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´╗┐Title: In the Wrong Paradise
Author: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Wrong Paradise" ***

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Transcribed from the 1886 Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. edition by David
Price, email ccx074@coventry

In the Wrong Paradise and Other Stories
by Andrew Lang


The End of Phaeacia
In the Wrong Paradise
A Cheap Nigger
The Romance of the First Radical
A Duchess's Secret
The House of Strange Stories
In Castle Perilous
The Great Gladstone Myth
My Friend the Beach-Comber



I have asked you to let me put your name here, that I might have the
opportunity of saying how much pleasure I owe to your romances.  They
make one a boy again while one is reading them; and the student of "The
Witch's Head" and of "King Solomon's Mines" is as young, in heart, as
when he hunted long ago with Chingachgook and Uncas.  You, who know the
noble barbarian in his African retreats, appear to retain more than most
men of his fresh natural imagination.  We are all savages under our white
skins; but you alone recall to us the delights and terrors of the world's
nonage.  We are hunters again, trappers, adventurers bold, while we study
you, and the blithe barbarian wakens even in the weary person of letters.
He forgets proof-sheets and papers, and the "young lion" seeks his food
from God, in the fearless ancient way, with bow or rifle.  Of all modern
heroes of romance, the dearest to me is your faithful Zulu, and I own I
cried when he bade farewell to his English master, in "The Witch's Head."

In the following tales the natural man takes a hand, but he is seen
through civilized spectacles, not, as in your delightful books, with the
eyes of the sympathetic sportsman.  If Why-Why and Mr. Gowles amuse you a
little, let this be my Diomedean exchange of bronze for gold--of the new
Phaeacia for Kukuana land, or for that haunted city of Kor, in which your
fair Ayesha dwells undying, as yet unknown to the future lovers of She.

Very sincerely yours,
CROMER, August 29, 1886.


The writer of these apologues hopes that the Rev. Mr. Gowles will not be
regarded as his idea of a typical missionary.  The countrymen of
Codrington and Callaway, of Patteson and Livingstone, know better what
missionaries may be, and often are.  But the wrong sort as well as the
right sort exists everywhere, and Mr. Gowles is not a very gross
caricature of the ignorant teacher of heathendom.  I am convinced that he
would have seen nothing but a set of darkened savages in the ancient
Greeks.  The religious eccentricities of the Hellenes are not exaggerated
in "The End of Phaeacia;" nay, Mr. Gowles might have seen odder things in
Attica than he discovered, or chose to record, in Boothland.

To avoid the charge of plagiarism, perhaps it should be mentioned that
"The Romance of the First Radical" was written long before I read
Tanner's "Narrative of a Captivity among the Indians."  Tanner, like Why-
Why, had trouble with the chief medicine-man of his community.

If my dear kinsman and companion of old days, J. J. A., reads "My Friend
the Beach-comber," he will recognize many of his own yarns, but the
portrait of the narrator is wholly fanciful.

"In Castle Perilous" and "A Cheap Nigger" are reprinted from the Cornhill
Magazine; "My Friend the Beach-comber," from Longman's; "The Great
Gladstone Myth," from Macmillan's; "In the Wrong Paradise," from the
Fortnightly Review; "A Duchess's Secret," from the Overland Mail; "The
Romance of the First Radical," from Fraser's Magazine; and "The End of
Phaeacia," from Time, by the courteous permission of the editors and
proprietors of those periodicals.



The Rev. Thomas Gowles, well known in Colonial circles where the Truth is
valued, as "the Boanerges of the Pacific," departed this life at Hackney
Wick, on the 6th of March, 1885.  The Laodiceans in our midst have
ventured to affirm that the world at large has been a more restful place
since Mr. Gowles was taken from his corner of the vineyard.  The
Boanerges of the Pacific was, indeed, one of those rarely-gifted souls,
souls like a Luther or a Knox, who can tolerate no contradiction, and
will palter with no compromise, where the Truth is concerned.  Papists,
Puseyites, Presbyterians, and Pagans alike, found in Mr. Gowles an
opponent whose convictions were firm as a rock, and whose method of
proclaiming the Truth was as the sound of a trumpet.  Examples of his
singular courage and daring in the work of the ministry abound in the
following narrative.  Born and brought up in the Bungletonian communion,
himself collaterally connected, by a sister's marriage, with Jedediah
Bungleton, the revered founder of the Very Particular People, Gowles was
inaccessible to the scepticism of the age.

His youth, it is true, had been stormy, like that of many a brand
afterwards promoted to being a vessel.  His worldly education was of the
most elementary and indeed eleemosynary description, consequently he
despised secular learning, and science "falsely so called."  It is
recorded of him that he had almost a distaste for those difficult
chapters of the Epistles in which St. Paul mentions by name his Greek
friends and converts.  In a controversy with an Oxford scholar, conducted
in the open air, under the Martyrs' Memorial in that centre of careless
professors, Gowles had spoken of "Nicodemus," "Eubulus," and "Stephanas."
His unmannerly antagonist jeering at these slips of pronunciation, Gowles
uttered his celebrated and crushing retort, "Did Paul know Greek?"  The
young man, his opponent, went away, silenced if not convinced.

Such a man was the Rev. Thomas Gowles in his home ministry.  Circumstances
called him to that wider field of usefulness, the Pacific, in which so
many millions of our dusky brethren either worship owls, butterflies,
sharks, and lizards, or are led away captive by the seductive pomps of
the Scarlet Woman, or lapse languidly into the lap of a bloated and
Erastian establishment, ignorant of the Truth as possessed by our
community.  Against all these forms of soul-destroying error the Rev.
Thomas Gowles thundered nobly, "passing," as an admirer said, "like an
evangelical cyclone, from the New Hebrides to the Aleutian Islands."  It
was during one of his missionary voyages, in a labour vessel, the
Blackbird, that the following singular events occurred, events which Mr.
Gowles faithfully recorded, as will be seen, in his missionary narrative.
We omit, as of purely secular interest, the description of the storm
which wrecked the Blackbird, the account of the destruction of the
steamer with all hands (not, let us try to hope, with all souls) on
board, and everything that transpired till Mr. Gowles found himself
alone, the sole survivor, and bestriding the mast in the midst of a
tempestuous sea.  What follows is from the record kept on pieces of skin,
shards of pottery, plates of metal, papyrus leaves, and other strange
substitutes for paper, used by Mr. Gowles during his captivity.


"I must now, though in sore straits for writing materials, and having
entirely lost count of time, post up my diary, or rather commence my
narrative.  So far as I can learn from the jargon of the strange and lost
people among whom Providence has cast me, this is, in their speech, the
last of the month, Thargeelyun, as near as I can imitate the sound in
English.  Being in doubt as to the true time, I am resolved to regard to-
morrow, and every seventh day in succession, as the Sabbath.  The very
natives, I have observed with great interest, keep one day at fixed
intervals sacred to the Sun-god, whom they call Apollon, perhaps the same
word as Apollyon.  On this day they do no manner of work, but _that_ is
hardly an exception to their usual habits.  A less industrious people
(slaves and all) I never met, even in the Pacific.  As to being more than
common idle on one day out of seven, whether they have been taught so
much of what is _essential_ by some earlier missionary, or whether they
may be the corrupted descendants of the Lost Tribes (whom they do not,
however, at all resemble outwardly, being, I must admit, of prepossessing
appearance), I can only conjecture.  This Apollon of theirs, in his
graven images (of which there are many), carries a bow and arrows, _fiery
darts of the wicked_, another point in common between him and Apollyon,
in the Pilgrim's Progress.  May I, like Christian, turn aside and quench
his artillery!

To return to my narrative.  When I recovered consciousness, after the
sinking of the Blackbird, I found myself alone, clinging to the mast.  Now
was I tossed on the crest of the wave, now the waters opened beneath me,
and I sank down in the valleys of the sea.  Cold, numbed, and all but
lifeless, I had given up hope of earthly existence, and was nearly
insensible, when I began to revive beneath the rays of the sun.

The sea, though still moved by a swell, was now much smoother, and, but
for a strange vision, I might have believed that I was recovering my
strength.  I must, however, have been delirious or dreaming, for it
appeared to me that a foreign female, of prepossessing exterior, though
somewhat indelicately dressed, arose out of the waters close by my side,
as lightly as if she had been a sea-gull on the wing.  About her head
there was wreathed a kind of muslin scarf, which she unwound and offered
to me, indicating that I was to tie it about my waist, and it would
preserve me from harm.  So weak and exhausted was I that, without
thinking, I did her bidding, and then lost sight of the female.
Presently, as it seemed (but I was so drowsy that the time may have been
longer than I fancied), I caught sight of land from the crest of a wave.
Steep blue cliffs arose far away out of a white cloud of surf, and,
though a strong swimmer, I had little hope of reaching the shore in

Fortunately, or rather, I should say, providentially, the current and
tide-rip carried me to the mouth of a river, and, with a great effort, I
got into the shoal-water, and finally staggered out on shore.  There was
a wood hard by, and thither I dragged myself.  The sun was in mid heavens
and very warm, and I managed to dry my clothes.  I am always most
particular to wear the dress of my calling, observing that it has a
peculiar and gratifying effect on the minds of the natives.  I soon dried
my tall hat, which, during the storm, I had attached to my button-hole by
a string, and, though it was a good deal battered, I was not without
hopes of partially restoring its gloss and air of British respectability.
As will be seen, this precaution was, curiously enough, the human means
of preserving my life.  My hat, my black clothes, my white neck-tie, and
the hymn-book I carry would, I was convinced, secure for me a favourable
reception among the natives (if of the gentle brown Polynesian type),
whom I expected to find on the island.

Exhausted by my sufferings, I now fell asleep, but was soon wakened by
loud cries of anguish uttered at no great distance.  I started to my
feet, and beheld an extraordinary spectacle, which at once assured me
that I had fallen among natives of the worst and lowest type.  The dark
places of the earth are, indeed, full of horrid cruelty.

The first cries which had roused me must have been comparatively distant,
though piercing, and even now they reached me confused in the notes of a
melancholy chant or hymn.  But the shrieks grew more shrill, and I
thought I could distinguish the screams of a woman in pain or dread from
the groans drawn with more difficulty from a man.  I leaped up, and,
climbing a high part of the river bank, I beheld, within a couple of
hundred yards, an extraordinary procession coming from the inner country
towards the mouth of the stream.

At first I had only a confused view of bright stuffs--white, blue, and
red--and the shining of metal objects, in the midst of a crowd partly
concealed by the dust they raised on their way.  Very much to my surprise
I found that they were advancing along a wide road, paved in a peculiar
manner, for I had never seen anything of this kind among the heathen
tribes of the Pacific.  Their dresses, too, though for the most part mere
wraps, as it were, of coloured stuff, thrown round them, pinned with
brooches, and often clinging in a very improper way to the figure, did
not remind me of the costume (what there is of it) of Samoans, Fijians,
or other natives among whom I have been privileged to labour.

But these observations give a more minute impression of what I saw than,
for the moment, I had time to take in.  The foremost part of the
procession consisted of boys, many of them almost naked.  Their hands
were full of branches, wreathed in a curious manner with strips of white
or coloured wools.  They were all singing, and were led by a woman
carrying in her arms a mis-shapen wooden idol, not much unlike those
which are too frequent spectacles all over the Pacific.  Behind the boys
I could now distinctly behold a man and woman of the Polynesian type,
naked to the waist, and staggering with bent backs beneath showers of
blows.  The people behind them, who were almost as light in colour as
ourselves, were cruelly flogging them with cutting branches of trees.
Round the necks of the unfortunate victims--criminals I presumed--were
hung chains of white and black figs, and in their hands they held certain
herbs, figs, and cheese, for what purpose I was, and remain, unable to
conjecture.  Whenever their cries were still for a moment, the woman who
carried the idol turned round, and lifted it in her arms with words which
I was unable to understand, urging on the tormentors to ply their
switches with more severity.

Naturally I was alarmed by the strangeness and ferocity of the natives,
so I concealed myself hastily in some brushwood behind a large tree.  Much
to my horror I found that the screams, groans, and singing only drew
nearer and nearer.  The procession then passed me so close that I could
see blood on the backs of the victims, and on their faces an awful dread
and apprehension.  Finally, the crowd reached the mouth of the river, at
the very place where I had escaped from the sea.  By aid of a small
pocket-glass I could make out that the men were piling great faggots of
green wood, which I had noticed that some of them carried, on a spot
beneath the wash of high tide.  When the pile had reached a considerable
height, the two victims were placed in the middle.  Then, by some means,
which I was too far off to detect, fire was produced, and applied to the
wild wood in which the unhappy man and woman were enveloped.  Soon,
fortunately, a thick turbid smoke, in which but little flame appeared,
swept all over the beach.  I endeavoured to stop my ears, and turned my
head away that I might neither see nor hear more of this spectacle, which
I now perceived to be a human sacrifice more cruel than is customary even
among the Fijians.

When I next ventured to look up, the last trails of smoke were vanishing
away across the sea; the sun gazed down on the bright, many-coloured
throng, who were now singing another of their hymns, while some of the
number were gathering up ashes (human ashes!) from a blackened spot on
the sand, and were throwing them into the salt water.  The wind tossed
back a soft grey dust in their faces, mixed with the surf and spray.  It
was dark before the crowd swept by me again, now chanting in what
appeared to be a mirthful manner, and with faces so smiling and happy
that I could scarcely believe they had just taken part in such abominable
cruelty.  On the other hand, a weight seemed to have been removed from
their consciences.  So deceitful are the wiles of Satan, who deludes the
heathen most in their very religion!  Tired and almost starved as I was,
these reflections forced themselves upon me, even while I was pondering
on the dreadful position in which I found myself.  Way of escape from the
island (obviously a very large one) there was none.  But, if I remained
all night in the wood, I must almost perish of cold and hunger.  I had
therefore no choice but to approach the barbarous people, though, from my
acquaintance with natives, I knew well that they were likely either to
kill and eat me, or to worship me as a god.  Either event was too
dreadful to bear reflection.  I was certain, however, that, owing to the
dress of my sacred calling, I could not be mistaken for a mere
beach-comber or labour-hunter, and I considered that I might easily
destroy the impression (natural among savages on first seeing a European)
that I was a god.  I therefore followed the throng from a distance,
taking advantage for concealment of turns in the way, and of trees and
underwood beside the road.  Some four miles' walking, for which I was
very unfit, brought us across a neck of land, and from high ground in the
middle I again beheld the sea.  Very much to my surprise the cape on
which I looked down, safe in the rear of the descending multitude, was
occupied by a kind of city.

The houses were not the mere huts of South Sea Islanders, but, though
built for the most part of carved and painted wood, had white stone
foundations, and were of considerable height.  On a rock in the centre of
the bay were some stone edifices which I took to be temples or public
buildings.  The crowd gradually broke up, turning into their own
dwellings on the shore, where, by the way, some large masted vessels were
drawn up in little docks.  But, while the general public, if I may say
so, slowly withdrew, the woman with the idol in her arms, accompanied by
some elderly men of serious aspect, climbed the road up to the central
public buildings.

Moved by some impulse which I could hardly explain, I stealthily followed
them, and at last found myself on a rocky platform, a kind of public
square, open on one side to the sea, and shut in on either hand, and at
the back, by large houses with smooth round pillars, and decorated with
odd coloured carvings.  There was in the open centre of the square an
object which I recognized as an altar, with a fire burning on it.  Some
men came out of the chief building, dragging a sheep, with chains of
flowers round its neck.  Another man threw something on the fire, which
burned with a curious smell.  At once I recognized the savour of incense,
against which (as employed illegally by the Puseyites) I had often firmly
protested in old days at home.  The spirit of a soldier of the Truth
entered into me; weary as I was, I rushed from the dusky corner where I
had been hidden in the twilight, ran to the altar, and held up my hand
with my hymn-book as I began to repeat an address that had often silenced
the papistic mummers in England.  Before I had uttered half a dozen
words, the men who were dragging the sheep flew at me, and tried to seize
me, while one of them offered a strange-looking knife at my throat.  I
thought my last hour had come, and the old Adam awakening in me, I
delivered such a blow with my right on the eye of the man with the knife,
that he reeled and fell heavily against the altar.  Then assuming an
attitude of self-defence (such as was, alas! too familiar to me in my
unregenerate days), I awaited my assailants.

They were coming on in a body when the veil of the large edifice in front
was lifted, and a flash of light streamed out on the dusky square, as an
old man dressed in red hurried to the scene of struggle.  He wore a long
white beard, had green leaves twisted in his hair, and carried in his
hand a gilded staff curiously wreathed with wool.  When they saw him
approaching, my assailants fell back, each of them kissing his own hand
and bowing slightly in the direction of the temple, as I rightly supposed
it to be.  The old man, who was followed by attendants carrying torches
burning, was now close to us, and on beholding me, he exhibited unusual

My appearance, no doubt, was at that moment peculiar, and little
creditable, as I have since thought, to a minister, however humble.  My
hat was thrust on the back of my head, my coat was torn, my shirt open,
my neck-tie twisted round under my ear, and my whole attitude was not one
generally associated with the peaceful delivery of the message.  Still, I
had never conceived that any spectacle, however strange and unbecoming,
could have produced such an effect on the native mind, especially in a
person who was manifestly a chief, or high-priest of some heathen god.
Seeing him pause, and turn pale, I dropped my hands, and rearranged my
dress as best I might.  The old Tohunga, as my New Zealand flock used to
call their priest, now lifted his eyes to heaven with an air of devotion,
and remained for some moments like one absorbed in prayer or meditation.
He then rapidly uttered some words, which, of course, I could not
understand, whereon his attendants approached me gently, with signs of
respect and friendship.  Not to appear lacking in courtesy, or inferior
in politeness to savages, I turned and raised my hat, which seemed still
more to alarm the old priest.  He spoke to one of his attendants, who
instantly ran across the square, and entered the courtyard of a large
house, surrounded by a garden, of which the tall trees looked over the
wall, and wooden palisade.  The old man then withdrew into the temple,
and I distinctly saw him scatter, with the leafy bough of a tree, some
water round him as he entered, from a vessel beside the door.  This
convinced me that some of the emissaries of the Scarlet Woman had already
been busy among the benighted people, a conjecture, however, which proved
to be erroneous.

I was now left standing by the altar, the attendants observing me with
respect which I feared might at any moment take the blasphemous form of
worship.  Nor could I see how I was to check their adoration, and turn it
into the proper channel, if, as happened to Captain Cook, and has
frequently occurred since, these darkened idolaters mistook me for one of
their own deities.  I might spurn them, indeed; but when Nicholson
adopted that course, and beat the Fakirs who worshipped him during the
Indian Mutiny, his conduct, as I have read, only redoubled their
enthusiasm.  However, as events proved, they never at any time were
inclined to substitute me for their heathen divinities; very far from it
indeed, though their peculiar conduct was calculated to foster in my
breast this melancholy delusion.

I had not been left long to my own thoughts when I marked lights
wandering in the garden or courtyard whither the messenger had been sent
by the old priest.  Presently there came forth from the court a man of
remarkable stature, and with an air of seriousness and responsibility.  In
his hand he carried a short staff, or baton, with gold knobs, and he wore
a thin golden circlet in his hair.  As he drew near, the veil of the
temple was again lifted, and the aged priest came forward, bearing in his
arms a singular casket of wood, ornamented with alternate bands of gold
and ivory, carved with outlandish figures.  The torch-bearers crowded
about us in the darkness, and it was a strange spectacle to behold the
smoky, fiery light shining on the men's faces and the rich coloured
dresses, or lighting up the white idol of Apollon, which stood among the
laurel trees at the entrance of the temple.


The priest and the man with the gold circlet, whom I took to be a chief,
now met, and, fixing their eyes on me, held a conversation of which,
naturally, I understood nothing.  I maintained an unmoved demeanour, and,
by way of showing my indifference, and also of impressing the natives
with the superiority of our civilization, I took out and wound up my
watch, which, I was glad to find, had not been utterly ruined by the salt
water.  Meanwhile the priest was fumbling in his casket, whence he
produced a bundle of very ragged and smoky old bits of parchment and
scraps of potsherds.  These he placed in the hands of his attendants, who
received them kneeling.  From the very bottom of the casket he extracted
some thin plates of a greyish metal, lead, I believe, all mouldy,
stained, and ragged.  Over these he pored and puzzled for some time,
trying, as I guessed, to make out something inscribed on this curious
substitute for writing-paper.  I had now recovered my presence of mind,
and, thinking at once to astonish and propitiate, I drew from my pocket,
wiped, and presented to him my spectacles, indicating, by example, the
manner of their employment.  No sooner did he behold these common
articles of every-day use, than the priest's knees began to knock
together, and his old hands trembled so that he could scarcely fix the
spectacles on his nose.  When he had managed this it was plain that he
found much less difficulty with his documents.  He now turned them
rapidly over, and presently discovered one thin sheet of lead, from which
he began to read, or rather chant, in a slow measured tone, every now and
then pausing and pointing to me, to my hat, and to the spectacles which
he himself wore at the moment.  The chief listened to him gravely, and
with an expression of melancholy that grew deeper and sadder till the
end.  It was a strange scene.

I afterwards heard the matter of the prophecy, as it proved to be, which
was thus delivered.  I have written it down in the language of the
natives, spelling it as best I might, and I give the translation which I
made when I became more or less acquainted with their very difficult
dialect. {23a}  It will be seen that the prophecy, whatever its origin,
was strangely fulfilled.  Perhaps the gods of this people were not mere
idols, but evil spirits, permitted, for some wise purpose, to delude
their unhappy worshippers. {23b}  This, doubtless, they might best do by
occasionally telling the truth, as in my instance.  But this
theory--namely, that the gods of the heathen are perhaps evil and
wandering spirits--is, for reasons which will afterwards appear, very
painful to me, personally reminding me that I may have sinned as few have
done since the days of the early Christians.  But I trust this will not
be made a reproach to me in our Connection, especially as I have been the
humble instrument of so blessed a change in the land of the heathen,
there being no more of them left.  But, to return to the prophecy, it is
given roughly here in English.  It ran thus:--"But when a man, having a
chimney pot on his head, and four eyes, appears, and when a sail-less
ship also comes, sailing without wind and breathing smoke, then will
destruction fall upon the Scherian island."  Perhaps, from this and other
expressions to be offered in a later chapter, the learned will be able to
determine whether the speech is of the Polynesian or the Papuan family,
or whether, as I sometimes suspect, it is of neither, but of a character
quite isolated and peculiar.

The effect produced on the mind of the chief by the prophecy amazed me,
as he looked, for a native, quite a superior and intelligent person.  None
of them, however, as I found, escaped the influence of their baneful
superstitions.  Approaching me, he closely examined myself, my dress, and
the spectacles which the old priest now held in his hands.  The two men
then had a hurried discussion, and I have afterwards seen reason to
suppose that the chief was pointing out the absence of certain important
elements in the fulfilment of the prophecy.  Here was I, doubtless, "a
man bearing a chimney on his head" (for in this light they regarded my
hat), and having "four eyes," that is, including my spectacles, a
convenience with which they had hitherto been unacquainted.  It was
undeniable that a prophecy written by a person not accustomed to the
resources of civilization, could not more accurately have described me
and my appearance.  But the "ship without sails" was still lacking to the
completion of what had been foretold, as the chief seemed to indicate by
waving his hand towards the sea.  For the present, therefore, they might
hope that the worst would not come to the worst.  Probably this
conclusion brought a ray of hope into the melancholy face of the chief,
and the old priest himself left off trembling.  They even smiled, and, in
their conversation, which assumed a lighter tone, I caught and recorded
in pencil on my shirt-cuff, for future explanation, words which sounded
like aiskistos aneer, farmakos, catharma, and Thargeelyah. {25}  Finally
the aged priest hobbled back into his temple, and the chief, beckoning me
to follow, passed within the courtyard of his house.


The chief leading the way, I followed through the open entrance of the
courtyard.  The yard was very spacious, and under the dark shade of the
trees I could see a light here and there in the windows of small huts
along the walls, where, as I found later, the slaves and the young men of
the family slept.  In the middle of the space there was another altar, I
am sorry to say; indeed, there were altars everywhere.  I never heard of
a people so religious, in their own darkened way, as these islanders.  At
the further end of the court was a really large and even stately house,
with no windows but a clerestory, indicated by the line of light from
within, flickering between the top of the wall and the beginning of the
high-pitched roof.  Light was also streaming through the wide doorway,
from which came the sound of many voices.  The house was obviously full
of people, and, just before we reached the deep verandah, a roofed space
open to the air in front, they began to come out, some of them singing.
They had flowers in their hair, and torches in their hands.  The chief,
giving me a sign to be silent, drew me apart within the shadow of a plane
tree, and we waited there till the crowd dispersed, and went, I presume,
to their own houses.  There were no women among them, and the men carried
no spears nor other weapons.  When the court was empty, we walked up the
broad stone steps and stood within the doorway.  I was certainly much
surprised at what I saw.  There was a rude magnificence about this house
such as I had never expected to find in the South Sea Islands.  Nay,
though I am not unacquainted with the abodes of opulence at home, and
have been a favoured guest of some of our merchant princes (including
Messrs. Bunton, the eminent haberdashers, whose light is so generously
bestowed on our Connection), I admit that I had never looked on a more
spacious reception-room, furnished, of course, in a somewhat savage
manner, but, obviously, regardless of expense.  The very threshold
between the court and the reception-room, to which you descended by
steps, was made of some dark metal, inlaid curiously with figures of
beasts and birds, also in metal (gold, as I afterwards learned), of
various shades of colour and brightness.

At first I had some difficulty in making out the details of the vast
apartment which lay beyond.  I was almost dizzy with hunger and fatigue,
and my view was further obscured by a fragrant blue smoke, which rose in
soft clouds from an open fireplace in the middle of the room.  Singular
to say, there was no chimney, merely a hole in the lofty roof, through
which most of the smoke escaped.  The ceiling itself, which was supported
by carved rafters, was in places quite black with the vapour of many
years.  The smoke, however, was thin, and as the fuel on the fire, and on
the braziers, was of dry cedar and sandal-wood, the perfume, though
heavy, was not unpleasant.  The room was partly illuminated by the fire
itself, partly by braziers full of blazing branches of trees; but, what
was most remarkable, there were rows of metal images of young men (naked,
I am sorry to say), with burning torches in their hands, ranged all along
the side walls.

A good deal of taste, in one sense, had been expended in making these
images, and money had clearly been no object.  I might have been somewhat
dazzled by the general effect, had I not reflected that, in my own
country, gas is within reach of the poorest purse, while the electric
light itself may be enjoyed by the very beggar in the street.  Here, on
the contrary, the dripping of the wax from the torches, the black smoke
on the roof, the noisy crackling of the sandal-wood in the braziers, all
combined to prove that these natives, though ingenious enough in their
way, were far indeed below the level of modern civilization.  The
abominable ceremony of the afternoon would have proved as much, and now
the absence of true _comfort_, even in the dwelling of a chief, made me
think once more of the hardships of a missionary's career.

But I must endeavour to complete the picture of domestic life in the
island, which I now witnessed for the first time, and which will never be
seen again by Europeans.  The walls themselves were of some dark but
glittering metal, on which designs in lighter metal were inlaid.  There
were views of the chief going to the chase, his bow in his hand; of the
chief sacrificing to idols; of men and young women engaged in the soul-
destroying practice of promiscuous dancing; there were wild beasts, lions
among others; rivers, with fish in them; mountains, trees, the sun and
moon, and stars, all not by any means ill designed, for the work of
natives.  The pictures, indeed, reminded me a good deal of the ugly
Assyrian curiosities in the British Museum, as I have seen them when
conducting the children of the Bungletonian Band of Hope through the
rooms devoted to the remains of Bible peoples, such as the Egyptians,
Hittites, and others.

Red or blue curtains, strangely embroidered, hung over the doors, and
trophies of swords, shields, and spears, not of steel, but of some darker
metal, were fixed on the tall pillars that helped to prop the roof.  At
the top of the wall, just beneath the open unglazed spaces, which
admitted light and air in the daytime, and wind and rain in bad weather,
was a kind of frieze, or coping, of some deep blue material. {30}  All
along the sides of the hall ran carved seats, covered with pretty light
embroidered cloths, not very different from modern Oriental fabrics.  The
carpets and rugs were precisely like those of India and Persia, and I
supposed that they must have been obtained through commerce.  But I
afterwards learned that they were, beyond doubt, of native manufacture.

At the further end of the room was a kind of platform, or dais, on which
tables were set with fruit and wine.  But much more curious than the
furniture of the hall was the group of women sitting by the fire in the
centre.  There sat in two rows some twenty girls, all busily weaving, and
throwing the shuttle from hand to hand, laughing and chattering in low
voices.  In the midst of them, on a high chair of cedar-wood, decorated
with ivory, and with an ivory footstool, sat a person whom, in a
civilized country, one must have looked on with respect as a lady of high
rank.  She, like her husband the chief, had a golden circlet twisted in
her hair, which was still brown and copious, and she wore an appearance
of command.

At her feet, on a stool, reclined a girl who was, I must confess, of
singular beauty.  Doto had long fair hair, a feature most unusual among
these natives.  She had blue eyes, and an appearance of singular
innocence and frankness.  She was, at the moment, embroidering a piece of
work intended, as I afterwards learned with deep pain, for the covering
of one of their idols, to whose service the benighted young woman was
devoted.  Often in after days, I saw Doto stooping above her embroidery
and deftly interweaving the green and golden threads into the patterns of
beasts and flowers.  Often my heart went out to this poor child of pagan
tribe, and I even pleased myself with the hope that some day, a reclaimed
and enlightened character, she might employ her skill in embroidering
slippers and braces for a humble vessel.  I seemed to see her, a helpmate
meet for me, holding Mothers' Meetings, playing hymn-tunes on the lyre,
or the double pipes, the native instruments, and, above all, winning the
islanders from their cruel and abominable custom of exposing their infant
children on the mountains.  How differently have all things been

But I am wandering from my story.  When we reached the group by the
fireside, who had at first been unaware of our entrance, the chief's wife
gave a slight start, alarmed doubtless by my appearance.  She could never
have seen, nor even dreamed of, such a spectacle as I must have
presented, haggard, ragged, faint with hunger, and worn with fatigue as I
was.  The chief motioned to me that I should kneel at his wife's feet,
and kiss her hand, but I merely bowed, not considering this a fit moment
to protest otherwise against such sacrilegious mummeries.  But the
woman--her name I learned later was Ocyale--did not take my attitude in
bad part.  The startled expression of her face changed to a look of pity,
and, with a movement of her hand, she directed Doto to bring a large
golden cup from the table at the upper end of the room.  Into this cup
she ladled some dark liquid from a bowl which was placed on a small three-
legged stand, or dumb waiter, close to her side.  Next she spilt a little
of the wine on the polished floor, with an appearance of gravity which I
did not understand.  It appears that this spilling of wine is a drink
offering to their idols.  She then offered me the cup, which I was about
to taste, when I perceived that the liquor was indubitably _alcoholic_!

A total abstainer, I had, I am thankful to say, strength enough to resist
the temptation thus adroitly thrust upon me.  Setting down the cup, I
pointed to the badge of blue ribbon, which, though damp and colourless,
remained faithful to my button-hole.  I also made signs I was hungry, and
would be glad of something to eat.  My gestures, as far as the blue
ribbon went, must have been thrown away, of course, but any one could
understand that I was fainting from hunger.  The mistress of the house
called to one of the spinning girls, who rose and went within the door
opening from the platform at the upper end of the room.  She presently
returned with an old woman, a housekeeper, as we would say, and obviously
a faithful and familiar servant.  After some conversation, of which I was
probably the topic, the old woman hobbled off, laughing.  She soon came
back, bringing, to my extreme delight, a basket with cakes and goat
cheese, and some cold pork in a dish.

I ought, perhaps, to say here that, in spite of the luxury of their
appointments, and their extraordinary habit of "eating and drinking all
day to the going down of the sun" (as one of their own poets says), these
islanders are by no means good cooks.  I have tasted of more savoury
meats, dressed in coverings of leaves on hot stones, in Maori pahs, or in
New Caledonian villages, than among the comparatively civilized natives
of the country where I now found myself.  Among the common people,
especially, there was no notion of hanging or keeping meat.  Often have I
seen a man kill a hog on the floor of his house, cut it up, toast it, as
one may say, at the fire, and then offer the grilled and frequently under-
done flesh to his guests.  Invariably the guests are obliged to witness
the slaughter of the animal which is to supply their dinner.  This
slaughter is performed as a kind of sacrifice; the legs of the beast are
the portions of the gods, and are laid, with bits of fat, upon the
altars.  Then chops, or rather kabobs, of meat are hacked off, spitted,
and grilled or roasted at the fire.  Consequently all the meat tasted in
this island is actually "meat offered to idols."

When I made this discovery the shock was very great, and I feared I was
repeating a sin denounced from the earliest ages.  But what was I to do?
Not the meat only, but the vegetables, the fruit, the grain, the very
fish (which the natives never eat except under stress of great hunger),
were sacred to one or other of their innumerable idols.  I must eat, or
starve myself to death--a form of suicide.  I therefore made up my mind
to eat without scruple, remembering that the gods of the nations are
nothing at all, but the fancies of vain dreamers, and the invention of
greedy and self-seeking priests.

These scruples were of later growth, after I had learned that their meals
were invariably preceded by a sacrifice, partly to provide the food,
partly as grace before meat.  On the present occasion I made an excellent
supper, though put to a good deal of inconvenience by the want of forks,
which were entirely unknown on the island.  Finding that I would not
taste the alcoholic liquor, which the natives always mixed with a large
proportion of water, Doto rose, went out, and returned with a great bowl
of ivy-wood, curiously carved, and full of milk.  In this permitted
beverage, as my spirits were rising, I drank the young lady's health,
indicating my gratitude as well as I could.  She bowed gracefully, and
returned to her task of embroidery.  Meanwhile her father and mother were
deep in conversation, and paid no attention to me, obviously
understanding that my chief need was food.  I could not but see that the
face of the chief's wife was overclouded, probably with anxiety caused by
the prophecy of which I was, or was taken for, the subject.

When my hunger was satisfied, I fell, it seems, into a kind of doze, from
which I was wakened by the noise of people rising, moving, and pushing
back chairs.  I collected my senses, and perceived that the room was
almost dark, most of the inmates had gone, and the chief was lighting a
torch at one of the braziers.  This torch he placed in my hand,
indicating, as I understood, that I was to put myself under the guidance
of two of the young women who had been spinning.  At this I was somewhat
perplexed, but followed where they went before me, each of them holding a
burning torch.  The light flared and the smoke drifted among the
corridors, till we came within sound of running water.  In a lofty green
chamber was a large bath of polished marble, carved with shapes of men
armed with pitchforks, and employed in spearing fish.  The bath was full
of clear water, of somewhat higher than tepid heat, and the stream,
welling up in one part, flowed out in another, not splashing or spilling.
The young women now brought flasks of oil, large sponges, such as are
common in these seas, and such articles of dress as are worn by the men
among the natives.  But, to my astonishment, the girls showed no
intention of going away, and it soon became evident _that they meant to
assist me in my toilet_!  I had some difficulty in getting them to
understand the indecorum of their conduct, or rather (for I doubt if they
understood it after all) in prevailing on them to leave me.  I afterwards
learned that this custom, shocking as it appears to Europeans, is
regarded as entirely right and usual even by the better class of
islanders; nor, to do them justice, have I ever heard any imputations on
the morality of their women.  Except among the shepherds and
shepherdesses in the rural districts, whose conduct was very regardless,
a high standard of modesty prevailed among the female natives.  In this,
I need not say, they were a notable exception among Polynesian races.

Left to my own devices by the retreat of the young women, I revelled in
the pleasures of the bath, and then the question arose, How was I to be

I had, of course, but one shirt with me, and that somewhat frayed and
worn.  My boots, too, were almost useless from their prolonged immersion
in salt water.  Yet I could not bring myself to adopt the peculiar dress
of the natives, though the young persons had left in the bath-room
changes of raiment such as are worn by the men of rank.  These garments
were simple, and not uncomfortable, but, as they showed the legs from the
knees downwards, like kilts, I felt that they would be unbecoming to one
in my position.

Almost the chief distinction between civilized man and the savage, is the
wearing of trousers.  When a missionary in Tongo, and prime minister of
King Haui Ha there, I made the absence of breeches in the males an
offence punishable by imprisonment.  Could I, on my very first appearance
among the islanders to-morrow, fly, as it were, in the face of my own
rules, and prove false to my well-known and often expressed convictions?
I felt that such backsliding was impossible.  On mature consideration,
therefore, I made the following arrangement.

The garments of the natives, when they condescended to wear any, were but
two in number.  First, there was a long linen or woollen shirt or smock,
without sleeves, which fell from the neck to some distance below the
knees.  This shirt I put on.  A belt is generally worn, into which the
folds of the smock can be drawn up or "kilted," when the wearer wishes to
have his limbs free for active exercise.  The other garment is simply a
large square piece of stuff, silken or woollen as it happens in
accordance with the weather, and the rank of the wearer.  In this a man
swathes himself, somewhat as a Highlander does in his plaid, pinning it
over the shoulder and leaving the arms free.  When one is accustomed to
it, this kind of dress is not uncomfortable, and many of the younger
braves carried it with a good deal of grace, showing some fancy and
originality in the dispositions of the folds.  Though attired in this
barbarous guise, I did not, of course, dispense with my trousers, which,
being black, contrasted somewhat oddly with my primrose-coloured ki ton,
as they call the smock, and the dark violet clamis, or plaid.  When the
natives do not go bareheaded, they usually wear a kind of light, soft
wideawake, but this.  I discarded in favour of my hat, which had already
produced so remarkable an effect on their superstitious minds.

Now I was dressed, as fittingly as possible in the circumstances, but I
felt that my chief need was a bed to lie down upon.  I did not wish to
sleep in the bath-room, so, taking my torch from the stand in which I had
placed it, I sallied forth into the corridors, attired as I have
described, and carrying my coat under my arm.  A distant light, and the
noise of females giggling, which increased most indecorously as I drew
near, attracted my attention.  Walking in the direction of the sounds, I
soon discovered the two young women to whose charge I had been committed
by the chief.  They appeared to be in high spirits, and, seizing my arms
before I could offer any resistance, they dragged me at a great pace down
the passage and out into the verandah.  Here the air was very fragrant
and balmy, and a kind of comfortable "shakedown" of mattresses, covered
with coloured blankets, had been laid for me in a corner.  I lay down as
soon as the sound of the young women's merriment died out in the
distance, and after the extraordinary events of the night, I was soon
sleeping as soundly as if I had been in my father's house at Hackney


When I wakened next morning, wonderfully refreshed by sleep and the
purity of the air, I had some difficulty in remembering where I was and
how I came there in such a peculiar costume.  But the voices of the
servants in the house, and the general stir of people going to and fro,
convinced me that I had better be up and ready to put my sickle into this
harvest of heathen darkness.  Little did I think how soon the heathen
darkness would be trying to put the sickle into me!  I made my way with
little difficulty, being guided by the sound of the running water, to the
bath-room, and thence into the gardens.  These were large and remarkably
well arranged in beds and plots of flowers and fruit-trees.  I
particularly admired a fountain in the middle, which watered the garden,
and supplied both the chief's house and the town.  Returning by way of
the hall, I met the chief, who, saluting me gravely, motioned me to one
of many small tables on which was set a bowl of milk, some cakes, and
some roasted kid's flesh.

After I had done justice to this breakfast, he directed me to follow him,
and, walking before me with his gold-knobbed staff in his hand, passed
out of the shady court into the public square.  Here we found a number of
aged men seated on unpleasantly smooth and cold polished stones in a
curious circle of masonry.  They were surrounded by a crowd of younger
men, shouting, laughing, and behaving with all the thoughtless levity and
merriment of a Polynesian mob.  They became silent as the chief
approached, and the old men rose from their places till he had taken a
kind of rude throne in the circle.

For my part, I was obliged to stand alone in their midst, and it seemed
that they were debating about myself and my future treatment.  First the
old priest, whom I had seen on the night before, got up, and, as I
fancied, his harangue was very unfavourable to me.  He pointed at the
inevitable flower-crowned altar which, of course, was in the centre of
the market-place, and from the way he shook a sickle he held in his hand
I believe that he was proposing to sacrifice me on the spot.  In the
midst of his oration two vultures, black with white breasts, flew high
over our heads, chasing a dove, which they caught and killed right above
the market-place, so that the feathers fell down on the altar.  The
islanders, as I afterwards discovered, are full of childish superstitions
about the flight of birds, from which they derive omens as to future
events.  The old priest manifestly attempted to make political capital
against me out of the interesting occurrence in natural history which we
had just observed.  He hurried to the altar, caught up a handful of the
bleeding feathers, and, with sickle in hand, was rushing towards me, when
he tripped over the head of a bullock that had lately been sacrificed,
and fell flat on his face, while the sickle flew far out of his hand.

On this the young men, who were very frivolous, like most of the
islanders, laughed aloud, and even the elders smiled.  The chief now rose
with his staff in his grasp, and, pointing first to me and then to the
sky, was, I imagined, propounding a different interpretation of the omen
from that advanced by the old priest.  Meantime the latter, with a sulky
expression of indifference, sat nursing his knees, which had been a good
deal damaged by his unseemly sprawl on the ground.  When the chief sat
down, a very quiet, absent-minded old gentleman arose.  Elatreus was his
name, as I learned later; his family had a curious history, and he
himself afterwards came to an unhappy and terrible end, as will be shown
in a subsequent part of my narrative.

I felt quite at home, as if I had been at some vestry-meeting, or some
committee in the old country, when Elatreus got up.  He was stout, very
bald, and had a way of thrusting his arm behind him, and of humming and
hawing, which vividly brought back to mind the oratory of my native land.
He had also, plainly enough, the trick of forgetting what he intended to
say, and of running off after new ideas, a trick very uncommon among
these natives, who are born public speakers.  I flattered myself that
this orator was in favour of leniency towards me, but nobody was paying
much attention to him, when a shout was heard from the bottom of the hill
on which the square is built.  Everybody turned round, the elders jumped
up with some alacrity for the sake of a better view on the polished
stones where they had been sitting, and so much was the business before
the meeting forgotten in the new excitement, that I might have run away
unnoticed, had there been anywhere to run to.  But flight was out of the
question, unless I could get a boat and some provisions, and I had
neither.  I was pleased, however, to see that I was so lightly and laxly

The cause of the disturbance was soon apparent.  A number of brown, half-
naked, sturdy sailors, with red caps, not unlike fezzes, on their heads,
appeared, bawling and making for the centre of the square.  They were
apparently carrying or dragging some person with them, some person who
offered a good deal of resistance.  Among the foreign and unintelligible
cries and howls which rang through the market-place, my heart leaped up,
in natural though unsanctified pleasure, as I heard the too well-known
but unexpected accents of British profanity.

"Where the (somewhere) are you blooming sons of beach-combers dragging a
Bri'sh shailor?  Shtand off, you ragged set of whitewashed Christy
Minstrels, you!  Where's the Bri'sh Conshul's?  Take me, you longshore
sons of sharks, to the Bri'sh Conshul's!  If there's one white man among
you let him stand out and hit a chap his own weight."

"Hullo!" suddenly cried the speaker, whom I had recognized as William
Bludger, one of the most depraved and regardless of the whole wicked crew
of the Blackbird,--"hullo, if here isn't old Captain Hymn-book!"--a
foolish nickname the sailors had given me.

He was obviously more than half-drunk, and carried in his hand a black
rum-bottle, probably (from all I knew of him) not nearly full.  His shirt
and trousers were torn and dripping; apparently he had been washed
ashore, like myself, after the storm, and had been found and brought into
the town by some of the fishing population.

What a blow to all my hopes was the wholly unlooked-for arrival of this
tipsy, irreclaimable seaman, this unawakened Bill Bludger!  I had framed
an ideal of what my own behaviour, in my trying circumstances, ought to
be.  Often had I read how these islanders possess a tradition that a
wonderful white man, a being all sweetness and lucidity, landed in their
midst, taught them the knowledge of the arts, converted them to peace and
good manners, and at last mysteriously departed, promising that he would
return again.  I had hopes--such things have happened--that the islanders
might take me for this wonderful white man of their traditions, come back
according to his promise.  If this delusion should occur, I would not at
once undeceive them, but take advantage of the situation, and so bring
them all into the Bungletonian fold.  I knew there was no time to waste.
Lutheran, French, or Church of England schemers, in schooners, might even
now be approaching the island, with their erroneous and deplorable
tenets.  Again, I had reckoned, if my hopes proved false, on attaining,
not without dignity, the crown of the proto-martyr of my Connection.
Beyond occasional confinement in police cells, consequent on the
strategic manoeuvres of the Salvation Army, none of us had ever known
what it was to suffer in the cause.  If I were to be the first to testify
with my blood, on this unknown soil, at least I could meet my doom with
dignity.  In any case, I should be remembered, I had reckoned, in the
island traditions, either as an isolated and mysterious benefactor, the
child of an otherwise unknown race, or as a solitary martyr from afar.

All these vain hopes of spiritual pride were now blown to the wind by
Bill Bludger's unexpected appearance and characteristic conduct.  No
delusions about a divine white stranger from afar could survive the
appearance and behaviour of so compromising an acquaintance as William.
He was one white stranger too many.  There he was, still struggling,
shouting, swearing, smelling of rum, and making frantic attempts to reach
me and shake hands with me.

"Let bygones be bygones, Captain Hymn-book, your Reverence," he screamed;
"here's your jolly good health and song," and he put his horrible black
bottle to his unchastened lips.  "Here we are, Captain, two Englishmen
agin a lot o' blooming Kanekas; let's clear out their whole blessed town,
and steer for Sydney."

But, perceiving that I did not intend to recognize or carouse with him,
William Bludger now changed his tone; "Yah, you lily-livered
Bible-reader," he exclaimed, "what are you going about in _that_ toggery
for: copying Mr. Toole in Paw Claudian?  _You_ call yourself a
missionary?  Jove, you're more like a blooming play hactor in a penny
gaff!  Easy, then, my hearties," he added, seeing that the fishermen were
approaching him again, with ropes in their hands.  "Avast! stow your

In spite of his oaths and struggles, the inebriated mariner was firmly
bound, hand and foot, and placed in the centre of the assembly.  I only
wished that the natives had also gagged him, for his language, though, of
course, unintelligible to them, was profane, and highly painful to me.

Before returning to business, the chiefs carefully inspected the black
bottle, of which they had dispossessed William Bludger.  A golden vase
was produced--they had always plenty of _them_ handy--and the dark fluid
was poured into this princely receptacle, diffusing a strong odour of
rum.  Each chief carefully tasted the stuff, and I was pained, on
gathering, from the expression of their countenances, that they obviously
relished the "fire-water" which has been the ruin of so many peoples in
these beautiful but benighted seas.  However, there was not enough left
to go round, and it was manifestly unlikely that William Bludger had
succeeded in conveying larger supplies from the wreck.

The meeting now assumed its former air of earnestness, and it was not
hard to see that the arrival of my unhappy and degraded fellow-countryman
had introduced a new element into the debate.  Man after man spoke, and
finally the chief rose, as I had little doubt, to sum up the discussion.
He pointed to myself, and to William Bludger alternately, and the words
which I had already noted, Thargeelyah, and farmakoi, frequently recurred
in his speech.  His ideas seemed to meet with general approval; even the
old priest laid aside his sickle, and beat applause with his hands.  He
next rose, and, taking two garlands of beautiful flowers from the horns
of the altar, placed one wreath on the head of the drunken sailor, who
had fallen asleep by this time.  He then drew near me, and I had little
doubt that he meant to make me also wear a garland, like some woman of
rank and fashion at a giddy secular entertainment.  Whatever his motive
might be I was determined to wear nothing of the kind.  But here some
attendants grappled and held me, my hat was lifted from my brows, and the
circlet of blossoms was carefully entwined all round my hat.  The head-
covering was then replaced, the whole assembly, forming a circle, danced
around me and the unconscious Bludger, and, finally, the old priest,
turning his face alternately to me and to the sun, intoned a hymn, the
audience joining in at intervals.

My worst fears were, apparently, being realized.  In spite of the
compromising appearance and conduct of Bludger, it seemed beyond doubt
that we were both regarded as, in some degree, divine and sacred.
Resistance on my part was, it will be seen, impossible.  I could not
escape from the hands of my tormentors, and I was so wholly ignorant, at
that time, of their tongue, that I knew not how to disclaim the honours
thus blasphemously thrust upon me.  I did my best, shouting, in English,
"I am no Thargeelyah.  I am no farmakos" supposing those words to be the
native terms for one or other of their gods.  On this the whole assembly,
even the gravest, burst out laughing, each man poking his neighbour in
the ribs, and uttering what I took to be jests at my expense.  Their
behaviour in this juncture, and frequently afterwards, when I attempted
to make them tell me the meaning of the unknown words, and of catharma
(another expression the chief had used), greatly perplexed me.  I had
afterwards too good reason to estimate their dreadful lack of the
ordinary feelings of humanity at its true value.

However, nothing but laughter (most unfitting the occasion) could be got
out of the assembled natives.  They now began to return to their homes,
and Bludger, crowned with flowers that became him but ill, was carried
off, not, as it seemed to me, without even a reverential demeanour on the
part of his escort.  Those who surrounded me, a kind of body-guard of six
young men, had entirely recovered their composure, and behaved to me with
a deference that was astonishing, but reassuring.  From this time, I
ought to say, though permitted to go where I would, and allowed to
observe even their most secret rites, enjoying opportunities such as will
never fall to another European, I was never, but once, entirely alone.  My
worshippers, as they might almost be called, so humble was their
demeanour, still kept watchful eyes upon me, as if I were a being so
precious that they were jealous of my every movement.  It was now made
plain to me, by signs, that I must wait for some little space before
being conveyed to my appointed residence.


We had not remained long by ourselves in the square, when the most
extraordinary procession which I had ever beheld began to climb into the
open space from the town beneath.  I do not know if I have made it
sufficiently clear that the square, on the crest of the isolated hill
above the sea, was occupied only by public buildings, such as the temple,
the house of the chief, and a large edifice used as a kind of town hall,
so to speak.  The natives in general lived in much smaller houses, many
of them little better than huts, and divided by extremely narrow and
filthy streets, on the slopes, and along the shores of the bay.

It was from these houses and from all the country round that the
procession, with persons who fell into its ranks as they came, was now
making its way.  Almost all the parties concerned were young, boys and
girls, or very young men and women, and though their dress was much
scantier and less decent than what our ideas of delicacy require, it must
be admitted that the general aspect of the procession was far from
unpleasing.  The clothes and wraps which the men and women wore were of
various gay colours, and were, in most cases, embroidered quite skilfully
with representations of flowers, fruits, wild beasts, and individuals of
grotesque appearance.  Every one was crowned with either flowers or

But, most remarkable of all, there was scarcely a person in this large
gathering who did not bring or lead some wild bird or beast.  The girls
carried young wild doves, young rooks, or the nestlings of such small
fowls as sparrows and finches.  It was a pretty sight to see these poor
uninstructed young women, flushed with the exertion of climbing, and
merry, flocking into the square, each with her pet (as I supposed, but
the tender mercies of the heathen are cruel) half hidden in the folds of
her gown.  Of the young men, some carried hawks, some chained eagles,
some young vultures.  Many were struggling, too, with wild stags and wild
goats, which they compelled with the utmost difficulty to march in the
ranks of the procession.  A number of young persons merely bore in their
hands such fruits as were in season, obviously fine specimens, of which
they had reason to be proud.

Others, again, were carrying little young bears, all woolly, comfortable-
looking creatures, while the parent bears, adult bears at any rate, were
brought along, chained, in the rear.  My guards, or adorers, or whatever
the young men who looked after me really were, led me forward, and made
signs to me that I was to bring up the rear of the procession--behind the
bears, which made no attempt (as in the case of the prophet) to take the
part of a Minister of the Bungletonian Connection.  What a position for
one who would fain have been opening the eyes of this darkened people to
better things!  But, till I had acquired some knowledge of their
language, I felt my only chance was to acquiesce in everything not
positively sinful.  The entrance of a menagerie and horticultural
exhibition into the town--for thus I explained to myself what was going
on before my eyes--could not be severely censured by the harshest critic,
and I prepared to show my affability by joining in an innocent diversion
and popular entertainment.

Soon I found that, after all, I was not to be absolutely last in the
advance of this miscellaneous exhibition, nor were the intentions of the
people so harmless as I had imagined.  This was no affair of cottage
window gardens, and a distribution of prizes.

The crowd which had collected in front of the chief's house opened
suddenly, and, in the throng of people, I detected a movement of
excitement and alarm.  Next I saw the horns of animals mixed with the
heads and shoulders of the multitude, and then an extraordinary spectacle
burst, at full speed, upon my gaze.  Four great wild stags, plunging,
rearing, and kicking, rushed by, dragging a small vehicle of unusual
shape, in which stood, to my horror, the chief's beautiful daughter,
Doto.  The vehicle passed me like a flash of horns, in spite of the
attempts of four resolute men, who clung at the stags' heads to restrain
the impetuosity of these coursers.  The car, I should explain--though I
can hardly expect to be believed--was not unlike the floor of a hansom
cab, from which the seat, the roof, the driver's perch, and everything
else should have been removed, except the basis, the wheels, and the
splashboard, the part on which we generally find the advertisements of
Messrs. Mappin and Webb.  On this floor, then, Doto stood erect, holding
the reins; her yellow hair had become unbound, and was floating like a
flag behind her, and her beautiful face, far from displaying any alarm,
was flushed with pleasure and pride.  She was dressed in splendid and
glittering attire, over which was fastened--so strange were the manners
of these islanders--the newly-stripped skin of a great black bear.  Thus
dragged by the wild deer, Doto passed like a flash through the midst of
the men and women, her stags being maddened to fresh excitement by the
sight and smell of the bears, and other wild animals.  But, eager as were
the brutes that dragged the precarious carriage, they were somewhat tamed
by the great steepness of the ascent, up which they bounded, to the
heights at the back of the town.  Up this path, often narrow and
excessively dangerous, we all took our way, and finally, after passing
through various perilous defiles and skirting many cliffs, we arrived at
a level space in front of an ancient temple of one of their heathen gods.
It was built like the others in the settlement below, but the white stone
had become brown and yellow with time and weather, and the colours,
chiefly red and blue, with which the graven images, in contempt of the
second commandment, were painted, had faded, and grown very dim.

On the broad platform in front of this home of evil spirits had been
piled a great mound of turf, sloping very gradually and smoothly, like
the terrace of a well-kept lawn, to the summit, which itself was,
perhaps, a hundred feet in circumference.  On this was erected a kind of
breastwork of trunks of trees, each tree some fifteen feet in length, and
in the centre of the circular breastwork was an altar, as usual, under
which blazed a fire of great fierceness.  From the temple came a very
aged woman, dressed in bear skins, who carried a torch.  This torch she
lit at the blaze under the altar, and a number of the young men, lighting
their torches at hers, set fire to the outer breastwork, in which certain
open spaces or entrances had been purposely left.  No sooner had the
trees begun to catch fire, which they did slowly, being of green wood,
than the multitude outside, with the most horrible and piercing outcries,
began to drive the animals which they had brought with them into the
midst of the flames.

The spectacle was one of the most terrible I ever beheld, even among this
cruel and outlandish people, whose abominable inventions contrasted so
strangely with the mildness of their demeanour where their religion was
not concerned.  It was pitiful to see the young birds, many of them not
yet able to fly, flutter into the flames and the stifling smoke, and then
fall, scorched, and twittering miserably.  The young lambs and other
domesticated animals were forced in without much resistance, but the
great difficulty was to urge the wolves, antelopes, and other wild
creatures, into the blaze.  The cries of the multitude, who bounded about
like maniacs, armed with clubs and torches, rose madly over the strange
unusual screams and howls uttered by the wild beasts in their pain and
terror.  Ever and anon some animal would burst through the crowd, perhaps
half burned, and with its fur on fire, and would be pursued to a certain
distance, after which it was allowed to escape by the sacrificers.  As I
was watching, with all my hopes enlisted on its side, the efforts of an
antelope to escape, I heard a roar which was horrible even in that babel
of abominable sights and sounds.

A great black bear, its pelt one sheet of flame, its whole appearance (if
I may be permitted to say so) like that of a fiend from the pit, forced
its way through the throng, and, bounding madly to the spot where Doto's
car stood at a little distance, rose erect on its hind feet, and fixed
its claws in the flank of one of the stags, the off-leader.  Instantly
the team of stags, escaping from the hands of the strong men who stood at
their heads, plunged violently down the narrow and dangerous path which
led to the city.  I shouted to Doto to leap out, but she did not hear or
did not understand me.

With a fixed look of horror on her white face, she dropped the useless
reins, and the vehicle passed out of sight round a corner of the cliff.

I had but a moment in which to reflect on what might be done to rescue
her.  In that moment I providentially spied a double-edged axe which lay
beside me on the grass, having fallen from the hands of one of the
natives.  Snatching up this weapon, I rushed to the edge of the cliff,
and looked down.  It was almost a sheer precipice, broken only by narrow
shelves and clefts, on some of which grass grew, while on others a slight
mountain-ash or a young birch just managed to find foothold.

Far, far beneath, hundreds of feet below, I could trace the windings of
the path up which we had climbed.

Instantly my plan was conceived.  I would descend the cliff, risking my
life, of course, but that was now of small value in this hopelessly
heathen land, and endeavour to save the benighted Doto from the
destruction to which she was hastening.  Her car must pass along that
portion of the path which lay, like a ribbon, in the depth below me,
unless, as seemed too probable, it chanced to be upset before reaching
the spot.  To pursue it from behind was manifestly hopeless.

These thoughts flashed through my brain more rapidly than even the flight
of the maddened red deer; and scarcely less swiftly, I began scrambling
down the face of the cliff.  It was really a series of almost hopeless
leaps to which I was committed, and the axe, to which I clung, rather
impeded than aided me as I let myself drop from one rocky shelf to
another, catching at the boughs and roots of trees to break my fall.  At
last I reached the last ledge before the sheer wall of rock, which hung
above the path.  As I let myself down, feeling with my feet for any shelf
or crack in the wall, I heard the blare of the stags, and the rattle of
the wheels.  Half intentionally, half against my will, I left my hold of
a tree-root, and slid, bumping and scratching myself terribly, down the
slippery and slatey face of the rocky wall, till I fell in a mass on the
narrow road.  In a moment I was on my feet, the axe I had thrown in front
of me, and I grasped it instinctively as I rose.  It was not too soon.
The deer were almost on me.  Stepping to the side of the way, where a
rock gave some shelter, I dealt a blow at the nearest stag, under which
he reeled and fell to the ground, his companion stumbling over him.  In
the mad group of rearing beasts I smote right and left at the harness,
which gave way beneath my strokes, and the unhurt stags sped down the
glen, and then rushed into separate corries of the hills.  The car was
upset, and Doto lay pale and bleeding among the hoofs of the stricken

I dragged her out of the danger to the side of the path.  I felt her
pulse, which still fluttered.  I brought her, in my hat, water from the
stream; and, finally, had the pleasure of seeing her return to life
before the first of her friends came, wailing and lamenting, and tearing
their hair, down the path.

When they found the girl unwounded, though still weak and faint, their
joy knew no bounds, though I too plainly perceived that they were
returning thanks to the heathen goddess whose priestess Doto was.  As for
me, they once more crowned me in the most elaborate, and, I think,
unbecoming manner, with purple pandanus flowers.  Then, having laid Doto
on a litter, they returned in procession to the town, where the girl was
taken into the chiefs house.  As we parted, she held out her hand to me,
but instantly withdrew it with a deep sigh.  I closely watched her.  She
was weeping.  I had noticed before that all the natives, as much as
possible, avoided personal contact with me.  This fact, coupled with the
reverence which they displayed towards me, confirmed my impression that
they regarded me as something supernatural, not of this world, and

To remove this belief was most certainly my duty, but how was it to be
done?  Alas! I must now admit that I yielded to a subtle temptation, and
was led into conduct unworthy of a vessel.  Sad to say, as I search the
rewards of my own heart, I am compelled to confess that my real desire
was not so much to undeceive the people--for in their bewildering myriads
of foolish beliefs one more or less was of small importance--as to
recommend myself to Doto.  This young woman, though not a member of our
Connection, and wholly ignorant of saving Truths, had begun to find
favour in my eyes, and I hoped to lead her to the altar; altars, for that
matter, being plentiful enough in this darkened land.  I should have
remembered the words once spoken by a very gracious young woman, the
daughter of a pious farmer.  "Mother," said she, "I have made up my mind
never to let loose my affections upon any man as is not pious, and in
good circumstances."  Doto was, for an islander, in good circumstances,
but who, ah! who, could call her pious?

I endeavoured, it is true, to convert her, but, ah! did I go to work in
the right way?  Did I draw, in awful colours, the certain consequences of
ignorance of the Truth?  Did I endeavour to strike a salutary terror into
her heathen heart?

No; such would have been a proper course of conduct, but such was not
mine!  I weakly adopted the opposite plan--that used by the Jesuits in
their dealings with the Chinese and other darkened peoples.  I attempted,
meanly attempted (but, as may be guessed, with but limited success), to
give an orthodox Nonconformist character to the observances of Doto's
religion.  For example, instead of thundering, as was my duty, at her
worldly diversions of promiscuous dancing, and ball play, I took a part
in these secular pursuits, fondly persuading myself that my presence
discouraged levity, and was a check upon unseemly mirth.

Thus, among the young native men and maidens, in the windings of the mazy
dance, might have been seen disporting himself, a person of stalwart
form, whose attire still somewhat faintly indicated his European origin
and sacred functions.  A hymn-book in my hand instead of a rattle (used
by the natives), I capered gaily through their midst.  Often and often I
led the music, instructing my festive flock in English hymns, which,
however, I adapted to gay and artless melodies, such as "There's some one
in de house wid Dinah!" or "Old Joe kicking up behind and afore!"

This kind of entertainment was entirely new to the natives, who heartily
preferred it to their own dull music, resembling what are called, I
believe, "Gregorians," by a bloated and Erastian establishment.

So far, then, I may perchance trust that my efforts were not altogether
vain, and the seed thus sown may, in one or two cases, have fallen on
ground not absolutely stony.  But, alas!  I have little room for hope.

I pursued my career of unblushing "economy"--as the Jesuits say, meaning,
alas! economy of plain truth speaking--and of heathen dissipation.  Few
were the dances in which I did not take a part, sinking so low as
occasionally to oblige with a hornpipe.  My blue ribbon had long ago worn
out, and with it my strict views on Temperance.  I acquired a liking for
the strange drink of the islanders--a thick wine and water, sometimes
mixed with cheese and honey.  In fact, I was sliding back--like the
unfortunate Fanti missionary, John Greedy, M.A., whose case, as reported
by precious Mr. Grant Allen, so painfully moved serious circles--I was
sliding back to the level of the savagery around me.  May these
confessions be accepted in the same spirit as they are offered; may it
partly palliate my guilt that I had apparently no chance of escape from
the island, and no hope beyond that of converting the natives and
marrying Doto.  I trusted to do it, not (as of old) by open and fearless
denunciation, but by slowly winning hearts, in a secular and sportive
capacity, before gaining souls.

Even so have I seen young priests of the prelatical Establishment aim at
popularity by playing cricket with liberal coal-miners of sectarian
persuasions.  They told me they were "in the mission field," and one
observed that his favourite post in the field was third man.  I know not
what he meant.  But to return to the island.

My career of soul-destroying "amusement" (ah, how hollow!) was not
uninterrupted by warnings.  Every now and again the mask was raised, and
I saw clearly the unspeakable horrors of heathen existence.

For example, in an earlier part of this narrative, I have mentioned an
old heathen called Elatreus, a good-natured, dull, absent-minded man, who
reminded me of a respectable British citizen.  How awful was _his_ end,
how trebly awful when I reflect how nearly I--but let me not anticipate.
Elatreus was the head, and eldest surviving member of a family which had
a singular history.  I never could make out what the story was, but, in
consequence of some ancient crime, the chief of the family was never
allowed to enter the town hall.  The penalty, if he infringed the law,
was terrible.  Now it chanced one day that I was wandering down the
street, my hands full of rare flowers which I had gathered for Doto, and
with four young doves in my hat.  It was spring, and at that season the
young persons of the island expected to receive such gifts from their
admirers.  I was also followed by eleven little fawns, which I had tamed
for her, and four young whelps of the bear.  At the same time, in the
lightness of my foolish heart, I was singing a native song, all about one
Lityerses, to the tune of "Barbara Allen."

At this moment, I observed, coming out of a side street, old Elatreus.  He
was doddering along, his hands behind his back, and his nose in the air,
followed by a small but increasing crowd of the natives, who crept
stealthily behind at a considerable distance.  I paused to watch what was

Elatreus entered the main street, and lounged along till he came opposite
the town hall, on which some repairs were being made.  The door stood
wide open.  He gazed at it, in a vacant but interested way, and went up
the steps, where he stood staring in an absent-minded, vacant kind of
fashion.  I could see that the crowd watching him from the corner of the
side street was vastly excited.

Elatreus now passed his hand across his brow, seemed vastly puzzled, and
yawned.  Then he slowly entered the town hall.  With a wild yell of
savage triumph the mob rushed in after him, and in a few moments came
forth again, with Elatreus bound and manacled.  Some one sped away, and
brought the old priest, who carried the sickle.  He appeared full of joy,
and lustily intoned--for they have this Popish custom of intoning--an
unintelligible hymn.  By this time Elatreus had been wreathed and crowned
with flowers, and the rude multitude for this purpose seized the
interesting orchids which I had gathered for my Doto.  They then dragged
the old man, pitifully lamenting, to the largest altar in the centre of
the square.

Need I say what followed?  The scene was too awful.  With a horrible
expression of joy the priest laid the poor wretch on the great stone
altar, and with his keen sickle--but it is too horrible! . . .  This was
the penalty for a harmless act, forbidden by a senseless law, which
Elatreus--a most respectable man for an idolater--had broken in mere
innocent absence of mind.

Alas! among such a people, how could I ever hope, alone and unaided, to
effect any truly regenerating work?

Yet I was not wholly discouraged; indeed, my _infatuation_ for Doto made
me overlook much profligate behaviour that I do not care to mention in a
tract which may fall into the hands of the young.  One other example of
the native barbarity, however, I must narrate.

A respected couple in the vicinity had long been childless.  At length
their wishes were crowned with success, and a little baby girl was born
to them.  But the priest, who had curious ideas of his own, insisted on
consulting, as to this child, a certain witch, a woman who dwelt apart in
a cave where there was a sulphurous hot-water spring, surrounded by
laurel bushes, regarded as sacred by the benighted islanders.  This
spring, or the fumes that arose from it, was supposed to confer on the
dweller in the cave the gift of prophecy.  She was the servant of
Apollon, and was credited with possessing a spirit of divination.  The
woman, after undergoing, or simulating, an epileptic attack, declared, in
rhythmical language, that the babe must not be allowed to live.  She
averred that it would "bring destruction on Scheria," the native name for
the island, which I have styled Boothland, in honour of the Salvation
Army.  This was enough for the priests, who did not actually slay the
infant, but exposed it on the side of a mountain, where the beasts and
birds were likely to have their way with it.

Now it chanced that I had climbed the hill-top that day to watch for a
sail, for I never quite lost hope of being taken away by some British or
continental vessel.  My attendants, for a wonder, were all absent at some
feast--Carneia, I think they called it--of their heathen gods.  The time
was early summer; it only wanted a fortnight of the date, as far as I
could reckon, at which I had first been cast on the island, a year

As I descended the hillside, pleased, I must own, by the warm blight
sunlight, the colour of the sea, and the smell of the aromatic
herbs,--pleased, and half forgetful of the horrid heathenism that
surrounded me, I heard a low wail as of an infant.  I searched about, in
surprise, and came on a beautiful baby, in rich swaddling bands, with a
gold signet ring tied round its neck.  Such an occurrence was not very
unusual, as the natives, like most savages, were in the habit of keeping
down the surplus population, by thus exposing their little ones.  The
history of the island was full of legends of exposed children, picked up
by the charitable (there was, oddly enough, no prohibition against this),
and afterwards recognized and welcomed by their families.  As any
Englishman would have done, I lifted the dear little thing in my arms,
and, a happy thought occurring to me, carried it off as a present to
Doto, who doted on babies, as all girls do.  The gift proved to be the
most welcome that I had ever offered, though Doto, as usual, would not
accept it from my hands, but made me lay it down beside the hearth, which
they regarded as a sacred place.  Even if an enemy reached the hearth of
his foe, he would, thenceforth, be quite safe in his house.  Doto then
picked up the child, warmed and caressed it, sent for milk for its
entertainment, and was full of pleasure in her new pet.

She was a dear good girl, Doto, in spite of her heathen training. {74}

Strangely enough, as I thought at the time, she burst out weeping when I
took my leave of her, and seemed almost as if she had some secret to
impart to me.  This, at least, showed an interest in me, and I walked to
my home with high presumptuous thoughts.

As I passed a certain group of rocks, in a lonely uncultivated district,
while the grey of evening was falling, I heard a low whistle.  The place
had a bad reputation, being thought to be haunted.  Perhaps I had
unconsciously imbibed some of the superstitions of the natives, for I
started in alarm.

Then I heard an unmistakably British voice cry, in a suppressed tone,

The underwood rustled, and I beheld, to my astonishment, the form, the
crawling and abject form, of William Bludger!

Since the day of his landing we had never once met, William having been
sent off to a distant part of the island.

"Hi!" he said again, and when I exclaimed, naturally, "Hullo!" he put his
finger on his lips, and beckoned to me to join him.  This I did, and
found that he was lurking in a cavern under the group of grey weather-
worn stones.

When I entered the cave, Bludger fell a-trembling so violently that he
could not speak.  He seemed in the utmost alarm, his face quite ashen
with terror.

"What is the matter, William Bludger?" I asked; "have you had a Call, or
why do you thrust yourself on me?"

"Have _you_ sich a thing as a chaw about ye?" he asked in tremulous
accents.  "I'm _that_ done; never a drop has passed my lips for three
days, strike me dead; and I'd give anything for a chaw o' tobacco.  A sup
of drink you have _not_ got, Capt'n Hymn-book, axing your pardon for the

"William," I said, "even in this benighted island, you set a pitiful
example.  You have been drinking, sir; you are reaping what you have
sown; and only temperance, strict, undeviating total abstinence rather,
can restore your health."

"So help me!" cried the wretched man, "except a drop of Pramneian {76} I
took, the morning I cut and run,--and that was three days ago,--nothing
stronger than castor-oil berries have crossed my lips.  It ain't that,
sir; it ain't the drink.  It's--it's the Thargeelyah.  Next week, sir,
they are going to roast us--you and me--flog us first, and roast us
after.  Oh Lord!  Oh Lord!"


"Flog us first, and roast us afterwards."  I repeated mechanically the
words of William Bludger.  "Why, you must be mad; they are more likely to
fall down and worship us,--_me_ at any rate."

"No, Capt'n," replied William; "that's your mistake.  They say we're both
Catharmata; that's what they call us; and you're no better than me."

"And what are Catharmata?" I inquired, remembering that this word, or
something like it, had been constantly used by the natives in my hearing.

"Well, Capt'n, it means, first and foremost, just the off-scourings of
creation, the very dust and sweepings of the shop," answered Bludger, who
had somehow regained his confidence.  To have a fellow-sufferer, and to
see the pallor which, doubtless, overspread my features, was a source of
comfort to this hardened man.  At the same time I confess that, if
William Bludger alone had been destined to suffer, I could have
contemplated the decree with Christian resignation.

"I speak the beggars' patter pretty well now," Bludger went on; "and I
see Catharmata means more than just mere dirt.  It means two unlucky

"William?" I exclaimed.

"It means, saving your presence, two poor coves, as has no luck, like you
and me, and that can be got rid of once a year, at an entertainment they
call the Thargeelyah, I dunno why, a kind o' friendly lead.  They choose
fellows as either behaves ill, or has no friends to make a fuss about
them, and they gives them three dozen, or more, and takes them down to
the beach, and burns them alive over a slow fire.  And then they toss the
ashes out to sea, and think all the bad luck goes away with the tide.  Oh,
I never was in such a hole as this!"

Bludger's words made me shudder.  I had never forgotten the hideous
sacrifice, doubtless the Thargeelyah, as they called it, that greeted me
when I was first cast ashore on the island.  To think that I had only
been saved that I might figure as a victim of some of their heathen gods!

Oh, now the thought came back to me with a bitter repentance, that if I
had only converted all the islanders, they would never have dreamed of
sacrificing me in honour of a mere idol!  Why had I been so lukewarm, why
had I backslidden, why had I endeavoured to make myself agreeable by
joining in promiscuous dances, when I should have been thundering against
Pagan idolatry, holy water, idols, sacrifices and the whole abominable
system of life on the island?  True, I might have goaded them into
slaying me; I might have suffered as a martyr; but, at the least, I would
have deserved the martyr's crown.  And now I was to perish at the stake,
without even the precious consolation of being a real martyr, and was to
be flogged into the bargain.

I gave a hollow groan as these reflections passed through my mind, and
this appeared to afford William Bludger some consolation.

"You don't seem to like it yourself, Capt'n; what's your advice?  We're
both in the same boat; leastways I wish we _were_ in a boat; anyhow we're
both in the same hole."

There was no denying this, and it was high time to mature some plan of
escape.  Already I must have been missed by my attendants, my gaolers
rather, who would have returned from their festival, and would be looking
for me everywhere.

I bitterly turned over in my mind the facts of our situation; "ours,"
for, as a just punishment of my remissness, I was in the same quandary as
a drunken, dissipated sailor before the mast.

If William had but possessed a sweet and tuneful voice (often a gift
found in the most depraved natures), and if I had been able to borrow a
harmonium on wheels, I would not, even now, have despaired of converting
the whole island in the course of the week.  As remarkable feats have
been performed, with equal alacrity, by precious Messrs. Moody and
Sankey, and I am informed that expeditious conversions are by no means
infrequent among politicians.  But it was vain to think of this resource,
as William had no voice, and knew no hymns, while I had no means of
access to a perambulating harmonium.

"I'll tell you what it is, sir," said Bludger; "I have a notion."

"Name it, William," I replied, my heart and manner softened by community
in suffering and terror.

"Well, if I were you, sir, I would not go home to-night at all; I'd stop
where you are.  The beggars won't find you, let them hunt as they like;
they daren't come near this place, bless you, it's an 'Arnt;" by which he
meant that it was haunted.

"Well," said I, "but how should we be any better off to-morrow morning?"

"That's just it, sir," said Bludger.  "We'll be up with the first stroke
of dawn, nip down to the harbour, get on board a boat, and be off before
any of them are stirring."

"But, even if we manage to secure a boat," I said, "what about
provisions, and where are we to sail for?"

"Oh, never mind that," said Bill; "we can't be worse off than we are, and
I'll slip out to-night, and lay in some prog in the town.  Also some
grog, if I can lay my hands on it," he added, with an unholy smile.

"No, William," I murmured; "no grog; our lives depend on our sobriety."

"Always a-preaching, the old tub-thumper," I heard William say to
himself; but he made no further reference to the subject.

It was now quite dark, and we lay whispering, in the damp hollow under
the great stone.  Our plan was to crawl away at the first blush of dawn,
when men generally sleep most soundly; that William should enter one of
the unguarded houses (for these people never stole, and did not know the
meaning of the word "thief"), that he should help himself to provisions,
and that meanwhile I should have a boat ready to start in the harbour.

This larcenous but inevitable programme we carried out, after waiting
through dreadful hours of cold and shivering anxiety.  Every cry of a
night bird from the marsh or the wood sent my heart into my mouth.  I
felt inconceivably mean and remorseful, my vanity having received a
dreadful shock from the discovery that, far from being a god, I was to be
a kind of burnt-offering.

At last the east grew faintly grey, and we started, not keeping together,
but Bludger marching cautiously in my rear, at a considerable distance.
We only met one person, a dissipated young man, who, I greatly fear, had
been paying his court to a shepherdess in the hills.  When he shouted a
challenge, I replied, Erastes eimi, which means, I am sorry to say, "I am
a lover," and implied that I, also, had been engaged in low intrigue.
"Farewell, with good fortune," he replied, and went on his way, singing
some catch about Amaryllis, who, I presume, was the object of his
unhallowed attentions.

We slipped into the silent town, unwalled and unguarded as it was, for as
one of their own poets had said, "We dwell by the wash of the waves, far
off from toilsome men, and with us are no folk conversant."  They were a
race that knew war only by a vague tradition, that they had dwelt, at
some former age, in an island, perhaps New Zealand, where they were
subject to constant annoyance from Giants,--a likely story.  Thence they
had migrated to their present home, where only one white man had ever
been cast away--one Odysseus, so their traditions declared--before our
arrival.  Him, however, they had treated hospitably, very unlike their
contemplated behaviour to Bludger and me.

I am obliged to make this historical digression that the reader may
understand how it happened, under Providence, that we were not detected
in passing through the town, and how Bludger successfully accomplished
what, I fear, was by no means his first burglary.

We parted at the chief's house, Bill to secure provisions, and I to
unmoor a boat, and bring her round to a lonely bay on the coast, where my
companion was to join me.

I accomplished my task without the slightest difficulty, selected a light
craft,--they did not use canoes, but rowed boats like coracles,--and was
lying at anchor, moored with a heavy stone, in the bay.

The dawn was now breaking in the most beautiful colours--gold, purple,
crimson, and green--across the sea.  All nature was still, save for the
first pipe of awakening birds.

There was a delicate fragrance in the air, which was at once soft and
keen, and, as I watched the red sunlight on the high cliffs, and on the
smooth trunks of the palm trees, I felt, strange to say, a kind of
reluctance to leave the island.

The people, apart from their cruel and abominable religion, were the
gentlest and most peaceful I have ever known.  They were beautiful to
look upon, so finely made and shapely that I have never seen their like.
Their language was exquisitely sweet and melodious, and though, except
hymns, I do not care for poetry, yet I must admit that some of their
compositions in verse were extremely pleasing, though they were ignorant
of the art of rhyme.  All about them was beautifully made, and they were
ignorant of poverty.  I never saw a beggar on the island; and Christians,
unhappily, do not share their goods with each other, and with the poor,
so freely as did these benighted heathens.  Often have I laboured to make
them understand what our Pauper Question means, but they could not
comprehend me.

"How can a man lack home, and food, and fire?" they would say; "do people
not love each other in your country?"

I explained that we love each other _as Christians_, but this did not
seem to enlighten their benighted minds.  On the other hand, it is true
that they settle their population question by strangling or exposing the
majority of their infant daughters.

Rocked on the smooth green swell of the sea, beneath the white rocks, I
was brooding over these and many other matters, when I heard sudden and
violent movements in the deep vegetation on the hillside.  The laurel
groves were stirred, and Bill Bludger, with a basket in his hand, bounded
down the slope, and swam for dear life to the boat.

"They're after me," he cried; and at that moment an arrow quivered in the
side of the boat.

I helped William on board as well as I might, under a shower of arrows
from the hill-top, most of which, owing to the distance, were ill
directed and fell short, or went wide.

Into the boat, at last, I got him, and thrusting an oar in his direction,
I said, "Pull for your life," and began rowing.  To my horror, the boat
made no way, but kept spinning round.  A glance in the bow showed me what
was the matter: _William Bludger was hopelessly intoxicated_!  He had got
at the jars of wine in the chief's cellar,--thalamos, they call it,--and
had not taken the precaution of mixing the liquor with water, as the
natives invariably do when they drink.  The excitement of running had
sent the alcoholic fumes direct to his brain, and now he lay, a useless
and embarrassing cargo, in the bows.  Meanwhile, the shouts of the
natives rang nearer and louder, and I knew that boats would soon be
launched for our capture.  I thought of throwing Bludger overboard, and
sculling, but determined not to stain what might be my last moments with
an act of selfishness.  I therefore pulled hard for the open sea, but to
no avail.  On every side boats crowded round me, and I should probably
have been shot, or speared, but for the old priest, who, erect in the
bows of the largest vessel, kept yelling that we were to be taken alive.

Alas!  I well knew the secret of his cruel mercies.

He meant to reserve us for the sacrifice.


Why should I linger over the sufferings of the miserable week that
followed our capture?  Hauled back to my former home, I was again made
the object of the mocking reverence of my captors.  Ah, how often, in my
reckless youth, have my serious aunts warned me that I "would be a goat
at the last"!  Too true, too true; now I was to be a scapegoat, to be
driven forth, as these ignorant and strangely perverted people believed,
with the sins of the community on my head, those sins which would,
according to their _miserable superstition_, be expiated by the death,
and consumed away by the burning, of myself and William Bludger!

The week went by, as all weeks must, and at length came the solemn day
which they call Thargeelyah, the day more sacred than any other to their
idol, Apollon.  Long before sunrise the natives were astir; indeed, I do
not think they went to bed at all, but spent the night in hideous orgies.
I know that, tossing sleepless through the weary hours, I heard the
voices of young men and women singing on the hillsides, and among the
myrtle groves which are holy to the most disreputable of their deities, a
female, named Aphrodighty.  Harps were twanging too, and I heard the
refrain of one of the native songs, "To-night they love who never loved
before; to-night let him who loves love all the more."  The words have
unconsciously arranged themselves, even in English, as poetry; those who
know Thomas Gowles best, best know how unlikely it is that he would
willingly dabble in the worldly art of verse-fashioning.  Think of my
reflections with a painful, shameful, and, above all, _undeserved_ death
before me, while all the fragrant air was ringing with lascivious
merriment.  My impression is that, as all the sins of the year were, in
their opinion, to be got rid of next day, and tossed into the sea with
the ashes of Bludger and myself, the natives had made up their minds--an
eligible opportunity now presenting itself--to be _as wicked as they knew
how_.  Alas! though I have not dwelt on this painful aspect of their
character, they "knew how" only too well.

The sun rose at last, and flooded the island, when I perceived that, from
every side, crowds of revellers were pressing together to the place where
I lay in fetters.  They had a wild, dissipated air, flowers were wreathed
and twisted in their wet and dewy locks, which floated on the morning
wind.  Many of the young men were merely dressed--if "dressed" it could
be called--in the skins of leopards, panthers, bears, goats, and deer,
tossed over their shoulders.  In their hands they all held wet, dripping
branches of fragrant trees, many of them tipped with pine cones, and
wreathed with tendrils of the vine.  Others carried switches, of which I
divined the use only too clearly, and the women were waving over their
heads tame serpents, which writhed and wriggled hideously.  It was an
awful spectacle!

I was dragged forth by these revellers; many of them were intoxicated,
and, in a moment--I blush even now to think of it--I was stripped naked!
Nothing was left to me but my hat and spectacles, which, for some
religious reason I presume, I was, fortunately, allowed to retain.  Then
I was driven with blows, which hurt a great deal, into the market-place,
and up to the great altar, where William Bludger, also naked, was lying
more dead than alive.

"William," I said solemnly, "what cheer?"  He did not answer me.  Even in
that supreme moment it was not difficult to discern that William had been
looking on the wine when it was red, and had not confined himself to mere
ocular observation.  I tried to make him remember he was an Englishman,
that the honour of our country was in our hands, and that we should die
with the courage and dignity befitting our race.  These were strange
consolations and exhortations for _me_ to offer in such an extremity,
but, now it had come to the last pass, it is curious what mere worldly
thoughts hurried through my mind.

My words were wasted: the natives seized William and forced him to his
feet.  Then, while a hymn was sung, they put chains of black and white
figs round our necks, and thrust into our hands pieces of cheese, figs,
and certain peculiar herbs.  This formed part of what may well be called
the "Ritual" of this cruel race.  May Ritualists heed my words, and turn
from the errors of their ways!

Too well I knew all that now awaited us.  All that I had seen and
shuddered at, on the day of my landing on the island, was now practised
on self and partner.  We had to tread the long paved way to the distant
cove at the river's mouth; we had to endure the lashes from the switches
of wild fig.  The priestess, carrying the wooden idol, walked hard by us,
and cried out, whenever the blows fell fewer or lighter, that the idol
was waxing too heavy for her to bear.  Then they redoubled their

It was a wonderfully lovely day.  In the blue heaven there was not a
cloud.  We had reached the river's mouth, and were fast approaching the
stakes that had already been fixed in the sands for our execution; nay,
the piles of green wood were already being heaped up by the young men.
There was, there could be, no hope, and, weary and wounded, I almost
welcomed the prospect of death, however cruel.

Suddenly the blows ceased to shower on me, and I heard a cry from the
lips of the old priest, and, turning about, I saw that the eyes of all
the assembled multitude were fixed on a point on the horizon.

Looking automatically in the direction towards which they were gazing, I
beheld--oh joy, oh wonder!--I beheld a long trail of cloud floating level
with the sea!  It was the smoke of a steamer!

"Too late, too late," I thought, and bitterly reflected that, had the
vessel appeared but an hour earlier, the attention of my cruel captors
might have been diverted to such a spectacle as they had never seen

But it was _not_ too late.

Perched on a little hillock, and straining his gaze to the south, the old
priest was speaking loudly and excitedly.  The crowd deserted us, and
gathered about him.

I threw myself on the sand, weary, hopeless, parched with thirst, and
racked with pain.  Bludger was already lying in a crumpled mass at my
feet.  I think he had fainted.

I retained consciousness, but that was all.  The fierceness of the sun
beat upon me, the sky and sea and shore swam before me in a mist.
Presently I heard the voice of the priest, raised in the cadences which
he favoured when he was reading texts out of their sacred books, if books
they could be called.  I looked at him with a faint curiosity, and
perceived that he held in his hands the wooden casket, adorned with
strangely carved bands of gold and ivory, which I had seen on the night
of my arrival on the island.

From this he had selected the old grey scraps of metal, scratched, as I
was well aware, with what they conceived to be ancient prophecies.

I was now sufficiently acquainted with the language to understand the
verses which he was chanting, and which I had already heard, without
comprehending them.  They ran thus in English:

"But when a man, having a chimney pot on his head, and four eyes, appears
in Scheria, and when a ship without sails also comes, sailing without
wind, and breathing smoke, then shall destruction fall on the island."

He had not ended when it was plain, even to those ignorant people, that
the prophecy was about to be fulfilled.  From the long, narrow, black
line of the steamer, which had approached us with astonishing speed,
"sailing without wind, and breathing smoke," there burst six flashes of
fire, followed by a peal like thunder, and six tall fountains, as the
natives fancied, of sea-water rose and fell in the bay, where the shells
had lighted.

It was plain that the commander of the vessel, finding himself in unknown
seas, and hard by an unvisited country, was determined to strike terror
and command respect by this salute.

The noise of the broadside had scarcely died away, when the natives fled,
disappeared like magic, leaving many of their garments behind them.

They were making for their town, which was concealed from the view of the
rapidly nearing steamer.  From her mast I could now see, flaunting the
slight breeze, the dear old Union Jack, and the banner of the Salvation
Navy! {95}

My resolution was taken in a moment.  Bludger had now recovered
consciousness, and was picking up heart.  I thrust into his hands one of
the branches with which we had been flogged, fastened to it a cloak of
one of the natives, bade him keep waving it from a rocky promontory, and,
rushing down to the sea, I leaped in, and swam with all my strength
towards the vessel.  Weak as I was, my new hopes gave me strength, and
presently, from the crest of a wave, I saw that the people of the steamer
were lowering a boat, and rowing towards me.

In a few minutes they had reached me, my countrymen's hands were in mine.
They dragged me on board; they pulled back to their vessel; and I stood,
entirely undressed, on the deck of a British ship!

So long had I lived among people heedless of modesty that I was rushing,
with open arms, towards the officer on the quarter-deck, who was dressed
as a bishop, when I heard a scream of horror.  I turned round in time to
see the bishop's wife fleeing precipitately to the cabin, and driving her
children and governess in front of her.

Then all the horror of the situation flooded my heart and brain, and I
fell fainting on the quarter-deck.

When I recovered my consciousness, I found myself plainly but comfortably
dressed in the ordinary costume, except the hat, which lay beside me, of
a dean in the Church of England.  My wounds had been carefully attended
to, William Bludger had been taken on board, and I was surrounded by the
kind faces of my benefactors, including the bishop's consort.  My
apologies for my somewhat sudden and unceremonious intrusion were cut
short by the arrival of tea and a slight collation suitable for an
invalid.  In an hour I was walking the quarter-deck with the bishop in
command of the William Wilberforce, armed steam yacht, of North Shields,
fitted out for the purposes of the Salvation Navy.  From the worthy
prelate in command of the William Wilberforce, I learned much concerning
his own past career and the nature of his enterprise, as I directed the
navigation of the vessel through the shoals and reefs which lay about the
harbour of the island.

The bishop (a purely brevet title) would refresh his memory, now and
then, from a penny biography of himself with which he was provided, and
the following, in brief, is a record of his life and adventures:--

Thomas Sloggins (that was his name), from his earliest infancy, had been
possessed with a passion for _doing good to others_, a passion, alas! but
too rarely reciprocated.  I pass over many affecting details of his
adventures as a ministering child: how he endeavoured to win his father
from tobacco by breaking his favourite pipes; how he strove to wean his
elder brother from cruel field-sports, by stuffing the joints of his
fishing-rod with gravel; with many other touching incidents.

Being almost entirely uneducated, young Sloggins, when he reached man's
estate, conceived that he would most benefit his fellow-creatures by
combining the professions of the pulpit and the press--by preaching on
Sundays and at odd times, while he acted as outdoor reporter to The Rowdy
Puritan on every lawful day.  Being a man of great earnestness and
enterprise, he soon rose in the ranks of the Salvation Navy; and at one
time commanded an evangelical barge on the benighted canals of our
country.  Finally, he made England almost too hot to hold him, by the
original forms of his benevolence, while, at the same time, he acquired
the utmost esteem and confidence of many wealthy philanthropists and
excellent, if impulsive, ladies.  These good people provided him with
that well-equipped and armed steam yacht, the William Wilberforce, which
he manned with a crew of converted characters (they certainly looked as
if they must have needed a great deal of converting), and he had now for
months been cruising in the South Pacific.  A local cyclone had driven
the William Wilberforce out of her reckoning, and hence the appearance of
that vessel in the very nick of time to achieve my rescue.

When the bishop had finished his story, I briefly recapitulated to him my
own adventures, and we agreed that the conversion of the island must be
our earliest task.  To begin with, we steered into the harbour, where a
vast multitude of the natives were assembled in arms, and awaited our
approach with a threatening demeanour.  Our landing was opposed, but a
few well-directed volleys from a Gardiner gun (which did not jam) caused
the hostile force to disperse, and we landed in great state.  Marching on
the chief's house, we were received with an abject submission that I had
scarcely expected.  The people were absolutely cowed, more by the
fulfilment of the prophecy, I think, than even by the execution done by
our Gardiner machine gun.  At the bishop's request, I delivered a
harangue in the native tongue, declaring that we only required the
British flag to be hoisted on the palace, and the immediate disendowment
of the heathen church as in those parts established.  I was listened to
in uneasy silence; but my demand for lodgings in the palace was acceded
to; and, in a few hours, the bishop, with his wife and children, were
sumptuously housed under the roof of the chief.  The ladies of the
chief's family showed great curiosity in watching and endeavouring to
converse with our friends.  I was amused to see how soon the
light-hearted islanders appeared to forget their troubles and
apprehensions.  Doto, in particular, became quite devoted to the
prelate's elder daughter (the youngest of the bishop's family was
suffering from measles), and would never be out of her company.  Thus all
seemed to fare merrily; presents were brought to us--flowers, fruit, the
feathers of rare birds, and ornaments of native gold were literally
showered upon the ladies of the party.  The chief promised to call a
meeting of his counsellors on the morrow, and all seemed going on well,
when, alas! measles broke out in the palace.  The infant whom I had
presented to Doto--the infant whom I had found on the mountain side--was
the first sufferer.  Then Doto caught the disease herself, then her
mother, then the chief.  In vain we attempted to nurse and tend them; in
vain we expended the contents of the ship's medicine chest on the
invalids.  The malady having, as it were, an entirely new field to work
upon, raged like the most awful pestilence.  Through all ranks of the
people it spread like wild-fire; many died, none could be induced to take
the most ordinary precautions.  The natives became, as it were, mad under
the torments of fever and the burning heat of the unaccustomed malady;
they rushed about, quite unclad, for the sake of the deceptive coolness,
and hundreds of them cast themselves into the sea and into the river.

It was my sad lot to see my dear Doto die--the first of the sufferers in
the palace to succumb to the disease.  Meanwhile, the bishop and myself
being entirely absorbed in attendance on the sick, the crew of the
William Wilberforce, I deeply regret to say, escaped from all restraint,
and forgot what was due to themselves and their profession.  They
revelled with the most abandoned of the natives, and disease and drink
ravaged the once peaceful island.  Every sign of government and order
vanished.  The old priest built a huge pile of firewood, and laying
himself there with the images of the gods, set fire to the whole, and
perished with his own false religion.

After this event, the island ceased to be a safe residence for ourselves.
Among the mountains, as I learned, where the pestilence had not yet
penetrated, the shepherds and the wilder tribes were gathering in arms.
One night we stole on board the William Wilberforce, leaving the city
desolate, filled with the smoke of funeral pyres, and the wailing of men
and women.  There was a dreadful sultry stillness in the air, and all day
long wild beasts had been dashing madly into the sea, and the sky had
been obscured by flights of birds.  On all the crests of the circle of
surrounding hills we saw, in the growing darkness, the beacons and camp
fires of the insurgents from the interior.  Just before the dawn the
William Wilberforce was attacked by the whole mass of the natives in
boats and rafts.  But we had not been unprepared for this movement, nor
were the resources of science unequal to the occasion.  We had surrounded
the William Wilberforce with a belt, or cordon, of torpedoes, and as each
of the assaulting boats touched the boom, a terrible explosion shook the
water into fountains of foam, and the waves were strewn with scalded,
wounded, and mutilated men.  Meanwhile, we bombarded the city and the
harbour, and the night passed amid the most awful sounds and sights--fire,
smoke, yells of anger and pain, cries of the native leaders encouraging
their men, and shouts from our own people, who had to repel the boarders,
when the boom was at last forced, with pikes and cutlasses.  Just before
the dawn a strange thing happened.  A great glowing coal, as it seemed,
fell with a hissing crash on the deck of the William Wilberforce, and
others dropped, with a strange sound and a dreadful odour of burning, in
the water all around us.  Had the natives discovered some mode of
retaliating on our use of firearms?

I looked in the direction of their burning city, and beheld, on the sharp
peak of the highest mountain (now visible in the grey morning light), an
object like a gigantic pine-tree of fire.  The blazing trunk rose, slim
and straight, from the mountain crest, and, at a vast height, developed a
wilderness of burning branches.  Fearful hollow sounds came from the
hill, its sides were seamed with racing cataracts of living lava, of
coursing and leaping flames, which rolled down with incredible swiftness
and speed towards the doomed city.  Then the waters of the harbour were
smitten and shaken, and the William Wilberforce rocked and heaved as in
the most appalling storm, though all the winds were silent, while a
mighty wave swept far inland towards the streams of fire.  There was no
room for doubt; a volcanic eruption was occurring, and a submarine
earthquake, as not uncommonly happens, had also taken place.  Our only
hope was in immediate flight.  Presently steam was got up, and we steamed
away into the light of the glowing east, leaving behind us only a burning
island, and a fire like an ugly dawn flaring in the western sky.

When we returned in the evening, Boothland--as I may now indeed call it,
for Scheria has ceased to be--was one black smoking cinder.

Hardly a tree or a recognizable rock remained to show that this had once
been a peaceful home of men.  The oracle, or prophecy of the old priest,
had been horribly, though, of course, quite accidentally, fulfilled.

* * * * *

Little remains to be told.  On my return home, I chanced to visit the
British Museum, and there, much to my surprise, observed an old piece of
stone, chipped with the characters, or letters, in use among the natives
of Scheria.

"Why," said I, reading the words aloud, "these are the characters which
the natives employed on my island."

"These?" said the worthy official who accompanied me.  "Why, these are
the most archaic Greek letters which have yet been discovered:
inscriptions from beneath the lava beds of Santorin."

"I can't help that," I said.  "The Polynesians used them too; and you see
I can read them easily, though I don't know Greek."

I then told him the whole story of my connection with the island, and of
the unfortunate results of the contact between these poor people and our
superior modern civilization.

I have rarely seen a man more affected by any recital than was the head
of the classical department of the Museum by my artless narrative.  When
I described the sacrifice I saw on landing in the island, he exclaimed,
"Great Heavens! the Attic Thargelia."  He grew more and more excited as I
went on, and producing a Greek book, "Pausanias," he showed me that the
sacrifice of wild beasts was practised sixteen hundred years ago in
honour of Artemis Elaphria.  The killing of old Elatreus for entering the
town hall reminded him of a custom in Achaea Pthiotis.  When I had
finished my tale, he burst out into violent and libellous language.  "You
have destroyed," he said, "with your miserable modern measles and
Gardiner guns, the last remaining city of the ancient Greeks.  The winds
cast you on the shore of Phaeacia, the island sung by Homer; and, in your
brutal ignorance, you never knew it.  You have ruined a happy, harmless,
and peaceful people, and deprived archaeology of an opportunity that can
never, never return!"

I do not know about archaeology, but as for "harmless and peaceful
people," I leave it to my readers to say whether the islanders were
anything of the sort.

I learn that the Government has just refused to give the Museum a grant
of five thousand pounds to be employed in what are called "Excavations in
Ancient Phaeacia," diggings, that is, in Boothland.

With so many darkened people still ignorant of our enlightened
civilization, I think the grant would be a shameful waste of public
money. {106}

* * * * *

We publish the original text of the prophecy repeatedly alluded to by Mr.
Gowles.  The learned say that no equivalent occurs for the line about his
"four eyes," and it is insinuated, in a literary journal of eminence,
that Mr. Gowles pilfered the notion from Good's glass eye, in a secular
romance, called King Solomon's Mines, which Mr. Gowles, we are sure,
never heard of in his life.--ED.


   [The Prophecy in Greek - not reproduced]


In the drawing-room, or, as it is more correctly called, the "dormitory,"
of my club, I had been reading a volume named "Sur l'Humanite Posthume,"
by M. D'Assier, a French follower of Comte.  The mixture of positivism
and ghost-stories highly diverted me.  Moved by the sagacity and
pertinence of M. D'Assier's arguments for a limited and fortuitous
immortality, I fell into such an uncontrollable fit of laughter as
caused, I could see, first annoyance and then anxiety in those members of
my club whom my explosion of mirth had awakened.  As I still chuckled and
screamed, it appeared to me that the noise I made gradually grew fainter
and more distant, seeming to resound in some vast empty space, even more
funereal and melancholy than the dormitory of my club, the "Tepidarium."
It has happened to most people to laugh themselves awake out of a dream,
and every one who has done so must remember the ghastly, hollow, and
maniacal sound of his own mirth.  It rings horribly in a quiet room where
there has been, as the Veddahs of Ceylon say is the case in the world at
large, "nothing to laugh at."  Dean Swift once came to himself, after a
dream, laughing thus hideously at the following conceit: "I told Apronia
to be very careful especially about the legs."  Well, the explosions of
my laughter crackled in a yet more weird and lunatic fashion about my own
ears as I slowly became aware that I had died of an excessive sense of
the ludicrous, and that the space in which I was so inappropriately
giggling was, indeed, the fore-court of the House of Hades.  As I grew
more absolutely convinced of this truth, and began dimly to discern a
strange world visible in a sallow light, like that of the London streets
when a black fog hangs just over the houses, my hysterical chuckling
gradually died away.  Amusement at the poor follies of mortals was
succeeded by an awful and anxious curiosity as to the state of
immortality and the life after death.  Already it was certain that "the
Manes are somewhat," and that annihilation is the dream of people
sceptical through lack of imagination.  The scene around me now resolved
itself into a high grey upland country, bleak and wild, like the waste
pastoral places of Liddesdale.  As I stood expectant, I observed a figure
coming towards me at some distance.  The figure bore in its hand a gun,
and, as I am short-sighted, I at first conceived that he was the
gamekeeper.  "This affair," I tried to say to myself, "is only a dream
after all; I shall wake and forget my nightmare."

But still the man drew nearer, and I began to perceive my error.
Gamekeepers do not usually paint their faces red and green, neither do
they wear scalp-locks, a tuft of eagle's feathers, moccasins, and buffalo-
hide cloaks, embroidered with representations of war and the chase.  This
was the accoutrement of the stranger who now approached me, and whose
copper-coloured complexion indicated that he was a member of the Red
Indian, or, as the late Mr. Morgan called it the "Ganowanian" race.  The
stranger's attire was old and clouted; the barrel of his flint-lock
musket was rusted, and the stock was actually overgrown with small
funguses.  It was a peculiarity of this man that everything he carried
was more or less broken and outworn.  The barrel of his piece was riven,
his tomahawk was a mere shard of rusted steel, on many of his
accoutrements the vapour of fire had passed.  He approached me with a
stately bearing, and, after saluting me in the fashion of his people,
gave me to know that he welcomed me to the land of spirits, and that he
was deputed to carry me to the paradise of the Ojibbeways.  "But, sir," I
cried in painful confusion, "there is here some great mistake.  I am no
Ojibbeway, but an Agnostic; the after-life of spirits is only (as one of
our great teachers says) 'an hypothesis based on contradictory
probabilities;' and I really must decline to accompany you to a place of
which the existence is uncertain, and which, if it does anywhere exist,
would be uncongenial in the extreme to a person of my habits."

To this remonstrance my Ojibbeway Virgil answered, in effect, that in the
enormous passenger traffic between the earth and the next worlds mistakes
must and frequently do occur.  Quisque suos patimur manes, as the Roman
says, is the rule, but there are many exceptions.  Many a man finds
himself in the paradise of a religion not his own, and suffers from the
consequences.  This was, in brief, the explanation of my guide, who could
only console me by observing that if I felt ill at ease in the Ojibbeway
paradise, I might, perhaps, be more fortunate in that of some other
creed.  "As for your Agnostics," said he, "their main occupation in their
own next world is to read the poetry of George Eliot and the
philosophical works of Mr. J. S. Mill."  On hearing this, I was much
consoled for having missed the entrance to my proper sphere, and I
prepared to follow my guide with cheerful alacrity, into the paradise of
the Ojibbeways.

Our track lay, at first, along the "Path of Souls," and the still, grey
air was only disturbed by a faint rustling and twittering of spirits on
the march.  We seemed to have journeyed but a short time, when a red
light shone on the left hand of the way.  As we drew nearer, this light
appeared to proceed from a prodigious strawberry, a perfect mountain of a
strawberry.  Its cool and shining sides seemed very attractive to a
thirsty Soul.  A red man, dressed strangely in the feathers of a raven,
stood hard by, and loudly invited all passers-by to partake of this
refreshment.  I was about to excavate a portion of the monstrous
strawberry (being partial to that fruit), when my guide held my hand and
whispered in a low voice that they who accepted the invitation of the man
that guarded the strawberry were lost.  He added that, into whatever
paradise I might stray, I must beware of tasting any of the food of the
departed.  All who yield to the temptation must inevitably remain where
they have put the food of the dead to their lips.  "You," said my guide,
with a slight sneer, "seem rather particular about your future home, and
you must be especially careful to make no error."  Thus admonished, I
followed my guide to the river which runs between our world and the
paradise of the Ojibbeways.  A large stump of a tree lies half across the
stream, the other half must be crossed by the agility of the wayfarer.
Little children do but badly here, and "an Ojibbeway woman," said my
guide, "can never be consoled when her child dies before it is fairly
expert in jumping.  Such young children they cannot expect to meet again
in paradise."  I made no reply, but was reminded of some good and unhappy
women I had known on earth, who were inconsolable because their babes had
died before being sprinkled with water by a priest.  These babes they,
like the Ojibbeway matrons, "could not expect to meet again in paradise."
To a grown-up spirit the jump across the mystic river presented no
difficulty, and I found myself instantly among the wigwams of the
Ojibbeway heaven.  It was a remarkably large village, and as far as the
eye could see huts and tents were erected along the river.  The sound of
magic songs and of drums filled all the air, and in the fields the
spirits were playing lacrosse.  All the people of the village had
deserted their homes and were enjoying themselves at the game.  Outside
one hut, however, a perplexed and forlorn phantom was sitting, and to my
surprise I saw that he was dressed in European clothes.  As we drew
nearer I observed that he wore the black garb and white neck-tie of a
minister in some religious denomination, and on coming to still closer
quarters I recognized an old acquaintance, the Rev. Peter McSnadden.  Now
Peter had been a "jined member" of that mysterious "U. P. Kirk" which,
according to the author of "Lothair," was founded by the Jesuits for the
greater confusion of Scotch theology.  Peter, I knew, had been active as
a missionary among the Red Men in Canada; but I had neither heard of his
death nor could conceive how his shade had found its way into a paradise
so inappropriate as that in which I encountered him.  Though never very
fond of Peter, my heart warmed to him, as the heart sometimes does to an
acquaintance unexpectedly met in a strange land.  Coming cautiously
behind him, I slapped Peter on the shoulder, whereon he leaped up with a
wild unearthly yell, his countenance displaying lively tokens of terror.
When he recognized me he first murmured, "I thought it was these
murdering Apaches again;" and it was long before I could soothe him, or
get him to explain his fears, and the circumstance of his appearance in
so strange a final home.  "Sir," said Peter, "it's just some terrible
mistake.  For twenty years was I preaching to these poor painted bodies
anent heaven and hell, and trying to win them from their fearsome notions
about a place where they would play at the ba' on the Sabbath, and the
like shameful heathen diversions.  Many a time did I round it to them
about a far, far other place--

   "Where congregations ne'er break up,
   And sermons never end!"

And now, lo and behold, here I am in their heathenish Gehenna, where the
Sabbath-day is just clean neglected; indeed, I have lost count myself,
and do not know one day from the other.  Oh, man, it's just rideec'lous.
A body--I mean a soul--does not know where to turn."  Here Peter, whose
accent I cannot attempt to reproduce (he was a Paisley man), burst into
honest tears.  Though I could not but agree with Peter that his situation
was "just rideec'lous," I consoled him as well as I might, saying that a
man should make the best of every position, and that "where there was
life there was hope," a sentiment of which I instantly perceived the
futility in this particular instance.  "Ye do not know the worst," the
Rev. Mr. McSnadden went on.  "I am here to make them sport, like Samson
among the Philistines.  Their paradise would be no paradise to them if
they had not a pale-face, as they say, to scalp and tomahawk.  And I am
that pale-face.  Before you can say 'scalping-knife' these awful Apaches
may be on me, taking my scalp and other leeberties with my person.  It
grows again, my scalp does, immediately; but that's only that they may
take it some other day."  The full horror of Mr. McSnadden's situation
now dawned upon me, but at the same time I could not but perceive that,
without the presence of some pale-face to torture--Peter or
another--paradise would, indeed, be no paradise to a Red Indian.  In the
same way Tertullian (or some other early Father) has remarked that the
pleasures of the blessed will be much enhanced by what they observe of
the torments of the wicked.  As I was reflecting thus two wild yells
burst upon my hearing.  One came from a band of Apache spirits who had
stolen into the Ojibbeway village; the other scream was uttered by my
unfortunate friend.  I confess that I fled with what speed I might, nor
did I pause till the groans of the miserable Peter faded in the distance.
He was, indeed, a man in the wrong paradise.

In my anxiety to avoid sharing the fate of Peter at the hands of the
Apaches, I had run out of sight and sound of the Ojibbeway village.  When
I paused I found myself alone, on a wide sandy tract, at the extremity of
which was an endless thicket of dark poplar-trees, a grove dear to
Persephone.  Here and there in the dank sand, half buried by the fallen
generations of yellow poplar-leaves, were pits dug, a cubit every way,
and there were many ruinous altars of ancient stones.  On some were
engraved figures of a divine pair, a king and queen seated on a throne,
while men and women approached them with cakes in their hands or with the
sacrifice of a cock.  While I was admiring these strange sights, I beheld
as it were a moving light among the deeps of the poplar thicket, and
presently saw coming towards me a young man clad in white raiment and of
a radiant aspect.  In his hand he bore a golden wand whereon were wings
of gold.  The first down of manhood was on his lip; he was in that season
of life when youth is most gracious.  Then I knew him to be no other than
Hermes of the golden rod, the guide of the souls of men outworn.  He took
my hand with a word of welcome, and led me through the gloom of the
poplar trees.

Like Thomas the Rhymer, on his way to Fairyland--

   "We saw neither sun nor moon,
   But we heard the roaring of the sea."

This eternal "swowing of a flode" was the sound made by the circling
stream of Oceanus, as he turns on his bed, washing the base of the White
Rock, and the sands of the region of dreams.  So we fleeted onwards till
we came to marvellous lofty gates of black adamant, that rose before us
like the steep side of a hill.  On the left side of the gates we beheld a
fountain flowing from beneath the roots of a white cypress-tree, and to
this fountain my guide forbade me to draw near.  "There is another
yonder," he said, pointing to the right hand, "a stream of still water
that issues from the Lake of Memory, and there are guards who keep that
stream from the lips of the profane.  Go to them and speak thus: 'I am
the child of earth and of the starry sky, yet heavenly is my lineage, and
this yourselves know right well.  But I am perishing with thirst, so give
me speedily of that still water which floweth forth of the mere of
Memory.'  And they will give thee to drink of that spring divine, and
then shalt thou dwell with the heroes and the blessed."  So I did as he
said, and went before the guardians of the water.  Now they were veiled,
and their voices, when they answered me, seemed to come from far away.
"Thou comest to the pure, from the pure," they said, "and thou art a
suppliant of holy Persephone.  Happy and most blessed art thou, advance
to the reward of the crown desirable, and be no longer mortal, but
divine."  Then a darkness fell upon me, and lifted again like mist on the
hills, and we found ourselves in the most beautiful place that can be
conceived, a meadow of that short grass which grows on some shores beside
the sea.  There were large spaces of fine and solid turf, but, where the
little streams flowed from the delicate-tinted distant mountains, there
were narrow valleys full of all the flowers of a southern spring.  Here
grew narcissus and hyacinths, violets and creeping thyme, and crocus and
the crimson rose, as they blossomed on the day when the milk-white bull
carried off Europa.  Beyond the level land beside the sea, between these
coasts and the far-off hills, was a steep lonely rock, on which were set
the shining temples of the Grecian faith.  The blue seas that begirt the
coasts were narrow, and ran like rivers between many islands not less
fair than the country to which we were come, while other isles, each with
its crest of clear-cut hills, lay westward, far away, and receding into
the place of the sunset.  Then I recognized the Fortunate Islands spoken
of by Pindar, and the paradise of the Greeks.  "Round these the ocean
breezes blow and golden flowers are glowing, some from the land on trees
of splendour, and some the water feedeth, with wreaths whereof they
entwine their hands." {124}  And, as Pindar says again, "for them shineth
below the strength of the sun, while in our world it is night, and the
space of crimson-flowered meadows before their city is full of the shade
of frankincense-trees and of fruits of gold.  And some in horses and in
bodily feats, and some in dice, and some in harp-playing have delight,
and among them thriveth all fair flowering bliss; and fragrance ever
streameth through the lovely land as they mingle incense of every kind
upon the altars of the gods."  In this beautiful country I took great
delight, now watching the young men leaping and running (and they were
marvellously good over a short distance of ground), now sitting in a
chariot whereto were harnessed steeds swifter than the wind, like those
that, Homer says, "the gods gave, glorious gifts, to Peleus."  And the
people, young and old, received me kindly, welcoming me in their Greek
speech, which was like the sound of music.  And because I had ever been a
lover of them and of their tongue, my ears were opened to understand
them, though they spoke not Greek as we read it.  Now when I had beheld
many of the marvels of the Fortunate Islands, and had sat at meat with
those kind hosts (though I only made semblance to eat of what they placed
before me), and had seen the face of Rhadamanthus of the golden hair, who
is the lord of that country, my friends told me that there was come among
them one of my own nation who seemed most sad and sorrowful, and they
could make him no mirth.  Then they carried me to a house in a grove, and
all around it a fair garden, and a well in the midst.

Now stooping over the well, that he might have sight of his own face, was
a most wretched man.  He was pale and very meagre; he had black rings
under his eyes, and his hair was long, limp, and greasy, falling over his
shoulders.  He was clad somewhat after the manner of the old Greeks, but
his raiment was wofully ill-made and ill-girt upon him, nor did he ever
seem at his ease.  As soon as I beheld his sallow face I knew him for one
I had seen and mocked at in the world of the living.  He was a certain
Figgins, and he had been honestly apprenticed to a photographer; but,
being a weak and vain young fellow, he had picked up modern notions about
art, the nude, plasticity, and the like, in the photographer's workroom,
whereby he became a weariness to the photographer and to them that sat
unto him.  Being dismissed from his honest employment, this chitterling
must needs become a model to some painters that were near as ignorant as
himself.  They talked to him about the Greeks, about the antique, about
Paganism, about the Renaissance, till they made him as much the child of
folly as themselves.  And they painted him as Antinous, as Eros, as
Sleep, and I know not what, but whatever name they called him he was
always the same lank-haired, dowdy, effeminate, pasty-faced
photographer's young man.  Then he must needs take to writing poems all
about Greece, and the free ways of the old Greeks, and Lais, and Phryne,
and therein he made "Aeolus" rhyme to "control us."  For of Greek this
fellow knew not a word, and any Greek that met him had called him a
[Greek text], and bidden him begone to the crows for a cursed fellow, and
one that made false quantities in every Greek name he uttered.  But his
little poems were much liked by young men of his own sort, and by some of
the young women.  Now death had come to Figgins, and here he was in the
Fortunate Islands, the very paradise of those Greeks about whom he had
always been prating while he was alive.  And yet he was not happy.  A
little lyre lay beside him in the grass, and now and again he twanged on
it dolorously, and he tried to weave himself garlands from the flowers
that grew around him; but he knew not the art, and ever and anon he felt
for his button-hole, wherein to stick a lily or the like.  But he had no
button-hole.  Then he would look at himself in the well, and yawn and
wish himself back in his friends' studios in London.  I almost pitied the
wretch, and, going up to him, I asked him how he did.  He said he had
never been more wretched.  "Why," I asked, "was your mouth not always
full of the 'Greek spirit,' and did you not mock the Christians and their
religion?  And, as to their heaven, did you not say that it was a tedious
place, full of pious old ladies and Philistines?  And are you not got to
the paradise of the Greeks?  What, then, ails you with your lot?"  "Sir,"
said he, "to be plain with you, I do not understand a word these fellows
about me say, and I feel as I did the first time I went to Paris, before
I knew enough French to read the Master's poems. {128}  Again, every one
here is mirthful and gay, and there is no man with a divinely passionate
potentiality of pain.  When I first came here they were always asking me
to run with them or jump against them, and one fellow insisted I should
box with him, and hurt me very much.  My potentiality of pain is
considerable.  Or they would have me drive with them in these dangerous
open chariots,--me, that never rode in a hansom cab without feeling
nervous.  And after dinner they sing songs of which I do not catch the
meaning of one syllable, and the music is like nothing I ever heard in my
life.  And they are all abominably active and healthy.  And such of their
poets as I admired--in Bohn's cribs, of course--the poets of the
Anthology, are not here at all, and the poets who are here are tremendous
proud toffs" (here Figgins relapsed into his natural style as it was
before he became a Neopagan poet), "and won't say a word to a cove.  And
I'm sick of the Greeks, and the Fortunate Islands are a blooming fraud,
and oh, for paradise, give me Pentonville."  With these words, perhaps
the only unaffected expression of genuine sentiment poor Figgins had ever
uttered, he relapsed into a gloomy silence.  I advised him to cultivate
the society of the authors whose selected works are in the Greek
Delectus, and to try to make friends with Xenophon, whose Greek is about
as easy as that of any ancient.  But I fear that Figgins, like the Rev.
Peter McSnadden, is really suffering a kind of punishment in the disguise
of a reward, and all through having accidentally found his way into what
he foolishly thought would be the right paradise for him.

Now I might have stayed long in the Fortunate Islands, yet, beautiful as
they were, I ever felt like Odysseus in the island of fair Circe.  The
country was lovely and the land desirable, but the Christian souls were
not there without whom heaven itself were no paradise to me.  And it
chanced that as we sat at the feast a maiden came to me with a
pomegranate on a plate of silver, and said, "Sir, thou hast now been here
for the course of a whole moon, yet hast neither eaten nor drunk of what
is set before thee.  Now it is commanded that thou must taste if it were
but a seed of this pomegranate, or depart from among us."  Then, making
such excuses as I might, I was constrained to refuse to eat, for no soul
can leave a paradise wherein it has tasted food.  And as I spoke the
walls of the fair hall wherein we sat, which were painted with the
effigies of them that fell at Thermopylae and in Arcadion, wavered and
grew dim, and darkness came upon me.

The first of my senses which returned to me was that of smell, and I
seemed almost drowned in the spicy perfumes of Araby.  Then my eyes
became aware of a green soft fluttering, as of the leaves of a great
forest, but quickly I perceived that the fluttering was caused by the
green scarfs of a countless multitude of women.  They were "fine women"
in the popular sense of the term, and were of the school of beauty
admired by the Faithful of Islam, and known to Mr. Bailey, in "Martin
Chuzzlewit," as "crumby."  These fond attendant nymphs carried me into
gardens twain, in each two gushing springs, in each fruit, and palms, and
pomegranates.  There were the blessed reclining, precisely as the Prophet
has declared, "on beds the linings whereof are brocade, and the fruit of
the two gardens within reach to cull."  There also were the "maids of
modest glances," previously indifferent to the wooing "of man or ginn."
"Bright and large-eyed maids kept in their tents, reclining on green
cushions and beautiful carpets.  About the golden couches went eternal
youths with goblets and ewers, and a cup of flowing wine.  No headache
shall they feel therefrom," says the compassionate Prophet, "nor shall
their wits be dimmed."  And all that land is misty and fragrant with the
perfume of the softest Latakia, and the gardens are musical with the
bubbling of countless narghiles; and I must say that to the Christian
soul which enters that paradise the whole place has, certainly, a rather
curious air, as of a highly transcendental Cremorne.  There could be no
doubt, however, that the Faithful were enjoying themselves
amazingly--"right lucky fellows," as we read in the new translation of
the Koran.  Yet even here all was not peace and pleasantness, for I heard
my name called by a small voice, in a tone of patient subdued
querulousness.  Looking hastily round, I with some difficulty recognized,
in a green turban and silk gown to match, my old college tutor and
professor of Arabic.  Poor old Jones had been the best and the most shy
of university men.  As there was never any undergraduate in his time (it
is different now) who wished to learn Arabic, his place had been a
sinecure, and he had chiefly devoted his leisure to "drawing" pupils who
were too late for college chapel.  The sight of a lady of his
acquaintance in the streets had at all times been alarming enough to
drive him into a shop or up a lane, and he had not survived the creation
of the first batch of married fellows.  How he had got into this
thoroughly wrong paradise was a mystery which he made no attempt to
explain.  "A nice place this, eh?" he said to me.  "Nice gardens; remind
me of Magdalene a good deal.  It seems, however, to be decidedly rather
gay just now; don't you think so?  Commemoration week, perhaps.  A great
many young ladies up, certainly; a good deal of cup drunk in the gardens
too.  I always did prefer to go down in Commemoration week, myself; never
was a dancing man.  There is a great deal of dancing here, but the young
ladies dance alone, rather like what is called the ballet, I believe, at
the opera.  I must say the young persons are a little forward; a little
embarrassing it is to be alone here, especially as I have forgotten a
good deal of my Arabic.  Don't you think, my dear fellow, you and I could
manage to give them the slip?  Run away from them, eh?"  He uttered a
timid little chuckle, and at that moment an innumerable host of houris
began a ballet d'action illustrative of a series of events in the career
of the Prophet.  It was obvious that my poor uncomplaining old friend was
really very miserable.  The "thornless loto trees" were all thorny to
him, and the "tal'h trees with piles of fruit, the outspread shade, and
water outpoured" could not comfort him in his really very natural
shyness.  A happy thought occurred to me.  In early and credulous youth I
had studied the works of Cornelius Agrippa and Petrus de Abano.  Their
lessons, which had not hitherto been of much practical service, recurred
to my mind.  Stooping down, I drew a circle round myself and my old
friend in the fragrant white blossoms which were strewn so thick that
they quite hid the grass.  This circle I fortified by the usual signs
employed, as Benvenuto Cellini tells us, in the conjuration of evil
spirits.  I then proceeded to utter one of the common forms of exorcism.
Instantly the myriad houris assumed the forms of irritated demons; the
smoke from the uncounted narghiles burned thick and black; the cries of
the frustrated ginns, who were no better than they should be, rang wildly
in our ears; the palm-trees shook beneath a mighty wind; the distant
summits of the minarets rocked and wavered, and, with a tremendous crash,
the paradise of the Faithful disappeared.

* * * * *

As I rang the bell, and requested the club-waiter to carry away the
smoking fragments of the moderator-lamp which I had accidentally knocked
over in awaking from my nightmare, I reflected on the vanity of men and
the unsubstantial character of the future homes that their fancy has
fashioned.  The ideal heavens of modern poets and novelists, and of
ancient priests, come no nearer than the drugged dreams of the angekok
and the biraark of Greenland and Queensland to that rest and peace
whereof it has not entered into the mind of man to conceive.  To the
wrong man each of our pictured heavens would be a hell, and even to the
appropriate devotee each would become a tedious purgatory.



"Have you seen the Clayville Dime?"

Moore chucked me a very shabby little sheet of printed matter.  It
fluttered feebly in the warm air, and finally dropped on my recumbent
frame.  I was lolling in a hammock in the shade of the verandah.

I did not feel much inclined for study, but I picked up the Clayville
Dime and lazily glanced at that periodical, while Moore relapsed into the
pages of Ixtlilxochitl.  He was a literary character for a planter, had
been educated at Oxford (where I made his acquaintance), and had
inherited from his father, with a large collection of Indian and Mexican
curiosities, a taste for the ancient history of the New World.

Sometimes I glanced at the newspaper; sometimes I looked out at the
pleasant Southern garden, where the fountain flashed and fell among
weeping willows, and laurels, orange-trees, and myrtles.

"Hullo!" I cried suddenly, disturbing Moore's Aztec researches, "here is
a queer affair in the usually quiet town of Clayville.  Listen to this;"
and I read aloud the following "par," as I believe paragraphs are styled
in newspaper offices:--

   "'Instinct and Accident.--As Colonel Randolph was driving through our
   town yesterday and was passing Captain Jones's sample-room, where the
   colonel lately shot Moses Widlake in the street, the horses took alarm
   and started violently downhill.  The colonel kept his seat till
   rounding the corner by the Clayville Bank, when his wheels came into
   collision with that edifice, and our gallant townsman was violently
   shot out.  He is now lying in a very precarious condition.  This may
   relieve Tom Widlake of the duty of shooting the colonel in revenge for
   his father.  It is commonly believed that Colonel Randolph's horses
   were maddened by the smell of the blood which has dried up where old
   Widlake was shot.  Much sympathy is felt for the colonel.  Neither of
   the horses was injured.'"

"Clayville appears to be a lively kind of place," I said.  "Do you often
have shootings down here?"

"We do," said Moore, rather gravely; "it is one of our institutions with
which I could dispense."

"And do you 'carry iron,' as the Greeks used to say, or 'go heeled,' as
your citizens express it?"

"No, I don't; neither pistol nor knife.  If any one shoots me, he shoots
an unarmed man.  The local bullies know it, and they have some scruple
about shooting in that case.  Besides, they know I am an awkward customer
at close quarters."

Moore relapsed into his Mexican historian, and I into the newspaper.

"Here is a chance of seeing one of your institutions at last," I said.

I had found an advertisement concerning a lot of negroes to be sold that
very day by public auction in Clayville.  All this, of course, was
"before the war."

"Well, I suppose you ought to see it," said Moore, rather reluctantly.  He
was gradually emancipating his own servants, as I knew, and was even
suspected of being a director of "the Underground Railroad" to Canada.

"Peter," he cried, "will you be good enough to saddle three horses and
bring them round?"

Peter, a "darkey boy" who had been hanging about in the garden, grinned
and went off.  He was a queer fellow, Peter, a plantation humourist, well
taught in all the then unpublished lore of "Uncle Remus."  Peter had a
way of his own, too, with animals, and often aided Moore in collecting
objects of natural history.

"Did you get me those hornets, Peter?" said Moore, when the black
returned with the horses.

"Got 'em safe, massa, in a little box," replied Peter, who then mounted
and followed at a respectful distance as our squire.

Without many more words we rode into the forest which lay between
Clayville and Moore's plantation.  Through the pine barrens ran the road,
and on each side of the way was luxuriance of flowering creepers.  The
sweet faint scent of the white jessamine and the homely fragrance of
honeysuckle filled the air, and the wild white roses were in perfect
blossom.  Here and there an aloe reminded me that we were not at home,
and dwarf palms and bayonet palmettoes, with the small pointed leaf of
the "live oak," combined to make the scenery look foreign and unfamiliar.
There was a soft haze in the air, and the sun's beams only painted, as it
were, the capitals of the tall pillar-like pines, while the road was
canopied and shaded by the skeins of grey moss that hung thickly on all
the boughs.

The trees grew thinner as the road approached the town.  Dusty were the
ways, and sultry the air, when we rode into Clayville and were making for
"the noisy middle market-place."  Clayville was but a small border town,
though it could then boast the presence of a squadron of cavalry, sent
there to watch the "border ruffians."  The square was neither large nor
crowded, but the spectacle was strange and interesting to me.  Men who
had horses or carts to dispose of were driving or riding about, noisily
proclaiming the excellence of their wares.  But buyers were more
concerned, like myself, with the slave-market.  In the open air, in the
middle of the place, a long table was set.  The crowd gathered round
this, and presented types of various sorts of citizens.  The common "mean
white" was spitting and staring--a man fallen so low that he had no
nigger to wallop, and was thus even more abject, because he had no
natural place and functions in local society, than the slaves themselves.
The local drunkard was uttering sagacities to which no mortal attended.
Two or three speculators were bidding on commission, and there were a few
planters, some of them mounted, and a mixed multitude of tradesmen,
loafers, bar-keepers, newspaper reporters, and idlers in general.  At
either end of the long table sat an auctioneer, who behaved with the
traditional facetiousness of the profession.  As the "lots" came on for
sale they mounted the platform, generally in family parties.  A party
would fetch from one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars, according to
its numbers and "condition."  The spectacle was painful and monstrous.
Most of the "lots" bore the examination of their points with a kind of
placid dignity, and only showed some little interest when the biddings
grew keen and flattered their pride.

The sale was almost over, and we were just about to leave, when a howl of
derision from the mob made us look round.  What _I_ saw was the
apparition of an extremely aged and debilitated black man standing on the
table.  What Moore saw to interest him I could not guess, but he grew
pale and uttered an oath of surprise under his breath, though he rarely
swore.  Then he turned his horse's head again towards the auctioneer.
That merry tradesman was extolling the merits of nearly his last lot.  "A
very remarkable specimen, gentlemen!  Admirers of the antique cannot
dispense with this curious nigger--very old and quite imperfect.  Like so
many of the treasures of Greek art which have reached us, he has had the
misfortune to lose his nose and several of his fingers.  How much offered
for this exceptional lot--unmarried and without encumbrances of any kind?
He is dumb too, and may be trusted with any secret."

"Take him off!" howled some one in the crowd.

"Order his funeral!"

"Chuck him into the next lot."

"What, gentlemen, _no_ bids for this very eligible nigger?  With a few
more rags he would make a most adequate scarecrow."

While this disgusting banter was going on I observed a planter ride up to
one of the brokers and whisper for some time in his ear.  The planter was
a bad but unmistakable likeness of my friend Moore, worked over, so to
speak, with a loaded brush and heavily glazed with old Bourbon whisky.
After giving his orders to the agent he retired to the outskirts of the
crowd, and began flicking his long dusty boots with a serviceable cowhide

"Well, gentlemen, we must really adopt the friendly suggestion of Judge
Lee and chuck this nigger into the next lot."

So the auctioneer was saying, when the broker to whom I have referred
cried out, "Ten dollars."

"_This_ is more like business," cried the auctioneer.  "Ten dollars
offered!  What amateur says more than ten dollars for this lot?  His
extreme age and historical reminiscences alone, if he could communicate
them, would make him invaluable to the student."

To my intense amazement Moore shouted from horseback, "Twenty dollars."

"What, _you_ want a cheap nigger to get your hand in, do you, you blank-
blanked abolitionist?" cried a man who stood near.  He was a big, dirty-
looking bully, at least half drunk, and attending (not unnecessarily) to
his toilet with the point of a long, heavy knife.

Before the words were out of his mouth Moore had leaped from his horse
and delivered such a right-handed blow as that wherewith the wandering
beggar-man smote Irus of old in the courtyard of Odysseus, Laertes' son.
"On his neck, beneath the ear, he smote him, and crushed in the bones;
and the red blood gushed up through his mouth, and he gnashed his teeth
together as he kicked the ground."  Moore stooped, picked up the bowie-
knife, and sent it glittering high through the air.

"Take him away," he said, and two rough fellows, laughing, carried the
bully to the edge of the fountain that played in the corner of the
square.  He was still lying crumpled up there when we rode out of

The bidding, of course, had stopped, owing to the unaffected interest
which the public took in this more dramatic interlude.  The broker, it is
true, had bid twenty-five dollars, and was wrangling with the auctioneer.

"You have my bid, Mr. Brinton, sir, and there is no other offer.  Knock
down the lot to me."

"You wait your time, Mr. Isaacs," said the auctioneer.  "No man can do
two things at once and do them well.  When Squire Moore has settled with
Dick Bligh he will desert the paths of military adventure for the calmer
and more lucrative track of commercial enterprise."

The auctioneer's command of long words was considerable, and was
obviously of use to him in his daily avocations.

When he had rounded his period, Moore was in the saddle again, and nodded
silently to the auctioneer.

"Squire Moore bids thirty dollars.  Thirty dollars for this once despised
but now appreciated fellow-creature," rattled on the auctioneer.

The agent nodded again.

"Forty dollars bid," said the auctioneer.

"Fifty," cried Moore.

The broker nodded.


The agent nodded again.

The bidding ran rapidly up to three hundred and fifty dollars.

The crowd were growing excited, and had been joined by every child in the
town, by every draggled and sunburnt woman, and the drinking-bar had
disgorged every loafer who felt sober enough to stay the distance to the
centre of the square.

My own first feelings of curiosity had subsided.  I knew how strong and
burning was Moore's hatred of oppression, and felt convinced that he
merely wished at any sacrifice of money to secure for this old negro some
peaceful days and a quiet deathbed.

The crowd doubtless took the same obvious view of the case as I did, and
was now eagerly urging on the two competitors.

"Never say die, Isaacs."

"Stick to it, Squire; the nigger's well worth the dollars."

So they howled, and now the biddings were mounting towards one thousand
dollars, when the sulky planter rode up to the neighbourhood of the
table--much to the inconvenience of the "gallery"--and whispered to his
agent.  The conference lasted some minutes, and at the end of it the
agent capped Moore's last offer, one thousand dollars, with a bid of one
thousand two hundred.

"Fifteen hundred," said Moore, amidst applause.

"Look here, Mr. Knock-'em-down," cried Mr. Isaacs: "it's hot and thirsty
work sitting, nodding here; I likes my ease on a warm day; so just you
reckon that I see the Squire, and go a hundred dollars more as long as I
hold up my pencil."

He stuck a long gnawed pencil erect between his finger and thumb, and
stared impertinently at Moore.  The Squire nodded, and the bidding went
on in this silent fashion till the bids had actually run up to three
thousand four hundred dollars.  All this while the poor negro, whose
limbs no longer supported him, crouched in a heap on the table, turning
his haggard eye alternately on Moore and on the erect and motionless
pencil of the broker.  The crowd had become silent with excitement.
Unable to stand the heat and agitation, Moore's unfriendly brother had
crossed the square in search of a "short drink."  Moore nodded once more.

"Three thousand six hundred dollars bid," cried the auctioneer, and
looked at Isaacs.

With a wild howl Isaacs dashed his pencil in the air, tossed up his
hands, and thrust them deep down between his coat collar and his body,
uttering all the while yells of pain.

"Don't you bid, Mr. Isaacs?" asked the auctioneer, without receiving any
answer except Semitic appeals to holy Abraham, blended with Aryan

"Come," said Moore very severely, "his pencil is down, and he has
withdrawn his bid.  There is no other bidder; knock the lot down to me."

"No more offers?" said the auctioneer slowly, looking all round the

There were certainly no offers from Mr. Isaacs, who now was bounding like
the gad-stung Io to the furthest end of the place.

"This fine buck-negro, warranted absolutely unsound of wind and limb,
going, going, a shameful sacrifice, for a poor three thousand six hundred
dollars.  Going, going--gone!"

The hammer fell with a sharp, decisive sound.

A fearful volley of oaths rattled after the noise, like thunder rolling
away in the distance.

Moore's brother had returned from achieving a "short drink" just in time
to see his coveted lot knocked down to his rival.

We left the spot, with the negro in the care of Peter, as quickly as
might be.

"I wonder," said Moore, as we reached the inn and ordered a trap to carry
our valuable bargain home in--"I wonder what on earth made Isaacs run off
like a maniac."

"Massa," whispered Peter, "yesterday I jes' caught yer Brer Hornet
a-loafin' around in the wood.  'Come wi' me,' says I, 'and bottled him in
this yer pasteboard box,'" showing one which had held Turkish tobacco.
"When I saw that Hebrew Jew wouldn't stir his pencil, I jes' crept up
softly and dropped Brer Hornet down his neck.  Then he jes' rose and
went.  Spec's he and Brer Hornet had business of their own."

"Peter," said Moore, "you are a good boy, but you will come to a bad


As we rode slowly homeward, behind the trap which conveyed the
dear-bought slave, Moore was extremely moody and disinclined for

"Is your purchase not rather an expensive one?" I ventured to ask, to
which Moore replied shortly--

"No; think he is perhaps the cheapest nigger that was ever bought."

To put any more questions would have been impertinent, and I possessed my
curiosity in silence till we reached the plantation.

Here Moore's conduct became decidedly eccentric.  He had the black man
conveyed at once into a cool, dark, strong room with a heavy iron door,
where the new acquisition was locked up in company with a sufficient
meal.  Moore and I dined hastily, and then he summoned all his negroes
together into the court of the house.  "Look here, boys," he cried: "all
these trees"--and he pointed to several clumps "must come down
immediately, and all the shrubs on the lawn and in the garden.  Fall to
at once, those of you that have axes, and let the rest take hoes and
knives and make a clean sweep of the shrubs."  The idea of wholesale
destruction seemed not disagreeable to the slaves, who went at their work
with eagerness, though it made my heart ache to see the fine old oaks
beginning to fall and to watch the green garden becoming a desert.  Moore
first busied himself with directing the women, who, under his orders,
piled up mattresses and bags of cotton against the parapets of the
verandahs.  The house stood on the summit of a gradually sloping height,
and before the moon began to set (for we worked without intermission
through the evening and far into the night) there was nothing but a bare
slope of grass all round the place, while smoke and flame went up from
the piles of fallen timber.  The plantation, in fact, was ready to stand
a short siege.

Moore now produced a number of rifles, which he put, with ammunition,
into the hands of some of the more stalwart negroes.  These he sent to
their cabins, which lay at a distance of about a furlong and a half on
various sides of the house.  The men had orders to fire on any advancing
enemy, and then to fall back at once on the main building, which was now
barricaded and fortified.  One lad was told to lurk in a thicket below
the slope of the hill and invisible from the house.

"If Wild Bill's men come on, and you give them the slip, cry thrice like
the 'Bob White,'" said Moore; "if they take you, cry once.  If you get
off, run straight to Clayville, and give this note to the officer
commanding the cavalry."

The hour was now about one in the morning; by three the dawn would begin.
In spite of his fatigues, Moore had no idea of snatching an hour's rest.
He called up Peter (who had been sleeping, coiled up like a black cat, in
the smoking-room), and bade him take a bath and hot water into the room
where Gumbo, the newly purchased black, had all this time been left to
his own reflections.  "Soap him and lather him well, Peter," said Moore;
"wash him white, if you can, and let me know when he's fit to come near."

Peter withdrew with his stereotyped grin to make his preparations.

Presently, through the open door of the smoking-room, we heard the sounds
of energetic splashings, mingled with the inarticulate groans of the
miserable Gumbo.  Moore could not sit still, but kept pacing the room,
smoking fiercely.  Presently Peter came to the door--

"Nigger's clean now, massa."

"Bring me a razor, then," said Moore, "and leave me alone with him."

* * * * *

When Moore had retired, with the razor, into the chamber where his
purchase lay, I had time to reflect on the singularity of the situation.
In every room loaded rifles were ready; all the windows were cunningly
barricaded, and had sufficient loopholes.  The peaceful planter's house
had become a castle; a dreadful quiet had succeeded to the hubbub of
preparation, and my host, yesterday so pleasant, was now locked up alone
with a dumb negro and a razor!  I had long ago given up the hypothesis
that Gumbo had been purchased out of pure philanthropy.  The
disappointment of baffled cruelty in Moore's brother would not alone
account for the necessity of such defensive preparations as had just been
made.  Clearly Gumbo was not a mere fancy article, but a negro of real
value, whose person it was desirable to obtain possession of at any risk
or cost.  The ghastly idea occurred to me (suggested, I fancy, by Moore's
demand for a razor) that Gumbo, at some period of his career, must have
swallowed a priceless diamond.  This gem must still be concealed about
his person, and Moore must have determined by foul means, as no fair
means were available, to become its owner.  When this fancy struck me I
began to feel that it was my duty to interfere.  I could not sit by
within call (had poor Gumbo been capable of calling) and allow my friend
to commit such a deed of cruelty.  As I thus parleyed with myself, the
heavy iron door of the store-room opened, and Moore came out, with the
razor (bloodless, thank Heaven!) in his hand.  Anxiety had given place to
a more joyous excitement.

"Well?" I said interrogatively.

"Well, all's well.  That man has, as I felt sure, the Secret of the

I now became quite certain that Moore, in spite of all his apparent
method, had gone out of his mind.  It seemed best to humour him,
especially as so many loaded rifles were lying about.

   "He has seen the myst'ry hid
   Under Egypt's pyramid,"

I quoted; "but, my dear fellow, as the negro is dumb, I don't see how you
are to get the secret out of him."

"I did not say he _knew_ it," answered Moore crossly; "I said he _had_
it.  As to Egypt, I don't know what you are talking about--"

At this moment we heard the crack of rifles, and in the instant of
silence which followed came the note of the "Bob White."

Once it shrilled, and we listened eagerly; then the notes came twice
rapidly, and a sound of voices rose up from the negro outposts, who had
been driven in and were making fast the one door of the house that had
been left open.  From the negroes we learned that our assailants (Bill
Hicock's band of border ruffians, "specially engaged for this occasion")
had picketed their horses behind the dip of the hill and were advancing
on foot.  Moore hurried to the roof to reconnoitre.  The dawn was
stealing on, and the smoke from the still smouldering trees, which we had
felled and burned, rose through the twilight air.

"Moore, you hound," cried a voice through the smoke of the furthest pile,
"we have come for your new nigger.  Will you give him up or will you

Moore's only reply was a bullet fired in the direction whence the voice
was heard.  His shot was answered by a perfect volley from men who could
just be discerned creeping through the grass about four hundred yards
out.  The bullets rattled harmlessly against wooden walls and iron
shutters, or came with a thud against the mattress fortifications of the
verandah.  The firing was all directed against the front of the house.

"I see their game," said Moore.  "The front attack is only a feint.  When
they think we are all busy here, another detachment will try to rush the
place from the back and to set fire to the building.  We'll 'give them
their kail through the reek.'"

Moore's dispositions were quickly made.  He left me with some ten of the
blacks to keep up as heavy a fire as possible from the roof against the
advancing skirmishers.  He posted himself, with six fellows on whom he
could depend, in a room of one of the wings which commanded the back
entrance.  As many men, with plenty of ready-loaded rifles, were told off
to a room in the opposite wing.  Both parties were thus in a position to
rake the entrance with a cross fire.  Moore gave orders that not a
trigger should be pulled till the still invisible assailants had arrived
on his side, between the two projecting wings.  "Then fire into them, and
let every one choose his man."

On the roof our business was simple enough.  We lay behind bags of
cotton, firing as rapidly and making as much show of force as possible,
while women kept loading for us.  Our position was extremely strong, as
we were quite invisible to men crouching or running hurriedly far below.
Our practice was not particularly good; still three or four of the
skirmishers had ceased to advance, and this naturally discouraged the
others, who were aware, of course, that their movement was only a feint.
The siege had now lasted about half an hour, and I had begun to fancy
that Moore's theory of the attack was a mistake, and that he had credited
the enemy with more generalship than they possessed, when a perfect storm
of fire broke out beneath us, from the rooms where Moore and his company
were posted.  Dangerous as it was to cease for a moment from watching the
enemy, I stole across the roof, and, looking down between two of the
cotton bags which filled the open spaces of the balustrades, I saw the
narrow ground between the two wings simply strewn with dead or wounded
men.  The cross fire still poured from the windows, though here and there
a marksman tried to pick off the fugitives.  Rapidly did I cross the roof
to my post.  To my horror the skirmishers had advanced, as if at the
signal of the firing, and were now running up at full speed and close to
the walls of the house.  At that moment the door opened, and Moore,
heading a number of negroes, picked off the leading ruffian and rushed
out into the open.  The other assailants fired hurriedly and without aim,
then--daunted by the attack so suddenly carried into their midst, and by
the appearance of one or two of their own beaten comrades--the enemy
turned and fairly bolted.  We did not pursue.  Far away down the road we
heard the clatter of hoofs, and thin and clear came the thrice-repeated
cry of the "Bob White."

"Dick's coming back with the soldiers," said Moore; "and now I think we
may look after the wounded."

* * * * *

I did not see much of Moore that day.  The fact is that I slept a good
deal, and Moore was mysteriously engaged with Gumbo.  Night came, and
very much needed quiet and sleep came with it.  Then we passed an
indolent day, and I presumed that adventures were over, and that on the
subject of "the Secret of the Pyramid" Moore had recovered his sanity.  I
was just taking my bedroom candle when Moore said, "Don't go to bed yet.
You will come with me, won't you, and see out the adventure of the Cheap

"You don't mean to say the story is to be continued?" I asked.

"Continued?  Why the fun is only beginning," Moore answered.  "The night
is cloudy, and will just suit us.  Come down to the branch."

The "branch," as Moore called it, was a strong stream that separated, as
I knew, his lands from his brother's.  We walked down slowly, and reached
the broad boat which was dragged over by a chain when any one wanted to
cross.  At the "scow," as the ferry-boat was called, Peter joined us; he
ferried us deftly over the deep and rapid water, and then led on, as
rapidly as if it had been daylight, along a path through the pines.

"How often I came here when I was a boy," said Moore; "but now I might
lose myself in the wood, for this is my brother's land, and I have
forgotten the way."

As I knew that Mr. Bob Moore was confined to his room by an accident,
through which an ounce of lead had been lodged in a portion of his frame,
I had no fear of being arrested for trespass.  Presently the negro
stopped in front of a cliff.

"Here is the 'Sachem's Cave,'" said Moore.  "You'll help us to explore
the cave, won't you?"

I did not think the occasion an opportune one for exploring caves, but to
have withdrawn would have demanded a "moral courage," as people commonly
say when they mean cowardice, which I did not possess.  We stepped within
a narrow crevice of the great cliff.  Moore lit a lantern and went in
advance; the negro followed with a flaring torch.

Suddenly an idea occurred to me, which I felt bound to communicate to
Moore.  "My dear fellow," I said in a whisper, "is this quite
sportsmanlike?  You know you are after some treasure, real or imaginary,
and, I put it to you as a candid friend, is not this just a little bit
like poaching?  Your brother's land, you know."

"What I am looking for is in my own land," said Moore.  "The river is the
march.  Come on."

We went on, now advancing among fairy halls, glistering with stalactites
or paved with silver sand, and finally pushing our way through a
concealed crevice down dank and narrow passages in the rock.  The
darkness increased; the pavement plashed beneath our feet, and the drip,
drip of water was incessant.  "We are under the river-bed," said Moore,
"in a kind of natural Thames Tunnel."  We made what speed we might
through this combination of the Valley of the Shadow with the Slough of
Despond, and soon were on firmer ground again beneath Moore's own
territory.  Probably no other white men had ever crawled through the
hidden passage and gained the further penetralia of the cave, which now
again began to narrow.  Finally we reached four tall pillars, of about
ten feet in height, closely surrounded by the walls of rock.  As we
approached these pillars, that were dimly discerned by the torchlight,
our feet made a faint metallic jingling sound among heaps of ashes which
strewed the floor.  Moore and I went up to the pillars and tried them
with our knives.  They were of wood, all soaked and green with the
eternal damp.  "Peter," said Moore, "go in with the lantern and try if
you can find anything there."

Peter had none of the superstitions of his race, or he would never have
been our companion.  "All right, massa; me look for Brer Spook."

So saying, Peter walked into a kind of roofed over-room, open only at the
front, and examined the floor with his lantern, stamping occasionally to
detect any hollowness in the ground.

"Nothing here, massa, but this dead fellow's leg-bone and little bits of
broken jugs," and the dauntless Peter came out with his ghastly trophy.

Moore seemed not to lose heart.

"Perhaps," he said, "there is something on the roof.  Peter, give me a

Peter stooped down beside one of the wooden pillars and firmly grasped
his own legs above the knee.  Moore climbed on the improvised ladder, and
was just able to seize the edge of the roof, as it seemed to be, with his

"Now steady, Peter," he exclaimed, and with a spring he drew himself up
till his head was above the level of the roof.  Then he uttered a cry,
and, leaping from Peter's back retreated to the level where we stood in
some confusion.

"Good God!" he said, "what a sight!"

"What on earth is the matter?" I asked.

"Look for yourself, if you choose," said Moore, who was somewhat shaken,
and at the same time irritated and ashamed.

Grasping the lantern, I managed to get on to Peter's shoulders, and by a
considerable gymnastic effort to raise my head to the level of the ledge,
and at the same time to cast the light up and within.

The spectacle was sufficiently awful.

I was looking along a platform, on which ten skeletons were disposed at
full length, with the skulls still covered with long hair, and the
fleshless limbs glimmering white and stretching back into the darkness.

On the right hand, and crouching between a skeleton and the wall of the
chamber (what we had taken for a roof was the floor of a room raised on
pillars), I saw the form of a man.  He was dressed in gay colours, and,
as he sat with his legs drawn up, his arms rested on his knees.

On the first beholding of a dreadful thing, our instinct forces us to
rush against it, as if to bring the horror to the test of touch.  This
instinct wakened in me.  For a moment I felt dazed, and then I continued
to stare involuntarily at the watcher of the dead.  He had not stirred.
My eyes became accustomed to the dim and flickering light which the
lantern cast in that dark place.

"Hold on, Peter," I cried, and leaped down to the floor of the cave.

"It's all right, Moore," I said.  "Don't you remember the picture in old
Lafitau's 'Moeurs des Sauvages Americains'?  We are in a burying-place of
the Cherouines, and the seated man is only the kywash, 'which is an image
of woode keeping the deade.'"

"Ass that I am!" cried Moore.  "I knew the cave led us from the Sachem's
Cave to the Sachem's Mound, and I forgot for a moment how the fellows
disposed of their dead.  We must search the platform.  Peter, make a
ladder again."

Moore mounted nimbly enough this time.  I followed him.

The kywash had no more terrors for us, and we penetrated beyond the
fleshless dead into the further extremity of the sepulchre.  Here we
lifted and removed vast piles of deerskin bags, and of mats, filled as
they were with "the dreadful dust that once was man."  As we reached the
bottom of the first pile something glittered yellow and bright beneath
the lantern.

Moore stooped and tried to lift what looked like an enormous plate.  He
was unable to raise the object, still weighed down as it was with the
ghastly remnants of the dead.  With feverish haste we cleared away the
debris, and at last lifted and brought to light a huge and massive disk
of gold, divided into rays which spread from the centre, each division
being adorned with strange figures in relief--figures of animals, plants,
and what looked like rude hieroglyphs.

This was only the firstfruits of the treasure.

A silver disk, still larger, and decorated in the same manner, was next
uncovered, and last, in a hollow dug in the flooring of the sepulchre, we
came on a great number of objects in gold and silver, which somewhat
reminded us of Indian idols.  These were thickly crusted with precious
stones, and were accompanied by many of the sacred emeralds and opals of
old American religion.  There were also some extraordinary manuscripts,
if the term may be applied to picture writing on prepared deerskins that
were now decaying.  We paid little attention to cloaks of the famous
feather-work, now a lost art, of which one or two examples are found in
European museums.  The gold, and silver, and precious stones, as may be
imagined, overcame for the moment any ethnological curiosity.

* * * * *

Dawn was growing into day before we reached the mouth of the cave again,
and after a series of journeys brought all our spoil to the light of the
upper air.  It was quickly enough bestowed in bags and baskets.  Then,
aided by three of Moore's stoutest hands, whom we found waiting for us in
the pine wood, we carried the whole treasure back, and lodged it in the
strong room which had been the retreat of Gumbo.


The conclusion of my story shall be very short.  What was the connection
between Gumbo and the spoils of the Sachem's Mound, and how did the
treasures of the Aztec Temple of the Sun come to be concealed in the
burial place of the Red Man?  All this Moore explained to me the day
after we secured the treasures.

"My father," said Moore, "was, as you know, a great antiquarian, and a
great collector of Mexican and native relics.  He had given almost as
much time as Brasseur de Bourbourg to Mexican hieroglyphics, and
naturally had made nothing out of them.  His chief desire was to discover
the Secret of the Pyramid--not the pyramids of Egypt, as you fancied, but
the Pyramid of the Sun, Tonatiuh, at Teohuacan.  To the problem connected
with this mysterious structure, infinitely older than the empire of
Montezuma, which Cortes destroyed, he fancied he had a clue in this

Moore handed me a prepared sheet of birch bark, like those which the red
men use for their rude picture writings.  It was very old, but the
painted characters were still brilliant, and even a tyro could see that
they were not Indian, but of the ancient Mexican description.  In the
upper left-hand corner was painted a pyramidal structure, above which the
sun beamed.  Eight men, over whose heads the moon was drawn, were issuing
from the pyramid; the two foremost bore in their hands effigies of the
sun and moon; each of the others seemed to carry smaller objects with a
certain religious awe.  Then came a singular chart, which one might
conjecture represented the wanderings of these men, bearing the sacred
things of their gods.  In the lowest corner of the scroll they were being
received by human beings dressed unlike themselves, with head coverings
of feathers and carrying bows in their hands.

"This scroll," Moore went on, "my father bought from one of the last of
the red men who lingered on here, a prey to debt and whisky.  My father
always associated the drawings with the treasures of Teohuacan, which,
according to him, must have been withdrawn from the pyramid, and conveyed
secretly to the north, the direction from which the old Toltec pyramid
builders originally came.  In the north they would find no civilized
people like themselves, he said, but only the Indians.  Probably,
however, the Indians would receive with respect the bearers of mysterious
images and rites, and my father concluded that the sacred treasures of
the Sun might still be concealed among some wandering tribe of red men.
He had come to this conclusion for some time, when I and my brother
returned from school, hastily summoned back, to find him extremely ill.
He had suffered from a paralytic stroke, and he scarcely recognized us.
But we made out, partly from his broken and wandering words, partly from
old Tom (Peter's father, now dead), that my father's illness had followed
on a violent fit of passion.  He had picked up, it seems, from some
Indians a scroll which he considered of the utmost value, and which he
placed in a shelf of the library.  Now, old Gumbo was a house-servant at
that time, and, dumb as he was, and stupid as he was, my father had
treated him with peculiar kindness.  Unluckily Gumbo yielded to the
favourite illusion of all servants, white and black, male and female,
that anything they find in the library may be used to light a fire with.
One chilly day Gumbo lighted the fire with the newly purchased Indian
birch scroll.  My father, when he heard of this performance, lost all
self-command.  In his ordinary temper the most humane of men, he simply
raged at Gumbo.  He would teach him, he said, to destroy his papers.  And
it appeared, from what we could piece together (for old Tom was very
reticent and my father very incoherent), that he actually branded or
tattooed a copy of what Gumbo had burnt on the nigger's body!"

"But," I interrupted, "your father knew all the scroll had to tell him,
else he could not have copied it on Gumbo.  So why was he in such a

"You," said Moore, with some indignation, "are not a collector, and you
can't understand a collector's feelings.  My father knew the contents of
the scroll, but what of that?  The scroll was the first edition, the real
original, and Gumbo had destroyed it.  Job would have lost his temper if
Job had been a collector.  Let me go on.  My brother and I both
conjectured that the scroll had some connection with the famous riches of
the Sun and the secret of the Pyramid of Teohuacan.  Probably, we
thought, it had contained a chart (now transferred to Gumbo's frame) of
the hiding-place of the treasure.  However, in the confusion caused by my
father's illness, death, and burial, Gumbo escaped, and, being an
unusually stupid nigger, he escaped due south-west.  Here he seems to
have fallen into the hands of some slave-holding Indians, who used him
even worse than any white owners would have done, and left him the mere
fragment you saw.  He filtered back here through the exchange of
commerce, 'the higgling of the market,' and as soon as I recognized him
at the sale I made up my mind to purchase him.  So did my brother; but,
thanks to Peter and his hornets, I became Gumbo's owner.  On examining
him, after he was well washed on the night of the attack, I found this
chart, as you may call it, branded on Gumbo's back."  Here Moore made a
rapid tracing on a sheet of paper.  "I concluded that the letters S M
(introduced by my father, of course, as the Indian scroll must have been
'before letters') referred to the Sachem's Mound, which is in my land;
that the Sun above referred to the treasures of the Sun, that S C stood
for the Sachem's Cave, and that the cave led, under the river, within the
mound.  We might have opened the mound by digging on our own land, but it
would have been a long job, and must have attracted curiosity and brought
us into trouble.  So, you see, the chart Gumbo destroyed was imprinted by
my father on his black back, and though he _knew_ nothing of the secret
he distinctly _had_ it."

"Yes," said I, "but why did you ask for a razor when you were left alone
with Gumbo?"

"Why," said Moore, "I knew Gumbo was marked somewhere and somehow, but
the place and manner I didn't know.  And my father might have remembered
the dodge of Histiaeus in Herodotus: he might have shaved Gumbo's head,
tattooed the chart on that, and then allowed the natural covering to hide
the secret 'on the place where the wool ought to grow.'"



   "Titius.  Le premier qui supprime un abus, comme on dit, est toujours
   victime du service qu'il rend.

   Un Homme du Peuple.  C'est de sa faute!  Pourquoi se mele t'il de ce
   qui ne le regarde pas."--Le Pretre de Nemi.

The Devil, according to Dr. Johnson and other authorities, was the first
Whig.  History tells us less about the first Radical--the first man who
rebelled against the despotism of unintelligible customs, who asserted
the rights of the individual against the claims of the tribal conscience,
and who was eager to see society organized, off-hand, on what he thought
a rational method.  In the absence of history, we must fall back on that
branch of hypothetics which is known as prehistoric science.  We must
reconstruct the Romance of the First Radical from the hints supplied by
geology, and by the study of Radicals at large, and of contemporary
savages among whom no Radical reformer has yet appeared.  In the
following little apologue no trait of manners is invented.

The characters of our romance lived shortly after the close of the last
glacial epoch in Europe, when the ice had partly withdrawn from the face
of the world, and when land and sea had almost assumed their modern
proportions.  At this period Europe was inhabited by scattered bands of
human creatures, who roamed about its surface much as the black fellows
used to roam over the Australian continent.  The various groups derived
their names from various animals and other natural objects, such as the
sun, the cabbage, serpents, sardines, crabs, leopards, bears, and hyaenas.
It is important for our purpose to remember that all the children took
their family name from the mother's side.  If she were of the Hyaena
clan, the children were Hyaenas.  If the mother were tattooed with the
badge of the Serpent, the children were Serpents, and so on.  No two
persons of the same family name and crest might marry, on pain of death.
The man of the Bear family who dwelt by the Mediterranean might not ally
himself with a woman of the Bear clan whose home was on the shores of the
Baltic, and who was in no way related to him by consanguinity.  These
details are dry, but absolutely necessary to the comprehension of the
First Radical's stormy and melancholy career.  We must also remember
that, among the tribes, there was no fixed or monarchical government.  The
little democratic groups were much influenced by the medicine-men or
wizards, who combined the functions of the modern clergy and of the
medical profession.  The old men, too, had some power; the braves, or
warriors, constituted a turbulent oligarchy; the noisy outcries of the
old women corresponded to the utterances of an intelligent daily press.
But the real ruler was a body of strange and despotic customs, the nature
of which will become apparent as we follow the fortunes of the First


Why-Why, as our hero was commonly called in the tribe, was born, long
before Romulus built his wall, in a cave which may still be observed in
the neighbourhood of Mentone.  On the warm shores of the Mediterranean,
protected from winds by a wall of rock, the group of which Why-Why was
the offspring had attained conditions of comparative comfort.  The
remains of their dinners, many feet deep, still constitute the flooring
of the cave, and the tourist, as he pokes the soil with the point of his
umbrella, turns up bits of bone, shreds of chipped flint, and other
interesting relics.  In the big cave lived several little families, all
named by the names of their mothers.  These ladies had been knocked on
the head and dragged home, according to the marriage customs of the
period, from places as distant as the modern Marseilles and Genoa.  Why-
Why, with his little brothers and sisters, were named Serpents, were
taught to believe that the serpent was the first ancestor of their race,
and that they must never injure any creeping thing.  When they were still
very young, the figure of the serpent was tattooed over their legs and
breasts, so that every member of primitive society who met them had the
advantage of knowing their crest and highly respectable family name.

The birth of Why-Why was a season of discomfort and privation.  The hill
tribe which lived on the summit of the hill now known as the Tete du
Chien had long been aware that an addition to the population of the cave
was expected.  They had therefore prepared, according to the invariable
etiquette of these early times, to come down on the cave people, maltreat
the ladies, steal all the property they could lay hands on, and break
whatever proved too heavy to carry.  Good manners, of course, forbade the
cave people to resist this visit, but etiquette permitted (and in New
Caledonia still permits) the group to bury and hide its portable
possessions.  Canoes had been brought into the little creek beneath the
cave, to convey the women and children into a safe retreat, and the men
were just beginning to hide the spears, bone daggers, flint fish-hooks,
mats, shell razors, nets, and so forth, when Why-Why gave an early proof
of his precocity by entering the world some time before his arrival was

Instantly all was confusion.  The infant, his mother and the other non-
combatants of the tribe, were bundled into canoes and paddled, through a
tempestuous sea, to the site of the modern Bordighiera.  The men who were
not with the canoes fled into the depths of the Gorge Saint Louis, which
now severs France from Italy.  The hill tribe came down at the double,
and in a twinkling had "made hay" (to borrow a modern agricultural
expression) of all the personal property of the cave dwellers.  They tore
the nets (the use of which they did not understand), they broke the shell
razors, they pouched the opulent store of flint arrowheads and bone
daggers, and they tortured to death the pigs, which the cave people had
just begun to try to domesticate.  After performing these rites, which
were perfectly legal--indeed, it would have been gross rudeness to
neglect them--the hill people withdrew to their wind-swept home on the
Tete du Chien.

Philosophers who believe in the force of early impressions will be
tempted to maintain that Why-Why's invincible hatred of established
institutions may be traced to these hours of discomfort in which his life

The very earliest years of Why-Why, unlike those of Mr. John Stuart Mill,
whom in many respects he resembled, were not distinguished by proofs of
extraordinary intelligence.  He rather promptly, however, showed signs of
a sceptical character.  Like other sharp children, Why-Why was always
asking metaphysical conundrums.  Who made men?  Who made the sun?  Why
has the cave-bear such a hoarse voice?  Why don't lobsters grow on
trees?--he would incessantly demand.  In answer to these and similar
questions, the mother of Why-Why would tell him stories out of the simple
mythology of the tribe.  There was quite a store of traditional replies
to inquisitive children, replies sanctioned by antiquity and by the
authority of the medicine-men, and in this lore Why-Why's mother was
deeply versed.

Thus, for example, Why-Why would ask his mother who made men.  She would
reply that long ago Pund-jel, the first man, made two images of human
beings in clay, and stuck on curly bark for hair.  He then danced a
corroboree round them, and sang a song.  They rose up, and appeared as
full-grown men.  To this statement, hallowed by immemorial belief, Why-
Why only answered by asking who made Pund-jel.  His mother said that Pund-
jel came out of a plot of reeds and rushes.  Why-Why was silent, but
thought in his heart that the whole theory was "bosh-bosh," to use the
early reduplicative language of these remote times.  Nor could he conceal
his doubts about the Deluge and the frog who once drowned all the world.
Here is the story of the frog:--"Once, long ago, there was a big frog.  He
drank himself full of water.  He could not get rid of the water.  Once he
saw a sand-eel dancing on his tail by the sea-shore.  It made him laugh
so that he burst, and all the water ran out.  There was a great flood,
and every one was drowned except two or three men and women, who got on
an island.  Past came the pelican, in a canoe; he took off the men, but
wanting to marry the woman, kept her to the last.  She wrapped up a log
in a 'possum rug to deceive the pelican, and swam to shore and escaped.
The pelican was very angry; he began to paint himself white, to show that
he was on the war trail, when past came another pelican, did not like his
looks, and killed him with his beak.  That is why pelicans are partly
black and white, if you want to know, my little dear," said the mother of

Many stories like this were told in the cave, but they found no credit
with Why-Why.  When he was but ten years old, his inquiring spirit showed
itself in the following remarkable manner.  He had always been informed
that a serpent was the mother of his race, and that he must treat
serpents with the greatest reverence.  To kill one was sacrilege.  In
spite of this, he stole out unobserved and crushed a viper which had
stung his little brother.  He noticed that no harm ensued, and this
encouraged him to commit a still more daring act.  None but the old men
and the warriors were allowed to eat oysters.  It was universally held
that if a woman or a child touched an oyster, the earth would open and
swallow the culprit.  Not daunted by this prevalent belief, Why-Why one
day devoured no less than four dozen oysters, opening the shells with a
flint spear-head, which he had secreted in his waist-band.  The earth did
not open and swallow him as he had swallowed the oysters, and from that
moment he became suspicious of all the ideas and customs imposed by the
old men and wizards.

Two or three touching incidents in domestic life, which occurred when Why-
Why was about twelve years old, confirmed him in the dissidence of his
dissent, for the first Radical was the first Dissenter.  The etiquette of
the age (which survives among the Yorubas and other tribes) made it
criminal for a woman to see her husband, or even to mention his name.
When, therefore, the probable father of Why-Why became weary of
supporting his family, he did not need to leave the cave and tramp
abroad.  He merely ceased to bring in tree-frogs, grubs, roots, and the
other supplies which Why-Why's mother was accustomed to find concealed
under a large stone in the neighbourhood of the cave.

The poor pious woman, who had always religiously abstained from seeing
her lord's face, and from knowing his name, was now reduced to
destitution.  There was no one to grub up pig-nuts for her, nor to
extract insects of an edible sort from beneath the bark of trees.  As she
could not identify her invisible husband, she was unable to denounce him
to the wizards, who would, for a consideration, have frightened him out
of his life or into the performance of his duty.  Thus, even with the aid
of Why-Why, existence became too laborious for her strength, and she
gradually pined away.  As she lay in a half-fainting and almost dying
state, Why-Why rushed out to find the most celebrated local medicine-man.
In half an hour the chief medicine-man appeared, dressed in the skin of a
wolf, tagged about with bones, skulls, dead lizards, and other ornaments
of his official attire.  You may see a picture very like him in Mr.
Catlin's book about the Mandans.  Armed with a drum and a rattle, he
leaped into the presence of the sick woman, uttering unearthly yells.  His
benevolent action and "bedside manner" were in accordance with the
medical science of the time.  He merely meant to frighten away the evil
spirit which (according to the received hypothesis) was destroying the
mother of Why-Why.  What he succeeded in doing was to make Why-Why's
mother give a faint scream, after which her jaw fell, and her eyes grew
fixed and staring.

The grief of Why-Why was profound.  Reckless of consequences, he
declared, with impious publicity, that the law which forbade a wife to
see her own husband, and the medical science which frightened poor women
to death were cruel and ridiculous.  As Why-Why (though a promising
child) was still under age, little notice was taken of remarks which were
attributed to the petulance of youth.  But when he went further, and
transgressed the law which then forbade a brother to speak to his own
sister, on pain of death, the general indignation was no longer
repressed.  In vain did Why-Why plead that if he neglected his sister no
one else would comfort her.  His life was spared, but the unfortunate
little girl's bones were dug up by a German savant last year, in a
condition which makes it only too certain that cannibalism was practised
by the early natives of the Mediterranean coast.  These incidents then,
namely, the neglect of his unknown father, the death of his mother, and
the execution of his sister, confirmed Why-Why in the belief that radical
social reforms were desirable.

The coming of age of Why-Why was celebrated in the manner usual among
primitive people.  The ceremonies were not of a character to increase his
pleasure in life, nor his respect for constituted authority.  When he was
fourteen years of age, he was pinned, during his sleep, by four adult
braves, who knocked out his front teeth, shaved his head with sharp chips
of quartzite, cut off the first joint of his little finger, and daubed
his whole body over with clay.  They then turned him loose, imposing on
him his name of Why-Why; and when his shaven hair began to show through
the clay daubing, the women of the tribe washed him, and painted him
black and white.  The indignation of Why-Why may readily be conceived.
Why, he kept asking, should you shave a fellow's head, knock out his
teeth, cut off his little finger, daub him with clay, and paint him like
a pelican, because he is fourteen years old?  To these radical questions,
the braves (who had all lost their own front teeth) replied, that this
was the custom of their fathers.  They tried to console him, moreover, by
pointing out that now he might eat oysters, and catch himself a bride
from some hostile tribe, or give his sister in exchange for a wife.  This
was little comfort to Why-Why.  He had eaten oysters already without
supernatural punishment, and his sister, as we have seen, had suffered
the extreme penalty of the law.  Nor could our hero persuade himself that
to club and carry off a hostile girl in the dark was the best way to win
a loving wife.  He remained single, and became a great eater of oysters.


As time went on our hero developed into one of the most admired braves of
his community.  No one was more successful in battle, and it became
almost a proverb that when Why-Why went on the war-path there was certain
to be meat enough and to spare, even for the women.  Why-Why, though a
Radical, was so far from perfect that he invariably complied with the
usages of his time when they seemed rational and useful.  If a little
tattooing on the arm would have saved men from a horrible disease, he
would have had all the tribe tattooed.  He was no bigot.  He kept his
word, and paid his debts, for no one was ever very "advanced" all at
once.  It was only when the ceremonious or superstitious ideas of his age
and race appeared to him senseless and mischievous that he rebelled, or
at least hinted his doubts and misgivings.  This course of conduct made
him feared and hated both by the medicine-men, or clerical wizards, and
by the old women of the tribe.  They naturally tried to take their
revenge upon him in the usual way.

A charge of heresy, of course, could not well be made, for in the infancy
of our race there were neither Courts of Arches nor General Assemblies.
But it was always possible to accuse Why-Why of malevolent witchcraft.
The medicine-men had not long to wait for an opportunity.  An old woman
died, as old women will, and every one was asking "Who sent the evil
spirit that destroyed poor old Dada?"  In Why-Why's time no other
explanation of natural death by disease or age was entertained.  The old
woman's grave was dug, and all the wizards intently watched for the first
worm or insect that should crawl out of the mould.  The head-wizard soon
detected a beetle, making, as he alleged, in the direction where Why-Why
stood observing the proceedings.  The wizard at once denounced our hero
as the cause of the old woman's death.  To have blenched for a moment
would have been ruin.  But Why-Why merely lifted his hand, and in a
moment a spear flew from it which pinned his denouncer ignominiously to a
pine-tree.  The funeral of the old woman was promptly converted into a
free fight, in which there was more noise than bloodshed.  After this
event the medicine-men left Why-Why to his own courses, and waited for a
chance of turning public opinion against the sceptic.

The conduct of Why-Why was certainly calculated to outrage all
conservative feeling.  When on the war-path or in the excitement of the
chase he had even been known to address a tribesman by his name, as "Old
Cow," or "Flying Cloud," or what not, instead of adopting the orthodox
nomenclature of the classificatory system, and saying, "Third cousin by
the mother's side, thrice removed, will you lend me an arrow?" or
whatever it might be.  On "tabu-days," once a week, when the rest of the
people in the cave were all silent, sedentary, and miserable (from some
superstitious feeling which we can no longer understand), Why-Why would
walk about whistling, or would chip his flints or set his nets.  He ought
to have been punished with death, but no one cared to interfere with him.

Instead of dancing at the great "corroborees," or religious ballets of
his people, he would "sit out" with a girl whose sad, romantic history
became fatally interwoven with his own.  In vain the medicine-men assured
him that Pund-jel, the great spirit, was angry.  Why-Why was indifferent
to the thunder which was believed to be the voice of Pund-jel.  His
behaviour at the funeral of a celebrated brave actually caused what we
would call a reformation in burial ceremonies.

It was usual to lay the corpses of the famous dead in a cave, where
certain of the tribesmen were sent to watch for forty days and nights the
decaying body.  This ghastly task was made more severe by the difficulty
of obtaining food.  Everything that the watchers were allowed to eat was
cooked outside the cave with complicated ceremonies.  If any part of the
ritual was omitted, if a drop or a morsel were spilled, the whole rite
had to be done over again from the beginning.  This was not all.  The
chief medicine-man took a small portion of the meat in a long spoon, and
entered the sepulchral cavern.  In the dim light he approached one of the
watchers of the dead, danced before him, uttered a mysterious formula of
words, and made a shot at the hungry man's mouth with a long spoon.  If
the shot was straight, if the spoon did not touch the lips or nose or
mouth, the watcher made ready to receive a fresh spoonful.  But if the
attempt failed, if the spoon did not go straight to the mark, the
mourners were obliged to wait till all the cooking ceremonies were
performed afresh, when the feeding began again.

Now, Why-why was a mourner whom the chief medicine-man was anxious to
"spite," as children say, and at the end of three days' watching our hero
had not received a morsel of food.  The spoon had invariably chanced to
miss him.  On the fourth night Why-Why entertained his fellow-watchers
with a harangue on the imbecility of the whole proceeding.  He walked out
of the cave, kicked the chief medicine-man into a ravine, seized the pot
full of meat, brought it back with him, and made a hearty meal.  The
other mourners, half dead with fear, expected to see the corpse they were
"waking" arise, "girn," and take some horrible revenge.  Nothing of the
sort occurred, and the burials of the cave dwellers gradually came to be
managed in a less irksome way.


No man, however intrepid, can offend with impunity the most sacred laws
of society.  Why-Why proved no exception to this rule.  His decline and
fall date, we may almost say, from the hour when he bought a fair-haired,
blue-eyed female child from a member of a tribe that had wandered out of
the far north.  The tribe were about to cook poor little Verva because
her mother was dead, and she seemed a bouche inutile.  For the price of a
pair of shell fish-hooks, a bone dagger, and a bundle of grass-string Why-
Why (who had a tender heart) ransomed the child.  In the cave she lived
an unhappy life, as the other children maltreated and tortured her in the
manner peculiar to pitiless infancy.

Such protection as a man can give to a child the unlucky little girl
received from Why-Why.  The cave people, like most savages, made it a
rule never to punish their children.  Why-Why got into many quarrels
because he would occasionally box the ears of the mischievous imps who
tormented poor Verva, the fair-haired and blue-eyed captive from the
north.  There grew up a kind of friendship between Why-Why and the child.
She would follow him with dog-like fidelity and with a stealthy tread
when he hunted the red deer in the forests of the Alpine Maritimes.  She
wove for him a belt of shells, strung on stout fibres of grass.  In this
belt Why-Why would attend the tribal corroborees, where, as has been
said, he was inclined to "sit out" with Verva and watch, rather than join
in the grotesque dance performed as worship to the Bear.

As Verva grew older and ceased to be persecuted by the children, she
became beautiful in the unadorned manner of that early time.  Her
friendship with Why-Why began to embarrass the girl, and our hero himself
felt a quite unusual shyness when he encountered the captive girl among
the pines on the hillside.  Both these untutored hearts were strangely
stirred, and neither Why-Why nor Verva could imagine wherefore they
turned pale or blushed when they met, or even when either heard the
other's voice.  If Why-Why had not distrusted and indeed detested the
chief medicine-man, he would have sought that worthy's professional
advice.  But he kept his symptoms to himself, and Verva also pined in

These artless persons were in love without knowing it.

It is not surprising that they did not understand the nature of their
complaint, for probably before Why-Why no one had ever been in love.
Courtship had consisted in knocking a casual girl on the head in the
dark, and the only marriage ceremony had been that of capture.  Affection
on the side of the bride was out of the question, for, as we have
remarked, she was never allowed so much as to see her husband's face.
Probably the institution of falling in love has been evolved in, and has
spread from, various early centres of human existence.  Among the
primitive Ligurian races, however, Why-Why and Verva must be held the
inventors, and, alas! the protomartyrs of the passion.  Love, like
murder, "will out," and events revealed to Why-Why and Verva the true
nature of their sentiments.

It was a considerable exploit of Why-Why's that brought him and the
northern captive to understand each other.  The brother of Why-Why had
died after partaking too freely of a member of a hostile tribe.  The cave
people, of course, expected Why-Why to avenge his kinsman.  The brother,
they said, must have been destroyed by a boilya or vampire, and, as
somebody must have sent that vampire against the lad, somebody must be
speared for it.  Such are primitive ideas of medicine and justice.  An
ordinary brave would have skulked about the dwellings of some
neighbouring human groups till he got a chance of knocking over a child
or an old woman, after which justice and honour would have been
satisfied.  But Why-Why declared that, if he must spear somebody, he
would spear a man of importance.  The forms of a challenge were therefore
notched on a piece of stick, which was solemnly carried by heralds to the
most renowned brave of a community settled in the neighbourhood of the
modern San Remo.  This hero might have very reasonably asked, "Why should
I spear Why-Why because his brother over-ate himself?"  The laws of
honour, however (which even at this period had long been established),
forbade a gentleman when challenged to discuss the reasonableness of the

The champions met on a sandy plain beside a little river near the modern
Ventimiglia.  An amphitheatre of rock surrounded them, and, far beyond,
the valley was crowned by the ancient snow of an Alpine peak.  The tribes
of either party gathered in the rocky amphitheatre, and breathlessly
watched the issue of the battle.  Each warrior was equipped with a
shield, a sheaf of spears, and a heavy, pointed club.  At thirty paces
distance they began throwing, and the spectators enjoyed a beautiful
exposition of warlike skill.  Both men threw with extreme force and
deadly aim; while each defended himself cleverly with his shield.  The
spears were exhausted, and but one had pierced the thigh of Why-Why,
while his opponent had two sticking in his neck and left arm.

Then, like two meeting thunder-clouds, the champions dashed at each other
with their clubs.  The sand was whirled up around them as they spun in
the wild dance of battle, and the clubs rattled incessantly on the heads
and shields.  Twice Why-Why was down, but he rose with wonderful agility,
and never dropped his shield.  A third time he stooped beneath a
tremendous whack, but when all seemed over, grasped a handful of sand,
and flung it right in his enemy's eyes.  The warrior reeled, blinded and
confused, when Why-Why gave point with the club in his antagonist's
throat; the blood leaped out, and both fell senseless on the plain.

* * * * *

When the slow mist cleared from before the eyes of Why-Why he found
himself (he was doubtless the first hero of the many heroes who have
occupied this romantic position) stretched on a grassy bed, and watched
by the blue eyes of Verva.  Where were the sand, the stream, the hostile
warrior, the crowds of friends and foes?  It was Verva's part to explain.
The champion of the other tribe had never breathed after he received the
club-thrust, and the chief medicine-man had declared that Why-Why was
also dead.  He had suggested that both champions should be burned in the
desolate spot where they lay, that their boilyas, or ghosts, might not
harm the tribes.  The lookers-on had gone to their several and distant
caves to fetch fire for the ceremony (they possessed no means of striking
a light), and Verva, unnoticed, had lingered beside Why-Why, and laid his
bleeding head in her lap.  Why-Why had uttered a groan, and the brave
girl dragged him from the field into a safe retreat among the woods not
far from the stream.  Why-Why had been principally beaten about the head,
and his injuries, therefore, were slight.

After watching the return of the tribesmen, and hearing the chief
medicine-man explain that Why-Why's body had been carried away by "the
bad black-fellow with a tail who lives under the earth," Why-Why enjoyed
the pleasure of seeing his kinsmen and his foes leave the place to its
natural silence.  Then he found words, and poured forth his heart to
Verva.  They must never be sundered--they must be man and wife!  The girl
leaned her golden head on Why-Why's dark shoulder, and sniffed at him,
for kissing was an institution not yet evolved.  She wept.  She had a
dreadful thing to tell him,--that she could never be his.  "Look at this
mark," she said, exposing the inner side of her arm.  Why-Why looked,
shuddered, and turned pale.  On Verva's arm he recognized, almost
defaced, the same tattooed badge that wound its sinuous spirals across
his own broad chest and round his manly legs.  _It was the mark of the

Both were Serpents; both, unknown to Why-Why, though not to Verva, bore
the same name, the same badge, and, if Why-Why had been a religious man,
both would have worshipped the same reptile.  Marriage between them then
was a thing accursed; man punished it by death.  Why-Why bent his head
and thought.  He remembered all his youth--the murder of his sister for
no crime; the killing of the serpent, and how no evil came of it; the
eating of the oysters, and how the earth had not opened and swallowed
him.  His mind was made up.  It was absolutely certain that his tribe and
Verva's kin had never been within a thousand miles of each other.  In a
few impassioned words he explained to Verva his faith, his simple creed
that a thing was not necessarily wrong because the medicine-men said so,
and the tribe believed them.  The girl's own character was all
trustfulness, and Why-Why was the person she trusted.  "Oh, Why-Why,
dear," she said blushing (for she had never before ventured to break the
tribal rule which forbade calling any one by his name), "Oh, Why-Why, you
are _always_ right!"

   And o'er the hills, and far away
      Beyond their utmost purple rim,
   Beyond the night, across the day,
      Through all the world she followed him.


Two years had passed like a dream in the pleasant valley which, in far
later ages, the Romans called Vallis Aurea, and which we call Vallauris.
Here, at a distance of some thirty miles from the cave and the tribe,
dwelt in fancied concealment Why-Why and Verva.  The clear stream was
warbling at their feet, in the bright blue weather of spring; the scent
of the may blossoms was poured abroad, and, lying in the hollow of Why-
Why's shield, a pretty little baby with Why-Why's dark eyes and Verva's
golden locks was crowing to his mother.  Why-Why sat beside her, and was
busily making the first European pipkin with the clay which he had found
near Vallauris.  All was peace.

* * * * *

There was a low whizzing sound, something seemed to rush past Why-Why,
and with a scream Verva fell on her face.  A spear had pierced her
breast.  With a yell like that of a wounded lion, Why-Why threw himself
on the bleeding body of his bride.  For many moments he heard no sound
but her long, loud and unconscious breathing.  He did not mark the yells
of his tribesmen, nor feel the spears that rained down on himself, nor
see the hideous face of the chief medicine-man peering at his own.  Verva
ceased to breathe.  There was a convulsion, and her limbs were still.
Then Why-Why rose.  In his right hand was his famous club, "the watcher
of the fords;" in his left his shield.  These had never lain far from his
hand since he fled with Verva.

He knew that the end had come, as he had so often dreamt of it; he knew
that he was trapped and taken by his offended tribesmen.  His first blow
shattered the head of the chief medicine-man.  Then he flung himself, all
bleeding from the spears, among the press of savages who started from
every lentisk bush and tuft of tall flowering heath.  They gave back when
four of their chief braves had fallen, and Why-Why lacked strength and
will to pursue them.  He turned and drew Verva's body beneath the rocky
wall, and then he faced his enemies.  He threw down shield and club and
raised his hands.  A light seemed to shine about his face, and his first
word had a strange tone that caught the ear and chilled the heart of all
who heard him.  "Listen," he said, "for these are the last words of Why-
Why.  He came like the water, and like the wind he goes, he knew not
whence, and he knows not whither.  He does not curse you, for you are
that which you are.  But the day will come" (and here Why-Why's voice
grew louder and his eyes burned), "the day will come when you will no
longer be the slave of things like that dead dog," and here he pointed to
the shapeless face of the slain medicine-man.  "The day will come, when a
man shall speak unto his sister in loving kindness, and none shall do him
wrong.  The day will come when a woman shall unpunished see the face and
name the name of her husband.  As the summers go by you will not bow down
to the hyaenas, and the bears, and worship the adder and the viper.  You
will not cut and bruise the bodies of your young men, or cruelly strike
and seize away women in the darkness.  Yes, and the time will be when a
man may love a woman of the same family name as himself"--but here the
outraged religion of the tribesmen could endure no longer to listen to
these wild and blasphemous words.  A shower of spears flew out, and Why-
Why fell across the body of Verva.  His own was "like a marsh full of
reeds," said the poet of the tribe, in a song which described these
events, "so thick the spears stood in it."

* * * * *

When he was dead, the tribe knew what they had lost in Why-Why.  They
bore his body, with that of Verva, to the cave; there they laid the
lovers--Why-Why crowned with a crown of sea-shells, and with a piece of a
rare magical substance (iron) at his side. {208}  Then the tribesmen
withdrew from that now holy ground, and built them houses, and forswore
the follies of the medicine-men, as Why-Why had prophesied.  Many
thousands of years later the cave was opened when the railway to Genoa
was constructed, and the bones of Why-Why, with the crown, and the
fragment of iron, were found where they had been laid by his repentant
kinsmen.  He had bravely asserted the rights of the individual conscience
against the dictates of Society; he had lived, and loved, and died, not
in vain.  Last April I plucked a rose beside his cave, and laid it with
another that had blossomed at the door of the last house which covered
the homeless head of SHELLEY.

The prophecies of Why-Why have been partially fulfilled.  Brothers, if
they happen to be on speaking terms, may certainly speak to their
sisters, though we are still, alas, forbidden to marry the sisters of our
deceased wives.  Wives _may_ see their husbands, though in Society, they
rarely avail themselves of the privilege.  Young ladies are still
forbidden to call young men at large by their Christian names; but this
tribal law, and survival of the classificatory system, is rapidly losing
its force.  Burials in the savage manner to which Why-Why objected, will
soon, doubtless, be permitted to conscientious Nonconformists in the
graveyards of the Church of England.  The teeth of boys are still knocked
out at public and private schools, but the ceremony is neither formal nor
universal.  Our advance in liberty is due to an army of forgotten Radical
martyrs of whom we know less than we do of Mr. Bradlaugh.


When I was poor, and honest, and a novelist, I little thought that I
should ever be rich, and something not very unlike a Duke; and, as to
honesty, but an indifferent character.  I have had greatness thrust on
me.  I am, like Simpcox in the dramatis personae of "Henry IV.," "an
impostor;" and yet I scarcely know how I could have escaped this
deplorable (though lucrative) position.  "Love is a great master," says
the "Mort d'Arthur," and I perhaps may claim sympathy and pity as a
victim of love.  The following unaffected lines (in which only names and
dates are disguised) contain all the apology I can offer to a censorious

Two or three years ago I was dependent on literature for my daily bread.
I was a regular man-of-all-work.  Having the advantage of knowing a clerk
in the Foreign Office who went into society (he had been my pupil at the
university), I picked up a good deal of scandalous gossip, which I
published in the Pimlico Postboy, a journal of fashion.  I was also
engaged as sporting prophet to the Tipster, and was not less successful
than my contemporaries as a vaticinator of future events.  At the same
time I was contributing a novel (anonymously) to the Fleet Street
Magazine, a very respectable publication, though perhaps a little dull.
The editor had expressly requested me to make things rather more lively,
and I therefore gave my imagination free play in the construction of my
plot.  I introduced a beautiful girl, daughter of a preacher in the
Shaker community.  Her hand was sought in marriage by a sporting baronet,
who had seen her as he pursued the chase through the pathless glens of
the New Forest.  This baronet she married after suffering things
intolerable from the opposition of the Shakers.  Here I had a good deal
of padding about Shakers and their ways; and, near the end of the sixth
chapter my heroine became the wife of Sir William Buckley.  But the
baronet proved a perfect William Rufus for variegated and versatile
blackguardism.  Lady Buckley's life was made impossible by his abominable
conduct.  At this juncture my heroine chanced to be obliged to lunch at a
railway refreshment-room.  My last chapter had described the poor lady
lunching lonely in the bleak and gritty waiting room of Swilby Junction,
lonely except for the company of her little boy.  I showed how she fell
into a strange and morbid vein of reflection suggested by the qualities
of the local sherry.  If she was to live, her lord and master, Sir W.
Buckley, must die!  And I described how a fiendish temptation was
whispered to her by the glass of local sherry.  "William's constitution,
strong as it is," she murmured inwardly, "could never stand a dozen of
that sherry.  Suppose he chanced to partake of it--accidentally--rather
late in the evening."  Amidst these reflections I allowed the December
instalment of "The Baronet's Wife" to come to a conclusion in the Fleet
Street Magazine.  Obviously crime was in the wind.

It is my habit to read the "Agony Column" (as it is flippantly called),
the second column in the outer sheet of the Times.  Who knows but he may
there see something to his advantage; and, besides, the mysterious
advertisements may suggest ideas for plots.  One day I took up the "Agony
Column," as usual, at my club, and, to my surprise, read the following

unhallowed hand!  Would you expose an erring MOTHER'S secret?  Author
will please communicate with Messrs. Mantlepiece and Co., Solicitors,

As soon as I saw this advertisement, as soon as my eyes fell on "Sherry
Wine" and "Author," I felt that here was something for me.  "F. S. M."
puzzled me at first, but I read it Fleet Street Magazine, by a flash of
inspiration.  "Wretched Boy" seemed familiar and unappropriate--I was
twenty-nine--but what of that?  Of course I communicated with Messrs.
Mantlepiece, saying that I had reason for supposing that I was the
"author" alluded to in the advertisement.  As to the words, "Wreck of the
Jingo" they entirely beat me, but I hoped that some light would be thrown
on their meaning by the respectable firm of solicitors.  It did occur to
me that if any one had reasons for communicating with me, it would have
been better and safer to address a letter to me, under cover, to the
editor of the Fleet Street Magazine.  But the public have curious ideas
on these matters.  Two days after I wrote to Messrs. Mantlepiece I
received a very guarded reply, in which I was informed that their client
wished to make my acquaintance, and that a carriage would await me, if I
presented myself at Upton-on-the-Wold Station, by the train arriving at
5.45 on Friday.  Well, I thought to myself, I may as well do a
"week-ending," as some people call it, with my anonymous friend as
anywhere else.  At the same time I knew that the "carriage" might be
hired by enemies to convey me to the Pauper Lunatic Asylum or to West
Ham, the place where people disappear mysteriously.  I might be the
victim of a rival's jealousy (and many men, novelists of most horrible
imaginings, envied my talents and success), or a Nihilist plot might have
drawn me into its machinery.  But I was young, and I thought I would see
the thing out.  My journey was unadventurous, if you except a row with a
German, who refused to let me open the window.  But this has nothing to
do with my narrative, and is not a false scent to make a guileless reader
keep his eye on the Teuton.  Some novelists permit themselves these
artifices, which I think untradesmanlike and unworthy.  When I arrived at
Upton, the station-master made a charge at my carriage, and asked me if I
was "The gentleman for the Towers?"  The whole affair was so mysterious
that I thought it better to answer in the affirmative.  My luggage (a
Gladstone bag) was borne by four stately and liveried menials to a roomy
and magnificent carriage, in which everything, from the ducal crown on
the silver foot-warmers to the four splendid bays, breathed of opulence,
directed and animated by culture.  I dismissed all thoughts of the Pauper
Lunatic Asylum and the Nihilists, and was whirled through miles of park
and up an avenue lighted by electricity.  We reached the baronial gateway
of the Towers, a vast Gothic pile in the later manner of Inigo Jones, and
a seneschal stood at the foot of a magnificent staircase to receive me.  I
had never seen a seneschal before, but I recognized him by the peeled
white wand he carried, by his great silver chain, and his black velvet
coat and knee-breeches.

"Your lordship's room," says the seneschal (obviously an old and
confidential family servant), "is your old one--the Tapestried Chamber.
Her Grace is waiting anxiously for you."

Then two menials marched, with my Gladstone bag, to the apartment thus
indicated.  For me, I felt in a dream, or like a man caught up into the
fairyland of the "Arabian Nights."  "Her Grace" was all very well--the
aristocracy always admired my fictitious creations; but "Your Lordship!"
Why your Lordship?  Then the chilling idea occurred to me that I had
_not_ been "the gentleman for the Towers;" that I was in the position of
the hero of "Happy Thoughts" when he went to the Duke's by mistake for
the humble home of the Plyte Frazers.  But I was young.  "Her Grace"
could not eat me, and I determined, as I said before, to see it out.

I dressed very deliberately, and that process over, was led by the worthy
seneschal into a singular octagonal boudoir, hung with soft dark blue
arras.  The only person in the room was a gaunt, middle-aged lady, in
deep mourning.  Though I knew no more of the British aristocracy than Mr.
W. D. Howells, of New York, I recognized her for the Duchess by her nose,
which resembled those worn by the duchesses of Mr. Du Maurier.  As soon
as we were alone, she rose, drew me to her bosom, much to my horror,
looked at me long and earnestly, and at last exclaimed, "How changed you
are, Percy!"  (My name is Thomas--Thomas Cobson.)  Before I could reply,
she was pouring out reproaches on me for having concealed my existence,
and revealed in my novel what she spoke of as "the secret."

When she grew, not calm, but fatigued, I ventured to ask why she had
conferred on me the honour of her invitation, and how I had been
unfortunate enough to allude to affairs of which I had certainly no
knowledge.  Her reply was given with stately dignity.  "You need not
pretend," she said, "to have forgotten what I told you in this very room,
before you left England for an African tour in the Jingo.  I then
revealed to you the secret of my life, the secret of the Duke's death.
Your horror when you heard how that most unhappy man compelled me to free
myself from his tyranny, by a method which his habits rendered only too
easy--in short, by a dose of cheap sherry, was deep and natural.  Oh,
Percy, you did not kiss your mother before starting on your ill-omened
voyage.  As soon as I heard of the wreck of the Jingo, and that you were
the only passenger drowned, I recognized an artifice, un vieux truc, by
which you hoped to escape from a mother of whom you were ashamed.  You
had only pretended to be the victim of Ocean's rage!  People who are
drowned in novels always _do_ reappear: and, Percy, your mother is an old
novel-reader!  My agents have ever since been on your track, but it was
reserved for _me_ to discover the last of the Birkenheads in the
anonymous author of the 'Baronet's Wife.'  That romance, in which you
have had the baseness to use your knowledge of a mother's guilt as a
motif in your twopenny plot, unveiled to me the secret of your hidden
existence.  You must stop the story, or alter the following numbers; you
must give up your discreditable mode of life.  Heavens, that a Birkenhead
should be a literary character!  And you must resume your place in my
house and in society."

Here the Duchess of Stalybridge paused; she had quite recovered that
repose of manner and icy hauteur which, I understand, is the heritage of
the house of Birkenhead.  For my part, I had almost lost the modest
confidence which is, I believe, hereditary in the family of Cobson.  It
was a scene to make the boldest stand aghast.  Here was an unknown lady
of the highest rank confessing a dreadful crime to a total stranger, and
recognizing in that stranger her son, and the heir to an enormous
property and a title as old--as old as British dukedoms, however old they
may be.  Ouida would have said "heir to a title older than a thousand
centuries," but I doubt if the English duke is so ancient as that, or a
direct descendant of the Dukes of Edom mentioned in Holy Writ.  I began
pouring out an incoherent flood of evidence to show that I was only
Thomas Cobson, and had never been any one else, but at that moment a gong
sounded, and a young lady entered the room.  She also was dressed in
mourning, and the Duchess introduced her to me as my cousin, Miss
Birkenhead.  "Gwyneth was a child, Percy," said my august hostess, "when
you went to Africa."  I shook hands with my cousin with as much composure
as I could assume, for, to tell the truth, I was not only moved by my
recent adventures, but I had on the spot fallen hopelessly in love with
my new relative.  It was le coup de foudre of a French writer on the
affections--M. Stendhal.  Miss Birkenhead had won my heart from the first
moment of our meeting.  Why should I attempt to describe a psychological
experience as rare as instantaneous conversion, or more so?  Miss
Birkenhead was tall and dark, with a proud pale face, and eyes which
unmistakably indicated the possession of a fine sense of humour.  Proud
pale people seldom look when they first meet a total stranger--still more
a long-lost cousin--as if they had some difficulty in refraining from
mirth.  Miss Birkenhead's face was as fixed and almost as pure as marble,
but I read sympathy and amusement and kindness in her eyes.

Presently the door opened again, and an elderly man in the dress of a
priest came in.  To him I was presented--

"Your old governor, Percy."

For a moment my unhappy middle-class association made me suppose that the
elderly ecclesiastic was my "old Guv'nor,"--my father, the late Duke.  But
an instant's reflection proved to me that her Grace meant "tutor" by
governor.  I am ashamed to say that I now entered into the spirit of the
scene, shook the holy man warmly by the hand, and quoted a convenient
passage from Horace.

He appeared to fall into the trap, and began to speak of old
recollections of my boyhood.

Stately liveried menials now, greatly to my surprise, brought in tea.  I
was just declining tea (for I expected dinner in a few minutes), when a
voice (a sweet low voice) whispered--

"Take some!"

I took some, providentially, as it turned out.  Again, I was declining
tea-cake, when I could have sworn I heard the same voice (so low that it
seemed like the admonition of a passing spirit) say--

"Take some!"

I took some, for I was exceedingly hungry; and then the conversation
lapsed, began again vaguely, and lapsed again.

We all know that wretched quarter of an hour, or half hour, which
unpunctual guests make us pass in famine and fatigue while they keep
dinner waiting.  Upon my word, we waited till half-past eleven before
dinner was announced.  But for the tea, I must have perished; for, like
the butler in Sir George Dasent's novel, "I likes my meals regular."

The Duchess had obviously forgotten all about dinner.  There was a
spinning-wheel in the room, and she sat and span like an elderly Fate.
When dinner was announced at last, I began to fear it would never end.
The menu covered _both sides_ of the card.  The Duchess ate little, and
"hardly anything was drunk."  At last the ladies left us, about one in
the morning.  I saw my chance, and began judiciously to "draw" the
chaplain.  It appeared that the Duchess did not always dine at half-past
eleven.  The feast was a movable one, from eight o'clock onwards.  The
Duchess and the establishment had got into these habits during the old
Duke's time.  A very strange man the old Duke; rarely got up till eight
in the evening, often prolonged breakfast till next day.

"But I need not tell _you_ all this, Percy, my old pupil," said the
chaplain; and he winked as a clergyman ought not to wink.

"My dear sir," cried I, encouraged by this performance, "for Heaven's
sake tell me what all this means?  In this so-called nineteenth century,
in our boasted age of progress, what _does_ the Duchess mean by her
invitation to me, and by her conduct at large?  Indeed, why is _she_ at

The chaplain drew closer to me.  "Did ye ever hear of a duchess in a
madhouse?" said he; and I owned that I never had met with such an
incident in my reading (unless there is one in Webster's plays,

"Well, then, who is to make a beginning?" asked the priest.  "The Duchess
has not a relation in the world but Miss Birkenhead, the only daughter of
a son of the last Duke but one.  The late Duke was a dreadful man, and he
turned the poor Duchess's head with the life he led her.  The drowning of
her only son in the Jingo finished the business.  She has got that story
about"--(here he touched the decanter of sherry: I nodded)--"she has got
that story into her head, and she believes her son is alive; otherwise
she is as sane and unimaginative as--as--as Mr. Chaplin," said he, with a
flash of inspiration.  "Happily you are an honest man, or you seem like
one, and won't take advantage of her delusion."

This was all I could get out of the chaplain; indeed, there was no more
to be got.  I went to bed, but not to sleep.  Next day, and many other
days, I spent wrestling in argument with the Duchess.  I brought her my
certificate of baptism, my testamurs in Smalls and Greats, an old
passport, a bill of Poole's, anything I could think of to prove my
identity.  She was obdurate, and only said--"If you are not Percy, how do
you know my secret?"  I had in the meantime to alter the intended course
of my novel--"The Baronet's Wife."  The Baronet was made to become a
reformed character.  But in all those days at the lonely Towers, and in
the intervals of arguing with the poor Duchess, I could not but meet
Gwyneth Birkenhead.  We met, not as cousins, for Miss Birkenhead had only
too clearly appreciated the situation from the moment she first met me.
The old seneschal, too, was in the secret; I don't know what the rest of
the menials thought.  They were accustomed to the Duchess.  But if
Gwyneth and I did not meet as cousins, we met as light-hearted young
people, in a queer situation, and in a strange, dismal old house.

   _We_ could not in the selfsame mansion dwell
      Without some stir of heart, some malady;
   We could not sit at meals but feel how well
      It soothed each to be the other by.

Indeed _I_ could not sit at meals without being gratefully reminded of
Gwyneth's advice about "taking some" on the night of my first arrival at
the Towers.

These queer happy times ended.

One day a party of archaeologists came to visit the Towers.  They were
members of a "Society for Badgering the Proprietors of Old Houses," and
they had been lunching at Upton-on-the-Wold.  After luncheon they invaded
the Towers, personally conducted by Mr. Bulkin, a very learned historian.
Bulkin had nearly plucked me in Modern History, and when I heard his
voice afar off I arose and fled swiftly.  Unluckily the Duchess chanced,
by an unprecedented accident, to be in the library, a room which the
family never used, and which was, therefore, exhibited to curious
strangers.  Into this library Bulkin precipitated himself, followed by
his admirers, and began to lecture on the family portraits.  Beginning
with the Crusaders (painted by Lorenzo Credi) he soon got down to modern
times.  He took no notice of the Duchess, whom he believed to be a
housekeeper; but, posting himself between the unfortunate lady and the
door, gave a full account of the career of the late Duke.  This was more
than the Duchess (who knew all about the subject of the lecture) could
stand; but Mr. Bulkin, referring her to his own Appendices, finished his
address, and offered the Duchess half-a-crown as he led his troop to
other victories.  From this accident the Duchess never recovered.  Her
spirits, at no time high, sank to zero, and she soon passed peacefully
away.  She left a will in which her personal property (about 40,000
pounds a year) was bequeathed to Gwyneth, "as my beloved son, Percy, has
enough for his needs," the revenues of the dukedom of Stalybridge being
about 300,000 pounds per annum before the agricultural depression.  She
might well have thought I needed no more.  Of course I put in no claim
for these estates, messuages, farms, mines, and so forth, nor for my
hereditary ducal pension of 15,000 pounds.  But Gwyneth and I are not
uncomfortably provided for, and I no longer contribute paragraphs of
gossip to the Pimlico Postboy, nor yet do I vaticinate in the columns of
the Tipster.  Perhaps I ought to have fled from the Towers the morning
after my arrival.  And I declare that I would have fled but for Gwyneth
and "Love, that is a great Master."


The House of Strange Stories, as I prefer to call it (though it is not
known by that name in the county), seems the very place for a ghost.  Yet,
though so many peoples have dwelt upon its site and in its chambers,
though the ancient Elizabethan oak, and all the queer tables and chairs
that a dozen generations have bequeathed, might well be tenanted by
ancestral spirits, and disturbed by rappings, it is a curious fact that
there is _not_ a ghost in the House of Strange Stories.  On my earliest
visit to this mansion, I was disturbed, I own, by a not unpleasing
expectancy.  There _must_, one argued, be a shadowy lady in green in the
bedroom, or, just as one was falling asleep, the spectre of a Jesuit
would creep out of the priest's hole, where he was starved to death in
the "spacious times of great Elizabeth," and would search for a morsel of
bread.  The priest was usually starved out, sentinels being placed in all
the rooms and passages, till at last hunger and want of air would drive
the wretched man to give himself up, for the sake of change of
wretchedness.  Then perhaps he was hanged, or he "died in our hands," as
one of Elizabeth's officers euphemistically put it, when the Jesuit was
tortured to death in the Tower.  No "House of Seven Gables" across the
Atlantic can have quite such memories as these, yet, oddly enough, I do
not know of more than one ghost of a Jesuit in all England.  _He_
appeared to a learned doctor in a library, and the learned doctor
described the phantom, not long ago, in the Athenaeum.

"Does the priest of your 'priest-hole' walk?" I asked the squire one
winter evening in the House of Strange Stories.

Darkness had come to the rescue of the pheasants about four in the
afternoon, and all of us, men and women, were sitting at afternoon tea in
the firelit study, drowsily watching the flicker of the flame on the
black panelling.  The characters will introduce themselves, as they take
part in the conversation.

"No," said the squire, "even the priest does not walk.  Somehow very few
of the Jesuits have left ghosts in country houses.  They are just the
customers you would expect to 'walk,' but they don't."

There is, to be sure, one priestly ghost-story, which you may or may not
know, and I tell it here, though I don't believe it, just as I heard it
from the Bishop of Dunchester himself.  According to this most affable
and distinguished prelate, now no more, he once arrived in a large
country house shortly before dinner-time; he was led to his chamber, he
dressed, and went downstairs.  Not knowing the plan of the house, he
found his way into the library, a chamber lined with the books of many
studious generations.  Here the learned bishop remained for a few
minutes, when the gong sounded for dinner, and a domestic, entering the
apartment showed the prelate the way to the drawing-room, where the other
guests were now assembled.  The bishop, when the company appeared
complete, and was beginning to manoeuvre towards the dining-room,
addressed his host (whom we shall call Lord Birkenhead), and observed
that the ecclesiastic had not yet appeared.

"What ecclesiastic?" asked his lordship.

"The priest," replied the bishop, "whom I met in the library."

Upon this Lord Birkenhead's countenance changed somewhat, and, with a
casual remark, he put the question by.  After dinner, when the ladies had
left the men to their wine, Lord Birkenhead showed some curiosity as to
"the ecclesiastic," and learned that he had seemed somewhat shy and
stiff, yet had the air of a man just about to enter into conversation.

"At that moment," said the bishop, "I was summoned to the drawing-room,
and did not at first notice that my friend the priest had not followed
me.  He had an interesting and careworn face," added the bishop.

"You have certainly seen the family ghost," said Lord Birkenhead; "he
only haunts the library, where, as you may imagine, his retirement is but
seldom disturbed."  And, indeed, the habits of the great, in England, are
not studious, as a rule.

"Then I must return, Lord Birkenhead, to your library," said the bishop,
"and that without delay, for this appears to be a matter in which the
services of one of the higher clergy, however unworthy, may prove of
incalculable benefit."

"If I could only hope," answered Lord Birkenhead (who was a Catholic)
with a deep sigh, "that his reverence would recognize Anglican orders!"

The bishop was now, as may be fancied, on his mettle, and without further
parley, retired to the library.  The rest of the men awaited his return,
and beguiled the moments of expectation with princely havannas.

In about half an hour the bishop reappeared, and a close observer might
have detected a shade of paleness on his apostolic features, yet his face
was radiant like that of a good man who has performed a good action.
Being implored to relieve the anxiety of the company, the worthy prelate
spoke as follows:

"On entering the library, which was illuminated by a single lamp, I found
myself alone.  I drew a chair to the fire, and, taking up a volume of M.
Renan's which chanced to be lying on the table, I composed myself to
detect the sophistries of this brilliant but unprincipled writer.  Thus,
by an effort of will, I distracted myself from that state of 'expectant
attention' to which modern science attributes such phantoms and spectral
appearances as can neither be explained away by a morbid condition of the
liver, nor as caused by the common rat (Mus rattus).  I should observe by
the way," said the learned bishop, interrupting his own narrative, "that
scepticism will in vain attempt to account, by the latter cause, namely
rats, for the spectres, Lemures, simulacra, and haunted houses of the
ancient Greeks and Romans.  With these supernatural phenomena, as they
prevailed in Athens and Rome, we are well acquainted, not only from the
Mostellaria of Plautus, but from the numerous ghost-stories of Pliny,
Plutarch, the Philopseudes of Lucian, and similar sources.  But it will
at once be perceived, and admitted even by candid men of science, that
these spiritual phenomena of the classical period cannot plausibly, nor
even possibly, be attributed to the agency of rats, when we recall the
fact that the rat was an animal unknown to the ancients.  As the learned
M. Selys Longch observes in his Etudes de Micromammalogie (Paris, 1839,
p. 59), 'the origin of the rat is obscure, the one thing certain is that
the vermin was unknown to the ancients, and that it arrived in Europe,
introduced, perhaps, by the Crusaders, after the Middle Ages.'  I think,"
added the prelate, looking round, not without satisfaction, "that I have
completely disposed of the rat hypothesis, as far, at least, as the
ghosts of classical tradition are concerned."

"Your reasoning, bishop," replied Lord Birkenhead, "is worthy of your
reputation; but pray pardon the curiosity which entreats you to return
from the simulacra of the past to the ghost of the present."

"I had not long been occupied with M. Renan," said the bishop, thus
adjured, "when I became aware of the presence of another person in the
room.  I think my eyes had strayed from the volume, as I turned a page,
to the table, on which I perceived the brown strong hand of a young man.
Looking up, I beheld my friend the priest, who was indeed a man of some
twenty-seven years of age, with a frank and open, though somewhat
careworn, aspect.  I at once rose, and asked if I could be of service to
him in anything, and I trust I did not betray any wounding suspicion that
he was other than a man of flesh and blood.

"'You can, indeed, my lord, relieve me of a great burden,' said the young
man, and it was apparent enough that he _did_ acknowledge the validity of
Anglican orders.  'Will you kindly take from the shelf that volume of
Cicero "De Officiis," he said, pointing to a copy of an Elzevir variorum
edition,--not the small duodecimo Elzevir,--'remove the paper you will
find there, and burn it in the fire on the hearth.'

"'Certainly I will do as you say, but will you reward me by explaining
the reason of your request?'

"'In me,' said the appearance, 'you behold Francis Wilton, priest.  I was
born in 1657, and, after adventures and an education with which I need
not trouble you, found myself here as chaplain to the family of the Lord
Birkenhead of the period.  It chanced one day that I heard in confession,
from the lips of Lady Birkenhead, a tale so strange, moving, and, but for
the sacred circumstances of the revelation, so incredible, that my soul
had no rest for thinking thereon.  At last, neglecting my vow, and
fearful that I might become forgetful of any portion of so marvellous a
narrative, I took up my pen and committed the confession to the security
of manuscript.  Litera scripta manet.  Scarcely had I finished my unholy
task when the sound of a distant horn told me that the hunt (to which
pleasure I was passionately given) approached the demesne.  I thrust the
written confession into that volume of Cicero, hurried to the stable,
saddled my horse with my own hands, and rode in the direction whence I
heard the music of the hounds.  On my way a locked gate barred my
progress.  I put Rupert at it, he took off badly, fell, and my spirit
passed away in the fall.  But not to the place of repose did my sinful
spirit wing its flight.  I found myself here in the library, where,
naturally, scarcely any one ever comes except the maids.  When I would
implore them to destroy the unholy document that binds me to earth, they
merely scream; nor have I found any scion of the house, nor any guest,
except your lordship, of more intrepid resolution or more charitable
mood.  And now, I trust, you will release me.'

"I rose (for I had seated myself during his narrative), my heart was
stirred with pity; I took down the Cicero, and lit on a sheet of yellow
paper covered with faded manuscript, which, of course, I did not read.  I
turned to the hearth, tossed on the fire the sere old paper, which blazed
at once, and then, hearing the words pax vobiscum, I looked round.  But I
was alone.  After a few minutes, devoted to private ejaculations, I
returned to the dining-room; and that is all my story.  Your maids need
no longer dread the ghost of the library.  He is released."

"Will any one take any more wine?" asked Lord Birkenhead, in tones of
deep emotion.  "No?  Then suppose we join the ladies."

"Well," said one of the ladies, the Girton girl, when the squire had
finished the prelate's narrative, "_I_ don't call that much of a story.
What was Lady Birkenhead's confession about?  That's what one really
wants to know."

"The bishop could not possibly have read the paper," said the Bachelor of
Arts, one of the guests; "not as a gentleman, nor a bishop."

"I wish _I_ had had the chance," said the Girton girl.

"Perhaps the confession was in Latin," said the Bachelor of Arts.

The Girton girl disdained to reply to this unworthy sneer.

"I have often observed," she said in a reflective voice, "that the most
authentic and best attested bogies don't come to very much.  They appear
in a desultory manner, without any context, so to speak, and, like other
difficulties, require a context to clear up their meaning."

These efforts of the Girton girl to apply the methods of philology to
spectres, were received in silence.  The women did not understand them,
though they had a strong personal opinion about their learned author.

"The only ghost _I_ ever came across, or, rather, came within measurable
distance of, never appeared at all so far as one knew."

"Miss Lebas has a story," said the squire, "Won't she tell us her story?"

The ladies murmured, "Do, please."

"It really cannot be called a ghost-story," remarked Miss Lebas, "it was
only an uncomfortable kind of coincidence, and I never think of it
without a shudder.  But I know there is not any reason at all why it
should make any of _you_ shudder; so don't be disappointed.

"It was the Long Vacation before last," said the Girton girl, "and I went
on a reading-party to Bantry Bay, with Wyndham and Toole of Somerville,
and Clare of Lady Margaret's.  Leighton coached us."

"Dear me!  With all these young men, my dear?" asked the maiden aunt.

"They were all women of my year, except Miss Leighton of Newnham, who was
our coach," answered the Girton girl composedly.

"Dear me!  I beg your pardon for interrupting you," said the maiden aunt.

"Well, term-time was drawing near, and Bantry Bay was getting pretty
cold, when I received an invitation from Lady Garryowen to stay with them
at Dundellan on my way south.  They were two very dear, old, hospitable
Irish ladies, the last of their race, Lady Garryowen and her sister, Miss
Patty.  They were _so_ hospitable that, though I did not know it,
Dundellan was quite full when I reached it, overflowing with young
people.  The house has nothing very remarkable about it: a grey, plain
building, with remains of the chateau about it, and a high park wall.  In
the garden wall there is a small round tower, just like those in the
precinct wall at St. Andrews.  The ground floor is not used.  On the
first floor there is a furnished chamber with a deep round niche, almost
a separate room, like that in Queen Mary's apartments in Holy Rood.  The
first floor has long been fitted up as a bedroom and dressing-room, but
it had not been occupied, and a curious old spinning-wheel in the corner
(which has nothing to do with my story, if you can call it a story), must
have been unused since '98, at least.  I reached Dublin late--our train
should have arrived at half-past six--it was ten before we toiled into
the station.  The Dundellan carriage was waiting for me, and, after an
hour's drive, I reached the house.  The dear old ladies had sat up for
me, and I went to bed as soon as possible, in a very comfortable room.  I
fell asleep at once, and did not waken till broad daylight, between seven
and eight, when, as my eyes wandered about, I saw, by the pictures on the
wall, and the names on the books beside my bed, that Miss Patty must have
given up her own room to me.  I was quite sorry and, as I dressed,
determined to get her to let me change into any den rather than accept
this sacrifice.  I went downstairs, and found breakfast ready, but
neither Lady Garryowen nor Miss Patty.  Looking out of the window into
the garden, I heard, for the only time in my life, the wild Irish _keen_
over the dead, and saw the old nurse wailing and wringing her hands and
hurrying to the house.  As soon as she entered she told me, with a burst
of grief, and in language I shall not try to imitate, that Miss Patty was

"When I arrived the house was so full that there was literally no room
for me.  But 'Dundellan was never beaten yet,' the old ladies had said.
There was still the room in the tower.  But this room had such an evil
reputation for being 'haunted' that the servants could hardly be got to
go near it, at least after dark, and the dear old ladies never dreamed of
sending any of their guests to pass a bad night in a place with a bad
name.  Miss Patty, who had the courage of a Bayard, did not think twice.
She went herself to sleep in the haunted tower, and left her room to me.
And when the old nurse went to call her in the morning, she could not
waken Miss Patty.  She was dead.  Heart-disease, they called it.  Of
course," added the Girton girl, "as I said, it was only a coincidence.
But the Irish servants could not be persuaded that Miss Patty had not
seen whatever the thing was that they believed to be in the garden tower.
I don't know what it was.  You see the context was dreadfully vague, a
mere fragment."

There was a little silence after the Girton girl's story.

"I never heard before in my life," said the maiden aunt, at last, "of any
host or hostess who took the haunted room themselves, when the house
happened to be full.  They always send the stranger within their gates to
it, and then pretend to be vastly surprised when he does not have a good
night.  I had several bad nights myself once.  In Ireland too."

"Tell us all about it, Judy," said her brother, the squire.

"No," murmured the maiden aunt.  "You would only laugh at me.  There was
no ghost.  I didn't hear anything.  I didn't see anything.  I didn't even
_smell_ anything, as they do in that horrid book, 'The Haunted Hotel.'"

"Then why had you such bad nights?"

"Oh, I _felt_" said the maiden aunt, with a little shudder.

"What did _you feel_, Aunt Judy?"

"I _know_ you will laugh," said the maiden aunt, abruptly entering on her
nervous narrative.  "I felt all the time _as if somebody was looking
through the window_.  Now, you know, there _couldn't_ be anybody.  It was
in an Irish country house where I had just arrived, and my room was on
the second floor.  The window was old-fashioned and narrow, with a deep
recess.  As soon as I went to bed, my dears, I _felt_ that some one was
looking through the window, and meant to come in.  I got up, and bolted
the window, though I knew it was impossible for anybody to climb up
there, and I drew the curtains, but I could not fall asleep.  If ever I
began to dose, I would waken with a start, and turn and look in the
direction of the window.  I did not sleep all night, and next night,
though I was dreadfully tired, it was just the same thing.  So I had to
take my hostess into my confidence, though it was extremely disagreeable,
my dears, to seem so foolish.  I only told her that I thought the air, or
something, must disagree with me, for I could not sleep.  Then, as some
one was leaving the house that day, she implored me to try another room,
where I slept beautifully, and afterwards had a very pleasant visit.  But,
the day I went away, my hostess asked me if I had been kept awake by
anything in particular, for instance, by a feeling that some one was
trying to come in at the window.  Well, I admitted that I _had_ a nervous
feeling of that sort, and she said that she was very sorry, and that
every one who lay in the room had exactly the same sensation.  She
supposed they must all have heard the history of the room, in childhood,
and forgotten that they had heard it, and then been consciously reminded
of it by reflex action.  It seems, my dears, that that is the new
scientific way of explaining all these things, presentiments and dreams
and wraiths, and all that sort of thing.  We have seen them before, and
remember them without being aware of it.  So I said I'd never heard the
history of the room; but she said I _must_ have, and so must all the
people who felt as if some one was coming in by the window.  And I said
that it was rather a curious thing they should _all_ forget they knew it,
and _all_ be reminded of it without being aware of it, and that, if she
did not mind, I'd like to be reminded of it again.  So she said that
these objections had all been replied to (just as clergymen always say in
sermons), and then she told me the history of the room.  It only came to
this, that, three generations before, the family butler (whom every one
had always thought a most steady, respectable man), dressed himself up
like a ghost, or like his notion of a ghost, and got a ladder, and came
in by the window to steal the diamonds of the lady of the house, and he
frightened her to death, poor woman!  That was all.  But, ever since,
people who sleep in the room don't sleep, so to speak, and keep thinking
that some one is coming in by the casement.  That's all; and I told you
it was not an interesting story, but perhaps you will find more interest
in the scientific explanation of all these things."

The story of the maiden aunt, so far as it recounted her own experience,
did not contain anything to which the judicial faculties of the mind
refused assent.  Probably the Bachelor of Arts felt that something a good
deal more unusual was wanted, for he instantly started, without being
asked, on the following narrative:--

"I also was staying," said the Bachelor of Arts, "at the home of my
friends, the aristocracy in Scotland.  The name of the house, and the
precise rank in the peerage of my illustrious host, it is not necessary
for me to give.  All, however, who know those more than feudal and
baronial halls, are aware that the front of the castle looks forth on a
somewhat narrow drive, bordered by black and funereal pines.  On the
night of my arrival at the castle, although I went late to bed, I did not
feel at all sleepy.  Something, perhaps, in the mountain air, or in the
vicissitudes of baccarat, may have banished slumber.  I had been in luck,
and a pile of sovereigns and notes lay, in agreeable confusion, on my
dressing-table.  My feverish blood declined to be tranquillized, and at
last I drew up the blind, threw open the latticed window, and looked out
on the drive and the pine-wood.  The faint and silvery blue of dawn was
just wakening in the sky, and a setting moon hung, with a peculiarly
ominous and wasted appearance, above the crests of the forest.  But
conceive my astonishment when I beheld, on the drive, and right under my
window, a large and well-appointed hearse, with two white horses, with
plumes complete, and attended by mutes, whose black staffs were tipped
with silver that glittered pallid in the dawn.

I exhausted my ingenuity in conjectures as to the presence of this
remarkable vehicle with the white horses, so unusual, though, when one
thinks of it, so appropriate to the chariot of Death.  Could some belated
visitor have arrived in a hearse, like the lady in Miss Ferrier's novel?
Could one of the domestics have expired, and was it the intention of my
host to have the body thus honourably removed without casting a gloom
over his guests?

Wild as these hypotheses appeared, I could think of nothing better, and
was just about to leave the window, and retire to bed, when the driver of
the strange carriage, who had hitherto sat motionless, turned, and looked
me full in the face.  Never shall I forget the appearance of this man,
whose sallow countenance, close-shaven dark chin, and small, black
moustache, combined with I know not what of martial in his air, struck
into me a certain indefinable alarm.  No sooner had he caught my eye,
than he gathered up his reins, just raised his whip, and started the
mortuary vehicle at a walk down the road.  I followed it with my eyes
till a bend in the avenue hid it from my sight.  So wrapt up was my
spirit in the exercise of the single sense of vision that it was not till
the hearse became lost to view that I noticed the entire absence of sound
which accompanied its departure.  Neither had the bridles and trappings
of the white horses jingled as the animals shook their heads, nor had the
wheels of the hearse crashed upon the gravel of the avenue.  I was
compelled by all these circumstances to believe that what I had looked
upon was not of this world, and, with a beating heart, I sought refuge in

"Next morning, feeling far from refreshed, I arrived among the latest at
a breakfast which was a desultory and movable feast.  Almost all the men
had gone forth to hill, forest, or river, in pursuit of the furred,
finned, or feathered denizens of the wilds--"

"You speak," interrupted the schoolboy, "like a printed book!  I like to
hear you speak like that.  Drive on, old man!  Drive on your hearse!"

The Bachelor of Arts "drove on," without noticing this interruption.  "I
tried to 'lead up' to the hearse," he said, "in conversation with the
young ladies of the castle.  I endeavoured to assume the languid and
preoccupied air of the guest who, in ghost-stories, has had a bad night
with the family spectre.  I drew the conversation to the topic of
apparitions, and even to warnings of death.  I knew that every family
worthy of the name has its omen: the Oxenhams a white bird, another house
a brass band, whose airy music is poured forth by invisible performers,
and so on.  Of course I expected some one to cry, 'Oh, _we've_ got a
hearse with white horses,' for that is the kind of heirloom an ancient
house regards with complacent pride.  But nobody offered any remarks on
the local omen, and even when I drew near the topic of _hearses_, one of
the girls, my cousin, merely quoted, 'Speak not like a death's-head, good
Doll' (my name is Adolphus), and asked me to play at lawn-tennis.

In the evening, in the smoking-room, it was no better, nobody had ever
heard of an omen in this particular castle.  Nay, when I told my story,
for it came to that at last, they only laughed at me, and said I must
have dreamed it.  Of course I expected to be wakened in the night by some
awful apparition, but nothing disturbed me.  I never slept better, and
hearses were the last things I thought of during the remainder of my
visit.  Months passed, and I had almost forgotten the vision, or dream,
for I began to feel apprehensive that, after all, it _was_ a dream.  So
costly and elaborate an apparition as a hearse with white horses and
plumes complete, could never have been got up, regardless of expense, for
one occasion only, and to frighten one undergraduate, yet it was certain
that the hearse was not 'the old family coach.'  My entertainers had
undeniably never heard of it in their lives before.  Even tradition at
the castle said nothing of a spectral hearse, though the house was
credited with a white lady deprived of her hands, and a luminous boy.

Here the Bachelor of Arts paused, and a shower of chaff began.

"Is that really all?" asked the Girton girl.

"Why, this is the third ghost-story to-night without any ghost in it!"

"I don't remember saying that it _was_ a ghost-story," replied the
Bachelor of Arts; "but I thought a little anecdote of a mere 'warning'
might not be unwelcome."

"But where does the warning come in?" asked the schoolboy.

"That's just what I was arriving at," replied the narrator, "when I was
interrupted with as little ceremony as if I had been Mr. Gladstone in the
middle of a most important speech.  I was going to say that, in the
Easter Vacation after my visit to the castle, I went over to Paris with a
friend, a fellow of my college.  We drove to the Hotel d'Alsace (I
believe there is no hotel of that name; if there is, I beg the spirited
proprietor's pardon, and assure him that nothing personal is intended).
We marched upstairs with our bags and baggage, and jolly high stairs they
were.  When we had removed the soil of travel from our persons, my friend
called out to me, 'I say, Jones, why shouldn't we go down by the lift.'
{256}  'All right,' said I, and my friend walked to the door of the
mechanical apparatus, opened it, and got in.  I followed him, when the
porter whose business it is to 'personally conduct' the inmates of the
hotel, entered also, and was closing the door.

"His eyes met mine, and I knew him in a moment.  I had seen him once
before.  His sallow face, black, closely shaven chin, furtive glance, and
military bearing, were the face and the glance and bearing of the driver
of that awful hearse!

"In a moment--more swiftly than I can tell you--I pushed past the man,
threw open the door, and just managed, by a violent effort, to drag my
friend on to the landing.  Then the lift rose with a sudden impulse, fell
again, and rushed, with frightful velocity, to the basement of the hotel,
whence we heard an appalling crash, followed by groans.  We rushed
downstairs, and the horrible spectacle of destruction that met our eyes I
shall never forget.  The unhappy porter was expiring in agony; but the
warning had saved my life and my friend's."

"_I was that friend_," said I--the collector of these anecdotes; "and so
far I can testify to the truth of Jones's story."

At this moment, however, the gong for dressing sounded, and we went to
our several apartments, after this emotional specimen of "Evenings at


"What we suffer from most," said the spectre, when I had partly recovered
from my fright, "is a kind of aphasia."

The spectre was sitting on the armchair beside my bed in the haunted room
of Castle Perilous.

"I don't know," said I, as distinctly as the chattering of my teeth would
permit, "that I quite follow you.  Would you mind--excuse me--handing me
that flask which lies on the table near you. . . .  Thanks."

The spectre, without stirring, so arranged the a priori sensuous schemata
of time and space {261} that the silver flask, which had been well out of
my reach, was in my hand.  I poured half the contents into a cup and
offered it to him.

"No spirits," he said curtly.

I swallowed eagerly the heady liquor, and felt a little more like myself.

"You were complaining," I remarked, "of something like aphasia?"

"I was," he replied.  "You know what aphasia is in the human subject?  A
paralysis of certain nervous centres, which prevents the patient, though
perfectly sane, from getting at the words which he intends to use, and
forces others upon him.  He may wish to observe that it is a fine
morning, and may discover that his idea has taken the form of an
observation about the Roman Calendar under the Emperor Justinian.  That
is aphasia, and we suffer from what, I presume, is a spiritual
modification of that disorder."

"Yet to-night," I responded, "you are speaking like a printed book."

"To-night," said the spectre, acknowledging the compliment with a bow,
"the conditions are peculiarly favourable."

"Not to _me_," I thought, with a sigh.

"And I am able to manifest myself with unusual clearness."

"Then you are not always in such form as I am privileged to find you in?"
I inquired.

"By no means," replied the spectre.  "Sometimes I cannot appear worth a
cent.  Often I am invisible to the naked eye, and even quite
indiscernible by any of the senses.  Sometimes I can only rap on the
table, or send a cold wind over a visitor's face, or at most pull off his
bedclothes (like the spirit which appeared to Caligula, and is mentioned
by Suetonius) and utter hollow groans."

"That's exactly what you _did_," I said, "when you wakened me.  I thought
I should have died."

"I can't say how distressed I am," answered the spectre.  "It is just an
instance of what I was trying to explain.  We don't know how we are going
to manifest ourselves."

"Don't apologize," I replied, "for a constitutional peculiarity.  To what
do you attribute your success to night?"

"Partly to your extremely receptive condition, partly to the whisky you
took in the smoking-room, but chiefly to the magnetic environment."

"Then you do not suffer at all from aphasia just now?"

"Not a touch of it at this moment, thank you; but, as a rule, we all _do_
suffer horribly.  This accounts for everything that you embodied spirits
find remarkable and enigmatic in our conduct.  We _mean_ something,
straight enough; but our failure is in expression.  Just think how often
you go wrong yourselves, though _your_ spirits have a brain to play on,
like the musician with a piano.  Now _we_ have to do as well as we can
without any such mechanical advantage as a brain of cellular tissue"--here
he suddenly took the form of a white lady with a black sack over her
head, and disappeared in the wainscot.

"Excuse me," he said a moment afterwards, quite in his ordinary voice, "I
had a touch of it, I fancy.  I lost the thread of my argument, and am
dimly conscious of having expressed myself in some unusual and more or
less incoherent fashion.  I hope it was nothing at all vulgar or

"Nothing out of the way in haunted houses, I assure you," I replied,
"merely a white lady with a black sack over her head."

"Oh, _that_ was it," he answered with a sigh; "I often am afflicted in
that way.  Don't mind me if I turn into a luminous boy, or a very old man
in chains, or a lady in a green gown and high-heeled shoes, or a headless
horseman, or a Mauth hound, or anything of that sort.  They are all quite
imperfect expressions of our nature,--symptoms, in short, of the malady I

"Then the appalling manifestations to which you allude are not the
apparitions of the essential ghost?  It is not in those forms that he
appears among his friends?"

"Certainly not," said the spectre; "and it would be very promotive of
good feeling between men and disembodied spirits if this were more
generally known.  I myself--"

Here he was interrupted by an attack of spirit rappings.  A brisk series
of sharp faint taps, of a kind I never heard before, resounded from all
the furniture of the room. {265}  While the disturbance continued, the
spectre drummed nervously with his fingers on his knee.  The sounds ended
as suddenly as they had begun, and he expressed his regrets.  "It is a
thing I am subject to," he remarked; "nervous, I believe, but, to persons
unaccustomed to it, alarming."

"It _is_ rather alarming," I admitted.

"A mere fit of sneezing," he went on; "but you are now able to judge,
from the events of to-night, how extremely hard it is for us, with the
best intentions, to communicate coherently with the embodied world.  Why,
there is the Puddifant ghost--in Lord Puddifant's family, you know: _he_
has been trying for generations to inform his descendants that the
drainage of the castle is execrable.  Yet he can never come nearer what
he means than taking the form of a shadowy hearse-and-four, and driving
round and round Castle Puddifant at midnight.  And old Lady Wadham's
ghost, what a sufferer that woman is!  She merely desires to remark that
the family diamonds, lost many years ago, were never really taken abroad
by the valet and sold.  He only had time to conceal them in a secret
drawer behind the dining-room chimney-piece.  Now she can get no nearer
expressing herself than producing a spirited imitation of the music of
the bagpipes, which wails up and down the house, and frightens the
present Sir Robert Wadham and his people nearly out of their wits.  And
that's the way with almost all of us: there is literally no connection
(as a rule) between our expressions and the things we intend to express.
You know how the Psychical Society make quite a study of rappings, and
try to interpret them by the alphabet?  Well, these, as I told you, are
merely a nervous symptom; annoying, no doubt, but not dangerous.  The
only spectres, almost, that manage to hint what they really mean are

"_They_ intend to herald an approaching death?" I asked.

"They do, and abominably bad taste I call it, unless a man has neglected
to insure his life, and _then_ I doubt if a person of honour could make
use of information from--from that quarter.  Banshees are chiefly the
spectres of attached and anxious old family nurses, women of the lower
orders, and completely destitute of tact.  I call a Banshee rather a
curse than a boon and a blessing to men.  Like most old family servants,
they are apt to be presuming."

It occurred to me that the complacent spectre himself was not an unmixed
delight to the inhabitants of Castle Perilous, or at least to their
guests, for they never lay in the Green Chamber themselves.

"Can nothing be done," I asked sympathetically, "to alleviate the
disorders which you say are so common and distressing?"

"The old system of spiritual physic," replied the spectre, "is obsolete,
and the holy-water cure, in particular, has almost ceased to number any
advocates, except the Rev. Dr F. G. Lee, whose books," said this candid
apparition, "appear to me to indicate superstitious credulity.  No, I
don't know that any new discoveries have been made in this branch of
therapeutics.  In the last generation they tried to bolt me with a
bishop: like putting a ferret into a rabbit-warren, you know.  Nothing
came of _that_, and lately the Psychical Society attempted to ascertain
my weight by an ingenious mechanism.  But they prescribed nothing, and
made me feel so nervous that I was rapping at large, and knocking
furniture about for months.  The fact is that nobody understands the
complaint, nor can detect the cause that makes the ghost of a man who was
perfectly rational in life behave like an uneducated buffoon afterwards.
The real reason, as I have tried to explain to you, is a solution of
continuity between subjective thought and will on the side of the
spectre, and objective expression of them--confound it--"

Here he vanished, and the sound of heavy feet was heard promenading the
room, and balls of incandescent light floated about irresolutely,
accompanied by the appearance of a bearded man in armour.  The door
(which I had locked and bolted before going to bed) kept opening and
shutting rapidly, so as to cause a draught, and my dog fled under the bed
with a long low howl.

"I do hope," remarked the spectre, presently reappearing, "that these
interruptions (only fresh illustrations of our malady) have not
frightened your dog into a fit.  I have known very valuable and attached
dogs expire of mere unreasoning terror on similar unfortunate occasions."

"I'm sure I don't wonder at it," I replied; "but I believe Bingo is still
alive; in fact, I hear him scratching himself."

"Would you like to examine him?" asked the spectre.

"Oh, thanks, I am sure he is all right," I answered (for nothing in the
world would have induced me to get out of bed while he was in the room).
"Do you object to a cigarette?"

"Not at all, not at all; but Lady Perilous, I assure you, is a very old
fashioned chatelaine.  However, if _you_ choose to risk it--"

I found my cigarette-case in my hand, opened it, and selected one of its
contents, which I placed between my lips.  As I was looking round for a
match-box, the spectre courteously put his forefinger to the end of the
cigarette, which lighted at once.

"Perhaps you wonder," he remarked, "why I remain at Castle Perilous, the
very one of all my places which I never could bear while I was alive--as
you call it?"

"I had a delicacy about asking," I answered.

"Well," he continued, "I am the family genius."

"I might have guessed _that_," I said.

He bowed and went on.  "It is hereditary in our house, and I hold the
position of genius till I am relieved.  For example, when the family want
to dig up the buried treasure under the old bridge, I thunder and lighten
and cause such a storm that they desist."

"Why on earth do you do _that_?" I asked.  "It seems hardly worth while
to have a genius at all."

"In the interests of the family morality.  The money would soon go on the
turf, and on dice, drink, etc., if they excavated it; and then I work the
curse, and bring off the prophecies, and so forth."

"What prophecies?"

"Oh, the rigmarole the old family seer came out with before they burned
him for an unpalatable prediction at the time of the '15.  He was very
much vexed about it, of course, and he just prophesied any nonsense of a
disagreeable nature that came into his head.  You know what these crofter
fellows are--ungrateful, vindictive rascals.  He had been in receipt of
outdoor relief for years.  Well, he prophesied stuff like this: 'When the
owl and the eagle meet on the same blasted rowan tree, then a lassie in a
white hood from the east shall make the burn of Cross-cleugh run full
red,' and drivel of that insane kind.  Well, you can't think what trouble
that particular prophecy gave me.  It had to be fulfilled, of course, for
the family credit, and I brought it off as near as, I flatter myself, it
could be done."

"Lady Perilous was telling me about it last night," I said, with a
shudder.  "It was a horrible affair,"

"Yes, no doubt, no doubt; a cruel business!  But how I am to manage some
of them I'm sure _I_ don't know.  There's one of them in rhyme.  Let me
see, how does it go?

   "'When Mackenzie lies in the perilous ha',
   The wild Red Cock on the roof shall craw,
   And the lady shall flee ere the day shall daw,
   And the land shall girn in the deed man's thraw.'

"The 'crowing of the wild Red Cock' means that the castle shall be burned
down, of course (I'm beginning to know his style by this time), and the
lady is to elope, and the laird--that's Lord Perilous--is to expire in
the 'deed man's thraw': that is the name the old people give the Secret
Room.  And all this is to happen when a Mackenzie, a member of a clan
with which we are at feud, sleeps in the Haunted Chamber--where we are
just now.  By the way, what is _your_ name?"

I don't know what made me reply, "Allan Mackenzie."  It was true, but it
was not politic.

"By Jove!" said the spectre, eagerly.  "Here's a chance!  I don't suppose
a Mackenzie has slept here for those hundred years.  And now, how is it
to be done?  Setting fire to the castle is simple"--here I remembered how
he had lighted my cigarette--"but who on earth is to elope with Lady
Perilous?  She's fifty if she's a day, and evangelical a tout casser!  Oh
no; the thing is out of the question.  It really must be put off for
another generation or two.  There is no hurry."

I felt a good deal relieved.  He was clearly a being of extraordinary
powers, and might, for anything I knew, have made _me_ run away with Lady
Perilous.  And then, when the pangs of remorse began to tell on her
ladyship, never a very lively woman at the best of times--However, the
spectre seemed to have thought better of it.

"Don't you think it is rather hard on a family," I asked, "to have a
family genius, and prophecies, and a curse, and--"

"And everything handsome about them," he interrupted me by exclaiming;
"and you call yourself a Mackenzie of Megasky!  What has become of family
pride?  Why, you yourselves have Gruagach of the Red Hand in the hall,
and he, I can tell you, is a very different sort of spectre from _me_.
Pre-Christian, you know--one of the oldest ghosts in Ross-shire.  But as
to 'hard on a family,' why, noblesse oblige."

"Considering that you are the family genius, you don't seem to have
brought them much luck," I put in, for the house of Perilous is neither
rich in gold nor very distinguished in history.

"Yes, but just think what they would have been without a family genius,
if they are what they are with one!  Besides, the prophecies are really
responsible," he added, with the air of one who says, "I have a
partner--Mr. Jorkins."

"Do you mind telling me one thing?" I asked eagerly.  "What is the
mystery of the Secret Chamber--I mean the room whither the heir is taken
when he comes of age, and he never smiles again, nor touches a card
except at baccarat?"

"Never smiles _again_!" said the spectre.  "Doesn't he?  Are you quite
certain that he ever smiled _before_?"

This was a new way of looking at the question, and rather disconcerted

"I did not know the Master of Perilous before he came of age," said I;
"but I have been here for a week, and watched him and Lord Perilous, and
I never observed a smile wander over their lips.  And yet little
Tompkins" (he was the chief social buffoon of the hour) "has been in
great force, and I may say that I myself have occasionally provoked a
grin from the good-natured."

"That's just it," said the spectre.  "The Perilouses have no sense of
humour--never had.  I am entirely destitute of it myself.  Even in
Scotland, even _here_, this family failing has been remarked--been the
subject, I may say, of unfavourable comment.  The Perilous of the period
lost his head because he did not see the point of a conundrum of
Macbeth's.  We felt, some time in the fifteenth century, that this
peculiarity needed to be honourably accounted for, and the family
developed that story of the Secret Chamber, and the Horror in the house.
There is nothing in the chamber whatever,--neither a family idiot aged
three hundred years, nor a skeleton, nor the devil, nor a wizard, nor
missing title-deeds.  The affair is a mere formality to account
creditably for the fact that we never see anything to laugh at--never see
the joke.  Some people can't see ghosts, you know" (lucky people! thought
I), "and some can't see jokes."

"This is very disappointing," I said.

"I can't help it," said the spectre; "the truth often is.  Did you ever
hear the explanation of the haunted house in Berkeley Square?"

"Yes," said I.  "The bell was heard to ring thrice with terrific
vehemence, and on rushing to the fatal scene they found him beautiful in

"Fudge!" replied the spectre.  "The lease and furniture were left to an
old lady, who was not to underlet the house nor sell the things.  She had
a house of her own in Albemarle Street which she preferred, and so the
house in Berkeley Square was never let till the lease expired.  That's
the whole affair.  The house was empty, and political economists could
conceive no reason for the waste of rent except that it was haunted.  The
rest was all Miss Broughton's imagination, in 'Tales for Christmas Eve.'"

He had evidently got on his hobby, and was beginning to be rather
tedious.  The contempt which a genuine old family ghost has for mere
parvenus and impostors is not to be expressed in mere words apparently,
for Mauth-hounds of prodigious size and blackness, with white birds, and
other disastrous omens, now began to display themselves profusely in the
Haunted Chamber.  Accustomed as I had become to regard all these
appearances as mere automatic symptoms, I confess that I heard with
pleasure the crow of a distant cock.

"You have enabled me to pass a most instructive evening, most agreeable,
too, I am sure," I remarked to the spectre, "but you will pardon me for
observing that the first cock has gone.  Don't let me make you too late
for any appointment you may have about this time--anywhere."

"Oh, you still believe in that old superstition about cock-crow, do you?"
he sneered.  "'I thought you had been too well educated.  'It faded on
the crowing of the cock,' did it, indeed, and that in Denmark too,--almost
within the Arctic Circle!  Why, in those high latitudes, and in summer, a
ghost would not have an hour to himself on these principles.  Don't you
remember the cock Lord Dufferin took North with him, which crowed at
sunrise, and ended by crowing without intermission and going mad, when
the sun did not set at all?  You must observe that any rule of that sort
about cock-crow would lead to shocking irregularities, and to an early-
closing movement for spectres in summer, which would be ruinous to
business--simply ruinous--and, in these days of competition,

This was awful, for I could see no way of getting rid of him.  He might
stay to breakfast, or anything.

"By the way," he asked, "who does the Cock at the Lyceum just now?  It is
a small but very exacting part--'Act I. scene I.  Cock crows.'"

"I believe Mr. Irving has engaged a real fowl, to crow at the right
moment behind the scenes," I said.  "He is always very particular about
these details.  Quite right too.  'The Cock, by kind permission of the
Aylesbury Dairy Company,' is on the bills.  They have no Cock at the
Francais; Mounet Sully would not hear of it."

I knew nothing about it, but if this detestable spectre was going to
launch out concerning art and the drama there would be no sleep for me.

"Then the glow-worm," he said--"have they a real glow-worm for the
Ghost's 'business' (Act I. scene 5) when he says?--

         "'Fare thee well at once,
   The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
   And 'gins to pale his ineffectual fire.'

Did it ever strike you how inconsistent that is?  Clearly the ghost
appeared in winter; don't you remember how they keep complaining of the

   "'For this relief much thanks; 'tis bitter cold,'


   "'The air bites shrewdly: it is very cold.'"

"Horatio blows on his hands to warm them, at the Francais," I

"Quite right; good business," said he; "and yet they go on about the glow-
worms in the neighbourhood!  Most incongruous.  How does Furnivall take
it?  An interpolation by Middleton?"

I don't like to be rude, but I admit that I hate being bothered about
Shakespeare, and I yawned.

"Good night," he said snappishly, and was gone.

Presently I heard him again, just as I was dropping into a doze.

"You won't think, in the morning, that this was all a dream, will you?
Can I do anything to impress it on your memory?  Suppose I shrivel your
left wrist with a touch of my hand?  Or shall I leave 'a sable score of
fingers four' burned on the table?  Something of that sort is usually

"Oh, _pray_ don't take the trouble," I said.  "I'm sure Lady Perilous
would not like to have the table injured, and she might not altogether
believe my explanation.  As for myself, I'll be content with your word
for it that you were really here.  Can I bury your bones for you, or
anything?  Very well, as you _must_ be off, good night!"

"No, thanks," he replied.  "By the way, I've had an idea about my
apparitions in disguise.  Perhaps it is my 'Unconscious Self' that does
them.  You have read about the 'Unconscious Self' in the Spectator?"

Then he really went.

A nun in grey, who moaned and wrung her hands, remained in the room for a
short time, but was obviously quite automatic.

I slept till the hot water was brought in the morning.


In the post-Christian myths of the Teutonic race settled in England, no
figure appears more frequently and more mysteriously than that of
Gladstone or Mista Gladstone.  To unravel the true germinal conception of
Gladstone, and to assign to all the later accretions of myth their
provenance and epoch, are the problems attempted in this chapter.  It is
almost needless (when we consider the perversity of men and the lasting
nature of prejudice) to remark that some still see in Gladstone a shadowy
historical figure.  Just as our glorious mythical Bismarck has been
falsely interpreted as the shadowy traditional Arminius (the Arminius of
Tacitus, not of Leo Adolescens), projected on the mists of the Brocken,
so Gladstone has been recognized as a human hero of the Fourth Dynasty.
In this capacity he has been identified with Gordon (probably the north
wind), with Spurgeon, {284} whom I have elsewhere shown to be a river
god, and with Livingstone.  In the last case the identity of the suffix
"stone," and the resemblance of the ideas of "joy" and of "vitality,"
lend some air of speciousness to a fundamental error.  Livingstone is
ohne zweifel, a mythical form of the midnight sun, now fabled to wander
in the "Dark Continent," as Bishop of Natal, the land of the sun's
birthplace, now alluded to as lost in the cloud-land of comparative
mythology.  Of all these cobwebs spun by the spiders of sciolism, the
Euhemeristic or Spencerian view--that Gladstone is an historical
personage--has attracted most attention.  Unluckily for its advocates,
the whole contemporary documents of the Victorian Dynasty have perished.
When an over-educated and over-rated populace, headed by two mythical
figures, Wat Tyler and one Jo, {285a} rose in fury against the School
Boards and the Department, they left nothing but tattered fragments of
the literature of the time.  Consequently we are forced to reconstruct
the Gladstonian myth by the comparative method--that is, by comparing the
relics of old Ritual treatises, hymns, imprecations, and similar
religious texts, with works of art, altars, and statues, and with popular
traditions and folklore.  The results, again, are examined in the light
of the Vedas, the Egyptian monuments, and generally of everything that,
to the unscientific eye, seems most turbidly obscure in itself, and most
hopelessly remote from the subject in hand.  The aid of Philology will
not be rejected because Longus, or Longinus, has {285b} meanly argued
that her services must be accepted with cautious diffidence.  On the
contrary, Philology is the only real key to the labyrinths of
post-Christian myth.

The philological analysis of the name of Gladstone is attempted, with
very various results, by Roth, Kuhn, Schwartz, and other contemporary
descendants of the old scholars.  Roth finds in "Glad" the Scotch word
"gled," a hawk or falcon.  He then adduces the examples of the
Hawk-Indra, from the Rig Veda, and of the Hawk-headed Osiris, both of
them indubitably personifications of the sun.  On the other hand, Kuhn,
with Schwartz, fixes his attention on the suffix "stone," and quotes,
from a fragment attributed to Shakespeare, "the all-dreaded
thunder-stone."  Schwartz and Kuhn conclude, in harmony with their
general system, that Gladstone is really and primarily the thunderbolt,
and secondarily the spirit of the tempest.  They quote an isolated line
from an early lay about the "Pilot who weathered the storm," which they
apply to Gladstone in his human or political aspect, when the
storm-spirit had been anthropomorphised, and was regarded as an ancestral
politician.  But such scanty folklore as we possess assures us that the
storm, on the other hand, weathered Gladstone; and that the poem quoted
refers to quite another person, also named William, and probably
identical with William Tell--that is, with the sun, which of course
brings us back to Roth's view of the hawk, or solar Gladstone, though
this argument in his own favour has been neglected by the learned
mythologist.  He might also, if he cared, adduce the solar stone of
Delphi, fabled to have been swallowed by Cronus.  Kuhn, indeed, lends an
involuntary assent to this conclusion (Ueber Entwick. der Myth.) when he
asserts that the stone swallowed by Cronus was the setting sun.  Thus we
have only to combine our information to see how correct is the view of
Roth, and how much to be preferred to that of Schwartz and Kuhn.
Gladstone, philologically considered, is the "hawkstone," combining with
the attributes of the Hawk-Indra and Hawk-Osiris those of the Delphian
sun-stone, which we also find in the Egyptian Ritual for the Dead. {287}
The ludicrous theory that Gladstone is a territorial surname, derived
from some place ("Gledstane" Falkenstein), can only be broached by men
ignorant of even the grammar of science; dabblers who mark with a pencil
the pages of travellers and missionaries.  We conclude, then, that
Gladstone is, primarily, the hawk-sun, or sun-hawk.

From philology we turn to the examination of literary fragments, which
will necessarily establish our already secured position (that Gladstone
is the sun), or so much the worse for the fragments.  These have reached
us in the shape of burned and torn scraps of paper, covered with printed
texts, which resolve themselves into hymns, and imprecations or curses.
It appears to have been the custom of the worshippers of Gladstone to
salute his rising, at each dawn, with printed outcries of adoration and
delight, resembling in character the Osirian hymns.  These are sometimes
couched in rhythmical language, as when we read--

   "[Gla] dstone, the pillar of the People's hopes,"--

to be compared with a very old text, referring obscurely to "the People's
William," and "a popular Bill," doubtless one and the same thing, as has
often been remarked.  Among the epithets of Gladstone which occur in the
hymns, we find "versatile," "accomplished," "philanthropic," "patriotic,"
"statesmanlike," "subtle," "eloquent," "illustrious," "persuasive,"
"brilliant," "clear," "unambiguous," "resolute."  All of those are
obviously intelligible only when applied to the sun.  At the same time we
note a fragmentary curse of the greatest importance, in which Gladstone
is declared to be the beloved object of "the Divine Figure from the
North," or "the Great White Czar."  This puzzled the learned, till a
fragment of a mythological disquisition was recently unearthed.  In this
text it was stated, on the authority of Brinton, that "the Great White
Hare" worshipped by the Red Indians was really, when correctly
understood, the Dawn.  It is needless to observe (when one is addressing
students) that "Great White Hare" (in Algonkin, Manibozho) becomes Great
White Czar in Victorian English.  Thus the Divine Figure from the North,
or White Czar, with whom Gladstone is mythically associated, turns out to
be the Great White Hare, or Dawn Hero, of the Algonkins.  The sun
(Gladstone) may naturally and reasonably be spoken of in mythical
language as the "Friend of the Dawn."  This proverbial expression came to
be misunderstood, and we hear of a Liberal statesman, Gladstone, and of
his affection for a Russian despot.  The case is analogous to Apollo's
fabled love for Daphne = Dahana, the Dawn.  While fragments of laudatory
hymns are common enough, it must not be forgotten that dirges or curses
(Dirae) are also discovered in the excavations.  These Dirae were put
forth both morning and evening, and it is interesting to note that the
imprecations vented at sunset ("evening papers," in the old mythical
language) are even more severe and unsparing than those uttered ("morning
papers") at dawn.

How are the imprecations to be explained?  The explanation is not
difficult, nothing _is_ difficult--to a comparative mythologist.
Gladstone is the sun, the enemy of Darkness.  But Darkness has her
worshippers as well as Light.  Set, no less than Osiris, was adored in
the hymns of Egypt, perhaps by kings of an invading Semitic tribe.  Now
there can be no doubt that the enemies of Gladstone, the Rishis, or hymn-
writers who execrated him, were regarded by his worshippers as a darkened
class, foes of enlightenment.  They are spoken of as "the stupid party,"
as "obscurantist," and so forth, with the usual amenity of theological
controversy.  It would be painful, and is unnecessary, to quote from the
curses, whether matins or vespers, of the children of night.  Their
language is terribly severe, and, doubtless, was regarded as blasphemy by
the sun-worshippers.  Gladstone is said to have "no conscience," "no
sense of honour," to be so fugitive and evasive in character, that one
might almost think the moon, rather than the sun, was the topic under
discussion.  But, as Roth points out, this is easily explained when we
remember the vicissitudes of English weather, and the infrequent
appearances of the sun in that climate.  By the curses, uttered as they
were in the morning, when night has yielded to the star of day, and at
evening, when day is, in turn, vanquished by night, our theory of the sun
Gladstone is confirmed beyond reach of cavil; indeed, the solar theory is
no longer a theory, but a generally recognized fact.

Evidence, which is bound to be confirmatory, reaches us from an altar and
from works of art.  The one altar of Gladstone is by some explained as
the pedestal of his statue, while the anthropological sciolists regard it
simply as a milestone!  In speaking to archaeologists it is hardly
necessary even to touch on this preposterous fallacy, sufficiently
confuted by the monument itself.

On the road into western England, between the old sites of Bristol and
London, excavations recently laid bare the very interesting monument
figured here.

[Sketch of monument: image1.jpg]

Though some letters or hieroglyphs are defaced, there can be no doubt
that the inscription is correctly read G. O. M.  The explanation which I
have proposed (Zeitschrift fur Ang. Ant) is universally accepted by
scholars.  I read Gladstonio Optimo Maximo, "To Gladstone, Best and
Greatest," a form of adoration, or adulation, which survived in England
(like municipal institutions, the game laws, and trial by jury) from the
date of the Roman occupation.  It is a plausible conjecture that
Gladstone stepped into the shoes of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.  Hence we
may regard him (like Osiris) as the sum of the monotheistic conception in

This interpretation is so manifest, that, could science sneer, we might
laugh at the hazardous conjectures of smatterers.  They, as usual, are
greatly divided among themselves.  The Spencerian or Euhemeristic
school,--if that can be called a school

         "Where blind and naked Ignorance
   Delivers brawling judgments all day long
   On all things, unashamed,"--

protests that the monument is a pedestal of a lost image of Gladstone.
The inscription (G. O. M.) is read "Grand Old Man," and it is actually
hinted that this was the petit nom, or endearing title, of a real
historical politician.  Weak as we may think such reasonings, we must
regard them as, at least, less unscholarly than the hypothesis that the
inscription should be read

   "90 M."

meaning "ninety miles from London."  It is true that the site whence the
monument was excavated is at a distance of ninety miles from the ruins of
London, but that is a mere coincidence, on which it were childish to
insist.  Scholars know at what rate such accidents should be estimated,
and value at its proper price one clear interpretation like G. O. M.=
Gladstonio Optimo Maximo.

It is, of course, no argument against this view that the authors of the
Dirae regard Gladstone as a _maleficent_ being.  How could they do
otherwise?  They were the scribes of the opposed religion.  Diodorus
tells us about an Ethiopian sect which detested the Sun.  A parallel, as
usual, is found in Egypt, where Set, or Typhon, is commonly regarded as a
maleficent spirit, the enemy of Osiris, the midnight sun.  None the less
it is certain that under some dynasties Set himself was adored--the deity
of one creed is the Satan of its opponents.  A curious coincidence seems
to show (as Bergaigne thinks) that Indra, the chief Indo-Aryan deity, was
occasionally confounded with Vrittra, who is usually his antagonist.  The
myths of Egypt, as reported by Plutarch, say that Set, or Typhon, forced
his way out of his mother's side, thereby showing his natural malevolence
even in the moment of his birth.  The myths of the extinct Algonkins of
the American continent repeat absolutely the same tale about Malsumis,
the brother and foe of their divine hero, Glooskap.  Now the Rig Veda
(iv. 18, 1-3) attributes this act to Indra, and we may infer that Indra
had been the Typhon, or Set, or Glooskap, of some Aryan kindred, before
he became the chief and beneficent god of the Kusika stock of
Indo-Aryans.  The evil myth clung to the good god.  By a similar process
we may readily account for the imprecations, and for the many profane and
blasphemous legends, in which Gladstone is represented as oblique,
mysterious, and equivocal.  (Compare Apollo Loxias.)  The same class of
ideas occurs in the myths about Gladstone "in Opposition" (as the old
mythical language runs), that is, about the too ardent sun of summer.
When "in Opposition" he is said to have found himself in a condition "of
more freedom and less responsibility," and to "have made it hot for his
enemies," expressions transparently mythical.  If more evidence were
wanted, it would be found in the myth which represents Gladstone as the
opponent of Huxley.  As every philologist knows, Huxley, by Grimm's law,
is Huskley, the hero of a "husk myth" (as Ralston styles it), a brilliant
being enveloped in a husk, probably the night or the thunder-cloud.  The
dispute between Gladstone and Huskley as to what occurred at the Creation
is a repetition of the same dispute between Wainamoinen and Joukahainen,
in the Kalewala of the Finns.  Released from his husk, the opponent
becomes Beaconsfield = the field of light, or radiant sky.

In works of art, Gladstone is represented as armed with an axe.  This, of
course, is probably a survival from the effigies of Zeus Labrandeus, den
Man auf Munsen mit der streitaxt erblickt (Preller, i. 112).  We hear of
axes being offered to Gladstone by his worshippers.  Nor was the old
custom of clothing the image of the god (as in the sixth book of the
"Iliad") neglected.  We read that the people of a Scotch manufacturing
town, Galashiels, presented the Midlothian Gladstone (a local hero), with
"trouserings," which the hero graciously accepted.  Indeed he was
remarkably unlike Death, as described by AEschylus, "Of all gods, Death
only recks not of gifts."  Gladstone, on the other hand, was the centre
of a lavish system of sacrifice--loaves of bread, axes, velocipedes,
books, in vast and overwhelming numbers, were all dedicated at his
shrine.  Hence some have identified him with Irving, also a deity
propitiated (as we read in Josephus Hatton) by votive offerings.  In a
later chapter I show that Irving is really one of the Asvins of Vedic
mythology, "the Great Twin Brethren," or, in mythic language, "the
Corsican Brothers" (compare Myriantheus on the Asvins).  His inseparable
companion is Wilson-Barrett.

Among animals the cow is sacred to Gladstone; and, in works of art, gems
and vases (or "jam-pots"), he is represented with the cow at his feet,
like the mouse of Horus, of Apollo Smintheus, and of the Japanese God of
Plenty (see an ivory in the Henley Collection).  How are we to explain
the companionship of the cow?  At other times the Sun-hero sits between
the horns of the Cow-Goddess Dilemma, worshipped at Westminster.  (Compare
Brugsch, "Religion und Mythologie der alten Aegypter," p. 168, "Die
Darstellungen Zeigen uns den Sonnengott zwischen den Hornern der Kuh
sitzend.")  The idea of Le Page Renouf, and of Pierret and De Rouge, is
that the cow is a symbol of some Gladstonian attribute, perhaps
"squeezability," a quality attributed to the hero by certain Irish
minstrels.  I regard it as more probable that the cow is (as in the Veda)
the rain-cloud, released from prison by Gladstone, as by Indra.  At the
same time the cow, in the Veda, stands for Heaven, Earth, Dawn, Night,
Cloud, Rivers, Thunder, Sacrifice, Prayer, and Soma.  We thus have a wide
field to choose from, nor is our selection of very much importance, as
any, or all, of these interpretations will be welcomed by Sanskrit
scholars.  The followers of McLennan have long ago been purged out of the
land by the edict of Oxford against this sect of mythological heretics.
_They_ would doubtless have maintained that the cow was Gladstone's
totem, or family crest, and that, like other totemists, he was forbidden
to eat beef.

It is curious that on some old and worn coins we detect a
half-obliterated male figure lurking behind the cow.  The inscription may
be read "Jo," or "Io," and appears to indicate Io, the cow-maiden of
Greek myth (see the "Prometheus" of AEschylus).

Another proof of the mythical character of Gladstone is the number of his
birthplaces.  Many cities claimed the honour of being his cradle, exactly
as in the cases of Apollo and Irving.  Their claims were allowed by the
Deity.  (Compare Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo.)

In addressing scholars it is needless to refute the Euhemeristic
hypothesis, worthy of the Abbe Banier, that the cow is a real cow,
offered by a real historical Gladstone, or by his companion, Jo, to the
ignorant populace of the rural districts.  We have already shown that Jo
is a mythological name.  The tendency to identify Gladstone with the cow
(as the dawn with the sun) is a natural and edifying tendency, but the
position must not be accepted without further inquiry.  The Sun-god, in
Egyptian myth, is a Bull, but there is a difference, which we must not
overlook, between a bull and a cow.  Caution, prudence, a tranquil
balancing of all available evidence, and an absence of preconceived
opinions,--these are the guiding stars of comparative mythology.


"Been in some near things in the islands?" said my friend the
beach-comber; "I fancy I _have_."

The beach-comber then produced a piece of luggage like a small Gladstone
bag, which he habitually carried, and thence he extracted a cigar about
the size of the butt of a light trout-rod.  He took a vesuvian out of a
curious brown hollowed nut-shell, mounted in gold (the beach-comber, like
Mycenae in Homer, was polychrysos, rich in gold in all his equipments),
and occupied himself with the task of setting fire to his weed.  The
process was a long one, and reminded me of the arts by which the beach-
comber's native friends fire the root of a tree before they attack it
with their stone tomahawks.  However, there was no use in trying to hurry
the ancient mariner.  He was bound to talk while his cigar lasted,
thereby providing his hearer with plenty of what is called "copy" in the
profession of letters.

The beach-comber was a big man, loose (in physique only of course),
broad, and black-bearded, his face about the colour of a gun-stock.  We
called him by the nickname he bore {304} (he bore it very
good-naturedly), because he had spent the years of his youth among the
countless little islands of the South Seas, especially among those which
lie at "the back of beyond," that is, on the far side of the broad
shoulder of Queensland.  In these regions the white man takes his life
and whatever native property he can annex in his hand, caring no more for
the Aborigines' Protection Society than for the Kyrle Company for
diffusing stamped-leather hangings and Moorish lustre plates among the
poor of the East-End.  The common beach-comber is usually an outcast from
that civilization of which, in the islands, he is the only pioneer.
Sometimes he deals in rum, sometimes in land, most frequently in "black-
birds"--that is, in coolies, as it is now usual to call slaves.  Not, of
course, that all coolies are slaves.  My friend the beach-comber treated
his dusky labourers with distinguished consideration, fed them well,
housed them well, taught them the game of cricket, and dismissed them,
when the term of their engagement was up, to their island homes.  He was,
in fact, a planter, with a taste for observing wild life in out-of-the-
way places.

"Yes, I have been in some near things," he went on, when the trunk of his
cigar was fairly ignited.  "Do you see these two front teeth?"

The beach-comber opened wide a cavernous mouth.  The late Mr. Macadam,
who invented the system of making roads called by his name, allowed no
stone to be laid on the way which the stone-breaker could not put in his
mouth.  The beach-comber could almost have inserted a milestone.

I did not see "these two front teeth," because, like the Spanish Fleet,
they were not in sight.  But I understood my friend to be drawing my
attention to their absence.

"I see the place where they have been," I answered.

"Well, _that_ was a near go," said the beach-comber.  "I was running for
my life before a pack of screeching naked beggars in the Admiralty
Islands.  I had emptied my revolver, and my cartridges, Government ones,
were all in a parcel--a confounded Government parcel--fastened with a
strong brass wire.  Where's the good of giving you cartridges, which you
need in a hurry if you need them at all, in a case you can't open without
a special instrument?  Well, as I ran, and the spears whizzed round me, I
tore at the wire with my teeth.  It gave at last, or my head would now be
decorating a stake outside the chief's pah.  But my teeth gave when the
brass cord gave, and I'll never lift a heavy table with them again."

"But you got out the cartridges?"

"Oh yes.  I shot two of the beggars, and 'purwailed on them to stop,' and
then I came within sight of the boats, and Thompson shouted, and the
others bolted.  What a voice that fellow had!  It reminded me of that
Greek chap I read about at school; he went and faced the Trojans with
nothing in his hand, and they hooked it when they only heard him roar.
Poor Thompson! "and the beach-comber drank, in silence, to the
illustrious dead.

"Who shot him?"

"A scientific kind of poop, a botanizing shaloot that was travelling
around with a tin box on his back, collecting beetles and bird-skins.
Poor Thompson! this was how it happened.  He was the strongest fellow I
ever saw; he could tear a whole pack of cards across with his hands.  That
man was all muscle.  He and I had paddled this botanizing creature across
to an island where some marooned fellow had built a hut, and we kept a
little whisky in a bunk, and used the place sometimes for shooting or
fishing.  It was latish one night, the botanist had not come home, I fell
asleep, and left Thompson with the whisky.  I was awakened by hearing a
shot, and there lay Thompson, stone-dead, a bullet in his forehead, and
the naturalist with a smoking revolver in his hand, and trembling like an
aspen leaf.  It seems he had lost his way, and by the time he got home,
Thompson was mad drunk, and came for him with his fists.  If once he hit
you, just in play, it was death, and the stranger knew that.  Thompson
had him in a corner, and I am bound to say that shooting was his only
chance.  Poor old Thompson!"

"And what was done to the other man?"

"Done! why there was no one to do anything, unless I had shot him, or
marooned him.  No law runs in these parts.  Thompson was the best partner
I ever had; he was with me in that lark with the tabooed pig."

"What lark?"

"Oh, I've often spun you the yarn."


"Well, it was like this.  Thompson and I, and some other chaps, started
in a boat, with provisions, just prospecting about the islands.  So we
went in and out among the straits--horrid places, clear water full of
sharks, and nothing but mangroves on every side.  One of these sounds is
just like another.  Once I was coming home in a coasting steamer, and got
them to set me down on a point that I believed was within half-a-mile of
my place.  Well, I was landed, and I began walking homewards, when I
found I was on the wrong track, miles and miles of mangrove swamp, cut up
with a dozen straits of salt water, lay between me and the station.  The
first stretch of water I came to, gad!  I didn't like it.  I kept
prospecting for sharks very close before I swam it, with my clothes on my
head.  I was in awful luck all the way, though,--not one of them had a
snap at me."

"But about the taboo pig?  Revenons a nos cochons!"

"I'm coming to that.  Well, we landed at an island we had never been on
before, where there was a village of Coast natives.  A crowd of beehive-
shaped huts, you know, the wall about three feet high, and all the rest
roof, wattle, and clay, and moss, built as neat as a bird's-nest outside,
not very sweet inside.  So we landed and got out the grub, and marched up
to the village.  Not a soul to be seen; not a black in the place.  Their
gear was all cleaned out too; there wasn't a net, nor a spear, nor a mat,
nor a bowl (they're great beggars for making pipkins), not a blessed
fetich stone even, in the whole place.  You never saw anything so
forsaken.  But just in the middle of the row of huts, you might call it a
street if you liked, there lay, as happy as if he was by the fireside
among the children in Galway, a great big fat beast of a hog.  Well, we
couldn't make out what had become of the people.  Thought we had
frightened them away, only then they'd have taken the hog.  Suddenly, out
of some corner, comes a black fellow making signs of peace.  He held up
his hands to show he had no weapon in them, and then he held up his feet

"Why on earth did he hold up his feet?"

"To show he wasn't trailing a spear between his toes; that is a common
dodge of theirs.  We made signs to him to come up, and up he came,
speaking a kind of pigeon English.  It seems he was an interpreter by
trade, paying a visit to his native village; so we tried to get out of
him what it was all about.  Just what we might have expected.  A kid had
been born in the village that day."

"What had the birth of a kid got to do with it?"

"It's like this, don't you know.  Every tribe is divided into Coast
natives and Bush natives.  One set lives by the sea, and is comparatively
what you might call civilized.  The other set, their cousins, live in the
Bush, and are a good deal more savage.  Now, when anything out of the
way, especially anything of a fortunate kind, happens in one division of
the tribe, the other division pops down on them, loots everything it can
lay hands on, maltreats the women, breaks what's too heavy to carry, and
generally plays the very mischief.  The birth of a child is _always_
celebrated in that way."

"And don't the others resist?"

"Resist!  No!  It would be the height of rudeness.  Do _you_ resist when
people leave cards at your house, 'with kind inquiries'?  It's just like
that; a way they have of showing a friendly interest."

"But what can be the origin of such an extraordinary custom?"

"_I_ don't know.  Guess it has a kind of civilizing effect, as you'll
see.  Resources of civilization get handed on to the Bush tribes, but
that can't be what it was started for.  However, recently the tribes have
begun to run cunning, and they hide themselves and all their goods when
they have reason to expect a friendly visit.  This was what they had done
the day we landed.  But, while we were jawing with the interpreter, we
heard a yell to make your hair stand on end.  The Bush tribe came down on
the village all in their war paint,--white clay; an arrangement, as you
say, in black and white.  Down they came, rushed into every hut, rushed
out again, found nothing, and an awful rage they were in.  They said this
kind of behaviour was most ungentlemanly; why, where was decent feeling?
where was neighbourliness?  While they were howling, they spotted the
hog, and made for him in a minute; here was luncheon, anyhow,--pork
chops.  So they soon had a fire, set a light to one of the houses in
fact, and heaped up stones; that's how they cook.  They cut you up in
bits, wrap them in leaves--"

"En papillotte?"

"Just that, and broil you on the hot stones.  They cook everything that

"Are they cannibals?"

"Oh yes, in war-time.  Or criminals they'll eat.  I've often heard the
queer yell a native will give, quite a peculiar cry, when he is carrying
a present of cold prisoner of war from one chief to another.  He cries
out like that, to show what his errand is, at the border of the village

"Before entering the Mark?" I said, for I had been reading Sir Henry

"The pah, the beggars about me call it," said the beach-comber; "perhaps
some niggers you've been reading about call it the Mark.  I don't know.
But to be done with this pig.  The fire was ready, and they were just
going to cut the poor beast's throat with a green-stone knife, when the
interpreter up and told them 'hands off.'  'That's a taboo pig,' says he.
'A black fellow that died six months ago that pig belonged to.  When he
was dying, and leaving his property to his friends, he was very sorry to
part with the pig, so he made him taboo; nobody can touch him.  To eat
him is death.'

"Of course this explained why that pig had been left when all the other
live stock and portable property was cleared out.  Nobody would touch a
taboo pig, and that pig, I tell you, was tabooed an inch thick.  The man
he belonged to had been a Tohunga, and still 'walked,' in the shape of a
lizard.  Well, the interpreter, acting most fairly, I must say, explained
all this to the Bush tribe, and we went down to the boat and lunched.
Presently a smell of roast pork came drifting down on the wind.  They had
been hungry and mad after their march, and they were cooking the taboo
pig.  The interpreter grew as white as a Kaneka can; he knew something
would happen.

"Presently the Bush fellows came down to the boat, licking their lips.
There hadn't been much more than enough to go round, and they accepted
some of our grub, and took to it kindly.

"'Let's offer them some rum,' says Thompson; he never cruised without
plenty aboard.  'No, no,' says I; 'tea, give them tea.'  But Thompson had
a keg of rum out, and a tin can, and served round some pretty stiff grog.
Now, would you believe it, these poor devils had never tasted spirits
before?  Most backward race they were.  But they took to the stuff, and
got pretty merry, till one of them tried to move back to the village.  He
staggered up and down, and tumbled against rocks, and finally he lay flat
and held on tight.  The others, most of them, were no better as soon as
they tried to move.  A rare fright they were in!  They began praying and
mumbling; praying, of all things, to the soul of the taboo pig!  They
thought they were being punished for the awful sin they had committed in
eating him.  The interpreter improved the occasion.  He told them their
faults pretty roundly.  Hadn't he warned them?  Didn't they know the pig
was taboo?  Did any good ever come of breaking a taboo?  The soberer
fellows sneaked off into the bush, the others lay and snoozed till the
Coast tribe came out of hiding, and gave it to them pretty warm with
throwing sticks and the flat side of waddies.  I guess the belief in
taboo won't die out of that Bush tribe in a hurry."

"It was like the companions of Odysseus devouring the oxen of the Sun," I

"Very likely," replied the beach-comber.  "Never heard of the parties.
They're superstitious beggars, these Kanekas.  You've heard of buying a
thing 'for a song'?  Well, I got my station for a whistle.  They believe
that spirits twitter and whistle, and you'll hardly get them to go out at
night, even with a boiled potato in their hands, which they think good
against ghosts, for fear of hearing the bogies.  So I just went
whistling, 'Bonny Dundee' at nights all round the location I fancied, and
after a week of that, not a nigger would go near it.  They made it over
to me, gratis, with an address on my courage and fortitude.  I gave them
some blankets in; and that's how real property used to change hands in
the Pacific."


{1}  From Wandering Sheep, the Bungletonian Missionary Record.

{6}  1884.  Date unknown.  Month probably June.

{23a}  The original text of this prophecy is printed at the close of Mr.
Gowles's narrative.

{23b}  It has been suggested to me that some travelled priest or conjurer
of this strange race may have met Europeans, seen hats, spectacles,
steamers, and so forth, and may have written the prophecy as a warning of
the dangers of our civilization.  In that case the forgery was very
cunningly managed, as the document had every appearance of great age, and
the alarm of the priest was too natural to have been feigned.

{25}  How terribly these words were afterwards to be interpreted, the
reader will learn in due time.

{30}  I afterwards found it was blue smalt.

{74}  I have never been able to understand Mr. Gowles's infatuation for
this stuck-up creature, who, I am sure, gave herself airs enough, as any
one may see.--MRS. GOWLES.

{76}  This was the name of a native vintage.

{95}  Mr. Gowles was an ardent Liberal, but at the time when he wrote,
the Union Jack had not been denounced by his great leader.  We have no
doubt that, at a word from Mr. Gladstone, he would have sung, Home Rule,
Hibernia!--ED. Wandering Sheep.

{106}  From Wandering Sheep.

{124}  From Mr. E. Myers's "Pindar."

{128}  Poor Figgins always called M. Baudelaire "the Master."

{208}  His photograph, thus arrayed, may be purchased at Mentone.

{256}  "Lift" is English for "elevator," or "elevator" is American for

{261}  This article was originally written for "Mind," but the author
changed his.  The reference is to Kant's Philosophy.

{265}  A similar phenomenon is mentioned in Mr. Howell's learned
treatise, "An Undiscovered Country."

{283}  A chapter from Prof. Boscher's "Post-Christian Mythology."  Berlin
and New York, A.D. 3886.

{284}  Both these names are undoubtedly Greek neuter substantives.

{285a}  Lieblein speaks ("Egyptian Religion," 1884, Leipzig,) of "the
mythical name Jo."  Already had Continental savants dismissed the belief
in a historical Jo, a leader of the Demos.

{285b}  There seems to be some mistake here.

{287}  "Le pierre sorti du soleil se retrouve au Livre des Souffles."
Lefebure, "Osiris," p. 204.  Brugsch, "Shai-n. sinsin," i. 9.

{304}  "Beach-comber" is the local term for the European adventurers and
long-shore loafers who infest the Pacific Archipelagoes.  There is a well-
known tale of an English castaway on one of the isles, who was worshipped
as a deity by the ignorant people.  At length he made his escape, by
swimming, and was taken aboard a British vessel, whose captain accosted
him roughly.  The mariner turned aside and dashed away a tear: "I've been
a god for months, and you call me a (something alliterative)
beach-comber!" he exclaimed, and refused to be comforted.

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