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Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers
Author: Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers



Memorial Edition

New York





    We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love that
    unites us; for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with
    which we expect the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and
    the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in
    all parts of the earth, and our friendly helpers in this foreign
    isle. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our
    friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all
    our innocent endeavors. If it may not, give us the strength to
    encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant
    in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune,
    and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.

                                                --_Vailima Prayers_


There is a libel leveled at the Scotch and encouraged, I am very sorry
to say, by Chauncey Depew, when he told of approaching the docks in
Glasgow and seeing the people on shore convulsed with laughter, and was
told that their mirth was the result of one of his jokes told the year
before, the point just being perceived.

Bearing on the same line we have the legend that the adage, "He laughs
best who laughs last," was the invention of a Scotchman who was
endeavoring to explain away a popular failing of his countrymen.

An adage seems to be a statement the reverse of which is true--or not.
In all the realm of letters, where can be found anything more
delightfully whimsical and deliciously humorous than James Barrie's
"Peter Pan"? And as a writer of exquisite humor, as opposed to English
wit, that other Scotchman, Robert Louis Stevenson, stands supreme.

To Robert Louis life was altogether too important a matter to be taken
seriously. The quality of fine fooling shown in the creation of a
mythical character called "John Libbel" remained with Stevenson to the
end of his days.

Stevenson never knew the value of money, because he was not brought up
to earn money. Very early he was placed on a small allowance, which he
found could be augmented by maternal embezzlements and the kindly
co-operation of pawnbrokers.

Once on a trip from home with his cousin he found they lacked just five
shillings of the required amount to pay their fare. They boarded the
train and paid as far as they could. The train stopped at Crewe fifteen
minutes for lunch. Lunch is a superfluity if you haven't the money to
pay for it--but stealing a ride in Scotland is out of the question.
Robert Louis hastily took a pair of new trousers from his valise and ran
up the main street of the town anxiously looking for a pawnshop. There
at the end of the thoroughfare he saw the three glittering, welcome
balls. He entered, out of breath, threw down the trousers and asked for
five shillings. "What name?" asked the pawnbroker. "John Libbel," was
the reply, given without thought. "How do you spell it?" "Two b's!"

He got the five shillings and hastened back to the station, where his
cousin Bob was anxiously awaiting him. Robert Louis did not have to
explain that his little run up the street was a financial success--that
much was understood. But what pleased him most was that he had
discovered a new man, a very important man, John Libbel, the man who
made pawnbrokers possible, the universal client of the craft. "You mean
patient, not client," interposed Bob.

Then they invented the word libbelian, meaning one with pawnbroker
inclinations. Libbelattos meant the children of John Libbel, and so it

The boys had an old font of type, and they busied themselves printing
cards for John Libbel, giving his name and supposed business and
address. These they gave out on the street, slipped under doors, or
placed mysteriously in the hands of fussy old gentlemen.

Finally the boys got to ringing doorbells and asking if John Libbel
lived within. They sought Libbel at hotels, stopped men on the street
and asked them if their name wasn't John Libbel, and when told no,
apologized profusely and declared the resemblance most remarkable.

They tied up packages of ashes or sawdust, very neatly labeled,
"Compliments of John Libbel," and dropped them on the street. This was
later improved on by sealing the package and marking it, "Gold Dust, for
Assayer's Office, from John Libbel." These packages would be placed
along the street, and the youthful jokers would watch from doorways and
see the packages slyly slipped into pockets, or if the finder were
honest he would hurry away to the Assayer's Office with his precious
find to claim a reward.

The end of this particular kind of fun came when the two boys walked
into a shop and asked for John Libbel. The clerk burst out laughing and
said, "You are the Stevenson boys who have fooled the town!" Jokes
explained cease to be jokes, and the young men sorrowfully admitted that
Libbel was dead and should be buried.

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Louis was an only son, and alternately was disciplined and then
humored, as only sons usually are.

His father was a civil engineer in the employ of the Northern Lights
Company, and it was his business to build and inspect lighthouses. At
his office used to congregate a motley collection of lighthouse-keepers,
retired sea-captains, mates out of a job--and with these sad dogs of the
sea little Robert used to make close and confidential friendships.

While he was yet a child he made the trip to Italy with his mother, and
brought back from Rome and from Venice sundry crucifixes, tear-bottles
and "Saint Josephs," all duly blessed, and these he sold to his
companions at so many whacks apiece. That is to say, the purchaser had
to pay for the gift by accepting on his bare hand a certain number of
whacks with a leather strap. If the recipient winced, he forfeited the

The boy was flat-chested and spindle-shanked and used to bank on his
physical weakness when lessons were to be evaded. He was two years at
the Edinburgh Academy, where he reduced the cutting of lectures and
recitations to a system, and substituted Dumas and Scott for more
learned men who prepared books for the sole purpose of confounding boys.

As for making an engineer of the young man, the stern, practical father
grew utterly discouraged when he saw mathematics shelved for Smollett.
Robert was then put to studying law with a worthy barrister.

Law is business, and to suppose that a young man who religiously spent
his month's allowance the day it was received, could make a success at
the bar shows the vain delusion that often fills the parental head.

Stevenson's essay, "A Defense of Idlers," shows how no time is actually
lost, not even that which is idled away. But this is a point that is
very hard to explain to ambitious parents.

The traditional throwing overboard of the son the day he is twenty-one,
allowing him to sink or swim, survive or perish, did not prevail with
the Stevensons. At twenty-two Robert Louis still had his one guinea a
month, besides what he could cajole, beg or borrow from his father and
mother. He grew to watch the mood of his mother, and has recorded that
he never asked favors of his father before dinner.

At twenty-three he sold an essay for two pounds, and referred gaily to
himself as "one of the most popular and successful essayists in Great
Britain." He was still a child in spirit, dependent upon others for
support. He looked like a girl with his big wide-open eyes and long
hair. As for society, in the society sense, he abhorred it and would
have despised it if he had despised anything. The soft platitudes of
people who win distinction by being nothing, doing nothing, and saying
nothing except what has been said before, moved him to mocking mirth.
From childhood he was a society rebel. He wore his hair long, because
society men had theirs cut close.

His short velvet coat, negligee shirt and wide-awake hat were worn for
no better reason. His long cloak gave him a look of haunting mystery,
and made one think of a stage hero or a robber you read of in books.
Motives are mixed, and foolish folks who ask questions about why certain
men do certain things, do not know that certain men do certain things
because they wish to, and leave to others the explanation of the whyness
of the wherefore.

People who always dress, talk and act alike do so for certain reasons
well understood, but the man who does differently from the mass is not
so easy to analyze and formulate.

The feminine quality in Robert Louis' nature shows itself in that he
fled the company of women, and with them held no converse if he could
help it. He never wrote a love-story, and once told Crockett that if he
ever dared write one it would be just like "The Lilac Sunbonnet."

Yet it will not do to call Stevenson effeminate, even if he was
feminine. He had a courage that outmatched his physique. Once in a cafe
in France, a Frenchman made the remark that the English were a nation of

The words had scarcely passed his lips before Robert Louis flung the
back of his hand in the Frenchman's face. Friends interposed and cards
were passed, but the fire-eating Frenchman did not call for his revenge
or apology--much to the relief of Robert Louis.

Plays were begun, stories blocked out, and great plans made by Robert
Louis and his cousin for passing a hawser to literature and taking it in

When Robert Louis was in his twenty-fourth year he found a copy of
"Leaves of Grass," and he and his cousin Bob reveled in what they called
"a genuine book." They heard that Michael Rossetti was to give a lecture
on Whitman in a certain drawing-room.

The young men attended, without invitation, and walked in coatless, just
as they had heard that Walt Whitman appeared at the Astor House in New
York, when he went by appointment to meet Emerson. After hearing
Rossetti discuss Whitman they got the virus fixed in their systems.

They walked up and down Princess Street in their shirt-sleeves, and saw
fair ladies blush and look the other way. Next they tried sleeveless
jerseys for street wear, and speculated as to just how much clothing
they would have to abjure before women would entirely cease to look at

       *       *       *       *       *

The hectic flush was upon the cheek of Robert Louis, and people said he
was distinguished. "Death admires me, even if the publishers do not," he
declared. The doctors gave orders that he should go South and he seized
upon the suggestion and wrote "Ordered South"--and started. Bob went
with him, and after a trip through Italy, they arrived at Barbizon to
see the scene of "The Angelus," and look upon the land of
Millet--Millet, whom Michael Rossetti called "The Whitman of Art."

Bob was an artist: he could paint, write, and play the flageolet. Robert
Louis declared that his own particular velvet jacket and big coat would
save him at Barbizon, even if he could not draw any to speak of. "In art
the main thing is to look the part--or else paint superbly well," said
Robert Louis.

The young men got accommodations at "Siron's." This was an inn for
artists, artists of slender means--and the patrons at Siron's held that
all genuine artists had slender means. The rate was five francs a day
for everything, with a modest pro-rata charge for breakage. The rules
were not strict, which prompted Robert Louis to write the great line,
"When formal manners are laid aside, true courtesy is the more rigidly
exacted." Siron's was an inn, but it was really much more like an
exclusive club, for if the boarders objected to any particular arrival,
two days was the outside limit of his stay. Buttinsky the bounder was
interviewed and the early coach took the objectionable one away

And yet no artist was ever sent away from Siron's--no matter how bad his
work or how threadbare his clothes--if he was a worker; if he really
tried to express beauty, all of his eccentricities were pardoned and his
pot-boiling granted absolution. But the would-be Bohemian, or the man in
search of a thrill, or if in any manner the party on probation suggested
that Madame Siron was not a perfect cook and Monsieur Siron was not a
genuine grand duke in disguise, he was interviewed by Bailley Bodmer,
the local headsman of the clan, and plainly told that escape lay in

At Siron's there were several Americans, among them being Whistler;
nevertheless Americans as a class were voted objectionable, unless they
were artists, or perchance would-bes who supplied unconscious
entertainment by an excess of boasting. Women, unless accompanied by a
certified male escort, were not desired under any circumstances. And so
matters stood when the "two Stensons" (the average Frenchman could not
say Stevenson) were respectively Exalted Ruler and Chief Councilor of

At that time one must remember that the chambermaid and the landlady
might be allowed to mince across the stage, but men took the leading
parts in life. The cousins had been away on a three-days' tramping tour
through the forest. When they returned they were informed that something
terrible had occurred--a woman had arrived: an American woman with a
daughter aged, say, fourteen, and a son twelve. They had paid a month in
advance and were duly installed by Siron. Siron was summoned and
threatened with deposition. The poor man shrugged his shoulders in
hopeless despair. Mon Dieu! how could he help it--the "Stensons" were
not at hand to look after their duties--the woman had paid for
accommodations, and money in an art colony was none too common! But
Bailley Bodmer--had he, too, been derelict? Bailley appeared, his
boasted courage limp, his prowess pricked.

He asked to have a man pointed out--any two or three men--and he would
see that the early stage should not go away empty. But a woman, a woman
in half-mourning, was different, and besides, this was a different
woman. She was an American, of course, but probably against her will.
Her name was Osbourne and she was from San Francisco. She spoke good
French and was an artist. One of the Stevensons sneezed; the other took
a lofty and supercilious attitude of indifference. It was tacitly
admitted that the woman should be allowed to remain, her presence being
a reminder to Siron of remissness, and to Bailley of cowardice.

So the matter rested, the Siron Club being in temporary disgrace, the
unpleasant feature too distasteful even to discuss. As the days passed,
however, it was discovered that Mrs. Osbourne did not make any demands
upon the Club. She kept her own counsel, rose early and worked late,
and her son and daughter were very well behaved and inclined to be
industrious in their studies and sketching.

It was discovered one day that Robert Louis had gotten lunch from the
Siron kitchen and was leading the Osbourne family on a little excursion
to the wood back of Rosa Bonheur's. Self-appointed scouts who happened
to be sketching over that way came back and reported that Mrs. Osbourne
was seen painting, while Robert Louis sat on a rock near by and told
pirate tales to Lloyd, the twelve-year-old boy. A week later Robert
Louis had one of his "bad spells," and he told Bob to send for Mrs.
Osbourne. Nobody laughed after this. It was silently and unanimously
voted that Mrs. Osbourne was a good fellow, and soon she was enjoying
all the benefits of the Siron Club. When a frivolous member suggested
that it be called the Siren Club he was met with an oppressive stillness
and black looks.

Mrs. Osbourne was educated, amiable, witty and wise. She evidently knew
humanity, and was on good terms with sorrow, although sorrow never
subdued her; what her history was nobody sought to inquire.

When she sketched, Robert Louis told pirate tales to Lloyd.

The Siron Club took on a degree of sanity that it had not known before.
Little entertainments were given now and then, where Mrs. Osbourne read
to the company from an unknown American poet, Joaquin Miller by name,
and Bob expounded Walt Whitman.

The Americans as a people evidently were not wholly bad--at least there
was hope for them. Bob began to tire of Barbizon, and finally went back
to Edinburgh alone. Arriving there he had to explain why Robert Louis
did not come too.

Robert Louis had met an American woman, and they seemed to like each
other. The parents of Robert Louis did not laugh: they were grieved.
Their son, who had always kept himself clear from feminine
entanglements, was madly, insanely, in love with a woman, the mother of
two grown-up children, and a married woman and an American at that--it
was too much!

Just how they expostulated and how much will never be known. They
declined to go over to France to see her, and they declined to have her
come to see them: a thing Mrs. Osbourne probably would not have done--at
that time, anyway.

But there was a comfort in this: their son was in much better health,
and several of his articles had been accepted by the great London

So three months went by, when suddenly and without notice Robert Louis
appeared at home, and in good spirits. As for Mrs. Osbourne, she had
sailed for America with her two children. And the elder Stevensons
breathed more freely.

       *       *       *       *       *

On August Tenth, Eighteen Hundred Seventy-nine, Robert Louis sailed from
Glasgow for New York on the steamship "Devonia." It was a sudden move,
taken without the consent of his parents or kinsmen. The young man wrote
a letter to his father, mailing it at the dock.

When the missive reached the father's hands, that worthy gentleman was
unspeakably shocked and terribly grieved. He made frantic attempts to
reach the ship before it had passed out of the Clyde and rounded into
the North Sea, but it was too late. He then sent two telegrams to the
Port of Londonderry, one to Louis begging him to return at once as his
mother was very sick, and the other message to the captain of the ship
ordering him to put the wilful son ashore bag and baggage.

The things we do when fear and haste are at the helm are usually wrong,
and certainly do not mirror our better selves.

Thomas Stevenson was a Scotchman, and the Scotch, a certain man has told
us, are the owners of a trinity of bad things--Scotch whisky, Scotch
obstinacy and Scotch religion. What the first-mentioned article has to
do with the second and the third, I do not know, but certain it is that
the second and the third are hopelessly intertwined--this according to
Ian MacLaren, who ought to know.

This obstinacy in right proportion constitutes will, and without will
life languishes and projects die a-borning. But mixed up with this
religious obstinacy is a goodly jigger of secretiveness, and in order to
gain his own point the religion of the owner does not prevent him from
prevarication. In "Margaret Ogilvie," that exquisite tribute to his
mother by Barrie, the author shows us a most religious woman who was
well up to the head of the Sapphira class. The old lady had been reading
a certain book, and there was no reason why she should conceal the fact.
The son suddenly enters and finds the mother sitting quietly looking out
of the window. She was suspiciously quiet. The son questions her
somewhat as follows:

"What are you doing, mother?"

"Nothing," was the answer.

"Have you been reading?"

"Do I look like it?"

"Why, yes--the book on your lap!"

"What book?"

"The book under your apron."

And so does this sweetly charming and deeply religious old lady prove
her fitness in many ways to membership in the liar's league. She
secretes, prevaricates, quibbles, lays petty traps and mouses all day
long. The Eleventh Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Snoop," evidently had
never been called to her attention, and even her gifted son is seemingly
totally unaware of it. So Thomas Stevenson, excellent man that he was,
turned to subterfuge, and telegraphed his runaway son that his mother
was sick, appealing to his love for his mother to lure him back.

However, children do not live with their forebears for nothing--they
know their parents just as well as their parents know them. Robert Louis
reasoned that it was quite as probable that his father lied as that his
mother was sick. He yielded to the stronger attraction--and stuck to the

He was sailing to America because he had received word that Fanny
Osbourne was very ill. Half a world divided them, but attraction to
lovers is in inverse ratio to the square of the distance. He must go to

She was sick and in distress. He must go to her. The appeals of his
parents--even their dire displeasure--the ridicule of relatives, all
were as naught. He had some Scotch obstinacy of his own. Every fiber of
his being yearned for her. She needed him. He was going to her!

Of course his action in thus sailing away to a strange land alone was a
shock to his parents. He was a man in years, but they regarded him as
but a child, as indeed he was. He had never earned his own living. He
was frail in body, idle, erratic, peculiar. His flashing wit and subtle
insight into the heart of things were quite beyond his parents--in this
he was a stranger to them. Their religion to him was gently amusing, and
he congratulated himself on not having inherited it. He had a pride,
too, but Graham Balfour said it was French pride, not the Scotch brand.
He viewed himself as a part of the passing procession. His own velvet
jacket and marvelous manifestations in neckties added interest to the
show. And that he admired his own languorous ways there is no doubt.

His "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" he declared in sober earnest, in which was
concealed a half-smile, was autobiography. And this is true, for all
good things that every writer writes are a self-confession.

Stevenson was a hundred men in one and "his years were anything from
sixteen to eighty," says Lloyd Osbourne in his "Memoirs." But when a
letter came from San Francisco saying Fanny Osbourne was sick, all of
that dilatory, procrastinating, gently trifling quality went out of his
soul and he was possessed by one idea--he must go to her!

The captain of the ship had no authority to follow the order of an
unknown person and put him ashore, so the telegram was given to the man
to whom it referred.

He read the message, smiled dreamily, tore it into bits and dropped it
on the tide. And the ship turned her prow toward America and sailed
away. So this was the man who had no firmness, no decision, no will!
Aye, heretofore he had only lacked a motive. Now love supplied it.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is life supplies the writer his theme. People who have not lived, no
matter how grammatically they may write, have no real message. Robert
Louis had now severed the umbilical cord. He was going to live his own
life, to earn his own living. He could do but one thing, and that was to
write. He may have been a procrastinator in everything else, but as a
writer he was a skilled mechanic. And so straightway on that ship he
began to work his experiences up into copy. Just what he wrote the world
will never know, for although the manuscript was sold to a publisher,
yet Barabbas did not give it to the people. There are several ways by
which a publisher can thrive.

To get paid for not publishing is easy money--it involves no risk. In
this instance an Edinburgh publisher bought the manuscript for thirty
pounds, intending to print it in book form, showing the experience of a
Scotchman in search of a fortune in New York.

In order to verify certain dates and data, the publisher submitted the
manuscript to Thomas Stevenson. Great was that gentleman's interest in
the literary venture of his son. He read with a personal interest, for
he was the author of the author's being. But as he read he felt that he
himself was placed in a most unenviable light, for although he was not
directly mentioned, yet the suffering of the son on the emigrant ship
seemed to point out the father as one who disregarded his parental
duties. And above all things Thomas Stevenson prided himself on being a
good provider. Thomas Stevenson straightway bought the manuscript from
the publisher for one hundred pounds.

On hearing of the fate of his book, Robert Louis intimated to his father
that thereafter it would be as well for them to deal direct with each
other and thus save the middleman's profits.

However, the father and son got together on the manuscript question some
years later, and the over-sensitive parent was placated by striking out
certain passages that might be construed as aspersions, and a few direct
complimentary references inserted, and the printer got the book on
payment of two hundred pounds. The transaction turned out so well that
Thomas Stevenson said, "I told you so," and Robert Louis saw the patent
fact that hindsight, accident and fear sometimes serve us quite as well
as insight and perspicacity, not to mention perspicuity. We aim for one
target and hit the bull's-eye on another. We sail for a certain port,
where, unknown to us, pirates lie in wait, and God sends His storms and
drives us upon Treasure Island. There we load up with ingots; the high
tide floats us, and we sail away for home with our unearned increment to
tell the untraveled natives how we most surely are the people and that
wisdom will die with us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Louis was a sick man. The ship was crowded and the fare and
quarters were far from being what he always had been used to. The people
he met in the second cabin were neither literary nor artistic, but some
of them had right generous hearts. On being interrogated by one of his
messmates as to his business, Robert Louis replied that he was a
stone-mason. The man looked at his long, slim, artistic fingers and knew
better, but he did not laugh.

He respected this young man with the hectic flush, reverenced his secret
whatever it might be, and smuggled delicacies from the cook's galley for
the alleged stone-mason. "Thus did he shovel coals of fire on my head
until to ease my heart I called him aft one moonlight night and told him
I was no stone-mason, and begged him to forgive me for having sought to
deceive one of God's own gentlemen." Meantime, every day our emigrant
turned out a little good copy, and this made life endurable, for was it
not Robert Louis himself who gave us this immortal line, "I know what
pleasure is, for I have done good work"?

He was going to her. Arriving in New York he straightway invested two
good dollars in a telegram to San Francisco, and five cents in postage
on a letter to Edinburgh. These two things done he would take time to
rest up for a few days in New York. One of the passengers had given him
the address of a plain and respectable tavern, where an honest laborer
of scanty purse could find food and lodging. This was Number Ten West

Robert Louis dare not trust himself to the regular transfer-company, so
he listened to the siren song of the owner of a one-horse express-wagon
who explained that the distance to Number Ten West Street was something
to be dreaded, and that five dollars for the passenger and his two tin
boxes was like doing it for nothing. The money was paid; the boxes were
loaded into the wagon, and Robert Louis seated upon one of them, with a
horse-blanket around him, in the midst of a pouring rain, the driver
cracked his whip and started away. He drove three blocks to the
starboard and one to port, and backed up in front of Number Ten West
Street, which proved to be almost directly across the street from the
place where the "Devonia" was docked. But strangers in a strange country
can not argue--they can only submit.

The landlord looked over the new arrival from behind the bar, and then
through a little window called for his wife to come in from the kitchen.
The appearance of the dripping emigrant who insisted in answer to their
questions that he was not sick, and that he needed nothing, made an
appeal to the mother-heart of this wife of an Irish saloonkeeper.

Straightway she got dry clothes from her husband's wardrobe for the poor
man, and insisted that he should at once go to his room and change the
wet garments for the dry ones. She then prepared him supper which he ate
in the kitchen, and choked for gratitude when this middle-aged, stout
and illiterate woman poured his tea and called him "dear heart."

She asked him where he was going and what he was going to do. He dare
not repeat the story that he was a stone-mason--the woman knew he was
some sort of a superior being, and his answer that he was going out West
to make his fortune was met by the Irish-like response, "And may the
Holy Mother grant that ye find it."

It is very curious how gentle and beautiful souls find other gentle and
beautiful souls even in barrooms, and among the lowly--I really do not
understand it! In his book Robert Louis paid the landlord of Number Ten
West Street such a heartfelt compliment that the traditions still invest
the place, and the present landlord is not forgetful that his
predecessor once entertained an angel unawares.

When the literary pilgrim enters the door, scrapes his feet on the
sanded floor, and says "Robert Louis Stevenson," the barkeeper and
loafers straighten up and endeavor to put on the pose and manner of
gentlemen and all the courtesy, kindness and consideration they can
muster are yours. The man who could redeem a West Street barkeeper and
glorify a dock saloon must indeed have been a most remarkable

[Illustration: FANNY OSBOURNE]

       *       *       *       *       *

To get properly keelhauled for his overland emigrant trip across the
continent, Robert Louis remained in New York three days. The kind
landlady packed a big basket of food--not exactly the kind to tempt the
appetite of an invalid, but all flavored with good-will, and she also at
the last moment presented him a pillow in a new calico pillowcase that
has been accurately described, and the journey began.

There was no sleeping-car for the author of "A Lodging for the Night."
He sat bolt upright and held tired babies on his knees, or tumbled into
a seat and wooed the drowsy god. The third night out he tried sleeping
flat in the aisle of the car on the floor until the brakeman ordered him
up, and then two men proposed to fight the officious brakeman if he did
not leave the man alone. To save a riot Robert Louis agreed to obey the
rules. It was a ten-day trip across the continent, filled with
discomforts that would have tried the constitution of a strong man.

Robert Louis arrived "bilgy," as he expressed it, but alive. Mrs.
Osbourne was better. The day she received the telegram was the
turning-point in her case.

The doctor perceived that his treatment was along the right line, and
ordered the medicine continued.

She was too ill to see Robert Louis--it was not necessary, anyway. He
was near and this was enough. She began to gain. Just here seems a good
place to say that the foolish story to the effect that Mr. Osbourne was
present at the wedding and gave his wife away has no foundation in fact.
Robert Louis never saw Mr. Osbourne and never once mentioned his name to
any one so far as we know. He was a mine-prospector and speculator,
fairly successful in his work. That he and his wife were totally
different in their tastes and ambitions is well understood. They whom
God has put asunder no man can join together.

The husband and wife had separated, and Mrs. Osbourne went to France to
educate her children--educate them as far from their father as possible.
Also, she wished to study art on her own account. So, blessed be
stupidity--and heart-hunger and haunting misery that drive one out and

She returned to California to obtain legal freedom and make secure her
business affairs. There are usually three parties to a divorce, and this
case was no exception. It is a terrible ordeal for a woman to face a
divorce-court and ask the State to grant her a legal separation from the
father of her children. Divorce is not a sudden, spontaneous affair--it
is the culmination of a long train of unutterable woe. Under the storm
and stress of her troubles Mrs. Osbourne had been stricken with fever.
Sickness is a result, and so is health.

When Robert Louis arrived in San Francisco Mrs. Osbourne grew better. In
a few months she pushed her divorce case to a successful conclusion.

Mr. Osbourne must have been a man with some gentlemanly instincts, for
he made no defense, provided a liberal little fortune for his former
family, and kindly disappeared from view.

Robert Louis did desultory work on newspapers in San Francisco and later
at Monterey, with health up and down as hope fluctuated. In the interval
a cablegram had come from his father saying, "Your allowance is two
hundred and fifty pounds a year." This meant that he had been forgiven,
although not very graciously, and was not to starve.

Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Osbourne were married May Tenth,
Eighteen Hundred Eighty. "The Silverado Squatters" shows how to spend a
honeymoon in a miner's deserted cabin, a thousand miles from nowhere.
The Osbourne children were almost grown, and were at that censorious age
when the average youngster feels himself capable of taking mental and
moral charge of his parents.

But these children were different; then, they had a different mother,
and as for Robert Louis, he certainly was a different proposition from
that ever evolved from creation's matrix. He belongs to no class, evades
the label, and fits into no pigeonhole.

The children never called him "father": he was always "Louis"--simply
one of them. He married the family and they married him. He had captured
their hearts in France by his story-telling, his flute-playing and his
skilful talent with the jackknife. Now he was with them for all time,
and he was theirs. It was the most natural thing in the world.

Mrs. Stevenson was the exact opposite of her husband in most things. She
was quick, practical, accurate, and had a manual dexterity in a
housekeeping way beyond the lot of most women. With all his
half-invalid, languid, dilettante ways, Robert Louis adored the man or
woman who could do things. Perhaps this was why his heart went out to
those who go down to the sea in ships, the folk whose work is founded
not on theories, but on absolute mathematical laws.

In their fourteen years of married life, Robert Louis never tired of
watching Fanny at her housekeeping. "To see her turn the flapjacks by a
simple twist of the wrist is a delight not soon to be forgotten, and my
joy is to see her hanging clothes on the line in a high wind."

The folks at home labored under the hallucination that Robert Louis had
married "a native Californian," and to them a "native" meant a
half-breed Indian. The fact was that Fanny was born in Indiana, but this
explanation only deepened the suspicion, for surely people who lived in
Indiana are Indians--any one would know that! Cousin Robert made
apologies and explanations, although none was needed, and placed himself
under the ban of suspicion of being in league to protect Robert Louis,
for the fact that the boys had always been quite willing to lie for
each other had been very well known.

Mrs. Stevenson made good all that Robert Louis lacked. In physique she
was small, but sturdy and strong.

Mentally she was very practical, very sensible, very patient. Then she
had wit, insight, sympathy and that fluidity of spirit which belongs
only to the Elect Few who know that nothing really matters much either
way. Such a person does not contradict, set folks straight as to dates,
and shake the red rag of wordy warfare, even in the interests of truth.

Then keeping house on Silverado Hill was only playing at "keep-house,"
and the way all hands entered into the game made it the genuine thing.
People who keep house in earnest or do anything else in dead earnest are
serious, but not sincere. Sincere people are those who can laugh--even
laugh at themselves--and thus are they saved from ossification of the
heart and fatty degeneration of the cerebrum. The Puritans forgot how to
play, otherwise they would never have hanged the witches or gone after
the Quakers with fetters and handcuffs. Uric acid and crystals in the
blood are bad things, but they are worse when they get into the soul.

That most delightful story of "Treasure Island" was begun as a tale for
Lloyd Osbourne, around the evening campfire. Then the hearers begged
that it be written out, and so it was begun, one chapter a day. As fast
as a chapter was written it was read in the evening to an audience that
hung on every word and speculated as to what the characters would do
next. All applauded, all criticized--all made suggestions as to what was
"true," that is to say, as to what the parties actually did and said.
"Treasure Island" is the best story of adventure ever written, and if
anybody knows a better recipe for story-writing than the plan of writing
just for fun, for some one else, it has not yet been discovered.

The miracle is that Robert Louis the Scotchman should have been so
perfectly understood and appreciated by this little family from the
other side of the world.

The Englishman coming to America speaks a different language from
ours--his allusions, symbols, aphorisms belong to another sphere. He
does not understand us, nor we him. But Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny
Osbourne must have been "universals," for they never really had to get
acquainted: they loved the same things, spoke a common language, and
best of all recognized that what we call "life" isn't life at the last,
and that an anxious stirring, clutching for place, pelf and power is not
nearly so good in results as to play the flute, tell stories and keep
house just for fun.

The Stevenson spirit of gentle raillery was well illustrated by Mrs.
Strong in an incident that ran somewhat thus: A certain boastful young
person was telling of a funeral where among other gorgeous things were
eight "pallberries."

Said Mrs. Stevenson in admiration, "Just now, a-think, pallberries at a
funeral; how delightful!" "My dear," said Robert Louis, reprovingly,
"you know perfectly well that we always have pallberries at our funerals
in Samoa."

"Quite true, my dear, provided it is pallberry season."

"And suppose it is not pallberry season, do we not have them tinted?"

"Yes, but there is a tendency to pick them green--that is awful!"

"But not so awful as to leave them on the bushes until they get rotten."

Finck in his fine book, "Romantic Love and Personal Beauty," says that
not once in a hundred thousand times do you find man and wife who have
reached a state of actual understanding.

Incompatibility comes from misunderstanding and misconstruing motives,
and more often, probably, attributing motives where none exists. And
until a man and a woman comprehend the working of each other's mind and
"respect the mood," there is no mental mating, and without a mental
mating we can talk of rights and ownership, but not of marriage.

The delight of creative work lies in self-discovery: you are mining
nuggets of power out of your own cosmos, and the find comes as a great
and glad surprise. The kindergarten baby who discovers he can cut out a
pretty shape from colored paper, and straightway wants to run home to
show mamma his find, is not far separated from the literary worker who
turns a telling phrase, and straightway looks for Her, to read it to
double his joy by sharing it. Robert Louis was ever discovering new
beauties in his wife and she in him. Eliminate the element of surprise
and anticipate everything a person can do or say, and love is a mummy.
Thus do we get the antithesis--understanding and surprise.

Marriage worked a miracle in Robert Louis; suddenly he became
industrious. He ordered that a bell should be tinkled at six o'clock
every morning or a whistle blown as a sign that he should "get away,"
and at once he began the work of the day. More probably he had begun it
hours before, for he had the bad habit of the midnight brain. Kipling
calls Robert Louis our only perfect artist in letters--the man who filed
down to a hair.

Robert Louis knew no synonyms; for him there was the right word and none
other. He balanced the sentence over and over on his tongue, tried and
tried again until he found the cadence that cast the prophetic purple
shadow--that not only expressed a meaning, but which tokened what would

He was always assiduously graceful, always desiring to present his idea
in as persuasive a light as possible, and with as much harmony as
possible. That self-revelatory expression of Stevenson's is eminently
characteristic of the man: "I know what pleasure is, for I have done
good work."

"Treasure Island" opened the market for Stevenson, and thereafter there
was a steadily increasing demand for his wares.

Health came back; and the folks at home seeing that Robert Louis was
getting his name in the papers, and noting the steady, triumphant tone
of sanity in all he wrote, came to the conclusion that his marriage was
not a failure.

       *       *       *       *       *

Above all men in the realm of letters Robert Louis had that peculiar and
divine thing called "charm." To know him was to love him, and those who
did not love him did not know him.

This welling grace of spirit was also the possession of his wife.

In his married life Stevenson was always a lover, never the loved. The
habit of his mind is admirably shown in these lines:

             TO MY WIFE

    Trusty, dusky, vivid, true,
    With eyes of gold and bramble dew,
    Steel true and blade straight,
    The Great Artisan made my mate.

    Honor, courage, valor, fire,
    A love that life could never tire,
    Death quench nor evil stir,
    The Mighty Master gave to her.

    Teacher, pupil, comrade, wife,
    A fellow-farer true through life,
    Heart-whole and soul free,
    The august Father gave to me.

Edmund Gosse gives a pen-picture of Stevenson thus:

    I came home dazzled with my new friend, saying as Constance does of
    Arthur, "Was ever such a gracious creature born?" That impression of
    ineffable mental charm was formed the first moment of acquaintance,
    about Eighteen Hundred Seventy-seven, and it never lessened or
    became modified. Stevenson's rapidity in the sympathetic interchange
    of ideas was, doubtless, the source of it. He has been described as
    an "egotist," but I challenge the description. If ever there was an
    altruist it was Louis Stevenson; he seemed to feign an interest in
    himself merely to stimulate you to be liberal in your confidences.
    Those who have written about him from later impressions than those
    of which I speak seem to me to give insufficient prominence to the
    gaiety of Stevenson. It was his cardinal quality in those early
    days. A childlike mirth leaped and danced in him; he seemed to skip
    the hills of life. He was simply bubbling with quips and jest; his
    inherent earnestness or passion about abstract things was
    incessantly relieved by jocosity; and when he had built one of his
    intellectual castles in the sand, a wave of humor was certain to
    sweep in and destroy it. I can not, for the life of me, recall any
    of his jokes; and written down in cold blood, they might not seem
    funny if I did. They were not wit so much as humanity, the
    many-sided outlook upon life. I am anxious that his laughter-loving
    mood should not be forgotten, because later on it was partly
    quenched by ill health, responsibility and the advance of years. He
    was often, in the old days, excessively, delightfully silly--silly
    with the silliness of an inspired schoolboy; I am afraid our
    laughter sometimes sounded ill in the ears of age.

       *       *       *       *       *

A visit to Scotland and the elders capitulated, apologized, and asked
for quarter. So delighted was Thomas Stevenson with Lloyd Osbourne that
he made the boy his chief heir, and declared in the presence of Robert
Louis that he only regretted that his own son was never half so likely a
lad. To which Robert Louis made reply, "Genius always skips one

Health had come to Robert Louis in a degree he had never before known.
He also had dignity and a precision such as his parents and kinsmen had
despaired of seeing in one so physically and mentally vacillating.

Stevenson was once asked by a mousing astrologer to state the date of
his birth. Robert Louis looked at his wife soberly and slowly answered,
"May Tenth, Eighteen Hundred Eighty." And not even a smile crossed the
countenance of either. Each understood.

That the nature of Stevenson was buoyed up, spiritualized, encouraged
and given strength by his marriage, no quibbler has ever breathed the
ghost of a doubt. His wife supplied him the mothering care that gave his
spirit wing. He loved her children as his own, and they reciprocated the
affection in a way that embalms their names in amber forevermore.

When Robert Louis, after a hemorrhage, sat propped up in bed, forbidden
to speak, he wrote on a pad with pencil: "Mr. Dumbleigh presents his
compliments and praises God that he is sick so he has to be cared for by
two tender, loving fairies. Was ever a man so blest?"

Again he begins the day by inditing a poem, "To the bare, brown feet of
my wife and daughter dear." And this, be it remembered, was after the
bare, brown feet had been running errands for him for thirteen years.
And think you that women so loved, and by such a man, would not fetch
and carry and run and find their highest joy in ministering to him? If
he were thrice blest in having them, as he continually avowed, how about
them? It only takes a small dole of love when fused with loyalty to win
the abject, doglike devotion of a good woman. On the day of his death
Stevenson said to his wife, "You have already given me fourteen years of
life." And this is the world's verdict--fourteen years of life and love,
and without these fourteen years the name and fame of Robert Louis
Stevenson were writ in water; with them "R. L. S." has been cut deep in
the granite of time, but better still, the gentle spirit of Stevenson
lives again in the common heart of the world in lives made better.


    Admitting my inexperience, I must say that I think the instinct for
    beauty and all the desire to produce beautiful things, which you and
    Goethe refer to as the "Art Impulse," is a kind of sex quality, not
    unlike the song of birds or their beautiful plumage.

                               --_Josiah Wedgwood to Doctor Erasmus Darwin_

[Illustration: JOSIAH WEDGWOOD]

Once upon a day a financial panic was on in Boston. Real estate was
rapidly changing hands, most all owners making desperate efforts to
realize. Banks which were thought to be solvent and solid went soaring
skyward, and even collapsed occasionally, with a loud, ominous, R. G.
Dun report. And so it happened that about this time Henry Thoreau
strolled out of his cabin and looking up at the placid moon, murmured,
"Moonshine, after all, is the only really permanent thing we possess."

This is the first in the series of twelve love-stories--or "tales of
moonshine," to use the phrase of Thomas Carlyle.

In passing, let us note the fact that the doughty Thomas was not a
lover, and he more than once growled out his gratitude in that he had
never lost either his head or his heart, for men congratulate themselves
on everything they have, even their limitations. Thomas Carlyle was not
a lover.

A great passion is a trinitarian affair. And I sometimes have thought it
a matter of regret, as well as of wonder, that a strong man did not
appear on the scene and fall in love with the winsome Jeannie Welsh.
Conditions were ripe there for a great drama. I know it would have
blown the roof off that little house in Cheyne Row, but it might have
crushed the heart of Thomas Carlyle and made him a lover, indeed. After
death had claimed Jeannie as a bride, the fastnesses of the old Sartor
Resartus soul were broken up, and Carlyle paced the darkness, crying
aloud, "Oh, why was I cruel to her?" He manifested a tenderness toward
the memory of the woman dead which the woman alive had never been able
to bring forth.

Love demands opposition and obstacle. It is the intermittent or
obstructed current that gives power.

The finest flowers are those transplanted; for transplanting means
difficulty, a readjusting to new conditions, and through the effort put
forth to find adjustment does the plant progress. Transplanted men are
the ones who do the things worth while, and transplanted girls are the
only ones who inspire a mighty passion. Audrey transplanted might have
evolved into a Nell Gwynn or a Lady Hamilton.

In such immortal love-stories as Romeo and Juliet, Tristram and Isolde,
and Paolo and Francesca, a love so mad in its wild impetus is pictured
that it dashes itself against danger; and death for the lovers, we feel
from the beginning, is the sure climax when the curtain shall fall on
the fifth act.

The sustained popular interest in these tragedies proves that the
entranced auditors have dabbled in the eddies, so they feel a fervent
interest in those hopelessly caught in the current, and from the snug
safety of the parquette live vicariously their lives and the loves that
might have been.

But let us begin with a life-story, where love resolved its "moonshine"
into life, and justified itself even to stopping the mouths of certain
self-appointed censors, who caviled much and quibbled overtime. Here is
a love so great that in its beneficent results we are all yet

       *       *       *       *       *

About all the civilization England has she got from the Dutch; her
barbarisms are all her own. It was the Dutch who taught the English how
to print and bind books and how to paint pictures.

It was the Dutch who taught the English how to use the potter's wheel
and glaze and burn earthenware. Until less than two hundred years ago,
the best pottery in use in England came from Holland. It was mostly made
at Delft, and they called it Delftware.

Finally they got to making Delftware in Staffordshire. This was about
the middle of the Eighteenth Century. And it seems that, a little before
this time, John Wesley, a traveling preacher, came up this way on
horseback, carrying tracts in his saddlebags, and much love in his
heart. He believed that we should use our religion in our life--seven
days in the week, and not save it up for Sunday. In ridicule, some one
had called him a "Methodist," and the name stuck.

John Wesley was a few hundred years in advance of his time. He is the
man who said, "Slavery is the sum of all villainies." John Wesley had a
brother named Charles, who wrote hymns, but John did things. He had
definite ideas about the rights of women and children, also on
temperance, education, taxation and exercise, and whether his followers
have ever caught up with him, much less gone ahead of him, is not for
me, a modest farmer, to say.

In the published "Journal of John Wesley," is this: "March 8, 1760.
Preached at Burslem, a town made up of potters. The people are poor,
ignorant, and often brutal, but in due time the heart must be moved
toward God, and He will enlighten the understanding."

And again: "Several in the congregation talked out loud and laughed
continuously. And then one threw at me a lump of potter's clay that
struck me in the face, but it did not disturb my discourse."

This whole section was just emerging out of the Stone Age, and the
people were mostly making stoneware. They worked about four days in a
week. The skilful men made a shilling a day--the women one shilling a
week. And all the money they got above a meager living went for folly.
Bear-baiting, bullfighting and drunkenness were the rule. There were
breweries at Staffordshire before there were potteries, but now the
potters made jugs and pots for the brewers.

These potters lived in hovels, and, what is worse, were quite content
with their lot. In the potteries women often worked mixing the mud, and
while at work wore the garb of men.

Wesley referred to the fact of the men and women dressing alike, and
relates that once a dozen women wearing men's clothes, well plastered
with mud, entered the chapel where he was preaching, and were urged on
by the men to affront him and break up the meeting.

Then comes this interesting item: "I met a young man by the name of J.
Wedgwood, who had planted a flower-garden adjacent to his pottery. He
also had his men wash their hands and faces and change their clothes
after working in the clay. He is small and lame, but his soul is near to

I think that John Wesley was a very great man. I also think he was great
enough to know that only a man who is in love plants a flower-garden.

Yes, such was the case--Josiah Wedgwood was in love, madly, insanely,
tragically in love! And he was liberating that love in his work. Hence,
among other forms that his "insanity" took, he planted a flower-garden.

And of course, the garden was for the lady he loved.

Love must do something--it is a form of vital energy and the best thing
it does, it does for the beloved. Flowers are love's own properties. And
so flowers, natural or artificial, are a secondary sex manifestation.

I said Josiah Wedgwood was tragically in love--the word was used
advisedly. One can play comedy; two are required for melodrama; but a
tragedy demands three.

A tragedy means opposition, obstacle, objection. Josiah Wedgwood was
putting forth a flower-garden, not knowing why, possibly, but as a form
of attraction. And John Wesley riding by, reined in, stopped and after
talking with the owner of the flower-garden wrote, "He is small and
lame, but his soul is near to God."

       *       *       *       *       *

Josiah Wedgwood, like Richard Arkwright, his great contemporary, was the
thirteenth child of his parents.

Let family folk fear no more about thirteen being an unlucky number. The
common law of England, which usually has some good reason based on
commonsense for its existence, makes the eldest son the heir: this on
the assumption that the firstborn inherits brain and brawn plus. If the
firstborn happened to be a girl, it didn't count.

The rest of the family grade down until we get "the last run of shad."
But Nature is continually doing things just as if to smash our theories.
The Arkwrights and the Wedgwoods are immortal through Omega and not

Thomas Wedgwood, the father of Josiah, was a potter who made butter-pots
and owned a little pottery that stood in the yard behind the house. He
owned it, save for a mortgage, and when he died, he left the mortgage
and the property to his eldest son Thomas, to look after.

Josiah was then nine years old, but already he was throwing clay on the
potter's wheel. It would not do to say that he was clay in the hand of
the potter, for while the boys of his age were frolicking through the
streets of the little village of Burslem where he lived, he was learning
the three R's at his mother's knee.

I hardly suppose we can speak of a woman who was the mother of thirteen
children before she was forty, and taking care of them all without a
servant, as highly cultivated. Several of Josiah's brothers and sisters
never learned to read and write, for like Judith Shakespeare, the
daughter of William, they made their mark: which shows us that there are
several ways of turning that pretty trick. Children born of the same
parents are not necessarily related to each other, nor to their parents.

Mary Wedgwood, Josiah's mother, wrote for him his name in clay, and some
years after he related how he copied it a hundred times every day for a
week, writing with a stick in the mud.

Lame children or weakly ones seem to get their quota of love all right,
so let us not feel sorry for them--everything is equalized.

When Josiah was fourteen he could write better than either his mother or
his brother Thomas; for we have the signatures of all three appended to
an indenture of apprenticeship, wherein Josiah was bound to his brother
Thomas for five years. The youngster was to be taught the "mystery,
trade, occupation and secrets of throwing and handling clay, and also
burning it." But the fact was that as he was born in the pottery and had
lived and worked in it, and was a most alert and impressionable child,
he knew quite as much about the work as his brother Thomas, who was
twenty years older. Years are no proof of ability.

At nineteen, Josiah's apprenticeship to his brother expired. "I have my
trade, a lame leg and the marks of smallpox--and I never was
good-looking, anyway," he wrote in his commonplace-book.

The terrific attack of smallpox that he had undergone had not only
branded his face, but had left an inflammation in his right knee that
made walking most difficult. This difficulty was no doubt aggravated by
his hard work turning the potter's wheel with one foot. During the
apprenticeship the brother had paid him no wages, simply "booarde,
meate, drink and cloatheing."

Now he was sick, lame and penniless. His mother had died the year
before. He was living with his brothers and sisters, who were poor, and
felt that he was more or less of a burden to them and to the world: the
tide was at ebb. And about this time it was that Richard Wedgwood,
Esquire, from Cheshire, came over to Burslem on horseback. Richard has
been mentioned as a brother of Thomas, the father of Josiah, but the
fact seems to be that they were cousins.

Richard was a gentleman in truth, if not in title. He had made a fortune
as a cheesemonger and retired. He went to London once a year, and had
been to Paris. He was decently fat, was senior warden of his village
church, and people who knew their business addressed him as Squire. The
whole village of Burslem boasted only one horse and a mule, but Squire
Wedgwood of Cheshire owned three horses, all his own. He rode only one
horse though, when he came to Burslem, and behind him, seated on a
pillion, was his only and motherless daughter Sarah, aged fourteen,
going on fifteen, with dresses to her shoe-tops.

He brought her because she teased to come, and in truth he loved the
girl very much and was extremely proud of her, even if he did reprove
her more than was meet. But she usually got even by doing as she

Now they were on their way to Liverpool and just came around this way

And among others on whom they called were the Wedgwood potters. In the
kitchen, propped up on a bench, with his lame leg stretched out before
him, sat Josiah, worn, yellow and wan, all pitted with smallpox-marks.
The girl looked at the young man and asked him how he got hurt--she was
only a child. Then she asked him if he could read. And she was awful
glad he could, because to be sick and not to be able to read was awful!

Her father had a copy of Thomson's "Seasons" in his saddlebags. She went
and got the book and gave it to Josiah, and told her father about it
afterward. And when the father and daughter went away, the girl stroked
the sick boy's head, and said she hoped he would get well soon. She
would not have stroked the head of one of those big, burly potters; but
this potter was different--he was wofully disfigured, and he was sick
and lame. Woman's tenderness goes out to homely and unfortunate
men--read your Victor Hugo!

And Josiah--he was speechless, dumb--his tongue paralyzed! The room swam
and then teetered up and down, and everything seemed touched with a
strange, wondrous light. And in both hands Josiah Wedgwood tenderly held
that precious copy of James Thomson's "Seasons."

       *       *       *       *       *

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty, just one hundred years after John Wesley
visited Burslem, Gladstone came here and gave an address on the founding
of the Wedgwood Memorial Institute.

Among other things said in the course of his speech was this: "Then
comes the well-known smallpox, the settling of the dregs of the disease
in the lower part of the leg, and the eventual amputation of the limb,
rendering him lame for life. It is not often that we have such palpable
occasion to record our obligations to calamity. But in the wonderful
ways of Providence, that disease which came to him as a twofold scourge
was probably the occasion of his subsequent excellence. It prevented him
from growing up to be the active, vigorous workman, possessed of all his
limbs, and knowing right well the use of them; but it put him upon
considering whether, as he could not be that, he might not be something
else, and something greater. It sent his mind inward; it drove him to
meditate upon the laws and secrets of his art. The result was that he
arrived at a perception and grasp of them which might, perhaps, have
been envied, certainly have been owned, by an Athenian potter.
Relentless criticism has long since torn to pieces the old legend of
King Numa receiving in a cavern, from the nymph of Egeria, the laws
which were to govern Rome. But no criticism can shake the record of that
illness and that mutilation of the boy Josiah Wedgwood, which made a
cavern of his bedroom, and an oracle of his own inquiring, searching,
meditative mind."

You remember how that great and good man, Richard Maurice Bucke, once
said, "After I had lost my feet in the Rocky Mountain avalanche, I lay
for six weeks in a cabin, and having plenty of time to think it over, I
concluded that, now my feet were gone, I surely could no longer depend
upon them, so I must use my head." And he did.

The loss of an arm in a sawmill was the pivotal point that gave us one
of the best and strongest lawyers in Western New York. And heaven knows
we need good lawyers: the other kind are so plentiful!

Gladstone thought it was smallpox that drove Josiah Wedgwood to books
and art. But other men have had the smallpox--bless me!--and they never
acquired much else.

Josiah kept Thomson's "Seasons" three months, and then returned it to
Sarah Wedgwood, with a letter addressing her as "Dear Cousin." You will
find it set down in most of the encyclopedias that she was his cousin,
but this seems to be because writers of encyclopedias are literalists,
and lovers are poets.

Josiah said he returned the book for two reasons: first, inasmuch as he
had committed it to memory, he no longer needed it; second, if he sent
it back, possibly another book might be sent him instead. Squire
Wedgwood answered this letter himself, and sent two books, with a good,
long letter of advice about improving one's time, and "not wasting life
in gambling and strong drink, as most potters do."

Six months had passed since the Squire and his daughter had been to
Burslem. Josiah was much better. He was again at work in the pottery.
And now, instead of making brown butter-crocks and stone jugs all of the
time, he was experimenting in glazes. In fact, he had made a little
wooden workbox and covered it over with tiny pieces of ornamental
"porcelain" in a semi-transparent green color, that he had made himself.
And this pretty box he sent to Sarah. Unfortunately, the package was
carried on horseback in a bag by the mail-carrier, and on the way the
horse lay down, or fell down and rolled on the mail-bag, reducing the
pretty present to fragments. When the wreck was delivered to Sarah, she
consulted with her father about what should be done.

We ask advice, not because we want it, but because we wish to be backed
up in the thing we desire to do.

Sarah wrote to Josiah, acknowledging receipt of the box, praising its
beauty in lavish terms, but not a word about the condition in which it
arrived. A few weeks afterward the Squire wrote on his own account and
sent ten shillings for two more boxes--"just like the first, only
different." Ten shillings was about what Josiah was getting for a
month's work.

Josiah was now spending all of his spare time and money in
experimenting with new clays and colors, and so the ten shillings came
in very handy.

He had made ladles, then spoons, and knife-handles to take the place of
horn, and samples of all his best work he sent on to his "Uncle

His brother Thomas was very much put out over this trifling. He knew no
way to succeed, save to stick to the same old ways and processes that
had always been employed. Josiah chafed under the sharp chidings of his
brother, and must have written something about it to Sarah, for the
Squire sent some of the small wares made by Josiah over to Sheffield to
one of the big cutlers, and the cutler wrote back saying he would like
to engage the services of so talented a person as the young man who
could make a snuffbox with beautiful leaves modeled on it. Thomas
Wedgwood, however, refused to allow his brother to leave, claiming the
legal guardianship over him until he was twenty-one. From this we assume
that Josiah's services were valuable.

Josiah had safely turned his twenty-first year before he decided to go
down to Cheshire and see his Uncle Richard. He had anticipated the visit
for weeks, but now as he was on the verge of starting he was ready to
back out. A formal letter of excuse and apology was written, but never
dispatched. On the appointed day, Josiah was duly let down from the
postman's cart at the gate of Squire Wedgwood, Spen Green, Cheshire.
The young woman who came down the steps to meet him at the gate might
indeed be Sarah Wedgwood, but she wasn't the same little girl who had
ridden over to Burslem on a pillion behind her father! She was tall,
slender, and light of step. She was a dream of grace and beauty, and her
presence seemed to fill the landscape. Over Josiah's being ran a bitter
regret that he had come at all. He looked about for a good place to
hide, then he tried to say something about "how glad I am to be here,"
but there was a bur on his tongue and so he stammered, "The roads are
very muddy." In his pocket he had the letter of regret, and he came near
handing it to her and climbing into the postman's cart that still stood

He started to go through the gate, and the postman coughed, and asked
him for his fare. When the fare was paid, Josiah felt sure that Sarah
thought he had tried to cheat the poor postman.

He protested to her that he hadn't, in a strange falsetto voice that was
not his own.

As they walked toward the house, Josiah was conscious he was limping,
and as he passed his hand over his forehead he felt the pockmarks stand
out like moles.

And she was so gracious and sprightly and so beautiful! He knew she was
beautiful, although he really had not looked at her; but he realized the
faint perfume of her presence, and he knew her dress was a light
blue--the color of his favorite glaze.

He decided he would ask her for a sample of the cloth that he might make
her a plate just like it.

When they were seated on the veranda, over which were climbing-roses,
the young lady addressed him as "Mr. Wedgwood," whereas in her letters
she had called him "Dear Cousin" or "Josiah."

It was now Sarah's turn to be uncomfortable, and this was a great relief
to him. He felt he must put her at ease, so he said, "These roses would
look well on a platter--I will model one for you when I go home." This
helped things a little, and the girl offered to show him the garden.
There were no flowers in Burslem. People had no time to take care of

And just then the Squire appeared, bluff, bold and hearty, and soon
everything was all right. That evening the young lady played for them on
the harpsichord; the father told stories and laughed heartily at them
because nobody else did; and Josiah seated in a dim corner recited pages
from Thomson's "Seasons," and the next day was frightened at his

       *       *       *       *       *

When Josiah returned to Burslem, it was with the firm determination that
he must get away from his brother and branch out for himself. That he
loved Sarah or had any idea of wedding her, he was not conscious. Yet
her life to him was a great living presence, and all of his plans for
the future were made with her in mind. Brown butter-crocks were
absolutely out of the question! It was blue plates, covered with vines
and roses, or nothing; and he even had visions of a tea-set covered with
cupids and flying angels.

In a few weeks we find Josiah over near Sheffield making knife-handles
for a Mr. Harrison, an ambitious cutler. Harrison lacked the art spirit
and was found too mercenary for our young man, who soon after formed a
partnership with a man named Whieldon, "to make tortoise-shell and ivory
from ground flint and other stones by processes secret to said
Wedgwood." Whieldon furnished the money and Wedgwood the skill. Up to
this time the pottery business in England had consisted in using the
local clays. Wedgwood invented a mill for grinding stone, and
experimented with every kind of rock he could lay his hands on.

He also became a skilled modeler, and his success at ornamenting the
utensils and pretty things they made caused the business to prosper. In
a year he had saved up a hundred pounds of his own. This certainly was
quite a fortune, and Sarah had written him, "I am so proud of your
success--we all predict for you a great future."

Such assurances had a sort of undue weight with Josiah, for we find him
not long after making bold to call on Squire Wedgwood on "a matter of
most important business."

The inspired reader need not be told what that business was. Just let it
go that the Squire told Josiah he was a fool to expect that the only
daughter of Richard Wedgwood, Esquire, retired monger in Cheshire
cheese, should think of contracting marriage with a lame potter from
Burslem. Gadzooks! The girl would some day be heiress to ten thousand
pounds or so, and the man she would marry must match her dowry, guinea
for guinea. And another thing: a nephew of Lord Bedford, a rising young
barrister of London, had already asked for her hand.

To be a friend to a likely potter wasn't the same as asking him into the

Josiah's total sum of assurance had been exhausted when he blurted out
his proposal to the proud father; there was now nothing he could do but
to grow first red and then white. He was suppressed, undone, and he
could not think of a thing to say, or an argument to put forth. The air
seemed stifling. He stumbled down the steps and started down the road as
abruptly as he had appeared.

What he would do or where he would go were very hazy propositions in
his mind. He limped along and had gone perhaps a mile. Things were
getting clearer in his mind. His first decision as sanity returned was
that he would ask the first passer-by which way it was to the river.

Now he was getting mad. "A Burslem potter!" that is what the Squire
called him, and a lame one at that! It was a taunt, an epithet, an
insult! To call a person a Burslem potter was to accuse him of being
almost everything that was bad.

The stage did not go until the next day--Josiah had slackened his pace
and was looking about for an inn. He would get supper first anyway, and
then the river--it would only be one Burslem potter less.

And just then there was a faint cry of "Oh, Josiah!" and a vision of
blue. Sarah was right there behind him, all out of breath from running
across the meadows. "Oh, Josiah--I--I just wanted to say that I hate
that barrister! And then you heard papa say that you must match my
dowry, guinea for guinea--I am sorry it is so much, but you can do it,
Josiah, you can do it!"

She held out her hand and Josiah clutched and twisted it, and then
smacked at it, but smacked into space.

And the girl was gone! She was running away from him. He could not hope
to catch her--he was lame, and she was agile as a fawn. She stepped upon
a stile that led over through the meadow, and as she stood there she
waved her hand, and Josiah afterward thought she said, "Match my dowry,
guinea for guinea, Josiah: you can do it, you can do it." Just an
instant she stood there, and then she ran across the meadow and
disappeared amid the oaks.

An old woman came by and saw him staring at the trees, but he did not
ask her the way to the river.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a shy youth, Josiah Wedgwood had evolved into a man of affairs, and
was surely doing a man's work. He had spent about five years making
curious earthenware ornaments for the Sheffield cutlers; and then with
full one thousand pounds he had come back to Burslem and started
business on his own account. He had read and studied and worked, and he
had evolved. He was an educated man; that is to say, he was a competent
and useful man. He determined to free Burslem from the taint that had
fallen upon it. "Burslem?" he once wrote to Sarah, "Burslem? the name
shall yet be a symbol of all that is beautiful, honest and true; we
shall see! I am a potter--yes, but I'll be the best one that England has
ever seen."

And the flower-garden was one of the moves in the direction of

Occasionally, Josiah made visits to Cheshire, riding forty miles on
horseback, for he now had horses of his own. The roads in Spring and
Winter were desperately bad, but Josiah by persistent agitation had
gotten Parliament to widen and repair, at the expense of several hundred
pounds, the road between Lawton in Cheshire to Cliffe Bank at

And it so happened that this was the road which led from where Wedgwood
lived to where lived his lady-love. Josiah and Sarah had many a smile
over the fact that Cupid had taken a hand in road-building. Evidently
Dan Cupid is a very busy and versatile individual.

Sarah was her father's housekeeper. She had one brother, a young man of
meager qualities. These two were joint heirs to their father's estate of
something over twenty thousand pounds. Josiah and Sarah thought what a
terrible blow it would be if this brother should die and Sarah thus have
her dowry doubled!

The Squire depended upon Sarah in many ways. She wrote his letters and
kept his accounts; and his fear for her future was founded on a selfish
wish not to lose her society and services, quite as much as a solicitude
for her happiness.

For a year after Josiah had exploded his bombshell by asking Squire
Richard for his daughter's hand, the lover was forbidden the house.

Then the Squire relaxed so far that he allowed Josiah and Sarah to meet
in his presence. And finally there was a frank three-cornered
understanding. And that was that, when Josiah could show that he had ten
thousand pounds in his own name, the marriage would take place. This
propensity on the part of parents to live their children's lives is very
common. Few be the parents and very great are they who can give liberty
and realize that their children are only loaned to them. I fear we
parents are prone to be perverse and selfish.

Josiah and Sarah reviewed their status from all sides. They could have
thrown the old gentleman overboard entirely and cut for Gretna Green,
but that would have cost them an even ten thousand pounds. It would
also have secured the Squire's enmity, and might have caused him a fit
of apoplexy. And surely, as it was, the lovers were not lost to each
other. To wed is often fatal to romance; but it is expecting too much to
suppose that lovers will reason that too much propinquity is often worse
than obstacle. The road between them was a good one--the letter-carrier
made three trips a week, and an irascible parent could not stop dreams,
nor veto telepathy, even if he did pass a law that one short visit a
month was the limit.

Lovers not only laugh at locksmiths, but at most everything else. Josiah
and Sarah kept the line warm with a stream of books, papers, manuscripts
and letters. By meeting the mail-carrier a mile out of the village, the
vigilant Squire's censorship was curtailed by Sarah to reasonable

And so the worthy Richard had added the joys of smuggling to the natural
sweets of a grand passion. In thus giving zest to the chase, no thanks,
however, should be sent his way. Even stout and stubborn old gentlemen
with side-whiskers have their uses.

And it was about this time that John Wesley came to Burslem and was
surprised to find a flower-garden in a community of potters. He looked
at the flowers, had a casual interview with the owner and wrote, "His
soul is near to God."

       *       *       *       *       *

Wedgwood knew every part of his business. He modeled, made designs,
mixed clay, built kilns, and at times sat up all night and fed fuel into
a refractory furnace. Nothing was quite good enough--it must be better.
And to make better pottery, he said, we must produce better people. He
even came very close to plagiarizing Walt Whitman by saying, "Produce
great people--the rest follows!"

Wedgwood instituted a class in designing and brought a young man from
London to teach his people the rudiments of art.

Orders were coming in from nobility for dinner-sets, and the English
middle class, instead of dipping into one big pot set in the center of
the table, were adopting individual plates.

Knives and forks came into use in England about the time of Good Queen
Bess, who was only fairly good. Sir Walter Raleigh, who never posted
signs reading, "No Smoking," records, "Tiny forks are being used to
spear things at table, instead of the thumb-and-finger method sanctified
by long use." But until the time of Wedgwood a plate and a cup for each
person at the table was a privilege only of the nobility, and napkins
and finger-bowls were on the distant horizon.

Wedgwood had not only to educate his workmen, but he had also to educate
the public. But he made head. He had gotten a good road to Cheshire, and
an equally good one to Liverpool, and was shipping crockery in large
quantities to America. Occasionally, Wedgwood taught the designing
classes, himself. As a writer he had developed a good deal of facility,
for three love-letters a week for five years will educate any man. To
know the right woman is a liberal education. Wedgwood also had given
local addresses on the necessity of good roads, and the influence of a
tidy back-yard on character.

He was a little past thirty years old, sole owner of a prosperous
business and was worth pretty near the magic sum of ten thousand pounds.

Squire Wedgwood had been formally notified to come over to Burslem and
take an inventory. He came, coughed and said that pottery was only a
foolish fashion, and people would soon get enough of it. Richard felt
sure that common folks would never have much use for dishes.

On being brought back to concrete reasons, he declared that his
daughter's dowry had increased, very much increased, through wise
investments of his own. The girl had a good home--better than she would
have at Burslem. The man who married her must better her condition,
etc., etc.

It seems that Josiah and Sarah had a little of the good Semitic instinct
in their make-up. The old gentleman must be managed; the dowry was too
valuable to let slip. They needed the money in their business, and had
even planned just what they would do with it. They were going to found
a sort of Art Colony, where all would work for the love of it, and where
would take place a revival of the work of the Etruscans. As classic
literature had been duplicated, and the learning of the past had come
down to us in books, so would they duplicate in miniature the statues,
vases, bronzes and other marvelous beauty of antiquity.

And the name of the new center of art was chosen--it should be
"Etruria." It was a great dream; but then lovers are given to dreams: in
fact, they have almost a monopoly on the habit!

       *       *       *       *       *

Great people have great friends. Wedgwood had a friend in Liverpool
named Bentley. Bentley was a big man--a gracious, kindly, generous,
receptive, broad, sympathetic man. Your friend is the lengthened shadow
of yourself.

Bentley was both an artist and a businessman. Bentley had no quibble or
quarrel with himself, and therefore was at peace with the world; he had
eliminated all grouch from his cosmos. Bentley began as Wedgwood's
agent, and finally became his partner, and had a deal to do with the
evolution of Etruria.

When Bentley opened a showroom in London and showed the exquisite,
classic creations of Flaxman and the other Wedgwood artists, carriages
blocked the streets, and cards of admission had to be issued to keep
back the crowds. Bentley dispatched a messenger to Wedgwood with the
order, "Turn every available man on vases--London is vase mad!"

A vase, by the way, is a piece of pottery that sells for from one to ten
shillings; if it sells for more than ten shillings, you should pronounce
it vawse.

On the ninth of January, Seventeen Hundred Sixty-four, Wedgwood wrote
Bentley this letter: "If you know my temper and sentiments on these
affairs, you will be sensible how I am mortified when I tell you I have
gone through a long series of bargain-making, of settlements,
reversions, provisions and so on. 'Gone through it,' did I say? Would to
Hymen that I had! No! I am still in the attorney's hands, from which I
hope it is no harm to pray, 'Good Lord, Deliver me!' Sarah and I are
perfectly agreed, and would settle the whole affair in three minutes;
but our dear papa, over-careful of his daughter's interest, would by
some demands which I can not comply with, go near to separate us if we
were not better determined.

"On Friday next, Squire Wedgwood and I are to meet in great form, with
each of us our attorney, which I hope will prove conclusive. You shall
then hear further from your obliged and very affectionate friend, Josiah

On January Twenty-ninth, Sarah and Josiah walked over to the little
village of Astbury, Cheshire, and were quietly married, the witnesses
being the rector's own family, and the mail-carrier. Just why the latter
individual was called in to sign the register has never been explained,
but I imagine most lovers can. He surely had been "particeps criminis"
to the event.

And so they were married, and lived happily afterward. Josiah was
thirty-four, and Sarah twenty-nine when they were married. The ten years
of Laban service was not without its compensation. The lovers had lived
in an ideal world long enough to crystallize their dreams.

In just a year after the marriage a daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs.
Josiah Wedgwood, and they called her name Susannah.

And Susannah grew up and became the mother of Charles Darwin, the
greatest scientist the world has ever produced.

Writers of romances have a way of leaving their lovers at the
church-door, a cautious and wise expedient, since too often love is one
thing and life another. But here we find a case where love was worked
into life. From the date of his marriage Wedgwood's business moved
forward with never a reverse nor a single setback.

When Wedgwood and Bentley were designated "Potters to the Queen," and
began making "queensware," coining the word, they laid the sure
foundation for one of the greatest business fortunes ever accumulated in

Two miles from Burslem, they built the little village of Etruria--a
palpable infringement on the East Aurora caveat. And so the dream all
came true, and in fact was a hundred times beyond what the lovers had
ever imagined.

Sarah's brother accommodatingly died a few years after her marriage, and
so she became sole heiress to a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, and
this went to the building up of Etruria.

Wedgwood, toward the close of his life, was regarded as the richest man
in England who had made his own fortune. And better still, he was rich
in intellect and all those finer faculties that go into the making of a
great and generous man.

Twenty-two years after his marriage, Wedgwood wrote to his friend Lord
Gower: "I never had a great plan that I did not submit to my wife. She
knew all the details of the business, and it was her love for the
beautiful that first prompted and inspired me to take up Grecian and
Roman Art, and in degree, reproduce the Classic for the world. I worked
for her approval, and without her high faith in me I realize that my
physical misfortunes would have overcome my will, and failure would have
been written large where now England has carved the word Success."


    If children are to be educated to understand the true principle of
    patriotism, their mother should be a patriot; and the love of
    mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues springs, can only be
    produced by considering the moral and civil interest of the race.
    Woman should be prepared by education to become the companion of
    man, or she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be
    common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its
    influence on general practise.

                                                 --_Mary Wollstonecraft_

[Illustration: WILLIAM GODWIN]

Others may trace the love-tales of milkmaids and farmhands; I deal with
the people who have made their mark upon the times; people who have
tinted the world's thought-fabric and to whose genius we are all heirs.
And the reason the story of their love is vital to us is because their
love was vital to them. Thought is born of parents, and literature is
the child of married minds. So this, then, is the love-story of William
Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft.

History and literature are very closely related. If one sets down the
chief events in political history, and over against these writes the
names of the radical authors and orators of the time, he can not but be
convinced that literature leads, and soldiers and politicians are
puppets tossed on the tide of time. A thought, well expressed, is a bomb
that explodes indefinitely.

Two men, Rousseau and Voltaire, lighted the fuse that created the
explosion known as the French Revolution. Luther's books and sermons
brought about the Reformation.

Thomas Paine's little book, "The Crisis," of which half a million copies
were printed and distributed from Virginia to Maine, stirred the
Colonists to the sticking-point; and George Washington, who was neither
a writer nor an orator, paid "Letters and Truth" the tribute of saying,
"Without the pamphlets of Thomas Paine the hearts and minds of the
people would never have been prepared to respond to our call for
troops." No one disputes now that it was a book written by a woman, of
which a million copies were sold in the North, that prepared the way for
Lincoln's call for volunteers.

Literature and oratory are arsenals that supply the people their
armament of reasons. And through the use and exercise of these borrowed
reasons, we learn to create new ones for ourselves. Thinkers prepare the
way for thinkers, and every John the Baptist uttering his cry in the
wilderness is heard.

And the fate of John the Baptist, and the fate of the Man whom he
preceded, are typical of the fate of all who are bold enough to carry
the standard of revolt into the camp of the entrenched enemy. The Cross
is a mighty privilege; and only the sublimely great are able to pay the
price at which hemlock is held.

Buddha said that the finest word in any language is "Equanimity." This
is a paradox, and like every paradox implies that the reverse is equally
true. Equanimity in the face of opposition, steadfastness in time of
stress, and wise and useful purpose, are truly godlike.

And there is only one thing worth fighting for, talking for, or writing
for; and all literature and all oratory have this for their central
theme--Freedom. It was only Freedom that could lure Cincinnatus from his
plow or Lincoln from his law-office.

And so Mary Wollstonecraft's book, "The Rights of Woman," was the first
strong, earnest, ringing word on the subject. She summed up the theme
once and for all, just as an essay by Herbert Spencer anticipates and
answers every objection, exhausting the theme. And that the author had a
whimsical touch of humor in her composition is shown in that she
dedicates the book to that Prince of Woman-Haters, "Talleyrand, Late
Bishop of Autun."

"Political Justice," by William Godwin, was published in Seventeen
Hundred Ninety-three. The work, on its first appearance, created a
profound impression among English thinking people, although orthodoxy
has almost succeeded in smothering it in silence since John Stuart Mill
declared that this book created an epoch and deserved to rank with
Milton's "Speech for Unlicensed Printing," Locke's "Essay on Human
Understanding" or Jean Jacques' "Emile." That it was a positive force in
Mill's own life he always admitted.

However, it is only within our own time--only, in fact, since Eighteen
Hundred Seventy-six--that the views of Godwin as expressed in "Political
Justice" have been adopted by the spirit of Christendom. Godwin believed
in the perfectibility of the race, and proved that man's career has
been a constant movement forward. That is, there never was a "Fall of
Man." Man has always fallen upward, and when he has kicked the ball it
has always been toward the goal. Godwin believed that it was well to
scan the faults of our fellows closely, in order to see, forsooth,
whether they are not their virtues. The belief that mankind should by
nature tend to evil, he considered absurd and unscientific, for the
strongest instinct in all creation is self-preservation; and that
certain men should love darkness rather than light was mainly because
governments and religions have warped man's nature through oppression
and coercion until it no longer acts normally. "Normal man seeks the
light, just as the flowers do. Man, if not too much interfered with,
will make for himself the best possible environment and create for his
children right conditions because the instinct for peace and liberty is
deeply rooted in his nature. Control by another has led to revolt, and
revolt has led to oppression, and oppression occasions grief and
deadness: hence bruises and distortion follow. When we view humanity, we
behold not the true and natural man, but a deformed and pitiable
product, undone by the vices of those who have sought to improve on
Nature by shaping his life to feed the vanity of a few and minister to
their wantonness. In our plans for social betterment, let us hold in
mind the healthy and unfettered man, and not the cripple that
interference and restraint have made."

Godwin, like Robert Ingersoll, was the son of a clergyman, which reminds
me that liberal thought is under great obligations to the clergy, since
their sons, taught by antithesis, are often shining lights of
radicalism. Godwin was a non-resistant, philosophic anarchist. He was
the true predecessor of George Eliot, Walt Whitman, Henry Thoreau and
Leo Tolstoy, and the best that is now being expressed from advanced
Christian pulpits harks back to him. All that the foremost of our
contemporary thinkers have written and said was suggested and touched
upon by William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, with like conclusions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carnegie is credited with this: "There is only one generation between
shirt-sleeves and shirt-sleeves." Now, the grandfather of Mary
Wollstonecraft was an employing-weaver who did his work so well that his
wares commanded a price.

He grew rich, and when he died he left a fortune of some thirty thousand
pounds, not being able to take it with him. This fortune descended to
his eldest son.

Samuel Johnson thought the law of primogeniture a most excellent thing,
since it insured there being only one fool in the family. The
Wollstonecraft boys who had no money went to work, and in taking care of
themselves became strong, sturdy and prosperous men. The one who
succeeded to the patrimony was at first a gentleman, then a
shabby-genteel, and at forty his time was taken up with schemes to dodge
the debtors' prison, and with plans to pay off the National Debt; for it
seems that men who can not manage their own affairs are not deterred
thereby from volunteering to look after those of the nation.

It appears, also, that Mr. Wollstonecraft wrote a book entitled, "How to
Command Success," and by its sale hoped to retrieve the fortune now
lost--but alas! he ran in debt to the printer and finally sold the
copyright to that worthy for five shillings, and on the proceeds got
plain drunk.

The family moved as often as landlords demanded, which was about every
three months. There were three girls in the family--Mary, Everina and
Eliza--all above the average in intelligence. Whether there is any such
thing in Nature as justice for the individual is a question, but cosmic
justice is beyond cavil. The stupidity of a parent is often a very
precious factor in the evolution of his children. He teaches them by
antithesis. So if a man can not be useful and strong, all is not lost:
he can still serve humanity as a horrible example--like the honest hobo
who volunteered to pay the farmer for his dinner by acting as a
scarecrow. Children of drunkards make temperance fanatics; and those who
have a shiftless father stand a better chance of developing into
financiers than if they had a parent who would set them up in business,
stand between them and danger, and meet the deficit.

Women married to punk husbands need not be discouraged, nor should
husbands with nagging wives be cast down, for was it not Emerson who
said, "It is better to be a nettle in the side of your friend than his

Thus do all things work together for good, whether you love the Lord or

The Wollstonecraft family traversed London with their handcart, from
Chelsea to East End; they also roamed through Essex, Yorkshire and Kent.
When matters became strained they fell back on London, paid one month's
rent in advance and then stayed three, when their goods and chattels
were gently landed on the curb, and the handcart came in handy.

As the girls grew up they worked at weaving, served as house-girls and
nurses, and finally Mary became a governess in the family of Lord
Kingsborough, an Irish nobleman. This gave her access to her employer's
library, and she went at it as a hungry colt enters a clover-field. Not
knowing how long her good fortune would last, she eagerly improved her
time. She wrote frequent letters to her sisters, telling what she was
doing and what she was reading. She was eminently superior to any of the
females in the family, and acknowledged it. A tutor in the house taught
her French; and whether the nobleman's children learned much or not, we
do not know, but Mary soon equaled her teacher.

Knowledge is a matter of desire.

The next year the Wollstonecraft girls opened a private school, a kind
of "Young Ladies' Establishment," quite on the Mrs. Nickleby order. And
indeed, if a Micawber had been wanting, Mary knew where to look for him.

About this time Mary met Ursa Major, who may have treated men very
rudely, but not your petite, animated and clever women.

Doctor Johnson quite liked little Mary Wollstonecraft. She matched her
wit against his and put him on his mettle, and when Mary once expressed
a desire to become an authoress he encouraged her by saying, "Yes, my
dear, you should write, for that is the way to learn; and no matter how
badly you write, you can always be encouraged by finding men who write
worse." And another time he said, "Women have quite as much interest in
life as men, and see things just as clearly, and why they should not
write the last word as well as speak it, I do not know."

That settled it with Mary: She gave up her part in the school; and very
soon after, the sisters gave up theirs; one of them wedding a
ne'er-do-well scion of nobility, and the other marrying an orthodox
curate with a harelip. Through the help of Doctor Johnson, Mary got a
position as proofreader with a publisher. Here her knowledge of French
was valuable, and she assisted in translations. Then she became literary
adviser and reader for different publishers. She was making money, and
had accumulated a little fortune of near a hundred pounds by the sweat
of her brain. Her close acquaintanceship with printers and publishers
thus placed her where she became acquainted with several statesmen who
had speeches to make, and for these she constructed arguments and also
helped them out of dire difficulties by rounding out their periods, and
by introducing flights of fancy for men whose fancies were wingless.

On her own account she had written various stories and essays. She had
met the wits and thinkers of London and had learned to take care of
herself. She was an honest, industrious, and highly intelligent woman,
and commanded the respect of those who knew her best. "To know her,"
says Godwin in his Memoirs, "was to love her, and those who did not love
her, did not know her."

Of course, she was an exceptional person, for have I not intimated that
she was a thinker? This was over a hundred years ago, and thinkers were
as scarce then as now, for even so-called educated folk, for the most
part, only think that they think. Frederic Harrison did not stray far
a-field when he referred to Charlotte Perkins Gilman as a reincarnation
of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Wollstonecraft had translated Rousseau's "Emile" into English, and
had read Voltaire closely and with appreciation.

The momentous times of Seventeen Hundred Ninety-two were on in Paris.
That mob of women, ragged and draggled, had tramped out to Versailles,
and Marie Antoinette, a foolish girl who rattled around in a place that
should have been occupied by a Queen, had looked out of the window and
propounded her immortal question, "What do they want?"

"Bread!" was the answer.

"Why don't they eat cake?" asked Her Chatterbox.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a revolutionary by nature. Looking about her she
saw London seething with swarms of humanity just one day's rations
removed from starvation. A few miles away she saw acres upon
acres--thousands of acres--kept and guarded for private parks and
game-preserves. Then it was that she supplied Henry George that fine
phrase, "Man is a land animal." And she fully comprehended that the
question of human rights will never be ended until we settle the land
question. She said: "Man is a land animal, and to deprive the many of
the right to till the soil is like depriving fishes of the right to swim
in the sea. You force fish into a net, and they cease to thrive; you
entrap men, through economic necessity, in cities, and allow a few to
control the land, and you perpetuate ignorance and crime. And eventually
you breed a race of beings who take no joy in Nature, never having
gotten acquainted with her. The problem is not one of religion, but of
commonsense in economics. Back to the land!" Of course a writing woman
who could think like this was deeply interested in the unrest across the

And so Mary packed up and went over to Paris, lured by three things: a
curiosity concerning the great social experiment being there worked out;
an ambition to perfect herself in the French language by speaking only
French; a writer's natural thirst for good copy.

In all these things the sojourn of Mary Wollstonecraft in Paris was an
eminent success, but tragedy was lurking and lying in wait for her. And
it came to her as it has come for women ever since time began--through
that awful handicap, her nature's crying need for affection.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Paris martial law reigned supreme; in the streets the death-tumbrel
rattled, and through a crack in the closed casement Mary Wollstonecraft
peered cautiously out and saw Louis the Sixteenth riding calmly to his
death. The fact that she was an Englishwoman brought Mary Wollstonecraft
under suspicion, for the English sympathized with royalty. When men with
bloody hands come to your door, and question you concerning your
business and motives, the mind is not ripe for literature!

The letters Mary Wollstonecraft had written for English journals she now
destroyed, since she could not mail them, and to keep them was to run
the risk of having them misinterpreted. The air was full of fear and

No one was allowed to leave the city unless positively necessary, and to
ask permission to go was to place one's self under surveillance.

It was at this time that Mary Wollstonecraft met Gilbert Imlay, an
American, who had fought with Lafayette and Washington. He was a man of
some means, alert, active and of good address. On account of his
relationship with Lafayette, he stood well with the revolutionaries of
Paris. He was stopping at the same hotel where Mary lodged, and very
naturally, speaking the same language, they became acquainted. She
allowed herself to be placed under his protection, and their simple
friendship soon ripened into a warmer feeling. Love is largely a matter
of propinquity.

It was a time when all formal rites were in abeyance; and in England any
marriage-contract made in France, and not sanctified by the clergy, was
not regarded as legal. Mary Wollstonecraft became Mrs. Mary Imlay, and
that she regarded herself as much the wife of Imlay as God and right
could command, there is no doubt.

In a few months the tempest and tumult subsided so they got away from
Paris to Havre, where Imlay was interested in a shipping-office. At
Havre their daughter Fanny was born.

Imlay had made investments in timber-lands in Norway, and was shipping
lumber to France. Some of these ventures turned out well, and Imlay
extended his investments on borrowed capital. The man was a nomad by
nature--generous, extravagant and kind--but he lacked the patience and
application required to succeed as a businessman. He could not wait--he
wanted quick returns.

The wife had insight and intellect, and could follow a reason to its
lair. Imlay skimmed the surface.

Leaving his wife and babe at Havre, he went across to London. Mary once
made a trip to Norway for him, with the power of attorney, to act as she
thought best in his interests. In Norway she found that much of the land
that Imlay had bought was worthless, being already stripped of its
timber. However, she improved the time by writing letters for London
papers, and these eventually found form in her book entitled, "Letters
From Norway."

Arriving at Havre she found that Imlay had dismantled their home, and
for a time she did not know his whereabouts. Later they met in London.

When the time of separation came, however, she was sufficiently
disillusioned to make the actual parting without pain. When Imlay saw
she would no longer consent to be his wife, he proposed to provide for
her, but she declined the offer, fearing it would give him some claim
upon her and upon their child. And so Gilbert Imlay sailed away to
America and out of the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. Exit Imlay.


       *       *       *       *       *

In London the position of Mary Wollstonecraft was most trying.

Penniless, deserted by Imlay, her husband, with a hungry babe at her
breast, she was looked at askance by most of her old acquaintances.
There were not wanting good folks who gathered their skirts about them,
sneezed as she passed, and said, "I told you so."

Her brother Charles--a degenerate, pettifogging barrister, with all his
father's faults and none of his grandfather's virtues--for whom Mary had
advanced money so that he could go to college, came to her in her dire
extremity and proffered help. But it was on condition that she should
give up her babe and allow him to place it in a foundlings' home. This
being done, the virtuous Charles would get Mary a position as weaver in
a woolen-mill, under an assumed name, and the past would be as if it
never had been. This in the face of the assertion of Pliny, who said,
eighteen hundred years before, that one of the things even God could not
do, was to obliterate the past; and of Omar's words, "Nor all your tears
shall blot a line of it."

The mental processes of Charles are shown in his suggestion of a
pleasant plan whereby Imlay could be lured back to England, arrested,
and with the assistance of a bumbailiff, marriage forced upon him. His
scheme was rejected by the obdurate Mary, who held that the very essence
of marriage was freedom.

The tragic humor of the action of Charles turns on his assumption that
his sister was "a fallen woman," and must be saved from disgrace. This
opinion was shared by various other shady respectables, who kept the
matter secret by lifting a soprano wail of woe from the housetops,
declaring that Mary had smirched their good names and those of their
friends by her outrageous conduct. These people also busied themselves
in spreading a report that Mary had gone into "French ways," it being
strongly held, then as now, by the rank and file of burly English
beef-eaters, male and female, that morality in France is an iridescent
dream--only that is not the exact expression they use.

Hope sank in the heart of the lone woman, and for a few weeks it
appeared that suicide was the only way out. As for parting with her
child, or with her brother Charles and his kin, Mary would stand by her
child. It is related that on one occasion her sister Everina came to
visit her, and Mary made bold to minister to her babe in the beautiful
maternal way sanctified by time, before bottle-babies became the vogue
and Nature was voted vulgar. The sight proved too much for Everina's
nerves, and she fainted, first loudly calling for the camphor.

The family din evidently caused Mary to go a step further than she
otherwise might, and she dropped the name Imlay and called herself plain
Mary Wollstonecraft, thus glorifying the disgrace. This increased
fortitude had come about by discovering that she could still work and
earn enough money to live on by proofreading and translations; and it
seemed that she had a head full of ideas. There in her lonely lodgings
at Blackfriars, in the third story back, she was writing "The Rights of
Woman." The book in places shows heat and haste, and its fault is not
that it leads people in the wrong direction, but that it leads them too
far in the right direction--that is, further than a sin-stained and
hypocritical world can follow.

When men deserve the ideal, it will be here. If mankind were honest and
unselfish, then every proposition held out by Mary Wollstonecraft would
hold true. Her book is a vindication, in one sense, of her own
position--for at the last, all literature is a confession. But Mary
Wollstonecraft's book is also a plea for faith in the Divinity that
shapes humanity and "leads us on amid the encircling gloom."

It is moreover a protest against the theological idea that woman is the
instrument of the Devil, who tempted man to his ruin. Very frank is the
entire expression, all written by a Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a pure
woman whom Fate had freed from the conventional, and who, wanting little
and having nothing to lose, not even a reputation, was placed in a
position where she could speak the truth.

Parts of the book seem trite enough to us at this day, since many of the
things advocated have come about, and we accept them as if they always
were. For instance, there is an argument in favor of women being
employed as schoolteachers; then there is the plea for public schools
and for co-education.

       *       *       *       *       *

William and Mary first met in February, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-six. In
this matter dates are authentic, for Godwin kept a diary for forty-eight
years, in which he set down his acts, gave the titles of books he read,
and named the distinguished people he met. This diary is nearly as
valuable as that of Samuel Pepys, save that unfortunately it does not
record the inconsequential and amplify the irrelevant, for it is the
seemingly trivial that pictures character. Godwin's diary forms a
continuous history of literary and artistic London.

William was not favorably impressed with Mary, the first time they met
each other. Tom Paine was present, and Godwin wanted to hear him talk
about America, and instead Mary insisted upon talking about Paris, and
Tom preferred to listen to her rather than to talk himself.

"The drawing-room was not big enough for this precious pair," says
Godwin, and passes on to minor themes, not realizing that destiny was
waiting for him around the corner.

The next time they met, William liked Mary better, for he did most of
the talking, and she listened. When we are pleased with ourselves we are
pleased with others. "She has wondrous eyes, and they welled with tears
as we conversed. She surely has suffered, for her soul is all alive,"
wrote Godwin.

The third time they met, she asked permission to quote from his book,
"Political Justice," in her own book, "The Rights of Woman," upon which
she was hard at work. They were getting quite well acquainted, and he
was so impressed with her personality that he ceased to mention her in
his diary.

Godwin's book had placed him upon the topmost turret of contemporary
literary fame. Since the publication of the work he was fairly
prosperous, although his temperament was of that gently procrastinating
and gracious kind that buys peace with a faith in men and things. Mary
had an eager, alert and enthusiastic way of approaching things that grew
on the easy-going Godwin. Her animation was contagious.

The bold stand Mary had taken on the subject of marriage; her frankness
and absolute honesty; her perfect willingness at all times to abide by
the consequences of her mistakes, all pleased Godwin beyond words.

He told Coleridge that she was the greatest woman in England, and
Coleridge looked her over with a philosopher's eye, and reported her
favorably to Southey. In a letter to Cottle, Robert Southey says: "Of
all the lions or literati I have seen here, Mary Imlay's countenance is
the best, infinitely the best; the only fault in it is an expression
somewhat similar to what the prints of Horne Tooke display--an
expression indicating superiority; not haughtiness, not sarcasm, in Mary
Imlay, but still it is unpleasant. Her eyes are light brown, and
although the lid of one of them is affected by a little paralysis, they
are the most meaning I ever saw. As for Godwin himself, he has large,
noble eyes, and a nose--oh, a most abominable nose! Language is not
vituperatious enough to describe the effect of its downward elongation."
In mentioning the matter of Godwin's nose, it is perhaps well to
remember that Southey merely gave a pretty good description of his own.

In August, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-six, Godwin borrowed fifty pounds
from Thomas Wedgwood, son of Josiah Wedgwood of Etruria, which money was
to tide Mary over a financial stress, and afford her the necessary
leisure to complete "The Rights of Woman." The experience that Mary
Wollstonecraft had in the publishing business, now enabled her to make
favorable arrangements for the issue of her book. The radicalism of
America and France had leavened England until there was quite a market
for progressive literature. Twenty years later, the work would have been
ignored in silence or censored out of existence, so zigzag is the path
of progress.

As it was, the work sold so that in six months from the time it was put
on sale, Mary had received upwards of two hundred pounds in royalties.
Recognition and success are hygienic. Mrs. Blood, an erstwhile friend,
saw Mary about this time, and wrote to an acquaintance: "I declare if
she isn't getting handsome and knows it. She has well turned thirty and
has a sprinkling of gray hair and a few wrinkles, but she is doing her
best to retrieve her youth."

Mary had now quit Blackfriars for better quarters near Hyde Park. Her
health was fully restored, and she moved in her own old circle of
writers and thinkers.

At this time William and Mary were both well out of the kindergarten. He
was forty and she was thirty-seven. Several years before, William had
issued a sort of proclamation to the public, and a warning to women of
the quest that bachelordom was his by choice, and that he was wedded to
philosophy. Very young people are given to this habit of declaration, "I
intend never to wed," and it seems that older heads are just as absurd
as young ones. It is well to refrain from mentioning what we intend to
do, or intend not to do, since we are all sailing under sealed orders
and nothing is so apt to occur as the unexpected.

Towards the last of the year Seventeen Hundred Ninety-six, William was
introducing Mary as his wife, and congratulations were in order. To
them, mutual love constituted marriage, and when love died, marriage was
at an end.

A sharp rebuke was printed about this time by Mary, evidently prompted
by that pestiferous class of law-breakers who do not recognize that the
opposites of things are alike, and that there is a difference between
those who rise above law and those who burst through it. Said Mary,
"Freedom without a sense of responsibility, is license, and license is
a ship at sea without rudder or sail." That the careless, mentally
slipshod, restless, and morally unsound should look upon her as one of
them caused Mary more pain than the criticisms of the unco guid. It was
this persistent pointing out by the crowd, as well as regard for the
unborn, that caused William and Mary to go quietly in the month of
March, Seventeen Hundred Ninety-seven, to Saint Pancras Church and be
married all according to the laws of England.

Godwin wrote of the mating thus: "The partiality we conceived for each
other was in that mode which I have always considered as the purest and
most refined quality of love. It grew with equal advances in the minds
of each. It would have been impossible for the most minute observer to
have said who was before and who was after. One sex did not take the
priority which long-established custom had awarded it, nor the other
overstep that delicacy which is so severely imposed. I am not conscious
that either part can assume to have been the principal agent in the
affair. When, in the course of things, the disclosure came, there was
nothing, in a manner, for either party to disclose to the other. There
was no period of throes and resolute explanation attendant on the tale.
It was friendship melting into love."

Mary was now happier than she had ever been before in her life. She
wrote to a friend: "My bark has at last glided out upon the smooth
waters. Married to a man whom I respect, revere and love, who
understands my highest flights of fancy, and with whom complete
companionship exists, my literary success assured, and the bugaboo of
poverty at last removed, you can imagine how serene is my happiness."
But this time of joy was to be short.

She died three months later, September Tenth, Seventeen Hundred
Ninety-seven, leaving behind her a baby girl eleven days old.

This girl, grown to womanhood, was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wife of
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and without whom the name of Shelley would be to
us unknown.

In writing of the mother who died in giving her birth, Mary Shelley
says: "Mary Wollstonecraft was one of those rare beings who appear once,
perhaps, in a generation, to gild humanity with a ray which no
difference of opinion nor chance of circumstance can cloud. Her genius
was undeniable. She had been bred in the hard school of adversity, and
having experienced the sorrows entailed on the poor and oppressed, an
earnest desire was kindled within her to diminish these sorrows.

"Her sound understanding, her intrepidity, her sensibility and eager
sympathy, stamped all her writings with force and truth, and endowed
them with a tender charm that enchants while it enlightens. Many years
have passed since that beating heart has been laid in the cold, still
grave, but no one who has ever seen her speaks of her without
enthusiastic love and veneration. Was there discord among friends or
relatives, she stood by the weaker party, and by her earnest appeals and
kindliness awoke latent affection, and healed all wounds. Open as day to
melting charity, with a heart brimming with generous affection, yearning
for sympathy, helpful, hopeful and self-reliant, such was Mary
Wollstonecraft." And here let us leave her.


    What should be said of him can not be said;
    By too great splendor is his name attended;
    To blame is easier those who him offended,
    Than reach the faintest glory round him shed.
    This man descended to the doomed and dead
    For our instruction; then to God ascended;
    Heaven opened wide to him its portals splendid,
    Who from his country's, closed against him, fled.
    Ungrateful land! To its own prejudice
    Nurse of his fortunes; and this showeth well,
    That the most perfect, most of grief shall see.
    Among a thousand proofs let one suffice,
    That as his exile hath no parallel,
    Ne'er walked the earth a greater man than he.


[Illustration: DANTE]

It was George Bernard Shaw who placed in the pillory of letters what he
was pleased to call "The Disagreeable Girl."

And he has done the deed by a dry-plate, quick-shutter process in a way
that surely lays him liable for criminal libel in society's assize.

I say society's assize advisedly, because it is only in society that the
Disagreeable Girl plays a prominent part, assuming the center of the
stage. Society, in the society sense, is built on vacuity, its favors
being for those who reveal a fine capacity to waste and consume. Those
who would write their names high on society's honor-roll need not be
either useful or intelligent--they need only seem.

And this gives the Disagreeable Girl her opportunity. In the paper-box
factory she would have to make good; Cluett, Coon and Company ask for
results; the stage demands a modicum at least of intellect, in addition
to shape; but society asks for nothing but pretense, and the palm is
awarded to palaver.

But do not, if you please, imagine that the Disagreeable Girl does not
wield an influence.

That is the very point: her influence is so far-reaching that George
Bernard Shaw, giving cross-sections of life, in the form of dramas, can
not write a play and leave her out.

She is ubiquitous, omniscient and omnipresent--is the Disagreeable Girl.
She is a disappointment to her father, a humiliation to her mother, a
pest to brothers and sisters, and when she finally marries, she saps the
inspiration of her husband and often converts a proud and ambitious man
into a weak and cowardly cur.

Only in society does the Disagreeable Girl shine: everywhere else she is
an abject failure. The much-vaunted Gibson Girl is a kind of deluxe
edition of Shaw's Disagreeable Girl. The Gibson Girl lolls, loafs,
pouts, weeps, talks back, lies in wait, dreams, eats, drinks, sleeps and
yawns. She rides in a coach in a red jacket, plays golf in a secondary
sexual sweater, dawdles on a hotel veranda, and tum-tums on a piano, but
you never hear of her doing a useful thing or saying a wise one. She
reveals a beautiful capacity for avoiding all useful effort.

Gibson gilds the Disagreeable Girl. Shaw paints her as she is. In the
"Doll's House" Henrik Ibsen has given us Nora Hebler, a Disagreeable
Girl of mature age, who beyond a doubt first set George Bernard Shaw
a-thinking. Then looking about, Shaw saw her at every turn in every
stage of her moth-and-butterfly existence.

And the Disagreeable Girl being everywhere, Shaw, dealer in human
character, can not write a play and leave her out, any more than Turner
could paint a picture and leave man out, or Paul Veronese produce a
canvas and omit the dog.

The Disagreeable Girl is a female of the genus homo persuasion, built
around a digestive apparatus with marked marshmallow proclivities.

She is, moreover, pretty, pug-nosed, poetical, pert and pink; and at
first glance to the unwary, she shows signs of gentleness and
intelligence. Her age is anywhere from eighteen to twenty-eight. At
twenty-eight she begins to evolve into something else, and her capacity
for harm is largely curtailed, because by this time spirit has written
itself in her form and features, and the grossness and animality which
before were veiled are now becoming apparent. Habit writes itself on the
face, and the body is an automatic recording-machine.

To have a beautiful old age, you must live a beautiful youth, for we
ourselves are posterity and every man is his own ancestor. I am today
what I am because I was yesterday what I was.

The Disagreeable Girl is always pretty--at least she has been told she
is pretty, and she fully accepts the dictum. She has also been told she
is clever, and she thinks she is. The actual fact is she is only

The fine flaring-up of youth has set sex rampant, but she is not
"immoral," except in her mind. She has caution to the verge of
cowardice, and so she is "sans reproche." In public she pretends to be
dainty; but alone, or with those for whose good opinion she does not
care, she is gross, coarse and sensual in every feature of her life. She
eats too much, does not exercise enough, and considers it amusing to let
others wait upon her, and do for her the things she should do for
herself. Her room is a jumble of disorder, a fantasy of dirty clothes, a
sequinarium of unmentionables--that is, if the care of it is left to
herself. The one gleam of hope for her lies in the fact that out of
shame she will allow no visitor to enter the apartment if she can help
it. Concrete selfishness is her chief mark. She avoids responsibility;
sidesteps every duty that calls for honest effort; is secretive,
untruthful, indolent, evasive and dishonest.

"What are you eating?" asks Nora Hebler's husband as she enters the
room, not expecting to see him.

"Nothing," is the answer, and she hides the box of bonbons behind her,
and presently backs out of the room.

I think Mr. Hebler had no business to ask her what she was eating: no
man should ask any woman such a question--and really it was no
difference anyway. But Nora is always on the defensive, and fabricates
when it is necessary--and when it isn't, just through habit. She will
hide a letter written by her grandmother, as quickly and deftly as if it
were a missive from a guilty lover. The habit of her life is one of
suspicion; for, being inwardly guilty herself, she suspects everybody,
although it is quite likely that crime with her has never broken through
thought into deed. Nora rifles her husband's pockets, reads his
notebook, examines his letters, and when he goes on a trip she spends
the day checking up his desk, for her soul delights in duplicate keys.

At times she lets drop hints of knowledge concerning little nothings
that are none of hers, just to mystify folks. She does strange, annoying
things, simply to see what others will do.

In degree, Nora's husband fixed the vice of finesse in her nature, for
even a "good" woman accused parries by the use of trickery and wins her
point by the artistry of the bagnio. Women and men are never really far
apart anyway, and women are what men have made them.

We are all just getting rid of our shackles: listen closely anywhere,
even among honest and intellectual people, if such there be, and you can
detect the rattle of chains.

The Disagreeable Girl's mind and soul have not kept pace with her body.
Yesterday she was a slave, sold in Circassian mart, and freedom to her
is so new and strange that she does not know what to do with it.

The tragedy she works, according to George Bernard Shaw, is through the
fact that very often good men, blinded by the glamour of sex, imagine
they love the Disagreeable Girl, when what they love is their own ideal.

Nature is both a trickster and a humorist and sets the will of the
species beyond the discernment of the individual. The picador has to
blindfold his horse in order to get him into the bull-ring, and
likewise Dan Cupid exploits the myopic to a purpose.

For aught we know, the lovely Beatrice of Dante was only a Disagreeable
Girl clothed in a poet's fancy. Fortunate, indeed, was Dante that he
never knew her well enough to get undeceived, and so walked through life
in love with love, sensitive, saintly, sweetly sad and divinely happy in
his melancholy.

       *       *       *       *       *

There be simple folks and many, who think that the tragedy of love lies
in its being unrequited.

The fact is, the only genuinely unhappy love--the only tragedy--is when
love wears itself out.

Thus tragedy consists in having your illusions shattered.

The love-story of Dante lies in the realm of illusion and represents an
eternal type of affection. It is the love of a poet--a Pygmalion who
loves his own creation. It is the love that is lost, but the things we
lose or give away are the things we keep. That for which we clutch we

Love like that of Dante still exists everywhere, and will until the end
of time. One-sided loves are classic and know neither age nor place; and
to a degree--let the fact be stated softly and never hereafter be so
much as whispered--all good men and women have at some time loved
one-sidedly, the beloved being as unaware of the love as a star is of
the astronomer who discovers it.

This kind of love, carried on discreetly, is on every hand, warming into
life the divine germs of art, poetry and philosophy. Of it the world
seldom hears. It creates no scandal, never is mentioned in court
proceedings, nor is it featured by the newspapers. Indeed, the love of
Dante would have been written in water, were it not for the fact that
the poet took the world into his confidence, as all poets do--for
literature is only confession.

Many who have written of Dante, like Boccaccio and Rossetti, have shown
as rare a creative ability as some claim Dante revealed in creating his

"Paint me with the moles on," said Lincoln to the portrait-man. I'll
show Dante with moles, wrinkles and the downward curve of the corners of
his mouth, duly recording the fact that the corners of his mouth did not
turn down always.

I think, somewhere, I have encouraged the idea of women marrying the
second time, and I have also given tangible reasons. Let me now say as
much for men.

The father of Dante married and raised a family of seven. On the death
of his wife he sought consolation for his sorrow in the love of a lass
by the name of Bella--her family-name is to us unknown. They were
married, and had one child, and this child was Dante.

Dante, at times, had a way of mourning over the fact that his father and
mother ever met, but the world has never especially sympathized in this
regret. Dante was born in the year Twelve Hundred Sixty-five, in the
city of Florence, which was then the artistic and intellectual capital
of the world.

Dante seemed to think that the best in his nature was derived from his
mother, who was a most gentle, sensitive and refined spirit. Such a
woman married to a man old enough to be her father is not likely to be
absurdly happy. This has been said before, but it will bear repeating.
Yet disappointment has its compensation, since it drives the mind on to
the ideal, and thus is a powerful stimulant for the imagination. Deprive
us of our heritage here, and we will conjure forth castles in Spain--you
can not place an injunction on that!

Dante was not born in a castle, nor yet in a house with portcullis and

Time was when towers and battlements on buildings were something more
than mere architectural appendenda. They had a positive use. Towers and
courtyards were only for the nobility, and signified that the owner was
beyond the reach of law; he could lock himself in and fight off the
world, the flesh and the devil, if he wished.

Dante's father lived in a house that had neither tower nor court that
closed with iron gate. He was a lawyer, a hard-headed man who looked
after estates, collected rents and gave advice to aristocratic nobodies
for a consideration. He did not take snuff, for obvious reasons, but he
was becomingly stout, carried a gold-headed cane or staff with a tassel
on it, and struck this cane on the ground, coughing slightly, when about
to give advice, as most really great lawyers do.

When little Durante--or Dante, as we call him--was nine years old, his
father took him to a lawn fete held at the suburban home of Folco de
Portinari, one of the lawyer's rich clients.

Now Signor Portinari in social station was beyond Alighieri the lawyer,
and of course nobody for a moment suspected that the dark-skinned,
half-scared little boy, clutching his father's forefinger as they
walked, was going to write "The Divine Comedy." No one paid any
particular attention to the father and child, as they strolled beneath
the trees, rested on the benches, and were served chocolate and
cheese-straws by the servants.

But on this occasion the boy caught a passing glimpse of Beatrice
Portinari, the daughter of the host. The girl was just nine years old:
the boy must have been told this by his father as he pointed out the
fair one. The boy did not speak to her nor did she speak to him: this
was quite out of the question, for they were on a totally different
social plane.

Amid the dim lights of the flaming torches he saw her--just for an
instant! The whole surroundings were strangely unreal, but well
calculated to impress the youthful imagination, and out of it all the
boy carried with him this vision of loveliness.

In his "New Life"--what an appropriate title for a love-story!--Dante
tells of this first sight of the beloved somewhat thus: "Nine times
already since my birth had the heaven of light returned to the selfsame
point almost, as concerns its own revolution, when first the glorious
lady of my mind was made manifest to my eyes, even she who was called
Beatrice by many who knew not wherefore. She had already been in this
life so long as that, within her time the starry heaven had moved
toward the Eastern quarter one of the twelve parts of the degree; so
that she appeared to me at the beginning of her ninth year, and I saw
her almost at the end of my ninth year. Her dress on that day was of the
most noble color, a subdued and goodly crimson, girdled and adorned in
such sort as best suited her very tender age. At that moment, I say most
truly that the spirit of life, which has its dwelling in the secretest
chamber of my heart, began to tremble so violently that the least pulses
of my body shook therewith; and in trembling it said these words: Here
is a deity stronger than I who coming shall rule over me."

       *       *       *       *       *

Nine was a sacred number with Dante. He was nine years old when he first
saw his lady-love, and she too was nine, having not yet reached the age
of indiscretion.

Nine years were to elapse before he was to speak to her. It is quite
possible that he had caught glimpses of her in the interval, at church.

Churches have their uses as trysting-places for the unquenched spirit:
vows are repeated there that have no witnesses and do not go into the
register. There lovers meet in soul, and feed upon a glance, when heads
are bowed in prayer. Love lends a deep religious air to the being, and
when we are in love we love God. At other times we only fear Him.

I am told that there be young men and maidens fair who walk on air and
live in paradise until Sunday comes again, all on account of a loving
look into eyes that look love again, in the dim religious light while
the music plays soft and low.

    The lover watched his graceful maid
    As mid the virgin train she strayed,
    Nor knew her beauty's best attire
    Was woven still in the snow-white choir.

And where is the gray-bearded prophet who has yet been wise enough to
tell us where love ends and religion begins! But in all these nine years
Beatrice and Dante had never met. She had not heard his voice, nor he
hers--only glances, or a hand lifted in a way that spoke tomes. He had
developed into a dark, dashing youth, given to falconry, painting and
music. He had worked with Cimabue, the father of Italian art, and had
been chum of Giotto, to whom all cherubim and seraphim trace.

At that time people with money who wanted to educate their sons sent
them out, at what seems to us a very tender age, to travel and tramp the
earth alone. They were remittance-men who shifted from university to
university, and took lessons in depravity, being educated by the boys.

Dean Pluntre says that there were universities in the Middle Ages at
Padua, Bologna, Paris and Oxford carried on in a very desultory way by
pious monks, where the boys were divided by nationalities, so as to
afford a kind of police system--Italian, Spanish, French and English.

They caroused, occasionally fought, studied when they felt like it, and
made love to married women--all girls being under lock and key for

So there you get the evolution of the modern university: a mendicant
monastery where boys were sent, in the hope that they might absorb a
little of the religious spirit and a desire to know.

Finally, there were enough students so that they organized cliques,
clubs and secret societies, and by a process of natural selection
governed themselves, as well as visited punishment upon offenders.

Next, on account of a laxity of morals and an indifference to books, a
military system of discipline was enforced: lights had to be out at ten
o'clock, and a student caught off the grounds without leave was
punished. The teacher was a vicarious soldier. At that time each school
had a prison attached, of which the "carcer" at Heidelberg is the
surviving type. Up to the Sixteenth Century, every university was a kind
of castle or fort, and the students might at any time be compelled to do
military duty. The college had its towers for fighting-men, its high
walls, its fortressed fronts and iron gates. These gates and walls still
survive in rudimentary form, and the sixteen-foot spiked steel fence at
Harvard is the type of a condition that once was an actual necessity:
the place was a law unto itself, paid no taxes, and at any time might be
raided. Colleges yet pay no taxes and are also quasi-mendicant

It was not until well into the Sixteenth Century that requirements,
examinations, system and discipline began to dawn upon the world. Before
that, a student was a kind of troubadour, a cross between a monk and a
crusader, a knight-errant of love and letters, and the moral code for
him did not apply. An argument can be made for his chivalric tendencies,
and his pretense for learning had its place, for affectation is better
than indifference. The roistering student is not wholly bad.

Poetry and love-making were to the velvet-breeched youth the real
business of life. Like knights in armor, he often wore the colors of a
lady who merely smiled at him from a latticed window. If she dropped for
him her glove or handkerchief, he was in the seventh heaven. As his
intents were not honorable nor his purpose marriage, it made no
difference whether the lady was married or single, young or old. Whether
the love remained upon a Platonic and purely poetic basis depended, of
course, entirely upon the lady and her watchful relatives. If the family
were poor and the lover rich, these things might have a bearing. We hear
of alliances in those days, not dishonorable, where the husband was
complacent and looked upon it as a distinction to have worthy scions of
greatness pay court to his wife. Such men were referred to as
"fribblers" or "tame-cats." The woman was often much older than the
alleged student, and this seems to have been no disadvantage, for charms
o'erripe are oft alluring to a certain type of youth.

Such things now would lead to headlines in the daily papers and
snapshots of all parties concerned, followed by divorce-court
proceedings. Then, even among honorable husbands, the only move was to
hire an extra Pinkerton duenna to attend the fair one, and to smile in
satisfaction over the possession of a wife so much coveted--the joy of
all ownership being largely the ability to excite envy.

College rowdyism, cane-rushes, duels, bloody Monday, the fag system and
hazings are all surviving traditions of these so-called universities
where people who had the price sent their sons into the pedagogic

As, for centuries, youths who were destined for the priesthood were the
only ones educated, so the monks were the first teachers, and the
monastery was the college.

In the Twelfth Century a college was merely a monkery that took in
boarders, and learning was acquired by absorption.

No records were kept of the students--they simply paid a small fee, were
given a badge and attended lectures when they got ready.

Some students stayed and studied for years, thinking the business of
life was to cram with facts. Such bachelor grubbers with fixed incomes,
like pensioners in a soldiers' home, old and gray, are now to be seen
occasionally in European universities, sticklers for technicalities, hot
after declensions, and happy when they close in on a new exception to a
Greek verb, giving it no quarter. When they come to die, they leave
earth with but a single regret: they have never been able fully to
compass the ablative. But the rough-and-tumble student was the rule,
with nose deep into stein, exaggerating little things into great, making
woful ballad to his mistress' eyebrow.

Such was Milord Hamlet, to whom young Dante bears a strange

A university like this, where the students governed themselves, and the
duties of the faculty consisted largely in protecting the property, had
its advantages. We will come back to self-government yet, but higher up
in the scale. It was like a big country school, in a country town, where
lessons in self-reliance are handed out with the bark on. The survival
of the fittest prevails, and out of the mass emerges now and then a
strong man who makes his mark upon the times.

Dante was back home in Florence from his sojourn abroad, a bit of a
dandy no doubt, with a becoming dash and a touch of sophomoric boldness.
He had not forgotten Beatrice Portinari: often had he thought of her,
the princess of his dreams, and all the dames he had met had been
measured with her as a standard.

She had been married about a year before to a rich banker, Simone de
Bardi. This did not trouble Dante: she was too far removed from him to
be an actual reality, and so he just waived her husband and dismissed
him with a shrug. Beside that, young married women have a charm all
their own; they are wiser than maidens, more companionable; innocence is
not wholly commendable--at least, not to a university student.

And now face to face Dante and Beatrice meet. It is the first, the last,
the only time they are to meet on earth. They meet. She is walking with
two women friends, one on each side.

She is clothed in pure white--her friends in darker raiment. She looks
like an angel of light. Dante and Beatrice are not expected to
meet--there is no time for embarrassment. How did she know that young
Dante Alighieri had returned--she must have been dreaming of
him--thinking of him! There she stands right before him--tall, graceful,
intellectual, smiling. Eyes look into eyes and flash recognition. The
earth seems to swirl under Dante's feet. He uncovers his head and is
about to sink to his knees, but she sustains him with a word of welcome
and holds out the tips of her fingers for him to touch.

She is older now than he: she is married, and a married woman of
eighteen may surely reassure a boy who is only eighteen! "We have missed
you from the church and from our streets--you look well, Gentle Sir!
Welcome back to our Florence! Good evening!"

The three women move on: Dante tries to, but stands rooted like one of
those human trees he was afterward to see in Purgatory. He follows her
with his eyes, and just once she looks back and smiles as the three
women are lost in the throng.

But that chance, unexpected meeting, the salutation and the smile were
to write themselves into the "Vita Nuova." Dante had indeed begun a New

       *       *       *       *       *

The City of Florence at this time was prosperous. The churches had their
pagan holidays, fetes and festivals, and gaiety was the rule.

Out at Vallambrosa and Fiesole, where the leaves fall, there were Courts
of Love where poets chanted their lays and singers sang. In all this
life Dante took a prominent part, for while he was not of noble birth he
was of noble bearing.

There were rival political parties then in Florence, and instead of
settling their difficulties at the polls they had recourse to the
cobblestone and club.

When the Guelfs routed the Ghibellines from the city, Dante served as a
soldier, or was sworn in as a deputy sheriff, and did some valiant
fighting for the Guelfs, for which privilege he was to pay when the
Ghibellines came back.

Just what his every-day occupation was we are not sure, but as he was
admitted a member of the Guild of Apothecaries we assume that he clerked
in a drugstore, and often expressed himself thus: "Lady, I am all out of
liverwort today, but I have something just as good!"--and he read her a
few stanzas from the "Vita Nuova," which he had just written behind the
screen at the prescription-counter.

In the year Twelve Hundred Eighty-five, Charles of Anjou, brother of
Saint Louis, came to Florence, and Dante was appointed one of the
committee to look after his entertainment.

Charles was a man of intelligence and discrimination, a lover of letters
and art. He and Dante became fast friends, and it seems Dante became a
kind of honorary member of his court.

Dante could paint a little, he played on the harp, and he also recited
his own poems. His love of Beatrice de Bardi was an open secret--all
Florence knew of it. He had sung her beauty, her art, her intelligence
in a way that made both locally famous.

He had written a poem on the sixty chief belles of Florence, and in this
list he had not placed Beatrice first, but ninth. Just why he did this,
unless to emphasize his favorite number, we do not know. In any event it
made more talk than if he had placed her first.

And once at church where he had followed Beatrice, he made eyes openly
at another lady, to distract the attention of the observing public. The
plan worked so well that Beatrice, seeing the flirtation, shortly
afterward met Dante and cut him dead, or, to use his own phrase,
"withheld her salutation."

This caused the young man such bitter pain that he wrote a veiled poem,
explaining the actual facts. These facts were that out of his great love
for Beatrice, in order to protect her good name, he had openly made love
to another.

I said that the fact that Beatrice had declined to speak to Dante as
they passed by had caused him bitter pain. This is true; but after a few
days the matter took on a new light. If Beatrice was indifferent to
him, why should she be displeased when he had made eyes at another? She
evidently was jealous, and Dante was in a paradise of delight, or in
purgatory, or both, according to the way the wind sat.

There is no reason to suppose that Dante and Beatrice ever met and
talked things over. She was closely guarded, and evidently ran no risk
of smirching her good name by associating with a troubadour student. He
could sing songs about her--this she could not help--but beyond this
there was nothing doing.

Only once after this did they come near meeting. It was at a
wedding-party where Dante had gone evidently without an invitation. He
inwardly debated whether he should remain to the feast or not, and the
ayes had it. He was about to be seated at the table, when a sudden sense
of first heat and then cold came over him and he grasped his chair for
support. The light seemed blinding. He closed his eyes, and then opened
them; and looking up, on the opposite side of the room he saw his

A friend seeing his agitation and thinking him ill, led him forth into
the open air and there chafed his icy fingers asking, "What can it
be--what is the matter?"

And Dante answered, "Of a surety I have set my feet on a point of life
beyond which he must not pass who would return!"

Immediately thereafter--probably the next day--Dante began a poem, very
carefully thought out, in celebration of the beauty and virtue of
Beatrice. He had written but one stanza when he tells us that, "The Lord
God of Justice called my most gracious Lady to Himself." And Beatrice
was dead, aged twenty-five years.

Through her death Dante was indeed wedded to her memory. He calls her
the bride of his soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

We can not resign from life gracefully. Work has to be performed, even
when calamity comes, and we stand by an open grave and ask old Job's
question, "If a man die shall he live again?"

Dante felt sure that Beatrice must live again in all her loveliness.
"Heaven had need of her," he cries in his grief. And then again, "She
belonged not here, and so God took her to Himself." At first he was dumb
with sorrow, and then tears came to his relief, and a little later he
eased his soul through expression: he indited an open letter, a kind of
poetic proclamation to the citizens of Florence, in which he rehearsed
their loss and offered them consolation in the thought that they now had
a guardian angel in Heaven.

The lover, like an artist or skilled workman, always exaggerates the
importance of his passion, and links his love with the universal welfare
of mankind.

And stay! after all he may be right--who knows! So a year passed away in
sadness, with a few bad turnings into sensuality, followed by repenting
in verse. It was the anniversary of her death, and Dante was outlining
angels to illustrate his sonnets wherein he apotheosized Beatrice. And
behold! as he day-dreamed of his Beatrice sweet consolation came in
double form. First he saw a gentle lady who looked very much like the
lady he lost. Lovers are always looking for resemblances--on the street,
in churches, at the theater or the concert, in travel--looking always,
ever looking for the face and form of the beloved. Strange resemblances
are observed--persons are followed--the gait, height, attire, carriage
of the head are noted, and hearts beat fast!

So Dante saw a lady who seemed to have the same dignity of carriage, a
like nobility of feature, a look as luminous and a glance as telling as
those of Beatrice. Evidently he paid court to her with so much success
that he turned from her and recriminated himself for having his passion
aroused by a counterfeit. She looked the part, but her feet were clay
and so were heart and head, and Dante turned again to his ideal,
Beatrice in Heaven.

And with the turning came the thought of Paradise! He would visit
Beatrice in Heaven, and she would meet him at the gates and guide the
way. The visit was to be one personally conducted.

Every great and beautiful thing was once an unuttered thought; and we
know the time and almost the place where Dante conceived the idea of
"The Divine Comedy."

The new Beatrice he had found was only a plaster-of-Paris cast of the
original: Dante's mind recoiled from her to the genuine--that is, to the
intangible--which proves that even commonplace women have their uses. At
this time, while he was revolving the nebulous "Commedia" in his mind,
he read Cicero's "Essay on Friendship," and dived deep into the
philosophy of Epictetus and Plato. Then he printed a card in big
letters and placed it on his table where he could see it continually:
"Philosophy is the cure for love!"

But it wasn't--except for a few days when he wrote some stanzas directed
to the world, declaring that his former poems referring to Beatrice
pictured her merely as "Philosophy, the beautiful woman, daughter of the
Great Emperor of the Universe." He declared that all of his odes to his
gentle lady were odes to Philosophy, to which all wise men turn for
consolation in time of trouble.

Nothing matters much--pish! It was the struggle of the poet and the
good man, trying to convince himself that he travels fastest who travels

Dante must have held the stern and placid pose of Plato, the confirmed
bachelor, for a full week, then tears came and melted his artificial

And as for Plato, the confirmed bachelor, legend has it that he was
confirmed by a woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the train of Boccaccio traveled a nephew of Dante who had his
illustrious uncle's interesting history at his tongue's end. By this
nephew we are told that the marriage of Dante and Gemma Donati, in
Twelve Hundred and Ninety-two, when Dante was twenty-seven, was a little
matter arranged by the friends of both parties. Dante was dreamy,
melancholy and unreliable: marriage would sober his poetic debauch and
cause him to settle down!

Ruskin, it will be remembered, was also looked after by the matchmakers
in much the same way.

So Dante was married. Some say that his wife was the gentle lady who
looked like Beatrice, but this is pure conjecture. Four children were
born to them in seven years. One of these was named Beatrice, which
seems to prove that the wife of Dante was aware of his great passion.
One of the sons became a college professor, and wrote a commentary on
"The Commedia," and also an unneeded defense of his father's character
and motives in making love to a married lady.

Dante was a man of influence in the affairs of the city. He occupied
civic offices of distinction, wrote addresses and occasionally poems, in
which he glorified his friends and referred scathingly to his political

Gemma must have been a woman of more than average brain and
intelligence, for when her husband was banished from Florence by the
successful Ghibellines, she kept her little family together, worked
hard, educated her children, and it is said by Boccaccio lived honorably
and indulged in no repining.

So far as we know, Dante sent no remittances home. He moved from one
university to another, and accepted invitations from nobility to tarry
at their castles. He dressed in melancholy black and read his poems to
polite assemblies. Now and then he gave lectures. He was followed by
spies, or thought he was, and now and then quarreled with his associates
or host, and made due note of the fact, leaving the matter to be
adjusted when he had time and wanted raw stock for his writings.

And all the time he mourned not for the loss of Gemma and his children,
but for Beatrice. She it was who met him and Vergil at the gates of
Paradise and guided them about the place, explaining its art, ethics and
economics, and pointing out the notables.

Dante placed in Paradise all those who had befriended him most and
praised his poems. People he did not like he deposited in Hell, for
Dante was human. That is what Hell is for--a place to put people who
disagree with us.

Milton was profoundly influenced by Dante, and in fact was very much
like him, save that, though he had the felicity to be legally married
three times, yet there is no sign of passionate love in his life. Henley
says that without Dante we should have had no Milton, and how much Dante
and Milton have influenced the popular conception of the Christian
religion, no man can say. Even as conservative a man as Archdeacon
Farrar, in one of his Clark lectures, said, "Our orthodox faith seems to
trace a genesis to the genius of Dante, with Saint Paul and Jesus as
secondary or contributing influences."

After five years' wandering, Dante was notified that he could return to
Florence on making due apology to the reigning powers and walking in the
procession of humble transgressors.

The letter he wrote in reply is still in existence. He scorned pardon,
since he had been guilty of no offense, and he would return with honor
or not at all.

This letter secured him a second indictment, wherein it was provided
that he should be burned alive if he set foot inside the republic.

This sentence was not revoked until Fourteen Hundred Ninety-four, and as
Dante had then been dead more than a hundred years, it was of small
avail on earth. The plan, however, of pardoning dead men was so that
their souls could be gotten out of Purgatory legally, the idea being
that man's law and justice were closely woven with the Law of God, and
that God punished offenses against the State, just as He would offenses
against the Church. Hence it was necessary for the State and Church to
quash their indictment before God could do the same.

People who think that governments and religious denominations are
divine institutions will see the consistency and necessity of Lorenzo de
Medici and Pope Alexander the Fourth combining and issuing a pardon in
Dante's favor one hundred seventy years after his death. He surely had
been in Purgatory long enough.

Dante died at Ravenna in Thirteen Hundred Twenty-one, aged fifty-six
years. It seems that he had gone there to see his daughter, Beatrice,
who was in a nunnery just outside the city walls. There his dust rests.

If it be true that much of modern Christianity traces to Dante, it is no
less true that he is the father of modern literature. He is the first
writer of worth to emerge out of that night of darkness called the
Middle Ages.

His language is tender and full of sweet, gentle imagery. He knew the
value of symbols, and his words often cast a purple shadow. His style is
pliable, flexible, fluid, and he shows rare skill in suggesting a thing
that it would be absurd to describe.

Dante was an artist in words, and in imagination a master. The history
of literature can never be written and the name of Dante left out. And
he, of all writers, both ancient and modern, most vividly portrays the
truth that without human love, there would be no such thing as poetry.


    To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and
    in part the author, of all that is best in my writings--the friend
    and wife whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest
    incitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward--I dedicate
    this volume. Like all that I have written for many years, it belongs
    as much to her as to me; but the work as it stands has had, in a
    very insufficient degree, the inestimable advantage of her revision;
    some of the most important portions having been reserved for a more
    careful examination, which they are now destined never to receive.
    Were I but capable of interpreting to the world one-half the great
    thoughts and noble feelings which are buried in her grave, I should
    be the medium of a greater benefit to it, than is ever likely to
    arise from anything that I can write, unprompted and unassisted by
    her all but unrivaled wisdom.

                        --_Dedication to "On Liberty," by John Stuart Mill_

[Illustration: JOHN STUART MILL]

So this then is the love-story of John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor,
who first met in the year Eighteen Hundred Thirty. He was twenty-five
and a clerk in the East India House. She was twenty-three, and happily
married to a man with a double chin.

They saw each other for the first time at Mrs. Taylor's house at a
function given in honor of a Right Honorable Nobody from Essex. The
Right Honorable has gone down into the dust of forgetfulness, his very
name lost to us, like unto that of the man who fired the Alexandrian

All we know is that he served as a pivotal point in the lives of two
great people, and then passed on, unwittingly, into the obscurity from
whence he came.

On this occasion the Right Honorable read an original paper on an
Important Subject. Mrs. Taylor often gave receptions to eminent and
learned personages, because her heart was a-hungered to know and to
become, and she vainly thought that the society of learned people would
satisfy her soul.

She was young. She was also impulsive, vivacious, ambitious. John Stuart
Mill says she was rarely beautiful, but she wasn't. Beauty is in the eye
of the beholder. All things are comparative, and John Stuart Mill
regarded Mrs. Taylor from the first night he saw her as the standard of
feminine perfection. All women scaled down as they varied from her. As
an actual fact, her features were rather plain, mouth and nose large,
cheek-bones in evidence, and one eye was much more open than the other,
and this gave people who did not especially like her, excuse for saying
that her eyes were not mates. As for John Stuart Mill he used, at times,
to refer to the wide-open orb as her "critical eye."

Yet these eyes were lustrous, direct and honest, and tokened the rare
quality of mental concentration. Her head was square and long, and had
corners. She carried the crown of her head high, and her chin in.

We need not dally with old Mr. Taylor here--for us he was only Mrs.
Taylor's husband, a kind of useful marital appendendum. He was a
merchant on 'Change, with interests in argosies that plied to
Tripoli--successful, busy, absorbed, with a twinge of gout, and a habit
of taking naps after dinner with a newspaper over his face. Moreover, he
was an Oxford man, and this was his chief recommendation to the
eighteen-year-old girl, when she married him four years before. But
education to him was now only a reminiscence. He had sloughed the old
Greek spirit as a bird molts its feathers, with this difference: that a
bird molts its feathers because it is growing a better crop, while Mr.
Taylor wasn't growing anything but a lust after "L. s. d."

Once in two years there was an excursion to Oxford to attend a reunion
of a Greek-letter society, and perhaps twice in the winter certain
ancient cronies came, drank musty ale, and smoked long clay pipes, and
sang college songs in cracked falsetto.

Mrs. Taylor was ashamed of them--disappointed. Was this the college
spirit of which she had read so much? The old cronies leered at her as
she came in to light the candles--they leered at her; and the one seated
next to her husband poked that fortunate gentleman in the ribs and
congratulated him on his matrimonial estate.

Yet Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were happy, or reasonably so. He took much pride
in her intellect, indulged her in all material things she wanted, and
never thwarted her little ambitions to give functions to great men who
came up from the provinces.

She organized a Literary Coterie, to meet every Saturday and study Mary
Wollstonecraft's book on the "Rights of Woman."

Occasionally, she sat in the visitors' gallery at Parliament, but always
behind the screen. And constantly she wrote out her thoughts on the
themes of the time. Her husband never regarded these things as proof
that she was inwardly miserable, unsatisfied, and in spirit was roaming
the universe seeking a panacea for soul-nostalgia; not he! Nor she.

And so she gave the function to the Right Honorable Nobody from Essex.
And among thirty or forty other people was one John Stuart Mill, son of
the eminent James Mill, historian and philosopher, also Head Examiner of
the East India House. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor had made out the list of
people between them, choosing those whom they thought had sufficient
phosphorus so they would enjoy meeting a great theological meteoric
personality from Essex.

Mr. Taylor had seen young Mr. Mill in the East India House, where young
Mr. Mill made out invoices with big seals on them. Mr. Taylor had said
to Mr. Mill that it was a fine day, to which proposition Mr. Mill

The Honorable James Mill was invited, too, but could not come, as he was
President of the Land Tenure League, and a meeting was on for the same

Mr. Taylor introduced to the company the eminent visitor from
Essex--they had been chums together at Oxford--and then Mr. Taylor
withdrew into a quiet corner and enjoyed a nap as the manuscript was
being read in sonorous orotund.

The subject was, "The Proper Sphere of Woman in the Social Cosmogony."
By chance Mrs. Taylor and John Stuart Mill sat next to each other.

The speaker moved with stately tread through his firstly to his
seventhly, and then proceeded to sum up. The argument was that of Saint
Paul amplified, "Let woman learn in subjection"--"For the husband is the
head of the wife, as Christ is also the head of the Church"--"God made
woman for a helpmeet to man," etc.

Mrs. Taylor looked at young Mr. Mill, and Mr. Mill looked at Mrs.
Taylor. They were both thinking hard, and without a word spoken they
agreed with each other on this, that the speaker had no message.

Young Mr. Mill noted that one of Mrs. Taylor's eyes was much wider open
than the other, and that her head had corners. She seemed much beyond
him in years and experience, although actually she was two years
younger--a fact he did not then know.

"Does not a woman need a helpmeet, too?" she wrote on the fly-leaf of a
book she held in her lap. And young Mr. Mill took the book and wrote
beneath in a copper-plate East India hand, "I do not know what a woman
needs; but I think the speaker needs a helpmeet."

And then Mrs. Taylor wrote: "All help must be mutual. No man can help a
woman unless she helps him--the benefit of help lies as much in the
giving as in the receiving."

After the function Mrs. Taylor asked Mr. Mill to call. It is quite
likely that on this occasion she asked a good many of the other guests
to call.

Mr. Mill called the next evening.

       *       *       *       *       *

John Stuart Mill was not a university man. He was an intellectual
cosset, and educated in a way that made the English pedagogues stand
aghast. So, probably thousands of parents said, "Go to! we will educate
our own children," and went at their boys in the same way that James
Mill treated his son, but the world has produced only one John Stuart

Axtell, the trotter, in his day held both the two-year-old and the
three-year-old record. He was driven in harness from the time he was
weaned, and was given work that would have cocked most ankles and sent
old horses over on their knees. But Axtell stood the test and grew

Certain horsemen, seeing the success of Axtell, tried his driver's plan,
and one millionaire I know ruined a thousand colts and never produced a
single racehorse by following the plan upon which Axtell thrived.

The father of John Stuart Mill would now be considered one of England's
great thinkers, had he not been so unfortunate as to be thrown
completely into the shadow by his son. As it is, James Mill lives in
history as the man who insisted that his baby three years old should be
taught the Greek alphabet. When five years old, this baby spoke with an
Attic accent, and corrected his elders who dropped the aspirate. With
unconscious irony John Stuart Mill wrote in his "Autobiography," "I
learned no Latin until my eighth year, at which time, however, I was
familiar with 'Æsop's Fables,' most of the 'Anabasis,' the 'Memorabilia'
of Xenophon, and the 'Lives of the Philosophers' by Diogenes Lærtius,
part of Lucian, and the 'Ad Demonicum' and 'Ad Nicoclem' of Isocrates."
Besides these he had also read all of Plato, Plutarch, Gibbon, Hume and
Rollin, and was formulating in his mind a philosophy of history.

Whether these things "educated" the boy or not will always remain an
unsettled question for debating-societies.

But that he learned and grew through constant association with his
father there is no doubt. Wherever the father went, the boy trotted
along, a pad in one hand and a pencil in the other, always making notes,
always asking questions, and always answering propositions.

The long out-of-door walks doubtless saved him from death. He never had
a childhood, and if he ever had a mother, the books are silent
concerning her. He must have been an incubator baby, or else been found
under a cabbage-leaf. James Mill treated his wife as if her office and
opinions were too insignificant to consider seriously--she was only an
unimportant incident in his life. James Mill was the typical beef-eating
Englishman described by Taine.

According to Doctor Bain's most interesting little book on John Stuart
Mill, the youth at nine was appointed to supervise the education of the
rest of the family, "a position more pleasing to his vanity than
helpful to his manners." That he was a beautiful prig at this time goes
without saying.

The scaffolding of learning he mistook for the edifice, a fallacy
borrowed from his father. At the age of fourteen he knew as much as his
father, and acknowledged it. He was then sent to France to study the
science of government under Sir Samuel Bentham.

His father's intent was that he should study law, and in his own mind
was the strong conviction that he was set apart, and that his life was
sacred to the service of humanity. A year at the study of law, and a
more or less intimate association with barristers, relieved him of the
hallucination that a lawyer's life is consecrated to justice and the
rights of man--quips, quirks and quillets were not to his taste.

James Mill held the office of Chief Examiner in the East India House, at
a salary equal to seven thousand five hundred dollars a year. The gifted
son was now nineteen, and at work as a junior clerk under his father at
twenty pounds a year. Before the year was up he was promoted, and when
he was twenty-one his salary was one hundred pounds a year.

There are people who will say, "Of course his father pushed him along."
But the fact that after his father's death he was promoted by the
Directors to Head of the Office disposes of all suspicion of favoritism.
The management of the East India Company was really a matter of
statesmanship, and the direct, methodical and practical mind of Mill
fitted him for the place.

Thomas Carlyle, writing to his wife in Scotland in the year Eighteen
Hundred Thirty-one, said: "This young Mill, I fancy and hope, is a being
one can love. A slender, rather tallish and elegant youth, with
Roman-nosed face, earnestly smiling blue eyes, modest, remarkably
gifted, great precision of utterance, calm--a distinctly able and
amiable youth."

So now behold him at twenty-five, a student and scholarly recluse,
delving all day in accounts and dispatches, grubbing in books at night,
and walking an hour before sunrise in the park every morning. It was
about then that he accepted the invitation of Mrs. Taylor to call.

I do not find that James Mill ever disputed the proposition that women
have souls: he evidently considered the matter quite beyond
argument--they hadn't. His son, at this time, was of a like opinion.

John Stuart Mill had not gone into society, and women to him were simply
undeveloped men, to be treated kindly and indulgently. As mental
companions, the idea was unthinkable. And love was entirely out of his
orbit--all of his energies had been worked up into great thoughts.
Doctor Bain says that at twenty-five John Stuart Mill was as ignorant of
sex as a girl of ten.

He called on Mrs. Taylor because she had pleased him when she said, "The
person who helps another gets as much out of the transaction as the one
who is helped." This was a thought worth while. Perhaps Mrs. Taylor had
borrowed the idea. But anyway it was something to repeat it. He revolved
it over in his mind all day, off and on. "To help another is to help
yourself. A helpmeet must grow by the exercise of being useful.
Therefore, a woman grows as her husband grows--she can not stand if she
puts forth intelligent effort. All help is mutual."

"One eye was wider than the other--her head had corners--she carried her
chin in!"

John Stuart Mill wished the day would not drag so; after supper he would
go and call on Mrs. Taylor, and ask her to explain what she meant by all
help being mutual--it was a trifle paradoxical!

The Taylors were just finishing tea when young Mr. Mill called. They
were surprised and delighted to see him. He was a bit abashed, and could
not quite remember what it was he wanted to ask Mrs. Taylor, but he
finally got around to something else just as good. Mrs. Taylor had
written an article on the "Subjugation of Women"--would Mr. Mill take it
home with him and read it, or would he like to hear her read a little of
it now?

Mr. Mill's fine face revealed his delight at the prospect of being read
to. So Mrs. Taylor read a little aloud to Mr. Mill, while Mr. Taylor
took a much-needed nap in the corner.

In a few days Mr. Mill called to return Mrs. Taylor's manuscript and
leave a little essay he himself had written on a similar theme. Mr.
Taylor was greatly pleased at this fine friendship that had sprung up
between his gifted wife and young Mr. Mill--Mrs. Taylor was so much
improved in health, so much more buoyant! Thursday night soon became
sacred at the Taylors' to Mr. Mill, and Sunday he always took dinner
with them.

Goldwin Smith, a trifle grumpy, with a fine forgetfulness as to the
saltness of time, says that young Mr. Mill had been kept such a recluse
that when he met Mrs. Taylor he considered that he was the first man to
discover the potency of sex, and that he thought his experience was
unique in the history of mankind.

Perhaps love does make a fool of a man--I really can not say. If so,
then John Stuart Mill never recovered his sanity. Suppose we let John
speak for himself--I quote from his "Autobiography":

    It was at the period of my mental progress which I have now reached
    that I formed the friendship which has been the honor and chief
    blessing of my existence, as well as the source of a great part of
    all that I have attempted to do, or hope to effect hereafter, for
    human improvement.

    My first introduction to the lady who, after a friendship of twenty
    years, consented to become my wife, was in Eighteen Hundred Thirty,
    when I was in my twenty-fifth and she in her twenty-third year.

            *       *       *       *       *

    I very soon felt her to be the most admirable person I had ever

    It is not to be supposed that she was, or that any one, at the age
    at which I first saw her, could be, all that she became afterwards.
    Least of all could this be true of her, with whom self-improvement,
    progress in the highest and in all senses, was a law of her nature;
    a necessity equally from the ardor with which she sought it, and
    from the spontaneous tendency of faculties which could not receive
    an impression or an experience without making it the source or
    occasion of an accession of wisdom.

            *       *       *       *       *

    In her, complete emancipation from every kind of superstition
    (including that which attributes a pretended perfection to the order
    of Nature and the universe) and an earnest protest against many
    things which are still part of the established constitution of
    society, resulted not from the intellect, but from strength, a noble
    and elevated feeling, and co-existent with a highly reverential
    nature. In general spiritual characteristics, as well as in
    temperament and organization, I have often compared her, as she was
    at that time, to Shelley: but in thought and intellect, Shelley, so
    far as his powers were developed in his short life, was but a child
    compared with what she ultimately became.

    Alike in the highest regions of speculation and in the smaller
    practical concerns of daily life, her mind was the same perfect
    instrument, piercing to the heart and marrow of the matter, always
    seizing the essential idea or principle.

    The same exactness and rapidity of operation, pervading as it did
    her sensitive as well as her mental qualities, would, with her gifts
    of feeling and imagination, have fitted her for a consummate
    artist, as her fiery and tender soul and her vigorous eloquence
    would certainly have made her a great orator. And her profound
    knowledge of human nature, and discernment and sagacity in practical
    life, would, in the times when such a career was open to women, have
    made her eminent among the rulers of mankind.

    Her intellectual gifts did but minister to a moral character at once
    the noblest and the best balanced which I have ever met with in my
    life. Her unselfishness was not that of a taught system of duties,
    but of a heart which thoroughly identified itself with the feelings
    of others, and often went to excess in consideration for them by
    imaginatively investing their feelings with the intensity of her

    The passion of justice might have been thought to be her strongest
    feeling, but for her boundless generosity, and a lovingness ever
    ready to pour itself forth upon any or all human beings who were
    capable of giving the smallest feelings in return. The rest of her
    moral characteristics were such as naturally accompany these
    qualities of mind and heart: the most genuine modesty combined with
    the loftiest pride; a simplicity and sincerity which were absolute
    towards all who were fit to receive them; the utmost scorn for
    whatever was mean and cowardly, and a burning indignation at
    everything brutal or tyrannical, faithless or dishonorable in
    conduct and character, while making the broadest distinction between
    "mala in se" and mere "mala prohibita"--between acts giving evidence
    of intrinsic badness in feeling and character, and those which are
    only violations of conventions either good or bad, violations which
    whether in themselves right or wrong are capable of being committed
    by persons in every other respect lovable and admirable.

    To be admitted into any degree of mental intercourse with a being of
    these qualities could not but have a most beneficial influence on my
    development; though the effect was only gradual, and several years
    elapsed before her mental progress and mine went forward in the
    complete companionship they at last attained. The benefit I received
    was far greater than any which I could hope to give; though to her,
    who had at first reached her opinions by the moral intuition of a
    character of strong feeling, there was doubtless help as well as
    encouragement to be derived from one who had arrived at many of the
    same results by study and reasoning: and in the rapidity of her
    intellectual growth, her mental activity, which converted everything
    into knowledge, doubtless drew from me, as it did from other
    sources, many of its materials. What I owe, even intellectually, to
    her is, in its detail, almost infinite; of its general character a
    few words will give some, though a very imperfect, idea.

    With those who, like the best and wisest of mankind, are
    dissatisfied with human life as it is, and whose feelings are wholly
    identified with its radical amendment, there are two main regions of
    thought. One is the region of ultimate aims--the constituent
    elements of the highest realizable ideal of human life.

    The other is that of the immediately useful and practically
    attainable. In both these departments, I have acquired more from her
    teaching than from all other sources taken together. And, to say
    truth, it is in these two extremes principally, that real certainty
    lies. My own strength lay wholly in the uncertain and slippery
    intermediate region, that of theory, or moral and political science;
    respecting the conclusions of which, in any of the forms in which I
    have received or originated them, whether as political economy,
    analytic psychology, logic, philosophy or history, or anything else,
    it is not the least of my intellectual obligations to her that I
    have derived from her a wise skepticism, which, while it has not
    hindered me from following out the honest exercise of my thinking
    faculties to whatever conclusions might result from it, has put me
    on my guard against holding or announcing these conclusions with a
    degree of confidence which the nature of such speculations does not
    warrant, and has kept my mind not only open to admit, but prompt to
    welcome and eager to seek, even on the questions on which I have
    most meditated, any prospect of clearer perceptions and better
    evidence. I have often received praise, which in my own right I only
    partially deserve, for the greater practicality that is supposed to
    be found in my writings, compared with those of most thinkers who
    have been equally addicted to large generalizations. The writings in
    which this quality has been observed, were not the work of one mind,
    but of the fusion of two: one as eminently practical in its
    judgments and perceptions of things present, as it was high and bold
    in its anticipations for futurity.

       *       *       *       *       *

The social functions at the Taylor home now became less frequent, and
finally ceased. Women looked upon the friendship of John Stuart Mill and
Mrs. Taylor with some resentment and a slight tinge of jealousy. Men
lifted an eyebrow and called it "equivocal"--to use the phrase of
Clement Shorter.

"The plan of having a husband and also a lover is not entirely without
precedent," said Disraeli in mock apology, and took snuff solemnly.
Meantime manuscripts were traveling back and forth between the East
India House and the Taylors'.

John Stuart Mill was contributing essays to the magazines that made the
thinkers think. He took a position opposed to his father, and maintained
the vast importance of the sentiments and feelings in making up the sum
of human lives. When Mill was mentioned, people asked which one.

The Carlyles, who at first were very proud of the acquaintanceship of
Mill, dropped him. Then he dropped them. Years after, the genial Tammas,
writing to his brother John, confirmed his opinion of Mill, "after Mill
took up with that Taylor woman." Says Tammas: "You have lost nothing by
missing the 'Autobiography' of Mill. I never read a more uninteresting
book, nor should I say a sillier."

James Mill protested vehemently against his son visiting at the
Taylors', and even threatened the young man with the loss of his
position, but John Stuart made no answer. The days John did not see
Harriet he wrote her a letter and she wrote him one.

To protect himself in his position, John now ceased to do any literary
work or to write any personal letters at the office. While there he
attended to business and nothing else. In the early morning he wrote or
walked. Evenings he devoted to Mrs. Taylor; either writing to her or for
her, or else seeing her. On Saturday afternoons they would usually go
botanizing, for botany is purely a lovers' invention.

Old acquaintances who wanted to see Mill had to go to the East India
House, and there they got just five minutes of his dignified presence.
Doctor Bain complains, "I could no longer get him to walk with me in the
park--he had reduced life to a system, and the old friends were shelved
and pigeonholed."

When Mill was thirty his salary was raised to five hundred pounds a
year. His father died the same year, and his brothers and sisters
discarded him. His literary fame had grown, and he was editor of the
London "Review." The pedantry of youth had disappeared--practical
business had sobered him, and love had relieved him of his idolatry for
books. Heart now meant more to him than art. His plea was for liberty,
national and individual. The modesty, gentleness and dignity of the man
made his presence felt wherever he went. A contemporary said: "His
features were refined and regular--the nose straight and finely shaped,
his lips thin and compressed--the face and body seemed to represent the
inflexibility of the inner man. His whole aspect was one of high and
noble achievement--invincible purpose, iron will, unflinching
self-oblivion--a world's umpire!"

Mill felt that life was such a precious heritage that we should be
jealous of every moment, so he shut himself in from every disturbing
feature. All that he wrote he submitted to Mrs. Taylor--she corrected,
amended, revised. She read for him, and spent long hours at the British
Museum in research work, while he did the business of the East India

When his "Logic" was published, in Eighteen Hundred Forty, he had known
Mrs. Taylor nine years. That she had a considerable hand in this
comprehensive work there is no doubt. The book placed Mill upon the very
pinnacle of fame. John Morley declared him "England's foremost thinker,"
a title to which Gladstone added the weight of his endorsement, a thing
we would hardly expect from an ardent churchman, since Mill was always
an avowed freethinker, and once declared in Gladstone's presence, "I am
one of the few men in England who have not abandoned their religious
beliefs, because I never had any."

Justin McCarthy says in his reminiscences: "A wiser and more virtuous
man than Mill I never knew nor expect to know; and yet I have had the
good fortune to know many wise and virtuous men. I never knew any man
of really great intellect, who carried less of the ways of ordinary
greatness about him. There was an added charm to the very shyness of his
manner when one remembers how fearless he was, if the occasion called
for fortitude or courage."

After the publication of the "Logic," Mill was too big a man for the
public to lose sight of.

He went his simple way, but to escape being pointed out, he kept from
all crowds, and public functions were to him tabu.

When Mrs. Taylor gave birth to a baby girl, an obscure London newspaper
printed, "A Malthusian Warning to the East India Company," which no
doubt reflected a certain phase of public interest, but Mill continued
his serene way undisturbed.

To this baby girl, Helen Taylor, Mill was always most devotedly
attached. As she grew into childhood he taught her botany, and people
who wanted a glimpse of Mill were advised to "look for him with a
flaxen-haired little sprite of a girl any Saturday afternoon on Hampton

Mr. Taylor died in July, Eighteen Hundred Forty-nine, and in April,
Eighteen Hundred Fifty-one, Mrs. Taylor and Mill were quietly married.
The announcement of the marriage sent a spasm over literary England, and
set the garrulous tongues a-wagging.

George Mill, a brother of John Stuart, with unconscious humor placed
himself on record thus, "Mrs. Taylor was never to anybody else what she
was to John." Bishop Spalding once wrote out this strange, solemn,
emasculate proposition, "Mill's 'Autobiography' contains proof that a
soul, with an infinite craving for God, not finding Him, will worship
anything--a woman, a memory!"

This almost makes one think that the good Bishop was paraphrasing and
reversing Voltaire's remark, "When a woman no longer finds herself
acceptable to man she turns to God."

What the world thought of Mill's wife is not vital--what he thought of
her, certainly was. I quote from the "Autobiography," which Edward
Everett Hale calls "two lives in one--written by one of them":

    Between the time of which I have now spoken, and the present, took
    place the most important events of my life.

    The first of these was my marriage to the lady whose incomparable
    worth had made her friendship the greatest source to me both of
    happiness and of improvement. For seven and a half years that
    blessing was mine; for seven and a half only! I can say nothing
    which could describe, even in the faintest manner, what that loss
    was, and is. But because I know that she would have wished it, I
    endeavor to make the best of what life I have left, and to work on
    for her purposes with such diminished strength as can be derived
    from the thoughts of her, and communion with her memory.

    When two persons have thoughts and speculations completely in
    common; when all subjects of intellectual and moral interests are
    discussed between them in daily life, and probed to much greater
    depths than are usually or conveniently sounded in writings intended
    for general readers; when they set out from the same principles, and
    arrive at their conclusions by processes pursued jointly, it is of
    little consequence, in respect to the question of originality, which
    of them holds the pen; the one who contributes the least to the
    composition may contribute most of the thought; the writings which
    result are the joint product of both, and it must often be
    impossible to disentangle their respective parts, and affirm that
    this belongs to one and that to the other. In this wide sense, not
    only during the years of our married life, but during many of the
    years of confidential friendship which preceded, all my published
    writings were as much her work as mine, her share in them constantly
    increasing as years advanced. But in certain cases, what belongs to
    her can be distinguished and specially identified. Over and above
    the general influence which her mind had over mine, the most
    valuable ideas and features in these joint productions (those which
    have been most fruitful of important results, and which have
    contributed most to the success and reputation of the works
    themselves) originated with her, were emanations from her mind, my
    part of them being no greater than in any of the thoughts which I
    found in previous writings, and made my own only by incorporating
    them with my own system of Thought. During the greater part of my
    literary life I have performed the office in relation to her, which
    from a rather early period I had considered as the most useful part
    that I was qualified to take in the domain of thought: that of an
    interpreter of original thinkers, and mediator between them and the

            *       *       *       *       *

    Thus prepared, it will easily be believed that when I came into
    close intellectual communion with a person of the most eminent
    faculties, whose genius, as it grew and unfolded itself in thought,
    continually struck out truths far in advance of me, but in which I
    could not, as I had done in those others, detect any mixture of
    error, the greatest part of my mental growth consisted in the
    assimilation of those truths, and the most valuable part of my
    intellectual work was in building the bridges and clearing the paths
    which connected them with my general system of thought.

    The steps in my mental growth for which I was indebted to her were
    far from being those which a person wholly uninformed on the subject
    would probably suspect. It might be supposed, for instance, that my
    strong convictions on the complete equality in all legal, political
    social and domestic relations, which ought to exist between men and
    women, may have been adopted or learned from her. This was so far
    from being the fact that those convictions were among the earliest
    results of the application of my mind to political subjects, and the
    strength with which I held them was, as I believe, more than
    anything else, the originating cause of the interest she felt in me.
    What is true is, that, until I knew her, the opinion was in my mind,
    little more than an abstract principle. I saw no more reason why
    women should be held in legal subjection to other people, than why
    men should. I was certain that their interests required fully as
    much protection as those of men, and were quite as little likely to
    obtain it without an equal voice in making the laws by which they
    were to be bound. But that perception of the vast practical bearings
    of women's disabilities which found expression in the book on the
    "Subjection of Women" was acquired mainly through her teaching. But
    for her rare knowledge of human nature and comprehension of moral
    and social influences, though I doubtless should have held my
    present opinions, I should surely have had a very insufficient
    perception of the mode in which the consequences of the inferior
    position of women intertwine themselves with all the evils of
    existing society and with all the difficulties of human improvement.
    I am indeed painfully conscious of how much of her best thoughts on
    the subject I have failed to reproduce, and how greatly that little
    treatise falls short of what would have been if she had put on paper
    her entire mind on the question, or had lived to devise and improve,
    as she certainly would have done, my imperfect statement of the

    The first of my books in which her share was conspicuous was the
    "Principles of Political Economy." The "System of Logic" owed little
    to her except in the minute matters of composition, in which respect
    my writings both great and small have largely benefited by her
    accurate and clear-sighted criticism. The chapter of the "Political
    Economy" which has had a greater influence on opinion than all the
    rest, that on "The Probable Future of the Laboring Classes," is
    entirely due to her: in the first draft of the book, that chapter
    did not exist.

    She pointed out the need of a chapter, and the extreme imperfection
    of the book without it: she was the cause of my writing it; and the
    more general part of the chapter--the statement and discussion of
    the two opposite theories respecting the proper condition of the
    laboring classes--was wholly an exposition of her thoughts, often in
    words taken from her own lips.

    The purely scientific part of the "Political Economy" I did not
    learn from her; but it was chiefly her influence that gave to the
    book that general tone by which it is distinguished from all
    previous expositions of "Political Economy" that had any pretension
    to being scientific, and which has made it so useful to conciliating
    minds which those previous expositions had repelled.

            *       *       *       *       *

    What was abstract and purely scientific was generally mine; the
    properly human element came from her: in all that concerned the
    application of philosophy to the exigencies of human society and
    progress, I was her pupil, alike in boldness of speculation and
    cautiousness of practical judgment. For, on the one hand, I was much
    more courageous and farsighted than without her I should have been,
    in anticipation of an order of things to come, in which many of the
    limited generalizations now so often confounded with universal
    principles will cease to be applicable. Those parts of my writings,
    and especially of the "Political Economy," which contemplate
    possibilities in the future such as, when affirmed by socialists,
    have in general been fiercely denied by political economists, would,
    but for her, either have been absent, or the suggestions would have
    been made much more timidly and in a more qualified form. But while
    she thus rendered me bolder in speculation on human affairs, her
    practical turn of mind, and her almost unerring estimate of
    practical obstacles, repressed in me all tendencies that were really

    Her mind invested all ideas in a concrete shape, and formed itself a
    conception of how they would actually work: and her knowledge of the
    existing feelings and conduct of mankind was so seldom at fault,
    that the weak point in any unworkable suggestion seldom escaped her.

            *       *       *       *       *

    During the two years which immediately preceded the cessation of my
    official life, my wife and I were working together at the "Liberty."
    I had first planned and written it as a short essay in Eighteen
    Hundred Fifty-four. None of my writings have been either so
    carefully composed, or so sedulously corrected as this. After it had
    been written as usual, twice over, we kept it by us, bringing it out
    from time to time, and going through it "de novo," reading, weighing
    and criticizing every sentence. Its final revision was to have been
    a work of the winter of Eighteen Hundred Fifty-eight and Fifty-nine,
    the first after my retirement, which we had arranged to pass in the
    South of Europe. That hope and every other were frustrated by the
    most unexpected and bitter calamity of her death, at Avignon, on our
    way to Montpellier, from a sudden attack of pulmonary congestion.

    Since then I have sought for such alleviation as my state admitted
    of, by the mode of life which most enabled me to feel her still near
    me. I bought a cottage as close as possible to the place where she
    is buried, and there her daughter (my fellow-sufferer and now my
    chief comfort) and I live constantly during a great portion of the
    year. My objects in life are solely those which were hers; my
    pursuits and occupations those in which she shared or
    sympathized--which are indissolubly associated with her. Her memory
    is to me a religion, and her approbation the standard by which,
    summing up as it does all worthiness, I endeavor to regulate my

    After my irreparable loss, one of my earliest cares was to print and
    publish the treatise, so much of which was the work of her whom I
    had lost, and consecrate it to her memory. I have made no
    alterations or additions to it, nor shall I ever. Though it wants
    the last touch of her hand, no substitute for that touch shall ever
    be attempted by mine.

    The "Liberty" was more directly and literally our joint production
    than anything else which bears my name, for there was not a sentence
    of it which was not several times gone through by us together,
    turned over in many ways, and carefully weeded of any faults, either
    in thought or expression, that we detected in it. It is in
    consequence of this that, although it never underwent her final
    revision, it far surpasses, as a mere specimen of composition,
    anything which has proceeded from me either before or since. With
    regard to the thoughts, it is difficult to identify any particular
    part or element as being more hers than all the rest. The whole mood
    of thinking, of which the book was the expression, was emphatically

    But I also was so thoroughly imbued with it that the same thoughts
    naturally occurred to us both. That I was thus penetrated with it,
    however, I owe in a great degree to her. There was a moment in my
    mental progress when I might easily have fallen into a tendency
    towards over-government, both social and political; as there was
    also a moment when, by reaction from a contrary excess, I might have
    become a less thorough radical and democrat than I am. In both these
    points as in many others, she benefited me as much by keeping me
    right where I was right, as by leading me to new truths, and ridding
    me of errors.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Mill died suddenly, at Avignon, France, while on a journey with Mr.
Mill. There she was buried.

The stricken husband and daughter rented a cottage in the village, to be
near the grave of the beloved dead. They intended to remain only a few
weeks, but after a year they concluded they could "never be content to
go away and leave the spot consecrated by her death," unlike Robert
Browning, who left Florence forever on the death of his wife, not having
the inclination or the fortitude even to visit her grave.

Mill finally bought the Avignon cottage, refitted it, brought over from
England all his books and intimate belongings, and Avignon was his home
for fifteen years--the rest of his life.

Mill always referred to Helen Taylor as "my wife's daughter," and the
daughter called him "Pater." The love between these two was most tender
and beautiful. The man could surely never have survived the shock of his
wife's death had it not been for Helen. She it was who fitted up the
cottage, and went to England bringing over his books, manuscripts and
papers, luring him on to live by many little devices of her ready wit.
She built a portico all around the cottage, and in Winter this was
enclosed in glass. Helen called it, "Father's semi-circumgyratory," and
if he failed to pace this portico forty times backward and forward each
forenoon, she would take him gently by the arm and firmly insist that
he should fill the prescription. They resumed their studies of botany,
and Helen organized classes which went with them on their little

In Eighteen Hundred Sixty-five, Mill was induced to stand for Parliament
for Westminster. The move was made by London friends in the hope of
winning him back to England. He agreed to the proposition on condition
that he should not be called upon to canvass for votes or take any part
in the campaign.

He was elected by a safe majority, and proved a power for good in the
House of Commons. The Speaker once remarked, "The presence of Mr. Mill
in this body I perceive has elevated the tone of debate." This sounds
like the remark of Wendell Phillips when Dogmatism was hot on the heels
of the Sage of Concord: "If Emerson goes to Hell, his presence there
will surely change the climate."

Yet when Mill ran for re-election he was defeated, it having leaked out
that he was an "infidel," since he upheld Charles Bradlaugh in his
position that the affirmation of a man who does not believe in the Bible
should be accepted as freely as the oath of one who does. In passing it
is worth while to note that the courts of Christendom have now accepted
the view of Bradlaugh and of Mill on this point.

The best resume of Mill's philosophy is to be found in Taine's "English
Literature," a fact to which Mill himself attested.

The dedication of "On Liberty," printed as a preface to this "Little
Journey," rivals in worth the wonderful little classic of Ernest Renan
to his sister, Henriette.

Mill died at Avignon in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-three, his last days
soothed by the tender ministrations of the daughter Helen. His body,
according to his wish, was buried in his wife's grave, and so the dust
of the lovers lies mingled.


    For my own part I am confident as to the future of Ireland. Though
    the horizon may now seem cloudy, I believe her people will survive
    the present oppression, as they have survived many worse ones.
    Although our progress may be slow, it will be sure. The time will
    come when the people of England will admit once again that they have
    been mistaken and have been deceived: that they have been led astray
    as to the right way of governing a noble, a brave and an impulsive

                                          --_Charles Stewart Parnell_


Two hundred fifty men own one-third of the acreage of Ireland.

Two-thirds of Ireland is owned by two thousand men. In every other
civilized country will be found a large class of people known as peasant
proprietors, people who own small farms or a few acres which they call
home. In Ireland we find seven hundred thousand tenant-farmers, who with
their families represent a population of more than three million people.
These people depend upon the land for their subsistence, but they are
tenants-at-will. Four-fifths of the landowners of Ireland live in

Lord Dufferin, late Governor-General of Canada, once said: "What is the
spectacle presented to us by Ireland? It is that of millions of people,
whose only occupation and dependence is agriculture, sinking their past
and present and future on yearly tenancies. What is a yearly tenancy?
Why, it means that the owner of the land, at the end of any year, can
turn the people born on the land, off from the land, tear down their
houses and leave them starving at the mercy of the storm. It means terms
no Christian man would offer, and none but a madman would accept."

The rents are fixed in cash, being proportioned according to the
assessable value of the property. So if a tenant improves the estate,
his rent is increased, and thus actually a penalty is placed on
permanent improvements.

The tenant has no voice in the matter of rent: he must accept. And
usually the rents have been fixed at a figure that covers the entire
produce of the land. Then the landlord's agent collected all he could,
and indulgently allowed the rest to hang over the tenant's head as a
guarantee of good behavior.

Mr. Gladstone said in Parliament, July the Tenth, Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-nine: "Forty-nine farmers out of fifty in Ireland are in arrears
for rent, so it is legally possible to evict them at any time the
landlord may so choose. And in the condition that now exists, an
eviction is equal to a sentence of death."

At the time when Gladstone made his speech just quoted, a bill was up in
the House of Commons called "The Relief of Distress Bill." Simple people
might at once assume that this relief bill was for the relief of the
starving peasantry, but this is a very hasty conclusion, ill-considered
and quite absurd. The "Relief Bill" was for the relief of the English
landlords who owned land in Ireland. So the landlords would not be
actually compelled to levy on the last potato and waylay the remittances
sent from America, the English Government proposed to loan money to the
distressed landlords at three per cent, and this bill was passed without
argument. And it was said that Lord Lansdowne, one of the poor
landlords, turned a tidy penny by availing himself of the three-per-cent
loan and letting the money out, straightway, at six per cent to such
tenants as had a few pigs to offer as collateral.

The State of Iowa is nearly double the size of Ireland, and has, it is
estimated, eleven times the productive capacity. A tithe of ten per cent
on Iowa's corn crop would prevent, at any time, a famine in Ireland.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-nine, Illinois sent, through the agency of
the Chicago Board of Trade, a shipload of wheat, corn and pork to
starving Ireland. T. P. O'Connor, who took an active part in the
distribution of these humane gifts, said on the floor of the House of
Commons that more than one instance had come to his notice where the
Irish peasants had availed themselves of flour and meal, but the pork
given them was taken by the landlords' agents, "because many Irish
families had never acquired a taste for meat, the pigs they raised being
sold to pay the rent."

Just here, lest any tender-hearted reader be tempted to tears on behalf
of the Irish tenantry, I will quote an Irishman, a vegetarian first by
force and then by habit, George Bernard Shaw:

    The person to pity is the landlord and his incompetent family, and
    not the peasantry. In Ireland, the absentee landlord is bitterly
    reproached for not administering his estate in person. It is pointed
    out, truly enough, that the absentee is a pure parasite upon the
    industry of his country. The indispensable minimum of attention to
    his estate is paid by the agent or solicitor, whose resistance to
    his purely parasitic activity is fortified by the fact that the
    estates belong most to the mortgagees, and that the nominal landlord
    is so ignorant of his own affairs that he can do nothing but send
    begging letters to his agent.

    On these estates generations of peasants (and agents) live hard but
    bearable lives; whilst off them generations of ladies and gentlemen
    of good breeding and natural capacity are corrupted into drifters,
    wasters, drinkers, waiters-for-dead-men's-shoes, poor relations and
    social wreckage of all sorts, living aimless lives, and often dying
    squalid and tragic deaths.

       *       *       *       *       *

In County Wicklow, Ireland, in Eighteen Hundred Forty-six, Charles
Stewart Parnell was born. In that year there was starvation in Ireland.
Thousands died from lack of food, just as they died in that other
English possession, India, in Nineteen Hundred One. Famished babes,
sucking at the withered breasts of dying mothers, were common sights on
the public highways.

Iowa and Illinois had not then got a-going; the cable was to come, and
the heart of Christian England was unpricked by public opinion. And all
the time while famine was in progress, sheep, pigs and cattle were being
shipped across the Channel to England. It was the famine of Eighteen
Hundred Forty-six that started the immense tide of Irish immigration to
America. And England fanned and favored this exodus, for it was very
certain that there were too many mouths to feed in Ireland--half the
number would not so jeopardize the beer and skittles of the landlords.

Parnell's father was a landed proprietor living in Ireland, but whose
ancestors had originally come from England. The Parnell estate was not
large, comparatively, but it was managed so as to give a very
comfortable living for the landlord and his various tenants. The mother
of young Parnell was Delia Stewart, an American girl, daughter of
Admiral Stewart of the United States Navy.

In that dread year of Eighteen Hundred Forty-six, when the potato crop
failed, the Parnells took no rent from their tenants; and Mrs. Parnell
rode hundreds of miles in a jaunting-car, distributing food and clothing
among the needy. Doubtless there were a great many other landlords and
agents just as generous as the Parnells, filled with the same humane
spirit; but the absentee landlords were for the most part heedless,
ignorant, and indifferent to the true state of affairs.

Charles Parnell grew up a fine, studious, thoughtful boy. He prepared
for college and took a turn of two years at Cambridge. He then returned
to Ireland, because his help was needed in looking after the
estate--hence he never secured his degree. But he had the fine, eager,
receptive mind that gathers gear as it goes. His mother was an educated
woman, and educated mothers have educated children.

That is a very wise scheme of child-education, the education of the
mother, a plan which is indeed not yet fully accepted by civilization;
but which will be as soon as we become enlightened.

From his mother's lips Charles learned the story of America's fight for
independence, and the rights of man was a subject ingrained in his

       *       *       *       *       *

Ireland is a country that has a climate as nearly perfect as we can
imagine, and topographically, it is beautiful beyond compare. Yet here,
among physical conditions which are most entrancing, existed a form of
slavery not far removed from that which existed in the Southern States
in Eighteen Hundred Sixty. It was a system inaugurated by men long dead,
and which had become ossified upon both tenant and landlord (slave and
slave-owner) by years of precedent, so neither party had the power to
break the bonds.

In some ways it was worse than African slavery, for the material wants
of the blacks were usually fairly well looked after. To be sure, the
Irish could run away and not be brought back in chains; but in Eighteen
Hundred Seventy-six, a bill was introduced in Parliament restricting
Irish immigration, and forbidding any tenant who was in debt to a
landlord leaving the country without the landlord's consent.

Had this bill not been bitterly opposed, the Irish people would have
been subject to peonage equal to absolute slavery. As young Parnell grew
he was filled with but one theme: how to better the condition of his

In arousing public sentiment against the bill, young Parnell found his
oratorical wings.

Shortly after this he was elected to Parliament from County Meath. He
was then twenty-seven years old. He had never shaved, and his full brown
beard and serious, earnest, dignified manner, coupled with his
six-foot-two physique, attracted instant attention. He wore a suit of
gray, Irish homespun, but the requirements of Parliament demanded black
with a chimney-pot hat--the hat being always religiously worn in
session, except when the member addressed the Chair--and to these
Piccadilly requirements Parnell gracefully adjusted himself.

Parnell seemed filled with the idea, from the days of his youth, that he
had a mission--he was to lead his people out of captivity. This oneness
of purpose made itself felt in the House of Commons from his first
entrance. All parliamentary bodies are swayed by a few persons--the
working members are the exception. The horse-racing and cockfighting
contingent in the House of Commons is well represented; the blear eyes,
the poddy pudge, the bulbous beak--all these are in evidence. If one man
out of ten knows what is going on, it is well; and this is equally true
of Washington, for our representatives do not always represent us.

Parnell, although a fledgling in years when he entered the House of
Commons, quickly took the measure of the members, and conceived for them
a fine scorn, which some say he exhibited in italics and upper case.
This was charged up against him to be paid for later at usurious

Precedent provided that he should not open his Irish mouth during the
entire first session; but he made his presence felt from the first day
he entered the House.

By a curious chance a Coercion Bill was up for discussion, there being
always a few in stock. Some of the tenantry had refused to either pay or
depart, and a move was on foot to use the English soldiery to evict the
malcontents in a wholesale way.

Joseph Biggar had the floor and declared the bill was really a move to
steal Irish children and sell them into perpetual peonage. Biggar was
talking against time, and the House groaned. Biggar was a rich merchant
from Ulster, and he was a big man, although without oratorical ability
or literary gifts. His heart was right, but he lacked mental synthesis.
He knew little of history, nothing of political economy, despised
precedents, had a beautiful disdain for all rules, and for all things
English he held the views of Fuzzy-Wuzzy, whose home is in the Sudan.
However, Biggar was shrewd and practical, and had a business sense that
most of the members absolutely lacked. And moreover he was entirely
without fear. Usually his face was wreathed in cherubic smiles. He had
the sweetly paternal look of Horace Greeley, in disposition was just as
stubborn, and, like Horace, chewed tobacco.

The English opposed the Irish members, and Biggar reciprocated the
sentiment. They opposed everything he did, and it came about that he
made it his particular business to block the channel for them.

"Why are you here?" once exclaimed an exasperated member to Joseph

"To rub you up, sir, to rub you up!" was the imperturbable reply. He
shocked the House and succeeded in getting himself thoroughly hated by
his constant reference to absentee landlords as "parasites" and
"cannibals." And the fact that there were many absentee landlords in the
House only urged him on to say things unseemly, irrelevant and often

And so Biggar was making a speech on the first day that Parnell took his
seat. Biggar was sparring for time, fighting off a vote on the Coercion
Bill. He had spoken for four hours, mostly in a voice inaudible, and had
read from the London Directory, the Public Reports and the Blue Book,
and had at last fallen back on Doctor Johnson's Dictionary, when
Parnell, in his simple honesty, interjected an explanation to dissolve a
little of the Biggar mental calculi. Biggar, knowing Parnell, gave way,
and Parnell rose to his feet. His finely modulated, low voice searched
out the inmost corners of the room, and every sentence he spoke
contained an argument. He was talking on the one theme he knew best.
Members came in from the cloakrooms and the Chair forgot his mail--a man
was speaking.

Gladstone happened to be present, and while not at the time sympathizing
with the intent of Parnell, was yet enough attracted to the young man to
say, "There is the future Irish leader: the man has a definite policy
and a purpose that will be difficult to oppose."

In January, Eighteen Hundred Eighty, at the Academy of Music, Buffalo,
New York, I attended the first meeting of the American Branch of the
Irish Land League.

I was a cub reporter, with no definite ideas about Parnell or Irish
affairs, and as at that time I had not been born again, I had a fine
indifference for humanity across the sea. To send such a woolly
proposition to report Parnell was the work of a cockney editor, born
with a moral squint, within sound of Bow Bells. To him Irish agitators
were wearisome persons, who boiled at low temperature, who talked much
and long. All the Irish he knew worked on the section or drove drays.

At this meeting the first citizens of Buffalo gave the proceedings
absent treatment. The men in evidence were mostly harmless: John J.
McBride, Father Cronin, James Mooney, and a liberal mixture of Mc's and
O's made up the rest; and as I listened to them I made remarks about
"Galways" and men who ate the rind of watermelons and "threw the inside

Judge Clinton, of Buffalo, grandson of De Witt Clinton, had been
inveigled into acting as chairman of the meeting, and I remember made a
very forceful speech. He introduced Michael Davitt, noticeable for his
one arm. All orators should have but one arm--the empty sleeve for an
earnest orator being most effective. Davitt spoke well: he spoke like an
aroused contractor to laborers who were demanding shorter hours and more

Davitt introduced Parnell. I knew Davitt, but did not know Parnell.
Before Parnell had spoken six words, I recognized and felt his
superiority to any other man on the stage or in the audience. His speech
was very deliberate, steady, sure, his voice not loud, but under perfect
control. The dress, the action, the face of the man were regal.
Afterwards I heard he was called the "Uncrowned King," and I also
understood how certain Irish peasants thought of him as a Messiah. His
plea was for a clear comprehension of the matter at issue, that it might
be effectively dealt with, without heat, or fear, or haste. He carried a
superb reserve and used no epithets. He showed how the landlords were
born into their environment, just as the Irish peasantry were heirs to
theirs. The speech was so full of sympathy and rich in reason, so
convincing, so pathetic, so un-Irishlike, so charged with heart, and a
heart for all humanity, even blind and stupid Englishmen, that everybody
was captured, bound with green withes, by his quiet, convincing
eloquence. The audience was melted into a whole, that soon forgot to
applaud, but just listened breathlessly.

It was on this occasion that I heard the name of Henry George mentioned
for the first time. Parnell quoted these words from "Progress and

    Man is a land-animal. A land-animal can not live without land. All
    that man produces comes from the land; all productive labor, in the
    final analysis, consists in working up land, or materials drawn
    from land, into such forms as fit them for the satisfaction of human
    wants and desires. Man's very body is drawn from the land. Children
    of the soil, we come from the land, and to the land we must return.
    Take away from man all that belongs to the land, and what have you
    but a disembodied spirit? Therefore, he who holds the land on which
    and from which another man must live is that man's master; and the
    man is his slave. The man who holds the land on which I must live,
    can command me to life or to death just as absolutely as though I
    were his chattel. Talk about abolishing slavery! We have not
    abolished slavery; we have only abolished one rude form of
    it--chattel slavery. There is a deeper and more insidious form, a
    more cursed form yet before us to abolish, in this industrial
    slavery that makes a man a virtual slave, while taunting him and
    mocking him in the name of freedom.

We hear only a few speeches in a lifetime, possibly a scant
half-dozen--if you have heard that many you have done well. Wouldn't you
have liked to hear Webster's reply to Hayne, Wendell Phillips at Faneuil
Hall, Lincoln answering Douglas, or Ingersoll at the Soldiers' Reunion
at Indianapolis?

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain O'Shea was the son of an Irish landlord, living in England on a
goodly allowance. He was a very fair specimen of the absentee. When
obscurity belched him forth in the year Eighteen Hundred Eighty, he was
a class D politician, who had evolved from soldiering through the
ambitious efforts of his wife. He held a petty office in the Colonial
Department, where the work was done by faithful clerks, grown gray in
the service.

He was a man without either morals or ideals. Careful search fails to
reveal a single remark he ever made worthy of record, or a solitary act
that is not just as well forgotten.

Every City Hall has dozens of just such men, and all political capitals
swarm with them. They are the sons of good families, and have to be
taken care of--Remittance-Men, Astute Persons, Clever Nobodies, Good
Fellows! They are more to be pitied than slaving peasants. God help the
rich--the poor can work!

Work is a solace 'gainst self--a sanctuary and a refuge from the Devil,
for Satan still finds mischief for idle hands to do. The Devil lies in
wait for the idler; and the Devil is the idler, and every idler is a
devil. Saintship consists in getting busy at some useful work.

When Katharine Wood, daughter of Sir Page Wood, became Mrs. O'Shea, she
was yet in her teens. Her husband was twenty. Neither knew what they
were doing, or where they were going.

Captain O'Shea in his shining uniform was a showy figure, and that his
captaincy had been bought and paid for was a matter that troubled
nobody. The pair was married, and when once tied by an ecclesiastic
knot, they proceeded to get acquainted. A captain in the English Army
who has a few good working sergeants is nothing and nobody. If he has
enough money he can pay to get the work done, and the only disadvantage
is that real soldiers scorn him, for soldiers take the measure of their
officers, just as office-boys gauge the quality of the head clerk, or a
salesman sizes a floorwalker. Nobody is deceived about anybody except
for about an hour at a time.

When the time came for Captain O'Shea to drop out of the military
service and become a civilian clerk in the Colonial Office, the army was
glad. Non-comps are gleefully sloughed in the army, just as they are in
a railroad-office or a department-store.

Yet Captain O'Shea was not such a bad person: had he been born poor and
driven a dray, or been understudy to a grocer, he would very likely have
evolved into a useful and inoffensive citizen. The tragedy all arose
from that bitter joke which the stork is always playing: sending
commonplace children to people of power.

And then we foolish mortals try to overawe Nature by a Law of Entail,
which supplies the Aristophanes of Heaven and Gabriel many a quiet
smile. The stork is certainly a bird that has no sense. Power that is
earned is never ridiculous, but power in the hands of one who is strange
to it is first funny, then fussy, and soon pathetic. Punk is a useful
substance, and only serves as metaphor when it tries to pass for bronze.

So, then, behold Katharine O'Shea--handsome, wistful, winsome, vivacious
and intelligent, with a brain as keen as that of Becky Sharp, yet as
honest as Amelia--getting her husband transferred from the army to the
civil list.

He was an Irishman, and his meager salary in the office had to be helped
out with money wrung from Irish peasantry by landlords' agents. Captain
O'Shea knew little about his estate, and was beautifully ignorant of its
workings; but once he and his wife went over to Ireland, and the woman
saw things the man did not and could not.

The Irish agitation was on, and the heart of the English girl went out
to her brothers and sisters across the Channel. Marriage had tamed her,
sobered her dreams, disillusioned her fancies. In her extremity she
turned to humanity, as women turn to religion. In fact, humanity was to
her a religion: her one thought was how to relieve and benefit
Ireland--Ireland which supplied her that whereby she lived! She felt
like a cannibal at the thought of living off the labor of these poor

She read and studied the Irish problem, and one day copied this passage
from Henry George into her commonplace-book:

    Ireland has never yet had a population which the natural resources
    of the country could not have maintained in ample comfort. At the
    period of her greatest population (Eighteen Hundred Forty to
    Eighteen Hundred Forty-five), Ireland contained more than eight
    millions of people. But a very large proportion of them managed
    merely to exist--lodging in miserable cabins, clothed in miserable
    rags, and with potatoes only as their staple food. When the
    potato-blight came, they died by thousands. But it was not the
    inability of the soil to support so large a population that
    compelled so many to live in this miserable way, and exposed them to
    starvation on the failure of a single root-crop. On the contrary, it
    was the same remorseless rapacity that robbed the Indian peasant of
    the fruits of his toil and left him to starve where Nature offered
    plenty. When her population was at its highest, Ireland was a
    food-exporting country. Even during the famine, grain, meat, butter
    and cheese were carted for exportation along roads lined with the
    starving, and past trenches into which the dead were piled. For
    these exports of food there was no return. It went not as an
    exchange, but as a tribute, to pay the rent of absentee landlords--a
    levy wrung from producers by those who in no wise contributed to the

Captain O'Shea was not at all interested. He had the brain of a
blackbird, but not enough mind to oppose his wife. He just accepted
life, and occasionally growled because more money did not come from
this agent in Galway--that was all.

He still nominally belonged to the army, was a member of "The Canteen,"
a military club, played billiards in Winter and cricket in Summer, and
if at long intervals he got plain drunk, it was a matter of patriotism
done by way of celebrating a victory of English arms in the Congo, and
therefore in the line of duty. Captain O'Shea never beat his wife, even
in his cups, and the marriage was regarded as a happy one by the
neighboring curate who occasionally looked in, and at times enjoyed a
quiet mug with the Captain.

Mrs. O'Shea knew several of the Irish Members of Parliament; in fact,
one of them was a cousin of her husband.

This cousin knew John Dillon and William O'Brien. Dillon and O'Brien
knew Parnell, and belonged to his "advisory board."

Mrs. O'Shea was a member of Ruskin's Saint George Society, and had
outlined a plan to sell the handicraft products made in the Irish homes,
it being the desire of Ruskin to turn Irish peasantry gradually from a
dependence on agriculture to the handicrafts. Mrs. O'Shea had a parlor
sale in her own house, of laces, rugs and baskets made by the Irish

John Dillon told Parnell of this. Parnell knew that such things were
only palliative, but he sympathized with the effort, and when in June,
Eighteen Hundred Eighty, he accepted an invitation to dine at the
O'Shea's with half a dozen other notables, it was quite as a matter of
course. How could he anticipate that he was making history!

Disappointment in marriage had made lines under the eyes of pretty Kitty
O'Shea and strengthened her intellect.

Indifference and stupidity are great educators--they fill one with
discontent and drive a person onward and upward to the ideal. A
whetstone is dull, but it serves to sharpen Damascus blades.

Mrs. O'Shea's heart was in the Irish cause. Parnell listened at first
indulgently--then he grew interested. The woman knew what she was
talking about. She was the only woman he had ever seen who did, save his
mother, whose house had once been searched by the constabulary for
things Fenian. He listened, and then shook himself out of his

Parnell was not a society man--he did not know women--all petty small
talk was outside of his orbit. He regarded women as chatterers,
children, undeveloped men. He looked at Kitty O'Shea and listened. She
had coal-black, wavy hair, was small, petite, and full of nervous
energy. She was not interested in Parnell; she was interested in his
cause. They loved the same things. They looked at each other and talked.
And then they sat silent and looked at each other, realizing that people
who do not understand each other without talk, never can with. To
remain silent in each other's presence is the test. Within a week
Parnell called at the O'Shea's, with Dillon, and they drank tea out of
tiny cups.

Parnell was thirty-four, and bachelors of thirty-four either do not know
women at all, or else know them too well. Had Parnell been an expert
specialist in femininity, he would never have gone to see Mrs. O'Shea
the second time. She was an honest woman with a religious oneness of
aim, and such are not the ladies for predaceous holluschickies.

Parnell went alone to call on Mrs. O'Shea--he wanted to consult with her
about the Land League. By explaining his plans to her, he felt that he
could get them more clearly impressed on his own mind. For he could
trust her, and best of all, she understood--she understood!

       *       *       *       *       *

About six months after this, London was convulsed with laughter at a
joke too good to keep: One Captain O'Shea had challenged Charles
Parnell, the Irish Leader, to a duel. Parnell accepted the challenge,
but the fight was off, because Thomas Mayne had gone to O'Shea and told
him he "would kick him the length of Rotten Row if he tried to harm or
even opened his Galway yawp about Parnell."

O'Shea had a valise which he said he had found in his wife's room, and
this valise belonged to Parnell! The English members talked of Parnell's
aberration and carelessness concerning his luggage; and all hands agreed
that O'Shea, whoever he was, was a fool--a hot-headed, egotistical
rogue, trying to win fame for himself by challenging greatness.

"Suppose that Parnell kills him, it is no loss to the world; but if
O'Shea kills Parnell, the Irish cause is lost," said John Dillon, who
went to see O'Shea and told him to go after some pigmy his own size.

Sir Patrick O'Brien said to O'Shea, "You dress very well, Captain
O'Shea, but you are not the correct thing."

As for London's upper circles, why, it certainly was a lapse for Parnell
to leave his valise in the lady's room. Parnell the Puritan--Parnell the
man who used no tobacco or strong drink, and never was known to slip a
swear-word: Parnell the Irish Messiah! Ha, ha, ha!

As for the love-affair, all M.P.'s away from home without their families
have them. You can do anything you choose, provided you do not talk
about it, and you can talk about anything you choose, provided you do
not do it. Promiscuity in London is a well-recognized fact, but a
serious love-affair is quite a different thing. No one for a moment
really believed that Parnell was so big a fool as to fall in love with
one woman, and be true to her, and her alone--that was too absurd!

Captain O'Shea resigned his civil office and went back to his command.
He was sent for service to India, where he remained for more than a
year. When he returned to London, he did not go to Mrs. O'Shea's house,
but took apartments downtown.

In the year Eighteen Hundred Eighty-six, political London was roused by
the statement that Captain O'Shea was a candidate from Galway for the
House of Commons, and was running under the protection of Parnell. To
the knowing ones in London it looked like a clear bargain and sale.
O'Shea had tried to harass Parnell; Parnell had warned O'Shea never to
cross his path, and now the men had joined hands.

Parnell was in possession of O'Shea's wife, and O'Shea was going to
Parliament with Parnell's help! O'Shea was a notoriously unfit man for a
high public office, and Joseph Biggar and others openly denounced
Parnell for putting forth such a creature. "He'll vote with the b'hoys,
so what difference does it make?" said Sullivan. "The b'hoys," who vote
as they are told, are in every legislative body. They are not so much to
be feared as men with brains. Parnell went over to Ireland, and braved
the mob by making speeches for O'Shea, and O'Shea was elected.

Parnell was evidently caught in a trap--he did the thing he had to do.
His love for the woman was a consuming passion--her love for him was
complete. Only death could part them. And besides, their hearts were in
the Irish cause. To free Ireland was their constant prayer.

Scandal, until taken up by the newspapers, is only rumor. The newspapers
seldom make charges until the matter gets into court--they fear the
libel-laws--but when the court lends an excuse for giving "the news,"
the newspapers turn themselves loose like a pack of wolves upon a lame
horse that has lost its way. And the reason the newspapers do this is
because the people crave the savory morsel.

The newspapers are published by men in business, and the wares they
carry are those in demand: mostly gossip, scandal and defamation. And
humanity is of such a quality that it is not scandalized or shocked by
facts, but by the recital of the facts in the courts or public prints.

       *       *       *       *       *

The House of Commons, in Eighteen Hundred Ninety, was at last ready to
grant Home Rule to Ireland.

A bill satisfactory to the majority was prepared, and Parnell and
Gladstone, the two strongest men of their respective countries, stood
together in perfect accord. Then it was, in that little interval of
perfect peace, that there came the explosion. Captain O'Shea brought
suit against his wife for divorce. The affair was planned not only to
secure the divorce, but also to do it in the most sensational and
salacious manner. The bill of complaint, a voluminous affair, was really
an alleged biography of Charles Parnell, and placed his conduct in the
most offensive light possible. It recited that for more than ten years
Parnell and Mrs. O'Shea had lived together as man and wife; that they
had traveled together on the Continent under an alias; that Parnell had
shaved off his beard to escape identity; and that the only interval of
virtue that had come to the guilty couple since they first met was when
Parnell was in Kilmainham Jail. The intent of the complaint was plainly
to arouse a storm of indignation against Parnell that would make
progress for any measure he might advocate, quite out of the question.
The landlords were so filled with laughter that they forgot to collect
rent; and the tenants were so amazed and wroth at the fall of their
leader that they cashed up--or didn't, as the case happened. Scandal
filled the air; the newspapers issued extras, and ten million
housewives called the news over back fences.

And now at this distance it is very plain that the fuse was laid and
fired by some one beside Captain O'Shea. The woman who was once his
wife, O'Shea had not seen for five years, and was quite content in the
snug arrangements he had in the interval made for himself.

When the divorce was granted without opposition, Justin McCarthy wrote,
"Charles Stewart Parnell is well hated throughout Great Britain, but
Captain O'Shea is despised."

The question has often been asked, "Who snatched Home Rule from Ireland
just as she reached for it?" Opinions are divided, and I might say
merged by most Irish people, thus: O'Shea, Parnell, Gladstone, Katharine

Fifteen years have softened Irish sentiment toward Parnell, and anywhere
from Blarney to Balleck you will get into dire difficulties if you hint
ill of Parnell. Gladstone and O'Shea are still unforgiven. In Cork I
once spoke to a priest of Kitty O'Shea, and with a little needless
acerbity the man of God corrected me and said, "You mean Mrs. Katharine
Parnell!" And I apologized.

The facts are that no one snatched Home Rule from Ireland. Ireland
pushed it from her. Had Ireland stood by Charles Parnell when it came
out that he loved, and had loved for ten years, a most noble,
intellectual, honest and excellent woman, Parnell would have still been
the Irish Leader--the Uncrowned King. Gladstone did not desert the Irish
Cause until the Irish had deserted Parnell. Then Gladstone followed
their example--and gladly. Since then Home Rule for Ireland has been a

The most persistent defamer of Charles Parnell never accused the man of
promiscuous conduct, nor of being selfish and sensual in his habit of
life. He loved this one woman, and never loved another. And when a
scurrilous reporter, hiding behind anonymity, published a story to the
effect that Katharine O'Shea had had other love-affairs, the publisher,
growing alarmed, came out the following day with a disclaimer, thus:

"If Mrs. O'Shea has had other irregular experiences, they are, so far,
unknown to the public."

It was an ungracious retraction--but a retraction still--and caused a
few Irish bricks to find the publishers plate glass.

The Irish lost Home Rule by allowing themselves to be stampeded. Their
English friends, the enemy, playing upon their prejudices, they became
drunk with hate, and then their shillalahs resounded a tattoo upon the
head of their leader. Nations and people who turn upon their best
friends are too common to catalog.

In the "Westminster Review" for January, Eighteen Hundred Ninety-one,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton says: "The spectacle of a whole nation hounding
one man, and determined to administer summary punishment, is pitiful at
a time when those who love their fellowmen are asking for all the best
moral appliances and conditions for the reformation of mankind. Force,
either in the form of bodily infliction or of mental lashing, has been
abandoned by the experienced as evil and ineffective in all its
attributes. Acting on this principle, what right has a nation to turn
its whole engine of denunciation upon a human being for the violation of
a personal unsettled question of morals?"

A great, noble and unswerving love between a man and a woman, mentally
mated, is an unusual affair. That the Irish people should repudiate,
scorn and spurn a man and a woman who possessed such a love is a
criticism on their intelligence that needs no comment. But the world is
fast reaching a point where it realizes that honesty, purity of purpose,
loyalty and steadfastness in love fit people for leadership, if anything
does or can, and that from such a relationship spring justice, freedom,
charity, generosity and the love that suffereth long and is kind. There
is no freedom on earth or in any star for those who deny freedom to

The people who desire political Home Rule must first of all learn to
rule their own spirits, and be willing to grant to individuals the right
and privilege of Home Rule in the home where love alone rules.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the time that O'Shea took his seat in Parliament, Parnell showed by
his face and manner that he was a man with a rope tied to his foot. His
health declined, he became apprehensive, nervous, and at times lost the
perfect poise that had won for him the title of the "Uncrowned King." He
had bargained with a man with whom no contract was sacred, and he was
dealing with people as volatile and uncertain as Vesuvius.

"I have within my hand a Parliament for Ireland," said Parnell in a
speech to a mob at Galway. "I have within my hand a Parliament for
Ireland, and if you destroy me, you destroy Home Rule for Ireland!" And
the Irish people destroyed Parnell. In this they had the assistance of
Gladstone, who after years of bitter opposition to Parnell had finally
been won over to Ireland's cause, not being able to disrupt it. When we
can not down a strong man in fair fight, all is not lost--we can still
join hands with him. When Captain O'Shea secured a divorce from his
wife, naming Parnell as co-respondent, and Parnell practically pleaded
guilty by making no defense, the rage against Parnell was so fierce that
if he had appeared in Ireland, his life would have paid the forfeit.

Then, when in a few months he married the lady according to the Civil
Code, but without Episcopal or Catholic sanction, the storm broke
afresh, and a hypocritical world worked overtime trying to rival the
Billingsgate Calendar. The newspapers employed watchers, who picketed
the block where Parnell and his wife lived, and telegraphed to
Christendom the time the lights were out, and whether Mr. Parnell
appeared with a shamrock or a rose in his buttonhole. The facts that
Mrs. Parnell wore her hair in curls, and smilingly hummed a tune as she
walked to the corner, were construed into proof of brazen guilt and a
desire to affront respectable society.

Gladstone was a strict Churchman, but he was also a man of the world.
Parnell's offense was the offense committed by Lord Nelson, Lord
Hastings, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles Dilke, Shakespeare, and
most of those who had made the name and fame of England worldwide.
Gladstone might have stood by Parnell and steadied the Nationalist Party
until the storm of bigotry and prejudice abated; but he saw his chance
to escape from a hopeless cause, and so he demanded the resignation of
Parnell while the Irish were still rabid against the best friend they
ever had. Feud and faction had discouraged Gladstone, and now was his
chance to get out without either backing down or running away! By the
stroke of a pen he killed the only man in Great Britain who rivaled him
in power--the only Irishman worthy to rank with O'Connor and Grattan. It
was an opportunity not to be lost--just to take the stand of virtue and
lift up his hands in affected horror, instead of stretching out those
hands to help a man whose sole offense was that he loved a woman with a
love that counted not the cost, hesitated at no risk, and which
eventually led not only to financial and political ruin, but to death

Parnell died six months after his marriage, from nerve-wrack that had
known no respite for ten years.

In half-apology for his turning upon Parnell, Gladstone once afterward
said, "Home Rule for Ireland--what would she do with it anyway?" In this
belief that Home Rule meant misrule, he may have been right. James
Bryce, a sane and logical thinker, thought so, too. But this did not
relieve Gladstone of the charge of owning a lumber-yard and putting up
the price of plank when his friend fell overboard.

The ulster of virtue, put on and buttoned to the chin as an expedient
move in times of social and political danger, is a garment still in

Says James Bryce:

    To many Englishmen, the proposal to create an Irish Parliament
    seemed nothing more or less than a proposal to hand over to these
    men the government of Ireland, with all the opportunities thence
    arising to oppress the opposite party in Ireland and to worry
    England herself. It was all very well to urge that the tactics which
    the Nationalists had pursued when their object was to extort Home
    Rule would be dropped, because superfluous, when Home Rule had been
    granted; or to point out that an Irish Parliament would probably
    contain different men from those who had been sent to Westminster as
    Mr. Parnell's nominees. The internal condition of Ireland supplied
    more substantial grounds for alarm than English misrule.

    Three-fourths of the people are Roman Catholics, one-fourth
    Protestants, and this Protestant fourth sub-divided into bodies not
    fond of one another, who have little community of sentiment. Besides
    the Scottish colony in Ulster, many English families have settled
    here and there through the country. They went further, and made the
    much bolder assumption that as such a Parliament would be chosen by
    electors, most of whom were Roman Catholics, it would be under the
    control of the Catholic priesthood, and hostile to Protestants. Thus
    they supposed that the grant of self-government to Ireland would
    mean the abandonment of the upper and wealthier class, the landlords
    and the Protestants, to the tender mercies of their enemies. The
    fact stood out that in Ireland two hostile factions had been
    contending for the last sixty years, and that the gift of
    self-government might enable one of them to tyrannize over the
    other. True, that party was the majority, and, according to the
    principles of democratic government, entitled therefore to prevail.
    The minority had the sympathy of the upper classes in England,
    because the minority contained the landlords. It had the sympathy of
    a large part of the middle class, because it contained the
    Protestants. There was another anticipation, another forecast of
    evils to follow, which told most of all upon English opinion. It was
    the notion that Home Rule was only a stage in the road to the
    complete separation of the two islands. Parnell's campaign diluted
    the greed of landlords, but Ireland, politically, is yet where she
    has been for two hundred years, governed by bureaucrats.


    As to Vaucluse, I well know the beauties of that charming valley,
    and ten years' residence is proof of my affection for the place. I
    have shown my love of it by the house which I built there. There I
    began my article "Africa," there I wrote the greater part of my
    epistles in prose and verse. At Vaucluse I conceived the first idea
    of giving an epitome of the Lives of Illustrious Men, and there I
    wrote my treatise on a Solitary Life, as well as that on religious
    retirement. It was there, also, that I sought to moderate my passion
    for Laura, which, alas, solitude only cherished. And so this lonely
    valley will be forever sacred to my recollections.

                                           --_Journal of Petrarch_

[Illustration: PETRARCH]

"A literary reputation once attained can never be lost," says Balzac.
This for the reason that we find it much easier to admit a man's
greatness than to refute it. The safest and most solid reputations are
those of writers nobody reads. As long as a man is read he is being
weighed, and the verdict is uncertain, which remark, of course, does not
apply to the books we read with our eyes shut.

Shakespeare's proud position today is possible only through the fact
that he is not read.

We get our Shakespeare from "Bartlett's Quotations": and the statement
made by the good old lady that Shakespeare used more quotations than any
other man who ever lived is true, although she should have added that he
used blessed few quotation-marks.

In all my life I never knew anybody, save one woman and a little girl,
who read Shakespeare in the original. I know a deal of Shakespeare,
although I never read one of his plays, and never could witness a
Shakespearean performance without having the fidgets. All the
Shakespeare I have, I caught from being exposed to people who have the

I never yet met any one who read Petrarch. But every so-called educated
person is compelled to admit the genius of Petrarch.

We know the gentleman by sight; that is, we know the back of his books.

And then we know that he loved Laura--Petrarch and Laura!

We walk into Paradise in pairs--just as the toy animals go into a Noah's
Ark. Shakespeare is coupled thus: Shakespeare and----

He wrote his sonnets to Her, exactly as did Dante, Petrarch and
Rossetti. A sonnet is a house of life enclosing an ostermoor built for

Petrarch is one of the four great Italian poets, and his life is vital
to us because all our modern literature traces a pedigree to him.

The Italian Renaissance is the dawn of civilization: the human soul
emerging into wakefulness after its sleep of a thousand years.

The Dark Ages were dark because religion was supreme, and to keep it
pure they had to subdue every one who doubted it or hoped to improve
upon it. So wrangle, dispute, faction, feud, plot, exile, murder and
Sherlock Holmes absorbed the energies of men and paralyzed spontaneity
and all happy, useful effort. The priest caught us coming and going. We
had to be christened when we were born and given extreme unction when we
died, otherwise we could not die legally--hell was to pay, here and

The only thing that finally banished fear and stopped the rage for
vengeance, revenge and loot was Love. Not the love for God. No! Just the
love of man and woman.

Passionate, romantic love! When the man had evolved to a point where he
loved one woman with an absorbing love, the rosy light of dawn appeared
in the East, the Dark Ages sank into oblivion, and Civilization kicked
off the covers and cooed in the cradle.

Is it bad to love one woman with all the intensity that was formerly
lavished on ten? Some people think so; some have always thought so--in
the Dark Ages everybody thought so. Religion taught it: God was jealous.
Marriage was an expediency. Dante, Petrarch and Shakespeare live only
because they loved.

Literature, music, sculpture, painting, constitute art--not, however,
all of art. And art is a secondary sexual manifestation. Beauty is the
child of married minds, and Emerson says, "Beauty is the seal of
approval that Nature sets upon Virtue."

So, if you please, love and virtue are one, and a lapse from virtue is a
lapse from love. It is love that vitalizes the intellect to the creative
point. So it will be found that men with the creative faculty have
always been lovers. To give a list of the great artists that the world
has seen would be to name a list of lovers.

The Italian Renaissance was the birth of Romantic Love. It was a new
thing, and we have not gotten used to it yet. It is so new to men's
natures that they do not always know how to manage it, and so it
occasionally runs away with them and leaves them struggling in the
ditch, from which they emerge sorry sights, or laughable, according to
the view of the bystander and the extent of the disaster. And yet, in
spite of mishaps, let the truth stand that those who travel fast and go
far, go by Love's Parcel-Post, concerning which there is no limit to the
size of the package.

Romantic Love was impossible at the time when men stole wives. When
wife-stealing gave place to wife-buying, it was likewise out of the
question. To win by performance of the intellect, the woman must have
evolved to a point where she was able to approve and was sufficiently
free to express delight in the lover's accomplishments. Instead of
physical prowess she must be able to delight in brains. Petrarch paraded
his poems exactly as a peacock does its feathers.

And so it will be seen that it was the advance in the mental status of
woman that made possible the Italian Renaissance. The Greeks regarded a
woman who had brains with grave suspicion.

The person who can not see that sex equality must come before we reach
the millennium is too slow in spirit to read this book, and had better
stop right here and get him to his last edition of the "Evening

Lovers work for each other's approval, and so, through action and
reaction, we get a spiritual chemical emulsion that, while starting
with simple sex attraction, contains a gradually increasing percentage
of phosphorus until we get a fusion of intellect: a man and a woman who
think as one being.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the benefit of people with a Petrarch bee and time to incinerate, I
may as well explain that Professor Marsand, of the ancient and honorable
University of Padua, has collected a "Petrarch Library," which consists
of nine hundred separate and distinct volumes on the work and influence
of Petrarch. This collection of books was sold to a French bibliophile
for the tidy sum of forty thousand pounds, and is now in the Louvre.

I have not read all of these nine hundred books, else probably I should
not know anything about Petrarch. It seems that for two hundred years
after the death of the poet there was a Petrarch cult, and a storm of
controversy filled the literary air.

The accounts of Petrarch's life up to the Eighteenth Century were very
contradictory; there were even a few attempts to give him a supernatural
parentage; and certain good men, as if to hold the balance true, denied
that he had ever existed.

Petrarch was born in Thirteen Hundred Four, and the same edict that sent
Dante into exile caught the father of Petrarch in its coils.

His father was a lawyer and politician, but on account of a political
cyclone he became a soldier of fortune--an exile. The mother got
permission to remain, and there she lived with their little brood at
Incisa, a small village on the Arno, fourteen miles above Florence.

It is a fine thing to live near a large city, but you should not go
there any more often than you can help. A city supplies inspiration,
from a distance, but once mix up in it and become a part of it, and you
are ironed out and subdued. The characters and tendencies of the
majority of men who have done things were formed in the country. Read
the lives of the men who lifted Athens, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris,
London and New York out of the fog of the commonplace, and you will
find, almost without exception, that they were outsiders. Transplanted
weeds often evolve into the finest flowers.

And so my advice would be to any one about to engage in the genius
business: Do not spend too much time in the selection of your parents,
beyond making sure that they are not very successful. They had better be
poor than very rich. They had better be ignorant than learned,
especially if they realize they are learned. They had better be morally
indifferent than spiritually smug. If their puritanism is carried to a
point where it absolutely repels, it then has its beneficent use,
teaching by antithesis. They had better be loose in their discipline
than carry it so far that it makes the child exempt from coming to
conclusions of his own. And as for parental love, it had better be
spread out than lavished so freely that it stands between the child and
the result of his own misdeeds.

In selecting environment, do not pick one too propitious, otherwise you
will plant your roses in muck, when what they demand for exercise is a
little difficulty in way of a few rocks to afford an anchor for roots.
Genius grows only in an environment that does not fully satisfy, and the
effort to better the environment and bring about better conditions is
exactly the one thing that evolves genius.

Petrarch was never quite satisfied. To begin with, he was not satisfied
with his father's name, which was Petracco. When our poet was fifteen he
called himself Petrarch, probably with Plutarch in mind, "for the sake
of euphony," he said. But the fact was that his wandering father had
returned home, and the boy looking him over with a critical eye was not
overpleased with the gentleman.

Then he became displeased with his mother for having contracted an
intimacy with such a man. Hence the change of name--he belonged to
neither of them. But as this was at adolescence, the unrest of the youth
should not be taken too seriously.

The family had moved several times, living in half a dozen different
towns and cities. They finally landed at Avignon, the papal capital.

Matters had mended the fortunes of Petracco, and the boy was induced to
go to Montpelier and study law. The legend has it that the father,
visiting the son a few months later, found on his desk a pile of books
on rhetoric and poetry, and these the fond parent straightway flung into
the fire. The boy entering the room about that time lifted such a
protest that a "Vergil" and a "Cicero" were recovered from the flames,
but the other books, including some good original manuscript, went up in

The mother of Petrarch died when our poet was twenty years of age. In
about two years after, his father also passed away. Their loss did not
crush him absolutely, for we find he was able to write a poem expressing
a certain satisfaction on their souls being safely in Paradise.

At this time Petrarch had taken clerical orders and was established as
assistant to the secretary of one of the cardinals. Up to his twentieth
year Petrarch was self-willed, moody, and subject to fits of melancholy.
He knew too much and saw things too clearly to be happy.

Four authors had fed his growing brain--Cicero, Seneca, Livy and Vergil.
In these he reveled. "Always in my hand or hidden in my cloak I carried
a book," he says, "and thoughts seem to me to be so much more than
things that the passing world--the world of action and
achievement--seemed to me to be an unworthy world, and the world of
thought to be the true and real world. It will thus be seen that I was
young and my mind unformed."

The boy was a student by nature--he had a hunger for books. He knew
Latin as he did Italian, and was familiarizing himself with Greek.
Learning was to him religion. Priests who were simply religious did not
interest him. He had dallied in schools and monasteries at Montpelier,
Pisa, Bologna, Rome, Venice and Avignon, moving from place to place, a
dilettante of letters. At none of the places named had he really entered
his name as a student. He was in a class by himself--he knew more than
his teachers, and from his nineteenth year they usually acknowledged it.
He was a handsome youth, proud, quiet, low-voiced, self-reliant. His
form was tall and shapely, his face dark and oval, with almost perfect
features, his eyes especially expressive and luminous.

Priests in high office welcomed him to their homes, and ladies of high
degree sighed and made eyes at him as he passed, but they made eyes in

He was wedded to literature. The assistance he gave to his clerical
friends in preparing their sermons and addresses made his friendship
desirable. The good men he helped, occasionally placed mysterious
honorariums in his way which he pocketed with a silent prayer of
gratitude to Providence.

A trifle more ambition, a modicum of selfishness, a dash of the
worldly-wise, and his course would have been relieved of its curves, and
he would have gravitated straight to the red hat. From this to being
pope would have been but a step, for he was a king by nature.

But a pope must be a businessman, and a real, genuine king must draw his
nightcap on over his crown every night or he'll not keep his crown very

Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but also of
everything else. High positions must be fought for inch by inch, and
held by a vigilance that never sleeps.

Petrarch would not pay the price of temporal power. His heart was in the
diphthong and anapest. He doted on a well-turned sentence, while the
thing that caught the eye of Boccaccio was a well-turned ankle.

It seems that Petrarch took that proud, cold position held by religious
enthusiasts, and which young novitiates sincerely believe in, that when
you have once entered the Church you are no longer subject to the
frailties of the flesh, and that the natural appetites are left behind.
This is all right when on parade, but there is an esoteric doctrine as
well as an exoteric, which all wise men know, namely, that men are men,
and women are women--God made them so--and that the tonsure and the veil
are vain when Eros and Opportunity join hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

No man has ever taken the public more into his confidence than Petrarch,
not even Rousseau, who confessed more than was necessary, and probably
more than was true.

Petrarch tells us that at twenty-two years of age he had descended from
his high estate and been led into the prevailing follies of the court by
more than one of the dames of high degree who flocked to Avignon, the
seat of the Papal See. These women came from mixed motives: for their
health, religious consolation, excitement.

Petrarch states his abhorrence for the overripe, idle and feverish
female intent on confession. He had known her too well, and so not only
did he flee from the "Western Babylon," as he calls Avignon, but often
remained away at times for two whole weeks. Like Richard Le Gallienne,
who has Omar say:

    Think not that I have never tried your way
    To Heaven, you who pray and fast and pray,
      Once I denied myself both love and wine,
    Yea, wine and love--for a whole Summer day.

Much of this time Petrarch spent in repenting. He repined because he had
fallen from the proud pedestal where he delighted to view himself, being
both the spectator and the show.

In his twenty-second year he met James Colonna, of the noble and
illustrious Colonna family, and a fine friendship sprang up between
them. The nobleman was evidently a noble man indeed, with a heart and
head to appreciate the genius of Petrarch, and the good commonsense to
treat the poet as an equal.

Petrarch pays James Colonna a great tribute, referring to his
moderation, his industry, his ability to wait on himself, his love for
the out-of-doors. The friends used to take long walks together, and
discuss Cicero and Vergil, seated on grassy banks by the wayside.

"Men must have the friendship of men, and a noble, highminded companion
seems a necessity to prevent too much inward contemplation. It is better
to tell your best to a friend, than to continually revolve it." Look
out, not in--up, not down. Then Petrarch innocently adds, "I vowed I
would not have anything to do with women, nor even in the social
converse, but that my few friends should be sober, worthy and noble men
of gravity."

No man is in such danger from strong drink as the man who has just sworn
off. Petrarch with pious steps went regularly to early mass. By going to
church early in the day he avoided the fashionable throng of females
that attended later. Early in the morning one sees only fat market-women
and fishwives.

On the Sixth of April, Thirteen Hundred Twenty-seven, at six o'clock in
the morning, Petrarch knelt in the Church of Saint Clara at Avignon. The
morning was foggy, and the dim candles that dotted the church gave out
a fitful flare. As Petrarch knelt with bowed head he repeated his vow
that his only companions should be men--men of intellect--and that the
one woman to arrest his thoughts should be his mother in Heaven--peace
be to her!

And then he raised his head to gaze at the chancel, so his vow should
there be recorded. He tried to look at the chancel, but failed to see
that far.

He could see only about ten feet ahead of him. What he saw was two
braids of golden hair wound round a head like a crown of glory. It was a
woman--a delicate, proud and marvelous personality--a woman! He thought
her a vision, and he touched the cold floor with his hands to see if he
were awake.

Petrarch began to speculate as to when she had entered the church. He
concluded she had entered in spirit form and materialized there before
him. He watched her, expecting any moment she would fade away into
ethereal nothingness. He watched her. The fog of the cold church seemed
to dissipate, the day grew brighter, a stray ray of light stole in and
for an instant fell athwart the beautiful head of this wonderful woman.

Petrarch was now positive it was all a dream.

Just at that moment the woman rose, and with her companion stood erect.
Petrarch noted the green mantle sprinkled with violets. He also made
mental note of the slender neck, the low brow, the length of the head,
compared with the height, the grace, the poise, the intellect, the soul!
There he was on his knees--not adoring Deity, just Her! The rest of the
congregation were standing. She turned and looked at him--a look of pity
and reproof, tinged with amusement, but something in her wondrous eyes
spoke of recognition--they had something in common!

She looked at him. Why did she turn and look at him? Don't ask me--how
do I know!

Perhaps telepathy is a fact after all. It may be possible that man is a
storage-battery--man the positive, woman the negative--I really can not
say. Telepathy may be a fact--it may hinge on the strength of the
batteries, and the condition of currents.

She turned and looked at him. He had disturbed her religious
meditations--rung up the wrong number--she had turned and looked at
him--a look of recognition--a look of pity, rebuke, amusement and

He rose and half-tiptoed, half-stumbled to the door, ashamed, chagrined,
entranced. Ashamed because he had annoyed an Angel of Light, chagrined
because he had lost his proud self-control and been unhorsed, entranced
by the fact that the Angel of Light had recognized him.

Still they had never before met. To have seen this woman once would have
been unforgetable--her glance had burned her brand into his soul. She
had set her seal upon him--he was hers.

He guessed that she knew who he was--he was sure he did not know her

He lingered an instant at the church-door, crossed himself foolishly
with holy water, then passed out into the early morning bustle of the

The cool air fanned his face, and the gentle breeze caressed his hair.
He put his hand to his brow.

He had left his hat--left it in the church. He turned to go back after
it, but it came over him that another glance from those eyes would melt
him though he were bronze. He would melt as if he had met God face to
face, a thing even Moses dare not do and hope to live.

He stood in the church-door as if he were dazed. The verger came
forward. "My hat, good Stephano, I left it just back of the fair lady."
He handed the man a piece of silver and the verger disappeared. Petrarch
was sure he could not find the lady--she was only a vision, a vision
seen by him alone. He would see.

The verger came back with the hat.

"And the lady--you--you know her name?"

"Oh, she, the lovely lady with the golden hair? That is Laura, the wife
of Hugh de Sade."

"Of course, of course!" said Petrarch, and reaching into a leather
pocket that was suspended from his belt under his cloak he took out a
handful of silver and gave it to the astonished verger, and passed out
and down the street, walking nowhere, needlessly fast.

The verger followed Petrarch to the door and watching the tall
retreating form muttered to himself, "He does not look like a man who
cuts into the grape to excess--and so early in the morning, too!"

       *       *       *       *       *

That was a foolish saying of Lord Byron, "Man's love is of man's life a
thing apart; 'tis woman's whole existence." Does it not all depend upon
the man and the woman? The extent and quality of a woman's love as
compared with a man's have furnished the physiologists and psychologists
a great field for much innocent speculation. And the whole question is
still unsettled, as it should be, and is left to each new crop of poets
to be used as raw stock, just as though no one had ever dreamed,
meditated and speculated upon it before.

As for Petrarch and Laura, Laura's love was of her life apart, 'twas
Petrarch's whole existence.

Laura was very safely married to a man several years her senior--a
stern, hard-headed, unromantic lawyer, who was what the old ladies call
"a good provider." He even provided a duenna, or chaperon of experience,
one who knew all the subtle tricks of that base animal, man, and where
Laura went there went the chaperon.

Petrarch once succeeded in slipping a purse of gold into the duenna's
hands, and that worthy proved her fitness by keeping the purse, and
increasing her watchfulness of her charge as the danger of the poet's
passion increased. The duenna hinted that the sacrifice of her own
virtue was not entirely out of the question, but Laura was her sacred
charge. That is, the duenna could resist the temptations of Laura.

This passion of Petrarch for Laura very quickly became known and
recognized. The duenna doubtless retailed it below-stairs, and the
verger at the church also had his tale to tell. Love-stories allow us to
live the lover's life vicariously, and so that which once dwelt in the
flesh becomes a thought. Matchmakers are all living their lives over
again in their minds.

But besides the gossips, Petrarch himself made no secret of his passion.
Almost daily he sent Laura a poem. She could have refused the gentle
missive if she had wished, but she did not wish.

Petrarch had raised her to a dizzy height. Wherever she went she was
pointed out, and the attorney, her husband, hired another duenna to
watch the first. This love of a youth for a married woman was at that
time quite proper. The lady of the knight-errant might be one to whom he
had never spoken.

Petrarch sang for Laura; but he sang more melodiously than any one had
sung before, save Dante alone. His homage was the honorable homage of
the cavalier.

Yet Hugh de Sade grew annoyed and sent a respectful request to Petrarch
to omit it.

This brought another sonnet, distributed throughout the town, stating
that Petrarch's love was as sacred as that of his love for the Madonna,
and indeed, he addressed Laura as the Madonna.

Only at church did the lovers meet, or upon the street as they passed.
Gossip was never allowed to evolve into scandal.

Bliss Carman tells in a lecture of a fair and frail young thing crying
aloud to her mother in bitter plaint, "He loves me--yes, I know he loves
me--but only for literary purposes!"

Love as a mental "Martini" is a well-known fact, but its cold, plotted
concoction is a poison and not a stimulant. Petrarch's love for Laura
was genuine and sincere; and that she fed and encouraged this love for
twenty years, or to the day of her death, we know full well.

In Goethe's "Elective Affinities," the great German philosopher explains
how a sublime passion can be preserved in all its purity on the Platonic
plane for a long term of years. Laura was a married woman, wedded to a
man she respected, but could not love. He ruled her--she was his
property. She found it easier to accept his rule than to rebel. Had his
treatment of her descended to brutality, she would have flown to her
lover or else died. One critic says: "Laura must have been of a
phlegmatic type, not of a fine or sensitive nature, and all of her wants
were satisfied, her life protected and complete. The adoration of
Petrarch was not a necessity to her--it came in as a pleasing diversion,
a beautiful compliment, but something she could easily do without. Had
she been a maid and been kept the prisoner that she was, the flame of
love would have burned her heart out, and life for her would have been a
fatal malady, just as it was for Simonetta."

And so we find Goethe coldly reasoning that a great Platonic love is
possible where the woman is married to a man who is endurable, and the
man is wedded to a woman he can not get rid of. "Thus four persons are
required to work the miracle," says Goethe, and glides off casually into
another theme.

Laura was flattered by Petrarch's attentions: she became more attentive
than ever to her religious obligations. She wore the dresses he liked
best. In her hair or on her breast there always rested a laurel-leaf.
She was nothing loath to being worshiped.

"You must not speak to me," she once whispered as they passed. And again
she wrote on a slip of parchment, "Remember my good name and protect

A note like that would certainly rouse a lover's soul. It meant that she
was his in heart, but her good name must be protected, so as not to
start a scandal. The sin was in being found out.

A sonnet, extra warm, quickly followed.

Petrarch was full of unrest. His eyes burned with fever; he walked the
streets in despair. Colonna seeing his distress, and knowing the reason
of it, sought to divert him. He offered to secure him a bishopric, or
some other high office, where his energies would be absorbed.

Petrarch would not accept office or responsibility. His heart was all
bound up in Laura and literature.

Colonna, in order to get his friend away from Avignon, then had himself
appointed Bishop of Lombes, and engaged Petrarch as his secretary. So
the two friends started away for the new field, six hundred miles
distant. They had a regular cavalcade of carriages and horsemen, for
Colonna was a very rich man and everything was his for the asking. They
traveled by a circuitous route, so as to visit many schools, monasteries
and towns on the way. Everywhere honors were paid them.

The change of scene, meeting so many new people, and the excitement of
making public addresses, revived the spirits of Petrarch. Slowly the
intensity of his passion subsided. He began to think of something else
beside his lady-love.

Petrarch kept a journal of his trip, which has been preserved for us in
the form of letters. At one place on the route a most tragic
circumstance came to his notice. It affected him so much that he wrote
it out with many sorrowful comments. It seems a certain monk of decided
literary and musical ability was employed by a nobleman to give
music-lessons to his daughters. The inevitable happened.

Petrarch said it did not--that the monk was wrongfully accused. Anyway,
the father of the girl, who was the magistrate of the district, ordered
the monk to be sealed up in a cell and to remain there the rest of his
life. The girl was sent to a nunnery, and the monk in a few weeks
succeeded in killing himself, and his cell became his grave. This kind
of punishment, carried out by the judge, who according to our ideas had
no right to try the case, reveals the kind of "justice" that existed
only a few hundred years ago.

The barbarity of the sentence came close home to Petrarch, and both he
and the young bishop tell what they think of the Christianity that
places a penalty on natural affection.

So they hastened away from the monastery where had lived the monk whose
love cost him his life, on to their own field of labor.

Here Petrarch remained for two years. His health and spirits came back,
but poetry had gone by the board. In Lombes there was no one who cared
for poetry.

Petrarch congratulated himself on having mastered his passion. Laura had
become but a speck on the distant horizon, a passing incident of his
youth. But he sighed for Avignon. There was life and animation, music,
literature, art, oratory and the society of great men. Besides he wanted
to prove to his own satisfaction that he had mastered his love for

He would go back to Avignon.

He went back; he saw Laura; she saw him, and passing him with a swift
glance of recognition moved on. At sight of her his knees became weak,
his heart seemed to stop and he leaned against a pillar for support.
That night he eased his soul with a sonnet.

To his great embarrassment he found he had not mastered his passion--it
was now mastering him. He tells us all this at length, and he told it to
Laura, too.

His health began to decline, and his physician advised that he move to
the country. And so we find him taking a course of solitude as a cure
for love. He moved to Vaucluse, a hamlet fifteen miles from the city.
Some of the old-time biographies tried to show that Laura visited him
there in his solitude, and that was the reason he lived there. It is now
believed that such stories were written for the delectation of the
Hearst Syndicate, and had no basis in fact. The only way Petrarch ever
really met Laura was in imagination.

Boccaccio, a contemporary and friend of Petrarch, declared that Laura
had no existence outside of the imagination of the poet. But Boccaccio
was a poet with a roistering proclivity, and truth to such a one in a
love-affair is out of the question. Lies and love, with a certain
temperament, go hand in hand. Possibly the absurd position of modern
civilization towards the love-emotions has much to do with this. We have
held that in human love there was something essentially base and bad,
and so whenever a man or a woman become involved in Cupid's meshes they
are sudden and quick in swearing an alibi, no matter what the nature of
the attachment may be.

Boccaccio had to defend himself continually from charges, which most
people knew were true, and so by habit he grew to deny everything, not
only for himself, but for his friends. The poet needs solitude and
society, in right proportions of course.

Petrarch lived at Vaucluse for ten years, making occasional trips to
various capitals. Of his solitary life he says:

    Here at Vaucluse I make war upon my senses, and treat them as my
    enemies. My eyes, which have drawn me into a thousand difficulties,
    see no longer either gold or precious stones, or ivory, or purple;
    they behold nothing save the water, the firmament and the rocks. The
    only female who comes within their sight is a swarthy old woman, dry
    and parched as the Lybian deserts. My ears are no longer courted by
    those harmonious instruments and voices which have so transported my
    soul; they hear nothing but the lowing of the cattle, the bleating
    of the sheep, the warbling of the birds, and the murmurs of the

    I keep silence from noon till night. There is no one to converse
    with; for the people, employed in spreading their nets, or tending
    their vines and orchards, are no great adepts at conversation. I
    often content myself with the dry bread of the fisherman, and even
    eat it with pleasure. Nay, I almost prefer it to white bread. This
    old fisherman, who is as hard as iron, earnestly remonstrates
    against my manner of life; and assures me that I can not long hold
    out. I am, on the contrary, convinced that it is easier to accustom
    one's self to a plain diet than to the luxuries of the feast. I am
    fond of the fish with which this stream abounds, and I sometimes
    amuse myself with spreading the nets. As to my dress, there is an
    entire change; you would take me for a laborer or a shepherd.

    My mansion resembles that of Cato or Fabricius. My whole
    house-establishment consists of myself, my old fisherman and his
    wife, and a dog. My fisherman's cottage is near to mine; when I want
    him I call, when I no longer need him, he returns to his cottage. I
    have made two gardens that please me wonderfully. I do not think
    they are equaled in all the world. And I must confess to you a more
    than female weakness with which I am haunted. I am positively angry
    that there is anything so beautiful out of Italy.

    One of these gardens is shady, formed for contemplation, and sacred
    to Apollo. It overhangs the source of the river, and is terminated
    by rocks, and by places accessible only to the birds. The other is
    nearer to my cottage, of an aspect less severe, and devoted to
    Bacchus; and, what is extremely singular, it is in the midst of a
    rapid river. The approach to it is over a bridge of rocks; and there
    is a natural grotto under the rocks, which gives them the appearance
    of a rustic bridge. Into this grotto the sun's rays never penetrate.
    I am confident that it much resembles the place where Cicero
    sometimes went to declaim. It invites to study. Hither I retreat
    during noontide hours; my mornings are engaged upon the hills, or in
    the garden sacred to Apollo. Here I would most willingly spend my
    days, were I not too near Avignon, and too far from Italy. For why
    should I conceal this weakness of my soul? I love Italy, and hate
    Avignon. The pestilential influence of this horrid place empoisons
    the pure air of Vaucluse, and will eventually compel me to quit my

       *       *       *       *       *

The verdict of humanity seems to be that Laura was the most consummate
coquette in history. She dressed to catch Petrarch's attention; wore the
flowers he liked best; accepted his amorous poems without protest;
placed herself in his way by running on the same schedule.

The "Standard Dictionary" makes some fine distinctions between
flirtation, coquetry and coyness. Flirtation means to fascinate and
leave the lover in doubt as to his fate--to lead him on and leave him in
a maze. It does not imply that he does not have reason for hope.
Flirtation is coyness refined to a system.

Coquetry is defined as an attempt to attract admiration and lead the
lover up to the point of a matrimonial proposal and then reject him--a
desire to gratify personal vanity. Coquettes are regarded as heartless,
while flirts are often sincere creatures who adopt certain tactics for
the sole purpose of bagging the game. That is, the flirt works to win,
the coquette to reject. Coquetry is attention without intention.
Flirtation is a race with the intention of being overtaken, and has in
it the rudiments of that old idea that a woman must be captured. So we
have a legend concerning those Sabine women, where one of them asks
impatiently, "How soon does this attack begin?"

Laura was not a flirt. She was an honest wife and became the mother of
ten children in her twenty years of married life. When Petrarch first
saw her she had a babe at home a year old. In another year, this first
babe became "the other baby," and was put on a bottle with its little
pug-nose out of joint. There was always one on bread and milk, one on
the bottle and one with nose under the shawl--and all the time the
sonnets came fluttering adown the summer winds.

Laura was a cool-headed woman, shrewd and astute, with heart under
perfect control, her feelings well upholstered by adipose. If she had
been more of the woman she would have been less. Like the genuine
coquette that she was, she received everything and gave nothing. She had
a good digestion and no nerves to speak of.

Petrarch describes her in a thousand ways, but the picture is so
retouched that the portrait is not clear or vivid. He dilates on her
mental, moral, spiritual and physical qualities, according to his mood,
and the flattery to her was never too fulsome. Possibly she was not
fully aware before that she was such a paragon of virtue, but believing
in the superior insight of Petrarch she said, "It must be so." Thus is
flattery always acceptable, nor can it be overdone unless it be laid on
with a trowel.

To flatter in rhythm and rhyme, with due regard for euphony and cadence,
is always safe, and is totally different from bursting out upon a
defenseless woman with buckets of adoration.

Laura evidently knew by intuition that her success in holding the love
of Petrarch lay in never allowing him to come close enough to be
disillusioned. She kept him at a distance and allowed him to do the
dialogue. All she desired was to perform a solo upon his imagination.

Clothes play a most important part in Cupid's pranks. Though the little
god himself goes naked, he never allows his votaries to follow suit.
That story of Venus unadorned appearing from the sea is only a
fairy-tale--such a sight would have made a lovelorn swain take to the
woods, and would have been interesting only to the anatomist or a member
of the life class. The wicket, the lattice, the lace curtain, the veil
and mantilla, are all secondary sexual manifestations. In rural
districts where honesty still prevails, the girls crochet a creation
which they call a "fascinator," and I can summon witnesses to prove it
is one.

Just why coquetry should be regarded as distinctly feminine I can not
say. Laura has been severely criticized by certain puritan ladies with
cold pedals, for luring Petrarch on in his hopeless passion. Yet he knew
her condition of life, and being a man of sense in most ways he must
have known that had she allowed his passion to follow its unobstructed
course it would have wrecked the lives of both. He was a priest and was
forbidden to marry; and while he could carry on an intrigue with a woman
of inferior station and society would wink in innocency, it was
different with a woman of quality--his very life might have paid the
penalty, and she would have been hoisted high by the social petard.

Petrarch was no fool--he probably had enough confidence in Laura to know
that she would play the part. I know a successful businessman in Saint
Louis, an owner of monopolies, on the profits of which he plays at being
a Socialist. This man knows that if he could succeed in bringing about
the things he advocates it would work his ruin.

He elocutes to the gallery of his cosmic self, for the ego is a
multi-masked rascal and plays I-Spy and leap-frog with himself the
livelong day.

Had the love of Petrarch and Laura ever gone to the point of executive
session, he would straightway have ceased to write about it, and
literature would have been the loser.

It is not likely that either Petrarch or Laura reasoned things out thus
far--we are all puppets upon the chess-board of Time, moved by the gods
of Fate, and the fact that we know it proved for William Ellery Channing
the soul of man. I am both the spectator and the play.

       *       *       *       *       *

Laura died in her fortieth year of "the plague." Seven months after her
death her husband paid her memory the compliment of taking a second
wife, thus leaving us to assume that the first venture was a happy one,
otherwise he would not have been in such haste to repeat it.

The second wife of Hugh de Sade never stirred the pool of ink from which
Petrarch fished his murex up. He refers to this second wife once by
indirection, thus: "The children of Laura are no longer motherless."

On the death of Laura the poet was overwhelmed with grief. But this
paroxysm of pain soon gave way to a calm reflection, and he realized
that she was still his as much as she ever was. Her death, too, stopped
all flavor of scandal that was in the bond, and thus Petrarch stood
better in the eyes of the world and in his own eyes than he did when
gossip was imminent.

Petrarch expected to be immortalized by his epic poem "Africa," but it
is not read today, even by scholars, except in fragments to see how deep
are the barren sands of his thought.

The sonnets which he calls "fragments, written in the vulgar tongue,"
the Italian, are verses which have made him live. They are human
documents inspired by the living, throbbing heart, and are vital in
their feeling and expression. His "best" poems are fifteen times as
voluminous as his love-poems; they were written in Latin and polished
and corrected until the life was sandpapered out of them.

His love for Laura was an idyllic thing as artificial as a monk's life,
and no more virtuous. It belongs to a romantic age where excess was
atoned for by asceticism, and spasms of vice galled the kibe of negative

This love for Laura was largely a lust for the muse.

Fame was the god of Petrarch, and to this god he was forever faithful.
He toiled unremittingly, slavishly, painfully, cruelly for fame--and he
was rewarded, so far as fame can reward.

At Rome, on Easter Sunday in April, Thirteen Hundred Forty-one, with
great ceremony, Petrarch was crowned with the laurel-wreath, reviving
the ancient custom of thus honoring poets. Petrarch had been working
hard to have this distinction shown him at Paris as well as at Rome, and
the favorable response to his request at both places arrived on the same
day. His heart longed for Rome.

All his life he worked both wisely, and otherwise, for the Holy See to
be removed to that city of his dreams. Paris was second choice.

Petrarch had been cramming for exams for many months, and when he set
out on his journey in February his heart beat high. He stopped at Naples
to be examined by the aged King Robert as to his merit for the honor of
the laurel, and "for three days I shook all my ignorance," is Petrarch's
reference to the way he answered the questions asked him by the scholars
of his time.

The King wanted to go on to Rome to the coronation, but he was too
feeble in strength to do this, so he placed his own royal robe upon the
young man and sent him to the ancient city of learning, where a three
days' proceeding marked an epoch in the history of learning from which
the Renaissance began. Petrarch closed the Preraphaelite period in

While there is much in Petrarch's character that is vain and
self-conscious, it must not be forgotten that there was also much that
was true, tender, noble and excellent.

Petrarch was the founder of Humanism. He is the first man of modern
times to make us realize that Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Quintilian and
Seneca were real and actual men--men like ourselves. Before his time the
entire classic world stood to us in the same light that the Bible
characters did to most so-called educated people, say in Eighteen
Hundred Eighty-five. Even yet there are people who stoutly maintain that
Jesus was something different from a man, and that the relationship of
God to Moses, Isaiah, Abraham, Elijah and Paul was totally different
from God's attitude towards us.

Before Petrarch's time the entire mental fabric of Greece and Rome for
us was steeped in myth, fable and superstition. Petrarch raised the
status of man, and over and over again proclaimed the divinity of all

He realized his own worth, and made countless other men realize theirs.
He wrote familiar letters to Homer, Sallust, Plato, Socrates and Seneca,
addressing them as equals, and issued their replies. He showed the
world that time is only an illusion, and that the men of Greece derived
their life from the same source from whence ours is derived, and that in
all respects they were men with like tastes, passions, aspirations and
ambitions as ourselves.

He believed in the free, happy, spontaneous life of the individual; and
again and again he affirms that the life of expression--the life of
activity--is the only life. Our happiest moments are when we forget self
in useful effort. He held that every man should sing, speak, paint or
carve--this that he might taste the joys of self-expression. Constantly
he affirms that this expression of our highest and best is Paradise. He
combats the idea of Dante that Heaven and Hell are places or localities.

Yet Petrarch was profoundly influenced by Dante. He used the same
metaphors, symbols and figures. As a word-artist, possibly he was not
the equal of Dante, but as a man, an educated man, sane and useful, he
far surpasses Dante. He met princes, popes and kings as equals. He was
at home in every phase of society; his creations were greater than his
poems; and as a diplomat, wise, discreet, sincere, loyal to his own, he
was almost the equal of our own Doctor Franklin.

And always and forever he clung to his love for Laura. From his
twenty-third year to his seventieth, he dedicated and wrote poems to

He sings her wit, her beauty, her grace, her subtle insight, her
spiritual worth. The book compiled after his death entitled, "Poems on
the Life and Death of Laura," forms a mine of love and allusion that
served poets and lovers in good stead for three hundred years, and which
has now been melted down and passed into the current coin of every
tongue. It was his love-nature that made Petrarch sing, and it was his
love-poems that make his name immortal. He expressed for us the undying,
eternal dream of a love where the man and woman shall live together as
one in their hopes, thoughts, deeds and desires; where they shall work
for each other; live for each other; and through this blending of
spirit, we will be able to forget the sordid present, the squalid here,
the rankling now. By love's alchemy we will gild each hour and day, so
it will be a time of joyous hope, and life will be a continual
feast-day. And so through the desire and effort to express, we will
reach the highest good, or paradise.

Petrarch did not live this ideal life of love and service--he only
dreamed it. But his dream is a prophecy--all desire is a promise. We
double our joys by sharing them, and the life for the Other Self seems a
psychological need. Man is only in process of creation. We have not
traveled far; we are only just learning to walk, and so we sometimes
stumble and fall. But mankind is moving toward the light, and such is
our faith now in the Divine Intelligence that we do not believe that in
our hearts were planted aspirations and desires that are to work our
undoing. The same God who created paradise devised the snake, and if the
snake had something to do with driving the man and woman out of the
Garden into a world of work, it was well. Difficulty, trial, hardship,
obstacle, are all necessary factors in the evolution of souls.

A man alone is only half a man--he pines for his mate. When he reaches a
certain degree of mentality he craves partnership. He wants to tell it
to Her! When she reads she wants to read to Him. And when a man and a
woman reach an altitude where they spiritualize their love, they are in
no danger of wearing it out.



    Some ladies love the jewels in Love's zone,
    And gold-tipped darts he hath for painless play
    In idle, scornful hours he flings away;
    And some that listen to his lute's soft tone
    Do love to vaunt the silver praise their own;
    Some prize his blindfold sight; and there be they
    Who kissed the wings which brought him yesterday
    And thank his wings today that he is flown.

    My lady only loves the heart of Love:
    Therefore Love's heart, my lady, hath for thee
    His bower of unimagined flower and tree.
    There kneels he now, and all a-hungered of
    Thine eyes gray-lit in shadowing hair above,
    Seals with thy mouth his immortality.

                     --_Dante Gabriel Rossetti_


When an ambitious young man from the "provinces" signified his intention
to Colonel Ingersoll of coming to Peoria and earning an honest
livelihood, he was encouraged by the Bishop of Agnosticism with the
assurance that he would find no competition.

Personally, speaking for my single self, I should say that no man is in
so dangerous a position as he who has no competition in well-doing.
Competition is not only the life of trade, but of everything else. There
have been times when I have thought that I had no competition in
truth-telling, and then to prevent complacency I entered into
competition with myself and endeavored to outdo my record.

The natural concentration of business concerns in one line, in one
locality, suggests the many advantages that accrue from attrition and
propinquity. Everybody is stirred to increased endeavor; everybody knows
the scheme which will not work, for elimination is a great factor in
success; the knowledge that one has is the acquirement of all. Strong
men must match themselves against strong men: good wrestlers will need
only good wrestlers. And so in a match of wit rivals outclassed go
unnoticed, and there is always an effort to go the adversary one better.

Our socialist comrades tell us that "emulation" is the better word, and
that "competition" will have to go. The fact is that the thing itself
will ever remain the same--what you call it matters little. We have,
however, shifted the battle from the purely physical to the mental and
psychic plane. But it is competition still, and the reason competition
will remain is because it is beautiful, beneficent and right. It is the
desire to excel. Lovers are always in competition with each other to see
who can love most.

The best results are obtained where competition is the most free and
most severe--read history. The orator speaks and the man who rises to
reply had better have something to say. If your studio is next door to
that of a great painter, you had better get you to your easel, and
quickly, too.

The alternating current gives power: only an obstructed current gives
either heat or light; all good things require difficulty. The Mutual
Admiration Society is largely given up to criticism.

Wit is progressive. Cheap jokes go with cheap people; but when you are
with those of subtle insight, who make close mental distinctions, you
should muzzle your mood, if perchance you are a bumpkin.

Conversation with good people is progressive, and progressive inversely,
usually, where only one sex is present. Excellent people feel the
necessity of saying something better than has been said, otherwise
silence is more becoming. He who launches a commonplace where high
thoughts prevail is quickly labeled as one who is with the yesterdays
that lighted fools adown their way to dusty death.

Genius has always come in groups, because groups produce the friction
that generates light. Competition with fools is not bad--fools teach the
imbecility of repeating their performances. A man learns from this one,
and that; he lops off absurdity, strengthens here and bolsters there,
until in his soul there grows up an ideal, which he materializes in
stone or bronze, on canvas, by spoken word, or with the twenty-odd
little symbols of Cadmus.

Greece had her group when the wit of Aristophanes sought to overtop the
stately lines of Æschylus; Praxiteles outdid Ictinus; and wayside words
uttered by Socrates were to outlast them all.

Rome had her group when all the arts sought to rival the silver speech
of Cicero. One art never flourishes alone--they go together, each man
doing the thing he can do best. All the arts are really one, and this
one art is simply Expression--the expression of Mind speaking through
its highest instrument, Man.

Happy is the child who is born into a family where there is a
competition of ideas, and where the recurring theme is truth. This
problem of education is not so very much of a problem after all.
Educated people have educated children, and the best recipe for
educating your child is this: Educate yourself.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Rossettis were educated people: each was educated by all and all by

Individuality was never ironed out, for no two were alike, and between
them all were constantly little skirmishes of wit, and any one who
tacked a thesis on the door had to fight for it. Luther Burbank rightly
says that children should not be taught religious dogma. The souls of
the Rossettis were not water-logged by religious belief formulated by
men with less insight and faith than they.

In this way they were free. And so we find the father and the mother,
blessed by exile in the cause of liberty, living hard, plain lives, in
clean yet dingy poverty, with never an endeavor to "shine" in society or
to pass for anything different than what they were, and never in debt a
penny to the haberdasher, the dressmaker, the milliner or the grocer.
When they had no money to buy a thing they wanted, they went without it.

Just the religion of paying your way and being kind would be a pretty
good sort of religion--don't you think so?

So now, behold this little Republic of Letters, father and mother and
four children: Maria, Christina, Dante Gabriel and William Michael.

The father was a poet, musician and teacher. The mother was a
housekeeper, adviser and critic, and supplied the necessary ballast of
commonsense, without which the domestic dory would surely have turned

Once we hear this good mother saying, "I always had a passion for
intellect, and my desire was that my husband and my children might be
distinguished for intellect; but now I wish they had a little less
intellect, so as to allow for a little more commonsense."

This not only proves that this mother of four very extraordinary and
superior children had wit, but it also seems to show that even intellect
has to be bought with a price.

I have read about all that has been written concerning Rossetti and the
Preraphaelite Brotherhood by those with right and license to speak. And
among all those who have set themselves down and dipped pen in ink, no
one that I have found has emphasized the very patent truth that it was a
woman who evolved the "Preraphaelite Idea," and first exemplified it in
her life and housekeeping.

It was Frances Polidora Rossetti who supplied Emerson that fine phrase,
"Plain living and high thinking." Of course, it might have been original
also with Emerson, but probably it reached him via the Ruskin and
Carlyle route.

Emerson also said, "A few plain rules suffice," but Mrs. Rossetti ten
years before put it this way, "A few plain things suffice." She had a
horror of debt which her husband did not fully share. She preferred
cleanly poverty and honest sparsity to luxury on credit. In her
household she had her way. Possibly it was making a virtue of
necessity, but she did it so sincerely and gracefully that prenatally
her children accepted the simplicity of their Preraphaelite home as its
chief charm.

Without the Rossettis the Preraphaelite Brotherhood would never have
existed. It will be remembered that the first protest of the Brotherhood
was directed against "Wilton carpets, gaudy hangings, and ornate,
strange and peculiar furniture."

Christina Rossetti once told William Morris that when she was but seven
years old her mother and she congratulated themselves on the fact that
all the furniture they had was built on straight and simple lines, that
it might be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. They had no carpets, but
they possessed one fine rug in the "other room" which was daily brought
out to air and admire. The floors were finished in hard oil, and on the
walls were simply the few pictures that they themselves produced, and
the mother usually insisted on having only "one picture in a room at a
time, so as to have time to study it."

So here we get the very quintessence of the entire philosophy of William
Morris: a philosophy which, it has well been said, has tinted the entire
housekeeping world.

In his magazine, called, somewhat ironically, "Good Words," Dickens
ridiculed, reviled and berated the Preraphaelite Idea. Of course,
Dickens didn't understand what the Rossettis were trying to express.

He called it pagan, anti-Christian, and the glorification of pauperism.
Dickens was born in a debtor's prison--constructively--and he leaped
from squalor into fussy opulence. He wrote for the rabble, and he who
writes for the rabble has a ticket to Limbus one way. The Rossettis made
their appeal to the Elect Few. Dickens was sired by Wilkins Micawber and
dammed by Mrs. Nickleby. He wallowed in the cheap and tawdry, and the
gospel of sterling simplicity was absolutely outside his orbit. Dickens
knew no more about art than did the prosperous beefeater, who, being
partial to the hard sound of the letter, asked Rossetti for a copy of
"The Gurm," and thus supplied the Preraphaelites a title they
thenceforth gleefully used.

But the abuse of Dickens had its advantages--it called the attention of
Ruskin to the little group. Ruskin came, he saw, and was conquered. He
sent forth such a ringing defense of the truths for which they stood
that the thinking people of London stopped and listened. And this caused
Holman Hunt to say, "Alas! I fear me we are getting respectable."

Ruskin's unstinted praise of this little band of artists was so great
that he convinced even his wife of the truth of his view; and as we
know, she fell in love with Millais, "the prize-taking cub," and they
were married and lived happily ever after.

Ruskin and Morris were both born into rich families, where every luxury
that wealth could buy was provided. Having much, they knew the
worthlessness of things: they realized what Walter Pater has called "the
poverty of riches." Dickens had only taken an imaginary correspondence
course in luxury, and so Wilton carpets and marble mantels gave him a
peace which religion could not lend. A Wilton carpet was to him a
Christian prayer-rug.

The joy of discovery was Ruskin's: he found the Rossettis and gave them
to the world. Ruskin was a professor at Oxford, and in his classes were
two inseparables, William Morris and Burne-Jones. They became infected
with the simplicity virus; and when Burne-Jones went up to London, which
is down from Oxford, he sought out the man who had painted "The Girlhood
of the Virgin," the picture Charles Dickens had advertised by declaring
it to be "blasphemously idolatrous."

Burne-Jones was so delighted with Rossetti's work that he insisted upon
Rossetti giving him lessons; and then he wrote such a glowing account of
the Rossettis to his chum, William Morris, that Morris came up to see
for himself whether these things were true.

Morris met the Rossettis, spent the evening at their home, and went back
to Oxford filled with the idea of Utopia, and that the old world would
not find rest until it accepted the dictum of Mrs. Rossetti, "A few
plain things suffice."

It was a woman who brought about the Epoch.

       *       *       *       *       *

The year Eighteen Hundred Fifty was certainly rich in gifts for Gabriel
Rossetti. He was twenty-two, gifted, handsome, intellectual, the adored
pet and pride of his mother and two sisters, and also the hero of the
little art group to which he belonged. I am not sure but that the lavish
love his friends had for him made him a bit smug and self-satisfied, for
we hear of Ruskin saying, "Thank God he is young," which remark means
all that you can read into it.

At this time Rossetti had written many poems, and at least one great
one, "The Blessed Damozel." He had also painted at least one great
picture, "The Girlhood of the Virgin," a canvas he vainly tried to sell
for forty pounds, and which later was to be bought by the nation for the
tidy sum of eight hundred guineas, and now can not be bought for any
price--but which, nevertheless, may be seen by all, on the walls of the
National Gallery.

But four numbers of "The Germ" had been printed, and then the venture
had sunk into the realm of things that were, weighted with a debt of one
hundred twenty pounds. Of the fifty-one contributions to "The Germ"
twenty-six had been by the Rossettis. Dante Gabriel, always a bit
superstitious, felt sure that the gods were trying to turn him from
literature to art, but Christina felt no comfort in the failure.

Then came the championship of Ruskin, and this gave much courage to the
little group. Doubtless none knew they stood for so much until they had
themselves explained to themselves by Ruskin.

Then best of all came Burne-Jones and Morris, adding their faith to the
common fund and proving by cash purchases that their admiration was

Rossetti's poem, "The Blessed Damozel," was without doubt inspired by
Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee," but with this difference, that while
Rossetti carried the sorrow clear to Paradise, Poe was content to leave
his sorrow on earth.

Being a painter of pictures as well as picturing things by means of
words, Rossetti had constantly in his mind some one who might pose for
the Damozel. She must be stately, sober, serious, tall, and possess "a
wondrous length of limb." Her features must be strong, individual, and
she must have personality rather than beauty.

A pretty woman would, of course, never, never do. Where was such a model
woman to be found?

Christina wrote a beautiful sonnet about this Ideal Woman. Here it is:

    One face looks out from all his canvases;
    One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
    We found her hidden just behind those screens,
    That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
    A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
    A nameless girl in freshest Summer-greens,
    A saint, an angel--every canvas means
    The one same meaning, neither more nor less.
    He feeds upon her face by day and night,
    And she with true, kind eyes looks back on him,
    Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
    Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
    Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
    Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

Dante Gabriel was becoming moody, dreamy and melancholy; but not quite
so melancholy as he thought he was, since the divine joy was his of
expressing his melancholy in art. People submerged in melancholy are not

Rossetti was quite sure that Nature had never made as lovely a woman as
he could imagine, and his drawings almost proved it. But being a man he
never gave up the quest.

One day, Walter Deverell, one of the Brotherhood, came into Rossetti's
studio and proceeded to stand on his head and then jump over the
furniture. After being reprimanded, and then interrogated as to reasons,
he told what he was dying to tell--that is, "I have found her!" Her name
was Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, and she was an assistant to a milliner and
dressmaker in Oxford Street. She was seventeen years old, five feet
eight inches high, and weighed one hundred twenty pounds. Her hair was
of a marvelous, coppery, low tone, and her features were those of
Sappho. None of the assembled Brotherhood had ever seen Sappho, but they
had their ideas about her. Whether the dressmaker's wonderful assistant
had intellect and soul did not trouble the young man. Dante Gabriel, the
Nestor of the group, twenty-two and wise, was not to be swept off his
feet by the young and impressible enthusiasm of Deverell, aged nineteen.

He sneezed and calmly continued his work at the easel, merely making
inward note of the location of the shop where the "find" was located.

Two hours later, Rossetti, perceiving himself alone, laid aside his
brushes and palette, put on his hat, and walked rapidly toward Oxford
Street. He located the shop, straggled past it, first on one side of the
street, then on the other, and finally boldly entered on a fictitious

Miss Siddal was there. He stared at her; she looked at him in
half-disdain. Suddenly his knees grew weak: he turned and fled.

Deverell boldly stalked the quarry the next day in company with his
mother, who was a customer of the shop. He failed to get an interview. A
little later, the mother went back alone, and put the matter before Miss
Siddal in a purely business light.

Elizabeth Eleanor was from a very poor family.

Her father was an auctioneer who had lost his voice, and she was glad to
increase the meager pay she was receiving by posing for the artists. She
was already a model, setting off bonnets and gowns, and her first idea
was that they wanted her for fashion-plates. Mrs. Deverell did not
disabuse her of this idea.

And so she posed for the class at Rossetti's studio, duly gowned as
angels are supposed to be draped and dressed in Paradise.

Mrs. Deverell was present to give assurance, and all went well. The
young woman was dignified, proud, with a fine but untrained mind. As to
her knowledge of literature, she explained that she had read Tennyson's
poems because she had found them on some sheets of paper that were
wrapped around a pat of butter she had bought to take home to her

Her general mood was one of silent good-nature, flavored with a dash of
pride, and an innocent curiosity to know how the picture was getting
along. It has been said that people who talk but little are quiet either
because they are too full for utterance, or because they have nothing to
utter. Miss Siddal was reserved, because she realized that she could
never talk as picturesquely as she could look. People who know their
limitations are in the line of evolution. The girl was eager and anxious
to learn, and Rossetti set about to educate her. In the operation he
found himself loving her with a mad devotion.

The other members of the Brotherhood respected this very frank devotion
and did not enter into competition with it, as they surely would have
done had it been merely admiration. They did not even make gentle fun
of it--it was too serious a matter with Rossetti: it was to him a
religion, and was to remain so to the day of his death. Within a week
after their meeting, "The House of Life" began to find form. He wrote to
her and for her, and always and forever she was his model. The color of
her hair got into his brush, and her features were enshrined in his

He called her "Guggums" or "Gug." Occasionally, he showed impatience if
any one by even the lifting of an eyebrow seemed to doubt the divinity
of the Guggums.

There was no time for ardent wooing on his part, no vacillation nor
coyness on hers. He loved her with an absorbing passion--loved her for
her wonderful physical beauty, and what she may have lacked in mind he
was able to make good.

And she accepted his love as if it were her due, and as if it had always
been hers. She was not agitated under the burning impetus; no, she just
calmly and placidly accepted it as a matter of course.

It will hardly do to say that she was indifferent, but Burne-Jones was
led by Miss Siddal's beautiful calm to say, "Love is never mutual--one
loves and the other consents to be loved."

The family of Rossetti, his mother and sisters, must have known how much
of the ideal was in his passion. Mentally, Miss Siddal was not on their
plane; but the joy of Dante Gabriel was their joy, and so they never
opposed the inevitable. He, however, acknowledged Christina's mental
superiority by somewhat imperiously demanding that Christina should
converse with Miss Siddal on "great themes."

Ruskin has added his endorsement to Miss Siddal's worth by calling her
"a glorious creature."

Dante Gabriel's own descriptions of Elizabeth Eleanor are too much
retouched to be accurate; but William Rossetti, who viewed her with a
critical eye, describes her as "tall, finely formed, with lofty neck;
regular, yet uncommon, features; greenish-blue, unsparkling eyes; large,
perfect eyelids; brilliant complexion, and a lavish wealth of dark
molten-gold hair."

In the diary of Madox Brown for October Sixth, Eighteen Hundred
Fifty-four, is this: "Called on Dante Rossetti. Saw Miss Siddal, looking
thinner and more death-like, and more beautiful and more ragged than
ever; a real artist, a woman without parallel for many a long year.
Gabriel as usual diffuse and inconsequent in his work. Drawing wonderful
and lovely Guggums one after another, each one a fresh charm, each one
stamped with immortality, and his picture never advancing. However, he
is at the wall and I am to get him a white calf and a cart to paint
here; would he but study the Golden One a little more. Poor Gabriello!"

In Elizabeth Eleanor's manner there was a morbid languor and dreaminess,
put on, some said, for her lover like a Greek gown, and surely
encouraged by him and pictured in his Dantesque creations.

Always and forever for him she was the Beata Beatrix. His days were
consumed in writing poems to her or painting her, and if they were
separated for a single day he wrote her a letter, and demanded that she
should write one in return, to which we once hear of her gently
demurring. She, however, took lessons in drawing, and often while posing
would work with her pencil and paper.

Ruskin was so pleased with her work that he offered to buy everything
she did, and finally a bargain was struck and he paid her one hundred
pounds a year and took everything she drew.

Possibly this does not so much prove the worth of her work as the
generosity of Ruskin. The dressmaker's shop had been able to get along
without its lovely model, and art had been the gainer. At one time a
slight cloud appeared on the horizon: another "find" had been located.
Rossetti saw her at the theater, ascertained her name and called on her
the next day and asked for sittings. Her name was Miss Burden. She was
very much like Miss Siddal, only her face was pale and her hair wavy and
black. She was statuesque, picturesque, of good family, and had a
wondrous poise. Rossetti straightway sent for William Morris to come and
admire her. William Morris came, and married her in what Rossetti
resentfully called "an unbecoming and insufficiently short space of

For some months there was a marked coldness between Morris and
Rossetti, but if Miss Siddal was ever disturbed by the advent of Miss
Burden we do not know it. Whistler has said that it was Mrs. Morris who
gave immortality to the Preraphaelites by supplying them stained-glass
attitudes. She posed as Saint Michael, Gabriel, and Saint John the
Beloved, and did service for the types that required a little more
sturdiness than Miss Siddal could supply.

The Burne-Jones dream-women are very largely composite studies of Miss
Siddal and Mrs. Morris; as for Rossetti, he painted their portraits
before he saw them, and loved them on sight because they looked like his

       *       *       *       *       *

After Dante Gabriel and Elizabeth Eleanor had been engaged for more than
five years--that is, in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-five--Madox
Brown asked Rossetti this very obvious question: "Why do you not marry
her?" One reason was that Rossetti was afraid if he married her he would
lose her. He doted on her, fed on her, still wrote sonnets just for her,
and counted the hours when they parted until he could see her again.
Miss Siddal was not quite firm enough in moral and mental fiber to cut
out her own career. She deferred constantly to her lover, adopted his
likes and dislikes, and went partners with him even in his prejudices.
They dwelt in Bohemia, which is a good place to camp, but a very poor
place in which to settle down.

The precarious ways of Bohemia do not make for length of days. Miss
Siddal seemed to fall into a decline, her spirits lost their buoyancy,
she grew nervous when required to pose for several hours at a time.
Rossetti scraped together all his funds and sent her on a trip alone
through France. She fell sick there, and we hear of Rossetti working
like mad on a canvas, so as to sell the picture and send her money.

When she returned, a good deal of her old-time beauty seemed to have
vanished: the fine disdain, that noble touch of scorn, was gone--and
Rossetti wrote a sonnet declaring her more beautiful than ever. Ruskin
thought he saw the hectic flush of death upon her cheek.

[Illustration: ELIZABETH E. SIDDAL]

Sorrow, love, ill-health, poverty, tamed her spirit, and Swinburne
telling of her, years after, speaks of "her matchless loveliness,
courage, endurance, humor and sweetness--too dear and sacred to be
profaned by any attempt at expression."

Rossetti writing to Allingham says: "It seems to me when I look at her
working, or too ill to work, and think of how many without one tithe of
her genius or greatness of spirit have granted them abundant health and
opportunity to labor through the little they can or will do, while
perhaps her soul is never to bloom, nor her bright hair to fade; but
after hardly escaping from degradation and corruption, all she might
have been must sink again unprofitably in that dark house where she was
born. How truly she may say, 'No man cared for my soul.' I do not mean
to make myself an exception, for how long have I known her, and not
thought of this till so late--perhaps too late."

In Rossetti's love for this beautiful human lily there was something
very selfish, the selfishness of the artist who sacrifices everything
and everybody, even himself, to get the work done.

Rossetti's love for Miss Siddal was sincere in its insincerity. The art
impulse was supreme in him and love was secondary. The nine years'
engagement, with the uncertain, vacillating, forgetful, absent-minded
habits of erratic genius to deal with, wore out the life of this
beautiful creature.

The mother-instinct in her had been denied: Nature had been set at
naught, and art enthroned. When the physician told Rossetti that the
lovely lily was to fade and die, he straightway abruptly married her,
swearing he would nurse her back to life. He then gave her the "home"
they had so long talked of; three little rooms, one all hung with her
own drawings and none other. He petted her, invited in the folks she
liked best, gave little entertainments, and both declared that never
were they so happy.

She suffered much from neuralgia, and the laudanum taken to relieve the
pain had grown into a necessity.

On the Tenth of February, Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two, she dined with her
husband and Mr. Swinburne at a nearby hotel. Rossetti then accompanied
her to their home, and leaving her there went alone to give his weekly
lecture at the Working Men's College. When he returned in two hours, he
found her unconscious from an overdose of laudanum. She never regained
consciousness, breathing her last but a few short hours later.

       *       *       *       *       *

The grief of Rossetti on the death of his wife was pitiable. His friends
feared for his sanity, and had he not been closely watched it is quite
possible that one grave would have held the lovers. He reproached
himself for neglecting her. He cursed art and literature for having
seduced him away from her, and thus allowed her to grope her way alone.
He prophesied what she might have been had he only devoted himself to
her as a teacher, and by encouragement allowed her soul to bloom and
blossom. "I should have worked through her hand and brain," he cried.

He gathered all the poems he had written to her, including "The House of
Life," and tying them up with one of the ribbons she had worn, placed
the precious package by stealth in her coffin, close to the cold heart
that had forever stopped pulsing. And so the poems were buried with the
woman who had inspired them.

Was it vanity that prompted Rossetti after seven years to have the body
exhumed and recover the poems that they might be given to the world? I
do not think so, else all men who print the things they write are
inspired by vanity. Rossetti was simply unfortunate in being placed
before the public in a moment of spiritual undress. Everybody is
ridiculous and preposterous every day, only the public does not see it,
and therefore the acts are not ridiculous and preposterous. The conduct
of the lovers is always absurd to the onlooker, but the onlooker has no
business to look on--he is a false note in a beautiful symphony, and
should be eliminated.

Rossetti in the transport of his grief, filled with bitter regret, and
with a welling heart for one who had done so much for him, gave into her
keeping, as if she were just going on a journey, the finest of his
possessions. It was no sacrifice--the poems were hers.

At such a time do you think a man is revolving in his mind business
arrangements with Barabbas?

The years passed, and Rossetti again began to write--for God is good.

The grief that can express itself is well diluted; in fact, grief often
is a beneficent stimulus of the ganglionic cells. The sorrow that is
dumb before men, and which, if it ever cries aloud, seeks first the
sanctity of solitude, is the only sorrow to which Christ in pity turns
his eye or lends his ear.

The paroxysms of grief had given way to calm reflection. The river of
his love was just as deep, but the current was not so turbulent.
Expression came bringing balm and myrrh. And so on the advice of his
friends, endorsed by his own promptings, the grave was opened and the
package of poems recovered.

It was an act that does not bear the close scrutiny of the unknowing
mob. And I do not wonder at the fierce hate that sprang up in the breast
of Rossetti when a hounding penny-a-liner in London sought to picture
the stealthy, ghoul-like digging in a grave at midnight, and the
recovery of what he called "a literary bauble." As if the man's vanity
had gotten the better of his love, or as if he had changed his mind! Men
who know, know that Rossetti had not changed his mind--he had only
changed his mood.

The suggestion that gentlemen poets about to deposit poems in the
coffins of their lady-loves should have copies of the originals
carefully made before so doing, was scandalous. However, when this was
followed up with the idea that Rossetti should, after exhuming the
poems, have copies made and place these back in the coffin, and that the
performance of midnight digging was nothing less than petit larceny from
a dead woman, witnessed by the Blessed Damozel leaning over the bar of
Heaven--in all this we get an offense in literature and good taste which
in Kentucky or Arizona would surely have cost the penny-a-liner his

If these poems had not been recovered, the world would have lost "The
House of Life," a sonnet series second not even to the "Sonnets From the
Portuguese," and the immortal sonnets of Shakespeare.

The way Rossetti kept the clothing and all the little nothings that had
once belonged to his wife revealed the depths of love--or the
foolishness of it, all depending upon your point of view. Mrs. Millais
tells of calling at Rossetti's house in Cheyne Walk in Eighteen Hundred
Seventy, nearly ten years after the death of Elizabeth Eleanor, and
having occasion to hang her wraps in a wardrobe, perceived the dresses
that had once belonged to Mrs. Rossetti hanging there on the same hooks
with Rossetti's raiment. Rossetti made apology for the seeming confusion
and said, "You see, if I did not find traces of her all over the house I
should surely die."

A year after the death of his wife Rossetti painted the wonderful "Beata
Beatrix," a portrait of Beatrice sitting in a balcony overlooking
Florence. The beautiful eyes filled with ache, dream and expectation are
closed as if in a transport of calm delight. An hourglass is at hand and
a dove is just dropping a poppy, the flower of sleep and death, into her
open hands. Of course the picture is a portrait of the dear, dead wife,
and so in all the pictures thereafter painted by Dante Gabriel for the
twenty years that he lived, you perceive that while he had various
models, in them all he traced resemblances to this first, last and only
passion of his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

In William Sharp's fine little book, "A Record and a Study," I find

    As to the personality of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a great deal has
    been written since his death, and it is now widely known that he was
    a man who exercised an almost irresistible charm over those with
    whom he was brought in contact. His manner could be peculiarly
    winning, especially with those much younger than himself, and his
    voice was alike notable for its sonorous beauty and for the magnetic
    quality that made the ear alert when the speaker was engaged in
    conversation, recitation or reading. I have heard him read, some of
    them over and over again, all the poems in the "Ballads and
    Sonnets," and especially in such productions as "The Cloud Confines"
    was his voice as stirring as a trumpet-note; but where he excelled
    was in some of the pathetic portions of "The Vita Nuova" or the
    terrible and sonorous passages of "L'Inferno," when the music of the
    Italian language found full expression indeed. His conversational
    powers I am unable adequately to describe, for during the four or
    five years of my intimacy with him he suffered too much to be a
    brilliant talker, but again and again I have seen instances of that
    marvelous gift that made him at one time a Sydney Smith in wit and a
    Coleridge in eloquence.

    In appearance he was, if anything, rather above middle height, and,
    especially latterly, somewhat stout; his forehead was of splendid
    proportions, recalling instantaneously the Stratford bust of
    Shakespeare; and his gray-blue eyes were clear and piercing, and
    characterized by that rapid, penetrative gaze so noticeable in

    He seemed always to me an unmistakable Englishman, yet the Italian
    element frequently was recognizable; as far as his own opinion was
    concerned, he was wholly English. Possessing a thorough knowledge of
    French and Italian, he was the fortunate appreciator of many great
    works in their native tongue, and his sympathies in religion, as in
    literature, were truly catholic. To meet him even once was to be the
    better for it ever after; those who obtained his friendship can not
    well say all it meant and means to them; but they know they are not
    again in the least likely to meet with such another as Dante Gabriel

In Walter Hamilton's book, "Æsthetic England," is this bit of most vivid

    Naturally the sale of Rossetti's effects attracted a large number of
    persons to the gloomy, old-fashioned residence in Cheyne Walk,
    Chelsea, and many of the articles sold went for prices very far in
    excess of their intrinsic value, the total sum realized being over
    three thousand pounds. But during the sale of the books, on that
    fine July afternoon, in the dingy study hung round with the lovely
    but melancholy faces of Proserpine and Pandora, despite the noise of
    the throng and the witticisms of the auctioneer, a sad feeling of
    desecration must have crept over many of those who were present at
    the dispersion of the household goods and gods of that man who so
    hated the vulgar crowd. Gazing through the open windows they could
    see the tall trees waving their heads in a sorrowful sort of way in
    the summer breeze, throwing their shifty shadows over the neglected
    grass-grown paths, once the haunt of the stately peacocks, whose
    medieval beauty had such a strange fascination for Rossetti, and
    whose feathers are now the accepted favors of his apostles and
    admirers. And so their gaze would wander back again to that
    mysterious face upon the wall, that face as some say the grandest in
    the world, a lovely one in truth, with its wistful, woful,
    passionate eyes, its sweet, sad mouth with the full red lips; a face
    that seemed to say the sad old lines:

        'Tis better to have loved and lost,
        Than never to have loved at all.

    And then would come the monotonous cry of the auctioneer to disturb
    the reverie, and call one back to the matter-of-fact world which
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painter and poet, has left


    A thought entered my heart, such as God sends to make us willing to
    bear our griefs. I resolved to instruct and raise this corner of the
    earth, as a teacher brings up a child. Do not call it benevolence;
    my motive was the need I felt to distract my mind. I wanted to spend
    the remainder of my days in some arduous enterprise.

    The changes to be introduced into this region, which Nature has made
    so rich and man made so poor, would occupy my whole life; they
    attracted me by the very difficulty of bringing them about. I wished
    to be a friend to the poor, expecting nothing in return. I allowed
    myself no illusions, either as to the character of the country
    people or the obstacles which hinder those who attempt to ameliorate
    both men and things. I made no idyls about my poor; I took them for
    what they were.

                                    --_Balzac in "The Country Doctor"_

[Illustration: BALZAC]

Balzac was born in the year Seventeen Hundred Ninety-nine. The father of
Balzac, by a not unusual coincidence, also bore the name of Balzac. And
yet there was only one Balzac. This happy father was an officer in the
commissary department of Napoleon's army, and so never had an
opportunity to win the bauble reputation at the cannon's mouth, nor show
his quality in the imminent deadly breach. He died through an earnest
but futile effort, filled with the fear of failure, to so regulate his
physical life that repair would exactly equal waste, and thus live on
earth forever.

The mother of our great man was a beauty and an heiress. Her husband was
twenty-five years her senior. She ever regarded herself as one robbed of
her birthright, and landed at high tide upon a barren and desert
domestic isle. Honore, her first child, was born before she was twenty.
Napoleon was at that time playing skittles with all Europe, and the
woman whom Fate robbed of her romance worshiped at the shrine of the
Corsican, because every good woman has to worship something or somebody.
She saw Napoleon on several occasions, and once he kissed his hand to
her when she stood in a balcony and he was riding through the street.
And there their intimacy ended, a fact much regretted in print by her
gifted son years afterward.

Six years of Balzac's life, from his sixth to his thirteenth year, were
spent in a monastery school, a place where fond parents were relieved by
holy men of their parental responsibilities, for a consideration.

Not once in the six years' time was the boy allowed to go home or to
visit his parents. Once a year, at Easter, his mother came to see him
and expressed regret at the backward state of his mind.

Balzac's education was gotten in spite of his teachers, and by setting
at naught the minute and painstaking plans of his mother. This mother
lived her life a partial invalid, whimsical, querulous, religious
overmuch, always fearing a fatal collapse; in this disappointed, for she
finally died peacefully of old age, going to bed and forgetting to
waken. She was long to survive her son, and realize his greatness only
after he was gone, getting the facts from the daily papers, which seems
to prove that the newspaper does have a mission.

Possibly the admiration of Balzac's mother for the little Corporal had
its purpose in God's great economy. In any event her son had some of the
Corsican's characteristics.

In the big brain of Balzac there was room for many emotions. The man had
sympathy plus, and an imagination that could live every life, feel every
pang of pain, know every throb of joy, die every death. In stature he
was short, stout, square of shoulder and deep of chest. He had a
columnar neck and carried his head with the poise of a man born to

The scholar's stoop and the abiding melancholy of the supposed man of
genius were conspicuous by their absence. His smile was infectious, and
he was always ready to romp and play. "He has never grown up: he is just
a child," once said his mother in sad complaint, after her son had well
passed his fortieth milestone.

The leading traits in the life of Balzac were his ability to abandon
himself to the task in hand, his infinite good-nature, his capacity for
frolic and fun, and his passion to be famous and to be loved.

Napoleon never took things very seriously. It will be remembered that
even at Saint Helena, when in the mood, he played jokes on his guards,
and never forgot his good old habit of stopping the affairs of State to
pinch the ears of any pretty miss, be she princess or chambermaid, who
traveled without an escort.

Upon a statuette of Napoleon, Balzac in his youth once wrote this: "What
he began with the sword I will finish with the pen."

Only once did Balzac see Napoleon, probably at that last review at the
Carrousel, and he describes the scene thus in one of his novels: "At
last, at last! there he was, surrounded with so much love, enthusiasm,
devotion, prayer--for whom the sun had driven every cloud from the sky.
He sat motionless on his horse, six feet in advance of the dazzling
escort that followed him. An old grenadier cried: 'My God, yes, it was
always so--under fire at Wagram--among the dead in the Moskowa he was
quiet as a lamb, yes, that is he!' Napoleon rode that little white mare,
so gentle and under such perfect control. Let others ride plunging
chargers and waste their energy and the strength of their mount in
pirouettes for the admiration of the bystanders--Napoleon and his little
white horse were always quiet when all around there was confusion. And
the hand that ruled the Empire stroked the mane of the little white
mare, so docile that a girl of ten would have been at home on her back.
That is he--under fire at Wagram, with shells bursting all around--he
strokes the mane of his quiet horse--that is he!"

And right here may be a good place to quote that other tribute to the
Corsican, by a man who was best qualified to give it--the Iron Duke
Wellington: "It is very true that I have said that I considered
Napoleon's presence in the field equal to forty thousand men in the

       *       *       *       *       *

As Balzac emerged out of boyhood into man's estate he seemed to have
just one woman friend, and this was his grandmother. He didn't seem to
care for much more. With her he played cards, and she used to allow him
to win small sums of money. With this money he bought books--always

He had great physical strength, but was beautifully awkward. The only
time he ever attempted to dance he slipped and fell, to the great
amusement of the company. He fled without asking the dancing-master to
refund his tuition.

He was morbidly afraid of young women, and as fear and hate are one, he
hated women, "because they had no ideas," he said. His head was stuffed
with facts, and his one amusement was attending the free lectures at the
Sorbonne. Here he immersed himself with data about every conceivable
subject, made infinite notebooks, and sought vainly for some one with
whom he could talk it all over.

In the absence of a wise companion with whom he could converse, he
undertook the education of his brother Henry, who was not exactly a
prodigy and could not get along at school. Great people are teachers
through necessity, for it is only in explaining the matter to another
that we make it clear to ourselves. Not finding enough to do in teaching
his brother, Balzac advertised to tutor boys who were backward in their

His first response came from Madame De Berney, who had a boy whom the
teachers could not control.

That is the way: we buy our tickets to one place and Fate puts us off at
another! "Put me off at Buffalo," we say, and in the morning we find
ourselves on the platform at Rochester.

Madame De Berney was the mother of nine, and she was just twenty-two
years older than Balzac. The son she wished to have tutored was weak in
body and not strong in mind. He was in his twentieth year, within a year
of the same age as Balzac.

Balzac made a companion of the youth, treating him as an equal; and by
his bubbling good-nature and eager, hungry desire to know, inspired his
pupil with somewhat of his own enthusiasm.

And in winning the pupil, of course he caught the sympathetic interest
of the mother. No love-affair had ever come to Balzac--women had no
minds: all they could do was to dance!

Madame De Berney was old enough to put Balzac at his ease. She it was
who discovered him--no De Berney, no Balzac. And on this point the
historians and critics are all agreed.

Madame De Berney was a gentle, intelligent, sympathetic and pathetic
figure. She was no idle woman, warm on the eternal quest. She was a
home-body intent on caring for her household.

Her husband was many years her senior, and at the time Balzac appeared
upon the scene, De Berney, had he been consistent, would have passed
off; but he did not, for paralytics are like threatened people--good
life-insurance risks.

A woman of forty-two is not old--bless my soul! I'll leave it to any
woman of that age.

And Balzac at twenty was as old as he was at forty-two: a little more so
perhaps, for as the years passed he grew less dogmatic and confident. At
twenty we are likely to have full faith in our own infallibility.

Madame De Berney was the daughter of a musician in the court of Marie
Antoinette. In fact, the queen had stood as her godmother and she had
grown up surrounded by material luxury and a mental wilderness, for be
it known that members of royal households, like the families of
millionaires, are likely to be densely ignorant, being hedged in,
shielded, sheltered and protected from the actual world that educates
and evolves.

Madame De Berney had been married at the age of sixteen by the busy
matchmakers, and her life was one of plain marital serfdom. Her material
wants were supplied, but economic freedom had not been hers, for she was
supposed to account to her husband for every sou. Marriage is often
actual slavery, and it was such for Madame De Berney, until De Berney
got on pretty good terms with locomotor ataxia and placed his foot on
one spot when he meant to put it on another.

Portraits of Madame De Berney show her to be tall, slender, winsome,
with sloping shoulders, beautiful neck, and black, melancholy curls
drooping over her temples, making one think of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning. In the presence of such a woman, one would naturally lower his
voice. Half-mourning was to her most becoming. Madame De Berney was
receptive and sympathetic and had gotten a goodly insight into
literature. She had positive likes and dislikes in an art way. There
were a few books she had read and reread until they had become a part of
her being. At forty-two a woman is either a drudge, a fool or a saint.
Intellect shines out and glows then if it ever does. From forty to sixty
should be a woman's mental harvest-time. Youth and youth's ambitions and
desires are in abeyance. If Fate has been kind she has been
disillusioned, and if Destiny has used her for a doormat, no matter.

The silly woman is one who has always had her own way, and is intent on
conquest as Chronos appropriates her charms and gives bulk for beauty.

The drudge is only a drudge, and her compensation lies in the fact that
she seldom knows it.

Madame De Berney had been disillusioned, and intellectual desire was
glowing with a steady, mellow light. She wanted to know and to be. And
shooting through space comes Balzac, a vagrant comet, and their orbits
being the same, their masses unite and continue in one course, bowled by
the Infinite.

The leading impulse in the life of Balzac was to express: to tell the
things he knew and the things he imagined. To express was the one
gratification which made life worth living. And so he told Madame De
Berney's son, and then Madame came into the class and he told her. We
talk to the sympathetic and receptive: to those who are masters of the
fine art of listening.

Soon the lessons were too advanced for the son to follow, and so Balzac
told it all to Madame. She listened, smiled indulgently, sighed. They
walked in the park and along country lanes and byways; the young tutor
talked and talked, and laughed and laughed.

Balzac's brain was teeming with ideas, a mass and jumble of thoughts,
ideas, plans and emotions. "Write it out," said Madame--in partial
self-defense, no doubt. "Write it out!"

And so Balzac began to write poetry, plays, essays, stories. And
everything he wrote he read to her. As soon as he had written something
he hastened to hunt up "La Dilecta," as he called her.

Their minds fused in an idea--they blended in thought. He loved her, not
knowing when he began or how. His tumultuous nature poured itself out to
her, all without reason.

She became a need to him. He wrote her letters in the morning and at
night. They dined together, walked, talked, rowed and read.

She ransacked libraries for him. She sold his product to publishers.
They collaborated in writing, but he had the physical strength that she
had not, so he usually fished the story out of the ink-bottle and
presented it to her.

He began to be sought after. Fame appeared on the horizon. Critics rose
and thundered. Balzac defied all rules, walked over the grammar, defiled
the well of classic French. He invented phrases, paraphrased greatness,
coined words. He worked the slide, glide, the ellipse--any way to
express the thought. He forged a strange and wondrous style--a language
made up of all the slang of the street, combined with the terminologies
of the laboratory, law, medicine and science. He was an ignoramus.

But still the public read what he wrote and clamored for more, because
the man expressed humanity--he knew men and women.

Balzac was the first writer to discover that every human life is
intensely interesting; not merely the heroic and the romantic.

Every life is a struggle; and the fact that the battles are usually
bloodless, and the romance a dream, makes it no less real.

Balzac proved that the extraordinary and sensational were not necessary
to literature. And just as the dewdrop on the petal is a divine
manifestation, and every blade of grass is a miracle, and the three
speckled eggs in an English sparrow's nest constitute an immaculate
conception, so every human life, with its hopes, aspirations, dream,
defeats and successes, is a drama, joyous with comedy, rich in
melodrama and also dark and somber as can be woven from the warp and
woof of mystery and death.

Balzac wrote a dozen books or more a year. Of course he quarreled with
Barabbas, and lawsuits followed, where both sides were right and both
sides were wrong. Balzac hadn't the time to look after business details.
He would sign away his birthright for a month's peace, forgetful of the
day of reckoning. He supported his mother and brothers and sisters,
loaned money to everybody, borrowed from La Dilecta when the bailiffs
got too pressing, and all the time turned out copy religiously. He
practised the eight-hour-a-day clause, but worked in double shifts, from
two A.M. to ten A.M., and then from noon until eight o'clock at night.
Then for a month he would relax and devote himself to La Dilecta. She
was his one friend, his confidante, his comrade, his mother, his

No woman was ever loved more devotedly, but the passionate intensity of
the man's nature must have been a sore tax at times on her time and
strength. A younger woman could not have known his needs, nor ministered
to him mentally. He was absorbed in his work and in his love, and these
were to him one.

He had won renown, for had he not called down on his head the attacks of
the envious? His manuscripts were in demand.

Balzac was thirty years of age; Madame De Berney was fifty-two. The sun
for him had not reached noon, but for her the shadows were lengthening
toward the East. She decided that she must win--he should never forsake

He had not tired of her, nor she of him. But she knew that when he was
forty she would be sixty: he at the height of his power and she an old
woman. They could never grow old together and go down the hill of life
hand in hand.

So Madame De Berney with splendid heroism took the initiative. She told
Balzac what was in her mind, all the time trying to be playful, as we
always do when tragedy is tugging at our hearts. Soon she would be a
drag upon him, and before that day came it was better they should
separate. He declined to listen, swore she could not break the bond; and
the scene from being playful became furious. Then it settled down,
calmed, and closed as lovers' quarrels usually do and should.

The subject came up again the next week and with a like result. Finally
Madame De Berney resorted to heroic treatment. She locked herself in her
rooms, and gave orders to the butler that Monsieur Balzac should not be
allowed to enter the house, and that to him she was not at home.

"You shall not see me grow old and totter, my body wither and fail, my
mind decline. We part now and part forever, our friendship sacred,
unsullied, and at its height. Good-by, Balzac, and good-by forever!"

Balzac was dumb with rage, then tears came to his relief, and he cried
as a child cries for its mother. The first paroxysm passed, anger took
the place of grief: he found time to realize that perhaps there were
other women besides La Dilecta--possibly there were other Dilectas. She
had struck a blow at his pride--the only blow, in fact, he ever

Among Balzac's various correspondents--for successful men always get
letters from sympathetic unknowns--was one Madame Hanska, in far-off
Poland. From her letters she seemed intelligent, witty, sympathetic. He
would turn to her in his distress, to Madame Hanska--where was that last
letter from her? And did he not have her picture somewhere: let us see,
let us see!

And as for Madame De Berney: when she gave liberty to Balzac it was at
the expense of her own life. "If I could only forget, if I could only
forget!" she said. And so she lingered on for four years, and then sank
into that forgetfulness which men call death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Balzac wrote of her as "Madame Hanska," and to her husband he referred
as "Monsieur Hanski," a distinction that was made by the author as
inference that Monsieur Hanska was encroaching on some one else's
domain, with designs on the pickle-jar of another.

The Hanskas belonged to the Russian nobility and lived on an immense
estate in Ukraine, surrounded only by illiterate peasants. It was
another beautiful case of mismating: a man of forty who had gone the
pace marrying a girl of seventeen to educate her and reform himself.

Madame Hanska must have been a beauty in her youth--dark, dashing,
positive, saucy. She had enough will so that she never became a drudge
nor did she languish and fade. She was twenty-eight years old when she
first appeared in the field of our vision--twenty-eight, and becomingly

She had literary ambitions and had time to exercise them. Accidentally,
a volume of Balzac's "Scenes From a Private Life" had fallen in her way.
She glanced at it, and read a little here and there; then she read it
through. Balzac's consummate ease and indifference of style caught her.
She wanted to write just like Balzac. She was not exactly a writer--she
only had literary eczema. She sat down and wrote Balzac a letter,
sharply criticizing him for his satirical views of women.

It is a somewhat curious fact that when strangers write to authors,
about nine times out of ten it is to find fault. The person who is
thoroughly pleased does not take the trouble to say so, but the offended
one sits himself down and takes pen in hand. However, this is not wholly
uncomplimentary, since it proves at least two things: that the author is
being read, and that he is making an impression. Said old Doctor Johnson
to the aspiring poet, "Sir, I'll praise your book, but damn me if I'll
read it."

Unread books are constantly being praised, but the book that is warmly
denounced is making an impression.

Madame Hanska in her far-off solitude had read "Scenes From a Private
Life," paragraph by paragraph, and in certain places had seen her soul
laid bare. Very naively, in her letter to Balzac, in her criticism she
acknowledged the fact that the author had touched an exposed nerve, and
this helped to take the sting out of her condemnation. She signed
herself "The Stranger," but gave an address where to reply.

Balzac wrote the stranger a slapdash of a letter, as he was always
doing, and forgot the incident.

Long letters came from Madame; they were glanced at, but never read. But
Madame Hanska, living in exile, had opened up a new vein of ore for
herself. She was in communication with a powerful, creative intellect.
She sent to a Paris bookseller an order for everything written by
Balzac. She read, reread, marked and interlined. Balzac seemed to be
writing for her. She kept a daily journal of her thoughts and jottings
and this she sent to Balzac.

He neglected to acknowledge the parcel, and she wrote begging he would
insert a personal in a certain Paris paper, to which she was a
subscriber, so she would know that he was alive and well.

He complied with the unusual request, and it seemed to both of them as
if they were getting acquainted. To the woman, especially, it was a
half-forbidden joy: a clandestine correspondence with a single
gentleman! It had all the sweet, divine flavor of a sin. So she probably
repeated the joy by confessing it to the priest, for the lady was a good
Catholic. Next she sent Balzac her miniature, and even this he did not
acknowledge, being too busy, or too indifferent, or both.

It was about this time that Madame De Berney plunged a stiletto into his
pride. And the gaze of Balzac turned towards Poland, and he began to
write letters to the imprisoned chatelaine, pouring out his soul to her.
His heart was full of sorrow. To ease the pain he traveled for six
months through Southern France and Italy, but care rode on the crupper.

He was trying to forget. Occasionally, he met beautiful women and
endeavored to become interested in them, and in several instances nearly

Madame Hanska's letters now were becoming more and more intimate. She
described her domestic affairs, and told of her hopes, ideals and

Balzac had his pockets full of these letters, and once in an incautious
moment showed them to Madame Carraud, a worthy woman to whom he was
paying transient court. Madame Carraud wrote an ardent love-letter to
Madame Hanska, breathing the most intense passion, and signed Balzac's
name to the missive. It was a very feminine practical joke. Balzac was
told about it--after the letter was mailed. He was at first furious, and
then faint with fear.

Madame Hanska was delighted with the letter, yet mystified to think that
Balzac should use a secretary in writing a love-letter. And Balzac wrote
back that he had written the letter with his left hand, and that was
doubtless the reason it seemed a different penmanship. At one stage of
their evolution, lovers are often great liars, but at this time Balzac
was only playing at love. He could not forget Madame De Berney, dying
there alone in her locked room.

Upon every great love are stamped the words, "Not Transferable."
Gradually, however, Balzac succeeded in making a partial transfer, or a
transfer belief, of his affections. He wrote to Madame Hanska: "I
tremble as I write you: will this be only a new bitterness? Will the
skies for me ever again grow bright? I love you, my Unknown, and this
strange thing is the natural effect of an empty and unhappy life, only
filled with ideas."

The man had two immense desires--to be famous and to be loved. Madame
Hanska had intellect, literary appreciation, imagination, and a great
capacity for affection. She came into Balzac's life at the psychological
moment, and he reached out and clung to her as a drowning man clings to
a spar. And to the end of his life, let it be said, never did Balzac
waver in his love and allegiance.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Spring of Eighteen Hundred Thirty-three, the Hanskas arranged for
a visit to Switzerland, with Neufchatel as the special place in view. To
travel at that time was a great undertaking--especially if you were
rich. It is a great disadvantage to be rich: jewels, furniture,
servants, horses--they own you, all: to take them or to leave

Madame Hanska wrote to Balzac saying the trip was under discussion.

That it was being seriously considered.

It had been decided upon.

Necessarily postponed two weeks to prepare to get ready to go.

The start would take place at a certain day and hour.

In the meantime Balzac had decided on a trip also, and the objective
point was Neufchatel.

Balzac had to explain it all to somebody--it was just like a play! So he
wrote to his sister. Monsieur Hanska was being utilized for a divine
purpose, just as Destiny makes use of folks and treats them as chessmen
upon the board of Time.

Madame Hanska was exquisitely beautiful, superbly witty, divinely wise
and enormously rich: Balzac said so. In their letters they had already
sworn eternal fealty; now they were to see each other face to face. All
this Balzac wrote to his sister, just like a sophomore.

The Madame had purchased millinery; Balzac banked on his brain and his

The Hanskas arrived on the scene of the encounter first; this was
stipulated. The Madame was to have a full week of preparation.

Balzac came one day ahead of time--a curious thing for him to do, as he
used to explain away his failing by saying he was born a day late and
never caught up. At the hotel where it was arranged he should locate was
a letter saying he should meet his fate on the Twenty-sixth of
September, two days later, between one and four in the afternoon, on the
Promenade du Faubourg. Being a married woman she could not just say what
hour she could get away. She would have with her a maid, and in her hand
would be one of Balzac's novels. They were to meet quite casually, just
as if they had always known each other--childhood acquaintances. They
would shake hands and then discuss the Balzacian novel: the maid would
be dismissed; and the next day Balzac would call at their villa to pay
his respects to her husband.

But how to kill time for two days! Balzac was in a fever of unrest. That
afternoon he strolled along the Faubourg looking at every passing face,
intent on finding a beautiful woman with a Balzac novel in her hand.

Balzac had not demanded anatomical specifications--he had just assumed
that "The Stranger" must be quite like Madame De Berney, only twenty
years younger, and twenty times more beautiful. La Dilecta was tall and
graceful: it was possible that Madame Hanska was scarcely as tall, or
that is to say, being more round and better developed, she would not
appear so tall.

The encounter was not scheduled for two days yet to come, but Balzac was
looking over the ground hoping to get the sun to his back. When lo! here
was a lady with a Balzac novel in her hand, and the book held at an
angle of sixty-two degrees.

Balzac gasped for breath as the woman came forward and held out her
hand. She wasn't handsome, but she certainly was pretty, even though her
nose was retrousse, which is French for pug. Her hair was raven-black,
her eyes sparkling, her lips red and her complexion fresh and bright.

But ye gods! she was short, damnably short, and in ten years she would
be fat, damnably fat!

Balzac's own personal appearance never troubled him, save on the matter
of height--or, rather, the lack of it. His one manifestation of vanity
was that he wore high heels.

Balzac had concealed from the stranger his lack of height: it made no
difference to Madame De Berney. Why should it to the Hanska--it was none
of her affair, anyway, Mon Dieu! And now he felt as Ananias did when he
kept back part of the price.

Madame was evidently disappointed. Balzac was very careless in attire,
his shirt open at the collar, and on the back of his head was a
student's cap. He wasn't a gentleman! Madame was laying the whip to her
imagination, trying to be at ease, her red lips dry and her eyes growing

The servant was dismissed--it was like throwing over sand ballast from a
balloon. Things grew less tense.

They looked at each other and laughed. "Let's make the best of it," said
Balzac. Then they kissed there under the trees and he held her hands.
They understood each other. They laughed together, and all
disappointment was dissipated in the laugh. They understood each other.

Balzac wrote home to his sister that night about the meeting, and
described the promenade as "a waddle Du Faubourg--a duck and a goose out
for the air." He insisted, however, that Madame was very pretty, very
wise and very rich.

The next day Balzac called at the villa and met Monsieur Hanska, and
evidently won that gentleman's good-will at once. Balzac made him laugh,
exorcising his megrims. Then Balzac played cards with him and obligingly
lost. Hanska insisted that the great author should come back to dinner.
Balzac agreed with him absolutely in politics, and as token of their
friendship Monsieur Hanska presented Monsieur Balzac a gigantic

Things were moving along smoothly, when two letters dispatched to Madame
by Balzac were placed in the hands of Monsieur Hanska by a servant who
evidently lacked the psychic instinct. An hour later, Balzac appeared
in person, and when frigidly shown the letters explained that it was all
a joke--that the letters were literature, to be used in a book, and were
sent to Madame for her inspection, delectation and divertisement.

The very extravagance of the missives saved the day. Monsieur Hanska
could not possibly believe that any one could love his wife in this
intense fashion--he never had. People only get love-crazy in books.

Everybody laughed, and Monsieur Hanska ordered the waiter to bring in
bottles of the juice of the grape, and all went as merry as a

Five days of paradise, and the Hanskas went one way and Balzac went
another. He was up before daylight the morning they were to go, pacing
the Faubourg in the hope of catching just one more look at the object of
his passion. But his quest was in vain--he took the diligence back to
Paris, and duly arrived, tired and sore in body, but with a heart for
work. Madame Hanska understood him--was that not enough?

       *       *       *       *       *

After that first meeting in Switzerland, every event in Balzac's life
had Madame Hanska in mind. The feminine intellect was an absolute
necessity to him. After a hard day's work, he eased down to earth by
writing to "The Stranger" a letter, playful, pathetic, philosophical:
just an outpouring of the heart of a tired man--letters like those Swift
wrote to Stella. He called it "resting my head in your lap."

It is quite possible that there is a little picturesque exaggeration in
these letters, and that Balzac was not quite so lonely all the time as
he was when he wrote to her. He compares her with the women he meets,
always to her advantage, of course, and in his letters he constantly
uses extracts from her letters, with phrases and peculiar words which
she had discovered for him. For instance, in one place he calls a
publisher a "rosbif ambulant," which phrase Madame Hanska had applied to
a certain Englishman she once met in Saint Petersburg.

The letters of Madame Hanska to Balzac were given to the flames by his
own hand a few years before his death, "being too sacred for the world";
but his letters to her have been preserved and published, except such
parts as were too intimate for the public to appreciate properly.

The "Droll Stories" were written and published just before Balzac met
Madame Hanska. He was much troubled as to what she would think of them,
and tried for a time to keep the book out of her hands. Finally,
however, he decided on a grandstand play. He had one of the books
sumptuously bound, and this volume he inscribed to Monsieur Hanska and
sent it with a message to the effect that it was a book for men only,
and it was written merely as a study of certain phases of human nature,
and to show the progress of the French language.

Of course, a book written for men only is bound to be read by every
woman who can place her pretty hands upon it. And so the "Droll Stories"
were carefully read by Madame, and the explanation accepted that they
were merely a study in antique French, and illustrated one chapter in
"The Human Comedy." As for Monsieur Hanska, he, being not quite so
scientific as his gifted wife, read the stories for a different reason,
and enjoyed them so much that they served him as a mine from which he
lifted his original stuff.

The conception of "The Human Comedy," or a series of books that would
run the entire gamut of human experience and picture every possible
phase of human emotion, was the idea of Madame Hanska. In the year
Eighteen Hundred Thirty-two she had written him: "No writer who has ever
lived has possessed so wide a sympathy as you. Some picture courts and
kings; others reveal to us beggars, peasants and those who struggle for
bread; still others give charming views of children; while all men and
women in love write love-stories; but you know every possible condition
that can come to a human soul, and so you seem the only person who ever
has written or could write the complete 'Human Comedy' in which every
type of man, woman or child who ever lived shall have his part."

No wonder Balzac loved Madame Hanska--what writer would not love a woman
who could place him on such a pedestal! Every writer has moments when he
doubts his power, and so this assurance from Some One seems a necessity
to one who is to do a great and sustained work. Balzac, he of the
child-mind, needed the constant assurance that he was going forward in
the right direction.

Balzac seized upon the phrase, "The Human Comedy," just as he seized
upon anything which he could weave into the fabric he was constructing.
And so finally came his formal announcement that he was to write the
entire life of man, and picture every possible aspect of humanity, in a
hundred books to be known as "La Comedie Humaine." It was a conception
as great and daring as the plan of Pliny to write out all human
knowledge, or the ambition of Newton as shown in the "Principia," or the
works of Baron von Humboldt as revealed in the "Cosmos," or the idea of
Herbert Spencer as bodied forth in the "Synthetic Philosophy."

       *       *       *       *       *

All the time Balzac was looking forward to when he and Madame Hanska
would next meet, or back to the meeting that had just taken place. Each
year, for a few short, sweet days, they met in Switzerland or at some
appointed place in Italy or France. Sometimes Monsieur Hanska was there
and sometimes not. That worthy gentleman always seemed to feel a certain
gratification in the thought that his wife was so attractive to the
great author of the "Droll Stories," the only Balzac book he had really
ever read.

That he did not even guess their true relation is very probable; he knew
that his wife was something of a writer, and he was satisfied when he
was told that she was helping Balzac in his literary undertakings. That
he was not compelled to read the joint production, and pass judgment on
it, gave him so much pleasure that he never followed up the clue.

On January Fifth, Eighteen Hundred Forty-two, Balzac received from
Madame Hanska an envelope lined with ominous black: a mourning-envelope.
He seized it with joy--placed it to his lips and then pressed it to his
heart. Monsieur Hanska was dead--dead--very dead--he had vacated the
preserve--gone--flown--departed, dead!

Balzac sat down and wrote a sham letter of condolence to the bereaved
widow, and asked permission to go at once and console her. Had it been
De Berney he would have gone, but with Madame Hanska he had first to
obtain permission.

So he waited for her reply.

Her answer was strangely cold: Madame was in sore distress--children
sick, peasants dissatisfied, business complications and so forth.

Balzac had always supposed that Monsieur Hanska was the one impediment
that stood in the way of the full, complete and divine mating. Probably
Madame thought so, too, until the time arrived, and then she discovered
that she had gotten used to having her lover at a distance. She was thus
able to manage him. But to live with him all the time--ye gods, was it

The Madame had so long managed her marital craft in storm and stress,
holding the bark steadily in the eye of the wind, that now the calm had
come she did not know what to do, and Balzac in his gay-painted galley
could not even paddle alongside.

She begged for time to settle her affairs. In three months they met in
Switzerland. Madame was in deep mourning, and Balzac, not to be outdone,
had an absurdly large and very black band on his hat. With Madame was
her daughter, a fine young woman of twenty, whom the mother always now
kept close to her, for prudential reasons. The daughter must have been
pretty good quality, for she called Balzac, "My Fat Papa," and Balzac
threatens Madame that he will run away with the daughter if the marriage
is not arranged, and quickly too.

But Madame will not wed--not yet--she is afraid that marriage will
dissolve her beautiful dream. In the meantime, she advances Balzac a
large amount of money, several hundred thousand francs, to show her
sincerity, and the money Balzac is to use in furnishing a house in
Paris, where they will live as soon as they are married.

Balzac buys a snug little house and furnishes it with costly carved
furniture, bronzes, rugs and old masters.

He waits patiently, or not, according to his mood, amid his beautiful
treasures. And still Madame would not relinquish the sweet joys of

In a year Madame Hanska arrives with her daughter. They are delighted
with the house, and remain for a month, when pressing business in Poland
calls them hence. Balzac accompanies them a hundred miles, and then goes
back home to his "Human Comedy."

The years pass very much as they did when Monsieur Hanska was alive,
only they miss that gentleman, having nobody now but the public to
bamboozle, and the public having properly sized up the situation has
become very apathetic--busy looking for morsels more highly spiced. Who
in the world cares about what stout, middle-aged widows do, anyway!

       *       *       *       *       *

Occasionally, in letters to Madame Hanska, Balzac referred to Madame De
Berney. This seems to have caused Madame Hanska once to say, "Why do you
so often refer to ancient history and tell me of that motherly body who
once acted as your nurse, comparing me with her?"

To this Balzac replies: "I apologize for comparing you with Madame De
Berney--she was what she was, and you are what you are. Great souls are
always individual--Madame De Berney was a great and lofty spirit, and no
one can ever take her place. I apologize for comparing you with her."

Madame De Berney led Balzac; Madame Hanska ruled him. Madame Hanska was
one who alternately beckoned and pursued. Without her Balzac could not
have gone on. She held him true to his literary course, and without her
he must surely have fallen a victim of arrested energy. She demanded a
daily accounting from the mill of his mind. She supplied both goad and

And more than that she sapped his life-forces and robbed him of his red
corpuscles; so that, before he was fifty, he was old, worn-out, undone,
with an excess of lime in his bones.

Literary creation makes a terrific tax on vitality. Ideas do not flow
until the pulse goes above eighty, and this means the rapid breaking
down of tissue. The man who writes two hours daily, and writes well, can
not do much else. He is like the racehorse--do not expect the
record-breaker to pull a plow all day, and go fast heats in the evening.
Balzac was the most tremendous worker in a literary way the world has
ever seen. He doubtless made mistakes in his life's course, but the
wonder is, that he did not make more. He was constantly absorbed in what
Theophile Gautier has called "the Balzac Universe," looking after the
characters he had created, seeing to it that they acted consistently,
pulling the wires, supplying them conversation, dialogue, plot and
counterplot, and amid all this bustle and confusion bringing out a
perfect story. And still sanely to do the work of the workaday world was
a miracle indeed! The man had the strength of Hercules, but even
physical strength has its penalty--it seduces one to over-exertion. The
midnight brain is a bad thing to cultivate, especially when reinforced
with much coffee. Balzac was growing stout; physical exercise was
difficult. Dark lines were growing under his eyes. In his letters to
Madame Hanska he tells how he is taking treatment from the doctor, and
that he suffers from asthma and aneurism of the heart.

His eyes are failing him so he can not see to write by lamplight.

Madame Hanska now becomes alarmed. She thinks she can win him back to
life. She begs him to come to Poland at once, and they will be married.

Balzac at once begins the journey to the Hanska country home. The
excitement and change of scene evidently benefited him. Great plans were
being made for the future.

The wedding occurred on March Fourteenth, Eighteen Hundred Fifty.

Balzac was a sick man. The couple arrived back in Paris, with Balzac
leaning heavily on his wife's arm. Chaos thundered in his ears; his
brain reeled with vertigo; dazzling lights appeared in the darkness; and
in the sunshine he saw only confused darkness.

Balzac died August Seventeenth, Eighteen Hundred Fifty, aged fifty-one,
and Pere-la-Chaise tells the rest.

Said Victor Hugo:

    The candle scarcely illumined the magnificent Pourbus, the
    magnificent Holbein, on the walls. The bust of marble was like the
    ghost of the man who was to die. I asked to see Monsieur De Balzac.
    We crossed a corridor and mounted a staircase crowded with vases,
    statues and enamels. Another corridor--I saw a door that was open. I
    heard a sinister noise--a rough and loud breathing. I was in
    Balzac's bedchamber. The bed was in the middle of the room: Balzac,
    supported on it, as best he might be, by pillows and cushions taken
    from the sofa. I saw his profile, which was like that of Napoleon.
    An old sick-nurse and a servant of the house stood on either side of
    the bed. I lifted the counterpane and took the hand of Balzac. The
    nurse said to me, "He will die about dawn."

    His death has smitten Paris. Some months ago he came back into
    France. Feeling that he was dying, he wished to see again his
    native land--as on the eve of a long journey, one goes to one's
    mother to kiss her. Sometimes, in the presence of the dead--when the
    dead are illustrious--one feels, with especial distinctness, the
    heavenly destiny of that Intelligence which is called Man. It passes
    over the Earth to suffer and be purified.


    Some time before the marriage of my daughter, I had become
    acquainted with the Abbe Fenelon, and the family into which she had
    entered being among his friends, I had the opportunity of seeing him
    there many times. We had conversations on the subject of the inner
    life, in which he offered many objections to me. I answered him with
    my usual simplicity. He gave me opportunity to thoroughly explain to
    him my experiences. The difficulties he offered, only served to make
    clear to him the root of my sentiments; therefore no one has been
    better able to understand them than he. This it is which, in the
    sequel, has served for the foundation of the persecution raised
    against him, as his answers to the Bishop of Meaux have made known
    to all persons who have read them without prejudice.

                                      --_Autobiography of Madame Guyon_

[Illustration: FENELON]

I have been reading the "Autobiography of Madame Guyon." All books that
live are autobiographies, for the reason that no writer is interesting
save as he writes about himself. All literature is a confession; there
is only one kind of ink, and it is red. Some say the autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin is the most interesting book written by an American.
It surely has one mark of greatness--indiscretion. It tells of things
inconsequential, irrelevant and absurd: for instance, the purchase of a
penny-loaf by a moon-faced youth with outgrown trousers, who walked up
Market Street, in the city of Philadelphia, munching his loaf, and who
saw a girl sitting in a doorway, laughing at him.

What has that to do with literature? Everything, for literature is a
human document, and the fact that he of the moon-face got even with the
girl who laughed at him by going back and marrying her gives us a
picture not soon forgotten.

Everybody is entertaining when he writes about himself, because he is
discussing a subject in which he is vitally interested--whether he
understands the theme is another thing. The fact that Madame Guyon did
not understand her theme does not detract from the interest in her
book: it rather adds to it--she is so intensely prejudiced. Franklin was
the very king of humorists, and in humor Madame Guyon was a pauper.

There is not a smile in the whole big book from cover to cover--not a
smile, save those the reader brings to bear.

Madame Guyon lays bare her heart, but she does it by indirection. In
this book she keeps her left hand well informed of what her right hand
is doing. Her multi-masked ego tells things she must have known, but
which she didn't know she knew, otherwise she would not have told us. We
get the truth by reading between the lines. The miracle is that this
book should have passed for a work of deep religious significance, and
served as a textbook for religious novitiates for three centuries.

Madame Guyon was a woman of intellect, damned with a dower of beauty;
sensitive, alert, possessing an impetuous nature that endeavored to find
its gratification in religion. Born into a rich family, and marrying a
rich man, unkind Fate gave her time for introspection, and her mind
became morbid through lack of employment for her hands.

Work would have directed her emotions to a point where they would have
been useful, but for the lack of which she was feverish, querulous,
impulsive--always looking for offense, and of course finding it. Her
pride was colossal, and the fact that it found form in humility must
have made her a sore trial to her friends.

The confessional seems a natural need of humanity; however, when an
introspective hypochondriac acquires the confessional habit, she is a
pest to a good priest and likely to be a prey to a bad one.

A woman in this condition of mind confesses sins she never committed,
and she may commit sins of which she is unaware.

The highly emotional, unappreciated, misunderstood woman, noisily
bearing her cross alone, is a type well known to the pathologist. In
modern times when she visits a dentist's office the doctor hastily
summons his assistant; like unto the Prince of Pilsen, who, in the
presence of the strenuous widow, seizes his friend convulsively and
groans: "Don't leave me--don't leave me! I am up against it."

This type of woman is never commonplace--she is the victim of her
qualities; and these qualities in the case of Madame Guyon were high
ambition, great intellect, impelling passion, self-reliance. Had she
been less of a woman she would have been more.

She thinks mostly of herself, and intense selfishness is apparent even
in her humility. The tragedy of her life lay in that she had a surplus
of time and a plethora of money, and these paved the way for
introspection and fatty enlargement of the ego. Let her tell her own

    My God: Since you wish me to write a life so worthless and
    extraordinary as mine, and the omissions I made in the former have
    appeared to you too considerable to leave it in that state, I wish
    with all my heart, in order to obey you, to do what you desire of

    I was born, according to some accounts, on Easter Even, Thirteenth
    of April--although my baptism was not until the Twenty-fourth of
    May--in the year Sixteen Hundred Forty-eight, of a father and mother
    who made profession of very great piety, particularly my father, who
    had inherited it from his ancestors; for one might count, from a
    very long time, almost as many saints in his family as there were
    persons who composed it.

    I was born, then, not at the full time, for my mother had such a
    terrible fright that she brought me into the world in the eighth
    month, when it is said to be almost impossible to live.

    I no sooner received life than I was on the point of losing it, and
    dying without baptism.

    My life was only a tissue of ills. At two and a half years, I was
    placed at the Ursulines, where I remained some time. Afterwards they
    took me away. My mother, who did not much love girls, neglected me
    and abandoned me too much to the care of women who neglected me
    also: yet you, O my God, protected me, for accidents were
    incessantly happening to me, occasioned by my extreme vivacity; I
    fell. A number of accidents happened to me which I omit for brevity.

    I was then four years old, when Madame the Duchess of Montbason came
    to the Benedictines. As she had much friendship for my father, she
    asked him to place me in that House when she would be there, because
    I was a great diversion to her. I was always with her, for she much
    loved the exterior God had given me. I do not remember to have
    committed any considerable faults in that house. I saw there only
    good examples, and as my natural disposition was toward good, I
    followed it when I found nobody to turn me aside from it. I loved to
    hear talk about God, to be at church, and to be dressed as a nun.
    One day I imagined that the terror they put me into of Hell was only
    to intimidate me because I was very bright, and I had a little
    archness to which they gave the name of cleverness.

    I wished to go to confession without saying anything to any one, but
    as I was very small, the mistress of the boarders carried me to
    confession and remained with me. They listened to me. She was
    astonished to hear that I first accused myself of having thoughts
    against the faith, and the confessor beginning to laugh, asked me
    what they were. I told him that I had up to now been in doubt about
    Hell: that I had imagined my mistress spoke to me of it only to make
    me good, but I no longer doubted. After my confession I felt an
    indescribable fervor, and even one time I experienced a desire to
    endure martyrdom.

    I can not help here noting the fault mothers commit who, under
    pretext of devotion or occupation, neglect to keep their daughters
    with them; for it is not credible that my mother, so virtuous as she
    was, would have thus left me, if she had thought there was any harm
    in it.

    I must also condemn those unjust preferences that they show for one
    child over another, which produce division and the ruin of families,
    while equality unites the hearts and entertains charity. Why can not
    fathers and mothers understand, and all persons who wish to guide
    youth, the evil they do, when they neglect the guidance of the
    children, when they lose sight of them for a long time and do not
    employ them?

            *       *       *       *       *

    You know, O my Love, that the fear of your chastisement has never
    made much impression either on my intellect or upon my heart. Fear
    of having offended you caused all my grief, and this was such that
    it seemed to me, though there should be neither Paradise nor Hell, I
    should always have had the same fear of displeasing you. You know
    that even after my faults your caresses were a thousand times more
    insupportable than your rigors, and I would have a thousand times
    chosen Hell rather than displease you.

    O God, it was then not for you alone I used to behave well, since I
    ceased to do so because they no longer had any consideration for me.

    If I had known how to make use of the crucifying conduct that you
    maintained over me, I should have made good progress, and, far from
    going astray, that would have made me return to you.

    I was jealous of my brother, for on every occasion I remarked the
    difference my mother made between him and me. However, he behaved
    always right, and I always wrong. My mother's servant-maids paid
    their court by caressing my brother and ill-treating me.

    It is true I was bad, for I had fallen back into my former defects
    of telling lies and getting in a passion; with all these defects I
    nevertheless willingly gave alms, and I much loved the poor. I
    assiduously prayed to you, O my God, and I took pleasure in hearing
    you well spoken of. I do not doubt you will be astonished, Sir, by
    such resistance, and by so long a course of inconstancy; so many
    graces, so much ingratitude; but the sequel will astonish you still
    more, when you shall see this manner of acting grow stronger with my
    age, and that reason, far from correcting so irrational a procedure,
    has served only to give more force and more scope to my sins.

    It seemed, O my God, that you doubled your graces as my ingratitude
    increased. There went on in me what goes on in the siege of towns.
    You were besieging my heart, and I thought only of defending it
    against your attacks. I put up fortifications to that miserable
    place, redoubling each day my iniquities to hinder you from taking

    When it seemed you were about to be victorious over this ungrateful
    heart, I made a cross-battery; I put up barriers to arrest your
    bounties and to hinder the course of your graces. It required
    nothing less than you to break them down, O my divine Love, who by
    your sacred fire were more powerful than even death, to which my
    sins have so often reduced me.

    My father, seeing that I was grown, placed me for Lent with the
    Ursulines, in order that I should have my first communion at Easter,
    when I should complete eleven years of age. He placed me in the
    hands of his daughter, my very dear sister, who redoubled her cares
    that I might perform this action with all possible preparation. I
    thought only, O my God, of giving myself to you once for all.

    I often felt the combat between my good inclinations and my evil
    habits. I even performed some penance. As I was almost always with
    my sister, and the boarders of the grown class with whom I was,
    although I was very far from their age, were very reasonable, I
    became very reasonable with them.

    It was surely a murder to bring me up ill, for I had a natural
    disposition much inclined to good, and I loved good things.

    We subsequently came to Paris, where my vanity increased. Nothing
    was spared to bring me out. I paraded a vain beauty; I thirsted to
    exhibit myself and to flaunt my pride. I wished to make myself loved
    without loving anybody. I was sought for by many persons who seemed
    good matches for me; but you, O my God, who would not consent to my
    ruin, did not permit things to succeed.

    My father discovered difficulties that you yourself made spring up
    for my salvation. For if I had married those persons, I should have
    been extremely exposed, and my vanity would have had opportunity for
    displaying itself. There was a person who sought me in marriage for
    some years, whom my father for family reasons had always refused.

    His manners were a little distasteful to my vanity, yet the fear
    they had I should leave the country, and the great wealth of this
    gentleman, led my father, in spite of all his own objections and
    those of my mother, to accept him for me. It was done without my
    being told, on the vigil of Saint Francis de Sales, on the
    Twenty-eighth of January, Sixteen Hundred Sixty-four, and they even
    made me sign the articles of marriage without telling me what they

    Although I was well pleased to be married, because I imagined
    thereby I should have full liberty, and that I should be delivered
    from the ill-treatment of my mother, which doubtless I brought on
    myself by want of docility, you, however, O my God, had quite other
    views, and the state in which I found myself afterwards frustrated
    my hopes, as I shall hereafter tell. Although I was well pleased to
    be married, I nevertheless continued all the time of my engagement,
    and even long after my marriage, in extreme confusion.

    I did not see my betrothed till two or three days before the
    marriage. I caused masses to be said all the time I was engaged, to
    know your will, O my God, for I desired to do it at least in that.
    Oh, goodness of my God, to suffer me at that time, and to permit me
    to pray with as much boldness as if I had been one of your
    friends!--I who had treated you as if your greatest enemy!

    The joy at this marriage was universal in our town, and in this
    rejoicing I was the only person sad. I could neither laugh like the
    others, nor even eat, so oppressed was my heart. I know not the
    cause of my sadness; but, my God, it was as if a presentiment you
    were giving me of what should befall me.

    Hardly was I married when the recollection of my desire to be a nun
    came to overwhelm me.

    All those who came to compliment me the day after my marriage could
    not help rallying me because I wept bitterly, and I said to them,
    "Alas! I had once so desired to be a nun; why am I now married; and
    by what fatality is this happened to me?"

    I was no sooner at home with my new husband than I clearly saw that
    it would be for me a house of sorrow. I was obliged to change my
    conduct, for their manner of living was very different from that in
    my father's house. My mother-in-law, who had been long time a
    widow, thought only of saving, while in my father's house we lived
    in an exceedingly noble manner. Everything was showy and everything
    on a liberal scale, and all my husband and mother-in-law called
    extravagance, and I called respectability, was observed there.

    I was very much surprised at this change, and the more so as my
    vanity would rather have increased than cut down expenditure. I was
    fifteen years of age--in my sixteenth year--when I was married.

    My astonishment greatly increased when I saw that I must give up
    what I had with so much trouble acquired. At my father's house we
    had to live with much refinement, learn to speak correctly. All I
    said was there applauded and made much of. Here I was not listened
    to, except to be contradicted and to be blamed. If I spoke well they
    said it was to read them a lesson. If any one came and a subject was
    under discussion, while my father used to make me speak, here, if I
    wished to express my opinion, they said it was to dispute, and they
    ignominiously silenced me, and from morning to night they chided me.
    They led my husband to do the same, and he was only too well
    disposed for it.

    I should have a difficulty in writing these sort of things to you,
    which can not be done without wounding charity, if you had not
    forbidden me to omit anything, and if you had not thus absolutely
    commanded me to explain everything, and give all particulars. One
    thing I ask, before going further, which is, not to regard things
    from the side of the creature, for this would make persons appear
    more faulty than they were; for my mother-in-law was virtuous and my
    husband was religious and had no vice.

    My mother-in-law conceived such a hostility to me that, in order to
    annoy me, she made me do the most humiliating things; for her temper
    was so extraordinary, from not having conquered it in her youth,
    that she could not live with any one. I was thus made the victim of
    her tempers.

    Her whole occupation was continually to thwart me, and she inspired
    her son with the same sentiments.

    They insisted that persons far beneath me should take precedence, in
    order to annoy me. My mother, who was very sensitive on the point of
    honor, could not endure this; and when she learned it from
    others--for I never said anything of it--she found fault with me,
    thinking I did it from not knowing how to maintain my rank, that I
    had no spirit, and a thousand other things of this kind.

    I dared not tell how I was situated, but I was dying of vexation,
    and what increased it still more was the recollection of the persons
    who had sought me in marriage, the difference of their temper and
    their manner of acting, the love and esteem they had for me, and
    their gentleness and politeness: this was very hard for me to bear.

    My mother-in-law incessantly spoke to me disparagingly of my father
    and my mother, and I never went to see them but I had to endure this
    disagreeable talk on my return. On the other hand, my mother
    complained of me that she did not see me often enough--she said I
    did not love her.

    What increased still more my crosses was that my mother related to
    my mother-in-law the trouble I had given her in my childhood, so
    that the moment I spoke they reproached me with this, and told me I
    was a wicked character.

    My husband wished me to remain all day in the room of my
    mother-in-law, without being allowed to go to my own apartment; I
    had not therefore a moment for seclusion or breathing a little.

    She spoke disparagingly of me to every one, hoping thereby to
    diminish the esteem and affection each had for me, so that she put
    insults upon me in the presence of the best society. She discovered
    the secret of extinguishing the vivacity of my mind and making me
    become quite dull, so that I could no more be recognized. Those who
    had seen me before used to say: "What! is that the person who passed
    for being clever? She does not say two words. It is a pretty

    For crown of affliction I had a maid they had given me, who was
    quite in their interest. She kept me in sight like a duenna, and
    strangely ill-treated me.

    When I went out, the valets had orders to give an account of all I
    did. It was then that I commenced to eat the bread of tears. If I
    was at table they did things to me that covered me with confusion.

    I had no one with whom to share my grief. I wished to tell something
    of it to my mother, and that caused me so many new crosses that I
    resolved to have no other confidante of my vexations than myself. It
    was not through harshness that my husband treated me so, but from
    his hasty and violent temper; for he loved me even passionately.
    What my mother-in-law was continually telling him irritated him.

    Such was my married life, rather that of a slave than of a free
    person. To increase my disgrace I discovered, four months after my
    marriage, that my husband was gouty. This disease caused me many
    real crosses both without and within. That year he twice had gout
    six weeks at a time, and it again seized him shortly after, much
    more severely. At last he became so indisposed that he did not leave
    his room, nor often even his bed, which he ordinarily kept many

    I believe that, but for his mother and that maid of whom I have
    spoken, I should have been very happy with him; for as to hastiness,
    there is hardly a man who has not plenty of it, and it is the duty
    of a reasonable woman to put up with it quietly without increasing
    it by sharp answers. You made use of all these things, O my God, for
    my salvation.

    I became pregnant with my first child. During this time I was
    greatly petted as far as the body went, and my crosses were in some
    degree less severe thereby.

    I was so indisposed that I would have excited the compassion of the
    most indifferent. Moreover, they had such a great wish to have
    children, that they were very apprehensive lest I should miscarry.

    Yet towards the end they were less considerate to me, and once, when
    my mother-in-law had treated me in a very shocking manner, I was so
    malicious as to feign a colic in order to alarm them in my turn;
    because so anxious were they to have children, for my husband was
    the only son, and my mother-in-law was rich, could have heirs
    through him alone.

            *       *       *       *       *

    This first confinement greatly improved my appearance, and in
    consequence made me more vain, for although I would not have been
    willing to add art to Nature, yet I was very complaisant to myself.

    I was glad to be looked at, and, far from avoiding occasions for it,
    I went to promenades; rarely however, and when I was in the streets,
    I took off my mask from vanity, and my gloves to show my hands.
    Could there be greater silliness? When I had thus been carried away,
    which happened often enough, I wept inconsolably; but that did not
    correct me. I also sometimes went to a ball, where I displayed my
    vanity in dancing.

    I did not curl my hair, or very little, I did not even put anything
    on my face, yet I was not the less vain of it; I very seldom looked
    in the looking-glass, in order not to encourage my vanity, and I
    made a practise of reading books of devotion, such as the "Imitation
    of Jesus Christ" and the works of Saint Francis de Sales, while my
    hair was being combed, so that as I read aloud the servants profited
    by it. Moreover, I let myself be dressed as they wished, remaining
    as they arranged me--a thing which saves trouble and material for

    I do not know how things were, but people always admired me, and the
    feelings of my vanity reawakened in everything. If on certain days I
    wished to look to better advantage, I failed, and the more I
    neglected myself the better I looked. It was a great stone of
    stumbling for me. How many times, O my God, have I gone to churches
    less to pray to you than to be seen there! Other women who were
    jealous of me maintained that I painted, and said so to my
    confessor, who reproved me for it, although I assured him to the

    I often spoke to my own advantage, and I exalted myself with pride
    while lowering others. I sometimes still told lies, though I used
    all my effort to free myself from this vice.

    I never spoke to a man alone, and never took one to my carriage
    unless my husband was there. I never gave my hand without
    precaution, and I never went into the carriages of men. In short,
    there was no possible measure I did not observe to avoid any ground
    for my being talked of.

            *       *       *       *       *

    So much precaution had I, O my God! for a vain point of honor, and I
    had so little of true honor, which is not to displease you. I went
    so far in this, and my self-love was so great, that if I had failed
    in any rule of politeness, I could not sleep at night. Every one
    wished to contribute to my diversion, and the outside life was only
    too agreeable for me; but as to indoors, vexation had so depressed
    my husband that each day I had to put up with something new, and
    that very often.

    Sometimes he threatened to throw the supper out of the window, and I
    told him it would be very unfair to me--I had a good appetite.

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be seen, from these frank outpourings of the heart, that Madame
Guyon was suffering from an overwrought sex-nature.

Steeped in superstition, hypersthenia, God to her was a man--her lover.

Her one thought was to do His will. God is her ideal of all that is
strong, powerful and farseeing. In her imagination she continually
communicates with this all-powerful man. She calls Him "My Love," and
occasionally forgetting herself addresses him as "Sir." She evades her
husband, and deceives that worthy gentleman into believing she is asleep
when she is all the time secretly praying to God. She goes to confession
in a kimono. She gets up at daylight to go to mass, and this mass to her
heated imagination is a tryst, and the fact that she can go to mass and
get back safely and find her husband still sleeping adds the sweets of
secrecy to her passion. In love the illicit seems the normal.

Her children are nothing to her, compared to this love, the ratio of a
woman's love for her children having a direct relationship to the
mother's love for their father. Madame Guyon's regard for her husband is
covered by the word "duty," but to deceive the man never occurs to her
as a fault. She prides herself on being an honest wife.

[Illustration: MADAME GUYON]

Of course her children turn from her, because she has turned from them.
She thinks their ingratitude is a trial and a cross sent to her by God,
just as she regards her husband's gout as a calamity for herself,
never seemingly thinking of how it affects the gentleman himself. Simple
people might say the gout was his affair, not hers, but she does not
view it so. In her perverted selfness, all things have relationship to
her own ego, and so she is in continual trouble, like a girl whose love
is being opposed by parents and kinsmen.

A woman in love is the most unreasonable of all created things--next to
a man. Reason is actually beyond a lover's orbit. This woman has lost
the focus of truth, and all things are out of perspective. Every object
is twisted and distorted by the one thought that fills her life. Lovers
are fools, but Nature makes them so.

Here is a woman whose elective affinity is a being of her own
creation--an airy, fairy fiction of the mind. When a living man appears
upon the scene who in degree approximates her ideal of gentleness,
strength and truth, how long, think you, will the citadel of her heart
withstand the siege? Or will it be necessary for him to lay siege to her
heart at all? Will she not straightway throw the silken net of her
personality over him--this personality she affects to despise--and take
him captive hand and foot? We shall see:

    It was after this, my husband, having some relief from his continual
    illness, wished to go to Orleans, and thence to Touraine. On this
    journey my vanity triumphed, to disappear forever.

    I received many visits and much applause. My God, how clearly I can
    see the folly of men, who let themselves be caught by vain beauty! I
    hated passion, but, according to the external man, I could not hate
    that in me which called me into life, although, according to the
    interior man, I ardently desired to be delivered from it. O my God,
    you know how this continued combat of Nature and of Grace made me
    suffer. Nature was pleased at public approbation, and Grace made it
    feared. I felt myself torn asunder and as if separated from myself;
    for I very well felt the injury this universal esteem did me. What
    augmented it was the virtue they believed united with my youth and
    my appearance. O my God, they did not know that all the virtue was
    in you alone, and in your protection, and all the weakness in me.

    I told the confessors of my trouble, because I had not my neck
    entirely covered, although I was much better than the other women of
    my age. They assured me that I was dressed very modestly, and that
    there was no harm. My internal director told me quite the contrary,
    but I had not the strength to follow him, and to dress myself, at my
    age, in a manner that would appear extraordinary.

    Besides, the vanity I had, furnished me with pretexts which appeared
    to me the justest possible. Oh, if confessors knew the injury they
    cause women by these soft complaisances, and the evil it produces,
    they would show a greater severity; for if I had found a single
    confessor who had told me there was harm in being as I was, I would
    not have continued in it a single moment; but my vanity taking the
    part of the confessors, made me think they were right and my
    troubles were fanciful.

    That maid of whom I spoke became every day more arrogant, and as the
    Devil stirred her up to torment me, when she saw that her outcries
    did not annoy me, she thought if she could hinder me from
    communicating she would cause me the greatest of all annoyances. She
    was quite right, O Divine Spouse of pure souls, since the only
    satisfaction of my life was to receive you and to honor you. I
    suffered a species of languor when I was some days without receiving
    you. When I was unable, I contented myself with keeping some hours
    near you, and, in order to have liberty for it, I applied myself to
    perpetual adoration.

    This maid knew my affection for the Holy Sacrament, before which,
    when I could freely, I passed many hours on my knees.

    She took care to watch every day she thought I communicated. She
    came to tell my mother-in-law and my husband, who wanted nothing
    more to get into a rage with me. There were reprimands which
    continued the whole day.

    If any word of justification escaped me, or any vexation at what
    they said to me, it was ground enough for their saying that I
    committed sacrilege, and crying out against devotion.

    If I answered nothing, that increased their bitterness. They said
    the most stinging things possible to me. If I fell ill, which
    happened often enough, they took the opportunity to come and wrangle
    with me in my bed, saying it was my communions and my prayers made
    me ill--as if to receive you, O true Source of all good, could cause
    any ill!

    As it was with difficulty I ordinarily had any time for praying, in
    order not to disobey my husband, who was unwilling I should rise
    from bed before seven o'clock, I bethought me I had only to kneel
    upon my bed.

     I could not go to mass without the permission of my husband, for we
    were very distant from all kind of churches; and as ordinarily he
    only allowed me on festivals and Sundays, I could not communicate
    but on those days, however desirous I might be for it; unless some
    priest came to a chapel, which was a quarter of a league from our
    house, and let us know of it. As the carriage could not be brought
    out from the courtyard without being heard, I could not elude him. I
    made an arrangement with the guardian of the Recolets, who was a
    very holy man.

    He pretended to go to say mass for somebody else, and sent a monk to
    inform me. It had to be in the early morning, that my husband might
    not know of it, and, although I had trouble in walking, I went a
    quarter of a league on foot, because I dared not have the horses put
    to the carriage for fear of awaking my husband. O my God, what a
    desire did you not give me to receive you! and although my weariness
    was extreme, all that was nothing to me. You performed miracles, O
    my Lord, in order to further my desires; for besides that,
    ordinarily on the days I went to hear mass, my husband woke later,
    and thus I returned before his awaking: how many times have I set
    out from the house in such threatening weather that the maid I took
    with me said it would be out of the question for me to go on foot, I
    should be soaked with rain. I answered her with my usual confidence,
    "God will assist us"; and did I not arrive, O my Lord, without being
    wetted? No sooner was I in the chapel than the rain fell in
    torrents. The mass was no sooner finished than the rain ceased
    entirely, and gave me time to return to the house, where,
    immediately upon my arrival, it recommenced with greater violence.

            *       *       *       *       *

    The cross I felt most was to see my son revolt against me. I could
    not see him without dying in grief. When I was in my room with any
    of my friends, he was sent to listen to what I said; and as the
    child saw it pleased them, he invented a hundred things to go and
    tell them. What caused me the most pain was the loss of this child,
    with whom I had taken extreme trouble. If I surprised him in a lie,
    which often happened, I dared not reprove him. He told me, "My
    grandmother says you are a greater liar than I!"

            *       *       *       *       *

    It was eight or nine months after I had the smallpox that Father La
    Combe passed by the place of my residence. He came to the house,
    bringing me a letter from Father La Mothe, who asked me to see him,
    as he was a friend of his. I had much hesitation whether I should
    see him, because I feared new acquaintances. However, the fear of
    offending Father La Mothe led me to do it. This conversation, which
    was short, made him desire to see me once more. I felt the same wish
    on my side; for I believed he loved God, and I wished everybody to
    love Him. God had already made use of me to win three monks. The
    eagerness he had to see me again led him to come to our
    country-house, which was only a half-league from the town.
    Providence made use of a little accident that happened, to give me
    the means of speaking to him; for as my husband, who greatly enjoyed
    his cleverness, was conversing with him, he felt ill, and having
    gone into the garden, my husband told me go look for him lest
    anything might have occurred. I went there. This Father said that he
    had remarked a concentration and such an extraordinary presence of
    God on my countenance, that he said to himself, "I have never seen a
    woman like that"; and this was what made him desire to see me again.
    We conversed a little, and you permitted, O my God, that I said to
    him things which opened to him the way of the interior. God bestowed
    upon him so much grace, through this miserable channel, that he has
    since declared to me he went away changed into another man.

    I preserved a root of esteem for him, for it appeared to me that he
    would be God's; but I was very far from foreseeing that I should
    ever go to a place where he would be.

            *       *       *       *       *

    Some time after my arrival at Gex, the Bishop of Geneva came to see
    us. I spoke to him with the impetuosity of the spirit that guided
    me. He was so convinced of the spirit of God in me that he could not
    refrain from saying so. He was even affected, and touched by it
    opened his heart to me about what God desired of him, and how he had
    been turned aside from fidelity and grace; for he is a good prelate,
    and it is the greatest pity in the world that he is so weak in
    allowing himself to be led by others. When I have spoken to him, he
    always entered into what I said, acknowledging that what I said had
    the character of truth; and this could not be otherwise, since it
    was the spirit of truth that made me speak to him, without which I
    was only a stupid creature; but as soon as the people who wished to
    rule him and could not endure any good that did not come from
    themselves, spoke to him, he allowed himself to be influenced
    against the truth.

    It is this weakness, joined to some others, which has hindered him
    from doing all the good in his diocese that otherwise he would have
    done. After I had spoken to him, he told me that he had it in mind
    to give me as director Father La Combe; that he was a man
    enlightened of God, who understood well the ways of the spirit, and
    had a singular gift for calming souls--these are his own words--that
    he had even told him, the Bishop, many things regarding himself,
    which he knew to be very true, since he felt in himself what the
    Father said to him.

    I had great joy that the Bishop of Geneva gave him to me as
    director, seeing that thereby the external authority was joined to
    the grace which seemed already to have given him to me by that union
    and effusion of supernatural grace.

    As I was very weak, I could not raise myself in bed without falling
    into a faint; and I could not remain in bed. The Sisters neglected
    me utterly, particularly the one in charge of the housekeeping, who
    did not give me what was necessary for my life. I had not a shilling
    to provide for myself, for I had reserved nothing, and the Sisters
    received all the money which came to me from France--a very large
    sum. Thus I had the advantage of practising a little poverty, and
    being in want with those to whom I had given everything.

    They wrote to Father La Combe to come and take my confession. He
    very charitably walked all night, although he had eight long
    leagues; but he used always to travel so, imitating in this, as in
    everything else, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    As soon as he entered the house, without my knowing it, my pains
    were alleviated. And when he came into my room and blessed me, with
    his hands on my head, I was perfectly cured, and I evacuated all the
    water, so that I was able to go to the mass. The doctors were so
    surprised that they did not know how to account for my cure; for
    being Protestants, they were unable to recognize a miracle. They
    said it was madness, that my sickness was in the imagination, and a
    hundred absurdities, such as might be expected from people otherwise
    vexed by the knowledge that we had come to withdraw from error those
    who were willing.

    A violent cough, however, remained, and those Sisters of themselves
    told me to go to my daughter, and take milk for a fortnight, after
    which I might return. As soon as I set out, Father La Combe, who was
    returning and was in the same boat, said to me, "Let your cough

    It at once stopped, and although a furious gale came down upon the
    lake which made me vomit, I coughed no more at all. This storm
    became so violent that the waves were on the point of capsizing the
    boat. Father La Combe made the sign of the cross over the waves, and
    although the billows became more disturbed, they no longer came
    near, but broke more than a foot distant from the boat--a fact
    noticed by the boatmen and those in the boat, who looked upon him as
    a saint. Thus I arrived at Thonon at the Ursulines, perfectly cured;
    so instead of adopting remedies as I had proposed, I entered on a
    retreat which I kept up for twelve days.

    One of the Sisters I had brought, who was a very beautiful girl,
    became connected with an ecclesiastic who had authority in this
    place. He inspired her from the first with an aversion to me,
    judging well that, if she had confidence in me, I would not advise
    her to allow his frequent visits.

    She undertook a retreat. I begged her not to enter on it until I was
    there; for it was the time I was making my own. This ecclesiastic
    was very glad to let her make it, in order to get entirely into her
    confidence, for it would have served as a pretext for his frequent
    visits. The Bishop of Geneva had assigned Father La Combe as
    director of our House without my asking, so that it came purely from
    God. I then begged this girl, as Father La Combe was to conduct the
    retreat, she would wait for him. As I was already commencing to get
    an influence over her mind, she yielded to me against her own
    inclination, which was willing enough to make it under that
    ecclesiastic. I began to speak to her of prayer, and to cause her to
    offer it. Our Lord therein gave her such blessing that this girl, in
    other respects very discreet, gave herself to God in earnest and
    with all her heart. The retreat completed the victory. Now as she
    apparently recognized that to connect herself with that ecclesiastic
    was something imperfect, she was more reserved. This much displeased
    the worthy ecclesiastic, and embittered him against Father La Combe
    and me, and this was the source of all the persecutions that befell
    me. The noise in my room ceased when that commenced. This
    ecclesiastic, who heard confession in the House, no longer regarded
    me with a good eye.

    He began secretly to speak of me with scorn. I knew it, but said
    nothing to him, and did not for that cease confessing to him. There
    came to see him a certain monk who hated Father La Combe in
    consequence of his regularity. They formed an alliance, and decided
    that they must drive me out of the House, and make themselves
    masters of it. They set in motion for this purpose all the means
    they could find. The ecclesiastic, seeing himself supported, no
    longer kept any bounds. They said that I was stupid, that I had a
    silly air. They could judge of my mind only by my air, for I hardly
    spoke to them. This went so far that they made a sermon out of my
    confession, and it circulated through the whole diocese. They said
    that some people were so frightfully proud that, in place of
    confessing gross sins, they confessed only peccadillos; then they
    gave a detail, word for word, of everything I had confessed.

    I am willing to believe that this worthy priest was accustomed only
    to the confessions of peasants, for the faults of a person in the
    state which I was, astonished him; and made him regard what were
    really faults in me, as fanciful; for otherwise assuredly he would
    not have acted in such a manner. I still accused myself, however, of
    a sin of my past life, but this did not content him, and I knew he
    made a great commotion because I did not accuse myself of more
    notable sins. I wrote to Father La Combe to know if I could confess
    past sins as present, in order to satisfy this worthy man. He told
    me, no, and that I should take great care not to confess them except
    as passed, and that in confession the utmost sincerity was needed.

    A few days after my arrival at Gex by night I saw in a dream (but a
    mysterious dream, for I perfectly well distinguished it) Father La
    Combe fixed on a cross of extraordinary height. He was naked in the
    way our Lord is pictured. I saw an amazing crowd who covered me with
    confusion and cast upon me the ignominy of his punishment. It seemed
    he suffered more pain than I, but I more reproaches than he. This
    surprised me the more, because, having seen him only once, I could
    not imagine what it meant. But I have indeed seen it accomplished.
    At the same time I saw him thus fixed to the cross, these words were
    impressed on me: "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be
    scattered"; and these others, "I have specially prayed for thee,
    Peter, that thy faith shall fail not--Satan has desired to sift

    Up to that time the Bishop of Geneva had shown me much esteem and
    kindness, and therefore this man cleverly took him off his guard. He
    urged upon the prelate that, in order to make certain of me for that
    House, he ought to compel me to give up to it the little money I had
    reserved for myself, and to bind me by making me Superior. He knew
    well that I would never bind myself there, and that, my vocation
    being elsewhere, I could never give my capital to that House, where
    I had come only as a visitor; and that I would not be Superior, as I
    had many times already declared; and that even should I bind myself,
    it would only be on the condition that this should not be. I
    believe, indeed, that this objection to be Superior was a remnant of
    the selfhood, colored with humility. The Bishop of Geneva did not in
    the least penetrate the intentions of that ecclesiastic, who was
    called in the country the little Bishop, because of the ascendancy
    he had acquired over the mind of the Bishop of Geneva. He thought it
    was through affection for me, and zeal for this House, that this man
    desired to bind me to it; consequently, he at once fell in with the
    proposal, resolving to carry it through at whatever price.

    The ecclesiastic, seeing he had so well succeeded, no longer kept
    any bonds as regarded me. He commenced by stopping the letters I
    wrote to Father La Combe.

    Father La Combe none the less went to Annecy, where he found the
    Bishop much prejudiced and embittered.

    He said to him, "My Father, it is absolutely necessary to bind that
    lady to give what she has to the House of Gex, and to become the

    "My Lord," answered Father La Combe, "you know what she has herself
    told you of her vocation both at Paris and in this country, and
    therefore I do not believe she will consent to bind herself. It is
    not likely that, having given up everything in the hope of going to
    Geneva, she should bind herself elsewhere, and thus render it
    impossible for her to accomplish God's designs for her. She has
    offered to remain with these good Sisters as a lodger. If they
    desire to keep her in that capacity she will remain with them; if
    not, she is resolved to withdraw into some convent until God shall
    dispose of her otherwise." The Bishop answered, "My Father, I know
    all that, but at the same time I know she is obedient, and if you so
    order her, she will surely do it."

    "It is for this reason, my lord, because she is obedient, that one
    should be extremely cautious in the commands one gives her,"
    answered the Father.

    This ecclesiastic and his friend went through all the places where
    Father La Combe had held his mission, to decry him and to speak
    against him so violently that a woman was afraid to say her "Pater"
    because, she said, she had learned it from him. They made a fearful
    scandal through the whole country; for the day after my arrival at
    the Ursulines of Thonon, he set out in the morning to preach lenten
    sermons at the Valley of Aosta. He came to say adieu to me, and at
    the same time told me he would go to Rome, and probably would not
    return, that his superiors might keep him there, that he was sorry
    to leave me in a strange country without help, and persecuted by
    every one. Did not that trouble me? I said to him; "My Father, I am
    not troubled at it. I use the creatures for God, and by His order;
    through His mercy I get on very well without them.

    "I am quite content never to see you again, if such be His will, and
    to remain under persecution."

    For me, there was hardly a day passed that they did not put upon me
    new insults, and make attacks quite unexpected. The New Catholics,
    on the report of the Bishop, the ecclesiastic, and the Sisters of
    Gex, stirred up against me all people of piety. I was not much
    affected by that. If I had been at all, it would have been because
    everything was thrown upon Father La Combe, although he was absent;
    and they made use even of his absence, to destroy all the good he
    had done in the country by his missions and sermons, which was very
    great. The Devil gained much in this business. I could not, however,
    pity this good Father, remarking herein the conducting of God, who
    desired to annihilate him.

    At the commencement I committed faults by a too great anxiety and
    eagerness to justify him, conceiving it simple justice. I did not
    the same for myself, for I did not justify myself; but our Lord made
    me understand I should do for the Father what I did for myself, and
    allow him to be destroyed and annihilated; for thereby he would
    derive a far greater glory than he had done from all his reputation.

    After Father La Combe arrived, he came to see me, and wrote to the
    Bishop to know if he approved of my making use of him, and
    confessing to him as I had done before. The Bishop sent me word to
    do so, and thus I did it in all possible submissiveness.

    In his absence I always confessed to the confessor of the House. The
    first thing he said to me was that all his lights were deceptions,
    and that I might return. I did not know why he said this. He added
    that he could not see an opening to anything, and therefore it was
    not probable God had anything for me to do in that country. These
    words were the first greeting he gave me.

    When Father La Combe proposed me to return, I felt some slight
    repugnance in the senses, which did not last long. The soul can not
    but allow herself to be led by obedience, not that she regards
    obedience as a virtue, but it is that she can not be otherwise, nor
    wish to do otherwise; she allows herself to be drawn along without
    knowing why or how, as a person who should allow himself to be
    carried along by the current of a rapid river. She can not apprehend
    deception, nor even make a reflection thereon. Formerly it was by
    self-surrender; but in her present state it is without even knowing
    or understanding what she does, like a child whom its mother might
    hold over the waves of a disturbed sea, and who fears nothing,
    because it neither sees nor knows the danger; or like a madman who
    casts himself into the sea without fear of destroying himself. It is
    not that exactly, for to cast one's self is an "own" action, which
    here the soul is without. She finds herself there, and she sleeps in
    the vessel without dreading the danger. It was a long time since any
    means of support had been sent me. Untroubled and without any
    anxiety for the future, unable to fear poverty and famine, I saw
    myself stripped of everything, unprovided for and without papers.

    My daughter recovered her health. I must tell how this happened. She
    had smallpox and the purples. They brought a doctor from Geneva, who
    gave her up in despair. They made Father La Combe come in to take
    her confession; he gave her his blessing, and at the same instant
    the smallpox and the purples disappeared, and the fever left her.
    The doctor, though a Protestant, offered to give a certificate of

    But although my daughter was restored, my crosses were not lessened,
    owing to her bad education. The persecutions on the part of the New
    Catholics continued, and became even more violent, without my
    ceasing on that account to do them all the good I could. What
    caused me some pain was that the mistress of my daughter came often
    to converse with me. I saw so much imperfection in these
    conversations, although spiritual, that I could not avoid making it
    known to her; and as this hurt her, I was weak enough to be pained
    at paining her, and to continue out of mere complacency things which
    I saw to be very imperfect.

    Father La Combe introduced order in many things regarding my
    daughter; but the mistress was so hurt that the friendship she had
    for me changed into coolness and distance. However, she had grace,
    she readily got over it; but her natural character carried her

       *       *       *       *       *

Father La Combe was a very great preacher. His style was peculiarly his

Various accounts come to us of his power in swaying his audience. The
man was tall, thin, ascetic and of remarkably handsome presence. His
speech was slow, deliberate, kindly, courteous, and most effective. He
disarmed criticism, from his first word. His voice was not loud nor
deep, and he had that peculiar oratorical power which by pause and poise
compels the audience to come to him. Madame Guyon relates that when he
began to speak it was in a tone scarcely audible, and the audience
leaned forward and listened with breathless interest. Occasionally,
during his sermon, he would pause and kneel in silent prayer, and often
by his pauses--his very silences--he would reach a degree of eloquence
that would sway his hearers to tears.

The man had intellect, great spirituality, and moreover was a great
actor, which latter fact need not be stated to his discredit--he used
his personality to press home the truth he wished to impart.

The powers at Rome, realizing Father La Combe's ability as a preacher,
refused to allow him a regular parish, but employed him in moving about
from place to place conducting retreats. We would now call him a
traveling evangelist. Monasteries and nunneries are very human
institutions, and quibble, strife, jealousy, bickering, faction and feud
play an important part in their daily routine.

To keep down the cliques and prevent disintegration, the close
inspection of visiting prelates is necessary. Father La Combe, by his
gentle, saintly manner, his golden speech, was everywhere a power for

Madame Guyon came under the sway of Father La Combe's eloquence. She
felt the deep, abiding strength of his character. He was the first
genuine man she had ever met, and in degree he filled her ideal. She
sought him in confession, and the quality of her confession must surely
have made an impression on him. Spirituality and sex are closely akin.
Oratory and a well-sexed nature go together.

Father La Combe was a man. Madame Guyon was a woman.

Both were persons of high intellect, great purity of purpose, and
sincerity of intent. But neither knew that piety is a by-product of sex.

They met to discuss religious themes: she wished to advise with him as
to her spiritual estate. He treated her as a daughter--kissed her
forehead when they parted, blessed her with laying on of hands.

Their relationship became mystic, symbolic, solemn, and filled with a
deep religious awe; she had dreams where Father La Combe appeared to
her--afterward she could not tell whether the dream was a vision or a
reality. When they met in reality, she construed it into a dream. God
was leading them, they said. They lived in God--and in each other.

Father La Combe went his way, bidding her a tender farewell--parting
forever. In a few weeks Madame would appear at one of his retreats with
a written consent from the Bishop.

She followed him to his home in Gex, and then to Geneva. She entered a
convent and worked as a menial so as to be near him. The Bishop made
Father La Combe her official adviser, so as to lend authority to their

All would have been well, had not the ardor and intensity of Madame
Guyon's nature attracted the attention and then the jealousy of various
monks and nuns. A woman of Madame Guyon's nature is content with nothing
less than ownership and complete possession. She even went so far as to
announce herself as mother-by-grace to Father La Combe.

This meant that God had sanctified their relationship, so she was his
actual mother, all brought about by a miracle no less peculiar and
wonderful than the story of the bread and wine. Through this miracle of
motherhood she thought she must be near him always, care for him,
"mother" him, drudge for him, slave for him, share his poverty and pain.

Such abject devotion is both beautiful and pathetic. That it bordered on
insanity, there is no doubt. Father La Combe accepted the "motherhood"
as sent by God, but later distrusted it and tried to send Madame Guyon

She accepted this new cross as a part of her purification. She suffered
intensely, and so did he. It was a relationship divinely human, and they
were trying to prove to themselves and to others that it was something
else, for at that time people did not believe in the divinity of human

Rumors became rife, charges were brought and proved. The Church is now,
and always has been, very lenient in its treatment of erring priests. In
fact, those in authority take the lofty ground that a priest, like a
king, can do no wrong, and that sins of the flesh are impossible to one
divinely anointed. And as for the woman, she is merely guilty of
indiscretion at the worst.

Madame Guyon's indiscretion took the form of religious ecstasy, and she
claimed that the innermost living God was guiding her footsteps into a
life of "Pure Love," or constant, divine adoration. Charges of "false
doctrine" were brought against her, and Father La Combe was duly
cautioned to have nothing to do with Madame Guyon in any way. For a time
he assumed a harshness he did not feel, and ordered her back to her home
to remain with her kinsmen: that he had a communication from God saying
this was His will.

Madame started to obey, but fell ill to the point of death, and Father
La Combe was sent for to come and take her last confession and bestow
the rite of extreme unction. He came, a miracle was performed and
Madame got well.

The relationship was too apparent to waive or overlook--scandal filled
the air. Nuns and monks were quitting their religious devotions to talk
about it.

Common, little, plain preachers might have their favorites, but Father
La Combe and Madame Guyon were in the world's eye. The churchly
authorities became alarmed at the influence exerted by Father La Combe
and Madame Guyon. Their doctrine of "Quietism," or constant, pure love,
was liable to create a schism. What the Church wants is fixity, security
and obedience. At that time in France the civil authorities and the
Church worked together. The "lettre de cachet" was utilized, and Father
La Combe was landed suddenly and safely in the Bastile. We have gotten
so used to liberty that we can hardly realize that only a hundred years
ago, men were arrested without warrant, no charge having been made
against them, tried in secret and disposed of as if they were already

Father La Combe never regained his liberty. His mind reeled under his
misfortunes and he died insane.

Madame Guyon was banished to a nunnery, which was a bastile arranged for
ladies. For two years she was kept under lock and key. The authorities,
however, relaxed their severities, not realizing that she was really
more dangerous than Father La Combe.

Priests are apt to deal gently with beautiful women. From her prison
Madame Guyon managed to get a letter to Fenelon, Bishop of Cambray. She
asked for a hearing and that her case be passed upon by a tribunal.
Fenelon referred the letter to Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, recommending
that the woman be given a hearing and judgment rendered as to the extent
of her heresy. By a singular fatality Bossuet appointed Fenelon as
chairman or chief inquisitor of the committee to investigate the
vagaries and conduct of the Madame.

Bossuet, himself, became interested in the woman. He went to see her in
prison, and her beauty, her intellect, her devotion, appealed to him.

Bossuet was an orator, the greatest in France at that time. His only
rival was Fenelon, but the style and manner of the men were so different
that they really played off against each other as foils.

Bossuet was vehement, powerful--what we would call "Western." Fenelon
was suave, gentle, and won by an appeal to the highest and best in the
hearts of his hearers. Father La Combe and Fenelon were very much alike,
only Father La Combe had occupied a local position, while that of
Fenelon was national. Fenelon was a diplomat, an author, an orator.

Madame Guyon's autobiography reveals the fact that Bossuet was enough
interested in her case to have her removed to a nunnery near where he
lived, and there he often called upon her. He read to her from his own
writings, instead of analyzing hers, which proves priests to be simply
men at the last. Bossuet needed the feminine mind to bolster his own,
but Madame and he did not mix. In her autobiography she hesitates about
actually condemning Bossuet, but describes him as short and fat, so it
looks as if she were human, too, since what repelled her were his
physical characteristics.

When a woman describes a man she always begins by telling how he looks.

Madame Guyon says: "The Bishop of Meaux wished me to change my name, so
that, as he said, it should not be known I was in his diocese, and that
people should not torment him on my account. The project was the finest
in the world, if he could have kept a secret; but he told everybody he
saw that I was in such a convent, under such a name. Immediately, from
all sides, anonymous libels against me were sent to the Mother Superior
and the nuns."

With Fenelon, it was very different. Her heart went out to him: he was
the greatest man she had ever seen--greater even than Father La Combe.

Fenelon's first interview with Madame Guyon was simply in an official
way, but her interest in him was very personal. This is evidenced from
her brief, but very fervent, mention of the incident:

    Having been visited by the Abbe de Fenelon, I was suddenly with
    extreme force and sweetness interested for him. It seemed to me our
    Lord united him to me very intimately, more so than any one else. It
    appeared to me that, as it were, a spiritual filiation took place
    between him and me. The next day, I had the opportunity of seeing
    him again. I felt interiorly this first interview did not satisfy
    him: that he did not relish me. I experienced a something which made
    me long to pour my heart into his; but I found nothing to
    correspond, and this made me suffer much. In the night I suffered
    extremely about him.

    In the morning I saw him. We remained for some time in silence, and
    the cloud cleared off a little; but it was not yet as I wished it.

    I suffered for eight whole days, after which I found myself united
    to him without obstacle, and from that time I find the union
    increasing in a pure and ineffable manner. It seems to me that my
    soul has a perfect rapport with his, and those words of David
    regarding Jonathan, that "his soul clave to that of David," appeared
    to me suitable for this union. Our Lord has made me understand the
    great designs He has for this person, and how dear he is to Him.

    The justice of God causes suffering from time to time for certain
    souls until their entire purification. As soon as they have arrived
    where God wishes them, one suffers no longer for anything for them;
    and the union which had been often covered with clouds is cleared up
    in such a manner that it becomes like a very pure atmosphere,
    penetrated everywhere, without distinction, by the light of the sun.
    As Fenelon was given to me, in a more intimate manner than any
    other, what I have suffered, what I am suffering, and what I shall
    suffer for him, surpasses anything that can be told. The least
    partition between him and me, between him and God, is like a little
    dirt in the eye, which causes it an extreme pain, and which would
    not inconvenience any other part of the body where it might be put.
    What I suffer for him is very different from what I suffer for
    others; but I am unable to discover the cause, unless it be God has
    united me to him more intimately than to any other, and that God has
    greater designs for him than for the others.

Fenelon the ascetic, he of the subtle intellect and high spiritual
quality, had never met a woman on an absolute equality. Madame Guyon's
religious fervor disarmed him. He saw her often, that he might
comprehend the nature of her mission.

In the official investigation that followed, he naturally found himself
the defender of her doctrines. She was condemned by the court, but
Fenelon put in a minority report of explanation. The nature of the man
was to defend the accused person; this was evidenced by his defense of
the Huguenots, when he lifted up his voice for their liberty at a time
when religious liberty was unknown. His words might have been the words
of Thomas Jefferson, to whom Fenelon bore a strange resemblance in
feature. Says Fenelon: "The right to be wrong in matters of religious
belief must be accorded, otherwise we produce hypocrites instead of
persons with an enlightened belief that is fully their own. If truth be
mighty and God all-powerful, His children need not fear that disaster
will follow freedom of thought."

After Madame Guyon was condemned she was allowed to go on suspended
sentence, with a caution that silence was to be the price of her
liberty, for before this she had attracted to herself, even in prison,
congregations of several hundred to whom she preached, and among whom
she distributed her writings.

The earnest, the sincere, the spiritual Fenelon never suspected where
this friendship was to lead. Even when Madame Guyon slipped into his
simple, little household as a servant under an assumed name, he was
inwardly guileless. This proud woman with the domineering personality
now wore wooden shoes and the garb of a scullion. She scrubbed the
floors, did laundry-work, cooked, even worked in the garden looking
after the vegetables and the flowers, that she might be near him.

Fenelon accepted this servile devotion, regarding it as a part of the
woman's penance for sins done in the past. Most certainly love is blind,
at least myopic, for Fenelon of the strong and subtle mind could not see
that service for the beloved is the highest joy, and the more menial the
service the better. Madame sought to deceive herself by making her
person unsightly to her lord, and so she wore coarse and ragged dresses,
calloused her hands, and allowed the sun to tan and freckle her face.

Of course then the inevitable happened: the intimacy slipped off into
the most divine of human loves--or the most human of divine loves, if
you prefer to express it so.

To prevent the scandal, the other servants were sent away. Nothing can
be kept secret except for a day.

A person of Madame Guyon's worth could not be lost or secreted. For
Fenelon to defend her and then secrete her was unpardonable to the
arrogant Bossuet.

Fenelon had now to defend himself. How much of political rivalry as well
as ecclesiastic has been made by the favor of women, who shall say!

Of her intimate relationship with Fenelon, Madame Guyon says nothing.
The bond was of too sacred a nature to discuss, and here her frankness
falters, as it should. She does not even defend it.

Fenelon and Madame Guyon were plotting against the Church and State--how
very natural! The Madame was fifty; Fenelon was forty-seven--they
certainly were old enough to know better, but they did not.

They parted of their own accord, solemnly and in tearful prayer, for
parting is such sweet sorrow. And then, in a few weeks, they met again
to consult as to the future.

Soon Bossuet stepped in and induced the Vatican to do for them what they
could not do alone. Fenelon was stripped of his official robes, reduced
to the rank of a parish priest, and sent to minister to an obscure and
stricken church in the south of France. The country was battle-scarred,
and poverty, ignorance and want stalked through the streets of the
little village. Here Fenelon lived, as did the exiled Copernicus,
forbidden to travel more than six miles from his church, or to speak to
any but his own flock. Here he gave his life as a teacher of children, a
nurse, a doctor and a spiritual guide to a people almost devoid of

Madame Guyon was sent to a nunnery, where she was actually a prisoner,
working as a menial. Fenelon and Madame Guyon never met again, but once
a month they sent each other a love-letter on spiritual themes in which
love wrote between the lines. Time had tamed the passions of Madame
Guyon, otherwise no convent-walls would have been high enough to keep
her captive. Sweet, sad memories fed her declining days, and within a
few weeks of her death she declared that her life had been a success,
"for I have been loved by Fenelon, the greatest and most saintly man of
his time."

And as for the Abbe Fenelon, the verdict of the world seems to be that
he was ruined by Madame Guyon; but if he ever thought so, no sign of
recrimination ever escaped his lips.



  Servants, maids, butler, landlord, ladies and gentlemen.

A wise man has said that there is a difference between fact and truth.
He has also told us that things may be true and still not be so. The
truth as to the love-story of Ferdinand Lassalle and Helene von Donniges
can only be told by adhering strictly to the facts. Facts are not only
stubborn things, but often very inconvenient; yet in this instance the
simple facts fall easily into dramatic form, and the only way to tell
the story seems to be to let it tell itself. Dramas are made up of
incidents that have happened to somebody sometime, but in no instance
that I ever heard of have all the situations pictured in a play happened
to the persons who played the parts. The business of the playwright is
selection and rejection, and usually the dramatic situations revealed
have been culled from very many lives over a long course of years. Here
the author need but reveal the tangled skein woven by Fate, Meddling
Parents, Pride, Prejudice, Caprice, Ambition, Passion. In other words it
is human nature in a tornado, and human nature is a vagrant ship, with a
spurious chart, an uncertain compass, a drunken pilot, a mutinous crew
and a crazy captain.

The moral seems to be that the tragedy of existence lies in interposing
that newly discovered thing called intellect into the delicate affairs
of life, instead of having faith in God, and moving serenely with the
eternal tide.

Moses struck the rock, and the waters gushed forth; but if Moses had
found a spring in the desert and then toiled mightily to smother it with
a mountain of arid sand, I doubt me much whether the name of Moses
would now live as one of the saviors of the world.

Parties with an eczema for management would do well to butt their heads
three times against the wall and take note that the wall falls not. Then
and then only are they safe from Megalocephalia. There are temptations
in life that require all of one's will to succumb to; and he who resists
not the current of his being, nor attempts to dam the fountain of life
for another, shall be crowned with bay and be fed on ambrosia in

[Illustration: LASSALLE]

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ Parlors of Herr and Frau Holthoff at their home in Berlin.

     [An informal conference of the leading members of the Allied
     Workingmen's Clubs. Present various ladies and gentlemen, some
     seated, others standing, talking.]


HERR HOLTHOFF. Hello, Comrade Haenle! I am very glad to see you here.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Not more glad than I am to be here.

     [They shake hands cordially, all around.]

HERR HOLTHOFF. [_To his wife_] My dear, you see Doctor Haenle has
come--I win my bet!

DOCTOR HAENLE. I hope you two have not been gambling!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Yes, Doctor, we made a bet, and I am delighted to lose!

DOCTOR HAENLE. You mystify me!

HERR HOLTHOFF. Well, the fact is that Madame had a dream in which you
played a part; she thought you had been--what is that word, my dear?

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Expatriated.

HERR HOLTHOFF. Yes, expatriated--sent out of the country for the
country's good.

DOCTOR HAENLE. It would be a great compliment!

HERR HOLTHOFF. Very true; you could then join our own Richard Wagner in

DOCTOR HAENLE. Could I but write such songs as he does, I would relish
the fate!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. But the people who sent him into exile never guessed that
they were giving him the leisure to write immortal music.

DOCTOR HAENLE. People who persecute other people never know what they

HERR HOLTHOFF. It isn't so bad to be persecuted, but it is a terrible
thing to persecute.

DOCTOR HAENLE. It is often a good thing for the persecuted, provided he
can spare the time--how does that strike you, Herr Marx?

KARL MARX. I fully agree in the sentiment. There seems to be an Eternal
Spirit of Wisdom that guides man and things, and this Spirit cares only
for the end.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Nature's solicitude is for the race, not the individual.

KARL MARX. Exactly so!

HERR HOLTHOFF. Get that in your forthcoming book, Brother Marx, and give
credit to the Madame.

KARL MARX. I surely will. Most of my original thoughts I get from my

HERR HOLTHOFF. You may not be so grateful when the book is published.

KARL MARX. You mean I may sing the Pilgrims' Chorus with Richard across
the border?

HERR HOLTHOFF. Yes; the government is growing very sensitive.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Which has nothing to do with the publication of _Das
Kapital_--eh, Herr Marx?

KARL MARX. Not the slightest. The book will live, regardless of the fate
of the author.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. You do not seem very sanguine of immediate success of the
workingmen's party!

KARL MARX. We will succeed when the ditches are even full of our
dead--then progress can pass.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. And that time has not come?

KARL MARX. I hope we are great enough not to deceive ourselves. We work
for truth: whether this truth will be accepted by the many this year, or
next, or the next century, we can not say, but that should not deter us
from our best endeavors.

HELENE VON DONNIGES. [_Golden-haired, enthusiastic, needlessly pink and
gorgeously twenty_] Men fight for a thing and lose, and the men they
fought fight for the same thing under another name, and win! [_All turn
and listen_] Life is in the fight, not the achievement. Oh, I think it
would be glorious to suffer, to be misunderstood, and fail; and yet know
in our hearts that we were right--absolutely right--and that the wisdom
of the ages will endorse our acts and on the tombs of some of us carve
the word "Savior"!

KARL MARX. Grand, magnificent! That sounds just like Lassalle.

HELENE. There; that is the third time I have been told I talk just like
Lassalle--a person I have never seen.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Then you have something to live for.

HELENE. Perhaps, but I echo no man. When one speaks from one's heart it
is not complimentary to have people suavely smile and say, "Goethe,"
"Voltaire," "Shakespeare," "Rousseau," "Lassalle"!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Just see the company in which she places our Ferdinand!

HELENE. [_Wearily_] Oh, I am not trying to compliment Lassalle. The fact
is, I dislike the man. His literary style is explosive; about all he
seems to do is to paraphrase dear Karl Marx. Besides, he is a Jew----

KARL MARX. Gently--I am a Jew!

HELENE. But you are different. Lassalle is aggressive, pushing,
grasping--he has ego plus, and [_With relaxing tension_] all I want to
say is that I am aweary of being accused of quoting Lassalle--that I do
not know Lassalle, and what is more, I----

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Oh, you'll talk differently when you see him!

HELENE. But surely you, too, do not make genius exempt from the moral

DOCTOR HAENLE. Oh, some one has been telling you about Madame

HELENE. I know the undisputed facts.

KARL MARX. Which are that at nineteen years of age Ferdinand Lassalle
became the legal counsel for Madame Hatzfeldt; that he fought her case
through the courts for nine years; that he lost three times and finally

HELENE. And then became a member of the Madame's household.

KARL MARX. If so, with the Madame's permission.

HELENE. [_Sarcastically_] Certainly.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. That thirty years' difference in their ages ought to
absolve him.

DOCTOR HAENLE. To say nothing of the fee he received!

KARL MARX. The fee?

DOCTOR HAENLE. One hundred thousand thalers.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Capital; also, _Das Kapital_!

KARL MARX. I have made a note of it. A lawyer gets a single fee of one
hundred thousand thalers--this under the competitive system--a hundred
years of labor for the average workingman!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. A lawyer at nineteen--studying on one case, knowing its
every aspect and phase, pursuing the case for nine years, and opposed by
six of the ablest, oldest and most influential legal lights in Germany,
and gaining a complete victory!

KARL MARX. I've heard of successful authors of a single book, but I
never before heard of a great lawyer with but one case!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Oh, Lassalle has had many cases offered him, but he
refused them all so as to devote himself to the People _versus_ Entailed

KARL MARX. You mean Entrenched Alleged Royalty.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Yes. I accept the correction--and this case he will win,
just as he did the other.

HELENE. You had better say his body will go to fill up the sunken

DOCTOR HAENLE. Good! that was your idea of success a few moments ago.

HELENE. I see--more of Lassalle.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Oh, you two were just made for each other!

DOCTOR HAENLE. You both have the fire, the dash, the enthusiasm, the
personality, the beautiful unreasonableness, the----

HELENE. Go on!

KARL MARX. He is the greatest orator in Europe!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. And the handsomest man!

HELENE. Nonsense!

DOCTOR HAENLE. You shall see!

HELENE. Shall I?

DOCTOR HAENLE. You certainly shall. Indeed, Lassalle may be here this
evening. He spoke in Dresden last night, and was to leave at once, after
the address. His train was due--let me see--[_consults watch_] half an
hour ago. I told him if he came to drive straight here.

HELENE. [_Slightly agitated_] I must go--I promised papa I would be home
at ten.

KARL MARX. And your papa would never allow you to stay out after ten,
any more than he would forgive you if he knew you visited with people
who harbored Ferdinand Lassalle?

HELENE. My father is a busy man--a Monarchist of course--and he has no
time for the New Thought.

DOCTOR HAENLE. He leaves that to you?

HELENE. Yes, he indulges me--he says the New Thought does him no harm
and amuses me! See if my carriage is waiting, please. Thank you----

     [Frau Holthoff starts to help Helene on with her wraps. Knocking is
     heard at the door. Herr Holthoff goes into the hall to answer

HERR HOLTHOFF. [_Outside_] Well, well, Ferdinand the First, Ferdinand

     [Commotion--all move toward door]


     [Lassalle is tall, slender, nervous, active, intelligent,
     commanding. All shake hands, and he and Karl Marx embrace and kiss
     each other on the cheek. Helene stares, slips down behind the sofa,
     and seated on an ottoman reads intently with her nose in a book.
     The rest talk and move toward the center of the stage, gathering
     around Lassalle, who affectionately half-embraces all--with remarks
     from everybody: "How well you look!" "And the news from Dresden!"
     "Did the police molest you?" "Was it a big audience?" etc. Lassalle
     seats himself on sofa with back to Helene, who is immediately
     behind him.]

LASSALLE. We will win when fifty-one per cent of the voters declare
themselves. You see Nature never intended that ninety per cent of the
people should slave for the other ten per cent. The world must see that
we all should work--that to succeed we must work for each other. We have
thought that educated men should not work, and that men who work should
not be educated. We have congested work and congested education and
congested wealth. The good things of the world are for all, and if there
were an even distribution there would be no want, no wretchedness. The
rich for the most part waste and destroy, and of course the many have
to toil in order to make good this waste. When we can convince fifty-one
per cent of the people that righteousness is only a form of
self-preservation, that mankind is an organism and that we are all parts
of the whole, the battle will be won. [_Rises and paces the floor, still
talking_] I spoke last night to five thousand people, and the way they
listened and applauded and applauded and listened, revealed how hungry
the people are for truth. The hope of the world lies in the middle
class--the rich are as ignorant as the poverty-stricken. A way must be
devised to reach the rich--I can do it. Inaction, idleness, that is the
curse. Life is fluid, and only running water is pure. Stagnation is
death. Turbulent Rome was healthy, but quiescent Rome was soft,
feverish, morbid, pathological. Now, take Hamlet--what man ever had more
opportunities? Heir to the throne--beauty, power, youth, intellect--all
were his! What wrecked him? Why, inaction; he sat down to muse, instead
of being up and doing. He wrangled, dawdled, dreamed, followed
soothsayers, and consulted mediums until his mind was mush----

HELENE. [_Rising quickly_] Mad from the beginning!

     [Lassalle and the two men to whom he was talking jump, turn,

HELENE. Mad from the beginning, I say!

     [The two friends at once quit Lassalle and move off arm in arm
     talking, leaving Lassalle and Helene eyeing each other across the
     sofa. Her eyes flash defiance; he relaxes, smiles, paying no
     attention to her contradiction concerning Hamlet. He kneels on the
     sofa and leans toward her.]

LASSALLE. Ah, this is how you look! This is you! Yes, yes, it is as I
thought. It is all right!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. [_Bustling forward_] Oh, I forgot you had not met--allow
me to introduce----

LASSALLE. [_Waving the Frau away, walks around the sofa taking Helene by
the arm_] What is the necessity of introducing us! People who know each
other do not have to be introduced. You know who I am, and you are
Brunhilde, the Red Fox.

     [Leads her around and seats her on the sofa and takes his place
     beside her, with one arm along the back of the sofa. Helene leans
     toward him, and flicks an imaginary particle of dust from his

HELENE. You were talking about your success in Dresden!

     [Lassalle proceeds to talk to her most earnestly. She listens, nods
     approval, sighs, and clasps her hands. The others in the room
     gather at opposite sides of the room and talk, but with eyes
     furtively turned now and then toward the couple, who are lost to
     the world, interested but in each other, and the great themes they
     are discussing.]

LASSALLE. I knew we must meet. Fate decreed it so. You are the Goddess
of the Morning and I am the Sun-God.

HELENE. You are sure then about your divinity?

LASSALLE. Yes, through a belief in yours.

HELENE. I knew I would meet you. I felt that I must, in order to get you
out of my mind. I am betrothed, you know----

LASSALLE. I know--to me, from the foundation of the world.

HELENE. I am betrothed to Prince Yanko Racowitza. You never heard of
him, of course. He is out of your class, because he is good, and gentle,
and kind, and of noble blood. And you are a demagogue, and a demigod,
and a Jew, and a Mephisto! I told Yanko I would not wed him until I saw
you. He has been trying to meet you, to introduce us.

LASSALLE. That you might be disillusioned!

HELENE. Precisely so.

LASSALLE. How interesting! And how superfluous in your fairy prince.

HELENE. He is an extraordinary man, for he said I should see you and him
both, see you together and take my choice.

LASSALLE. Good! He is a Christian, and does as he would be done by. I am
a Christianized Jew, and I will bejew all Christendom. Your prince is a
useless appendenda, and I would kill him, were it not that I am opposed
to duelling. I fought one duel--or did not fight it, I should say. I
faced my man, he fired and missed. I threw my pistol into the bushes and
held out my hand to the late enemy. He reeled toward me and fell into my
arms, pierced by his emotions. He is now my friend. Had I killed him,
the vexed question between us would still be unsettled. I believe in
brain, not brawn--soul, not sense. Let us meet your prince, and when he
sees you and me together, he will know we are one, and dare not withhold
his blessing which we do not need. He shall be our page. Win people and
use them, I say--use them! You and I working together can win and use
humanity for humanity's good. We talk with the same phrases. You say,
"Two wishes make a will"--so do I. We read the same books, are fed at
the same springs. Our souls blend together; great thoughts are children,
born of married minds----

HELENE. My carriage is at the door--I surely must go!

LASSALLE. I'll order your coachman to go home; we will walk.

     [Strides to the door, and gives the order and in an instant
     returns, picks up Helene's wraps and proceeds affectionately to
     help her on with overshoes, cloak and hat.]

LASSALLE. The fact is that life lies in mutual service--any other course
is merely existence. Those who do most for others enjoy most. Well,
good-night, dear Karl Marx, [_Shakes hands_] and you, Doctor
Haenle--what would life be to me without you! Good-night, Herr Holthoff
and dear Frau Holthoff!

     [Kisses the Frau's hand. Helene helps him on with overcoat and
     hands him his hat. They disappear through the right entrance, arm
     in arm, faces turned toward each other, talking earnestly. As they
     go through the door, Lassalle lifts his hat to the company and
     says, "Good-night, everybody." Those on the stage turn and stare at
     one another in amazement. Doctor Haenle breaks the silence with a

DOCTOR HAENLE. Well, well, well!

HERR HOLTHOFF. She is carried off on the back of a centaur.

KARL MARX. A whirlwind wooing!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. Affinities!

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ Hotel veranda in the Swiss Mountains.

     [Present: Herr Holthoff, Frau Holthoff, Doctor Haenle, Lassalle and
     Helene, seated or walking about and talking leisurely. Surroundings
     beautiful and an air of peace pervades the place.]

DOCTOR HAENLE. These early Fall days are the finest of the year in the

HELENE. Yes: for then the guests have mostly gone.

LASSALLE. Just as the church is never quite so sacred as when the priest
is not there!

FRAU HOLTHOFF. You mean the priest and congregation?

LASSALLE. Certainly, they go together. A priest apart from his people is
simply a man.

HELENE. Ferdinand loves the Church!

LASSALLE. You should say a church, my lady fair!

HELENE. Yes, a church--this is the fourth time we have met. Two of the
other times were in a church.

LASSALLE. [_Ecstatically_] Yes, in the dim, cool, religious light of a
church, vacant save for us two--I should say for us one!

HELENE. We just sat and said the lover's litany--"Love like ours can
never die."

HERR HOLTHOFF. Well, love and religion are one at the last.

LASSALLE. They were one once, and neither will be right until they are
one again.

HELENE. A creed is made up of ossified metaphors--lover's metaphors.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Good, and every one can believe a creed if you allow him
to place his own interpretation on it!

LASSALLE. That is what we will do in the Co-operative Commonwealth.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Which reminds me that Bismarck, who loves you almost as
well as we do, declares that you are a Monarchist, not a Socialist, the
difference being that you believe in the House of Lassalle and he in the
House of Hohenzollern.

LASSALLE. Which means, I suppose, that I will be king of the
Co-operative Commonwealth?

HELENE. You will be if I have my way.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Heresy and sedition! The woman who loves a man confuses
him with God, and regards him as one divinely appointed to rule.

HELENE. I can not deny it if I would.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. And yet tomorrow you and Lassalle part!

HELENE. Only for a time.

LASSALLE. For how long, no man can say; that is why I have urged that we
should be married here and now. A notary can be gotten from the village
in an hour--you, dear comrades, shall be the witnesses.

HELENE. It is only my love that makes me hesitate. The future of
Ferdinand Lassalle, and the future of Socialism must not be jeopardized!

DOCTOR HAENLE. Jeopardized?

LASSALLE. Jeopardized by love?

HELENE. The world would regard a marriage here as an elopement. My
father would be furious. Who are we that we should run away to wed, as
if I were a schoolgirl and Lassalle a grocer's clerk! Lassalle is the
king of men. He convinces them by his logic, by his presence, by his

HERR HOLTHOFF. He has convinced you in any event.

HELENE. And he can and will convince the world!

DOCTOR HAENLE. I believe he will.

HELENE. And when he wins my parents he will secure an influence that
will help usher in the Better Day. Besides----

LASSALLE. Besides?

HELENE. [_Laughing_] I am engaged to marry Prince Racowitza!

LASSALLE. [_Smiling_] True, I forgot. But when he sees the Goddess of
the Dawn and the Socialistic Sun-God together, he will give them his
blessing and renounce all claims.

HELENE. Exactly so.

DOCTOR HAENLE. Which is certainly better than to snip him off without
first tying the ligature.

FRAU HOLTHOFF. This whole situation is really amusing when one takes a
cool look at it. Here is Helene betrothed to Prince Racowitza, who is
intelligent, kind, amiable, good, unobjectionable. And because society
demands that a girl shall marry somebody, she accepts the situation,
and until Lassalle, the vagrant planet, came shooting through space,
this girl of aspiration and ambition would have actually wedded the
unobjectionable man and herself become unobjectionable to please her
unobjectionable parents.

HERR HOLTHOFF. That is a plain, judicial statement of the case, made by
the wife of a fairly good man.

LASSALLE. Error set in motion continues indefinitely, all according to
the physical law of inertia. The customs of society continue, and are
always regarded by the many as perfect--in fact, divine. This continues
until some one called a demagogue and a fanatic suggests a change. This
talk of change causes a little wobble in the velocity of the error, but
it still spins forward and crushes and mangles all who get in the way.
That is what you call orthodoxy--the subjection of the many. The men,
run over and mangled, are spoken of as "dangerous."

HERR HOLTHOFF. Which reminds me that when people say a man is dangerous,
they simply mean that his ideas are new to them.

LASSALLE. [_Seating himself at a table opposite Helene_] You hear, my
Goddess of the Dawn, Helene, that dangerous ideas are simply new ideas?

HELENE. Yes, I heard it and I have said it.

LASSALLE. Because I have said it.

HELENE. Undoubtedly, which is reason enough.

LASSALLE. Can you make your father believe that?

HELENE. I intend to try and I expect to succeed.

     [All slip away and leave Helene and Lassalle alone. As the
     conversation grows earnest, he holds her hands across the table,
     just as the lovers do in a Gibson picture.]

LASSALLE. And you still think this better than that we should proclaim
the republic tomorrow, and have our dear friends go down and inform the
world that we are man and wife?

HELENE. Listen: The desire of my life is to be your wife. No ceremony
can make us more completely one than we are now. My soul is intertwined
with yours. All that remains is, how shall we announce the truth to the
world? Shall we do it by the tongue of scandal? That is not necessary.
Doctor Haenle can take you to call on my father. I will be there--we
will meet incidentally. You are irresistible to men, as well as to
women. My father will study you. You will allow him to talk--you will
agree with him. After he has said all he has to say, you will talk, and
he will gradually agree with you. My parents will become accustomed to
your presence--they will see that you are a gentleman. Prince Racowitza
will be there, and he will not have to be told the truth--he will see
it. He will be obedient to my wishes. He admires me, and you----

LASSALLE. I love you.

HELENE. You love me--the world seems tame. I am simply yours.

LASSALLE. I realize it, and so, like your little prince, I am
obedient--an obedient rebel!

HELENE. A rebel?

LASSALLE. I say it, but very gently. I can win your parents and the
prince, quite as well if introduced to them as your husband, as if we
faced each other in their presence and pretended--a nice word,
that--pretended we had never met. There, I am done. I am now your
page--your slave.

HELENE. [_Disturbed and slightly nettled_] Then grant me a small favor.

LASSALLE. Even if it be the half of my kingdom.

HELENE. Let me see a picture of Madame Hatzfeldt!


HELENE. Madame Hatzfeldt.

LASSALLE. [_Coloring and confused_] Oh, surely, I will--I will find one
for you and send it by mail.

HELENE. Perhaps you have one in your pocketbook?

LASSALLE. Oh, that is so; possibly I have!

     [Takes pocketbook out of breast-pocket of his coat, fumbles and
     finds a small, square photograph, which he passes over to Helene,
     who studies his face and then the photograph.]

HELENE. [_Looking at picture_] She has intellect!

LASSALLE. [_Trying to laugh_] She was born in Eighteen Hundred Eight--I
call her Gran'ma!

HELENE. Is she handsome?

LASSALLE. Oh, twenty years ago she was.

HELENE. Twenty years ago she was a woman in distress?


HELENE. And women in distress are very alluring to gallant and
adventurous young men.

LASSALLE. It was twenty years ago, I say.

HELENE. And now you are--are friends?

LASSALLE. We are friends!

HELENE. [_Archly_] Shall I win her before we are married, or after?


HELENE. As you say.

LASSALLE. We are both needlessly humble, I take it!

     [Smiles and gently takes her hand.]

HELENE. [_Smiles back_] We understand each other.

LASSALLE. And to be understood is paradise.

HELENE. We have been in paradise eight days.

LASSALLE. Paradise!

HELENE. Paradise!

LASSALLE. And now we go out into the world----

HELENE. To meet at my father's house.

LASSALLE. At the day and hour next week that you shall name.

HELENE. Even so.

     [They hold hands, look into each other's eyes wistfully and
     solemnly. Both rise and walk off the stage in opposite directions.
     Lassalle hesitates, stops and looks back at her as if he expected
     she would turn and command him to go with her. She does not command
     him, and he goes off the stage alone, slowly and with a dejected
     air, which for him is unusual.]

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ A bedroom in the Metropolitan Hotel, Berlin.

     [Lassalle in shirt-sleeves, putting on his collar before the
     mirror. Jacques standing by, brushing his coat.]

LASSALLE. [_Wrestling with unruly collar-button_] Yes; that is the coat.
A long, plain, priestly coat. [_Gaily, half to himself and half to
valet_] You see, I am going on a delicate errand, and I must not

JACQUES. They say you never fail in anything.

LASSALLE. Which is not saying that I might not fail in the future.

JACQUES. Impossible.

LASSALLE. Now, today I am going to call on a man who hates me--who
totally misunderstands me--and my task is to convince him, without
mentioning the subject, that I am a gentleman. In fact--[_A knock at the
door_] In fact--answer that, please, Jacques--to convince him that a man
may be earnest and honest in his efforts for human betterment, and

JACQUES. [_To porter at door_] The master, Herr Lassalle, is dressing. I
will give him her card.

PORTER. She says she knows him, and demands admittance. She will give
neither her name nor her card.

JACQUES. Herr Lassalle can not receive her here--patience--I will tell
him, and he will see her in half an hour in the parlor!

  _Enter HELENE_

     [Pauses breathlessly on the threshold, then pushes past the porter.
     The valet confronts her with arms outstretched to stay her

HELENE. Ferdinand--I--I am here!

     [Lassalle turns and stares, surprised, overcome, joyous--seizes the
     valet by the shoulder and pushes him out of the door, bowling over
     the porter who blocks the entrance. Lassalle and Helene face each
     other. He is about to take her in his arms; she backs away.]

HELENE. Not yet, dear, not yet!

     [She sinks into a chair in great confusion, struggling for breath.]

LASSALLE. [_Leaning over her tenderly_] Tell me what has happened!

HELENE. The worst.

LASSALLE. You mean----

HELENE. That I told my father and mother!

LASSALLE. And they----

HELENE. Renounced me, cursed me--called me vile names--threatened me!
They said you are a---- [_Trying to laugh_]

LASSALLE. A Jew and a demagogue!

HELENE. Would to God they had used terms so mild.

LASSALLE. Did they attack my honor--my personal character?

HELENE. Why ask me? What they said is nothing. They are furious, blind
with rage--I escaped to save my life--and--I am here.

LASSALLE. [_Coolly, taking his seat in a chair opposite her_] Yes, you
are here, that is irrefutable. You are here. Now we must consider the
situation and then decide on what to do. First, let me ask you how you
came to mention me to them.

HELENE. Is it necessary that we should enter into details? Pardon me, I
am so sick with fear and humiliation. When I reached home I found the
whole household joyous over the news of my sister's betrothal to Count
Kayserling. They are to be married in June. I thought it a good time to
tell my own joy. You see, I hesitated about your coming to our home in a
false position--you and I meeting as if we had never met. I told my
sister first. She was grieved, but satisfied since it was my will. She
kissed me in blessing. I am an honest woman, Ferdinand--that is, I want
to be honest. I scorn a lie--my prayer is to leave every prevarication
behind. So I told my mother of you--knowing of course there would be a
storm, but never guessing the violence of it. She called in my father
and cried, "Your daughter has been debauched by a Jew!" I resented the
insult and tried to explain. I upheld you--my father seized the
bread-knife from the table and brandished it over me, trying to make me
swear never to see you. I refused--he choked me and called me a harlot.
To save my life I promised never again to see you. Their violence
abated, and when their vigilance relaxed, I escaped and came here--here!

     [Holds out her arms toward him; and cowers into her seat as she
     sees he does not respond.]

LASSALLE. Yes, you are here.

HELENE. Do you not see?--I have come to you.

LASSALLE. [_Musingly_] I see!

HELENE. Yes, and in doing this I have burned my bridges. I can never go
back--I have broken my promise with them--for you. They are no longer my
parents. The Paris Express goes in half an hour----

LASSALLE. You studied the time-table?

HELENE. [_Trying to smile_] Yes, I calculated the time. To be caught
here is death to me, and prison to you. In this town my father is
supreme--the law is construed as he devises--safety for us lies in

LASSALLE. But my belongings!

HELENE. Your valet can attend to them.

LASSALLE. And I run away, flee?

HELENE. [_Trying to be gay_] Yes, with me.

LASSALLE. [_Exasperatingly cool_] It would be the first time I ever ran
away from danger.

HELENE. If you remain here you may never have another chance.

LASSALLE. You mean that your father or that little prince, Yanko, may do
me violence?

HELENE. No one can tell what my father may do in his present state of

LASSALLE. Then I will remain and see.

HELENE. [_In agony_] We are wasting time. Do you understand that as soon
as my absence is discovered, they will hunt for me--even now the police
may be notified!

LASSALLE. Let cowards and criminals run--we have done nothing of which
we need be ashamed.

HELENE. Surely not--but what more can I say! Oh, Ferdinand, my

LASSALLE. Listen to me----

     [Knocking is heard at the door. She involuntarily moves toward him
     for protection. He enfolds her in his arms just an instant. More
     knocking and louder. Lassalle tenderly puts her away from him and
     goes to the door, opens it. The landlord stands there with the
     porter behind him.]

LANDLORD. [_Entering_] You will pardon me, Herr Lassalle--but the mother
and sister of the Fraulein are in the parlor below. They had spies
follow her--it is all a misunderstanding, I know. But the young lady
should--you will pardon me, both--should not be here with you. She will
have to go. I declared to her mother that she was not here; the porter
told her otherwise. The police are at the entrance, and you understand I
can not afford to have a scene. Will the Fraulein be so good as to go
below and meet her mother?

HELENE. My mother! I have no mother.

LANDLORD. You will excuse me if I insist.

     [Lassalle starts toward the landlord as if he would throttle him.
     Then bethinks himself and smiles.]

LASSALLE. Certainly, kind sir, she will go, and I will go with her. We
will excuse you now!

     [Puts hands on shoulder and half-pushes landlord out of the door.
     Closes door.]

HELENE. [_In terror_] What shall I do?

LASSALLE. Do? Why, there is only one thing to do--meet your mother and
sister. I will go, too. [_Adjusts his collar and puts on his vest and
coat_] There, I am ready--we go!

HELENE. You do not know them. It is death.

LASSALLE. Nonsense! Have I not addressed a mob and won? Do you trust me?

     [Kisses her on the forehead, and putting his arm around her, leads
     her to the door.]

HELENE. [_In agony, striving to be calm_] I--I trust you. To whom can I


       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ The Hotel-Parlor.

     [Hilda, sister of Helene, hanging dejectedly out of window. Frau
     Von Donniges standing statue-like in the center of room. Two hotel
     porters making pretense of dusting furniture.]

  _Enter LASSALLE with HELENE on his arm._

LASSALLE. [_To Helene_] Courage, my dear, courage!

     [Bows to Frau Von Donniges, who is unconscious of his presence.
     Lassalle and Helene hesitate and look at each other nervously.
     Helene clutches Lassalle's arm to keep from falling--they both move
     slowly around the statuesque Frau. The Frau suddenly perceives
     them, turns and glares.]

FRAU VON DONNIGES. Away with that man--I will not allow him to remain in
this room!

LASSALLE. [_Bowing, with hand on heart_] Surely, Madame, you do not know
me. Will you not allow me to speak--to explain!

FRAU VON DONNIGES. Away, I say--out of my sight! Begone, you craven
coward--you thief!

     [These are new epithets to Lassalle. He is used to being called a
     Jew, a fanatic, a dangerous demagogue--something
     half-complimentary. But there is no alloy in "coward," "thief." He
     looks at Helene as if to receive reassurance that he hears aright.]

HELENE. Come--you see it is as I told you--reason in her is dead. Let us

LASSALLE. [_Loosening Helene's hold upon his arm and stepping toward the
Frau_] Madame, you have availed yourself of a woman's privilege, and
used language toward me which men never use toward each other unless
they court death. I say no more to you, preferring now to speak to your

FRAU VON DONNIGES. Yes, you speak to my husband--and he will give you
what you deserve.

LASSALLE. [_Changing his tactics_] Your husband is a gentleman, I trust.
And you--are the mother of the lady I love, so I will resent nothing you
say. You speak only in a passion, and not from your heart. I resent

FRAU VON DONNIGES. A man spotted with every vice says he loves my
daughter! Your love is pollution. My ears are closed to you--you may
stand and grimace and insult me, but I hear you not. Go!

LASSALLE. Very well, I will go and see Helene's father. Men may dislike
each other--they may be enemies, but they do not spit on each other. If
they fight, they fight courteously. I will see Helene's father--he will
at least hear me.

FRAU VON DONNIGES. You enter his house, and the servants will throw your
vile body into the street.

LASSALLE. I have written him that I will call.

FRAU VON DONNIGES. Your letter was cast into the garbage unopened.

LASSALLE. [_Stung_] It may be possible, Madame, for you to wear out my

FRAU VON DONNIGES. You have already succeeded in wearing out mine.

HELENE. [_In agony--wringing her hands_] Hopeless, Ferdinand, you see it
is hopeless!

LASSALLE. [_Aside to Helene_] Her outbreak will pass in a moment.

FRAU VON DONNIGES. You have ruined the reputation of my family--stolen
my child. You, who are known over an empire for your dealings with

HELENE. [_Joining in the fray, in shrill excitement_] False! He did not
steal me--I went to him unasked. You who call yourself my mother, how
dare you traduce me so, you who bore me! I fled from you to save my
life--to escape your tortures, you killed my love. I am Lassalle's,
because I love him. He understands me--you do not. When you abuse him,
you abuse me. When you trample on him, you trample on me. I now choose
life with him in preference to perdition with you. I follow him, I am
his, I glory in him. Now!

     [Helene turns to Lassalle in triumph, believing of course that
     after she has just avowed herself, they will stand together--he and

LASSALLE. [_Calmly_] Well spoken, Helene, and now tell me, will you make
a sacrifice--a temporary sacrifice for me?

HELENE. [_Looking straight at him in absolute faith_] Yes, command me!

LASSALLE. Go home, with your--mother!

HELENE. Anything but that.

LASSALLE. Yes, that is what I ask.

HELENE. [_Writhing in awful pain_] You will not ask of me the

LASSALLE. No, but this you can do. Your going will soften them. We will
win them. Go with them. Do this for me. I leave you here.

     [Backs away, and goes out bowing low and very calm. Helene sinks
     into a chair, crushed in spirit, wrenched, mangled.]

HILDA VON DONNIGES. [_Comes forward, and caresses the drooping head of
her sister_] Bear up, Helene, my sister! We are your friends, our home
is yours, no matter what you have done--we forgive it all. Our home is
still yours. Bear up--he is gone--now come with us. [_Helene merely

FRAU VON DONNIGES. [_In Amazonian flush of success_] No more of this
foolishness--no more of it, I say! He is gone; I knew he could not
withstand my plain-spoken truths. He could not look me in the eye. You
heard me, Hilda; he could not answer--he dare not. Come, Helene!

     [Shakes her by the shoulder. Commotion is heard outside.]

LANDLORD. [_Entering by backing into the room, striving by tongue and
hands to calm some one outside_] Be calm, kind sir! I am innocent in
this matter. The ladies are here--here in the parlor. The man is
gone--he never was here. In fact, he left before he came--be calm--I
keep a respectable house. The police will raid the place, I fear. Be
calm and I will explain all!

HERR VON DONNIGES. [_Purple with rage, big, prosperous--brandishing
cudgel_] The Jew--show me the Jew who seduced my daughter! Show him to
me, I say! That corrupt scum of society--the man who broke into my house
and stole my daughter. [_Waves his cane and smites the air_] Where is
that infidel Jew!

FRAU VON DONNIGES. Now, do not be a fool--I sent the Jew on his way. It
was not necessary that you should follow. I can take care of this little

HERR VON DONNIGES. Oh, so you protect her, do you? You side with her?
You are a party to her undoing! And has the Jew seduced you, too? Where
is he, I say? You seem to be deaf. This man who has ruined my home--he
is the man I want, not your apologies. The girl is my daughter, I say!
[_Suddenly sees Helene crouching in a chair, her face between her
knees_] Oh, so you are here, my pretty miss--you who brought ruin on
your father's house.

     [Puts one foot against chair and overturns it. Kicks at prostrate
     form of Helene. Then seizing her by the hair, drags her across the
     room, striking her face with his open hands. The mother, daughter
     and landlord try to restrain his fury.]

LANDLORD. You will kill her!

FRAU VON DONNIGES. She has brought it on herself! But stop--it is

HERR VON DONNIGES. [_Half-frightened at his own violence, reaching into
his pocket brings out purse and throws it at feet of landlord_] Not a
word about this!

LANDLORD. Trust me--you will tell of it first!

HERR VON DONNIGES. Is there a carriage at the door?


HERR VON DONNIGES. If any one asks, tell them my daughter is insane--a
maniac--and a little force was necessary--you understand?

LANDLORD. I understand.

HERR VON DONNIGES. Here, we must carry her out.

     [Tears down curtains from windows and rolls Helene in the

LANDLORD. You must pay for those!

HERR VON DONNIGES. Name the amount!

LANDLORD. Why, they cost me----

HERR VON DONNIGES. Never mind. Charge them to the Jew. Here, help carry
her--this daughter who has ruined me!

LANDLORD. You act like a man who might do the task of ruining yourself.

     [Helene starts to rise. Her father fells her to the floor with the
     flat of his hand. Seizes her and with the help of the mother and
     landlord carries her out. Exit, with Hilda following behind, mildly
     wringing her hands.]

HILDA VON DONNIGES. Oh, why did she bring this disgrace upon us?

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ Room in house of Herr Von Donniges.

     [Furnishings are rich and old-fashioned, as becomes the house of a
     collector of revenue. Helene pacing the room talking to
     maidservant, who sits quietly sewing.]

HELENE. It is only a week since I saw Lassalle--only a week. Yet my poor
head says it is a year, and my heart says a lifetime. For six days my
father kept me locked in that little room in the tower, where not even
you were allowed to enter. The butler silently pushed food in at the
door and as silently went away. Once each day at exactly noon my father
came and solemnly asked, "Do you renounce Lassalle?" and I as solemnly
answered, "I will yet be the wife of Lassalle." But since yesterday,
when I wrote the letter at their dictation to Lassalle telling him that
he was free, and that I was soon to marry Prince Yanko Racowitza, I feel
a load lifted from my heart. How queer! Perhaps it is because I am
relieved of the pressure of my parents and have been given my freedom!

MAID. Not quite freedom; for see--there is a guard pacing back and forth
at the door!

     [Guard is seen through the window pacing his beat.]

HELENE. Oh, freedom is only comparative--but now you are with me. I
needed some one to whom I could talk. Yet I did not renounce Lassalle
until he failed to rescue me--he did not even answer my letter----

MAID. Possibly he did not receive it!

HELENE. But you bribed the porter!

MAID. True; but some one may have paid him more!

HELENE. Listen, do you still think it possible that Lassalle has not
forgotten me?

MAID. Not only possible, but probable. A man of his intellect would
guess that the letter you wrote was forced from you.

HELENE. A lawyer surely would understand that for things done _in
terrorem_ one is not responsible. Now see what I am doing--yesterday I
hoped never again to see Lassalle, and now I am planning and praying he
will come to me.

MAID. Your heart is with Lassalle.

HELENE. It seems so.

MAID. Then God will bring it about, and you shall be united.

  _Enter SERVANT_

SERVANT. Prince Racowitza!


     [The Prince is small, dark, dapper, unobjectionable. He is much
     agitated. Helene holds out her hand to him in a friendly, but
     non-committal, discreet way. Maid starts to go.]

PRINCE. [_To maid_] Do not leave the room--I have serious news, and your
mistress may need your services when I tell her what I have to say!

HELENE. [_Relieved by the thought that the Prince is about to renounce
all claims to one so caught in the web of scandal_] You will remain with
me, Elizabeth; I may need you. And now, Prince Yanko--I am steeled
[_tries to smile_]--give me the worst. [_The Prince making passes in
the air, tierce and thrust with his cane at an imaginary foe_] I say,
dear Prince, tell me the worst--I think I can bear it. [_Helene is
almost amused by the sight of the semi-comic opera-bouffe prince_] Tell
me the worst!

PRINCE. Lassalle has challenged your father!

HELENE. [_Blanching_] Lassalle has challenged my father!

PRINCE. To the death. [_Aiming with his cane at a piece of statuary in
the corner_] One, two, three--fire!

HELENE. It is not so. Lassalle is opposed to the code on principle.

PRINCE. There are no principles in time of war! Are you ready,
gentlemen--One, two, three!

HELENE. [_Contemptuously_] Why do you not fight him?

PRINCE. Is there no way, gentlemen, by which this unfortunate affair can
be arranged? If not----

HELENE. You did not hear me!

PRINCE. Oh, yes, I heard you, and I am to fight him at sunrise. Your
father turned the challenge over to me!

HELENE. To you?

PRINCE. And your father has fled to Paris--it is a serious thing to be a
party to a duel in Germany--a sure-enough duel!

HELENE. But you are not a swordsman, nor have you ever shot a
pistol--you told me so once.

PRINCE. But I have been practising at the shooting-gallery for two
hours. The keeper there says I am a wonderful shot--I hit a
plaster-of-Paris rabbit seven times in succession!

     [Helene is excited; her thought is that Lassalle, being a sure shot
     and a brave man, will surely kill the Prince. This will eliminate
     one factor in the tangle. Lassalle having killed his man will have
     to flee--the Government only tolerates him now. And she will flee
     with him--her father in Paris, the Prince dead, exile for
     Lassalle--the way lubricated by the gods--good.]

HELENE. [_Excitedly_] Yes, fight him, kill him!

PRINCE. I will fight him at sunrise--at once after the meeting, I will
drive directly here. If I am unhurt, we will fly--you and I--for Paris
to meet your father. If I am wounded, the carriage will come with the
horses walking; if I am dead, the horses will be on a run; if I am
unharmed, the horses will simply trot and----

HELENE. [_Who knows that Lassalle will kill the Prince, hysterically_]
Will trot--good! And now good-by, good-by!

     [Kisses him explosively and backs him out of the door.]

     [_Exit Prince._]

HELENE. [_In ecstasy_] Lassalle will kill him!

MAID. I am afraid he will.

HELENE. And this will make us free, free!

MAID. It will exile you.

HELENE. And since this home is a prison, exile would be paradise.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene:_ Same as Act Five. Time, one day later.

     [Very early in the morning. Helene and maid in traveling costume,
     small valises and rugs rolled and strapped, on center-table.]

HELENE. You gave my letter to Doctor Haenle himself, into his own hands!

MAID. Into his own hands.

HELENE. Then there was no mistake. I told Lassalle I would meet him at
the station at seven o'clock--only half an hour yet to spare! We will
catch the Switzerland Express. Lassalle will have to go--this affair
means exile for him--but for us to be exiled together will be Heaven.
Now this is a pivotal point--we must be calm.

MAID. Surely you are calm.

HELENE. Yet I did not sleep a moment all the night.

MAID. Probably Lassalle did not either.

HELENE. Did you hear a carriage?

MAID. [_Peering out of window_] Only a wagon.

HELENE. Listen!

MAID. I hear the sound of horses!

HELENE. Running?

MAID. They are running!

HELENE. My God; yes, they come closer--they are running! Oh, thank
Heaven, thank Heaven, the Prince is dead--I am both sorry and glad.

MAID. There, they are turning this way--there, the carriage stops at the

HELENE. Dead--the Prince is dead. Now in the excitement that will
follow the carrying in of the body, we will escape--we can walk to the
station in ten minutes--that gives us ten minutes to spare. Here, you
take the rug and this valise, I will take the other. We will find a
street porter at the corner, or a carriage. Do not open the door until I
tell you!

     [Door bursts open and Prince Yanko half-tumbles in.]

PRINCE. I am unharmed--congratulate me--I am unharmed!

     [Opens arms to embrace Helene, who backs away.]

HELENE. And Lassalle--Lassalle--where is Lassalle?

PRINCE. He is dead--I killed him!

HELENE. You killed Lassalle--the greatest man in Europe--you killed him!

PRINCE. He fell at the first fire--congratulate me!

HELENE. You lie! Lassalle is not dead. Away! Away! I scorn you--loathe
you--away--the sight of you burns my eyeballs--the murderer of

     [Helene crouches in a corner. Prince stands stiff, amazed. The man,
     with valises in one hand and rug in shawl-strap, looks on with
     lack-luster eye, frozen by indecision.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Note._--Helene von Donniges married Prince Racowitza three weeks after
the death of Lassalle. The Prince died two years later. Princess Helene
committed suicide at Munich, March Twenty-six, Nineteen Hundred Twelve,
aged sixty-seven years. These facts are of such a dull slaty-gray and so
lacking in dramatic interest that they are omitted from the play.


    The last moments which Nelson passed at Merton were employed in
    praying over his little daughter as she lay sleeping. A portrait of
    Lady Hamilton hung in his cabin; and no Catholic ever beheld the
    picture of his patron saint with more devout reverence. The
    undisguised and romantic passion with which he regarded it amounted
    almost to superstition; and when the portrait was now taken down, in
    clearing for action, he desired the men who removed it to "take care
    of his guardian angel." In this manner he frequently spoke of it, as
    if he believed there was a virtue in the image. He wore a miniature
    of her also next to his heart.

                                           --_Robert Southey_

[Illustration: LORD NELSON]

Robert Southey, poet laureate, and conservative Churchman, wrote the
life of Nelson, wrote it on stolen time--sandwiched in between essays
and epics. And now behold it is the one effort of Robert Southey that
perennially survives, and is religiously read--his one great claim to
literary immortality.

Murray, the original Barabbas, got together six magazine essays on Lord
Nelson, and certain specific memoranda from Lady Hamilton and Lord
Nelson's sisters, and sent the bundle with a check for one hundred
pounds to Southey, asking him to write the "Life," and have it ready
inside of six weeks, or return the check and papers by bearer.

Southey needed the money: he had his own family to support, and also
that of Coleridge, who was philosophizing in Germany. Southey needed the
money! Had the check not been sent in advance, Southey would have
declined the commission. Southey began the work in distaste, warmed to
it, got the right focus on his subject, used the wife of Coleridge as
'prentice talent, and making twice as big a book as he had expected,
completed it in just six weeks.

Other men might have written lives of Lord Nelson, but they did not; and
all who write on Lord Nelson now, paraphrase Southey.

And thus are great literary reputations won on a fluke.

       *       *       *       *       *

Horatio Nelson, born in Seventeen Hundred Fifty-eight, was one of a
brood of nine children, left motherless when the lad was nine years of
age. His father was a clergyman, and passing rich on forty pounds a
year. It was the dying wish of the mother that one of the children
should be adopted by her brother, Captain Suckling, of the Navy.

This captain was a grandnephew of Sir John Suckling the poet, and one of
the great men of the family--himself acknowledging it. Captain Suckling
promised the stricken woman that her wish should be respected. Three
years went by and he made no move. Horatio, then twelve years of age,
hearing that "The Raisonnable," his uncle's ship, had just anchored in
the Medway, wrote the gallant captain, reminding him of the obligation
and suggesting himself as a candidate.

The captain replied to the boy's father that the idea of sending the
smallest and sickliest of the family to rough it at sea was a foolish
idea; but if it was the father's wish, why send the youngster along, and
in the very first action a cannon-ball might take off the boy's head,
which would simplify the situation.

This was an acceptance, although ungracious, and our young lad was duly
put aboard the stage, penniless, with a big basket of lunch, ticketed
for tidewater. There a kind-hearted waterman rowed the boy out to the
ship and put him aboard, where he wandered on the deck for two days,
too timid to make himself known, before being discovered, and then came
near being put ashore as a stowaway. It seems that the captain had made
no mention to any one on the ship that his nevy was expected, and, in
fact, had probably forgotten the matter himself.

And so Horatio Nelson, slim, slight, slender, fair-haired and
hollow-eyed, was made cabin-boy, with orders to wait on table, wash
dishes and "tidy up things." And he set such a pace in tidying up the
captain's cabin that that worthy officer once remarked, "Dammittall, he
isn't half as bad as he might be."

Finally, Horatio was given the tiller when a boat was sent ashore. He
became an expert in steering, and was made coxswain of the captain's
launch. He learned the Channel in low tide from Chatham to the Tower,
making a map of it on his own account. He had a scent for rocks and
shoals, and knew how to avoid them--for good pilots are born, not made.

A motherless boy with a discouraged father is very fortunate. If he ever
succeeds, he knows it must be through his own exertions. The truth is
pressed home upon him that there is nothing in the universe to help him
but himself--a great lesson to learn.

Young Nelson soon saw that his uncle's patronage, no matter how well
intentioned, could not help him beyond making him coxswain of the
longboat. And anyway, if he was promoted, he wanted it to be on account
of merit, and not relationship. So he got himself transferred to
another boat that was about to sail for the West Indies, and took the
rough service that falls to the lot of a jack-tar. His quickness in
obeying orders, his alertness and ability to climb, his scorn of danger,
going to the yardarm to adjust a tangled rope in a storm, or fastening
the pennant to the mainmast in less time than anybody else on board ship
could perform the task, made him a marked man. He did the difficult
thing, the unpleasant task, with an amount of good-cheer that placed him
in a class by himself. He had no competition. Success was in his
blood--his silent, sober ways, intent only on doing his duty, made his
services sought after when a captain was fitting out a dangerous

Nelson made a trip to the Arctic, and came back second mate at nineteen.
He went to the Barbadoes and returned lieutenant. He was a
lieutenant-commander at twenty, and at twenty-one was given charge of a
shipyard. Shortly after, he was made master of a schoolship, his
business being to give boys their first lessons in seamanship. His
methods here differed from those then in vogue. When a new boy, agitated
and nervous, was ordered to climb, Nelson, noticing the lad's fear,
would say, "Now, lads, I am with you and it is a race to the
crow's-nest." And with a whoop he would make the start, allowing the
nervous boy to outstrip him. Then once at the top, he would shout: "Now
isn't this glorious! Why, there is no danger, except when you think
danger. A monkey up a tree is safer than a monkey on the ground; and a
sailor on the yard is happier than a sailor on the deck--hurrah!"

Admiral Hood said that, if Nelson had wished it, he could have become
the greatest teacher of boys that England ever saw.

At twenty-three Nelson was made a captain and placed in charge of the
"Albemarle." He was sent to the North Sea to spend the winter along the
coast of Denmark. A local prince of Denmark has described a business
errand made aboard the "Albemarle." Says the Dane: "On asking for the
captain of the ship, I was shown a boy in a captain's uniform, the
youngest man to look upon I ever saw holding a like position. His face
was gaunt and yellow, his chest flat, and his legs absurdly thin. But on
talking with him I saw he was a man born to command, and when he showed
me the ship and pointed out the cannon, saying, 'These are for use if
necessity demands,' there was a gleam in his blue eyes that backed his

Before he was twenty-six years old Nelson had fought pirates, savages,
Spaniards, French, and even crossed the ocean to reason with Americans,
having been sent to New York on a delicate diplomatic errand. On this
trip he spent some weeks at Quebec, where he met a lady fair who
engrossed his attention and time to such a degree that his officers
feared for his sanity. This was his first love-affair, and he took it

It was time for the "Albemarle" to sail, when its little captain was
seen making his way rapidly up the hill. He was given stern chase by the
second officer and on being overhauled explained that he was going back
to lay his heart and fortune at the feet of the lady. The friend
explained that, it being but seven o'clock in the morning, the charmer
probably could not be seen, and so the captain in his spangles and lace
was gotten on board ship and the anchor hoisted. Once at sea, salt water
and distance seemed to effect a cure.

In Nelson's character was a peculiar trace of trust and innocence. Send
your boys to sea and the sailors will educate them, is a safe maxim. But
Nelson was an exception, for even in his boyhood he had held little
converse with his mates, and in the frolics on shore he took no part.
Physically he was too weak to meet them on a level, and so he pitted his
brain against their brawn. He studied and grubbed at his books while
they gambled, caroused and "saw the town."

When he was in command of the schoolship, the second officer taunted him
about his insignificant size. His answer was: "Sir, the pistol makes all
men of equal size--to your place! And consider yourself fined ten days'

In buying supplies he refused to sign vouchers unless the precise goods
were delivered and the price was right. On being told that this was very
foolish, and that a captain was entitled to a quiet commission on all
purchases, he began an investigation on his own account and found that
it was the rule that naval and army supplies cost the government on an
average twenty-five per cent more than they were worth, and that the
names of laborers once placed on the payroll remained there for
eternity. In his zeal the young captain made a definite statement and
brought charges, showing where the government was being robbed of vast
sums. On reaching London he was called before the Board of Admiralty and
duly cautioned to mind his own affairs.

His third act of indiscretion was his marriage in the Island of Nevis to
Mrs. Frances Woolward Nesbit, a widow with one child. Widows often fall
easy prey to predatory sailormen, and sometimes sailormen fall easy prey
to widows. The widow was "unobjectionable," to use the words of Southey,
and versed in all the polite dissipation of a prosperous slave-mart
capital. Nelson looked upon all English-speaking women as angels of
light and models of sympathy, insight and self-sacrifice.

Time disillusioned him; and he settled down into the firm belief that a
woman was only a child--whimsical, selfish, idle, intent on gauds,
jewels and chucks under the chin from specimens of the genus homo--any
man--but to be tolerated and gently looked after for the good of the
race. He took his wife to England and left her at his father's parsonage
and sailed away for the Mediterranean to fight his country's battles.

Among other errands he had dispatches to Sir William Hamilton, British
Envoy at the Court of Naples. Sir William had never met Nelson; but he
was so impressed at his first meeting with the little man, that he told
his wife afterwards that if she had no objection he was going to invite
Captain Nelson to their home. Lady Hamilton had no objection, although a
sea-captain was hardly in their class. "But," argued Sir William, "this
captain is different; on talking to him and noting his sober, silent,
earnest way, I concluded that the world would yet ring with the name of
Nelson. He fights his enemy for laying his ship alongside and grappling
him to the death."

So a room was set apart in the Hamilton household for Captain Nelson.
The next day the captain wrote home to his wife that Lady Hamilton was
young, amiable, witty and took an active part in the diplomatic business
of the court. Nelson at this time was thirty-five years old; Lady
Hamilton was three years younger.

Nelson remained only a few days in Naples, but long enough to impress
himself upon the King and all the court as a man of extraordinary

Sorrow and disappointment had made him a fatalist--he looked the part.
Admiral Hood at this time said: "Nelson is the only absolutely
invincible fighter in the navy. I only fear his recklessness, because he
never counts the cost."

It was to be five years before Nelson met the Hamiltons again.

       *       *       *       *       *

The man who writes the life of Lady Hamilton and tells the simple facts
places his reputation for truth in jeopardy.

Emma Lyon was the daughter of a day-laborer. In her babyhood her home
was Hawarden, "the luster of fame of which town is equally divided
between a man and a woman," once said Disraeli, with a solemn sidelong
glance at William Ewart Gladstone.

At Hawarden, Lyon the obscure, known to us for but one thing, died, and
if his body was buried in the Hawarden churchyard, Destiny failed to
mark the spot. The widow worked at menial tasks in the homes of the
local gentry, and the child was fed with scraps that fell from the rich
man's table--a condition that grew into a habit.

When Emma was thirteen years old, she had learned to read, and could
"print"; that is, she could write a letter, a feat her mother never
learned to do.

At this time the girl waited on table and acted as nurse-maid in the
family of Sir Thomas Hawarden. Doubtless she learned by listening, and
absorbed knowledge because she had the capacity. When Sir Thomas moved
up to London, which is down from Hawarden, the sprightly little girl was
taken along.

Her dresses were a little above her shoe-tops, but she lowered the skirt
on her own account, very shortly.

Country girls of immature age, comely to look upon, had better keep
close at home. The city devours such, and infamy and death for them lie
in wait. But here was an exception--Emma Lyon was a child of the
hedgerows, and her innocence was only in her appearance. She must have
been at that time like the child of the gypsy beggar told of by
Smollett, that was purchased for two pounds by an admiring gent, who
made a bet with his friends that he could replace her rags with silks
and fine linen, and in six weeks introduce her at court, as to the
manner born, a credit to her sex. All worked well for a time, when one
day, alas, under great provocation, the girl sloughed her ladylike
manners, and took on the glossary of the road and camp.

Emma Lyon at fifteen, having graduated as a scullion, went to work for a
shopkeeper, as a servant and general helper. It was soon found that as a
saleswoman she was worth much more than as a cook. A caller asked her
where she was educated, and she explained that it was at the expense of
the Earl of Halifax, and that she was his ward.

The Earl fortunately was dead and could not deny the report. Sir Harry
Featherston, hearing about the titled girl, or at least of the girl
mentioned with titled people, rescued her from the shopkeeper and sent
her to his country seat, that she might have the advantages of the best

Her beauty and quiet good sense seemed to back up the legend that she
was the natural child of the Earl of Halifax; and as the subject seemed
to be a painful one to the child herself, it was discussed only in
whispers. The girl learned to ride horseback remarkably well, and at a
fete appeared as Joan of Arc, armed cap-a-pie, riding a snow-white
stallion. Romney, the portrait-painter, spending a week-end with Sir
Henry, was struck with the picturesque beauty of the child and painted
her as Diana. Romney was impressed with the plastic beauty of the girl,
her downcast eyes, her silent ways, her responsive manner, and he begged
Sir Harry to allow her to go to London and sit for another picture.

Now Sir Harry was a married man, senior warden of his church, and as the
girl was bringing him a trifle more fame than he deserved, he consented.

Romney writing to a friend, under date of June Nineteenth, Seventeen
Hundred Eighty-one, says:

"At present, and the greater part of the summer, I shall be engaged in
painting pictures from the Divine Lady. I can not give her any other
name, for I think her superior to all womankind.

"I have two pictures to paint of her for the Prince of Wales. She says
she must see you before she leaves England, which will be in the
beginning of September. She asked me if you would not write my life. I
told her you had begun it; then, she said, she hoped you would have much
to say of her in the life, as she prided herself upon being my model.

"I dedicate my time to this charming lady; there is a prospect of her
leaving town with Sir William, for two or three weeks. They are very
much hurried at present, as everything is going on for their speedy
marriage, and all the world following her, and talking of her, so that
if she has not more good sense than vanity, her brain must be turned.
The pictures I have begun of Joan of Arc, a Magdalen, and a Bacchante
for the Prince of Wales; and another I am to begin as a companion to the
Bacchante. I am also to paint her as Constance for the Shakespeare

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-three pictures of Emma Lyon painted by Romney are now
in existence. England at that time was experiencing a tidal wave of
genius, and Romney and his beautiful model rode in on the crest of the
wave, with Sir Joshua, the Herschels, Edmund Burke, Richard Brinsley
Sheridan, Doctor Johnson, Goldsmith, Horace Walpole and various others
of equal note caught in amber, all of them, by the busy Boswell.

Besides those who did things worth while, there were others who buzzed,
dallied, and simply seemed and thought they lived. Among this class who
were famous for doing nothing was Beau Nash, the pride of the pump-room.
Next in note, but more moderately colored, was Sir Charles Greville, man
of polite education, a typical courtier, with a leaning toward music and
the arts, which gave his character a flavor of culture that the others
did not possess.

The fair Emma was giving the Romney studio a trifle more fame than the
domestic peace of the portrait-painter demanded, and when Sir Charles
Greville, sitting for his portrait, became acquainted with the beautiful
model, Romney saw his opportunity to escape the inevitable crash. So Sir
Charles, the man of culture, the patron of the picturesque, the devotee
of beauty, undertook the further education of Emma as an ethnological

He employed a competent teacher to give her lessons in voice culture,
to the end that she should neither screech nor purr. Sir Charles himself
read to her from the poets and she committed to memory Pope's "Essay on
Man," and a whole speech by Robert Walpole, which she recited at a
banquet at Strawberry Hill, to the immense surprise, not to mention
delight, of Horace Walpole.

Sir Charles also hired a costumer by the month to study the
physiological landscape and prepare raiment of extremely rich, but
somber, hues, so that the divine lady would outclass in both modesty and
aplomb the fairest daughters of Albion.

About this time, Emma became known as "Lady Harte," it being discovered
that Burke's Peerage contained information that the Hartes were kinsmen
of the Earl of Halifax, and also that the Hartes had moved to America.
The testimony of contemporary expert porchers seems to show that Sir
Charles Greville spent upwards of five thousand pounds a year upon the
education of his ward. This was continued for several years, when a
reversal in the income of Sir Charles made retrenchment desirable, if
not absolutely necessary. And as good fortune would have it, about this
time Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy to the Neapolitan Court, was
home on a little visit.

He was introduced to Lady Harte by his nephew, Sir Charles Greville, and
at once perceived and appreciated the wonderful natural as well as
acquired gifts of the lady.

Lady Harte was interviewed as to her possibly becoming Lady Hamilton,
all as duly provided by the laws of Great Britain and the Church of
England; and it being ascertained that Lady Harte was willing, and also
that she was not a sister of the deceased Lady Hamilton, Sir William and
Emma were duly married.

At Naples, Lady Hamilton at once became very popular. She had a splendid
presence, was a ready talker, knew the subtle art of listening, took a
sympathetic interest in her husband's work, and when necessary could
entertain their friends by a song, recitation or a speech. Her
relationship with Sir William was beyond reproach--she was by his side
wherever he went, and her early education in the practical workaday
affairs of the world served her in good stead.

Southey feels called upon to criticize Lady Hamilton, but he also offers
as apology for the errors of her early life, the fact of her vagabond
childhood, and says her immorality was more unmoral than vicious, and
that her loyalty to Sir William was beautiful and beyond cavil.

Sir William Hamilton represented the British nation at Naples for
thirty-six years. He was a diplomat of the old school--gracious,
refined, dignified, with a bias for Art.

Among other good things done for his country was the collecting of a
vast treasure of bronzes gotten from Pompeii and Herculaneum. This
collection was sold by Sir William, through the agency of his wife, to
the British nation for the sum of seven thousand pounds. There was a
great scandal about the purchase at the time, and the transaction was
pointed out to prove the absolutely selfish and grasping qualities of
Lady Hamilton, the costly and curious vases being referred to in the
House of Commons as "junk."

Time, however, has given a proper focus to the matter, and this
collection of beautiful things made by people dead these two thousand
years is now known to be absolutely priceless, almost as much so as the
Elgin Marbles, taken from the Parthenon at Athens and which now repose
in the British Museum, the chief attraction of the place.

There were many visitors of note being constantly entertained at the
Embassy of Naples. Among others was the Bishop of Derry, the man who
enjoyed the distinction of being both a bishop and an infidel. When he
made oath in the courts of alleged justice he always crossed his
fingers, put his tongue in his cheek and winked at the notary.

The infidelic prelate has added his testimony to the excellence of the
character of Lady Hamilton, and once swore on the book in which he did
not believe, that if Sir William should die he would wed his widow. To
which the lady replied, "Provided, of course, the widow was willing!"
The temperature suddenly dropping below thirty-two Fahrenheit, the
bishop moved on.

And along about this time the "Agamemnon" sailed into the beautiful bay
of Naples, and Captain Nelson made an official call upon the envoy.

It was at dinner that night that Sir William remarked to Lady Emma: "My
dear, that captain of the 'Agamemnon' is a most remarkable man. I
believe I will invite him here to our home." And the lady, generous,
kind, gentle, answered, "Why certainly, invite him here--a little rest
from the sea he will enjoy."

[Illustration: LADY HAMILTON]

       *       *       *       *       *

From Seventeen Hundred Ninety-three to Seventeen Hundred Ninety-eight,
Nelson made history and made it rapidly.

For three years of this time he was in constant pursuit of the enemy,
with no respite from danger night or day. When a ship mutinied, Nelson
was placed in charge of it if he was within call; and the result was
that he always won the absolute love and devotion of his men. He had a
dignity which forbade him making himself cheap, but yet he got close to
living hearts. "The enemy are there," he once said to a sullen crew,
"and I depend upon you to follow me over the side when we annihilate the
distance that separates our ships. You shall accept no danger that I do
not accept--no hardship shall be yours that shall not be mine. I need no
promises from you that you will do your duty--I know you will. You
believe in me and I in you--we are Englishmen, fighting our country's
battles, and so to your work, my men, to your work!" The mutinous spirit
melted away, for the men knew that if Nelson fought with them it would
be for the privilege of getting at the enemy first. No officer ever
carried out sterner discipline, and none was more implicitly obeyed. But
the obedience came more through love than fear.

Nelson lost an eye in battle, in Seventeen Hundred Ninety-five. A few
months after, in a fierce engagement, the admiral signaled, "Stop
firing." Nelson's attention was called to the signal, and his reply was,
"I am short one eye, and the other isn't much good, and I accept no
signals I can not see: lay alongside of that ship and sink her."

Nelson was advanced step by step and became admiral of the fleet. At the
battle of Santa Cruz, Nelson led a night attack on the town in small
boats. The night was dark and stormy, and the force expected to get in
under the forts without being discovered. The alarm was given, however,
and the forts opened up a terrific fire. Nelson was standing in the prow
of a small boat, and fell, his arm shattered at the elbow. He insisted
on going forward and taking command, even though his sword-arm was
useless. Loss of blood, however, soon made him desist, and he was
transferred to another boat which was sent back loaded with wounded. The
sailors rowed to the nearest anchored ship, her lights out and four
miles from shore. On pulling up under the lee of the ship, Nelson saw
that it was the corvette "Seahorse"; and he ordered the men to row to
the "Agamemnon" a mile away, saying, "Captain Freemantle's wife is
aboard of that ship and we are in no condition to call on ladies."
Arriving at the "Agamemnon," the surgeons were already busy caring for
the wounded. Seeing their commander, the surgeons rushed to his
assistance. He ordered them back, declaring he would take his place and
await his turn in line, and this he did.

When it came his turn, the surgeons saw that it was a comminuted
fracture of the elbow, with the whole right hand reduced to a pulp, and
that amputation was the only thing. There were no anesthetics, and at
daylight, on the deck where there was air and light, Nelson watched the
surgeons sever the worthless arm.

As they bandaged the stump, he dictated a report of the battle to his
secretary; but after writing for ten minutes, the poor secretary fell
limp in a faint, and Nelson ordered one of the surgeons to complete
taking the dictation. This official report contained no mention of the
calamity that had befallen the commander, he regarding the loss of an
arm as merely an incident.

In six months' time he had met and defeated all the ships of Napoleon
that could be located. When he returned to England, an ovation met him
such as never before had been given to a sailorman. He was "Sir
Horatio," although he complained that, "They began to call me Lord
Nelson, even before I had gotten used to having my ears tickled by the
sound of Sir."

He was made Knight of the Bath, given a pension of a thousand pounds a
year, and so many medals pinned upon his breast that "he walked with a
limp," a local writer said. The limp, however, was from undiscovered
lead, and this, with one eye, one arm and a naturally slender and gaunt
figure, gave him a peculiarly pathetic appearance.

The actions of his wife at this time in pressing herself on society and
in her endeavors to make of him a public show were the unhappy ending
of a series of marital misunderstandings which led him to part with her,
placing his entire pension at her disposal.

Trouble in the East soon demanded a firm hand, and Nelson sailed away to
meet the emergency. This time he was in pursuit of a concentrated fleet,
with Napoleon on board. It was Nelson's hope and expectation to capture
Napoleon; if he had, none would have been so fortunate as the Little
Corporal himself. It would have saved him the disgrace of failure, a
soldier of fortune seized by accident after a series of successes that
dazzled the world, and then captured by a sea-fighter on the water as
great as he himself was on land. But alas! Napoleon was to escape, which
he did by a flight where wind and tide seemed to answer his prayer.

But Nelson crushed his navy. The story of the battle has been told in
chapters that form a book, so no attempt to repeat the account need here
be made. Let it suffice that sixteen English ships grappled to the death
for three days with twenty-one French ships, with the result that the
French fleet, save four ships, were sunk, burned or captured. "It was
not a victory," said Nelson; "it was a conquest." The French commodore,
Casabianca, was killed on board of his ship "Orient," and his son, a lad
of ten, stood on the burning deck till all but him had fled, and
supplied the subject for a poem that thrilled our boyish hearts and
causes us to sigh, even yet.

The four ships that escaped would probably never have gotten away had
Nelson not been wounded by flying splinters which tore open his scalp.
The torn skin hung down over his one good eye, blinding him absolutely;
and the blood flowed over his face in jets, making him unrecognizable.
He was carried to the surgeons' table; there was a hurried, anxious
moment, and a shout of joy went up that could have been heard a mile
when it was found that he had suffered only a flesh-wound. The flap was
sewed back in place, his head bandaged, and in half an hour he was on
deck looking anxiously for fleeing Frenchmen. When the news of the
victory reached England, Nelson was made a baron and his pension
increased to two thousand pounds a year for life. England loved him,
France feared him, and Italy, Egypt and Turkey celebrated him as their
savior. The elder Pitt said in the House of Commons, "The name of Nelson
will be known as long as government exists and history is read."

And Nelson, the battle won, himself wounded, exhausted through months of
intense nervous strain, his frail body maimed and covered with scars,
again sailed into the Bay of Naples.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nelson had saved Naples from falling a prey to the French, and the city
now rang with the shouts of welcome and gratitude.

The Hamiltons went out in a small boat and boarded the "Vanguard."
Nelson came forward to greet them as they climbed over the side. The
great fighter was leaning heavily upon a sailor who half-supported him.
It is probably true, as stated by her enemies, that at sight of the
Admiral, Lady Hamilton burst into tears, and taking him in her arms
kissed him tenderly.

Nelson was taken to the home of the embassy. The battle won, the strain
upon his frail physique had its way; his brain reeled with fever; the
echoes of the guns still thundered in his ears; and in his half-delirium
his tongue gave orders and anxiously asked after the welfare of the
fleet. He was put to bed and Lady Hamilton cared for him as she might
have cared for a sick child. She allowed no hired servant to enter his
room, and for several weeks she and Sir William were his only
attendants. Gradually health returned, and Nelson had an opportunity to
repay in part his friends, by helping them quell a riot that threatened
the safety of the city.

The months passed, and the only peace and calm that had been Nelson's in
his entire life was now his. Nelson was forty years of age; Lady
Hamilton was thirty-seven; Sir William was seventy-one. The inevitable
happened--the most natural and the most beautiful thing in the world.
Love came into the life of Nelson--the first, last and only love of his
life. And he loved with all the abandon and oneness of his nature. Sir
William was aware of the bond that had grown up between his beautiful
wife and Lord Nelson, and he respected it, and gave it his blessing,
realizing that he himself belonged to another generation and had but a
few years to live at best, and in this he fastened to himself with hoops
of steel their affection for him.

In the year Eighteen Hundred, when the Hamiltons started for England,
Nelson accompanied them in their tour across the Continent, and great
honors were everywhere paid him.

Arriving in London he made his home with them. There was no time for
idleness, for the Home Office demanded his services daily for
consultation and advice, for the Corsican was still at large: very much
at large.

In two years Sir William died--passed peacefully away, attended and
ministered to by Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.

Two years more were to pass, and the services of a sea-fighter of the
Nelson caliber were required. Napoleon had gotten together another navy,
and having combined with Spain they had a fleet that outclassed that of

Only one man in England could, with any assurance of success, fight this
superior foe on the water. Nelson fought ships as an expert plays
chess. He had reduced the game to a science; if the enemy made this
move, he made that. He knew how to lure a hostile fleet and have it
pursue him to the ground he had selected, and then he knew how to cut it
in half and whip it piecemeal. His fighting was consummate strategy,
combined with a seeming recklessness that gave a courage to the troops
which made them invincible.

English society forgives anything but honesty and truth, and the name of
Nelson had been spit upon because of his love for Lady Hamilton. But now
danger was at the door and England wanted a man.

Nelson hesitated, but Lady Hamilton said: "Go--yes, go this once--your
country calls and only you can do this task. The work done, come home to
me, and the rest shall be yours that you so richly deserve. Go and my
love shall follow you!"

That night Nelson started for Portsmouth, and in four days was on the
coast of Spain.

For the next two years and a half he was in the center and was one of
the controlling spirits of the vast military and naval drama which found
its closing scene in Trafalgar Bay--years which, to Nelson, in spite of
the arduous duties of his command, constituted the most severe and
peaceful period of his troubled career.

The Battle of Trafalgar was fought October Twenty-first, Eighteen
Hundred Five. At daylight Nelson hoisted the signal, "England expects
every man to do his duty," gave the order to close in and the game of
death began. Each side had made a move. Nelson retired to his cabin and
wrote this codicil to his will:

    October Twenty-first, Eighteen Hundred Five.

    In sight of the combined fleets of France and Spain, distance about
    ten miles.

    Whereas the eminent services of Emma Hamilton, widow of the Right
    Honorable Sir William Hamilton, have been of the very greatest
    service to my king and country, to my knowledge, without ever
    receiving any reward from either our king or country.

    First: That she obtained the King of Spain's letter, in Seventeen
    Hundred Ninety-six to his brother, the King of Naples, acquainting
    him of his intention to declare war against England: from which
    letter the ministry sent out orders to the then Sir John Jervis to
    strike a stroke, if the opportunity offered, against either the
    arsenals of Spain or her fleets. That these were not done is not the
    fault of Lady Hamilton: the opportunity might have been offered.

    Secondly: The British fleet under my command could never have
    returned the second time to Egypt, had not Lady Hamilton's influence
    with the Queen of Naples caused a letter to be written to the
    Governor of Syracuse, that he was to encourage the fleet being
    supplied with every thing, should they put into any port in Sicily.
    We put into Syracuse, and received every supply; went to Egypt and
    destroyed the French fleet. Could I have rewarded these services, I
    would not now call upon my country; but as that has not been in my
    power, I leave Emma, Lady Hamilton, therefore, a legacy to my king
    and country, that they will give her an ample provision to maintain
    her rank in life.

    I also leave to the beneficence of my country, my daughter, Horatia
    Nelson Thompson; and I desire she will use in future the name of
    Nelson only.

    These are the only favors I ask of my king and country, at this
    moment when I am going to fight their battle. May God bless my king
    and country, and all those I hold dear!


    Witness--Henry Blackwood
             T. M. Hardy

Nelson ordered the "Temeraire," the fighting "Temeraire"--the ship of
which Ruskin was to write the finest piece of prose-poetry ever
penned--to lead the charge, then saw to it that the order could not be
carried out, for the "Victory" led.

By noon Nelson had gotten several men into the king-row. Three of the
enemy's ships had struck, two were on fire, and four were making a
desperate endeavor to escape the fate that Nelson had prepared for them.

At one o'clock, Nelson's own ship, the "Victory," had grappled with the
"Redoubtable" and was chained fast to her. Nelson's men had shot the
hull of the "Redoubtable" full of holes and once set fire to her. Then,
thinking the vessel had struck, since her gunners had ceased their work,
Nelson ordered his own men to cease firing and extinguish the flames on
the craft of the enemy.

Just at this time a musket-ball, fired from the yards of the
"Redoubtable," struck Nelson on the shoulder and passed down through the
vertebræ. He fell upon the deck, exclaiming to Captain Hardy who was
near, "They have done for me now, Hardy--my back is broken."

He was carried below, but the gush of blood into the lungs told the
tale: Nelson was dying. He sent for Hardy, but before the captain could
be found the hurrahing on the deck told that the "Redoubtable" had
surrendered. A gleam of joy came into the one blue eye of the dying man
and he said, "I would like to live one hour just to know that my plans
were right--we must capture or destroy twenty of them."

Hardy came and held the hand of his friend. "Kiss me, Hardy--I am
dying--tell Lady Hamilton that my last words were of her--good by!" and
he covered his face and the stars on his breast with a handkerchief, so
that his men might not recognize the dead form of their chief as they
hurried by at their work.

Nelson was dead--but Trafalgar was won.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lady Hamilton was unfortunate in having her history written only by her
enemies--written with goose-quills. Taine says: "The so-called best
society in England is notoriously corrupt and frigidly pious. It places
a premium on hypocrisy, a penalty on honesty, and having no virtues of
its own, it cries shrilly about virtue--as if there were but one, and
that negative." Nelson in his innocence did not know English society,
otherwise he would not have commended Lady Hamilton to the gratitude of
the English. It was a little like commending her to a pack of wolves.
The sum of ten thousand pounds was voted to each of Nelson's sisters,
but not a penny to Lady Hamilton, "my wife before the eyes of God," as
he himself expressed it.

Fortunately, an annuity of four hundred pounds had been arranged for
Horatia, the daughter of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, and this saved
Lady Hamilton and her child from absolute want. As it was, Lady Hamilton
was arrested on a charge of debt, imprisoned, and practically driven out
of England, although the sisters of Lord Nelson believed in her, and
respected her to the last. Lady Hamilton died in France in Eighteen
Hundred Thirteen.

Her daughter, Horatia Nelson, became a strong, excellent and beautiful
woman, passing away in Eighteen Hundred Eighty-one. She married the
Reverend Philip Ward, of Teventer, Kent, and raised a family of nine
children. One of her sons moved to America and made his mark upon the
stage, and also in letters. The American branch spell the name "Warde."
In England several of the grandchildren of Lord Nelson have made the
name of "Ward" illustrious in art and literature.

Mrs. Ward wrote a life of her mother, but a publisher was never found
for the book, and the manuscript was lost or destroyed. Some extracts
from it, however, were published in the London "Athenæum" in Eighteen
Hundred Seventy-seven, and the picture of Lady Hamilton there presented
was that of a woman of great natural endowments: a welling heart of
love; great motherly qualities, high intellect and aspiration, caught in
the web of unkind condition in her youth, but growing out of this and
developing a character which made her the rightful mate of Nelson, the
invincible, Nelson, the incorruptible, against whose loyalty and honesty
not even his enemies ever said a word, save that he fell a victim to his
love, his love for one woman.

Loveless, unloved and unlovable Tammas the Titan, from Ecclefechan,
writing in spleen says: "Nelson's unhappy affair with a saucy jade of a
wench has supplied the world more gabble than all his victories." And
possibly the affair in question was quite as important for good as the
battles won. The world might do without war, but I make the hazard it
could not long survive if men and women ceased to love and mate.
However, I may be wrong.

People whose souls are made of dawnstuff and starshine may make
mistakes, but God will not judge them by these alone. But for the love
of Lady Hamilton Nelson would probably never have lived to fight
Trafalgar--one of the pivotal battles of the world.

Nelson saved England from the fell clutch of the Corsican, and Lady
Hamilton saved Nelson from insanity and death. Nelson knew how to do
three great things--how to fight, how to love, how to die.

       *       *       *       *       *


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers" ***

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