Heaven's peaceful care,
    Thee, and the Cottage which thou dost surround."

       *       *       *       *       *

At places of pleasure and entertainment in the Far West,
are often found functionaries known as "bouncers." It is the duty of the
bouncer to give hints to objectionable visitors that their presence is
not desired. And inasmuch as there are many men who can never take a hint
without a kick, the bouncer is a person selected on account of his
peculiar fitness--psychic and otherwise--for the place. We all have
special talents, and these faculties should be used in a manner that will
help our fellowmen on their way.

My acquaintanceship with the bouncer has been only general, not
particular. Yet I have admired him from a distance, and the skill and
eclat that he sometimes shows in a professional way has often excited my
admiration.

In social usages, America borrows constantly from the mother country. But
like all borrowing it seems to be one-sided, for seldom, very, very
seldom, in point of etiquette and manners does England borrow from us.
Yet there are exceptions.

It is a beautiful highway that skirts Lake Windermere and follows up
through Ambleside. We get a glimpse of the old home of Harriet Martineau,
and "Fox Howe," the home of Matthew Arnold. Just before Rydal Water is
reached comes Rydal Road, running straight up the hillside, off from the
turnpike. Rydal Mount is the third house up on the left-hand side, I knew
the location, for I had read of it many times, and in my pocketbook I
carried a picture taken from an old "Frank Leslie's," showing the house.

My heart beat fast as I climbed the hill. To visit the old home of one
who was Poet Laureate of England is no small event in the life of a
book-lover. I was full of poetry and murmured lines from "The Excursion"
as I walked. Soon rare old Rydal Mount came in sight among the wealth of
green. I stopped and sighed. Yes, yes, Wordsworth lived here for
thirty-three years, and here he died; the spot whereon I then stood had
been pressed many times by his feet. I walked slowly, with uncovered
head, and approached the gate. It was locked. I fumbled at the latch; and
just as there came a prospect of its opening, a loud, deep, guttural
voice dashed over me like a wave:

"There--you! now, wot you want?"

The owner of this voice was not ten feet away, but he was standing up
close to the wall and I had not seen him. I was somewhat startled at
first. The man did not move. I stepped to one side to get a better view
of my interlocutor, and saw him to be a large, red man of perhaps fifty.
A handkerchief was knotted around his thick neck, and he held a heavy hoe
in his hand. A genuine beefeater he was, only he ate too much beef and
the ale he drank was evidently Extra XXX.

His scowl was so needlessly severe and his manner so belligerent that
I--thrice armed, knowing my cause was just--could not restrain a smile. I
touched my hat and said, "Ah, excuse me, Mr. Falstaff, you are the
bouncer?"

"Never mind wot I am, sir--'oo are you?"

"I am a great admirer of Wordsworth----"

"That's the way they all begins. Cawn't ye hadmire 'im on that side of
the wall as well as this?"

There is no use of wasting argument with a man of this stamp; besides
that, his question was to the point. But there are several ways of
overcoming one's adversary: I began feeling in my pocket for pence. My
enemy ceased glaring, stepped up to the locked gate as though he
half-wished to be friendly, and there was sorrow in his voice: "Don't
tempt me, sir; don't do ut! The Missus is peekin' out of the shutters at
us now."

"And do you never admit visitors, even to the grounds?"

"No, sir, never, God 'elp me! and there's many an honest bob I could turn
by ut, and no one 'urt. But I've lost my place twic't by ut. They took me
back though. The Guv'ner 'ud never forgive me again. 'It's three times
and out, Mister 'Opkins,' says 'ee, only last Whitsuntide."

"But visitors do come?"

"Yes, sir; but they never gets in. Mostly 'mer'cans; they don't know no
better, sir. They picks all the ivy orf the outside of the wall, and you
sees yourself there's no leaves on the lower branches of that tree. Then
they carries away so many pebbles from out there that I've to dump in a
fresh weelbarrel full o' gravel every week, sir, don't you know."

He thrust a pudgy, freckled hand through the bars of the gate to show
that he bore me no ill-will, and also, I suppose, to mollify my
disappointment. For although I had come too late to see the great poet
himself and had even failed to see the inside of his house, yet I had at
least been greeted at the gate by his proxy. I pressed the hand firmly,
pocketed a handful of gravel as a memento, then turned and went my way.

And all there is to tell about my visit to Rydal Mount is this interview
with the bouncer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Wordsworth lived eighty years. His habitation, except for
short periods, was never more than a few miles from his birthplace. His
education was not extensive, his learning not profound. He lacked humor
and passion; in his character there was little personal magnetism, and in
his work there is small dramatic power.

He traveled more or less and knew humanity, but he did not know man. His
experience in so-called practical things was slight, his judgment not
accurate. So he lived--quietly, modestly, dreamily.

His dust rests in a country churchyard, the grave marked by a simple
slab. A gnarled, old yew-tree stands guard above the grass-grown mound.
The nearest railroad is fifteen miles away.

As a poet, Wordsworth stands in the front rank of the second class.
Shelley, Browning, Mrs. Browning, Tennyson, far surpass him; and the
sweet singer of Michigan, even in uninspired moments, never "threw off"
anything worse than this:

    "And he is lean and he is sick:
       His body, dwindled and awry,
     Rests upon ankles swollen and thick;
       His legs are thin and dry.
     One prop he has, and only one,
       His wife, an aged woman,
     Lives with him near the waterfall,
       Upon the village common."

Jove may nod, but when he makes a move it counts.

Yet the influence of Wordsworth upon the thought and feeling of the world
has been very great. He himself said, "The young will read my poems and
be better for their truth." Many of his lines pass as current coin: "The
child is father of the man," "The light that never was on land nor sea,"
"Not too bright and good for human nature's daily food," "Thoughts that
do lie too deep for tears," "The mighty stream of tendency," and many
others. "Plain living and high thinking" is generally given to Emerson,
but he discovered it in Wordsworth, and recognizing it as his own he took
it. In a certain book of quotations, "The still sad music of humanity" is
given to Shakespeare; but to equalize matters we sometimes attribute to
Wordsworth "The Old Oaken Bucket."

The men who win are those who correct an abuse. Wordsworth's work was a
protest--mild yet firm--against the bombastic and artificial school of
the Eighteenth Century. Before his day the "timber" used by poets
consisted of angels, devils, ghosts, gods; onslaught, tourneys, jousts,
tempests of hate and torrents of wrath, always of course with a very
beautiful and very susceptible young lady just around the corner. The
women in those days were always young and ever beautiful, but seldom wise
and not often good. The men were saints or else "bad," generally bad.
Like the cats of Kilkenny, they fought on slight cause.

Our young man at Hawkshead School saw this: it pleased him not, and he
made a list of the things on which he would write poems. This list
includes: sunset, moonrise, starlight, mist, brooks, shells, stones,
butterflies, moths, swallows, linnets, thrushes, wagoners, babies, bark
of trees, leaves, nests, fishes, rushes, leeches, cobwebs, clouds, deer,
music, shade, swans, crags and snow. He kept his vow and "went it one
better," for among his verses I find the following titles: "Lines Left
Upon a Seat in a Yew-Tree," "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern
Abbey," "To a Wounded Butterfly," "To Dora's Portrait," "To the Cuckoo,"
"On Seeing a Needlebook Made in the Shape of a Harp," etc.

Wordsworth's service to humanity consists in the fact that he has shown
us old truth in a new light, and has made plain the close relationship
that exists between physical nature and the soul of man. Is this much or
little? I think it is much. When we realize that we are a part of all
that we see, or hear, or feel, we are not lonely. But to feel a sense of
separation is to feel the chill of death.

Wordsworth taught that the earth is the universal Mother and that the
life of the flower has its source in the same universal life from whence
ours is derived. To know this truth is to feel a tenderness, a
kindliness, a spirit of fraternalism, toward every manifestation of this
universal life. No attempt was made to say the last word, only a wish to
express the truth that the spirit of God is manifest on every hand.

Now this is a very simple philosophy. No far-reaching, syllogistic logic
is required to prove it; no miracle, nor special dispensation is needed;
you just feel that it is so, that's all, and it gives you peace.
Children, foolish folks, old men, whose sands of life are nearly run,
comprehend it. But heaven bless you! you can't prove any such
foolishness. Jeffrey saw the ridiculousness of these assumptions and so
he declared, "This will never do," and for twenty years "The Edinburgh
Review" never ceased to fling off fleers and jeers--and to criticize and
scoff. That a great periodical, rich and influential, in the city which
was the very center of learning, should go so much out of its way to
attack a quiet countryman living in a four-roomed cottage, away off in
the hills of Cumberland, seems a little queer.

Then, this countryman did not seek to found a kingdom, nor to
revolutionize society, nor did he force upon the world his pattypan
rhymes about linnets, and larks, and daffodils. Far from it: he was very
modest--diffident, in fact--and his song was quite in the minor key, but
still the chain-shot and bombs of literary warfare were sent hissing in
his direction.

There is a little story about a certain general who figured as
division-commander in the War of Secession: this warrior had his
headquarters, for a time, in a typical Southern home in the Tennessee
Mountains. The house had a large fireplace and chimney; in this chimney,
swallows had nests. One day, as the great man was busy at his maps,
working out a plan of campaign against the enemy, the swallows made quite
an uproar. Perhaps some of the eggs were hatching; anyway, the birds were
needlessly noisy in their domestic affairs, and it disturbed the great
man--he grew nervous. He called his adjutant. "Sir," said the mighty
warrior, "dislodge those damn pests in the chimney, without delay."

Two soldiers were ordered to climb the roof and dislodge the enemy. Yet
the swallows were not dislodged, for the soldiers could not reach them.

So Jeffrey's tirades were unavailing, and Wordsworth was not dislodged.

"He might as well try to crush Skiddaw," said Southey.



WILLIAM M. THACKERAY


    TO MR. BROOKFIELD
                          September 16, 1849

    Have you read Dickens? Oh, it is charming! Brave Dickens! "David
    Copperfield" has some of his prettiest touches, and the reading
    of the book has done another author a great deal of good.

    --W.M.T.

[Illustration: W.M. THACKERAY]


There are certain good old ladies in every community who
wear perennial mourning. They attend every funeral, carrying
black-bordered handkerchiefs, and weep gently at the right time. I have
made it a point to hunt out these ancient dames at their homes, and, over
the teacups, I have discovered that invariably they enjoy a sweet
peace--a happiness with contentment--that is a great gain. They seem to
be civilization's rudimentary relic of the Irish keeners and the paid
mourners of the Orient.

And there is just a little of this tendency to mourn with those who mourn
in all mankind. It is not difficult to bear another's woe--and then there
is always a grain of mitigation, even in the sorrow of the afflicted,
that makes their tribulation bearable.

Burke affirms, in "On the Sublime," that all men take a certain
satisfaction in the disasters of others. Just as Frenchmen lift their
hats when a funeral passes and thank God that they are not in the hearse,
so do we in the presence of calamity thank Heaven that it is not ours.

Perhaps this is why I get a strange delight from walking through a
graveyard by night. All about are the white monuments that glisten in
the ghostly starlight, the night-wind sighs softly among the grassy
mounds--all else is silent--still.

This is the city of the dead, and of all the hundreds or thousands who
have traveled to this spot over long and weary miles, I, only I, have the
power to leave at will. Their ears are stopped, their eyes are closed,
their hands are folded--but I am alive.

One of the first places I visited on reaching London was Kensal Green
Cemetery. I quickly made the acquaintance of the First Gravedigger, a
rare wit, over whose gray head have passed full seventy pleasant summers.
I presented him a copy of "The Shroud," the organ of the American
Undertakers' Association, published at Syracuse, New York. I subscribe
for "The Shroud" because it has a bright wit-and-humor column, and also
for the sweet satisfaction of knowing that there is still virtue left in
Syracuse.

The First Gravedigger greeted me courteously, and when I explained
briefly my posthumous predilections we grasped hands across an open grave
(that he had just digged) and were fast friends.

"Do you believe in cremation, sir?" he asked.

"No, never; it's pagan."

"Aye, you are a gentleman--and about burying folks in churches?"

"Never! A grave should be out under the open sky, where the sun by day
and the moon and stars----"

"Right you are. How Shakespeare can ever stand it to have his grave
walked over by a boy choir is more than I can understand. If I had him
here I could look after him right. Come, I'll show you the company I
keep!"

Not twenty feet from where we stood was a fine but plain granite block to
the memory of the second wife of James Russell Lowell.

"Just Mr. Lowell and one friend stood by the grave when we lowered the
coffin--just two men and no one else but the young clergyman who belongs
here. Mr. Lowell shook hands with me when he went away. He gave me a
guinea and wrote me two letters afterward from America; the last was sent
only a week before he died. I'll show 'em to you when we go to the
office. Say, did you know him?"

He pointed to a slab, on which I read the name of Sydney Smith. Then we
went to the graves of Mulready, the painter; Kemble, the actor; Sir
Charles Eastlake, the artist. Next came the resting-place of
Buckle--immortal for writing a preface--dead at thirty-seven, with his
history unwrit; Leigh Hunt sleeps near, and above his dust a column that
explains how it was erected by friends. In life he asked for bread; when
dead they gave him a costly pile of stone.

Here are also the graves of Madame Tietjens; of Charles Mathews, the
actor; and of Admiral Sir John Ross, the Arctic explorer.

"And just down the hill aways another big man is buried. I knew him well;
he used to come and visit us often. The last time I saw him I said as he
was going away, 'Come again, sir; you are always welcome!'

"'Thank you, Mr. First Gravedigger,' says he; 'I will come again before
long, and make you an extended visit.' In less than a year the hearse
brought him. That's his grave--push that ivy away and you can read the
inscription. Did you ever hear of him?"

It was a plain, heavy slab placed horizontally, and the ivy had so run
over it that the white of the marble was nearly obscured. But I made out
this inscription:

    WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY
    Born July 18, 1811
    Died Dec. 24, 1863
    ANNE CARMICHAEL SMYTH
    Died Dec. 18, 1864, aged 72--his mother
    by her first marriage

The unpoetic exactness of that pedigree gave me a slight chill. But here
they sleep--mother and son in one grave. She who gave him his first
caress also gave him his last; and when he was found dead in his bed, his
mother, who lived under the same roof, was the first one called. He was
the child of her girlhood--she was scarcely twenty when she bore him. In
life they were never separated, and in death they are not divided. It is
as both desired.

Thackeray was born in India, and was brought to England on the death of
his father, when he was six years of age. On the way from Calcutta the
ship touched at the Island of Saint Helena. A servant took the lad ashore
and they walked up the rocky heights to Longwood, and there, pacing back
and forth in a garden, they saw a short, stout man.

"Lookee, lad, lookee quick--that's him! He eats three sheep every day and
all the children he can get!"

"And that's all I had to do with the Battle of Waterloo," said "Old
Thack," forty years after. But you will never believe it after reading
those masterly touches concerning the battle, in "Vanity Fair."

Young Thackeray was sent to the Charterhouse School, where he was
considered rather a dull boy. He was big and good-natured, and read
novels when he should have studied arithmetic. This tendency to "play
off" stuck to him at Cambridge--where he did not remain long enough to
get a degree, but to the relief of his tutors went off on a tour through
Europe.

Travel as a means of education is a very seductive bit of sophistry.
Invalids whom the doctors can not cure, and scholars whom teachers can
not teach, are often advised to take "a change." Still there is reason in
it.

In England Thackeray was intent on law; at Paris he received a strong
bent toward art; but when he reached Weimar and was introduced at the
Court of Letters and came into the living presence of Goethe, he caught
the infection and made a plan for translating Schiller.

Schiller dead was considered in Germany a greater man than Goethe living,
as if it were an offense to live and a virtue to die. And young William
Makepeace wrote home to his mother that Schiller was the greatest man
that ever lived and that he was going to translate his books and give
them to England.

No doubt there are certain people born with a tendency to infectiousness
in regard to certain diseases; so there are those who catch the literary
mania on slight exposure.

"I've got it," said Thackeray, and so he had.

He went back to England and made groggy efforts at Blackstone, and
Somebody's Digest, and What's-His-Name's Compendium, but all the time he
scribbled and sketched.

The young man had come into possession of a goodly fortune from his
father's estate--enough to yield him an income of over two thousand
dollars a year. But bad investments and signing security for friends took
the money the way that money usually goes when held by a man who has not
earned it.

"Talk about riches having wings," said Thackeray; "my fortune had pinions
like a condor, and flew like a carrier-pigeon."

When Thackeray was thirty he was eking out a meager income writing poems,
reviews, criticisms and editorials. His wife was a confirmed invalid, a
victim of mental darkness, and his sorrows and anxieties were many.

He was known as a bright writer, yet London is full of clever,
unsuccessful men. But in Thackeray's thirty-eighth year "Vanity Fair"
came out, and it was a success from the first.

In "Yesterdays With Authors," Mr. Fields says: "I once made a pilgrimage
with Thackeray to the various houses where his books had been written;
and I remember when we came to Young Street, Kensington, he said, with
mock gravity, 'Down on your knees, you rogue, for here "Vanity Fair" was
penned; and I will go down with you, for I have a high opinion of that
little production myself.'"

Young Street is only a block from the Kensington Metropolitan
Railway-Station. It is a little street running off Kensington Road. At
Number Sixteen (formerly Number Thirteen), I saw a card in the window,
"Rooms to Rent to Single Gentlemen."

I rang the bell, and was shown a room that the landlady offered me for
twelve shillings a week if I paid in advance; or if I would take another
room one flight up with a "gent who was studying hart" it would be only
eight and six. I suggested that we go up and see the "gent." We did so,
and I found the young man very courteous and polite.

He told me that he had never heard Thackeray's name in connection with
the house. The landlady protested that "no man by the name o' Thack'ry
has had rooms here since I rented the place; leastwise, if he has been
here he called hisself by sumpthink else, which was like o'nuff the case,
as most ev'rybody is crooked now'days--but surely no decent person can
blame me for that!"

I assured her that she was in no wise to blame.

From this house in Young Street the author of "Vanity Fair" moved to
Number Thirty-six Onslow Square, where he wrote "The Virginians." On the
south side of the Square there is a row of three-storied brick houses.
Thackeray lived in one of these houses for nine years. They were the
years when honors and wealth were being heaped upon him; and he was
worldling enough to let his wants keep pace with his ability to gratify
them. He was made of the same sort of clay as other men, for his standard
of life conformed to his pocketbook and he always felt poor.

From this fine house on Onslow Square he moved to a veritable palace,
which he built to suit his own taste, at Number Two Palace Green,
Kensington. But mansions on earth are seldom for long--he died here on
Christmas Eve, Eighteen Hundred Sixty-three. And Charles Dickens, Mark
Lemon, Millais, Trollope, Robert Browning, Cruikshank, Tom Taylor, Louis
Blanc, Charles Mathews and Shirley Brooks were among the friends who
carried him to his rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

To take one's self too seriously is a great mistake.
Complacency is the unpardonable sin, and the man who says, "Now I'm sure
of it," has at that moment lost it.

Villagers who have lived in one little place until they think themselves
great, having lost the sense of proportion through lack of comparison,
are generally "in dead earnest."

Surely they are often intellectually dead, and I do not dispute the fact
that they are in earnest. All those excellent gentlemen in the days gone
by who could not contemplate a celestial bliss that did not involve the
damnation of those who disagreed with them were in dead earnest.

Cotton Mather once saw a black cat perched on the shoulder of an
innocent, chattering old gran'ma. The next day a neighbor had a
convulsion; and Cotton Mather went forth and exorcised Tabby with a
hymn-book, and hanged gran'ma by the neck, high on Gallows Hill, until
she was dead.

Had the Reverend Mr. Mather possessed but a mere modicum of humor he
might have exorcised the cat, but I am sure he would never have troubled
old gran'ma. But alas, Cotton Mather's conversation was limited to yea,
yea, and nay, nay--generally, nay, nay--and he was in dead earnest.

In the Boston Public Library is a book written in Sixteen Hundred
Eighty-five by Cotton Mather, entitled, "Wonders of the Invisible
World." This book received the endorsement of the Governor of the
Province and also of the President of Harvard College. The author cites
many cases of persons who were bewitched; and also makes the interesting
statement that the Devil knows Greek, Latin and Hebrew, but speaks
English with an accent. These facts were long used at Harvard as an
argument in favor of the Classics. And when Greek was at last made
optional, the Devil was supposed to have filed a protest with the Dean of
the Faculty.

The Reverend Francis Gastrell, who razed New Place, and cut down the
poet's mulberry-tree to escape the importunities of visitors, was in dead
earnest. Attila, and Herod, and John Calvin were in dead earnest. And
were it not for the fact that Luther had lucid intervals when he went
about with his tongue in his cheek he surely would have worked grievous
wrong.

Recent discoveries in Egyptian archeology show that in his lifetime Moses
was esteemed more as a wit than as a lawmaker. His jokes were posted upon
the walls and explained to the populace, who it seems were a bit slow.

Job was a humorist of a high order, and when he said to the wise men, "No
doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you," he struck
twelve. When the sons of Jacob went down into Egypt and Joseph put up the
price of corn, took their money, and then secretly replaced the coin in
the sacks, he showed his artless love of a quiet joke.

Shakespeare's fools were the wisest and kindliest men at court. When the
master decked a character in cap and bells, it was as though he had given
bonds for the man's humanity. Touchstone followed his master into exile;
and when all seemed to have forsaken King Lear the fool bared himself to
the storm and covered the shaking old man with his own cloak. And if
Costard, Trinculo, Touchstone, Jaques and Mercutio had lived in Salem in
Sixteen Hundred Ninety-two, there would have been not only a flashing of
merry jests, but a flashing of rapiers as well, and every gray hair of
every old dame's head would have been safe so long as there was a striped
leg on which to stand.

Lincoln, liberator of men, loved the motley. In fact, the individual who
is incapable of viewing the world from a jocular basis is unsafe, and can
be trusted only when the opposition is strong enough to laugh him into
line.

In the realm of English letters, Thackeray is prince of humorists. He
could see right through a brick wall, and never mistook a hawk for a
hernshaw. He had a just estimate of values, and the temperament that can
laugh at all trivial misfits. And he had, too, that dread capacity for
pain which every true humorist possesses, for the true essence of humor
is sensibility.

In all literature that lives there is mingled like pollen an indefinable
element of the author's personality. In Thackeray's "Lectures on English
Humorists" this subtle quality is particularly apparent. Elusive,
delicate, alluring--it is the actinic ray that imparts vitality.

When wit plays skittles with dulness, dulness gets revenge by taking wit
at his word. Vast numbers of people taking Thackeray at his word consider
him a bitter pessimist.

He even disconcerted bright little Charlotte Bronte, who went down to
London to see him, and then wrote back to Haworth that "the great man
talked steadily with never a smile. I could not tell when to laugh and
when to cry, for I did not know what was fun and what fact."

But finally the author of "Jane Eyre" found the combination, and she saw
that beneath the brusk exterior of that bulky form there was a woman's
tender sympathy.

Thackeray has told us what he thought of the author of "Jane Eyre," and
the author of "Jane Eyre" has told us what she thought of the author of
"Vanity Fair." One was big and whimsical, the other was little and
sincere, but both were alike in this: their hearts were wrung at the
sight of suffering, and both had tears for the erring, the groping, and
the oppressed.

A Frenchman can not comprehend a joke that is not accompanied by grimace
and gesticulation; and so M. Taine chases Thackeray through sixty solid
pages, berating him for what he is pleased to term "bottled hate."

Taine is a cynic who charges Thackeray with cynicism, all in the choicest
of biting phrase. It is a beautiful example of sinners calling the
righteous to repentance--a thing that is often done, but seldom with
artistic finish.

The fun is too deep for Monsieur, or mayhap the brand is not the yellow
label to which his palate is accustomed, so he spews it all. Yet Taine's
criticism is charming reading, although he is only hot after an aniseed
trail of his own dragging. But the chase is a deal more exciting than
most men would lead, were there real live game to capture.

If pushed, I might suggest several points in this man's make-up where God
could have bettered His work. But accepting Thackeray as we find him, we
see a singer whose cage Fate had overhung with black until he had caught
the tune. The "Ballad of Boullabaisse" shows a tender side of his spirit
that he often sought to conceal. His heart vibrated to all finer thrills
of mercy; and his love for all created things was so delicately strung
that he would, in childish shame, sometimes issue a growl to drown its
rising, tearful tones.

In the character of Becky Sharp, he has marshaled some of his own weak
points and then lashed them with scorn. He looked into the mirror and
seeing a potential snob he straightway inveighed against snobbery. The
punishment does not always fit the crime--it is excess. But I still
contest that where his ridicule is most severe, it is Thackeray's own
back that is bared to the knout.

The primal recipe for roguery in art is, "Know Thyself." When a writer
portrays a villain and does it well--make no mistake, he poses for the
character himself. Said gentle Ralph Waldo Emerson, "I have capacity in
me for every crime."

The man of imagination knows those mystic spores of possibility that lie
dormant, and like the magicians of the East who grow mango-trees in an
hour, he develops the "inward potential" at will. The mere artisan in
letters goes forth and finds a villain and then describes him, but the
artist knows a better way: "I am that man."

One of the very sweetest, gentlest characters in literature is Colonel
Newcome. The stepfather of Thackeray, Major Carmichael Smyth, was made to
stand for the portrait of the lovable Colonel; and when that all-round
athlete, F. Hopkinson Smith, gave us that other lovable old Colonel he
paid high tribute to "The Newcomes."

Thackeray was a poet, and as such was often caught in the toils of
doubt--the crux of the inquiring spirit. He aspired for better things,
and at times his imperfections stood out before him in monstrous shape,
and he sought to hiss them down.

In the heart of the artist-poet there is an Inmost Self that sits over
against the acting, breathing man and passes judgment on his every deed.
To satisfy the world is little; to please the populace is naught; fame is
vapor; gold is dross; and every love that has not the sanction of that
Inmost Self is a viper's sting. To satisfy the demands of the God within
is the poet's prayer.

What doubts beset, what taunting fears surround, what crouching sorrows
lie in wait, what dead hopes drag, what hot desires pursue, and what
kindly lights do beckon on--ah! "'tis we musicians know."

Thackeray came to America to get a pot of money, and was in a fair way of
securing it, when he chanced to pick up a paper in which a steamer was
announced to sail that evening for England. A wave of homesickness swept
over the big boy--he could not stand it. He hastily packed up his effects
and without saying good-by to any one, and forgetting all his
engagements, he hastened to the dock, leaving this note for the kindest
of kind friends: "Good-by, Fields; good-by, Mrs. Fields--God bless
everybody, says W.M.T."



CHARLES DICKENS


    I hope for the enlargement of my mind, and for the improvement of
    my understanding. If I have done but little good, I trust I have
    done less harm, and that none of my adventures will be other than
    a source of amusing and pleasant recollection. God bless you all!

    --_Pickwick_

[Illustration: CHARLES DICKENS]


The path of progress in certain problems seems barred as
by a flaming sword.

More than a thousand years before Christ, an Arab chief asked, "If a man
die shall he live again?" Every man who ever lived has asked the same
question, but we know no more today about the subject than did Job.

There are one hundred five boy babies born to every one hundred girls.
The law holds in every land where vital statistics have been kept; and
Sairey Gamp knew just as much about the cause why as Brown-Sequard,
Pasteur, Agnew or Austin Flint.

There is still a third question that every parent, since Adam and Eve,
has sought to solve: "How can I educate this child so that he will attain
eminence?" And even in spite of shelves that groan beneath tomes and
tomes, and advice from a million preachers, the answer is: Nobody knows.

    "There is a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will."

Moses was sent adrift, but the tide carried him into power. The brethren
of Joseph "deposited him into a cavity," but you can not dispose of
genius that way!

Demosthenes was weighted (or blessed) with every disadvantage;
Shakespeare got into difficulty with a woman eight years his senior,
stole deer, ran away, and--became the very first among English poets;
Erasmus was a foundling.

Once there was a woman by the name of Nancy Hanks; she was thin-breasted,
gaunt, yellow and sad. At last, living in poverty, overworked, she was
stricken by death. She called her son--homely as herself--and pointing to
the lad's sister said, "Be good to her, Abe," and died--died, having no
expectation for her boy beyond the hope that he might prosper in worldly
affairs so as to care for himself and his sister. The boy became a man
who wielded wisely a power mightier than that ever given to any other
American. Seven college-bred men composed his cabinet; and Proctor Knott
once said that "if a teeter were evenly balanced, and the members of the
cabinet were all placed on one end, and the President on the other, he
would send the seven wise men flying into space."

On the other hand, Marcus Aurelius wrote his "Meditations" for a son who
did not read them, and whose name is a symbol of profligacy; Charles
Kingsley penned "Greek Heroes" for offspring who have never shown their
father's heroism; and Charles Dickens wrote "A Child's History of
England" for his children--none of whom has proven his proficiency in
historiology.

Charles Dickens himself received his education at the University of Hard
Knocks. Very early in life he was cast upon the rocks and suckled by the
she-wolf. Yet he became the most popular author the world has ever known,
and up to the present time no writer of books has approached him in point
of number of readers and of financial returns. These are facts--facts so
hard and true that they would be the delight of Mr. Gradgrind.

At twelve years of age, Charles Dickens was pasting labels on
blacking-boxes; his father was in prison. At sixteen, he was spending odd
hours in the reading-room of the British Museum. At nineteen, he was
Parliamentary reporter; at twenty-one, a writer of sketches; at
twenty-three, he was getting a salary of thirty-five dollars a week, and
the next year his pay was doubled. When twenty-five, he wrote a play that
ran for seventy nights at Drury Lane Theater. About the same time he
received seven hundred dollars for a series of sketches written in two
weeks. At twenty-six, publishers were at his feet.

When Dickens was at the flood-tide of prosperity, Thackeray, one year his
senior, waited on his doorstep with pictures to illustrate "Pickwick."

He worked steadily, and made from eight to twenty-five thousand dollars a
year. His fame increased, and the "New York Ledger" paid him ten thousand
dollars for one story which he wrote in a fortnight. His collected works
fill forty volumes. There are more of Dickens' books sold every year now
than in any year in which he lived. There were more of Dickens' books
sold last year than any previous year.

"I am glad that the public buy his books," said Macready; "for if they
did not he would take to the stage and eclipse us all."

"Not So Bad As We Seem," by Bulwer-Lytton, was played at Devonshire House
in the presence of the Queen, Dickens taking the principal part. He gave
theatrical performances in London, Liverpool and Manchester, for the
benefit of Leigh Hunt, Sheridan Knowles and various other needy authors
and actors. He wrote a dozen plays, and twice as many more have been
constructed from his plots.

He gave public readings through England, Scotland and Ireland, where the
people fought for seats. The average receipts for these entertainments
were eight hundred dollars per night.

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-three, he made a six months' tour of the United
States, giving a series of readings. The prices of admission were placed
at extravagant figures, but the box-office was always besieged until the
ticket-seller put out his lights and hung out a sign: "The standing-room
is all taken."

The gross receipts of these readings were two hundred twenty-nine
thousand dollars; the expenses thirty-nine thousand dollars; net profit,
one hundred ninety thousand dollars.

Charles Dickens died of brain-rupture in Eighteen Hundred Seventy, aged
fifty-eight. His dust rests in Westminster Abbey.

       *       *       *       *       *

"To know the London of Dickens is a liberal education,"
once said James T. Fields, who was affectionately referred to by Charles
Dickens as "Massachusetts Jemmy." And I am aware of no better way to
become acquainted with the greatest city in the world than to follow the
winding footsteps of the author of "David Copperfield."

Beginning his London life when ten years of age, he shifted from one
lodging to another, zigzag, tacking back and forth from place to place,
but all the time making head, and finally dwelling in palaces of which
nobility might be proud. It took him forty-eight years to travel from the
squalor of Camden Town to Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.

He lodged first in Bayham Street. "A washerwoman lived next door, and a
Bow Street officer over the way." It was a shabby district, chosen by the
elder Dickens because the rent was low. As he neglected to pay the rent,
one wonders why he did not take quarters in Piccadilly.

I looked in vain for a sign reading, "Washin dun Heer," but I found a Bow
Street orf'cer who told me that Bayham Street had long since disappeared.

Yet there is always a recompense in prowling about London, because if you
do not find the thing you are looking for, you find something else
equally interesting. My Bow Street friend proved to be a regular magazine
of rare and useful information--historical, archeological and
biographical.

A Lunnun Bobby has his clothes cut after a pattern a hundred years old,
and he always carries his gloves in his hand--never wearing them--because
this was a habit of William the Conqueror.

But never mind; he is intelligent, courteous and obliging, and I am
perfectly willing that he should wear skirts like a ballet-dancer and a
helmet too small, if it is his humor.

My perliceman knew an older orf'cer who was acquainted with Mr. Dickens.
Mr. Dickens 'ad a full perliceman's suit 'imself, issued to 'im on an
order from Scotland Yard, and he used to do patrol duty at night,
carrying 'is bloomin' gloves in 'is 'and and 'is chinstrap in place. This
was told me by my new-found friend, who volunteered to show me the way to
North Gower Street.

It's only Gower Street now and the houses have been renumbered, so Number
Four is a matter of conjecture; but my guide showed me a door where were
the marks of a full-grown plate that evidently had long since
disappeared. Some days afterward I found this identical brass plate at an
old bookshop in Cheapside. The plate read: "Mrs. Dickens' Establishment."
The man who kept the place advertised himself as a "Bibliopole." He
offered to sell me the plate for one pun ten; but I did not purchase, for
I knew where I could get its mate with a deal more verdigris--all for six
and eight.

Dickens has recorded that he can not recollect of any pupils coming to
the Establishment. But he remembers when his father was taken, like Mr.
Dorrit, to the Debtors' Prison. He was lodged in the top story but one,
in the very same room where his son afterwards put the Dorrits. It's a
queer thing to know that a book-writer can imprison folks without a
warrant and even kill them and yet go unpunished--which thought was
suggested to me by my philosophic guide.

From this house in Gower Street, Charles used to go daily to the
Marshalsea to visit Micawber, who not so many years later was to act as
the proud amanuensis of his son.

The next morning after I first met Bobby he was off duty. I met him by
appointment at the Three Jolly Beggars (a place pernicious snug). He was
dressed in a fashionable, light-colored suit, the coat a trifle short,
and a high silk hat. His large, red neckscarf--set off by his bright,
brick-dust complexion--caused me to mistake him at first for a friend of
mine who drives a Holborn bus.

Mr. 'Awkins (for it was he) greeted me cordially, pulled gently at his
neck-whiskers, and, when he addressed me as Me Lud, the barmaid served us
with much alacrity and things.

We went first to the church of Saint George; then we found Angel Court
leading to Bermondsey, also Marshalsea Place. Here is the site of the
prison, where the crowded ghosts of misery still hover; but small trace
could we find of the prison itself, neither did we see the ghosts. We,
however, saw a very pretty barmaid at the public in Angel Court. I think
she is still prettier than the one to whom Bobby introduced me at the
Sign of the Meat-Axe, which is saying a good deal. Angel Court is rightly
named.

The blacking-warehouse at Old Hungerford Stairs, Strand, in which Charles
Dickens was shown by Bob Fagin how to tie up the pots of paste, has
rotted down and been carted away. The coal-barges in the muddy river are
still there, just as they were when Charles, Poll Green and Bob Fagin
played on them during the dinner-hour. I saw Bob and several other boys,
grimy with blacking, chasing each other across the flatboats, but Dickens
was not there.

Down the river aways there is a crazy, old warehouse with a rotten wharf
of its own, abutting on the water when the tide is in, and on the mud
when the tide is out--the whole place literally overrun with rats that
scuffle and squeal on the moldy stairs. I asked Bobby if it could not be
that this was the blacking-factory; but he said, No, for this one allus
wuz.

Dickens found lodgings in Lant Street while his father was awaiting in
the Marshalsea for something to turn up. Bob Sawyer afterward had the
same quarters. When Sawyer invited Mr. Pickwick "and the other chaps" to
dine with him, he failed to give his number, so we can not locate the
house. But I found the street and saw a big, wooden Pickwick on wheels
standing as a sign for a tobacco-shop. The old gentleman who runs the
place, and runs the sign in every night, assured me that Bob Sawyer's
room was the first floor back. I looked in at it, but seeing no one there
whom I knew, I bought tuppence worth of pigtail in lieu of fee, and came
away.

If a man wished to abstract himself from the world, to remove himself
from temptation, to place himself beyond the possibility of desire to
look out of the window, he should live in Lant Street, said a great
novelist. David Copperfield lodged here when he ordered that glass of
Genuine Stunning Ale at the Red Lion and excited the sympathy of the
landlord, winning a motherly kiss from his wife.

The Red Lion still crouches (under another name) at the corner of Derby
and Parliament Streets, Westminster. I daydreamed there for an hour one
morning, pretending the while to read a newspaper. I can not, however,
recommend their ale as particularly stunning.

As there are authors of one book, so are there readers of one
author--more than we wist. Children want the same bear story over and
over, preferring it to a new one; so "grown-ups" often prefer the
dog-eared book to uncut leaves.

Mr. Hawkins preferred the dog-eared, and at the station-house, where many
times he had long hours to wait in anticipation of a hurry-up call, he
whiled away the time by browsing in his Dickens. He knew no other author,
neither did he wish to. His epidermis was soaked with Dickensology, and
when inspired by gin and bitters he emitted information at every pore. To
him all these bodiless beings of Dickens' brain were living creatures. An
anachronism was nothing to Hawkins. Charley Bates was still at large,
Quilp was just around the corner, and Gaffer Hexam's boat was moored in
the muddy river below.

Dickens used to haunt the publics, those curious resting-places where all
sorts and conditions of thirsty philosophers meet to discuss all sorts of
themes. My guide took me to many of these inns which the great novelist
frequented, and we always had one legend with every drink. After we had
called at three or four different snuggeries, Hawkins would begin to
shake out the facts.

Now, it is not generally known that the so-called stories of Dickens are
simply records of historic events, like What-do-you-call-um's plays! F'r
instance, Dombey and Son was a well-known firm, who carried over into a
joint stock company only a few years ago. The concern is now known as The
Dombey Trading Company; they occupy the same quarters that were used by
their illustrious predecessors.

I signified a desire to see the counting-house so minutely described by
Dickens, and Mr. Hawkins agreed to pilot me thither on our way to
Tavistock Square. We twisted down to the first turning, then up three,
then straight ahead to the first right-hand turn, where we cut to the
left until we came to a stuffed dog, which is the sign of a glover. Just
beyond this my guide plucked me by the sleeve; we halted, and he silently
and solemnly pointed across the street. Sure enough! There it was, the
warehouse with a great stretch of dirty windows in front, through which
we could see dozens of clerks bending over ledgers, just as though Mr.
Dombey were momentarily expected. Over the door was a gilt sign, "The
Bombay Trading Co."

Bobby explained that it was all the same.

I did not care to go in; but at my request Hawkins entered and asked for
Mister Carker, the Junior, but no one knew him.

Then we dropped in at The Silver Shark, a little inn about the size of a
large dustbin of two compartments and a sifter. Here we rested a bit, as
we had walked a long way.

The barmaid who waited upon us was in curl-papers, but she was even then
as pretty if not prettier than the barmaid at the public in Angel Court,
and that is saying a good deal. She was about as tall as Trilby or as
Ellen Terry, which is a very nice height, I think.

As we rested, Mr. Hawkins told the barmaid and me how Rogue Riderhood
came to this very public, through that same doorway, just after he had
his Alfred David took down by the Governors Both. He was a slouching dog,
was the Rogue. He wore an old, sodden fur cap, Winter and Summer,
formless and mangy; it looked like a drowned cat. His hands were always
in his pockets up to his elbows, when they were not reaching for
something, and when he was out after game his walk was a half-shuffle and
run.

Hawkins saw him starting off this way one night and followed him--knowing
there was mischief on hand--followed him for two hours through the fog
and rain. It was midnight and the last stroke of the bells that tolled
the hour had ceased, and their echo was dying away, when all at once----

But the story is too long to relate here. It is so long that when Mr.
Hawkins had finished it was too late to reach Tavistock Square before
dark. Mr. Hawkins explained that as bats and owls and rats come out only
when the sun has disappeared, so there are other things that can be seen
best by night. And as he did not go on until the next day at one, he
proposed that we should go down to The Cheshire Cheese and get a bite of
summat and then sally forth.

So we hailed a bus and climbed to the top.

"She rolls like a scow in the wake of a liner," said Bobby, as we tumbled
into seats. When the bus man came up the little winding ladder and
jingled his punch, Hawkins paid our fares with a heavy wink, and the
guard said, "Thank you, sir," and passed on.

We got off at The Cheese and settled ourselves comfortably in a corner.

The same seats are there, running along the wall, where Doctor Johnson,
"Goldy" and Boswell so often sat and waked the echoes with their
laughter. We had chops and tomato-sauce in recollection of Jingle and
Trotter. The chops were of that delicious kind unknown outside of
England. I supplied the legend this time, for my messmate had never heard
of Boswell.

Hawkins introduced me to "the cove in the white apron" who waited upon
us, and then explained that I was the man who wrote "Martin Chuzzlewit."

He kissed his hand to the elderly woman who presided behind the
nickel-plated American cash-register. The only thing that rang false
about the place was that register, perked up there spick-span new.
Hawkins insisted that it was a typewriter, and as we passed out he took a
handful of matches (thinking them toothpicks) and asked the cashier to
play a tune on the thingumabob, but she declined.

We made our way to London Bridge as the night was settling down. No stars
came out, but flickering, fluttering gaslights appeared, and around each
post was a great, gray, fluffy aureole of mist. Just at the entrance to
the bridge we saw Nancy dogged by Noah Claypole. They turned down towards
Billingsgate Fish-Market, and as the fog swallowed them, Hawkins answered
my question as to the language used at Billingsgate.

"It's not so bloomin' bad, you know; why, I'll take you to a market in
Islington where they talk twice as vile."

He started to go into technicalities, but I excused him.

Then he leaned over the parapet and spat down at a rowboat that was
passing below. As the boat moved out into the glimmering light we made
out Lizzie Hexam at the oars, while Gaffer sat in the stern on the
lookout.

The Marchioness went by as we stood there, a bit of tattered shawl over
her frowsy head, one stocking down around her shoetop. She had a penny
loaf under her arm, and was breaking off bits, eating as she went.

Soon came Snagsby, then Mr. Vincent Crummels, Mr. Sleary, the
horseback-rider, followed by Chops, the dwarf, and Pickleson, the giant.
Hawkins said there were two Picklesons, but I saw only one. Just below
was the Stone pier and there stood Mrs. Gamp, and I heard her ask:

"And which of all them smoking monsters is the Anxworks boat, I wonder?
Goodness me!"

"Which boat do you want?" asked Ruth.

"The Anxworks package--I will not deceive you, Sweet; why should I?"

"Why, that is the Antwerp packet, in the middle," said Ruth.

"And I wish it was in Jonidge's belly, I do," cried Mrs. Gamp.

We came down from the bridge, moved over toward Billingsgate, past the
Custom-House, where curious old sea-captains wait for ships that never
come. Captain Cuttle lifted his hook to the brim of his glazed hat as we
passed. We returned the salute and moved on toward the Tower.

"It's a rum place; let's not stop," said Hawkins. Thoughts of the ghosts
of Raleigh, of Mary Queen of Scots and of Lady Jane Grey seemed to steady
his gait and to hasten his footsteps.

In a few moments we saw just ahead of us David Copperfield and Mr.
Peggotty following a woman whom we could make out walking excitedly a
block ahead. It was Martha, intent on suicide.

"We'll get to the dock first and 'ead 'er orf," said 'Awkins. We ran down
a side street. But a bright light in a little brick cottage caught our
attention--men can't run arm in arm anyway. We forgot our errand of mercy
and stood still with open mouths looking in at the window at little Jenny
Wren hard at work dressing her dolls and stopping now and then to stab
the air with her needle. Bradley Headstone and Charlie and Lizzie Hexam
came in, and we then passed on, not wishing to attract attention.

There was an old smoke-stained tree on the corner which I felt sorry for,
as I do for every city tree. Just beyond was a blacksmith's forge and a
timber-yard behind, where a dealer in old iron had a shop, in front of
which was a rusty boiler and a gigantic flywheel half buried in the sand.

There were no crowds to be seen now, but we walked on and on--generally
in the middle of the narrow streets, turning up or down or across,
through arches where tramps slept, by doorways where children crouched;
passing drunken men, and women with shawls over their heads.

Now and again the screech of a fiddle could be heard or the lazy music of
an accordion, coming from some "Sailors' Home." Steps of dancing with
rattle of iron-shod boot-heels clicking over sanded floors, the hoarse
shout of the "caller-off," and now and again angry tones with cracked
feminine falsettos broke on the air; and all the time the soft rain fell
and the steam seemed to rise from the sewage-laden streets.

We were in Stepney, that curious parish so minutely described by Walter
Besant in "All Sorts and Conditions of Men"--the parish where all
children born at sea were considered to belong. We saw Brig Place, where
Walter Gay visited Captain Cuttle. Then we went with Pip in search of
Mrs. Wimple's house, at Mill-Pond Bank, Chink's Basin, Old Green Copper
Rope Walk; where lived old Bill Barley and his daughter Clara, and where
Magwitch was hidden. It was the dingiest collection of shabby buildings
ever squeezed together in a dark corner as a club for tomcats.

Then, standing out in the gloom, we saw Limehouse Church, where John
Rokesmith prowled about on a 'tective scent; and where John Harmon waited
for the third mate Radfoot, intending to murder him. Next we reached
Limehouse Hole, where Rogue Riderhood took the plunge down the steps of
Leaving Shop.

Hawkins thought he saw the Artful Dodger ahead of us on the dock. He went
over and looked up and down and under an old upturned rowboat, then
peered over the dock and swore a harmless oath that if we could catch him
we would run him in without a warrant. Yes, we'd clap the nippers on 'im
and march 'im orf.

"Not if I can help it," I said; "I like the fellow too well." Fortunately
Hawkins failed to find him.

Here it was that the Uncommercial Traveler did patrol duty on many
sleepless nights. Here it was that Esther Summerson and Mr. Bucket came.
And by the light of a match held under my hat we read a handbill on the
brick wall: "Found Drowned!" The heading stood out in big, fat letters,
but the print below was too damp to read, yet there is no doubt it is the
same bill that Gaffer Hexam, Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood read,
for Mr. Hawkins said so.

As we stood there we heard the gentle gurgle of the tide running under
the pier, then a dip of oars coming from out the murky darkness of the
muddy river: a challenge from the shore with orders to row in, a hoarse,
defiant answer and a watchman's rattle.

A policeman passed us running and called back, "I say, Hawkins, is that
you? There's murder broke loose in Whitechapel again! The reserves have
been ordered out!"

Hawkins stopped and seemed to pull himself together--his height
increased three inches. A moment before I thought he was a candidate for
fatty degeneration of the cerebrum, but now his sturdy frame was all
atremble with life.

"Another murder! I knew it. Bill Sykes has killed Nancy at last. There 's
fifty pun for the man who puts the irons on 'im--I must make for the
nearest stishun."

He gave my hand a twist, shot down a narrow courtway--and I was left to
fight the fog, and mayhap this Bill Sykes and all the other wild phantoms
of Dickens' brain, alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

A certain great general once said that the only good Indian
is a dead Indian. Just why the maxim should be limited to aborigines I
know not, for when one reads obituaries he is discouraged at the thoughts
of competing in virtue with those who have gone hence.

Let us extend the remark--plagiarize a bit--and say that the only perfect
men are those whom we find in books. The receipt for making them is
simple, yet well worth pasting in your scrapbook. Take the virtues of all
the best men you ever knew or heard of, leave out the faults, then mix.

In the hands of "the lady novelist" this composition, well molded, makes
a scarecrow, in the hair of which the birds of the air come and build
their nests. But manipulated by an expert a figure may appear that starts
and moves and seems to feel the thrill of life. It may even take its
place on a pedestal and be exhibited with other waxworks and thus become
confounded with the historic And though these things make the unskilful
laugh, yet the judicious say, "Dickens made it, therefore let it pass for
a man."

Dear old M. Taine, ever glad to score a point against the British, and
willing to take Dickens at his word, says, "We have no such men in France
as Scrooge and Squeers!"

But, God bless you, M. Taine, England has no such men either.

The novelist takes the men and women he has known, and from life, plus
imagination, he creates. If he sticks too close to nature he describes,
not depicts: this is "veritism." If imagination's wing is too strong, it
lifts the luckless writer off from earth and carries him to an unknown
land. You may then fall down and worship his characters, and there is no
violation of the First Commandment.

Nothing can be imagined that has not been seen; but imagination can
assort, omit, sift, select, construct. Given a horse, an eagle, an
elephant, and the "creative artist" can make an animal that is neither a
horse, an eagle, nor an elephant, yet resembles each. This animal may
have eight legs (or forty) with hoofs, claws and toes alternating; a
beak, a trunk, a mane; and the whole can be feathered and given the power
of rapid flight and also the ability to run like the East Wind. It can
neigh, roar or scream by turn, or can do all in concert, with a vibratory
force multiplied by one thousand.

The novelist must have lived, and the novelist must have imagination. But
this is not enough. He must have power to analyze and separate, and then
he should have the good taste to select and group, forming his parts into
a harmonious whole.

Yet he must build large. Life-size will not do: the statue must be
heroic, and the artist's genius must breathe into its nostrils the breath
of life.

The men who live in history are those whose lives have been skilfully
written. "Plutarch is the most charming writer of fiction the world has
ever known," said Emerson.

Dickens' characters are personifications of traits, not men and women.
Yet they are a deal funnier--they are as funny as a box of monkeys, as
entertaining as a Punch-and-Judy show, as interesting as a "fifteen
puzzle," and sometimes as pretty as chromos. Quilp munching the eggs,
shells and all, to scare his wife, makes one shiver as though a
Jack-in-the-box had been popped out at him. Mr. Mould, the undertaker,
and Jaggers, the lawyer, are as amusing as Humpty-Dumpty and Pantaloon. I
am sure that no live lawyer ever gave me half the enjoyment that Jaggers
has, and Doctor Slammers' talk is better medicine than the pills of any
living M.D. Because the burnt-cork minstrel pleases me more than a real
"nigger" is no reason why I should find fault!

Dickens takes the horse, the eagle and the elephant and makes an animal
of his own. He rubs up the feathers, places the tail at a fierce angle,
makes the glass eyes glare, and you are ready to swear that the thing is
alive.

By rummaging over the commercial world you can collect the harshness,
greed, avarice, selfishness and vanity from a thousand men. With these
sins you can, if you are very skilful, construct a Ralph Nickleby, a
Scrooge, a Jonas Chuzzlewit, an Alderman Cute, a Mr. Murdstone, a
Bounderby or a Gradgrind at will.

A little more pride, a trifle less hypocrisy, a molecule extra of
untruth, and flavor with this fault or that, and your man is ready to
place up against the fence to dry.

Then you can make a collection of all the ridiculous traits--the whims,
silly pride, foibles, hopes founded on nothing and dreams touched with
moonshine--and you make a Micawber. Put in a dash of assurance and a good
thimbleful of hypocrisy, and Pecksniff is the product. Leave out the
assurance, replacing it with cowardice, and the result is Doctor Chillip
or Uriah Heap. Muddle the whole with stupidity, and Bumble comes forth.

Then, for the good people, collect the virtues and season to suit the
taste and we have the Cheeryble Brothers, Paul Dombey or Little Nell.
They have no development, therefore no history--the circumstances under
which you meet them vary, that's all. They are people the like of whom
are never seen on land or sea.

Little Nell is good all day long, while live children are good for only
five minutes at a time. The recurrence with which these five-minute
periods return determines whether the child is "good" or "bad." In the
intervals the restless little feet stray into flowerbeds; stand on chairs
so that grimy, dimpled hands may reach forbidden jam; run and romp in
pure joyous innocence, or kick spitefully at authority. Then the little
fellow may go to sleep, smile in his dreams so that mamma says angels are
talking to him (nurse says wind on the stomach); when he awakens the
five-minute good spell returns.

Men are only grown-up children. They are cheerful after breakfast, cross
at night. Houses, lands, barns, railroads, churches, books, racetracks
are the playthings with which they amuse themselves until they grow
tired, and Death, the kind old nurse, puts them to sleep.

So a man on earth is good or bad as mood moves him; in color his acts are
seldom pure white, neither are they wholly black, but generally of a
steel-gray. Caprice, temper, accident, all act upon him. The North Wind
of hate, the Simoon of Jealousy, the Cyclone of Passion beat and buffet
him. Pilots strong and pilots cowardly stand at the helm by turn. But
sometimes the South Wind softly blows, the sun comes out by day, the
stars at night: friendship holds the rudder firm, and love makes all
secure.

Such is the life of man--a voyage on life's unresting sea; but Dickens
knows it not. Esther is always good, Fagin is always bad, Bumble is
always pompous, and Scrooge is always--Scrooge. At no Dickens' party do
you ever mistake Cheeryble for Carker; yet in real life Carker is Carker
one day and Cheeryble the next--yes, Carker in the morning and Cheeryble
after dinner.

There is no doubt that a dummy so ridiculous as Pecksniff has reduced the
number of hypocrites; and the domineering and unjust are not quite so
popular since Dickens painted their picture with a broom.

From the yeasty deep of his imagination he conjured forth his strutting
spirits; and the names he gave to each are as fitting and as funny as
the absurd smallclothes and fluttering ribbons which they wear.

Shakespeare has his Gobbo, Touchstone, Simpcox, Sly, Grumio, Mopsa,
Pinch, Nym, Simple, Quickly, Overdone, Elbow, Froth, Dogberry, Puck,
Peablossom, Taurus, Bottom, Bushy, Hotspur, Scroop, Wall, Flute, Snout,
Starveling, Moonshine, Mouldy, Shallow, Wart, Bullcalf, Feeble, Quince,
Snag, Dull, Mustardseed, Fang, Snare, Rumor, Tearsheet, Cobweb, Costard
and Moth; but in names as well as in plot "the father of Pickwick" has
distanced the Master. In fact, to give all the odd and whimsical names
invented by Dickens would be to publish a book, for he compiled an
indexed volume of names from which he drew at will. He used, however, but
a fraction of his list. The rest are wisely kept from the public, else,
forsooth, the fledgling writers of penny-shockers would seize upon them
for raw stock.

Dickens has a watch that starts and stops in a way of its own--never mind
the sun. He lets you see the wheels go round, but he never tells you why
the wheels go round. He knows little of psychology--that curious, unseen
thing that stands behind every act. He knows not the highest love,
therefore he never depicts the highest joy. Nowhere does he show the
gradual awakening in man of Godlike passion--nowhere does he show the
evolution of a soul; very, very seldom does he touch the sublime.

But he has given the Athenians a day of pleasure, and for this let us all
reverently give thanks.



OLIVER GOLDSMITH


    Jarvis: A few of our usual cards of compliments--that's all. This
    bill from your tailor; this from your mercer; and this from the
    little broker in Crooked Lane. He says he has been at a great
    deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed.

    Honeydew: But I am sure we were at a great deal of trouble in
    getting him to lend it.

    Jarvis: He has lost all patience.

    Honeydew: Then he has lost a good thing.

    Jarvis: There's that ten guineas you were sending to the poor man
    and his children in the Fleet. I believe that would stop his
    mouth for a while.

    Honeydew: Ay, Jarvis; but what will fill their mouths in the
    meantime?

    --_Goldsmith, "The Good-Natured Man"_

[Illustration: OLIVER GOLDSMITH]


The Isle of Erin has the same number of square miles as
the State of Indiana; it also has more kindness to the acre than any
other country on earth.

Ireland has five million inhabitants; once it had eight. Three millions
have gone away, and when one thinks of landlordism he wonders why the
five millions did not go, too. But the Irish are a poetic people and love
the land of their fathers with a childlike love, and their hearts are all
bound up in sweet memories, rooted by song and legend into nooks and
curious corners, so the tendrils of affection hold them fast.

Ireland is very beautiful. Its pasture-lands and meadow-lands,
blossom-decked and water-fed, crossed and recrossed by never-ending
hedgerows, that stretch away and lose themselves in misty nothingness,
are fair as a poet's dream. Birds carol in the white hawthorn and the
yellow furze all day long, and the fragrant summer winds that blow lazily
across the fields are laden with the perfume of fairest flowers.

It is like crossing the dark river called Death, to many, to think of
leaving Ireland--besides that, even if they wanted to go they haven't
money to buy a steerage ticket.

From across the dark river called Death come no remittances; but from
America many dollars are sent back to Ireland. This often supplies the
obolus that secures the necessary bit of Cunard passport.

Whenever an Irishman embarks at Queenstown, part of the five million
inhabitants go down to the waterside to see him off. Not long ago I stood
with the crowd and watched two fine lads go up the gangplank, each
carrying a red handkerchief containing his worldly goods. As the good
ship moved away we lifted a wild wail of woe that drowned the sobbing of
the waves. Everybody cried--I wept, too--and as the great, black ship
became but a speck on the Western horizon we embraced each other in
frenzied grief.

There is beauty in Ireland--physical beauty of so rare and radiant a type
that it makes the heart of an artist ache to think that it can not
endure. On country roads, at fair time, the traveler will see barefoot
girls who are women, and just suspecting it, who have cheeks like ripe
pippins; laughing eyes with long, dark, wicked lashes; teeth like ivory;
necks of perfect poise; and waists that, never having known a corset, are
pure Greek.

Of course, these girls are aware that we admire them--how could they help
it? They carry big baskets on either shapely arm, bundles balanced on
their heads, and we, suddenly grown tired, sit on the bankside as they
pass by, and feign indifference to their charms.

Once safely past, we admiringly examine their tracks in the soft mud (for
there has been a shower during the night), and we vow that such
footprints were never before left upon the sands of time.

The typical young woman in Ireland is Juno before she was married; the
old woman is Sycorax after Caliban was weaned. Wrinkled, toothless,
yellow old hags are seen sitting by the roadside, rocking back and forth,
crooning a song that is mate to the chant of the witches in "Macbeth"
when they brew the hellbroth.

See that wizened, scarred and cruel old face--how it speaks of a seared
and bitter heart! so dull yet so alert, so changeful yet so impassive, so
immobile yet so cunning--a paradox in wrinkles, where half-stifled
desperation has clawed at the soul until it has fled, and only dead
indifference or greedy expectation is left to tell the tragic tale.

"In the name of God, charity, kind gentlemen, charity!" and the old crone
stretches forth a long, bony claw. Should you pass on she calls down
curses on your head. If you are wise, you go back and fling her a copper
to stop the cold streaks that are shooting up your spine. And these old
women were the most trying sights I saw in Ireland.

"Pshaw!" said a friend of mine when I told him this; "these old creatures
are actors, and if you would sit down and talk to them, as I have done,
they will laugh and joke, and tell you of sons in America who are
policemen, and then they will fill black 'dhudeens' out of your tobacco
and ask if you know Mike McGuire who lives in She-ka-gy."

The last trace of comeliness has long left the faces of these repulsive
beggars, but there is a type of feminine beauty that comes with years. It
is found only where intellect and affection keep step with spiritual
desire; and in Ireland, where it is often a crime to think, where
superstition stalks, and avarice rules, and hunger crouches, it is very,
very rare.

But I met one woman in the Emerald Isle whose hair was snow-white, and
whose face seemed to beam a benediction. It was a countenance refined by
sorrow, purified by aspiration, made peaceful by right intellectual
employment, strong through self-reliance, and gentle by an earnest faith
in things unseen. It proved the possible.

When the nations are disarmed, Ireland will take first place, for in
fistiana she is supreme.

James Russell Lowell once said that where the "code duello" exists, men
lift their hats to ladies, and say "Excuse me" and "If you please." And
if Lowell was so bold as to say a good word for the gentlemen who hold
themselves "personally responsible," I may venture the remark that men
who strike from the shoulder are almost universally polite to strangers.

A woman can do Ireland afoot and alone with perfect safety. Everywhere
one finds courtesy, kindness and bubbling good-cheer.

Nineteen-twentieths of all lawlessness in Ireland during the past two
hundred years has been directed against the landlord's agent. This is a
very Irish-like proceeding--to punish the agent for the sins of the
principal. When the landlord himself comes over from England he affects a
fatherly interest in "his people." He gives out presents and cheap
favors, and the people treat him with humble deference. When the
landlord's agent goes to America he gets a place as first mate on a
Mississippi River Steamboat; and before the War he was in demand in the
South as overseer. He it is who has taught the "byes" the villainy that
they execute; and it sometimes goes hard, for they better the
instruction.

But there is one other character that the boys occasionally look after in
Ireland, and that is the "Squire." He is a merry wight in tight breeches,
red coat, and a number-six hat. He has yellow side-whiskers and 'unts to
'ounds, riding over the wheatfields of honest men. The genuine landlord
lives in London; the squire would like to but can not afford it. Of
course, there are squires and squires, but the kind I have in mind is an
Irishman who tries to pass for an Englishman. He is that curious thing--a
man without a country.

There is a theory to the effect that the Universal Mother in giving out
happiness bestows on each and all an equal portion--that the beggar
trudging along the stony road is as happy as the king who rides by in his
carriage. This is a very old belief, and it has been held by many
learned men. From the time I first heard it, it appealed to me as truth.

Yet recently my faith has been shaken; for not long ago in New York I
climbed the marble steps of a splendid mansion and was admitted by a
servant in livery who carried my card on a silver tray to his master.
This master had a son in the "Keeley Institute," a daughter in her grave,
and a wife who shrank from his presence. His heart was as lonely as a
winter night at sea. Fate had sent him a coachman, a butler, a gardener
and a footman, but she took his happiness and passed it through a hole in
the thatch of a mud-plastered cottage in Ireland, where, each night, six
rosy children soundly slept in one straw bed.

In that cottage I stayed two days. There was a stone floor and bare,
whitewashed walls; but there was a rosebush climbing over the door, and
within health and sunny temper that made mirth with a meal of herbs, and
a tenderness that touched to poetry the prose of daily duties.

But it is well to bear in mind that an Irishman in America and an
Irishman in Ireland are not necessarily the same thing. Often the first
effect of a higher civilization is degeneration. Just as the Chinaman
quickly learns big swear-words, and the Indian takes to drink, and
certain young men on first reading Emerson's essay on "Self-Reliance" go
about with a chip on their shoulders, so sometimes does the first full
breath of freedom's air develop the worst in Paddy instead of the best.

As one tramps through Ireland and makes the acquaintance of a blue-eyed
"broth of a bye," who weighs one hundred and ninety, and measures
forty-four inches around the chest, he catches glimpses of noble traits
and hints of mystic possibilities. There are actions that look like
rudiments of greatness gone, and you think of the days when Olympian
games were played, and finger meanwhile the silver in your pocket and
inwardly place it on this twenty-year-old, pink-faced, six-foot "boy"
that stands before you.

In Ireland there are no forests, but in the peat-bogs are found remains
of mighty trees that once lifted their outstretched branches to the sun.
Are these remains of stately forests symbols of a race of men that, too,
have passed away?

In any wayside village of Leinster you can pick you a model for an
Apollo. He is in rags, is this giant, and can not read, but he can dance
and sing and fight. He has an eye for color, an ear for music, a taste
for rhyme, a love of novelty and a thirst for fun. And withal he has
blundering sympathy and a pity whose tears are near the surface.

Now, will this fine savage be a victim of arrested development, and sink
gradually through weight of years into mere animal stupidity and sodden
superstition?

The chances are that this is just what he will do, and that at twenty he
will be in his intellectual zenith. Summer does not fulfil the promise of
Spring.

But as occasionally there is one of those beautiful, glowing Irish girls
who leaves footsteps that endure (in bettered lives), instead of merely
transient tracks in mud, so there has been a Burke, a Wellington, an
O'Connell, a Sheridan, a Tom Moore and an Oliver Goldsmith.

       *       *       *       *       *

While Goldsmith was an Irishman, Swift was an Englishman
who chanced to be born of Irish parents in Dublin. In comparing these men
Thackeray says: "I think I would rather have had a cold potato and a
friendly word from Goldsmith than to have been beholden to the Dean for a
guinea and a dinner. No; the Dean was not an Irishman, for no Irishman
ever gave but with a kind word and a kind heart."

Charles Goldsmith was a clergyman, passing rich on forty pounds a year.
He had a nice little family of eight children, and what became of the
seven who went not astray I do not know. But the smallest and homeliest
one of the brood became the best-loved man in London. These sickly boys
who have been educated only because they were too weak to work--what a
record their lives make!

Little Oliver had a pug-nose and bandy legs, and fists not big enough to
fight, but he had a large head, and because he was absent-minded, lots of
folks thought him dull and stupid, and others were sure he was very bad.
In fact, let us admit it, he did steal apples and rifle birds' nests, and
on "the straggling fence that skirts the way," he drew pictures of Paddy
Byrne, the schoolmaster, who amazed the rustics by the amount of
knowledge he carried in one small head. But Paddy Byrne did not love art
for art's sake, so he applied the ferule vigorously to little Goldsmith's
anatomy, with a hope of diverting the lad's inclinations from art to
arithmetic. I do not think the plan was very successful, for the
pockmarked youngster was often adorned with the dunce-cap.

"And, Sir," said Doctor Johnson, many years after, "it must have been
very becoming."

It seems that Paddy Byrne "boarded round," and part of the time was under
the roof of the rectory. Now we all know that schoolmasters are dual
creatures, and that once away from the schoolyard, and having laid aside
the robe of office, are often good, honest, simple folks. In his official
capacity Paddy Byrne made things very uncomfortable for the pug-nosed
little boy, but, like the true Irishman that he was, when he got away
from the schoolhouse he was sorry for it. Whether dignity is the mask we
wear to hide ignorance, I am not sure, yet when Paddy Byrne was the
schoolmaster he was a man severe and stern to view; but when he was plain
Paddy Byrne he was a first-rate good fellow.

Evenings he would hold little Oliver on his knee, and instead of helping
him in his lessons would tell him tales of robbers, pirates,
smugglers--everything and anything in fact that boys like: stories of
fairies, goblins, ghosts; lion-hunts and tiger-killing in which the
redoubtable Paddy was supposed to have taken a chief part. The
schoolmaster had been a soldier and a sailor. He had been in many lands,
and when he related his adventures, no doubt he often mistook imagination
for memory. But the stories had the effect of choking the desire in
Oliver for useful knowledge, and gave instead a thirst for wandering and
adventure.

Byrne also had a taste for poetry, and taught the lad to scribble rhymes.
Very proud was the boy's mother, and very carefully did she preserve
these foolish lines.

All this was in the village of Lissoy, County Westmeath; yet if you look
on the map you will look in vain for Lissoy. But six miles northeast from
Athlone and three miles from Ballymahon is the village of Auburn.

When Goldsmith was a boy Lissoy was:

    "Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
    Where health and plenty cheered the laboring swain,
    Where smiling Spring the earliest visits paid,
    And parting Summer's lingering blooms delayed--
    Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
    Seats of my youth, when every sport could please--
    How often have I loitered o'er thy green,
    Where humble happiness endeared each scene;
    How often have I paused on every charm,
    The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
    The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
    The decent church, that topped the neighboring hill,
    The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade
    For talking age and whispering lovers made:
    How often have I blessed the coming day,
    When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
    And all the village train from labor free,
    Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree--
    While many a pastime circled in the shade,
    The young contending as the old surveyed;
    And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground,
    And sleights of art and feats of strength went round."

In America, when a "city" is to be started, the first thing is to divide
up the land into town-lots and then sell these lots to whoever will buy.
This is a very modern scheme. But in Ireland whole villages belong to one
man, and every one in the place pays tribute. Then villages are passed
down from generation to generation, and sometimes sold outright, but
there is no wish to dispose of corner lots. For when a man lives in your
house and you can put him out at any time, he is, of course, much more
likely to be civil than if he owns the place.

But it has happened many times that the inhabitants of Irish villages
have all packed up and deserted the place, leaving no one but the village
squire and that nice man, the landlord's agent. The cottages then are
turned into sheep-pens or hay-barns. They may be pulled down, or, if they
are left standing, the weather looks after that. And these are common
sights to the tourist.

Now the landlord, who owned every rood of the village of Lissoy, lived in
London. He lived well. He gambled a little, and as the cards did not run
his way he got into debt. So he wrote to his agent in Lissoy to raise
the rents. He did so, threatened, applied the screws, and--the
inhabitants packed up and let the landlord have his village all to
himself. Let Goldsmith tell:

    "Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
    Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn:
    Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen,
    And desolation saddens all thy green;
    One only master grasps the whole domain,
    And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
    No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
    But choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
    Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
    The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
    Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
    And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
    Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
    And the long grass overtops the moldering wall;
    And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
    Far, far away, thy children leave the land."

A titled gentleman by the name of Napier was the owner of the estate at
that time, and as his tenantry had left, he in wrath pulled down their
rows of pretty white cottages, demolished the schoolhouse, blew up the
mill, and took all the material and built a splendid mansion on the
hillside.

The cards had evidently turned in his direction, but anyway, he owned
several other villages, so although he toiled not neither did he spin,
yet he was well clothed and always fed. But my lord Napier was not
immortal, for he died, and was buried; and over his grave they erected a
monument, and on it are these words: "He was the friend of the
oppressed."

The records of literature, so far as I know, show no such moving force in
a simple poem as the re-birth of the village of Auburn. No man can live
in a village and illuminate it by his genius. His fellow townsmen and
neighbors are not to be influenced by his eloquence except in a very
limited way. His presence creates an opposition, for the "personal touch"
repels as well as attracts. Dying, seven cities may contend for the honor
of his birthplace; or after his departure, knowledge of his fame may
travel back across the scenes that he has known, and move to better
things.

The years went by and the Napier estate got into a bad way and was sold.
Captain Hogan became the owner of the site of the village of Lissoy. Now,
Captain Hogan was a poet in feeling, and he set about to replace the
village that Goldsmith had loved and immortalized. He adopted the name
that Goldsmith supplied, and Auburn it is even unto this day.

In the village-green is the original spreading hawthorn-tree, all
enclosed in a stone wall to preserve it. And on the wall is a sign
requesting you not to break off branches.

Around the trees are seats. I sat there one evening with "talking age"
and "whispering lovers." The mirth that night was of a quiet sort, and I
listened to an old man who recited all "The Deserted Village" to the
little group that was present. It cost me sixpence, but was cheap for the
money, for the brogue was very choice. I was the only stranger present,
and quickly guessed that the entertainment was for my sole benefit, as I
saw that I was being furtively watched to see how I took my medicine.

A young fellow sitting near me offered a little Goldsmith information,
then a woman on the other side did the same, and the old man who had
recited suggested that we go over and see the alehouse "where the justly
celebhrated Docther Goldsmith so often played his harp so feelin'ly." So
we adjourned to The Three Jolly Pigeons--a dozen of us, including the
lovers, whom I personally invited.

"And did Oliver Goldsmith really play his harp in this very room?" I
asked.

"Aye, indade he did, yer honor, an' ef ye don't belave it, ye kin sit in
the same chair that was his."

So they led me to the big chair that stood on a little raised platform,
and I sat in the great oaken seat which was surely made before Goldsmith
was born. Then we all took ale (at my expense). The lovers sat in one
corner, drinking from one glass, and very particular to drink from the
same side, and giggling to themselves.

The old man wanted to again recite "The Deserted Village," but was
forcibly restrained. And instead, by invitation of himself, the landlord
sang a song composed by Goldsmith, but which I have failed to find in
Goldsmith's works, entitled, "When Ireland Is Free." There were thirteen
stanzas in this song, and a chorus and refrain in which the words of the
title are repeated. After each stanza we all came in strong on the
chorus, keeping time by tapping our glasses on the tables.

Then we all drank perdition to English landlords, had our glasses
refilled, and I was called on for a speech. I responded in a few words
that were loudly cheered, and the very good health of "the 'Merican
Nobleman" was drunk with much fervor.

The Three Jolly Pigeons is arranged exactly to the letter:

    "The whitewashed walls, the nicely sanded floor,
    The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;
    The chest contrived a doubly debt to pay,
    A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
    The pictures placed for ornament and use,
    The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose."

And behold, there on the wall behind the big oak chair are "the twelve
good rules."

The next morning I saw the modest mansion of the village preacher "whose
house was known to all the vagrant train," then the little stone church,
and beyond I came to the blossoming furze, unprofitably gay, where the
village master taught his little school. A bright young woman teaches
there now, and it is certain that she can write and cipher too, for I saw
"sums" on the blackboard, and I also saw where she had written some very
pretty mottoes on the wall with colored chalk, a thing I am sure that
Paddy Byrne never thought to do.

Below the schoolhouse is a pretty little stream that dances over pebbles
and untiringly turns the wheel in the old mill; and not far away I saw
the round top of Knockrue hill, where Goldsmith said he would rather sit
with a book in hand than mingle with the throng at the court of royalty.

Goldsmith's verse is all clean, sweet and wholesome, and I do not wonder
that he was everywhere a favorite with women. This was true in his very
babyhood. For he was the pet of several good old dames, one of whom
taught him to count by using cards as object-lessons He proudly said that
when he was three years of age he could pick out the "ten-spot." This
love of pasteboard was not exactly an advantage, for when he was sixteen
he went to Dublin to attend college, and carried fifty pounds and a deck
of cards in his pocket. The first day in Dublin he met a man who thought
he knew more about cards than Oliver did--and the man did: in three days
Oliver arrived back in Sweet Auburn penniless, but wonderfully glad to
get home and everybody glad to see him. "It seemed as if I 'd been away a
year," he said.

But in a few weeks he started out with no baggage but a harp, and he
played in the villages and the inns, and sometimes at the homes of the
rich. And his melodies won all hearts.

The author of "Vanity Fair" says: "You come hot and tired from the day's
battle, and this sweet minstrel sings to you. Who could harm the kind
vagrant harper? Whom did he ever hurt? He carries no weapon--only the
harp on which he plays to you; and with which he delights great and
humble, young and old, the captains in the tent or the soldiers round the
fire, or the women and children in the villages at whose porches he stops
and sings his simple songs of love and beauty."

       *       *       *       *       *

When Goldsmith arrived in London in Seventeen Hundred
Fifty-six, he was ragged, penniless, friendless and forlorn. In the
country he could always make his way, but the city to him was new and
strange. For several days he begged a crust here and there, sleeping in
the doorways at night and dreaming of the flowery wealth of gentle
Lissoy, where even the poorest had enough to eat and a warm place to
huddle when the sun went down.

He at length found work as clerk or porter in a chemist's shop, where he
remained until he got money enough to buy a velvet coat and a ruffled
shirt, and then he moved to the Bankside and hung out a surgeon's sign.
The neighbors thought the little doctor funny, and the women would call
to him out of the second-story window that it was a fine day, but when
they were ill they sent for some one else to attend them.

Goldsmith was twenty-eight, and the thought that he could make a living
with his pen had never come to him. Yet he loved books, and he would
loiter about bookshops, pricing first editions, and talking poetry to the
patrons. He chanced in this way to meet Samuel Richardson, who, because
he wrote the first English romance, has earned the title of Father of
Lies. In order to get a very necessary loaf of bread, Doctor Goldsmith
asked Richardson to let him read proof. So Richardson gave him
employment, and in correcting proof the discovery was made that the Irish
doctor could turn a sentence, too.

He became affected with literary eczema, and wrote a tragedy which he
read to Richardson and a few assembled friends. They voted it "vile,
demnition vile." But one man thought it wasn't so bad as it might be, and
this man found a market for some of the little doctor's book reviews, but
the tragedy was fed to the fireplace. With the money for his book reviews
the doctor bought goose quills and ink, and inspiration in bottles.

Grub Street dropped in, shabby, seedy, empty of pocket but full of hope,
and little suppers were given in dingy coffeehouses where success to
English letters was drunk.

Then we find Goldsmith making a bold stand for reform. He hired out to
write magazine articles by the day; going to work in the morning when the
bell rang, an hour off at noon, and then at it again until nightfall. Mr.
Griffiths, publisher of the "Monthly Review," was his employer. And in
order to hold his newly captured prize, the publisher boarded the
pockmarked Irishman in his own house. Mrs. Griffiths looked after him
closely, spurring him on when he lagged, correcting his copy, striking
out such portions as showed too much genius and inserting a word here and
there in order to make a purely neutral decoction, which it seems is what
magazine readers have always desired.

Occasionally these articles were duly fathered by great men, as this gave
them the required specific gravity.

It is said that even in our day there are editors who employ convict
labor in this way. But I am sure that this is not so, for we live in an
age of competition, and it is just as cheap to hire the great men to
supply twaddle direct as it is to employ foreign paupers to turn it out
with the extra expense of elderly women to revise.

After working in the Griffith literary mill for five months, Goldsmith
scaled the barricade one dark night, leaving behind, pasted on the wall,
a ballad not only to Mrs. Griffiths' eyebrow, but to her wig as well.

Soon after this, when Goldsmith was thirty years of age, his first book,
"Enquiry Into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe," was
published. It brought him a little money and tuppence worth of fame, so
he took better lodgings, in Green Arbor Court, proposing to do great
things.

Half a century after the death of Goldsmith, Irving visited Green Arbor
Court:

"At length we came upon Fleet Market, and traversing it, turned up a
narrow street to the bottom of a long, steep flight of stone steps called
Breakneck Stairs. These led to Green Arbor Court, and down them Goldsmith
many a time risked his neck. When we entered the Court, I could not but
smile to think in what out of the way corners Genius produces her
bantlings. The Court I found to be a small square surrounded by tall,
miserable houses, with old garments and frippery fluttering from every
window. It appeared to be a region of washerwomen, and lines were
stretched about the square on which clothes were dangling to dry. Poor
Goldsmith! What a time he must have had of it, with his quiet disposition
and nervous habits, penned up in this den of noise and vulgarity."

One can imagine Goldsmith running the whole gamut of possible jokes on
Breakneck Stairs, and Green Arbor Court, which, by the way, was never
green and where there was no arbor.

"I've been admitted to Court, gentlemen!" said Goldsmith proudly, one day
at The Mitre Tavern.

"Ah, yes, Doctor, we know--Green Arbor Court! and any man who has climbed
Breakneck Stairs has surely achieved," said Tom Davies.

In Seventeen Hundred Sixty, Goldsmith moved to Number Six Wine-Office
Court, where he wrote the "Vicar of Wakefield." Boswell reports Doctor
Johnson's account of visiting him there:

"I received, one morning, a message from poor Goldsmith that he was in
great distress, and, as it was not in his power to come to me, begging
that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a guinea and
promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went to him as soon as I
was dressed, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent,
at which he was in a violent passion. I perceived that he had already
changed my guinea, and had half a bottle of Madeira and a glass before
him. I put the cork in the bottle, desired he would be calm, and began to
talk to him of the means by which he might be extricated. He then told me
he had a novel ready for the press, which he produced for me. I looked
into it and saw its merits; told the landlady I would soon return, and
having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty pounds. I brought
Goldsmith the money, and he discharged the rent, not without rating his
landlady for having used him so ill."

For the play of "The Good-Natured Man" Goldsmith received five hundred
pounds. And he immediately expended four hundred in mahogany furniture,
easy chairs, lace curtains and Wilton carpets. Then he called in his
friends. This was at Number Two Brick Court, Middle Temple. Blackstone
had chambers just below, and was working as hard over his Commentaries as
many a lawyer's clerk has done since. He complained of the abominable
noise and racket of "those fellows upstairs," but was asked to come in
and listen to wit while he had the chance.

I believe the bailiffs eventually captured the mahogany furniture, but
Goldsmith held the quarters. They are today in good repair, and the
people who occupy the house are very courteous, and obligingly show the
rooms to the curious. No attempt at a museum is made, but there are to be
seen various articles which belonged to Goldsmith and a collection of
portraits that are interesting.

When "The Traveler" was published Goldsmith's fame was made secure. As
long as he wrote plays, reviews, history and criticism he was working for
hire. People said it was "clever," "brilliant," and all that, but their
hearts were not won until the poet had poured out his soul to his brother
in that gentlest of all sweet rhymes. I pity the man who can read the
opening lines of "The Traveler" without a misty something coming over his
vision:

    "Where'er I roam, whatever realms I see,
    My heart untraveled fondly turns to thee;
    Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
    And drags at each remove a lengthening chain."

This is the earliest English poem which I can recall that makes use of
our American Indian names:

    "Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around,
    And Niagara stuns with thundering sound."

Indeed, we came near having Goldsmith for an adopted citizen. According
to his own report he once secured passage to Boston, and after carrying
his baggage aboard the ship he went back to town to say a last hurried
word of farewell to a fair lady, and when he got back to the dock the
ship had sailed away with his luggage.

His earnest wish was to spend his last days in Sweet Auburn.

    "In all my wand'rings round this world of care,
    In all my griefs--and God has given my share--
    I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
    Amidst those humble bowers to lay me down;
    To husband out life's taper at its close,
    And keep the flame from wasting by repose.
    I still had hopes--for pride attends us still--
    Amidst the swains to show my book-learned skill,
    Around my fire an evening group to draw,
    And tell of all I felt and all I saw.
    And as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
    Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
    I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
    Here to return--and die at home at last."

But he never saw Ireland after he left it in Seventeen Hundred
Fifty-four. He died in London in Seventeen Hundred Seventy-four, aged
forty-six. On the plain little monument in Temple Church where he was
buried are only these words:

    Here Lies Oliver Goldsmith.

Hawkins once called on the Earl of Northumberland and found Goldsmith
waiting in an outer room, having come in response to an invitation from
the nobleman. Hawkins, having finished his business, waited until
Goldsmith came out, as he had a curiosity to know why the Earl had sent
for him.

"Well," said Hawkins, "what did he say to you?"

"His lordship told me that he had read 'The Traveler,' and that he was
pleased with it, and that inasmuch as he was soon to be Lord-Lieutenant
of Ireland, and knowing I was an Irishman, asked what he could do for
me!"

"And what did you tell him?" inquired the eager Hawkins.

"Why, there was nothing for me to say, but that I was glad he liked my
poem, and--that I had a brother in Ireland, a clergyman, who stood in
need of help----"

"Enough!" cried Hawkins, and left him.

To Hawkins himself are we indebted for the incident, and after relating
it Hawkins adds:

"And thus did this idiot in the affairs of the world trifle with his
fortunes!"

Let him who wishes preach a sermon on this story. But there you have it!
"A brother in Ireland who needs help----"

The brother in London, the brother in America, the brother in Ireland who
needs help! All men were his brothers, and those who needed help were
first in his mind.

Dear little Doctor Goldsmith, you were not a hustler, but when I get to
the Spirit World, I'll surely hunt you up!



WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


    It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples,
    extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation
    of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most
    humorous sadness.

    --_As You Like It_

[Illustration: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE]


I have on several occasions been to the Shakespeare
country, approaching it from different directions, but each time I am set
down at Leamington. Perhaps this is by some Act of Parliament--I really
do not know; anyway, I have ceased to kick against the pricks and now
meekly accept my fate.

Leamington seems largely under subjection to that triumvirate of
despots--the Butler, the Coachman and the Gardener. You hear the jingle
of keys, the flick of the whip and the rattle of the lawnmower; and a
cold, secret fear takes possession of you--a sort of half-frenzied
impulse to flee, before smug modernity takes you captive and whisks you
off to play tiddledywinks or to dance the racquet.

But the tram is at the door--the outside fare is a penny, inside it's
two--and we are soon safe, for we have reached the point where the Leam
and the Avon meet.

Warwick is worth our while. For here we see scenes such as Shakespeare
saw, and our delight is in the things that his eyes beheld.

At the foot of Mill Street are the ruins of the old Gothic bridge that
leads off to Banbury. Oft have I ridden to Banbury Cross on my mother's
foot, and when I saw that sign and pointing finger I felt like leaving
all and flying thence. Just beyond the bridge, settled snugly in a forest
of waving branches, we see storied old Warwick Castle, with Cæsar's Tower
lifting itself from the mass of green.

All about are quaint old houses and shops, with red-tiled roofs, and
little windows, with diamond panes, hung on hinges, where maidens fair
have looked down on brave men in coats of mail. These narrow, stony
streets have rung with the clang and echo of hurrying hoofs; the tramp of
Royalist and Parliamentarian, horse and foot, drum and banner; the stir
of princely visits, of mail-coach, market, assize and kingly court.
Colbrand, armed with giant club; Sir Guy; Richard Neville, kingmaker, and
his barbaric train, all trod these streets, watered their horses in this
river, camped on yonder bank, or huddled in this castle yard. And again
they came back when Will Shakespeare, a youth from Stratford, eight miles
away, came here and waved his magic wand.

Warwick Castle is probably in better condition now than it was in the
Sixteenth Century. But practically it is the same. It is the only castle
in England where the portcullis is lowered at ten o'clock every night and
raised in the morning (if the coast happens to be clear) to tap of drum.

It costs a shilling to visit the castle. A fine old soldier in spotless
uniform, with waxed white moustache and dangling sword, conducts the
visitors. He imparts full two shillings' worth of facts as we go, all
with a fierce roll of r's, as becomes a man of war.

The long line of battlements, the massive buttresses, the angular
entrance cut through solid rock, crooked, abrupt, with places where
fighting men can lie in ambush, all is as Shakespeare knew it.

There are the cedars of Lebanon, brought by Crusaders from the East, and
the screaming peacocks in the paved courtway: and in the Great Hall are
to be seen the sword and accouterments of the fabled Guy, the mace of the
"Kingmaker," the helmet of Cromwell, and the armor of Lord Brooke, killed
at Litchfield.

And that Shakespeare saw these things there is no doubt. But he saw them
as a countryman who came on certain fete-days, and stared with open
mouth. We know this, because he has covered all with the glamour of his
rich, boyish imagination that failed to perceive the cruel mockery of
such selfish pageantry. Had his view been from the inside he would not
have made his kings noble nor his princes generous; for the stress of
strife would have stilled his laughter, and from his brain the dazzling
pictures would have fled. Yet his fancies serve us better than the facts.

Shakespeare shows us many castles, but they are always different views of
Warwick or Kenilworth. When he pictures Macbeth's castle he has Warwick
in his inward eye:

    "This castle hath a pleasant seat: the air
    Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
    Unto our gentle senses.
    This guest of Summer,
    The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
    By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
    Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendent bed, and procreant cradle;
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
    The air is delicate."

Five miles from Warwick (ten, if you believe the cab-drivers) are the
ruins of Kenilworth Castle.

In Fifteen Hundred Seventy-five, when Shakespeare was eleven years of
age, Queen Elizabeth came to Kenilworth. Whether her ticket was by way of
Leamington I do not know. But she remained from July Ninth to July
Twenty-seventh, and there were great doings 'most every day, to which the
yeomanry were oft invited. John Shakespeare was a worthy citizen of
Warwickshire, and it is very probable that he received an invitation, and
that he drove over with Mary Arden, his wife, sitting on the front seat
holding the baby, and all the other seven children sitting on the straw
behind. And we may be sure that the eldest boy in that brood never forgot
the day. In fact, in "Midsummer Night's Dream" he has called on his
memory for certain features of the show. Elizabeth was forty-one years
old then, but apparently very attractive and glib of tongue. No doubt
Kenilworth was stupendous in its magnificence, and it will pay you to
take down from its shelf Sir Walter's novel and read about it. But today
it is all a crumbling heap; ivy, rooks and daws hold the place in fee,
each pushing hard for sole possession.

It is eight miles from Warwick to Stratford by the direct road, but ten
by the river. I have walked both routes and consider the latter the
shorter.

Two miles down the river is Barford, and a mile farther is Wasperton,
with its quaint old stone church. It is a good place to rest: for nothing
is so soothing as a cool church where the dim light streams through
colored windows, and out of sight somewhere an organ softly plays. Soon
after leaving the church a rustic swain hailed me and asked for a match.
The pipe and the Virginia weed--they mean amity the world over. If I had
questions to ask, now was the time! So I asked, and Rusticus informed me
that Hampton Lucy was only a mile beyond and that Shakespeare never stole
deer at all; so I hope we shall hear no more of that libelous accusation.

"But did Shakespeare run away?" I demanded.

"Ave coorse he deed, sir; 'most all good men 'ave roon away sometime!"

And come to think of it Rusticus is right.

Most great men have at some time departed hastily without leaving orders
where to forward their mail. Indeed, it seems necessary that a man
should have "run away" at least once, in order afterward to attain
eminence. Moses, Lot, Tarquin, Pericles, Demosthenes, Saint Paul,
Shakespeare, Rousseau, Voltaire, Goldsmith, Hugo--but the list is too
long to give.

But just suppose that Shakespeare had not run away! And to whom do we owe
it that he did leave--Justice Shallow or Ann Hathaway, or both? I should
say to Ann first and His Honor second. I think if Shakespeare could write
an article for "The Ladies' Home Journal" on "Women Who Have Helped Me,"
and tell the whole truth (as no man ever will in print), he would put Ann
Hathaway first.

He signed a bond when eighteen years old agreeing to marry her; she was
twenty-six. No record is found of the marriage. But we should think of
her gratefully, for no doubt it was she who started the lad off for
London.

That's the way I expressed it to my new-found friend, and he agreed with
me, so we shook hands and parted.

Charlcote is as fair as a dream of Paradise. The winding Avon, full to
its banks, strays lazily through rich fields and across green meadows,
past the bright red-brick pile of Charlcote Mansion. The river-bank is
lined with rushes, and in one place I saw the prongs of antlers shaking
the elders. I sent a shrill whistle and a stick that way, and out ran
four fine deer that loped gracefully across the turf. The sight brought
my poacher instincts to the surface, but I bottled them, and trudged on
until I came to the little church that stands at the entrance to the
park.

All mansions, castles and prisons in England have chapels or churches
attached. And this is well, for in the good old days it seemed wise to
keep in close communication with the other world. For often, on short
notice, the proud scion of royalty was compelled hastily to pack a
ghostly valise and his him hence with his battered soul; or if he did not
go himself he compelled others to do so, and who but a brute would kill a
man without benefit of the clergy! So each estate hired its priests by
the year, just as men with a taste for litigation hold attorneys in
constant retainer.

In Charlcote Church is a memorial to Sir Thomas Lucy; and there is a
glowing epitaph that quite upsets any of those taunting and defaming
allusions in "The Merry Wives." At the foot of the monument is a line to
the effect that the inscription thereon was written by the only one in
possession of the facts, Sir Thomas himself.

Several epitaphs in the churchyard are worthy of space in your
commonplace book, but the lines on the slab to John Gibbs and wife struck
me as having the true ring:

    "Farewell, proud, vain, false, treacherous world,
    We have seen enough of thee:
    We value not what thou canst say of we."

When the Charlcote Mansion was built, there was a housewarming, and Good
Queen Bess (who was not so awful good) came in great state; so we see
that she had various calling acquaintances in these parts. But we have no
proof that she ever knew that any such person as W. Shakespeare lived.
However, she came to Charlcote and dined on venison, and what a pity it
is that she and Shakespeare did not meet in London afterward and talk it
over!

Some hasty individual has put forth a statement to the effect that poets
can only be bred in a mountainous country, where they could lift up their
eyes to the hills. Rock and ravine, beetling crag, singing cascade, and
the heights where the lightning plays and the mists hover are certainly
good timber for poetry--after you have caught your poet--but Nature
eludes all formula. Again, it is the human interest that adds vitality to
art--they reckon ill to leave man out.

Drayton before Shakespeare's time called Warwick "the heart of England,"
and the heart of England it is today--rich, luxuriant, slow. The great
colonies of rabbits that I saw at Charlcote seemed too fat to frolic,
save more than to play a trick or two on the hounds that blinked in the
sun. Down toward Stratford there are flat islands covered with sedge,
long rows of weeping-willows, low hazel, hawthorn, and places where
"Green Grow the Rushes, O." Then, if the farmer leaves a spot untilled,
the dogrose pre-empts the place and showers its petals on the vagrant
winds. Meadowsweet, forget-me-nots and wild geranium snuggle themselves
below the boughs of the sturdy yews.

The first glimpse we get of Stratford is the spire of Holy Trinity; then
comes the tower of the new Memorial Theater, which, by the way, is
exactly like the city hall at Dead Horse, Colorado.

Stratford is just another village of Niagara Falls. The same shops, the
same guides, the same hackmen--all are there, save poor Lo, with his
beadwork and sassafras. In fact, a "cabby" just outside of New Place
offered to take me to the Whirlpool and the Canada side for a dollar. At
least, this is what I thought he said. Of course, it is barely possible
that I was daydreaming, but I think the facts are that it was he who
dozed, and waking suddenly as I passed gave me the wrong cue.

There is a Macbeth livery-stable, a Falstaff bakery, and all the shops
and stores keep Othello this and Hamlet that. I saw briarwood pipes with
Shakespeare's face carved on the bowl, all for one-and-six; feather fans
with advice to the players printed across the folds; the "Seven Ages" on
handkerchiefs; and souvenir-spoons galore, all warranted Gorham's best.

The visitor at the birthplace is given a cheerful little lecture on the
various relics and curiosities as they are shown. The young ladies who
perform this office are clever women with pleasant voices and big,
starched, white aprons. I was at Stratford four days and went just four
times to the old curiosity-shop. Each day the same bright British damsel
conducted me through, and told her tale, but it was always with
animation, and a certain sweet satisfaction in her mission and starched
apron that was very charming.

No man can tell the same story over and over without soon reaching a
point where he betrays his weariness, and then he flavors the whole with
a dash of contempt; but a good woman, heaven bless her! is ever eager to
please. Each time when we came to that document certified to by

           Her
    "Judith X Shakespeare,"
          Mark

I was told that it was very probable that Judith could write, but that
she affixed her name thus in merry jest.

John Shakespeare could not write, we have no reason to suppose that Ann
Hathaway could, and this little explanation about the daughter is so very
good that it deserves to rank with that other pleasant subterfuge, "The
age of miracles is past"; or that bit of jolly claptrap concerning the
sacred baboons that are seen about certain temples in India: "They can
talk," explain the priests, "but being wise they never do."

Judith married Thomas Quiney. The only letter addressed to Shakespeare
that can be found is one from the happy father of Thomas, Mr. Richard
Quiney, wherein he asks for a loan of thirty pounds. Whether he was
accommodated we can not say; and if he was, did he pay it back, is a
question that has caused much hot debate. But it is worthy of note that,
although considerable doubt as to authenticity has smooched the other
Shakespearian relics, yet the fact of the poet having been "struck" for a
loan by Richard Quiney stands out in a solemn way as the one undisputed
thing in the master's career. Little did Mr. Quiney think, when he wrote
that letter, that he was writing for the ages. Philanthropists have won
all by giving money, but who save Quiney has reaped immortality by asking
for it!

The inscription over Shakespeare's grave is an offer of reward if you do,
and a threat of punishment if you don't, all in choice doggerel. Why did
he not learn at the feet of Sir Thomas Lucy and write his own epitaph?

But I rather guess I know why his grave was not marked with his name. He
was a play-actor, and the church people would have been outraged at the
thought of burying a "strolling player" in that sacred chancel. But his
son-in-law, Doctor John Hall, honored the great man and was bound he
should have a worthy resting-place; so at midnight, with the help of a
few trusted friends, he dug the grave and lowered the dust of England's
greatest son.

Then they hastily replaced the stones, and over the grave they placed the
slab that they had brought:

    "Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,
    To dig the dust enclosed here,
    Blest be the man who spares these stones,
    And cursed be he who moves my bones."

A threat from a ghost! Ah, no one dare molest that grave--besides they
didn't know who was buried there--neither are we quite sure. Long years
after the interment, some one set a bust of the poet, and a tablet, on
the wall over against the grave.

Under certain circumstances, if occasion demands, I might muster a
sublime conceit; but considering the fact that ten thousand Americans
visit Stratford every year, and all write descriptions of the place, I
dare not in the face of Baedeker do it. Further than that, in every
library there are Washington Irving, Hawthorne, and William Winter's
three lacrimose but charming volumes.

And I am glad to remember that the Columbus who discovered Stratford and
gave it to the people was an American: I am proud to think that Americans
have written so charmingly of Shakespeare: I am proud to know that at
Stratford no man besides the master is as honored as Irving, and while I
can not restrain a blush for our English cousins, I am proud that over
half the visitors at the birthplace are Americans, and prouder still am I
to remember that they all write letters to the newspapers at home about
Stratford-on-Avon.

       *       *       *       *       *

In England poets are relegated to a "Corner." The earth
and the fulness thereof belongs to the men who can kill; on this rock
have the English State and Church been built.

As the tourist approaches the city of London for the first time, there
are four monuments that probably will attract his attention. They lift
themselves out of the fog and smoke and soot, and seem to struggle toward
the blue.

One of these monuments is to commemorate a calamity--the conflagration of
Sixteen Hundred Sixty-six--and the others are in honor of deeds of war.

The finest memorial in Saint Paul's is to a certain eminent Irishman,
Arthur Wellesley. The mines and quarries of earth have been called on for
their richest contributions; and talent and skill have given their all to
produce this enduring work of beauty, that tells posterity of the mighty
acts of this mighty man. The rare richness and lavish beauty of the
Wellington mausoleum are only surpassed by a certain tomb in France.

As an exploiter, the Corsican overdid the thing a bit--so the world arose
and put him down; but safely dead, his shade can boast a grave so
sumptuous that Englishmen in Paris refuse to look upon it.

But England need not be ashamed. Her land is spiked with glistening
monuments to greatness gone. And on these monuments one often gets the
epitomized life of the man whose dust lies below.

On the carved marble to Lord Cornwallis I read that, "He defeated the
Americans with great slaughter." And so, wherever in England I see a
beautiful monument, I know that probably the inscription will tell how
"he defeated" somebody. And one grows to the belief that, while woman's
glory is her hair, man's glory is to defeat some one. And if he can
"defeat with great slaughter" his monument is twice as high as if he had
only visited on his brother man a plain undoing.

In truth, I am told by a friend who has a bias for statistics, that all
monuments above fifty feet high in England are to the honor of men who
have defeated other men "with great slaughter." The only exceptions to
this rule are the Albert Memorial--which is a tribute of wifely affection
rather than a public testimonial, so therefore need not be considered
here--and a monument to a worthy brewer who died and left three hundred
thousand pounds to charity. I mentioned this fact to my friend, but he
unhorsed me by declaring that modesty forbade carving truth on monuments,
yet it was a fact that the brewer, too, had brought defeat to vast
numbers and had, like Saul, slaughtered his thousands.

When I visited the site of the Globe Theater and found thereon a brewery,
whose shares are warranted to make the owner rich beyond the dream of
avarice, I was depressed. In my boyhood I had supposed that if ever I
should reach this spot where Shakespeare's plays were first produced, I
should see a beautiful park and a splendid monument; while some
white-haired old patriarch would greet me, and give a little lecture to
the assembled pilgrims on the great man whose footsteps had made sacred
the soil beneath our feet.

But there is no park, and no monument, and no white-haired old poet to
give you welcome--only a brewery.

"Ay, mon, but ain't ut a big un?" protested an Englishman who heard my
murmurs.

Yes, yes, I must be truthful--it is a big brewery, and there are four big
bulldogs in the courtway; and there are big vats, and big workmen in big
aprons. And each of these workmen is allowed to drink six quarts of beer
each day, without charge, which proves that kindliness is not dead. Then
there are big horses that draw the big wagons, and on the corner there is
a big taproom where the thirsty are served with big glasses. The founder
of this brewery became rich; and if my statistical friend is right, the
owners of these mighty vats have defeated mankind with "great slaughter."

We have seen that, although Napoleon, the defeated, has a more gorgeous
tomb than Wellington, who defeated him, yet there is consolation in the
thought that although England has no monument to Shakespeare he now has
the freedom of Elysium; while the present address of the British worthies
who have battened and fattened on poor humanity's thirst for strong
drink, since Samuel Johnson was executor of Thrale's estate, is unknown.

We have this on the authority of a solid Englishman, who says: "The
virtues essential and peculiar to the exalted station of British Worthy
debar the unfortunate possessor from entering Paradise. There is not a
Lord Chancellor, or Lord Mayor, or Lord of the Chamber, or Master of the
Hounds, or Beefeater in Ordinary, or any sort of British bigwig, out of
the whole of British Beadledom, upon which the sun never sets, in
Elysium. This is the only dignity beyond their reach."

The writer quoted is an honorable man, and I am sure he would not make
this assertion if he did not have proof of the fact. So, for the present,
I will allow him to go on his own recognizance, believing that he will
adduce his documents at the proper time.

But still, should not England have a fitting monument to Shakespeare? He
is her one universal citizen. His name is honored in every school or
college of earth where books are prized. There is no scholar in any clime
who is not his debtor.

He was born in England; he never was out of England; his ashes rest in
England. But England's Budget has never been ballasted with a single
pound to help preserve inviolate the memory of her one son to whom the
world uncovers.

Victor Hugo has said something on this subject which runs about like
this:

Why a monument to Shakespeare?

He is his own monument and England is its pedestal. Shakespeare has no
need of a pyramid; he has his work.

What can bronze or marble do for him? Malachite and alabaster are of no
avail; jasper, serpentine, basalt, porphyry, granite: stones from Paros
and marble from Carrara--they are all a waste of pains: genius can do
without them.

What is as indestructible as these: "The Tempest," "The Winter's Tale,"
"Julius Cæsar," "Coriolanus"? What monument sublimer than "Lear," sterner
than "The Merchant of Venice," more dazzling than "Romeo and Juliet,"
more amazing than "Richard III"?

What moon could shed about the pile a light more mystic than that of "A
Midsummer Night's Dream"? What capital, were it even in London, could
rumble around it as tumultuously as Macbeth's perturbed soul? What
framework of cedar or oak will last as long as "Othello"? What bronze can
equal the bronze of "Hamlet"?

No construction of lime, or rock, of iron and of cement is worth the deep
breath of genius, which is the respiration of God through man. What
edifice can equal thought? Babel is less lofty than Isaiah; Cheops is
smaller than Homer; the Colosseum is inferior to Juvenal; the Giralda of
Seville is dwarfish by the side of Cervantes; Saint Peter's of Rome does
not reach to the ankle of Dante.

What architect has the skill to build a tower so high as the name of
Shakespeare? Add anything if you can to mind! Then why a monument to
Shakespeare?

I answer, not for the glory of Shakespeare, but for the honor of England!



THOMAS A. EDISON


    The mind can not conceive what man will do in the
    Twentieth Century with his chained lightning.
                                     --_Thomas A. Edison_

[Illustration: THOMAS A. EDISON
_Photogravure from drawing by Gaspard_]


Some years ago, a law was passed out in Ohio, making any
man ineligible to act as a magistrate who had not studied law and been
duly admitted to the bar. Men who had not studied law were deemed lacking
in the sense of justice. This law was designed purely for one man--Samuel
M. Jones of Toledo. Was ever a Jones so honored before?

In Athens, of old, a law was once passed declaring that every man, either
of whose parents was an alien, was not a citizen and therefore ineligible
to hold office.

This law was aimed at the head of one man--Themistocles.

"And so you are an alien?" was the taunting remark flung at the mother of
Themistocles.

And the Greek matron proudly answered, "Yes, I am an alien--but my son is
Themistocles."

Down at Lilly Dale the other day, a woman told me that she had talked
with the mother of Edison, and the spirit-voice had said: "It is true I
was a Canadian schoolteacher, and this at a time when very few women
taught, but I am the mother of him you call Thomas A. Edison. I studied
and read and wrote and in degree I educated myself. I had great
ambition--I thirsted to know, to do, to become. But I was hampered and
chained in an uncongenial atmosphere. My body struggled with its bonds,
so that I grew weak, worried, sick, and died, leaving my boy to struggle
his way alone. My only regret at death was the thought that I was leaving
my boy. I thought that through my marriage I had killed my
career--sacrificed myself. But my boy became heir to all my hunger for
knowledge, and he has accomplished what I dimly dreamed. He has made
plain what I only guessed. From my position here I have whispered secrets
to him that only the freed spirits knew. I once thought my life was a
failure, but now I know that the word 'failure' is a term used only by
foolish mortals. In the universal sense there is no such thing as
failure."

Just here it seems to me that some one once said that we get no mind
without brain. But we had here the brain of the medium, otherwise this
alleged message from the spirit realm would not be ours. So we will not
now tarry to discuss psychic phenomena, but go on to other things. But
the woman from Lilly Dale said something, just the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

Edison was born at the little village of Milan, Ohio,
which lies six miles from Norwalk on the road between Cleveland and
Toledo.

On the breaking out of the Civil War the boy was fourteen years old. His
parents had moved to Sarnia, Canada, and then across to Port Huron.

Young Edison used to ride up and down from Detroit on the passenger-boats
and sell newspapers. His standing with the Detroit "Free Press," backed
up by his good-cheer and readiness to help the passengers with their
babies and bundles, gave him free passage on all railroads and
steamboat-lines.

There was a public library at Detroit where any one could read, but books
could not be taken away.

All Edison's spare time was spent at the library, which to him was a
gold-mine. All his mother's books had been sold, stolen or given away.

And ahoy there, all you folks who have books! Do you not know what books
are to a child hungry for truth, that has no books?

Of course you do not!

Books to a boy like young Edison are treasures-trove, in which is stored
the learning of all great and good and wise who have ever lived.

And the boy has to read, and read for a decade, in order to find that
books are not much after all.

When Edison saw the inside of that library and was told he could read any
or all of the books, he said, "If you please, Mister, I'll begin here."
And he tackled the first shelf, mentally deciding that he would go
through the books ten feet at a time.

A little later he bought at an auction fifty volumes of the "North
American Review," and moving the books up to his home at Port Huron
proceeded to read them.

The war was on--papers sold for ten cents each and business was good.

Edison was making money--and saving it. He only plunged on books.

Over at Mount Clemens, at the Springs, folks congregated, and there young
Edison took weekly trips selling papers.

On one such visit he rescued the little son of the station-agent from in
front of a moving train. In gratitude, the man took the boy to his house
and told him he must make it his home while in Mount Clemens; and then
after supper the youngster went down to the station; and what was more,
the station-agent took him in behind the ticket-window, where the
telegraph-instrument clicked off dots and dashes on a long strip of
paper.

Edison looked on with open mouth.

"Would you like to become a telegraph-operator?" asked the agent.

"Sure!" was the reply.

Already the boy had read up on the subject in his library of the "North
American Review," and he really knew the history of the thing better than
did the agent.

Edison was now a newsboy on the Grand Trunk, and he arranged his route so
as to spend every other night at Mount Clemens.

In a few months he could handle the key about as well as the
station-agent.

About this time the ice had carried out the telegraph-line between Port
Huron and Sarnia. The telegraph people were in sore straits. Edison
happened along and said to the local operator, "Come out here, Bill, on
this switch-engine and we'll fix things!" By short snorts of the whistle
for dots and long ones for dashes, they soon caught the ear of the
operator on the other side. He answered back, "What t'ell is the matter
with you fellows?" And Edison and the other operator roared with
laughter, so that the engineer thought their think-boxes needed
re-babbitting.

And that scheme of telegraphy with a steam-whistle was Edison's first
invention.

       *       *       *       *       *

Instead of going to college Edison started a newspaper--a
kind of amateur affair, in which he himself wrote editorials, news-items
and advertisements--this when he was seventeen years old.

The best way to become a skilled writer is to write; and if there is a
better way to learn than by doing, the world has not yet discovered it.

Also, if there is a finer advantage for a youth who would be a financier
than to have a shiftless father, it has not been recorded.

When nineteen, Edison had two thousand dollars in cash--more money than
his father had ever seen at any one time.

The Grand Trunk folks found that their ex-trainboy could operate, and so
they called on him to help them out, up and down the line. Then the
Western Union wanted extra good men, and young Edison was given double
pay to go to New Orleans, where there was a pitiful dearth of operators,
the Southern operators being mostly dead, and Northern men not caring to
live in the South.

So Edison traveled North and South and East and West, gathering gear. He
had studied the science of telegraphy closely enough to see that it could
be improved upon. One message at a time for one wire was absurd--why not
two, or four, and why not send messages both ways at once!

It was the general idea then that electricity traveled: Edison knew
better--electricity merely rendered the wire sensitive.

Edison was getting a reputation among his associates. He had read
everything, and when his key was not busy, there was in his hand a copy
of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall."

He wrote a hand like copperplate and could "take" as fast as the best
could send. And when it came to "sending," he had made the pride of
Chicago cry quits.

The Western Union had need of a specially good man at Albany while the
Legislature was in session, and Edison was sent there. He took the key
and never looked at the clock--he cleaned up the stuff. He sat glued to
his chair for ten hours, straight.

At one time, the line suddenly became blocked between Albany and New
York. The manager was in distress, and after exhausting all known
expedients went to Edison. The lanky youth called up a friend of his in
Pittsburgh and ordered that New York give the Pittsburgh man the Albany
wire. "Feel your way up the river until you find me," were the orders.

Edison started feeling his way down the river.

In twenty minutes he called to the manager, "The break is two miles below
Poughkeepsie--I've ordered the section-boss at Poughkeepsie to take a
repairer on his handcar and go and fix it!"

Of course, this plain telegraph-operator had no right to order out a
section-boss; but nevertheless he did it. He shouldered responsibility
like Tom Potter of the C., B. & Q.

Not long after the Albany experience, Edison was in New York, not looking
for work as some say, but nosing around Wall Street investigating the
"Laws Automatic Ticker." The machine he was looking at suddenly stopped,
and this blocked all the tickers on the line. An expert was sent for, but
he could not start it.

"I'll fix it," said a tall, awkward volunteer, the same which was Edison.

History is not yet clear as to whether Edison had not originally "fixed"
it, and Edison so far has not confessed.

And there being no one else to start the machine, Edison was given a
chance, and soon the tickers were going again. This gave him an
introduction to the stock-ticker folks, and the Western Union people he
already knew.

This was in Eighteen Hundred Seventy, and Edison was then twenty-three
years old.

He studied out how stock-reporting could be bettered and invented a plan
which he duly patented, and then laid his scheme before the Western Union
managers.

A stock company was formed, and young Edison, aged twenty-four, was paid
exactly forty thousand dollars for his patent, and retained by the
Company as Electrical Adviser at three hundred dollars a month.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-four, when he was twenty-seven, he had
perfected his duplex telegraph apparatus and had a factory turning out
telegraph-instruments and appliances at Newark, New Jersey, where three
hundred men were employed.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-six, the year of the Centennial Exposition,
Edison told the Exposition Managers that if they would wait a year or so
he would light their show with electricity.

He moved to the then secluded spot of Menlo Park to devote himself to
experiments, spending an even hundred thousand dollars in equipment as a
starter. Results followed fast, and soon we had the incandescent lamp,
trolley-car, electric pen and many other inventions. It was on the night
of October the Twenty-third, Eighteen Hundred Seventy-nine, that Edison
first turned the current through an incandescent burner and got the
perfect light. He sat and looked at the soft, mild, beautiful light and
laughed a joyous peal of laughter that was heard in the adjoining rooms.
"We've got it, boys!" he cried, and the boys, a dozen of them, came
tumbling in. Arguments started as to how long it would last. One said an
hour. "Twenty-four hours," said Edison. They all vowed they would watch
it without sleep until the carbon film was destroyed and the light went
out. It lasted just forty hours.

Around Edison grew up a group of great workers--proud to be called
"Edison Men"--and some of these went out and made for themselves names
and fortunes.

Edison was born in Eighteen Hundred Forty-seven. Consequently, at this
writing he is sixty-three years old. He is big and looks awkward, because
his dusty-gray clothes do not fit, and he walks with a slight stoop. When
he wants clothes he telephones for them. His necktie is worn by the right
oblique, his iron-gray hair is combed by the wind. On his cherubic face
usually sits a half-quizzical, pleased smile, that fades into a look
plaintive and very gentle. The face is that of a man who has borne
burdens and known sorrow, of one who has overcome only after mighty
effort. I was going to say that Edison looks like a Roman Emperor, but I
recall that no Roman Emperor deserves to rank with him--not even Julius
Cæsar! The face is that of Napoleon at Saint Helena, unsubdued.

The predominant characteristics of the man are his faith, hope,
good-cheer and courage. But at all times his humor is apt to be near the
surface.

Had Edison been as keen a businessman as Rockefeller, and kept his own in
his own hands, he would today be as rich as Rockefeller.

But Edison is worth, oh, say, two million dollars, and that is all any
man should be worth--it is all he needs. Yet there are at least a hundred
men in the world today, far richer than Edison, who have made their
fortunes wholly and solely by appropriating his ideas.

Edison has trusted people, and some of them have taken advantage of his
great, big, generous, boyish spirit to do him grievous wrong. But the
nearest I ever heard him come to making a complaint was when he said to
me, "Fra Elbertus, you never wrote but one really true thing!"

"Well, what was that, Mr. Edison?"

"You said, 'There is one thing worse than to be deceived by men, and that
is to distrust them.' Now people say I have been successful, and so I
have, in degree, and it has been through trusting men. There are a few
fellows who always know just what I am doing--I confide in them--I
explain things to them just to straighten the matter out in my own mind."

But of the men who have used Edison's money and ideas, who have made it a
life business to study his patents and then use them, evading the law,
not a word!

From Eighteen Hundred Seventy to Eighteen Hundred Ninety, Edison secured
over nine hundred patents, or at the rate of one patent every ten days.
Very few indeed of these patents ever brought him any direct return, and
now his plan is to invent and keep the matter a secret in his "family."

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it," he said to me. "You
patent a thing and the other fellow starts even with you. Keep it to
yourself and you have the machinery going before the other fellow is
awake. Patents may protect some things, and still others they only
advertise. Up in Buffalo you have a great lawyer who says he can drive a
coach and four through any will that was ever made--and I guess he can.
All good lawyers know how to break wills and contracts, and there are now
specialists who secure goodly fees for busting patents. If you have an
idea, go ahead and invent a way to use it and keep your process secret."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Edison factories at West Orange cover a space of about
thirty acres, all fenced in with high pickets and barb-wire. Over two
thousand people are employed inside that fence. There are guards at the
gates, and the would-be visitor is challenged as if he were an enemy. If
you want to see any particular person, you do not go in and see him--he
comes to you and you sit in a place like the visitors' dock at Sing-Sing.

With me it was different: I had a note that made the gates swing wide.
However, one gatekeeper scrutinized the note and scrutinized me, and then
went back into a maze of buildings for advice. When he came back, the
General Manager was with him and was reproving him. In a voice full of
defense the County Down watchman said: "Ah, now, and how did I know but
that it was a forgery? And anyhow, I'd never let in a man what looks like
that, even if he had an order from Bill Taft."

The Edison factories, all enclosed in the high fence and under guard,
include four separate and distinct corporations, each with its own set of
offices. Edison himself owns a controlling interest in each corporation,
and the rest of the stock is owned by the managers or "family." With his
few trusted helpers he is most liberal. Not only do they draw goodly
salaries, but they have an interest in the profits that is no small
matter.

The secrets of the place are protected by having each workman stick
right to one thing and work in one room. No running around is
allowed--each employee goes to a certain place and remains there all day.
To be found elsewhere is a misdemeanor, and while spies at the Edison
factory are not shot, they have been known to disappear into space with
great velocity.

To make amends for the close restrictions on workers, an extra wage is
paid and the eight-hour day prevails, so help is never wanting.

Ninety-nine workers out of a hundred want their wages, and nothing else.
Promotion, advancement and education are things that never occur to them.
But for the few that have the stuff in them, Edison is always on the
lookout. His place is really a college, for to know the man is an
education. He radiates good-cheer and his animation is catching.

To a woman who wanted him to write a motto for her son, Edison wrote,
"Never look at the clock!" The argument is plain--get the thing done.

And around the Edison laboratory there is no use of looking at the clock,
for none of them runs. That is the classic joke of the place. Years ago
Edison expressed his contempt for the man who watched the clock, and now
every Christmas his office family take up a collection and buy him a
clock, and present it with great ceremony. He replies in a speech on the
nebular hypothesis and all are very happy. One year the present assumed
the form of an Ingersoll Dollar Watch, which the Wizard showed to me
with great pride. In the stockade is a beautiful library building and
here you see clocks galore, some of which must have cost a thousand
dollars a piece, all silent. One clock had a neatly printed card
attached, "Don't look at this clock--it has stopped." And another, "You
may look at this clock, for you can't stop it!" It was already stopped.

One very elegant clock had a solid block of wood where the works should
have been, but the face and golden hands were all complete.

However, one clock was running, with a tick needlessly loud, but this
clock had no hands.

The Edison Library is a gigantic affair, with two balconies and
bookstacks limitless.

The intent was to have a scientific library right at hand that would
compass the knowledge of the world. The Laboratory is quite as complete,
for in it is every chemical substance known to man, all labeled,
classified and indexed. Seemingly, Edison is the most careless,
indifferent and slipshod of men, but the real fact is that such a
thorough business general the world has seldom seen. If he wants, say,
the "Electrical Review" for March, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-One, he hands
a boy a slip of paper and the book is in his hands in five minutes.
Edison of all men understands that knowledge consists in having a clerk
who can quickly find the thing. In his hands the card-index has reached
perfection.

Edison has no private office, and his desk in the great library has not
had a letter written on it since Eighteen Hundred Ninety-five. "I hate to
disturb the mice," he said as he pointed it out indifferently.

He arrives at the stockade early--often by seven o'clock, and makes his
way direct to the Laboratory, which stands in the center of the campus.
All around are high factory buildings, vibrating with the suppressed roar
and hum of industry.

In the Laboratory, Edison works, secure and free from interruption unless
he invites it. Much of his time is spent in the Chemical Building, a low,
one-story structure, lighted from the top. It has a cement floor and very
simple furniture, the shelves and tables being mostly of iron. "We are
always prepared for fires and explosions here," said Edison in
half-apology for the barrenness of the rooms.

The place is a maze of retorts, kettles, tubes, siphons and tiny brass
machinery. In the midst of the mess stood two old-fashioned
armchairs--both sacred to Edison. One he sits in, and the other is for
his feet, his books, pads and paper.

Here he sits and thinks, reads or muses or tells stories or shuffles
about with his hands in his pockets. Edison is a man of infinite leisure.
He has the faculty of throwing details upon others. At his elbow, shod in
sneakers silent, is always a stenographer. Then there is a bookkeeper who
does nothing but record the result of every experiment, and these
experiments are going on constantly, attended to by half a dozen quiet
and alert men, who work like automatons. "I have tried a million schemes
that will not work--I know everything that is no good. I work by
elimination," says Edison.

When hot on the trail of an idea he may work here for three days and
nights without going home, and his wife is good enough and great enough
to leave him absolutely to himself. In a little room in the corner of the
Laboratory is a little iron cot and three gray army blankets. He can
sleep at any time, and half an hour's rest will enable him to go on. When
he can't quite catch the idea, he closes up his brain-cells for ten
minutes and sleeps, then up and after it again.

Mrs. Edison occasionally sends meals down for the Wizard when he is on
the trail of a thought and does not want to take time to go home.

One day the dinner arrived when Edison was just putting salt on the tail
of an idea. There was no time to eat, but it occurred to the inventor
that if he would just quit thinking for ten minutes and sleep, he could
awaken with enough brain-power to throw the lariat successfully. So he
just leaned back, put his feet in the other chair and went to sleep.

The General Manager came in and saw the dinner on the table and Edison
sleeping, so he just sat down and began to eat the dinner. He ate it all,
and tiptoed out.

Edison slept twenty minutes, awoke, looked at the empty dishes, pulled
down his vest, took out his regular after-dinner cigar, lighted it and
smoked away in sweet satisfaction, fully believing that he had had his
dinner; and even after the General Manager had come in and offered to bet
him a dollar he hadn't, he was still of the same mind.

This spirit of sly joking fills the place, set afloat by the master
himself. Edison dearly loves a joke, and will quit work any time to hear
one. It is the five minutes' sleep and the good laugh that keep his brain
from becoming a hotbox--he gets his rest!

"When do you take your vacation, Mr. Edison?" a lady asked him.

"Election night every November," was the reply. And this is literally
true, for on that night there is a special wire run into the Orange
Clubhouse, and Edison takes the key and sits there until daylight taking
the returns, writing them out carefully in that copperplate Western Union
hand. He is as careful about his handwriting now as if he were writing
out train-orders.

"If I wanted to live a hundred years I would use neither tobacco nor
coffee," said Edison as we sat at lunch. "But you see I'd rather get a
little really good work done than live long and do nothing to speak of.
And so I spur what I am pleased to call my mind, at times with coffee and
a good cigar--just pass the matches, thank you! Some day some fellow will
invent a way of concentrating and storing up sunshine to use instead of
this old, absurd Prometheus scheme of fire. I'll do the trick myself if
some one else doesn't get at it. Why, that is all there is about my work
in electricity--you know, I never claimed to have invented
electricity--that is a campaign lie--nail it!"

"Sunshine is spread out thin and so is electricity. Perhaps they are the
same, but we will take that up later. Now the trick was, you see, to
concentrate the juice and liberate it as you needed it. The old-fashioned
way inaugurated by Jove, of letting it off in a clap of thunder, is
dangerous, disconcerting and wasteful. It doesn't fetch up anywhere. My
task was to subdivide the current and use it in a great number of little
lights, and to do this I had to store it. And we haven't really found out
how to store it yet and let it off real easy-like and cheap. Why, we have
just begun to commence to get ready to find out about electricity. This
scheme of combustion to get power makes me sick to think of--it is so
wasteful. It is just the old, foolish Prometheus idea, and the father of
Prometheus was a baboon."

"When we learn how to store electricity, we will cease being apes
ourselves; until then we are tailless orangutans. You see, we should
utilize natural forces and thus get all of our power. Sunshine is a form
of energy, and the winds and the tides are manifestations of energy."

"Do we use them? Oh, no! We burn up wood and coal, as renters burn up the
front fence for fuel. We live like squatters, not as if we owned the
property.

"There must surely come a time when heat and power will be stored in
unlimited quantities in every community, all gathered by natural forces.
Electricity ought to be as cheap as oxygen, for it can not be destroyed.

"Now, I am not sure but that my new storage-battery is the thing. I'd
tell you about that, but I don't want to bore you. Of course, I know that
nothing is more interesting to the public than a good lie. You see, I
have been a newspaperman myself--used to run a newspaper--in fact,
Veritas and Old Subscriber once took exception to one of my editorials
and threw me into the Detroit River--that is where I got my little
deafness--what's that? No, I did not say my deftness--I got that in
another way. But about lies, you have heard that one about my smoking
big, black cigars! Well, the story is that the boys in the office used to
steal my cigars, and so I got a cigarmaker to make me up a box that
looked just like my favorite brand, only I had 'em filled with hemp,
horsehair and a touch of asafetida. Then I just left the box where the
boys would be sure to dip into it; but it seems the cigarman put them on,
and so they just put that box into my own private stock and I smoked the
fumigators and never knew the difference.

"That whole story is a pernicious malrepresentation invented by the enemy
of mankind in order to throw obloquy over a virtuous old
telegraph-operator--brand it!"

Witness, therefore, that I have branded it, forevermore!

       *       *       *       *       *

Once upon a day I wrote an article on Alexander Humboldt.
And in that article among other things I said, "This world of ours, round
like an orange and slightly flattened at the Poles, has produced but five
educated men."

And ironical ladies and gents from all parts of the United States wrote
me on postal cards, begging that I should name the other four. Let us
leave the cynics to their little pleasantries, and make our appeal to
people who think.

Education means evolution, development, growth. Education is comparative,
for there is no fixed standard--all men know more than some men, and some
men know more than some other men. "Every man I meet is my master in some
particular," said Emerson. But there are five men in history who had
minds so developed, and evolved beyond the rest of mankind so far, that
they form a class by themselves, and deserve to be called Educated Men.

The men I have in mind were the following: Pericles, Builder of Athens.

Aristotle, tutor of Alexander, and the world's first naturalist.

Leonardo, the all-round man--the man who could do more things, and do
them well, than any other man who every lived.

Sir Isaac Newton, the mathematician, who analyzed light and discovered
the law of gravitation.

Alexander von Humboldt, explorer and naturalist, who compassed the entire
scientific knowledge of the world, issued his books in deluxe limited
editions at his own expense, and sold them for three thousand dollars a
set.

Newton and Humboldt each wore a seven and three-fourths hat. Leonardo and
Aristotle went untaped, but Pericles had a head so high and so big that
he looked like a caricature, and Aristophanes, a nice man who lived at
the same time, said that the head of Pericles looked like a pumpkin that
had been sat upon. All the busts of Pericles represent him wearing a
helmet--this to avoid what the artists thought an abnormality, the
average Greek having a round, smooth chucklehead like that of a Bowery
bartender.

America has produced two men who stand out so far beyond the rest of
mankind that they form a class by themselves: Benjamin Franklin and
Thomas A. Edison.

Franklin wore a seven and a half hat; Edison wears a seven and
three-fourths.

The difference in men is the difference in brain-power. And while size
does not always token quality, yet size and surface are necessary to get
power, and there is no record of a man with a six and a half head ever
making a ripple on the intellectual sea. Without the cells you get no
mind, and if mind exists without the cells, it has not yet been proven.
The brain is a storage-battery made up of millions of minute cells.

The weight of an average man's brain is forty-nine ounces. Now,
Humboldt's brain weighed fifty-six ounces, and Newton's and Franklin's
weighed fifty-seven. Let us hope the autopsist will not have a chance to
weigh Edison's brain for many years, but when he does the mark will
register fifty-seven ounces.

An orang-utan weighs about the same as a man, but its brain weighs only a
pound, against three pounds for a man. Give a gorilla a brain weighing
fifty ounces, and he would be a Methodist Presiding Elder. Give him a
brain the same size of Edison's, say fifty-seven ounces, and instead of
spending life in hunting for snakes and heaving cocoanuts at monkeys as
respectable gorillas are wont, he would be weighing the world in scales
of his own invention and making, and measuring the distances of the
stars.

Pericles was taught by the gentle Anaxagoras, who gave all his money to
the State in order that he might be free. The State reciprocated by
cutting off his head, for republics are always ungrateful.

Aristotle was a pupil of Plato and worked his way through college,
sifting ashes, washing windows and sweeping sidewalks.

Leonardo was self-taught and gathered knowledge as a bee gathers honey,
although honey isn't honey until the bee digests it.

Sir Isaac Newton was a Cambridge man. He held the office of Master of the
Mint, and to relieve himself of the charge of atheism he anticipated the
enemy and wrote a book on the Hebrew Prophets, which gave the scientists
the laugh on him, but made his position with the State secure. Newton is
the only man herein mentioned who knew anything about theology, all the
others being "infidels" in their day, devoting themselves strictly to
this world. Humboldt was taught by the "natural method," and never took a
college degree.

Franklin was a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, and Edison's
Alma Mater is the same.

There is one special characteristic manifested by the Seven Educated men
I have named--good-cheer, a great welling sense of happiness! They were
all good animals: they gloried in life; they loved the men and women who
were still on earth; they feasted on the good things in life; breathed
deeply; slept soundly and did not bother about the future. Their working
motto was, "One world at a time."

They were all able to laugh.

Genius is a great fund of joyousness.

Each and all of these men influenced the world profoundly. We are
different people because they lived. Every house, school, library and
workshop in Christendom is touched by their presence.

All are dead but Edison, yet their influence can never die. And no one in
the list has influenced civilization so profoundly as Edison. You can not
look out of a window in any city in Europe or America without beholding
the influence of his thought. You may say that the science of
electricity has gone past him, but all the Sons of Jove have built on
him.

He gave us the electric light and the electric car and pointed the way to
the telephone--three things that have revolutionized society. As Athens
at her height was the Age of Pericles, so will our time be known as the
Age of Edison.



SO HERE ENDETH "LITTLE JOURNEYS TO THE HOMES OF GOOD MEN AND GREAT,"
BEING VOLUME ONE OF THE SERIES, AS WRITTEN BY ELBERT HUBBARD: EDITED AND
ARRANGED BY FRED BANN; BORDERS AND INITIALS BY ROYCROFT ARTISTS AND
PRODUCED BY THE ROYCROFTERS, AT THEIR SHOPS, WHICH ARE IN EAST AURORA,
ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK, MCMXXII





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