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Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 02 - Little Journeys To the Homes of Famous Women
Author: Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 02 - Little Journeys To the Homes of Famous Women" ***

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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


Little Journeys To the Homes of Famous Women


ELBERT HUBBARD II              vii
MADAME GUYON                    41
HARRIET MARTINEAU               67
CHARLOTTE BRONTE                93
CHRISTINA ROSSETTI             113
ROSA BONHEUR                   133
MADAME DE STAEL                161
ELIZABETH FRY                  187
MARY LAMB                      213
JANE AUSTEN                    235
EMPRESS JOSEPHINE              257
MARY W. SHELLEY                283



    We are not sent into this world to do anything into which we can
    not put our hearts. We have certain work to do for our bread and
    that is to be done strenuously, other work to do for our delight
    and that is to be done heartily; neither is to be done by halves
    or shifts, but with a will; and what is not worth this effort is
    not to be done at all.
    --_John Ruskin_

I am Elbert Hubbard's son, and I am entirely familiar with the proposition
that "Genius never reproduces."

Heretofore, it has always been necessary to sign my name, "Elbert Hubbard
II"--but now there is an embarrassment in that signature, an assumption
that I do not feel.

There is no Second Elbert Hubbard. To five hundred Roycrofters, to the
Village of East Aurora, and to a few dozen personal friends scattered over
the face of the earth, I am Bert Hubbard, plain Bert Hubbard--and as Bert
Hubbard I want to be known to you.

I lay no claim to having inherited Elbert Hubbard's Genius, his
Personality, his Insight into the Human Heart. I am another and totally
different sort of man.

I know my limitations.

Also, I am acquainted with such ability as I possess, and I believe that
it can be directed to serve you.

I got my schooling in East Aurora.

I have never been to College. But I have traveled across this Country
several times with my Father.

I have traveled abroad with him. One time we walked from Edinburgh to
London to prove that we could do it.

My Father has been my teacher--and I do not at all envy the College Man.

For the last twenty years I have been working in the Roycroft Shops.

I believe I am well grounded in Business--also, in Work.

When I was twelve years old my father transferred Ali Baba to the
garden--and I did the chores around the house and barn for a dollar a
week. From that day forward I earned every dollar that ever came to me.

I fed the printing-press at four dollars a week. Then, when we purchased a
gas-engine, I was promoted to be engineer, and given a pair of long

Two or three years later I was moved into the General Office, where I
opened mail and filled in orders.

Again, I was promoted into the Private Office and permitted to sign my
name under my Father's, on checks.

Then the responsibility of purchasing materials was given me.

One time or another I have worked in every Department of the Roycroft

My association with Elbert Hubbard has been friendly, brotherly. I have
enjoyed his complete confidence--and I have tried to deserve it.

He believed in me, loved me, hoped for me. Whether I disappointed him at
times is not important. I know my average must have pleased him, because
the night he said Farewell to the Roycrofters he spoke well of me, very
well of me, and he left the Roycroft Institution in my charge.

He sailed away on the "Lusitania" intending to be gone several weeks. His
Little Journey has been prolonged into Eternity.

But the work of Elbert and Alice Hubbard is not done. With them one task
was scarcely under way when another was launched. Whether complete or
incomplete, there had to be an end to their effort sometime, and this is
the end.

Often Elbert Hubbard would tell the story of Tolstoy, who stopped at the
fence to question the worker in the field, "My Man, if you knew you were
to die tomorrow, what would you do today?" And the worker begrimed with
sweat would answer, "I would plow!"

That's the way Elbert Hubbard lived and died, and yet he did more--he
planned for the future. He planned the future of the Roycroft Shop. Death
did not meet him as a stranger. He came as a sometime-expected friend.
Father was not unprepared.

The plan that would have sustained us the seven weeks he was in Europe
will sustain us seven years--and another seven years.

Elbert Hubbard's work will go on.

I know of no Memorial that would please Elbert Hubbard half so well as to
broaden out the Roycroft Idea.

So we will continue to make handmade Furniture, hand-hammered Copper,
Modeled Leather. We shall still triumph in the arts of Printing and

The Roycroft Inn will continue to swing wide its welcoming door, and the
kind greeting is always here for you.

"The Fra" will not miss an issue, and you who have enjoyed it in the past
will continue to enjoy it!

"The Philistine" belonged to Elbert Hubbard. He wrote it himself for just
twenty years and one month. No one else could have done it as he did. No
one else can now do it as he did.

So, for very sentimental reasons--which overbalance the strong temptation
to continue "The Philistine"--I consider it a duty to pay him the tribute
of discontinuing the little Magazine of Protest.

The Roycrofters, Incorporated, is a band of skilled men and women. For
years they have accomplished the work that has invited your admiration.
You may expect much of them now. The support they have given me, the
confidence they have in me, is as a great mass of power and courage
pushing me on to success.

This thought I would impress upon you: It will not be the policy of The
Roycrofters to imitate or copy. This place from now on is what we make it.
The past is past, the future spreads a golden red against the eastern sky.

I have the determination to make a Roycroft Shop--that Elbert Hubbard,
leaning out over the balcony, will look down and say, "Good boy,
Bert--good boy!"

I have Youth and Strength.

I have Courage.

My Head is up.

Forward--all of us--March!


    I have been in the meadows all the day,
    And gathered there the nosegay that you see;
    Singing within myself as bird or bee
    When such do fieldwork on a morn of May.


Writers of biography usually begin their preachments with the rather
startling statement, "The subject of this memoir was born"----Here follows
a date, the name of the place and a cheerful little Mrs. Gamp anecdote:
this as preliminary to "launching forth."

It was the merry Andrew Lang, I believe, who filed a general protest
against these machine-made biographies, pleading that it was perfectly
safe to assume the man was born; and as for the time and place it mattered
little. But the merry man was wrong, for Time and Place are often masters
of Fate.

For myself, I rather like the good old-fashioned way of beginning at the
beginning. But I will not tell where and when Elizabeth was born, for I do
not know. And I am quite sure that her husband did not know. The
encyclopedias waver between London and Herefordshire, just according as
the writers felt in their hearts that genius should be produced in town or
country. One man, with opinions pretty well ossified on this subject,
having been challenged for his statement that Mrs. Browning was born at
Hope End, rushed into print in a letter to the "Gazette" with the
countercheck quarrelsome to the effect, "You might as well expect
throstles to build nests on Fleet Street 'buses, as for folks of genius
to be born in a big city." As apology for the man's ardor I will explain
that he was a believer in the Religion of the East and held that spirits
choose their own time and place for materialization.

Mrs. Ritchie, authorized by Mr. Browning, declared Burn Hill, Durham, the
place, and March Sixth, Eighteen Hundred Nine, the time. In reply, John H.
Ingram brings forth a copy of the Tyne "Mercury," for March Fourteenth,
Eighteen Hundred Nine, and points to this:

"In London, the wife of Edward M. Barrett, of a daughter."

Mr. Browning then comes forward with a fact that derricks can not budge,
that is, "Newspapers have ever had small regard for truth." Then he adds,
"My wife was born March Sixth, Eighteen Hundred Six, at Carlton Hall,
Durham, the residence of her father's brother." One might ha' thought that
this would be the end on't, but it wasn't, for Mr. Ingram came out with
this sharp rejoinder: "Carlton Hall was not in Durham, but in Yorkshire.
And I am authoritatively informed that it did not become the residence of
S. Moulton Barrett until some time after Eighteen Hundred Ten. Mr.
Browning's latest suggestions in this matter can not be accepted. In
Eighteen Hundred Six, Edward Barrett, not yet twenty years of age, is
scarcely likely to have already been the father of the two children
assigned to him." And there the matter rests. Having told this much I
shall proceed to launch forth.

The earlier years of Elizabeth Barrett's life were spent at Hope End, near
Ledbury, Herefordshire. I visited the place and thereby added not only one
day, but several to my life, for Ali counts not the days spent in the
chase. There is a description of Hope End written by an eminent clergyman,
to whom I was at once attracted by his literary style. This gentleman's
diction contains so much clearness, force and elegance that I can not
resist quoting him verbatim: "The residentiary buildings lie on the ascent
of the contiguous eminences, whose projecting parts and bending
declivities, modeled by Nature, display astonishing harmoniousness. It
contains an elegant profusion of wood, disposed in the most careless yet
pleasing order; much of the park and its scenery is in view of the
residence, from which vantage-point it presents a most agreeable
appearance to the enraptured beholder." So there you have it!

Here Elizabeth Barrett lived until she was twenty. She never had a
childhood--'t was dropped out of her life in some way, and a Greek grammar
inlaid instead. Of her mother we know little. She is never quoted; never
referred to; her wishes were so whisperingly expressed that they have not
reached us. She glides, a pale shadow, across the diary pages. Her
husband's will was to her supreme; his whim her conscience. We know that
she was sad, often ill, that she bore eight children. She passed out
seemingly unwept, unhonored and unsung, after a married existence of
sixteen years.

Elizabeth Barrett had the same number of brothers and sisters that
Shakespeare had; and we know no more of the seven Barretts who were
swallowed by oblivion than we do of the seven Shakespeares that went not

Edward Moulton Barrett had a sort of fierce, passionate, jealous affection
for his daughter Elizabeth. He set himself the task of educating her from
her very babyhood. He was her constant companion, her tutor, adviser,
friend. When six years old she studied Greek, and when nine made
translations in verse. Mr. Barrett looked on this sort of thing with much
favor, and tightened his discipline, reducing the little girl's hours for
study to a system as severe as the laws of Draco. Of course, the child's
health broke. From her thirteenth year she appears to us like a beautiful
spirit with an astral form; or she would, did we not perceive that this
beautiful form is being racked with pain. No wonder some one has asked,
"Where then was the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children?"

But this brave spirit did not much complain. She had a will as strong as
her father's, and felt a Spartan pride in doing all that he asked and a
little more. She studied, wrote, translated, read and thought.

And to spur her on and to stimulate her, Mr. Barrett published several
volumes of her poems. It was immature, pedantic work, but still it had a
certain glow and gave promise of the things yet to come.

One marked event in the life of Elizabeth Barrett occurred when Hugh
Stuart Boyd arrived at Hope End. He was a fine, sensitive, soul--a poet by
nature and a Greek scholar of repute. He came on Mr. Barrett's invitation
to take Mr. Barrett's place as tutor. The young girl was confined to her
bed through the advice of physicians; Boyd was blind.

Here at once was a bond of sympathy. No doubt this break in the monotony
of her life gave fresh courage to the fair young woman. The gentle,
sightless poet relaxed the severe hours of study. Instead of grim digging
in musty tomes they talked: he sat by her bedside holding the thin hands
(for the blind see by the sense of touch), and they talked for hours--or
were silent, which served as well. Then she would read to the blind man
and he would recite to her, for he had the blind Homer's memory. She grew
better, and the doctors said that if she had taken her medicine regularly,
and not insisted on getting up and walking about as guide for the blind
man, she might have gotten entirely well.

In that fine poem, "Wine of Cyprus," addressed to Boyd, we see how she
acknowledges his goodness. There is no wine equal to the wine of
friendship; and love is only friendship--plus something else. There is
nothing so hygienic as friendship.

Hell is a separation, and Heaven is only a going home to our friends.

Mr. Barrett's fortune was invested in sugar-plantations in Jamaica.
Through the emancipation of the blacks his fortune took to itself wings.
He had to give up his splendid country home--to break the old ties. It was
decided that the family should move to London. Elizabeth had again taken
to her bed. The mattress on which she lay was borne down the steps by four
men; one man might have carried her alone, for she weighed only
eighty-five pounds, so they say.

       *       *       *       *       *

Crabb Robinson, who knew everything and everybody, being very much such a
man as John Kenyon, has left on record the fact that Mr. Kenyon had a face
like a Benedictine monk, a wit that never lagged, a generous heart, and a
tongue that ran like an Alpine cascade.

A razor with which you can not shave may have better metal in it than one
with a perfect edge. One has been sharpened and the other not. And I am
very sure that the men who write best do not necessarily know the most;
Fate has put an edge on them--that's all. A good kick may start a stone
rolling, when otherwise it rests on the mountain-side for a generation.

Kenyon was one type of the men who rest on the mountain-side. He dabbled
in poetry, wrote book-reviews, collected rare editions, attended first
nights, spoke mysteriously of "stuff" he was working on; and sometimes
confidentially told his lady friends of his intention to bring it out when
he had gotten it into shape, asking their advice as to bindings, etc. Men
of this type rarely bring out their stuff, for the reason that they never
get it into shape. When they refer to the novel they have on the stocks,
they refer to a novel they intend to write. It is yet in the ink-bottle.
And there it remains--all for the want of one good kick--but perhaps it's
just as well.

Yet these friendly beings are very useful members of society. They are
brighter companions and better talkers than the men who exhaust
themselves in creative work and at odd times favor their friends with
choice samples of literary irritability. John Kenyon wrote a few bright
little things, but his best work was in the encouragement he gave others.
He sought out all literary lions and tamed them with his steady glance.
They liked his prattle and good-cheer, and he liked them for many
reasons--one of which was because he could go away and tell how he advised
them about this, that and the other. Then he fed them, too.

And so unrivaled was Kenyon in this line that he won for himself the title
of "The Feeder of Lions." Now, John Kenyon--rich, idle, bookish and
generous--saw in the magazines certain fine little poems by one Elizabeth
Barrett. He also ascertained that she had published several books. Mr.
Kenyon bought one of these volumes and sent it by a messenger with a
little note to Miss Barrett telling how much he had enjoyed it, and craved
that she would inscribe her name and his on the fly-leaf and return by
bearer. Of course she complied with such a modest request so gracefully
expressed; these things are balm to poets' souls. Next, Mr. Kenyon called
to thank Miss Barrett for the autograph. Soon after, he wrote to inform
her of a startling fact that he had just discovered: they were kinsmen,
cousins or something--a little removed, but cousins still. In a few weeks
they wrote letters back and forth beginning thus: Dear Cousin.

And I am glad of this cousinly arrangement between lonely young people.
They grasp at it; and it gives an excuse for a bit of closer relationship
than could otherwise exist with propriety. Goodness me! is he not my
cousin? Of course he may call as often as he chooses. It is his right.

But let me explain here that at this time Mr. Kenyon was not so very
young--that is, he was not absurdly young: he was fifty. But men who
really love books always have young hearts. Kenyon's father left him a
fortune, no troubles had ever come his way, and his was not the
temperament that searches them out. He dressed young, looked young, acted
young, felt young.

No doubt John Kenyon sincerely admired Elizabeth Barrett, and prized her
work. And while she read his mind a deal more understandingly than he did
her poems, she was grateful for his kindly attention and well-meant
praise. He set about to get her poems into better magazines and to find
better publishers for her work. He was not a gifted poet himself, but to
dance attendance on one afforded a gratification to his artistic impulse.
He could not write sublime verse himself, but he could tell others how. So
Miss Barrett showed her poems to Mr. Kenyon, and Mr. Kenyon advised that
the P's be made bolder and the tails to the Q's be lengthened. He also
bought her a new kind of manuscript paper, over which a quill pen would
glide with glee: it was the kind Byron used. But best of all, Mr. Kenyon
brought his friends to call on Miss Barrett; and many of these friends
were men with good literary instincts. The meeting with these strong minds
was no doubt a great help to the little lady, shut up in a big house and
living largely in dreams.

Mary Russell Mitford was in London about this time on a little visit, and
of course was sought out by John Kenyon, who took her sightseeing. She was
fifty years old, too; she spoke of herself as an old maid, but didn't
allow others to do so. Friends always spoke of her as "Little Miss
Mitford," not because she was little, but because she acted so. Among
other beautiful sights that Mr. Kenyon wished to show gushing little Mary
Mitford was a Miss Barrett who wrote things. So together they called on
Miss Barrett.

Little Miss Mitford looked at the pale face in its frame of dark curls,
lying back among the pillows. Little Miss Mitford bowed and said it was a
fine day; then she went right over and kissed Miss Barrett, and these two
women held each other's hands and talked until Mr. Kenyon twisted
nervously and hinted that it was time to go.

Miss Barrett had not been out for two months, but now these two insisted
that she should go with them. The carriage was at the door, they would
support her very tenderly, Mr. Kenyon himself would drive--so there could
be no accidents and they would bring her back the moment she was tired.
So they went, did these three, and as Mr. Kenyon himself drove there were
no accidents.

I can imagine that James the coachman gave up the reins that day with only
an inward protest, and after looking down and smiling reassurance Mr.
Kenyon drove slowly towards the Park; little Miss Mitford forgot her
promise not to talk incessantly; and the "dainty, white-porcelain lady"
brushed back the raven curls from time to time and nodded indulgently.

Not long ago I called at Number Seventy-four Gloucester Place, where the
Barretts lived. It is a plain, solid brick house, built just like the ten
thousand other brick houses in London where well-to-do tradesmen live. The
people who now occupy the house never heard of the Barretts, and surely do
not belong to a Browning Club. I was told that if I wanted to know
anything about the place I should apply to the "Agent," whose name is
'Opkins and whose office is in Clifford Court, off Fleet Street. The house
probably has not changed in any degree in these fifty years, since little
Miss Mitford on one side and Mr. Kenyon on the other, tenderly helped Miss
Barrett down the steps and into the carriage.

I lingered about Gloucester Place for an hour, but finding that I was
being furtively shadowed by various servants, and discovering further that
a policeman had been summoned to look after my case, I moved on.

That night after the ride, Miss Mitford wrote a letter home and among
other things she said: "I called today at a Mr. Barrett's. The eldest
daughter is about twenty-five. She has some spinal affection, but she is a
charming, sweet young woman who reads Greek as I do French. She has
published some translations from Æschylus and some striking poems. She is
a delightful creature, shy, timid and modest."

The next day Mr. Kenyon gave a little dinner in honor of Miss Mitford, who
was the author of a great book called, "Our Village." That night when Miss
Mitford wrote her usual letter to the folks down in the country, telling
how she was getting along, she described this dinner-party. She says:
"Wordsworth was there--an adorable old man. Then there was Walter Savage
Landor, too, as splendid a person as Mr. Kenyon himself, but not so full
of sweetness and sympathy. But best of all, the charming Miss Barrett, who
translated the most difficult of the Greek plays, 'Prometheus Bound.' She
has written most exquisite poems, too, in almost every modern style. She
is so sweet and gentle, and so pretty that one looks at her as if she were
some bright flower." Then in another letter Miss Mitford adds: "She is of
a slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on either
side of a most expressive face; large tender eyes, richly fringed by dark
lashes; a smile like a sunbeam, and such a look of youthfulness that I had
some difficulty in persuading a friend that she was really the translator
of Æschylus and the author of the 'Essay on Mind.'"

When Miss Mitford went back home, she wrote Miss Barrett a letter 'most
every day. She addresses her as "My Sweet Love," "My Dearest Sweet," and
"My Sweetest Dear." She declares her to be the gentlest, strongest,
sanest, noblest and most spiritual of all living persons. And moreover she
wrote these things to others and published them in reviews. She gave
Elizabeth Barrett much good advice and some not so good. Among other
things she says: "Your one fault, my dear, is obscurity. You must be
simple and plain. Think of the stupidest person of your acquaintance, and
when you have made your words so clear that you are sure he will
understand, you may venture to hope it will be understood by others."

I hardly think that this advice caused Miss Barrett to bring her lines
down to the level of the stupidest person she knew. She continued to write
just as she chose. Yet she was grateful for Miss Mitford's glowing
friendship, and all the pretty gush was accepted, although perhaps with
good large pinches of the Syracuse product.

Of course there are foolish people who assume that gushing women are
shallow, but this is jumping at conclusions. A recent novel gives us a
picture of "a tall soldier," who, in camp, was very full of brag and
bluster. We are quite sure that when the fight comes on this man with the
lubricated tongue will prove an arrant coward; we assume that he will run
at the first smell of smoke. But we are wrong--he stuck; and when the flag
was carried down in the rush, he rescued it and bore it bravely so far to
the front that when he came back he brought another--the tawdry, red flag
of the enemy!

I slip this in here just to warn hasty folk against the assumption that
talkative people are necessarily vacant-minded. Man has a many-sided
nature, and like the moon reveals only certain phases at certain times.
And as there is one side of the moon that is never revealed at all to
dwellers on the planet Earth, so mortals may unconsciously conceal certain
phases of soul-stuff from each other.

Miss Barrett seems to have written more letters and longer ones to Miss
Mitford than to any of her other correspondents, save one. Yet she was
aware of this rather indiscreet woman's limitations and wrote down to her

To Richard H. Horne she wrote freely and at her intellectual best. With
this all-round, gifted man she kept up a correspondence for many years;
and her letters now published in two stout volumes afford a literary
history of the time. At the risk of being accused of lack of taste, I wish
to say that these letters of Miss Barrett's are a deal more interesting to
me than any of her longer poems. They reveal the many-sided qualities of
the writer, and show the workings of her mind in various moods. Poetry is
such an exacting form that it never allows the author to appear in
dressing-gown and slippers; neither can he call over the back fence to his
neighbor without loss of dignity.

Horne was author, editor and publisher. His middle name was Henry, but
following that peculiar penchant of the ink-stained fraternity to play
flimflam with their names, he changed the Henry to Hengist; so we now see
it writ thus: R. Hengist Horne.

He found a market for Miss Barrett's wares. More properly, he insisted
that she should write certain things to fit certain publications in which
he was interested. They collaborated in writing several books. They met
very seldom, and their correspondence has a fine friendly flavor about it,
tempered with a disinterestedness that is unique. They encourage each
other, criticize each other. They rail at each other in witty quips and
quirks, and at times the air is so full of gibes that it looks as if a
quarrel were appearing on the horizon--no bigger than a man's hand--but
the storm always passes in a gentle shower of refreshing compliments.

Meantime, dodging in and out, we see the handsome, gracious and kindly
John Kenyon.

Much of the time Miss Barrett lived in a darkened room, seeing no one but
her nurse, the physician and her father. Fortune had smiled again on
Edward Barrett--a legacy had come his way, and although he no longer owned
the black men in Jamaica, yet they were again working for him. Sugar-cane
mills ground slow, but small.

The brilliant daughter had blossomed in intellect until she was beyond her
teacher. She was so far ahead that he called to her to wait for him. He
could read Greek; she could compose in it. But she preferred her native
tongue, as every scholar should. Now, Mr. Barrett was jealous of the fame
of his daughter. The passion of father for daughter, of mother for
son--there is often something very loverlike in it--a deal of whimsy! Miss
Barrett's darkened room had been illumined by a light that the gruff and
goodly merchant wist not of. Loneliness and solitude and physical pain and
heart-hunger had taught her things that no book recorded nor tutor knew.
Her father could not follow her; her allusions were obscure, he said,
wilfully obscure; she was growing perverse.

Love is a pain at times. To ease the hurt the lover would hurt the
beloved. He badgers her, pinches her, provokes her. One step more and he
may kill her.

Edward Barrett's daughter, she of the raven curls and gentle ways, was
reaching a point where her father's love was not her life. A good way to
drive love away is to be jealous. He had seen it coming years before; he
brooded over it; the calamity was upon him. Her fame was growing: some one
called her the Shakespeare of women. First, her books had been published
at her father's expense; next, editors were willing to run their own
risks, and now messengers with bank-notes waited at the door and begged to
exchange the bank-notes for manuscript. John Kenyon said, "I told you so,"
but Edward Barrett scowled. He accused her foolishly; he attempted to
dictate to her--she must use this ink or that. Why? Because he said so. He
quarreled with her to ease the love-hurt that was smarting in his heart.

Poor, little, pale-faced poet! Earthly success has nothing left for thee!
Thy thoughts, too great for speech, fall on dull ears. Even thy father,
for whom thou first took up pen, doth not understand thee! and a mother's
love thou hast never known. And fame without love--how barren! Heaven is
thy home. Let slip thy thin, white hands on the thread of life and glide
gently out at ebb of tide--out into the unknown. It can not but be better
than this--God understands! Compose thy troubled spirit, give up thy vain
hopes. See! thy youth is past, little woman; look closely! there are gray
hairs in thy locks, thy face is marked with lines of care, and have I not
seen signs of winter in thy veins? Earth holds naught for thee. Come, take
thy pen and write, just a last good-by, a tender farewell, such as thou
alone canst say. Then fold thy thin hands, and make peace with all by
passing out and away, out and away--God understands!

       *       *       *       *       *

Elizabeth Barrett was thirty-seven, and Miss Mitford, up to London from
the country for a couple of days, wrote home that she had lost her winsome

John Kenyon had turned well into sixty, but he carried his years in a
jaunty way. He wore a moss-rose bud in the lapel of his well-fitting coat.
His linen was immaculate, and the only change people saw in him was that
he wore spectacles in place of a monocle.

The physicians allowed Mr. Kenyon to visit the darkened room whenever he
chose, for he never stayed so very long, neither was he ever the bearer of
bad news.

Did the greatest poetess of the age (temporarily slightly indisposed) know
one Browning--Robert Browning, a writer of verse? Why, no; she had never
met him, but of course she knew of him, and had read everything he had
written. He had sent her one of his books once. He was surely a man of
brilliant parts--so strong and farseeing! He lives in Italy, with the
monks, they say. What a pity the English people do not better appreciate

"But he may succeed yet," said Mr. Kenyon. "He is not old."

"Oh, of course, such genius must some day be recognized. But he may be
gone then--how old did you say he was?"

Mr. Kenyon had not said; but he now explained that Mr. Browning was
thirty-four, that is to say, just the age of himself, ahem! Furthermore,
Mr. Browning did not live in Italy--that is, not now, for at that present
moment he was in London. In fact, Mr. Kenyon had lunched with him an hour
before. They had talked of Miss Barrett (for who else was there among
women worth talking of!) and Mr. Browning had expressed a wish to see her.
Mr. Kenyon had expressed a wish that Mr. Browning should see her, and now
if Miss Barrett would express a wish that Mr. Browning should call and see
her, why, Mr. Kenyon would fetch him--doctors or no doctors.

And he fetched him.

And I'm glad, aren't you?

Now Robert Browning was not at all of the typical poet type. In stature,
he was rather short; his frame was compact and muscular. In his youth, he
had been a wrestler--carrying away laurels of a different sort from those
which he was to wear later. His features were inclined to be heavy; in
repose his face was dull, and there was no fire in his glance. He wore
loose-fitting, plain, gray clothes, a slouch-hat and thick-soled shoes. At
first look you would have said he was a well-fed, well-to-do country
squire. On closer acquaintance you would have been impressed with his
dignity, his perfect poise and his fine reserve. And did you come to know
him well enough you would have seen that beneath that seemingly phlegmatic
outside there was a spiritual nature so sensitive and tender that it
responded to all the finer thrills that play across the souls of men. Yet
if there ever was a man who did not wear his heart upon his sleeve for
daws to peck at, it was Robert Browning. He was clean, wholesome, manly,
healthy, inside and out. He was master of self.

Of course, the gentle reader is sure that the next act will show a tender
love-scene. And were I dealing with the lives of Peter Smith and Martha
the milkmaid, the gentle reader might be right.

But the love of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett is an instance of
the Divine Passion. Take off thy shoes, for the place whereon thou
standest is holy ground! This man and woman had gotten well beyond the
first flush of youth; there was a joining of intellect and soul which
approaches the ideal. I can not imagine anything so preposterous as a
"proposal" passing between them; I can not conceive a condition of
hesitancy and timidity leading up to a dam-bursting "avowal." They met,
looked into each other's eyes, and each there read his fate: no coyness,
no affectation, no fencing--they loved. Each at once felt a heart-rest in
the other. Each had at last found the other self.

That exquisite series of poems, "Sonnets From the Portuguese," written by
Elizabeth Barrett before her marriage and presented to her husband
afterward, was all told to him over and over by the look from her eyes,
the pressure of her hands, and in gentle words (or silence) that knew
neither shame nor embarrassment.

And now it seems to me that somewhere in these pages I said that
friendship was essentially hygienic. I wish to make that remark again, and
to put it in italics. The Divine Passion implies the most exalted form of
friendship that man can imagine.

Elizabeth Barrett ran up the shades and flung open the shutters. The
sunlight came dancing through the apartment, flooding each dark corner and
driving out all the shadows that lurked therein. It was no longer a
darkened room.

The doctor was indignant; the nurse resigned.

Miss Mitford wrote back to the country that Miss Barrett was "really
looking better than she had for years."

As for poor Edward Moulton Barrett--he raved. He tried to quarrel with
Robert Browning, and had there been only a callow youth with whom to deal,
Browning would simply have been kicked down the steps, and that would have
been an end of it. But Browning had an even pulse, a calm eye and a temper
that was imperturbable. His will was quite as strong as Mr. Barrett's.

And so it was just a plain runaway match--the ideal thing after all. One
day when the father was out of the way they took a cab to Marylebone
Parish Church and were married. The bride went home alone, and it was a
week before her husband saw her; because he would not be a hypocrite and
go ask for her by her maiden name. And had he gone, rung the bell and
asked to see Elizabeth Barrett Browning, no one would have known whom he
wanted. At the end of the week, the bride stole down the steps alone,
leading her dog Flush by a string, and met her lover-husband on the
corner. Next day, they wrote back from Calais, asking forgiveness and
craving blessings, after the good old custom of Gretna Green. But Edward
Moulton Barrett did not forgive--still, who cares!

Yet we do care, too, for we regret that this man, so strong and manly in
many ways, could not be reconciled to this exalted love. Old men who nurse
wrath are pitiable sights. Why could not Mr. Barrett have followed the
example of John Kenyon?

Kenyon commands both our sympathy and admiration. When the news came to
him that Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett were gone, it is said that
he sobbed like a youth to whom has come a great, strange sorrow. For
months he was not known to smile, yet after a year he visited the happy
home in Florence. When John Kenyon died he left by his will fifty thousand
dollars "to my beloved and loving friends, Robert Browning and Elizabeth
Barrett, his wife."

The old-time novelists always left their couples at the church-door. It
was not safe to follow further--they wished to make a pleasant story. It
seems meet to take our leave of the bride and groom at the church: life
often ends there. However, it sometimes is the place where life really
begins. It was so with Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning--they had
merely existed before; now, they began to live.

Much, very much has been written concerning this ideal mating, and of the
life of Mr. and Mrs. Browning in Italy. But why should I write of the
things of which George William Curtis, Kate Field, Anthony Trollope and
James T. Fields have written? No, we will leave the happy pair at the
altar, in Marylebone Parish Church, and while the organ peals the
wedding-march we will tiptoe softly out.


    To me remains nor place nor time;
    My country is in every clime;
    I can be calm and free from care,
    On any shore, since God is there.

    While place we seek or place we shun,
    The soul finds happiness in none;
    But with a God to guide our way,
    'Tis equal joy to go or stay.

    Could I be cast where Thou art not,
    That were indeed a dreadful lot;
    But regions none remote I call,
    Secure of finding God in all.
                         _God Is Everywhere_

[Illustration: MADAME GUYON]

Jeanne Marie Bouvier sat one day writing at her little oaken desk, when
her father approached and, kissing her very gently on the forehead, told
her that he had arranged for her marriage, and that her future husband was
soon to arrive. Jeanne's fingers lost their cunning, the pen dropped; she
arose to her feet, but her tongue was dumb.

Jeanne Marie was only sixteen, but you would have thought her twenty, for
she was tall and dignified--she was as tall as her father: she was five
feet nine. She had a splendid length of limb, hips that gave only a
suggestion of curve line, a slender waist, a shapely, well-poised neck,
and a head that might have made a Juno envious. The face and brow were not
those of Venus--rather they belonged to Minerva; for the nose was large,
the chin full, and the mouth no pea's blossom. The hair was light brown,
but when the sun shone on it people said it was red. It was as generous in
quantity and unruly in habits as the westerly wind. Her eyes were all
colors, changing according to her mood. Withal, she had freckles, and no
one was ever so rash as to call her pretty.

Now, Jeanne's father had not kissed her for two years, for he was a very
busy man: he had not time for soft demonstration. He was rich, he was
religious, and he was looked upon as a model citizen in every way.

The daughter had grown like a sunflower, and her intellect had unfolded as
a moss-rose turns from bud to blossom. This splendid girl had thought and
studied and dreamed dreams. She had imagined she heard a voice speaking to
her: "Arise, maiden, and prepare thee, for I have a work for thee to do!"

Her wish and prayer was to enter a convent, and after consecrating herself
to God in a way that would allow of no turning back, to go forth and give
to men and women the messages that had come to her. And these things
filled the heart of the worthy bourgeois with alarm; so he said to his
wife one day: "That girl will be a foot taller than I am in a year, and
even now when I give her advice, she opens her big eyes and looks at me in
a way that thins my words to whey. She will get us into trouble yet! She
may disgrace us! I think--I think I'll find her a husband."

Yet that would not have been a difficult task. She was loved by a score of
youths, but had never spoken to any of them. They stood at corners and
sighed as she walked by; and others, with religious bent, timed her hours
for mass and took positions in church from whence they could see her
kneel. Still others patroled the narrow street that led to her home, with
hopes that she might pass that way, so that they might touch the hem of
her garment.

These things were as naught to Jeanne Marie. She had never yet seen a man
for whose intellect she did not have both a pity and a contempt.

But Claude Bouvier did not pick a husband for his daughter from among the
simple youths of the town. He wrote to a bachelor friend, Jacques Guyon by
name, and told him he could have the girl if he wanted her--that is, after
certain little preliminaries had been arranged.

Now, Jacques Guyon had been at the Bouvier residence on a visit three
months before, and had looked the lass over stealthily with peculiar
interest, and had intimated that if Monsieur Bouvier wished to get rid of
her it could be brought about. So, after some weeks had passed, Monsieur
bethought him of the offer of Jacques Guyon, and he concluded that
inasmuch as Guyon was rich and respectable it would be a good match.

So he wrote to Guyon, and Guyon replied that he would come, probably
within a fortnight--just as soon as his rheumatism got better.

Monsieur Claude Bouvier read the letter, and walking into the next room,
surprised Jeanne Marie by kissing her tenderly on her forehead--all as
herein truthfully recorded.

       *       *       *       *       *

So Jacques Guyon came, came in his carriage, with two servants riding on
horseback in front and another riding on horseback behind. Jeanne Marie
sat on the floor, tailor fashion, up in her little room of the old stone
house, and peeked out of the diamond-paned gable-window very cautiously;
and she was sorely disappointed.

In some of her dreams (and these dreams she thought were very bad), she
had pictured a lover coming alone on a foam-flecked charger; and as the
steed paused, the rider leaped lightly from saddle to ground, kissing his
hand to her as she peeked through the curtains. For he discovered her when
she hoped he would not, but she did not care much if he did.

But Monsieur Guyon's eyes did not search the windows. He got out of the
carriage with difficulty, and his breath came wheezy and short as he
mounted the steps. His complexion was dusty blue, his nose tinged with
carmine, his eyes watery, and his girth aldermanic. He was growing old,
and, saddest of all, he was growing old rebelliously and therefore
ungracefully--dyeing his whiskers purple.

That evening when Jeanne Marie was introduced to Monsieur Guyon at dinner
she found him very polite and very gracious. His breeches were real black
velvet and his stockings were silk, and the buckles on his shoes were
polished silver and the frill of his shirt was finest lace. His
conversation was directed mostly to Jeanne's father, so Jeanne did not
feel nearly so uncomfortable as she had expected.

The next day a notary came, and long papers were written out, and red and
green seals placed on them, and then everybody held up his right hand as
the notary mumbled something, and then all signed their names. The room
seemed to be teetering up and down, and it looked quite like rain.
Monsieur Bouvier stood on his tiptoes and again kissed his daughter on the
forehead, and Monsieur Guyon, taking her hand, lifted the long, slender
fingers to his lips, and told her that she would soon be a great lady and
the mistress of a splendid mansion, and have everything that one needed to
make one happy.

And so they were married by a bishop, with two priests and three curates
to assist. The ceremony was held at the great stone church; and as the
procession came out, the verger had a hard time to keep the crowd back, so
that the little girls in white could go before and strew flowers in their
pathway. The organ pealed, and the chimes clanged and rang as if the tune
and the times were out of joint; then other bells from other parts of the
old town answered, and across the valley rang mellow and soft the
chapel-bell of Montargis Castle.

Jeanne was seated in a carriage--how she got there she never knew; by her
side sat Jacques Guyon. The post-boys were lashing their horses into a
savage run, like devils running away with the souls of innocents, and
behind clattered the mounted, liveried servant. People on the sidewalks
waved good-bys and called God-bless-yous. Soon the sleepy old town was
left behind and the horses slowed down to a lazy trot. Jeanne looked back,
like Lot's wife: only a church-spire could be seen. She hoped that she
might be turned into a pillar of salt--but she wasn't. She crouched into
the corner of the seat and cried a good honest cry.

And Monsieur Jacques Guyon smiled and muttered to himself, "Her father
said she was a bit stubborn, but I'll see that she gets over it!"

And this was over three hundred years ago. It doesn't seem like it, but it

       *       *       *       *       *

Read the lives of great men and you will come to the conclusion that it is
harder to find a gentleman than a genius. While the clock ticks off the
seconds, count on your fingers--within five minutes, if you can--five such
gentlemen as Sir Philip Sidney! Of course, I know before you speak that
Fenelon will be the first on your tongue. Fenelon, the low-voiced, the
mild, the sympathetic, the courtly, the gracious! Fenelon, favored by the
gods with beauty and far-reaching intellect! Fenelon, who knew the gold of
silence. Fenelon, on whose lips dwelt grace, and who by the magic of his
words had but to speak to be believed and to be beloved.

When Louis the Little made that most audacious blunder which cost France
millions in treasure and untold loss in men and women, Fenelon wrote to
the Prime Minister: "These Huguenots have many virtues that must be
acknowledged and conserved. We must hold them by mildness. We can not
produce conformity by force. Converts made in this manner are hypocrites.
No power is great enough to bind the mind--thought forever escapes. Give
civil liberty to all, not by approving all religions, but by permitting in
patience what God allows."

"You shall go as missionary to these renegades!" was the
answer--half-ironical, half-earnest.

"I will go only on one condition."

"And that is?"

"That from my province you withdraw all armed men--all sign of compulsion
of every sort!"

Fenelon was of noble blood, but his sympathies were ever with the people.
The lowly, the weak, the oppressed, the persecuted--these were ever the
objects of his solicitude--these were first in his mind.

It was in prison that Fenelon first met Madame Guyon. Fenelon was
thirty-seven, she was forty. He occasionally preached at Montargis, and
while there had heard of her goodness, her piety, her fervor, her
resignation. He had small sympathy for many of her peculiar views, but now
she was sick and in prison and he went to her and admonished her to hold
fast and to be of good-cheer.

Twelve years before this Madame Guyon had been left a widow. She was the
mother of five children--two were dead. The others were placed under the
care of kind kinsmen; and Madame Guyon went forth to give her days to
study and to teaching. This action of placing her children partly in the
care of others has been harshly criticized. But there is one phase of the
subject that I have never seen commented upon--and that is that a mother's
love for her offspring bears a certain ratio to the love she bore their
father. Had Madame Guyon ever carried in her arms a love-child, I can not
conceive of her allowing this child to be cared for by others--no matter
how competent.

The favor that had greeted Madame Guyon wherever she went was very great.
Her animation and devout enthusiasm won her entrance into the homes of
the great and noble everywhere. She organized societies of women that met
for prayer and conversation on exalted themes. The burden of her
philosophy was "Quietism"--the absolute submission of the human soul to
the will of God. Give up all, lay aside all striving, all reaching
out, all unrest, cease penance and lie low in the Lord's hand.
He doeth all things well. Make life one continual prayer for
holiness--wholeness--harmony; and thus all good will come to us--we
attract the good; we attract God--He is our friend--His spirit dwells with
us. She taught of power through repose, and told that you can never gain
peace by striving for it like fury.

This philosophy, stretching out in limitless ramifications, bearing on
every phase and condition of life, touched everywhere with mysticism,
afforded endless opportunity for thought.

It is the same philosophy that is being expressed by thousands of
prominent men and women today. It embraced all that is vital and best in
our so-called "advanced thought"; for in good sooth none of our new
"liberal sects" has anything that has not been taught before in olden

But Madame Guyon's success was too great. The guardians of a dogmatic
religion are ever on the scent for heresy. They are jealous, and fearful,
and full of alarm lest their "institution" shall topple. Quietism was
making head, and throughout France the name of Madame Guyon was becoming
known. She went from town to town, and from city to city, and gave courses
of lectures. Women flocked to hear her, they organized clubs. Preachers
sometimes appeared and argued with her, but by the high fervor of her
speech she quickly silenced them. Then they took revenge by thundering
sermons against her after she had gone. As she traveled she left in her
wake a pyrotechnic display of elocutionary denunciation. They dared her to
come back and fight it out. The air was full of challenges. One prelate
was good enough to say, "This woman may teach primitive Christianity--but
if people find God everywhere, what's to become of us!"

And although the theme is as great as Fate and as serious as Death, one
can not suppress a smile to think how the fear of losing their jobs has
ever caused men to run violently to and fro and up and down in the earth,
crying peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Now, it was the denunciation and wild demonstration of her fearing foes
that advertised the labors of Madame Guyon. For strong people are not so
much advertised by their loving friends as by their rabid enemies.

This happened quite a while ago; but as mankind moves in a circle (and not
always a spiral, either) it might have happened yesterday. Make the scene
Ohio: slip Bossuet out and Doctor Buckley in; condense the virtues of Miss
Frances E. Willard and Miss Susan B. Anthony into one, and let this one
stand for Madame Guyon; call it New Transcendentalism, dub the Madame a
New Woman, and there you have it!

But with this difference: petitions to the President of the United States
to arrest this female offender and shut her up in the Chicago jail,
indefinitely, after a mock trial, would avail not. Yet persecution has its
compensation, and the treatment that Madame Guyon received emphasized the
truths she taught and sent them ringing through the schools and salons and
wherever thinking people gathered themselves together. Yes, persecution
has its compensation. In its state of persecution a religion is pure, if
ever; its decline begins when its prosperity commences. Prosperous men are
never wise and seldom good. Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of

Surely, persecution has its compensation! When Madame Guyon was sick and
in prison, was she not visited by Fenelon? Ah, 'twas worth the cost.
Sympathy is the first attribute of love as well as its last. And I am not
sure but that sympathy is love's own self, vitalized mayhap by some divine
actinic ray. Only a thorn-crowned, bleeding Christ could win the adoration
of the world. Only the souls who have suffered are well loved. Thus does
Golgotha find its recompense. Hark ye and take courage, ye who are in
bonds! Gracious spirits, seen or unseen, will minister to you now, where
otherwise they would have passed without a sign! But from the day Fenelon
met Madame Guyon his fortune began to decline. People looked at him
askance. By a grim chance he was made one of a committee of three to
investigate the charges brought against the woman. The court took a year
for its task. Fenelon read everything that Madame Guyon had published,
conversed much with her, inquired into her history and when asked for his
verdict said, "I find no fault in her."

He talked with Madame de Maintenon, and Madame de Maintenon talked with
the King, and the offender was released.

Soon Fenelon began to utter in his sermons the truths he had learned from
Madame Guyon. And he gave her due credit. He explained that she was a good
Catholic--that she loved the Church--that she lived up to all the Church
taught, and besides knowing all that Churchmen knew she knew many things

Have a care, Archbishop of Cambrai! Enemies are upon thy track. Defend not
defenseless womanhood: knowest thou not what they have said of her? Speak
what thou art taught and keep thy inmost thoughts for thyself alone. Have
a care, Fenelon! thy bishopric hangs by a spider's thread.

The years kept slipping past as the years will. Twelve summers had come,
and twelve times had autumn leaves known their time to fall. Madame Guyon
was again in prison. A stranger was Archbishop of Cambrai: Fenelon no
longer a counselor of kings--a tutor of royalty. His voice was silenced,
his pen chained. He was allowed to retire to a rural parish. There he
lived with the peasants--revered, beloved. The country where he dwelt was
battle-scarred and bleeding; the smoke of devastation still hung over it.
Not a family but had been robbed of its best. Death had stalked rampant.
Fenelon shared the poverty of the people, their lowliness, their sorrows.
All the tragedy of their life was his; he said to them, "I know, I know!"

Twelve years of Madame Guyon's life were spent in prison. Toward the last
she was allowed to live in nominal freedom. But despotism, with savage
leer and stealthy step, saw that Fenelon was kept far away. In those
declining days, when the shadows were lengthening toward the east, her
time and talents were given to teaching the simple rudiments of knowledge
to the peasantry, to alleviating their material wants and to ministering
to the sick. It was a forced retirement, and yet it was a retirement that
was in every way in accord with her desires. But in spite of the
persecution that followed her, and the obloquy heaped upon her name, and
the bribe of pardon if she would but recant, she never retracted nor
wavered in her inward or outward faith, even in the estimation of a hair.
The firm reticence as to the supreme secrets of her life, and her
steadfast loyalty to that which she honestly believed was truth, must ever
command the affectionate admiration of all those who prize integrity of
mind and purity of purpose, who hold fast to the divinity of love, and who
believe in the things unseen which are eternal.

       *       *       *       *       *

The town of Montargis is one day's bicycle journey from Paris. As for the
road, though one be a wayfaring man and from the States he could not err
therein. You simply follow the Seine as if you were intent on discovering
its source, keeping to the beautiful highway that follows the winding
stream. And what a beautiful, clear, clean bit of water it is! In Paris,
your washerwoman takes your linen to the river, just as they did in the
days of Pharaoh, and the bundle comes back sweet as the breath of June.
Imagine the result of such recklessness in Chicago!

But as I rode out of Paris that bright May day it seemed Monday all along
the way; for dames with baskets balanced on their heads were making their
way to the waterside, followed by troops of barefoot or sabot-shod
children. There was one fine young woman with a baby in her arms, and the
innocent firstborn was busily taking its breakfast as the mother walked
calmly along, bearing on her well-poised head the family wash. And a mile
farther on, as if she had seen her rival and gone her one better, was
another woman with a two-year-old cherub perched secure on top of the
gently swaying basket, proud as a cardinal about to be consecrated. It was
a study in balancing that I have never seen before nor since; and I only
ask those to believe it who know things so true that they dare not tell
them. As the day wore on, I saw that the wash was being completed, for the
garments were spread out on the greenest of green grass, or on the bushes
that lined the way. By ten o'clock I was nearing Fontainebleau, and the
clothes were nearly ready to take in--but not quite. For while waiting for
the warm sun and the gentle breeze to dry them, the thrifty dames, who
were French and make soup out of everything, put in the time by laundering
the children. It seemed like that economic stroke of good housewives who
use the soapy wash-water for scrubbing the kitchen-floor. There they were,
dozens of hopefuls on whom the fate of the nation rested--creepers to
ten-year-olds--being scrubbed and dipped, or playing parlez-vous tag in
lieu of towel, as innocent of clothes as Carlyle's imaginary House of

And so I passed off from the road that traced the Seine to a road that
kept company with the canal. I followed the towpath, even in spite of
warnings that 't was 'gainst the law. It was a one-horse canal, for many
of the gaily painted boats were drawn only by a single, shaggy-limbed
Percheron. The boats were sharp-prowed and narrow; and on some were
bareheaded women knitting, and men carving curious things out of blocks of
wood, as they journeyed. And I said to myself, if "it is the pace that
kills," these people are making a strong bid for immortality. I hailed the
lazily moving craft, waving my hat, and the slow-going tourists called
back cheerily.

By and by I came to a great, wide plain that stretched away like a
tideless summer sea. The wheat and lentils and pulse were planted in long
strips. In one place I thought I could trace the good old American flag
(that you never really love unless you are on a foreign shore) made with
alternate strips of millet and peas, with a goodly patch of cabbages in
the corner for stars. But possibly this was imagination, for I had been
thinking that in a week it would be the Fourth of July and I was far from
home--in a land where firecrackers are unknown.

Coming to a little rise of ground, I could see, lying calm and quiet amid
the world of rich, growing grain, the town of Montargis. Across on the
blue hillside was Montargis Castle, framed in a mass of foliage. I stopped
to view the scene, and the echo of vesper-bells came pealing gently over
the miles, as the nodding poppies at my feet bowed reverently in the

Villages in France viewed from a distance seem so restful and idyllic.
There is no sound of strife, no trace of rivalry, no vain pride; only
white houses--the homes of good men and gentle women, and cherub children;
and all the church-steeples truly point to God. Yet on closer view--but
what of that!

When I reached the town, the church whose spire I had seen from the
distance beckoned me first. I turned off from the wide thoroughfare,
intending just to get a glance at the outside of the building as I passed.
But the great iron gates thrown invitingly open, and a rusty, dusty dog
of Flanders lying in the entry waiting for his master, told me that there
was service within. So I entered, passing through the noiseless, swinging
door, and into the dim twilight of the house of prayer. A score of people
were there, and standing in the aisle was a white-robed priest. He was
speaking, and his voice came so gently, so sure withal, so exquisitely
modulated, that I paused and, leaning against a pillar, listened. I think
it was the first time I ever heard a preacher speaking in a large church
who did not speak so loud that an echo chased his sentences round and
round the vaulted dome and strangled the sense. The tone was
conversational and the manner so free from canting conventionality that I
moved up closer to get a view of the face.

It was too dark to see well, but I came under the spell of the man's
earnest eloquence. The sacred stillness, the falling night, the odor from
incense and banks of flowers piled about the feet of an image of the Holy
Virgin--evidently brought by the peasantry, having nothing else to
give--made a combination of melting conditions that would have subdued a
heart of stone.

The preacher ceased to speak, and as he raised his hands in benediction,
I, involuntarily, with the other worshipers, knelt on the stone floor and
bowed my head in silent reverie.

Suddenly, I was aroused by a crashing noise at my elbow, and glancing
round saw that an old man near me had merely dropped his cane. A heavy
cudgel it was that falling on the stone flagging sent a thundering
reverberation through the vaulted chambers.

The worshipers were slipping out, one by one, and soon no one was left but
the old man of the cudgel and myself. He wore wooden shoes, and was
holding the cordwood fast between his knees, rolling his hat nervously in
his big hands. "He's a stranger, too," I said to myself; "he is the man
who owns the rusty dog of Flanders, and he is waiting to give the priest
some message!"

I leaned over towards my neighbor and asked, "The priest--what is his

"Father Francis, Monsieur!" and the old man swayed back and forward in his
seat as if moved by some inward emotion, still fingering his hat.

Just then the priest came out from behind the altar, wearing a black robe
instead of the white one. He moved down with a sort of quiet majesty
straight towards us. We arose as one man; it was as though some one had
pressed a button.

Father Francis walked by me, bowing slightly, and shook hands with my old
neighbor. They stood talking in an undertone.

A last struggling ray of light from the dying sun came in over the chancel
and flooded the great room for an instant. It allowed me to get a good
look at the face of the priest. As I stood there staring at him I heard
him say to the old man as he bade him good-by, "Yes, tell her I'll be
there in the morning."

Then he turned to me, and I was still staring. And as I stared I was
repeating to myself the words the people said when Dante used to pass,
"There is the man who has been to Hell!"

"You are an Englishman?" said Father Francis to me pleasantly as he held
out his hand. "Yes," I said; "I am an Englishman--that is, no--an

I was wondering if he had really heard me make that Dante remark; and
anyway, I had been rudely staring at him and listening with both ears to
his conversation with the old man. I tried to roll my hat, and had I a
cudgel I would surely have dropped it; and with it all I wondered if the
dog of Flanders waiting outside was not getting impatient for me!

"Oh, an American! I'm glad--I have very dear friends in America!"

Then I saw that Father Francis did not look so much like the exiled
Florentine as I had thought, for his smile was winning as that of a woman,
the corners of his mouth did not turn down, and the nose had not the Roman
curve. Dante was an exile: this man was at home--and would have been,

He was tall, slender and straight; he must have been sixty years old, but
the face in spite of its furrows was singularly handsome. Grave, yet not
depressed, it showed such feminine delicacy of feeling, such grace, such
high intellect, that I stood and gazed as I might at a statue in bronze.
But plain to see, he was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. The
face spake of one to whom might have come a great tribulation, and who by
accepting it had purchased redemption for all time from all the petty
troubles of earth.

"You must stay here as long as you wish, and you will come to our old
church again, I hope!" said the Father. He smiled, nodded his head and
started to leave me alone.

"Yes, yes, I'll come again--I'll come in the morning, for I want to talk
with you about Madame Guyon--she was married in this church they told
me--is that true?" I clutched a little. Here was a man I could not afford
to lose--one of the elect!

"Oh, yes; that was a long time ago, though. Are you interested in Madame
Guyon? I am glad--not to know Fenelon seems a misfortune. He used to
preach from that very pulpit, and Madame was baptized at that font and
confirmed here. I have pictures of them both; and I have their books--one
of the books is a first edition. Do you care for such things?"

When I was broke in London, in the Fall of Eighty-nine! Do I care for such
things? I can not recall what I said, but I remembered that this
brown-skinned priest with his liquid, black eyes, and the look of sorrow
on his handsome face, stood out before me like the picture of a saint.

I made an engagement to meet him the next morning, when he bethought him
of his promise to the old man of the cudgel and wooden shoes.

"Come now, then--come with me now. My house is just next door!"

And so we walked up the main aisle of the old church, around the altar
where Madame Guyon used to kneel, and by a crooked, little passageway
entered a house fully as old as the church. A woman who might have been as
old as the house was setting the table in a little dining-room. She looked
up at me through brass-rimmed spectacles, and without orders or any one
saying a word she whisked off the tablecloth, replaced it with a snowy,
clean one, and put on two plates instead of one. Then she brought in
toasted brown bread and tea, and a steaming dish of lentils, and
fresh-picked berries in a basket all lined with green leaves.

It was not a very sumptuous repast, but 't was enough. Afterward I learned
that Father Francis was a vegetarian. He did not tell me so, neither did
he apologize for absence of fermented drink, nor for his failure to supply
tobacco and pipes.

Now, I have heard that there be priests who hold in their cowled heads
choice recipes for spiced wines, and who carry hidden away in their hearts
all the mysteries of the chafing-dish; but Father Francis was not one of
these. His form was thin, but the bronze of his face was the bronze that
comes from red corpuscles, and the strongly corded neck and calloused,
bony hands told of manly abstinence and exercise in the open air, and
sleep that follows peaceful thoughts, knowing no chloral.

After the meal, Father Francis led the way to his little study upstairs.
He showed me his books and read to me from his one solitary "First
Edition." Then he unlocked a little drawer in an old chiffonier and
brought out a package all wrapped in chamois. This parcel held two
miniature portraits, one of Fenelon and one of Madame Guyon.

"That picture of Fenelon belonged to Madame Guyon. He had it painted for
her and sent it to her while she was in prison at Vincennes. The other I
bought in Paris--I do not know its history."

The good priest had work to do, and let me know it very gently, thus: "You
have come a long way, brother, the road was rough--I know you must be
weary. Come, I'll show you to your room."

He lighted a candle and took me to a bedroom at the end of the hall. It
was a little room, very clean, but devoid of all ornament, save a picture
of the Madonna and her Babe, that hung over the head of the little iron
bedstead. It was a painting--not very good. I think Father Francis painted
it himself; the face of the Holy Mother was very human--divinely human--as
motherhood should be.

Father Francis was right: the way had been rough and I was tired.

The treetops sang a cooing lullaby and the nightwinds sighed solemnly as
they wandered through the hallway and open doors. It did not take me long
to go to sleep. Later, the wind blew up fresh and cool. I was too sleepy
to get up and hunt for more covering, and yet I was cold as I curled up in
a knot and dreamed I was first mate with Peary on an expedition in search
of the North Pole. And the last I remember was a vision of a gray-robed
priest tiptoeing across the stone floor; of his throwing over me a heavy
blanket and then hastily tiptoeing out again.

The matin-bells, or the birds, or both, awoke me early, but when I got
downstairs I found my host had preceded me. His fine face looked fresh and
strong, and yet I wondered when he had slept.

After breakfast, the old housekeeper hovered near.

"What is it, Margaret?" said the Father, gently.

"You haven't forgotten your engagement?" asked the woman, with just a
quaver of anxiety.

"Oh no, Margaret"; then turning to me, "Come, you shall go with me--we
will talk of Fenelon and Madame Guyon as we walk. It is eight miles and
back, but you will not mind the distance. Oh, didn't I tell you where I'm
going? You saw the old man at the church last night--it is his
daughter--she is dying--dying of consumption. She has not been a good
girl. She went away to Paris, three years ago, and her parents never heard
from her. We tried to find her, but could not; and now she has come home
of her own accord--come home to die. I baptized her twenty years ago--how
fast the time has flown!"

The priest took a stout staff from the corner, and handing me its mate we
started away. Down the white, dusty highway we went; out on the stony road
where yesterday, as the darkness gathered, trudged an old man in wooden
shoes and with a cordwood cudgel--at his heels a dog of Flanders.


    You better live your best and act your best and think your best
    today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the
    other tomorrows that follow.
    --_Life's Uses_


I believe it was Thackeray who once expressed a regret that Harriet
Martineau had not shown better judgment in choosing her parents.

She was born into one of those big families where there is not love enough
to go 'round. The mother was a robustious woman with a termagant temper;
she was what you call "practical." She arose each morning, like Solomon's
ideal wife, while it was yet dark, and proceeded to set her house in
order. She made the children go to bed when they were not sleepy and get
up when they were. There was no beauty-sleep in that household, not even
forty winks; and did any member prove recreant and require a douse of cold
water, not only did he get the douse but he also heard quoted for a year
and a day that remark concerning the sluggard, "A little sleep, a little
slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come
as one that traveleth, and thy want as an armed man."

This big, bustling Amazon was never known to weep but once, and that was
when Lord Nelson died. To show any emotion would have been to reveal a
weakness, and a caress would have been proof positive of folly. Life was
a stern business and this earth-journey a warfare. She cooked, she swept,
she scrubbed, she sewed.

And although she withheld every loving word and kept back all
demonstration of affection, yet her children were always well cared for:
they were well clothed, they had plenty to eat, and a warm place to sleep.
And in times of sickness this mother would send all others to rest, and
herself would watch by the bedside until the shadows stole away and the
sunrise came again. I wonder where you have lived all your life if you
have never known a woman like that?

In the morning, as soon as the breakfast things were done and the men
folks had gone to the cloth-factory, Mrs. Martineau would marshal her
daughters in the sitting-room to sew. And there they sewed for four hours
every forenoon for more than four years; and as they sewed some one would
often read aloud to them, for Mrs. Martineau believed in
education--education gotten on the wing.

Sewing-machines and knitting-machines have done more to emancipate women
than all the preachers. Think of the days when every garment worn by men,
women and children was made by the never-resting hands of women!

And as the girls in that thrifty Norwich household sewed and listened to
the reader, they occasionally spoke in monotone of what was read---all
save Harriet: Harriet sewed. And the other girls thought Harriet very
dull, and her mother was sure of it, and called her stupid, and sometimes
shook her and railed at her, endeavoring to arouse her out of her

Harriet has herself left on record somewhat of her feelings in those days.
In her child-heart there was a great aching void. Her life was wrong--the
lives about her were wrong--she did not know how, and could not then trace
the subject far enough to tell why. She was a-hungered, she longed for
tenderness, for affection and the close confidence that knows no repulse.
She wanted them all to throw down their sewing for just five minutes, and
sit in the silence with folded hands. She longed for her mother to hold
her on her lap so, that she could pillow her head on her shoulder with her
arms about her neck, and have a real good cry. Then all her troubles and
pains would be gone.

But the slim little girl never voiced any of these foolish thoughts; she
knew better. She choked back her tears and leaning over her sewing tried
hard to be "good."

"She is so stupid that she never listens to what one reads to her," said
her mother one day.

One of that family still lives. I saw him not long ago and talked with him
face to face concerning some of the things here written--Doctor James
Martineau, ninety-two years old.

The others are all dead now--all are gone. In the cemetery at Norwich is
a plain, slate slab, "To the Memory of Elizabeth Martineau, Mother of
Harriet Martineau." * * * And so she sleeps, remembered for what? As the
mother of a stupid little girl who tried hard to be good, but didn't
succeed very well, and who did not listen when they read aloud.

       *       *       *       *       *

It seems sometimes that there is no such thing as a New Year--it is only
the old year come back. These folks about us--have they not lived before?
Surely they are the same creatures that have peopled earth in the days
agone; they are busy about the same things, they chase after the same
trifles, they commit the same mistakes, and blunder as men have always

Only last week, a teacher in one of the primary schools of Chicago
reported to her principal that a certain little boy in her room was so
hopelessly dull and perverse that she despaired of teaching him anything.
The child would sit with open mouth and look at her as she would talk to
the class, and five minutes afterward he could not or would not repeat
three words of what had been said. She had scolded him, made him stand on
the floor, kept him in after school, and even whipped him--but all in
vain. The principal looked into the case, scratched his head, stroked his
whiskers, coughed, and decided that the public-school funds should not be
wasted in trying to "teach imbeciles," and so reported to the parents. He
advised them to send the boy to a Home for the Feeble-Minded, sending the
message by an older brother. So the parents took the child to the Home and
asked that he be admitted. The Matron took the little boy on her lap,
talked to him, read to him, showed him pictures and said to the astonished
parents, "This child has fully as much intelligence as any of your other
children, perhaps more--but he is deaf!"

Harriet Martineau from her twelfth year was very deaf, and she was also
devoid of the senses of taste and smell.

"Oh, these are terrible tribulations to befall a mortal!" we exclaim with
uplifted hands. But on sober second thought I am not sure that I know what
is a tribulation and what a blessing. I'm not positive that I would know a
blessing should I see it coming up the street. For as I write it comes to
me that the Great Big Black Things that have loomed against the horizon of
my life, threatening to devour me, simply loomed and nothing more. They
harmed me not. The things that have really made me miss my train have
always been sweet, soft, pretty, pleasant things of which I was not in
the, least afraid.

Mother Nature is kind, and if she deprives us of one thing she gives us
another, and happiness seems to be meted out to each and all in equal
portions. Harriet's afflictions caused her to turn her mind to other
things than those which filled the hearts of girls of her own age. Society
chatter held nothing for her, she could not hear it if she would; and she
ate the food that agreed with her, not that which was merely pleasant to
the taste. She began to live in a world of thought and ideas. The silence
meant much.

"The first requisite is that man should be a good animal." I used to
think that Herbert Spencer in voicing this aphorism struck twelve. But I
am no longer enthusiastic about the remark. The senses of most dumb
animals are far better developed than those of man. Hounds can trace
footsteps over flat rocks, even though a shower has fallen in the
interval; cats can see in the dark; rabbits hear sounds that men never
hear; horses detect an impurity in water that a chemical analysis does not
reveal, and homing pigeons would gain nothing by carrying a compass. And
so I feel safe in saying that if any man were so good and perfect an
animal that he had the hound's sense of smell, the cat's eyesight, the
rabbit's sense of hearing, the horse's sense of taste, and the homing
pigeon's "locality," he would not be one whit better prepared to
appreciate Kipling's "Dipsy Chanty," and not a hair's breadth nearer a
point where he could write a poem equal to it.

No college professor can see so far as a Sioux Indian, neither can he hear
so well as a native African. There are rays of light that no unaided human
eye can trace, and there are sounds subtler than human ear can detect.
These five bodily faculties that we are pleased to call the senses were
developed by savage man. He holds them in common with the brute. And now
that man is becoming partly civilized he is in danger of losing them.
Faculties not used are taken away. Dame Nature seems to consider that
anything you do not utilize is not needed; and as she is averse to
carrying dead freight she drops it out.

But man can think, and the more he thinks and the further he projects his
thought, the less need he has for his physical senses. Homer's matchless
vision was the rich possession of a blind man; Milton never saw Paradise
until he was sightless, and Helen Keller knows a world of things that were
neither told to her in lectures nor read from books. The far-reaching
intellect often goes with a singularly imperfect body, and these things
seem to point to the truth that the body is one thing and the soul

I make no argument for impoverished vitality, nor do I plead the cause of
those who enjoy poor health. Yet how often do we find that the
confessional of a family or a neighborhood is the bedside of one who sees
the green fields only as did the Lady of Shalott, by holding a
looking-glass so that it reflects the out-of-doors. Let me carry that
simile one step further, and say that the mirror of the soul when kept
free from fleck and stain, reveals the beauties of the universe. And I am
not sure but that the soul, freed from the distractions of sense and the
trammels of flesh, glides away to a height where things are observed for
the first time in their true proportions.

"The soul knows all things," says Emerson, "and knowledge is only a

       *       *       *       *       *

The Martineaus were Huguenots, a stern, sturdy stock that suffered exile
rather than forego the right of free-thought and free speech. These are
the people who are the salt of the earth. And yet as I read history I see
that they are the people who have been hunted by dogs, and followed by
armed men carrying fagots. The driving of the Huguenots from France came
near bankrupting the land, and the flight of Jews and Huguenots into
England helped largely to make that country the counting-house of the
world. Take the Quakers, Puritans, Huguenots and other refugees from
America and it is no longer the land of the free or the home of the brave.

Of the seven Presidents who presided over the deliberations of that first
Continental Congress in Philadelphia, three were Huguenots: Henry Laurens,
John Jay and Elias Boudinot, and in the seats there were Puritans not a

"By God, Sir, we can not afford to persecute the Quakers," said a certain
American a long while ago. "Their religion may be wrong, but the people
who cling to an idea are the only people we need. If we must persecute,
let us persecute the complacent."

Harriet Martineau had all the restless independence of will that marked
her ancestry. She set herself to acquire knowledge, and she did. When she
was twenty she spoke three languages and could read in four. She knew
history, astronomy, physical science, and it crowded her teacher in
mathematics very hard to keep one lesson in advance of her. Besides, she
could sew and cook and "keep house." Yet it was all gathered by labor and
toil and lift. By taking thought she had added cubits to her stature.

But at twenty, a great light suddenly shone around her. Love came and
revealed the wonders of Earth and Heaven. She had ever been of a religious
nature, but now her religion was vitalized and spiritualized. Deity was no
longer a Being who dwelt at a great distance among the stars, but the
Divine Life was hers. It flowed through her, nourished her and gave her

Renan suggests that one reason why religion remains on such a material
plane for many is because they have never known a great and vitalizing
love--a love where intellect, spirit and sex find their perfect mate. Love
is the great enlightener. And in my own mind I am fully persuaded that
comparatively few mortals ever experience this rebirth that a great love
gives. We grope our way through life. Nature's first thought is for
reproduction of the species; she has so overloaded physical passion that
men and women marry when the blood is warm and intellect callow. Girls
marry for life the first man that offers, and forever put behind them the
possibilities of a love that would enable them to lift up their eyes to
the hills from whence cometh their help. Very, very seldom do the years
that bring a calmer pulse reveal a mating of mind and spirit.

When love came to Harriet, she began to write, her first book being a
little volume called "Devotional Exercises." These daily musings on Divine
things and these sweetly limpid prayers were all written out first for
herself and her lover. But it came to her that what was a help to them
might be a help to others. A publisher was found, and the little work had
a large sale and found appreciative readers for many years.

Today, out under the trees, I read this first book written by Miss
Martineau. How gently sweet and perfect are these prayers asking for a
clean heart and a right spirit! And yet at this time Harriet Martineau had
gotten well beyond the idea that God was a great, big man who could be
beseeched and moved to alter His plans because some creature on the planet
Earth asked it. Her religion was pure Theism, with no confounding dogmas
about who was to be saved and who damned. The state of infants who died
unbaptized and of the heathen who passed away without ever having heard of
Jesus did not trouble her at all. She already accepted the truth of
necessity, believing that every act of life was the result of a cause. We
do what we do, and are what we are, on account of impulses given us by
previous training, previous acts or conditions under which we live and
have lived.

If then, everything in this world happens because something else happened
a thousand years ago or yesterday, and the result could not possibly be
different from what it is, why besiege Heaven with prayers?

The answer is simple. Prayer is an emotional exercise; an endeavor to
bring the will into a state of harmony with the Divine Will; a rest and a
composure that gives strength by putting us in position to partake of the
strength of the Universal. The man who prays today is as a result stronger
tomorrow, and thus is prayer answered. By right thinking does the race
grow. An act is only a crystallized thought; and this young girl's little
book was designed as a help to right thinking. The things it taught are so
simple that no man need go to a theological seminary to learn them: the
Silence will tell him all if he will but listen and incline his heart.
Love had indeed made Harriet's spirit free. And to no woman can love mean
so much as to one who is aware that she is physically deficient. Homely
women are apt to make the better wives, and in all my earth-pilgrimage I
never saw a more devoted love--a diviner tenderness--than that which
exists between a man of my acquaintance, sound in every sense and splendid
in physique, and his wife, who has been blind from her birth. For weeks
after I first met this couple there rang in my ears that expression of
Victor Hugo's, "To be blind and to be loved--what happier fate!"

But Harriet's lover was poor in purse and his family was likewise poor,
and the thrifty Martineaus vigorously opposed the mating. In fact,
Harriet's mother hooted at it and spoke of it with scorn; and Harriet
answered not back, but hid her love away in her heart--biding the time
when her lover should make for himself a name and a place, and have money
withal to command the respect of even mill-owners.

So the days passed, and the months went by, and three years counted
themselves with the eternity that lies behind. Harriet's lover had indeed
proved himself worthy. He had worked his way through college, had been
graduated at the Divinity School, and his high reputation for character
and his ability as a speaker won for him at once a position to which many
older than he aspired. He became the pastor of the Unitarian Church at
Manchester--and this was no small matter!

Now Norwich, where the Martineaus lived, is a long way from Manchester,
where Harriet's lover preached, or it was then, in stagecoach times. It
cost money, too, to send letters.

And there was quite an interval once when Harriet sent several letters,
and anxiously looked for one; but none arrived.

Then word came that the brilliant young preacher was ill; he wished to see
his betrothed. She started to go to him, but her parents opposed such an
unprecedented thing. She hesitated, deferred her visit--intending soon to
go at all hazards--hoping all the while to hear better news.

Word came that Harriet's lover was dead. Soon after this the Martineau
mills, through various foolish speculations, got into a bad way.
Harriet's father found himself with more debts than he could pay; his
endeavors to buffet the storm broke his health--he gave up hope,
languished and died.

Mrs. Martineau and the family were thus suddenly deprived of all means of
support. The boys were sent to work in the mills, and the two older girls,
having five sound senses each, found places where they could do housework
and put money in their purses. Harriet Martineau stayed at home and kept
house. She also studied, read and wrote a little--there was no other way!

       *       *       *       *       *

Six years passed, and the name of Harriet Martineau was recognized as a
power in the land. Her "Illustrations of Political Economy" had sold well
up into the hundred thousands. The little stories were read by old and
young, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. Sir Robert Peel had written
Harriet a personal letter of encouragement; Lord Brougham had paid for and
given away a thousand copies of the booklets; Richard Cobden had publicly
endorsed them; Coleridge had courted the author; Florence Nightingale had
sung her praises, and the Czar of Russia had ordered that "all the books
of Harriet Martineau's found in Russia shall be destroyed." Besides, she
had incurred the wrath of King Philippe of France, who after first
lavishly praising her and ordering the "Illustrations" translated into
French, to be used in the public schools, suddenly discovered a hot
chapter entitled, "The Error Called the Divine Right of Kings," and
although Philippe was only a "citizen-king" he made haste to recall his
kind words.

And I wish here to remark in parentheses that the author who has not made
warm friends and then lost them in an hour by writing things that did not
agree with the preconceived idea of these friends, has either not written
well or not been read. Every preacher who preaches ably has two doors to
his church--one where the people come in and another through which he
preaches them out. And I do not see how any man, even though he be
divine, could expect or hope to have as many as twelve disciples and hold
them for three years without being doubted, denied and betrayed. If you
have thoughts, and honestly speak your mind, Golgotha for you is not far

Harriet Martineau was essentially an agitator. She entered into life in
its fullest sense, and no phase of existence escaped her keen and
penetrating investigation. From writing books giving minute directions to
housemaids, to lengthy advice to prime ministers, her work never lagged.
She was widely read, beloved, respected, feared and well hated.

When her political-economy tales were selling their best, the Government
sent her word that on application she could have a pension of two hundred
pounds a year for life. A pension of this kind comes nominally as a reward
for excellent work or heroic service. But a pension may mean something
else: it often implies that the receiver shall not offend nor affront the
one that bestows it. Could we trace the true inner history of pensions
granted by monarchies, we would find that they are usually diplomatic

Harriet made no response to the generous offer of a lifelong maintenance
from the State, but continued to work away after her own methods. Yet the
offer of a pension did her good in one way: it suggested the wisdom of
setting aside a sum that would support her when her earning powers were
diminished. From her two books written concerning her trip to America she
received the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars. With this she
purchased an insurance policy in the form of a deferred annuity, providing
that from her fiftieth year to her death she should receive the annual sum
of five hundred dollars. Nowhere in all the realm of Grub Street do we
find a man who set such an example of cool wisdom for this crippled woman.
At this time she was supporting her mother, who had become blind, and also
a brother, who was a slave to drink.

Twenty-five years after the first offer of pension, the Government renewed
the proposition. But Harriet said that her needs were few and her wants
simple; that she had enough anyway, and besides, she could not consent to
the policy of pensioning one class of persons for well-doing and
forgetting all the toilers who have worked just as conscientiously, but
along lowly lines; if she ever did need aid, she would do as other old
women were obliged to do, that is, apply to the parish.

Miss Martineau wrote for the "Daily London News" alone, sixteen hundred
forty-two editorials. She also wrote more than two hundred magazine
articles, and published upwards of fifty books. Her work was not classic,
for it was written for the times. That her influence for good on the
thought of the times was wide and far-reaching, all thoughtful men agree.
And he who influences the thought of his times influences all the times
that follow. He has made his impress on eternity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Opinions may differ as to what constitutes Harriet Martineau's best work,
but my view is that her translation and condensation of Auguste Comte's
six volumes into two will live when all her other work is forgotten.
Comte's own writings were filled with many repetitions and rhetorical
flounderings. He was more of a philosopher than a writer. He had an idea
too big for him to express, but he expressed at it right bravely. Miss
Martineau, trained writer and thinker, did not translate verbally: she
caught the idea, and translated the thought rather than the language. And
so it has come about that her work has been literally translated back into
French and is accepted as a textbook of Positivism, while the original
books of the philosopher are merely collected by museums and bibliophiles
as curiosities.

Comte taught that man passes through three distinct mental stages in his
development: First, man attributes all phenomena to a "Personal God," and
to this God he servilely prays. Second, he believes in a "Supreme
Essence," a "Universal Principle" or a "First Cause," and seeks to
discover its hiding-place. Third, he ceases to hunt out the unknowable,
and is content to live and work for a positive present good, fully
believing that what is best today can not fail to bring the best results

Harriet had long considered that one reason for the very slow advancement
of civilization was that men had ever busied themselves with supernatural
concerns; and in fearsome endeavors to make themselves secure for another
world had neglected this. Man had tried to make peace with the skies
instead of peace with his neighbor. She also thought she saw clearly that
right living was one thing, and a belief in theological dogma another.
That these things sometimes go together, she of course admitted, but a
belief in a "vicarious atonement" and a "miraculous conception" she did
not believe made a man a gentler husband, a better neighbor or a more
patriotic citizen. Man does what he does because he thinks at the moment
it is the best thing to do. And if you could make men believe that peace,
truth, honesty and industry were the best standards to adopt--bringing the
best results--all men would adopt them.

There are no such things as reward and punishment, as these terms are
ordinarily used: there are only good results and bad results. We sow, and
reap what we have sown.

Miss Martineau had long believed these things, but Comte proved
them--proved them in six ponderous tomes--and she set herself the task to
simplify his philosophy.

There is one point of attraction that Comte's thought had for Harriet
Martineau that I have never seen mentioned in print--that is, his mental
attitude on the value of love in a well-ordered life.

In the springtime of his manhood, Auguste Comte, sensitive, confiding,
generous, loved a beautiful girl. She did not share his intellectual
ambitions, his divine aspiration: she was only a beautiful animal. Man
proposes, but is not always accepted. She married another, and Comte was
disconsolate--for a day.

He pondered the subject, read the lives of various great men, talked with
monks and sundry friars gray, and after five years wrote out at length the
reasons why a man, in order to accomplish a far-reaching and splendid
work, must live the life of a celibate. "To achieve," said Comte, "you
must be married to your work."

Comte lived for some time content in this philosophy, constantly
strengthening it and buttressing it against attack; for we believe a thing
first and skirmish for our proof afterward. But when past forty, and his
hair was turning to silver, and crow's-feet were showing themselves in his
fine face, and when there was a halt in his step and his laughter had died
away into a weary smile, he met a woman whose nature was as finely
sensitive and as silkenly strong as his own. She had intellect,
aspiration, power. She was gentle, and a womanly woman withal; his best
mood was matched by hers, she sympathized with his highest ideal.

They loved and they married.

The crow's-feet disappeared from Comte's face, the halt in his step was
gone, the laugh returned, and people said that the silver in his hair was

Shortly after, Comte set himself to work overhauling all the foolish
things he had said about the necessity of celibacy. He declared that a man
without his mate only stumbled his way through life. There was the male
man and the female man, and only by working together could these two souls
hope to progress. It requires two to generate thought. Comte felt sure
that he was writing the final word. He avowed that there was no more to
say. He declared that should his wife go hence the fountains of his soul
would dry up, his mind would famish, and the light of his life would go
out in darkness.

The gods were envious of such love as this.

Comte's mate passed away.

He was stricken dumb; the calamity was too great for speech or tears.

But five years after, he got down his books and went over his manuscripts
and again revised his philosophy of what constitutes the true condition
for the highest and purest thought. To have known a great and exalted love
and have it fade from your grasp and flee as shadow, living only in
memory, is the highest good, he wrote. A great sorrow at one stroke
purchases a redemption from all petty troubles; it sinks all trivial
annoyances into nothingness, and grants the man lifelong freedom from all
petty, corroding cares. His feelings have been sounded to their
depths--the plummet has touched bottom. Fate has done her worst: she has
brought him face to face with the Supreme Calamity, and thereafter there
is nothing that can inspire terror.

The memory of a great love can never die from out the heart. It affords a
ballast 'gainst all the storms that blow. And although it lends an
unutterable sadness, it imparts an unspeakable peace.

A great love, even when fully possessed, affords no complete
gratification. There is an essence in it that eludes all ownership. Its
highest use seems to be a purifying impulse for nobler endeavor. It says
at the last, "Arise, and get thee hence, for this is not thy rest."

Where there is this haunting memory of a great love lost there is always
forgiveness, charity, and a sympathy that makes the man brother to all who
endure and suffer. The individual himself is nothing; he has nothing to
hope for, nothing to gain, nothing to win, nothing to lose; for the first
time and the last he has a selflessness that is wide as the world, and
wherein there is no room for the recollection of a wrong. In this memory
of a great love, there is a nourishing source of strength by which the
possessor lives and works; he is in communication with elemental

Harriet Martineau was a lifelong widow of the heart. That first great
passion of her early womanhood, the love that was lost, remained with her
all the days of her life: springing fresh every morning, her last thought
as she closed her eyes at night. Other loves came to her, attachments
varying in nature and degree, but in this supreme love all was fused and
absorbed. In this love, you get the secret of power.

A great love is a pain, yet it is a benison and a benediction. If we carry
any possession from this world to another it is the memory of a great
love. For even in the last hour, when the coldness of death shall creep
into the stiffening limbs, and the brain shall be stunned and the thoughts
stifled, there shall come to the tongue a name, a name not mentioned aloud
for years--there shall come a name; and as the last flickering rays of
life flare up to go out on earth forever, the tongue will speak this name
that was long, long ago burned into the soul by the passion of a love that
fadeth not away.


    I was not surprised, when I went down into the hall, to see that
    a brilliant June morning had succeeded to the tempest of the
    night, and to feel through the open glass door the breathing of a
    fresh and fragrant breeze. Nature must be gladsome when I was so
    happy. A beggar woman and her little boy, pale, ragged objects
    both, were coming up the walk, and I ran down and gave them all
    the money I happened to have in my purse--some three or four
    shillings: good or bad they must partake of my jubilee. The rooks
    cawed and blither birds sung, but nothing was so merry or so
    musical as my own rejoicing heart.
    --_Jane Eyre_

[Illustration: CHARLOTTE BRONTE]

Rumor has it that there be Americans who are never happy unless passing
for Englishmen. And I think I have discovered a like anomaly on the part
of the sons of Ireland--a wish to pass for Frenchmen. On Continental
hotel-registers the good, honest name of O'Brian often turns queer
somersaults, and more than once in "The States" does the kingly prefix of
O evolve itself into Van or De, which perhaps is quite proper, seeing they
all mean the same thing. One cause of this tendency may lie in the fact
that Saint Patrick was a native of France; although Saint Patrick may or
may not have been chosen patron saint on account of his nationality. But
the patron saint of Ireland being a Frenchman, what more natural, and
therefore what more proper, than that the whole Emerald Isle should slant
toward the people who love art and rabbit-stew! Anyway, from the proud
patronymic of Patricius to plain Pat is quite a drop, and my heart is with
Paddy in his efforts to get back.

When Patrick Prunty of County Down, Ireland, shook off the shackles of
environment, and the mud of the peat-bog, and went across to England,
presenting himself at the gates of Saint John's College, Cambridge,
asking for admittance, I am glad he handed in his name as Mr. P. Bronte,
accent on the last syllable.

There is a gentle myth abroad that preachers are "called," while other men
adopt a profession or get a job, but no Protestant Episcopal clergyman I
have ever known, and I have known many, ever made any such claim. They
take up the profession because it supplies honors and a "living." Then
they can do good, too, and all men want to do good. So they hie them to a
divinity school and are taught the mysteries of theological tierce and
thrust; and interviewing a clerical tailor they are ready to accept the
honors and partake of the living. After a careful study of the life of
Patrick Bronte I can not find that his ambition extended beyond the
desirable things I have named--that is to say, inclusively, honors and a

He was tall, athletic, dark, and surely a fellow of force and ambition to
set his back on the old and boldly rap for admittance at the gates of
Cambridge. He was a pretty good student, too, although a bit quarrelsome
and sometimes mischievous--throwing his force into quite unnecessary ways,
as Irishmen are apt to do. He fell in love, of course, and has not an
Irishman in love been likened to Vesuvius in state of eruption? We know of
at least one charming girl who refused to marry him, because he declined,
unlike Othello, to tell the story of his life. And it was assumed that any
man who would not tell who "his folks" were, was a rogue and a varlet and
a vagrom at heart. And all the while Monsieur Bronte had nothing worse to
conceal than that he was from County Down and his name Prunty. He wouldn't
give in and tell the story of his life to slow music, and so the girl wept
and then stormed, and finally Bronte stormed and went away, and the girl
and her parents were sure that the Frenchman was a murderer escaping
justice. Fortunate, aye, thrice fortunate is it for the world that neither
Bronte nor the girl wavered even in the estimation of a hair.

Bronte got through school and came out with tuppence worth of honors. When
thirty, we find him established as curate at the shabby little town of
Hartshead, in Yorkshire. Little Miss Branwell, from Penzance, came up
there on a visit to her uncle, and the Reverend Mr. Bronte at once fell
violently in love with her dainty form and gentle ways. I say "violently,"
for that's the kind of man Bronte was. Darwin says, "The faculty of
amativeness is not aroused except by the unfamiliar." Girls who go away
visiting, wearing their best bib and tucker, find lovers without fail.
One-third of all marriages in the United States occur in just this way:
the bib and tucker being sprung on the young man as a surprise, dazzles
and hypnotizes him into an avowal and an engagement.

And so they were married--were the Reverend Patrick Bronte and Miss Maria
Branwell. He was big, bold and dictatorial; she was little, shy and
sensitive. The babies came--one in less than a year, then a year apart.
The dainty little woman had her troubles, we are sure of that. Her voice
comes to us only as a plaintive echo. When she asked to have the bread
passed, she always apologized. Once her aunt sent her a present of a
pretty silk dress, for country clergymen's wives do not have many
luxuries--don't you know that?--and Patrick Bronte cut the dress into
strips before her eyes and then threw the pieces, and the little slippers
to match, into the fireplace, to teach his wife humility. He used to
practise with a pistol and shoot in the house to steady the lady's nerves,
and occasionally he got plain drunk. A man like Bronte in a little town
with a tired little wife, and with inferior people, is a despot. He busies
himself with trifles, looks after foolish details, and the neighbors let
him have his own way and his wife has to, and the result is that he
becomes convinced in his own mind that he is the people and that wisdom
will die with him.

And yet Bronte wrote some pretty good poetry, and had faculties that
rightly developed might have made him an excellent man. He should have
gone down to London (or up, because it is south) and there come into
competition with men as strong as himself. Fate should have seized him by
the hair and bumped his head against stone walls and cuffed him
thoroughly, and kicked him into line, teaching him humility, then out of
the scrimmage we might have gotten a really superior product.

Mrs. Bronte became a confirmed invalid. A man can not always badger a
woman; God is good--she dies. Little Maria Branwell had been married eight
years; when she passed out she left six children, "all of a size," a
neighbor woman has written. Over her grave is a tablet erected by her
husband informing the wayfarer that "she has gone to meet her Savior." At
the bottom is this warning to all women: "Be ye also ready; for in such an
hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh."

Five of these motherless children were girls and one a boy.

As you stand there in that stone church at Haworth reading the inscription
above Maria Branwell's grave, you can also read the death record of the
babes she left. The mother died on September Fifteenth, Eighteen Hundred
Twenty-one; her oldest daughter, Maria, on May Sixth, Eighteen Hundred
Twenty-five; Elizabeth, June Fifteenth, Eighteen Hundred Twenty-five;
Patrick Branwell, on September Twenty-fourth, Eighteen Hundred
Forty-eight; Emily, December Nineteenth, Eighteen Hundred Forty-eight;
Anne, May Twenty-eighth, Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine; and Charlotte, on
March Thirty-first, Eighteen Hundred Fifty-five. Those whom the gods love
die young: the Reverend Patrick Bronte lived to be eighty-five years old.

       *       *       *       *       *

I got out of the train at Keighley, which you must pronounce "Keethley,"
and leaving my valise with the station-master started on foot for Haworth,
four miles away.

Keighley is a manufacturing town where various old mansions have been
turned into factories, and new factories have sprung up, square,
spick-span, trimmed-stone buildings, with fire-escapes and red tanks on

One of these old mansions I saw had a fine copper roof that shone in the
sun like a monster Lake Superior agate. It stands a bit back from the
road, and on one great gatepost is a brass plate reading "Cardigan Hall,"
and on the other a sign, "No Admittance--Apply at the Office." So I
applied at the office, which is evidently the ancient lodge, and asked if
Mr. Cardigan was in. Four clerks perched on high stools, crouching over
big ledgers, dropped their pens and turning on their spiral seats looked
at me with staring eyes, and with mouths wide open. I repeated the
question and one of the quartette, a wheezy little old man in spectacles
and with whiskers on his neck, clambered down from his elevated position
and ambled over near, walking around me, eying me curiously.

"Go wan wi' yer wurruk, ye idlers!" he suddenly commanded the others. And
then he explained to me that Mr. Cardigan was not in, neither was Mr.
Jackson. In fact, Mr. Cardigan had not been in for a hundred years--being
dead. But if I wanted to look at goods I could be accommodated with
bargains fully five per cent below Lunnon market. The little old man was
in such serious earnest that I felt it would be a sin to continue a joke.
I explained that I was only a tourist in search of the picturesque, and
thereby did I drop ten points in the old man's estimation. But this did I
learn, that Lord Cardigan has won deathless fame by attaching his name to
a knit jacket, just as the name Jaeger will go clattering down the
corridors of time attached to a "combination suit."

This splendid old mansion was once the ancestral home of a branch of the
noble family of Cardigan. But things got somewhat shuffled, through too
many hot suppers up to London (being south), and stacks of reds and stacks
of blues were drawn in towards the dealer, and so the old mansion fell
under the hammer of the auctioneer. What an all-powerful thing is an
auctioneer's hammer! And now from the great parlors, and the library, and
the "hall," and the guest-chambers echo the rattle of spinning-jennies and
the dull booming of whirling pulleys. And above the song of whirring
wheels came the songs of girls at their work--voices that alone might have
been harsh and discordant, but blending with the monotone of the factory's
roar were really melodious.

"We cawn't keep the nasty things from singin'," said the old man

"Why should you?" I asked.

"Huh, mon! but they sing sacred songs, and chaunts, and a' that, and say
all together from twenty rooms, a hundred times a day, 'Aws ut wuz in th'
beginnin,' uz now awn ever shawl be, worl' wi'out end, Aamen.' It's not
right. I've told Mr. Jackson. Listen now, didn't I tell ye?"

"Then you are a Churchman?"

And the old man wiped his glasses and told me that he was a Churchman,
although an unworthy one, and had been for fifty-four years, come
Michaelmas. Yes, he had always lived here, was born only across the beck
away--his father was gamekeeper for Lord Cardigan, and afterwards agent.
He had been to Haworth many times, although not for ten years. He knew the
Reverend Patrick Bronte well, for the Incumbent from Haworth used to
preach at Keighley once a year, and sometimes twice. Bronte was a fine
man, with a splendid voice for intoning, and very strict about keeping out
all heresies and such. He had a lot of trouble, had Bronte: his wife died
and left him with eight or ten children, all smart, but rather wild. They
gave him a lot of bother, especially the boy. One of the girls married Mr.
Bronte's curate, Mr. Nicholls, a very decent kind of man who comes to
Keighley once a year, and always comes to the factory to ask how things
are going.

Yes, Mr. Nicholls' first wife died years and years ago. She used to write
things--novels; but no one should read novels; novels are stories that are
not so--things that never happened; they tell of folks that never was.

Having no argument to present in way of rebuttal, I shook hands with the
old man and started away. He walked with me to the road to put me on the
right way to Haworth.

Looking back as I reached the corner, I saw four "clarks" watching me
intently from the office windows, and above the roar and jangle of
machinery was borne on the summer breeze the sound of sacred song--shrill
feminine voices:

"Aws ut wuz in th' beginnin', uz now awn ever shawl be, worl' wi'out

       *       *       *       *       *

As one moves out of Keighley the country becomes stony; the trees are left
behind, and there rises on all sides billow on billow of purple heather.
The way is rough as the Pilgrim's Progress road to Paradise. These
hillside moors are filled with springs that high up form rills, then
brooks, then cascades or "becks," and along the Haworth road, wherever one
of these hurrying, scurrying, dancing becks crosses the highway, there is
a factory devoted to keeping alive the name of Cardigan. Next to the
factory is a "pub.," and publics and factories checker themselves all
along the route. Mixed in with these are long rows of tenement-houses well
built of stone, with slate roofs, but with a grimy air of desolation about
them that surely drives their occupants to drink. To have a home a man
must build it himself. Forty houses in a row, all alike, are not homes at

I believe an observant man once wrote of the hand being subdued to what it
works in. The man who wrote that surely never tramped along the Haworth
road as the bell rang for twelve o'clock. From out the factories poured a
motley mob of men, women and children, not only with hands dyed, but with
clothing, faces and heads as well. Girls with bright-green hair, and
lemon-colored faces, leered and jeered at me as they hastened pellmell
with hats askew, and stockings down, and dragging shawls, for home or
public-house. Red and maroon children ran, and bright-scarlet men smoked
stolidly, taking their time with genuine grim Yorkshire sullen sourness.

"How far is it to Haworth?" I asked one such specimen.

"Ef ye pay th' siller for a double pot a' 'arf and 'arf. Hi might tell
ye"; and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder toward a ginshop near by.

"Very well," said I; "I'll buy you a double pot of 'arf and 'arf, this

The man seemed a bit surprised, but no smile came over his spattered
rainbow face as he led the way into the drink-shop. The place was crowded
with men and women scrambling for penny sandwiches and drinks fermented
and spirituous. Some of these women had babies at their breasts, the
babies being brought by appointment by older children who stayed at home
while the mothers worked. And as the mothers gulped their Triple XXX, and
swallowed hunks of black bread, the little innocents dined. The mothers
were rather kindly disposed, though, and occasionally allowed the
youngsters to take sips out of their foaming glasses, or at least to drain
them. Suddenly a woman with purple hair spied me and called in falsetto:

"Ah, Sawndy McClure has caught a gen'l'mon. Why didn't I see 'im fust an'
'arve 'im fer a pet?"

There was a guffaw at my expense and 'arf and 'arf as well, for all the
party, or else quarrel. As it was, my stout stick probably saved me from
the "personal touch." I stayed until the factory-bells rang, and out my
new-found friends scurried for fear of being the fatal five minutes late
and getting locked out. Some of them shook my hand as they went, and
others pounded me on the back for luck, and several of the girls got my
tag and shouted, "You're it!"

I used to think that Yorkshire folks were hopelessly dull and sublimely
stupid, quarrelsome withal and pigheaded to the thirty-second degree; but
I have partially come to the conclusion that their glum ways often conceal
a peculiar kind of grim humor, and beneath the tough husk is considerable
good nature.

The absence of large trees makes it possible to see the village of Haworth
several miles away. It seems to cling to the stony hillside as if it
feared being blown into space. There is a hurrying, rushing rill here,
too, that turns a little woolen-mill. Then there is a "Black Bull" tavern,
with a stable-yard at the side and rows of houses on the one street, all
very straight up and down. One misses the climbing roses of the ideal
merry England, and the soft turf and spreading yews and the flowering
hedgerows where throstles and linnets play hide-and-seek the livelong day.
It is all cold gray stone, lichen-covered, and the houses do not invite
you to enter, and the gardens bid no welcome, and only the great purple
wastes of moorland greet you as a friend and brother.

Outside the Black Bull sits a solitary hostler, who feels it would be a
weakness to show any good humor. So he bottles his curiosity and scowls
from under red, bushy eyebrows.

Turning off the main street is a narrow road leading to the church--square
and gray and cold. Next to it is the parsonage, built of the same
material, and beyond is the crowded city of the dead.

I plied the knocker at the parsonage door and asked for the rector. He was
away at Kendal to attend a funeral, but his wife was at home--a pleasant,
matronly woman of near sixty, with smooth, white hair. She came to the
door knitting furiously, but from her regulation smile I saw that visitors
were not uncommon.

"You want to see the home of the Brontes? That's right, come right in.
This was the study of the Reverend Patrick Bronte, Incumbent of this
Parish for fifty years."

She sang her little song and knitted and shifted the needles and measured
the foot, for the stocking was nearly done. It was a blue stocking
(although she wasn't) with a white toe; and all the time she led me from
room to room telling me about the Brontes--how there were the father,
mother and six children. They all came together. The mother died shortly,
and then two of the little girls died. That left three girls and Branwell
the boy. He was petted and made too much of by his father and everybody.
He was the one that always was going to do great things. He made the girls
wait on him and cuffed them if they didn't, and if they did, and all the
time told of the things he was going to do. But he never did them, for he
spent most of his time at the taverns. After a while he died--died of the

The three Bronte girls, Emily, Charlotte and Annie, wrote a novel apiece,
and never showed them to their father or to any one. They called 'emselves
Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, and their novels were the greatest ever
written--they wrote them 'emselves with no man to help. Their father was
awful mad about it, but when the money began to come in he felt better.
Emily died when she was twenty-seven. She was the brightest of them all;
then Annie died, and only Charlotte and the old man were left. Charlotte
married her father's curate, but old Mr. Bronte wouldn't go to the
wedding: he went to the Black Bull instead. Miss Wooler gave the bride
away--some one had to give her away, you know. The bride was thirty-eight.
She died in less them a year, and old Mr. Bronte and Charlotte's husband
lived here alone together.

This was Charlotte's room; this is the desk where she wrote "Jane
Eyre"--leastwise they say it is. This is the chair she sat in, and under
that framed glass are several sheets of her manuscript. The writing is
almost too small to read; and so fine and yet so perfect and neat! She was
a wonderful tidy body, very small and delicate and gentle, yet with a good
deal of her father's energy.

Here are letters she wrote: you can look at them if you choose. This
footstool she made and covered herself. It is filled with
heather-blossoms--just as she left it. Those books were hers, too--many of
them given to her by great authors. See, there is Thackeray's name written
by himself, and a letter from him pasted inside the front cover. He was a
big man they say, but he wrote very small, and Charlotte wrote just like
him, only better, and now there are hundreds of folks write like 'em both.
Then here's a book with Miss Martineau's name, and another from Robert
Browning--do you know who he was?

Yes, the church is always open. Go in and stay as long as you choose; at
the door is a poorbox and if you wish to put something in you can do so--a
sixpence most visitors put in, or a shilling if you insist upon it. You
know we are not a rich parish--the wool all goes to Manchester now, and
the factory-hands are on half-pay and times are scarce. You will come
again some time, come when the heather is in bloom, won't you? That's
right. Oh, stay! the boxwood there in the garden was planted by
Charlotte's own hands--perhaps you would like a sprig of it--there, I
thought you would!

       *       *       *       *       *

All who write concerning the Brontes dwell on the sadness and the tragedy
of their lives. They picture Charlotte's earth-journey as one devoid of
happiness, lacking all that sweetens and makes for satisfaction. They
forget that she wrote "Jane Eyre," and that no person utterly miserable
ever did a great work; and I assume that they know not of the wild,
splendid, intoxicating joy that follows a performance well done. To be
sure, "Jane Eyre" is a tragedy, but the author of a tragedy must be
greater than the plot--greater than his puppets. He is their creator, and
his life runs through and pervades theirs, just as the life of our Creator
flows through us. In Him we live and move and have our being. And I submit
that the writer of a tragedy is not cast down or undone at the time he
pictures his heroic situations and conjures forth his strutting spirits.
When the play ends and the curtain falls on the fifth act, there is still
one man alive, and that is the author. He may be gorged with crime and
surfeited with blood, but there is a surging exultation in his veins as he
views the ruin that his brain has wrought.

Charlotte loved the great stretch of purple moors, hill on hill fading
away into eternal mist. And the wild winds that sighed and moaned at
casements or raged in sullen wrath, tugging at the roof, were her friends.
She loved them all, and thought of them as visiting spirits. They were her
properties, and no writer who ever lived has made such splendid use of
winds and storm-clouds and driving rain as did Charlotte Bronte. People
who point to the chasing, angry clouds and the swish of dripping
rosebushes blown against the cottage-windows as proof of Charlotte
Bronte's chronic depression know not the eager joy of a storm walk. And I
am sure they never did as one I know did last night: saddle a horse at ten
o'clock and gallop away into the darkness; splash, splash in the sighing,
moaning, bellowing, driving November rain. There's joy for you! ye who
toast your feet on the fender and cultivate sick headache around the
base-burner--there's a life that ye never guess!

But Charlotte knew the clouds by night and the swift-sailing moon that
gave just one peep out and disappeared. She knew the rifts where the stars
shone through, and out alone in the breeze that blew away her cares she
lifted her voice in thankfulness for the joy of mixing with the elements,
and that her spirit was one with the boisterous winds of heaven.

People who live in beautiful, quiet valleys, where roses bloom all the
year through, are not necessarily happy.

Southern California--the Garden of Eden of the world--evolves just as many
cases per capita of melancholia as bleak, barren Maine. Wild, rocky,
forbidding Scotland has produced more genius to the acre than beautiful
England: and I have found that sailor Jack, facing the North Atlantic
winter storms, year after year, is a deal jollier companion than the
Florida cracker whose chief adversary is the mosquito.

Charlotte Bronte wrote three great books: "Jane Eyre," "Shirley" and
"Villette." From the lonely, bleak parsonage on that stony hillside she
sent forth her swaying filament of thought and lassoed the world. She
lived to know that she had won. Money came to her, all she needed, honors,
friends and lavish praise. She was the foremost woman author of her day.
Her name was on every tongue. She had met the world in fair fight; without
patrons, paid advocates, or influential friends she made her way to the
very front. Her genius was acknowledged. She accomplished all that she set
out to do and more--far more. The great, the learned, the titled, the
proud--all those who reverence the tender heart and far-reaching
mind--acknowledged her as queen.

So why prate of her sorrows! Did she not work them up into art? Why weep
over her troubles when these were the weapons with which she won? Why sit
in sackcloth on account of her early death, when it is appointed unto all
men once to die, and with her the grave was swallowed up in victory?


    My life is but a working-day,
      Whose tasks are set aright:
    A while to work, a while to pray,
      And then a quiet night.
    And then, please God, a quiet night
    Where Saints and Angels walk in white.
    One dreamless sleep from work and sorrow,
    But reawakening on the morrow.
                         --_In Patience_


As a study in heredity, the Rossetti family is most interesting. Genius
seems so sporadic a stuff that when we find an outcrop along the line of a
whole family we are wont to mark it on memory's chart in red. We talk of
the Herschels, of Renan and his sister, of the Beechers, and the Fields,
in a sort of awe, mindful that Nature is parsimonious in giving out
transcendent talent, and may never do the like again. So who can forget
the Rossettis--two brothers, Dante Gabriel and William Michael, and two
sisters, Maria and Christina--each of whom stands forth as far above the
ordinary, yet all strangely dependent upon one another?

The girls sing songs to the brothers, and to each other, inscribing poems
to "my loving sister"; when Dante Gabriel, budding forth as artist, wishes
a model for a Madonna, he chooses his sister Christina, and in his sketch
mantles the plain features with a divine gentleness and heavenly splendor
such as only the loving heart can conjure forth. In the last illness of
Maria, Christina watches away the long, lagging hours of night, almost
striving with her brothers for the right of serving; and at
Birchington-on-the-Sea, Dante Gabriel waits for death, wearing out his
friends by insane suspicions, and only the sister seems equal to
ministering to this mind diseased, plucking from memory its rooted sorrow.

In a few years Christina passes out, and of the four, only William is
left; and the task of his remaining years is to put properly before the
world the deathless lives of his brother and sisters gone.

Gabriel Rossetti, father of the illustrious four, was an Italian poet who
wrote patriotic hymns, and wrote them so well that he was asked to sing
them elsewhere than in Italy. This edict of banishment was followed by an
order that the poet be arrested and executed.

The orders of banishment and execution appear quite Milesian viewed across
the years, but to Rossetti it was no joke. To keep his head in its proper
place and to preserve his soul alive, he departed one dark night for
England. He arrived penniless, with no luggage save his lyre, but with
muse intact. Yet it was an Italian lyre, and therefore of small avail for
amusing Britons. Very naturally, Rossetti made the acquaintance of other
refugees, and exile makes fast friends. It is only in prosperity that we
throw our friends overboard.

He came to know the Polidori family--Tuscan refugees--proud, intellectual
and rich. He loved one of the daughters of Seignior Polidori, and she
loved him. He was forty and she was twenty-three--but what of that! A
position as Professor of Languages was secured for him in King's College.
He rented the house at Thirty-eight Charlotte Street, off Portland Place,
and there, on February Seventeenth, Eighteen Hundred Twenty-seven, was
born their first child, Maria Francesca; on May Twelfth, Eighteen Hundred
Twenty-eight, was born Dante Gabriel; on September Twenty-fifth, Eighteen
Hundred Twenty-nine, William Michael; on December Fifth, Eighteen Hundred
Thirty, Christina Georgiana. The mother of this quartette was a sturdy
little woman with sparkling wit and rare good sense. She used to remark
that her children were all of a size, and that it was no more trouble to
bring up four than one, a suggestion thrown in here gratis for the benefit
of young married folks, in the hope that they will mark and inwardly
digest. In point of well-ballasted, all-round character, fit for Earth or
Heaven, none of the four Rossetti children was equal to his parents. They
all seem to have had nerves outside of their clothes. Perhaps this was
because they were brought up in London. A city is no place for
children--nor grown people either, I often think. Birds and children
belong in the country. Paved streets, stone sidewalks, smoke-begrimed
houses, signs reading, "Keep Off the Grass", prying policemen, and zealous
ash-box inspectors are insulting things to greet the gaze of the little
immigrants fresh from God. Small wonder is it, as they grow up, that they
take to drink and drugs, seeking in these a respite from the rattle of
wheels and the never-ending cramp of unkind condition. But Nature
understands herself: the second generation, city-bred, is impotent.

No pilgrim from "the States" should visit the city of London without
carrying two books: a Baedeker's "London" and Hutton's "Literary
Landmarks." The chief advantage of the former is that it is bound in
flaming red, and carried in the hand, advertises the owner as an American,
thus saving all formal introductions. In the rustle, bustle and tussle of
Fleet Street, I have held up my book to a party of Americans on the
opposite sidewalk, as a ship runs up her colors, and they, seeing the
sign, in turn held up theirs in merry greeting; and we passed on our way
without a word, ships that pass in the afternoon and greet each other in
passing. Now, I have no desire to rival the flamboyant Baedeker, nor to
eclipse my good friend Laurence Hutton. But as I can not find that either
mentions the name "Rossetti," I am going to set down (not in malice) the
places in London that are closely connected with the Rossetti family,
nothing extenuating.

London is the finest city in the world for the tourist who desires liberty
as wide as the wind, and who wishes to live cheaply and live well. In New
York, if you want lodgings at a moderate price, you must throttle your
pride and forsake respectability; but they do things different in Lunnon,
you know. From Gray's Inn Road to Portland Place, and from Oxford Street
to Euston Road, there is just about a square mile--a section, as they say
out West--of lodging-houses. Once this part of London was given up to the
homes of the great and purse-proud and all that. It is respectable yet,
and if you are going to be in London a week you can get a good room in one
of these old-time mansions, and pay no more for it than you would pay for
a room in an American hotel for one day. And as for meals, your landlady
will get you anything you want and serve it for you in the daintiest
style, and you will also find that a shilling and a little courtesy will
go a very long way in securing creature comforts. American women in London
can live in this way just as well as men. If you are a schoolma'am from
Peoria, taking your vacation, follow my advice and make your home in the
"Bedford District," within easy reach of Stopford Brooke's chapel, and
your London visit will stand out forever as a bright oasis in memory's
desert waste. All of which I put in here because Larry Hutton forgot to
mention it and Mein Herr Baedeker didn't think it worth while.

When in London I usually get a room near the British Museum for ten
shillings a week; and when I want to go anywhere I walk up to the Gower
Street Station, past the house where the mother of Charles Dickens had her
Young Ladies' Establishment, and buying a ticket at the "Booking-Office"
am duly set down near the desired objective point. You can go anywhere by
the "Metropolitan," or if you prefer to take Mr. Gladstone's advice, you
climb to the top of an Oxford Street bus, and if you sit next the driver
you have a directory, guide and familiar friend all at your service.

Charlotte Street is a narrow little passage running just two squares,
parallel with Portland Place. The houses are built in blocks of five (or
more), of the plainest of plain bricks. The location is not far from the
Gower Street Station of the Metropolitan Railway, and only a few minutes'
walk from the British Museum. Number Thirty-eight is the last but one on
the east side of the street. When I first saw it, there was a sign in the
window, "Apartments," and back of this fresh cambric curtains. Then the
window had been cleaned, too, for a single day of neglect in London tells
its tale, as does the record of crime on a rogue's face. I paused and
looked the place over with interest. I noted that the brass plate with the
"No. 38" on it had been polished until it had been nearly polished out of
sight, like a machine-made sonnet too much gone over. The steps had been
freshly sanded, and a little lemon-tree nodding in one of the windows made
the rusty old house look quite inviting. A stout little woman with a big
market-basket, bumped into me and apologized, for I had stepped backwards
to get a better look at the upstairs windows. The stout little woman set
down her basket on the steps, took a bunch of keys from a pocket under her
big, white, starched apron, selected one, turned to me, smiled, and asked,
"Mebbe, Sir, you wasn't looking for apartments, I dunno?" Then she
explained that the house was hers, and that if I would step in she would
show me the rooms. There were two of 'em she could spare. The first floor
front was already let, and so was the front parlor--to a young barrister.
Her husband was a ticket-taker at Euston Station, and didn't get much
since last cutdown. Would I care to pay as much as ten shillings, and
would I want breakfast? It would only be ninepence, and I could have
either a chop or ham and eggs. She looked after her boarders herself, just
as if they were her own folks, and only took respectable single gentlemen
who came well recommended. She knew I would like the room, and if ten
shillings was too much I could have the back room for seven and six.

I thought the back room would answer; but explained that I was an American
and was going to remain in London only a short time. Of course the lady
knew I was an American: she knew it from my hat and from my foreign accent
and--from the red book I had in my hand. And did I know the McIntyres that
lived in Michigan?

I evaded the question by asking if she knew the Rossettis who once lived
in this house. "Oh, yes; I know Mr. William and Miss Christina. They came
here together a year ago, and told me they were born here and that their
brother Dante and their sister, too, were born here. I think they were all
writin' folks, weren't they? Miss Rossetti anyway writes poetry, I know
that. One of my boarders gave me one of her books for Christmas. I'll show
it to you. You don't think seven and six is too much for a room like this,
do you?"

I inwardly noted that the ceilings were much lower than those of my room
in Russell Square and that the furniture was old and worn and that the
room looked out on an army of sooty chimney-pots, but I explained that
seven and six seemed a very reasonable price, and that ninepence for
breakfast with ham and eggs was cheap enough, provided the eggs were
strictly fresh.

So I paid one week's rent in advance on the spot, and going back to
Russell Square told my landlady that I had found friends in another part
of the city and would not return for two days. My sojourn at Number
Thirty-eight Charlotte Street developed nothing further than the meager
satisfaction of sleeping for two nights in the room in which Dante Gabriel
Rossetti was born, and making the acquaintance of the worthy ticket-taker,
who knew all four of the Rossettis, as they had often passed through his

Professor Rossetti lived for twelve years at Thirty-eight Charlotte
Street; he then moved to Number Fifty in the next block, which is a
somewhat larger house. It was here that Mazzini used to come. The house
had been made over somewhat, and is now used as an office by the Registrar
of Vital Statistics. This is the place where Dante Gabriel and a young man
named Holman Hunt had a studio, and where another young artist by the
name of William Morris came to visit them; and here was born "The Germ,"
that queer little chipmunk magazine in which first appeared "Hand and
Soul" and "The Blessed Damozel," written by Dante Gabriel when eighteen,
the same age at which Bryant wrote "Thanatopsis." William Bell Scott used
to come here, too. Scott was a great man in his day. He had no hair on his
head or face, not even eyebrows. Every follicle had grown aweary and quit.
But Mr. Scott was quite vain of the shape of his head, for well he might
be, since several choice sonnets had been combed out of it. Sometimes when
the wine went round and things grew merry, then sentimental, then
confidential, Scott would snatch off his wig to display to the company his
fine phrenological development, and tell a story about Nelson, who, too,
used to wear a wig just like his, and after every battle would take it off
and hand it over to his valet to have the bullets combed out of it.

The elder Rossetti died in this house, and was carried to Christ Church in
Woburn Square, and thence to Highgate. His excellent wife waited to see
the genius of her children blossom and be acknowledged. She followed
thirty years later, and was buried in the same grave with her husband,
where, later, Christina was to join them.

Frances Mary Polidori was born at Forty-two Broad Street, Golden Square,
the same street in which William Blake was born. I found the street and
Golden Square, but could not locate the house. The policeman on the beat
declared that no one by the name of Rossetti or Blake was in business
thereabouts; and further he never heard of Polly Dory. William Michael
Rossetti's home is one in a row of houses called Saint Edmund's Terrace.
It is near the Saint John's Road Station, just a step from Regent's Park,
and faces the Middlesex Waterworks. It is a fine old house, built of stone
I should judge, stuccoed on the outside. With a well-known critic I called
there, and found the master wearing a long dressing-gown that came to his
heels, a pair of new carpet slippers and a black plush cap, all so dusty
that we guessed the owner had been sifting ashes in the cellar. He was
most courteous and polite. He worships at the shrine of Whitman, Emerson
and Thoreau, and regards America as the spot from whence must come the
world's intellectual hope. "Great thoughts, like beautiful flowers, are
produced by transplantation and the commingling of many elements." These
are his words, and the fact that the Rossetti genius is the result of
transplanting need not weigh in the scale as 'gainst the truth of the
remark. Shortly after this call, at an Art Exhibition, I again met William
Michael Rossetti. I talked with him some moments--long enough to discover
that he was not aware we had ever met. This caused me to be rather less
in love with the Rossetti genius than I was before.

The wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti died, aged twenty-nine, at Fourteen
Chatham Place, near Blackfriars Bridge. The region thereabouts has been
changed by the march of commerce, and if the original house where the
artist lived yet stands I could not find it. It was here that the
Preraphaelites made history: Madox Brown, Burne-Jones, Ruskin, William
Morris and the MacDonalds. Burne-Jones married one of the MacDonald
daughters; Mr. Poynter, now Director of the National Gallery, another; Mr.
Kipling still another--with Rudyard Kipling as a result, followed in due
course by Mulvaney, Ortheris and Learoyd, who are quite as immortal as the

At this time Professor Rossetti was dead, and William Michael, Maria,
Christina and the widowed mother were living at One Hundred Sixty-six
Albany Street, fighting off various hungry wolves that crouched around the
door. Albany Street is rather shabby now, and was then, I suppose. At One
Hundred Twelve Albany Street lives one Dixon, who takes marvelous
photographs of animals in the Zoological Gardens, with a pocket camera,
and then enlarges the pictures a hundred times. These pictures go the
round world over and command big prices. Mr. Dixon was taking for me, at
the National Gallery, the negatives from which I made photogravures for my
Ruskin-Turner book. Mr. Dixon knows more in an artistic and literary way
than any other man in London (I believe), but he is a modest gentleman and
only emits his facts under cross-examination or under the spell of
inspiration. Together we visited the house at One Hundred Sixty-six Albany

It was vacant at the time, and we rummaged through every room, with the
result that we concluded it makes very little difference where genius is
housed. On one of the windows of a little bedroom we found the word
"Christina" cut with a diamond. When and by whom it was done I do not
know. Surely the Rossettis had no diamonds when they lived here. But Mr.
Dixon had a diamond and with his ring he cut beneath the word just noted
the name, "Dante Gabriel Rossetti." I have recently heard that the
signature has been identified as authentic by a man who was familiar with
Rossetti's handwriting.

When the firm of Morris and Company, Dealers in Art Fabrics, was gotten
under way, and Dante Gabriel had ceased to argue details with that
pre-eminently sane man, William Morris, his finances began to prosper.
Morris directed and utilized the energies of his partners. He marshaled
their virtues into a solid phalanx and marched them on to victory. No
doubt that genius usually requires a keeper. But Morris was a genius
himself and a giant in more ways than one, for he ruled his own spirit,
thus proving himself greater than one who taketh a city.

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two, we find Dante Gabriel throwing out the fact
that his income was equal to about ten thousand dollars a year. He took
the beautiful house at Eighteen Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, near the little
street where lived a Scotchman by the name of Thomas Carlyle, and in the
same block where afterwards lived George Eliot, and where she died. He
wanted his brother and sisters and his mother to share his prosperity, and
so he planned that they should all come and live with him; and besides,
Mr. Swinburne and George Meredith were to come, too. It was to be one big
happy family. But the good old mother knew the human heart better than did
her brilliant son. She has left on record these words: "Yes, my children
all have talent, great talent; I only wish they had a little commonsense!"

So for the present she remained with William, her daughters, and her two
aged unmarried sisters in the plain old house in Albany Street. But Dante
Gabriel moved to Cheyne Walk, and began that craze for collecting blue
china that has swept like a blight over the civilized world. His
collection was sold for three thousand five hundred dollars some years
after--to pay his debts--less than one-half of what it had cost him. Yet
when he had money he generously divided it with the folks up in Albany
Street. But by and by William, too, got to making money, and the quarters
at Number One Hundred Sixty-six were abandoned for something better.

William was married and had taken a house of his own--I don't know where.
The rest of the household consisted of the widow, Mrs. Rossetti, Miss
Charlotte Lydia Polidori, Maria and Christina--and seven cats. And so we
find this family of five women living in peace and comfort, with their
books and pictures and cats, at Thirty Torrington Square, in a drowsy,
faded, ebb-tide mansion. Maria was never strong; she fell into a decline
and passed away. The management of the household then devolved on
Christina. Her burdens must have been heavy in those days, or did she make
them light by cheerful doing? She gave up society, refused the thought of
marriage, and joined that unorganized sisterhood of mercy--the women who
toil that others may live. But she sang at her work, as the womanly woman
ever does. For although a woman may hold no babe in her arms, the lullaby
leaps to her tongue, and at eventide she sings songs to the children of
her brain--sweet idealization of the principle of mother-love.

Christina Rossetti comes to us as one of those splendid stars that are so
far away they are seen only at rare intervals. She never posed as a
"literary person"--reading her productions at four-o'clocks, and winning
high praise from the unbonneted and the discerning society editor. She
never even sought a publisher. Her first volume of verses was issued by
her grandfather Polidori unknown to her--printed by his own labor when
she was seventeen and presented to her. What a surprise it must have been
to this gentle girl to have one of her own books placed in her hands!
There seems to have been an almost holy love in this proud man's heart for
his granddaughter. His love was blind, or near-sighted at least, as love
is apt to be (and I am glad!), for some of the poems in this little volume
are sorry stuff. Later, her brothers issued her work and found market for
it; and once we find Dante Gabriel almost quarreling with that worthy
Manxman, Hall Caine, because the Manxman was compiling a volume of the
best English sonnets and threatening to leave Christina Rossetti out.

Christina had the faculty of seizing beautiful moments, exalted feelings,
sublime emotions, and working them up into limpid song that comes echoing
to us as from across soft seas. In all her lines there is a half-sobbing
undertone--the sweet minor chord that is ever present in the songs of the
Choir Invisible, whose music is the gladness as well as the sadness of the

I have a dear friend who is an amateur photographic artist, which be it
known is quite a different thing from a kodak fiend. The latter is
continually snapping a machine at incongruous things; he delights in
catching people in absurd postures; he pictures the foolish, the
irrelevant, the transient and the needless. But what does my friend
picture? I'll tell you. He catches pictures only of beautiful objects:
swaying stalks of goldenrod, flights of thistle-down, lichen on old stone
walls, barks of trees, oak-leaves, bunches of acorns, single sprays of
apple-blossoms. Last Spring he found two robins building a nest in a
cherry-tree: he placed his camera near them, and attaching a fine wire to
spring the shutter, took a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Robin Redbreast laying
down the first coarse straws for their nest. Then he took a picture every
day for thirty days of that nest--from the time four blue eggs are shown
until four, wide-open mouths are held hungrily for dainty grubs. This
series of photographs forms an Epic of Creation. So, if you ask me to
solve the question of whether photography is art, I'll answer: it all
depends upon what you picture, and how you present it.

Christina Rossetti focused her thought on the beautiful object and at the
best angle, so the picture she brings us is nobly ordered and richly

And so the days passed in study, writing, housework, and caring for old
ladies three. Dante Gabriel, talented, lovable, erratic, had gotten into
bad ways, as a man will who turns night into day and tries to get the
start of God Almighty, thinking he has found a substitute for exercise and
oxygen. Finally he was taken to Birchington, on the Isle of Thanet (where
Octave found her name). He was mentally ill, to a point where he had
through his delusions driven away all his old-time friends.

Christina, aged fifty-one, and the mother, aged eighty-two, went to take
care of him, and they did for him with all the loving tenderness what
they might have done for a sick baby; but with this difference--they had
to fight his strength. Yet still there were times when his mind was sweet
and gentle as in the days of old; and toward the last these periods of
restful peace increased, and there were hours when the brother, sister and
aged mother held sweet converse, almost as when children they were taught
at this mother's knee. Dante Gabriel Rossetti died April Ninth, Eighteen
Hundred Ninety-two. His grave is in the old country churchyard at

Two years afterward the mother passed out; in Eighteen Hundred Ninety,
Eliza Polidori died, aged eighty-seven; and in Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-three, her sister Charlotte joined her, aged eighty-four. In
Christ's Church, Woburn Square, you can see memorial tablets to these fine
souls, and if you get acquainted with the gentle old rector he will show
you a pendant star and crescent, set with diamonds, given by the Sultan
during the Crimean war, "To Miss Charlotte Lydia Polidori for
distinguished services as Nurse." And he will also show you a silver
communion set marked with the names of these three sisters, followed by
that of "Christina Georgiana Rossetti."

And so they all went to their soul's rest and left Christina alone in the
big house with its echoing halls--too big by half for its lonely,
simple-hearted mistress and her pets. She felt that her work was done, and
feeling so, the end soon came. She died December Twenty-ninth, Eighteen
Hundred Ninety-four--passing from a world that she had never much loved,
where she had lived a life of sacrifice, suffering many partings, enduring
many pains. Glad to go, rejoicing that the end was nigh, and soothed by
the thought that beyond lay a Future, she fell asleep.


    The boldness of her conceptions is sublime. As a Creative Artist
    I place her first among women, living or dead. And if you ask me
    why she thus towers above her fellows, by the majesty of her work
    silencing every detractor, I will say it is because she listens
    to God, and not to man. She is true to self.
    --_Victor Hugo_

[Illustration: ROSA BONHEUR]

When I arrive in Paris I always go first to the Y.M.C.A. headquarters in
the Rue de Treville--that fine building erected and presented to the
Association by Banker Stokes of New York. There's a good table-d'hote
dinner there every day for a franc; then there tare bathrooms and
writing-rooms and reading-rooms, and all are yours if you are a stranger.
The polite Secretary does not look like a Christian: he has a very tight
hair-cut, a Vandyke beard and lists of lodgings that can be had for
twenty, fifteen or ten francs a week. Or, should you be an American
Millionaire and be willing to pay thirty francs a week, the secretary
knows a nice Protestant lady who will rent you her front parlor on the
first floor and serve you coffee each morning without extra charge.

Not being a millionaire, I decided, the last time I was there, on a room
at fifteen francs a week on the fourth floor. A bright young fellow was
called up, duly introduced, and we started out to inspect the quarters.

The house we wanted was in a little side street that leads off the
Boulevard Montmartre. It was a very narrow and plain little street, and I
was somewhat disappointed. Yet it was not a shabby street, for there are
none such in Paris; all was neat and clean, and as I caught sight of a
birdcage hanging in one of the windows and a basket of ferns in another I
was reassured and rang the bell.

The landlady wore a white cap, a winning smile and a big white apron. A
bunch of keys dangling at her belt gave the necessary look of authority.
She was delighted to see me--everybody is glad to see you in Paris--and
she would feel especially honored if I would consent to remain under her
roof. She only rented her rooms to those who were sent to her by her
friends, and among her few dear friends none was so dear as Monsieur ze
Secretaire of ze Young Men Christians.

And so I was shown the room--away up and up and up a dark winding stairway
of stone steps with an iron balustrade. It was a room about the size of a
large Jordan-Marsh drygoods-box.

The only thing that tempted me to stay was the fact that the one window
was made up of little diamond panes set in a leaden sash, and that this
window looked out on a little courtway where a dozen palms and as many
ferns grew lush and green in green tubs and where in the center a fountain
spurted. So a bargain was struck and the landlady went downstairs to find
her husband to send him to the Gare Saint Lazare after my luggage.

What a relief it is to get settled in your own room! It is home and this
is your castle. You can do as you please here; can I not take mine ease in
mine inn?

I took off my coat and hung it on the corner of the high bedpost of the
narrow, little bed and hung my collar and cuffs on the floor; and then
leaned out of the window indulging in a drowsy dream of sweet content.
'Twas a long, dusty ride from Dieppe, but who cares--I was now settled,
with rent paid for a week!

All around the courtway were flower-boxes in the windows; down below, the
fountain cheerfully bubbled and gurgled, and from clear off in the unseen
rumbled the traffic of the great city. And coming from somewhere, as I sat
there, was the shrill warble of a canary. I looked down and around, but
could not see the feathered songster, as the novelists always call a bird.
Then I followed the advice of the Epworth League and looked up, not down,
out, not in, and there directly over my head hung the cage all tied up in
chiffon (I think it was chiffon). I was surprised, for I felt sure it
could not be possible there was a room higher than mine--when I had come
up nine stairways! Then I was more surprised; for just as I looked up, a
woman looked down and our eyes met. We both smiled a foolish smile of
surprise; she dodged in her head and I gazed at the houses opposite with
an interest quite unnecessary.

She was not a very young woman, nor very pretty--in fact, she was rather
plain--but when she leaned out to feed her pet and found a man looking up
at her she proved her divine femininity beyond cavil. Was there ever a
more womanly action? And I said to myself, "She is not handsome--but God
bless her, she is human!"

Details are tiresome--so suffice it to say that next day the birdcage was
lowered that I might divide my apple with Dickie (for he was very fond of
apple). The second day, when the cage was lowered I not only fed Dickie
but wrote a message on the cuttlefish. The third day, there was a note
twisted in the wires of the cage inviting me up to tea.

And I went.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were four girls living up there in one attic-room. Two of these
girls were Americans, one English and one French. One of the American
girls was round and pink and twenty; the other was older. It was the older
one that owned the bird, and invited me up to tea. She met me at the door,
and we shook hands like old-time friends. I was introduced to the trinity
in a dignified manner, and we were soon chatting in a way that made Dickie
envious, and he sang so loudly that one of the girls covered the cage with
a black apron.

With four girls I felt perfectly safe, and as for the girls there was not
a shadow of a doubt that they were safe, for I am a married man. I knew
they must be nice girls, for they had birds and flower-boxes. I knew they
had flower-boxes, for twice it so happened that they sprinkled the flowers
while I was leaning out of the window wrapped in reverie.

This attic was the most curious room I ever saw. It was large--running
clear across the house. It had four gable-windows, and the ceiling sloped
down on the sides, so there was danger of bumping your head if you played
pussy-wants-a-corner. Each girl had a window that she called her own, and
the chintz curtains, made of chiffon (I think it was chiffon), were tied
back with different-colored ribbons. This big room was divided in the
center by a curtain made of gunny-sack stuff, and this curtain was covered
with pictures such as were never seen on land or sea. The walls were
papered with brown wrapping-paper, tacked up with brass-headed nails, and
this paper was covered with pictures such as were never seen on sea or

The girls were all art students, and when they had nothing else to do they
worked on the walls, I imagined, just as the Israelites did in Jerusalem
years ago. One half of the attic was studio, and this was where the table
was set. The other half of the attic had curious chairs and divans and
four little iron beds enameled in white and gold, and each bed was so
smoothly made up that I asked what they were for. White Pigeon said they
were bric-a-brac--that the Attic Philosophers rolled themselves up in the
rugs on the floor when they wished to sleep; but I have thought since that
White Pigeon was chaffing me.

White Pigeon was the one I saw that first afternoon when I looked up, not
down, out, not in. She was from White Pigeon, Michigan, and from the very
moment I told her I had a cousin living at Coldwater who was a conductor
on the Lake Shore, we were as brother and sister. White Pigeon was thirty
or thirty-five, mebbe; she had some gray hairs mixed in with the brown,
and at times there was a tinge of melancholy in her laugh and a sort of
half-minor key in her voice. I think she had had a Past, but I don't know
for sure.

Women under thirty seldom know much, unless Fate has been kind and cuffed
them thoroughly, so the little peachblow Americaine did not interest me.
The peachblow was all gone from White Pigeon's cheek, but she was fairly
wise and reasonably good--I'm certain of that. She called herself a
student and spoke of her pictures as "studies," but she had lived in Paris
ten years. Peachblow was her pupil--sent over from Bradford, Pennsylvania,
where her father was a "producer." White Pigeon told me this after I had
drunk five cups of tea and the Anglaise and the Soubrette were doing the
dishes. Peachblow the while was petulantly taking the color out of a
canvas that was a false alarm.

White Pigeon had copied a Correggio in the Louvre nine years before, and
sold the canvas to a rich wagon-maker from South Bend. Then orders came
from South Bend for six more Louvre masterpieces. It took a year to
complete the order and brought White Pigeon a thousand dollars. She kept
on copying and occasionally receiving orders from America; and when no
orders came, potboilers were duly done and sent to worthy Hebrews in Saint
Louis who hold annual Art Receptions and sell at auction paintings painted
by distinguished artists with unpronounceable names, who send a little of
their choice work to Saint Louis, because the people in Saint Louis
appreciate really choice things.

"And the mural decorations--which one of you did those?" I remarked, as a
long pause came stealing in.

"Did you hear what Mr. Littlejourneys asked?" called White Pigeon to the

"No; what was it?"

"He wants to know which one of us decorated the walls!"

"Mr. Littlejourneys meant illumined the walls," jerked Peachblow, over her

Then Anglaise gravely brought a battered box of crayon and told me I must
make a picture somewhere on the wall or ceiling: all the pictures were
made by visitors--no visitor was ever exempt.

I took the crayons and made a picture such as was never seen on land or
sea. Having thus placed myself on record, I began to examine the other
decorations. There were heads and faces, and architectural scraps, trees
and animals, and bits of landscape and ships that pass in the night. Most
of the work was decidedly sketchy, but some of the faces were very good.

Suddenly my eye spied the form of a sleeping dog, a great shaggy Saint
Bernard with head outstretched on his paws, sound asleep. I stopped and

The girls laughed.

"It is only the picture of a dog," said Soubrette.

"I know; but you should pay dog-tax on such a picture--did you draw it?" I
asked White Pigeon.

"Did I! If I could draw like that, would I copy pictures in the Louvre?"

"Well, who drew it?"

"Can't you guess?"

"Of course I can guess. I am a Yankee--I guess Rosa Bonheur."

"Well, you have guessed right."

"Stop joking and tell me who drew the Saint Bernard."

"Madame Rosalie, or Rosa Bonheur, as you call her."

"But she never came here!"

"Yes, she did--once. Soubrette is her great-grandniece, or something."

"Yes, and Madame Bonheur pays my way and keeps me in the Ecole des Beaux
Arts. I'm not ashamed for Monsieur Littlejourneys to know!" said Soubrette
with a pretty pout; "I'm from Lyons, and my mother and Madame Rosalie used
to know each other years ago."

"Will Madame Rosalie, as you call her, ever come here again?"


"Then I'll camp right here till she comes!"

"You might stay a year and then be disappointed."

"Then can't we go to see her?"

"Never; she does not see visitors."

"We might go visit her home," mused Soubrette, after a pause.

"Yes, if she is away," said Anglaise.

"She's away now," said Soubrette; "she went to Rouen yesterday."

"Well, when shall we go?"


       *       *       *       *       *

And so Soubrette could not think of going when it looked so much like
rain, and Anglaise could not think of going without Soubrette, and
Peachblow was getting nervous about the coming examinations, and must
study, as she knew she would just die if she failed to pass.

"You will anyway--sometime!" said White Pigeon.

"Don't urge her; she may change her mind and go with you," dryly remarked
Anglaise with back towards us as she dusted the mantel.

Then I expressed my regret that the trinity could not go, and White Pigeon
expressed her regret because they had to stay at home. And as we went down
the stairs together we chanted the Kyrie eleison for our small sins,
easing conscience by the mutual confession that we were arrant hypocrites.

"But still," mused White Pigeon, not quite satisfied, "we really did not
tell an untruth--that is, we did not deceive them--they understood--I
wouldn't tell a real whopper, would you?"

"I don't know--I think I did once."

"Tell me about it," said White Pigeon.

But I was saved, for just as we reached the bottom stair there was a
slight jingling of keys, and the landlady came up through the floor with a
big lunch-basket. She pushed the basket into my hands and showering us
with Lombardy French pushed us out of the door, and away we went into the
morning gray, the basket carried between us. The basket had a hinged
cover, and out of one corner emerged the telltale neck of a bottle. It did
not look just right; suppose we should meet some one from Coldwater?

But we did not meet any one from Coldwater. And when we reached the
railway-station we were quite lost in the crowd, for there were dozens of
picnickers all carrying baskets, and from the cover of each basket emerged
the neck of a bottle. We felt quite at home packed away in a Classe Trois
carriage with a chattering party of six High-School botanizing youngsters.
When the guard came to the window, touched his cap, addressing me as Le
Professeur, and asked for the tickets for my family, they all laughed.

Fontainebleau was the fourth stop from Paris. My family scampered out and
away and we followed leisurely after. Fontainebleau is quite smug. There
is a fashionable hotel near the station, before which a fine tall fellow
in uniform parades. He looked at our basket with contempt, and we looked
at him in pity. Just beyond the hotel are smart shops with windows filled
with many-colored trifles to tempt the tourist. The shops gradually grew
smaller and less gay, and residences with high stone walls in front took
their places, and over these walls roses nodded. Then there came a wide
stretch of pasture, and the town of Fontainebleau was left behind.

The sun came out and came out and came out; birds chirruped in the
hedgerows and the daws in the high poplars called and scolded. The mist
still lingered on the distant hills, and we could hear the tinkle of
sheep-bells and the barking of a dog coming out of the nothingness.

White Pigeon wore flat-soled shoes and measured off the paces with an easy
swing. We walked in silence, filled with the rich quiet of country sounds
and country sights. What a relief to get away from noisy, bustling, busy
Paris! God made the country!

All at once the mists seemed to lift from the long range of hills on the
right and revealed the dark background of forest, broken here and there
with jutting rocks and beetling crags. We stopped and sat down on the
bank-side to view the scene. Close up under the shadow of the dark forest
nestled a little white village. Near it was the red-tile roof of an old
mansion, half-lost in the foliage. All around this old mansion I could
make out a string of small buildings or additions to the original chateau.

I looked at White Pigeon and she looked at me.

"Yes; that is the place!" she said.

The sun's rays were growing warmer. I took off my coat and tucked it
through the handle of the basket. White Pigeon took off her jacket to keep
it company, and toting the basket, slung on my cane between us, we moved
on up the gently winding way to the village of By. Everybody was asleep at
By, or else gone on a journey. Soon we came to the old, massive,
moss-covered gateposts that marked the entrance to the mansion. A chain
was stretched across the entrance and we crawled under. The driveway was
partly overgrown with grass, and the place seemed to be taking care of
itself. Half a dozen long-horned Bonnie Brier Bush cows were grazing on
the lawn, their calves with them; and evidently these cows and calves were
the only mowing-machines employed. On this wide-stretching meadow were
various old trees; one elm I saw had fallen split through the center--each
part prostrate, yet growing green.

Close up about the house there was an irregular stone wall and an
ornamental iron gate with a pull-out Brugglesmith bell at one side. We
pulled the bell and were answered by a big shaggy Saint Bernard that came
barking and bouncing around the corner. I thought at first our time had
come. But this giant of a dog only approached within about ten feet, then
lay down on the grass and rolled over three times to show his goodwill. He
got up with a fine, cheery smile shown in the wag of his tail, just as a
little maid unlocked the gate.

"Don't you know that dog?" asked White Pigeon.

"Certainement--he is on the wall of your room."

We were shown into a little reception-parlor, where we were welcomed by a
tall, handsome woman, about White Pigeon's age.

The woman kissed White Pigeon on one cheek, and I afterwards asked White
Pigeon why she didn't turn to me the other, and she said I was a fool.

Then the tall woman went to the door and called up the stairway:
"Antoine, Antoine, guess who it is? It's White Pigeon!"

A man came down the stairs three steps at a time, and took both of White
Pigeon's hands in his, after the hearty manner of a gentleman of France.
Then I was introduced.

Antoine looked at our lunch-basket with the funniest look I ever saw, and
asked what it was.

"Lunch," said White Pigeon; "I can not tell a lie!"

Antoine made wild gesticulations of displeasure, denouncing us in

But White Pigeon explained that we only came on a quiet picnic in search
of ozone and had dropped in to make a little call before we went on up to
the forest. But could we see the horses?

Antoine would be most delighted to show Monsieur Littlejourneys anything
that was within his power. In fact, everything hereabouts was the absolute
property of Monsieur Littlejourneys to do with as he pleased.

He disappeared up the stairway to exchange his slippers for shoes, and the
tall woman went in another direction for her hat. I whispered to White
Pigeon, "Can't we see the studio?"

"Are we from Chicago, that we should seek to prowl through a private
house, when the mistress is away? No; there are partly finished canvases
up there that are sacred."

"Come this way," said Antoine. He led us out through the library, then
the dining-room and through the kitchen.

It is a very comfortable old place, with no extra furniture--the French
know better than to burden themselves with things.

The long line of brick stables seemed made up of a beggarly array of empty
stalls. We stopped at a paddock, and Antoine opened the gate and said,
"There they are!"


"The horses."

"But these are broncos."

"Yes; I believe that is what you call them. Monsieur Bill of Buffalo, New
York, sent them as a present to Madame Rosalie when he was in Paris."

There they were--two ewe-necked cayuses--one a pinto with a wall-eye; the
other a dun with a black line down the back.

I challenged Antoine to saddle them and we would ride. The tall lady took
it in dead earnest, and throwing her arms around Antoine's neck begged him
not to commit suicide.

"And the Percherons--where are they?"

"Goodness! we have no Perches."

"Those that served as models for the 'Horse Fair,' I mean."

White Pigeon took me gently by the sleeve, and turning to the others
apologized for my ignorance, explaining that I did not know the "Marche
aux Chevaux" was painted over forty years ago, and that the models were
all Paris cart-horses.

Antoine called up a little old man, who led out two shaggy little cobs,
and I was told that these were the horses that Madame drove. A roomy,
old-fashioned basket phaeton was backed out; White Pigeon and I stepped in
to try it, and Antoine drew us once around the stable-yard. This is the
only carriage Madame uses. There were doves, and chickens, and turkeys,
and rabbits; and these horses we had seen, with the cows on the lawn, make
up all the animals owned by the greatest of living animal-painters.

Years ago Rosa Bonheur had a stableful of horses and a kennel of dogs and
a park with deer. Many animals were sent as presents. One man forwarded a
lion, and another a brace of tigers, but Madame made haste to present them
to the Zoological Garden at Paris, because the folks at By would not
venture out of their houses--a report having been spread that the lions
were loose.

"An animal-painter no more wants to own the objects he paints than a
landscape-artist wishes a deed for the mountain he is sketching," said

"Or to marry his model," interposed White Pigeon.

"If you see your model too often, you will lose her," added the Tall Lady.

We bade our friends good-by and trudged on up the hillside to the storied
Forest of Fontainebleau. We sat down on a log and watched the winding
Seine stretching away like a monstrous serpent, away down across the
meadow; just at our feet was the white village of By; beyond was Thomeray,
and off to the left rose the spires of Fontainebleau.

"And who is this Antoine and who is the Tall Lady?" I asked, as White
Pigeon began to unpack the basket.

"It's quite a romance; are you sure you want to hear it?"

"I must hear it."

And so between bites White Pigeon told me the story.

The Tall Lady is a niece of Madame Rosalie's. She was married to an army
officer at Bordeaux when she was sixteen years old. Her husband treated
her shamefully; he beat her and forced her to write begging letters and to
borrow money of her relatives, and then he would take this money and waste
it gambling and in drink. In short, he was a Brute.

Madame Rosalie accidentally heard of all this, and one day went down to
Bordeaux and took the Tall Lady away from the Brute and told him she would
kill him if he followed.

"Did she paint a picture of the Brute?"

"Keep quiet, please!"

She told him she would kill him if he followed, and although she is
usually very gentle I believe she would have kept her word. Well, she
brought the Tall Lady with her to By, and this old woman and this young
woman loved each other very much.

Now, Madame Rosalie had a butler and combination man of business, by name
of Jules Carmonne. He was a painter of some ability and served Madame in
many ways right faithfully. Jules loved the Tall Lady, or said he did, but
she did not care for him. He was near fifty and asthmatic and had watery
eyes. He made things very uncomfortable for the Tall Lady.

One night Jules came to Madame Rosalie in great indignation and said he
could not consent to remain longer on account of the way things were going
on. What was the trouble? Trouble enough, when the Tall Lady was sneaking
out of the house after decent folks were in bed, to meet a strange man
down in the evergreens! Well I guess so!!

How did he know?

Ah, he had followed her. Moreover, he had concealed himself in the
evergreens and waited for them, to make sure.

Yes, and who was the man?

A young rogue of a painter from Fontainebleau named Antoine de

Madame Rosalie took Jules Carmonne at his word. She said she was sorry he
could not stay, but he might go if he wished to, of course. And she paid
him his salary on the spot--with two months more to the end of the year.

The next day Madame Rosalie drove her team of shaggy ponies down to
Fontainebleau and called on the young rogue of an artist. He came out
bareheaded and quaking to where she sat in the phaeton waiting. She
flecked the off pony twice and told him that as Carmonne had left her she
must have a man to help her. Would he come? And she named as salary a sum
about five times what he was then making.

Antoine de Channeville seized the wheel of the phaeton for support, gasped
several gasps, and said he would come.

He was getting barely enough to eat out of his work, anyway, although he
was a very worthy young fellow. And he came.

He and the Tall Lady were married about six months after.

"And about the Brute and--and the divorce!"

"Gracious goodness! How do I know? I guess the Brute died or something;
anyway, Antoine and the Tall Lady are man and wife, and are devoted lovers
besides. They have served Madame Rosalie most loyally for these fifteen
years. They say Madame Rosalie has made her will and has left them the
mansion and everything in it for their ownest own, with a tidy sum besides
to put on interest."

It was four o'clock when we got back to the railroad-station at
Fontainebleau. We missed the train we expected to take, and had an hour to
wait. White Pigeon said she did not care so very much, and I'm sure I
didn't. So we sat down in the bright little waiting-room, and White Pigeon
told me many things about Madame Rosalie and her early life that I had
never known before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in the century there lived in Bordeaux a struggling artist (artists
always struggle, you know) by the name of Raymond Bonheur. He found life a
cruel thing, for bread was high in price and short in weight, and no one
seemed to appreciate art except the folks who had no money to buy. But the
poor can love as well as the rich, and Raymond married. In his nervous
desire for success, Raymond Bonheur said that if he could only have a son
he would teach him how to do it, and the son would achieve the honors that
the world withheld from the father.

So the days came and went, and a son was expected--a firstborn--an heir.
There wasn't anything to be heir to except genius, but there was plenty of
that. The heir was to bear the name of the father--Raymond Bonheur.

Prayers were offered and thanksgivings sung.

The days were fulfilled. The child was born.

The heir was a girl.

Raymond Bonheur cursed wildly and tousled his hair like a bouffe artist.
He swore he had been tricked, trapped, seduced, undone. He would have
bought strong drink, but he had no money, and credit, like hope, was gone.

The little mother cried.

But the baby grew, although it wasn't a very big baby. They named her
Rosa, because the initial was the same as Raymond, but they always called
her Rosalie.

Then in a year another baby came, and that was a boy. In two years
another, but Raymond never forgave his wife that first offense. He
continued to struggle, trying various styles of pictures and ever hoping
he would yet hit on what the public desired. Mr. Vanderbilt had not yet
made his famous remark about the public, and how could Raymond plagiarize
it in advance?

At last he got money enough to get to Paris--ah, yes, Paris, Paris, there
talent is appreciated!

In Paris another baby was born--it was looked upon as a calamity. The poor
little mother of the four little shivering Bonheurs ceased to struggle.
She lay quite still, and they covered her face with a white sheet and
talked in whispers, and walked on tiptoe, for she was dead.

When an artist can not succeed, he begins to teach art--that is, he shows
others how. Raymond Bonheur put his four children out among kinsmen in
four different places, and became drawing-master in a private school. Rosa
Bonheur was ten years old: a pug-nosed, square-faced little girl in a
linsey-woolsey dress, wooden shoon, with a yellow braid hanging down her
back tied with a shoestring. She could draw--all children can draw--and
the first things children draw are animals.

Her father had taught her a little and laughed at her foolish little lions
and tigers, all duly labeled.

When twelve years of age the good people with whom she lived said she must
learn dressmaking. She should be an artist of the needle. But after some
months she rebelled and, making her way across the city to where her
father was, demanded that he should teach her drawing. Raymond Bonheur
hadn't much will--this controversy proved that--the child mastered, and
the father, who really was an accomplished draftsman, began giving daily
lessons to the girl. Soon they worked together in the Louvre, copying

It was a queer thing to teach a girl art--there were no women artists
then. People laughed to see a little girl with yellow braid mixing paints
and helping her father in the Louvre; others said it wasn't right.

"Let's cut off the braid, and I'll wear boy's clothes and be a boy," said
funny little Rosalie.

Next day, Raymond Bonheur had a close-cropped boy in loose trousers and
blue blouse to help him.

The pictures they copied began to sell. Buyers said the work was strong
and true. Prosperity came that way, and Raymond Bonheur got his four
children together and rented three rooms in a house at One Hundred
Fifty-seven Faubourg Saint Honore.

Rosalie saw that her father had always tried to please the public; she
would please no one but herself. He had tried many forms; she would stick
to one. She would paint animals and nothing else.

When eighteen years old, she painted a picture of rabbits, for the Salon.
The next year she tried again. She made the acquaintance of an honest old
farmer at Villiers and went to live in his household. She painted
pictures of all the livestock he possessed, from rabbits to a Norman
stallion. One of the pictures she then made was that of a favorite Holland
cow. A collector came down from Paris and offered three hundred francs for
the picture.

"Merciful Jesus!" said the pious farmer; "say nothing, but get the money
quick! The live cow herself isn't worth half that!"

The members of the Bonheur family married, one by one, including the
father. Rosa did not marry: she painted. She discarded all teachers, all
schools; she did not listen to the suggestions of patrons, and even
refused to make pictures to order.

And be it said to her credit, she never has allowed a buyer to dictate the
subject. She followed her own ideas in everything; she wore men's clothes,
and does even unto this day.

When she was twenty-five, the Salon awarded her a gold medal. The
Ministere des Beaux Arts paid her three thousand francs for her "Labourge

Raymond Bonheur grew ill in Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine, but before he
passed out he realized that his daughter, then twenty-seven years old, was
on a level with the greatest masters, living or dead.

She began "The Horse Fair" when twenty-eight. It was the largest canvas
ever attempted by an animal-painter. It was exhibited at the Salon in
Eighteen Hundred Fifty-three, and all the gabble of jealous competitors
was lost in the glorious admiration it excited. It became the rage of
Paris. All the honors the Salon could bestow were heaped upon the young
woman, and by special decision all her work henceforth was declared exempt
from examination by the Jury of Admission. Rosa Bonheur, five feet four,
weighing one hundred twenty pounds, was bigger than the Salon.

But success did not cause her to swerve a hair's breadth from her manner
of work or life. She refused all social invitations, and worked away after
her own method as industriously as ever. When a picture was completed, she
set her price on it and it was sold.

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty she bought this fine old house at By, that she
might work in quiet. Society tried to follow her, and in Eighteen Hundred
Sixty-four the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie went to By, and the
Empress pinned to the blue blouse of Rosa Bonheur the Cross of the Legion
of Honor, the first time, I believe, that the distinction was ever
conferred on a woman.

And now at seventy-four she is still in love with life, and while taking a
woman's tender interest in all sweet and gentle things, has yet an
imagination that in its strength and boldness is splendidly masculine.

Rosa Bonheur has received all the honors that man can give. She is rich;
no words of praise that tongue can utter can add to her fame; and she is
loved by all who know her.


    Far from gaining assurance in meeting Bonaparte oftener, he
    intimidated me daily more and more. I confusedly felt that no
    emotion of the heart could possibly take effect upon him. He
    looks upon a human being as a fact or as a thing, but not as a
    fellow-creature. He does not hate any more than he loves; there
    is nothing for him but himself; all other things are so many
    ciphers. The force of his will lies in the imperturbable
    calculation of his selfishness.

[Illustration: MADAME DE STAEL]

Fate was very kind to Madame De Stael.

She ran the gamut of life from highest love to direst pain--from rosy dawn
to blackest night. Name if you can another woman who touched life at so
many points! Home, health, wealth, strength, honors, affection, applause,
motherhood, loss, danger, death, defeat, sacrifice, humiliation, illness,
banishment, imprisonment, escape. Again comes hope--returning strength,
wealth, recognition, fame tempered by opposition, home, a few friends, and
kindly death--cool, all-enfolding death.

If Harriet Martineau showed poor judgment in choosing her parents, we can
lay no such charge to the account of Madame De Stael.

They called her "The Daughter of Necker," and all through life she
delighted in the title. The courtier who addressed her thus received a
sunny smile and a gentle love-tap on his cheek for pay. A splendid woman
is usually the daughter of her father, just as strong men have noble

Jacques Necker was born in Geneva, and went up to the city, like many
another country boy, to make his fortune. He carried with him to Paris
innocence, health, high hope, and twenty francs in silver. He found a
place as porter or "trotter" in a bank. Soon they made him clerk.

A letter came one day from a correspondent asking for a large loan, and
setting forth a complex financial scheme in which the bank was invited to
join. M. Vernet, the head of the establishment, was away, and young Necker
took the matter in hand. He made a detailed statement of the scheme,
computed probable losses, weighed the pros and cons, and when the employer
returned, the plan, all worked out, was on his desk, with young Necker's
advice that the loan be made.

"You seem to know all about banking!" was the sarcastic remark of M.

"I do," was the proud answer.

"You know too much; I'll just put you back as porter."

The Genevese accepted the reduction and went back as porter without
repining. A man of small sense would have resigned his situation at once,
just as men are ever forsaking Fortune when she is about to smile; witness
Cato committing suicide on the very eve of success.

There is always a demand for efficient men; the market is never glutted;
the cities are hungry for them--but the trouble is, few men are efficient.

"It was none of his business!" said M. Vernet to his partner, trying to
ease conscience with reasons.

"Yes; but see how he accepted the inevitable!"

"Ah! true, he has two qualities that are the property only of strong men:
confidence and resignation. I think--I think I was hasty!"

So young Necker was reinstated, and in six months was cashier, in three
years a partner.

Not long after, he married Susanna Curchod, a poor governess.

But Mademoiselle Curchod was rich in mental endowment: refined, gentle,
spiritual, she was a true mate to the high-minded Necker. She was a Swiss,
too, and if you know how a young man and a young woman, countryborn, in a
strange city are attracted to each other, you will better understand this
particular situation.

Some years before, Gibbon had loved and courted the beautiful Mademoiselle
Curchod in her quiet home in the Jura Mountains. They became engaged.
Gibbon wrote home, breaking the happy news to his parents.

"Has the beautiful Curchod of whom you sing, a large dowry?" inquired the

"She has no dowry! I can not tell a lie," was the meek answer. The mother
came on and extinguished the match in short order.

Gibbon never married. But he frankly tells us all about his love for
Susanna Curchod, and relates how he visited her, in her splendid Paris
home. "She greeted me without embarrassment," says Gibbon, resentfully;
"and in the evening Necker left us together in the parlor, bade me
good-night, and lighting a candle went off to bed!"

Gibbon, historian and philosopher, was made of common clay (for authors
are made of clay, like plain mortals), and he could not quite forgive
Madame Necker for not being embarrassed on meeting her former lover,
neither could he forgive Necker for not being jealous.

But that only daughter of the Neckers, Germaine, pleased Gibbon--pleased
him better than the mother, and Gibbon extended his stay in Paris and
called often.

"She was a splendid creature," Gibbon relates; "only seventeen, but a
woman grown, physically and mentally; not handsome, but dazzling,
brilliant, emotional, sensitive, daring!"

Gibbon was a bit of a romanticist, as all historians are, and he no doubt
thought it would be a fine denouement to life's play to capture the
daughter of his old sweetheart, and avenge himself on Fate and the
unembarrassed Madame Necker and the unpiqued husband, all at one fell
stroke--and she would not be dowerless either. Ha, ha!

But Gibbon forgot that he was past forty, short in stature, and short of
breath, and "miles around," as Talleyrand put it.

"I quite like you," said the daring daughter, as the eloquent Gibbon sat
by her side at a dinner.

"Why shouldn't you like me--I came near being your papa!"

"I know, and would I have looked like you?"


"What a calamity!"

Even then she possessed that same bubbling wit that was hers years later
when she sat at table with D'Alembert. On one side of the great author was
Madame Recamier, famous for beauty (and later for a certain
"Beauty-Cream"), on the other the daughter of Necker.

"How fortunate!" exclaimed D'Alembert with rapture; "how fortunate I sit
between Wit and Beauty!"

"Yes, and without possessing either," said Wit.

No mistake, the girl's intellect was too speedy even for Gibbon. She
fenced all 'round him and over him, and he soon discovered that she was
icily gracious to every one, save her father alone. For him she seemed to
outpour all the lavish love of her splendid womanhood. It was unlike the
usual calm affection of father and daughter. It was a great and absorbing
love, of which even the mother was jealous.

"I can't just exactly make 'em out," said Gibbon, and withdrew in good

Before Necker was forty he had accumulated a fortune, and retired from
business to devote himself to literature and the polite arts.

"I have earned a rest," he said; "besides, I must have leisure to educate
my daughter."

Men are constantly "retiring" from business, but someway the expected
Elysium of leisure forever eludes us. Necker had written several good
pamphlets and showed the world that he had ability outside of
money-making. He was appointed Resident Minister of Geneva at the Court
of France. Soon after he became President of the French East India
Company, because there was no one else with mind broad enough to fill the
place. His house was the gathering-place of many eminent scholars and
statesmen. Necker was quiet and reserved; his wife coldly brilliant,
cultured, dignified, religious. The daughter made good every deficiency in

She was tall, finely formed, but her features were rather heavy, and in
repose there was a languor in her manner and a blankness in her face. This
seeming dulness marks all great actors, but the heaviness is only on the
surface; it often covers a sleeping volcano. On recognizing an
acquaintance, Germaine Necker's face would be illumined, and her smile
would light a room. She could pronounce a man's name so he would be ready
to throw himself at her feet, or over a precipice for her. And she could
listen in a way that complimented; and by a sigh, a nod, an exclamation,
bring out the best--such thoughts as a man never knew he had. She made
people surprise themselves with their own genius; thus proving that to
make a good impression means to make the man pleased with himself. "Any
man can be brilliant with her," said a nettled competitor; "but if she
wishes, she can sink all women in a room into creeping things."

She knew how to compliment without flattering; her cordiality warmed like
wine, and her ready wit, repartee, and ability to thaw all social ice and
lead conversation along any line, were accomplishments which perhaps have
never been equaled. The women who "entertain" often only depress; they are
so glowing that everybody else feels himself punk. And these people who
are too clever are very numerous; they seem inwardly to fear rivals, and
are intent on working while it is called the day.

Over against these are the celebrities who sit in a corner and smile
knowingly when they are expected to scintillate. And the individual who
talks too much at one time is often painfully silent at another--as if he
had made New-Year resolves. But the daughter of Necker entered into
conversation with candor and abandon; she gave herself to others, and knew
whether they wished to talk or to listen. On occasion, she could
monopolize conversation until she seemed the only person in the room; but
all talent was brighter for the added luster of her own. This simplicity,
this utter frankness, this complete absence of self-consciousness, was
like the flight of a bird that never doubts its power, simply because it
never thinks of it. Yet continual power produces arrogance, and the soul
unchecked finally believes in its own omniscience.

Of course such a matrimonial prize as the daughter of Necker was sought
for, even fought for. But the women who can see clear through a man, like
a Roentgen ray, do not invite soft demonstration. They give passion a
chill. Love demands a little illusion; it must be clothed in mystery. And
although we find evidences that many youths stood in the hallways and
sighed, the daughter of Necker never saw fit by a nod to bring them to her
feet. She was after bigger game--she desired the admiration and
approbation of archbishops, cardinals, generals, statesmen, great authors.

Germaine Necker had no conception of what love is.

Many women never have. Had this fine young woman met a man with intellect
as clear, mind as vivid, and heart as warm as her own, and had he pierced
her through with a wit as strong and keen as she herself wielded, her
pride would have been broken and she might have paused. Then they might
have looked into each other's eyes and lost self there. And had she thus
known love it would have been a complete passion, for the woman seemed
capable of it.

A better pen than mine has written, "A woman's love is a dog's love." The
dog that craves naught else but the presence of his master, who is
faithful to the one and whines out his life on that master's grave,
waiting for the caress that never comes and the cheery voice that is never
heard--that's the way a woman loves! A woman may admire, respect, revere
and obey, but she does not love until a passion seizes upon her that has
in it the abandon of Niagara. Do you remember how Nancy Sikes crawls inch
by inch to reach the hand of Bill, and reaching it, tenderly caresses the
coarse fingers that a moment before clutched her throat, and dies
content? That's the love of woman! The prophet spoke of something
"passing the love of woman," but the prophet was wrong--there's nothing

So Germaine Necker, the gracious, the kindly, the charming, did not love.
However, she married--married Baron De Stael, the Swedish Ambassador. He
was thirty-seven, she was twenty. De Stael was good-looking, polite,
educated. He always smiled at the right time, said bright things in the
right way, kept silence when he should, and made no enemies because he
agreed with everybody about everything. Stipulations were made; a long
agreement was drawn up; it was signed by the party of the first and duly
executed by the party of the second part; sealed, witnessed, sworn to, and
the priest was summoned.

It was a happy marriage. The first three years of married life were the
happiest Madame De Stael ever knew, she said long afterward.

Possibly there are hasty people who imagine they detect tincture of iron
somewhere in these pages: these good people will say, "Gracious me! why

And so I will at once admit that these respectable, well-arranged, and
carefully planned marriages are often happy and peaceful.

The couple may "raise" a large family and slide through life and out of it
without a splash. I will also admit that love does not necessarily imply
happiness--more often 't is a pain, a wild yearning, and a vague unrest; a
haunting sense of heart-hunger that drives a man into exile repeating
abstractedly the name "Beatrice! Beatrice!" And so all the moral I will
make now is simply this: the individual who has not known an all-absorbing
love has not the spiritual vision that is a passport to Paradise. He
forever yammers between the worlds, fit for neither Heaven nor Hell.

       *       *       *       *       *

Necker retired from business that he might enjoy peace; his daughter
married for the same reason. It was stipulated that she should never be
separated from her father. She who stipulates is lost, so far as love
goes--but no matter! Married women in France are greater lions in society
than maidens can possibly hope to be. The marriage-certificate serves at
once as a license for brilliancy, daring, splendor, and it is also a badge
of respectability. The marriage-certificate is a document that in all
countries is ever taken care of by the woman and never by the man.

And this document is especially useful in France, as French dames know.
Frenchmen are afraid of an unmarried woman--she means danger, damages, a
midnight marriage and other awful things. An unmarried woman in France can
not hope to be a social leader; and to be a social leader was the one
ambition of Madame De Stael.

It was called the salon of Madame De Stael now. Baron De Stael was known
as the husband of Madame De Stael. The salon of Madame Necker was only a
matter of reminiscence. The daughter of Necker was greater than her
father, and as for Madame Necker, she was a mere figure in towering
headdress, point lace and diamonds. Talleyrand summed up the case when he
said, "She is one of those dear old things that have to be tolerated."

Madame De Stael had a taste for literature from early womanhood. She
wrote beautiful little essays and read them aloud to her company, and her
manuscripts had a circulation like unto her father's bank-notes. She had
the faculty of absorbing beautiful thoughts and sentiments, and no woman
ever expressed them in a more graceful way. People said she was the
greatest woman author of her day. "You mean of all time," corrected
Diderot. They called her "the High Priestess of Letters," "the Minerva of
Poetry," "Sappho Returned," and all that. Her commendation meant success
and her indifference failure. She knew politics, too, and her hands were
on all wires. Did she wish to placate a minister, she invited him to call,
and once there he was as putty in her hands. She skimmed the surface of
all languages, all arts, all history, but best of all she knew the human

Of course there was a realm of knowledge she wist not of--the initiates of
which never ventured within her scope. She had nothing for them--they kept
away. But the proud, the vain, the ambitious, the ennui-ridden, the
people-who-wish-to-be, and who are ever looking for the strong man to give
them help--these thronged her parlors.

And when you have named these you have named all those who are foremost in
commerce, politics, art, education, philanthropy and religion. The world
is run by second-rate people. The best are speedily crucified, or else
never heard of until long after they are dead.

Madame De Stael, in Seventeen Hundred Eighty-eight, was queen of the
people who ran the world---at least the French part of it.

But intellectual power, like physical strength, endures but for a day.
Giants who have a giant's strength and use it like a giant must be put
down. If you have intellectual power, hide it!

Do thy daily work in thine own little way and be content. The personal
touch repels as well as attracts. Thy presence is a menace--thy existence
an affront--beware! They are weaving a net for thy feet, and hear you not
the echo of hammering, as of men building a scaffold?

Go read history! Thinkest thou that all men are mortal save thee alone,
and that what has befallen others can not happen to thee?

The Devil has no title to this property he now promises. Fool! thou hast
no more claim on Fate than they who have gone before, and what has come to
others in like conditions must come to thee. God himself can not stay it;
it is so written in the stars. Power to lead men! Pray that thy prayer
shall ne'er be granted--'t is to be carried to the topmost pinnacle of
Fame's temple tower, and there cast headlong upon the stones beneath.
Beware! beware!!

       *       *       *       *       *

Madame De Stael was of an intensely religious nature throughout her entire
life; such characters swing between license and asceticism. But the charge
of atheism told largely against her even among the so-called liberals, for
liberals are often very illiberal. Marie Antoinette gathered her skirts
close about her and looked at the "Minerva of Letters" with suspicion in
her big, open eyes; cabinet officers forgot her requests to call, and when
a famous wit once coolly asked, "Who was that Madame De Stael we used to
read about?" people roared with laughter.

Necker, as Minister of Finance, had saved the State from financial ruin;
then had been deposed and banished; then recalled. In September, Seventeen
Hundred Ninety, he was again compelled to flee. He escaped to Switzerland,
disguised as a pedler. The daughter wished to accompany him, but this was
impossible, for only a week before she had given birth to her first child.

But favor came back, and in the mad tumult of the times the freedom of wit
and sparkle of her salon became a need to the poets and philosophers, if
city wits can be so called.

Society shone as never before. In it was the good nature of the mob. It
was no time to sit quietly at home and enjoy a book--men and women must
"go somewhere," they must "do something." The women adopted the Greek
costume and appeared in simple white robes caught at the shoulders with
miniature stilettos. Many men wore crape on their arms in pretended memory
of friends who had been kissed by Madame Guillotine. There was fever in
the air, fever in the blood, and the passions held high carnival. In
solitude, danger depresses all save the very strongest, but the mob (ever
the symbol of weakness) is made up of women--it is an effeminate thing. It
laughs hysterically at death and cries, "On with the dance!" Women
represent the opposite poles of virtue.

The fever continues: a "poverty party" is given by Madame De Stael, where
men dress in rags and women wear tattered gowns that ill conceal their
charms. "We must get used to it," she said, and everybody laughed. Soon,
men in the streets wear red nightcaps, women appear in nightgowns, rich
men wear wooden shoes, and young men in gangs of twelve parade the avenues
at night carrying heavy clubs, hurrahing for this or that.

Yes, society in Paris was never so gay.

The salons were crowded, and politics was the theme. When the discussion
waxed too warm, some one would start a hymn and all would chime in until
the contestants were drowned out and in token of submission joined in the

But Madame De Stael was very busy all these days. Her house was filled
with refugees, and she ran here and there for passports and pardons, and
beseeched ministers and archbishops for interference or assistance or
amnesty or succor and all those things that great men can give or bestow
or effect or filch. And when her smiles failed to win the wished-for
signature, she still had tears that would move a heart of brass.

About this time Baron De Stael fades from our vision, leaving with Madame
three children.

"It was never anything but a 'mariage de convenance' anyway, what of it ?"
and Madame bursts into tears and throws herself into Farquar's arms.

"Compose yourself, my dear--you are spoiling my gown," says the Duchesse.

"I stood him as long as I could," continued Madame.

"You mean he stood you as long as he could."

"You naughty thing!--why don't you sympathize with me?"

Then both women fall into a laughing fit that is interrupted by the
servant, who announces Benjamin Constant.

Constant came as near winning the love of Madame De Stael as any man ever
did. He was politician, scholar, writer, orator, courtier. But with it all
he was a boor, for when he had won the favor of Madame De Stael he wrote a
long letter to Madame Charriere, with whom he had lived for several years
in the greatest intimacy, giving reasons why he had forsaken her, and
ending with an ecstacy in praise of the Stael.

If a man can do a thing more brutal than to humiliate one woman at the
expense of another, I do not know it. And without entering any defense for
the men who love several women at one time, I wish to make a clear
distinction between the men who bully and brutalize women for their own
gratification and the men who find their highest pleasure in pleasing
women. The latter may not be a paragon, yet as his desire is to give
pleasure, not to corral it, he is a totally different being from the man
who deceives, badgers, humiliates, and quarrels with one who can not
defend herself, in order that he may find an excuse for leaving her.

A good many of Constant's speeches were written by Madame De Stael, and
when they traveled together through Germany he no doubt was a great help
to her in preparing the "De l'Allemagne."

But there was a little man approaching from out the mist of obscurity who
was to play an important part in the life of Madame De Stael. He had heard
of her wide-reaching influence, and such an influence he could not afford
to forego--it must be used to further his ends.

Yet the First Consul did not call on her, and she did not call on the
First Consul. They played a waiting game, "If he wishes to see me, he
knows that I am home Thursdays!" she said with a shrug.

"Yes, but a man in his position reverses the usual order: he does not make
the first call!"

"Evidently!" said Madame, and the subject dropped with a dull thud.

Word came from somewhere that Baron De Stael was seriously ill. The wife
was thrown into a tumult of emotion. She must go to him at once--a wife's
duty was to her husband first of all. She left everything, and hastening
to his bedside, there ministered to him tenderly. But death claimed him.
The widow returned to Paris clothed in deep mourning. Crape was tied on
the door-knocker and the salon was closed.

The First Consul sent condolences.

"The First Consul is a joker," said Dannion solemnly, and took snuff.

In six weeks the salon was again opened. Not long after, at a dinner,
Napoleon and Madame De Stael sat side by side. "Your father was a great
man," said Napoleon.

He had gotten in the first compliment when she had planned otherwise. She
intended to march her charms in a phalanx upon him, but he would not have
it so. Her wit fell flat and her prettiest smile brought only the remark,
"If the wind veers north it may rain."

They were rivals--that was the trouble. France was not big enough for

Madame De Stael's book about Germany had been duly announced, puffed,
printed. Ten thousand copies were issued and--seized upon by Napoleon's
agents and burned.

"The edition is exhausted," cried Madame, as she smiled through her tears
and searched for her pocket-handkerchief.

The trouble with the book was that nowhere in it was Napoleon mentioned.
Had Napoleon never noticed the book, the author would have been woefully
sorry. As it was she was pleased, and when the last guest had gone she and
Benjamin Constant laughed, shook hands, and ordered lunch.

But it was not so funny when Fouche called, apologized, coughed, and said
the air in Paris was bad.

So Madame De Stael had to go--it was "Ten Years of Exile." In that book
you can read all about it. She retired to Coppet, and all the griefs,
persecutions, disappointments and heartaches were doubtless softened by
the inward thought of the distinction that was hers in being the first
woman banished by Napoleon and of being the only woman he thoroughly

When it came Napoleon's turn to go and the departure for Elba was at hand,
it will be remembered he bade good-by personally to those who had served
him so faithfully. It was an affecting scene when he kissed his generals
and saluted the swarthy grenadiers in the same way. When told of it Madame
picked a petal or two from her bouquet and said, "You see, my dears, the
difference is this: while Judas kissed but one, the Little Man kissed

Napoleon was scarcely out of France before Madame was back in Paris with
all her books and wit and beauty. An ovation was given the daughter of
Necker such as Paris alone can give.

But Napoleon did not stay at Elba, at least not according to any accounts
I have read.

When word came that he was marching on Paris, Madame hastily packed up her
manuscripts and started in hot haste for Coppet.

But when the eighty days had passed and the bugaboo was safely on board
the "Bellerophon," she came back to the scenes she loved so well and to
what for her was the only heaven--Paris.

She has been called a philosopher and a literary light. But she was only
socio-literary. Her written philosophy does not represent the things she
felt were true--simply those things she thought it would be nice to say.
She cultivated literature, only that she might shine. Love, wealth,
health, husband, children--all were sacrificed that she might lead society
and win applause. No one ever feared solitude more: she must have those
about her who would minister to her vanity and upon whom she could shower
her wit. As a type her life is valuable, and in these pages that traverse
the entire circle of feminine virtues and foibles she surely must have a

In her last illness she was attended daily by those faithful subjects who
had all along recognized her sovereignty--in Society she was Queen. She
surely won her heart's desire, for to that bed from which she was no more
to rise, courtiers came and kneeling kissed her hand, and women by the
score whom she had befriended paid her the tribute of their tears.

She died in Paris aged fifty-one.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you are in Switzerland and take the little steamer that plies on Lake
Leman from Lausanne to Geneva, you will see on the western shore a tiny
village that clings close around a chateau, like little oysters around the
parent shell. This is the village of Coppet that you behold, and the
central building that seems to be a part of the very landscape is the
Chateau De Necker. This was the home of Madame De Stael and the place
where so many refugees sought safety.

"Coppet is Hell in motion," said Napoleon. "The woman who lives there has
a petticoat full of arrows that could hit a man were he seated on a
rainbow. She combines in her active head and strong heart Rousseau and
Mirabeau; and then shields herself behind a shift and screams if you
approach. To attract attention to herself she calls, 'Help, help!'"

The man who voiced these words was surely fit rival to the chatelaine of
this vine-covered place of peace that lies smiling an ironical smile in
the sunshine on yonder hillside.

Coppet bristles with history.

Could Coppet speak it must tell of Voltaire and Rousseau, who had knocked
at its gates; of John Calvin; of Montmorency; of Hautville (for whom
Victor Hugo named a chateau); of Fanny Burney and Madame Recamier and
Girardin (pupil of Rousseau); and Lafayette and hosts of others who are to
us but names, but who in their day were greatest among all the sons of

Chief of all was the great Necker, who himself planned and built the main
edifice that his daughter "might ever call it home." Little did he know
that it would serve as her prison, and that from here she would have to
steal away in disguise. But yet it was the place she called home for full
two decades. Here she wrote and wept and laughed and sang: hating the
place when here, loving it when away. Here she came when De Stael had
died, and here she brought her children. Here she received the caresses of
Benjamin Constant, and here she won the love of pale, handsome Rocco, and
here, "when past age," gave birth to his child. Here and in Paris, in
quick turn, the tragedy and comedy of her life were played; and here she

In the tourist season there are many visitors at the chateau. A grave old
soldier, wearing on his breast the Cross of the Legion of Honor, meets you
at the lodge and conducts you through the halls, the salon and the
library. There are many family portraits, and mementos without number, to
bring back the past that is gone forever. Inscribed copies of books from
Goethe and Schiller and Schlegel and Byron are in the cases, and on the
walls are to be seen pictures of Necker, Rocco, De Stael and Albert, the
firstborn son, decapitated in a duel by a swinging stroke from a German
saber, on account of a king and two aces held in his sleeve.

Beneath the old chateau dances a mountain brook, cold from the Jura; in
the great courtway is a fountain and fish-pond, and all around are
flowering plants and stately palms. All is quiet and orderly. No children
play, no merry voices call, no glad laughter echoes through these courts.
Even the birds have ceased to sing.

The quaint chairs in the parlors are pushed back with precision against
the wall, and the funereal silence that reigns supreme seems to say that
death yesterday came, and an hour ago all the inmates of the gloomy
mansion, save the old soldier, followed the hearse afar and have not yet

We are conducted out through the garden, along gravel walks, across the
well-trimmed lawn; and before a high iron gate, walled in on both sides
with massive masonry, the old soldier stops, and removes his cap. Standing
with heads uncovered, we are told that within rests the dust of Madame De
Stael, her parents, her children, and her children's children--four
generations in all.

The steamer whistles at the wharf as if to bring us back from dream and
mold and death, and we hasten away, walking needlessly fast, looking back
furtively to see if grim spectral shapes are following after. None is
seen, but we do not breathe freely until aboard the steamer and two short
whistles are heard, and the order is given to cast off. We push off slowly
from the stone pier, and all is safe.


    When thee builds a prison, thee had better build with the thought
    ever in thy mind that thee and thy children may occupy the cells.
    --_Report on Paris Prisons, Addressed to the King of France_

[Illustration: ELIZABETH FRY]

The Mennonite, Dunkard, Shaker, Oneida Communist, Mormon and Quaker are
all one people, varying only according to environment.

They are all Come-Outers.

They turn to plain clothes, hard work, religious thought, eschewing the
pomps and vanities of the world--all for the same reasons. Scratch any one
of them and you will find the true type. The monk of the Middle Ages was
the same man, his peculiarity being an extreme asceticism that caused him
to count sex a mistake on the part of God. And this same question has been
a stumbling-block for ages to the type we now have under the glass. A man
who gives the question of sex too much attention is very apt either to
have no wife at all or else four or five. If a Franciscan friar of the
olden time happened to glance at a clothesline on which, gaily waving in
the wanton winds, was a smock-frock, he wore peas in his sandals for a
month and a day.

The Shaker does not count women out because the founder of the sect was a
woman, but he is a complete celibate and depends on Gentiles to populate
the earth. The Dunkard quotes Saint Paul and marries because he must, but
regards romantic love as a thing of which Deity is jealous, and also a bit
ashamed. The Oneida Community clung to the same thought, and to
obliterate selfishness held women in common, tracing pedigree, after the
manner of ancient Sparta, through the female line, because there was no
other way. The Mormon incidentally and accidentally adopted polygamy.

The Quakers have for the best part looked with disfavor on passionate
love. In the worship of Deity they separate women from men. But all
oscillations are equalized by swingings to the other side. The Quakers
have often discarded a distinctive marriage-ceremony, thus slanting toward
natural selection. And I might tell you of how in one of the South
American States there is a band of Friends who have discarded the rite
entirely, making marriage a private and personal contract between the man
and the woman--a sacred matter of conscience; and should the man and woman
find after a trial that their mating was a mistake, they are as free to
separate as they were to marry, and no obloquy is attached in any event.
Harriet Martineau, Quaker in sympathy, although not in name, being an
independent fighter armed with a long squirrel-rifle of marvelous range
and accuracy, pleaded strongly and boldly for a law that would make
divorce as free and simple as marriage. Harriet once called marriage a
mouse-trap, and thereby sent shivers of surprise and indignation up a
bishop's back.

But there is one thing among all these quasi-ascetic sects that has ever
been in advance of the great mass of humanity from which they are
detached parts: they have given woman her rights; whereas, the mass has
always prated, and does yet, mentioning it in statute law, that the male
has certain natural "rights," and the women only such rights as are
granted her by the males. And the reason of this wrong-headed attitude on
part of the mob is plain. It rules by force, whereas the semi-ascetic
sects decry force, using only moral suasion, falling back on the Christ
doctrine of non-resistance. This has given their women a chance to prove
that they have just as able minds as the men, if not better.

That these non-resistants are the salt of the earth none who know them can
deny. It was the residents of the monasteries in the Middle Ages who kept
learning and art from dying off the face of Europe. They built such
churches and performed such splendid work in art that we are hushed into
silence before the dignity of the ruins of Melrose, Dryburgh and Furness.
There are no paupers among the Quakers, a "criminal class" is a thing no
Mennonite understands, no Dunkard is a drunkard, the Oneida Communists
were all well educated and in dollars passing rich, while the Mormons have
accumulated wealth at the rate of over eleven hundred dollars a man per
year, which is more than three times as good a record as can be shown by
New York or Pennsylvania. And further, until the Gentiles bore down upon
her, Utah had no use for either prisons, asylums or almshouses. Until the
Gentiles crowded into Salt Lake City, there was no "tenderloin district,"
no "dangerous class," no gambling "dives." Instead, there was universal
order, industry, sobriety. It is well to recognize the fact that the
quasi-ascetic, possessed of a religious idea, persecuted to a point that
holds him to his work, is the best type of citizen the world has ever
known. Tobacco, strong drink, and opium alternately lull and excite,
soothe and elevate, but always destroy; yet they do not destroy our
ascetic, for he knows them not. He does not deplete himself by drugs,
rivalry, strife or anger. He believes in co-operation, not competition. He
works and prays. He keeps a good digestion, an even pulse, a clear
conscience; and as man's true wants are very few, our subject grows rich
and has not only ample supplies for himself, but is enabled to minister to
others. He is earth's good Samaritan. It was Tolstoy and his daughter who
started soup-houses in Russia and kept famine at bay. Your true monk never
passed by on the other side; ah, no! the business of the old-time priest
was to do good. The Quaker is his best descendant--he is the true

If jeered, hooted and finally oppressed, these protesters will form a clan
or sect and adopt a distinctive garb and speech. If persecuted, they will
hold together, as cattle on the prairies huddle against the storm. But if
left alone the Law of Reversion to Type catches the second generation, and
the young men and maidens secrete millinery, just as birds do a brilliant
plumage, and the strange sect merges into and is lost in the mass. The
Jews did not say, Go to, we will be peculiar, but, as Mr. Zangwill has
stated, they have remained a peculiar people simply because they have been

The successful monk, grown rich and feeling secure, turns voluptuary and
becomes the very thing that he renounced in his monastic vows.
Over-anxious bicyclists run into the object they wish to avoid. We are
attracted to the thing we despise; and we despise it because it attracts.
A recognition of this principle will make plain why so many temperance
fanatics are really drunkards trying hard to keep sober. In us all is the
germ of the thing we hate; we become like the thing we hate; we are the
thing we hate. Ex-Quakers in Philadelphia, I am told, are very dressy
people. But before a woman becomes a genuine admitted non-Quaker, the
rough, gray woolen dress shades off by almost imperceptible degrees into a
dainty silken lilac, whose generous folds have a most peculiar and
seductive rustle; the bonnet becomes smaller, and pertly assumes a
becoming ruche, from under which steal forth daring, winsome ringlets;
while at the neck, purest of cream-white kerchiefs jealously conceal the
charms that a mere worldly woman might reveal. Then the demi-monde,
finding themselves neglected, bribe the dressmakers and adopt the costume.

Thus does civilization, like the cyclone, move in spirals.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a sermon preached at the City Temple, June Eighteenth, Eighteen Hundred
Ninety-six, Doctor Joseph Parker said: "There it was--there! at Smithfield
Market, a stone's throw from here, that Ridley and Latimer were burned.
Over this spot the smoke of martyr fires hovered. And I pray for a time
when they will hover again. Aye, that is what we need! the rack, the
gallows, chains, dungeons, fagots!"

Yes, those are his words, and it was two days before it came to me that
Doctor Parker knew just what he was talking about. Persecution can not
stamp out virtue, any more than man's effort can obliterate matter. Man
changes the form of things, but he does not cancel their essence. And this
is as true of the unseen attributes of spirit as it is of the elements of
matter. Did the truths taught by Latimer and Ridley go out with the flames
that crackled about their limbs? Were their names written for the last
time in smoke? 'T were vain to ask. The bishop who instigated their
persecution gave them certificates for immortality. But the bishop did not
know it--bishops who persecute know not what they do.

Let us guess the result if Jesus had been eminently successful, gathering
about him, with the years, the strong and influential men of Jerusalem!
Suppose he had fallen asleep at last of old age, and, full of honors, been
carried to his own tomb, patterned after that of Joseph of Arimathea, but
richer far--what then? And if Socrates had apologized and had not drunk of
the hemlock, how about his philosophy, and would Plato have written the

No religion is pure except in its state of poverty and persecution; the
good things of earth are our corrupters. All life is from the sun, but
fruit too well loved of the sun falls first and rots. The religion that is
fostered by the State and upheld by a standing army may be a pretty good
religion, but it is not the Christ religion, call you it "Christianity"
never so loudly.

Martyr and persecutor are usually cut off the same piece. They are the
same type of man; and looking down the centuries they seem to have shifted
places easily. As to which is persecutor and which is martyr is only a
question of transient power. They are constantly teaching the trick to
each other, just as scolding parents have saucy children. They are both
good people; their sincerity can not be doubted. Marcus Aurelius, the best
emperor Rome ever had, persecuted the Christians; while Caligula, Rome's
worst emperor, didn't know there were any Christians in his dominions, and
if he had known would not have cared.

The persecutor and the martyr both belong to the cultus known as "Muscular
Christianity," the distinguishing feature of which is a final appeal to
force. We should, however, respect it for the frankness of the name in
which it delights--Muscular Christianity being a totally different thing
from Christianity, which smitten turns the other cheek.

But the Quaker, best type of the non-resistant quasi-ascetic, is the
exception that proves the rule; he may be persecuted, but he persecutes
not again. He is the best authenticated type living of primitive
Christian. That the religion of Jesus was a purely reactionary movement,
suggested by the smug complacency and voluptuous condition of the times,
most thinking men agree. Where rich Pharisees adopt a standard of life
that can only be maintained by devouring widows' houses and oppressing the
orphan, the needs of the hour bring to the front a man who will swing the
pendulum to the other side. When society plays tennis with truth, and
pitch-and-toss with all the expressions of love and friendship, certain
ones will confine their speech to yea, yea, and nay, nay. When men utter
loud prayers on street corners, some one will suggest that the better way
to pray is to retire to your closet and shut the door. When self-appointed
rulers wear purple and scarlet and make broad their phylacteries, some one
will suggest that honest men had better adopt a simplicity of attire. When
a whole nation grows mad in its hot endeavor to become rich, and the
Temple of the Most High is cumbered by the seats of money-changers,
already in some Galilean village sits a youth, conscious of his Divine
kinship, plaiting a scourge of cords.

The gray garb of the Quaker is only a revulsion from a flutter of ribbons
and a towering headgear of hues that shame the lily and rival the rainbow.
Beau Brummel, lifting his hat with great flourish to nobility and standing
hatless in the presence of illustrious nobodies, finds his counterpart in
William Penn, who was born with his hat on and uncovers to no one. The
height of Brummel's hat finds place in the width of Penn's.

Quakerism is a protest against an idle, vain, voluptuous and selfish life.
It is the natural recoil from insincerity, vanity and gormandism which,
growing glaringly offensive, causes these certain men and women to "come
out" and stand firm for plain living and high thinking. And were it not
for this divine principle in humanity that prompts individuals to separate
from the mass when sensuality threatens to hold supreme sway, the race
would be snuffed out in hopeless night. These men who come out effect
their mission, not by making all men Come-Outers, but by imperceptibly
changing the complexion of the mass. They are the true and literal saviors
of mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Norwich has several things to recommend it to the tourist, chief of which
is the cathedral. Great, massive, sullen structure--begun in the Eleventh
Century--it adheres more closely to its Norman type than does any other
building in England.

Within sound of the tolling bells of this great cathedral, aye, almost
within the shadow of its turrets, was born, in Seventeen Hundred Eighty,
Elizabeth Gurney. Her line of ancestry traced directly back to the De
Gournays who came with William the Conqueror, and laid the foundations of
this church and of England's civilization. To the sensitive, imaginative
girl this sacred temple, replete with history, fading off into storied
song and curious legend, meant much. She haunted its solemn transepts, and
followed with eager eyes the carved bosses on the ceiling, to see if the
cherubs pictured there were really alive. She took children from the
street and conducted them thither, explaining that it was her grandfather
who laid the mortar between the stones and reared the walls and placed the
splendid colored windows, on which reflections of real angels were to be
seen, and where Madonnas winked when the wind was east. And the children
listened with open mouths and marveled much, and this encouraged the pale
little girl with the wondering eyes, and she led them to the tomb of Sir
William Boleyn, whose granddaughter, Anne Boleyn, used often to come here
and garland with flowers the grave above which our toddlers talked in
whispers, and where, yesterday, I, too, stood.

And so Elizabeth grew in years and in stature and in understanding; and
although her parents were not members of the Established Religion, yet a
great cathedral is greater than sect, and to her it was the true House of
Prayer. It was there that God listened to the prayers of His children. She
loved the place with an idolatrous love and with all the splendid
superstition of a child, and thither she went to kneel and ask fulfilment
of her heart's desire. All the beauties of ancient and innocent days moved
radiant and luminous in the azure of her mind. But time crept on and a
woman's penetrating comprehension came to her, and the dreams of youth
shifted off into the realities of maturity, and she saw that many who came
to pray were careless, frivolous people, and that the vergers did their
work without more reverence than did the stablemen who cared for her
father's horses. And once when twilight was veiling the choir, and all the
worshipers had departed, she saw a curate strike a match on the
cloister-wall, to light his pipe, and then with the rector laugh loudly,
because the bishop had forgotten and read his "Te Deum Laudamus" before
his "Gloria in Excelsis."

By degrees it came to her that the lord bishop of this holy place was in
the employ of the State, and that the State was master too of the army and
the police and the ships that sailed away to New Zealand, carrying in
their holds women and children, who never came back, and men who, like the
lord bishop, had forgotten this and done that when they should have done
the other.

Once, in the streets of Norwich she saw a dozen men with fetters riveted
to their legs, all fastened to one clanking chain, breaking stone in the
drizzle of a winter rain. And the thought came to her that the rich
ladies, wrapped in furs, who rolled by in their carriages, going to the
cathedral to pray, were no more God's children than these wretches
breaking stone from the darkness of a winter morning until darkness
settled over the earth again at night.

She saw plainly the patent truth that, if some people wore gaudy and
costly raiment, others must dress in rags; if some ate and drank more than
they needed, and wasted the good things of earth, others must go hungry;
if some never worked with their hands, others must needs toil

The Gurneys were nominally Friends, but they had gradually slipped away
from the directness of speech, the plainness of dress, and the simplicity
of the Quakers. They were getting rich on government contracts--and who
wants to be ridiculous anyway? So, with consternation, the father and
mother heard the avowal of Elizabeth to adopt the extreme customs of the
Friends. They sought to dissuade her. They pointed out the uselessness of
being singular, and the folly of adopting a mode of life that makes you a
laughing-stock. But this eighteen-year-old girl stood firm. She had
resolved to live the Christ-life and devote her energies to lessening the
pains of earth. Life was too short for frivolity; no one could afford to
compromise with evil. She became the friend of children; the champion of
the unfortunate; she sided with the weak; she was their friend and
comforter. Her life became a cry in favor of the oppressed, a defense of
the downtrodden, an exaltation of self-devotion, a prayer for universal
sympathy, liberty and light. She pleaded for the vicious, recognizing that
all are sinners and that those who do unlawful acts are no more sinners in
the eyes of God than we who think them so.

The religious nature and sex-life are closely akin. The woman possessing a
high religious fervor is also capable of a great and passionate love. But
the Norwich Friends did not believe in a passionate love, except as the
work of the devil. Yet this they knew, that marriage tames a woman as
nothing else can. They believed in religion, of course--but not an
absorbing, fanatical religion! Elizabeth should get married--it would cure
her mental maladies: exaltation of spirit in a girl is a dangerous thing
anyway. Nothing subdues like marriage.

It may not be generally known, but your religious ascetic is a great
matchmaker. In all religious communities, especially rural communities,
men who need wives need not advertise--there are self-appointed
committees of old ladies who advise and look after such matters closely.
The immanence of sex becomes vicarious, and that which once dwelt in the
flesh is now a thought: like men-about-town, whose vices finally become
simply mental, so do these old ladies carry on courtships by power of

And so the old ladies found a worthy Quaker man who would make a good
husband for Elizabeth. The man was willing. He wrote a letter to her from
his home in London, addressing it to her father. The letter was brief and
businesslike. It described himself in modest but accurate terms. He
weighed ten stone and was five feet eight inches high; he was a merchant
with a goodly income; and in disposition was all that was to be
desired--at least he said so. His pedigree was standard.

The Gurneys looked up this Mr. Fry, merchant, of London, and found all as
stated. He checked O.K. He was invited to visit at Norwich; he came, he
saw, and was conquered. He liked Elizabeth, and Elizabeth liked him--she
surely did or she would never have married him.

Elizabeth bore him twelve children. Mr. Fry was certainly an excellent and
amiable man. I find it recorded, "He never in any way hampered his wife's
philanthropic work," and with this testimonial to the excellence of Mr.
Fry's character we will excuse him from these pages and speak only of his

Contrary to expectations, Elizabeth was not tamed by marriage. She looked
after her household with diligence; but instead of confining her "social
duties" to following hotly after those in station above her, she sought
out those in the stratum beneath. Soon after reaching London she began
taking long walks alone, watching the people, especially the beggars. The
lowly and the wretched interested her. She saw, girl though she was, that
beggardom and vice were twins.

In one of her daily walks, she noticed on a certain corner a frowsled
woman holding a babe, and thrusting out a grimy hand for alms, telling a
woeful tale of a dead soldier husband to each passer-by. Elizabeth stopped
and talked with the woman. As the day was cold, she took off her mittens
and gave them to the beggar, and went her way. The next day she again saw
the woman on the same corner and again talked with her, asking to see the
baby held so closely within the tattered shawl. An intuitive glance
(mother herself or soon to be) told her that this sickly babe was not the
child of the woman who held it. She asked questions that the woman evaded.
Pressed further, the beggar grew abusive, and took refuge in curses, with
dire threats of violence. Mrs. Fry withdrew, and waiting for nightfall
followed the woman: down a winding alley, past rows of rotting tenements,
into a cellar below a ginshop. There, in this one squalid room, she found
a dozen babies, all tied fast in cribs or chairs, starving, or dying of
inattention. The woman, taken by surprise, did not grow violent this time:
she fled, and Mrs. Fry, sending for two women Friends, took charge of the

This sub-cellar nursery opened the eyes of Mrs. Fry to the grim fact that
England, professing to be Christian, building costly churches, and
maintaining an immense army of paid priests, was essentially barbaric. She
set herself to the task of doing what she could while life lasted to
lessen the horror of ignorance and sin.

Newgate Prison then, as now, stood in the center of the city. It was
necessary to have it in a conspicuous place so that all might see the
result of wrongdoing and be good. Along the front of the prison were
strong iron gratings, where the prisoners crowded up to talk with their
friends. Through these gratings the unhappy wretches called to strangers
for alms, and thrust out long wooden spoons for contributions, that would
enable them to pay their fines. There was a woman's department; but if the
men's department was too full, men and women were herded together.

Mrs. Fry worked for her sex, so of these I will speak. Women who had
children under seven years of age took them to prison with them; every
week babes were born there, so that at one time, in the year Eighteen
Hundred Twenty-six, we find there were one hundred ninety women and one
hundred children in Newgate. There was no bedding. No clothing was
supplied, and those who had no friends outside to supply them clothing
were naked or nearly so, and would have been entirely were it not for that
spark of divinity which causes the most depraved of women to minister to
one another. Women hate only their successful rivals. The lowest of women
will assist one another when there is a dire emergency.

In this pen, awaiting trial, execution or transportation, were girls of
twelve to senile, helpless creatures of eighty. All were thrust together.
Hardened criminals, besotted prostitutes, maidservants accused of stealing
thimbles, married women suspected of blasphemy, pure-hearted,
brave-natured girls who had run away from brutal parents or more brutal
husbands, insane persons--all were herded together. All the keepers were
men. Patroling the walls were armed guards, who were ordered to shoot all
who tried to escape. These guards were usually on good terms with the
women prisoners--hobnobbing at will. When the mailed hand of government
had once thrust these women behind iron bars, and relieved virtuous
society of their presence, it seemed to think it had done its duty.
Inside, no crime was recognized save murder. These women fought,
overpowered the weak, stole from and maltreated each other. Sometimes,
certain ones would combine for self-defense, forming factions. Once, the
Governor of the prison, bewigged, powdered, lace-befrilled, ventured
pompously into the women's department without his usual armed guard;
fifty hags set upon him. In a twinkling his clothing was torn to shreds
too small for carpet-rags, and in two minutes by the sand-glass, when he
got back to the bars, lustily calling for help, he was as naked as a
cherub, even if not as innocent.

Visitors who ventured near to the grating were often asked to shake hands,
and if once a grip was gotten upon them the man was drawn up close, while
long, sinewy fingers grabbed his watch, handkerchief, neckscarf or
hat--all was pulled into the den. Sharp nailmarks on the poor fellow's
face told of the scrimmage, and all the time the guards on the walls and
the spectators roared with laughter. Oh, it was awfully funny!

One woman whose shawl was snatched and sucked into the maelstrom
complained to the police, and was told that folks inside of Newgate could
not be arrested, and that a good motto for outsiders was to keep away from
dangerous places.

Every morning at nine a curate read prayers at the prisoners. The curate
stood well outside the grating; while all the time from inside loud cries
of advice were given and sundry remarks tendered him concerning his
personal appearance. The frightful hilarity of the mob saved these
wretches from despair. But the curate did his duty: he who has ears to
hear let him hear. Waiting in the harbor were ships loading their freight
of sin, crime and woe for Botany Bay; at Tyburn every week women were
hanged. Three hundred offenses were punishable with death; but, as in the
West, where horse-stealing is the supreme offense, most of the hangings
were for smuggling, forgery or shoplifting. England being a nation of
shopkeepers could not forgive offenses that might injure a haberdasher.

Little Mrs. Fry, in the plainest of Quaker gray dress, with bonnet to
match, stood outside Newgate and heard the curate read prayers. She
resolved to ask the Governor of the prison if she might herself perform
the office. The Governor was polite, but stated there was no precedent for
such an important move--he must have time to consider. Mrs. Fry called
again, and permission was granted, with strict orders that she must not
attempt to proselyte, and, further, she had better not get too near the

Mrs. Fry gave the great man a bit of fright by quietly explaining thus:
"Sir, if thee kindly allows me to pray with the women, I will go inside."

The Governor asked her to say it again. She did so, and a bright thought
came to the great man: he would grant her request, writing an order that
she be allowed to go inside the prison whenever she desired. It would
teach her a lesson and save him from further importunity.

So little Mrs. Fry presented the order, and the gates were swung open and
the iron quickly snapped behind her. She spoke to the women, addressing
the one who seemed to be leader as sister, and asked the others to follow
her back into the courtway away from the sound of the street, so they
could have prayers. They followed dumbly. She knelt on the stone pavement
and prayed in silence. Then she arose and read to them the One Hundred
Seventh Psalm. Again she prayed, asking the others to kneel with her. A
dozen knelt. She arose and went her way amid a hush of solemn silence.

Next day, when she came again, the ribaldry ceased on her approach, and
after the religious service she remained inside the walls an hour
conversing with those who wished to talk with her, going to all the
children that were sick and ministering to them.

In a week she called all together and proposed starting a school for the
children. The mothers entered into the project gladly. A governess,
imprisoned for theft, was elected teacher. A cell-room was cleaned out,
whitewashed, and set apart for a schoolroom, with the permission of the
Governor, who granted the request, explaining, however, that there was no
precedent for such a thing. The school prospered, and outside the
schoolroom door hungry-eyed women listened furtively for scraps of
knowledge that might be tossed overboard.

Mrs. Fry next organized classes for these older children, gray-haired,
bowed with sin--many of them. There were twelve in each class, and they
elected a monitor from their numbers, agreeing to obey her. Mrs. Fry
brought cloth from her husband's store, and the women were taught to sew.
The Governor insisted that there was no precedent for it, and the guards
on the walls said that every scrap of cloth would be stolen, but the
guards were wrong.

The day was divided up into regular hours for work and recreation. Other
good Quaker women from outside came in to help; and the taproom kept by a
mercenary guard was done away with, and an order established that no
spirituous liquors should be brought into Newgate. The women agreed to
keep away from the grating on the street, except when personal friends
came; to cease begging; to quit gambling. They were given pay for their
labor. A woman was asked for as turnkey, instead of a man. All guards were
to be taken from the walls that overlooked the women's department. The
women were to be given mats to sleep on, and blankets to cover them when
the weather was cold. The Governor was astonished! He called a council of
the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen. They visited the prison, and found for
the first time that order had come out of chaos at Newgate.

Mrs. Fry's requests were granted, and this little woman awoke one morning
to find herself famous.

From Newgate she turned her attention to other prisons; she traveled
throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, visiting prisons and asylums.
She became well feared by those in authority, for her firm and gentle
glance went straight to every abuse. Often she was airily turned away by
some official clothed in a little brief authority, but the man usually
lived to know his mistake.

She was invited by the French Government to visit the prisons of Paris and
write a report, giving suggestions as to what reforms should be made. She
went to Belgium, Holland and Germany, being received by kings and queens
and prime ministers--as costume, her plain gray dress always sufficing.
She treated royalty and unfortunates alike--simply as equals. She kept
constantly in her mind the thought that all men are sinners before God:
there are no rich, no poor; no high, no low; no bond, no free. Conditions
are transient, and boldly did she say to the King of France that he should
build prisons with the idea of reformation, not revenge, and with the
thought ever before him that he himself or his children might occupy these
cells--so vain are human ambitions. To Sir Robert Peel and his Cabinet she
read the story concerning the gallows built by Haman. "Thee must not shut
out the sky from the prisoner; thee must build no dark cells--thy children
may occupy them," she said.

John Howard and others had sent a glimmering ray of truth through the fog
of ignorance concerning insanity. The belief was growing that insane
people were really not possessed of devils after all. Yet still, the cell
system, strait jacket and handcuffs were in great demand. In no asylum
were prisoners allowed to eat at tables. Food was given to each in tin
basins, without spoons, knives or forks. Glass dishes and china plates
were considered especially dangerous; they told of one man who in an
insane fit had cut his throat with a plate, and of another who had
swallowed a spoon.

Visiting an asylum at Worcester, Mrs. Fry saw the inmates receive their
tin dishes, and, crouched on the floor, eating like wild beasts. She asked
the chief warden for permission to try an experiment. He dubiously granted
it. With the help of several of the inmates she arranged a long table,
covered it with spotless linen brought by herself, placed bouquets of wild
flowers on the table, and set it as she did at her own home. Then she
invited twenty of the patients to dinner. They came, and a clergyman, who
was an inmate, was asked to say grace. All sat down, and the dinner passed
off as quietly and pleasantly as could be wished.

And these were the reforms she strove for, and put into practical
execution everywhere. She asked that the word asylum be dropped, and home
or hospital used instead. In visiting asylums, by her presence she said to
the troubled spirits, Peace, be still! For half a century she toiled with
an increasing energy and a never-flagging animation. She passed out full
of honors, beloved as woman was never yet loved--loved by the unfortunate,
the deformed, the weak, the vicious. She worked for a present good, here
and now, believing that we can reach the future only through the present.
In penology nothing has been added to her philosophy, and we have as yet
not nearly carried out her suggestions.

Generation after generation will come and go, nations will rise, grow old,
and die, kings and rulers will be forgotten, but so long as love kisses
the white lips of pain will men remember and revere the name of Elizabeth
Fry, Friend of Humanity.


    Her education in youth was not much attended to, and she happily
    missed all the train of female garniture which passeth by the
    name of accomplishments. She was tumbled early, by accident or
    providence, into a spacious closet of good old English reading,
    without much selection or prohibition, and browsed at will upon
    that fair and wholesome pasturage. Had I twenty girls they should
    be brought up exactly in this fashion. I know not whether their
    chance in wedlock might not be diminished by it, but I can answer
    for it that it maketh (if worse comes to worst) most incomparable
    old maids.
    --_Essays of Elia_

[Illustration: MARY LAMB]

I sing the love of brother and sister. For he who tells the tale of
Charles and Mary Lamb's life must tell of a love that was an uplift to
this brother and sister in childhood, that sustained them in the
desolation of disaster, and was a saving solace even when every hope
seemed gone and reason veiled her face.

This love caused the flowers of springtime to bloom for them again and
again, and attracted such a circle of admirers that, as we read the
records of their lives, set forth in the letters they received and wrote,
we forget poverty, forget calamity, and behold only the radiant, smiling
faces of loving, trusting, trustful friends.

The mother of Charles and Mary Lamb was a woman of fine natural endowment,
of spirit and of aspiration. She married a man much older than herself. We
know but little about John Lamb; we know nothing of his ancestry. Neither
do we care to. He was not good enough to attract, nor bad enough to be
interesting. He called himself a scrivener, but in fact he was a valet. He
was neutral salts; and I say this just after having read his son's amiable
mention of him under the guise of "Lovel," and with the full knowledge
also that "he danced well, was a good judge of vintage, played the
harpsichord, and recited poetry on occasion."

When a woman of spirit stands up before a priest and makes solemn promise
to live with a man who plays the harpsichord and is a good judge of
vintage, and to love until either he or she dies, she sows the seeds of
death and disorder. Of course, I know that men and women who make promises
before priests know not at the time what they do; they find out

And so they were married, were John Lamb and Elizabeth Field; and probably
very soon thereafter Elizabeth had a premonition that this union only held
in store a glittering blade of steel for her heart. For she grew ill and
dispirited, and John found companionship at the alehouse, and came
stumbling home asking what the devil was the reason his wife couldn't meet
him with a smile and a kiss and a' that, as a dutiful wife should!

Elizabeth began to live more and more within herself. We often hear
foolish men taunt women with inability to keep secrets. But women who talk
much often do keep secrets--there are nooks in their hearts where the sun
never enters, and where those nearest them are never allowed to look. More
lives are blasted by secrecy than by frankness--ay! a thousand times. Why
should such a thing as a secret ever exist? 'Tis preposterous, and is
proof positive of depravity. If you and I are to live together, my life
must be open as the ether and all my thoughts be yours. If I keep back
this and that, you will find it out some day and suspect, with reason,
that I also keep back the other. Ananias and Sapphira met death, not so
much for simple untruthfulness as for keeping something back.

Elizabeth Lamb sought to protect herself against an unappreciative mate by
secrecy (perhaps she had to), and the habit grew until she kept secrets as
a business--she kept foolish little secrets. Did she get a letter from her
aunt, she read it in suggestive silence and then put it in her pocket. If
visitors called she never mentioned it, and when the children heard of it
weeks afterward they marveled.

And so shy little Mary Lamb wondered what it was her mother kept locked up
in the bottom drawer of the bureau, and Mary was told that children must
not ask questions--little girls should be seen and not heard.

At night, Mary would dream of the things that were in that drawer, and
sometimes great, big, black things would creep out through the keyhole and
grow bigger and bigger until they filled the room so full that you
couldn't breathe, and then little Mary would cry aloud and scream, and her
father would come with a strap that was kept on a nail behind the
kitchen-door and teach her better than to wake everybody up in the middle
of the night.

Yet Mary loved her mother, and sought in many ways to meet her wishes, and
all the time her mother kept the bureau-drawer locked, and away somewhere
on a high shelf was hidden all tenderness--all the gentle, loving words
and the caresses which children crave.

And little Mary's life seemed full of troubles, and the world a grievous
place where everybody misunderstands everybody else; and at nighttime she
would often hide her face in the pillow and cry herself to sleep.

But when she was ten years of age a great joy came into her life--a baby
brother came! And all the love in the little girl's heart was poured out
for the puny baby boy. Babies are troublesome things, anyway, where folks
are awful poor and where there are no servants and the mother is not so
very strong. And so Mary became the baby's own little foster-mother, and
she carried him about, and long before he could lisp a word she had told
him all the hopes and secrets of her heart, and he cooed and laughed, and
lying on the floor, kicked his heels in the air and treated hope and love
and ambition alike.

I can not find that Mary ever went to school. She stayed at home and
sewed, did housework, and took care of the baby. All her learning came by
absorption. When the boy was three years old she taught him his letters,
and did it so deftly and well that he used to declare he could always
read--and this is as it should be. When seven years of age the boy was
sent to the Blue-Coat School. This was brought about through the influence
of Mr. Salt, for whom John Lamb worked. Mr. Salt was a Bencher, and be it
known a Bencher in England is not exactly the same thing as a Bencher in
America. Mr. Salt took quite a notion to little Mary Lamb, and once when
she came to his office with her father's dinner, the honorable Bencher
chucked her under the chin, said she was a fine little girl, and asked her
if she liked to read. And when she answered, "Oh, yes, sir!" and then
added, "If you please!" the Bencher laughed, and told her she was welcome
to take any book in his library. And so we find she spent many happy hours
in the great man's library; and it was through her importunities that Mr.
Salt got banty Charles the scholarship in Christ's Hospital School.

Now the Blue-Coat boys are a curiosity to every sight-seer in London--and
have been for these hundred years and more. Their long-tailed blue coats,
buckle-shoes, and absence of either hats or caps bring the Yankee up with
a halt. To conduct an American around to the vicinity of Christ's Hospital
and let him discover a "Blue-Coat" for himself is a sensation. The costume
is exactly the same as that worn by Edward, "the Boy King," who founded
the school; and these youngsters, like the birds, never grow old. You lean
against the high iron fence, and looking through the bars watch the boys
frolic and play, just as visitors looked in the Eighteenth Century; and
I've never been by Christ's Hospital yet when curious people did not stand
and stare. And one thing the Blue-Coats seem to prove, and that is that
hats are quite superfluous.

One worthy man from Jamestown, New York, was so impressed by these hatless
boys that he wrote a book proving that the wearing of hats was what has
kept the race in bondage to ignorance all down the ages. By statistics he
proved that the Blue-Coats had attained distinction quite out of ratio to
their number, and cited Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Charles Lamb and many
others as proof. This man returned to Jamestown hatless, and had he not
caught cold and been carried off by pneumonia, would have spread his
hatless gospel, rendering the name of Knox the Hatter infamous, and
causing the word "Derby" to be henceforth a byword and a hissing.

When little Charles Lamb tucked the tails of his long blue coat under his
belt and played leap-frog in the school-yard every morning at ten minutes
after 'leven, his sister, wan, yellow and dreamy, used to come and watch
him through these selfsame iron bars. She would wave the corner of her
rusty shawl in loving token, and he would answer back and would have
lifted his hat if he had had one. When the bell rang and the boys went
pellmell into the entry-way, Charles would linger and hold one hand above
his head as the stone wall swallowed him, and the sister knowing that all
was well would hasten back to her work in Little Queen Street, hard by, to
wait for the morrow when she could come again.

"Who is that girl always hanging 'round after you?" asked a tall, handsome
boy, called Ajax, of little Charles Lamb.

"Wh' why, don't you know--that, wh' why that's my sister Mary!"

"How should I know when you have never introduced me!" loftily replied

And so the next day, at ten minutes after 'leven, Charles and the mighty
Ajax came down to the fence, and Charles had to call to Mary not to run
away, and Charles introduced Ajax to Mary and they shook hands through the
fence. And the next week Ajax, who was known in private life as Samuel
Taylor Coleridge, called at the house in Little Queen Street where the
Lambs lived, and they all had gin and water, and the elder Lamb played the
harpsichord, a secondhand one that had been presented by Mr. Salt, and
recited poetry, and Coleridge talked the elder Lamb under the table and
argued the entire party into silence. Coleridge was only seventeen then,
but a man grown, and already took snuff like a courtier, tapping the lid
of the box meditatively and flashing a conundrum the while on the admiring

Mary kept about as close run of the Blue-Coat School as if she had been a
Blue-Coat herself. Still, she felt it her duty to keep one lesson in
advance of her brother, just to know that he was progressing well.

He continued to go to school until he was fourteen, when he was set to
work in the South Sea Company's office, because his income was needed to
keep the family. Mary was educating the boy with the help of Mr. Salt's
library, for a boy as fine as Charles must be educated, you know. By and
by the bubble burst, and young Lamb was transferred to the East India
Company's office, and being promoted was making nearly a hundred pounds a

And Mary sewed and borrowed books and toiled incessantly, but was ill at
times. People said her head was not just right--she was overworked and
nervous or something! The father had lost his place on account of too much
gin and water, especially gin; the mother was almost helpless from
paralysis, and in the family was an aged maiden aunt to be cared for. The
only regular income was the salary of Charles.

There they lived in their poverty and lowliness, hoping for better things!

Charles was working away over the ledgers, and used to come home fagged
and weary, and Coleridge was far away, and there was no boy to educate
now, and only sick and foolish and quibbling people on whom to strike
fire. The demnition grind did its work for Mary Lamb as surely as it is
today doing it for countless farmers' wives in Iowa and Illinois.

Thus ran the years away.

Mary Lamb, aged thirty-two, gentle, intelligent and wondrous kind, in
sudden frenzy seized a knife from the table and with one thrust sank the
blade into her mother's heart. Charles Lamb, in an adjoining room, hearing
the commotion, entered quickly and taking the knife from his sister's
hand, put his arm about her and tenderly led her away.

Returning in a few moments, the mother was dead.

Women often make a shrill outcry at sight of a mouse; men curse roundly
when large, buzzing, blue-bottle flies disturb their after-dinner nap; but
let occasion come and the stuff of which heroes are made is in us all. I
think well of my kind.

Charles Lamb made no outcry, he shed no tears, he spoke no word of
reproach. He met each detail of that terrible issue as coolly, calmly and
surely as if he had been making entries in his journal. No man ever loved
his mother more, but she was dead now--she was dead. He closed the staring
eyes, composed the stiffening limbs, kept curious sightseers at bay, and
all the time thought of what he could do to protect the living--she who
had wrought this ruin.

Charles was twenty-one--a boy in feeling and temperament, a frolicsome,
heedless boy. In an hour he had become a man.

It requires a subtler pen than mine to trace the psychology of this
tragedy; but let me say this much, it had its birth in love, in unrequited
love; and the outcome of it was an increase in love.

O God! how wonderful are Thy works! Thou makest the rotting log to nourish
banks of violets, and from the stagnant pool at Thy word springs forth the
lotus that covers all with fragrance and beauty!

       *       *       *       *       *

Coleridge in his youth was brilliant--no one disputes that. He dazzled
Charles and Mary Lamb from the very first. Even when a Blue-Coat he could
turn a pretty quatrain, and when he went away to Cambridge and once in a
long while wrote a letter down to "My Own C.L.," it was a feast for the
sister, too. Mary was different from other girls: she didn't "have
company," she was too honest and serious and earnest for society--her
ideals too high. Coleridge--handsome, witty, philosophic Coleridge--was
her ideal. She loved him from afar.

How vain it is to ponder in our minds the what-might-have-been! Yet how
can we help wondering what would have been the result had Coleridge wedded
Mary Lamb! In many ways it seems it would have been an ideal mating, for
Mary Lamb's mental dowry made good Coleridge's every deficiency, and his
merits equalized all that she lacked. He was sprightly, headstrong,
erratic, emotional; she was equally keen-witted, but a conservative in her
cast of mind. That she was capable of a great and passionate love there is
no doubt, and he might have been. Mary Lamb would have been his anchor to
win'ard, but as it was he drifted straight on to the rocks. Her mental
troubles came from a lack of responsibility--a rusting away of unused
powers in a dull, monotonous round of commonplace. Had her heart found its
home I can not conceive of her in any other light than as a splendid,
earnest woman--sane, well-poised, and doing a work that only the strong
can do. Coleridge has left on record the statement that she was the only
woman he ever met who had a "logical mind"--that is to say, the only woman
who ever understood him when he talked his best.

Coleridge made progress at the Blue-Coat School: he became "Deputy
Grecian," or head scholar. This secured him a scholarship at Cambridge,
and thither he went in search of honors. But his revolutionary and
Unitarian principles did not serve him in good stead, and he was placed
under the ban.

At the same time a youth by the name of Robert Southey was having a like
experience at Oxford. Other youths had tried in days agone to shake
Cambridge and Oxford out of their conservatism, and the result was that
the embryo revolutionists speedily found themselves warned off the campus.
So through sympathy Coleridge and Southey met. Coleridge also brought
along a young philosopher and poet, who had also been a Blue-Coat, by the
name of Lovell.

These three young men talked philosophy, and came to the conclusion that
the world was wrong. They said society was founded on a false
hypothesis--they would better things. And so they planned packing up and
away to America to found an Ideal Community on the banks of the
Susquehanna. But hold! a society without women is founded on a false
hypothesis--that's so--what to do? Now in America there are no women but
Indian squaws.

But resource did not fail them--Southey thought of the Fricker family, a
mile out on the Bristol road. There were three fine, strong, intelligent
girls--what better than to marry 'em? The world should be peopled from the
best. The girls were consulted and found willing to reorganize society on
the communal basis, and so the three poets married the three sisters--more
properly, each of the three poets married a sister. "Thank God," said
Lamb, "that there were not four of those Fricker girls, or I, too, would
have been bagged, and the world peopled from the best!"

Southey got the only prize out of the hazard; Lovell's wife was so-so, and
Coleridge drew a blank, or thought he did, which was the same thing; for
as a man thinketh so is she. The thought of a lifetime on the banks of the
Susquehanna with a woman who was simply pink and good, and who was never
roused into animation even by his wildest poetic bursts, took all ambition
out of him.

Funds were low and the emigration scheme was temporarily pigeonholed.
After a short time Coleridge declared his mind was getting mildewed and
packed off to London for mental oxygen and a little visit, leaving his
wife in Southey's charge.

He was gone two years.

Lovell soon followed suit, and Southey had three sisters in his household,
all with babies.

In the meantime we find Southey installed at "Greta," just outside of the
interesting town of Keswick, where the water comes down at Lodore. Southey
was a general: he knew that knowledge consists in having a clerk who can
find the thing. He laid out research work and literary schemes enough for
several lifetimes, and the three sisters were hard at it. It was a little
community of their own--all working for Southey, and glad of it.
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived at Grasmere, thirteen miles away,
and they used to visit back and forth. When you go to Keswick you should
tramp that thirteen miles--the man who hasn't tramped from Keswick to
Grasmere has dropped something out of his life. In merry jest, tipped with
acid, some one called them "The Lake Poets," as if there were poets and
lake poets. And Lamb was spoken of as "a Lake Poet by grace." Literary
London grinned, as we do when some one speaks of the Sweet Singer of
Michigan or the Chicago Muse. But the term of contempt stuck and, like the
words Methodist, Quaker and Philistine, soon ceased to be a term of
reproach and became something of which to be proud.

There is a lead-pencil factory at Keswick, established in the year
Eighteen Hundred. Pencils are made there today exactly as they were made
then, and when you see the factory you are willing to believe it. All
visitors at Keswick go to the pencil-factory and buy pencils, such as
Southey used, and get their names stamped on each pencil while they wait,
without extra charge. On the wall is a silhouette picture of Southey,
showing a needlessly large nose, and the gentlemanly old proprietor will
tell you that Dorothy Wordsworth made the picture; and then he will show
you a letter written by Charles Lamb, framed under glass, wherein C.L.
says all pencils are fairish good, but no pencils are so good as Keswick

For a while, when times were hard, Coleridge's wife worked here making
pencils, while her archangel husband (a little damaged) went with
Wordsworth to study metaphysics at Gottingen. When Coleridge came back and
heard what his wife had done, he reproved her--gently but firmly. Mrs.
Ajax in a pencil-factory wearing a check apron with a bib!--huh!!

Southey had concluded that if Coleridge and Lovell were good samples of
socialism he would stick to individualism. So he joined the Church of
England, became a Monarchist, sang the praises of royalty, got a pension,
became Poet Laureate, and rich--passing rich.

"Wh-wh-when he secured for himself the services of three good women he
made a wise move," said C.L.

And all the time Coleridge and Lamb were in correspondence: and when
Coleridge was in London he kept close run of the Lambs. The father and old
aunt had passed out, and Charles and Mary lived together in rooms. They
seemed to have moved very often--their record followed them. When the
other tenants heard that "she's the one that killed her mother," they
ceased to let their children play in the hallways, and the landlord
apologized, coughed, and raised the rent. Poor Charles saw the point and
did not argue it. He looked for other lodgings and having found 'em went
home and said to Mary, "It's too noisy here. Sister--I can't stand
it--we'll have to go!"

Charles was a literary man now: a bookkeeper by day and a literary man by
night. He wrote to please his sister, and all his jokes were for her.
There is a genuine vein of pathos in all true humor, but think of the fear
and the love and the tenderness that are concealed in Charles Lamb's work
that was designed only to fight off dread calamity! And Mary copied and
read and revised for her brother, and he told it all to her before he
wrote it, and together they discussed it in detail. Charles studied
mathematics, just to keep his genius under, he declared. Mary smiled and
said it wasn't necessary.

Coleridge used to drop in, and the Stoddarts, Hazlitts, Godwin and Lovell,
too. Then Southey was up in London and he called, and so did Wordsworth
and Dorothy, for Coleridge had spread Lamb's fame. And Dorothy and Mary
kissed each other and held hands under the table, and when Dorothy went
back to Grasmere she wrote many beautiful letters to Mary and urged her to
come and visit her--yes, come to Grasmere and live. The one point they
held in common was a love for Coleridge; and as he belonged to neither
there was no room for jealousy. The Fricker girls were all safely married,
but Charles and Mary could not think of going--they needs must hide in a
big city. "I hate your damned throstles and larks and bobolinks," said
C.L., in feigned contempt. "I sing the praises of the 'Salutation and the
Cat' and a snug fourth-floor back."

They could not leave London, for over them ever hung that black cloud of a
mind diseased.

"I can do nothing--think nothing. Mary has another of her bad spells--we
saw it coming, and I took her away to a place of safety," writes Charles
to Coleridge.

One writer tells of seeing Charles and Mary walking across Hampstead
Heath, hand in hand, both crying. They were on the way to the asylum.

Fortunately these "illnesses" gave warning and Charles would ask his
employer leave for a "holiday," and stay at home trying by gentle mirth
and work to divert the dread visitor of unreason.

After each illness, in a few weeks the sister would be restored to her
own, very weak and her mind a blank as to what had gone before. And so she
never remembered that supreme calamity. She knew the deed had been done,
but Heaven had absolved her gentle spirit from all participation in it.
She often talked of her mother, wrote of her, quoted her, and that they
should sometime be again united was her firm faith.

The "Tales from Shakespeare" was written at the suggestion of Godwin,
seconded by Charles. The idea that she herself could write seemed never to
have occurred to Mary, until Charles swore with a needless oath that all
the ideas he ever had she supplied.

"Charles, dear, you've been drinking again!" said Mary. But the "Tales"
sold and sold well; fame came that way and more money than the simple,
plain, homekeeping bodies needed. So they started a pension-roll for
sundry old ladies, and to themselves played high and mighty patron, and
figured and talked and joked over the blue teacups as to what they should
do with their money--five hundred pounds a year! Goodness gracious, if the
Bank of England gets in a pinch advise C.L., at Thirty-four Southampton
Buildings, third floor, second turning to the left but one.

A Mrs. Reynolds was one of the pensioners, but no one knew it but Mrs.
Reynolds, and she never told. She was a Lady of the Old School, and used
often to dine with the Lambs and get her snuffbox filled. Her husband had
been a ship-captain or something, and when the tea was strong she would
take snuff and tell the visitors about him and swear she had ever been
true to his memory, though God knows all good-looking and clever widows
are sorely tried in this scurvy world!

Mrs. Reynolds met Thomas Hood at a "Saturday Evening" at the Lambs', and
he was so taken with her that he has told us "she looked like an elderly
wax doll in half-mourning, and when she spoke it was as if by an
artificial process; she always kept up the gurgle and buzz until run

Mrs. Reynolds' sole claim to literary distinction was the fact that she
had known Goldsmith and he had presented her with an inscribed copy of
"The Deserted Village."

But we all have a tender place in our hearts for the elderly wax doll
because the Lambs were so gentle and patient with her, and once a year
went to Highgate and put a shilling vase of flowers over the grave of the
Captain to whose memory she was ever true.

These friendless old souls used to meet and mix at the Lambs' with those
whose names are now deathless. You can not write the history of English
Letters and leave the Lambs out. They were the loved and loving friends of
Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, De Quincey, Jeffrey and Godwin. They won
the recognition of all who prize the far-reaching intellect--the subtle
imagination. The pathos and tenderness of their lives entwine us with
tendrils that hold our hearts in thrall.

They adopted a little girl, a beautiful little girl by the name of Emma
Isola. And never was there child that was a greater joy to parents than
was Emma Isola to Charles and Mary. The wonder is they did not spoil her
with admiration, and by laughing at all her foolish little pranks. Mary
set herself the task of educating this little girl, and formed a class the
better to do it--a class of three: Emma Isola, William Hazlitt's son and
Mary Victoria Novello. I met Mary Victoria once; she's over eighty years
of age now. Her form is a little bent, but her eye is bright and her smile
is the smile of youth. Folks call her Mary Cowden-Clarke.

And I want you to remember, dearie, that it was Mary Lamb who introduced
the other Mary to Shakespeare, by reading to her the manuscript of the
"Tales." And further, that it was the success of the "Tales" that fired
Mary Cowden-Clarke with an ambition also to do a great Shakespearian work.
There may be a question about the propriety of calling the "Tales" a great
work--their simplicity seems to forbid it--but the term is all right when
applied to that splendid life-achievement, the "Concordance," of which
Mary Lamb was the grandmother.

Emma Isola married Edward Moxon, and the Moxon home was the home of Mary
Lamb whenever she wished to make it so, to the day of her death. The
Moxons did good by stealth, and were glad they never awoke and found it

"What shall I do when Mary leaves me, never to return?" once said Charles
to Manning. But Mary lived for full twenty years after Charles had gone,
and lived only in loving memory of him who had devoted his life to her.
She seemed to exist just to talk of him and to garland the grave in the
little old churchyard at Edmonton, where he sleeps. Wordsworth says, "A
grave is a tranquillizing object: resignation in time springs up from it
as naturally as wild flowers bespread the turf." Her work was to look
after the "pensioners" and carry out the wishes of "my brother Charles."

But the pensioners were laid away to rest, one after the other, and the
gentle Mary, grown old and feeble, became a pensioner, too, but thanks to
that divine humanity that is found in English hearts, she never knew it.
To the last, she looked after "the worthy poor," and carried flowers once
a year to the grave of the gallant Captain Reynolds at Highgate, and never
tired of sounding the praises of Charles and excusing the foibles of
Coleridge. She lived only in the past, and its loving memories were more
than a ballast 'gainst the ills of the present.

And so she went down into the valley and entered the great shadow, telling
in cheerful, broken musings of a brother's love.

And then she was carried to the churchyard at Edmonton. There she rests in
the grave with her brother. In life they were never separated, and in
death they are not divided.


    Delaford is a nice place I can tell you; exactly what I call a
    nice, old-fashioned place, full of comforts, quite shut in with
    great garden-walls that are covered with fruit-trees, and such a
    mulberry-tree in the corner. Then there is a dovecote, some
    delightful fish-ponds, and a very pretty canal, and everything,
    in short, that one could wish for; and moreover it's close to the
    church and only a quarter of a mile from the turnpike road.
    --_Sense and Sensibility_

[Illustration: JANE AUSTEN]

It was at Cambridge, England, I met him--a fine, intelligent clergyman he
was, too.

"He's not a 'Varsity man," said my new acquaintance, speaking of Doctor
Joseph Parker, the world's greatest preacher. "If he were, he wouldn't do
all these preposterous things, you know."

"He's a little like Henry Irving," I ventured apologetically.

"True, and what absurd mannerisms--did you ever see the like! Yes, one's
from Yorkshire and the other's from Cornwall, and both are Philistines."

He laughed at his little joke and so did I, for I always try to be polite.

So I went my way, and as I strolled it came to me that my clerical friend
was right--a university course might have taken all the individuality out
of these strong men and made of their genius a purely neutral decoction.
And when I thought further and considered how much learning has done to
banish wisdom, it was a satisfaction to remember that Shakespeare at
Oxford did nothing beyond making the acquaintance of an inn-keeper's wife.

It hardly seems possible that a Harvard degree would have made a stronger
man of Abraham Lincoln; or that Edison, whose brain has wrought greater
changes than that of any other man of the century, was the loser by not
being versed in physics as taught at Yale.

The Law of Compensation never rests, and the men who are taught too much
from books are not taught by Deity. Most education in the past has failed
to awaken in its subject a degree of intellectual consciousness. It is the
education that the Jesuits served out to the Indian. It made him
peaceable, but took all dignity out of him. From a noble red man he
descended into a dirty Injun, who signed away his heritage for rum.

The world's plan of education has mostly been priestly--we have striven to
inculcate trust and reverence. We have cited authorities and quoted
precedents and given examples: it was a matter of memory; while all the
time the whole spiritual acreage was left untilled.

A race educated in this way never advances, save as it is jolted out of
its notions by men with either a sublime ignorance of, or an indifference
to, what has been done and said. These men are always called barbarians by
their contemporaries: they are jeered and hooted. They supply much mirth
by their eccentricities. After they are dead the world sometimes canonizes
them and carves on their tombs the word "Savior."

Do I then plead the cause of ignorance? Well, yes, rather so. A little
ignorance is not a dangerous thing. A man who reads too much--who
accumulates too many facts-gets his mind filled to the point of
saturation; matters then crystallize and his head becomes a solid thing
that refuses to let anything either in or out. In his soul there is no
guest-chamber. His only hope for progress lies in another incarnation.

And so a certain ignorance seems a necessary equipment for the doing of a
great work. To live in a big city and know what others are doing and
saying; to meet the learned and powerful, and hear their sermons and
lectures; to view the unending shelves of vast libraries is to be
discouraged at the start. And thus we find that genius is essentially
rural--a country product. Salons, soirees, theaters, concerts, lectures,
libraries, produce a fine mediocrity that smiles at the right time and
bows when 't is proper, but it is well to bear in mind that George Eliot,
Elizabeth Barrett, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen were all country
girls, with little companionship, nourished on picked-up classics, having
a healthy ignorance of what the world was saying and doing.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is over a hundred years since Jane Austen lived. But when you tramp
that five miles from Overton, where the railroad-station is, to Steventon,
where she was born, it doesn't seem like it. Rural England does not change
much. Great fleecy clouds roll lazily across the blue, overhead, and the
hedgerows are full of twittering birds that you hear but seldom see; and
the pastures contain mild-faced cows that look at you with wide-open eyes
over the stone walls; and in the towering elm-trees that sway their
branches in the breeze crows hold a noisy caucus. And it comes to you that
the clouds and the blue sky and the hedgerows and the birds and the cows
and the crows are all just as Jane Austen knew them--no change. These
stone walls stood here then, and so did the low slate-roofed barns and the
whitewashed cottages where the roses clamber over the doors.

I paused in front of one of these snug, homely, handsome, pretty little
cottages and looked at the two exact rows of flowers that lined the little
walk leading from gate to cottage-door. The pathway was made from
coal-ashes and the flowerbeds were marked off with pieces of broken
crockery set on edge. 'T was an absent-minded, impolite thing to do--to
stand leaning on a gate and critically examine the landscape-gardening,
evidently an overworked woman's gardening, at that.

As I leaned there the door opened and a little woman with sleeves rolled
up appeared. I mumbled an apology, but before I could articulate it, she
held out a pair of scissors and said, "Perhaps, sir, you'd like to clip
some of the flowers--the roses over the door are best!"

Three children hung to her skirts, peeking, round faces from behind, and
quite accidentally disclosing a very neat ankle.

I took the scissors and clipped three splendid Jacqueminots and said it
was a beautiful day. She agreed with me and added that she was just
finishing her churning and if I'd wait a minute until the butter came,
she'd give me a drink of buttermilk.

I waited without urging and got the buttermilk, and as the children had
come out from hiding I was minded to give them a penny apiece. Two coppers
were all I could muster, so I gave the two boys each a penny and the
little girl a shilling. The mother protested that she had no change and
that a bob was too much for a little girl like that, but I assumed a
Big-Bonanza air and explained that I was from California where the
smallest change is a dollar.

"Go thank the gentleman, Jane."

"That's right, Jane Austen, come here and thank me!"

"How did you know her name was Jane Austen--Jane Austen Humphreys?"

"I didn't know--I only guessed."

Then little Mrs. Humphreys ceased patting the butter and told me that she
named her baby girl for Jane Austen, who used to live near here a long
time ago. Jane Austen was one of the greatest writers that ever
lived--the Rector said so. The Reverend George Austen preached at
Steventon for years and years, and I should go and see the church--the
same church where he preached and where Jane Austen used to go. And
anything I wanted to know about Jane Austen's books the Rector could tell,
for he was a wonderful learned man was the Rector--"Kiss the gentleman,

So I kissed Jane Austen's round, rosy cheek and stroked the tousled heads
of the boys by way of blessing, and started for Steventon to interview the
Rector who was very wise.

And the clergyman who teaches his people the history of their
neighborhood, and tells them of the excellent men and women who once lived
thereabouts, is both wise and good. And the present Rector at Steventon is
both--I'm sure of that.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a very happy family that lived in the Rectory at Steventon from
Seventeen Hundred Seventy-five to Eighteen Hundred One. There were five
boys and two girls, and the younger girl's name was Jane. Between her and
James, the oldest boy, lay a period of twelve years of three hundred and
sixty-five days each, not to mention leap-years.

The boys were sent away to be educated, and when they came home at holiday
time they brought presents for the mother and the girls, and there was
great rejoicing.

James was sent to Oxford. The girls were not sent away to be educated--it
was thought hardly worth while then to educate women, and some folks still
hold to that belief. When the boys came home, they were made to stand by
the door-jamb, and a mark was placed on the casing, with a date, which
showed how much they had grown. And they were catechized as to their
knowledge, and cross-questioned and their books inspected; and so we find
one of the sisters saying, once, that she knew all the things her brothers
knew, and besides that she knew all the things she knew herself.

There was plenty of books in the library, and the girls made use of them.
They would read to their father "because his eyesight was bad," but I can
not help thinking this a clever ruse on the part of the good Rector.

I do not find that there were any secrets in that household or that either
Mr. or Mrs. Austen ever said that children should be seen and not heard.
It was a little republic of letters--all their own. Thrown in on
themselves for not many of the yeomanry thereabouts could read, there was
developed a fine spirit of comradeship among parents and children,
brothers and sisters, servants and visitors, that is a joy to contemplate.
Before the days of railroads, a "visitor" was more of an institution than
he is now. He stayed longer and was more welcome; and the news he brought
from distant parts was eagerly asked for. Nowadays we know all about
everything, almost before it happens, for yellow journalism is so alert
that it discounts futurity.

In the Austen household had lived and died a son of Warren Hastings. The
lad had so won the love of the Austens that they even spoke of him as
their own; and this bond also linked them to the great outside world of
statecraft. The things the elders discussed were the properties, too, of
the children.

Then once a year the Bishop came--came in knee-breeches, hobnailed shoes,
and shovel hat, and the little church was decked with greens. The Bishop
came from Paradise, little Jane used to think, and once, to be polite, she
asked him how all the folks were in Heaven. Then the other children
giggled and the Bishop spilt a whole cup of tea down the front of his
best coat, and coughed and choked until he was very red in the face.

When Jane was ten years old there came to live at the Rectory a daughter
of Mrs. Austen's sister. She came to them direct from France. Her name was
Madame Fenillade. She was a widow and only twenty-two. Once, when little
Jane overheard one of the brothers say that Monsieur Fenillade had kissed
Mademoiselle Guillotine, she asked what he meant and they would not tell

Now Madame spoke French with grace and fluency, and the girls thought it
queer that there should be two languages--English and French--so they
picked up a few words of French, too, and at the table would gravely say
"Merci, Papa," and "S'il vous plait, Mamma." Then Mr. Austen proposed that
at table no one should speak anything but French. So Madame told them what
to call the sugar and the salt and the bread, and no one called anything
except by its French name. In two weeks each of the whole dozen persons
who sat at that board, as well as the girl who waited on table, had a
bill-of-fare working capital of French. In six months they could converse
with ease.

And science with all its ingenuity has not yet pointed out a better way
for acquiring a new language than the plan the Austens adopted at
Steventon Rectory. We call it the "Berlitz Method" now.

Madame Fenillade's widowhood rested lightly upon her, and she became
quite the life of the whole household.

One of the Austen boys fell in love with the French widow; and surely it
would be a very stupid country boy that wouldn't love a French widow like

And they were married and lived happily ever afterward.

But before Madame married and moved away she taught the girls charades,
and then little plays, and a theatrical performance was given in the barn.

Then a play could not be found that just suited, so Jane wrote one and
Cassandra helped, and Madame criticized and the Reverend Mr. Austen
suggested a few changes. Then it was all rewritten. And this was the first
attempt at writing for the public by Jane Austen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jane Austen wrote four great novels, "Pride and Prejudice" was begun when
she was twenty and finished a year later. The old father started a course
of novel-reading on his own account in order to fit his mind to pass
judgment on his daughter's work. He was sure it was good, but feared that
love had blinded his eyes, and he wanted to make sure. After six months'
comparison he wrote to a publisher explaining that he had the manuscript
of a great novel that would be parted with for a consideration. He assured
the publisher that the novel was as excellent as any Miss Burney, Miss
Edgeworth, or any one else ever wrote.

Now publishers get letters like that by every mail, and when Mr. Austen
received his reply it was so antarctic in sentiment that the manuscript
was stored away in the garret, where it lay for just eleven years before
it found a publisher. But in the meantime Miss Austen had written three
other novels--not with much hope that any one would publish them, but to
please her father and the few intimate friends who read and sighed and
smiled in quiet.

The year she was thirty years of age her father died--died with no thought
that the world would yet endorse his own loving estimate of his daughter's

After the father's death financial troubles came, and something had to be
done to fight off possible hungry wolves. The manuscript was hunted out,
dusted, gone over, and submitted to publishers. They sniffed at it and
sent it back. Finally a man was found who was bold enough to read. He
liked it, but wouldn't admit the fact. Yet he decided to print it. He did
so. The reading world liked it and said so, although not very loudly.
Slowly the work made head, and small-sized London drafts were occasionally
sent by publishers to Miss Austen with apologies because the amounts were
not larger.

Now, in reference to writing books it may not be amiss to explain that no
one ever said, "Now then, I'll write a story!" and sitting down at table
took up pen and dipping it in ink, wrote. Stories don't come that way.
Stories take possession of one--incident after incident--and you write in
order to get rid of 'em--with a few other reasons mixed in, for motives,
like silver, are always found mixed. Children play at keeping house: and
men and women who have loved think of the things that have happened, then
imagine all the things that might have happened, and from thinking it all
over to writing it out is but a step. You begin one chapter and write it
this forenoon; and do all you may to banish the plot, the next chapter is
all in your head before sundown. Next morning you write chapter number
two, to unload it, and so the story spins itself out into a book. All this
if you live in the country and have time to think and are not broken in
upon by too much work and worry--save the worry of the ever-restless
mind. Whether the story is good or not depends upon what you leave out.

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of
the marble block as are not needed. Really happy people do not write
stories--they accumulate adipose tissue and die at the top through fatty
degeneration of the cerebrum. A certain disappointment in life, a
dissatisfaction with environment, is necessary to stir the imagination to
a creative point. If things are all to your taste you sit back and enjoy
them. You forget the flight of time, the march of the seasons, your future
life, family, country--all, just as Antony did in Egypt. A deadly,
languorous satisfaction comes over you. Pain, disappointment, unrest or a
joy that hurts, are the things that prick the mind into activity.

Jane Austen lived in a little village. She felt the narrowness of her
life--the inability of those beyond her own household to match her
thoughts and emotions. Love came that way--a short heart-rest, a being
understood, were hers. The gates of Paradise swung ajar and she caught a
glimpse of the glories within, and sighed and clasped her hands and bowed
her head in a prayer of thankfulness.

When she arose from her knees the gates were closed; the way was dark; she
was alone--alone in a little quibbling, carping village, where tired folks
worked and gossiped, ate, drank, slept. Her home was pleasant, to be
sure, but man is a citizen of the world, not of a house.

Jane Austen began to write--to write about these village people. Jane was
tall, and twenty--not very handsome, but better, she was good-looking. She
looked good because she was. She was pious, but not too pious. She used to
go calling among the parishioners, visiting the sick, the lowly, the
troubled. Then when Great Folks came down from London to "the Hall," she
went with the Rector to call on them too, for the Rector was servant to
all--his business was to minister: he was a Minister. And the Reverend
George Austen was a bit proud of his younger daughter. She was just as
tall as he, and dignified and gentle: and the clergyman chuckled quietly
to himself to see how she was the equal in grace and intellect of any Fine
Lady from London town.

And although the good Rector prayed, "From all vanity and pride of spirit,
good Lord, deliver us," it never occurred to him that he was vain of his
tall daughter Jane, and I'm glad it didn't. There is no more crazy
bumblebee gets into a mortal's bonnet than the buzzing thought that God is
jealous of the affection we have for our loved ones. If we are ever
damned, it will be because we have too little love for our fellows, not
too much.

But, egad! brother, it's no small delight to be sixty and a little stooped
and a trifle rheumatic, and have your own blessed daughter, sweet and
stately, comb your thinning gray locks, help you on with your overcoat,
find your cane, and go trooping with you, hand in hand, down the lane on
merciful errand bent. It's a temptation to grow old and feign sciatica;
and if you could only know that, some day, like old King Lear, upon your
withered cheek would fall Cordelia's tears, the thought would be a solace.

So Jane Austen began to write stories about the simple folks she knew. She
wrote in the family sitting-room at a little mahogany desk that she could
shut up quickly if prying neighbors came in to tell their woes and ask
questions about all those sheets of paper! And all she wrote she read to
her father and to her sister Cassandra. And they talked it all over
together and laughed and cried and joked over it. The kind old minister
thought it a good mental drill for his girls to write and express their
feelings. The two girls collaborated--that is to say, one wrote and the
other looked on. Neither girl had been "educated," except what their
father taught them. But to be born into a bookish family, and inherit the
hospitable mind and the receptive heart, is better than to be sent to
Harvard Annex. Preachers, like other folks, sometimes assume a virtue when
they have it not. But George Austen didn't pretend--he was. And that's the
better plan, for no man can deceive his children--they take his exact
measurement, whether others ever do or not--and the only way to win and
hold the love of a child (or a grown-up) is to be frank and simple and
honest. I've tried both schemes.

I can not find that George Austen ever claimed he was only a worm of the
dust, or pretended to be more or less than he was, or to assume a
knowledge that he did not possess. He used to say: "My dears, I really do
not know. But let's keep the windows open and light may yet come."

It was a busy family of plain, average people--not very rich, and not very
poor. There were difficulties to meet, and troubles to share, and joys to

Jane Austen was born in Seventeen Hundred Seventy-five; "Jane Eyre" in
Eighteen Hundred Sixteen--one year before Jane Austen died.

Charlotte Bronte knew all about Jane Austen, and her example fired
Charlotte's ambition. Both were daughters of country clergymen. Charlotte
lived in the North of England on the wild and treeless moors, where the
searching winds rattled the panes and black-faced sheep bleated piteously.
Jane Austen lived in the rich quiet of a prosperous farming country, where
bees made honey and larks nested. The Reverend Patrick Bronte disciplined
his children: George Austen loved his. In Steventon there is no "Black
Bull"; only a little dehorned inn, kept by a woman who breeds canaries,
and will sell you a warranted singer for five shillings, with no charge
for the cage. At Steventon no red-haired Yorkshiremen offer to give fight
or challenge you to a drinking-bout.

The opposites of things are alike, and that is why the world ties Jane
Eyre and Jane Austen in one bundle. Their methods of work were totally
different: their effects gotten in different ways. Charlotte Bronte
fascinates by startling situations and highly colored lights that dance
and glow, leading you on in a mad chase. There's pain, unrest, tragedy in
the air. The pulse always is rapid and the temperature high.

It is not so with Jane Austen. She is an artist in her gentleness, and the
world is today recognizing this more and more. The stage now works its
spells by her methods--without rant, cant or fustian--and as the years go
by this must be so more and more, for mankind's face is turned toward

To weave your spell out of commonplace events and brew a love-potion from
every-day materials is high art. When Kipling takes three average soldiers
of the line, ignorant, lying, swearing, smoking, dog-fighting soldiers,
who can even run on occasion, and by telling of them holds a world in
thrall--that's art! In these soldiers three we recognize something very
much akin to ourselves, for the thing that holds no relationship to us
does not interest us--we can not leave the personal equation out. This
fact is made plain in "The Black Riders," where the devils dancing in
Tophet look up and espying Steve Crane address him thus: "Brother!"

Jane Austen's characters are all plain, every-day folks. The work is
always quiet. There are no entangling situations, no mysteries, no

Now, to present a situation, an emotion, so it will catch and hold the
attention of others, is largely a knack--you practise on the thing until
you do it well. This one thing I do. But the man who does this thing is
not intrinsically any greater than those who appreciate it--in fact, they
are all made of the same kind of stuff. Kipling himself is quite a
commonplace person. He is neither handsome nor magnetic. He is plain and
manly and would fit in anywhere. If there was a trunk to be carried
upstairs, or an ox to get out of a pit, you'd call on Kipling if he
chanced that way, and he'd give you a lift as a matter of course, and then
go on whistling with hands in his pockets. His art is a knack practised to
a point that gives facility.

Jane Austen was a commonplace person. She swept, sewed, worked, and did
the duty that lay nearest her. She wrote because she liked to, and because
it gave pleasure to others. She wrote as well as she could. She had no
thought of immortality, or that she was writing for the ages--no more than
Shakespeare had. She never anticipated that Southey, Coleridge, Lamb,
Guizot and Macaulay would hail her as a marvel of insight, nor did she
suspect that a woman as great as George Eliot would declare her work

But today strong men recognize her books as rarely excellent, because they
show the divinity in all things, keep close to the ground, gently
inculcate the firm belief that simple people are as necessary as great
ones, that small things are not necessarily unimportant, and that nothing
is really insignificant. It all rings true.

And so I sing the praises of the average woman--the woman who does her
work, who is willing to be unknown, who is modest and unaffected, who
tries to lessen the pains of earth, and to add to its happiness. She is
the true guardian angel of mankind!

No book published in Jane Austen's lifetime bore her name on the
title-page; she was never lionized by society; she was never two hundred
miles from home; she died when forty-two years of age, and it was sixty
years before a biography was attempted or asked for. She sleeps in the
cathedral at Winchester, and not so very long ago a visitor, on asking the
verger to see her grave, was conducted thither, and the verger asked: "Was
she anybody in particular? So many folks ask where she's buried, you

But this is changed now, for when the verger took me to her grave and we
stood by that plain black marble slab, he spoke intelligently of her life
and work. And many visitors now go to the cathedral, only because it is
the resting-place of Jane Austen, who lived a beautiful, helpful life and
produced great art, yet knew it not.


    You have met General Bonaparte in my house. Well--he it is who
    would supply a father's place to the orphans of Alexander de
    Beauharnais, and a husband's to his widow. I admire the General's
    courage, the extent of his information, for on all subjects he
    talks equally well, and the quickness of his judgment, which
    enables him to seize the thoughts of others almost before they
    are expressed; but, I confess it, I shrink from the despotism he
    seems desirous of exercising over all who approach him. His
    searching glance has something singular and inexplicable, which
    imposes even on our Directors; judge if it may not intimidate a
    woman. Even--what ought to please me--the force of a passion,
    described with an energy that leaves not a doubt of his
    sincerity, is precisely the cause which arrests the consent I am
    often on the point of pronouncing.
    --_Letters of Josephine_


It was a great life, dearie, a great life! Charles Lamb used to study
mathematics to subdue his genius, and I'll have to tinge truth with gray
in order to keep this little sketch from appearing like a red Ruritania

Josephine was born on an island in the Caribbean Sea, a long way from
France. The Little Man was an islander, too. They started for France about
the same time, from different directions--each, of course, totally unaware
that the other lived. They started on the order of that joker, Fate, in
order to scramble Continental politics, and make omelet of the world's

Josephine's father was Captain Tascher. Do you know who Captain Tascher
was? Very well, there is satisfaction then in knowing that no one else
does either. He seems to have had no ancestors; and he left no successor
save Josephine.

We know a little less of Josephine's mother than we do of her father. She
was the daughter of a Frenchman whom the world had plucked of both money
and courage, and he moved to the West Indies to vegetate and brood on the
vanity of earthly ambitions. Young Captain Tascher married the planter's
daughter in the year Seventeen Hundred Sixty-two. The next year a
daughter was born, and they called her name Josephine.

Not long after her birth, Captain Tascher thought to mend his prospects by
moving to one of the neighboring islands. His wife went with him, but they
left the baby girl in the hands of a good old aunt, until they could
corral fortune and make things secure, for this world at least.

They never came back, for they died and were buried.

Josephine never had any recollection of her parents. But the aunt was
gentle and kindly, and life was simple and cheap. There was plenty to eat,
and no clothing to speak of was required, for the Equator was only a
stone's throw away; in fact, it was in sight of the house, as Josephine
herself has said.

There was a Catholic church near, but no school. Yet Josephine learned to
read and write. She sang with the negroes and danced and swam and played
leap-frog. When she was nine years old, her aunt told her she must not
play leap-frog any more, but she should learn to embroider and to play the
harp and read poetry. Then she would grow up and be a fine lady.

And Josephine thought it a bit hard, but said she would try.

She was tall and slender, but not very handsome. Her complexion was rather
yellow, her hands bony. But the years brought grace, and even if her
features were not pretty she had one thing that was better, a gentle
voice. So far as I know, no one ever gave her lessons in voice culture
either. Perhaps the voice is the true index of the soul. Josephine's voice
was low, sweet, and so finely modulated that when she spoke others would
pause to listen--not to the words, just to the voice.

Occasionally, visitors came to the island and were received at the old
rambling mansion where Josephine's aunt lived. From them the girl learned
about the great, outside world with its politics and society and strife
and rivalry; and when the visitor went away Josephine had gotten from him
all he knew. So the young woman became wise without school and learned
without books. A year after the memorable year of Seventeen Hundred
Seventy-six, there came to the island, Vicomte Alexander Beauharnais. He
had come direct from America, where he had fought on the side of the
Colonies against the British. He was full of Republican principles.
Paradoxically, he was also rich and idle and somewhat of an adventurer.

He called at the old aunt's, Madame Renaudin's, and called often. He fell
violently in love with Josephine. I say violently, for that was the kind
of man he was. He was thirty, she was fifteen. His voice was rough and
guttural, so I do not think he had much inward grace. Josephine's fine
instincts rebelled at thought of accepting his proffered affection. She
explained that she was betrothed to another, a neighboring youth of about
her own age, whose thoughts and feelings matched hers.

Beauharnais said that was nothing to him, and appealed to the old folks,
displaying his title, submitting an inventory of his estate; and the old
folks agreed to look into the matter. They did so and explained to
Josephine that she should not longer hold out against the wishes of those
who had done so much for her.

And so Josephine relented and they were married, although it can not
truthfully be said that they lived happily ever afterward. They started
for France, on their wedding-tour. In six weeks they arrived in Paris.
Returned soldiers and famed travelers are eagerly welcomed by society;
especially is this so when the traveler brings a Creole wife from the
Equator. The couple supplied a new thrill, and society in Paris is always
eager for a new thrill.

Vicomte Beauharnais and his wife became quite the rage. It was expected
that the Creole lady would be beautiful but dull; instead, she was not so
very beautiful, but very clever. She dropped into all the graceful ways of
polite society intuitively.

In a year, domestic life slightly interfered with society's claims--a son
was born. They called his name Eugene.

Two more years and a daughter was born. They called her name Hortense.

Josephine was only twenty, but the tropics and social experience and
maternity had given ripeness to her life. She became thoughtful and
inclined rather to stay at home with her babies than chase fashion's

Beauharnais chased fashion's butterflies, and caught them, too, for he
came home late and quarreled with his wife--a sure sign.

He drank a little, gamed more, sought excitement, and talked politics
needlessly loud in underground cafes.

Men who are woefully lax in their marriage relations are very apt to
regard their wives with suspicion. If Beauharnais had been weighed in the
balances he would have been found wanton. He instituted proceedings
against Josephine for divorce.

And Josephine packed up a few scanty effects and taking her two children
started for her old home in the West Indies. It took all the money she had
to pay passage.

It was the old, old story--a few years of gay life in the great city, then
cruelty too great for endurance, tears, shut white lips, a firm
resolve--and back to the old farm where homely, loyal hearts await, and
outstretched arms welcome the sorrowful, yet glad return.

Beauharnais failed to get his divorce. The court said "no cause for
action." He awoke, stared stupidly about, felt the need of sympathy in his
hour of undoing, and looked for--Josephine.

She was gone.

He tried absinthe, gambling, hot dissipation; but he could not forget. He
had sent away his granary and storehouse; his wand of wealth and heart's
desire. Two ways opened for peace, only two: a loaded pistol--or get her

First he would try to get her back, and the pistol should be held in
reserve in case of failure.

Josephine forgave and came back; for a good woman forgives to seventy
times seven.

Beauharnais met her with all the tenderness a lover could command. The
ceremony of marriage was again sacredly solemnized. They retired to the
country and with their two children lived three of the happiest months
Josephine ever knew; at least Josephine said so, and the fact that she
made the same remark about several other occasions is no reason for
doubting her sincerity. Then they moved back to Paris.

Beauharnais sobered his ambitions, and kept good hours. He was a soldier
in the employ of the king, but his sympathies were with the people. He was
a Republican with a Royalist bias, but some said he was a Royalist with a
Republican bias.

Josephine looked after her household, educated her children, did much
charitable work, and knew what was going on in the State.

But those were troublous times. Murder was in the air and revolution was
rife. That mob of a hundred thousand women had tramped out to Versailles
and brought the king back to Paris. He had been beheaded, and Marie
Antoinette had followed him. The people were in power and Beauharnais had
labored to temper their wrath with reason. He had even been Chairman of
the Third Convention. He called himself Citizen. But the fact that he was
of noble birth was remembered, and in September of Seventeen Hundred
Ninety-three, three men called at his house. When Josephine looked out of
the window, she saw by the wan light of the moon a file of soldiers
standing stiff and motionless.

She knew the time had come. They marched Citizen Beauharnais to the

In a few feverish months, they came back for his wife. Her they placed in
the nunnery of the Carmelites--that prison where, but a few months before,
a mob relieved the keepers of their vigils by killing all their charges.

Robespierre was supreme. Now, Robespierre had come into power by undoing
Danton. Danton had helped lug in the Revolution, but when he touched a
match to the hay he did not really mean to start a conflagration, only a

He tried to dampen the blaze, and Robespierre said he was a traitor and
led him to the guillotine. Robespierre worked the guillotine until the
bearings grew hot. Still, the people who rode in the death-tumbrel did not
seem so very miserable. Despair pushed far enough completes the circle and
becomes peace--a peace like unto security. It is the last stage: hope is
gone, but the comforting thought of heroic death and an eternal sleep
takes its place.

When Josephine at the nunnery of the Carmelites received from the
Luxembourg prison a package containing a generous lock of her husband's
hair, she knew it had been purchased from the executioner.

Now the prison of the Carmelites was unfortunately rather crowded. In
fact, it was full to the roof-tile. Five ladies were obliged to occupy one
little cell. One of these ladies in the cell with Josephine was Madame
Fontenay. Now Madame Fontenay was fondly loved by Citizen Tallien, who was
a member of the Assembly over which Citizen Robespierre presided. Citizen
Tallien did not explain his love for Madame to the public, because Madame
chanced to be the wife of another. So how could Robespierre know that when
he imprisoned Madame he was touching the tenderest tie that bound his
friend Tallien to earth?

Robespierre sent word to the prison of the Carmelites that Madame Fontenay
and Madame Beauharnais should prepare for death--they were guilty of
plotting against the people.

Now, Tallien came daily to the prison of the Carmelites, not to visit of
course, but to see that the prisoners were properly restrained. A
cabbage-stalk was thrown out of a cell-window, and Tallien found in the
stalk a note from his ladylove to this effect: "I am to die in two days;
to save me you must overthrow Robespierre."

The next day there was trouble when the Convention met. Tallien got the
platform and denounced Robespierre in a Cassius voice as a traitor--the
arch-enemy of the people--a plotter for self. To emphasize his remarks he
brandished a glittering dagger. Other orations followed in like vein. All
orders that Robespierre had given out were abrogated by acclamation. Two
days and Robespierre was made to take a dose of the medicine he had so
often prescribed for others. He was beheaded by Samson, his own servant,
July Fifteenth, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-four.

Immediately all "suspects" imprisoned on his instigation were released.

Madame Fontenay and the widow Beauharnais were free. Soon after this
Madame Fontenay became Madame Tallien. Josephine got her children back
from the country, but her property was gone and she was in sore straits.
But she had friends, yet none so loyal and helpful as Citizen Tallien and
his wife. Their home was hers. And it was there she met a man by the name
of Barras, and there too she met a man who was a friend of Barras; by
name, Bonaparte--Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte was twenty-six. He was five
feet two inches high and weighed one hundred twenty pounds. He was
beardless and looked like a boy, and at that time his face was illumined
by an eruption.

Out of employment and waiting for something to turn up, he yet had a very
self-satisfied manner.

His peculiar way of listening to conversation--absorbing everything and
giving nothing out--made one uncomfortable. Josephine, seven years his
senior, did not like the youth. She had had a wider experience and been
better brought up than he, and she let him know it, but he did not seem
especially abashed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Exactly what the French Revolution was, no one has yet told us. Read
"Carlyle" backward or forward and it is grand: it puts your head in a
whirl of heroic intoxication, but it does not explain the Revolution.

Suspicion, hate, tyranny, fear, mawkish sentimentality, mad desire, were
in the air. One leader was deposed because he did nothing, and his
successor was carried to the guillotine because he did too much.
Convention after convention was dissolved and re-formed.

On the Fourth of October, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-five, there was a howl
and a roar and a shriek from forty thousand citizens of Paris.

No one knew just what they wanted--the forty thousand did not explain.
Perhaps it was nothing--only the leaders who wanted power. They demanded
that the Convention should be dissolved: certain men must be put out and
others put in.

The Convention convened and all the members felt to see if their heads
were in proper place--tomorrow they might not be. The room was crowded to
suffocation. Spectators filled the windows, perched on the
gallery-railing, climbed and clung on the projecting parts of columns.

High up on one of these columns sat the young man Bonaparte, silent,
unmoved, still waiting for something to turn up.

The Convention must protect itself, and the call was for Barras. Barras
had once successfully parleyed with insurrection--he must do so again.
Barras turned bluish-white, for he knew that to deal with this mob
successfully a man must be blind and deaf to pity. He struggled to his
feet--he looked about helplessly--the Convention silently waited to catch
the words of its savior.

High up on a column Barras spied the lithe form of the artillery major,
whom he had seen, with face of bronze, deal out grape and canister at
Toulon. Barras raised his hand and pointing to the young officer cried,
"There, there is the man who can save you!"

The Convention nominated the little man by acclamation as commander of the
city's forces. He slid down from his perch, took half an hour to ascertain
whether the soldiers were on the side of the mob or against it--for it was
usually a toss-up--and decided to accept the command. Next day the mob
surrounded the Tuileries in the name of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality.
The Terrorists entreated the soldiers to throw down their arms, then they
reviled and cajoled and cursed and sang, and the women as usual were in
the vanguard. Paris recognized the divine right of insurrection. Who dare
shoot into such a throng!

The young artillery major dare. He gave the word and red death mowed wide
swaths, and the balls spat against the walls and sang through the windows
of the Church of Saint Roche where the mob was centered. Again and again
he fired. It began at four by the clock, and at six all good people, and
bad, had retired to their homes, and Paris was law-abiding. The Convention
named Napoleon, General of the Interior, and the French Revolution became
from that moment a thing that was.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course, no one in Paris was so much talked of as the young artillery
officer. Josephine was a bit proud that she had met him, and possibly a
little sorry that she had treated him so coldly. He only wished to be

Josephine was an honest woman, but still, she was a woman. She desired to
be well thought of, and to be well thought of by men in power. Her son
Eugene was fifteen, and she had ambitions for him; and to this end she saw
the need of keeping in touch with the Powers. Josephine was a politician
and a diplomat, for all women are diplomats. She arrayed Eugene in his
Sunday-best and told him to go to the General of the Interior and explain
that his name was Eugene Beauharnais, that his father was the martyred
patriot, General Beauharnais, and that this beloved father's sword was in
the archives over which Providence had placed the General of the Interior.
Furthermore, the son should request that the sword of his father be given
him so that it might be used in defense of France if need be.

And it was so done.

The whole thing was needlessly melodramatic, and Napoleon laughed. The
poetry of war was to him a joke. But he stroked the youth's curls, asked
after his mother, and ordered his secretary to go fetch that sword.

So the boy carried the sword home and was very happy, and his mother was
very happy and proud of him, and she kissed him on both cheeks and kissed
the sword and thought of the erring, yet generous man who once had
carried it. Then she thought it would be but proper for her to go and
thank the man who had given the sword back; for had he not stroked her
boy's curls and told him he was a fine young fellow, and asked after his

So the next day she went to call on the man who had so graciously given
the sword back. She was kept waiting a little while in the anteroom, for
Napoleon always kept people waiting--it was a good scheme. When admitted
to the presence, the General of the Interior, in simple corporal's dress,
did not remember her. Neither did he remember about giving the sword
back--at least he said so. He was always a trifler with women, though; and
it was so delicious to have this tearful widow remove her veil and
explain--for gadzooks! had she not several times allowed the mercury to
drop to zero for his benefit?

And so she explained, and gradually it all came back to him--very slowly
and after cross-questioning--and then he was so glad to see her. When she
went away, he accompanied her to the outer door, bareheaded, and as they
walked down the long hallway she noted the fact that he was not so tall as
she by three inches. He shook hands with her as they parted, and said he
would call on her when he had gotten a bit over the rush.

Josephine went home in a glow. She did not like the man--he had humiliated
her by making her explain who she was, and his manner, too, was
offensively familiar. And yet he was a power, there was no denying that,
and to know men of power is a satisfaction to any woman. He was twenty
years younger than Beauharnais, the mourned--twenty years! Then
Beauharnais was tall and had a splendid beard and wore a dangling sword.
Beauharnais was of noble birth, educated, experienced, but he was dead;
and here was a beardless boy being called the Chief Citizen of France.
Well, well, well!

She was both pleased and hurt--hurt to think she had been humbled, and
pleased to think such attentions had been paid her. In a few days the
young general called on the widow to crave forgiveness for not having
recognized her when she had called on him. It was very stupid in him,
very! She forgave him.

He complimented Eugene in terse, lavish terms, and when he went away
kissed Hortense, who was thirteen and thought herself too big to be kissed
by a strange man. But Napoleon said they all seemed just like old friends.
And seeming like old friends he called often.

Josephine knew Paris and Parisian society thoroughly. Fifteen years of
close contact in success and defeat with statesmen, soldiers, diplomats,
artists and literati had taught her much. It is probable that she was the
most gifted woman in Paris. Now, Napoleon learned by induction as
Josephine had, and as all women do, and as genius must, for life is
short--only dullards spend eight years at Oxford. He absorbed Josephine
as the devilfish does its prey. And to get every thought and feeling that
a good woman possesses you must win her completest love. In this close
contact she gives up all--unlike Sapphira--holding nothing back.

Among educated people, people of breeding and culture, Napoleon felt ill
at ease. With this woman at his side he would be at home anywhere. And
feeling at once that he could win her only by honorable marriage he
decided to marry her.

He was ambitious. Has that been remarked before? Well, one can not always
be original--still I think the facts bear out the statement.

Josephine was ambitious, too, but some way in this partnership she felt
that she would bring more capital into the concern than he, and she

But power had given dignity to the Little Man; his face had taken on the
cold beauty of marble. Success was better than sarsaparilla. Josephine was
aware of his growing power, and his persistency was irresistible; and so
one evening when he dropped in for a moment, her manner told all. He just
took her in his arms, and kissing her very tenderly whispered, "My dear,
together we will win," and went his way. When he wished to be, Napoleon
was the ideal lover; he was master of that fine forbearance, flavored with
a dash of audacity, that women so appreciate. He never wore love to a
frazzle, nor caressed the object of his affections into fidgets; neither
did he let her starve, although at times she might go hungry.

However, the fact remains that Josephine married the man to get rid of
him; but that's a thing women are constantly doing.

The ceremony was performed by a Justice of the Peace, March Ninth,
Seventeen Hundred Ninety-six. It was just five months since the bride had
called to thank the groom for giving back her husband's sword, and fifteen
months after this husband's death. Napoleon was twenty-seven; Josephine
was thirty-three, but the bridegroom swore he was twenty-eight and the
lady twenty-nine. As a fabricator he wins our admiration.

Twelve days after the marriage, Napoleon set out for Italy as
Commander-in-Chief of the army. To trace the brilliant campaign of that
year, when the tricolor of France was carried from the Bay of Biscay to
the Adriatic Sea, is not my business. Suffice it to say that it placed the
name of Bonaparte among the foremost names of military leaders of all
time. But amid the restless movement of grim war and the glamour of
success he never for a day forgot his Josephine. His letters breathe a
youthful lover's affection, and all the fond desires of his heart were
hers. Through her he also knew the pulse and temperature of Paris--its
form and pressure.

It was a year before they saw each other. She came on to Milan and met him
there. They settled in Montebello, at a beautiful country seat, six miles
from the city. From there he conducted negotiations for peace--and she
presided over the gay social circles of the ancient capital. "I gain
provinces; you win hearts," said Napoleon. It was a very Napoleonic

Napoleon had already had Eugene with him, and together they had seen the
glory of battle. Now Hortense was sent for, and they were made Napoleon's
children by adoption. These were days of glowing sunshine and success and
warm affection.

And so Napoleon with his family returned to France amid bursts of
applause, proclaimed everywhere the Savior of the State, its Protector,
and all that. Civil troubles had all vanished in the smoke of war with
foreign enemies. Prosperity was everywhere, the fruits of conquest had
satisfied all, and the discontented class had been drawn off into the army
and killed or else was now cheerfully boozy with success.

Napoleon made allies of all powers he could not easily undo, and proffered
his support--biding his time. Across the English Channel he looked and
stared with envious eyes. Josephine had tasted success and known defeat.
Napoleon had only tasted success. She begged that he would rest content
and hold secure that which he had gained. Success in its very nature must
be limited, she said. He laughed and would not hear of it. For the first
time she felt her influence over him was waning. She had given her all; he
greedily absorbed, and now had come to believe in his own omniscience. He
told her that on a pinch he could get along without her--within himself
he held all power. Then he kissed her hand in mock gallantry and led her
to the door, as he would be alone.

When Napoleon started on the Egyptian campaign, Josephine begged to go
with him; other women went, dozens of them. They seemed to look upon it as
a picnic party. But Napoleon, insisting that absence makes the heart grow
fonder, said his wife should remain behind.

Josephine was too good and great for the wife of such a man. She saw
through him. She understood him, and only honest men are willing to be
understood. He was tired of her, for she no longer ministered to his
vanity. He had captured her, and now he was done with her. Besides that,
she sided with the peace party, and this was intolerable. Still he did not
beat her with a stick; he treated her most graciously, and installing her
at beautiful Malmaison, provided her everything to make her happy. And if
"things" could make one happy, she would have been.

And as for the Egyptian campaign, it surely was a picnic party, or it was
until things got so serious that frolic was supplanted by fear. You can't
frolic with your hair on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
Napoleon did not write to his wife. He frolicked. Occasionally his
secretary sent her a formal letter of instruction, and when she at last
wrote him asking an explanation for such strange silence, the Little Man
answered her with accusations of infidelity.

Josephine decided to secure a divorce, and there is pretty good proof that
papers were prepared; and had the affair been carried along, the courts
would have at once allowed the separation on statutory grounds. However,
the papers were destroyed, and Josephine decided to live it out. But
Napoleon had heard of these proposed divorce proceedings and was furious.
When he came back, it was with the intention of immediate legal
separation--in any event separation.

He came back and held out haughtily for three days, addressing her as
"Madame," and refusing so much as to shake hands. After the three days he
sued for peace and cried it out on his knees with his head in her lap. It
was not genuine humility, only the humility that follows debauch. Napoleon
had many kind impulses, but his mood was selfish indifference to the
rights or wishes of others. He did not hold hate, yet the thought of
divorce from Josephine was palliated in his own mind by the thought that
she had first suggested it. "I took her at her word," he once said to
Bertram, as if the thing were pricking him.

And so matters moved on. There was war, and rumors of war, alway; but the
vanquished paid the expenses. It was thought best that France should be
ruled by three consuls. Three men were elected, with Napoleon as First
Consul. The First Consul bought off the Second and Third Consuls and
replaced them with two wooden men from the Tenth Ward.

Josephine worked for the glory of France and for her husband: she was
diplomat and adviser. She placated enemies and made friends.

France prospered, and in the wars the foreigner usually not only paid the
bills, but a goodly tribute beside. Nothing is so good as war to make
peace at home. An insurrectionist at home makes a splendid soldier abroad.
Napoleon's battles were won by the "dangerous class." As the First Consul
was Emperor in fact, the wires were pulled, and he was made so in name.
His wife was made Empress: it must be so, as a breath of disapproval might
ruin the whole scheme. Josephine was beloved by the people, and the people
must know that she was honored by her husband. With a woman's intuition,
Josephine saw the end--power grows until it topples. She pleaded,
begged--it was of no avail--the tide swept her with it, but whither,
whither? she kept asking.

Meantime Hortense had been married to Louis, brother of Napoleon. In due
time Napoleon found himself a grandfather. He both liked it and didn't. He
considered himself a youth and took a pride in being occasionally mistaken
for a recruit, and here some newspaper had called him "granddaddy," and
people had laughed! He was not even a father, except by law--not
Nature--and that's no father at all, for Nature does not recognize law. He
joked with Josephine about it, and she turned pale.

There is no subject on which men so deceive themselves as concerning their
motives for doing certain things. On no subject do mortals so deceive
themselves as their motives for marriage. Their acts may be all right, but
the reasons they give for doing them never are. Napoleon desired a new
wife, because he wished a son to found a dynasty.

"You have Eugene!" said Josephine.

"He's my son by proxy," said Napoleon, with a weary smile.

All motives, like ores, are found mixed, and counting the whole at one
hundred, Napoleon's desire for a son after the flesh should stand as
ten--other reasons ninety. All men wish to be thought young. Napoleon was
forty, and his wife was forty-seven. Talleyrand had spoken of them as Old
Mr. and Mrs. Bonaparte.

A man of forty is only a giddy youth, according to his own estimate. Girls
of twenty are his playfellows. A man of sixty, with a wife forty, and
babies coming, is not old--bless me! But suppose his wife is nearly
seventy--what then! Napoleon must have a young wife. Then by marrying
Marie Louise, Austria could be held as friend: it was very necessary to do
this. Austria must be secured as an ally at any cost--even at the cost of
Josephine. It was painful, but must be done for the good of France. The
State should stand first in the mind of every loyal, honest man: all else
is secondary.

So Josephine was divorced, but was provided with an annuity that was
preposterous in its lavish proportions. It amounted to over half a million
dollars a year. I once knew a man who, on getting home from the club at
two o'clock in the morning, was reproached by his wife for his shocking
condition. He promptly threw the lady over the banisters. Next day he
purchased her a diamond necklace at the cost of a year's salary, but she
could not wear it out in society for a month on account of her black eye.

Napoleon divorced Josephine that he might be the father of a line of
kings. When he abdicated in Eighteen Hundred Fifteen, he declared his son,
the child of Marie Louise, "Napoleon the Second, Emperor of France," and
the world laughed. The son died before he had fairly reached manhood's
estate. Napoleon the Third, son of Hortense, Queen of Holland, the
grandson of Josephine, reigned long and well as Emperor of France. The
Prince Imperial--a noble youth--great-grandson of Josephine, was killed in
Africa while fighting the battle of the nation that undid Napoleon.

Josephine was a parent of kings: Napoleon was not.

When Bonaparte was banished to Elba, and Marie Louise was nowhere to be
seen, Josephine wrote to him words of consolation, offering to share his

She died not long after--on the Second of June, Eighteen Hundred Fourteen.

After viewing that gaudy tomb at the Invalides, and thinking of the
treasure in tears and broken hearts that it took to build it, it will rest
you to go to the simple village church at Ruel, a half-hour's ride from
the Arc de Triomphe, where sleeps Josephine, Empress of France.


    Shelley, beloved! the year has a new name from any thou knowest.
    When Spring arrives, leaves that you never saw will shadow the
    ground, and flowers you never beheld will star it, and the grass
    will be of another growth. Thy name is added to the list which
    makes the earth bold in her age, and proud of what has been.
    Time, with slow, but unwearied feet, guides her to the goal that
    thou hast reached; and I, her unhappy child, am advanced still
    nearer the hour when my earthly dress shall repose near thine,
    beneath the tomb of Cestius.
    --_Journal of Mary Shelley_

[Illustration: MARY SHELLEY]

When Emerson borrowed from Wordsworth that fine phrase about plain living
and high thinking, no one was more astonished than he that Whitman and
Thoreau should take him at his word. He was decidedly curious about their
experiment. But he kept a safe distance between himself and the
shirt-sleeved Walt; and as for Henry Thoreau--bless me! Emerson regarded
him only as a fine savage, and told him so. Of course, Emerson loved
solitude, but it was the solitude of a library or an orchard, and not the
solitude of plain or wilderness. Emerson looked upon Beautiful Truth as an
honored guest. He adored her, but it was with the adoration of the
intellect. He never got her tag in jolly chase of comradery; nor did he
converse with her, soft and low, when only the moon peeked out from behind
the silvery clouds, and the nightingale listened. He never laid himself
open to damages. And when he threw a bit of a bomb into Harvard Divinity
School it was the shrewdest bid for fame that ever preacher made.

I said "shrewd"--that's the word.

Emerson had the instincts of Connecticut--that peculiar development of men
who have eked out existence on a rocky soil, banking their houses against
grim Winter or grimmer savage foes. With this Yankee shrewdness went a
subtle and sweeping imagination, and a fine appreciation of the excellent
things that men have said and done. But he was never so foolish as to
imitate the heroic--he, simply admired it from afar. He advised others to
work their poetry up into life, but he did not do so himself. He never
cast the bantling on the rocks, nor caused him to be suckled with the
she-wolf's teat. He admired "abolition" from a distance. When he went away
from home it was always with a return ticket. He has summed up Friendship
in an essay as no other man ever has, and yet there was a self-protective
aloofness in his friendship that made icicles gather, as George William
Curtis has explained.

In no relation of his life was there a complete abandon. His "Essay on
Self-Reliance" is beef, iron and wine, and "Works and Days" is a tonic for
tired men; and yet I know that, in spite of all his pretty talk about
living near Nature's heart, he never ventured into the woods outside of
hallooing distance from the house. He could neither ride a horse, shoot,
nor sail a boat--and being well aware of it, never tried. All his farming
was done by proxy; and when he writes to Carlyle late in life, explaining
how he is worth forty thousand dollars, well secured by first mortgages,
he makes clear one-half of his ambition.

And yet, I call him master, and will match my admiration for him 'gainst
that of any other, six nights and days together. But I summon him here
only to contrast his character with that of another--another who, like
himself, was twice married.

In his "Essay on Love" Emerson reveals just an average sophomore insight;
and in his work I do not find a mention or a trace of influence exercised
by either of the two women he wedded, nor by any other woman. Shelley was
what he was through the influence of the two women he married.

Shelley wrecked the life of one of these women. She found surcease of
sorrow in death; and when her body was found in the Serpentine he had a
premonition that the hungry waves were waiting for him, too. But before
her death and through her death, she pressed home to him the bitterest
sorrow that man can ever know: the combined knowledge that he has mortally
injured a human soul and the sense of helplessness to minister to its
needs. Harriet Westbrook said to Shelley, drink ye all of it. And could he
speak now he would say that the bitterness of the potion was a formative
influence as potent as that of the gentle ministrations of Mary
Wollstonecraft, who broke over his head the precious vase of her heart's
love and wiped his feet with the hairs of her head.

In the poetic sweetness, gentleness, lovableness and beauty of their
natures, Emerson and Shelley were very similar. In a like environment they
would have done the same things. A pioneer ancestry with its struggle for
material existence would have given Shelley caution; and a noble
patronymic, fostered by the State, lax in its discipline, would have made
Emerson toss discretion to the winds.

Emerson and Shelley were both apostles of the good, the true and the
beautiful. One of them rests at Sleepy Hollow, his grave marked by a great
rough-hewn boulder, while overhead the winds sigh a requiem through the
pines. The ashes of the other were laid beneath the moss-grown wall of the
Eternal City, and the creeping vines and flowers, as if jealous of the
white, carven marble, snuggle close over the spot with their leaves and

Yet both of these men achieved immortality, for their thoughts live again
in the thoughts of the race, and their hopes and their aspirations mingle
and are one with the men and women of earth who think and feel and dream.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin who awoke in Shelley such a burst of
song that men yet listen to its cadence. It was she who gave his soul
wings: her gentle spirit blending with his made music that has enriched
the world. Without her he was fast beating out his life against the bars
of unkind condition, but together they worked and sang. All his lines were
recited to her, all were weighed in the critical balances of her woman's
judgment. She it was who first wrote it out, and then gave it back.
Together they revised; and after he had passed on, she it was who
collected the scattered leaves, added the final word, and gave us the book
we call "Shelley's Poems." Perhaps we might call all poetry the child of
parents, but with Shelley's poems this is literally true. Mary Shelley
delighted in the name Wollstonecraft. It was her mother's name; and was
not Mary Wollstonecraft the foremost intellectual woman of her day--a
woman of purpose, forceful yet gentle, appreciative, kind?

Mary Wollstonecraft was born in Seventeen Hundred Fifty-nine; and tiring
of the dull monotony of a country town went up to London when yet a child
and fought the world alone. By her own efforts she grew learned; she had
all science, all philosophy, all history at her fingers' ends. She became
able to speak several languages, and by her pen an income was secured that
was not only sufficient for herself, but ministered to the needs of an
aged father and mother and sisters as well.

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote one great book (which is all any one can write):
"A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." It sums up all that has since been
written on the subject. Like an essay by Herbert Spencer, it views the
matter from every side, anticipates every objection--exhausts the subject.
The literary style of Mary Wollstonecraft's book is Johnsonese, but its
thought forms the base of all that has come after. It is the
great-great-grandmother of all woman's clubs and these thousand efforts
that women are now putting forth along economic, artistic and social
lines. But we have nearly lost sight of Mary Wollstonecraft. Can you name
me, please, your father's grandmother? Aye, I thought not; then tell me
the name of the man who is now Treasurer of the United States!

And so you see we do not know much about other people, after all. But Mary
Wollstonecraft pushed the question of woman's freedom to its farthest
limit; I told you that she exhausted the subject. She prophesied a day
when woman would have economic freedom--that is, be allowed to work at any
craft or trade for which her genius fitted her and receive a proper
recompense. Woman would also have social freedom: the right to come and go
alone--the privilege of walking upon the street without the company of a
man--the right to study and observe. Next, woman would have political
freedom: the right to record her choice in matters of lawmaking. And
last, she would yet have sex freedom: the right to bestow her love without
prying police and blundering law interfering in the delicate relations of
married life.

To make herself understood. Mary Wollstonecraft explained that society was
tainted with the thought that sex was unclean; but she held high the ideal
that this would yet pass away, and that the idea of holding one's mate by
statute law would become abhorrent to all good men and women. She declared
that the assumption that law could join a man and a woman in holy wedlock
was preposterous, and that the caging of one person by another for a
lifetime was essentially barbaric. Only the love that is free and
spontaneous and that holds its own by the purity, the sweetness, the
tenderness and the gentleness of its life is divine. And further, she
declared it her belief that when a man had found his true mate such a
union would be for life--it could not be otherwise. And the man holding
his mate by the excellence that was in him, instead of by the aid of the
law, would be placed, loverlike, on his good behavior, and be a stronger
and manlier being. Such a union, freed from the petty, spying and
tyrannical restraints of present usage, must come ere the race could far

Mary Wollstonecraft's book created a sensation. It was widely read and
hotly denounced. A few upheld it: among these was William Godwin. But the
air was so full of taunt and threat that Miss Wollstonecraft thought best
to leave England for a time. She journeyed to Paris, and there wrote and
translated for certain English publishers. In Paris she met Gilbert Imlay,
an American, seemingly of very much the same temperament as herself. She
was thirty-six, he was somewhat younger. They began housekeeping on the
ideal basis. In a year a daughter was born to them. When this baby was
three months old, Imlay disappeared, leaving Mary penniless and

It was a terrible blow to this trusting and gentle woman. But after a good
cry or two, philosophy came to her rescue and she decided that to be
deserted by a man who did not love her was really not so bad as to be tied
to him for life. She earned a little money and in a short time started
back for England with her babe and scanty luggage--sorrowful, yet brave
and unsubdued. She might have left her babe behind, but she scorned the
thought. She would be honest and conceal nothing. Right must win.

Now, I am told that an unmarried woman with a babe at her breast is not
received in England into the best society. The tale of Mary's misfortune
had preceded her, and literary London laughed a hoarse, guttural guffaw,
and society tittered to think how this woman who had written so smartly
had tried some of her own medicine and found it bitter. Publishers no
longer wanted her work, old friends failed to recognize her, and one man
to whom she applied for work brought a rebuke upon his head, that lasted
him for years.

Godwin, philosopher, idealist, enthusiast and reformer, who made it his
rule to seek out those in trouble, found her and told a needless lie by
declaring he had been commissioned by a certain nameless publisher to get
her to write certain articles about this and that. Then he emptied his
pockets of all the small change he had, as an advance payment, and he
hadn't very much, and started out to find the publisher who would buy the
prospective "hot stuff." Fortunately he succeeded.

After a few weeks, Mr. Godwin, bachelor, aged forty, found himself very
much in love with Mary Wollstonecraft and her baby. Her absolute purity of
purpose, her frankness, honesty and high ideals surpassed anything he had
ever dreamed of finding incarnated in woman. He became her sincere lover;
and she, the discarded, the forsaken, reciprocated; for it seems that the
tendrils of affection, ruthlessly uprooted, cling to the first object that
presents itself.

And so they were married; yes, these two who had so generously repudiated
the marriage-tie were married March Twenty-ninth, Seventeen Hundred
Ninety-seven, at Old Saint Pancras Church, for they had come to the sane
conclusion that to affront society was not wise.

On August Thirtieth, in the year Seventeen Hundred Ninety-seven, was born
to them a daughter. Then the mother died--died did brave Mary
Wollstonecraft, and left behind a girl baby one week old. And it was this
baby, grown to womanhood, who became Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

       *       *       *       *       *

William Godwin wrote one great book: "Political Justice." It is a work so
high and noble in its outlook that only a Utopia could ever realize its
ideals. When men are everywhere willing to give to other men all the
rights they demand for themselves, and co-operation takes the place of
competition, then will Godwin's philosophy be not too great and good for
daily food. Among the many who read his book and thought they saw in it
the portent of a diviner day was one Percy Bysshe Shelley.

And so it came to pass that about the year Eighteen Hundred Thirteen, this
Percy Bysshe Shelley called on Godwin, who was living in a rusty, musty
tenement in Somerstown. The young man was twenty: tall and slender, with
as handsome a face as was ever given to mortal. The face was pale as
marble: the features almost feminine in their delicacy: thin lips,
straight nose, good teeth, abundant, curling hair, and eyes so dreamy and
sorrowful that women on the street would often turn and follow the "angel
soul garbed in human form."

This man Shelley was sick at heart, bereft, perplexed, in sore straits,
and to whom should he turn for advice in this time of undoing but to
Godwin, the philosopher! Besides, Godwin had been the husband of Mary
Wollstonecraft, and the splendid precepts of these two had nourished into
being all the latent excellence of the youth. Yes, he would go to Godwin,
the Plato of England!

And so he went to Godwin.

Now, this young man Shelley was of noble blood. His grandfather was Sir
Bysshe Shelley, Bart., and worth near three hundred thousand pounds, all
of which would some day come to our pale-faced youth. But the youth was a
republican--he believed in the brotherhood of man. He longed to benefit
his fellows, to lift them out of the bondage of fear, and sin, and
ignorance. After reading Hume, and Godwin, and Wollstonecraft, he had
decided that Christianity as defined by the Church of England was a
failure: it was only an organized fetish, kept in place by the State, and
devoid of all that thrills to noble thinking and noble doing.

And so young Shelley at Oxford had written a pamphlet to this end,
explaining the matter to the world.

A copy being sent to the headmaster of the school, young Shelley was
hustled off the premises in short order, and a note was sent to his father
requesting that the lad be well flogged and kept several goodly leagues
from Oxford.

Shelley the elder was furious that his son should so disgrace the family
name, and demanded he should write another pamphlet supporting the Church
of England and recanting all the heresy he had uttered. Young Percy
replied that conscience would not admit of his doing this. The father said
conscience be blanked: and further used almost the same words that were
used by Professor Jowett some years later to a certain skeptical youth.

Professor Jowett sent for the youth and said, "Young man, I am told that
you say you can not find God. Is this true?"

"Yes, sir," said the youth.

"Well, you will please find Him before eight o'clock tonight or get out of
this college."

Shelley was not allowed to return home, and moreover his financial
allowance was cut off entirely.

And so he wandered up to London and chewed the cud of bitter fancy,
resolved to starve before he would abate one jot or tittle of what he
thought was truth. And he might have starved had not his sisters sent him
scanty sums of money from time to time. The messenger who carried the
money to him was a young girl by the name of Harriet Westbrook, round and
smooth and pink and sixteen. Percy was nineteen. Harriet was the daughter
of an innkeeper and did not get along very well at home. She told Percy
about it, and of course she knew his troubles, and so they talked about it
over the gate, and mutually condoled with each other.

Soon after this Harriet had a fresh quarrel with her folks; and with the
tears yet on her pretty lashes ran straight to Shelley's lodging and
throwing herself into his arms proposed that they cease to fight unkind
Fate, and run away together and be happy ever afterward.

And so they ran away.

Shelley's father instanced this as another proof of depravity and said,
"Let 'em go!" The couple went to Scotland. In a few months they came back
from Scotland, because no one can really be happy away from home. Besides
they were out of money--and neither one had ever earned any money--and as
the Westbrooks were willing to forgive, even if the Shelleys were not,
they came back. But the Westbrooks were only willing to forgive in
consideration of Percy and Harriet being properly married by a clergyman
of the Church of England. Now, Shelley had not wavered in his
Godwin-Wollstonecraft theories, but he was chivalrous and Harriet was
tearful, and so he gracefully waived all private considerations and they
were duly married. It was a quiet wedding.

In a short time a baby was born.

Harriet was amiable, being healthy and having very moderate sensibilities.
She had no opinion on any subject, and in no degree sympathized with
Shelley's wild aspirations. She thought a title would be nice, and urged
that her husband make peace by renouncing his "infidelity." Literature was
silly business anyway, and folks should do as other folks did. If they
didn't, lawks-a-daisy! there was trouble!!

And so, with income cut off, banished from home, from school, out of
employment, with a wife who had no sympathy with him--who could not
understand him--whose pitiful weakness stung him and wrung him, he thought
of Godwin, the philosopher: for at the last philosophy is the cure for all
our ills.

Godwin was glad to see Shelley--Godwin was glad to see any one. Godwin was
fifty-five, bald, had a Socratic forehead, was smooth-cheeked, shabby and
genteel. Yes, Godwin was the author of "Political Justice"--but that was
written quite a while before, twenty years!

One of the girls was sent out for a quart of half-and-half, and the pale
visitor cast his eyes around this family room, which served for
dining-room, library and parlor. Godwin had married again--Shelley had
heard that, but he was a bit shocked to find that the great man who was
once mate to Mary Wollstonecraft had married a shrew. The sound of her
high-pitched voice convinced the visitor at once that she was a very
commonplace person.

There were three girls and a boy in the room, busy at sewing or reading.
None of them was introduced, but the air of the place was Bohemian, and
the conversation soon became general. All talked except one of the girls:
she sat reading, and several times when the young man glanced over her way
she was looking at him. Shelley stayed an hour, spending a very pleasant
time, but as he had no opportunity of stating his case to the philosopher
he made an engagement to call again.

As he groped his way downstairs and walked homewards he mused. The widow
Clairmont, whom Godwin had married, was a worldling, that was sure; her
daughter Jane was good-looking and clever, but both she and Charles, the
boy, were the children of their mother--he had picked them out
intuitively. The little young woman with brown eyes and merry ways was
Fanny Godwin, the first child of Mary Wollstonecraft and adopted daughter
of Godwin. The tall slender girl who was so very quiet was the daughter of
Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft.

"Ye gods, what a pedigree!" said Shelley.

The young man called again, and after explaining his situation was advised
to go back home and make peace with his wife and father at any cost of
personal intellectual qualms. Philosophy was all right; but life was one
thing and philosophy another. Live with Harriet as he had vowed to
do--love was a good deal glamour, anyway; write poetry, of course, if he
felt like it, but keep it to himself. The world was not to be moved by
enthusiastic youth. Godwin had tried it--he had been an enthusiastic youth
himself, and that was why he now lived in Somerstown instead of
Piccadilly. Move in the line of least resistance.

Shelley went away shocked and stunned. Going by Old Saint Pancras Church
he turned back to step in a moment and recover his scattered senses. He
walked through the cool, dim, old building, out into the churchyard, where
toppling moss-covered gray slabs marked the resting-places of the sleeping
dead. All seemed so cool and quiet and calm there! The dead are at rest:
they have no vexatious problems.

A few people were moving about, carelessly reading the inscriptions. The
young man unconsciously followed their example; he passed slowly along one
of the walks, scanning the stones. His eye fell upon the word
"Wollstonecraft," marked on a plain little slate slab. He paused and,
leaning over removed his hat and read, and then glancing just beyond, saw
seated on the grass--the tall girl. She held a book in her hands, but she
was looking at him very soberly. Their eyes met, and they smiled just a
little. The young man sat down on the turf on the other side of the grave
from the girl, and they talked of the woman by whose dust they watched:
and the young man found that the tall girl was an Ancestor-Worshiper and a
mystic, and moreover had a flight of soul that held him in awe. Besides,
in form and feature, she was rarely beautiful. She was quiet, but she
could talk.

The next day, as Percy Shelley strolled through the churchyard of Old
Saint Pancras, the tall girl was there again with her book, in the same

       *       *       *       *       *

When Shelley made that first call at the Godwins he was twenty. The three
girls he met were fifteen, sixteen and seventeen, respectively. Mary being
the youngest in years, but the most mature, she would have easily passed
for the oldest. Now, all three of these girls were dazzled by the beauty
and grace and intellect of the strange, pale-faced visitor.

He came to the house again and again during the next few months. All the
girls loved him violently, for that's the way girls under eighteen often
love. Mr. Godwin soon discovered the fact that all his girls loved
Shelley. They lost appetite, and were alternately in chills of fear and
fevers of ecstacy. Mr. Godwin, being a kind man and a good, took occasion
to explain to them that Mr. Shelley was a married man, and although it was
true he did not live on good terms with his wife, yet she was his lawful
wife, and marriage was a sacred obligation: of course, pure philosophy or
poetic justice took a different view, but in society the marriage-tie must
not be held lightly. In short, Shelley was married and that was all there
was about it.

Shelley still continued to call, coming via Saint Pancras Church. In a few
months, Mary confided to Jane that she and Shelley were about to elope,
and Jane must make peace and explain matters after they were gone.

Jane cried and declared she would go, too--she would go or die: she would
go as servant, scullion--anything, but go she would. Shelley was
consulted, and to prevent tragedy consented to Jane going as maid to Mary,
his well-beloved.

So the trinity eloped. It being Shelley's second elopement, he took the
matter a little more coolly than did the girls, who had never eloped
before. Having reached Dover, and while waiting at a hotel for the boat,
the landlord suddenly appeared and breathlessly explained to Shelley, "A
fat woman has just arrived and swears that you have run away with her

It was Mrs. Godwin.

The party got out by the back way and hired a small boat to take them to
Calais. They embarked in a storm, and after beating about all night, came
in sight of France the next morning as the sun arose.

Godwin was very much grieved and shocked to think that Shelley had broken
in upon established order and done this thing. But Shelley had read
Godwin's book and simply taken the philosopher at his word: "The impulses
of the human heart are just and right; they are greater than law, and must
be respected."

The runaways seemed to have had a jolly time in France as long as their
money lasted. They bought a mule to carry their luggage, and walked.
Jane's feet blistered, however, and they seated her upon the luggage upon
the mule, and as the author of "Queen Mab" led the patient beast, Mary
with a switch followed behind. After some days Shelley sprained his ankle,
and then it was his turn to ride while Mary led the mule and Jane trudged

Thus they journeyed for six weeks, writing poetry, discussing philosophy;
loving, wild, free and careless, until they came to Switzerland. One
morning they counted their money and found they had just enough to take
them to England.

Arriving in London the Godwins were not inclined to take them back, and
society in general looked upon them with complete disfavor.

Shelley's father was now fully convinced of his son's depravity, but doled
out enough money to prevent actual starvation. Shelley began to perceive
that any man who sets himself against the established order--the order
that the world has been thousands of years in building up--will be ground
into the dust. The old world may be wrong, but it can not be righted in a
day, and so long as a man chooses to live in society he must conform, in
the main, to society usages. These old ways that have done good service
all the years can not be replaced by the instantaneous process. If changed
at all they must change as man changes, and man must change first. It is
man that must be reformed, not custom.

Shelley and Mary Godwin were mates if ever such existed. In a year Mary
had developed from a child into splendid womanhood--a beautiful, superior,
earnest woman. By her own efforts, of course aided by Shelley (for they
were partners in everything), she became versed in the classics and delved
deeply into the literature of a time long past. Unlike her mother, Mary
Shelley could do no great work alone. The sensitiveness and the delicacy
of her nature precluded that self-reliant egoism which can create. She
wrote one book, "Frankenstein," which in point of prophetic and
allegorical suggestion stamps the work as classic: but it was written
under the immediate spell of Shelley's presence. Shelley also could not
work alone, and without her the world's disfavor must have whipped him
into insanity and death.

As it was they sought peace in love and Italy, living near Lord Byron in
great intimacy, and befriended by him in many ways.

But peace was not for Shelley. Calamity was at the door. He could never
forget how he had lifted Harriet Westbrook into a position for which she
was not fitted and then left her to flounder alone. And when word came
that Harriet had drowned herself, his cup of woe was full. Shortly before
this, Fanny Godwin had gone away with great deliberation, leaving an empty
laudanum-bottle to tell the tale.

On December Thirtieth, Eighteen Hundred Sixteen, Shelley and Mary Godwin
were married at Saint Mildred's Church, London. Both had now fully
concluded with Godwin that man owes a duty to the unborn and to society,
and that to place one's self in opposition to custom is at least very bad
policy. But although Shelley had made society tardy amends, society would
not forgive; and in a long legal fight to obtain possession of his
children, Ianthe and Charles, of whom Harriet was the mother, the Court of
Chancery decided against Shelley, on the grounds that he was "an unfit
person, being an atheist and a republican."

About this time was born little Allegra, "the Dawn," child of Lord Byron
and Jane Clairmont. Then afterwards came bickerings with Byron and threats
of a duel and all that.

Finally there was a struggle between Byron and Miss Clairmont for the
child: but death solved the issue and the beautiful little girl passed
beyond the reach of either.

And so we find Shelley's heart wrung by the sorrows of others and by his
own; and when Mary and he laid away in death their bright boy William and
their baby girl Clara, the Fates seemed to have done their worst. But man
seems to have a certain capacity for pain, and beyond this even God can
not go.

Shelley struggled on and with Mary's help continued to write.

Another babe was born and the world grew brighter. They were now on the
shores of the Mediterranean with a little group of enthusiasts who thought
and felt as they did. For the first time they realized that, after all,
they were a part of the world, and linked to the human race--not set off
alone, despised, forsaken.

Then to join their little community were coming Leigh Hunt and his
wife--Leigh Hunt, who had lain in prison for the right of free thought and
free speech. What a joy to greet and welcome such a man to their home!

And so Shelley, blithe and joyous, sailed away to meet his friend. But
Shelley never came back to his wife and baby boy. A few days after, the
waves cast his body up on the beach, and you know the rest--how the
faithful Trelawney and Byron made the funeral-pyre and reduced the body to

Mary was twenty-six years old then. She continued to live--to
live only in the memory of her Shelley and with the firm thought in her
mind that they would be united again. She seemed to exist but to care for
her boy, and to do as best she could the work that Shelley had left

The boy grew into a fine youth, and was as devoted to his mother as she
was to him. The title of the estate with all its vast wealth descended to
him, and together she lived out her days, tenderly cared for to the last,
dying in her son's arms, aged fifty-four.

She has told us that the first sixteen years of her life were spent in
waiting for her Shelley, eight years she lived with him in divinest
companionship, and twenty-eight years she waited and worked to prepare
herself to rejoin him.

       *       *       *       *       *


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