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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11
Author: Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1845-1916 [Editor], Runkle, Lucia Isabella Gilbert, 1844- [Editor], Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900 [Editor], Warner, George H., 1833-1919 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


     Facsimile from an Edict of King Rotharis,
     A.D. 643.


     LXX   If anybody of another the great toe from the foot
               severs, he pays solidi sixteen.
     LXXI        If the second toe from the
             foot he severs, he pays solidi six.
     LXXII         If the third toe he
                severs, he pays solidi three.
     LXXIII        If the fourth toe he severs,
                      he pays solidi three.
     LXXIIII        If the fifth toe he severs,
                      he pays solidi two.
     LXXV         Upon all these damages
                       described, which
                 among men exempt occurred,
              therefore, a heavier punishment,
                     have we placed than
      our ancestors, that the Faida (feud, vendetta), that
     is, the hatred, after the receiving the above described
                 punishment, may cease, and,
          moreover, not be required, nor craftiness









=Connoisseur Edition=




   Professor of Hebrew,
   HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.

   Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of
   YALE UNIVERSITY, New Haven, Conn.

   Professor of History and Political Science,

   Professor of Literature, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.

   President of the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Mich.

   Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages
   and Literatures,     CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, N.Y.

   Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer,

   Professor of the Romance Languages,
   TULANE UNIVERSITY, New Orleans, La.

   Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of
   English and History, UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, Sewanee, Tenn.

   Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,

   United States Commissioner of Education,
   BUREAU OF EDUCATION, Washington, D.C.

   Professor of Literature in the



                                         LIVED                 PAGE
RICHARD HENRY DANA, SENIOR               1787-1879             4285
  The Island ('The Buccaneer')
  The Doom of Lee (same)
  Paul and Abel ('Paul Felton')

RICHARD HENRY DANA, JUNIOR               1815-1882             4302
  A Dry Gale ('Two Years Before the Mast')
  Every-Day Sea Life (same)
  A Start; and Parting Company (same)

DANTE                                    1265-1321             4315

                     BY CHARLES ELIOT NORTON

  From 'The New Life': Beginning of Love; First Salutation of His
  Lady; Praise of His Lady; Her Loveliness; Her Death; The
  Anniversary of Her Death; The Hope to Speak More Worthily of Her

  From the 'Banquet': Consolation of Philosophy; Desire of the Soul;
  The Noble Soul at the End of Life

  From the 'Divine Comedy': Hell--Entrance on the Journey Through the
  Eternal World; Hell--Punishment of Carnal Sinners; Purgatory--The
  Final Purgation; Purgatory--Meeting with His Lady in the Earthly
  Paradise; Paradise--The Final Vision

JAMES DARMESTETER                        1849-1894             4379
  Ernest Renan ('Selected Essays')
  Judaism (same)

CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN                    1809-1882             4385

                     BY E. RAY LANKESTER

  Impressions of Travel ('A Naturalist's Voyage')
  Genesis of 'The Origin of Species' ('Life and Letters')
  Curious Atrophy of Æsthetic Taste (same)
  Private Memorandum concerning His Little Daughter (same)
  Religious Views (same)
  Letters: To Miss Julia Wedgwood; To J.D. Hooker; To T.H. Huxley; To E.
      Ray Lankester; To J.D. Hooker
  The Struggle for Existence ('Origin of Species')
  Geometrical Ratio of Increase (same)
  Of the Nature of the Checks to Increase (same)
  Complex Relations of All Animals and Plants to Each Other in the
      Struggle for Existence (same)
  Of Natural Selection: or the Survival of the Fittest (same)
  Progressive Change Compared with Independent Creation (same)
  Creative Design ('Variation of Animals and Plants under
  Origin of the Human Species ('The Descent of Man')

ALPHONSE DAUDET                          1840-                 4435

                     BY AUGUSTIN FILON

  The Two Tartarins ('Tartarin of Tarascon')
  Of "Mental Mirage," as Distinguished from Lying (same)
  Death of the Dauphin ('Letters from My Windmill')
  Jack Is Invited to Take Up a "Profession" ('Jack')
  The City of Iron and Fire (same)
  The Wrath of a Queen ('Kings in Exile')

MADAME DU DEFFAND (Marie de Vichy-Chamrond)
                                         1697-1780             4471

  Letters: To the Duchesse de Choiseul; To Mr. Crawford;
    To Horace Walpole
  Portrait of Horace Walpole

DANIEL DEFOE                             1661-1731             4479


  From 'Robinson Crusoe': Crusoe's Shipwreck; Crusoe Makes a New
  Home; A Footprint

  From 'History of the Plague in London': Superstitious Fears of the
  People; How Quacks and Impositors Preyed on the Fears of the
  People; The People Are Quarantined in Their Houses; Moral Effects
  of the Plague; Terrible Scenes in the Streets; The Plague Due to
  Natural Causes; Spread of the Plague through Necessities of the

  From 'Colonel Jack': Colonel Jack and Captain Jack Escape Arrest;
  Colonel Jack Finds Captain Jack Hard to Manage; Colonel Jack's
  First Wife Is Not Disposed to be Economical

  The Devil Does Not Concern Himself with Petty Matters ('The Modern
  History of the Devil')

  Defoe Addresses His Public ('An Appeal to Honor and Justice')

  Engaging a Maid-Servant ('Everybody's Business is Nobody's

  The Devil ('The True-Born Englishman')

  There Is a God ('The Storm')

EDUARD DOUWES DEKKER                     1820-1887             4513

  Multatuli's Last Words to the Reader ('Max Havelaar')
  Idyll of Saïdjah and Adinda (same)

THOMAS DEKKER                            1570?-1637?           4521

  From 'The Gul's Horne Booke': How a Gallant Should
    Behave Himself in Powles Walk; Sleep
  Praise of Fortune ('Old Fortunatus')
  Content ('Patient Grissil')
  Rustic Song ('The Sun's Darling')
  Lullaby ('Patient Grissil')

JEAN FRANÇOIS CASIMIR DELAVIGNE          1793-1843             4528

                     BY FREDERIC LOLIÉE

  Confession of Louis XI.

DEMOSTHENES                              384-322 B.C.          4535

                     BY ROBERT SHARP

  The Third Philippic
  Invective Against License of Speech
  Justification of His Patriotic Policy

THOMAS DE QUINCEY                        1785-1859             4555

                     BY GEORGE R. CARPENTER

  Charles Lamb ('Biographical Essays')
  Despair ('Confessions of an English Opium-Eater')
  The Dead Sister (same)
  Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow (same)
  Savannah-La-Mar (same)
  The Bishop of Beauvais and Joan of Arc ('Miscellaneous Essays')

PAUL DÉROULÈDE                           1848-                 4580

  The Harvest ('Chants du Paysan')
  In Good Quarters ('Poèmes Militaires')
  "Good Fighting" (same)
  Last Wishes (same)

RENÉ DESCARTES                           1596-1650             4585

  Of Certain Principles of Elementary Logical Thought
    ('Discourse on Method')
  An Elementary Method of Inquiry (same)
  The Idea of God ('Meditations')

PAUL DESJARDINS                                                4596

                     BY GRACE KING

  The Present Duty
  Conversion of the Church
  Two Impressions ('Notes Contemporaines')

SIR AUBREY DE VERE                       1788-1846             4609

  The Crusaders
  The Children Band ('The Crusaders')
  The Rock of Cashel
  The Right Use of Prayer
  The Church

BERNAL DIAZ DEL CASTILLO                 1498-1593             4613

     From the 'True History of the Conquest of Mexico': Capture of
     Guatimotzin; Mortality at the Conquest of Mexico; Cortés; Of Divine
     Aid in the Battle of Santa Maria de la Vitoria; Cortés Destroys
     Certain Idols

CHARLES DIBDIN                           1745-1814             4620

  Sea Song                      Poor Jack
  Song: The Heart of a Tar      Tom Bowling

CHARLES DICKENS                          1812-1870             4625

                     BY LAURENCE HUTTON

  The One Thing Needful ('Hard Times')
  The Boy at Mugby ('Mugby Junction')
  Burning of Newgate ('Barnaby Rudge')
  Monseigneur ('A Tale of Two Cities')
  The Ivy Green



The Oldest Lombardic Manuscript (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
Dante Alighieri (Portrait)                               4316
Charles Robert Darwin (Portrait)                         4386
"The Ape-Man" (Photogravure)                             4398
Alphonse Daudet (Portrait)                               4436
Daniel Defoe (Portrait)                                  4480
"Robinson Crusoe" (Facsimile)                            4486
Demosthenes (Portrait)                                   4536
Thomas De Quincey (Portrait)                             4556
René Descartes (Portrait)                                4586
Charles Dickens (Portrait)                               4626
"Gadshill" (Photogravure)                                4634


Richard Henry Dana
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Madame du Deffand
Jean F. C. Delavigne
Paul Déroulède
Sir Aubrey De Vere
Charles Dibdin



[Illustration: RICHARD H. DANA]

Richard Henry Dana the elder, although he died less than twenty years
ago, belonged to the first generation of American writers; he was born
in 1787, in Cambridge, four years after Washington Irving. He came of a
distinguished and scholarly family: his father had been minister to
Russia during the Revolution, and was afterwards Chief Justice of
Massachusetts; through his mother he was descended from Anne Bradstreet.
At the age of ten he went to Newport to live with his maternal
grandfather, William Ellery, one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence, and remained until he entered Harvard. The wild rock-bound
coast scenery impressed him deeply, and ever after the sea was one of
his ruling passions. Only one familiar with all the moods of the ocean
could have written 'The Buccaneer'. After quitting college he studied
law, and was admitted to the Boston bar. Literature however proved the
stronger attraction, and in 1818 he left his profession to assist in
conducting the then newly founded North American Review. The critical
papers he contributed to it startled the conservative literary circles
by their audacity in defending the new movement in English poetry, and
passing lightly by their idol Pope. Indeed, his unpopularity debarred
him from succeeding the first editor. He withdrew, and began the
publication of The Idle Man in numbers, modeled on Salmagundi and the
Sketch-Book. His contributions consisted of critical papers and his
novelettes 'Paul Felton,' 'Tom Thornton,' and 'Edward and Mary.' Not
finding many readers, he discontinued it after the first volume. He then
contributed for some years to the New York Review, conducted by William
Cullen Bryant, and to the United States Review. In 1827 appeared 'The
Buccaneer and Other Poems'; in 1833 the same volume was enlarged and the
contributions to The Idle Man were added, under the title 'Poems and
Prose Writings.' Seventeen years later he closed his literary career by
publishing the complete edition of his 'Poems and Prose Writings,' in
two volumes, not having materially added either to his verse or
fiction. After that time he lived in retirement, spending his summers in
his seaside home by the rocks and breakers of Cape Ann, and the winters
in Boston. He died in 1879.

Dana's literary activity falls within the first third of this century.
During that period, unproductive of great work, he ranked among the
foremost writers. His papers in the North American Review, as the first
original criticism on this side of the Atlantic, marked an era in our
letters. He was one of the first to recognize the genius of Wordsworth
and of Coleridge; under the influence of the latter he wrote the poem by
which he is chiefly known, 'The Buccaneer.' He claimed for it a basis of
truth; it is in fact a story out of 'The Pirate's Own Book,' with the
element of the supernatural added to convey the moral lesson. His verse
is contained in a slender volume. It lacks fluency and melody, but shows
keen perception of Nature's beauty, especially in her sterner, more
solemn moods, and sympathy with the human heart. Dana was not so much a
poet born with the inevitable gift of song (he would otherwise not have
become almost silent during the last fifty years of his life), as a man
of strong intellect who in his youth turned to verse for recreation.

Though best known by his poems, he stands out strongest and most
original as novelist. 'Paul Felton,' his masterpiece in prose, is a
powerful study of a diseased condition of mind. In its searching
psychologic analysis it stands quite apart from the more or less flaccid
production of its day. He indeed could not escape the influence of
Charles Brockden Brown, whom he greatly admired, and he in turn reached
out forward toward Poe and other writers of the analytic school. One
powerful story of Poe's, indeed, seems to have been suggested by Dana's
work: the demon horse in 'Metzengerstein' is a superior copy of the
Spectre Horse in 'The Buccaneer.' These stories were not popular in his
day: they are too remote from ordinary life, too gloomy and painful;
they have no definite locality or nationality; their characters have
little in common with every-day humanity. His prose style however is
clear, direct, and strong.

Even after he ceased to write, he had an important influence on American
letters by the independence of his opinions, his friendships with
literary men, chief among whom was Bryant, and his live interest in the
younger literature produced under conditions more favorable and more
inspiring than he had known.


From 'The Buccaneer'

              The Island lies nine leagues away;
                 Along its solitary shore
              Of craggy rock and sandy bay,
                No sound but ocean's roar,
     Save where the bold wild sea-bird makes her home,
     Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling foam.

           But when the light winds lie at rest,
             And on the glassy, heaving sea,
           The black duck with her glossy breast
             Sits swinging silently,
     How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,
     And silvery waves go noiseless up the beach.

           And inland rests the green, warm dell;
             The brook comes tinkling down its side;
           From out the trees the Sabbath bell
             Rings cheerful, far and wide,
     Mingling its sound with bleatings of the flocks
     That feed about the vale among the rocks.

           Nor holy bell nor pastoral bleat
             In former days within the vale;
           Flapped in the bay the pirate's sheet;
             Curses were on the gale;
     Rich goods lay on the sand, and murdered men:
     Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then.

           But calm, low voices, words of grace,
             Now slowly fall upon the ear;
           A quiet look is in each face,
             Subdued and holy fear.
     Each motion gentle; all is kindly done--
     Come, listen how from crime this Isle was won.


From 'The Buccaneer'

        Who's sitting on that long black ledge
           Which makes so far out in the sea,
         Feeling the kelp-weed on its edge?
           Poor idle Matthew Lee!
     So weak and pale? A year and little more.
     And bravely did he lord it round this shore!

         And on the shingles now he sits,
           And rolls the pebbles 'neath his hands;
         Now walks the beach; then stops by fits,
           And scores the smooth wet sands;
     Then tries each cliff and cove and jut that bounds
     The isles; then home from many weary rounds.

         They ask him why he wanders so,
           From day to day, the uneven strand?
         "I wish, I wish that I might go!
           But I would go by land;
     And there's no way that I can find--I've tried
     All day and night!"--He seaward looked, and sighed.

         It brought the tear to many an eye
           That once his eye had made to quail.
         "Lee, go with us; our sloop is nigh;
           Come! help us hoist her sail."
     He shook.--"You know the Spirit Horse I ride!
     He'll let me on the sea with none beside!"

         He views the ships that come and go,
           Looking so like to living things.
         O! 'tis a proud and gallant show
           Of bright and broad-spread wings,
     Making it light around them, as they keep
     Their course right onward through the unsounded deep.

         And where the far-off sand-bars lift
           Their backs in long and narrow line,
         The breakers shout, and leap, and shift,
           And send the sparkling brine
     Into the air, then rush to mimic strife:
     Glad creatures of the sea, and full of life!--

           But not to Lee. He sits alone;
             No fellowship nor joy for him.
           Borne down by woe, he makes no moan,
             Though tears will sometimes dim
     That asking eye--oh, how his worn thoughts crave--
     Not joy again, but rest within the grave.

       *       *       *       *       *

           To-night the charmèd number's told.
             "Twice have I come for thee," it said.
           "Once more, and none shall thee behold.
             Come! live one, to the dead!"--
     So hears his soul, and fears the coming night;
     Yet sick and weary of the soft calm light.

           Again he sits within that room;
             All day he leans at that still board;
           None to bring comfort to his gloom,
             Or speak a friendly word.
     Weakened with fear, lone, haunted by remorse,
     Poor shattered wretch, there waits he that pale Horse.

           Not long he waits. Where now are gone
             Peak, citadel, and tower, that stood
           Beautiful, while the west sun shone
             And bathed them in his flood
     Of airy glory!--Sudden darkness fell;
     And down they went,--peak, tower, citadel.

           The darkness, like a dome of stone,
             Ceils up the heavens. 'Tis hush as death--
           All but the ocean's dull low moan.
             How hard Lee draws his breath!
     He shudders as he feels the working Power.
     Arouse thee, Lee! up! man thee for thine hour!

           'Tis close at hand; for there, once more,
             The burning ship. Wide sheets of flame
           And shafted fire she showed before;--
             Twice thus she hither came;--
     But now she rolls a naked hulk, and throws
     A wasting light; then, settling, down she goes.

           And where she sank, up slowly came
             The Spectre Horse from out the sea.
           And there he stands! His pale sides flame.
             He'll meet thee shortly, Lee.

     He treads the waters as a solid floor:
     He's moving on. Lee waits him at the door.

           They're met. "I know thou com'st for me,"
             Lee's spirit to the Spectre said;
           "I know that I must go with thee--
             Take me not to the dead.
     It was not I alone that did the deed!"
     Dreadful the eye of that still, spectral Steed!

           Lee cannot turn. There is a force
             In that fixed eye which holds him fast.
           How still they stand!--the man and horse.
             "Thine hour is almost past."
     "Oh, spare me," cries the wretch, "thou fearful one!"
     "My time is full--I must not go alone."

           "I'm weak and faint. Oh let me stay!"
             "Nay, murderer, rest nor stay for thee!"
           The horse and man are on their way;
             He bears him to the sea.
     Hark! how the Spectre breathes through this still night!
     See, from his nostrils streams a deathly light!

           He's on the beach, but stops not there;
             He's on the sea! that dreadful horse!
           Lee flings and writhes in wild despair!
             In vain! The spirit-corse
     Holds him by fearful spell; he cannot leap.
     Within that horrid light he rides the deep.

           It lights the sea around their track--
             The curling comb, and dark steel wave:
           There yet sits Lee the Spectre's back--
             Gone! gone! and none to save!
     They're seen no more; the night has shut them in.
     May Heaven have pity on thee, man of sin!

           The earth has washed away its stain;
             The sealed-up sky is breaking forth,
           Mustering its glorious hosts again,
             From the far south and north;
     The climbing moon plays on the rippling sea.--
     Oh, whither on its waters rideth Lee?


From 'Paul Felton'

He took a path which led through the fields back of his house, and wound
among the steep rocks part way up the range of high hills, till it
reached a small locust grove, where it ended. He began climbing a ridge
near him, and reaching the top of it, beheld all around him a scene
desolate and broken as the ocean. It looked for miles as if one immense
gray rock had been heaved up and shattered by an earthquake. Here and
there might be seen shooting out of the clefts, old trees, like masts at
sea. It was as if the sea in a storm had become suddenly fixed, with all
its ships upon it. The sun shone glaring and hot on it, but there was
neither life, nor motion, nor sound; the spirit of desolation had gone
over it, and it had become the place of death. His heart sunk within
him, and something like a superstitious dread entered him. He tried to
rouse himself, and look about with a composed mind. It was in vain--he
felt as if some dreadful unseen power stood near him. He would have
spoken, but he dared not in such a place.

To shake this off, he began clambering over one ridge after another,
till, passing cautiously round a beetling rock, a sharp cry from out it
shot through him. Every small jut and precipice sent it back with a
Satanic taunt; and the crowd of hollows and points seemed for the
instant alive with thousands of fiends. Paul's blood ran cold, and he
scarcely breathed as he waited for their cry again; but all was still.
Though his mind was of a superstitious cast, he had courage and
fortitude; and ashamed of his weakness, he reached forward, and stooping
down looked into the cavity. He started as his eye fell on the object
within it. "Who and what are you?" cried he. "Come out, and let me see
whether you are man or devil." And out crawled a miserable boy, looking
as if shrunk up with fear and famine. "Speak, and tell me who you are,
and what you do here," said Paul. The poor fellow's jaws moved and
quivered, but he did not utter a sound. His spare frame shook, and his
knees knocked against each other as in an ague fit. Paul looked at him
for a moment. His loose shambly frame was nearly bare to the bones, his
light sunburnt hair hung long and straight round his thin jaws and white
eyes, that shone with a delirious glare, as if his mind had been
terror-struck. There was a sickly, beseeching smile about his mouth.
His skin, between the freckles, was as white as a leper's, and his teeth
long and yellow. He appeared like one who had witnessed the destruction
about him, and was the only living thing spared, to make death seem more

"Who put you here to starve?" said Paul to him.

"Nobody, sir."

"Why did you come, then?"

"Oh, I can't help it; I must come."

"Must! And why must you?" The boy looked round timidly, and crouching
near Paul, said in a tremulous, low voice, his eyes glancing fearfully
through the chasm, "'Tis He, 'tis He that makes me!" Paul turned
suddenly round, and saw before him for the first time the deserted tract
of pine wood and sand which has been described. "Who and where is he?"
asked Paul impatiently, expecting to see some one.

"There, there, in the wood yonder," answered the boy, crouching still
lower, and pointing with his finger, whilst his hand shook as if

"I see nothing," said Paul, "but these pines. What possesses you? Why do
you shudder so, and look so pale? Do you take the shadows of the trees
for devils?"

"Don't speak of them. They'll be on me, if you talk of them here,"
whispered the boy eagerly. Drops of sweat stood on his brow from the
agony of terror he was in. As Paul looked at the lad, he felt something
like fear creeping over him. He turned his eyes involuntarily to the
wood again. "If we must not talk here," said he at last, "come along
with me, and tell me what all this means." The boy rose, and followed
close to Paul.

"Is it the Devil you have seen, that you shake so?"

"You have named him; I never must," said the boy. "I have seen strange
sights, and heard sounds whispered close to my ears, so full of spite,
and so dreadful, I dared not look round lest I should see some awful
face at mine. I've thought I felt it touch me sometimes."

"And what wicked thing have you done, that they should haunt you so?"

"Oh, sir, I was a foolhardy boy. Two years ago I was not afraid of
anything. Nobody dared go into the wood, or even so much as over the
rocks, to look at it, after what happened there."--"I've heard a foolish
story," said Paul.--"So once, sir, the thought took me that I would go
there a-bird's-nesting, and bring home the eggs and show to the men. And
it would never go out of my mind after, though I began to wish I hadn't
thought any such thing. Every night when I went to bed I would lie and
say to myself, 'To-morrow is the day for me to go;' and I did not like
to be alone in the dark, and wanted some one with me to touch me when I
had bad dreams. And when I waked in the morning, I felt as if something
dreadful was coming upon me before night. Well, every day,--I don't know
how it was,--I found myself near this ridge; and every time I went
farther and farther up it, though I grew more and more frightened. And
when I had gone as far as I dared, I was afraid to wait, but would turn
and make away so fast that many a time I fell down some of these places,
and got lamed and bruised. The boys began to think something, and would
whisper each other and look at me; and when they found I saw them, they
would turn away. It grew hard for me to be one at their games, though
once I used to be the first chosen in. I can't tell how it was, but all
this only made me go on; and as the boys kept out of the way, I began to
feel as if I must do what I had thought of, and as if there was
somebody, I couldn't think who, that was to have me and make me do what
he pleased. So it went on, sir, day after day," continued the lad, in a
weak, timid tone, but comforted at finding one to tell his story to;
"till at last I reached as far as the hollow where you just now frighted
me so, when I heard you near me. I didn't run off as I used to from the
other places, but sat down under the rock. Then I looked out and saw the
trees. I tried to get up and run home, but I couldn't; I dared not come
out and go round the corner of the rock. I tried to look another way,
but my eyes seemed fastened on the trees; I couldn't take 'em off. At
last I thought something told me it was time for me to go on. I got up."

Here poor Abel shook so that he seized hold of Paul's arm to help him.
Paul recoiled as if an unclean creature touched him. The boy shrunk

"Go on," said Paul recovering himself. The boy took comfort from the
sound of another's voice:--"I went a little way down the hollow, sir, as
if drawn along. Then I came to a steep place; I put my legs over to let
myself down; my knees grew so weak I dared not trust myself; I tried to
draw them up, but the strength was all gone out of them, and then my
feet were as heavy as if made of lead. I gave a screech, and there was a
yell close to me and for miles round, that nigh stunned me. I can't say
how, but the last thing I knew was my leaping along the rocks, while
there was nothing but flames of fire shooting all round me. It was
scarce midday when I left home; and when I came to myself under the
locusts it was growing dark."

"Rest here awhile," said Paul, looking at the boy as at some mysterious
being, "and tell out your story."

Glad at being in company, the boy sat down upon the grass, and went on
with his tale:--"I crawled home as well as I could, and went to bed.
When I was falling asleep I had the same feeling I had when sitting over
the rock. I dared not lie in bed any longer, for I couldn't keep awake
while there. Glad was I when the day broke, and I saw a neighbor open
his door and come out. I was not well all day, and I tried to think
myself more ill than I was, because I somehow thought that then I
needn't go to the wood. But the next day He was not to be put off; and I
went, though I cried and prayed all the way that I might not be made to
go. But I could not stop till I had got over the hill, and reached the
sand round the wood. When I put my foot on it, all the joints in me
jerked as if they would not hold together, so that I cried out with the
pain. When I came under the trees there was a deep sound, and great
shadows were all round me. My hair stood on end, and my eyes kept
glimmering; yet I couldn't go back. I went on till I found a crow's
nest. I climbed the tree, and took out the eggs. The old crow kept
flying round and round me. As soon as I felt the eggs in my hand and my
work done, I dropped from the tree and ran for the hollow. I can't tell
how it was, but it seemed to me that I didn't gain a foot of ground--it
was just as if the whole wood went with me. Then I thought He had me
his. The ground began to bend and the trees to move. At last I was nigh
blind. I struck against one tree and another till I fell to the ground.
How long I lay there I can't tell; but when I came to I was on the sand,
the sun blazing hot upon me and my skin scorched up. I was so stiff and
ached so, I could hardly stand upright. I didn't feel or think anything
after this; and hardly knew where I was till somebody came and touched
me, and asked me whether I was walking in my sleep; and I looked up and
found myself close home.

"The boys began to gather round me as if I were something strange; and
when I looked at them they would move back from me. 'What have you been
doing, Abel?' one of them asked me at last. 'No good, I warrant you,'
answered another, who stood back of me. And when I turned around to
speak to him he drew behind the others, as if afraid I should harm
him;--and I was too weak and frightened to hurt a fly. 'See his hands;
they are stained all over.'--'And there's a crow's egg, as I'm alive!'
said another. 'And the crow is the Devil's bird, Tom, isn't it?' asked a
little boy. 'O Abel, you've been to that wood and made yourself over to
Him.'--They moved off one after another, every now and then turning
round and looking at me as if I were cursed. After this they would not
speak to me nor come nigh me. I heard people talking, and saw them going
about, but not one of them all could I speak to, or get to come near me;
it was dreadful, being so alone! I met a boy that used to be with me all
day long; and I begged him not to go off from me so, and to stop, if it
were only for a moment. 'You played with me once,' said I; 'and won't
you do so much as look at me, or ask me how I am, when I am so weak and
ill too?' He began to hang back a little, and I thought from his face
that he pitied me. I could have cried for joy, and was going up to him,
but he turned away. I called out after him, telling him that I would not
so much as touch him with my finger, or come any nearer to him, if he
would only stop and speak one word to me; but he went away shaking his
head, and muttering something, I hardly knew what,--how that I did not
belong to them, but was the Evil One's now. I sat down on a stone and
cried, and wished that I was dead; for I couldn't help it, though it was
wicked in me to do so."

"And is there no one," asked Paul, "who will notice you or speak to you?
Do you live so alone now?" It made his heart ache to look down upon the
pining, forlorn creature before him.

"Not a soul," whined out the boy. "My grandmother is dead now, and only
the gentlefolks give me anything; for they don't seem afraid of me,
though they look as if they didn't like me, and wanted me gone. All I
can, I get to eat in the woods, and I beg out of the village. But I dare
not go far, because I don't know when He will want me. But I am not
alone, He's with me day and night. As I go along the street in the
daytime, I feel Him near me, though I can't see Him; and it is as if He
were speaking to me; and yet I don't hear any words. He makes me follow
Him to that wood; and I have to sit the whole day where you found me,
and I dare not complain nor move, till I feel He will let me go. I've
looked at the pines, sometimes, till I have seen spirits moving all
through them. Oh, 'tis an awful place; they breathe cold upon me when He
makes me go there."

"Poor wretch!" said Paul.

"I'm weak and hungry, and yet when I try to eat, something chokes me; I
don't love what I eat."

"Come along with me, and you shall have something to nourish and warm
you; for you are pale and shiver, and look cold here in the very sun."

The boy looked up at Paul, and the tears rolled down his cheeks at
hearing one speak so kindly to him. He got up and followed meekly after
to the house.

Paul, seeing a servant in the yard, ordered the boy something to eat.
The man cast his eye upon Abel, and then looked at Paul as if he had not
understood him. "I spoke distinctly enough," said Paul; "and don't you
see that the boy is nigh starved?" The man gave a mysterious look at
both of them, and with a shake of his head as he turned away, went to do
as he was bid.

"What means the fellow?" said Paul to himself as he entered the house.
"Does he take me to be bound to Satan too? Yet there may be bonds upon
the soul, though we know it not; and evil spirits at work within us, of
which we little dream. And are there no beings but those seen of mortal
eye or felt by mortal touch? Are there not passing in and around this
piece of moving mold, in which the spirit is pent up, those whom it
hears not? those whom it has no finer sense whereby to commune with? Are
all the instant joys that come and go, we know not whence nor whither,
but creations of the mind? Or are they not rather bright and heavenly
messengers, whom when this spirit is set free it will see in all their
beauty? whose sweet sounds it will then drink in? Yes, it is, it is so;
and all around us is populous with beings, now invisible to us as this
circling air."...

The moon was down and the sky overcast when they began to wind among the
rocks. Though Paul's walks had lain of late in this direction, he was
not enough acquainted with the passage to find his way through it in
the dark. Abel, who had traversed it often in the night, alone and in
terror, now took heart at having some one with him at such an hour, and
offered unhesitatingly to lead. "The boy winds round those crags with
the speed and ease of a stream," said Paul; "not so fast, Abel."

"Take hold of the root which shoots out over your head, sir, for 'tis
ticklish work getting along just here. Do you feel it, sir?"

"I have hold," said Paul.

"Let yourself gently down by it, sir. You needn't be a bit afraid, for
'twill not give way; man couldn't have fastened it stronger."

This was the first time Abel had felt his power, or had been of
consequence to any one, since the boys had turned him out from their
games; and it gave him a momentary activity, and an unsettled sort of
spirit, which he had never known since then. He had been shunned and
abhorred; and he believed himself the victim of some demoniac power. To
have another in this fearful bondage with him, as Paul had intimated,
was a relief from his dreadful solitariness in his terrors and
sufferings. "And he said that it was I who was to work a curse on him,"
muttered Abel. "It cannot be, surely, that such a thing as I am can harm
a man like him!" And though Abel remembered Paul's kindness, and that
this was to seal his own doom too, yet it stirred the spirit of pride
within him.

"What are you muttering to yourself, there in the dark," demanded Paul;
"or whom talk you with, you withered wretch?" Abel shook in every joint
at the sound of Paul's harsh voice.

"It is so dreadfully still here," said Abel; "I hear nothing but your
steps behind me, and they make me start." This was true; for
notwithstanding his touch of instant pride, his terrors and his fear of
Paul were as great as ever.

"Speak louder then," said Paul, "or hold your peace. I like not your
muttering; it bodes no good."

"It may bring a curse to you, worse than that on me, if a worse can be,"
said Abel to himself; "but who can help it?"

Day broke before they cleared the ridge; a drizzling rain came on; and
the wind, beginning to rise, drove through the crevices in the rocks
with sharp whistling sounds which seemed to come from malignant spirits
of the air.

They had scarcely entered the wood when the storm became furious; and
the trees, swaying and beating with their branches against one another,
seemed possessed of a supernatural madness, and engaged in wild
conflict, as if there were life and passion in them; and their broken,
decayed arms groaned like things in torment. The terror of these sights
and sounds was too much for poor Abel; it nearly crazed him; and he set
up a shriek that for a moment drowned the noise of the storm. It
startled Paul; and when he looked at him, the boy's face was of a
ghostly whiteness. The rain had drenched him to the skin; his clothes
clung to his lean body, that shook as if it would come apart; his eyes
flew wildly, and his teeth chattered against each other. The fears and
torture of his mind gave something unearthly to his look, that made Paul
start back. "Abel--boy--fiend--speak! What has seized you?"

"They told me so," cried Abel--"I've done it--I led the way for
you--they're coming, they're coming--we're lost!"

"Peace, fool," said Paul, trying to shake off the power he felt Abel
gaining over him, "and find us a shelter if you can."

"There's only the hut," said Abel, "and I wouldn't go into that if it
rained fire."

"And why not?"

"I once felt that it was for me to go, and I went so near as to see in
at the door. And I saw something in the hut--it was not a man, for it
flitted by the opening just like a shadow; and I heard two muttering
something to one another; it wasn't like other sounds, for as soon as I
heard it, it made me stop my ears. I couldn't stay any longer, and I ran
till I cleared the wood. Oh! 'tis His biding-place, when He comes to the

"And is it of His own building?" asked Paul, sarcastically.

"No," answered Abel; "'twas built by the two wood-cutters; and one of
them came to a bloody end, and they say the other died the same night,
foaming at the mouth like one possessed. There it is," said he, almost
breathless, as he crouched down and pointed at the hut under the trees.
"Do not go, sir," he said, catching hold of the skirts of Paul's
coat,--"I've never dared go nigher since."--"Let loose, boy," cried
Paul, striking Abel's hand from his coat, "I'll not be fooled with."
Abel, alarmed at being left alone, crawled after Paul as far as he dared
go; then taking hold of him once more, made a supplicating motion to
him to stop; he was afraid to speak. Paul pushed on without regarding

The hut stood on the edge of a sand-bank that was kept up by a large
pine, whose roots and fibres, lying partly bare, looked like some giant
spider that had half buried himself in the sand. On the right of the hut
was a patch of broken ground, in which were still standing a few
straggling dried stalks of Indian corn; and from two dead trees hung
knotted pieces of broken line, which had formerly served for a
clothesline. The hut was built of half-trimmed trunks of trees laid on
each other, crossing at the four corners and running out at unequal
lengths, the chinks partly filled in with sods and moss. The door, which
lay on the floor, was of twisted boughs; and the roof, of the same, was
caved in, and but partly kept out the sun and rain.

As Paul drew near the entrance he stopped, though the wind just then
came in a heavy gust, and the rain fell like a flood. It was not a dread
of what he might see within; but it seemed to him that there was a spell
round him, drawing him nearer and nearer to its centre; and he felt the
hand of some invisible power upon him. As he stepped into the hut a
chill ran over him, and his eyes shut involuntarily. Abel watched him
eagerly; and as he saw him enter, tossed his arms wildly shouting,
"Gone, gone! They'll have me too--they're coming, they're coming!" and
threw himself on his face to the ground.

Driven from home by his maddening passions, a perverse delight in
self-torture had taken possession of Paul; and his mind so hungered for
more intense excitement, that it craved to prove true all which its
jealousy and superstition had imaged. He had walked on, lost in this
fearful riot, but with no particular object in view, and taking only a
kind of crazed joy in his bewildered state. Esther's love for him, which
he at times thought past doubt feigned, the darkness of the night, and
then the driving storm with its confused motions and sounds, made an
uproar of the mind which drove out all settled purpose or thought.

The stillness of the place into which he had now entered, where was
heard nothing but the slow, regular dripping of the rain from the broken
roof upon the hard-trod floor; the lowered and distant sound of the
storm without; the sudden change from the whirl and swaying of the
trees to the steady walls of the building, put a sudden stop to the
violent working of his brain, and he gradually fell into a stupor.

When Abel began to recover, he could scarcely raise himself from the
ground. He looked round, but could see nothing of Paul. "They have bound
us together," said he; "and something is drawing me toward him. There is
no help for me; I must go whither he goes." As he was drawn nearer and
nearer to the hut he seemed to struggle and hang back, as if pushed on
against his will. At last he reached the doorway; and clinging to its
side with a desperate hold, as if not to be forced in, put his head
forward a little, casting a hasty glance into the building. "There he
is, and alive!" breathed out Abel.

Paul's stupor was now beginning to leave him; his recollection was
returning; and what had passed came back slowly and at intervals. There
was something he had said to Esther before leaving home--he could not
tell what; then his gazing after her as she drove from the house; then
something of Abel,--and he sprang from the ground as if he felt the
boy's touch again about his knees; then the ball-room, and a multitude
of voices, and all talking of his wife. Suddenly she appeared darting by
him; and Frank was there. Then came his agony and tortures again; all
returned upon him as in the confusion of some horrible trance. Then the
hut seemed to enlarge and the walls to rock; and shadows of those he
knew, and of terrible beings he had never seen before, were flitting
round him and mocking at him. His own substantial form seemed to him
undergoing a change, and taking the shape and substance of the accursed
ones at which he looked. As he felt the change going on he tried to
utter a cry, but he could not make a sound nor move a limb. The ground
under him rocked and pitched; it grew darker and darker, till everything
was visionary; and he thought himself surrounded by spirits, and in the
mansions of the damned. Something like a deep black cloud began to
gather gradually round him. The gigantic structure, with its tall
terrific arches, turned slowly into darkness, and the spirits within
disappeared one after another, till as the ends of the cloud met and
closed, he saw the last of them looking at him with an infernal laugh in
his undefined visage.

Abel continued watching him in speechless agony. Paul's consciousness
was now leaving him; his head began to swim--he reeled; and as his hand
swept down the side of the hut, while trying to save himself, it struck
against a rusty knife that had been left sticking loosely between the
logs. "Let go, let go!" shrieked Abel; "there's blood on 't--'tis
cursed, 'tis cursed." As Paul swung round with the knife in his hand,
Abel sprang from the door with a shrill cry, and Paul sank on the floor,
muttering to himself, "What said They?"

When he began to come to himself a little, he was still sitting on the
ground, his back against the wall. His senses were yet confused. He
thought he saw his wife near him, and a bloody knife by his side. After
sitting a little longer his mind gradually grew clearer, and at last he
felt for the first time that his hand held something. As his eye fell on
it and he saw distinctly what it was, he leaped upright with a savage
yell and dashed the knife from him as if it had been an asp stinging
him. He stood with his bloodshot eyes fastened on it, his hands spread,
and his body shrunk up with horror. "Forged in hell! and for me, for
me!" he screamed, as he sprang forward and seized it with a convulsive
grasp. "Damned pledge of the league that binds us!" he cried, holding it
up and glaring wildly on it. "And yet a voice did warn me--of what, I
know not. Which of ye put it in this hand? Speak--let me look on you?
D'ye hear me, and will not answer? Nay, nay, what needs it? This tells
me, though it speaks not. I know your promptings now," he said, folding
his arms deliberately; "your work must be done; and I am doomed to it."



[Illustration: R. H. DANA, JR.]

The literary fame of Richard Henry Dana the younger rests on a single
book, produced at the age of twenty-five. 'Two Years Before the Mast'
stands unique in English literature: it reports a man's actual
experiences at sea, yet touches the facts with a fine imagination. It is
a bit of Dana's own life while on a vacation away from college. The
manner in which he got his material was remarkable, but to the
literature he came as by birthright, through his father, Richard Henry
Dana the elder, then a well-known poet; novelist, and essayist. He was
born in Cambridge in 1815, growing up in the intellectual atmosphere of
that university town, and in due course of time entering Harvard
College, where his father and grandfather before him had been trained in
law and letters. An attack of the measles during his third year at
college left him with weakened eyes, and an active outdoor life was
prescribed as the only remedy. From boyhood up he had been passionately
fond of the sea; small wonder, then, that he now determined to take a
long sea voyage. Refusing a berth offered him on a vessel bound for the
East Indies, he chose to go as common sailor before the mast, on a
merchantman starting on a two-years' trading voyage around Cape Horn to
California. At that time boys of good family from the New England coast
towns often took such trips. Dana indeed found a companion in a former
merchant's clerk of Boston. They left on August 14th, 1834, doubled Cape
Horn, spent many months in the waters of the Pacific and on the coast of
California, trading with the natives and taking in cargoes of hides, and
returned to Boston in September, 1836. Young Dana, entirely cured of his
weakness, re-entered college, graduated the next year, and then went to
study in the law school of Harvard. During his cruise he had kept a
journal, which he now worked over into the narrative that made him
famous, and that bids fair to keep his name alive as long as boys, young
or old, delight in sea stories. It is really not a story at all, but
describes with much vivacity the whole history of a long trading voyage,
the commonplace life of the sailor with its many hardships, including
the savage brutality of captains with no restraint on passion or
manners, and scant recreations; the sea in storm and calm, and the
California coast before the gold fever, when but few Europeans were
settled there, and hides were the chief export of a region whose riches
lay still secreted under the earth. The great charm of the narrative
lies in its simplicity and its frank statement of facts. Dana apparently
did not invent anything, but depicted real men, men he had intimately
known for two years, calling them even by their own names, and giving an
unvarnished account of what they did and said. He never hung back from
work or shirked his duty, but "roughed it" to the very end. As a result
of these experiences, this book is the only one that gives any true idea
of the sailor's life. Sea stories generally depend for their interest on
the inventive skill of their authors; Dana knew how to hold the
attention by a simple statement of facts. The book has all the charm and
spontaneity of a keenly observant yet imaginative and cultivated mind,
alive to all the aspects of the outer world, and gifted with that fine
literary instinct which, knowing the value of words, expresses its
thoughts with precision. Seafaring men have commented on his exactness
in reproducing the sailor's phraseology. The book was published in 1840,
translated into several languages, and adopted by the British Admiralty
for distribution in the Navy. Few sailors are without a copy in their
chest. 'The Seaman's Friend,' which Dana published in the following
year, was inspired by his indignation at the abuses he had witnessed in
the merchant marine.

Dana did not follow up his first success, and his life henceforth
belongs to the history of the bar and politics of Massachusetts, rather
than to literature. The fame of his book brought to his law office many
admiralty cases. In 1848 he was one of the founders of the Free Soil
party; later he became an active abolitionist, and took a large part in
the local politics of his State. For a year he lectured on international
law in Harvard college. He contributed to the North American Review, and
wrote besides on various legal topics. His one other book on travel, 'To
Cuba and Back, a Vacation Voyage,' the fruit of a trip to that island in
1859, though well written, never became popular. He retired from his
profession in 1877, and spent the last years of his life in Paris and
Italy. He died in Rome, January 6th, 1882.


From 'Two Years Before the Mast'

We had been below but a short time before we had the usual premonitions
of a coming gale,--seas washing over the whole forward part of the
vessel, and her bows beating against them with a force and sound like
the driving of piles. The watch, too, seemed very busy trampling about
decks and singing out at the ropes. A sailor can tell by the sound what
sail is coming in; and in a short time we heard the top-gallant-sails
come in, one after another, and then the flying jib. This seemed to ease
her a good deal, and we were fast going off to the land of Nod,
when--bang, bang, bang on the scuttle, and "All hands, reef topsails,
ahoy!" started us out of our berths, and it not being very cold weather,
we had nothing extra to put on, and were soon on deck. I shall never
forget the fineness of the sight. It was a clear and rather a chilly
night; the stars were twinkling with an intense brightness, and as far
as the eye could reach there was not a cloud to be seen. The horizon met
the sea in a defined line. A painter could not have painted so clear a
sky. There was not a speck upon it. Yet it was blowing great guns from
the northwest. When you can see a cloud to windward, you feel that there
is a place for the wind to come from; but here it seemed to come from
nowhere. No person could have told from the heavens, by their eyesight
alone, that it was not a still summer's night. One reef after another we
took in the topsails, and before we could get them hoisted up we heard a
sound like a short quick rattling of thunder, and the jib was blown to
atoms out of the bolt-rope. We got the topsails set, and the fragments
of the jib stowed away, and the foretopmast staysail set in its place,
when the great mainsail gaped open, and the sail ripped from head to
foot. "Lay up on that main yard and furl the sail, before it blows to
tatters!" shouted the captain; and in a moment we were up, gathering the
remains of it upon the yard. We got it wrapped round the yard, and
passed gaskets over it as snugly as possible, and were just on deck
again, when with another loud rent, which was heard throughout the ship,
the foretopsail, which had been double-reefed, split in two
athwartships, just below the reef-band, from earing to earing. Here
again it was--down yard, haul out reef-tackles, and lay out upon the
yard for reefing. By hauling the reef-tackles chock-a-block we took the
strain from the other earings, and passing the close-reef earing, and
knotting the points carefully, we succeeded in setting the sail, close

We had but just got the rigging coiled up, and were waiting to hear "Go
below the watch!" when the main royal worked loose from the gaskets, and
blew directly out to leeward, flapping and shaking the mast like a wand.
Here was a job for somebody. The royal must come in or be cut adrift, or
the mast would be snapped short off. All the light hands in the
starboard watch were sent up one after another, but they could do
nothing with it. At length John, the tall Frenchman, the head of the
starboard watch (and a better sailor never stepped upon a deck), sprang
aloft, and by the help of his long arms and legs succeeded after a hard
struggle,--the sail blowing over the yard-arm to leeward, and the
skysail adrift directly over his head,--in smothering it and frapping it
with long pieces of sinnet. He came very near being blown or shaken from
the yard several times, but he was a true sailor, every finger a
fish-hook. Having made the sail snug, he prepared to send the yard down,
which was a long and difficult job; for frequently he was obliged to
stop and hold on with all his might for several minutes, the ship
pitching so as to make it impossible to do anything else at that height.
The yard at length came down safe, and after it the fore and mizzen
royal yards were sent down. All hands were then sent aloft, and for an
hour or two we were hard at work, making the booms well fast, unreeving
the studding sail and royal and skysail gear, getting rolling-ropes on
the yard, setting up the weather breast-backstays, and making other
preparations for a storm. It was a fine night for a gale, just cool and
bracing enough for quick work, without being cold, and as bright as day.
It was sport to have a gale in such weather as this. Yet it blew like a
hurricane. The wind seemed to come with a spite, an edge to it, which
threatened to scrape us off the yards. The force of the wind was greater
than I had ever felt it before; but darkness, cold, and wet are the
worst parts of a storm to a sailor.

Having got on deck again, we looked round to see what time of night it
was, and whose watch. In a few minutes the man at the wheel struck four
bells, and we found that the other watch was out and our own half out.
Accordingly the starboard watch went below, and left the ship to us for
a couple of hours, yet with orders to stand by for a call.

Hardly had they got below before away went the foretopmast staysail,
blown to ribands. This was a small sail, which we could manage in the
watch, so that we were not obliged to call up the other watch. We laid
upon the bowsprit, where we were under water half the time, and took in
the fragments of the sail; and as she must have some headsail on her,
prepared to bend another staysail. We got the new one out into the
nettings; seized on the tack, sheets, and halyards, and the hanks;
manned the halyards, cut adrift the frapping-lines, and hoisted away;
but before it was half-way up the stay it was blown all to pieces. When
we belayed the halyards, there was nothing left but the bolt-rope. Now
large eyes began to show themselves in the foresail; and knowing that it
must soon go, the mate ordered us upon the yard to furl it. Being
unwilling to call up the watch, who had been on deck all night, he
roused out the carpenter, sailmaker, cook, and steward, and with their
help we manned the foreyard, and after nearly half an hour's struggle,
mastered the sail and got it well furled round the yard. The force of
the wind had never been greater than at this moment. In going up the
rigging it seemed absolutely to pin us down to the shrouds; and on the
yard there was no such thing as turning a face to windward. Yet there
was no driving sleet and darkness and wet and cold as off Cape Horn; and
instead of stiff oilcloth suits, southwester caps, and thick boots, we
had on hats, round jackets, duck trousers, light shoes, and everything
light and easy. These things make a great difference to a sailor. When
we got on deck the man at the wheel struck eight bells (four o'clock in
the morning), and "All star-bowlines, ahoy!" brought the other watch up,
but there was no going below for us. The gale was now at its height,
"blowing like scissors and thumb-screws"; the captain was on deck; the
ship, which was light, rolling and pitching as though she would shake
the long sticks out of her, and the sails were gaping open and splitting
in every direction. The mizzen-topsail, which was a comparatively new
sail and close reefed, split from head to foot in the bunt; the
foretopsail went in one rent from clew to caring, and was blowing to
tatters; one of the chain bobstays parted; the spritsailyard sprung in
the slings, the martingale had slued away off to leeward; and owing to
the long dry weather the lee rigging hung in large bights at every
lurch. One of the main-topgallant shrouds had parted; and to crown all,
the galley had got adrift and gone over to leeward, and the anchor on
the lee bow had worked loose and was thumping the side. Here was work
enough for all hands for half a day. Our gang laid out on the
mizzen-topsailyard, and after more than half an hour's hard work furled
the sail, though it bellied out over our heads, and again, by a slat of
the wind, blew in under the yard with a fearful jerk and almost threw us
off from the foot-ropes.

Double gaskets were passed round the yards, rolling tackles and other
gear bowsed taut, and everything made as secure as it could be. Coming
down, we found the rest of the crew just coming down the fore rigging,
having furled the tattered topsail, or rather, swathed it round the
yard, which looked like a broken limb bandaged. There was no sail now on
the ship but the spanker and the close-reefed main-topsail, which still
held good. But this was too much after-sail, and order was given to furl
the spanker. The brails were hauled up, and all the light hands in the
starboard watch sent out on the gaff to pass the gaskets; but they could
do nothing with it. The second mate swore at them for a parcel of
"sogers," and sent up a couple of the best men; but they could do no
better, and the gaff was lowered down. All hands were now employed in
setting up the lee rigging, fishing the spritsail yard, lashing the
galley, and getting tackles upon the martingale, to bowse it to
windward. Being in the larboard watch, my duty was forward, to assist in
setting up the martingale. Three of us were out on the martingale guys
and back-ropes for more than half an hour, carrying out, hooking, and
unhooking the tackles, several times buried in the seas, until the mate
ordered us in from fear of our being washed off. The anchors were then
to be taken up on the rail, which kept all hands on the forecastle for
an hour, though every now and then the seas broke over it, washing the
rigging off to leeward, filling the lee scuppers breast-high, and
washing chock aft to the taffrail.

Having got everything secure again, we were promising ourselves some
breakfast, for it was now nearly nine o'clock in the forenoon, when the
main-topsail showed evident signs of giving way. Some sail must be kept
on the ship, and the captain ordered the fore and main spencer gaffs to
be lowered down, and the two spencers (which were storm sails,
brand-new, small, and made of the strongest canvas) to be got up and
bent; leaving the main-topsail to blow away, with a blessing on it, if
it would only last until we could set the spencers. These we bent on
very carefully, with strong robands and seizings, and making tackles
fast to the clews, bowsed them down to the water-ways. By this time the
main-topsail was among the things that have been, and we went aloft to
stow away the remnant of the last sail of all those which were on the
ship twenty-four hours before. The spencers were now the only whole
sails on the ship, and being strong and small, and near the deck,
presenting but little surface to the wind above the rail, promised to
hold out well. Hove-to under these, and eased by having no sail above
the tops, the ship rose and fell, and drifted off to leeward like a
line-of-battle ship.

It was now eleven o'clock, and the watch was sent below to get
breakfast, and at eight bells (noon), as everything was snug, although
the gale had not in the least abated, the watch was set and the other
watch and idlers sent below. For three days and three nights the gale
continued with unabated fury, and with singular regularity. There were
no lulls, and very little variation in its fierceness. Our ship, being
light, rolled so as almost to send the fore yard-arm under water, and
drifted off bodily to leeward. All this time there was not a cloud to be
seen in the sky, day or night; no, not so large as a man's hand. Every
morning the sun rose cloudless from the sea, and set again at night in
the sea in a flood of light. The stars, too, came out of the blue one
after another, night after night, unobscured, and twinkled as clear as
on a still frosty night at home, until the day came upon them. All this
time the sea was rolling in immense surges, white with foam, as far as
the eye could reach, on every side; for we were now leagues and leagues
from shore.


From 'Two Years Before the Mast'

The sole object was to make the time pass on. Any change was sought for
which would break the monotony of the time; and even the two-hours'
trick at the wheel, which came round to us in turn, once in every other
watch, was looked upon as a relief. The never-failing resource of long
yarns, which eke out many a watch, seemed to have failed us now; for we
had been so long together that we had heard each other's stories told
over and over again till we had them by heart; each one knew the whole
history of each of the others, and we were fairly and literally talked
out. Singing and joking we were in no humor for; and in fact any sound
of mirth or laughter would have struck strangely upon our ears, and
would not have been tolerated any more than whistling or a wind
instrument. The last resort, that of speculating upon the future, seemed
now to fail us; for our discouraging situation, and the danger we were
really in (as we expected every day to find ourselves drifted back among
the ice), "clapped a stopper" upon all that. From saying "_when_ we get
home," we began insensibly to alter it "_when_ we get home," and at last
the subject was dropped by a tacit consent.

In this state of things a new light was struck out, and a new field
opened, by a change in the watch. One of our watch was laid up for two
or three days by a bad hand (for in cold weather the least cut or bruise
ripens into a sore), and his place was supplied by the carpenter. This
was a windfall, and there was a contest who should have the carpenter to
walk with him. As "Chips" was a man of some little education, and he and
I had had a good deal of intercourse with each other, he fell in with me
in my walk. He was a Finn, but spoke English well, and gave me long
accounts of his country,--the customs, the trade, the towns, what little
he knew of the government (I found he was no friend of Russia), his
voyages, his first arrival in America, his marriage and courtship; he
had married a country-woman of his, a dressmaker, whom he met with in
Boston. I had very little to tell him of my quiet sedentary life at
home; and in spite of our best efforts, which had protracted these yarns
through five or six watches, we fairly talked each other out, and I
turned him over to another man in the watch and put myself upon my own

I commenced a deliberate system of time-killing, which united some
profit with a cheering-up of the heavy hours. As soon as I came on deck,
and took my place and regular walk, I began with repeating over to
myself in regular order a string of matters which I had in my
memory,--the multiplication table and the table of weights and measures;
the Kanaka numerals; then the States of the Union, with their capitals;
the counties of England, with their shire towns, and the kings of
England in their order, and other things. This carried me through my
facts, and being repeated deliberately, with long intervals, often eked
out the first two bells. Then came the Ten Commandments, the
thirty-ninth chapter of Job, and a few other passages from Scripture.
The next in the order, which I seldom varied from, came Cowper's
'Castaway,' which was a great favorite with me; its solemn measure and
gloomy character, as well as the incident it was founded upon, making it
well suited to a lonely watch at sea. Then his 'Lines to Mary,' his
address to the Jackdaw, and a short extract from 'Table Talk' (I
abounded in Cowper, for I happened to have a volume of his poems in my
chest); 'Ille et nefasto' from Horace, and Goethe's 'Erl-König.' After I
had got through these, I allowed myself a more general range among
everything that I could remember, both in prose and verse. In this way,
with an occasional break by relieving the wheel, heaving the log, and
going to the scuttle-butt for a drink of water, the longest watch was
passed away; and I was so regular in my silent recitations that if there
was no interruption by ship's duty I could tell very nearly the number
of bells by my progress.

Our watches below were no more varied than the watch on deck. All
washing, sewing, and reading was given up, and we did nothing but eat,
sleep, and stand our watch, leading what might be called a Cape Horn
life. The forecastle was too uncomfortable to sit up in; and whenever we
were below, we were in our berths. To prevent the rain and the sea-water
which broke over the bows from washing down, we were obliged to keep the
scuttle closed, so that the forecastle was nearly air-tight. In this
little wet leaky hole we were all quartered, in an atmosphere so bad
that our lamp, which swung in the middle from the beams, sometimes
actually burned blue, with a large circle of foul air about it. Still I
was never in better health than after three weeks of this life. I gained
a great deal of flesh, and we all ate like horses. At every watch when
we came below, before turning in, the bread barge and beef kid were
overhauled. Each man drank his quart of hot tea night and morning, and
glad enough we were to get it; for no nectar and ambrosia were sweeter
to the lazy immortals than was a pot of hot tea, a hard biscuit, and a
slice of cold salt beef to us after a watch on deck. To be sure, we were
mere animals, and had this life lasted a year instead of a month, we
should have been little better than the ropes in the ship. Not a razor,
nor a brush, nor a drop of water, except the rain and the spray, had
come near us all the time: for we were on an allowance of fresh
water--and who would strip and wash himself in salt water on deck, in
the snow and ice, with the thermometer at zero?


From 'Two Years before the Mast'

The California had finished discharging her cargo, and was to get under
way at the same time with us. Having washed down decks and got
breakfast, the two vessels lay side by side in complete readiness for
sea, our ensigns hanging from the peaks and our tall spars reflected
from the glassy surface of the river, which since sunrise had been
unbroken by a ripple. At length a few whiffs came across the water, and
by eleven o'clock the regular northwest wind set steadily in. There was
no need of calling all hands, for we had all been hanging about the
forecastle the whole forenoon, and were ready for a start upon the first
sign of a breeze. Often we turned our eyes aft upon the captain, who was
walking the deck, with every now and then a look to windward. He made a
sign to the mate, who came forward, took his station deliberately
between the knightheads, cast a glance aloft, and called out, "All hands
lay aloft and loose the sails!" We were half in the rigging before the
order came, and never since we left Boston were the gaskets off the
yards and the rigging overhauled in a shorter time. "All ready forward,
sir!" "All ready the main!" "Crossjack yards all ready, sir!" "Lay
down, all hands but one on each yard!" The yard-arm and bunt gaskets
were cast off; and each sail hung by the jigger, with one man standing
by the tie to let it go. At the same moment that we sprang aloft a dozen
hands sprang into the rigging of the California, and in an instant were
all over her yards; and her sails too were ready to be dropped at the
word. In the mean time our bow gun had been loaded and run out, and its
discharge was to be the signal for dropping the sails. A cloud of smoke
came out of our bows; the echoes of the gun rattled our farewell among
the hills of California, and the two ships were covered from head to
foot with their white canvas. For a few minutes all was uproar and
apparent confusion; men jumping about like monkeys in the rigging; ropes
and blocks flying, orders given and answered amid the confused noises of
men singing out at the ropes. The topsails came to the mastheads with
"Cheerly, men!" and in a few minutes every sail was set, for the wind
was light. The head sails were backed, the windlass came round
"slip--slap" to the cry of the sailors;--"Hove short, sir," said the
mate; "Up with him!"--"Ay, ay, sir." A few hearty and long heaves, and
the anchor showed its head. "Hook cat!" The fall was stretched along the
decks; all hands laid hold;--"Hurrah, for the last time," said the mate;
and the anchor came to the cathead to the tune of 'Time for us to go,'
with a rollicking chorus. Everything was done quick, as though it _was_
for the last time. The head yards were filled away, and our ship began
to move through the water on her homeward-bound course.

The California had got under way at the same moment, and we sailed down
the narrow bay abreast, and were just off the mouth, and, gradually
drawing ahead of her, were on the point of giving her three parting
cheers, when suddenly we found ourselves stopped short, and the
California ranging fast ahead of us. A bar stretches across the mouth of
the harbor, with water enough to float common vessels; but being low in
the water, and having kept well to leeward, as we were bound to the
southward, we had stuck fast, while the California, being light, had
floated over.

We kept all sail on, in the hope of forcing over; but failing in this,
we hove back into the channel. This was something of a damper to us, and
the captain looked not a little mortified and vexed. "This is the same
place where the Rosa got ashore, sir," observed our red-headed second
mate, most mal-àpropos. A malediction on the Rosa, and him too, was all
the answer he got, and he slunk off to leeward. In a few minutes the
force of the wind and the rising of the tide backed us into the stream,
and we were on our way to our old anchoring place, the tide setting
swiftly up, and the ship barely manageable in the light breeze. We
came-to in our old berth opposite the hide-house, whose inmates were not
a little surprised to see us return. We felt as though we were tied to
California; and some of the crew swore that they never should get clear
of the "bloody" coast.

In about half an hour, which was near high water, the order was given to
man the windlass, and again the anchor was catted; but there was no
song, and not a word was said about the last time. The California had
come back on finding that we had returned, and was hove-to, waiting for
us, off the point. This time we passed the bar safely, and were soon up
with the California, who filled away, and kept us company. She seemed
desirous of a trial of speed, and our captain accepted the challenge,
although we were loaded down to the bolts of our chain-plates, as deep
as a sand-barge, and bound so taut with our cargo that we were no more
fit for a race than a man in fetters; while our antagonist was in her
best trim. Being clear of the point, the breeze became stiff, and the
royal-masts bent under our sails, but we would not take them in until we
saw three boys spring aloft into the rigging of the California; when
they were all furled at once, but with orders to our boys to stay aloft
at the topgallant mastheads and loose them again at the word. It was my
duty to furl the fore-royal; and, while standing by to loose it again, I
had a fine view of the scene. From where I stood, the two vessels seemed
nothing but spars and sails, while their narrow decks, far below,
slanting over by the force of the wind aloft, appeared hardly capable of
supporting the great fabrics raised upon them. The California was to
windward of us, and had every advantage; yet, while the breeze was
stiff, we held our own. As soon as it began to slacken, she ranged a
little ahead, and the order was given to loose the royals. In an instant
the gaskets were off and the bunt dropped. "Sheet home the fore royal!"
"Weather sheets home!"--"Lee sheets home!"--"Hoist away, sir!" is bawled
from aloft. "Overhaul your clew-lines!" shouts the mate. "Ay, ay, sir!
all clear!" "Taut leech! belay! Well the lee brace; haul taut to
windward,"--and the royals were set. These brought us up again; but the
wind continuing light, the California set hers, and it was soon evident
that she was walking away from us. Our captain then hailed and said that
he should keep off to his course; adding, "She isn't the Alert now. If I
had her in your trim she would have been out of sight by this time."
This was good-naturedly answered from the California, and she braced
sharp up, and stood close upon the wind up the coast; while we squared
away our yards, and stood before the wind to the south-southwest. The
California's crew manned her weather rigging, waved their hats in the
air, and gave us three hearty cheers, which we answered as heartily, and
the customary single cheer came back to us from over the water. She
stood on her way, doomed to eighteen months' or two years' hard service
upon that hated coast; while we were making our way home, to which every
hour and every mile was bringing us nearer.




[Illustration: DANTE]


To acquire a love for the best poetry, and a just understanding of it,
is the chief end of the study of literature; for it is by means of
poetry that the imagination is quickened, nurtured, and invigorated, and
it is only through the exercise of his imagination that man can live a
life that is in a true sense worth living. For it is the imagination
which lifts him from the petty, transient, and physical interests that
engross the greater part of his time and thoughts in self-regarding
pursuits, to the large, permanent, and spiritual interests that ennoble
his nature, and transform him from a solitary individual into a member
of the brotherhood of the human race.

In the poet the imagination works more powerfully and consistently than
in other men, and thus qualifies him to become the teacher and inspirer
of his fellows. He sees men, by its means, more clearly than they see
themselves; he discloses them to themselves, and reveals to them their
own dim ideals. He becomes the interpreter of his age to itself; and not
merely of his own age is he the interpreter, but of man to man in all
ages. For change as the world may in outward aspect, with the rise and
fall of empires,--change as men may, from generation to generation, in
knowledge, belief, and manners,--human nature remains unalterable in its
elements, unchanged from age to age; and it is human nature, under its
various guises, with which the great poets deal.

The Iliad and the Odyssey do not become antiquated to us. The characters
of Shakespeare are perpetually modern. Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, stand
alone in the closeness of their relation to nature. Each after his own
manner gives us a view of life, as seen by the poetic imagination, such
as no other poet has given to us. Homer, first of all poets, shows us
individual personages sharply defined, but in the early stages of
intellectual and moral development, the first representatives of the
race at its conscious entrance upon the path of progress, with simple
motives, simple theories of existence, simple and limited experience. He
is plain and direct in the presentation of life, and in the substance
no less than in the expression of his thought.

In Shakespeare's work the individual man is no less sharply defined, no
less true to nature, but the long procession of his personages is wholly
different in effect from that of the Iliad and the Odyssey. They have
lost the simplicity of the older race; they are the products of a longer
and more varied experience; they have become more complex. And
Shakespeare is plain and direct neither in the substance of his thought
nor in the expression of it. The world has grown older, and in the
evolution of his nature man has become conscious of the irreconcilable
paradoxes of life, and more or less aware that while he is infinite in
faculty, he is also the quintessence of dust. But there is one essential
characteristic in which Shakespeare and Homer resemble each other as
poets,--that they both show to us the scene of life without the
interference of their own personality. Each simply holds the mirror up
to nature, and lets us see the reflection, without making comment on the
show. If there be a lesson in it we must learn it for ourselves.

Dante comes between the two, and differs more widely from each of them
than they from one another. They are primarily poets. He is primarily a
moralist who is also a poet. Of Homer the man, and of Shakespeare the
man, we know, and need to know, nothing; it is only with them as poets
that we are concerned. But it is needful to know Dante as man, in order
fully to appreciate him as poet. He gives us his world not as reflection
from an unconscious and indifferent mirror, but as from a mirror that
shapes and orders its reflections for a definite end beyond that of art,
and extraneous to it. And in this lies the secret of Dante's hold upon
so many and so various minds. He is the chief poet of man as a moral

To understand aright the work of any great poet we must know the
conditions of his times; but this is not enough in the case of Dante. We
must know not only the conditions of the generation to which he
belonged, we must also know the specific conditions which shaped him
into the man he was, and differentiated him from his fellows. How came
he, endowed with a poetic imagination which puts him in the same class
with Homer and Shakespeare, not to be content, like them, to give us a
simple view of the phantasmagoria of life, but eager to use the fleeting
images as instruments by which to enforce the lesson of righteousness,
to set forth a theory of existence and a scheme of the universe?

The question cannot be answered without a consideration of the change
wrought in the life and thoughts of men in Europe by the Christian
doctrine as expounded and enforced by the Roman Church, and of the
simultaneous changes in outward conditions resulting from the
destruction of the ancient civilization, and the slow evolution of the
modern world as it rose from the ruins of the old. The period which
immediately preceded and followed the fall of the Roman Empire was too
disorderly, confused, and broken for men during its course to be
conscious of the directions in which they were treading. Century after
century passed without settled institutions, without orderly language,
without literature, without art. But institutions, languages, literature
and art were germinating, and before the end of the eleventh century
clear signs of a new civilization were manifest in Western Europe. The
nations, distinguished by differences of race and history, were settling
down within definite geographical limits; the various languages were
shaping themselves for the uses of intercourse and of literature;
institutions accommodated to actual needs were growing strong; here and
there the social order was becoming comparatively tranquil and secure.
Progress once begun became rapid, and the twelfth century is one of the
most splendid periods of the intellectual life of man expressing itself
in an infinite variety of noble and attractive forms. These new
conditions were most strongly marked in France: in Provence at the
South, and in and around the Île de France at the North; and from both
these regions a quickening influence diffused itself eastward into

The conditions of Italy throughout the Dark and Middle Ages were widely
different from those of other parts of Europe. Through all the ruin and
confusion of these centuries a tradition of ancient culture and ancient
power was handed down from generation to generation, strongly affecting
the imagination of the Italian people, whether recent invaders or
descendants of the old population. Italy had never had a national unity
and life, and the divisions of her different regions remained as wide in
the later as in the earlier times; but there was one sentiment which
bound all her various and conflicting elements in a common bond, which
touched every Italian heart and roused every Italian imagination,--the
sentiment of the imperial grandeur and authority of Rome. Shrunken,
feeble, fallen as the city was, the thought of what she had once been
still occupied the fancy of the Italian people, determined their
conceptions of the government of the world, and quickened within them a
glow of patriotic pride. Her laws were still the main fount of
whatsoever law existed for the maintenance of public and private right;
the imperial dignity, however interrupted in transmission, however often
assumed by foreign and barbarian conquerors, was still, to the
imagination, supreme above all other earthly titles; the story of Roman
deeds was known of all men; the legends of Roman heroes were the
familiar tales of infancy and age. Cities that had risen since Rome fell
claimed, with pardonable falsehood, to have had their origin from her,
and their rulers adopted the designations of her consuls and her
senators. The fragments of her literature that had survived the
destruction of her culture were the models for the rude writers of
ignorant centuries, and her language formed the basis for the new
language which was gradually shaping itself in accordance with the
slowly growing needs of expression. The traces of her material dominion,
the ruins of her wide arch of empire, were still to be found from the
far West to the farther East, and were but the types and emblems of her
moral dominion in the law, the language, the customs, the traditions of
the different lands. Nothing in the whole course of profane history has
so affected the imaginations of men, or so influenced their destinies,
as the achievements and authority of Rome.

The Roman Church inherited, together with the city, the tradition of
Roman dominion over the world. Ancient Rome largely shaped modern
Christianity,--by the transmission of the idea of the authority which
the Empire once exerted to the Church which grew up upon its ruins. The
tremendous drama of Roman history displayed itself to the imagination
from scene to scene, from act to act, with completeness of poetic
progress and climax,--first the growth, the extension, the absoluteness
of material supremacy, the heathen being made the instruments of Divine
power for preparing the world for the revelation of the true God; then
the tragedy of Christ's death wrought by Roman hands, and the expiation
of it in the fall of the Roman imperial power; followed by the new era
in which Rome again was asserting herself as mistress of the world, but
now with spiritual instead of material supremacy, and with a dominion
against which the gates of hell itself should not prevail.

It was, indeed, not at once that this conception of the Church as the
inheritor of the rights of Rome to the obedience of mankind took form.
It grew slowly and against opposition. But at the end of the eleventh
century, through the genius of Pope Gregory VII., the ideas hitherto
disputed, of the supreme authority of the Pope within the Church and of
the supremacy of the Church over the State, were established as the
accepted ecclesiastical theory, and adopted as the basis of the
definitely organized ecclesiastical system. Little more than a hundred
years later, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, Innocent III.
enforced the claims of the Church with a vigor and ability hardly less
than that of his great predecessor, maintaining openly that the
Pope--Pontifex Maximus--was the vicar of God upon earth.

This theory was the logical conclusion from a long series of historic
premises; and resting upon a firm foundation of dogma, it was supported
by the genuine belief, no less than by the worldly interests and
ambitions, of those who profited by it. The ideal it presented was at
once a simple and a noble conception,--narrow indeed, for the ignorance
of men was such that only narrow conceptions, in matters relating to the
nature and destiny of man and the order of the universe, were possible.
But it was a theory that offered an apparently sufficient solution of
the mysteries of religion, of the relation between God and man, between
the visible creation and the unseen world. It was a theory of a material
rather than a spiritual order: it reduced the things of the spirit into
terms of the things of the flesh. It was crude, it was easily
comprehensible, it was fitted to the mental conditions of the age.

The power which the Church claimed, and which to a large degree it
exercised over the imagination and over the conduct of the Middle Ages,
was the power which belonged to its head as the earthly representative
and vicegerent of God. No wonder that such power was often abused, and
that the corruption among the ministers of the Church was wide-spread.
Yet in spite of abuse, in spite of corruption, the Church was the ark of

The religious--no less than the intellectual--life of Europe had revived
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and had displayed its fervor in
the marvels of Crusades and of church-building,--external modes of
manifesting zeal for the glory of God, and ardor for personal salvation.
But with the progress of intelligence the spirit which had found its
expression in these modes of service, now, in the thirteenth century in
Italy, fired the hearts of men with an even more intense and far more
vital flame, quickening within them sympathies which had long lain
dormant, and which now at last burst into activity in efforts and
sacrifices for the relief of misery, and for the bringing of all men
within the fold of Christian brotherhood. St. Francis and St. Dominic,
in founding their orders, and in setting an example to their brethren,
only gave measure and direction to a common impulse.

Yet such were the general hardness of heart and cruelty of temper which
had resulted from the centuries of violence, oppression, and suffering,
out of which Italy with the rest of Europe was slowly emerging, that the
strivings of religious emotion and the efforts of humane sympathy were
less powerful to bring about an improvement in social order than
influences which had their root in material conditions. Chief among
these was the increasing strength of the civic communities, through the
development of industry and of commerce. The people of the cities,
united for the protection of their common interests, were gaining a
sense of power. The little people, as they were called,--mechanics,
tradesmen, and the like,--were organizing themselves, and growing strong
enough to compel the great to submit to the restrictions of a more or
less orderly and peaceful life. In spite of the violent contentions of
the great, in spite of frequent civic uproar, of war with neighbors, of
impassioned party disputes, in spite of incessant interruptions of their
tranquillity, many of the cities of Italy were advancing in prosperity
and wealth. No one of them made more rapid and steady progress than

The history of Florence during the thirteenth century is a splendid tale
of civic energy and resolute self-confidence. The little city was full
of eager and vigorous life. Her story abounds in picturesque incident.
She had her experience of the turn of the wheel of Fortune, being now at
the summit of power in Tuscany, now in the depths of defeat and

The spiritual emotion, the improvement in the conditions of society, the
increase of wealth, the growth in power of the cities of Italy, were
naturally accompanied by a corresponding intellectual development, and
the thirteenth century became for Italy what the twelfth had been for
France, a period of splendid activity in the expression of her new life.
Every mode of expression in literature and in the arts was sought and
practiced, at first with feeble and ignorant hands, but with steady gain
of mastery. At the beginning of the century the language was a mere
spoken tongue, not yet shaped for literary use. But the example of
Provence was strongly felt at the court of the Emperor Frederick II. in
Sicily, and the first half of the century was not ended before many
poets were imitating in the Italian tongue the poems of the troubadours.
Form and substance were alike copied; there is scarcely a single
original note; but the practice was of service in giving suppleness to
the language, in forming it for nobler uses, and in opening the way for
poetry which should be Italian in sentiment as well as in words. At the
north of Italy the influence of the trouvères was felt in like manner.
Everywhere the desire for expression was manifest. The spring had come,
the young birds had begun to twitter, but no full song was yet heard.
Love was the main theme of the poets, but it had few accents of
sincerity; the common tone was artificial, was unreal.

In the second half of the century new voices are heard, with accents of
genuine and natural feeling; the poets begin to treat the old themes
with more freshness, and to deal with religion, politics, and morals, as
well as with love. The language still possesses, indeed, the quality of
youth; it is still pliant, its forms have not become stiffened by age,
it is fit for larger use than has yet been made of it, and lies ready
and waiting, like a noble instrument, for the hand of the master which
shall draw from it its full harmonies and reveal its latent power in the
service he exacts from it.

But it was not in poetry alone that the life of Italy found expression.
Before the invention of printing,--which gave to the literary arts such
an advantage as secured their pre-eminence,--architecture, sculpture,
and painting were hardly less important means for the expression of the
ideals of the imagination and the creative energy of man. The practice
of them had never wholly ceased in Italy; but her native artists had
lost the traditions of technical skill; their work was rude and
childish. The conventional and lifeless forms of Byzantine art in its
decline were adopted by workmen who no longer felt the impulse, and no
longer possessed the capacity, of original design. Venice and Pisa,
early enriched by Eastern commerce, and with citizens both instructed
and inspired by knowledge of foreign lands, had begun great works of
building even in the eleventh century; but these works had been
designed, and mainly executed, by masters from abroad. But now the
awakened soul of Italy breathed new life into all the arts in its
efforts at self-expression. A splendid revival began. The inspiring
influence of France was felt in the arts of construction and design as
it had been felt in poetry. The magnificent display of the highest
powers of the imagination and the intelligence in France, the creation
during the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries of the unrivaled
productions of Gothic art, stimulated and quickened the growth of the
native art of Italy. But the French forms were seldom adopted for direct
imitation, as the forms of Provençal poetry had been. The power of
classic tradition was strong enough to resist their attraction. The
taste of Italy rejected the marvels of Gothic design in favor of modes
of expression inherited from her own past, but vivified with fresh
spirit, and adapted to her new requirements. The inland cities, as they
grew rich through native industry and powerful through the organization
of their citizens, were stirred with rivalry to make themselves
beautiful, and the motives of religion no less than those of civic pride
contributed to their adornment. The Church was the object of interest
common to all. Piety, superstition, pride, emulation, all alike called
for art in which their spirit should be embodied. The imagination
answered to the call. The eyes of the artist were once more opened to
see the beauty of life, and his hand sought to reproduce it. The bonds
of tradition were broken. The Greek marble vase on the platform of the
Duomo at Pisa taught Niccola Pisano the right methods of sculpture, and
directed him to the source of his art in the study of nature. His work
was a new wonder and delight, and showed the way along which many
followed him. Painting took her lesson from sculpture, and before the
end of the century both arts had become responsive to the demand of the
time, and had entered upon that course of triumph which was not to end
till, three centuries later, chisel and brush dropped from hands
enfeebled in the general decline of national vigor, and incapable of
resistance to the tyrannous and exclusive autocracy of the printed

But it was not only the new birth of sentiment and emotion which
quickened these arts: it was also the aroused curiosity of men
concerning themselves, their history, and the earth. They felt their own
ignorance. The vast region of the unknown, which encircled with its
immeasurable spaces the little tract of the known world, appealed to
their fancy and their spirit of enterprise, with its boundless promise
and its innumerable allurements to adventure. Learning, long confined
and starved in the cell of the monk, was coming out into the open world,
and was gathering fresh stores alike from the past and the present. The
treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of the Greeks were eagerly sought,
especially in translations of Aristotle,--translations which, though
imperfect indeed, and disfigured by numberless misinterpretations and
mistakes, nevertheless contained a body of instruction invaluable as a
guide and stimulant to the awakened intelligence. Encyclopedic compends
of knowledge put at the disposition of students all that was known or
fancied in the various fields of science. The division between knowledge
and belief was not sharply drawn, and the wonders of legend and of fable
were accepted with as ready a faith as the actual facts of observation
and of experience. Travelers for gain or for adventure, and missionaries
for the sake of religion, were venturing to lands hitherto unvisited.
The growth of knowledge, small as it was compared with later increase,
widened thought and deepened life. The increase of thought strengthened
the faculties of the mind. Man becomes more truly man in proportion to
what he knows, and one of the most striking and characteristic features
of this great century is the advance of man through increase of
knowledge out of childishness towards maturity. The insoluble problems
which had been discussed with astonishing acuteness by the schoolmen of
the preceding generation were giving place to a philosophy of more
immediate application to the conduct and discipline of life. The 'Summa
Theologica' of St. Thomas Aquinas not only treated with incomparable
logic the vexed questions of scholastic philosophy, but brought all the
resources of a noble and well-trained intelligence and of a fine moral
sense to the study and determination of the order and government of the
universe, and of the nature and destiny of man.

The scope of learning remained, indeed, at the end of the century,
narrow in its range. The little tract of truth which men had acquired
lay encompassed by ignorance, like a scant garden-plot surrounded by a
high wall. But here and there the wall was broken through, and paths
were leading out into wider fields to be won for culture, or into
deserts wider still, in which the wanderers should perish.

But as yet there was no comprehensive and philosophic grasp of the new
conditions in their total significance; no harmonizing of their various
elements into one consistent scheme of human life; no criticism of the
new life as a whole. For this task was required not only acquaintance
with the whole range of existing knowledge, by which the conceptions of
men in regard to themselves and the universe were determined, but also a
profound view of the meaning of life itself, and an imaginative insight
into the nature of man. A mere image of the drama of life as presented
to the eye would not suffice. The meaning of it would be lost in the
confusion and multiplicity of the scene. The only possible explanation
and reconcilement of its aspects lay in the universal application to
them of the moral law, and in the exhibition of man as a spiritual and
immortal being for whom this world was but the first stage of existence.
This was the task undertaken and accomplished by Dante.


Of the events in Dante's life few are precisely ascertained, but of its
general course enough is known, either from his own statements or from
external testimony, to show the essential relations between his life and
his work, and the influence of his experience upon his convictions and
character. Most of the biographies of him are untrustworthy, being
largely built up upon a foundation of inferences and suppositions, and
often filled out with traditions and stories of which the greater part
are certainly false and few have a likelihood of truth. The only
strictly contemporary account of him is that given by the excellent
Chronicler of Florence, Giovanni Villani, a man of weight and judgment,
who in the ninth book of his Chronicle, under the year 1321, recording
Dante's death, adds a brief narrative of his life and works; because, as
he says, "on account of the virtues and knowledge and worth of so great
a citizen, it seems to us to be fitting to give a perpetual memorial of
him in this our chronicle, although the noble works left by him in
writing afford a true testimonial to him, and honorable fame to our
city." "Dante was," says Villani, "an honorable and ancient citizen of
Florence, of the gate of San Piero, and our neighbor." "He was a great
master in almost every branch of knowledge, although he was a layman; he
was a supreme poet and philosopher, and a perfect rhetorician alike in
prose and verse, as well as a most noble orator in public speech,
supreme in rhyme, with the most polished and beautiful style that had
ever been in our language.... Because of his knowledge he was somewhat
presumptuous, disdainful, and haughty; and, as it were after the manner
of a philosopher, having little graciousness, he knew not well to bear
himself with common people (_conversare con laici_)."

Dante was born in Florence, in May or June 1265. Of his family little is
positively known.[1] It was not among the nobles of the city, but it had
place among the well-to-do citizens who formed the body of the State and
the main support of the Guelf party. Of Dante's early years, and the
course of his education, nothing is known save what he himself tells us
in his various writings or what may be inferred from them. Lionardo
Bruni, eminent as an historian and as a public man, who wrote a Life of
Dante about a hundred years after his death, cites a letter of which we
have no other knowledge, in which, if the letter be genuine, the poet
says that he took part in the battle of Campaldino, fought in June 1289.
The words are:--"At the battle of Campaldino, in which the Ghibelline
party was almost all slain and undone, I found myself not a child in
arms, and I experienced great fear, and finally the greatest joy,
because of the shifting fortunes of the fight." It seems likely that
Dante was present, probably under arms, in the later part of the same
summer, at the surrender to the Florentines of the Pisan stronghold of
Caprona, where, he says ('Inferno,' xxi. 94-96), "I saw the foot
soldiers afraid, who came out under compact from Caprona, seeing
themselves among so many enemies."

Years passed before any other event in Dante's life is noted with a
certain date. An imperfect record preserved in the Florentine archives
mentions his taking part in a discussion in the so-called Council of a
Hundred Men, on the 5th of June, 1296. This is of importance as
indicating that he had before this time become a member of one of the
twelve Arts,--enrollment in one of which was required for the
acquisition of the right to exercise political functions in the State,
and also as indicating that he had a place in the chief of those
councils by which public measures were discussed and decided. The Art of
which he was a member was that of the physicians and druggists (_medici
e speziali_), an Art whose dealings included commerce in many of the
products of the East.

Not far from this time, but whether before or after 1296 is uncertain,
he married. His wife was Gemma dei Donati. The Donati were a powerful
family among the _grandi_ of the city, and played a leading part in the
stormy life of Florence. Of Gemma nothing is known but her marriage.

Between 1297 and 1299, Dante, together with his brother Francesco, as
appears from existing documentary evidence, were borrowers of
considerable sums of money; and the largest of the debts thus incurred
seem not to have been discharged till 1332, eleven years after his
death, when they were paid by his sons Jacopo and Pietro.

In May 1299 he was sent as envoy from Florence to the little, not very
distant, city of San Gemignano, to urge its community to take part in a
general council of the Guelf communes of Tuscany.

In the next year, 1300, he was elected one of the six priors of
Florence, to hold office from the 15th of June to the 15th of August.
The priors, together with the "gonfalonier of justice" (who had command
of the body of one thousand men who stood at their service), formed the
chief magistracy of the city. Florence had such jealousy of its rulers
that the priors held office but two months, so that in the course of
each year thirty-six of the citizens were elected to this magistracy.
The outgoing priors, associated with twelve of the leading citizens, two
from each of the _sestieri_ or wards of the city, chose their
successors. Neither continuity nor steady vigor of policy was possible
with an administration so shifting and of such varied composition, which
by its very constitution was exposed at all times to intrigue and to
attack. It was no wonder that Florence lay open to the reproach that her
counsels were such that what she spun in October did not reach to
mid-November ('Purgatory', vi. 142-144). His election to the priorate
was the most important event in Dante's public life. "All my ills and
all my troubles," he declared, "had occasion and beginning from my
misfortunate election to the priorate, of which, though I was not worthy
in respect of wisdom, yet I was not unworthy in fidelity and in age."[2]

The year 1300 was disastrous not only for Dante but for Florence. She
was, at the end of the thirteenth century, by far the most flourishing
and powerful city of Tuscany, full of vitality and energy, and beautiful
as she was strong. She was not free from civil discord, but the
predominance of the Guelf party was so complete within her walls that
she suffered little from the strife between Guelf and Ghibelline, which
for almost a century had divided Italy into two hostile camps. In the
main the Guelf party was that of the common people and the industrious
classes, and in general it afforded support to the Papacy as against the
Empire, while it received, in return, support from the popes. The
Ghibellines, on the other hand, were mainly of the noble class, and
maintainers of the Empire. The growth of the industry and commerce of
Florence in the last half of the century had resulted in the
establishment of the popular power, and in the suppression of the
Ghibelline interest. But a bitter quarrel broke out in one of the great
families in the neighboring Guelf city of Pistoia, a quarrel which raged
so furiously that Florence feared that it would result in the gain of
power by the Ghibellines, and she adopted the fatal policy of compelling
the heads of the contending factions to take up their residence within
her walls. The result was that she herself became the seat of discord.
Each of the two factions found ardent adherents, and, adopting the names
by which they had been distinguished in Pistoia, Florence was almost
instantly ablaze with the passionate quarrel between the Whites and the
Blacks (Bianchi and Neri). The flames burned so high that the Pope,
Boniface VIII., intervened to quench them. His intervention was vain.

It was just at this time that Dante became prior. The need of action to
restore peace to the city was imperative, and the priors took the step
of banishing the leaders of both divisions. Among those of the Bianchi
was Dante's own nearest friend, Guido Cavalcante. The measure was
insufficient to secure tranquillity and order. The city was in constant
tumult; its conditions went from bad to worse. But in spite of civil
broils, common affairs must still be attended to, and from a document
preserved in the Archives at Florence we learn that on the 28th April,
1301, Dante was appointed superintendent, without salary, of works
undertaken for the widening, straightening, and paving of the street of
San Procolo and making it safe for travel. On the 13th of the same month
he took part in a discussion, in the Council of the Heads of the twelve
greater Arts, as to the mode of procedure in the election of future
priors. On the 18th of June, in the Council of the Hundred Men, he
advised against providing the Pope with a force of one hundred men which
had been asked for; and again in September of the same year there is
record, for the last time, of his taking part in the Council, in a
discussion in regard "to the conservation of the Ordinances of Justice
and the Statutes of the People."

These notices of the part taken by Dante in public affairs seem at first
sight comparatively slight and unimportant; but were one constructing an
ideal biography of him, it would be hard to devise records more
appropriate to the character and principles of the man as they appear
from his writings. The sense of the duty of the individual to the
community of which he forms a part was one of his strongest convictions;
and his being put in charge of the opening of the street of San Procolo,
and making it safe for travel, "eo quod popularis comitatus absque
strepitu et briga magnatum et potentum possunt secure venire ad dominos
priores et vexilliferum justitiæ cum expedit" (so that the common people
may, without uproar and harassing of magnates and mighty men, have
access whenever it be desirable to the Lord Priors and the
Standard-Bearer of Justice), affords a comment on his own criticism of
his fellow-citizens, whose disposition to shirk the burden of public
duty is more than once the subject of his satire. "Many refuse the
common burden, but thy people, my Florence, eagerly replies without
being called on, and cries, 'I load myself'" ('Purgatory,' vi. 133-135).
His counsel against providing the Pope with troops was in conformity
with his fixed political conviction that the function of the Papacy was
to be confined to the spiritual government of mankind; and nothing could
be more striking, as a chance incident, than that the last occasion on
which he, whose heart was set on justice, took part in the counsels of
his city, should have been for the discussion of the means for "the
conservation of the ordinances of justice and the statutes of the

In the course of events in 1300 and 1301 the Bianchi proved the stronger
of the two factions by which the city was divided, they resisted with
success the efforts of the Pope in support of their rivals, and they
were charged by their enemies with intent to restore the rule of the
city to the Ghibellines. While affairs were in this state, Charles of
Valois, brother to the King of France, Philip the Fair, was passing
through Italy with a troop of horsemen to join Charles II. of Naples,[3]
in the attempt to regain Sicily from the hands of Frederic of Aragon.
The Pope favored the expedition, and held out flattering promises to
Charles. The latter reached Anagni, where Boniface was residing, in
September 1301. Here it was arranged that before proceeding to Sicily,
Charles should undertake to reduce to obedience the refractory opponents
of the Pope in Tuscany. The title of the Pacifier of Tuscany was
bestowed on him, and he moved toward Florence with his own troop and a
considerable additional force of men-at-arms. He was met on his way by
deputies from Florence, to whom he made fair promises; and trusting to
his good faith, the Florentines opened their gates to him and he entered
the city on All Saints' Day (November 1st), 1301.

Charles had hardly established himself in his quarters before he cast
his pledges to the wind. The exiled Neri, with his connivance, broke
into the city, and for six days worked their will upon their enemies,
slaying many of them, pillaging and burning their houses, while Charles
looked on with apparent unconcern at the wide-spread ruin and
devastation. New priors, all of them from the party of the Neri, entered
upon office in mid-November, and a new Podestà, Cante dei Gabrielli of
Agobbio, was charged with the administration of justice. The persecution
of the Bianchi was carried on with consistent thoroughness: many were
imprisoned, many fined, Charles sharing in the sums exacted from them.
On the 27th of January, 1302, a decree was issued by the Podestà
condemning five persons, one of whom was Dante, to fine and banishment
on account of crimes alleged to have been committed by them while
holding office as priors. "According to public report," said the decree,
"they committed barratry, sought illicit gains, and practiced unjust
extortions of money or goods." These general charges are set forth with
elaborate legal phraseology, and with much repetition of phrase, but
without statement of specific instances. The most important of them are
that the accused had spent money of the commune in opposing the Pope, in
resistance to the coming of Charles of Valois, and against the peace of
the city and the Guelf party; that they had promoted discord in the city
of Pistoia, and had caused the expulsion from that city of the Neri, the
faithful adherents of the Holy Roman Church; and that they had caused
Pistoia to break its union with Florence, and to refuse subjection to
the Church and to Charles the Pacificator of Tuscany. These being the
charges, the decree proceeded to declare that the accused, having been
summoned to appear within a fixed time before the Podestà and his court
to make their defense, under penalty for non-appearance of five thousand
florins each, and having failed to do so, were now condemned to pay this
sum and to restore their illicit gains; and if this were not done within
three days from the publication of this sentence against them, all their
possessions (_bona_) should be seized and destroyed; and should they
make the required payment, they were nevertheless to stand banished from
Tuscany for two years; and for perpetual memory of their misdeeds their
names were to be inscribed in the Statutes of the People, and as
swindlers and barrators they were never to hold office or benefice
within the city or district of Florence.

Six weeks later, on the 10th of March, another decree of the Podestà was
published, declaring the five citizens named in the preceding decree,
together with ten others, to have practically confessed their guilt by
their contumacy in non-appearance when summoned, and condemning them, if
at any time any one of them should come into the power of Florence, to
be burned to death ("talis perveniens igne comburatur sic quod

From this time forth till his death Dante was an exile. The character of
the decrees is such that the charges brought against him have no force,
and leave no suspicion resting upon his actions as an officer of the
State. They are the outcome and expression of the bitterness of party
rage, and they testify clearly only to his having been one of the
leaders of the parties opposed to the pretensions of the Pope, and
desirous to maintain the freedom of Florence from foreign intervention.

In April Charles left Florence, "having finished," says Villani, the
eye-witness of these events, "that for which he had come, namely, under
pretext of peace, having driven the White party from Florence; but from
this proceeded many calamities and dangers to our city."

The course of Dante's external life in exile is hardly less obscure than
that of his early days. Much concerning it may be inferred with some
degree of probability from passages in his own writings, or from what is
reported by others; but of actual certain facts there are few. For a
time he seems to have remained with his companions in exile, of whom
there were hundreds, but he soon separated himself from them in grave
dissatisfaction, making a party by himself ('Paradiso,' xvii. 69), and
found shelter at the court of the Scaligeri at Verona. In August 1306 he
was among the witnesses to a contract at Padua. In October of the same
year he was with Franceschino, Marchese Malespina, in the district
called the Lunigiana, and empowered by him as his special procurator and
envoy to establish the terms of peace for him and his brothers with the
Bishop of Luni. His gratitude to the Malespini for their hospitality and
good-will toward him is proved by one of the most splendid compliments
ever paid in verse or prose, the magnificent eulogium of this great and
powerful house with which the eighth canto of the 'Purgatory' closes.
How long Dante remained with the Malespini, and whither he went after
leaving them, is unknown. At some period of his exile he was at Lucca
('Purgatorio,' xxiv. 45); Villani states that he was at Bologna, and
afterwards at Paris, and in many parts of the world. He wandered far and
wide in Italy, and it may well be that in the course of his years of
exile he went to Paris, drawn thither by the opportunities of learning
which the University afforded; but nothing is known definitely of his

In 1311 the mists which obscure the greater part of Dante's life in
exile are dispelled for a moment, by three letters of unquestioned
authenticity, and we gain a clear view of the poet. In 1310 Henry of
Luxemburg, a man who touched the imagination of his contemporaries by
his striking presence and chivalric accomplishments as well as by his
high character and generous aims, "a man just, religious, and strenuous
in arms," having been elected Emperor, as Henry VII., prepared to enter
Italy, with intent to confirm the imperial rights and to restore order
to the distracted land. The Pope, Clement V., favored his coming, and
the prospect opened by it was hailed not only by the Ghibellines with
joy, but by a large part of the Guelfs as well; with the hope that the
long discord and confusion, from which all had suffered, might be
brought to end and give place to tranquillity and justice. Dante exulted
in this new hope; and on the coming of the Emperor, late in 1310, he
addressed an animated appeal to the rulers and people of Italy,
exhorting them in impassioned words to rise up and do reverence to him
whom the Lord of heaven and earth had ordained for their king. "Behold,
now is the accepted time; rejoice, O Italy, dry thy tears; efface, O
most beautiful, the traces of mourning; for he is at hand who shall
deliver thee."

The first welcome of Henry was ardent, and with fair auspices he assumed
at Milan, in January 1311, the Iron Crown, the crown of the King of
Italy. Here at Milan Dante presented himself, and here with full heart
he did homage upon his knees to the Emperor. But the popular welcome
proved hollow; the illusions of hope speedily began to vanish; revolt
broke out in many cities of Lombardy; Florence remained obdurate, and
with great preparations for resistance put herself at the head of the
enemies of the Emperor. Dante, disappointed and indignant, could not
keep silence. He wrote a letter headed "Dante Alaghieri, a Florentine
and undeservedly in exile, to the most wicked Florentines within the
city." It begins with calm and eloquent words in regard to the divine
foundation of the imperial power, and to the sufferings of Italy due to
her having been left without its control to her own undivided will. Then
it breaks forth in passionate denunciation of Florence for her impious
arrogance in venturing to rise up in mad rebellion against the minister
of God; and, warning her of the calamities which her blind obstinacy is
preparing for her, it closes with threats of her impending ruin and
desolation. This letter is dated from the springs of the Arno, on the
31st of March.

The growing force of the opposition which he encountered delayed the
progress of Henry. Dante, impatient of delay, eager to see the
accomplishment of his hope, on the 16th of April addressed Henry himself
in a letter of exalted prophetic exhortation, full of Biblical language,
and of illustrations drawn from sacred and profane story, urging him not
to tarry, but trusting in God, to go out to meet and to slay the Goliath
that stood against him. "Then the Philistines will flee, and Israel will
be delivered, and we, exiles in Babylon, who groan as we remember the
holy Jerusalem, shall then, as citizens breathing in peace, recall in
joy the miseries of confusion." But all was in vain. The drama which had
opened with such brilliant expectations was advancing to a tragic close.
Italy became more confused and distracted than ever. One sad event
followed after another. In May the brother of the Emperor fell at the
siege of Brescia; in September his dearly loved wife Margarita, "a holy
and good woman," died at Genoa. The forces hostile to him grew more and
more formidable. He succeeded however in entering Rome in May 1312, but
his enemies held half of the city, and the streets became the scene of
bloody battles; St. Peter's was closed to him, and Henry, worn and
disheartened and in peril, was compelled to submit to be ingloriously
crowned at St. John Lateran. With diminished strength and with loss of
influence he withdrew to Tuscany, and laid ineffectual siege to
Florence. Month after month dragged along with miserable continuance of
futile war. In the summer of 1313, collecting all his forces, Henry
prepared to move southward against the King of Naples. But he was seized
with illness, and on the 24th of August he died at Buonconvento, not far
from Siena. With his death died the hope of union and of peace for
Italy. His work, undertaken with high purpose and courage, had wholly
failed. He had come to set Italy straight before she was ready
('Paradiso,' xxxi. 137). The clouds darkened over her. For Dante the cup
of bitterness overflowed.

How Dante was busied, where he was abiding, during the last two years of
Henry's stay in Italy, we have no knowledge. One striking fact relating
to him is all that is recorded. In the summer of 1311 the Guelfs in
Florence, in order to strengthen themselves against the Emperor,
determined to relieve from ban and to recall from exile many of their
banished fellow-citizens, confident that on returning home they would
strengthen the city in its resistance against the Emperor. But to the
general amnesty which was issued on the 2d of September there were large
exceptions; and impressive evidence of the multitude of the exiles is
afforded by the fact that more than a thousand were expressly excluded
from the benefit of pardon, and were to remain banished and condemned as
before. In the list of those thus still regarded as enemies of Florence
stands the name of Dante.

The death of the Emperor was followed eight months later by that of the
Pope, Clement V., under whom the papal throne had been removed from Rome
to Avignon. There seemed a chance, if but feeble, that a new pope might
restore the Church to the city which was its proper home, and thus at
least one of the wounds of Italy be healed. The Conclave was bitterly
divided; month after month went by without a choice, the fate of the
Church and of Italy hanging uncertain in the balance. Dante, in whom
religion and patriotism combined as a single passion, saw with grief
that the return of the Church to Italy was likely to be lost through the
selfishness, the jealousies, and the avarice of her chief prelates; and
under the impulse of the deepest feeling he addressed a letter of
remonstrance, reproach, and exhortation to the Italian cardinals, who
formed but a small minority in the Conclave, but who might by union and
persistence still secure the election of a pope favorable to the return.
This letter is full of a noble but too vehement zeal. "It is for you,
being one at heart, to fight manfully for the Bride of Christ; for the
seat of the Bride, which is Rome; for our Italy, and in a word, for the
whole commonwealth of pilgrims upon earth." But words were in vain; and
after a struggle kept up for two years and three months, a pope was at
last elected who was to fix the seat of the Papacy only the more firmly
at Avignon. Once more Dante had to bear the pain of disappointment of
hopes in which selfishness had no part.

And now for years he disappears from sight. What his life was he tells
in a most touching passage near the beginning of his 'Convito':--"From
the time when it pleased the citizens of Florence, the fairest and most
famous daughter of Rome, to cast me out from her sweetest bosom (in
which I had been born and nourished even to the summit of my life, and
in which, at good peace with them, I desire with all my heart to repose
my weary soul, and to end the time which is allotted to me), through
almost all the regions to which our tongue extends I have gone a
pilgrim, almost a beggar, displaying against my will the wound of
fortune, which is wont often to be imputed unjustly to [the discredit
of] him who is wounded. Truly I have been a bark without sail and
without rudder, borne to divers ports and bays and shores by that dry
wind which grievous poverty breathes forth, and I have appeared mean in
the eyes of many who perchance, through some report, had imagined me in
other form; and not only has my person been lowered in their sight, but
every work of mine, whether done or to be done, has been held in less

Once more, and for the last time, during these wanderings he heard the
voice of Florence addressed to him, and still in anger. A decree was
issued[5] on the 6th of November, 1315, renewing the condemnation and
banishment of numerous citizens, denounced as Ghibellines and rebels,
including among them Dante Aldighieri and his sons. The persons named in
this decree are charged with contumacy, and with the commission of ill
deeds against the good state of the Commune of Florence and the Guelf
party; and it is ordered that "if any of them shall fall into the power
of the Commune he shall be taken to the place of Justice and there be
beheaded." The motive is unknown which led to the inclusion in this
decree of the sons of Dante, of whom there were two, now youths
respectively a little more or a little less than twenty years old.[6]

It is probable that the last years of Dante's life were passed in
Ravenna, under the protection of Guido da Polenta, lord of the city. It
was here that he died, on September 14th, 1321. His two sons were with
him, and probably also his daughter Beatrice. He was in his
fifty-seventh year when he went from suffering and from exile to peace
('Paradiso,' x. 128).

Such are the few absolute facts known concerning the external events of
Dante's life. A multitude of statements, often with much circumstantial
detail, concerning other incidents, have been made by his biographers; a
few rest upon a foundation of probability, but the mass are guess-work.
There is no need to report them; for small as the sum of our actual
knowledge is, it is enough for defining the field within which his
spiritual life was enacted, and for showing the conditions under which
his work was done, and by which its character was largely determined.


No poet has recorded his own inner life more fully or with greater
sincerity than Dante. All his more important writings have essentially
the character of a spiritual autobiography, extending from his boyhood
to his latest years. Their quality and worth as works of literature are
largely dependent upon their quality and interest as revelations of the
nature of their writer. Their main significance lies in this double

The earliest of them is the 'Vita Nuova,' or New Life. It is the
narrative in prose and verse of the beginning and course of the love
which made life new for him in his youth, and which became the permanent
inspiration of his later years, and the bond of union for him between
earth and heaven, between the actual and the ideal, between the human
and the divine. The little book begins with an account of the boy's
first meeting, when he was nine years old, with a little maiden about a
year younger, who so touched his heart that from that time forward Love
lorded it over his soul. She was called Beatrice; but whether this was
her true name, or whether, because of its significance of blessing, it
was assigned to her as appropriate to her nature, is left in doubt. Who
her parents were, and what were the events of her life, are also
uncertain; though Boccaccio, who, some thirty years after Dante's death,
wrote a biography of the poet in which fact and fancy are inextricably
intermingled, reports that he had it upon good authority that she was
the daughter of Folco Portinari, and became the wife of Simone de'
Bardi. So far as Dante's relation to her is concerned, these matters are
of no concern. Just nine years after their first meeting, years during
which Dante says he had often seen her, and her image had stayed
constantly with him, the lady of his love saluted him with such virtue
that he seemed to see all the bounds of bliss, and having already
recognized in himself the art of discoursing in rhyme, he made a sonnet
in which he set forth a vision which had come to him after receiving his
lady's salute. This sonnet has a twofold interest, as being the earliest
of Dante's poetic composition preserved to us, and as describing a
vision which connects it in motive with the vision of the 'Divine
Comedy.' It is the poem of a 'prentice hand not yet master of its craft,
and neither in manner nor in conception has it any marked distinction
from the work of his predecessors and contemporaries. The narrative of
the first incidents of his love forms the subject of the first part of
the little book, consisting of ten poems and the prose comment upon
them; then the poet takes up a new theme and devotes ten poems to the
praise of his lady. The last of them is interrupted by her death, which
took place on the 9th of June, 1290, when Dante was twenty-five years
old. Then he takes up another new theme, and the next ten poems are
devoted to his grief, to an episode of temporary unfaithfulness to the
memory of Beatrice, and to the revival of fidelity of love for her. One
poem, the last, remains; in which he tells how a sigh, issuing from his
heart, and guided by Love, beholds his lady in glory in the empyrean.
The book closes with these words:--

     "After this sonnet a wonderful vision appeared to me, in which I
     saw things which made me resolve to speak no more of this blessed
     one until I could more worthily treat of her. And to attain to
     this, I study to the utmost of my power, as she truly knows. So
     that, if it shall please Him through whom all things live that my
     life be prolonged for some years, I hope to say of her what was
     never said of any woman. And then, may it please Him who is the
     Lord of Grace, that my soul may go to behold the glory of its lady,
     namely of that blessed Beatrice, who in glory looks upon the face
     of Him _qui est per omnia sæcula benedictus_" (who is blessed

There is nothing in the 'New Life' which indicates whether or not
Beatrice was married, or which implies that the devotion of Dante to her
was recognized by any special expression of regard on her part. No
interviews between them are recorded; no tokens of love were exchanged.
The reserve, the simple and unconscious dignity of Beatrice, distinguish
her no less than her beauty, her grace, and her ineffable courtesy. The
story, based upon actual experience, is ordered not in literal
conformity with fact, but according to the ideal of the imagination; and
its reality does not consist in the exactness of its record of events,
but in the truth of its poetic conception. Under the narrative lies an
allegory of the power of love to transfigure earthly things into the
likeness of heavenly, and to lift the soul from things material and
transitory to things spiritual and eternal.

While the little book exhibits many features of a literature in an early
stage of development, and many of the characteristics of a youthful
production, it is yet the first book of modern times which has such
quality as to possess perpetual contemporaneousness. It has become in
part archaic, but it does not become antiquated. It is the first book in
a modern tongue in which prose begins to have freedom of structure, and
ease of control over the resources of the language. It shows a steady
progress in Dante's mastery of literary art. The stiffness and lack of
rhythmical charm of the poems with which it begins disappear in the
later sonnets and canzoni, and before its close it exhibits the full
development of the sweet new style begun by Dante's predecessor Guido
Guinicelli, and of which the secret lay in obedience to the dictates of
nature within the heart.

The date of its compilation cannot be fixed with precision, but was
probably not far from 1295; and the words with which it closes seem to
indicate that the design of the 'Divine Comedy' had already taken a more
or less definite shape in Dante's mind.

The deepest interest of the 'New Life' is the evidence which it affords
in regard to Dante's character. The tenderness, sensitiveness, and
delicacy of feeling, the depth of passion, the purity of soul which are
manifest in it, leave no question as to the controlling qualities of his
disposition. These qualities rest upon a foundation of manliness, and
are buttressed by strong moral principles. At the very beginning of the
book is a sentence, which shows that he had already gained that
self-control which is the prime condition of strength and worth of
character. In speaking of the power which his imagination gave to Love
to rule over him, a power that had its source in the image of his lady,
he adds, "Yet was that image of such noble virtue that it never suffered
Love to rule me without the faithful counsel of the reason in those
matters in which to listen to its counsel was useful." His faculties
were already disciplined by study, and his gifts enriched with learning.
He was scholar hardly less than poet. The range of his acquisitions was
already wide, and it is plain that he had had the best instruction which
Florence could provide; and nowhere else could better have been found.

The death of Beatrice was the beginning of a new period of Dante's
self-development. So long as she lived she had led him along toward the
right way. For a time, during the first ecstasy of grief at her loss,
she still sustained him. After a while, he tells us, his mind, which was
endeavoring to heal itself, sought for comfort in the mode which other
comfortless ones had accepted for their consolation. He read Boëthius on
the 'Consolations of Philosophy,' and the words of comfort in Cicero's
'Treatise on Friendship.' By these he was led to further studies of
philosophy, and giving himself with ardor to its pursuit, he devoted
himself to the acquisition of the wisdom of this earth, to the neglect,
for a time, of the teachings of Divine revelation. He entered upon paths
of study which did not lead to the higher truth, and at the same time he
began to take active part himself in the affairs of the world. He was
attracted by the allurements of life. He married; he took office. He
shared in the pleasures of the day. He no longer listened to the voice
of the spirit, nor was faithful to the image of Beatrice in following on
earth the way which should lead him to her in heaven. But meanwhile he
wrote verses which under the form of poems of love were celebrations of
the beauty of Philosophy; and he was accomplishing himself in learning
till he became master of all the erudition of his time; he was
meditating deeply on politics, he was studying life even more than
books, he was becoming one of the deepest of thinkers and one of the
most accomplished of literary artists. But his life was of the world,
worldly, and it did not satisfy him. At last a change came. He suddenly
awoke to consciousness of how far he had strayed from that good of which
Beatrice was the type; how basely he had deserted the true ideals of his
youth; how perilous was the life of the world; how near he was to the
loss of the hope of salvation. We know not fully how this change was
wrought. All we know concerning it is to be gathered from passages in
his later works, in which, as in the 'Convito,' he explains the
allegorical significance of some of his poems, or as in the 'Divine
Comedy,' he gives poetic form to his experience as it had shaped itself
in his imagination. There are often difficulties in the interpretation
of his words, nor are all his statements reconcilable with each other in
detail. But I believe that in what I have set forth as the course of his
life between the death of Beatrice and his exile, I have stated nothing
which may not be confirmed by Dante's own testimony.

It is possible that during the latter part of this period Dante wrote
the treatise 'On Monarchy,' in which he set forth his views as to the
government of mankind. To ascertain the date of its composition is both
less easy and less important than in the case of his other long works;
because it contains few personal references, and no indications of the
immediate conditions under which it was written. But it is of importance
not only as an exposition of Dante's political theories and the broad
principles upon which those theories rested, but still more as
exhibiting his high ideals in regard to the order of society and the
government of mankind. Its main doctrine might be called that of ideal
Ghibellinism; and though its arguments are often unsound, and based upon
fanciful propositions and incorrect analogies, though it exhibits the
defects frequent in the reasoning of the time,--a lack of discrimination
in regard to the value of authorities, and no sense of the true nature
of evidence,--yet the spirit with which it is animated is so generous,
and its object of such importance, that it possesses interest alike as
an illustration of Dante's character, and as a monument in the history
of political speculation.

Its purpose was, first, to establish the proposition that the empire, or
supreme universal temporal monarchy, was necessary for the good order of
the world; secondly, that the Roman people had rightfully attained the
dignity of this empire; and thirdly, that the authority thus obtained
was derived immediately from God, and was not dependent on any earthly
agent or vicar of God. The discussion of the first proposition is the
most interesting part of the treatise, for it involves the statement of
Dante's general conception of the end of government and of the true
political order. His argument begins with the striking assertion that
the proper work of the human race, taken as a whole, is to bring into
activity all the possibilities of the intelligence, first to the end of
speculation, and secondly in the application of speculation to action.
He goes on to declare that this can be achieved only in a state of
peace; that peace is only to be secured under the rule of one supreme
monarch; that thus the government of the earth is brought into
correspondence with the Divine government of the universe; and that only
under a universal supreme monarchy can justice be fully established and
complete liberty enjoyed. The arguments to maintain these theses are
ingenious, and in some instances forcible; but are too abstract, and too
disregardful of the actual conditions of society. Dante's loftiness of
view, his fine ideal of the possibilities of human life, and his ardent
desire to improve its actual conditions, are manifest throughout, and
give value to the little book as a treatise of morals beyond that which
it possesses as a manual of practical politics.

There is little in the 'De Monarchia' which reflects the heat of the
great secular debate between Guelf and Ghibelline; but something of the
passion engendered by it finds expression in the opening of the third
book, where Dante, after citing the words of the prophet Daniel, "He
hath shut the lions' mouths and they have not hurt me, forasmuch as
before him justice was found in me," goes on in substance as follows:--

     "The truth concerning the matter which remains to be treated may
     perchance arouse indignation against me. But since Truth from her
     changeless throne appeals to me, and Solomon teaches us 'to
     meditate on truth, and to hate the wicked,' and the philosopher
     [Aristotle], our instructor in morals, urges us for the sake of
     truth to disregard what is dear to us, I, taking confidence from
     the words of Daniel in which the Divine power is declared to be the
     shield of the defenders of the truth, ... will enter on the present
     contest; and by the arm of Him who by his blood delivered us from
     the power of darkness, I will drive out from the lists the impious
     and the liar. Wherefore should I fear? since the Spirit, co-eternal
     with the Father and the Son, says through the mouth of David, 'The
     righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance, he shall not be
     afraid of evil tidings.'"

These words perhaps justify the inference that the treatise was written
before his exile, since after it his experience of calamity would have
freed him from the anticipation of further evil from the hostility of
those to whom his doctrine might be unacceptable.

But whether or not this be a correct inference, there can be no doubt
that the years between the compilation of the 'New Life' and his
banishment were years of rapid maturity of his powers, and largely
devoted to the studies which made him a master in the field of learning.
Keenly observant of the aspects of contemporary life, fascinated by the
"immense and magic spectacle of human affairs," questioning deeply its
significance, engaged actively in practical concerns, he ardently sought
for the solution of the mysteries and the reconcilement of the
confusions of human existence. The way to this solution seemed to lie
through philosophy and learning, and in acquiring them he lifted himself
above the turmoil of earth. All observation, experience, and acquisition
served as material for his poetic and idealizing imagination, wherewith
to construct an orderly scheme of the universe; all served for the
defining and confirming of his moral judgments, all worked together for
the harmonious development of his intellectual powers; all served to
prepare him for the work which, already beginning to shape itself in his
mind, was to become the main occupation of the remainder of his life,
and to prove one of the abiding monuments of the highest achievements of

The 'De Monarchia' is written in Latin, and so also is a brief
unfinished treatise, the work of some period during his exile, on the
Common Speech, 'De Vulgari Eloquio.' It has intrinsic interest as the
first critical study of language and of literature in modern times, as
well as from the acute and sound judgments with which it abounds, and
from its discussion of the various forms and topics of poetry, but still
more from its numerous illustrations of Dante's personal experience and
sentiment. Its object is to teach the right use of the common speech;
instruction required by all, since all make use of the speech, it being
that which all learn from birth, "by imitation and without rule. The
other speech, which the Romans called _Grammatica_, is learned by study
and according to rule.... Of these two the Common is the more noble,
because it was the first used by the human race, and also because it is
in use over all the world, though in different tongues; and again
because it is natural to us, while the other is artificial." Speech,
Dante declares, is the prerogative of man alone, not required by the
angels and not possible for brutes; there was originally but one
language, the Hebrew. In treating of this latter topic Dante introduces
a personal reference of extraordinary interest in its bearing on his
feeling in respect to his exile:--

     "It is for those of such debased intelligence that they believe the
     place of their birth to be the most delightful under the sun, to
     prefer their own peculiar tongue, and to believe that it was that
     of Adam. But we whose country is the world, as the sea is for
     fishes, although we drank of the Arno before we were weaned, and so
     love Florence that because we loved it we suffer exile unjustly,
     support our judgment by reason rather than feeling. And though in
     respect to our pleasure and the repose of our senses, no sweeter
     place exists on earth than Florence, ... yet we hold it for certain
     that there are many more delightful regions and cities than Tuscany
     and Florence, where I was born and of which I am a citizen, and
     that many nations and people use a more pleasing and serviceable
     speech than the Italians."

The conclusion of this speculation is, that the Hebrew, which was the
original language spoken by Adam, was preserved by the Hebrew people
after the confusion of tongues at the building of the Tower of Babel,
and thus became the language used by our Redeemer,--the language not of
confusion but of grace.

But the purpose of the present treatise is not to consider all the
divers languages even of Europe, but only that of Italy. Yet in Italy
alone there is an immense variety of speech, and no one of the varieties
is the true Italian language. That true, illustrious, courtly tongue is
to be found nowhere in common use, but everywhere in select usage. It is
the common speech "freed from rude words, involved constructions,
defective pronunciation, and rustic accent; excellent, clear, perfect,
urbane, and elect, as it may be seen in the poems of 'Cino da Pistoia
and his friend,'"--that friend being Dante himself. They have attained
to the glory of the tongue, and "how glorious truly it renders its
servants we ourselves know, who to the sweetness of its glory hold our
exile as naught."[7] This illustrious language, then, is the select
Italian tongue, the tongue of the excellent poets in every part of
Italy; and how and by whom it is to be used it is the purpose of this
treatise to show.

The second book begins with the doctrine that the best speech is
appropriate to the best conceptions; but the best conceptions exist only
where there is learning and genius, and the best speech is consequently
that only of those who possess them, and only the best subjects are
worthy of being treated in it. These subjects fall under three heads:
that of utility, or safety, which it is the object of arms to secure;
that of delight, which is the end of love; that of worthiness, which is
attained by virtue. These are the topics of the illustrious poets in the
vulgar tongue; and of these, among the Italians, Cino da Pistoia has
treated of love, and his friend (Dante) of rectitude.

The remainder of the second book is given to the various forms of
poetry,--the canzone, the ballata, the sonnet,--and to the rules of
versification. The work breaks off unfinished, in the middle of a
sentence. There were to have been at least two books more; but, fragment
as it is, the treatise is an invaluable document in the illustration of
Dante's study of his own art, in its exhibition of his breadth of view,
and in its testimony to his own consciousness of his position as the
master of his native tongue, and as the poet of righteousness. He failed
in his estimate of himself only as it fell short of the truth. He found
the common tongue of Italy unformed, unstable, limited in powers of
expression. He shaped it not only for his own needs, but for the needs
of the Italian race. He developed its latent powers, enlarged its
resources, and determined its form. The language as he used it is
essentially the language of to-day,--not less so than the language of
Shakespeare is the English of our use. In his poetic diction there is
little that is not in accord with later usage; and while in prose the
language has become more flexible, its constructions more varied and
complex, its rhythm more perfected, his prose style at its best still
remains unsurpassed in vigor, in directness, and in simplicity.
Changeful from generation to generation as language is, and as Dante
recognized it to be, it has not so changed in six hundred years that his
tongue has become strange. There is no similar example in any other
modern literature. The force of his genius, which thus gave to the form
of his work a perpetual contemporaneousness, gave it also to the
substance; and though the intellectual convictions of men have changed
far more than their language, yet Dante's position as the poet of
righteousness remains supreme.

It is surprising that with such a vast and difficult work as the 'Divine
Comedy' engaging him, Dante should have found time and strength during
his exile for the writing of treatises in prose so considerable as that
on the Common Tongue, and the much longer and more important book which
he called 'Il Convivio' or 'Il Convito' (The Banquet). It is apparent
from various references in the course of the work that it was at least
mainly written between 1307 and 1310. Its design was of large scope. It
was to be composed of fifteen parts or treatises; but of these only four
were completed, and such is their character both as regards their
exhibition of the poet's nature and their exposition of the multifarious
topics of philosophy, of science, and of morals treated in them, that
the student of Dante and of mediæval thought cannot but feel a deep
regret at the failure of the poet to carry his undertaking to its
intended close. But though the work is imperfect as a whole, each of its
four parts is complete and practically independent in itself.

Dante's object in the book was twofold. His opening words are a
translation of what Matthew Arnold calls "that buoyant and immortal
sentence with which Aristotle begins his Metaphysics,"--"All mankind
naturally desire knowledge." But few can attain to what is desired by
all, and innumerable are they who live always famished for want of this
food. "Oh, blessed are the few who sit at that table where the bread of
the angels is eaten, and wretched they who have food in common with the
herds." "I, therefore, who do not sit at the blessed table, but having
fled from the pasture of the crowd, gather up at the feet of those who
sit at it what falls from them, and through the sweetness I taste in
that which little by little I pick up, know the wretched life of those
whom I have left behind me, and moved with pity for them, not forgetting
myself, have reserved something for these wretched ones." These crumbs
were the substance of the banquet which he proposed to spread for them.
It was to have fourteen courses, and each of these courses was to have
for its principal viand a canzone of which the subject should be Love
and Virtue, and the bread served with each course was to be the
exposition of these poems,--poems which for want of this exposition lay
under the shadow of obscurity, so that by many their beauty was more
esteemed than their goodness. They were in appearance mere poems of
love, but under this aspect they concealed their true meaning, for the
lady of his love was none other than Philosophy herself, and not
sensual passion but virtue was their moving cause. The fear of reproach
to which this misinterpretation might give occasion, and the desire to
impart teaching which others could not give, were the two motives of his

There is much in the method and style of the 'Convito' which in its
cumbrous artificiality exhibits an early stage in the exposition of
thought in literary form, but Dante's earnestness of purpose is apparent
in many passages of manly simplicity, and inspires life into the dry
bones of his formal scholasticism. The book is a mingling of
biographical narrative, shaped largely by the ideals of the imagination,
with expositions of philosophical doctrine, disquisitions on matters of
science, and discussion of moral truths. But one controlling purpose
runs through all, to help men to attain that knowledge which shall lead
them into the paths of righteousness.

For his theory of knowledge is, that it is the natural and innate desire
of the soul, as essential to its own perfection in its ultimate union
with God. The use of the reason, through which he partakes of the Divine
nature, is the true life of man. Its right use in the pursuit of
knowledge leads to philosophy, which is, as its name signifies, the love
of wisdom, and its end is the attainment of virtue. It is because of
imperfect knowledge that the love of man is turned to fallacious objects
of desire, and his reason is perverted. Knowledge, then, is the prime
source of good; ignorance, of evil. Through knowledge to wisdom is the
true path of the soul in this life on her return to her Maker, to know
whom is her native desire, and her perfect beatitude.

In the exposition of these truths in their various relations a multitude
of topics of interest are touched upon, and a multitude of opinions
expressed which exhibit the character of Dante's mind and the vast
extent of the acquisitions by which his studies had enriched it. The
intensity of his moral convictions and the firmness of his moral
principles are no less striking in the discourse than the nobility of
his genius and the breadth of his intellectual view. Limited and
erroneous as are many of his scientific conceptions, there is little
trace of superstition or bigotry in his opinions; and though his
speculations rest on a false conception of the universe, the revolting
dogmas of the common mediæval theology in respect to the human and the
Divine nature find no place in them. The mingling of fancy with fact,
the unsoundness of the premises from which conclusions are drawn, the
errors in belief and in argument, do not affect the main object of his
writing, and the 'Convito' may still be read with sympathy and with
profit, as a treatise of moral doctrine by a man the loftiness of whose
intelligence rose superior to the hampering limitations of his age.

In its general character and in its biographical revelations the
'Banquet' forms a connecting link between the 'New Life' and the 'Divine
Comedy.' It is not possible to frame a complete reconciliation between
all the statements of the 'Banquet' in respect to Dante's experience
after the death of Beatrice, and the narrative of them in the 'New
Life'; nor is it necessary, if we allow due place to the poetic and
allegoric interpretation of events natural to Dante's genius. In the
last part of the 'New Life' he tells of his infidelity to Beatrice in
yielding himself to the attraction of a compassionate lady, in whose
sight he found consolation. But the infidelity was of short duration,
and, repenting it, he returned with renewed devotion to his only love.
In the 'Convito' he tells us that the compassionate lady was no living
person, but was the image of Philosophy, in whose teaching he had found
comfort; and the poems which he then wrote and which had the form, and
were in the terms of, poems of Love, were properly to be understood as
addressed--not to any earthly lady, but--to the lady of the
understanding, the most noble and beautiful Philosophy, the daughter of
God. And as this image of Philosophy, as the fairest of women, whose
eyes and whose smile reveal the joys of Paradise, gradually took clear
form, it coalesced with the image of Beatrice herself, she who on earth
had been the type to her lover of the beauty of eternal things, and who
had revealed to him the Creator in his creature. But now having become
one of the blessed in heaven, with a spiritual beauty transcending all
earthly charm, she was no longer merely a type of heavenly things, but
herself the guide to the knowledge of them, and the divinely
commissioned revealer of the wisdom of God. She looking on the face of
God reflected its light upon him who loved her. She was one with Divine
Philosophy, and as such she appears, in living form, in the 'Divine
Comedy,' and discloses to her lover the truth which is the native desire
of the soul, and in the attainment of which is beatitude.

It is this conception which forms the bond of union between the 'New
Life,' the 'Banquet,' and the 'Divine Comedy,' and not merely as
literary compositions but as autobiographical records. Dante's life and
his work are not to be regarded apart; they form a single whole, and
they possess a dramatic development of unparalleled consistency and
unity. The course of the events of his life shaped itself in accordance
with an ideal of the imagination, and to this ideal his works
correspond. His first writing, in his poems of love and in the story of
the 'New Life,' forms as it were the first act of a drama which proceeds
from act to act in its presentation of his life, with just proportion
and due sequence, to its climax and final scene in the last words of the
'Divine Comedy.' It is as if Fate had foreordained the dramatic unity
of his life and work, and impressing her decree upon his imagination,
had made him her more or less conscious instrument in its fulfillment.

Had Dante written only his prose treatises and his minor poems, he would
still have come down to us as the most commanding literary figure of the
Middle Ages, the first modern with a true literary sense, the writer of
love verses whose imagination was at once more delicate and more
profound than that of any among the long train of his successors, save
Shakespeare alone, and more free from sensual stain than that of
Shakespeare; the poet of sweetest strain and fullest control of the
resources of his art, the scholar of largest acquisition and of
completest mastery over his acquisitions, and the moralist with higher
ideals of conduct and more enlightened conceptions of duty than any
other of the period to which he belonged. All this he would have been,
and this would have secured for him a place among the immortals. But all
this has but a comparatively small part in raising him to the station
which he actually occupies, and in giving to him the influence which he
still exerts. It was in the 'Divine Comedy' that his genius found its
full expression, and it is to this supreme poem that all his other work
serves as substructure.

The general scheme of this poem seems to have been early formed by him;
and its actual composition was the main occupation of his years of
exile, and must have been its main, one might say its sufficient,
consolation. Never was a book of wider scope devised by man; and never
was one more elaborate in detail, more varied in substance, or more
complete in execution. It is unique in the consistency of its form with
its spirit. It possesses such organic unity and proportion as to
resemble a work of the creative spirit of Nature herself.

The motive which inspired Dante in the 'Divine Comedy' had its source in
his sense of the wretchedness of man in this mortal life, owing to the
false direction of his desires, through his ignorance and his misuse of
his free will, the chief gift of God to him. The only means of rescue
from this wretchedness was the exercise by man of his reason,
enlightened by the divine grace, in the guidance of his life. To
convince man of this truth, to bring home to him the conviction of the
eternal consequences of his conduct in this world, to show him the path
of salvation, was Dante's aim. As poet he had received a Divine
commission to perform this work. To him the ten talents had been given,
and it was for him to put them to the use for which they had been
bestowed. It was a consecrated task to which both heaven and earth set
their hand, and a loftier task was never undertaken. It was to be
accomplished by expounding the design of God in the creation, by setting
forth the material and moral order of the universe and the share of man
in that order, and his consequent duty and destiny. This was not to be
done in the form of abstract propositions addressed to the
understanding, but in a poetic narrative which should appeal to the
heart and arouse the imagination; a narrative in which human life should
be portrayed as an unbroken spiritual existence, prefiguring in its
mortal aspects and experience its immortal destiny. The poem was not to
be a mere criticism of life, but a solution of its mystery, an
explanation of its meaning, and a guide of its course.

To give force and effect to such a design the narrative must be one of
personal experience, so conceived as to be a type of the universal
experience of man. The poem was to be an allegory, and in making himself
its protagonist Dante assumed a double part. He represents both the
individual Dante, the actual man, and that man as the symbol of man in
general. His description of his journey through Hell, Purgatory, and
Paradise has a literal veracity; and under the letter is the allegory of
the conduct and consequences of all human life. The literal meaning and
the allegorical are the web and woof of the fabric, in which the
separate incidents are interwoven, with twofold thread, in designs of
infinite variety, complexity, and beauty.

In the journey through Hell, Dante represents himself as guided by
Virgil, who has been sent to his aid on the perilous way by Beatrice,
incited by the Holy Virgin herself, in her infinite compassion for one
who has strayed from the true way in the dark forest of the world.
Virgil is the type of the right reason, that reason whose guidance, if
followed, leads man to the attainment of the moral virtues, by the
practice of which sin may be avoided, but which by themselves are not
enough for salvation. These were the virtues of the virtuous heathen,
unenlightened by divine revelation. Through the world, of whose evil
Hell is the type and fulfillment, reason is the sufficient guide and
guard along the perilous paths which man must traverse, exposed to the
assaults of sin, subject to temptation, and compelled to face the very
Devil himself. And when at last, worn and wearied by long-continued
effort, and repentant of his frequent errors, he has overcome
temptation, and entered on a course of purification through suffering
and penitence, whereby he may obtain forgiveness and struggle upward to
the height of moral virtue, reason still suffices to lead him on the
difficult ascent, until he reaches the security and the joy of having
overcome the world. But now reason no longer is sufficient. Another
guide is needed to lead the soul through heavenly paths to the
attainment of the divine virtues of faith, hope, and charity, by which
the soul is made fit for Paradise. And here Beatrice, the type of
theology, or knowledge of the things of God, takes the place of Virgil,
and conducts the purified and redeemed soul on its return to its divine
source, to the consummation of its desires and its bliss in the vision
of God himself.

Such is the general scheme of the poem, in which the order of the
universe is displayed and the life of man depicted, in scenes of immense
dramatic variety and of unsurpassed imaginative reality. It embraces the
whole field of human experience. Nature, art, the past, the present,
learning, philosophy, all contribute to it. The mastery of the poet over
all material which can serve him is complete; the force of his
controlling imagination corresponds with the depth and intensity of his
moral purpose. And herein lies the exceptional character of the poem, as
at once a work of art of supreme beauty and a work of didactic morals of
supreme significance. Art indeed cannot, if it would, divorce itself
from morals. Into every work of art, whether the artist intend it or
not, enters a moral element. But in art, beauty does not submit to be
subordinated to any other end, and it is the marvel in Dante that while
his main intent is didactic, he attains it by a means of art so perfect
that only in a few rare passages does beauty fall a sacrifice to
doctrine. The 'Divine Comedy' is indeed not less incomparable in its
beauty than in its vast compass, the variety of its interest, and in the
harmony of its form with its spirit. In his lectures 'On Translating
Homer' Mr. Arnold, speaking of the metre of 'Paradise Lost,' says:--"To
this metre, as used in the 'Paradise Lost,' our country owes the glory
of having produced one of the only two poetical works in the grand style
which are to be found in the modern languages; the 'Divine Comedy' of
Dante is the other." But Mr. Arnold does not point out the extraordinary
fact, in regard to the style of the 'Divine Comedy,' that this poem
stands at the beginning of modern literature, that there was no previous
modern standard of style, that the language was molded and the verse
invented by Dante; that he did not borrow his style from the ancients,
and that when he says to Virgil, "Thou art he from whom I took the fair
style that has done me honor," he meant only that he had learned from
him the principles of noble and adequate poetic expression. The style of
the 'Divine Comedy' is as different from that of the Æneid as it is from
that of 'Paradise Lost.'

There are few other works of man, perhaps there is no other, which
afford such evidence as the 'Divine Comedy' of uninterrupted consistency
of purpose, of sustained vigor of imagination, and of steady force of
character controlling alike the vagaries of the poetic temperament, the
wavering of human purpose, the fluctuation of human powers, and the
untowardness of circumstance. From beginning to end of this work of many
years there is no flagging of energy, no indication of weakness. The
shoulders, burdened by a task almost too great for mortal strength,
never tremble under their load.

The contrast between the inner and the outer life of Dante is one of the
most impressive pictures of human experience; the pain, the privation,
the humiliation of outward circumstance so bitter, so prolonged; the
joy, the fullness, the exaltation of inward condition so complete, the
achievement so great. Above all other poetry the 'Divine Comedy' is the
expression of high character, and of a manly nature of surpassing
breadth and tenderness of sympathy, of intensity of moral earnestness,
and elevation of purpose. One closes the narrative of Dante's life and
the study of his works with the conviction that he was not only one of
the greatest among poets, but a man whose character gives to his poetry
its highest and its most enduring interest.

[Illustration: Signature]


For the student of Italian, the following books may be recommended as
opening the way to the study of Dante's life and works:

1. Tutte le Opere di Dante Alighieri. Nuovamente rivedute nel testo da
Dr. E. Moore. Oxford, 1894, 1 vol.; sm. 8vo; pp. x. 490. [The best text
of Dante's works, and the only edition of them in one volume. Invaluable
to the student.]

2. La Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri. Riveduta ... e commentata da
G. A. Scartazzini. 2d ediz., Milano. 1896, 1 vol.; sm. 8vo; pp. xx,
1034; col Rimario ed Indice, pp. 122. On the whole the most useful
edition for the beginner. The historical and biographical notes and the
references to the sources of Dante's allusions are abundant and good;
but interpretations of difficult passages or words are not always

Scartazzini's edition of the 'Divina Commedia' in three volumes, with
his volume of 'Prolegomeni,' may be commended to the more advanced
student, who will find it, especially the volume of the 'Paradise,' a
rich storehouse of information.

For the English reader the following books and essays will be
useful:--Cary's translation of the 'Divine Comedy,' in blank verse,
modeled on Milton's verse, and remote from the tone of the original.
This is the version of a refined scholar; it has been much admired and
is generally quoted in England. It is furnished with good notes.

Longfellow's verse-for-verse unrhymed translation is far the most
accurate of the English translations in verse, and is distinguished also
for the verbal felicity of its renderings. The comment accompanying it
is extensive and of great value, by far the best in English.

Of literal prose translations, there are among others that of the
'Inferno' by Dr. John Carlyle, which is of very great merit; that of the
whole poem, with a comment of interest, by Mr. A. J. Butler; and that
also of the whole poem and of the 'New Life' by C. E. Norton.

The various works on Dante by the Rev. Dr. Edward Moore, of Oxford, are
all of the highest worth, and quite indispensable to the thorough
student. Their titles are--'Contributions to the Textual Criticism of
the Divina Commedia,' 'Time References in the Divina Commedia,' 'Dante
and his Early Biographers,' and 'Studies in Dante.'

Lowell's essay on 'Dante' (prose works of James Russell Lowell,
Riverside edition, Vol. iv.), and 'Dante,' an essay by the Rev. R. W.
Church, late Dean of St. Paul's, should be read by every student. They
will open the way to further reading. The 'Concordance to the Divine
Comedy,' by Dr. E. A. Fay, published by Ginn and Company, Boston, for
the Dante Society, is a book which the student should have always at

     C. E. N.


In making the following translations from Dante's chief works, my
attempt has been to choose passages which should each have interest in
itself, but which, taken together, should have a natural sequence and
should illustrate the development of the ruling ideas and controlling
sentiment of Dante's life. But they lose much of their power and beauty
in being separated from their context, and the reader should bear in
mind that such is the closeness of texture of Dante's work, and so
complete its unity, that extracts, however numerous and extended, fail
to give an adequate impression of its character as a whole. Moreover, no
poems suffer greater loss in translation than Dante's, for in no others
is there so intimate a relation between the expression and the feeling,
between the rhythmical form and the poetic substance. C. E. N.

          FROM THE 'NEW LIFE'

     1. The beginning of love.
     2. The first salutation of his Lady.
     3. The praise of his Lady.
     4. Her loveliness.
     5. Her death.
     6. The anniversary of her death.
     7. The hope to speak more worthily of her.

          FROM THE 'BANQUET'

     1. The consolation of Philosophy.
     2. The desire of the Soul.
     3. The noble Soul at the end of Life.


     1. Hell, Cantos i. and ii. The entrance on the journey through the
            eternal world.
     2. Hell, Canto v. The punishment of carnal sinners.
     3. Purgatory, Canto xxvii. The final purgation.
     4. Purgatory, Cantos xxx, xxxi. The meeting with his Lady in the
            Earthly Paradise.
     5. Paradise, Canto xxxiii. The final vision.

     The selections from the 'New Life' are from Professor Norton's
     translation, copyrighted 1867, 1892, 1895, and reprinted by
     permission of Professor Norton and of Houghton, Mifflin and
     Company, Boston, Mass.




Nine times now, since my birth, the heaven of light had turned almost to
the same point in its own gyration, when the glorious Lady of my mind,
who was called Beatrice by many who knew not why she was so called,
first appeared before my eyes. She had already been in this life so long
that in its course the starry heaven had moved toward the region of the
East one of the twelve parts of a degree; so that at about the beginning
of her ninth year she appeared to me, and I near the end of my ninth
year saw her. She appeared to me clothed in a most noble color, a modest
and becoming crimson, and she was girt and adorned in such wise as
befitted her very youthful age....

From that time forward Love lorded it over my soul, which had been so
speedily wedded to him: and he began to exercise over me such control
and such lordship, through the power which my imagination gave to him,
that it behoved me to do completely all his pleasure. He commanded me
ofttimes that I should seek to see this youthful angel; so that I in my
boyhood often went seeking her, and saw her of such noble and
praiseworthy deportment, that truly of her might be said that word of
the poet Homer, "She seems not the daughter of mortal man, but of God."
And though her image, which stayed constantly with me, gave assurance to
Love to hold lordship over me, yet it was of such noble virtue that it
never suffered Love to rule me without the faithful counsel of the
reason in those matters in which it was useful to hear such counsel. And
since to dwell upon the passions and actions of such early youth seems
like telling an idle tale, I will leave them, and, passing over many
things which might be drawn from the original where these lie hidden, I
will come to those words which are written in my memory under larger



When so many days had passed that nine years were exactly complete since
the above-described apparition of this most gentle lady, on the last of
these days it happened that this admirable lady appeared to me, clothed
in purest white, between two gentle ladies, who were of greater age;
and, passing along a street, she turned her eyes toward that place where
I stood very timidly, and by her ineffable courtesy, which is to-day
rewarded in the eternal world, saluted me with such virtue that it
seemed to me then that I saw all the bounds of bliss.... And since it
was the first time that her words came to my ears, I took in such
sweetness that, as it were intoxicated, I turned away from the folk, and
betaking myself to the solitude of my own chamber, I sat myself down to
think of this most courteous lady.

And thinking of her, a sweet slumber overcame me, in which a marvelous
vision appeared to me.... And [when I awoke] thinking on what had
appeared to me, I resolved to make it known to many who were famous
poets at that time; and since I had already seen in myself the art of
discoursing in rhyme, I resolved to make a sonnet, in which I would
salute all the liegemen of Love, and would write to them that which I
had seen in my slumber.



Inasmuch as through my looks many persons had learned the secret of my
heart, certain ladies who were met together, taking pleasure in one
another's company, were well acquainted with my heart, because each of
them had witnessed many of my discomfitures. And I, passing near them,
as chance led me, was called by one of these gentle ladies; and she who
had called me was a lady of very pleasing speech; so that when I drew
nigh to them and saw plainly that my most gentle lady was not among
them, reassuring myself, I saluted them and asked what might be their
pleasure. The ladies were many, and certain of them were laughing
together. There were others who were looking at me, awaiting what I
might say. There were others who were talking together, one of whom,
turning her eyes toward me, and calling me by name, said these
words:--"To what end lovest thou this thy lady, since thou canst not
sustain her presence? Tell it to us, for surely the end of such a love
must be most strange." And when she had said these words to me, not only
she, but all the others, began to await with their look my reply. Then I
said to them these words:--"My ladies, the end of my love was formerly
the salutation of this lady of whom you perchance are thinking, and in
that dwelt the beatitude which was the end of all my desires. But since
it has pleased her to deny it to me, my lord Love, through his grace,
has placed all my beatitude in that which cannot fail me."

Then these ladies began to speak together: and as sometimes we see rain
falling mingled with beautiful snow, so it seemed to me I saw their
words issue mingled with sighs. And after they had somewhat spoken among
themselves, this lady who had first spoken to me said to me yet these
words:--"We pray thee that thou tell us wherein consists this beatitude
of thine." And I, replying to her, said thus:--"In those words which
praise my lady." And she replied:--"If thou hast told us the truth,
those words which thou hadst said to her, setting forth thine own
condition, must have been composed with other intent."

Then I, thinking on these words, as if ashamed, departed from them, and
went saying within myself:--"Since there is such beatitude in those
words which praise my lady, why has my speech been of aught else?" And
therefore I resolved always henceforth to take for theme of my speech
that which should be the praise of this most gentle one. And thinking
much on this, I seemed to myself to have undertaken a theme too lofty
for me, so that I dared not to begin; and thus I tarried some days with
desire to speak, and with fear of beginning.

Then it came to pass that, walking on a road alongside of which was
flowing a very clear stream, so great a desire to say somewhat in verse
came upon me, that I began to consider the method I should observe; and
I thought that to speak of her would not be becoming unless I were to
speak to ladies in the second person; and not to every lady, but only to
those who are gentle, and are not women merely. Then I say that my
tongue spoke as if moved of its own accord, and said, _Ladies that have
intelligence of Love_. These words I laid up in my mind with great joy,
thinking to take them for my beginning; wherefore then, having returned
to the above-mentioned city, after some days of thought, I began a
canzone with this beginning.



This most gentle lady, of whom there has been discourse in the preceding
words, came into such favor among the people, that when she passed along
the way, persons ran to see her; which gave me wonderful joy. And when
she was near any one, such modesty came into his heart that he dared not
raise his eyes, or return her salutation; and of this many, as having
experienced it, could bear witness for me to whoso might not believe it.
She, crowned and clothed with humility, took her way, showing no pride
in that which she saw and heard. Many said, when she had passed: "This
is not a woman; rather she is one of the most beautiful angels of
heaven." And others said: "She is a marvel. Blessed be the Lord who can
work thus admirably!" I say that she showed herself so gentle and so
full of all pleasantness, that those who looked on her comprehended in
themselves a pure and sweet delight, such as they could not after tell
in words; nor was there any who might look upon her but that at first he
needs must sigh. These and more admirable things proceeded from her
admirably and with power. Wherefore I, thinking upon this, desiring to
resume the style of her praise, resolved to say words in which I would
set forth her admirable and excellent influences, to the end that not
only those who might actually behold her, but also others, should know
of her whatever words could tell. Then I devised this sonnet:--

     So gentle and so gracious doth appear
       My lady when she giveth her salute,
       That every tongue becometh, trembling, mute;
     Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.
     Although she hears her praises, she doth go
       Benignly vested with humility;
       And like a thing come down she seems to be
     From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.
     So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
       She gives the heart a sweetness through the eyes,
       Which none can understand who doth not prove.
     And from her countenance there seems to move
       A spirit sweet and in Love's very guise,
       Who to the soul, in going, sayeth: Sigh!



After that I began to think one day upon what I had said of my lady,
that is, in these two preceding sonnets; and seeing in my thought that I
had not spoken of that which at the present time she wrought in me, it
seemed to me that I had spoken defectively; and therefore I resolved to
say words in which I would tell how I seemed to myself to be disposed to
her influence, and how her virtue wrought in me. And not believing that
I could relate this in the brevity of a sonnet, I began then a canzone.

     _Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! facta est quasi vidua
     domina gentium._ [How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of
     people! How is she become as a widow! she that was great among the

I was yet full of the design of this canzone, and had completed [one]
stanza thereof, when the Lord of Justice called this most gentle one to
glory, under the banner of that holy Queen Mary, whose name was ever
spoken with greatest reverence by this blessed Beatrice.



On that day on which the year was complete since this lady was made one
of the denizens of life eternal, I was seated in a place where, having
her in mind, I was drawing an angel upon certain tablets. And while I
was drawing it, I turned my eyes and saw at my side men to whom it was
meet to do honor. They were looking on what I did, and, as was
afterwards told me, they had been there already some time before I
became aware of it. When I saw them I rose, and saluting them, said,
"Another was just now with me, and on that account I was in thought."
And when they had gone away, I returned to my work, namely, that of
drawing figures of angels; and while doing this, a thought came to me of
saying words in rhyme, as if for an anniversary poem of her, and of
addressing those persons who had come to me.

After this, two gentle ladies sent to ask me to send them some of these
rhymed words of mine; wherefore I, thinking on their nobleness, resolved
to send to them and to make a new thing which I would send to them with
these, in order that I might fulfill their prayers with the more honor.
And I devised then a sonnet which relates my condition, and I sent it to

     Beyond the sphere that widest orbit hath
       Passes the sigh which issues from my heart:
       A new Intelligence doth Love impart
     In tears to him, which guides his upward path.
     When at the place desired, his course he stays,
       A lady he beholds in honor dight,
       Who so doth shine that through her splendid light,
     The pilgrim spirit upon her doth gaze.
     He sees her such, that dark his words I find--
       When he reports, his speech so subtle is
       Unto the grieving heart which makes him tell;
     But of that gentle one he speaks, I wis,
       Since oft he bringeth Beatrice to mind,
       So that, O ladies dear, I understand him well.



After this, a wonderful vision appeared to me, in which I saw things
which made me resolve to speak no more of the blessed one, until I could
more worthily treat of her. And to attain to this, I study to the utmost
of my power, as she truly knows. So that, if it shall please Him through
whom all things live that my life be prolonged for some years, I hope to
say of her what was never said of any woman.

And then may it please him who is the Lord of Grace, that my soul may go
to behold the glory of its lady, namely of that blessed Beatrice, who in
glory looks upon the face of Him _qui est per omnia sæcula benedictus_
[who is blessed forever].

     The translations from the 'Convito' are made for 'A Library of the
     World's Best Literature' by Professor Norton




"When the first delight of my soul was lost, of which mention has
already been made, I remained pierced with such affliction that no
comfort availed me. Nevertheless, after some time, my mind, which was
endeavoring to heal itself, undertook, since neither my own nor others'
consoling availed, to turn to the mode which other comfortless ones had
adopted for their consolation. And I set myself to reading that book of
Boëthius, not known to many, in which he, a prisoner and an exile, had
consoled himself. And hearing, moreover, that Tully had written a book
in which, treating of friendship, he had introduced words of consolation
for Lælius, a most excellent man, on the death of Scipio his friend, I
set myself to read that. And although it was difficult for me at first
to enter into their meaning, I finally entered into it, so far as my
knowledge of Latin and a little of my own genius permitted; through
which genius I already, as if in a dream, saw many things, as may be
seen in the 'New Life.' And as it sometimes happens that a man goes
seeking silver, and beyond his expectation finds gold, which a hidden
occasion affords, not perchance without Divine guidance, so I, who was
seeking to console myself, found not only relief for my tears, but the
substance of authors, and of knowledge, and of books; reflecting upon
which, I came to the conclusion that Philosophy, who was the Lady of
these authors, this knowledge, and these books, was a supreme thing. And
I imagined her as having the features of a gentle lady; and I could not
imagine her in any but a compassionate act; wherefore my sense so
willingly admired her in truth, that I could hardly turn it from her.
And after this imagination I began to go there where she displayed
herself truly, that is to say, to the school of the religious, and to
the disputations of the philosophers, so that in a short time, perhaps
in thirty months, I began to feel so much of her sweetness that the love
of her chased away and destroyed every other thought."

     'The Banquet,' ii. 13.



The supreme desire of everything, and that first given by Nature, is to
return to its source; and since God is the source of our souls and Maker
of them in his own likeness, as is written, "Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness," to him this soul desires above all to
return. And as a pilgrim, who goes along a road on which he never was
before, thinks every house he sees afar off to be his inn, and not
finding it so, directs his trust to the next, and thus from house to
house till he comes to the inn, so our soul at once, on entering the new
and untraveled road of this life, turns her eyes to the goal of her
supreme good, and therefore whatever thing she sees which seems to have
in it some good, she believes to be that. And because her knowledge at
first is imperfect, not being experienced or instructed, small goods
seem to her great, therefore she begins with desiring them. Wherefore we
see children desire exceedingly an apple; and then proceeding further,
desire a little bird; and further still a beautiful dress; and then a
horse, and then a woman, and then riches not great, and then greater,
and then as great as can be. And this happens because in none of these
does she find that which she is seeking, and she trusts to find it
further on....

Truly this way is lost by error as the roads of earth are; for as from
one city to another there is of necessity one best and straightest way,
and another that always leads away from it, that is, one which goes in
another direction, and many others, some less diverging, and some
approaching less near, so in human life are divers roads, of which one
is the truest, and another the most deceitful, and certain ones less
deceitful, and certain less true. And as we see that that which goes
straightest to the city fulfills desire, and gives repose after
weariness, and that which goes contrary never fulfills it, and can never
give repose, so it falls out in our life: the good traveler arrives at
the goal and repose, the mistaken never arrives there, but with much
weariness of his mind always looks forward with greedy eyes.

     'The Banquet,' iv. 12.



The noble Soul in old age returns to God as to that port whence she set
forth on the sea of this life. And as the good mariner, when he
approaches port, furls his sails, and with slow course gently enters it,
so should we furl the sails of our worldly affairs and turn to God with
our whole mind and heart, so that we may arrive at that port with all
sweetness and peace. And in regard to this we have from our own nature a
great lesson of sweetness, that in such a death as this there is no pain
nor any bitterness, but as a ripe fruit is easily and without violence
detached from its twig, so our soul without affliction is parted from
the body in which it has been. And just as to him who comes from a long
journey, before he enters into the gate of his city, the citizens
thereof go forth to meet him, so the citizens of the eternal life come
to meet the noble Soul; and they do so through her good deeds and
contemplations: for having now rendered herself to God, and withdrawn
herself from worldly affairs and thoughts, she seems to see those whom
she believes to be nigh unto God. Hear what Tully says in the person of
the good Cato:--"With ardent zeal I lifted myself up to see your fathers
whom I had loved, and not them only, but also those of whom I had heard
speak." The noble Soul then at this age renders herself to God and
awaits the end of life with great desire; and it seems to her that she
is leaving the inn and returning to her own house, it seems to her that
she is leaving the road and returning to the city, it seems to her that
she is leaving the sea and returning to port.... And also the noble Soul
at this age blesses the past times; and well may she bless them, because
revolving them through her memory she recalls her right deeds, without
which she could not arrive with such great riches or so great gain at
the port to which she is approaching. And she does like the good
merchant, who when he draws near his port, examines his getting, and
says: "Had I not passed along such a way, I should not have this
treasure, nor have gained that which I may enjoy in my city to which I
am drawing near;" and therefore he blesses the way which he has come.

     'The Banquet,' iv. 28.

     The selections from the 'Divina Commedia' are from Professor
     Norton's translation: copyrighted 1891 and 1892 and reprinted by
     permission of Professor Norton and of Houghton, Mifflin and
     Company, Publishers, Boston, Mass.




     [Dante, astray in a wood, reaches the foot of a hill which he
     begins to ascend; he is hindered by three beasts; he turns back and
     is met by Virgil, who proposes to guide him into the eternal

Midway upon the road of our life I found myself within a dark wood, for
the right way had been missed. Ah! how hard a thing it is to tell what
this wild and rough and dense wood was, which in thought renews the
fear! So bitter is it that death is little more. But in order to treat
of the good that I found, I will tell of the other things that I saw
there. I cannot well recount how I entered it, so full was I of slumber
at that point where I abandoned the true way. But after I had arrived at
the foot of a hill, where that valley ended which had pierced my heart
with fear, I looked on high and saw its shoulders clothed already with
the rays of the planet[8] that leads men aright along every path. Then
was the fear a little quieted which in the lake of my heart had lasted
through the night that I passed so piteously. And even as one who, with
spent breath, issued out of the sea upon the shore, turns to the
perilous water and gazes, so did my soul, which still was flying, turn
back to look again upon the pass which never had a living person left.

After I had rested a little my weary body, I took my way again along the
desert slope, so that the firm foot was always the lower. And lo! almost
at the beginning of the steep a she-leopard, light and very nimble,
which was covered with a spotted coat. And she did not move from before
my face, nay, rather hindered so my road that to return I oftentimes had

The time was at the beginning of the morning, and the Sun was mounting
upward with those stars that were with him when Love Divine first set in
motion those beautiful things;[9] so that the hour of the time and the
sweet season were occasion of good hope to me concerning that wild beast
with the dappled skin. But not so that the sight which appeared to me of
a lion did not give me fear. He seemed to be coming against me, with
head high and with ravening hunger, so that it seemed that the air was
affrighted at him. And a she-wolf, who with all cravings seemed laden in
her meagreness, and already had made folk to live forlorn,--she caused
me so much heaviness, with the fear that came from sight of her, that I
lost hope of the height.[10] And such as he is who gains willingly, and
the time arrives that makes him lose, who in all his thoughts weeps and
is sad,--such made me the beast without repose that, coming on against
me, little by little was pushing me back thither where the Sun is

While I was falling back to the low place, before mine eyes appeared one
who through long silence seemed faint-voiced. When I saw him in the
great desert, "Have pity on me!" I cried to him, "whatso thou art, or
shade or real man." He answered me:--"Not man; man once I was, and my
parents were Lombards, and Mantuans by country both. I was born _sub
Julio_, though late, and I lived at Rome under the good Augustus, in the
time of the false and lying gods. Poet was I, and sang of that just son
of Anchises who came from Troy after proud Ilion had been burned. But
thou, why returnest thou to so great annoy? Why dost thou not ascend the
delectable mountain which is the source and cause of every joy?" "Art
thou then that Virgil and that fount which poureth forth so large a
stream of speech?" replied I to him with bashful front: "O honor and
light of the other poets! may the long study avail me, and the great
love, which have made me search thy volume! Thou art my master and my
author; thou alone art he from whom I took the fair style that has done
me honor. Behold the beast because of which I turned; help me against
her, famous sage, for she makes my veins and pulses tremble." "Thee it
behoves to hold another course," he replied when he saw me weeping, "if
thou wishest to escape from this savage place: for this beast, because
of which thou criest out, lets not any one pass along her way, but so
hinders him that she kills him; and she has a nature so malign and evil
that she never sates her greedy will, and after food is hungrier than
before. Many are the animals with which she wives, and there shall be
more yet, till the hound shall come that will make her die of grief....
He shall hunt her through every town till he shall have set her back in
hell, there whence envy first sent her forth. Wherefore I think and deem
it for thy best that thou follow me, and I will be thy guide and will
lead thee hence through the eternal place where thou shalt hear the
despairing shrieks, shalt see the ancient spirits woful who each
proclaim the second death. And then thou shalt see those who are
contented in the fire, because they hope to come, whenever it may be, to
the blessed folk; to whom if thou wilt thereafter ascend, there shall be
a soul more worthy than I for that. With her I will leave thee at my
departure; for that Emperor who reigneth thereabove, because I was
rebellious to his law, wills not that into his city any one should come
through me. In all parts he governs and there he reigns: there is his
city and his lofty seat. O happy he whom thereto he elects!" And I to
him:--"Poet, I beseech thee by that God whom thou didst not know, in
order that I may escape this ill and worse, that thou lead me thither
where thou now hast said, so that I may see the gate of St. Peter, and
those whom thou makest so afflicted."

Then he moved on, and I behind him kept.



     [Dante, doubtful of his own powers, is discouraged. Virgil cheers
     him by telling him that he has been sent to his aid by a blessed
     Spirit from Heaven. Dante casts off fear, and the poets proceed.]

The day was going, and the dusky air was taking the living things that
are on earth from their fatigues, and I alone was preparing to sustain
the war alike of the road, and of the woe which the mind that errs not
shall retrace. O Muses, O lofty genius, now assist me! O mind that didst
inscribe that which I saw, here shall thy nobility appear! I began:--

"Poet, that guidest me, consider my virtue, if it be sufficient, ere to
the deep pass thou trustest me. Thou sayest that the parent of Silvius
while still corruptible went to the immortal world and was there in the
body. Wherefore if the Adversary of every ill was then courteous,
thinking on the high effect that should proceed from him, and on the Who
and the What,[11] it seemeth not unmeet to a man of understanding; for
in the empyreal heaven he had been chosen for father of revered Rome and
of her empire; both which (to say truth indeed) were ordained for the
holy place where the successor of the greater Peter has his seat.
Through this going, whereof thou givest him vaunt, he learned things
which were the cause of his victory and of the papal mantle! Afterward
the Chosen Vessel went thither to bring thence comfort to that faith
which is the beginning of the way of salvation. But I, why go I thither?
or who concedes it? I am not Æneas, I am not Paul; me worthy of this,
neither I nor others think; wherefore if I give myself up to go, I fear
lest the going may be mad. Thou art wise, thou understandest better than
I speak."

And as is he who unwills what he willed, and because of new thoughts
changes his design, so that he quite withdraws from beginning, such I
became on that dark hillside; wherefore in my thought I abandoned the
enterprise which had been so hasty in its beginning.

"If I have rightly understood thy speech," replied that shade of the
magnanimous one, "thy soul is hurt by cowardice, which oftentimes
encumbers a man so that it turns him back from honorable enterprise, as
false seeing doth a beast when it is startled. In order that thou loose
thee from this fear I will tell thee wherefore I have come, and what I
heard at the first moment that I grieved for thee. I was among those who
are suspended,[12] and a Lady called me, so blessed and beautiful that I
besought her to command. Her eyes were more lucent than the star, and
she began to speak to me sweet and low, with angelic voice, in her own
tongue:--'O courteous Mantuan soul! of whom the fame yet lasts in the
world, and shall last so long as the world endures, a friend of mine and
not of fortune is upon the desert hillside, so hindered on his road that
he has turned for fear; and I am afraid, through that which I have heard
of him in heaven, lest he already be so astray that I may have risen
late to his succor. Now do thou move, and with thy speech ornate, and
with whatever is needful for his deliverance, assist him so that I may
be consoled for him. I am Beatrice who make thee go. I come from a
place whither I desire to return. Love moved me, and makes me speak.
When I shall be before my Lord, I will commend thee often to him.' Then
she was silent, and thereon I began:--'O Lady of Virtue, thou alone
through whom the human race surpasses all contained within that heaven
which has the smallest circles![13] so pleasing unto me is thy command
that to obey it, were it already done, were slow to me. Thou hast no
need further to open unto me thy will; but tell me the cause why thou
guardest not thyself from descending down here into this centre, from
the ample place whither thou burnest to return.' 'Since thou wishest to
know so inwardly, I will tell thee briefly,' she replied to me,
'wherefore I am not afraid to come here within. One ought to be afraid
of those things only that have power to do another harm; of other things
not, for they are not fearful. I am made by God, thanks be to him, such
that your misery touches me not, nor does the flame of this burning
assail me. A gentle Lady is in heaven who hath pity for this hindrance
whereto I send thee, so that stern judgment there above she breaks. She
summoned Lucia in her request, and said, "Thy faithful one now hath need
of thee, and unto thee I commend him." Lucia,[14] the foe of every cruel
one, rose and came to the place where I was, seated with the ancient
Rachael. She said:--"Beatrice, true praise of God, why dost thou not
succor him who so loved thee that for thee he came forth from the vulgar
throng? Dost thou not hear the pity of his plaint? Dost thou not see the
death that combats him beside the stream whereof the sea hath no vaunt?"
In the world never were persons swift to seek their good, and to fly
their harm, as I, after these words were uttered, came here below, from
my blessed seat, putting my trust in thy upright speech, which honors
thee and them who have heard it.' After she had said this to me, weeping
she turned her lucent eyes, whereby she made me more speedy in coming.
And I came to thee as she willed. Thee have I delivered from that wild
beast that took from thee the short ascent of the beautiful mountain.
What is it then? Why, why dost thou hold back? why dost thou harbor such
cowardice in thy heart? why hast thou not daring and boldness, since
three blessed Ladies care for thee in the court of Heaven, and my speech
pledges thee such good?"

As flowerets, bent and closed by the chill of night, after the sun
shines on them straighten themselves all open on their stem, so my weak
virtue became, and such good daring hastened to my heart that I began
like one enfranchised:--"O compassionate she who succored! and thou
courteous who didst speedily obey the true words that she addressed to
thee! Thou by thy words hast so disposed my heart with desire of going,
that I have returned unto my first intent. Go on now, for one sole will
is in us both: thou leader, thou Lord, and thou Master." Thus I said to
him; and when he had moved on, I entered along the deep and savage road.



     [The Second Circle, that of Carnal Sinners.--Minos.--Shades
     renowned of old.--Francesca da Rimini.]

Thus I descended from the first circle down into the second, which
girdles less space, and so much more woe that it goads to wailing. There
abides Minos horribly, and snarls; he examines the sins at the entrance;
he judges, and he sends according as he entwines himself. I mean that
when the miscreant spirit comes there before him, it confesses itself
wholly, and that discerner of sins sees what place of Hell is for it; he
girdles himself with his tail so many times as the degrees he wills it
should be sent down. Always before him stand many of them. They go, in
turn, each to the judgment; they speak, and hear, and then are whirled

"O thou that comest to the woful inn," said Minos to me, when he saw me,
leaving the act of so great an office, "beware how thou enterest, and to
whom thou intrustest thyself; let not the amplitude of the entrance
deceive thee." And my Leader to him, "Why then dost thou cry out? Hinder
not his fated going; thus is it willed there where is power to do that
which is willed; and ask thou no more."

Now the woful notes begin to make themselves heard; now am I come where
much lamentation smites me. I had come into a place mute of all light,
that bellows as the sea does in a tempest, if it be combated by opposing
winds. The infernal hurricane that never rests carries along the spirits
with its rapine; whirling and smiting it molests them. When they arrive
before its rushing blast, here are shrieks, and bewailing, and
lamenting; here they blaspheme the power Divine. I understood that to
such torment are condemned the carnal sinners who subject reason unto
lust. And as their wings bear along the starlings in the cold season in
a troop large and full, so that blast the evil spirits; hither, thither,
down, up, it carries them; no hope ever comforts them, not of repose,
but even of less pain.

And as the cranes go singing their lays, making in air a long line of
themselves, so saw I come, uttering wails, shades borne along by the
aforesaid strife. Wherefore I said, "Master, who are those folk whom the
black air so castigates?" "The first of these of whom thou wishest to
have knowledge," said he to me then, "was empress of many tongues. To
the vice of luxury was she so abandoned that lust she made licit in her
law, to take away the blame she had incurred. She is Semiramis, of whom
it is read that she succeeded Ninus and had been his spouse; she held
the land which the Soldan rules. The other is she who, for love, slew
herself and broke faith to the ashes of Sichaeus. Next is Cleopatra, the
luxurious. See Helen, for whom so long a time of ill revolved; and see
the great Achilles, who at the end fought with love. See Paris,
Tristan--" and more than a thousand shades he showed me with his finger,
and named them whom love had parted from our life.

After I had heard my Teacher name the dames of eld and the cavaliers,
pity overcame me, and I was well-nigh bewildered. I began, "Poet,
willingly would I speak with those two that go together, and seem to be
so light upon the wind." And he to me, "Thou shalt see when they shall
be nearer to us, and do thou then pray them by that love which leads
them, and they will come." Soon as the wind sways them toward us I
lifted my voice: "O weary souls, come speak to us, if One forbid it

As doves, called by desire, with wings open and steady, fly through the
air to their sweet nest, borne by their will, these issued from the
troop where Dido is, coming to us through the malign air, so strong was
the compassionate cry:--

"O living creature, gracious and benign, that goest through the lurid
air visiting us who stained the world blood-red,--if the King of the
universe were a friend we would pray him for thy peace, since thou hast
pity on our perverse ill. Of what it pleases thee to hear, and what to
speak, we will hear and we will speak to you, while the wind, as now, is
hushed for us. The city where I was born sits upon the sea-shore, where
the Po, with his followers, descends to have peace. Love, that on
gentle heart quickly lays hold, seized him for the fair person that was
taken from me, and the mode still hurts me. Love, which absolves no
loved one from loving, seized me for the pleasing of him so strongly
that, as thou seest, it does not even now abandon me. Love brought us to
one death. Caina waits him who quenched our life." These words were
borne to us from them.

Soon as I had heard those injured souls I bowed my face, and held it
down, until the Poet said to me, "What art thou thinking?" When I
replied, I began:--"Alas! how many sweet thoughts, how great desire, led
these unto the woful pass." Then I turned me again to them, and I spoke,
and began, "Francesca, thy torments make me sad and piteous to weeping.
But tell me, at the time of the sweet sighs by what and how did love
concede to you to know the dubious desires?" And she to me, "There is no
greater woe than in misery to remember the happy time, and that thy
Teacher knows. But if to know the first root of our love thou hast so
great a longing, I will do like one who weeps and tells.

"We were reading one day, for delight, of Lancelot, how love constrained
him. We were alone and without any suspicion. Many times that reading
made us lift our eyes, and took the color from our faces, but only one
point was that which overcame us. When we read of the longed-for smile
being kissed by such a lover, this one, who never from me shall be
divided, kissed my mouth all trembling. Galahaut[15] was the book, and
he who wrote it. That day we read in it no farther."

While one spirit said this, the other was weeping so that through pity I
swooned as if I had been dying, and fell as a dead body falls.




     [Seventh Ledge: the Lustful.--Passage through the flames.--Stairway
     in the rock.--Night upon the stairs.--Dream of
     Dante.--Morning.--Ascent to the Earthly Paradise.--Last words of

As when he darts forth his first rays there where his Maker shed his
blood (Ebro falling tinder the lofty Scales, and the waves in the Ganges
scorched by noon), so the sun was now standing; so that the day was
departing, when the glad Angel of God appeared to us[16]. Outside the
flame he was standing on the bank, and was singing "Beati mundo corde"
[Blessed are the pure in heart], in a voice far more living than ours:
then, "No one goes further, ye holy souls, if first the fire sting not;
enter into it, and to the song beyond be ye not deaf," he said to us,
when we were near him. Whereat I became such, when I heard him, as is he
who in the pit is put[17]. With hands clasped upwards, I stretched
forward, looking at the fire, and imagining vividly human bodies I had
once seen burnt. The good Escorts turned toward me, and Virgil said to
me, "My son, here may be torment, but not death. Bethink thee! bethink
thee! and if I even upon Geryon guided thee safe, what shall I do now
that I am nearer God? Believe for certain that if within the belly of
this flame thou shouldst stand full a thousand years, it could not make
thee bald of one hair. And if thou perchance believest that I deceive
thee, draw near to it, and make trial for thyself with thine own hands
on the hem of thy garments. Put aside now, put aside every fear; turn
hitherward, and come on secure."

And I still motionless and against conscience!

When he saw me still stand motionless and obdurate, he said, disturbed a
little, "Now see, son, between Beatrice and thee is this wall."

As at the name of Thisbe, Pyramus, at point of death, opened his eyelids
and looked at her, what time the mulberry became vermilion, so, my
obduracy becoming softened, I turned me to the wise Leader, hearing the
name that in my memory is ever welling up. Whereat he nodded his head,
and said, "How! do we want to stay on this side?" Then he smiled as one
doth at a child who is conquered by an apple.

Then within the fire he set himself before me, praying Statius that he
would come behind, who previously, on the long road, had divided us.
When I was in, into boiling glass I would have thrown myself to cool me,
so without measure was the burning there. My sweet Father, to encourage
me, went talking ever of Beatrice, saying, "I seem already to see her

A voice was guiding us, which was singing on the other side, and we,
ever attentive to it, came forth there where was the ascent. "Venite,
benedicti Patris mei" [Come, ye blessed of my Father], sounded within a
light that was there such that it overcame me, and I could not look on
it. "The sun departs," it added, "and the evening comes; tarry not, but
hasten your steps so long as the west grows not dark."

The way mounted straight, through the rock, in such direction that I cut
off in front of me the rays of the sun which was already low. And of few
stairs had we made essay ere, by the vanishing of the shadow, both I and
my Sages perceived behind us the setting of the sun. And before the
horizon in all its immense regions had become of one aspect, and night
had all her dispensations, each of us made of a stair his bed; for the
nature of the mountain took from us the power more than the delight of

As goats, who have been swift and wayward on the peaks ere they are fed,
become tranquil as they ruminate, silent in the shade while the sun is
hot, watched by the herdsman, who on his staff is leaning and leaning
guards them; and as the shepherd, who lodges out of doors, passes the
night beside his quiet flock, watching that the wild beast may not
scatter it: such were we all three then, I like a goat, and they like
shepherds, hemmed in on this side and on that by the high rock. Little
of the outside could there appear, but through that little I saw the
stars both brighter and larger than their wont. Thus ruminating, and
thus gazing upon them, sleep overcame me, sleep which oft before a deed
be done knows news thereof.

At the hour, I think, when from the east on the mountain first beamed
Cytherea, who with fire of love seems always burning, I seemed in dream
to see a lady, young and beautiful, going through a meadow gathering
flowers, and singing; she was saying, "Let him know, whoso asks my name,
that I am Leah, and I go moving my fair hands around to make myself a
garland. To please me at the glass here I adorn me, but my sister Rachel
never withdraws from her mirror, and sits all day. She is as fain to
look with her fair eyes as I to adorn me with my hands. Her seeing, and
me doing, satisfies."[18]

And now before the splendors which precede the dawn, and rise the more
grateful unto pilgrims as in returning they lodge less remote[19], the
shadows fled away on every side, and my sleep with them; whereupon I
rose, seeing my great Masters already risen. "That pleasant apple which
through so many branches the care of mortals goes seeking, to-day shall
put in peace thy hungerings." Virgil used words such as these toward me,
and never were there gifts which could be equal in pleasure to these.
Such wish upon wish came to me to be above, that at every step
thereafter I felt the feathers growing for my flight.

When beneath us all the stairway had been run, and we were on the
topmost step, Virgil fixed his eyes on me, and said, "The temporal fire
and the eternal thou hast seen, son, and art come to a place where of
myself no further onward I discern. I have brought thee here with
understanding and with art: thine own pleasure now take thou for guide;
forth art thou from the steep ways, forth art thou from the narrow. See
there the sun, which on thy front doth shine; see the young grass, the
flowers, the shrubs, which here the earth of itself alone produces.
Until rejoicing come the beautiful eyes which weeping made me come to
thee, thou canst sit down and thou canst go among them. Expect no more
or word or sign from me. Free, upright, and sane is thine own free will,
and it would be wrong not to act according to its pleasure; wherefore
thee over thyself I crown and mitre."



     [Beatrice appears.--Departure of Virgil.--Reproof of Dante by
     Beatrice.--Confession of Dante.--Passage of Lethe.--Unveiling of

When the septentrion of the first heaven,[20] which never setting knew,
nor rising, nor veil of other cloud than sin,--and which was making
every one there acquainted with his duty, as the lower[21] makes whoever
turns the helm to come to port,--stopped still, the truthful people who
had come first between the griffon and it, turned to the chariot as to
their peace, and one of them, as if sent from heaven, singing, cried
thrice, "Veni, sponsa, de Libano" [Come with me from Lebanon, my
spouse], and all the others after.

As the blessed at the last trump will arise swiftly, each from his tomb,
singing Hallelujah with recovered voice, so upon the divine chariot, _ad
vocem tanti senis_ [at the voice of so great an elder], rose up a
hundred ministers and messengers of life eternal. All were saying,
"Benedictus, qui venis" [Blessed thou that comest], and, scattering
flowers above and around, "Manibus o date lilia plenis" [Oh, give lilies
with full hands].[22]

I have seen ere now at the beginning of the day the eastern region all
rosy, while the rest of the heaven was beautiful with fair clear sky;
and the face of the sun rise shaded, so that through the tempering of
vapors the eye sustained it a long while. Thus within a cloud of
flowers, which from the angelic hands was ascending, and falling down
again within and without, a lady, with olive wreath above a white veil,
appeared to me, robed with the color of living flame beneath a green
mantle.[23] And my spirit that now for so long a time had not been
broken down, trembling with amazement at her presence, without having
more knowledge by the eyes, through occult virtue that proceeded from
her, felt the great potency of ancient love.

Soon as upon my sight the lofty virtue smote, which already had
transfixed me ere I was out of boyhood, I turned me to the left with the
confidence with which the little child runs to his mother when he is
frightened, or when he is troubled, to say to Virgil, "Less than a
drachm of blood remains in me that doth not tremble; I recognize the
signals of the ancient flame,"[24]--but Virgil had left us deprived of
himself; Virgil, sweetest Father, Virgil, to whom I for my salvation
gave me. Nor did all which the ancient mother lost[25] avail unto my
cheeks, cleansed with dew,[26] that they should not turn dark again with

"Dante, though Virgil be gone away, weep not yet, for it behoves thee to
weep by another sword."

Like an admiral who, on poop or on prow, comes to see the people that
are serving on the other ships, and encourages them to do well, upon the
left border of the chariot--when I turned me at the sound of my own
name, which of necessity is registered here--I saw the Lady, who had
first appeared to me veiled beneath the angelic festival, directing her
eyes toward me across the stream; although the veil which descended from
her head, circled by the leaf of Minerva, did not allow her to appear
distinctly. Royally, still haughty in her mien, she went on, as one who
speaks and keeps back his warmest speech: "Look at me well: I am indeed,
I am indeed Beatrice. How hast thou deigned to approach the mountain?
Didst thou know that man is happy here?" My eyes fell down into the
clear fount; but seeing myself in it I drew them to the grass, such
great shame burdened my brow. As to the son the mother seems proud, so
she seemed to me; for somewhat bitter tasteth the savor of stern pity.

She was silent, and the angels sang of a sudden, "In te, Domine,
speravi" [In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust];[27] but beyond "pedes
meos" [my feet] they did not pass. Even as the snow, among the living
rafters upon the back of Italy, is congealed, blown, and packed by
Slavonian winds, then melting trickles through itself, if only the land
that loses shadow[28] breathe so that it seems a fire that melts the
candle: so was I without tears and sighs before the song of those who
time their notes after the notes of the eternal circles. But when I
heard in their sweet accords their compassion for me, more than if they
had said, "Lady, why dost thou so confound him?" the ice that was bound
tight around my heart became breath and water, and with anguish poured
from my breast through my mouth and eyes.

She, still standing motionless on the aforesaid side of the chariot,
then turned her words to those pious[29] beings thus:--"Ye watch in the
eternal day, so that nor night nor slumber robs from you one step the
world may make along its ways; wherefore my reply is with greater care,
that he who is weeping yonder may understand me, so that fault and grief
may be of one measure. Not only through the working of the great
wheels,[30] which direct every seed to some end according as the stars
are its companions, but through largess of divine graces, which have for
their rain vapors so lofty that our sight goes not near thereto,--this
man was such in his new life, virtually, that every right habit would
have made admirable proof in him. But so much the more malign and more
savage becomes the land ill-sown and untilled, as it has more of good
terrestrial vigor. Some time did I sustain him with my face; showing my
youthful eyes to him, I led him with me turned in right direction. So
soon as I was upon the threshold of my second age, and had changed life,
this one took himself from me, and gave himself to others. When from
flesh to spirit I had ascended, and beauty and virtue were increased in
me, I was less dear and less pleasing to him; and he turned his steps
along a way not true, following false images of good, which pay no
promise in full. Nor did it avail me to win by entreaty[31] inspirations
with which, both in dream and otherwise, I called him back; so little
did he heed them. So low he fell that all means for his salvation were
already short, save showing him the lost people.[32] For this I visited
the gate of the dead, and to him, who has conducted him up hither, my
prayers were borne with weeping. The high decree of God would be
broken, if Lethe should be passed, and such viands should be tasted
without any scot of repentance which may pour forth tears."

"O thou who art on the further side of the sacred river," turning her
speech with the point to me, which only by the edge had seemed to me
keen, she began anew, going on without delay, "say, say if this be true:
to so great an accusation it behoves that thine own confession be
conjoined." My power was so confused that my voice moved, and became
extinct before it could be released by its organs. A little she bore it;
then she said, "What thinkest thou? Reply to me; for the sad memories in
thee are not yet injured by the water."[33] Confusion and fear together
mingled forced such a "Yes" from my mouth that the eyes were needed for
the understanding of it.

As a crossbow breaks its cord and its bow when it shoots with too great
tension, and with less force the shaft hits the mark, so did I burst
under that heavy load, pouring forth tears and sighs, and the voice
slackened along its passage. Whereupon she to me:--"Within those desires
of mine[34] that were leading thee to love the Good beyond which there
is nothing whereto man may aspire, what trenches running traverse, or
what chains didst thou find, for which thou wert obliged thus to abandon
the hope of passing onward? And what enticements, or what advantages on
the brow of the others[35] were displayed, for which thou wert obliged
to court them?" After the drawing of a bitter sigh, hardly had I the
voice that answered, and the lips with difficulty gave it form. Weeping,
I said, "The present things with their false pleasure turned my steps
soon as your face was hidden." And she:--"Hadst thou been silent, or
hadst thou denied that which thou dost confess, thy fault would be not
less noted, by such a Judge is it known. But when the accusation of the
sin bursts from one's own cheek, in our court the wheel turns itself
back against the edge. But yet, that thou mayst now bear shame for thy
error, and that another time, hearing the Sirens, thou mayst be
stronger, lay aside the seed of weeping and listen; so shalt thou hear
how in opposite direction my buried flesh ought to have moved thee.
Never did nature or art present to thee pleasure such as the fair limbs
wherein I was inclosed; and they are scattered in earth. And if the
supreme pleasure thus failed thee through my death, what mortal things
ought then to have drawn thee into its desire? Forsooth thou oughtest,
at the first arrow of things deceitful, to have risen up, following me
who was no longer such. Nor should thy wings have weighed thee downward
to await more blows, either girl or other vanity of so brief a use. The
young little bird awaits two or three; but before the eyes of the
full-fledged the net is spread in vain, the arrow shot."

As children, ashamed, dumb, with eyes upon the ground, stand listening
and conscience-stricken and repentant, so was I standing. And she said,
"Since through hearing thou art grieved, lift up thy beard and thou
shalt receive more grief in seeing." With less resistance is a sturdy
oak uprooted by a native wind, or by one from the land of Iarbas,[36]
than I raised up my chin at her command; and when by the beard she asked
for my eyes, truly I recognized the venom of the argument.[37] And as my
face stretched upward, my sight perceived that those primal creatures
were resting from their strewing, and my eyes, still little assured, saw
Beatrice turned toward the animal that is only one person in two
natures. Beneath her veil and beyond the stream she seemed to me more to
surpass her ancient self, than she surpassed the others here when she
was here. So pricked me there the nettle of repentance, that of all
other things the one which most turned me aside unto its love became
most hostile to me.[38]

Such contrition stung my heart that I fell overcome; and what I then
became she knows who afforded me the cause.

Then, when my heart restored my outward faculties, I saw above me the
lady whom I had found alone,[39] and she was saying, "Hold me, hold me."
She had drawn me into the stream up to the throat, and dragging me
behind was moving upon the water light as a shuttle. When I was near the
blessed shore, "Asperges me"[40] I heard so sweetly that I cannot
remember it, far less can write it. The beautiful lady opened her arms,
clasped my head, and plunged me in where it behoved that I should
swallow the water. Then she took me, and, thus bathed, brought me within
the dance of the four beautiful ones,[41] and each of them covered me
with her arm. "Here we are nymphs, and in heaven we are stars; ere
Beatrice had descended to the world we were ordained unto her for her
handmaids. We will lead thee to her eyes; but in the joyous light which
is within them, the three yonder[42] who deeper gaze shall make keen
thine own." Thus singing they began; and then to the breast of the
griffon they led me with them, where Beatrice was standing turned toward
us. They said, "See that thou sparest not thy sight: we have placed thee
before the emeralds whence Love of old drew his arrows upon thee." A
thousand desires hotter than flame bound my eyes to the relucent eyes
which only upon the griffon were standing fixed. As the sun in a mirror,
not otherwise, the twofold animal was gleaming therewithin, now with
one, now with another mode.[43] Think, Reader, if I marveled when I saw
the thing stand quiet in itself, while in its image it was transmuting

While, full of amazement and glad, my soul was tasting that food which,
sating of itself, causes hunger for itself, the other three, showing
themselves in their bearing of loftier order, came forward dancing to
their angelic melody. "Turn, Beatrice, turn thy holy eyes," was their
song, "upon thy faithful one, who to see thee has taken so many steps.
For grace do us the grace that thou unveil to him thy mouth, so that he
may discern the second beauty which thou concealest."

O splendor of living light eternal! Who hath become so pallid under the
shadow of Parnassus, or hath so drunk at its cistern, that he would not
seem to have his mind incumbered, trying to represent thee as thou didst
appear there where in harmony the heaven overshadows thee, when in the
open air thou didst thyself disclose?




     [Dante, having been brought by Beatrice to Paradise in the
     Empyrean, is left by her in charge of St. Bernard, while she takes
     her place among the blessed.--Prayer of St. Bernard to the
     Virgin.--Her intercession.--The vision of God.--The end of desire.]

"Virgin Mother, daughter of thine own Son, humble and exalted more than
any creature, fixed term of the eternal counsel, thou art she who didst
so ennoble human nature that its own Maker disdained not to become His
own making. Within thy womb was rekindled the love through whose warmth
this flower has thus blossomed in the eternal peace. Here thou art to us
the noonday torch of charity, and below, among mortals, thou art the
living fount of hope. Lady, thou art so great, and so availest, that
whoso wishes grace, and has not recourse to thee, wishes his desire to
fly without wings. Thy benignity not only succors him who asks, but
oftentimes freely foreruns the asking. In thee mercy, in thee pity, in
thee magnificence, in thee whatever of goodness is in any creature, are
united. Now doth this man, who, from the lowest abyss of the universe,
far even as here, has seen one by one the lives of spirits, supplicate
thee, through grace, for virtue such that he may be able with his eyes
to uplift himself higher toward the Ultimate Salvation. And I, who never
for my own vision burned more than I do for his, proffer to thee all my
prayers, and pray that they be not scant, that with thy prayers thou
wouldst dissipate for him every cloud of his mortality, so that the
Supreme Pleasure may be displayed to him. Further I pray thee, Queen,
who canst what so thou wilt, that, after so great a vision, thou wouldst
preserve his affections sound. May thy guardianship vanquish human
impulses. Behold Beatrice with all the blessed for my prayers clasp
their hands to thee."

The eyes beloved and revered by God, fixed on the speaker, showed to us
how pleasing unto her are devout prayers. Then to the Eternal Light were
they directed, on which it is not to be believed that eye so clear is
turned by any creature.

And I, who to the end of all desires was approaching, even as I ought,
ended within myself the ardor of my longings. Bernard was beckoning to
me, and was smiling, that I should look upward; but I was already, of my
own accord, such as he wished; for my sight, becoming pure, was entering
more and more through the radiance of the lofty Light which of itself is

Thenceforward my vision was greater than our speech, which yields to
such a sight, and the memory yields to such excess.

As is he who dreaming sees, and after the dream the passion remains
imprinted, and the rest returns not to the mind, such am I; for my
vision almost wholly fails, while the sweetness that was born of it yet
distills within my heart. Thus the snow is by the sun unsealed; thus on
the wind, in the light leaves, was lost the saying of the Sibyl.

O Supreme Light, that so high upliftest Thyself from mortal conceptions,
re-lend a little to my mind of what Thou didst appear, and make my
tongue so powerful that it may be able to leave one single spark of Thy
glory for the future people; for by returning somewhat to my memory and
by sounding a little in these verses, more of Thy victory shall be

I think that by the keenness of the living ray which I endured, I should
have been dazzled if my eyes had been averted from it. And it comes to
my mind that for this reason I was the more hardy to sustain so much,
that I joined my look unto the Infinite Goodness.

O abundant Grace, whereby I presumed to fix my eyes through the Eternal
Light so far that there I consummated my vision!

In its depth I saw that whatsoever is dispersed through the universe is
there included, bound with love in one volume; substance and accidents
and their modes, fused together, as it were, in such wise, that that of
which I speak is one simple Light. The universal form of this knot[45] I
believe that I saw, because in saying this I feel that I more abundantly
rejoice. One instant only is greater oblivion for me than
five-and-twenty centuries to the emprise which made Neptune wonder at
the shadow of Argo.[46]

Thus my mind, wholly rapt, was gazing fixed, motionless, and intent, and
ever with gazing grew enkindled. In that Light one becomes such that it
is impossible he should ever consent to turn himself from it for other
sight; because the Good which is the object of the will is all collected
in it, and outside of it that is defective which is perfect there.

Now will my speech be shorter even in respect to that which I remember,
than an infant's who still bathes his tongue at the breast. Not because
more than one simple semblance was in the Living Light wherein I was
gazing, which is always such as it was before; but through my sight,
which was growing strong in me as I looked, one sole appearance, as I
myself changed, was altering itself to me.

Within the profound and clear subsistence of the lofty Light appeared to
me three circles of three colors and of one dimension; and one appeared
reflected by the other, as Iris by Iris, and the third appeared fire
which from the one and from the other is equally breathed forth.

O how short is the telling, and how feeble toward my conception! and
this toward what I saw is such that it suffices not to call it little.

O Light Eternal, that sole dwellest in Thyself, sole understandest
Thyself, and, by Thyself understood and understanding, lovest and
smilest on Thyself! That circle, which, thus conceived, appeared in Thee
as a reflected light, being somewhile regarded by my eyes, seemed to me
depicted within itself, of its own very color, by our effigy, wherefore
my sight was wholly set upon it. As is the geometer who wholly applies
himself to measure the circle, and finds not by thinking that principle
of which he is in need, such was I at that new sight. I wished to see
how the image accorded with the circle, and how it has its place
therein; but my own wings were not for this, had it not been that my
mind was smitten by a flash in which its wish came.[47]

To my high fantasy here power failed; but now my desire and my will,
like a wheel which evenly is moved, the Love was turning which moves the
Sun and the other stars.[48]



A good example of the latter-day enlightened savant is the French Jew,
James Darmesteter, whose premature death robbed the modern world of
scholarship of one of its most distinguished figures. Scholars who do
noble service in adding to the sum total of human knowledge often are
specialists, the nature of whose work excludes them from general
interest and appreciation. It was not so with this man,--not alone an
Oriental philologist of more than national repute, but a broadly
cultured, original mind, an enlightened spirit, and a master of literary
expression. Darmesteter calls for recognition as a maker of literature
as well as a scientist.

The son of a humble Jewish bookbinder, subjected to the disadvantages
and hardships of poverty, James Darmesteter was born at Chateau-Salins
in Lorraine in 1849, but got his education in Paris, early imbibing the
Jewish traditions, familiar from youth with the Bible and the Talmud. At
the public school, whence he was graduated at eighteen, he showed his
remarkable intellectual powers and attracted the attention of scholars
like Bréal and Burnouf, who, noting his aptitude for languages, advised
devotion to Oriental linguistics. After several years of uncertainty,
years spent with books and in travel, and in the desultory production of
poetry and fiction, philological study was undertaken as his life work,
with remarkable results. For twenty years he labored in this field, and
his appointment in 1882 to succeed Renan as Secretary of the Asiatic
Society of France speaks volumes for the position he won. In 1885 he
became professor of Iranian languages and literature in the College of
France. Other scholastic honors fell to him in due course and good

As a scholar Darmesteter's most important labors were the exposition of
Zoroastrianism, the national faith of ancient Persia, which he made a
specialty; and his French translation of and commentary on the Avesta,
the Bible of that religion. As an interpreter of Zoroaster he sought to
unite synthetically two opposing modern schools: that which relied
solely upon native traditions, and that which, regarding these as
untrustworthy, drew its conclusions from an examination of the text,
supplemented by the aid of Sanskrit on the side of language and of the
Vedas on the side of religion. Darmesteter's work was thus boldly
comprehensive. He found in the Avesta the influence of such discordant
elements as the Bible, Buddha, and Greek philosophy, and believed that
in its present form it was composed at a later time than has been
supposed. These technical questions are still mooted points with the
critics. The translation of the Avesta will perhaps stand as his
greatest achievement. A herculean labor of four years, it was rewarded
by the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres with the 20,000-franc
prize given but once in a decade for the work which, in the Academy's
opinion, had best served or brought most honor to the country.

But the technical accomplishments of learning represent but a fragment
of Darmesteter's amazing mental activity. He wrote a striking book on
the Mahdi, the tenacious belief in the Mohammedan Messiah taking hold on
his imagination. He was versed in English literature, edited
Shakespeare, and introduced his countrymen to Browning. While in
Afghanistan on a philological mission he gathered, merely as a side
pursuit, a unique collection of Afghan folk-songs, and the result was a
fascinating and valuable paper in a new field. He helped to found a
leading French review. Articles of travel, critiques on subjects
political, religious, literary, and social, fell fast from his pen. In
his general essays on these broader, more vital aspects of thought and
life, he is an artist in literary expression, a writer with a distinct
and great gift for form. Here his vigorous mind, ample training, his
humanistic tastes and humanitarian aspirations, are all finely in

The English reader who seeks an introduction to Darmesteter is directed
to his 'Selected Essays,' translated by Helen B. Jastrow, edited with a
memoir by Professor Morris Jastrow, Jr. (Houghton, Mifflin and Company,
Boston). There is a translation by Ada S. Ballin of his 'The Mahdi'
(Harper and Brothers, New York); and in the Contemporary Review for
January, 1895, is a noble appreciation of Darmesteter by his friend
Gaston Paris. In the 'Sacred Books of the East' will be found an English
rendering of the Avesta by Darmesteter and Mills.

As a thinker in the philosophical sense Darmesteter was remarkable.
Early breaking away from orthodox Judaism, his philological and
historical researches led him to accept the conclusions of destructive
criticism with regard to the Bible; and a disciple of Renan, he became
enrolled among those scholars who see in science the one explanation of
the universe. But possessing, along with his keen analytic powers, a
nature dominantly ethical, he made humanity his idol. His patriotism for
France was intense; and, a Jew always sympathetic to the wonderful
history of his people,--in his later years by a brilliant, poetical,
almost audacious interpretation of the Old Testament,--he found a
solution of the riddle of life in the Hebrew prophets. What he deemed
their essential faith--Judaism stripped of ritual and legend--he
declared to be in harmony with the scientific creed of the present:
belief in the unity of moral law,--the Old Testament Jehovah; and belief
in the eventual triumph of justice upon this earth,--the modern
substitute for the New Testament heaven. This doctrine, which in most
hands would be cold and comfortless enough, he makes vital, engaging,
through the passionate presentation of an eloquent lover of his
fellow-man. In a word, Darmesteter was a Positivist, dowered, like that
other noble Positivist George Eliot, with a nature sensitive to
spiritual issues.

An idyllic passage in Darmesteter's toilful scholar life was his tender
friendship with the gifted English woman, A. Mary F. Robinson. Attracted
by her lovely verse, the intellectual companionship ripened into love,
and for his half-dozen final years he enjoyed her wifely aid and
sympathy in what seems to have been an ideal union. The end, when it
came, was quick and painless. Always of a frail constitution, stunted in
body from childhood, he died in harness, October 19th, 1894, his head
falling forward on his desk as he wrote. The tributes that followed make
plain the enthusiastic admiration James Darmesteter awakened in those
who knew him best. The leading Orientalist of his generation, he added
to the permanent acquisitions of scholarship, and made his impress as
one of the remarkable personalities of France in the late nineteenth
century. In the language of a friend, "a Jew by race, a Greek by
culture, a Frenchman in heart," he furnishes another illustration of
that strain of genius which seems like a compensatory gift to the Jewish
folk for its manifold buffetings at the hand of Fate.


     From 'Selected Essays': copyrighted 1895 by Houghton, Mifflin and

The mistaken judgments passed upon M. Renan are due to the fact that in
his work he did not place the emphasis upon the Good, but upon the True.
Men concluded that for him, therefore, science was the whole of life.
The environment in which he was formed was forgotten,--an environment in
which the moral sense was exquisite and perfect, while the scientific
sense was _nil_. He did not need to discover the moral sense,--it was
the very atmosphere in which he lived. When the scientific sense awoke
in him, and he beheld the world and history transfigured by it, he was
dazzled, and the influence lasted throughout his life. He dreamed of
making France understand this new revelation; he was the apostle of
this gospel of truth and science, but in heart and mind he never
attacked what is permanent and divine in the other gospel. Thus he was a
complete man, and deserved the disdain of dilettantes morally dead, and
of mystics scientifically atonic.

What heritage has M. Renan left to posterity? As a scholar he created
religious criticism in France, and prepared for universal science that
incomparable instrument, the Corpus. As an author he bequeathed to
universal art, pages which will endure, and to him may be applied what
he said of George Sand:--"He had the divine faculty of giving wings to
his subject, of producing under the form of fine art the idea which in
other hands remained crude and formless." As a philosopher he left
behind a mass of ideas which he did not care to collect in doctrinal
shape, but which nevertheless constitute a coherent whole. One thing
only in this world is certain,--duty. One truth is plain in the course
of the world as science reveals it: the world is advancing to a higher,
more perfect form of being. The supreme happiness of man is to draw
nearer to this God to come, contemplating him in science, and preparing,
by action, the advent of a humanity nobler, better endowed, and more
akin to the ideal Being.


     From 'Selected Essays': copyrighted 1895 by Houghton, Mifflin and

Judaism has not made the miraculous the basis of its dogma, nor
installed the supernatural as a permanent factor in the progress of
events. Its miracles, from the time of the Middle Ages, are but a poetic
detail, a legendary recital, a picturesque decoration; and its
cosmogony, borrowed in haste from Babylon by the last compiler of the
Bible, with the stories of the apple and the serpent, over which so many
Christian generations have labored, never greatly disturbed the
imagination of the rabbis, nor weighed very heavily upon the thought of
the Jewish philosophers. Its rites were never "an instrument of faith,"
an expedient to "lull" rebellious thought into faith; they are merely
cherished customs, a symbol of the family, of transitory value, and
destined to disappear when there shall be but _one_ family in a world
converted to the _one_ truth. Set aside all these miracles, all these
rites, and behind them will be found the two great dogmas which, ever
since the prophets, constitute the whole of Judaism--the Divine unity
and Messianism; unity of law throughout the world, and the terrestrial
triumph of justice in humanity. These are the two dogmas which at the
present time illuminate humanity in its progress, both in the scientific
and social order of things, and which are termed in modern parlance
_unity of forces_ and _belief in progress_.

For this reason, Judaism is the only religion that has never entered
into conflict, and never can, with either science or social progress,
and that has witnessed, and still witnesses, all their conquests without
a sense of fear. These are not hostile forces that it accepts or submits
to merely from a spirit of toleration or policy, in order to save the
remains of its power by a compromise. They are old friendly voices,
which it recognizes and salutes with joy; for it has heard them resound
for centuries already, in the axioms of free thought and in the cry of
the suffering heart. For this reason the Jews, in all the countries
which have entered upon the new path, have begun to take a share in all
the great works of civilization, in the triple field of science, of art,
and of action; and that share, far from being an insignificant one, is
out of all proportion to the brief time that has elapsed since their

Does this mean that Judaism should nurse dreams of ambition, and think
of realizing one day that "invisible church of the future" invoked by
some in prayer? This would be an illusion, whether on the part of a
narrow sectarian, or on that of an enlightened individual. The truth
however remains, that the Jewish spirit can still be a factor in this
world, making for the highest science, for unending progress; and that
the mission of the Bible is not yet complete. The Bible is not
responsible for the partial miscarriage of Christianity, due to the
compromises made by its organizers, who, in their too great zeal to
conquer and convert Paganism, were themselves converted by it. But
everything in Christianity which comes in a direct line from Judaism
lives, and will live; and it is Judaism which through Christianity has
cast into the old polytheistic world, to ferment there until the end of
time, the sentiment of unity, and an impatience to bring about charity
and justice. The reign of the Bible, and also of the Evangelists in so
far as they were inspired by the Bible, can become established only in
proportion as the positive religions connected with it lose their
power. Great religions outlive their altars and their priests.
Hellenism, abolished, counts less skeptics to-day than in the days of
Socrates and Anaxagoras. The gods of Homer died when Phidias carved them
in marble, and now they are immortally enthroned in the thought and
heart of Europe. The Cross may crumble into dust, but there were words
spoken under its shadow in Galilee, the echo of which will forever
vibrate in the human conscience. And when the nation who made the Bible
shall have disappeared,--the race and the cult,--though leaving no
visible trace of its passage upon earth, its imprint will remain in the
depth of the heart of generations, who will, unconsciously perhaps, live
upon what has thus been implanted in their breasts. Humanity, as it is
fashioned in the dreams of those who desire to be called freethinkers,
may with the lips deny the Bible and its work; but humanity can never
deny it in its heart, without the sacrifice of the best that it
contains, faith in unity and hope for justice, and without a relapse
into the mythology and the "might makes right" of thirty centuries ago.




[Illustration: CHAS. R. DARWIN]

Charles Robert Darwin, the great naturalist and author of the "Darwinian
theory," was the son of Dr. Robert Waring Darwin (1766-1848) and
grandson of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802). He was born at Shrewsbury on
February 12th, 1809. W. E. Gladstone, Alfred Tennyson, and Abraham
Lincoln were born in the same year. Charles Darwin was the youngest of a
family of four, having an elder brother and two sisters. He was sent to
a day school at Shrewsbury in the year of his mother's death, 1817. At
this age he tells us that the passion for "collecting" which leads a man
to be a systematic naturalist, a virtuoso, or a miser, was very strong
in him, and was clearly innate, as none of his brothers or sisters had
this taste. A year later he was removed to the Shrewsbury grammar
school, where he profited little by the education in the dead languages
administered, and incurred (as even to-day would be the case in English
schools) the rebukes of the head-master Butler for "wasting his time"
upon such unprofitable subjects as natural history and chemistry, which
he pursued "out of school."

When Charles was sixteen his father sent him to Edinburgh to study
medicine, but after two sessions there he was removed and sent to
Cambridge (1828) with the intention that he should become a clergyman.
In 1831 he took his B. A. degree as what is called a "pass-man." In
those days the injurious system of competitive examinations had not laid
hold of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge as it has since, and
Darwin quietly took a pass degree whilst studying a variety of subjects
of interest to him, without a thought of excelling in an examination. He
was fond of all field sports, of dogs and horses, and also spent much
time in excursions, collecting and observing with Henslow the professor
of botany, and Sedgwick the celebrated geologist. An undergraduate
friend of those days has declared that "he was the most genial,
warm-hearted, generous and affectionate of friends; his sympathies were
with all that was good and true; he had a cordial hatred for everything
false, or vile, or cruel, or mean, or dishonorable. He was not only
great but pre-eminently good, and just and lovable."

Through Henslow and the sound advice of his uncle Josiah Wedgwood (the
son of the potter of Etruria) he accepted an offer to accompany Captain
Fitzroy as naturalist on H. M. S. Beagle, which was to make an extensive
surveying expedition. The voyage lasted from December 27th, 1831, to
October 2d, 1836. It was, Darwin himself says, "by far the most
important event in my life, and has determined my whole career." He had
great opportunities of making explorations on land whilst the ship was
engaged in her surveying work in various parts of the southern
hemisphere, and made extensive collections of plants and animals, fossil
as well as living forms, terrestrial as well as marine. On his return he
was busy with the description of these results, and took up his
residence in London. His 'Journal of Researches' was published in 1839,
and is now familiar to many readers in its third edition, published in
1860 under the title 'A Naturalist's Voyage; Journal of Researches into
the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the
Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle round the World, under the command of Captain
Fitzroy, R.N.'

This was Darwin's first book, and is universally held to be one of the
most delightful records of a naturalist's travels ever produced. It is
to be placed alongside of Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative,' and is the
model followed by the authors of other delightful books of travel of a
later date, such as Wallace's 'Malay Archipelago,' Moseley's 'Naturalist
on the Challenger,' and Belt's 'Naturalist in Nicaragua.' We have given
in our selections from Darwin's writings the final pages of 'A
Naturalist's Voyage' as an example of the style which characterizes the
book. In it Darwin shows himself an ardent and profound lover of the
luxuriant beauty of nature in the tropics, a kindly observer of men,
whether missionaries or savages; an incessant student of natural
things--rocks, plants, and animals; and one with a mind so keenly set
upon explaining these things and assigning them to their causes, that
none of his observations are trivial, but all of value and many of
first-rate importance. The book is addressed, as are all of Darwin's
books, to the general reader. It seemed to be natural to him to try and
explain his observations and reasonings which led to them and followed
from them to a wide circle of his fellow-men. The reader at once feels
that Darwin is an honest and modest man, who desires his sympathy and
seeks for his companionship in the enjoyment of his voyage and the
interesting facts and theories gathered by him in distant lands. The
quiet unassuming style of the narrative, and the careful explanation of
details in such a way as to appeal to those who have little or no
knowledge of natural history, gives a charm to the 'Naturalist's Voyage'
which is possessed in no less a degree by his later books. A writer in
the Quarterly Review in 1839 wrote, in reviewing the 'Naturalist's
Voyage,' of the "charm arising from the freshness of heart which is
thrown over these pages of a strong intellectual man and an acute and
deep observer." The places visited in the course of the Beagle's voyage,
concerning each of which Darwin has something to say, were the Cape Verd
Islands, St. Paul's Rocks, Fernando Noronha, parts of South America,
Tierra del Fuego, the Galapagos Islands, the Falkland Islands, Tahiti,
New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, Keeling Island, the Maldives,
Mauritius, St. Helena, Ascension. The most important discoveries
recorded in the book--also treated at greater length in special
scientific memoirs--are the explanation of the ring-like form of coral
islands, the geological structure of St. Helena and other islands, and
the relation of the living inhabitants--great tortoises, lizards, birds,
and various plants--of the various islands of the Galapagos Archipelago
to those of South America.

In 1839 (shortly before the publication of his journal) Darwin married
his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer,
and in 1842 they took the country-house and little property of Down near
Orpington in Kent, which remained his home and the seat of his labors
for forty years; that is, until his death on April 19th, 1882. In a
letter to his friend Captain Fitzroy of the Beagle, written in 1846,
Darwin says, "My life goes on like clockwork, and I am fixed on the spot
where I shall end it." Happily, he was possessed of ample private
fortune, and never undertook any teaching work nor gave any of his
strength to the making of money. He was able to devote himself entirely
to the studies in which he took delight; and though suffering from weak
health due to a hereditary form of dyspepsia, he presented the rare
spectacle of a man of leisure more fully occupied, more absorbed in
constant and exhausting labors, than many a lawyer, doctor, professor,
or man of letters. His voyage seems to have satisfied once for all his
need for traveling, and his absences from Down were but few and brief
during the rest of his life. Here most of his children were born, five
sons and three daughters. One little girl died in childhood; the rest
grew up around him and remained throughout his life in the closest terms
of intimacy and affection with him and their mother. Here he carried on
his experiments in greenhouse, garden, and paddock; here he collected
his library and wrote his great books. He became a man of
well-considered habits and method, carefully arranging his day's
occupation so as to give so many hours to noting the results of
experiments, so many to writing and reading, and an hour or two to
exercise in his grounds or a ride, and playing with his children.
Frequently he was stopped for days and even weeks from all intellectual
labor by attacks of vomiting and giddiness. Great, as were his
sufferings on account of ill health, it is not improbable that the
retirement of life which was thus forced on him, to a very large extent
determined his wonderful assiduity in study and led to the production by
him of so many great works.

In later years these attacks were liable to ensue upon prolonged
conversation with visitors, if a subject of scientific interest were
discussed. His wife, who throughout their long and happy union devoted
herself to the care of her husband so as to enable him to do a maximum
amount of work with least suffering in health, would come and fetch him
away after half an hour's talk, that he might lie down alone in a quiet
room. Then after an hour or so he would return with a smile, like a boy
released from punishment, and launch again with a merry laugh into talk.
Never was there an invalid who bore his maladies so cheerfully, or who
made so light of a terrible burden. Although he was frequently seasick
during the voyage of the Beagle, he did not attribute his condition in
later life in any way to that experience, but to inherited weakness.
During the hours passed in his study he found it necessary to rest at
intervals, and adopted regularly the plan of writing for an hour and of
then lying down for half an hour, whilst his wife or daughter read to
him a novel! After half an hour he would again resume his work, and
again after an hour return to the novel. In this way he got through the
greater part of the circulating libraries' contents. He declared that he
had no taste for literature, but liked a story, especially about a
pretty girl; and he would only read those in which all ended well.
Authors of stories ending in death and failure ought, he declared, to be

He rarely went to London, on account of his health, and consequently
kept up a very large correspondence with scientific friends, especially
with Lyell, Hooker, and Huxley. He made it a rule to preserve every
letter he received, and his friends were careful to preserve his; so
that in the 'Life and Letters' published after his death by his son
Frank--who in later years lived with his father and assisted him in his
work--we have a most interesting record of the progress of his
speculations, as well as a delightful revelation of his beautiful
character. His house was large enough to accommodate several guests at a
time; and it was his delight to receive here for a week's end not only
his old friends and companions, but younger naturalists, and others, the
companions of his sons and daughters. Over six feet in height, with a
slight stoop of his high shoulders, with a brow of unparalleled
development overshadowing his merry blue eyes, and a long gray beard and
mustache,--he presented the ideal picture of a natural philosopher. His
bearing was, however, free from all pose of superior wisdom or
authority. The most charming and unaffected gayety, and an eager innate
courtesy and goodness of heart, were its dominant notes. His personality
was no less fascinating and rare in quality than are the immortal
products of his intellect.

The history of the great works which Darwin produced, and especially of
his theory of the Origin of Species, is best given in his own words. The
passage which is here referred to is a portion of an autobiographical
sketch written by him in 1876, not for publication but for the use of
his family, and is printed in the 'Life and Letters.' Taken together
with the statement as to his views on religion, it gives a great insight
both into the character and mental quality of the writer. It is
especially remarkable as the attempt of a truly honest and modest man to
account for the wonderful height of celebrity and intellectual eminence
to which he was no less astonished than pleased to find himself raised.
But it also furnishes the reader with an admirable _catalogue raisonné_
of his books, arranged in chronological order.

A few more notes as to Darwin's character will help the reader to
appreciate his work. His friendships were remarkable, characterized on
his side by the warmest and most generous feeling. Henslow, Fitzroy,
Lyell, Hooker, and Huxley stand out as his chief friends and
correspondents. Henslow was professor of botany at Cambridge, and took
Darwin with him when a student there for walks, collecting plants and
insects. His admiration for Henslow's character, and his tribute to his
fine simplicity and warmth of feeling in matters involving the wrongs of
a down-trodden class or cruelty to an individual, are evidence of deep
sympathy between the natures of Darwin and his first teacher. Of
Fitzroy, the captain of H.M.S. Beagle--with whom he quarreled for a day
because Fitzroy defended slavery--Darwin says that he was in many ways
the noblest character he ever knew. His love and admiration for Lyell
were unbounded. Lyell was the man who taught him the method--the
application of the causes at present discoverable in nature to the past
history of the earth--by which he was led to the solution of the
question as to the origin of organic forms on the earth's surface. He
regarded Lyell, who with Mrs. Lyell often visited him at Down, more than
any other man as his master and teacher. Hooker--still happily surviving
from among this noble group of men--was his "dear old friend"; his most
constant and unwearied correspondent; he from whom Darwin could always
extract the most valuable facts and opinions in the field of botanical
science, and the one upon whose help he always relied. Huxley was for
Darwin not merely a delightful and charming friend, but a "wonderful
man,"--a most daring, skillful champion, whose feats of literary
swordsmanship made Darwin both tremble and rejoice. Samples of his
correspondence with these fellow-workers are given below. The letter to
Hooker (September 26th, 1862) is particularly interesting, as recording
one of the most important discoveries of his later years,--confirmed by
the subsequent researches of Gardiner and others,--and as containing a
pretty confession of his jealous desire to exalt the _status_ of plants.
Often he spoke and wrote in his letters of individual plants with which
he was experimenting as "little rascals."

Darwin shared with other great men whose natures approach perfection, an
unusual sympathy with and power over dogs, and a love for children. The
latter trait is most beautifully expressed in a note which was found
amongst his papers, giving an account of his little girl, who died at
the age of ten years. Written for his own eyes only, it is a most
delicate and tender composition, and should be pondered side by side
with his frank and--necessarily to some readers--almost terrifying
statement of his thoughts on religion.

Darwin's only self-indulgence was snuff-taking. In later years he smoked
an occasional cigarette, but his real "little weakness" was snuff. It is
difficult to suppose that he did not benefit by the habit, careful as he
was to keep it in check. He kept his snuff-box in the hall of his house,
so that he should have to take the trouble of a walk in order to get a
pinch, and not have too easy an access to the magic powder.

The impression made on him by his own success and the overwhelming
praise and even reverence which he received from all parts of the world,
was characteristic of his charming nature. Darwin did not receive these
proofs of the triumphs of his views with the solemnity of an inflated
reformer who has laid his law upon the whole world of thought. Quite
otherwise. He was simply delighted. He chuckled gayly over the spread of
his views, almost as a sportsman--and we must remember that in his young
days he _was_ a sportsman--may rejoice in the triumphs of his own
favorite "racer," or even as a schoolboy may be proud and happy in the
success of "the eleven" of which he is captain. He delighted to count up
the sale of his books, not specially for the money value it represented,
though he was too sensible to be indifferent to that, but because it
proved to him that his long and arduous life of thought, experiment, and
literary work was not in vain. To have been or to have posed as being
indifferent to popular success, would have required a man of less vivid
sympathy with his fellow-men: to have been puffed up and pretentious
would have needed one less gifted with a sense of humor, less conscious
of the littleness of one man, however talented, in the vast procession
of life on the earth's surface. His delight in his work and its success
was of the perfect and natural kind, which he could communicate to his
wife and daughters, and might have been shared by a child.

I, who write of him here, had the great privilege of staying with him
from time to time at Down, and I find it difficult to record the
strangely mixed feeling of reverential admiration and extreme personal
attachment and affection with which I came to regard him. I have never
known or heard of a man who combined with such exceptional intellectual
power so much cheeriness and love of humor, and such ideal kindness,
courtesy, and modesty. Owing to the fact that my father was a naturalist
and man of letters, I as a boy knew Henslow and Lyell, Darwin's
teachers, and have myself enjoyed a naturalist's walk with the one and
the geological discussions of the other. I first saw Darwin himself in
1853, when he was recommended to my boyish imagination as "a man who had
ridden up a mountain on the back of a tortoise" (in the Galapagos
Islands)! When I began to work at and write on zoology he showed his
kindness of heart by writing to me in praise of my first book: he wrote
to me later in answer to my appeal for guidance, that "physiological
experiment on animals is justifiable for real investigation; but not for
mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me
sick with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall
not sleep to-night." When I prosecuted Slade the spiritualistic
impostor, and obtained his conviction at Bow Street as a common rogue,
Darwin was much interested, and after the affair was over wrote to say
that he was sure that I had been at great expense in effecting what he
considered to be a public benefit, and that he should like to be allowed
to contribute ten pounds to the cost of the prosecution. He was ever
ready in this way to help by timely gifts of money what he thought to be
a good cause, as for instance in the erection of the Zoological Station
of Naples by Dr. Anton Dohrn, to which he gave a hundred pounds. His
most characteristic minor trait which I remember, was his sitting in his
drawing-room at Down in his high-seated arm-chair, and whilst laughing
at some story or joke, slapping his thigh with his right hand and
exclaiming, with a quite innocent and French freedom of speech, "O my
God! That's very good. That's capital." Perhaps one of the most
interesting things that I ever heard him say was when, after describing
to me an experiment in which he had placed under a bell-jar some pollen
from a male flower, together with an unfertilized female flower, in
order to see whether, when kept at a distance but under the same jar,
the one would act in any way on the other, he remarked:--"That's a
fool's experiment. But I love fools' experiments. I am always making
them." A great deal might be written as comment on that statement.
Perhaps the thoughts which it suggests may be summed up by the
proposition that even a wise experiment when made by a fool generally
leads to a false conclusion, but that fools' experiments conducted by a
genius often prove to be leaps through the dark into great discoveries.

As examples of Darwin's writings I have chosen, in addition to those
already mentioned, certain passages from his great book on the 'Origin
of Species,' in which he explains what he understands by the terms
"Natural Selection" and the "Struggle for Existence." These terms
invented by Darwin--but specially the latter--have become "household
words." The history of his thoughts on the subject of the Origin of
Species is given in the account of his books, written by himself and
already referred to. His letter to Professor Asa Gray (September 5th,
1857) is a most valuable brief exposition of his theory and an admirable
sample of his correspondence. The distinguished American botanist was
one of his most constant correspondents and a dear personal friend.

I have also given as an extract the final pages of the 'Origin of
Species,' in which Darwin eloquently defends the view of nature to which
his theory leads. A similar and important passage on the subject of
'Creative Design' is also given: it is taken from that wonderful
collection of facts and arguments published by Darwin under the title of
'The Variation of Plants and Animals under Domestication.' It cannot be
too definitely stated, as Darwin himself insisted, that his theory of
the Origin of Species is essentially an extension of the argument used
by Lyell in his 'Principles of Geology.' Just as Lyell accounted for the
huge masses of stratified rocks, the upheaved mountain chains, the deep
valleys, and the shifting seas of the earth's surface, by adducing the
long-continued cumulative action of causes which are at this present
moment in operation and can be observed and measured at the present day:
so Darwin demonstrates that natural variation, and consequent selection
by "breeders" and "fanciers" at the present day, give rise to new forms
of plants and animals; and that the cumulative, long-continued action of
_Natural_ Selection in the Struggle for Existence, or the survival of
favorable variations, can and must have effected changes, the magnitude
of which is only limited by the length of time during which the process
has been going on.

The style of Darwin's writings is remarkable for the absence of all
affectation, of all attempt at epigram, literary allusion, or rhetoric.
In this it is admirably suited to its subject. At the same time there is
no sacrifice of clearness to brevity, nor are technical terms used in
place of ordinary language. The greatest pains are obviously given by
the author to enable his reader to thoroughly understand the matter in
hand. Further, the reader is treated not only with this courtesy of full
explanation, but with extreme fairness and modesty. Darwin never slurs
over a difficulty nor minimizes it. He states objections and awkward
facts prominently, and without shirking proceeds to deal with them by
citation of experiment or observation carried out by him for the
purpose. His modesty towards his reader is a delightful characteristic.
He simply desires to persuade you as one reasonable friend may persuade
another. He never thrusts a conclusion nor even a step towards a
conclusion upon you, by a demand for your confidence in him as an
authority, or by an unfair weighting of the arguments which he balances,
or by a juggle of word-play. The consequence is that though Darwin
himself thought he had no literary ability, and labored over and
re-wrote his sentences, we have in his works a model of clear exposition
of a great argument, and the most remarkable example of persuasive style
in the English language--persuasive because of its transparent honesty
and scrupulous moderation.

Darwin enjoyed rather better health in the last ten years of his life
than before, and was able to work and write constantly. For some four
months before his death, but not until then, it was evident that his
heart was seriously diseased. He died on April 19th, 1882, at the age of
seventy-three. Almost his last words were, "I am not the least afraid to
die." In 1879 he added to the manuscript of his autobiography already
referred to, these words:--"As for myself, I believe that I have acted
rightly in steadily following and devoting my life to Science. I feel no
remorse from having committed any great sin, but have often and often
regretted that I have not done more direct good to my fellow-creatures."

From his early manhood to old age, the desire to do what was right
determined the employment of his powers. He has done to his
fellow-creatures an imperishable good, in leaving to them his writings
and the example of his noble life.

[Illustration: signature of E. Ray Lankester]


From 'A Naturalist's Voyage'

Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in
sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether
those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of
Tierra del Fuego, where Death and Decay prevail. Both are temples filled
with the varied productions of the God of Nature; no one can stand in
these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the
mere breath of his body. In calling up images of the past, I find that
the plains of Patagonia frequently cross before my eyes; yet these
plains are pronounced by all wretched and useless. They can be described
only by negative characters: without habitations, without water, without
trees, without mountains, they support merely a few dwarf plants. Why
then--and the case is not peculiar to myself--have these arid wastes
taken so firm a hold on my memory? Why have not the still more level,
the greener and more fertile pampas, which are serviceable to mankind,
produced an equal impression? I can scarcely analyze these feelings; but
it must be partly owing to the free scope given to the imagination. The
plains of Patagonia are boundless, for they are scarcely passable, and
hence unknown; they bear the stamp of having lasted, as they are now,
for ages, and there appears no limit to their duration through future
time. If, as the ancients supposed, the flat earth was surrounded by an
impassable breadth of water, or by deserts heated to an intolerable
excess, who would not look at these last boundaries to man's knowledge
with deep but ill-defined sensations?

Lastly, of natural scenery, the views from lofty mountains, though
certainly in one sense not beautiful, are very memorable. When looking
down from the highest crest of the Cordillera, the mind, undisturbed by
minute details, was filled with the stupendous dimensions of the
surrounding masses.

Of individual objects, perhaps nothing is more certain to create
astonishment than the first sight in his native haunt of a barbarian--of
man in his lowest and most savage state. One's mind hurries back over
past centuries, and then asks: Could our progenitors have been men like
these? men whose very signs and expressions are less intelligible to us
than those of the domesticated animals; men who do not possess the
instinct of those animals, nor yet appear to boast of human reason, or
at least of arts consequent on that reason. I do not believe it is
possible to describe or paint the difference between savage and
civilized man. It is the difference between a wild and tame animal; and
part of the interest in beholding a savage is the same which would lead
every one to desire to see the lion in his desert, the tiger tearing his
prey in the jungle, or the rhinoceros wandering over the wild plains of

Among the other most remarkable spectacles which we have beheld may be
ranked the Southern Cross, the cloud of Magellan, and the other
constellations of the southern hemisphere--the water-spout--the glacier
leading its blue stream of ice, overhanging the sea in a bold
precipice--a lagoon island raised by the reef-building corals--an active
volcano--and the overwhelming effects of a violent earthquake. These
latter phenomena perhaps possess for me a peculiar interest, from their
intimate connection with the geological structure of the world. The
earthquake, however, must be to every one a most impressive event: the
earth, considered from our earliest childhood as the type of solidity,
has oscillated like a thin crust beneath our feet; and in seeing the
labored works of man in a moment overthrown, we feel the insignificance
of his boasted power.

It has been said that the love of the chase is an inherent delight in
man--a relic of an instinctive passion. If so, I am sure the pleasure of
living in the open air, with the sky for a roof and the ground for a
table, is part of the same feeling; it is the savage returning to his
wild and native habits. I always look back to our boat cruises and my
land journeys, when through unfrequented countries, with an extreme
delight, which no scenes of civilization could have created. I do not
doubt that every traveler must remember the glowing sense of happiness
which he experienced when he first breathed in a foreign clime, where
the civilized man had seldom or never trod.

There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage which are
of a more reasonable nature. The map of the world ceases to be a blank;
it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated figures. Each
part assumes its proper dimensions; continents are not looked at in the
light of islands, or islands considered as mere specks, which are in
truth larger than many kingdoms of Europe. Africa, or North and South
America, are well-sounding names, and easily pronounced; but it is not
until having sailed for weeks along small portions of their shores that
one is thoroughly convinced what vast spaces on our immense world these
names imply.

From seeing the present state, it is impossible not to look forward with
high expectations to the future progress of nearly an entire hemisphere.
The march of improvement consequent on the introduction of Christianity
throughout the South Sea probably stands by itself in the records of
history. It is the more striking when we remember that only sixty years
since, Cook, whose excellent judgment none will dispute, could foresee
no prospect of a change. Yet these changes have now been effected by the
philanthropic spirit of the British nation.

In the same quarter of the globe Australia is rising, or indeed may be
said to have risen, into a grand centre of civilization, which at some
not very remote period will rule as empress over the southern
hemisphere. It is impossible for an Englishman to behold these distant
colonies without a high pride and satisfaction. To hoist the British
flag seems to draw with it, as a certain consequence, wealth,
prosperity, and civilization.

In conclusion, it appears to me that nothing can be more improving to a
young naturalist than a journey in distant countries. It both sharpens
and partly allays that want and craving which, as Sir J. Herschel
remarks, a man experiences although every corporeal sense be fully
satisfied. The excitement from the novelty of objects, and the chance of
success, stimulate him to increased activity. Moreover, as a number of
isolated facts soon become uninteresting, the habit of comparison leads
to generalization. On the other hand, as the traveler stays but a short
time in each place, his descriptions must generally consist of mere
sketches instead of detailed observations. Hence arises, as I have found
to my cost, a constant tendency to fill up the wide gaps of knowledge by
inaccurate and superficial hypotheses.

But I have too deeply enjoyed the voyage not to recommend any
naturalist,--although he must not expect to be so fortunate in his
companions as I have been,--to take all chances, and to start, on
travels by land if possible, if otherwise on a long voyage. He may feel
assured he will meet with no difficulties or dangers, excepting in rare
cases, nearly so bad as he beforehand anticipates. In a moral point of
view the effect ought to be to teach him good-humored patience, freedom
from selfishness, the habit of acting for himself, and of making the
best of every occurrence. In short, he ought to partake of the
characteristic qualities of most sailors. Traveling ought also to teach
him distrust; but at the same time he will discover how many truly
kind-hearted people there are with whom he never before had, or ever
again will have, any further communication, who yet are ready to offer
him the most disinterested assistance.


From 'Life and Letters'

After several fruitless searches in Surrey and elsewhere, we found this
house and purchased it. I was pleased with the diversified appearance of
vegetation proper to a chalk district, and so unlike what I had been
accustomed to in the Midland counties; and still more pleased with the
extreme quietness and rusticity of the place. It is not however quite so
retired a place as a writer in a German periodical makes it, who says
that my house can be approached only by a mule-track! Our fixing
ourselves here has answered admirably in one way which we did not
anticipate,--namely, by being very convenient for frequent visits from
our children.

Few persons can have lived a more retired life than we have done.
Besides short visits to the houses of relations, and occasionally to the
seaside or elsewhere, we have gone nowhere. During the first part of our
residence we went a little into society, and received a few friends
here; but my health almost always suffered from the excitement, violent
shivering and vomiting attacks being thus brought on. I have therefore
been compelled for many years to give up all dinner parties; and this
has been somewhat of a deprivation to me, as such parties always put me
into high spirits. From the same cause I have been able to invite here
very few scientific acquaintances....

During the voyage of the Beagle I had been deeply impressed by
discovering in the Pampean formation great fossil animals, covered with
armor like that on the existing armadillos; secondly, by the manner in
which closely allied animals replace one another in proceeding
southwards over the Continent; and thirdly, by the South-American
character of most of the productions of the Galapagos Archipelago, and
more especially by the manner in which they differ slightly on each
island of the group; none of the islands appearing to be very ancient in
a geological sense.

It was evident that such facts as these, as well as many others, could
only be explained on the supposition that species gradually become
modified; and the subject haunted me. But it was equally evident that
neither the action of the surrounding conditions, nor the will of the
organisms (especially in the case of plants), could account for the
innumerable cases in which organisms of every kind are beautifully
adapted to their habits of life; for instance, a woodpecker or a
tree-frog to climb trees, or a seed for dispersal by hooks or plumes. I
had always been much struck by such adaptations, and until these could
be explained it seemed to me almost useless to endeavor to prove by
indirect evidence that species have been modified.

After my return to England it appeared to me that by following the
example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting all facts which bore in
any way on the variation of animals and plants under domestication and
nature, some light might perhaps be thrown on the whole subject. My
first note-book was opened in July 1837. I worked on true Baconian
principles; and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale scale,
more especially with respect to domesticated productions, by printed
inquiries, by conversation with skillful breeders and gardeners, and by
extensive reading. When I see the list of books of all kinds which I
read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals and
Transactions, I am surprised at my industry. I soon perceived that
selection was the keystone of man's success in making useful races of
animals and plants. But how selection could be applied to organisms
living in a state of nature, remained for some time a mystery to me.

In October 1838--that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic
inquiry--I happened to read for amusement 'Malthus on Population'; and
being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which
everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of
animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances
favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to
be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species.
Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work; but I was so
anxious to avoid prejudice that I determined not for some time to write
even the briefest sketch of it. In June 1842 I first allowed myself the
satisfaction of writing a very brief abstract of my theory in pencil in
thirty-five pages; and this was enlarged during the summer of 1844 into
one of two hundred and thirty pages, which I had fairly copied out and
still possess.

[Illustration: _THE APE-MAN_

Photogravure from a painting by Gabriel Max.

Professor Max has long been known to the greater public through those
wonderful pictures in which some tragic fate, some heart-break of
mankind, has found expression; but only an inner circle of intimates has
known the artist as an able student of nature. He has thought much and
deeply upon the existence and origin of things; and his studies in
comparative anatomy have given him unusual preparation for the treatment
of the present subject. The entire picture is made up of yellowish and
brownish-gray tones, expressive of the twilight of the forest. The skin
of the female is about the shade of that of the Southern European of
to-day; that of the male is darker. The most interesting of the three
figures is the young ape-mother, who reclines against a tree-trunk and
offers her breast to her first-born. The expression of the face is
remarkable; happiness at the possession of the child mingles with
misgiving for its future. The tear which trembles upon her cheek seems
indicative of the flood of tears which is to run down the history of her
descendants. The father has less of this feeling, and stands upright
beside his wife and child and looks down upon them with an air of pride
and paternal joy. The original painting is owned by the celebrated
Darwinian philosopher Ernest Haeckel of Jena.]

But at that time I overlooked one problem of great importance; and it is
astonishing to me, except on the principle of Columbus and his egg, how
I could have overlooked it and its solution. This problem is the
tendency in organic beings descended from the same stock to diverge in
character as they become modified. That they have diverged greatly is
obvious from the manner in which species of all kinds can be classed
under genera, genera under families, families under sub-orders, and so
forth: and I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my
carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me; and this was long
after I had come to Down. The solution, as I believe, is that the
modified offspring of all dominant and increasing forms tend to become
adapted to many and highly diversified places in the economy of nature.

Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty fully, and I
began at once to do so on a scale three or four times as extensive as
that which was afterwards followed in my 'Origin of Species'; yet it was
only an abstract of the materials which I had collected, and I got
through about half the work on this scale. But my plans were overthrown,
for early in the summer of 1858 Mr. Wallace, who was then in the Malay
Archipelago, sent me an essay 'On the Tendency of Varieties to depart
Indefinitely from the Original Type'; and this essay contained exactly
the same theory as mine. Mr. Wallace expressed the wish that if I
thought well of his essay, I should send it to Lyell for perusal.

The circumstances under which I consented, at the request of Lyell and
Hooker, to allow of an abstract from my MS., together with a letter to
Asa Gray dated September 5th 1857, to be published at the same time with
Wallace's essay, are given in the 'Journal of the Proceedings of the
Linnean Society,' 1858, page 45. I was at first very unwilling to
consent, as I thought Mr. Wallace might consider my doing so
unjustifiable, for I did not then know how generous and noble was his
disposition. The extract from my MS. and the letter to Asa Gray had
neither been intended for publication, and were badly written. Mr.
Wallace's essay, on the other hand, was admirably expressed and quite
clear. Nevertheless, our joint productions excited very little
attention, and the only published notice of them which I can remember
was by Professor Haughton of Dublin, whose verdict was that all that was
new in them was false, and what was true was old. This shows how
necessary it is that any new view should be explained at considerable
length in order to arouse public attention....

My habits are methodical, and this has been of not a little use for my
particular line of work. Lastly, I have had ample leisure from not
having to earn my own bread. Even ill health, though it has annihilated
several years of my life, has saved me from the distractions of society
and amusement.

Therefore my success as a man of science, whatever this may have
amounted to, has been determined as far as I can judge by complex and
diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of these, the most
important have been the love of science, unbounded patience in long
reflecting over any subject, industry in observing and collecting facts,
and a fair share of invention as well as of common-sense. With such
moderate abilities as I possess, it is truly surprising that I should
have influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on
some important points.


From 'Life and Letters'

There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind, leading me to put at
first my statement or proposition in a wrong or awkward form. Formerly I
used to think about my sentences before writing them down; but for
several years I have found that it saves time to scribble in a vile hand
whole pages as quickly as I possibly can, contracting half the words;
and then correct deliberately. Sentences thus scribbled down are often
better ones than I could have written deliberately.

Having said thus much about my manner of writing, I will add that with
my large books I spend a good deal of time over the general arrangement
of the matter. I first make the rudest outline in two or three pages,
and then a larger one in several pages, a few words or one word standing
for a whole discussion or a series of facts. Each one of these headings
is again enlarged and often transferred before I begin to write _in
extenso_. As in several of my books facts observed by others have been
very extensively used, and as I have always had several quite distinct
subjects in hand at the same time, I may mention that I keep from thirty
to forty large portfolios in cabinets with labeled shelves, into which I
can at once put a detached reference or memorandum. I have bought many
books, and at their ends I make an index of all the facts that concern
my work; or if the book is not my own, write out a separate abstract,
and of such abstracts I have a large drawer full. Before beginning on
any subject I look to all the short indexes and make a general and
classified index, and by taking the one or more proper portfolios, I
have all the information collected during my life ready for use.

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last
twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of
many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth,
Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure; and even as a schoolboy
I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical
plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and
music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read
a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it
so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my
taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too
energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me
pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me
the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels
which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order,
have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often
bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and
I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily--against
which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not
come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can
thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman, all the better.

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher æsthetic tastes is all
the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently
of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts
of subjects, interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have
become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large
collections of facts; but why this should have caused the atrophy of
that part of the brain alone on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot
conceive. A man with a mind more highly organized or better constituted
than mine would not, I suppose, have thus suffered: and if I had to
live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and
listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of
my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The
loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be
injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by
enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.


From 'Life and Letters'

Our poor child Annie was born in Gower Street on March 2d, 1841, and
expired at Malvern at midday on the 23d of April, 1851.

I write these few pages, as I think in after years, if we live, the
impressions now put down will recall more vividly her chief
characteristics. From whatever point I look back at her, the main
feature in her disposition which at once rises before me is her buoyant
joyousness, tempered by two other characteristics; namely, her
sensitiveness, which might easily have been overlooked by a stranger,
and her strong affection. Her joyousness and animal spirits radiated
from her whole countenance, and rendered every movement elastic and full
of life and vigor. It was delightful and cheerful to behold her. Her
dear face now rises before me, as she used sometimes to come running
down-stairs with a stolen pinch of snuff for me, her whole form radiant
with the pleasure of giving pleasure. Even when playing with her
cousins, when her joyousness almost passed into boisterousness, a single
glance of my eye, not of displeasure (for I thank God I hardly ever cast
one on her), but of want of sympathy, would for some minutes alter her
whole countenance.

The other point in her character, which made her joyousness and spirits
so delightful, was her strong affection, which was of a most clinging,
fondling nature. When quite a baby this showed itself in never being
easy without touching her mother when in bed with her; and quite lately
she would, when poorly, fondle for any length of time one of her
mother's arms. When very unwell, her mother lying down beside her seemed
to soothe her in a manner quite different from what it would have done
to any of our other children. So again she would at almost any time
spend half an hour in arranging my hair, "making it," as she called it,
"beautiful," or in smoothing, the poor dear darling! my collar or
cuffs--in short, in fondling me.

Besides her joyousness thus tempered, she was in her manners remarkably
cordial, frank, open, straightforward, natural, and without any shade of
reserve. Her whole mind was pure and transparent. One felt one knew her
thoroughly and could trust her. I always thought that come what might,
we should have had in our old age at least one loving soul which nothing
could have changed. All her movements were vigorous, active, and usually
graceful. When going round the Sand-walk with me, although I walked
fast, yet she often used to go before, pirouetting in the most elegant
way, her dear face bright all the time with the sweetest smiles.
Occasionally she had a pretty coquettish manner towards me, the memory
of which is charming. She often used exaggerated language, and when I
quizzed her by exaggerating what she had said, how clearly can I now see
the little toss of the head, and exclamation of "Oh, papa, what a shame
of you!" In the last short illness, her conduct in simple truth was
angelic. She never once complained; never became fretful; was ever
considerate of others, and was thankful in the most gentle, pathetic
manner for everything done for her. When so exhausted that she could
hardly speak, she praised everything that was given her, and said some
tea "was beautifully good." When I gave her some water she said, "I
quite thank you;" and these I believe were the last precious words ever
addressed by her dear lips to me.

We have lost the joy of the household and the solace of our old age. She
must have known how we loved her. Oh that she could now know how deeply,
how tenderly, we do still and shall ever love her dear joyous face!
Blessings on her!

     April 30th, 1851.


From 'Life and Letters'

I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare
time to answer your questions fully,--nor indeed can they be answered.
Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of
scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For
myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for
a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting
vague probabilities....

During these two years [October 1836 to January 1839] I was led to think
much about religion.

Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being
heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves
orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some
point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that
amused them. But I had gradually come by this time--_i.e._ 1836 to
1839--to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the
sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before
my mind and would not be banished,--is it credible that if God were now
to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected
with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, etc., as Christianity is connected with
the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to
make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is
supported,--and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the
more incredible do miracles become,--that the men at that time were
ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,--that
the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with
the events,--that they differ in many important details, far too
important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies
of eye-witnesses;--by such reflections as these, which I give not as
having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me,--I
gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The
fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the
earth like wild-fire had some weight with me.

But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for
I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters
between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at
Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all
that was written in the Gospels. But I found it more and more difficult,
with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would
suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow
rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no

Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God
until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague
conclusions to which I have been driven. The old argument from design in
Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive,
fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can
no longer argue that for instance the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell
must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by
man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic
beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which
the wind blows. But I have discussed this subject at the end of my book
on the 'Variations of Domesticated Animals and Plants'; and the argument
there given has never, as far as I can see, been answered.

But passing over the endless beautiful adaptations which we everywhere
meet with, it may be asked, How can the generally beneficent arrangement
of the world be accounted for? Some writers indeed are so much impressed
with the amount of suffering in the world, that they doubt, if we look
to all sentient beings, whether there is more of misery or of happiness;
whether the world as a whole is a good or bad one. According to my
judgment happiness decidedly prevails, though this would be very
difficult to prove. If the truth of this conclusion be granted, it
harmonizes well with the effects which we might expect from natural
selection. If all the individuals of any species were habitually to
suffer to an extreme degree, they would neglect to propagate their kind;
but we have no reason to believe that this has ever, or at least often,
occurred. Some other considerations moreover lead to the belief that all
sentient beings have been formed so as to enjoy, as a general rule,

Every one who believes as I do, that all the corporeal and mental organs
(excepting those which are neither advantageous nor disadvantageous to
the possessor) of all beings have been developed through natural
selection, or the survival of the fittest, together with use or habit,
will admit that these organs have been formed so that their possessors
may compete successfully with other beings, and thus increase in number.
Now an animal may be led to pursue that course of action which is most
beneficial to the species by suffering, such as pain, hunger, thirst,
and fear; or by pleasure, as in eating and drinking, and in the
propagation of the species, etc.; or by both means combined, as in the
search for food. But pain or suffering of any kind, if long continued,
causes depression and lessens the power of action, yet is well adapted
to make a creature guard itself against any great or sudden evil.
Pleasurable sensations, on the other hand, may be long continued without
any depressing effect; on the contrary, they stimulate the whole system
to increased action. Hence it has come to pass that most or all sentient
beings have been developed in such a manner, through natural selection,
that pleasurable sensations serve as their habitual guides. We see this
in the pleasure from exertion, even occasionally from great exertion of
the body or mind,--in the pleasure of our daily meals, and especially in
the pleasure derived from sociability, and from loving our families. The
sum of such pleasures as these, which are habitual or frequently
recurrent, give, as I can hardly doubt, to most sentient beings an
excess of happiness over misery, although many occasionally suffer much.
Such suffering is quite compatible with the belief in natural selection,
which is not perfect in its action, but tends only to render each
species as successful as possible in the battle for life with other
species, in wonderfully complex and changing circumstances.

That there is much suffering in the world, no one disputes. Some have
attempted to explain this with reference to man by imagining that it
serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is
as nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and they
often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. This very old
argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an
intelligent First Cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just
remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that
all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural

At the present day, the most usual argument for the existence of an
intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings
which are experienced by most persons.

Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although
I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed
in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the
immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in
the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, "it is not possible to
give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and
devotion, which fill and elevate the mind." I well remember my
conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and
feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man
who has become color-blind, and the universal belief by men of the
existence of redness makes my present loss of perception of not the
least value as evidence. This argument would be a valid one if all men
of all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God;
but we know that this is very far from being the case. Therefore I
cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any weight
as evidence of what really exists. The state of mind which grand scenes
formerly excited in me, and which was intimately connected with a belief
in God, did not essentially differ from that which is often called the
sense of sublimity; and however difficult it may be to explain the
genesis of this sense, it can hardly be advanced as an argument for the
existence of God, any more than the powerful though vague and similar
feelings excited by music.

With respect to immortality, nothing shows me [so clearly] how strong
and almost instinctive a belief it is, as the consideration of the view
now held by most physicists, namely, that the sun with all the planets
will in time grow too cold for life, unless indeed some great body
dashes into the sun, and thus gives it fresh life. Believing as I do
that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than
he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient
beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued
slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of the human
soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so dreadful.

Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the
reason, and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more
weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility
of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man, with
his capacity of looking far backward and far into futurity, as the
result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel
compelled to look to a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some
degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.
This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can
remember, when I wrote the 'Origin of Species'; and it is since that
time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker.
But then arises the doubt: Can the mind of man, which has, as I fully
believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the
lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The
mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one
must be content to remain an Agnostic.


From 'Life and Letters'

     July 11th [1861].

Some one has sent us 'Macmillan,' and I must tell you how much I admire
your article; though at the same time I must confess that I could not
clearly follow you in some parts, which probably is in main part due to
my not being at all accustomed to metaphysical trains of thought. I
think that you understand my book perfectly, and that I find a very rare
event with my critics. The ideas in the last page have several times
vaguely crossed my mind. Owing to several correspondents I have been led
lately to think, or rather to try to think, over some of the chief
points discussed by you. But the result has been with me a
maze--something like thinking on the origin of evil, to which you
allude. The mind refuses to look at this universe, being what it is,
without having been designed; yet where one would most expect
design,--viz., in the structure of a sentient being,--the more I think
on the subject, the less I can see proof of design. Asa Gray and some
others look at each variation, or at least at each beneficial variation
(which A. Gray would compare with the rain-drops which do not fall on
the sea, but on to the land to fertilize it), as having been
providentially designed. Yet when I asked him whether he looks at each
variation in the rock-pigeon, by which man has made by accumulation a
pouter or fantail pigeon, as providentially designed for man's
amusement, he does not know what to answer; and if he or any one admits
[that] these variations are accidental, as far as purpose is concerned
(of course not accidental as to their cause or origin), then I can see
no reason why he should rank the accumulated variations by which the
beautifully adapted woodpecker has been formed, as providentially
designed. For it would be easy to imagine the enlarged crop of the
pouter, or tail of the fantail, as of some use to birds in a state of
nature, having peculiar habits of life. These are the considerations
which perplex me about design; but whether you will care to hear them, I
know not....

[On the subject of design, he wrote (July 1860) to Dr. Gray:--]

One word more on "designed laws" and "undesigned results." I see a bird
which I want for food, take my gun and kill it; I do this _designedly_.
An innocent and good man stands under a tree and is killed by a flash of
lightning. Do you believe (and I really should like to hear) that God
_designedly_ killed this man? Many or most persons do believe this; I
can't and don't. If you believe so, do you believe that when a swallow
snaps up a gnat, that God designed that that particular swallow should
snap up that particular gnat at that particular instant? I believe that
the man and the gnat are in the same predicament. If the death of
neither man nor gnat is designed, I see no good reason to believe that
their _first_ birth or production should be necessarily designed.


From 'The Life and Letters'


     DOWN, February 24th [1863].

     _My Dear Hooker:_

I am astonished at your note. I have not seen the Athenæum, but I have
sent for it, and may get it to-morrow; and will then say what I think.

I have read Lyell's book ['The Antiquity of Man']. The whole certainly
struck me as a compilation, but of the highest class; for when possible
the facts have been verified on the spot, making it almost an original
work. The Glacial chapters seem to me best, and in parts magnificent. I
could hardly judge about Man, as all the gloss of novelty was completely
worn off. But certainly the aggregation of the evidence produced a very
striking effect on my mind. The chapter comparing language and changes
of species seems most ingenious and interesting. He has shown great
skill in picking out salient points in the argument for change of
species; but I am deeply disappointed (I do not mean personally) to find
that his timidity prevents him giving any judgment.... From all my
communications with him, I must ever think that he has really entirely
lost faith in the immutability of species; and yet one of his strongest
sentences is nearly as follows: "If it should _ever_ be rendered highly
probable that species change by variation and natural selection," etc.,
etc. I had hoped he would have guided the public as far as his own
belief went.... One thing does please me on this subject, that he seems
to appreciate your work. No doubt the public or a part may be induced to
think that as he gives to us a larger space than to Lamarck, he must
think there is something in our views. When reading the brain chapter,
it struck me forcibly that if he had said openly that he believed in
change of species, and as a consequence that man was derived from some
quadrumanous animal, it would have been very proper to have discussed by
compilation the differences in the most important organ, viz., the
brain. As it is, the chapter seems to me to come in rather by the head
and shoulders. I do not think (but then I am as prejudiced as Falconer
and Huxley, or more so) that it is too severe. It struck me as given
with judicial force. It might perhaps be said with truth that he had no
business to judge on a subject on which he knows nothing; but compilers
must do this to a certain extent. (You know I value and rank high
compilers, being one myself.) I have taken you at your word, and
scribbled at great length. If I get the Athenæum to-morrow, I will add
my impression of Owen's letter....

The Lyells are coming here on Sunday evening to stay till Wednesday. I
dread it, but I must say how much disappointed I am that he has not
spoken out on species, still less on man. And the best of the joke is
that he thinks he has acted with the courage of a martyr of old. I hope
I may have taken an exaggerated view of his timidity, and shall
_particularly_ be glad of your opinion on this head. When I got his book
I turned over the pages, and saw he had discussed the subject of
species, and said that I thought he would do more to convert the public
than all of us; and now (which makes the case worse for me) I must, in
common honesty, retract. I wish to Heaven he had said not a word on the

WEDNESDAY MORNING.--I have read the Athenæum. I do not think Lyell will
be nearly so much annoyed as you expect. The concluding sentence is no
doubt very stinging. No one but a good anatomist could unravel Owen's
letter; at least it is quite beyond me....

Lyell's memory plays him false when he says all anatomists were
astonished at Owen's paper: it was often quoted with approbation. I
_well_ remember Lyell's admiration at this new classification! (Do not
repeat this.) I remember it because, though I knew nothing whatever
about the brain, I felt a conviction that a classification thus founded
on a single character would break down, and it seemed to me a great
error not to separate more completely the Marsupialia....

What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this quarreling,
within what ought to be the peaceful realms of science.

I will go to my own present subject of inheritance and forget it all for
a time. Farewell, my dear old friend.

     C. DARWIN.


     OCTOBER 3d, 1864.

     _My Dear Huxley:_

If I do not pour out my admiration of your article on Kölliker, I shall
explode. I never read anything better done. I had much wished his
article answered, and indeed thought of doing so myself, so that I
considered several points. You have hit on all, and on some in addition,
and oh, by Jove, how well you have done it! As I read on and came to
point after point on which I had thought, I could not help jeering and
scoffing at myself, to see how infinitely better you had done it than I
could have done. Well, if any one who does not understand Natural
Selection will read this, he will be a blockhead if it is not as clear
as daylight. Old Flourens was hardly worth the powder and shot; but how
capitally you bring in about the Academician, and your metaphor of the
sea-sand is _inimitable_.

It is a marvel to me how you can resist becoming a regular reviewer.
Well, I have exploded now, and it has done me a deal of good.


     DOWN, March 15th [1870].

     _My Dear Sir:_

I do not know whether you will consider me a very troublesome man, but I
have just finished your book, and cannot resist telling you how the
whole has much interested me. No doubt, as you say, there must be much
speculation on such a subject, and certain results cannot be reached;
but all your views are highly suggestive, and to my mind that is high
praise. I have been all the more interested, as I am now writing on
closely allied though not quite identical points. I was pleased to see
you refer to my much despised child, 'Pangenesis,' who I think will some
day, under some better nurse, turn out a fine stripling. It has also
pleased me to see how thoroughly you appreciate (and I do not think that
this is general with the men of science) H. Spencer; I suspect that
hereafter he will be looked at as by far the greatest living philosopher
in England; perhaps equal to any that have lived. But I have no
business to trouble you with my notions. With sincere thanks for the
interest which your work has given me, I remain, yours very faithfully,

     CH. DARWIN.


     CLIFF COTTAGE, BOURNEMOUTH, September 26th, 1862.

     _My Dear Hooker:_

Do not read this till you have leisure. If that blessed moment ever
comes, I should be very glad to have your opinion on the subject of this
letter. I am led to the opinion that Drosera must have diffused matter
in organic connection, closely analogous to the nervous matter of
animals. When the glans of one of the papillæ or tentacles in its
natural position is supplied with nitrogenized fluid and certain other
stimulants, or when loaded with an extremely slight weight, or when
struck several times with a needle, the pedicel bends near its base in
under one minute. These varied stimulants are conveyed down the pedicel
by some means; it cannot be vibration, for drops of fluid put on quite
quietly cause the movement; it cannot be absorption of the fluid from
cell to cell, for I can see the rate of absorption, which, though quick,
is far slower, and in Dionæa the transmission is instantaneous; analogy
from animals would point to transmission through nervous matter.
Reflecting on the rapid power of absorption in the glans, the extreme
sensibility of the whole organ, and the conspicuous movement caused by
varied stimulants, I have tried a number of substances which are not
caustic or corrosive, ... but most of which are known to have a
remarkable action on the nervous matter of animals. You will see the
results in the inclosed paper. As the nervous matter of different
animals is differently acted on by the same poisons, one would not
expect the same action on plants and animals; only, if plants have
diffused nervous matter, some degree of analogous action. And this is
partially the case. Considering these experiments, together with the
previously made remarks on the functions of the parts, I cannot avoid
the conclusion that Drosera possesses matter at least in some degree
analogous in constitution and function to nervous matter. Now do tell me
what you think, as far as you can judge from my abstract. Of course many
more experiments would have to be tried; but in former years I tried on
the whole leaf, instead of on separate glands, a number of innocuous
substances, such as sugar, gum, starch, etc., and they produced no
effect. Your opinion will aid me in deciding some future year in going
on with this subject. I should not have thought it worth attempting, but
I had nothing on earth to do.

     My dear Hooker, yours very sincerely,

     CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--We return home on Monday 28th. Thank Heaven!


From the 'Origin of Species'

Before entering on the subject of this chapter, I must make a few
preliminary remarks, to show how the struggle for existence bears on
Natural Selection. It has been seen in the last chapter that amongst
organic beings in a state of nature there is some individual
variability; indeed, I am not aware that this has ever been disputed. It
is immaterial for us whether a multitude of doubtful forms be called
species, or sub-species, or varieties; what rank, for instance, the two
or three hundred doubtful forms of British plants are entitled to hold,
if the existence of any well-marked varieties be admitted. But the mere
existence of individual variability and of some few well-marked
varieties, though necessary as the foundation for the work, helps us but
little in understanding how species arise in nature. How have all those
exquisite adaptations of one part of the organization to another part,
and to the conditions of life, and of one organic being to another
being, been perfected? We see these beautiful co-adaptations most
plainly in the woodpecker and the mistletoe; and only a little less
plainly in the humblest parasite which clings to the hairs of a
quadruped or feathers of a bird; in the structure of the beetle which
dives through the water; in the plumed seed which is wafted by the
gentlest breeze: in short, we see beautiful adaptations everywhere and
in every part of the organic world.

Again, it may be asked, how is it that varieties, which I have called
incipient species, become ultimately converted into good and distinct
species, which in most cases obviously differ from each other far more
than do the varieties of the same species? How do those groups of
species, which constitute what are called distinct genera, and which
differ from each other more than do the species of the same genus,
arise? All these results, as we shall more fully see in the next
chapter, follow from the struggle for life. Owing to this struggle,
variations, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if they
be in any degree profitable to the individuals of a species, in their
infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to their
physical conditions of life, will tend to the preservation of such
individuals, and will generally be inherited by the offspring. The
offspring also will thus have a better chance of surviving; for of the
many individuals of any species which are periodically born, but a small
number can survive. I have called this principle, by which each slight
variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in
order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the
expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the
Fittest, is more accurate and is sometimes equally convenient. We have
seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can
adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight
but useful variations given to him by the hand of Nature. But Natural
Selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for
action, and is as immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts as the
works of Nature are to those of Art.

We will now discuss in a little more detail the struggle for existence.
In my future work this subject will be treated, as it well deserves, at
greater length. The elder De Candolle and Lyell have largely and
philosophically shown that all organic beings are exposed to severe
competition. In regard to plants, no one has treated this subject with
more spirit and ability than W. Herbert, Dean of Manchester, evidently
the result of his great horticultural knowledge. Nothing is easier than
to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more
difficult--at least I have found it so--than constantly to bear this
conclusion in mind. Yet unless it be thoroughly ingrained in the mind,
the whole economy of nature, with every fact on distribution, rarity,
abundance, extinction, and variation, will be dimly seen or quite
misunderstood. We behold the face of nature bright with gladness, we
often see superabundance of food; we do not see, or we forget, that the
birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects or seeds,
and are thus constantly destroying life; or we forget how largely these
songsters, or their eggs, or their nestlings, are destroyed by birds and
beasts of prey; we do not always bear in mind that though food may be
now superabundant, it is not so at all seasons of each recurring year.

I should premise that I use this term in a large and metaphorical sense,
including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is
more important) not only the life of the individual, but success in
leaving progeny. Two canine animals, in a time of dearth, may be truly
said to struggle with each other which shall get food and live. But a
plant on the edge of a desert is said to struggle for life against the
drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent on the
moisture. A plant which annually produces a thousand seeds, of which
only one on an average comes to maturity, may be more truly said to
struggle with the plants of the same and other kinds which already
clothe the ground. The mistletoe is dependent on the apple and a few
other trees, but can only in a far-fetched sense be said to struggle
with these trees, for if too many of these parasites grow on the same
tree, it languishes and dies. But several seedling mistletoes, growing
close together on the same branch, may more truly be said to struggle
with each other. As the mistletoe is disseminated by birds, its
existence depends on them; and it may metaphorically be said to struggle
with other fruit-bearing plants, in tempting the birds to devour and
thus disseminate its seeds. In these several senses, which pass into
each other, I use for convenience's sake the general term of Struggle
for Existence.


From 'Origin of Species'

A struggle for existence inevitably follows from the high rate at which
all organic beings tend to increase. Every being which during its
natural lifetime produces several eggs or seeds must suffer destruction
during some period of its life, and during some season or occasional
year; otherwise, on the principle of geometrical increase, its numbers
would quickly become so inordinately great that no country could
support the product. Hence, as more individuals are produced than can
possibly survive, there must in every case be a struggle for existence,
either one individual with another of the same species, or with the
individuals of distinct species, or with the physical conditions of
life. It is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the
whole animal and vegetable kingdoms; for in this case there can be no
artificial increase of food, and no prudential restraint from marriage.
Although some species may be now increasing, more or less rapidly, in
numbers, all cannot do so, for the world would not hold them.

There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally
increases at so high a rate that if not destroyed, the earth would soon
be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even slow-breeding man has
doubled in twenty-five years; and at this rate, in less than a thousand
years there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny.
Linnæus has calculated that if an annual plant produced only two
seeds--and there is no plant so unproductive as this--and their
seedlings next year produced two, and so on, then in twenty years there
would be a million plants. The elephant is reckoned the slowest breeder
of all known animals, and I have taken some pains to estimate its
probable minimum rate of natural increase; it will be safest to assume
that it begins breeding when thirty years old: and goes on breeding till
ninety years old, bringing forth six young in the interval, and
surviving till one hundred years old: if this be so, after a period of
from 740 to 750 years there would be nearly nineteen million elephants
alive, descended from the first pair.

But we have better evidence on this subject than mere theoretical
calculations, namely, the numerous recorded cases of the astonishingly
rapid increase of various animals in a state of nature, when
circumstances have been favorable to them during two or three following
seasons. Still more striking is the evidence from our domestic animals
of many kinds which have run wild in several parts of the world; if the
statements of the rate of increase of slow-breeding cattle and horses in
South America, and latterly in Australia, had not been well
authenticated, they would have been incredible. So it is with plants;
cases could be given of introduced plants which have become common
throughout whole islands in a period of less than ten years. Several of
the plants, such as the cardoon and a tall thistle, which are now the
commonest over the wide plains of La Plata, clothing square leagues of
surface almost to the exclusion of every other plant, have been
introduced from Europe; and there are plants which now range in India,
as I hear from Falconer, from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya, which have
been imported from America since its discovery. In such cases--and
endless others could be given--no one supposes that the fertility of the
animals or plants has been suddenly and temporarily increased in any
sensible degree. The obvious explanation is that the conditions of life
have been highly favorable, and that there has consequently been less
destruction of the old and young, and that nearly all the young have
been enabled to breed. Their geometrical ratio of increase, the result
of which never fails to be surprising, simply explains their
extraordinarily rapid increase and wide diffusion in their new homes.

In a state of nature almost every full-grown plant annually produces
seed, and amongst animals there are very few which do not annually pair.
Hence we may confidently assert that all plants and animals are tending
to increase at a geometrical ratio,--that all would rapidly stock every
station in which they could anyhow exist,--and that this geometrical
tendency to increase must be checked by destruction at some period of
life. Our familiarity with the larger domestic animals tends, I think,
to mislead us: we see no great destruction falling on them, but we do
not keep in mind that thousands are annually slaughtered for food, and
that in a state of nature an equal number would have somehow to be
disposed of.

The only difference between organisms which annually produce eggs or
seeds by the thousand, and those which produce extremely few, is that
the slow breeders would require a few more years to people, under
favorable conditions, a whole district, let it be ever so large. The
condor lays a couple of eggs and the ostrich a score, and yet in the
same country the condor may be the more numerous of the two; the Fulmar
petrel lays but one egg, yet it is believed to be the most numerous bird
in the world. One fly deposits hundreds of eggs, and another, like the
hippobosca, a single one; but this difference does not determine how
many individuals of the two species can be supported in a district. A
large number of eggs is of some importance to those species which depend
on a fluctuating amount of food, for it allows them rapidly to increase
in number. But the real importance of a large number of eggs or seeds is
to make up for much destruction at some period of life; and this period
in the great majority of cases is an early one. If an animal can in any
way protect its own eggs or young, a small number may be produced, and
yet the average stock be fully kept up; but if many eggs or young are
destroyed, many must be produced, or the species will become extinct. It
would suffice to keep up the full number of a tree which lived on an
average for a thousand years, if a single seed were produced once in a
thousand years, supposing that this seed were never destroyed, and could
be insured to germinate in a fitting place. So that, in all cases, the
average number of any animal or plant depends only indirectly on the
number of its eggs or seeds.

In looking at nature, it is most necessary to keep the foregoing
considerations always in mind--never to forget that every single organic
being may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;
that each lives by a struggle at some period of its life; that heavy
destruction inevitably falls either on the young or old, during each
generation or at recurrent intervals. Lighten any check, mitigate the
destruction ever so little, and the number of the species will almost
instantaneously increase to any amount.


From 'The Origin of Species'

The causes which check the natural tendency of each species to increase
are most obscure. Look at the most vigorous species: by as much as it
swarms in numbers, by so much will it tend to increase still further. We
know not exactly what the checks are, even in a single instance. Nor
will this surprise any one who reflects how ignorant we are on this
head, even in regard to mankind, although so incomparably better known
than any other animal. This subject of the checks to increase has been
ably treated by several authors, and I hope in a future work to discuss
it at considerable length, more especially in regard to the feral
animals of South America. Here I will make only a few remarks, just to
recall to the reader's mind some of the chief points. Eggs or very
young animals seem generally to suffer most, but this is not invariably
the case. With plants there is a vast destruction of seeds; but from
some observations which I have made, it appears that the seedlings
suffer most, from germinating in ground already thickly stocked with
other plants. Seedlings also are destroyed in vast numbers by various
enemies: for instance, on a piece of ground three feet long and two
wide, dug and cleared, and where there could be no choking from other
plants, I marked all the seedlings of our native weeds as they came up,
and out of 357 no less than 295 were destroyed, chiefly by slugs and
insects. If turf which has long been mown--and the case would be the
same with turf closely browsed by quadrupeds--be let to grow, the more
vigorous plants gradually kill the less vigorous though fully grown
plants; thus out of twenty species growing on a little plot of mown turf
(three feet by four) nine species perished, from the other species being
allowed to grow up freely.

The amount of food for each species of course gives the extreme limit to
which each can increase; but very frequently it is not the obtaining
food, but the serving as prey to other animals, which determines the
average numbers of a species. Thus there seems to be little doubt that
the stock of partridges, grouse, and hares in any large estate depends
chiefly on the destruction of vermin. If not one head of game were shot
during the next twenty years in England, and at the same time if no
vermin were destroyed, there would in all probability be less game than
at present, although hundreds of thousands of game animals are now
annually shot. On the other hand, in some cases, as with the elephant,
none are destroyed by beasts of prey; for even the tiger in India most
rarely dares to attack a young elephant protected by its dam.

Climate plays an important part in determining the average numbers of a
species, and periodical seasons of extreme cold or drought seem to be
the most effective of all checks. I estimated (chiefly from the greatly
reduced numbers of nests in the spring) that the winter of 1854-5
destroyed four-fifths of the birds in my own grounds; and this is a
tremendous destruction, when we remember that ten per cent, is an
extraordinarily severe mortality from epidemics with man. The action of
climate seems at first sight to be quite independent of the struggle for
existence; but in so far as climate chiefly acts in reducing food, it
brings on the most severe struggle between the individuals, whether of
the same or of distinct species, which subsist on the same kind of food.
Even when climate,--for instance, extreme cold,--acts directly, it will
be the least vigorous individuals, or those which have got least food
through the advancing winter, which will suffer most.

When we travel from south to north, or from a damp region to a dry, we
invariably see some species gradually getting rarer and rarer, and
finally disappearing; and the change of climate being conspicuous, we
are tempted to attribute the whole effect to its direct action. But this
is a false view; we forget that each species, even where it most
abounds, is constantly suffering enormous destruction at some period of
its life, from enemies or from competitors for the same place and food;
and if these enemies or competitors be in the least degree favored by
any slight change of climate, they will increase in numbers; and as each
area is already fully stocked with inhabitants, the other species must
decrease. When we travel southward and see a species decreasing in
numbers, we may feel sure that the cause lies quite as much in other
species being favored as in this one being hurt. So it is when we travel
northward; but in a somewhat lesser degree, for the number of species of
all kinds, and therefore of competitors, decreases northward; hence in
going northward, or in ascending a mountain, we far oftener meet with
stunted forms, due to the _directly_ injurious action of climate, than
we do in proceeding southward or in descending a mountain. When we reach
the arctic regions, or snow-capped summits, or absolute deserts, the
struggle for life is almost exclusively with the elements.

That climate acts in main part indirectly by favoring other species, we
clearly see in the prodigious number of plants which in our gardens can
perfectly well endure our climate, but which never become naturalized,
for they cannot compete with our native plants nor resist destruction by
our native animals.

When a species, owing to highly favorable circumstances, increases
inordinately in numbers in a small tract, epidemics--at least, this
seems generally to occur with our game animals--often ensue; and here we
have a limiting check independent of the struggle for life. But even
some of these so-called epidemics appear to be due to parasitic worms,
which have from some cause, possibly in part through facility of
diffusion amongst the crowded animals, been disproportionally favored:
and here comes in a sort of struggle between the parasite and its prey.

On the other hand, in many cases, a large stock of individuals of the
same species, relatively to the numbers of its enemies, is absolutely
necessary for its preservation. Thus we can easily raise plenty of corn
and rape-seed, etc., in our fields, because the seeds are in great
excess compared with the number of birds which feed on them; nor can the
birds, though having a superabundance of food at this one season,
increase in number proportionally to the supply of seed, as their
numbers are checked during winter; but any one who has tried, knows how
troublesome it is to get seed from a few wheat or other such plants in a
garden: I have in this case lost every single seed. This view of the
necessity of a large stock of the same species for its preservation,
explains I believe some singular facts in nature, such as that of very
rare plants being sometimes extremely abundant in the few spots where
they do exist; and that of some social plants being social, that is,
abounding in individuals, even on the extreme verge of their range. For
in such cases, we may believe that a plant could exist only where the
conditions of its life were so favorable that many could exist together
and thus save the species from utter destruction. I should add that the
good effects of inter-crossing, and the ill effects of close
inter-breeding, no doubt come into play in many of these cases; but I
will not here enlarge on this subject.


From the 'Origin of Species'

Many cases are on record, showing how complex and unexpected are the
checks and relations between organic beings which have to struggle
together in the same country. I will give only a single instance, which
though a simple one interested me. In Staffordshire, on the estate of a
relation where I had ample means of investigation, there was a large and
extremely barren heath which had never been touched by the hand of man;
but several hundred acres of exactly the same nature had been inclosed
twenty-five years previously and planted with Scotch fir. The change in
the native vegetation of the planted part of the heath was most
remarkable, more than is generally seen in passing from one quite
different soil to another: not only the proportional numbers of the
heath-plants were wholly changed, but twelve species of plants (not
counting grasses and carices) flourished in the plantations, which could
not be found on the heath. The effect on the insects must have been
still greater, for six insectivorous birds were very common in the
plantations which were not to be seen on the heath; and the heath was
frequented by two or three distinct insectivorous birds. Here we see how
potent has been the effect of the introduction of a single tree, nothing
whatever else having been done, with the exception of the land having
been inclosed so that cattle could not enter.

But how important an element inclosure is, I plainly saw near Farnham in
Surrey. Here there are extensive heaths with a few clumps of old Scotch
firs on the distant hill-tops: within the last ten years large spaces
have been inclosed, and self-sown firs are now springing up in
multitudes, so close together that all cannot live. When I ascertained
that these young trees had not been sown or planted, I was so much
surprised at their numbers that I went to several points of view, whence
I could examine hundreds of acres of the uninclosed heath, and literally
I could not see a single Scotch fir except the old planted clumps. But
on looking closely between the stems of the heath, I found a multitude
of seedlings and little trees which had been perpetually browsed down by
the cattle. In one square yard, at a point some hundred yards distant
from one of the old clumps, I counted thirty-two little trees; and one
of them, with twenty-six rings of growth, had during many years tried to
raise its head above the stems of the heath, and had failed. No wonder
that as soon as the land was inclosed it became thickly clothed with
vigorously growing young firs. Yet the heath was so extremely barren and
so extensive that no one would ever have imagined that cattle would have
so closely and effectually searched it for food.

Here we see that cattle absolutely determine the existence of the Scotch
fir; but in several parts of the world insects determine the existence
of cattle. Perhaps Paraguay offers the most curious instance of this;
for here neither cattle nor horses nor dogs have ever run wild, though
they swarm southward and northward in a feral state; and Azara and
Rengger have shown that this is caused by the greater number in Paraguay
of a certain fly, which lays its eggs in the navels of these animals
when first born. The increase of these flies, numerous as they are, must
be habitually checked by some means, probably by other parasitic
insects. Hence if certain insectivorous birds were to decrease in
Paraguay, the parasitic insects would probably increase; and this would
lessen the number of the navel-frequenting flies; then cattle and horses
would become feral, and this would certainly greatly alter (as indeed I
have observed in parts of South America) the vegetation; this again
would largely affect the insects; and this, as we have just seen in
Staffordshire, the insectivorous birds,--and so onwards in ever
increasing circles of complexity. Not that under nature the relations
will ever be as simple as this. Battle within battle must be continually
recurring with varying success; and yet in the long run the forces are
so nicely balanced that the face of nature remains for long periods of
time uniform, though assuredly the merest trifle would give the victory
to one organic being over another. Nevertheless, so profound is our
ignorance and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of
the extinction of an organic being; and as we do not see the cause, we
invoke cataclysms to desolate the world, or invent laws on the duration
of the forms of life!


From the 'Origin of Species'

Several writers have misapprehended or objected to the term Natural
Selection. Some have even imagined that Natural Selection induces
variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations
as arise and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life.
No one objects to agriculturists speaking of the potent effects of man's
selection; and in this case the individual differences given by nature,
which man for some object selects, must of necessity first occur. Others
have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the
animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that as plants
have no volition, Natural Selection is not applicable to them! In the
literal sense of the word, no doubt. Natural Selection is a false term;
but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of
the various elements?--and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect
the base with which it in preference combines. It has been said that I
speak of Natural Selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects
to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the
movements of the planets? Every one knows what is meant and is implied
by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for
brevity. So again it is difficult to avoid personifying the word Nature;
but I mean by nature only the aggregate action and product of many
natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by us.
With a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten.

We shall best understand the probable course of Natural Selection by
taking the case of a country undergoing some slight physical change; for
instance, of climate. The proportional numbers of its inhabitants will
almost immediately undergo a change, and some species will probably
become extinct. We may conclude, from what we have seen of the intimate
and complex manner in which the inhabitants of each country are bound
together, that any change in the numerical proportions of the
inhabitants, independently of the change of climate itself, would
seriously affect the others. If the country were open on its borders,
new forms would certainly immigrate, and this would likewise seriously
disturb the relations of some of the former inhabitants. Let it be
remembered how powerful the influence of a single introduced tree or
mammal has been shown to be. But in the case of an island, or of a
country partly surrounded by barriers, into which new and better adapted
forms could not freely enter, we should then have places in the economy
of nature which would assuredly be better filled up if some of the
original inhabitants were in some manner modified; for had the area been
open to immigration, these same places would have been seized on by
intruders. In such cases, slight modifications which in any way favored
the individuals of any species by better adapting them to their altered
conditions, would tend to be preserved; and Natural Selection would have
free scope for the work of improvement.

We have good reason to believe, as shown in the first chapter, that
changes in the conditions of life give a tendency to increased
variability; and in the foregoing cases the conditions have changed, and
this would manifestly be favorable to Natural Selection by affording a
better chance of the occurrence of profitable variations. Unless such
occur, Natural Selection can do nothing. Under the term of "variations,"
it must never be forgotten that mere individual differences are
included. As man can produce a great result with his domestic animals
and plants by adding up in any given direction individual differences,
so could Natural Selection, but far more easily from having incomparably
longer time for action. Nor do I believe that any great physical change,
as of climate, or any unusual degree of isolation to check immigration,
is necessary in order that new and unoccupied places should be left, for
Natural Selection to fill up by improving some of the varying
inhabitants. For as all the inhabitants of each country are struggling
together with nicely balanced forces, extremely slight modifications in
the structure or habits of one species would often give it an advantage
over others; and still further modifications of the same kind would
often still further increase the advantage, as long as the species
continued under the same conditions of life and profited by similar
means of subsistence and defense. No country can be named, in which all
the native inhabitants are now so perfectly adapted to each other and to
the physical conditions under which they live, that none of them could
be still better adapted or improved; for in all countries the natives
have been so far conquered by naturalized productions that they have
allowed some foreigners to take firm possession of the land. And as
foreigners have thus in every country beaten some of the natives, we may
safely conclude that the natives might have been modified with
advantage, so as to have better resisted the intruders.

As man can produce, and certainly has produced, a great result by his
methodical and unconscious means of selection, what may not Natural
Selection effect? Man can act only on external and visible characters;
Nature, if I may be allowed to personify the natural preservation or
survival of the fittest, cares nothing for appearances, except in so far
as they are useful to any being. She can act on every internal organ, on
every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of
life. Man selects only for his own good; Nature only for that of the
being which she tends. Every selected character is fully exercised by
her, as is implied by the fact of their selection. Man keeps the
natives of many climates in the same country; he seldom exercises each
selected character in some peculiar and fitting manner; he feeds a long
and a short-beaked pigeon on the same food; he does not exercise a
long-backed or long-legged quadruped in any peculiar manner; he exposes
sheep with long and short wool to the same climate. He does not allow
the most vigorous males to struggle for the females. He does not rigidly
destroy all inferior animals, but protects during each varying season,
as far as lies in his power, all his productions. He often begins his
selection by some half-monstrous form; or at least by some modification
prominent enough to catch the eye or to be plainly useful to him. Under
Nature, the slightest differences of structure or constitution may well
turn the nicely balanced scale in the struggle for life, and so be
preserved. How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! How short his
time, and consequently how poor will be his results, compared with those
accumulated by Nature during whole geological periods! Can we wonder
then that Nature's productions should be far "truer" in character than
man's productions; that they should be infinitely better adapted to the
most complex conditions of life, and should plainly bear the stamp of
far higher workmanship?

It may metaphorically be said that Natural Selection is daily and hourly
scrutinizing, throughout the world, the slightest variations; rejecting
those that are bad, preserving and adding up all that are good; silently
and insensibly working, _whenever and wherever opportunity offers_, at
the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and
inorganic conditions of life. We see nothing of these slow changes in
progress until the hand of time has marked the lapse of ages, and then
so imperfect is our view into long-past geological ages, that we see
only that the forms of life are now different from what they formerly

In order that any great amount of modification should be effected in a
species, a variety when once formed must again, perhaps after a long
interval of time, vary or present individual differences of the same
favorable nature as before; and these must be again preserved, and so
onward step by step. Seeing that individual differences of the same kind
perpetually recur, this can hardly be considered as an unwarrantable
assumption. But whether it is true, we can judge only by seeing how far
the hypothesis accords with and explains the general phenomena of
nature. On the other hand, the ordinary belief that the amount of
possible variation is a strictly limited quantity, is likewise a simple

Although Natural Selection can act only through and for the good of each
being, yet characters and structures, which we are apt to consider as of
very trifling importance, may thus be acted on. When we see leaf-eating
insects green, and bark-feeders mottled gray; the Alpine ptarmigan white
in winter, the red grouse the color of heather,--we must believe that
these tints are of service to these birds and insects in preserving them
from danger. Grouse, if not destroyed at some period of their lives,
would increase in countless numbers; they are known to suffer largely
from birds of prey; and hawks are guided by eyesight to their prey--so
much so, that on parts of the Continent persons are warned not to keep
white pigeons, as being the most liable to destruction. Hence Natural
Selection might be effective in giving the proper color to each kind of
grouse, and in keeping that color, when once acquired, true and
constant. Nor ought we to think that the occasional destruction of an
animal of any particular color would produce little effect: we should
remember how essential it is in a flock of white sheep to destroy a lamb
with the faintest trace of black. We have seen how the color of hogs
which feed on the "paint-root" in Virginia, determines whether they
shall live or die. In plants, the down on the fruit and the color of the
flesh are considered by botanists as characters of the most trifling
importance; yet we hear from an excellent horticulturist, Downing, that
in the United States smooth-skinned fruits suffer far more from a
beetle, a curculio, than those with down; that purple plums suffer far
more from a certain disease than yellow plums; whereas another disease
attacks yellow-fleshed peaches far more than those with other colored
flesh. If with all the aids of art, these slight differences make a
great difference in cultivating the several varieties, assuredly, in a
state of nature, where the trees would have to struggle with other trees
and with a host of enemies, such differences would effectually settle
which variety, whether a smooth or downy, a yellow or a purple-fleshed
fruit, should succeed.

In looking at many small points of difference between species, which, as
far as our ignorance permits us to judge, seem quite unimportant, we
must not forget that climate, food, etc., have no doubt produced some
direct effect. It is also necessary to bear in mind that owing to the
law of correlation, when one part varies, and the variations are
accumulated through Natural Selection, other modifications, often of the
most unexpected nature, will ensue.

As we see that those variations which under domestication appear at any
particular period of life, tend to reappear in the offspring at the same
period;--for instance, in the shape, size, and flavor of the seeds of
the many varieties of our culinary and agricultural plants; in the
caterpillar and cocoon stages of the varieties of the silkworm; in the
eggs of poultry, and in the color of the down of their chickens; in the
horns of our sheep and cattle when nearly adult; so in a state of nature
Natural Selection will be enabled to act on and modify organic beings at
any age, by the accumulation of variations profitable at that age, and
by their inheritance at a corresponding age. If it profit a plant to
have its seeds more and more widely disseminated by the wind, I can see
no greater difficulty in this being effected through Natural Selection,
than in the cotton-planter increasing and improving by selection the
down in the pods on his cotton-trees. Natural Selection may modify and
adapt the larva of an insect to a score of contingencies wholly
different from those which concern the mature insect; and these
modifications may effect, through correlation, the structure of the
adult. So, conversely, modifications in the adult may affect the
structure of the larva; but in all cases Natural Selection will insure
that they shall not be injurious: for if they were so, the species would
become extinct.

Natural Selection will modify the structure of the young in relation to
the parent, and of the parent in relation to the young. In social
animals it will adapt the structure of each individual for the benefit
of the whole community, if the community profits by the selected change.
What Natural Selection cannot do, is to modify the structure of one
species, without giving it any advantage, for the good of another
species; and though statements to this effect may be found in works of
natural history, I cannot find one case which will bear investigation. A
structure used only once in an animal's life, if of high importance to
it, might be modified to any extent by Natural Selection; for instance,
the great jaws possessed by certain insects, used exclusively for
opening the cocoon, or the hard tip to the beak of unhatched birds, used
for breaking the eggs. It has been asserted that of the best
short-beaked tumbler-pigeons a greater number perish in the egg than
are able to get out of it; so that fanciers assist in the act of
hatching. Now if Nature had to make the beak of a full-grown pigeon very
short for the bird's own advantage, the process of modification would be
very slow, and there would be simultaneously the most rigorous selection
of all the young birds within the egg, which had the most powerful and
hardest beaks, for all with weak beaks would inevitably perish; or more
delicate and more easily broken shells might be selected, the thickness
of the shell being known to vary like every other structure.

It may be well here to remark that with all beings there must be much
fortuitous destruction, which can have little or no influence on the
course of Natural Selection. For instance, a vast number of eggs or
seeds are annually devoured, and these could be modified through Natural
Selection only if they varied in some manner which protected them from
their enemies. Yet many of these eggs or seeds would perhaps, if not
destroyed, have yielded individuals better adapted to their conditions
of life than any of those which happened to survive. So again a vast
number of mature animals and plants, whether or not they be the best
adapted to their conditions, must be annually destroyed by accidental
causes, which would not be in the least degree mitigated by certain
changes of structure or constitution which would in other ways be
beneficial to the species. But let the destruction of the adults be ever
so heavy, if the number which can exist in any district be not wholly
kept down by such causes,--or gain, let the destruction of eggs or seeds
be so great that only a hundredth or a thousandth part are
developed,--yet of those which do survive, the best adapted individuals,
supposing that there is any variability in a favorable direction, will
tend to propagate their kind in larger numbers than the less well
adapted. If the numbers be wholly kept down by the causes just
indicated, as will often have been the case, Natural Selection will be
powerless in certain beneficial directions; but this is no valid
objection to its efficiency at other times and in other ways; for we are
far from having any reason to suppose that many species ever undergo
modification and improvement at the same time in the same area.


From the 'Origin of Species'

Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view
that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords
better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator,
that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants
of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those
determining the birth and death of an individual. When I view all beings
not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few
beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was
deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. Judging from the past, we
may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered
likeness to a distant futurity. And of the species now living, very few
will transmit progeny of any kind to a far distant futurity; for the
manner in which all organic beings are grouped shows that the greater
number of species in each genus, and all the species in many genera,
have left no descendants, but have become utterly extinct. We can so far
take a prophetic glance into futurity as to foretell that it will be the
common and widely spread species, belonging to the larger and dominant
groups within each class, which will ultimately prevail and procreate
new and dominant species. As all the living forms of life are the lineal
descendants of those which lived long before the Cambrian epoch, we may
feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once
been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence
we may look with some confidence to a secure future of great length. And
as Natural Selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all
corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many
plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various
insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth,
and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different
from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner,
have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in
the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance, which
is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and
direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse: a
Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a
consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and
the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus from the war of nature, from
famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of
conceiving,--namely, the production of the higher animals,--directly
follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several
powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms
or into one; and that whilst this planet has gone cycling on according
to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms
most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.


From 'The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication'

Some authors have declared that natural selection explains nothing,
unless the precise cause of each slight individual difference be made
clear. If it were explained to a savage utterly ignorant of the art of
building, how the edifice had been raised stone upon stone, and why
wedge-formed fragments were used for the arches, flat stones for the
roof, etc.; and if the use of each part and of the whole building were
pointed out, it would be unreasonable if he declared that nothing had
been made clear to him, because the precise cause of the shape of each
fragment could not be told. But this is a nearly parallel case with the
objection that selection explains nothing, because we know not the cause
of each individual difference in the structure of each being.

The shape of the fragments of stone at the base of our precipice may be
called accidental, but this is not strictly correct; for the shape of
each depends on a long sequence of events, all obeying natural laws: on
the nature of the rock, on the lines of deposition or cleavage, on the
form of the mountain, which depends on its upheaval and subsequent
denudation, and lastly on the storm or earthquake which throws down the
fragments. But in regard to the use to which the fragments may be put,
their shape may be strictly said to be accidental. And here we are led
to face a great difficulty, in alluding to which I am aware that I am
traveling beyond my proper province. An omniscient Creator must have
foreseen every consequence which results from the laws imposed by him.
But can it be reasonably maintained that the Creator intentionally
ordered, if we use the words in any ordinary sense, that certain
fragments of rock should assume certain shapes so that the builder might
erect his edifice? If the various laws which have determined the shape
of each fragment were not predetermined for the builder's sake, can it
be maintained with any greater probability that he specially ordained
for the sake of the breeder each of the innumerable variations in our
domestic animals and plants;--many of these variations being of no
service to man, and not beneficial, far more often injurious, to the
creatures themselves? Did he ordain that the crop and tail-feathers of
the pigeon should vary, in order that the fancier might make his
grotesque pouter and fantail breeds? Did he cause the frame and mental
qualities of the dog to vary in order that a breed might be formed of
indomitable ferocity, with jaws fitted to pin down the bull for man's
brutal sport? But if we give up the principle in one case,--if we do not
admit that the variations of the primeval dog were intentionally guided
in order that the greyhound, for instance, that perfect image of
symmetry and vigor, might be formed,--no shadow of reason can be
assigned for the belief that variations, alike in nature and the result
of the same general laws, which have been the groundwork through natural
selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the
world, man included, were intentionally and specially guided. However
much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his
belief that "variation has been led along certain beneficial lines,"
like a stream "along definite and useful lines of irrigation." If we
assume that each particular variation was from the beginning of all time
preordained, then that plasticity of organization which leads to many
injurious deviations of structure, as well as the redundant power of
reproduction which inevitably leads to a struggle for existence, and as
a consequence, to the natural selection or survival of the
fittest,--must appear to us superfluous laws of Nature. On the other
hand, an omnipotent and omniscient Creator ordains everything and
foresees everything. Thus we are brought face to face with a difficulty
as insoluble as is that of free-will and predestination.


From 'The Descent of Man'

The main conclusion arrived at in this work--namely, that man is
descended from some lowly organized form--will, I regret to think, be
highly distasteful to many persons. But there can hardly be a doubt that
we are descended from barbarians. The astonishment which I felt on first
seeing a party of Fuegians on a wild and broken shore will never be
forgotten by me, for the reflection at once rushed into my mind--Such
were our ancestors. These men were absolutely naked and bedaubed with
paint.... They possessed hardly any arts, and like wild animals, lived
on what they could catch; they had no government, and were merciless to
every one not of their own small tribe. He who has seen a savage in his
native land will not feel much shame if forced to acknowledge that the
blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins. For my own part,
I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey who braved
his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that
old baboon who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph
his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs,--as from a savage who
delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices
infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no
decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not
through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and
the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally
placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the
distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only
with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have
given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge,
as it seems to me, that Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy
which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not
only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his godlike
intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of
the solar system,--with all these exalted powers, Man still bears in his
bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.




[Illustration: ALPHONSE DAUDET.]

Forty years have now elapsed since a lad of seventeen, shivering under
his light summer dress in a cold misty morning, was waiting, with an
empty stomach, for the opening of a "dairy" in the Quartier Latin. Young
as he was, he looked still younger: a pale, eager, intellectual face,
with flashing eyes, delicately carved features, and a virgin forest of
dark hair falling low on his brow. He had been an usher for a
twelvemonth at a small college in the South of France, and he had just
arrived in Paris after a two-days' journey in a third-class railway
carriage, during which time he had tasted no food and no drink except a
few drops of brandy from the flask of some charitable sailors. And there
he was, with two francs left in his pocket, and an unlimited supply of
courage, cheerfulness, and ambition, fully determined to make the whole
world familiar with the obscure name of Alphonse Daudet.

We all know how well he has succeeded in winning for himself a foremost
place in the ranks of French contemporary literature, and indeed of
literature in general. There is no doubt that he was admirably equipped
for the great struggle on which he was about to enter; but it may be
also remarked that he had not to fight it out alone and with his own
solitary resources, but found at the very outset useful and strong
auxiliaries. He was to have a powerful though somewhat selfish and
indolent patron in the famous Duke of Morny, who admitted him among his
secretaries before he was twenty years old. Then he had the good fortune
to attract the attention and to take the fancy of Villemessant, the
editor of the Figaro, who at first sight gave him a place in his nursery
of young talents. He had a kind and devoted brother, who cheerfully
shared with him the little money he had to live upon, and thus saved him
from the unspeakable miseries which would inevitably attend a literary
début at such an early age and under such inauspicious circumstances.
Later on, he was still more fortunate in securing a loving and
intelligent wife, who was to be to him, in the words of the holy
Scriptures, "a companion of his rank," a wife who was not only to become
a help and a comfort, but a literary adviser, a moral guide, and a
second conscience far more strict and exacting than his own; a wife who
taught him how to direct and husband his precious faculties,--how to
turn them to the noblest use and highest ends.

But before that was to come, the first thing was to find a publisher;
and after long looking in vain for one throughout the whole city, he at
last discovered the man he wanted, at his door, in the close vicinity of
that Hotel du Sinat, in the Rue de Tournon, where the two brothers
Daudet had taken up their abode. That publisher was Jules Tardieu,
himself an author of some merit (under the transparent pseudonym of J.
T. de St. Germain): a mild, quiet humorist of the optimistic school, a
Topffer on a small scale and with reduced proportions.

And thus it happened that a few months after the lad's arrival in Paris
an elegant booklet, with the attractive title 'Les Amoureuses' (Women in
Love) printed in red letters on its snow-white cover, made its
appearance under the _galeries de l'Odéon_, where in the absence of
political emotions, the youth of the Quartier was eagerly looking for
literary novelties, and where Daudet himself had been wandering often,
in the hope of an occasional acquaintance with the great critics and
journalists of the day who made the _galeries_ their favorite resort.

I have read that the book was a failure; that the young author was
unable to pay the printer, and was accordingly served with stamped paper
at the official residence of Morny, where he was then acting as
secretary; that the duke, far from showing any displeasure at the
occurrence, was delighted to find his secretary in hot water with the
bailiffs, and that he arranged the matter in the most paternal spirit.
This may be a pretty little story, but I fear it is a "legend." I cannot
reconcile it with the fact that four years after the first publication,
the same publisher gave the public another edition of 'Les Amoureuses'
and that the young poet dedicated it to him as a token of respect and
gratitude. The truth is that Daudet's little volume not only did not
pass unnoticed, but received a good deal of attention, chiefly from the
young men. Many thought that a new Musset was born in their midst, only
a few months after the real one had been laid down to his last sleep in
the Père Lachaise, under the trembling shadow of his favorite
willow-tree. Young Daudet alluded to the unfortunate poet--

     "... mort de dégoût, de tristesse, et d'absinthe;"--

and he tried to imitate the half cynical, half nostalgic skepticism
which had made the author of 'Les Nuits' so powerful over the minds of
the new generation and so dear to their hearts.

But it did not seem perfectly genuine. When Daudet said, "My heart is
old," no one believed it, and he did not believe it himself, for he
entitled the piece 'Fanfaronnade'; and in fact it was nothing more than
a fanfaronnade. The book was full of the freshness, buoyancy, and
frolicsome petulance of youth. Here and there a few reminiscences might
be traced to the earliest poets of the sixteenth century, more
particularly to Clement Marot. A tinge of the expiring romanticism
lingered in 'Les Amoureuses' with a much more substantial admixture of
the spirit of an age which made pleasure-hunting its paramount
occupation. The precocious child could modulate the 'Romance à Madame'
as well as the page of Beaumarchais, if not better; but he could also
laugh it down in Gavroche's sneering way; he could intersperse a song of
love with the irony of the boulevard or the more genial humor of his
native South. He was at his best in the tale of 'Les Prunes'--

     "Si vous voulez savoir comment
     Nous nous aimâmes pour des prunes"--

That exquisite little piece survived long the youthful volume of 'Les
Amoureuses.' In those days, when Coquelin's monologues and _saynètes_
were yet unknown, the brothers Lionnet, then in the height of their
vogue, delighted the drawing-rooms with the miniature masterpiece.

Still, those who had prophesied the advent of a new poet were doomed to
disappointment. Every one knows what Sainte-Beuve once said about the
short-lived existence, in most of us, of a poet whom the real man is to
survive. Shall we say that this was the case with Daudet, who never, as
far as the world knows, wrote verses after twenty-five? No; the poet was
not to die in him, but lived on and lives still to this day. Only he has
always written in prose.

After his successful début, Daudet felt his way in different directions.
In collaboration with M. Ernest Lepine, who has since made a reputation
under the name of Quatrelles, he had a drama, 'The Last Idol' performed
at the Odéon theatre,--at that same Odéon which in his first days of
Paris seems to have been the centre of his life and of his ambitions.
But he more frequently appeared before the public as a journalist and a
humorist, a writer of light articles and short stories. Nothing can give
a more true, more vivacious, and on the whole more favorable impression
of the Daudet of the period than the 'Lettres de Mon Moulin' (Letters
from My Windmill). They owe their title to an old deserted windmill
where Alphonse Daudet seems to have lived some time in complete
seclusion, forgetting, or trying to forget, the excitement of Parisian
life. The preface, most curiously disguised under the form of a mock
contract which is supposed to transfer the ownership from the old
proprietor to the poet, and professes to give the _état de lieux_ or
description of the place, is an amusing parody of legal jargon. The next
chapter describes the installation of the new master in the same happy
vein, with all the odd circumstances attending it.

Throughout the rest of the volume, Daudet disappears and reappears, as
his fancy prompts him to do. Now he lets himself be carried back to past
memories and distant places; now he gives us a mediæval tale or a
domestic drama of to-day compressed into a few brief pages, or a picture
of rural life, or a glimpse of that literary hell from which he had just
escaped and to which he was soon to return. He changed his tone and his
subject with amazing versatility, from the bitterest satire to idyllic
sweetness, or to a pleasant kind of clever naïveté which is truly his
own. We see him musing among the firs and the pine-trees of his native
Provence, or riding on the top of the diligence under the scorching sun
and listening, in a Sterne-like fashion, to the conversation which took
place between the facetious baker and the unhappy knife-grinder, or
chatting familiarly with Frederic Mistral, who takes him into the
confidence of his poetical dreams. Then, again, we see him sitting down
at the table of an Algerian sheik; or wandering on the gloomy rocks
where the Semillante was lost, and trying to revive the awful tragedy of
her last minutes; or shut up in a solitary light-house with the keepers
for weeks and weeks together, content with the society and with the fare
of those poor, rough, uncultivated men, cut off from the whole world,
alone with the stormy winds and his stormy thoughts. Wherever his morbid
restlessness takes him, whatever part he chooses to assume, whether he
wants to move us to laughter or to tears, we can but follow him
fascinated and spell-bound, and in harmony with his moods. Daudet when
he wrote those letters was already a perfect master of all the resources
of the language. What he had seen or felt, he could make us see and
feel. He could make old words new with the freshness, ardor, and
sincerity of the personal impressions which he was pouring into them

The 'Letters from My Mill' had been scattered here and there through
different newspapers, and at different times. They were reprinted in the
form of a book in 1868. The year before he had given to the public 'Le
Petit Chose' (A Little Chap), which is better known, I believe, to the
English-speaking races under the rather misleading title of 'My Brother
Jack.' 'Le Petit Chose' was a commercial success, but it is doubtful
whether it will rank as high among Daudet's productions as the 'Lettres
de Mon Moulin.' He began to compose it in February 1866, during one of
those misanthropic fits to which he was subject at periodical intervals,
and which either paralyzed altogether, or quickened into fever, his
creative faculties. He finished the work two years later in a very
different mood, immediately after his marriage. As might have been
expected, the two parts are very dissimilar, and it must be confessed
greatly unequal. 'Le Petit Chose' has reminded more than one reader of
'David Copperfield'; and it cannot be denied that the two works bear
some resemblance both as regards manner and matter. But though Dickens
was then widely read and much admired in France, plagiarism is out of
the question. If there is a little of Dickens about 'Le Petit Chose,'
there is a great deal more of Daudet himself in it. Young Eyssette, the
hero of the novel, starts in life as Daudet had done and at the same
period of life, in the quality of an usher at a small provincial
college. Whether we take it as a fiction, with its innumerable bits of
delicate humor, lovely descriptions of places and glimpses of characters
in humble life, or whether we accept it as an autobiography which is
likely to bring us into closer acquaintance with the inner soul of a
great man, the first part is delightful reading. But we lose sight of
him through all the adventures, at once wild and commonplace, which are
crowding in the second part, to culminate into the most unconvincing
dénouement. Even when speaking of himself, Daudet is sometimes at a
disadvantage, perhaps because, as he justly observed, "it is too early
at twenty-five to comment upon one's own past career." Only the old man
is able to look at his former self through the distance of years and to
see it as it stood once, in its true light and with its real

'Tartarin of Tarascon' saw the light for the first time in 1872. Strange
to say, the readers of the Petit Moniteur, to whom it was first offered
in a serial form, did not like it. In consequence of their marked
disapproval, the publication had to be abandoned and was then resumed
through the columns of another newspaper. This time the mistake was
entirely on the side of the public. For--apart from the fact that the
immortal Tartarin was not yet Tartarin, but answered to the much less
typical name of Chapatin--the general outlines of the character were
already visible in all their distinctness from the beginning, as all
those who have read the introductory chapters will readily admit. And
the same lines were to be followed with an undeviating fixity of
artistic purpose and with unfailing verve and spirit to the last. 'The
Prodigious Adventures of Tartarin,' 'Tartarin on the Alps,' and
'Port-Tarascon,' form a trilogy; and I know of no other example in
modern French literature of so long and so well sustained a joke. How is
it then that we never grow tired of Tartarin? It is probably because
beneath the surface of Daudet's playful absurdity there underlies a rich
substratum of good common-sense and keen observation. Since 'Don
Quixote' was written, no caricature has ever been more human or more
true than Tartarin.

Frenchmen are not, as is frequently asserted by their Anglo-Saxon
critics, totally unfit to appreciate humor, when it is mingled with the
study of man's nature and seasoned with that high-spiced irony of which
they have been so fond at all times, from the days of Villon to those of
Rochefort. Still, Daudet would never have acquired such a complete
mastery over the general public in his own country, if he had not been
able to gratify their taste for that graphic and faithful description of
manners and characters, which in other centuries put the moralists into
fashion. Realism never disappears altogether from French literature: it
was at that moment all-powerful. Zola was coming to the front with the
first volumes of the well-known 'Rougon-Macquart' and Daudet in 1874
entered on the same path, though in a different spirit, with 'Fromont
Jeune et Risler Ainé.' The success was immediate and immense. The French
_bourgeoisie_ accepted it at once as a true picture of its vices and its
virtues. The novel might, it is true, savor a little of Parisian
cockneyism. Fastidious critics might discover in it some mixture of weak
sentimentalism, or a few traces of Dickensian affectation and cheap
tricks in story-telling. Young men of the new social school might take
exception to that old-fashioned democracy which had its apotheosis in
Risler senior. Despite all those objections, it was pronounced a
masterpiece of legitimate pathos and sound observation. Even the minor
characters were judged striking, and Delobelle's name, for instance,
occurs at once to our mind whenever we try to realize the image of the
modern _cabotin_.

'Jack,' which came next, exceeded the usual length of French novels.
"Too much paper, my son!" old Flaubert majestically observed with a
smile when the author presented him with a copy of his book. As for
George Sand, she felt so sick at heart and so depressed when she had
finished reading 'Jack,' that she could work no more and had to remain
idle for three or four days. A painful book, indeed, a distressing book,
but how fascinating! And is not its wonderful influence over the readers
exemplified in the most striking manner by the fact that it had the
power to unnerve and to incapacitate for her daily task that most
valiant of all intellectual laborers, that hardest of hard workers,
George Sand?

The lost ground, if there had been any lost at all, was soon regained
with 'Le Nabab' (The Nabob) and 'Les Rois en Exil' (Kings in Exile).
They took the reader to a higher sphere of emotion and thought, showed
us greater men fighting for greater things on a wider theatre than the
middle-class life in which Fromont and Risler had moved. At the same
time they kept the balance more evenly than 'Jack' had done between the
two elements of human drama, good and evil, hope and despair, laughter
and tears. But a higher triumph was to be achieved with 'Numa
Roumestan,' which brought Daudet's literary fame to its zenith.

'Tartarin' had not exhausted all that the author had to say of
meridional ways and manners. The Provençal character has its dramatic as
well as its comic aspect. In 'Numa Roumestan' we have the farce and the
tragedy blended together into a coherent whole. We have a Tartarin whose
power over man and woman is not a mockery but a reality, who can win
love and sympathy and admiration, not in little Tarascon, mind you, but
in Paris; who sends joy abroad and creates torture at home; a charming
companion, a kind master, a subtle politician, a wonderful talker, but a
light-hearted and faithless husband, a genial liar, a smiling and
good-natured deceiver; the true image of the gifted adventurer who
periodically emerges from the South and goes northward finally to
conquer and govern the whole country.

As Zola has remarked, the author of 'Numa Roumestan' poured himself out
into that book with his double nature, North and South, the rich
sensuous imagination, the indolent easy-going optimism of his native
land, and the stern moral sensitiveness which was partly characteristic
of his own mind, partly acquired by painful and protracted experience.
To depict his hero he had only to consult the most intimate records of
his own lifelong struggle. For he had been trying desperately to evince
Roumestan out of his own being. He had fought and conquered, but only
partially conquered. And on this partial failure we must congratulate
him and congratulate ourselves. He said once that "Provençal landscape
without sunshine is dull and uninteresting." The same may be said of his
literary genius. It wants sunshine, or else it loses half its loveliness
and its irresistible charm. 'Roumestan' is full of sunshine, and there
is no other among his books, except 'Tartarin,' where the bright and
happy light of the South plays more freely and more gracefully.

The novel is equally strong if you examine it from a different
standpoint. Nothing can be artistically better and more enchanting than
the Farandole scene, or more amusing than Roumestan's intrigue with the
young opera singer; nothing can be more grand than old Le Quesnoy's
confession of sin and shame, or more affecting than the closing scene
where Rosalie is taught forgiveness by her dying sister. Other parts in
Daudet's work may sound hollow; 'Numa Roumestan' will stand the most
critical scrutiny as a drama, as a work of art, as a faithful
representation of life. Daudet's talents were then at their best and
united in happy combination for that splendid effort which was not to be

In 'Sapho' Daudet described the modern courtesan, in 'L'Évangéliste' a
desperate case of religious madness. In 'L'Immortel' he gave vent to his
feelings against the French Academy, which had repulsed him once and to
which he turned his back forever in disgust. The angry writer pursued
his enemy to death. In his unforgiving mood, he was not satisfied before
he had drowned the Academy in the muddy waters of the Seine, with its
unfortunate Secrétaire-perpetuel, Astier-Réhu. The general verdict was
that the vengeance was altogether out of proportion to the offense; and
that despite all its brilliancy of wit and elaborate incisiveness of
style, the satire was really too violent and too personal to give real
enjoyment to unbiased and unprejudiced readers.

At different periods of his career Daudet had tried his hand as a
dramatist, but never succeeded in getting a firm foot on the French
stage. Play-goers still remember the signal failure of 'Lise Tavernier,'
the indifferent reception of 'L'Arlésienne,' or more recently, of
'L'Obstacle.' All his successful novels have been dramatized, but their
popularity in that new form fell far short of the common expectation. As
an explanation of the fact various reasons may be suggested. Daudet, I
am inclined to think, is endowed with real dramatic powers, not with
scenic qualities; and from their conventional point of view, old stagers
will pronounce the construction of his novels too weak for plays to be
built upon them. Again, in the play-house we miss the man who tells the
story, the happy presence--so unlike Flaubert's cheerless
impassibility--the generous anger, the hearty laugh, the delightful
humor, that strange something which seems to appeal to every one of us
in particular when we read his novels. Dickens was once heard to say, on
a public occasion, that he owed his prodigious world-wide popularity to
this: that he was "so very human." The words will apply with equal
felicity to Daudet's success. He never troubles to conceal from his
readers that he is a man. When the critic of the future has to assign
him a place and to compare his productions with the writings of his
great contemporary and fellow-worker Émile Zola, it will occur to him
that Daudet never had the steady-going indomitable energy, the ox-like
patience, the large and comprehensive intellect which are so
characteristic in the master of Médan; that he recoiled from assuming,
like the author of 'Germinal' and 'Lourdes,' a bold and definite
position in the social and religious strife of our days; that he never
dreamt for a moment of taking the survey of a whole society and covering
the entire ground on which it stands with his books.

Such a task--the critic will say--would have been uncongenial to him.
The scientist is careful to explain everything and to omit nothing; he
aims at completeness. But Daudet is an artist, not a scientist. He is a
poet in the primitive sense of the word, or, as he styled himself in one
of his books, a "trouvère." He has creative power, but he has at the
same time his share of the minor gift of observation. He had to write
for a public of strongly realistic tendencies, who understood and
desired nothing better than the faithful, accurate, almost scientific
description of life. Daudet could supply the demand, but as he was not
born a realist, whatever social influences he had been subjected to, he
remained free from the faults and excesses of the school. He borrowed
from it all that was good and sound; he accepted realism as a practical
method, not as an ultimate result and a consummation. Again, he was
preserved from the danger of going down too deep and too low into the
unclean mysteries of modern humanity, not so much perhaps by moral
delicacy as by an artistic distaste for all that is repulsive and
unseemly. For those reasons, it would not be surprising if--when Death
has made him young again--Alphonse Daudet was destined to outlive and
outshine many who have enjoyed an equal or even greater celebrity during
this century. He will command an ever increasing circle of admirers and
friends, and generations yet unborn will grow warm in his sunshine.

[Illustration: signature of Augustin Filon]


From 'Tartarin of Tarascon'

Answer me, you will say, how the mischief is it that Tartarin of
Tarascon never left Tarascon, with all this mania for adventure, need of
powerful sensations, and folly about travel, rides, and journeys from
the Pole to the Equator?

For that is a fact: up to the age of five-and-forty, the dreadless
Tarasconian had never once slept outside his own room. He had not even
taken that obligatory trip to Marseilles which every sound Provençal
makes upon coming of age. The most of his knowledge included Beaucaire,
and yet that's not far from Tarascon, there being merely the bridge to
go over. Unfortunately, this rascally bridge has so often been blown
away by the gales, it is so long and frail, and the Rhône has such a
width at this spot that--well, faith! you understand! Tartarin of
Tarascon preferred _terra firma_.

We are afraid we must make a clean breast of it: in our hero there were
two very distinct characters. Some Father of the Church has said: "I
feel there are two men in me." He would have spoken truly in saying this
about Tartarin, who carried in his frame the soul of Don Quixote, the
same chivalric impulses, heroic ideal, and crankiness for the grandiose
and romantic; but, worse is the luck! he had not the body of the
celebrated hidalgo, that thin and meagre apology for a body, on which
material life failed to take a hold; one that could get through twenty
nights without its breast-plate being unbuckled, and forty-eight hours
on a handful of rice. On the contrary, Tartarin's body was a stout
honest bully of a body, very fat, very weighty, most sensual and fond of
coddling, highly touchy, full of low-class appetite and homely
requirements--the short, paunchy body on stumps of the immortal Sancho

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the one same man! you will readily
comprehend what a cat-and-dog couple they made! what strife! what
clapperclawing! Oh, the fine dialogue for Lucian or Saint-Évremond to
write, between the two Tartarins--Quixote-Tartarin and Sancho-Tartarin!
Quixote-Tartarin firing up on the stories of Gustave Aimard, and
shouting, "Up and at 'em!" and Sancho-Tartarin thinking only of the
rheumatics ahead, and murmuring, "I mean to stay at home."

                                 THE DUET

      QUIXOTE-TARTARIN                     SANCHO-TARTARIN

     [_Highly excited_]                    [_Quite calmly_]

Cover yourself with glory,             Tartarin, cover yourself with
    Tartarin.                              flannel.

   [_Still more excitedly_]              [_Still more calmly_]

Oh for the terrible double-barreled     Oh for the thick knitted
   rifle! Oh for bowie-knives,             waist-coats!
   lassos, and moccasins!                  and warm knee-caps!
                                           Oh for the welcome padded
                                           caps with ear-flaps!

  [_Above all self-control_]            [_Ringing up the maid_]

A battle-axe! fetch me a battle-axe!    Now then, Jeannette, do bring
                                           up that chocolate!

Whereupon Jeannette would appear with an unusually good cup of
chocolate, just right in warmth, sweetly smelling, and with the play of
light on watered silk upon its unctuous surface, and with succulent
grilled steak flavored with anise-seed, which would set Sancho-Tartarin
off on the broad grin, and into a laugh that drowned the shouts of

Thus it came about that Tartarin of Tarascon never had left Tarascon.


From 'Tartarin of Tarascor'

Under one conjunction of circumstances, Tartarin did however once almost
start out upon a great voyage.

The three brothers Garcio-Camus, natives of Tarascon, established in
business at Shanghai, offered him the managership of one of their
branches there. This undoubtedly presented the kind of life he hankered
after. Plenty of active business, a whole army of understrappers to
order about, and connections with Russia, Persia, Turkey in Asia--in
short, to be a merchant prince.

In Tartarin's mouth, the title of Merchant Prince thundered out as
something stunning!

The house of Garcio-Camus had the further advantage of sometimes being
favored with a call from the Tartars. Then the doors would be slammed
shut, all the clerks flew to arms, up ran the consular flag, and zizz!
phit! bang! out of the windows upon the Tartars.

I need not tell you with what enthusiasm Quixote-Tartarin clutched this
proposition; sad to say, Sancho-Tartarin did not see it in the same
light, and as he was the stronger party, it never came to anything. But
in the town there was much talk about it. Would he go or would he not?
"I'll lay he will"--and "I'll wager he won't!" It was the event of the
week. In the upshot, Tartarin did not depart, but the matter redounded
to his credit none the less. Going or not going to Shanghai was all one
to Tarascon. Tartarin's journey was so much talked about that people got
to believe he had done it and returned, and at the club in the evening
members would actually ask for information on life at Shanghai, the
manners and customs and climate, about opium, and commerce.

Deeply read up, Tartarin would graciously furnish the particulars
desired, and in the end the good fellow was not quite sure himself about
not having gone to Shanghai; so that after relating for the hundredth
time how the Tartars came down on the trading post, it would most
naturally happen him to add:--

"Then I made my men take up arms and hoist the consular flag, and zizz!
phit! bang! out of the windows upon the Tartars."

On hearing this, the whole club would quiver.

"But according to that, this Tartarin of yours is an awful liar."

"No, no, a thousand times over, no! Tartarin is no liar."

"But the man ought to know that he has never been to Shanghai--"

"Why, of course, he knows that; but still--"

"But still," you see--mark that! It is high time for the law to be laid
down once for all on the reputation as drawers of the long bow which
Northerners fling at Southerners. There are no Baron Munchausens in the
South of France, neither at Nîmes nor Marseilles, Toulouse nor Tarascon.
The Southerner does not deceive, but is self-deceived. He does not
always tell the cold-drawn truth, but he believes he does. His falsehood
is not falsehood, but a kind of mental mirage.

Yes, purely mirage! The better to follow me, you should actually follow
me into the South, and you will see I am right. You have only to look at
that Lucifer's own country, where the sun transmogrifies everything, and
magnifies it beyond life-size. The little hills of Provence are no
bigger than the Butte Montmartre, but they will loom up like the Rocky
Mountains; the Square House at Nîmes--a mere model to put on your
sideboard--will seem grander than St. Peter's. You will see--in brief,
the only exaggerator in the South is Old Sol, for he does enlarge
everything he touches. What was Sparta in its days of splendor? a
pitiful hamlet. What was Athens? at the most, a second-class town; and
yet in history both appear to us as enormous cities. This is a sample of
what the sun can do.

Are you going to be astonished, after this, that the same sun falling
upon Tarascon should have made of an ex-captain in the Army Clothing
Factory, like Bravida, the "brave commandant"; of a sprout, an Indian
fig-tree; and of a man who had missed going to Shanghai one who had been


From 'Letters from My Windmill'

The little Dauphin is ill; the little Dauphin will die. In all the
churches of the kingdom the Holy Sacrament is laid ready day and night,
and tapers are burning, for the recovery of the royal child. The streets
of the old town are sad and silent; the bells ring no more; the
carriages are driven very slowly. The curious townspeople are gathered
just outside the palace, and are staring in through the grating of the
gates at the guards, with their golden helmets, who walk the court with
an important air. The entire castle is in a state of anxiety; the
chamberlains and major-domos go up and down the staircase, and run
through the marble halls. The galleries are filled with pages and
courtiers in silk clothing, who go from group to group collecting later
news in a low voice. On the large porches can be seen the ladies of
honor, bathed in tears, bowing their heads and wiping their eyes with
pretty embroidered handkerchiefs. In the orangery is a numerous assembly
of doctors in long robes: one can see them through the panes
gesticulating in their long sleeves, and shaking their wigs knowingly.
The little Dauphin's tutor and squire are waiting before the door,
anxious for the decision of the faculty. Scullions pass by without
saluting them. The squire swears like a pagan; the tutor recites verses
from Horace. And during this time down by the stables one can hear a
long plaintive neighing. It is the Dauphin's little sorrel pony, whom
the grooms are neglecting, and who calls sadly from his empty manger.
And the King--where is his Majesty the King? The King has shut himself
up in a room in a remote part of the castle. Their Majesties do not like
to be seen weeping. But the Queen--that is different. Seated by the
little prince's pillow, her beautiful face bathed in tears, she sobs
bitterly before every one, just as a peasant mother would.

In his lace crib is the little Dauphin, whiter than the cushions on
which he reposes, with closed eyelids. They think he is sleeping; but
no, the little Dauphin does not sleep. He turns toward his mother, and
seeing that she weeps, he says to her, "Madame my Queen, why do you
weep? Do you think truly that I am going to die?" The Queen wishes to
reply, but sobs prevent her speaking. "Pray do not cry, Madame my
Queen. You forget that I am the Dauphin, and Dauphins cannot die thus."
The Queen sobs more bitterly still, and the little Dauphin begins to be
frightened. "Hola!" he says, "I do not wish to have Death come and take
me; and I shall know how to prevent his coming here. Bring forth forty
lancers, our strongest, to mount guard around our bed; a hundred cannon
night and day; torches lighted beneath our windows. And unhappy Death if
he dares to approach us then!" The Queen gives a sign to please the
royal child. Forthwith, one can hear heavy cannon being rolled across
the courtyard; and forty soldiers, halberds in hand, come and range
themselves around the room: they are veterans, with gray moustaches. The
little Dauphin claps his hands feebly as he sees them, and recognizing
one he calls him by name, "Lorrain! Lorrain!" The old soldier takes a
step towards the bed. "I love you well, my good Lorrain. Let me see your
big sword. If Death comes to take me, we must kill him, must we not?"
Lorrain replies, "Yes, Monseigneur," as the big tears run down his
bronzed cheeks.

At this moment the chaplain approaches the little Dauphin, and talks to
him for some time in a low tone, showing him a crucifix. The little
Dauphin listens with an astonished air; then suddenly interrupting, "I
understand well what you say, Monsieur l'Abbé; but after all, could not
my little friend Beppo die in my place, if we should give him a great
deal of money?"

The chaplain continues talking to him in a low voice, and the little
Dauphin looks more and more astonished. When the chaplain has finished,
the little Dauphin resumes, with a heavy sigh, "All that you tell me is
very sad, Monsieur l'Abbé, but one thing consoles me: up there, in the
paradise of stars, I shall still be the Dauphin. I know that our good
God is my cousin, and would not fail to treat me according to my rank."
Then he adds, turning to his mother, "Have my finest garments
brought--my ermine cloak and velvet slippers. I wish to array myself for
the angels, and enter paradise dressed as a Dauphin."

A third time the chaplain bends over the little prince, and talks a long
time in whispering tones. The royal child interrupts him in anger, in
the midst of his discourse, and cries, "Then it is no use to be
Dauphin,--it is nothing at all;" and not wishing to hear more, he turns
toward the wall weeping.

     Translation of Mary Corey.


From 'Jack'

"Do you hear, Jack?" resumed D'Argenton, with flashing eyes and
outstretched arm. "In four years you will be a good workman; that is to
say, the noblest, grandest thing that can exist in this world of slavery
and servitude. In four years you will be that sacred, venerated thing, a
good workman!"

Yes, indeed he heard it!--"a good workman." Only he was bewildered and
was trying to understand.

The child had seen workmen in Paris. There were some who lived in the
Passage des Douze Maisons, and not far from the Gymnase there was a
factory, from which he often watched them as they left work at about six
o'clock; a crowd of dirty-looking men with their blouses all stained
with oil, and their rough hands blackened and deformed by work.

The idea that he would have to wear a blouse struck him at once. He
remembered the tone of contempt with which his mother would say: "Those
are workmen, men in blouses,"--the care she took in the streets to avoid
the contact of their soiled garments. Labassindre's fine speeches on the
duties and influence of the working-man in the nineteenth century
attenuated and contradicted, it is true, these vague impressions. But
what he did understand, and that most clearly and bitterly, was that he
must go away, leave the forest whose tree-tops he saw from the window,
leave the Rivalses, leave his mother, his mother whom he had recovered
at the cost of so much pain, and whom he loved so tenderly.

What on earth was she doing at that window all this time, seeming so
indifferent to all that was going on around her? Within the last few
minutes, however, she had lost her immovable indifference. A convulsive
shudder seemed to shake her from head to foot, and the hand she held
over her eyes closed over them as if she were hiding tears. Was it then
so sad a sight that she beheld yonder in the country, on the far horizon
where the sun sets, and where so many dreams, so many illusions, so many
loves and passions sink and disappear, never to return?

"Then I shall have to go away?" inquired the child in a smothered voice,
and the automatic air of one who lets his thought speak, the one thought
that absorbed him.

At this artless question all the members of the tribunal looked at each
other with a smile of pity; but over there at the window a great sob was

"We shall start in a week, my lad," answered Labassindre briskly. "I
have not seen my brother for a long time. I shall avail myself of this
opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the fire of my old forge, by

As he spoke, he turned back his sleeve, distending the muscles of his
brawny, hairy, tattooed arm, till they looked ready to burst.

"He is superb," said Dr. Hirsch.

D'Argenton, however, who did not lose sight of the sobbing woman
standing at the window, had an absent air, and a terrible frown
gathering on his brow.

"You can go, Jack," he said to the child, "and prepare to start in a

Jack went down-stairs, dazed and stupefied, repeating to himself, "In a
week! in a week!" The street door was open; he rushed out, bare-headed,
just as he was, dashed through the village to the house of his friends,
and meeting the Doctor, who was just going out, informed him in a few
words of what had taken place.

Monsieur Rivals was indignant.

"A workman! They want to make a workman of you? Is that what they call
looking after your prospects in life? Wait a moment. I am going to speak
myself to monsieur your step-father."

The villagers who saw them pass by, the worthy Doctor gesticulating and
talking out loud, and little Jack, bare-headed and breathless from
running, said, "There is certainly some one very ill at Les Aulnettes."

No one was ill, most assuredly. When the Doctor arrived they were
sitting down to table; for on account of the capricious appetite of the
master of the house, and as in all places where _ennui_ reigns supreme,
the hours for the meals were constantly being changed.

The faces around were cheerful; Charlotte could even be heard humming on
the stairs as she came down from her room.

"I should like to say a word to you, M. d'Argenton," said old Rivals
with quivering lips.

The poet twirled his moustache:--

"Well, Doctor, sit down there. They shall give you a plate and you can
say your word while you eat your breakfast."

"No, thank you, I am not hungry; besides, what I have to say to you as
well as to Madame"--he bowed to Charlotte, who had just come in--"is
strictly private."

"I think I can guess your errand," said D'Argenton, who did not care for
a _tête-à-tête_ conversation with the Doctor. "It is about the child, is
it not?"

"You are right; it is about the child."

"In that case you can speak. These gentlemen know the circumstances, and
my actions are always too loyal and too disinterested for me to fear the
light of day."

"But, my dear!" Charlotte ventured to say, shocked for many reasons at
the idea of this discussion before strangers.

"You can speak, Doctor," said D'Argenton coldly.

Standing upright in front of the table, the Doctor began:--

"Jack has just told me that you intend to send him as an apprentice to
the iron works at Indret. Is this serious? Come!"

"Quite serious, my dear Doctor."

"Take care," pursued M. Rivals, restraining his anger; "that child has
not been brought up for so hard a life. At a growing age you are going
to throw him out of his element into new surroundings, a new atmosphere.
His health, his life are involved. He has none of the requisites needed
to bear this. He is not strong enough."

"Oh! allow me, my dear colleague," put in Dr. Hirsch solemnly.

M. Rivals shrugged his shoulders, and without even looking at him, went

"It is I who tell you so, Madame."

He pointedly addressed himself to Charlotte, who was singularly
embarrassed by this appeal to her repressed feelings.

"Your child cannot possibly endure a life of this sort. You surely know
him, you who are his mother. You know that his nature is a refined and
delicate one, and that it will be unable to resist fatigue. And here I
only speak of the physical pain. But do you not know what terrible
sufferings a child so well gifted, with a mind so capable and ready to
receive all kinds of knowledge, will feel in the forced inaction, the
death of intellectual faculties to which you are about to condemn him?"

"You are mistaken, Doctor," said D'Argenton, who was getting very angry.
"I know the fellow better than any one. I have tried him. He is only fit
for manual labor. His aptitudes lie there, and there only. And it is
when I furnish him with the means of developing his aptitudes, when I
put into his hands a magnificent profession, that instead of thanking
me, my fine gentleman goes off complaining to strangers, seeking
protectors outside of his own home."

Jack was going to protest. His friend however saved him the trouble.

"He did not come to complain. He only informed me of your decision, and
I said to him what I now repeat to him before you all:--'Jack, my child,
do not let them do it. Throw yourself into the arms of your parents, of
your mother who loves you, of your mother's husband, who for her sake
must love you. Entreat them, implore them. Ask them what you have done
to deserve to be thus degraded, to be made lower than themselves!'"

"Doctor," exclaimed Labassindre, bringing his fist heavily down upon the
table, making it tremble and shake, "the tool does not degrade the man,
it ennobles him. The tool is the regenerator of mankind. Christ handled
a plane when he was ten years of age."

"That is indeed true," said Charlotte, who at once conjured up the
vision of her little Jack dressed for the procession of the Fête-Dieu as
the child Jesus, armed with a little plane.

"Don't be taken in by such balderdash, Madame," said the exasperated
doctor. "To make a workman of your son is to separate him from you
forever. If you were to send him to the other end of the world, he could
not be further from your mind, from your heart; for you would have, in
this case, means of drawing together again, whereas social distances are
irremediable. You will see. The day will come when you will be ashamed
of your child, when you will find his hands rough, his language coarse,
his sentiments totally different from yours. He will stand one day
before you, before his mother, as before a stranger of higher rank than
himself,--not only humbled, but degraded."

Jack, who had hitherto not uttered a word, but had listened attentively
from a corner near the sideboard, was suddenly alarmed at the idea of
any possible disaffection springing up between his mother and himself.

He advanced into the middle of the room, and steadying his voice:--

"I will not be a workman," he said in a determined manner.

"O Jack!" murmured Charlotte, faltering.

This time it was D'Argenton who spoke.

"Oh, really! you will not be a workman? Look at this fine gentleman who
will or who will not accept a thing that I have decided. You will not be
a workman, eh? But you are quite willing to be clothed, fed, and amused.
Well, I solemnly declare that I have had enough of you, you horrid
little parasite; and that if you do not choose to work, I for my part
refuse to be any longer your victim."

He stopped abruptly, and passing from his mad rage to the chilly manner
which was habitual to him:--

"Go up to your room," he said; "I will consider what remains to be

"What remains to be done, my dear D'Argenton, I will soon tell you."

But Jack did not hear the end of Monsieur Rivals's phrase, D'Argenton
with a shove having thrust him out.

The noise of the discussion reached him in his room, like the various
parts in a great orchestra. He distinguished and recognized all the
voices, but they melted one into the other, united by their resonance,
and made a discordant uproar through which some bits of phrases were
alone intelligible.

"It is an infamous lie."

"Messieurs! Messieurs!"

"Life is not a romance."

"Sacred blouse, _beûh_! _beûh_!"

At last old Rivals's voice could be heard thundering as he crossed the

"May I be hanged if ever I put my foot in your house again!"

Then the door was violently slammed, and a great silence fell on the
dining-room, broken only by the clatter of knives and forks.

They were breakfasting.

"You wish to degrade him, to make him something lower than yourself."
The child remembered that phrase, and he felt that this was indeed his
enemy's intention.

Well, no; a thousand times no--he would not be a workman.

The door opened, and his mother came in.

She had cried a great deal, had shed real tears, tears such as furrow
the cheek. For the first time, a mother showed herself in that pretty
woman's face, an afflicted and sorrowing mother.

"Listen to me, Jack," she said, striving to appear severe; "I must speak
very seriously to you. You have made me very unhappy by putting yourself
in open rebellion against your real friends, and by refusing to accept
the situation they offer you. I am well aware that there is in the new

While she spoke, she carefully avoided meeting the child's eyes, for
they had such an expression of desperate grief and heartfelt reproach
that she would not have been able to resist their appeal.

"--That there is, in the new existence we have chosen for you, an
apparent inconsistency with the life you have hitherto been leading. I
confess that I was myself at first rather startled by it, but you heard,
did you not, what was said to you? The position of a workman is no
longer what it used to be; oh no! not at all the same thing, not at all.
You must know that the time of the working-man has now come. The middle
classes have had their day, the aristocracy likewise. Although, I must
say, the aristocracy--Moreover, is it not more natural at your age, to
allow yourself to be guided by those who love you, and who are

A sob from the child interrupted her.

"Then you too send me away; you too send me away."

This time the mother could no longer resist. She took him in her arms,
clasped him passionately to her heart:--

"I send you away? How can you imagine such a thing? Is it possible?
Come, be calm; don't tremble and give way like that. You know how I love
you, and how, if it only depended on me, we would never leave each
other. But we must be reasonable, and think a little of the future.
Alas! the future is already dark enough for us."

And in one of those outbursts of words that she still had sometimes when
freed from the presence of the master, she endeavored to explain to
Jack, with all kinds of hesitations and reticences, the irregularity of
their position.

"You see, my darling, you are still very young; there are many things
you cannot understand. Some day, when you are older, I will reveal to
you the secret of your birth; quite a romance, my dear! Some day I will
tell you the name of your father, and the unheard-of fatality of which
your mother and yourself have been the victims. But for the present,
what you must know and thoroughly comprehend, is that nothing here
belongs to us, my poor child, and that we are absolutely dependent on
him. How can I therefore oppose your departure, especially when I know
that he wants you to leave for your good? I cannot ask him for anything
more. He has already done so much for us. Besides, he is not rich, and
this terrible artistic career is so expensive! He could not undertake
the expense of your education. What will become of me between you two?
We must come to a decision. Remember that it was a profession you were
being given. Would you not be proud of being independent, of gaining
your own livelihood, of being your own master?"

She saw at once by the flash in the child's eye that she had struck
home; and in a low tone, in the caressing, coaxing voice of a mother,
she murmured:--

"Do it for my sake, Jack; will you? Put yourself in a position that will
enable you soon to gain your livelihood. Who knows if some day I may not
be obliged myself to have recourse to you as my only protector, my only

Did she really think what she said? Was it a presentiment, one of those
sudden glimpses into the future which unfold to us our destiny and
reveal the failure and disappointments of our existence? Or had she been
merely carried away in the whirlwind words of her impulsive

In any case she could not have found a better argument to convince that
little generous spirit. The effect was instantaneous. The idea that his
mother might want him, that he could help her by his work, suddenly
decided him.

He looked her straight in the face.

"Swear that you will always love me, that you will never be ashamed of
me when my hands are blackened!"

"If I shall love you, my Jack!"

Her only answer was to cover him with kisses, hiding her agitation and
her remorse under her passionate embraces; but from that moment the
wretched woman knew remorse, knew it for the rest of her life; and could
never think of her child without feeling a stab in her heart.

He however, as though he understood all the shame, uncertainty, and
terror concealed under these caresses, dashed towards the stairs, to
avoid dwelling on it.

"Come, mamma, let us go down. I am going to tell him I accept his

Down-stairs the "Failures" were still at table. They were all struck by
the grave and determined look on Jack's face.

"I beg your pardon," he said to D'Argenton. "I did wrong in refusing
your proposal. I now accept it, and thank you."


From 'Jack'

The singer rose and stood upright in the boat, in which he and the child
were crossing the Loire a little above Paimboeuf, and with a wide
sweeping gesture of the arms, as if he would have clasped the river
within them, exclaimed:--

"Look at that, old boy; is not that grand?"

Notwithstanding the touch of grotesqueness and commonplace in the
actor's admiration, it was well justified by the splendid landscape
unrolling before their eyes.

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. A July sun, a sun of melting
silver, spread a long luminous pathway of rays upon the waters. In the
air was a tremulous reverberation, a mist of light, through which
appeared the gleaming light of the river, active and silent, flashing
upon the sight with the rapidity of a mirage. Dimly seen sails high in
the air, which in this dazzling hour seem pale as flax, pass in the
distance as if in flight. They were great barges coming from
Noirmoutiers, laden to the very edge with white salt sparkling all over
with shining spangles, and worked by picturesque crews; men with the
great three-cornered hat of the Breton salt-worker, and women whose
great cushioned caps with butterfly wings were as white and glittering
as the salt. Then there were coasting vessels like floating drays, their
decks piled with sacks of flour and casks; tugs dragging interminable
lines of barges, or perhaps some three-master of Nantes arriving from
the other side of the world, returning to the native land after two
years' absence, and moving up the river with a slow, almost solemn
motion, as if bearing within it a silent contemplation of the old
country, and the mysterious poetry belonging to all things that come
from afar. Notwithstanding the July heat, a strong breeze blew freshly
over the lovely scene, for the wind came up from the coast with the
cheerful freshness of the open sea, and let it be guessed that a little
further away, beyond those hurrying waves already abandoned by the calm
tranquillity of still waters, lay the deep green of the limitless ocean,
with its billows, its fogs, and its tempests.

"And Indret? where is it?" asks Jack.

"There, that island in front of us."

In the silvery mist which enveloped the island, Jack saw confusedly
lines of great poplars and tall chimneys, whence issued a thick filthy
smoke, spreading over all, blackening even the sky above it. At the same
time he heard a clamorous and resounding din, hammers falling on wrought
and sheet iron, dull sounds, ringing sounds, variously re-echoed by the
sonority of the water; and over everything a continuous and perpetual
droning, as if the island had been a great steamer, stopped, and
murmuring, moving its paddles while at anchor, and its machinery while
yet motionless.

As the boat approached the shore, slowly and yet more slowly,--for the
tide ran strongly and was hard to fight against,--the child began to
distinguish long buildings with low roofs, blackened walls extending on
all sides with uniform dreariness; then, on the banks of the river as
far as the eye could reach, long lines of enormous boilers painted with
red lead, the startling color giving a wildly fantastic effect.
Government transports, steam launches, ranged alongside the quay, lay
waiting till these boilers should be put on board by means of a great
crane near at hand, which viewed from a distance looked like a gigantic

At the foot of this gallows stood a man watching the approach of the

"It is Roudic," said the singer; and from the deepest depths he brought
forth a formidable "hurrah!" which made itself heard even in the midst
of all the din of forging and hammering.

"Is that you, young 'un?"

"Yes, by Jove, it is I; are there two such notes as mine in the whole

The boat touched the shore, and the two brothers sprang into each
other's arms with a mighty greeting.

They were alike; but Roudic was much older, and wanting in that
embonpoint so quickly acquired by singers in the exercise of trills and
sustained notes. Instead of the pointed beard of his brother, he was
shaven, sunburnt; and his sailor's cap, a blue wool knitted cap, shaded
a true Breton face, tanned by the sea, cut in granite, with small eyes,
and a keen glance sharpened by the minute work of a fitter and adjuster.

"And how are all at home?" asked Labassindre. "Clarisse, Zénaïde, every

"Every one is quite well, thank Heaven. Ah, ah! this is our new
apprentice. He looks like a nice little chap; only he doesn't look over

"Strong as a horse, my dear fellow, and warranted by the Paris doctors."

"So much the better, then, for ours is a roughish trade. And now, if you
are ready, let us go and see the manager."

They followed a long alley of fine trees that soon changed into a
street, such as is found in small towns, bordered by white houses, clean
and all alike. Here lived a certain number of the factory workmen, the
foremen, and first hands. The others were located on the opposite bank,
at Montagne or at Basse Indre.

At this hour all was silent, life and movement being concentrated within
the iron works; and had it not been for the linen drying at the windows,
the flower-pots ranged near the panes, the occasional cry of a child, or
the rhythmical rocking of a cradle heard through some half-opened door,
the place might have been deemed uninhabited.

"Oh! the flag's down," said the singer, as they reached the gate leading
to the workshops. "What frights that confounded flag has given me before

And he explained to his "old Jack," that five minutes after the arrival
of the workmen for the opening hour, the flag over the gate was lowered,
and thus it was announced that the doors were closed. So much the worse
for those who were late; they were marked down as absent, and at the
third offense dismissed.

While he was giving these explanations, his brother conferred with the
gate-keeper, and they were admitted within the doors of the
establishment. The din was frightful; whistlings, groanings, grindings,
varying but never diminishing, were re-echoed from many vast
triangular-roofed sheds, standing at intervals on a sloping ground
intersected by numerous railways.

An iron city!

Their footsteps rang upon plates of metal incrusted in the earth. They
picked their way amid heaps of bar iron, pig iron, ingots of copper;
between rows of worn-out guns brought hither to be melted down, rusty
outside, all black within and almost smoking still, venerable masters of
fire about to perish by fire.

Roudic, as they passed along, pointed out the various quarters of the
establishment: "This is the setting-up room, these the workshops of the
great lathe and little lathe, the braziery, the forges, the foundry." He
had to shout, so deafening was the noise.

Jack, half dazed, looked with surprise through the workshop doors,
nearly all open on account of the heat, at a swarming of upraised arms,
of blackened faces, of machinery in motion in a cave-like darkness, dull
and deep, lit up by brief flashes of red light.

Out poured the hot air, with mingled odors of coal, burned clay, molten
iron and the impalpable black dust, sharp and burning, which in the
sunlight had a metallic sparkle, the glitter of coal that may become

But what gave a special character to these formidable works was the
perpetual commotion of both earth and air, a continual trepidation,
something like the striving of a huge beast imprisoned beneath the
foundry, whose groans and burning breath burst hissing out through the
yawning chimneys. Jack, fearful of appearing too much of a novice, dared
not ask what it was made this noise, which even at a distance had so
impressed him....

As they talked, they passed along the streets of the iron-works laid
with rails, crowded at this hour, the working day just at an end, with a
concourse of men of all kinds and sizes and trades; a motley of blouses,
pilot jackets, the coats of the designers mixing with the uniforms of
the overseers.

The gravity with which this deliverance from toil was effected struck
Jack forcibly. He compared this scene with the cries, the jostling on
the pavements which in Paris enliven the exit from the workshops, and
make it as noisy as that of a school. Here, rule and discipline were
sensibly felt, just as on board a man-of-war.

A warm mist of steam floated over this mass of human beings, a steam
that the sea breeze had not yet dispersed, and which hung like a heavy
cloud in the stillness of this July evening. From the now silent
workshops evaporated the odors of the forge. Steam whistled forth in the
gutters, sweat stood on all the foreheads, and the panting that had
puzzled Jack a little while ago had given place to a breath of relief
from these two thousand chests wearied with the day's labor.

As he passed through the crowd, Labassindre was soon recognized.

"Hullo! young 'un, how are you?"

He was surrounded, his hand eagerly shaken, and from one to another
passed the words:--

"Here, look at Roudic's brother, the fellow who makes four thousand
pounds a year just by singing."

Every one wished to see him, for one of the legends of the workshops was
this supposed fortune of the quondam blacksmith, and since his departure
more than one young fellow-worker had searched to the very bottom of his
larynx, to try if the famous note, the note worth millions, were not by
some happy chance to be found there.

In the midst of this cortège of admirers, whom his theatrical costume
impressed still more, the singer walked along with his head in the air,
talking and laughing, casting "Good morning, Father So-and-so! Good
morning, Mother What-'s-your-name!" towards the little houses enlivened
by women's faces looking out, towards the public-houses and cook-shops
which were frequent in this part of Indret; where also hawkers of all
kinds held sway, exposing their merchandise in the open air: blouses,
shoes, hats, kerchiefs, all the ambulating trumpery to be found in the
neighborhood of camps, barracks, and factories.

As they made their way through this display of wares, Jack imagined he
saw a familiar face, a smile, parting the various groups to reach him;
but it was only a lightning flash, a mere vision swept away at once by
the ever changing tide of the mass flowing away and dispersing through
the great industrial city, and spreading itself over to the other side
of the river in long ferry-boats, active, numerous, heavily laden, as if
it were the passage of an army.

Evening was closing in over the dispersing crowd. The sun went down. The
wind freshened, moving the poplars like palms; and the spectacle was
imposing of the toiling island in its turn sinking to repose, restored
to nature for the night. As the smoke cleared, masses of verdure became
visible between the workshops. The river could be heard lapping the
banks; and the swallows, skimming the water with tiny twitter, fluttered
around the great boilers ranged along the quay.


From 'Kings in Exile'

All the magic beauty of that June night poured in through the wide-open
casement in the great hall. A single lighted candelabrum scarcely
disturbed the mystery of the moonlight, which streamed in like a "milky
way." On the table, across some dusty old papers, lay a crucifix of
oxydized silver. By the side of the crucifix was a thick broad sheet of
parchment, covered with a big and tremulous writing. It was the
death-warrant of royalty, wanting nothing but the signature, one stroke
of the pen, and a strong and violent effort of will to give this; and
that was the reason why this weak King hesitated, sitting motionless,
his elbows resting on the table, by the lighted candles prepared for the
royal seal.

Near him, anxious, prying, yet soft and smooth, like a night-moth or the
black bat that haunts ruins, Lebeau, the confidential valet, watched him
and silently encouraged him; for they had arrived at the decisive moment
that the gang had for months expected, with alternate hopes and fears,
with all the trepidation, all the uncertainty attending a business
dependent upon such a puppet as this King. Notwithstanding the magnetism
of this overpowering desire, Christian, pen in hand, could not bring
himself to sign. Sunk down in his arm-chair, he gazed at the parchment,
and was lost in thought. It was not that he cared for that crown, which
he had neither wished for nor loved, which as a child he had found too
heavy, and that later in life had bowed him down and crushed him by its
terrible responsibilities. He had felt no scruple in laying it aside,
leaving it in the corner of a room which he never entered, forgetting it
as much as possible when he was out; but he was scared at the sudden
determination, the irrevocable step he was about to take. However, there
was no other way of procuring money for his new existence, no other
means of meeting the hundred and twenty thousand pounds' worth of bills
he had signed, on which payment would soon be due, and which the usurer,
a certain Pichery, picture-dealer, refused to renew. Could he allow an
execution to be put in at Saint-Mandé? And the Queen, the royal child;
what would become of them in that case? If he must have a scene--for he
foresaw the terrible clamor his cowardice must rouse--was it not better
to have it now, and brave once for all anger and recriminations? And
then--all this was not really the determining reason.

He had promised the Comtesse to sign this renunciation; and on the faith
of this promise, Séphora had consented to let her husband start alone
for London, and had accepted the mansion Avenue de Messine, and the
title and name that published her to the world as the king's mistress,
reserving, however, anything further till the day when Christian himself
would bring her the deed, signed by his own hand. She assigned for this
conduct the reasons of a woman in love: he might, later on, return to
Illyria, abandon her for the throne and power; she would not be the
first person whom these terrible State reasons have made tremble and
weep. D'Axel, Wattelet, all the _gommeux_ of the Grand Club little
guessed when the king, quitting the Avenue de Messine, rejoined them at
the club with heavy fevered eyes, that he had spent the evening on a
divan, by turns repulsed or encouraged, his feelings played upon, his
nerves unstrung by the constant resistance; rolling himself at the feet
of an immovable, determined woman, who with a supple opposition
abandoned to his impassioned embrace only the cold little Parisian
hands, so skillful in defense and evasion, while she imprinted on his
lips the scorching flame of the enrapturing words:--"Oh! when you have
ceased to be king, I shall be all yours--all yours!" She made him pass
through all the dangerous phases of passion and coldness; and often at
the theatre, after an icy greeting and a rapid smile, would slowly draw
off her gloves and cast him a tender glance; then, putting her bare hand
in his, she would seem to offer it up to his ardent kiss.

"Then you say, Lebeau, that Pichery will not renew?"

"He will not, sire. If the bills are not paid, the bailiffs will be put

How well he emphasized with a despairing moan the word "bailiffs," so as
to convey the feeling of all the sinister formalities that would follow:
bills protested, an execution, the royal hearth desecrated, the family
turned out of doors. Christian saw nothing of all this. His imagination
carried him far away to the Avenue de Messine: he saw himself arriving
there in the middle of the night, eager and quivering; ascending with
stealthy and hurried step the heavily carpeted stairs, entering the room
where the night-light burned, mysteriously veiled under lace:--"It is
done--I am no longer king. You are mine, mine." And the loved one held
out her hand.

"Come," he exclaimed, starting out of his fleeting dream.

And he signed.

The door opened and the Queen appeared. Her presence in Christian's
rooms at such an hour was so unforeseen, so unexpected, they had lived
so long apart, that neither the King in the act of signing his infamy,
nor Lebeau, who stood watching him, turned round at the slight noise she
made. They thought it was Boscovich coming up from the garden. Gliding
lightly like a shadow, she was already near the table, and had reached
the two accomplices, when Lebeau saw her. With her finger on her lips
she motioned him to be silent, and continued to advance, wishing to
convict the king in the very act of his treachery, and avoid all
evasion, subterfuge, or useless dissimulation; but the valet set her
order at defiance and gave the alarm, "The Queen, sire!"

The Dalmatian, furious, struck straight in the face of this malevolent
caitiff with the powerful hand of a woman accustomed to handle the
reins; and drawing herself up erect, waited till the wretch had
disappeared before she addressed the king.

"What has happened, my dear Frédérique? and to what am I indebted

Standing bent over the table that he strove to hide, in a graceful
attitude that showed off his silk jacket embroidered in pink, he smiled,
and although his lips were rather pale, his voice remained calm, his
speech easy, with that polished elegance which never left him when
addressing his wife, and which placed a barrier between them like a hard
lacquer screen adorned with flowery and intricate arabesques. With one
word, one gesture, she put aside the barrier behind which he would fain
have sheltered himself.

"Oh! no phrases, no grimacing--if you please. I know what you were
writing there. Do not try to give me the lie."

Then drawing nearer, overwhelming his timorous objection by her haughty

"Listen to me, Christian," and there was something in her tone that gave
an impression of solemnity to her words; "listen to me: you have made me
suffer cruelly since I became your wife. I have never said anything but
once--the first time, you remember. After that, when I saw that you had
ceased to love me, I left you to yourself. Not that I was ignorant of
anything you did--not one of your infidelities, not one of your follies
remained unknown to me. For you must indeed be mad, mad like your
father, who died of exhaustion, mad with love for Lola; mad like your
grandfather John, who died in a shameful delirium, foaming and framing
kisses with the death-rattle in his throat, and uttering words that made
the Sisters of Charity grow pale. Yes, it is the same fevered blood, the
same hellish passion that devours you. At Ragusa, on the nights of the
sortie, it was at Foedora's that they sought you. I knew it, I knew
that she had left her theatre to follow you. I never uttered a single
reproach. The honor of your name was saved. And when the King was absent
from the ramparts, I took care his place should not be empty. But here
in Paris--"

Till now she had spoken slowly, coldly, in a tone of pity and maternal
reproof, as though inspired thereto by the downcast eyes and pouting
mouth of the King, who looked like a vicious child receiving a scolding.
But the name of Paris exasperated her. A city without faith, a city
cynical and accursed, its blood-stained stones ever ready for sedition
and barricades! What possessed these poor fallen kings, that they came
to take refuge in this Sodom! It was Paris, it was its atmosphere
tainted by carnage and vice that completed the ruin of the historical
houses; it was this that had made Christian lose what the maddest of his
ancestors had always known how to preserve--the respect and pride of
their race. Oh! When on the very day of their arrival, the first night
of their exile, she had seen him so excited, so gay, while all around
him were secretly weeping, Frédérique had guessed the humiliation and
shame she would have to undergo. Then in one breath, without pausing,
with cutting words that lashed the pallid face of the royal rake, and
striped it red as with a whip, she recalled one after the other all his
follies, his rapid descent from pleasure to vice, and vice to crime.

"You have deceived me under my very eyes, in my own house; adultery has
sat at my table, it has brushed against my dress. When you were tired of
that dollish little face who had not even the grace to conceal her
tears, you went to the gutter, wallowing shamelessly in the slime and
mud of the streets, and bringing back the dregs of your orgies, of your
sickly remorse, all the pollution of the mire. Remember how I saw you
totter and stammer on that morning, when for the second time you lost
your throne. What have you not done! Holy Mother of angels! What have
you not done! You have traded with the royal seal, you have sold crosses
and titles."

And in a lower tone, as though she feared lest the stillness and silence
of the night might hear, she added:--

"You have stolen, yes, stolen! Those diamonds, those stones torn from
the crown--it was you who did it, and I allowed my faithful Greb to be
suspected and dismissed. The theft being known, it was necessary to find
a sham culprit to prevent the real one ever being discovered. For this
has been my one, my constant preoccupation: to uphold the King, to keep
him untouched; to accept everything for that purpose, even the shame
which in the eyes of the world will end by sullying me. I had adopted a
watchword that sustained me, and encouraged me in my hours of trial:
'All for the crown!' And now you want to sell it--that crown that has
cost me such anguish and such tears; you want to barter it for gold, for
the lifeless mask of that Jewess, whom you had the indecency to bring
face to face with me to-day."

Crushed, bending low his head, he had hitherto listened without a word,
but the insult directed against the woman he loved roused him. Looking
fixedly at the queen, his face bearing the traces of her cutting words,
he said politely, but very firmly:--

"Well, no, you are mistaken. The woman you mention has had nothing to do
with the determination I have taken. What I am doing is done for you,
for me, for our common happiness. Tell me, are you not weary of this
life of privations and expedients? Do you think that I am ignorant of
what is going on here; that I do not suffer when I see you harassed by a
pack of tradespeople and duns? The other day when that man was shouting
in the yard I was coming in and heard him. Had it not been for Rosen I
would have crushed him under the wheels of my phaeton. And you--you were
watching his departure behind the curtains of your window. A nice
position for a Queen. We owe money to every one. There is a universal
outcry against us. Half the servants are unpaid. The tutor even has
received nothing for the last ten months. Madame de Silvis pays herself
by majestically wearing your old dresses. And there are days when my
councilor, the keeper of the royal seals, borrows from my valet the
wherewithal to buy snuff. You see I am well acquainted with the state of
things. And you do not know my debts yet. I am over head and ears in
debt. Everything is giving way around us. A pretty state of things,
indeed; you will see that diadem of yours sold one day at the corner of
a street with old knives and forks."

Little by little, gradually carried away by his own scoffing nature and
the jesting habits of his set, he dropped the moderate tone he commenced
with, and in his insolent little snuffling voice began to dwell upon the
ludicrous side of the situation, with jeers and mockery, borrowed no
doubt from Séphora, who never lost an opportunity of demolishing by her
sneering observations the few remaining scruples of her lover.

"You will accuse me of making phrases, but it is you who deafen yourself
with words. What, after all, is that crown of Illyria that you are
always talking about? It is worth nothing except on a king's head;
elsewhere it is obstruction, a useless thing, which for flight is
carried hidden away in a bonnet-box or exposed under a glass shade like
the laurels of an actor or the blossoms of a _concierge's_ bridal
wreath. You must be convinced of one thing, Frédérique. A king is truly
king only on the throne, with power to rule; fallen, he is nothing, less
than nothing, a rag. Vainly do we cling to etiquette, to our titles,
always bringing forward our Majesty, on the panels of our carriages, on
the studs of our cuffs, hampering ourselves with an empty ceremonial. It
is all hypocrisy on our part, and mere politeness and pity on the part
of those who surround us--our friends and our servants. Here I am King
Christian II. for you, for Rosen, for a few faithful ones. Outside I
become a man like the rest, M. Christian Two. Not even a surname, only
'Christian,' like an actor of the Gaété."

He stopped, out of breath; he did not remember having ever spoken so
long standing. The shrill notes of the night-birds, the prolonged trills
of the nightingales, broke the silence of the night. A big moth that had
singed its wings at the lights flew about, thumping against the walls.
This fluttering distress and the smothered sobs of the Queen were the
only sounds to be heard; she knew how to meet rage and violence, but was
powerless before this scoffing banter, so foreign to her sincere nature;
it found her unarmed, like the valiant soldier who expects straight
blows and feels only the harassing stings of insects. Seeing her break
down, Christian thought her vanquished, and to complete his victory he
put the finishing touch to the burlesque picture he had drawn of kings
in exile. "What a pitiful figure they cut, all these poor princes _in
partibus_, figurants of royalty, who drape themselves in the frippery of
the principal characters, and declaim before the empty benches without a
farthing of receipts! Would they not be wiser if they held their peace
and returned to the obscurity of common life? For those who have money
there is some excuse. Their riches give them some right to cling to
these grandeurs. But the others, the poor cousins of Palermo for
instance, crowded together in a tiny house with their horrid Italian
cookery. It smells of onions when the door is opened. Worthy folk
certainly, but what an existence! And those are not the worst off. The
other day a Bourbon, a real Bourbon, ran after an omnibus. 'Full, sir,'
said the conductor. But he kept on running. 'Don't I tell you it is
full, my good man?' He got angry; he would have wished to be called
'Monseigneur'--as if that should be known by the tie of his cravat!
Operetta kings, I tell you, Frédérique. It is to escape from this
ridiculous position, to insure a dignified and decent existence, that I
have made up my mind to sign this."

And he added, suddenly revealing the tortuous Slavonic nature molded by
the Jesuits:--"Moreover, this signature is really a mere farce. Our own
property is returned to us, that is all, and I shall not consider myself
in the slightest degree bound by this. Who knows?--these very thousands
of pounds may help us to recover the throne."

The Queen impetuously raised her head, looked him straight in the eyes
for a moment, then shrugged her shoulders, saying:

"Do not make yourself out viler than you are. You know that when once
you have signed--but no. The truth is, you lack strength and fortitude;
you desert your kingly post at the most perilous moment, when a new
society, that will acknowledge neither God nor master, pursues with its
hatred the representatives of Divine right, makes the heavens tremble
over their heads and the earth under their steps. The assassin's knife,
bombs, bullets, all serve their purpose. Treachery and murder are on
every side. In the midst of our pageantry or our festivities, the best
of us as well as the worst, not one of us does not start if only a man
steps forward out of the crowd. Hardly a petition that does not conceal
a dagger. On leaving his palace what king is certain of returning alive?
And this is the hour you choose to leave the field!"

"Ah! if fighting could do it!" eagerly said Christian II. "But to
struggle as we do against ridicule, against poverty, against all the
petty meannesses of life, and feel that we only sink deeper every day--"

A ray of hope lit up her eyes:--"Is it true? would you fight? Then

Breathlessly she related, in a few rapid words, the expedition she and
Elysée had been preparing for the last three months by letters,
proclamations, and dispatches, which Father Alphée, ever on the move,
carried from one mountain village to the other. This time it was not to
the nobility they appealed, but to the people; the muleteers, the
porters of Ragusa, the market-gardeners of Breno, of La Brazza, the
islanders who go to market in their feluccas, the nation which had
remained faithful to the monarchical tradition, which was ready to rise
and die for its king, on condition that he should lead them. Companies
were forming, the watchword was already circulating, only the signal now
remained to be given.

The Queen, hurling her words at Christian to rout his weakness by a
vigorous charge, had a cruel pang when she saw him shake his head,
showing an indifference which was even greater than his discouragement.
Perhaps at the bottom of his heart he was annoyed that the expedition
should have been so far organized without his knowledge. But he did not
believe in the feasibility of the plan. It would not be possible to
advance into the country; they would be compelled to hold the islands,
and devastate a beautiful country with very little chance of success: a
second edition of the Duc de Palma's adventure, a useless effusion of

"No, really, my dear Frédérique, you are led away by the fanaticism of
your chaplain and the wild enthusiasm of that hot-headed Gascon. I also
have my sources of information, far more reliable than yours. The truth
is, that in Dalmatia, as in many other countries, monarchy has had its
day. They are tired of it, they will have no more of it."

"Oh! I know the coward who will have no more of it," said the Queen. And
she went out hurriedly, leaving Christian much surprised that the scene
should have ended so abruptly. He hastily thrust the deed into his
pocket, and prepared to go out in his turn, when Frédérique reappeared,
accompanied this time by the little prince.

Roused out of his sleep and hurriedly dressed, Zara, who had passed from
the hands of his nurse to those of the Queen without a word having been
uttered, opened wide his bewildered eyes under his auburn curls, but
asked no questions; he remembered confusedly in his poor little dizzy
head similar awakenings for hasty flights, in the midst of pallid faces
and breathless exclamations. It was thus that he had acquired the habit
of passive obedience; that he allowed himself to be led anywhere,
provided the Queen called him in her grave and resolute voice, and held
ready for his childish weakness the shelter of her tender arms and the
support of her strong shoulder. She had said: "Come!" and he had come
with confidence, surprised only at the surrounding silence, so different
from those other stormy nights, with their visions of blood and flames,
roar of cannon, and rattle of musketry.

He saw the King standing, no longer the careless good-natured father who
at times surprised him in his bed or crossed the schoolroom with an
encouraging smile, but a stern father, whose expression of annoyance
became more accentuated as he saw them enter. Frédérique, without
uttering one word, led the child to the feet of Christian II. and
abruptly kneeling, placed him before her, crossing his little fingers in
her joined hands:--

"The king will not listen to me, perhaps he will listen to you, Zara.
Come, say with me, 'Father.'" The timid voice repeated, "Father."

"'My father! my king! I implore! do not despoil your child. Do not
deprive him of the crown he is to wear one day. Remember that it is not
yours alone; it comes from afar, from God himself, who gave it six
hundred years ago to the house of Illyria. God has chosen me to be a
king, father. It is my inheritance, my treasure; you have no right to
take it from me.'"

The little prince accompanied his fervent murmur with the imploring
looks of a supplicant; but Christian turned away his head, shrugged his
shoulders, and furious though still polite, he muttered a few words
between his teeth: "Exaggeration! most improper; turn the child's head."
Then he tried to withdraw and gain the door. With one bound the Queen
was on her feet, caught sight of the table from which the parchment had
disappeared, and comprehending at once that the infamous deed was
signed, that the king had it in his possession, gave a despairing


He continued to advance towards the door.

She made a step forward, picking up her dress as if to pursue him; then
suddenly said:--

"Well, be it so."

He stopped short and turned round. She was standing before the open
window, her foot upon the narrow stone balcony, with one arm clasping
her son ready to bear him into death, the other extended menacingly
towards the cowardly deserter. The moon lit up from without this
dramatic group.

"To an operetta King, a Queen of tragedy," she said, stern and terrible.
"If you do not burn this instant what you have just signed, and swear on
the cross that it will never be repeated, your race is ended, crushed,
wife and child, there on the stones."

Such earnestness seemed to inspire her vibrating tone, her splendid
figure bent towards the emptiness of space as though to spring, that the
King, terrified, dashed forward to stop her.


At the cry of his father, at the quiver of the arm that held him, the
child--who was entirely out of the window--thought that all was
finished, that they were about to die. He never uttered a word nor a
moan; was he not going with his mother? Only, his tiny hands clutched
the queen's neck convulsively, and throwing back his head with his fair
hair hanging down, the little victim closed his eyes before the
appalling horror of the fall.

Christian could no longer resist. The resignation, the courage of this
child, who of his future kingly duties already knew the first--to die
well--overcame him. His heart was bursting. He threw upon the table the
crumpled parchment which for a moment he had been nervously holding in
his hand, and fell sobbing in an arm-chair. Frédérique, still
suspicious, read the deed through from the first line to the very
signature, then going up to a candle, she burned it till the flame
scorched her fingers, shaking the ashes upon the table; she then left
the room, carrying off her son, who was already falling asleep in her
arms in his heroically tragic attitude.

     Translation of Laura Ensor and E. Bartow.




[Illustration: MADAME DU DEFFAND]

Madame du Deffand is interesting as a personality, a type, and an
influence. Living through nearly the whole of the eighteenth century,
she assimilated its wealth of new ideas, and was herself a product of
the thought-revolution already kindling the spirit of 1789.

She very early showed her mental independence by puzzling questions upon
religion. The eloquent Massillon attempted to win her to orthodoxy. But
he soon gave up the task, told the Sisters to buy her a catechism, and
went off declaring her charming. The inefficacy of the catechism was
proved later, when the precocious girl developed into the graceful,
unscrupulous society woman. She was always fascinating to the brightest
men and women of her own and other lands. But the early years of social
triumph, when she still had the beautiful eyes admired by Voltaire, are
less significant than the nearly thirty years of blindness in the
convent of St. Joseph, which after her affliction she made her home.
Here she held her famous receptions for the literary and social
celebrities of Paris. Here Mademoiselle Lespinasse endured a miserable
ten years as her companion, then rebelled against her exactions, and
left to establish a rival salon of her own, aided by her devoted
D'Alembert. His preference Madame du Deffand never forgave. Henceforth
she opposed philosophy, and demanded from her devotees only stimulus and
amusement. It was here that Horace Walpole found the "blind old woman"
in her tub-like chair, and began the friendship and intellectual
flirtation of fifteen years. It proved a great interest in her life,
notwithstanding Walpole's dread of ridicule at a suggestion of romance
between his middle-aged self and this woman twenty years older.

She was a power in the lives of many famous people, intimate with Madame
de Staël, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Madame de Choiseul, the Duchess of
Luxembourg, Madame Necker, Hume, Madame de Genlis. In her salon old
creeds were argued down, new ideas disseminated, and _bons mots_ and
witty gossip circulated. She has recounted what went on, and explained
the reign of clever women in her century. Ignoring her blindness, she
lived her life as gayly as she could in visiting, feasting, opera-going,
and letter-writing. But even her social supremacy and brilliant
correspondence with Voltaire, Walpole, and others, did not satisfy her.
She wished to appeal to the heart, and she appealed only to the head. Of
all ills she most dreaded ennui, and the very dread of it made her
unhappy. She became more and more insufficient to herself, until at
eighty-three she died with clear-sighted indifference.

"She was perhaps the wittiest woman who ever lived," says Saintsbury.
Hers was an inextinguishable wit, always alert, epigrammatic, enriching
the language with proverbial phrases.

During her life Voltaire's science of unbelief and Rousseau's appeal to
nature and sentiment were stimulating Europe. For Rousseau, Madame du
Deffand had no respect; but Voltaire's philosophy appealed to her
egotism. It bade a human being investigate his own puzzles, and seek
solution in himself. Madame du Deffand agreed, but failed to find
satisfaction in her anxious analysis; she envied believers in God, and
longed for illusions, yet allowed herself none. Jealous, exacting,
critical, with all the arrogance of the old aristocracy, she was as
merciless to herself as to others. "All my judgments have been false and
daring and too hasty.... I have never known any one perfectly.... To
whom then can I have recourse?" she cries despairingly.

Sainte-Beuve emphasizes her noblest quality: with all her faults she was
true. She lived out her life frankly, boldly, without self-deception or
imposition. So in the entertaining volumes of her letters and
pen-portraits of acquaintances, she has left a valuable record. She
takes us back a century, and shows not only how people looked and what
they did, but how they thought and felt.


     PARIS, Sunday, December 28th, 1766.

Do you know, dear Grandmama [a pet name], that you are the greatest
philosopher that ever lived? Your predecessors spoke equally well,
perhaps, but they were less consistent in their conduct. All your
reasonings start from the same sentiment, and that makes the perfect
accord one always feels between what you say and what you do. I know
very well why, loving you madly, I am ill at ease with you. It is
because I know that you must pity everybody who is unlike yourself. My
desire to please you, the brief time that I am permitted with you, and
my eagerness to profit by it, all trouble, embarrass, intimidate me and
discompose me.

I exaggerate, I utter platitudes; and end by being disgusted with
myself, and eager to rectify the impression I may have made upon you.

You wish me to write to M. de Choiseul, and to make my letter pretty and
bright. Ah, indeed! I'm the ruler of my own imagination, am I! I depend
upon chance. A purpose to do or to say such or such a thing takes away
the possibility. I am not in the least like you. I do not hold in my
hands the springs of my spirit. However, I will write to M. de Choiseul.
I will seize a propitious moment. The surest means of making it come is
to feel hurried.

I am sending you an extract from an impertinent little pamphlet entitled
'Letter to the Author of the Justification of Jean Jacques.' You will
see how it treats our friend. I am not sure that it should be allowed;
whether M. de Choiseul should not talk to M. de Sartines about it. It is
for you to decide, dear Grandmama, if it is suitable, and if M. de
Choiseul ought to permit licenses so impertinent.

I am dying to see you. In spite of my fear, in spite of my dreads, I am
convinced that you love me because I love you.


     SUNDAY, March 9th, 1766.

I read your letter to Madame de Forcalquier, or rather I gave it to her
to read. I thought from her tone that she liked it, but she will not
commit herself. She is more than incomprehensible. The Trinity is not
more mysterious. She is composed of systems, which she does not
understand herself; great words, great principles, great strains of
music, of which nothing remains. However, I am of your opinion, that she
is worth more than all my other acquaintances. She agrees that it would
be delightful to have you _live_ in this country; but if she were only
to see you _en passant_, it hardly matters whether you came or not; that
she has not forgotten you, but that she will forget you. Eh! Why
shouldn't she forget you? She does not know you.... A hundred speeches
of the sort which vex me.

They say of people who have too much vivacity that they were put in too
hot an oven. They might say of her, on the contrary, that she is
underdone. She is the sketch of a beautiful work, but it is not
finished. What is certain is, that her sentiments, if she has
sentiments, are sincere, and that she does not bore you. I showed her
your letter because I thought that would give you pleasure; but be sure
that no one in the world, not even she, shall see what you write me in
future except Niart [her secretary], who as you know is a well.

I have just made you a fine promise that I will not show your letters;
perhaps I shall never be able to show them. Truly, truly, I am like
Madame de Forcalquier, and do not know you!

I spent three hours with Mr. Walpole yesterday, but only half an hour
alone with him. Lord George and his wife returned his short call, but
your Dr. James stayed there all the time. He is a very gloomy,
uninteresting man.

Have you seen Jean Jacques? Is he still in London? Have you seen your
father? Imagine yourself _tête-à-tête_ with me in the corner of the
fireplace, and answer all my questions, but especially those which
concern your health. Have you seen the doctors? Have they ordered you
the waters? And tell me too, honestly, if I shall ever see you again.
Reflect that you are only twenty-five years old, that I am a hundred,
and that it only requires a brief kindness to put pleasure in my life.
No, I will not assume the pathetic. Do just what pleases you.


     TUESDAY, August 5th, 1766.

I have received your letter of July 31st--no number, sheets of different
sizes. All these observations mean nothing, unless it is that a person
without anything to do or to think occupies herself with puerile things.
Indeed, I should do very wrong not to profit by all your lessons, and to
persist in the error of believing in friendship, and regarding it as a
good; no, no; I renounce my errors, and am absolutely persuaded that of
all illusions that is the most dangerous.

You who are the apostle of this wise doctrine, receive my confession and
my vows never to love, never to seek to be loved by any one; but tell me
if it is permitted to desire the return of agreeable persons; if one may
long for news of them, and if to be interested in them and to let them
know it is to lack virtue, good sense, and proper behavior. I am
awaiting enlightenment. I cannot doubt your sincerity; you have given me
too many proofs of it; explain yourself without reserve.

     WEDNESDAY, 6th.

Of all the things in your letter, what struck me the most yesterday were
your moralizings on friendship, which forced me to reply at once. I was
interrupted by Monsieur and Madame de Beauvan, who came to take me to
supper with them in the country at the good Duchess of Saint-Pierre's. I
returned early. I did not close my eyes during the night. I woke up
Niart [her secretary] earlier than usual to go on with my letter, and to
re-read me yours. I am better pleased with it this morning than I was
yesterday. The matter of friendship shocked me less. I find that the
conclusion is--let us be friends without friendship. Ah well, so be it;
I consent. Perhaps it is agreeable; let us learn by experience, and for
that--see each other the oftener! In truth, you have only a comic
actress, a deaf woman, and some chickens to leave, as you have only a
blind woman and many goslings to find; but I promise you that the blind
woman will have much to ask and much to tell.

I do not know what to say to you about your ministry. You have
entertained me so little with politics, that if others had not informed
me, all that goes on with you would be less intelligible to me than the
affairs of China. They have told me something of the character of the
count; and as for this certain good comrade [Conway], I think I know him
perfectly. I am pleased that he has remained, but not that he does not
oppose your philosophy. All your opinions are beautiful and
praiseworthy; but if I were in his place I should certainly hinder you
from making use of them, and not regulate my conduct by your moderation
and disinterestedness. Oh! as for my lord, you cannot keep him,--that's
the public cry. It seems to me that the brother and sister-in-law are
not pleased. Do you not detest the people? From the agrarian law to your
monument, your lamps, and your black standard, its joy, its sadness,
its applause, its complaints, are all odious to me. But I am going back
to speak to you about yourself. You say that your fortune, instead of
augmenting, will suffer diminution. I am much afraid of that. No liberty
without a competency. Remember that. If your economy falls upon your
trips to France I shall be miserable. But listen to this without getting

I possess, as you know, a small lodging-room belonging to me, little
worthy of the son of Robert Walpole, but which may satisfy the
philosopher Horace. If he found it convenient, he could occupy it
without incurring the slightest ridicule. He can consult sensible
people, and while waiting, be persuaded that it is not my personal
interest which induces me to offer it to him.

Honestly, my mentor, you could not do better than take it. You would be
near me or a hundred leagues from me if you liked it better. It would
not engage you to any attention nor any assiduity; we would renew our
vows against friendship. It would even be necessary to render more
observance to the Idol [Comtesse de Boufflers]; for who could be
shocked, if not she? Pont-de-Veyle, who approves and advises this
arrangement, claims that even the Idol would find nothing to oppose.
Think of that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Grandmama returned yesterday morning. My favor with her is better
established. She will take supper with me Friday; and as the supper was
arranged without foreseeing that she would be there, she will find a
company which will not exactly suit her,--among others the Idol, and the
Archbishop of Toulouse.

I shall have many things to tell you when I see you. It may be that they
will hardly interest you, but it will be the world of my Strawberry

You agree with me about the letters, which pleases me. I believe myself
a genius when I find myself in agreement with you. This Prince Geoffrin
is excellent. Surely heaven is witness that I do not love you, but I am
forced to find you very agreeable.

Are you waiting until your arrival here to give a jug to the Maréchale
de Luxembourg? I see no necessity of making a present to the Idol;
incense, incense, that is all it wants!

I have a great desire that you should read a Memoir of La Chalottais; it
is very rare, very much "prohibited," but I am intriguing to get it.

M. de Beauvan begs you to send me a febrifuge for him. It is from Dr.
James, I think. There are two kinds; one is mild and the other violent.
He requires a louis's worth of each.

You are mightily deceiving yourself if you think Voltaire author of the
analysis of the romance of 'Héloise'. The author is a man from Bordeaux,
a friend of M. de Secondat. Àpropos of Voltaire, he has had the King of
Prussia sounded to know if he would consent to give him asylum at Wesel
in case he were obliged to leave his abode. This his Majesty has very
willingly granted.

Good-by. I am counting upon being able in future to give you news of
your court and your ministry. I have made a new acquaintance, who is a
favorite of Lord Bute and the most intimate friend of Lord Holderness. I
do not doubt that this lord is aiming at my Lord Rochefort's place, who
they say scarcely troubles himself about the embassy.

Write me, I beg you, at least once a week.

Tell me if M. Crawford is in Scotland.

It is thought that the first news from Rome will inform us of the death
of Chevalier Macdonald.


     NOVEMBER, 1765.

No, no! I do not want to draw your likeness; nobody knows you less than
I. Sometimes you seem to me what I wish you were, sometimes what I fear
you may be, and perhaps never what you really are. I know very well that
you have a great deal of wit of all kinds and all styles, and you must
know it better than any one.

But your character should be painted, and of that I am not a good judge.
It would require indifference, or impartiality at least. However, I can
tell you that you are a very sincere man, that you have principles, that
you are brave, that you pride yourself upon your firmness; that when you
have come to a decision, good or bad, nothing induces you to change it,
so that your firmness sometimes resembles obstinacy. Your heart is good
and your friendship strong, but neither tender nor facile. Your fear of
being weak makes you hard. You are on your guard against all
sensibility. You cannot refuse to render valuable services to your
friends; you sacrifice your own interest to them, but you refuse them
the slightest of favors. Kind and humane to all about you, you do not
give yourself the slightest trouble to please your friends in little

Your disposition is very agreeable although not very even. All your ways
are noble, easy, and natural. Your desire to please does not lead you
into affectation. Your knowledge of the world and your experience have
given you a great contempt for men, and taught you how to live with
them. You know that all their assurances go for nothing. In exchange you
give them politeness and consideration, and all those who do not care
about being loved are content with you.

I do not know whether you have much feeling. If you have, you fight it
as a weakness. You permit yourself only that which seems virtuous. You
are a philosopher; you have no vanity, although you have a great deal of
self-love. But your self-love does not blind you; it rather makes you
exaggerate your faults than conceal them. You never extol yourself
except when you are forced to do so by comparing yourself with other
men. You possess discernment, very delicate tact, very correct taste;
your tone is excellent.

You would have been the best possible companion in past centuries; you
are in this, and you would be in those to come. Englishman as you are,
your manners belong to all countries.

You have an unpardonable weakness to which you sacrifice your feelings
and submit your conduct--the fear of ridicule. It makes you dependent
upon the opinion of fools; and your friends are not safe from the
impressions against them which fools choose to give you.

Your judgment is easily confused. You are aware of this weakness, which
you control by the firmness with which you pursue your resolutions. Your
opposition to any deviation is sometimes pushed too far, and exercised
in matters not worth the trouble.

Your instincts are noble and generous. You do good for the pleasure of
doing it, without ostentation, without claiming gratitude; in short,
your spirit is beautiful and high.




[Illustration: DANIEL DEFOE.]

Daniel Defoe, one of the most vigorous and voluminous writers of the
last decade of the seventeenth and the first quarter of the eighteenth
centuries, was born in St. Giles parish, Cripplegate, in 1660 or 1661,
and died near London in 1731. His father was a butcher named Foe, and
the evolution of the son's name through the various forms of D. Foe, De
Foe, Defoe, to Daniel Defoe, the present accepted form, did not begin
much before he reached the age of forty. He was educated at the
"dissenting school" of a Mr. Martin in Newington Green, and was intended
for the Presbyterian ministry. Although the training at this school was
not inferior to that to be obtained at the universities,--and indeed
superior in one respect, since all the exercises were in English,--the
fact that he had never been "in residence" set Defoe a little apart from
the literary society of the day. Swift, Pope, Addison, Arbuthnot, and
the rest, considered him untrained and uncultured, and habitually spoke
of him with the contempt which the regular feels for the volunteer.
Swift referred to him as "an illiterate fellow whose name I forget," and
Pope actually inserted his name in the 'Dunciad':--

     "Earless on high stood unabashed De Foe."

This line is false in two ways, for Defoe's ears were not clipped,
though he was condemned to stand in the pillory; and there can hardly be
a greater incongruity conceived than there is between our idea of a
dunce and the energetic, shifty, wide-awake Defoe,--though for that
matter a scholar like Bentley and a wit like Colley Cibber are as much
out of place in the poet's ill-natured catalogue. Defoe angrily resented
the taunts of the university men and their professional assumption of
superiority, and answered Swift that "he had been in his time master of
five languages and had not lost them yet," and challenged John Tutchin
to "translate with him any Latin, French, or Italian author, and then
retranslate them crosswise, for twenty pounds each book."

Notwithstanding the great activity of Defoe's pen (over two hundred
pamphlets and books, most of them of considerable length, are known to
be his; and it is more than probable that much of his work was anonymous
and has perished, or could be only partly disinterred by laborious
conjecture) he found time to engage twice in business, once as a factor
in hosiery and once as a maker of tiles. In each venture he seems to
have been unfortunate, and his business experience is alluded to here
only because his practical knowledge of mercantile matters is evident in
all his work. Even his pirates like Captain Bob Singleton, and
adventurers like Colonel Jack, have a decided commercial flavor. They
keep a weather eye on the profit-and-loss account, and retire like
thrifty traders on a well-earned competency. It is worth mentioning,
however, to Defoe's credit, that in one or two instances at least he
paid his debts in full, after compromising with his creditors.

Defoe's writings, though all marked by his strong but limited
personality, fall naturally into three classes:--

First, his political writings, in which may be included his wretched
attempts at political satire, and most of his journalistic work. This is
included in numberless pamphlets, broad-sheets, newspapers, and the
like, and is admirable expository matter on the public questions of the
day. Second, his fiction, 'Robinson Crusoe,' 'Captain Singleton,'
'Colonel Jack,' 'Roxana,' and 'Moll Flanders.' Third, his miscellaneous
work; innumerable biographies and papers like the 'History of the
Plague,' the 'Account of the Great Storm,' 'The True Relation of the
Apparition of One Mrs. Veal,' etc. Between the last two classes there is
a close connection, since both were written for the market; and his
fictions proper are cast in the autobiographical form and are founded on
incidents in the lives of real persons, and his biographies contain a
large proportion of fiction.

Some knowledge of Defoe's political work is necessary to a comprehension
of the early eighteenth century. During his life the power of the people
and of the House of Commons was slowly extended, and the foundations of
the modern English Constitution were laid. The trading and manufacturing
classes, especially in the city of London, increased in wealth and
political consequence. The reading public on which a popular writer
could rely, widened. With these changes--partly as cause and purely as
consequence--came the establishment of "News Journals" and "Reviews."
Besides Addison's Spectator for the more cultured classes, multitudes of
periodicals were founded which aimed to reach a more general public. The
old method of a broad-sheet or the pamphlet, hawked in the streets or
exposed for sale and cried at the book-stalls, was still in use, but the
regular issue of a news-letter was taking its place. Defoe attacked the
public in both ways with unwearied assiduity. His poem 'The True-Born
Englishman' was sold in the streets to the astonishing number of
eighty thousand. In 1704 he established the Review, a bi-weekly. It ran
to 1713, and Defoe wrote nearly all of each number. Afterwards he was
for eight years main contributor and substantially manager of Mist's
Journal, a Tory organ; and one of the most serious and well-founded
charges against this first great journalist is, that he was deficient in
journalistic honor, and remained in the pay of the Whig Ministry while
attached to the Opposition organ. During this period he founded and
conducted several other journals.

Defoe possessed in a large measure the journalistic sense. No one ever
had a finer instinct in the subtle arts of "working the public" and of
advertising. When the notorious Jack Sheppard was condemned, he visited
him at Newgate, wrote his life, and had the highwayman, standing under
the gallows, send for a copy and deliver it as his "last speech and
dying confession." There is a certain breadth and originality in this
stroke, hardly to be paralleled in modern journalism. Defoe had the
knack of singling out from the mass of passing events whatever would be
likely to interest the public. He brought out an account in some
newspaper, and if successful, made the occurrence the subject of a
longer article in pamphlet or book form. He was always on the lookout
for matter, which he utilized with a pen of marvelous rapidity. The
gazette or embryonic newspaper was at first confined to a rehearsal of
news. Defoe invented the leading article or "news-letter" of weekly
comment, and the society column of Mercure Scandaleuse.

The list of Defoe's political pamphlets is a large one, but they are of
more interest to the historian than to the general reader. While they
are far inferior in construction and victorious good sense to Sydney
Smith's magazine articles on kindred topics, and to Swift's 'Drapier's
Letters' in subtle appeals to the prejudices of the ignorant, they show
a remarkable command over the method of reaching the plain people,--to
use President Lincoln's phrase, and taking it to mean that great body of
quiet persons who desire on the whole to be fair in their judgments, but
who must have their duty made quite evident before they see it. Defoe is
never vituperative--that is, vituperative for a time when Pope and Swift
and Dennis made their personal invective so much higher flavored than
modern taste endures. He seems to have been tolerant by nature; and
although this proceeds in his case from the fact that his moral
enthusiasm was never very warm, and not from any innate refinement of
nature, he is entitled to the credit of moderation in the use of abusive
language. He is tolerant, too, of those who differ from him in politics
and religion; and though it is absurd to suppose, as some of his
biographers have done, that he was so far in advance of his century as
to have advocated the political soundness of free trade, he shows in
his treatment of commercial questions the marks of a broad and
comprehensive mind. He speaks of foreigners in a cosmopolitan spirit,
with the exception of the Portuguese, for whom he seems to feel a lively
dislike, founded possibly on some of his early business experiences. The
reader will remember the dignified and courteous demeanor of the
Spaniards in 'Robinson Crusoe'; and although the violent antipathy of
the previous generation to Spanish Romanists had abated, Defoe's freedom
from insular prejudice is noteworthy, the more so that a "discreet and
sober bearing," such as he gives his Spaniards, seems to have been his
ideal of conduct. Defoe is a great journalist, and although he is a
typical hack, writing timely articles for pay, he has a touch of genius.
He was always successful in gaining the ear of his public; and in the
one instance where he hit upon a subject of universal interest, the life
of the solitary castaway thrown absolutely on his own resources, he
wrote a book, without any effort or departure from his usual style,
which has been as popular with succeeding generations as it was with his
own. It is a mistake to call 'Robinson Crusoe' a "great boy's
book,"--unless we regard the boy nature as persistent in all men, and
perhaps it is in all healthy men,--for it treats the unaided conflict
with nature and circumstance, which is the essence of adult life, with
unequaled simplicity and force. Crusoe is not merely an adventurer; he
is the human will, courage, resolution, stripped of all the adventitious
support of society. He has the elements of universal humanity, though in
detail he is as distinctly English as Odysseus is Greek.

The characters of Defoe's other novels--Colonel Jack, Captain Singleton,
Moll Flanders, and Roxana--are so repulsive, and so entirely unaware of
their repulsiveness, that we can take little interest in them. Possibly
an exception might be made in favor of Colonel Jack, who evinces at
times an amusing humor. All are criminals, and the conflict of the
criminal with the forces of society may be the subject of the most
powerful fiction. But these books are inartistic in several regards. No
criminals, even allowing them to be hypocrites, ever disclose themselves
in the open-hearted manner of these autobiographers. Vice always pays to
virtue the homage of a certain reticence in details. Despite all his
Newgate experiences and his acquaintance with noted felons, Defoe never
understood either the weakness or the strength of the criminal type. So
all his harlots and thieves and outcasts are decidedly amateurish. A
serious transgression of the moral law is to them a very slight matter,
to be soon forgotten after a temporary fit of repentance, and a long
course of evil living in no wise interferes with a comfortable and
respectable old age. His pirates have none of the desperation and brutal
heroism of sin. Stevenson's John Silver or Israel Hands is worth a
schooner-load of them. Neither they nor their author seem to value
virtue very highly, though they are acutely sensitive to the discomfort
of an evil reputation. Possibly such people may be true to a certain
type of humanity, but they are exceedingly uninteresting. A writer who
takes so narrow a view cannot produce a great book, even though his lack
of moral scope and insight is partly compensated by a vivid presentation
of life on the low plane from which he views it.

'Moll Flanders' and 'Roxana' are very coarse books, but it can hardly be
said that they are harmful or corrupting. They are simply vulgar. Vice
has preserved all its evil by preserving all its grossness. Passion is
reduced to mere animalism, and is depicted with the brutal directness of
Hogarth. This may be good morals, but it is unpleasant art. It is true
that Defoe's test of a writer was that he should "please and serve his
public," and in providing amusement he was not more refined nor more
coarse than those whom he addressed; but a writer should look a little
deeper and aim a little higher than the average morality of his day.
Otherwise he may please but will not serve his generation, in any true
sense of literary service.

Defoe is sometimes spoken of as the first great realist. In a limited
sense this may be true. No doubt he presents the surface of a limited
area of the eighteenth-century world with fidelity. With the final
establishment of Protestantism, the increase of trade, and the building
of physical science on the broad foundations laid down by Newton,
England had become more mundane than at any other period. The intense
faith and the imaginative quality of the seventeenth century were
deadened. The eighteenth century kept its eyes on the earth, and though
it found a great many interesting and wonderful things there, and though
it laid the foundations of England's industrial greatness, it was
neither a spiritual nor an artistic age. The novel was in its infancy;
and as if a "true story" was more worthy of respect than an invention,
it received from Defoe an air of verisimilitude and is usually based on
some real events. He is careful to embellish his fictions with little
bits of realism. Thus, Moll Flanders gives an inventory of the goods she
took to America, and in the 'History of the Plague' Defoe adds a note to
his description of a burial-ground:--"N.B. The author of this Journal
lies buried in that very ground, being at his own desire, his sister
having been buried there a few weeks before." This enumeration of
particulars certainly gives an air of reality, but it is a trick easily
caught, and it is only now and then that he hits--as in the above
instance--on the characteristic circumstance which gives life and
reality to the narrative. Except in 'Robinson Crusoe,' much of his
detail is irrelevant and tiresome. But all the events on the lonely
island are admirably harmonized and have a cumulative effect. The
second part,--after the rescue,--written to take advantage of the
popularity of the first, is vastly inferior. The artistic selective
power is not exercised. This same concrete imagination which sees minute
details is also evident in his contemporary Swift, but with him it works
at the bidding of a far more fervid and emotional spirit.

Defoe is a pioneer in novel-writing and in journalism, and in both he
shows wonderful readiness in appreciating what the public would like and
energy in supplying them with it. To the inventor or discoverer of a new
form we cannot deny great credit. Most writers imitate, but it cannot be
said that Defoe founded himself on any predecessor, while his successors
are numbered by hundreds. A certain relationship could be traced between
his work, and the picaresque tales of France and Spain on the one hand
and the contemporary journals of actual adventure on the other; but not
one close enough to detract from his claim to original power.

Some of Defoe's political work, like 'The True-Born Englishman,' 'The
Shortest Way with Dissenters,' 'Reasons against the Succession of the
House of Hanover,' are written in the ironical tone. Mr. Saintsbury
seems to think that Defoe's method is not truly ironical, because it
differs from Swift's; but if we remember that one writer differeth from
another in irony, there is no reason to deny Defoe's mastery of this
penetrating weapon, especially when we find that he imposed on both
parties. The judges told him that "irony of that sort would bring him to
the gallows," but the eighteenth-century law of libel was more rigid in
its constructions than the canons of literary art.

Defoe made several attempts at poetical satire, which are sufficient to
show that he lacked either the talent or the patience to write political
verse. Compared with Dryden's or Pope's, his work is mere doggerel,
enlivened by occasional vigorous couplets like--

     "Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
     The devil always builds a chapel there:
     And 'twill be found upon examination
     The latter has the largest congregation."


     "No panegyric needs their praise record--
     An Englishman ne'er wants his own good word."

But an examination will confirm the impression that Defoe was not a
poet, as surely as the re-reading of 'Robinson Crusoe' will strengthen
our hereditary belief that he was a great writer of prose.

[Illustration: signature (Charles F Johnson)]



Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I sunk
into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not deliver
myself from the waves so as to draw my breath; till that wave having
driven me or rather carried me a vast way on towards the shore, and
having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the land almost dry,
but half dead with the water I took in. I had so much presence of mind
as well as breath left, that seeing myself nearer the mainland than I
expected, I got upon my feet, and endeavored to make on towards the land
as fast as I could, before another wave should return and take me up
again; but I soon found it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea
coming after me as high as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy
which I had no means or strength to contend with: my business was to
hold my breath, and raise myself upon the water, if I could; and so by
swimming to preserve my breathing, and pilot myself towards the shore if
possible; my greatest concern now being that the wave, as it would carry
me a great way towards the shore when it came on, might not carry me
back again with it when it gave back towards the sea.

The wave that came upon me again, buried me at once twenty or thirty
feet deep in its own body; and I could feel myself carried with a mighty
force and swiftness towards the shore, a very great way; but I held my
breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward with all my might. I
was ready to burst with holding my breath, when, as I felt myself rising
up, so to my immediate relief I found my head and hands shoot out above
the surface of the water; and though it was not two seconds of time that
I could keep myself so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath and
new courage. I was covered again with water a good while, but not so
long but I held it out; and finding the water had spent itself, and
began to return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and
felt ground again with my feet. I stood still a few moments to recover
breath, and till the water went from me, and then took to my heels and
ran with what strength I had farther towards the shore. But neither
would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came pouring in
after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the waves and carried
forward as before, the shore being very flat.

The last time of these two had well-nigh been fatal to me; for the sea
having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed me,
against a piece of rock, and that with such force that it left me
senseless, and indeed helpless as to my own deliverance; for the blow
taking my side and breast, beat the breath as it were quite out of my
body, and had it returned again immediately I must have been strangled
in the water; but I recovered a little before the return of the waves,
and seeing I should again be covered with the water, I resolved to hold
fast by a piece of the rock, and so to hold my breath if possible till
the wave went back. Now, as the waves were not so high as the first,
being nearer land, I held my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched
another run, which brought me so near the shore, that the next wave,
though it went over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me
away; and the next run I took, I got to the mainland, where to my great
comfort I clambered up the cliffs of the shore, and sat me down upon the
grass, free from danger and quite out of the reach of the water.

I was now landed, and safe on shore; and began to look up and thank God
that my life was saved, in a case wherein there were, some minutes
before, scarce any room to hope. I believe it is impossible to express,
to the life, what the ecstasies and transports of the soul are when it
is so saved, as I may say, out of the grave: and I did not wonder now at
the custom, viz., that when a malefactor who has the halter about his
neck is tied up, and just going to be turned off, and has a reprieve
brought to him,--I say I do not wonder that they bring a surgeon with
it, to let him blood that very moment they tell him of it; that the
surprise may not drive the animal spirits from the heart and overwhelm

     "For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first."

I walked about the shore, lifting up my hands, and my whole being, as I
may say, wrapped up in the contemplation of my deliverance; making a
thousand gestures and motions which I cannot describe; reflecting upon
my comrades that were drowned, and that there should not be one soul
saved but myself; for as for them, I never saw them afterwards, or
any sign of them, except three of the hats, one cap, and two shoes that
were not fellows.

[Illustration: _DEFOE._

Facsimile, somewhat reduced, of the frontispiece to the first edition of



The full title reads:--The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of
Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived eight-and-twenty years all
alone, on an uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth
of the Great River of Oroonoque: Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck,
wherein all the others perished but himself. With An Account how he was
at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates. Written by Himself.]

I cast my eyes to the stranded vessel--when the breach and froth of the
sea being so big I could hardly see it, it lay so far off--and
considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on shore?


I soon found the place I was in was not for my settlement, particularly
because it was upon a low moorish ground, near the sea, and I believed
it would not be wholesome; and more particularly because there was no
fresh water near it; so I resolved to find a more healthy and more
convenient spot of ground.

I consulted several things in my situation which I found would be proper
for me: first, air and fresh water, I just now mentioned; secondly,
shelter from the heat of the sun; thirdly, security from ravenous
creatures, whether men or beasts; fourthly, a view to the sea, that if
God sent any ship in sight, I might not lose any advantage for my
deliverance, of which I was not willing to banish all my expectation

I searched for a place proper for this. I found a little plain on the
side of a rising hill, whose front towards this little plain was steep
as a house-side, so that nothing could come down upon me from the top.
On the side of this rock there was a hollow place, worn a little way in,
like the entrance or door of a cave; but there was not really any cave,
or way into the rock at all.

On the flat of the green, just before this hollow place, I resolved to
pitch my tent. This plain was not above a hundred yards broad, and about
twice as long, and lay like a green before my door; and at the end of it
descended irregularly every way down into the low ground by the seaside.
It was on the N. N. W. side of the hill, so that it was sheltered from
the heat every day, till it came to a W. and by S. sun, or thereabouts,
which in those countries is near the setting.

Before I set up my tent I drew a half-circle before the hollow place,
which took in about ten yards in its semi-diameter from the rock, and
twenty yards in its diameter from its beginning and ending.

In this half-circle I pitched two rows of long stakes, driving them into
the ground till they stood very firm like piles, the biggest end being
out of the ground about five feet and a half, and sharpened on the top.
The two rows did not stand above six inches from one another.

Then I took the pieces of cable which I cut in the ship, and laid them
in rows, one upon another, within the circle between these two rows of
stakes, up to the top, placing other stakes in the inside, leaning
against them, about two feet and a half high, like a spur to a post: and
this fence was so strong that neither man nor beast could get into it or
over it. This cost me a great deal of time and labor, especially to cut
the piles in the woods, bring them to the place, and drive them into the

The entrance into this place I made to be not by a door, but by a short
ladder to go over the top; which ladder, when I was in, I lifted over
after me; and so I was completely fenced in and fortified, as I thought,
from all the world, and consequently slept secure in the night, which
otherwise I could not have done; though as it appeared afterwards, there
was no need of all this caution against the enemies that I apprehended
danger from.


It happened one day about noon, going toward my boat, I was exceedingly
surprised with the print of a man's naked foot on the shore, which was
very plain to be seen on the sand. I stood like one thunderstruck, or as
if I had seen an apparition. I listened, I looked about me, but I could
hear nothing or see anything; I went up to a rising ground to look
farther; I went up the shore and down the shore, but it was all one: I
could see no other impression but that one. I went to it again to see if
there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my fancy; but
there was no room for that, for there was exactly the print of a
foot--toes, heel, and every part of a foot. How it came hither I knew
not, nor could I in the least imagine; but after innumerable fluttering
thoughts, like a man perfectly confused and out of myself, I came home
to my fortification, not feeling, as we say, the ground I went on, but
terrified to the last degree, looking behind me at every two or three
steps, mistaking every bush and tree, and fancying every stump at a
distance to be a man. Nor is it possible to describe how many various
shapes my affrighted imagination represented things to me in, how many
wild ideas were found every moment in my fancy, and what strange
unaccountable whimseys came into my thoughts by the way. When I came to
my castle (for so I think I called it ever after this) I fled into it
like one pursued. Whether I went over by the ladder, as first contrived,
or went in at the hole in the rock, which I had called a door, I cannot
remember; no, nor could I remember the next morning, for never
frightened hare fled to cover or fox to earth with more terror of mind
than I to this retreat.



But I must go back again to the beginning of this surprising time; while
the fears of the people were young, they were increased strangely by
several odd incidents, which put altogether, it was really a wonder the
whole body of the people did not rise as one man and abandon their
dwellings, leaving the place as a space of ground designed by heaven for
an Akeldama doomed to be destroyed from the face of the earth, and that
all that would be found in it would perish with it. I shall name but a
few of these things; but sure they were so many, and so many wizards and
cunning people propagating them, that I have often wondered there was
any (women especially) left behind.

In the first place, a blazing star or comet appeared for several months
before the plague, as there did the year after, another, a little before
the fire; the old women, and the phlegmatic hypochondriac part of the
other sex, whom I could almost call the old women too, remarked,
especially afterward, though not till both those judgments were over,
that those two comets passed directly over the city, and that so very
near the houses that it was plain they imported something peculiar to
the city alone. That the comet before the pestilence was of a faint,
dull, languid color, and its motion very heavy, solemn, and slow; but
that the comet before the fire was bright and sparkling, or as others
said, flaming, and its motion swift and furious; and that accordingly
one foretold a heavy judgment, slow but severe, terrible, and frightful,
as was the plague. But the other foretold a stroke, sudden, swift, and
fiery, as was the conflagration; nay, so particular some people were,
that as they looked upon that comet preceding the fire they fancied that
they not only saw it pass swiftly and fiercely, and could perceive the
motion with their eye, but they even heard it,--that it made a rushing
mighty noise, fierce and terrible, though at a distance and but just

I saw both these stars, and I must confess, had had so much of the
common notion of such things in my head that I was apt to look upon them
as the forerunners and warnings of God's judgments; and especially when
the plague had followed the first, I saw yet another of the like kind, I
could not but say, God had not yet sufficiently scourged the city.

The apprehensions of the people were likewise strangely increased by the
error of the times, in which I think the people, from what principle I
cannot imagine, were more addicted to prophecies and astrological
conjurations, dreams, and old wives' tales, than ever they were before
or since: whether this unhappy temper was originally raised by the
follies of some people who got money by it,--that is to say, by printing
predictions and prognostications,--I know not; but certain it is, books
frighted them terribly; such as 'Lily's Almanack,' 'Gadbury's
Astrological Predictions,' 'Poor Robin's Almanack,' and the like; also
several pretended religious books, one entitled, 'Come out of Her, my
People, lest Ye be Partakers of her Plagues'; another called 'Fair
Warning'; another, 'Britain's Remembrancer'; and many such, all or most
part of which foretold, directly or covertly, the ruin of the city; nay,
some were so enthusiastically bold as to run about the streets with
their oral predictions, pretending they were sent to preach to the city;
and one in particular, who like Jonah to Nineveh, cried in the streets,
"Yet forty days, and London shall be destroyed." I will not be positive
whether he said forty days or yet a few days. Another ran about naked,
except a pair of drawers about his waist, crying day and night, like a
man that Josephus mentions, who cried, "Woe to Jerusalem!" a little
before the destruction of that city; so this poor naked creature cried,
"Oh! the great and the dreadful God!" and said no more, but repeated
those words continually, with a voice and countenance full of horror, a
swift pace; and nobody could ever find him to stop, or rest, or take any
sustenance, at least that ever I could hear of. I met this poor creature
several times in the streets, and would have spoken to him, but he would
not enter into speech with me or any one else, but kept on his dismal
cries continually.

These things terrified the people to the last degree; and especially
when two or three times, as I have mentioned already, they found one or
two in the hills, dead of the plague at St. Giles's.

Next to these public things were the dreams of old women; or I should
say, the interpretation of old women upon other people's dreams; and
these put abundance of people even out of their wits. Some heard voices
warning them to be gone, for that there would be such a plague in
London, so that the living would not be able to bury the dead; others
saw apparitions in the air; and I must be allowed to say of both, I hope
without breach of charity, that they heard voices that never spake, and
saw sights that never appeared; but the imagination of the people was
really turned wayward and possessed; and no wonder if they who were
poring continually at the clouds saw shapes and figures, representations
and appearances, which had nothing in them but air and vapor. Here they
told us they saw a flaming sword held in a hand, coming out of a cloud,
with a point hanging directly over the city. There they saw hearses and
coffins in the air carrying to be buried. And there again, heaps of dead
bodies lying unburied and the like; just as the imagination of the poor
terrified people furnished them with matter to work upon.

     "So hypochondriac fancies represent
     Ships, armies, battles in the firmament;
     Till steady eyes the exhalations solve,
     And all to its first matter, cloud, resolve."

I could fill this account with the strange relations such people give
every day of what they have seen; and every one was so positive of their
having seen what they pretended to see, that there was no contradicting
them without breach of friendship, or being accounted rude and
unmannerly on the one hand and profane and impenetrable on the other.
One time before the plague was begun, otherwise than as I have said in
St. Giles's,--I think it was in March,--seeing a crowd of people in the
street I joined with them to satisfy my curiosity, and found them all
staring up into the air to see what a woman told them appeared plain to
her, which was an angel clothed in white, with a fiery sword in his
hand, waving it or brandishing it over his head. She described every
part of the figure to the life, showed them the motion and the form,
and the poor people came into it so eagerly and with so much readiness:
"Yes! I see it all plainly," says one, "there's the sword as plain as
can be;" another saw the angel; one saw his very face, and cried out
what a glorious creature he was! One saw one thing, and one another. I
looked as earnestly as the rest, but perhaps not with so much
willingness to be imposed upon; and I said indeed that I could see
nothing but a white cloud, bright on one side by the shining of the sun
upon the other part. The woman endeavored to show it me, but could not
make me confess that I saw it, which indeed if I had, I must have lied;
but the woman turning to me looked me in the face and fancied I laughed,
in which her imagination deceived her too, for I really did not laugh,
but was seriously reflecting how the poor people were terrified by the
force of their own imagination. However, she turned to me, called me a
profane fellow and a scoffer, told me that it was a time of God's anger,
and dreadful judgments were approaching, and that despisers such as I
should wander and perish.

The people about her seemed disgusted as well as she, and I found there
was no persuading them that I did not laugh at them, and that I should
be rather mobbed by them than be able to undeceive them. So I left them,
and this appearance passed for as real as the blazing star itself.

Another encounter I had in the open day also; and this was in going
through a narrow passage from Petty France into Bishopsgate Churchyard,
by a row of almshouses. There are two churchyards to Bishopsgate Church
or parish; one we go over to pass from the place called Petty France
into Bishopsgate Street, coming out just by the church door; the other
is on the side of the narrow passage where the almshouses are on the
left, and a dwarf wall with a palisade on it on the right hand, and the
city wall on the other side more to the right.

In this narrow passage stands a man looking through the palisades into
the burying-place, and as many people as the narrowness of the place
would admit to stop without hindering the passage of others; and he was
talking mighty eagerly to them, and pointing now to one place, then to
another, and affirming that he saw a ghost walking upon such a
gravestone there: he described the shape, the posture, and the movement
of it so exactly, that it was the greatest amazement to him in the world
that everybody did not see it as well as he. On a sudden he would cry,
"There it is! Now it comes this way!" then, "'Tis turned back!" till at
length he persuaded the people into so firm a belief of it, that one
fancied he saw it; and thus he came every day making a strange hubbub,
considering it was so narrow a passage, till Bishopsgate clock struck
eleven, and then the ghost would seem to start, and as if he were called
away, disappear on a sudden.

I looked earnestly every way and at the very moment that this man
directed, but could not see the least appearance of anything; but so
positive was this poor man that he gave them vapors in abundance, and
sent them away trembling and frightened, till at length few people that
knew of it cared to go through that passage, and hardly anybody by night
on any account whatever.

This ghost, as the poor man affirmed, made signs to the houses, and to
the ground, and to the people, plainly intimating, or else they so
understanding it, that abundance of people should come to be buried in
that churchyard, as indeed happened; but that he saw such aspects, I
must acknowledge I never believed, nor could I see anything of it
myself, though I looked most earnestly to see it if possible.


I cannot omit a subtlety of one of those quack operators, with which he
gulled the poor people to crowd about him, but did nothing for them
without money. He had, it seems, added to his bills which he gave out in
the streets, this advertisement in capital letters; viz., "He gives
advice to the poor for nothing."

Abundance of people came to him accordingly, to whom he made a great
many fine speeches, examined them of the state of their health and of
the constitution of their bodies, and told them many good things to do
which were of no great moment; but the issue and conclusion of all was,
that he had a preparation which, if they took such a quantity of every
morning, he would pawn his life that they should never have the
plague,--no, though they lived in the house with people that were
infected. This made the people all resolve to have it; but then the
price of that was so much,--I think it was half a crown. "But, sir,"
says one poor woman, "I am a poor almswoman, and am kept by the parish,
and your bills say you give the poor your help for nothing." "Ay, good
woman," says the doctor, "so I do, as I published there; I give my
advice, but not my physic!" "Alas, sir," says she, "that is a snare laid
for the poor then, for you give them your advice for nothing: that is to
say, you advise them gratis, to buy your physic for their money; so does
every shopkeeper with his wares." Here the woman began to give him ill
words, and stood at his door all that day, telling her tale to all the
people that came, till the doctor, finding she turned away his
customers, was obliged to call her up-stairs again and give her his box
of physic for nothing, which perhaps too was good for nothing when she
had it.


This shutting up of houses was at first counted a very cruel and
unchristian method, and the poor people so confined made bitter
lamentations; complaints of the severity of it were also daily brought
to my lord mayor, of houses causelessly and some maliciously shut up; I
cannot say, but upon inquiry, many that complained so loudly were found
in a condition to be continued; and others again, inspection being made
upon the sick person and the sickness not appearing infectious, or if
uncertain, yet on his being content to be carried to the pest-house, was

As I went along Houndsditch one morning about eight o'clock there was a
great noise; it is true indeed that there was not much crowd, because
the people were not very free to gather together, or to stay together
when they were there, nor did I stay long there; but the outcry was loud
enough to prompt my curiosity, and I called to one who looked out of a
window, and asked what was the matter.

A watchman, it seems, had been employed to keep his post at the door of
a house which was infected, or said to be infected, and was shut up; he
had been there all night for two nights together, as he told his story,
and the day watchman had been there one day, and was now come to relieve
him; all this while no noise had been heard in the house, no light had
been seen, they called for nothing, sent him on no errands, which used
to be the chief business of the watchman, neither had they given him any
disturbance, as he said, from Monday afternoon, when he heard a great
crying and screaming in the house, which as he supposed was occasioned
by some of the family dying just at that time. It seems the night
before, the dead-cart, as it was called, had been stopt there, and a
servant-maid had been brought down to the door dead, and the buriers or
bearers, as they were called, put her into the cart, wrapped only in a
green rug, and carried her away.

The watchman had knocked at the door, it seems, when he heard that noise
and crying as above, and nobody answered a great while; but at last one
looked out and said with an angry quick tone, and yet a kind of crying
voice, or a voice of one that was crying, "What d'ye want, that you make
such a knocking?" He answered, "I am the watchman; how do you do? What
is the matter?" The person answered, "What is that to you? Stop the
dead-cart." This, it seems, was about one o'clock; soon after, as the
fellow said, he stopped the dead-cart, and then knocked again, but
nobody answered; he continued knocking, and the bellman called out
several times, "Bring out your dead;" but nobody answered, till the man
that drove the cart, being called to other houses, would stay no longer,
and drove away.

The watchman knew not what to make of all this, so he let them alone
till the morning man, or day watchman, as they called him, came to
relieve him. Giving him an account of the particulars, they knocked at
the door a great while, but nobody answered, and they observed that the
window or casement at which the person looked out who had answered
before, continued open, being up two pair of stairs.

Upon this the two men, to satisfy their curiosity, got a long ladder,
and one of them went up to the window and looked into the room, where he
saw a woman lying dead upon the floor in a dismal manner, having no
clothes on her but her shift; but though he called aloud, and putting in
his long staff, knocked hard on the floor, yet nobody stirred or
answered; neither could he hear any noise in the house.

He came down upon this, and acquainted his fellow, who went up also, and
finding it just so, they resolved to acquaint either the lord mayor or
some other magistrate of it, but did not offer to go in at the window.
The magistrate, it seems, upon the information of the two men ordered
the house to be broken open, a constable and other persons being
appointed to be present, that nothing might be plundered; and
accordingly it was so done, when nobody was found in the house but that
young woman, who having been infected and past recovery, the rest had
left her to die by herself, and every one gone, having found some way to
delude the watchman and to get open the door, or get out at some back
door, or over the tops of the houses, so that he knew nothing of it; and
as to those cries and shrieks which he heard, it was supposed they were
the passionate cries of the family at this bitter parting, which to be
sure it was to them all, this being the sister to the mistress of the
family. The man of the house, his wife, several children and servants,
being all gone and fled; whether sick or sound, that I could never
learn, nor indeed did I make much inquiry after it.


Here we may observe, and I hope it will not be amiss to take notice of
it, that a near view of death would soon reconcile men of good
principles one to another, and that it is chiefly owing to our easy
situation in life, and our putting these things far from us, that our
breaches are fomented, ill blood continued, prejudices, breach of
charity and of Christian union so much kept and so far carried on among
us as it is: another plague year would reconcile all these differences;
a close conversing with death or with diseases that threaten death would
scum off the gall from our tempers, remove the animosities among us, and
bring us to see with differing eyes than those which we looked on things
before; as the people who had been used to join with the church were
reconciled at this time with the admitting the Dissenters, who with an
uncommon prejudice had broken off from the communion of the Church of
England, were now content to come to their parish churches, and to
conform to the worship which they did not approve of before; but as the
terror of the infection abated, those things all returned again to their
less desirable channel, and to the course they were in before.

I mention this but historically. I have no mind to enter into arguments
to move either or both sides to a more charitable compliance one with
another; I do not see that it is probable such a discourse would be
either suitable or successful; the breaches seem rather to widen, and
tend to a widening farther than to closing; and who am I that I should
think myself able to influence either one side or the other? But this I
may repeat again, that it is evident death will reconcile us all--on the
other side the grave we shall be all brethren again; in heaven, whither
I hope we may come from all parties and persuasions, we shall find
neither prejudice nor scruple; there we shall be of one principle and of
one opinion. Why we cannot be content to go hand in hand to the place
where we shall join heart and hand, without the least hesitation and
with the most complete harmony and affection; I say, why we cannot do so
here, I can say nothing to, neither shall I say anything more of it but
that it remains to be lamented.


This [38,195 deaths in about a month] was a prodigious number of itself;
but if I should add the reasons which I have to believe that this
account was deficient, and how deficient it was, you would with me make
no scruple to believe that there died above 10,000 a week for all those
weeks, and a proportion for several weeks both before and after. The
confusion among the people, especially within the city, at that time was
inexpressible; the terror was so great at last that the courage of the
people appointed to carry away the dead began to fail them; nay, several
of them died, although they had the distemper before, and were
recovered; and some of them dropped down when they had been carrying the
bodies even at the pitside, and just ready to throw them in; and this
confusion was greater in the city, because they had flattered themselves
with hopes of escaping, and thought the bitterness of death was past.
One cart, they told us, going up to Shoreditch, was forsaken by the
drivers, or being left to one man to drive, he died in the street; and
the horses, going on, overthrew the cart and left the bodies, some
thrown here, some there, in a dismal manner. Another cart was, it seems,
found in the great pit in Finsbury Fields, the driver being dead, or
having been gone and abandoned it; and the horses running too near it,
the cart fell in and drew the horses in also. It was suggested that the
driver was thrown in with it and that the cart fell upon him, by reason
his whip was seen to be in the pit among the bodies; but that, I
suppose, could not be certain.

In our parish of Aldgate the dead-carts were several times, as I have
heard, found standing at the churchyard gate, full of dead bodies; but
neither bellman, nor driver, nor any one else with it. Neither in these
nor in many other cases did they know what bodies they had in their
cart, for sometimes they were let down with ropes out of balconies and
out of windows; and sometimes the bearers brought them to the cart,
sometimes other people; nor, as the men themselves said, did they
trouble themselves to keep any account of the numbers.


I would be far from lessening the awe of the judgments of God, and the
reverence to his Providence, which ought always to be on our minds on
such occasions as these; doubtless the visitation itself is a stroke
from heaven upon a city, or country, or nation where it falls, a
messenger of his vengeance, and a loud call to that nation, or country,
or city, to humiliation and repentance, according to that of the prophet
Jeremiah, xviii. 7, 8: "At what instant I shall speak concerning a
nation, and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, and pull down, and destroy
it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil,
I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them." Now to prompt
due impressions of the awe of God on the minds of men on such occasions,
and not to lessen them, it is that I have left those minutes upon

I say, therefore, I reflect upon no man for putting the reason of those
things upon the immediate hand of God, and the appointment and direction
of his Providence; nay, on the contrary there were many wonderful
deliverances of persons when infected, which intimate singular and
remarkable Providence in the particular instances to which they refer;
and I esteem my own deliverance to be one next to miraculous, and do
record it with thankfulness.

But when I am speaking of the plague as a distemper arising from natural
causes, we must consider it as it was really propagated by natural
means; nor is it at all the less a judgment for its being under the
conduct of human causes and effects: for as the Divine power has formed
the whole scheme of nature, and maintains nature in its course, so the
same power thinks fit to let his own actings with men, whether of mercy
or judgment, to go on in the ordinary course of natural causes, and he
is pleased to act by those natural causes as the ordinary means;
excepting and reserving to himself nevertheless a power to act in a
supernatural way when he sees occasion. Now it is evident that in the
case of an infection there is no apparent extraordinary occasion for
supernatural operation, but the ordinary course of things appears
sufficiently armed and made capable of all the effects that heaven
usually directs by a contagion. Among these causes and effects, this of
the secret conveyance of infection, imperceptible and unavoidable, is
more than sufficient to execute the fierceness of Divine vengeance,
without putting it upon supernaturals and miracles.

This acute penetrating nature of the disease itself was such, and the
infection was received so imperceptibly, that the most exact caution
could not secure us while in the place; but I must be allowed to
believe,--and I have so many examples fresh in my memory to convince me
of it that I think none can resist their evidence,--I say, I must be
allowed to believe that no one in this whole nation ever received the
sickness or infection but who received it in the ordinary way of
infection from somebody, or the clothes, or touch, or stench of somebody
that was infected before.


Before people came to right notions of the infection, and of infecting
one another, people were only shy of those that were really sick; a man
with a cap upon his head, or with cloths round his neck, which was the
case of those that had swellings there,--such was indeed frightful. But
when we saw a gentleman dressed, with his band on, and his gloves in his
hand, his hat upon his head, and his hair combed, of such we had not the
least apprehensions, and people conversed a great while freely,
especially with their neighbors and such as they knew. But when the
physicians assured us that the danger was as well from the sound,--that
is, the seemingly sound,--as the sick, and that those people that
thought themselves entirely free were oftentimes the most fatal; and
that it came to be generally understood that people were sensible of it,
and of the reason of it; then, I say, they began to be jealous of
everybody, and a vast number of people locked themselves up so as not to
come abroad into any company at all, nor suffer any that had been abroad
in promiscuous company to come into their houses or near them; at least
not so near them as to be within the reach of their breath or of any
smell from them; and when they were obliged to converse at a distance
with strangers, they would always have preservatives in their mouths,
and about their clothes, to repel and keep off the infection.

It must be acknowledged that when people began to use these cautions,
they were less exposed to danger, and the infection did not break into
such houses so furiously as it did into others before; and thousands of
families were preserved, speaking with due reserve to the direction of
divine Providence, by that means.

But it was impossible to beat anything into the heads of the poor; they
went on with the usual impetuosity of their tempers, full of outcries
and lamentations when taken, but madly careless of themselves, foolhardy
and obstinate, while they were well. Where they could get employment,
they pushed into any kind of business, the most dangerous and the most
liable to infection; and if they were spoken to, their answer would
be:--"I must trust in God for that; if I am taken, then I am provided
for, and there is an end of me;" and the like. Or thus:--"Why, what must
I do? I cannot starve; I had as good have the plague as perish for want;
I have no work, what could I do? I must do this or beg." Suppose it was
burying the dead, or attending the sick, or watching infected houses,
which were all terrible hazards; but their tale was generally the same.
It is true, necessity was a justifiable, warrantable plea, and nothing
could be better; but their way of talk was much the same where the
necessities were not the same. This adventurous conduct of the poor was
that which brought the plague among them in a most furious manner; and
this, joined to the distress of their circumstances when taken, was the
reason why they died so by heaps; for I cannot say I could observe one
jot of better husbandry among them,--I mean the laboring poor,--while
they were all well and getting money, than there was before, but as
lavish, as extravagant, and as thoughtless for to-morrow as ever; so
that when they came to be taken sick, they were immediately in the
utmost distress, as well for want as for sickness, as well for lack of
food as lack of health.



We had not parleyed thus long, but though in the dead of the night, came
a man to the other inn door--for as I said above, there are two inns at
that place--and called for a pot of beer; but the people were all in
bed, and would not rise; he asked them if they had seen two fellows come
that way upon one horse. The man said he had; that they went by in the
afternoon, and asked the way to Cambridge, but did not stop only to
drink one mug. "Oh!" says he, "are they gone to Cambridge? Then I'll be
with them quickly." I was awake in a little garret of the next inn,
where we lodged; and hearing the fellow call at the door, got up and
went to the window, having some uneasiness at every noise I heard; and
by that means heard the whole story. Now the case is plain, our hour was
not come; our fate had determined other things for us, and we were to be
reserved for it. The matter was thus:--When we first came to Bournbridge
we called at the first house and asked the way to Cambridge, drank a mug
of beer, and went on, and they might see us turn off to go the way they
directed; but night coming on, and we being very weary, we thought we
should not find the way; and we came back in the dusk of the evening and
went into the other house, being the first as we came back, as that
where we called before was the first as we went forward.

You may be sure I was alarmed now, as indeed I had reason to be. The
Captain was in bed and fast asleep, but I wakened him, and roused him
with a noise that frighted him enough. "Rise, Jack," said I, "we are
both ruined; they are come after us hither." Indeed, I was wrong to
terrify him at that rate; for he started and jumped out of bed and ran
directly to the window, not knowing where he was, and not quite awake,
was just going to jump out of the window, but I laid hold of him. "What
are you going to do?" says I. "I won't be taken," says he; "let me
alone; where are they?"

This was all confusion; and he was so out of himself with the fright,
and being overcome with sleep, that I had much to do to prevent his
jumping out of the window. However, I held him fast and thoroughly
wakened him, and then all was well again and he was presently composed.

Then I told him the story, and we sat together upon the bedside,
considering what we should do; upon the whole, as the fellow that called
was apparently gone to Cambridge, we had nothing to fear, but to be
quiet till daybreak, and then to mount and be gone.

Accordingly, as soon as day peeped we were up; and having happily
informed ourselves of the road at the other house, and being told that
the road to Cambridge turned off on the left hand, and that the road to
Newmarket lay straight forward: I say, having learnt this, the Captain
told me he would walk away on foot towards Newmarket, and so when I came
to go out I should appear as a single traveler; and accordingly he went
out immediately, and away he walked, and he traveled so hard that when I
came to follow I thought once that he had dropped me, for though I rode
hard, I got no sight of him for an hour. At length, having passed the
great bank called the Devil's Ditch, I found him and took him up behind
me, and we rode double till we came almost to the end of Newmarket town.
Just at the hither house in the town stood a horse at a door, just as it
was at Puckeridge. "Now," says Jack, "if the horse was at the other end
of the town I would have him, as sure as we had the other at
Puckeridge;" but it would not do; so he got down, and walked through the
town on the right-hand side of the way.

He had not got half through the town, but the horse, having somehow or
other got loose, came trotting gently on by himself, and nobody
following him. The Captain, an old soldier at such work, as soon as the
horse was got a pretty way before him, and that he saw nobody followed,
sets up a run after the horse, and the horse, hearing him follow, ran
the faster; then the Captain calls out, "Stop the horse!" and by this
time the horse was got almost to the farther end of the town; the people
of the house where he stood not missing him all the while.

Upon his calling out "Stop the horse!" the poor people of the town, such
as were next at hand, ran from both sides of the way and stopped the
horse for him, as readily as could be, and held him for him till he came
up; he very gravely comes up to the horse, hits him a blow or two, and
calls him "dog" for running away; gives the man twopence that catched
him for him, mounts, and away he comes after me.

This was the oddest adventure that could have happened, for the horse
stole the Captain, the Captain did not steal the horse. When he came up
to me, "Now, Colonel Jack," says he, "what do you say to good luck?
Would you have had me refuse the horse, when he came so civilly to ask
me to ride?"--"No, no," said I; "you have got this horse by your wit,
not by design; and you may go on now, I think; you are in a safer
condition than I am, if we are taken."


We arrived here very easy and safe, and while we were considering of
what way we should travel next, we found we were got to a point, and
that there was no way now left but that by the Washes into Lincolnshire,
and that was represented as very dangerous; so an opportunity offering
of a man that was traveling over the fens, we took him for our guide,
and went with him to Spalding, and from thence to a town called Deeping,
and so to Stamford in Lincolnshire.

This is a large populous town, and it was market day when we came to it;
so we put in at a little house at the hither end of the town, and walked
into the town. Here it was not possible to restrain my Captain from
playing his feats of art, and my heart ached for him; I told him I would
not go with him, for he would not promise to leave off, and I was so
terribly concerned at the apprehensions of his venturous humor that I
would not so much as stir out of my lodging; but it was in vain to
persuade him. He went into the market and found a mountebank there,
which was what he wanted. How he picked two pockets there in one quarter
of an hour, and brought to our quarters a piece of new holland of eight
or nine ells, a piece of stuff, and played three or four pranks more in
less than two hours; and how afterwards he robbed a doctor of physic,
and yet came off clear in them: all this, I say, as above, belongs to
his story, not mine.

I scolded heartily at him when he came back, and told him he would
certainly ruin himself and me too before he left off, and threatened in
so many words that I would leave him and go back, and carry the horse to
Puckeridge, where we borrowed it, and so go to London by myself.

He promised amendment, but as we resolved (now we were in the great
road) to travel by night, so, it being not yet night, he gives me the
slip again; and was not gone half an hour, but he comes back with a gold
watch in his hand. "Come," says he, "why ain't you ready? I am ready to
go as soon as you will:" and with that he pulls out the gold watch. I
was amazed at such a thing as that in a country town; but it seems there
were prayers at one of the churches in the evening, and he, placing
himself as the occasion directed, found the way to be so near a lady as
to get it from her side, and walked off with it unperceived.

The same night we went away by moonlight, after having the satisfaction
to hear the watch cried, and ten guineas offered for it again; he would
have been glad of the ten guineas instead of the watch, but durst not
venture to carry it home. "Well," says I, "you are afraid, and indeed
you have reason; give it to me; I will venture to carry it again;" but
he would not let me, but told me that when we came into Scotland we
might sell anything there without danger; which was true indeed, for
there they asked us no questions.

We set out, as I said, in the evening by moonlight, and traveled hard,
the road being very plain and large, till we came to Grantham, by which
time it was about two in the morning, and all the town as it were dead
asleep; so we went on for Newark, where we reached about eight in the
morning, and there we lay down and slept most of the day; and by this
sleeping so continually in the daytime, I kept him from doing a great
deal of mischief which he would otherwise have done.


We soon found a house proper for our dwelling, and so went to
housekeeping; we had not been long together but I found that gay temper
of my wife returned, and she threw off the mask of her gravity and good
conduct that I had so long fancied was her mere natural disposition, and
now, having no more occasion for disguises, she resolved to seem nothing
but what she really was, a wild untamed colt, perfectly loose, and
careless to conceal any part, no, not the worst of her conduct.

She carried on this air of levity to such an excess that I could not but
be dissatisfied at the expense of it, for she kept company that I did
not like, lived beyond what I could support, and sometimes lost at play
more than I cared to pay; upon which one day I took occasion to mention
it, but lightly, and said to her by way of raillery that we lived
merrily for as long as it would last. She turned short upon me: "What do
you mean?" says she; "why, you do not pretend to be uneasy, do ye?" "No,
no, madam, not I, by no means; it is no business of mine, you know,"
said I, "to inquire what my wife spends, or whether she spends more than
I can afford, or less; I only desire the favor to know, as near as you
can guess, how long you will please to take to dispatch me, for I would
not be too long a-dying."

"I do not know what you talk of," says she. "You may die as leisurely or
as hastily as you please, when your time comes; I ain't a-going to kill
you, as I know of."

"But you are going to starve me, madam," said I; "and hunger is as
leisurely a death as breaking upon the wheel."

"I starve you! why, are not you a great Virginia merchant, and did not I
bring you £1500? What would you have? Sure, you can maintain a wife out
of that, can't you?"

"Yes, madam," says I, "I could maintain a wife, but not a gamester,
though you had brought me £1500 a year; no estate is big enough for a
box and dice."

She took fire at that, and flew out in a passion, and after a great many
bitter words told me in short that she saw no occasion to alter her
conduct; and as for not maintaining her, when I could not maintain her
longer she would find some way or other to maintain herself.

Some time after the first rattle of this kind she vouchsafed to let me
know that she was pleased to be with child; I was at first glad of it,
in hopes it would help to abate her madness; but it was all one, and her
being with child only added to the rest, for she made such preparations
for her lying-in, and other appendixes of a child's being born, that in
short I found she would be downright distracted; and I took the liberty
to tell her one day she would soon bring herself and me to destruction,
and entreated her to consider that such figures as those were quite
above us and out of our circle; and in short, that I neither could nor
would allow such expenses; that at this rate two or three children would
effectually ruin me, and that I desired her to consider what she was

She told me with an air of disdain that it was none of her business to
consider anything of that matter; that if I could not allow it she would
allow it herself, and I might do my worst.

I begged her to consider things for all that, and not drive me to
extremities; that I married her to love and cherish her, and use her as
a good wife ought to be used, but not to be ruined and undone by her. In
a word, nothing could mollify her, nor any argument persuade her to
moderation; but withal she took it so heinously that I should pretend to
restrain her, that she told me in so many words she would drop her
burthen with me, and then if I did not like it she would take care of
herself; she would not live with me an hour, for she would not be
restrained, not she; and talked a long while at that rate.

I told her, as to her child, which she called her burthen, it should be
no burthen to me; as to the rest she might do as she pleased; it might
however do me this favor, that I should have no more lyings-in at the
rate of £136 at a time, as I found she intended it should be now. She
told me she could not tell that; if she had no more by me, she hoped she
should by somebody else. "Say you so, madam?" said I; "then they that
get them shall keep them." She did not know that neither, she said, and
so turned it off jeering, and as it were laughing at me.

This last discourse nettled me, I must confess, and the more because I
had a great deal of it and very often; till, in short, we began at
length to enter into a friendly treaty about parting.

Nothing could be more criminal than the several discourses we had upon
this subject; she demanded a separate maintenance, and in particular, at
the rate of £300 a year; and I demanded security of her that she should
not run me in debt; she demanding the keeping of the child, with an
allowance of £100 a year for that, and I demanding that I should be
secured from being charged for keeping any she might have by somebody
else, as she had threatened me.

In the interval, and during these contests, she dropped her burthen (as
she called it), and brought me a son, a very fine child.

She was content during her lying-in to abate a little, though it was but
a very little indeed, of the great expense she had intended; and with
some difficulty and persuasion was content with a suit of child-bed
linen of £15 instead of one she had intended of threescore; and this she
magnified as a particular testimony of her condescension, and a yielding
to my avaricious temper, as she called it.


From 'The Modern History of the Devil'

Nor will I undertake to tell you, till I have talked farther with him
about it, how far the Devil is concerned to discover frauds, detect
murders, reveal secrets, and especially to tell where any money is hid,
and show folks where to find it; it is an odd thing that Satan should
think it of consequence to come and tell us where such a miser hid a
strong box, or where such an old woman buried her chamberpot full of
money, the value of all which is perhaps but a trifle, when, at the same
time he lets so many veins of gold, so many unexhausted mines, nay,
mountains of silver (as we may depend on it are hid in the bowels of the
earth, and which it would be so much to the good of whole nations to
discover), lie still there, and never say one word of them to anybody.
Besides, how does the Devil's doing things so foreign to himself, and so
out of his way, agree with the rest of his character; namely, showing a
friendly disposition to mankind, or doing beneficent things? This is so
beneath Satan's quality, and looks so little, that I scarce know what to
say to it; but that which is still more pungent in the case is, these
things are so out of his road, and so foreign to his calling, that it
shocks our faith in them, and seems to clash with all the just notions
we have of him and of his business in the world. The like is to be said
of those merry little turns we bring him in acting with us and upon us
upon trifling and simple occasions, such as tumbling chairs and stools
about house, setting pots and kettles bottom upward, tossing the glass
and crockery-ware about without breaking, and such-like mean foolish
things, beneath the dignity of the Devil, who in my opinion is rather
employed in setting the world with the bottom upward, tumbling kings and
crowns about, and dashing the nations one against another; raising
tempests and storms, whether at sea or on shore; and in a word, doing
capital mischiefs, suitable to his nature and agreeable to his name
Devil, and suited to that circumstance of his condition which I have
fully represented in the primitive part of his exiled state.

But to bring in the Devil playing at push-pin with the world, or like
Domitian, catching flies,--that is to say, doing nothing to the
purpose,--this is not only deluding ourselves, but putting a slur upon
the Devil himself; and I say, I shall not dishonor Satan so much as to
suppose anything in it; however, as I must have a care to how I take
away the proper materials of winter-evening frippery, and leave the
goodwives nothing of the Devil to frighten the children with, I shall
carry the weighty point no farther. No doubt the Devil and Dr. Faustus
were very intimate; I should rob you of a very significant proverb if I
should so much as doubt it. No doubt the Devil showed himself in the
glass to that fair lady who looked in to see where to place her patches;
but then it should follow too that the Devil is an enemy to the ladies
wearing patches, and that has some difficulties in it which we cannot
easily reconcile; but we must tell the story, and leave out the


From 'An Appeal to Honor and Justice'

I hope the time has come at last when the voice of moderate principles
may be heard. Hitherto the noise has been so great, and the prejudices
and passions of men so strong, that it had been but in vain to offer at
any argument, or for any man to talk of giving a reason for his actions;
and this alone has been the cause why, when other men, who I think have
less to say in their own defense, are appealing to the public and
struggling to defend themselves, I alone have been silent under the
infinite clamors and reproaches, causeless curses, unusual threatenings,
and the most unjust and unjurious treatment in the world.

I hear much of people's calling out to punish the guilty, but very few
are concerned to clear the innocent. I hope some will be inclined to
judge impartially, and have yet reserved so much of the Christian as to
believe, and at least to hope, that a rational creature cannot abandon
himself so as to act without some reason, and are willing not only to
have me defend myself, but to be able to answer for me where they hear
me causelessly insulted by others, and therefore are willing to have
such just arguments put into their mouths as the cause will bear.

As for those who are prepossessed, and according to the modern justice
of parties are resolved to be so, let them go; I am not arguing with
them, but against them; they act so contrary to justice, to reason, to
religion, so contrary to the rules of Christians and of good manners,
that they are not to be argued with, but to be exposed or entirely
neglected. I have a receipt against all the uneasiness which it may be
supposed to give me, and that is, to contemn slander, and think it not
worth the least concern; neither should I think it worth while to give
any answer to it, if it were not on some other accounts, of which I
shall speak as I go on. If any young man ask me why I am in such haste
to publish this matter at this time, among many other good reasons which
I could give, these are some:--

1. I think I have long enough been made Fabula Vulgi, and borne the
weight of general slander; and I should be wanting to truth, to my
family, and to myself, if I did not give a fair and true state of my
conduct, for impartial men to judge of when I am no more in being to
answer for myself.

2. By the hints of mortality, and by the infirmities of a life of sorrow
and fatigue, I have reason to think I am not a great way off from, if
not very near to, the great ocean of eternity, and the time may not be
long ere I embark on the last voyage. Wherefore I think I should even
accounts with this world before I go, that no actions [slanders] may lie
against my heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, to disturb
them in the peaceable possession of their father's [character]

3. I fear--God grant I have not a second sight in it--that this lucid
interval of temper and moderation which shines, though dimly too, upon
us at this time, will be of but short continuance; and that some men,
who know not how to use the advantage God has put into their hands with
moderation, will push, in spite of the best Prince in the world, at such
extravagant things, and act with such an intemperate forwardness, as
will revive the heats and animosities which wise and good men were in
hopes should be allayed by the happy accession of the King to the

It is and ever was my opinion, that moderation is the only virtue by
which the peace and tranquillity of this nation can be preserved. Even
the King himself--I believe his Majesty will allow me that freedom--can
only be happy in the enjoyment of the crown by a moderative
administration. If his Majesty should be obliged, contrary to his known
disposition, to join with intemperate councils, if it does not lessen
his security I am persuaded it will lessen his satisfaction. It cannot
be pleasant or agreeable, and I think it cannot be safe, to any just
prince to rule over a divided people, split into incensed and
exasperated parties. Though a skillful mariner may have courage to
master a tempest, and goes fearless through a storm, yet he can never be
said to delight in the danger; a fresh fair gale and a quiet sea is the
pleasure of his voyage, and we have a saying worth notice to them that
are otherwise minded,--"Quit ama periculum, periebat in illo."


From "Everybody's Business is Nobody's Business"

Besides, the fear of spoiling their clothes makes them afraid of
household work, so that in a little time we shall have none but
chambermaids and nurserymaids; and of this let me give you one instance.
My family is composed of myself and sister, a man and maid; and being
without the last, a young wench came to hire herself. The man was gone
out, and my sister above-stairs, so I opened the door myself, and this
person presented herself to my view, dressed completely, more like a
visitor than a servant-maid; she, not knowing me, asked for my sister.
"Pray, madam," said I, "be pleased to walk into the parlor; she shall
wait on you presently." Accordingly I handed madam in, who took it very
cordially. After some apology I left her alone for a minute or two,
while I, stupid wretch! ran up to my sister and told her there was a
gentlewoman below come to visit her. "Dear brother," said she, "don't
leave her alone; go down and entertain her while I dress myself."
Accordingly down I went, and talked of indifferent affairs; meanwhile my
sister dressed herself all over again, not being willing to be seen in
an undress. At last she came down dressed as clean as her visitor; but
how great was my surprise when I found my fine lady a common

My sister, understanding what she was, began to inquire what wages she
expected. She modestly asked but eight pounds a year. The next question
was, "What work she could do to deserve such wages?" to which she
answered she could clean a house, or dress a common family dinner. "But
cannot you wash," replied my sister, "or get up linen?" She answered in
the negative, and said she would undertake neither, nor would she go
into a family that did not put out their linen to wash and hire a
charwoman to scour. She desired to see the house, and having carefully
surveyed it, said the work was too hard for her, nor could she undertake
it. This put my sister beyond all patience, and me into the greatest
admiration. "Young woman," she said, "you have made a mistake; I want a
housemaid, and you are a chambermaid." "No, madam," replied she, "I am
not needlewoman enough for that." "And yet you ask eight pounds a year,"
replied my sister. "Yes, madam," said she, "nor shall I bate a
farthing." "Then get you gone for a lazy impudent baggage," said I; "you
want to be a boarder, not a servant; have you a fortune or estate, that
you dress at that rate?" "No, sir," said she, "but I hope I may wear
what I work for without offense." "What! you work?" interrupted my
sister; "why, you do not seem willing to undertake any work; you will
not wash nor scour; you cannot dress a dinner for company; you are no
needlewoman; and our little house of two rooms on a floor is too much
for you. For God's sake, what can you do?" "Madam," replied she pertly,
"I know my business, and do not fear service; there are more places than
parish churches: if you wash at home, you should have a laundrymaid; if
you give entertainments, you must have a cookmaid; if you have any
needlework, you should have a chambermaid; and such a house as this is
enough for a housemaid, in all conscience."

I was so pleased at the wit, and astonished at the impudence of the
girl, so dismissed her with thanks for her instructions, assuring her
that when I kept four maids she should be housemaid if she pleased.


From 'The True-Born Englishman'

     Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
     The Devil always builds a chapel there;
     And 'twill be found upon examination,
     The latter has the largest congregation.
     For ever since he first debauched the mind,
     He made a perfect conquest of mankind.
     With uniformity of service, he
     Reigns with general aristocracy.
     No non-conforming sects disturb his reign,
     For of his yoke there's very few complain.
     He knows the genius and the inclination,
     And matches proper sins for every nation.
     He needs no standing army government;
     He always rules us by our own consent;
     His laws are easy, and his gentle sway
     Makes it exceeding pleasant to obey.
     The list of his vicegerents and commanders
     Outdoes your Cæsars or your Alexanders.
     They never fail of his infernal aid,
     And he's as certain ne'er to be betrayed.
     Through all the world they spread his vast command,
     And death's eternal empire is maintained.
     They rule so politicly and so well,
     As if they were Lords Justices of hell;
     Duly divided to debauch mankind,
     And plant infernal dictates in his mind.


From 'The Storm'

     For in the darkest of the black abode
       There's not a devil but believes a God.
     Old Lucifer has sometimes tried
       To have himself deified;
     But devils nor men the being of God denied,
     Till men of late found out new ways to sin,
     And turned the devil out to let the Atheist in.
     But when the mighty element began,
       And storms the weighty truth explain,
     Almighty power upon the whirlwind rode,
       And every blast proclaimed aloud
     There is, there is, there is a God.



Ten years after 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' there appeared in Amsterdam a book
that caused as great a sensation among the Dutch coffee-traders on the
Amstel, as had Harriet Beecher Stowe's wonderful story among the
slaveholders at the South. This book was 'Max Havelaar,' and its author,
veiled under the suggestive pen-name of "Multatuli" ("who have suffered
much"), at once became famous. It frankly admitted that it was a novel
with a purpose, and this purpose was to bring home to his countrymen the
untold sufferings and oppression to which the natives of the Dutch East
Indies were subjected, in order that the largest possible profit might
flow into the coffers of the people of Holland. Multatuli, under the
disguise of fiction, professed to give facts he had himself collected on
the spot.

Eduard Douwes Dekker, born in 1820 in Amsterdam, went as a youth of
seventeen to the Dutch colonies. There for nearly twenty years he was in
the employ of the government, obtaining at last the post of Assistant
Resident of Lebak, a province of Java. In this responsible position he
used his influence to stem the abuses and extortions practiced by the
native chiefs against the defenseless populace. But his humanitarianism
clashed with the interests of his government, and sacrificing a
brilliant career to a principle, he sent in his resignation and returned
to Holland in 1856 a poor man. He began to put his experiences on paper,
and in 1860 published the book that made him famous. 'Max Havelaar' is a
bitter arraignment of the Dutch colonial system, and gives a more
excruciating picture of the slavery of the natives of fair "Insulind"
than ever existed in the South. For nearly three hundred years Dutch
burghers on the Scheldt, the Maas, and the Amstel, have waxed fat on the
labors of the Malays of the far East. In these islands of the
East-Indian Archipelago the relations between the Europeans and the
Dutch are peculiar, based on the policy of the government of getting the
largest possible revenues out of these fertile possessions. Practically
the native is a Dutch subject, and the product of his labor goes
directly to Holland; nominally he is still ruled by his tribal chief, to
whom he is blindly and superstitiously devoted. Playing on this feudal
attachment, the Dutch, while theoretically pledging themselves to
protect the defenseless populace against rapacity, have yet so arranged
the administration that the chiefs have unlimited opportunities of
extortion. They are paid premiums on whatever their provinces furnish
for the foreign market, and as they have practically full control over
the persons and property of their subjects, they force these poor
wretches to contribute whatever they may demand in unpaid labor and
provisions, besides the land taxes.

And there is yet another hardship. Rice is the staple product of Java,
but as that does not pay so well as coffee, sugar, indigo, or spices,
the Javanese is driven away from the rice fields he loves, and famine is
often the result.

    "Famine? in Java, the rich and fertile, famine? Yes, reader, a few
    years ago whole districts were depopulated by famine; mothers
    offered to sell their children for food; mothers ate their own
    children. But then the mother country interfered. In the halls of
    the Dutch Parliament complaints were made, and the then reigning
    governor had to give orders that THE EXTENSION OF THE SO-CALLED

The book is an eloquent plea for more humane treatment of these
wretches. In glowing colors Dekker paints the condition of Java, its
scenery, its inhabitants, the extortions of the native regents, and the
rapacity of the European traders. The truth of these accusations has
never been disputed; indeed, it has been said that he kept on this side
of exaggeration. At the International Congress for the Promotion of
Social Science, at Amsterdam in 1863, he challenged his critics to prove
him false, but no one came forward. One high government official indeed
said that he could refute 'Max Havelaar,' but that it was not in his
interest to do so.

Despite the sensation the book made, affairs in the East remained pretty
much the same as before. Dekker tried in vain to get some influence in
Holland, but he had killed himself politically by avowing that 'Max
Havelaar' was not written in the interests of either party, but was the
utterance of a champion of humanity. Thoroughly disappointed in his
countrymen, he exiled himself and went to live in Germany in 1866. But
he did not therefore lay down a pen that had become in his hands a
powerful weapon. He published a number of books on political, social,
and philosophic subjects, in the form of stories, dramas, aphorisms, or
polemics. Noteworthy among these are his fine parables, the novel 'La
Sainte Vierge' (The Holy Virgin); the drama in blank, 'Vorstenschool'
(School for Princes), containing many fine thoughts, and still one of
the most popular plays of the day; and the incomplete 'Geschiedem's van
Wontertje Pieterse' (Story of Wontertje Pieterse), published in 1888 by
his widow, who also brought out his letters, and in 1892 a complete
edition of his works.

The writings of Dekker are marked by a fiery yet careful style, Oriental
richness of imagery, and originality and independence of thought. He
wrote as social reformer, and attacked with unrivaled power of sarcasm
all manner of cant, sham, and red-tape. His works betray the
disappointment of a defeated idealist. He was a man of marked
individuality, and strongly attracted or repelled others. For the last
few years of his life he ceased to write, and lived in retirement in
Nieder-Ingelheim on the Rhine, where he died February 19th, 1887.


From 'Max Havelaar'

Yes, I, Multatuli, "who have suffered much,"--I take the pen. I do not
make any excuses for the form of my book,--that form was thought proper
to obtain my object.... _I will be read!_ Yes, I will be read. I will be
read by statesmen who are obliged to pay attention to the signs of the
times; by men of letters, who must also look into the book of which so
many bad things are said; by merchants, who have an interest in the
coffee auctions; by lady's-maids, who read me for a few farthings; by
governors-general in retirement; by ministers who have something to do;
by the lackeys of these Excellencies; by mutes, who, _more majorum_,
will say that I attack God Almighty, when I attack only the god which
they made according to their own image; by the members of the
representative chambers, who must know what happens in the extensive
possessions over the sea which belong to Holland....

Ay, I _shall_ be read!

When I obtain this I shall be content, for I did not intend to write
well.... I wished to write so as to be heard; and as one who cries "Stop
thief!" does not care about the style of his _impromptu_ address to the
public, I too am indifferent to criticism of the manner in which I cried
_my_ "Stop thief!"

"The book is a medley; there is no order, nothing but a desire to make a
sensation. The style is bad; the author is inexperienced; no talent, no

Good! good! ... all very well! ... _but the Javanese are ill-treated_.
For the merit of my book is this: that _refutation_ of its main features
is _impossible_. And the greater the disapprobation of my book the
better I shall be pleased, for the chance of being _heard_ will be so
much the greater;--and that is what I desire.

But you whom I dare to interrupt in your business or in your
retirement,--ye ministers and governors-general,--do not calculate too
much upon the inexperience of my pen. I could exercise it, and perhaps
by dint of some exertion, attain to that skill which would make the
truth heard by the people. Then I should ask of that people a place in
the representative chambers, were it only to protest against the
certificates which are given _vice versa_ by Indian functionaries.

To protest against the endless expeditions sent, and heroic deeds
performed against poor miserable creatures, whose ill treatment has
driven them to revolt.

To protest against the cowardice of general orders, that brand the honor
of the nation by invoking public charity on behalf of the victims of
inveterate piracy.

It is true those rebels were reduced by starvation to skeletons, while
those pirates could defend themselves.

And if that place were refused me, ... if I were still disbelieved, ...
then I should translate my book into the few languages that I know, and
the many that I yet can learn, to put that question to Europe which I
have in vain put to Holland.

And in every capital such a refrain as this would be heard: "There is a
band of robbers between Germany and the Scheldt!"

And if this were of no avail, ... then I should translate my book into
_Malay_, _Javanese_, _Soudanese_, _Alfoer_, _Boegi_, and _Battah_.

And I should sharpen _Klewangs_, the scimitars and the sabres, by
rousing with warlike songs the minds of those martyrs whom I have
promised to help--I, _Multatuli_, would do this!

Yes! delivery and help, _lawfully if possible_;--_lawfully with
violence_ if need be.

And that would be very pernicious to the COFFEE AUCTIONS OF THE DUTCH

For I am no fly-rescuing poet, no rapt dreamer like the down-trodden
Havelaar, who did his duty with the courage of a lion, and endured
starvation with the patience of a marmot in winter.

This book is an introduction....

I shall increase in strength and sharpness of weapons, according as it
may be necessary.

Heaven grant that it may not be necessary!...

No, it _will_ not be necessary! For it is to thee I dedicate my book:
WILLIAM THE THIRD, King, Grand Duke, Prince, ... more than Prince, Grand
Duke, and King, ... EMPEROR of the magnificent empire of INSULIND, which
winds about the equator like a garland of emeralds!...

I ask THEE if it be thine IMPERIAL will that the Havelaars should be
bespattered with the mud of Slymerings and Dry-stubbles; and that thy
_more_ than _thirty millions_ of SUBJECTS far away should be _ill
treated and should suffer extortion_ in THY name!


From 'Max Havelaar'

Saïdjah's father had a buffalo, with which he plowed his field. When
this buffalo was taken away from him by the district chief at
Parang-Koodjang he was very dejected, and did not speak a word for many
a day. For the time for plowing was come, and he had to fear that if the
rice field was not worked in time, the opportunity to sow would be lost,
and lastly, that there would be no paddy to cut, none to keep in the
store-room of the house. He feared that his wife would have no rice, nor
Saïdjah himself, who was still a child, nor his little brothers and
sisters. And the district chief too would accuse him to the Assistant
Resident if he was behindhand in the payment of his land taxes, for this
is punished by the law. Saïdjah's father then took a poniard which was
an heirloom from his father. The poniard was not very handsome, but
there were silver bands round the sheath, and at the end there was a
silver plate. He sold this poniard to a Chinaman who dwelt in the
capital, and came home with twenty-four guilders, for which money he
bought another buffalo.

Saïdjah, who was then about seven years old, soon made friends with the
new buffalo. It is not without meaning that I say "made friends," for it
is indeed touching to see how the buffalo is attached to the little boy
who watches over and feeds him. The large strong animal bends its heavy
head to the right, to the left, or downward, just as the pressure of the
child's finger, which he knows and understands, directs.

Such a friendship little Saïdjah had soon been able to make with the
new-comer. The buffalo turned willingly on reaching the end of the
field, and did not lose an inch of ground when plowing backwards the
new furrow. Quite near were the rice fields of the father of Adinda
(the child that was to marry Saïdjah); and when the little brothers
of Adinda came to the limit of their fields just at the same time that
the father of Saïdjah was there with his plow, then the children called
out merrily to each other, and each praised the strength and the
docility of his buffalo. Saïdjah was nine and Adinda six, when this
buffalo was taken by the chief of the district of Parang-Koodjang.
Saïdjah's father, who was very poor, thereupon sold to a Chinaman two
silver curtain-hooks--heirlooms from the parents of his wife--for
eighteen guilders, and bought a new buffalo.

When this buffalo had also been taken away and slaughtered--

(I told you, reader, that my story is monotonous)

... Saïdjah's father fled out of the country, for he was much afraid of
being punished for not paying his land taxes, and he had not another
heirloom to sell, that he might buy a new buffalo. However, he went on
for some years after the loss of his last buffalo, by working with hired
animals for plowing; but that is a very ungrateful labor, and moreover
sad for a person who has had buffaloes of his own.

Saïdjah's mother died of grief; and then it was that his father, in a
moment of dejection, fled from Bantam in order to endeavor to get labor
in the Buitenzorg districts.

But he was punished with stripes because he had left Lebak without a
passport, and was brought back by the police to Badoer. But he was not
long in prison, for he died soon afterwards. Saïdjah was already fifteen
years of age when his father set out for Buitenzorg; and he did not
accompany him hither, because he had other plans in view. He had been
told that there were at Batavia many gentlemen who drove in two-wheeled
carriages, and that it would be easy for him to get a post as driver. He
would gain much in that way if he behaved well,--perhaps be able to save
in three years enough money to buy two buffaloes. This was a smiling
prospect for him. He entered Adinda's house, and communicated to her his

"Think of it! when I come back, we shall be old enough to marry and
shall possess two buffaloes: ... but if I find you married?"

"Saïdjah, you know very well that I shall marry nobody but you; my
father promised me to your father."

"And you yourself?"

"I shall marry you, you may be sure of that."

"When I come back, I will call from afar off."

"Who shall hear it, if we are stamping rice in the village?"

"That is true, ... but Adinda--... oh yes, this is better; wait for me
under the oak wood, under the Retapan."

"But Saïdjah, how can I know when I am to go to the Retapan?"

"Count the moons; I shall stay away three times twelve moons.... See,
Adinda, at every new moon cut a notch in your rice block. When you have
cut three times twelve lines, I will be under the Retapan the next day:
... do you promise to be there?"

"Yes, Saïdjah, I will be there under the Retapan, near the oak wood,
when you come back."

       *       *       *       *       *

     [Saïdjah returns with money and trinkets at the appointed time, but
     does not find Adinda under the Retapan.]

... But if she were ill or ... dead?

Like a wounded stag Saïdjah flew along the path leading from the Retapan
to the village where Adinda lived. But ... was it hurry, his eagerness,
that prevented him from finding Adinda's house? He had already rushed to
the end of the road, through the village, and like one mad he returned
and beat his head because he must have passed her house without seeing
it. But again he was at the entrance to the village, and ... O God, was
it a dream?...

Again he had not found the house of Adinda. Again he flew back and
suddenly stood still.... And the women of Badoer came out of their
houses, and saw with sorrow poor Saïdjah standing there, for they knew
him and understood that he was looking for the house of Adinda, and they
knew that there was no house of Adinda in the village of Badoer.

For when the district chief of Parang-Koodjang had taken away Adinda's
father's buffaloes....

(I told you, reader! that my narrative was monotonous.)

... Adinda's mother died of grief, and her baby sister died because she
had no mother, and had no one to suckle her. And Adinda's father, who
feared to be punished for not paying his land taxes....

(I know, I know that my tale is monotonous.)

... had fled out of the country; he had taken Adinda and her brother
with him. He had gone to Tjilang-Rahan, bordering on the sea. There he
had concealed himself in the woods and waited for some others that had
been robbed of their buffaloes by the district chief of Parang-Koodjang,
and all of whom feared punishment for not paying their land taxes. Then
they had at night taken possession of a fishing boat, and steered
northward to the Lampoons.

[Saïdjah, following their route] arrived in the Lampoons, where the
inhabitants were in insurrection against the Dutch rule. He joined a
troop of Badoer men, not so much to fight as to seek Adinda; for he had
a tender heart, and was more disposed to sorrow than to bitterness.

One day that the insurgents had been beaten, he wandered through a
village that had just been taken by the Dutch, and was therefore in
flames. Saïdjah knew that the troop that had been destroyed there
consisted for the most part of Badoer men. He wandered like a ghost
among the houses which were not yet burned down, and found the corpse of
Adinda's father with a bayonet wound in the breast. Near him Saïdjah saw
the three murdered brothers of Adinda, still only children, and a little
further lay the corpse of Adinda, naked and horribly mutilated.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then Saïdjah went to meet some soldiers who were driving, at the point
of the bayonet, the surviving insurgents into the fire of the burning
houses; he embraced the broad bayonets, pressed forward with all his
might, and still repulsed the soldiers with a last exertion, until their
weapons were buried to the sockets in his breast.



Thomas Dekker, the genial realist, the Dickens of Jacobean London, has
left in his works the impress of a most lovable personality, but the
facts with which to surround that personality are of the scantiest. He
was born about 1570 in London; at least in 1637 he speaks of himself as
over threescore years of age. This is the only clue we have to the date
of his birth. He came probably of a tradesman's family, for he describes
better than any of his fellows in art the life of the lower middle
class, and enters into the thoughts and feelings of that class with a
heartiness which is possible only after long and familiar association.
He was not a university man, but absorbed his classical knowledge as
Shakespeare did, through association with the wits of his time.

He is first mentioned in Henslowe's diary in 1597, and after that his
name appears frequently. He was evidently a dramatic hack, working for
that manager, adapting and making over old plays and writing new ones.
He must have been popular too, for his name appears oftener than that of
any of his associates. Yet his industry and popularity could not always
keep him above water. Henslowe was not a generous paymaster, and the
unlucky dramatist knew the inside of the debtor's prison cell; more than
once the manager advanced sums to bail him out. Oldys says he was in
prison from 1613 to 1616. After 1637 we find his name no more.

As a dramatist, Dekker was most active between the years 1598 and 1602.
In one of those years alone he was engaged on twelve plays. Many of
these have been lost; of the few that remain, two of the most
characteristic belong to this period. 'The Shoemaker's Holiday,'
published in 1599, shows Dekker on his genial, realistic side, with his
sense of fun and his hearty sympathy with the life of the people. It
bubbles over with the delight in mere living, and is full of kindly
feeling toward all the world. It was sure to appeal to its audience,
especially to the pit, where the tradesmen and artisans with their wives
applauded, and noisiest of all, the 'prentices shouted their
satisfaction: here they saw themselves and their masters brought on the
stage, somewhat idealized, but still full of frolic and good-nature. It
is one of the brightest and pleasantest of Elizabethan comedies. Close
on its heels followed 'The Pleasant Comedy of Old Fortunatus.' Here
Dekker the idealist, the poet of luxurious fancy and rich yet delicate
imagination, is seen at his best. Fortunatus with his wishing-hat and
wonderful purse appealed to the romantic spirit of the time, when men
still sailed in search of the Hesperides, compounded the elixir of
youth, and sought for the philosopher's stone. Dekker worked over an old
play of the same name; the subject of both was taken from the old German
_volksbuch_ 'Fortunatus' of 1519. Among the collaborators of Dekker at
this time was Ben Jonson. Both these men were realists, but Jonson
slashed into life with bitter satire, whereas Dekker cloaked over its
frailties with a tender humor. Again, Jonson was a conscientious artist,
aiming at perfection; Dekker, while capable of much higher poetry, was
often careless and slipshod. No wonder that the dictator scorned his
somewhat irresponsible co-worker. The precise nature of their quarrel,
one of the most famous among authors, is not known; it culminated in
1601, when Jonson produced 'The Poetaster,' a play in which Dekker and
Marston were mercilessly ridiculed. Dekker replied shortly in
'Satiromastix, or the Untrussing of the Humorous Poet,' a burlesque full
of good-natured mockery of his antagonist.

Dekker wrote, in conjunction with Webster, 'Westward Ho,' Northward Ho,'
and 'Sir Thomas Wyatt'; with Middleton, 'The Roaring Girl'; with
Massinger, 'The Virgin Martyr'; and with Ford, 'The Sun's Darling' and
'The Witch of Edmonton.' Among the products of Dekker's old age, 'Match
Me in London' is ranked among his half-dozen best plays, and 'The Wonder
of a Kingdom' is fair journeyman's work.

One of the most versatile of the later Elizabethans,--prolonging their
style and ideas into the new world of the Stuarts,--Dekker was also
prominent as pamphleteer. He first appeared as such in 1603, with 'The
Wonderfull Yeare 1603, wherein is showed the picture of London lying
sicke of the Plague,' a vivid description of the pest, which undoubtedly
served Defoe as model in his famous book on the same subject. The best
known of his many pamphlets, however, is 'The Gul's Horne Booke,' a
graphic description of the ways and manners of the gallants of the time.
These various tracts are invaluable for the light they throw on the
social life of Jacobean London.

Lastly, Dekker as song-writer must not be forgotten. He had the genuine
lyric gift, and poured forth his bird-notes, sweet, fresh, and
spontaneous, full of the singer's joy in his song. He also wrote some
very beautiful prayers.

Varied and unequal as Dekker's work is, he is one of the hardest among
the Elizabethans to classify. He at times rises to the very heights of
poetic inspiration, soaring above most of his contemporaries, to drop
all of a sudden down to a dead level of prose. But he makes up for his
shortcomings by his whole-hearted, manly view of life, his compassion
for the weak, his sympathy with the lowly, his determination to make the
best of everything, and to show the good hidden away under the evil.

     "Toil, envy, want, the patron and the jail,"--

these he knew from bitter experience, yet never allowed them to
overcloud his buoyant spirits, but made them serve his artistic
purposes. Joyousness is the prevailing note of his work, mingled with a
pathetic undertone of patience.



Now for your venturing into the Walke: be circumspect and wary what
piller you come in at, and take heed in any case (as you love the
reputation of your honour) that you avoide the _serving-man's_ dogg; but
bend your course directly in the middle line, that the whole body of the
Church may appear to be yours; where, in view of all, you may publish
your suit in what manner you affect most, either with the slide of your
cloake from the one shoulder, and then you must (as twere in anger)
suddenly snatch at the middle of the inside (if it be taffata at the
least) and so by the meanes your costly lining is betrayed, or else by
the pretty advantage of complement. But one note by the way do I
especially wooe you to, the neglect of which makes many of our gallants
cheape and ordinary; that you by no means be seen above fowre turnes,
but in the fifth make your selfe away, either in some of the Sempsters'
shops, the new Tobacco-office, or amongst the Bookesellers, where, if
you cannot reade, exercise your smoke, and inquire who has writ against
this divine weede, &c. For this withdrawing yourselfe a little will much
benefite your suit, which else by too long walking would be stale to the
whole spectators: but howsoever, if Powles Jacks be up with their
elbowes, and quarrelling to strike eleven, as soone as ever the clock
has parted them and ended the fray with his hammer, let not the Duke's
gallery conteyne you any longer, but passe away apace in open view. In
which departure, if by chance you either encounter, or aloofe off throw
your inquisitive eye upon any knight or squire, being your familiar,
salute him not by his name of Sir such a one, or so, but call him _Ned_
or _Jack_, &c. This will set off your estimation with great men: and if
(tho there bee a dozen companies betweene you, tis the better) hee call
aloud to you (for thats most gentile), to know where he shall find you
at two a clock, tell him at such an Ordinary, or such; and bee sure to
name those that are deerest; and whither none but your gallants resort.
After dinner you may appeare againe, having translated yourselfe out of
your English cloth cloak, into a light Turky-grogram (if you have that
happiness of shifting) and then be seene (for a turn or two) to correct
your teeth with some quill or silver instrument, and to cleanse your
gummes with a wrought handkercher: It skilles not whether you dinde or
no (thats best knowne to your stomach) or in what place you dinde,
though it were with cheese (of your owne mother's making, in your
chamber or study).... Suck this humour up especially. Put off to none,
unlesse his hatband be of a newer fashion than yours, and three degrees
quainter; but for him that wears a trebled cipres about his hatte
(though he were an Alderman's sonne), never move to him; for hees
suspected to be worse than a _gull_ and not worth the putting off to,
that cannot observe the time of his hatband, nor know what fashioned
block is most kin to his head: for in my opinion, ye braine that cannot
choose his felt well (being the head ornament) must needes powre folly
into all the rest of the members, and be an absolute confirmed foule in
_Summâ Totali_.... The great dyal is your last monument; these bestow
some half of the threescore minutes, to observe the sawciness of the
jaikes that are above the man in the moone there; the strangenesse of
the motion will quit your labour. Besides you may heere have fit
occasion to discover your watch, by taking it forth and setting the
wheeles to the time of Powles, which, I assure you, goes truer by five
notes then S. _Sepulchers_ chimes. The benefit that will arise from
hence is this, that you publish your charge in maintaining a gilded
clocke; and withall the world shall know that you are a time-server. By
this I imagine you have walkt your bellyful, and thereupon being weary,
or (which rather I believe) being most gentlemanlike hungry, it is fit
that I brought you in to the Duke; so (because he follows the fashion of
great men, in keeping no house, and that therefore you must go seeke
your dinner) suffer me to take you by the hand, and lead you into an


Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is; it is so inestimable a
jewel that if a tyrant would give his crown for an hour's slumber, it
cannot be bought; yea, so greatly are we indebted to this kinsman of
death, that we owe the better tributary half of our life to him; and
there is good cause why we should do so; for sleep is that golden chain
that ties health and our bodies together. Who complains of want, of
wounds, of cares, of great men's oppressions, of captivity, whilst he
sleepeth? Beggars in their beds take as much pleasure as kings. Can we
therefore surfeit on this delicate ambrosia? Can we drink too much of
that, whereof to taste too little tumbles us into a churchyard; and to
use it but indifferently throws us into Bedlam? No, no. Look upon
Endymion, the moon's minion, who slept threescore and fifteen years, and
was not a hair the worse for it. Can lying abed till noon then, being
not the threescore and fifteenth thousand part of his nap, be hurtful?


From 'Old Fortunatus'

     Fortune smiles, cry holiday!
       Dimples on her cheek do dwell.
       Fortune frowns, cry well-a-day!
       Her love is heaven, her hate is hell.
     Since heaven and hell obey her power,--
     Tremble when her eyes do lower.
     Since heaven and hell her power obey,
     When she smiles, cry holiday!
       Holiday with joy we cry,
       And bend and bend, and merrily
       Sing hymns to Fortune's deity,
       Sing hymns to Fortune's deity.


     Let us sing merrily, merrily, merrily,
       With our songs let heaven resound.
       Fortune's hands our heads have crowned.
     Let us sing merrily, merrily, merrily.


From 'Patient Grissil'

         Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
             O sweet Content!
           Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed?
             O punishment!
         Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed
       To add to golden numbers golden numbers?
       O sweet Content, O sweet, O sweet Content!

           Work apace, apace, apace, apace,
           Honest labor bears a lovely face.
           Then hey nonny, nonny; hey nonny, nonny.

       Canst drink the waters of the crispèd spring?
             O sweet Content!
     Swim'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine own tears?
             O Punishment!
         Then he that patiently Want's burden bears
       No burden bears, but is a king, a king.
       O sweet Content, O sweet, O sweet Content!


From 'The Sun's Darling'

     Haymakers, rakers, reapers, and mowers,
         Wait on your Summer Queen!
       Dress up with musk-rose her eglantine bowers,
         Daffodils strew the green!
             Sing, dance, and play,
               'Tis holiday!
           The sun does bravely shine
             On our ears of corn.
               Rich as a pearl
               Comes every girl.
         This is mine, this is mine, this is mine.
       Let us die ere away they be borne.

     Bow to our Sun, to our Queen, and that fair one
       Come to behold our sports:
     Each bonny lass here is counted a rare one,
       As those in princes' courts.
               These and we
            With country glee,
         Will teach the woods to resound,
       And the hills with echoes hollow.
               Skipping lambs
            Their bleating dams
         'Mongst kids shall trip it round;
       For joy thus our wenches we follow.

     Wind, jolly huntsmen, your neat bugles shrilly,
         Hounds, make a lusty cry;
     Spring up, you falconers, partridges freely,
         Then let your brave hawks fly!
               Horses amain,
             Over ridge, over plain,
         The dogs have the stag in chase:
         'Tis a sport to content a king.
         So ho! ho! through the skies
         How the proud birds flies,
         And sousing, kills with a grace!
       Now the deer falls; hark! how they ring.


From 'Patient Grissil'

     Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
     Smiles awake you when you rise.
     Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
     And I will sing a lullaby.
     Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

     Care is heavy, therefore sleep you.
     You are care, and care must keep you.
     Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
     And I will sing a lullaby.
     Rock them, rock them, lullaby.





This French lyrical poet and dramatist, born in Havre in 1793, and
brought up at Paris, was awarded a prize by the Académie Française in
1811, elected a member of that illustrious body July 7th, 1825, and died
December 11th, 1843. When hardly twenty years of age he had already made
his name famous by dithyrambs, the form of which, imitated from the
ancients, enabled him to express in sufficiently poetic manner quite
modern sentiments. Possessed of brilliant and easy imagination,
moderately enthusiastic, and more sober than powerful, he hit upon a
lucky vein which promptly led him to fame. He described the recent
disasters of his country in fine odes entitled 'Messéniennes,' in
allusion to the chants in which the defeated Messenians deplored the
hardships inflicted on them by the Spartans. Those political elegies
were named--'La Bataille de Waterloo' (The Battle of Waterloo); 'La
Dévastation du Musée' (The Spoliation of the Museum); 'Sur le Besoin de
S'unir après le Départ des Étrangers' (On the Necessity of Union after
the Departure of the Foreigners). They expressed emotions agitating the
mind of the country. At the same time they appealed to the heart of the
"liberals" of the period by uttering their regrets for vanished power,
their rancor against the victorious party, their fears for threatened
liberty. The circumstances, the passions of the day, as also the
awakening of young and new talent, all concurred to favor Casimir
Delavigne, who almost from the very first attained high reputation. In
1819 the publication of two more Messéniennes, on the life and death of
Joan of Arc,--inspired like the first with deep patriotic fervor,--was
received with enthusiasm.

Earlier even than the day of Lamartine and Victor Hugo, Casimir
Delavigne had the glory of stirring the heart of France. He had the
added merit of maintaining, after Beaumarchais and before Émile Augier,
the dignity of high comedy. Ingenious scenes of life, lively and
spirited details, grace and delicacy of style, save from oblivion such
pieces as 'L'École des Vieillards' (The School of Age), first performed
by the great artists Mademoiselle Mars and Talma; and 'Don Juan
d'Autriche' (Don John of Austria), a prose comedy. Other dramas of
his--'Marino Faliero,' 'Les Vêpres Siciliennes' (The Sicilian Vespers),
'Louis XI.,' 'Les Enfants d'Edouard' (The Children of Edward), and 'La
Fille du Cid' (The Daughter of the Cid)--are still read with admiration,
or acted to applauding spectators. A pure disciple of Racine at first,
Delavigne deftly managed to adopt some innovations of the romanticist
school. 'Marino Faliero' was the first of his productions in which,
relinquishing the so-called classic rules, he endeavored, as a French
critic fitly remarks, to introduce a kind of eclecticism in stage
literature; a bold attempt, tempered with prudent reserve, in which he
wisely combined the processes favored by the new school with current
tradition. That play is indeed a happy mixture of drama and comedy. It
contains familiar dialogues and noble outbursts, which however do not
violate the proprieties of academic style.

Though he never displayed the genius of Lamartine or of Victor Hugo, and
though some of his pictures have faded since the appearance of the
dazzling productions of the great masters of romanticism, Casimir
Delavigne still ranks high in the literature of his country and century,
thanks to the lofty and steady qualities, to the tender and generous
feeling, to the noble independence, which were the honorable
characteristics of his talent and his individuality. His works, first
published in Paris in 1843 in six octavo volumes, went through many
subsequent editions.

[Illustration: Signature: Frederic Loliée]


     [On the point of dying, Louis XI. clings desperately to life, and
     summons before him a holy monk, Francis de Paula, whom he implores
     to work a miracle in his favor and prolong his life.]

_Dramatis personæ:_--King Louis XI, _and_ Saint Francis de Paula,
_founder of the order of the Franciscan friars_.

_Louis_--We are alone now.

_Francis_--What do you wish of me?

_Louis_ [_who has knelt down_]--At your knees see me trembling with hope
and fear.

_Francis_--What can I do for you?

_Louis_--Everything, Father; you can do everything: you can call the
dead to life again.


_Louis_--To the dead you say, "Leave your graves!" and they leave them.

_Francis_--Who? I?

_Louis_--You bid our ailments to be cured.

_Francis_--I, my son?

_Louis_--And they are cured. When you command the skies clear, the wind
suddenly blows or likewise abates; the falling thunderbolt at your
command moves back to the clouds. Oh, I implore you, who in the air can
keep up the beneficent dew or let it pour its welcome freshness on the
withering plant, impart fresh vigor to my old limbs. See me; I am dying;
revive my drooping energy; stretch ye out your arms to me, touch ye
those livid features of mine, and the spell of your hands will cause my
wrinkles to vanish.

_Francis_--What do you ask of me? You surprise me, my son. Am I equal to
God? From your lips I first learn that I go abroad rendering oracles,
and with my hands working miracles.

_Louis_--At least ten years, father! grant me ten more years to live,
and upon you I shall lavish honors and presents.... I shall found
shrines to your name, in gold and jasper shall have your relics set;
but!--twenty years more life are too little a reward for so much wealth
and incense. I beseech you, work a whole miracle! Do not cut so short
the thread of my life. A whole miracle! give me new life and prolong my

_Francis_--To do God's work is not in his creature's power. What! when
everything dies, you alone should last! King, such is not God's will. I
his feeble creature cannot alter for you the course of nature. All that
which grows must vanish, all that which is born must perish, man himself
and his works, the tree and its fruit alike. All that produces does so
only for a time; 'tis the law here below, for eternity death alone shall

_Louis_--You wear out my patience. Do your duty, monk! Work in my favor
your marvelous power; for if you refuse, I shall compel you. Do you
forget that I am a king? The holy oil anointed my forehead. Oh, pardon
me! but it is your duty to do more for kings, for crowned heads, than
for those obscure and unfortunate wretches whom, but for your prayers,
God in heaven would never have remembered.

_Francis_--Kings and their subjects are equal in the eyes of the Lord;
he owes you his aid as to the rest of his children; be more just to
yourself, and claim for your soul that help for which you beg.

_Louis_ [_eagerly_]--No, not so much at a time: let us now mind the
body; I shall think of the soul by-and-by.

_Francis_--It is your remorse, O King, 'tis that smarting wound
inflicted by your crimes, which slowly drags your body to final ruin.

_Louis_--The priests absolved me.

_Francis_--Vain hope! The weight of your present alarms is made up of
thirty years of iniquitous life. Confess your shame, disclose your sins,
and let sincere repentance wash away your defiled soul.

_Louis_--Should I get cured?


_Louis_--Say yes, promise that I shall. I am going to confess all.

_Francis_--To me?

_Louis_--Such is my will. Listen.

_Francis_ [_seating himself whilst the King stands up with clasped
hands_]--Speak then, sinner, who summon me to perform this holy

_Louis_ [_after having recited mentally the_ Confiteor]--I cannot and
dare not refuse.

_Francis_--What are your sins?

_Louis_--Through fear of the Dauphin, the late King died of starvation.

_Francis_--A son shortened his own father's old age!

_Louis_--I was that Dauphin.

_Francis_--You were!

_Louis_--My father's weakness was ruining France. A favorite ruled.
France must have perished had not the King done so. State interests are
higher than--

_Francis_--Confess thy sins, thou wicked son; do not excuse thy

_Louis_--I had a brother.

_Francis_--What of him?

_Louis_--Who died ... poisoned.

_Francis_--Were you instrumental in his death?

_Louis_--They suspected me.

_Francis_--God Almighty!

_Louis_--If those who said so fell in my power!...

_Francis_--Is it true?

_Louis_--His ghost rising from the grave can alone with impunity accuse
me of his death.

_Francis_--So you were guilty of it?

_Louis_--The traitor deserved it!

_Francis_ [_rising_]--You would escape your just punishment! Tremble! I
was your brother, I am now your judge. Crushed under your sin, bend low
your head. Return to nothingness, empty Majesty! I no longer see the
King, I hear the criminal: to your knees, fratricide!

_Louis_ [_falling on his knees_]--I shudder.


_Louis_ [_crawling to the monk and catching hold of his garments_]--I
own my fault, have pity on me! I beat my breast and repent another
crime. I do not excuse it.

_Francis_ [_resuming his seat_]--Is this not all?

_Louis_--Nemours!... He was a conspirator. But his death.... His crime
was proved. But under his scaffold his children's tears.... Thrice
against his lord he had taken up arms. His life-blood spattered them.
Yet his death was but just.

_Francis_--Cruel, cruel King!

_Louis_--Just, but severe; I confess it: I punished ... but no, I have
committed crimes. In mid-air the fatal knot has strangled my victims; in
murderous pits they have been stabbed with steel; the waters have put an
end to them, the earth has acted as their jailer. Prisoners buried
beneath these towers groan forgotten in their depths.

_Francis_--Oh! since there are wrongs which you can still repair, come!

_Louis_--Where to?

_Francis_--Let us set free those prisoners.

_Louis_--Statecraft forbids.

_Francis_ [_kneeling before the King_]--Charity orders: come, and save
your soul.

_Louis_--And risk my crown! As a king, I cannot.

_Francis_--As a Christian, you must.

_Louis_--I have repented. Let that suffice.

_Francis_ [_rising_]--That avails nothing.

_Louis_--Have I not confessed my sins?

_Francis_--They are not condoned while you persist in them.

_Louis_--The Church has indulgences which a king can pay for.

_Francis_--God's pardon is not to be bought: we must deserve it.

_Louis_ [_in despair_]--I claim it by right of my anguish! O Father, if
you knew my sufferings, you would shed tears of pity! The intolerable
bodily pain I endure constitutes but half my troubles and my least
suffering, I desire the places where I cannot be. Everywhere remorse
pursues me; I avoid the living; I live among the dead. I spend dreadful
days and nights more terrible. The darkness assumes visible shapes;
silence disturbs me, and when I pray to my Savior I hear his voice say:
"What would you with me, accursed?" When asleep, a demon sits on my
chest: I drive him away, and a naked sword stabs me furiously; I rise
aghast; human blood inundates my couch, and my hand, seized by a hand
cold as death, is plunged in that blood and feels hideous moving

_Francis_--Ah, wretched man!

_Louis_--You shudder. Such are my days and nights; my sleep, my life.
Yet, dying, I agonize to live, and fear to drink the last drop of that
bitter cup.

_Francis_--Come then. Forgive the wrongs others have done you, and thus
abate your own tortures. A deed of mercy will buy you rest, and when you
awake, some voice at least will bless your name. Come. Do not tarry.

_Louis_--Wait! Wait!

_Francis_--Will the Lord wait?


_Francis_--But to-morrow, to-night, now, perhaps, death awaits you.

_Louis_--I am well protected.

_Francis_--The unloved are ill protected. [_Tries to drag the King
along._] Come! Come!

_Louis_ [_pushing him aside_]--Give me time, time to make up my mind.

_Francis_--I leave you, murderer. I cannot forgive your crimes.

_Louis_ [_terrified_]--What! do you condemn me?

_Francis_--God may forgive all! When he still hesitates, how could I
condemn? Take advantage of the delay he grants you; weep, pray, obtain
from his mercy the softening of your heart towards those unfortunates.
Forgive, and let the light of day shine for them once more. When you
seized the attribute of Divine vengeance they denounced your name from
the depth of their jails in their bitter anguish, and their shrieks and
moans drowned your prayers. Now end those sufferings, and God shall hear
your prayers.

     Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'


(384-322 B.C.)


[Illustration: DEMOSTHENES]

The lot of Demosthenes, the great Athenian orator, was cast in evil
times. The glorious days of his country's brilliant political
pre-eminence among Grecian States, and of her still more brilliant
pre-eminence as a leader and torch-bearer to the world in its progress
towards enlightenment and freedom, were well-nigh over. In arms she had
been crushed by the brute force of Sparta. But this was not her deepest
humiliation; she had indeed risen again to great power, under the
leadership of generals and statesmen in whom something of the old-time
Athenian spirit still persisted; but the duration of that power had been
brief. The deepest humiliation of a State is not in the loss of military
prestige or of material resources, but in the degeneracy of its
citizens, in the overthrow and scorn of high ideals; and so it was in
Athens at the time of Demosthenes's political activity.

The Athenians had become a pampered, ease-loving people. They still
cherished a cheap admiration for the great achievements of their
fathers. Stirring appeals to the glories of Marathon and Salamis would
arouse them to--pass patriotic resolutions. Any suggestion of
self-sacrifice, of service on the fleet or in the field, was dangerous.
A law made it a capital offense to propose to use, even in meeting any
great emergency, the fund set aside to supply the folk with amusements.
They preferred to hire mercenaries to undergo their hardships and to
fight their battles; but they were not willing to pay their hirelings.
The commander had to find pay for his soldiers in the booty taken from
their enemies; or failing that, by plundering their friends. It must be
admitted, however, that the patriots at home were always ready and most
willing to try, to convict, and to punish the commanders upon any charge
of misdemeanor in office.

There were not wanting men of integrity and true patriotism, and of
great ability, as Isocrates and Phocion, who accepted as inevitable the
decline of the power of Athens, and advocated a policy of passive
non-interference in foreign affairs, unless it were to take part in a
united effort against Persia. But the mass of the people, instead of
offering their own means and their bodies to the service of their
country, deemed it rather the part of the State to supply their needs
and their amusements. They considered that they had performed, to the
full, their duty as citizens when they had taken part in the noisy
debates of the Assembly, or had sat as paid jurymen in the never-ending
succession of court procedures of this most litigious of peoples. Among
men even in their better days not callous to the allurements of bribes
judiciously administered, it was a logical sequence that corruption
should now pervade all classes and conditions.

Literature and art, too, shared the general decadence, as it ever must
be, since they always respond to the dominant ideals of a time and a
people. To this general statement the exception must be noted that
philosophy, as represented by Plato and Aristotle, and oratory, as
represented by a long succession of Attic orators, had developed into
higher and better forms. The history of human experience has shown that
philosophy often becomes more subtle and more profound in times when men
fall away from their ancient high standards, and become shaken in their
old beliefs. So oratory attains its perfect flower in periods of the
greatest stress and danger, whether from foreign foes or from internal
discord. Both these forms of utterance of the active human intellect
show, in their highest attainment, the realization of imminent emergency
and the effort to point out a way of betterment and safety.

Not only the condition of affairs at home was full of portent of coming
disaster. The course of events in other parts of Greece and in the
barbarian kingdom of Macedon seemed all to be converging to one
inevitable result,--the extinction of Hellenic freedom. When a nation or
a race becomes unfit to possess longer the most precious of heritages, a
free and honorable place among nations, then the time and the occasion
and the man will not be long wanting to co-operate with the internal
subversive force in consummating the final catastrophe. "If Philip
should die," said Demosthenes, "the Athenians would quickly make
themselves another Philip."

Throughout Greece, mutual jealousy and hatred among the States, each too
weak to cope with a strong foreign foe, prevented such united action as
might have made the country secure from any barbarian power; and that at
a time when it was threatened by an enemy far more formidable than had
been Xerxes with all his millions.

The Greeks at first entirely underrated the danger from Philip and the
Macedonians. They had, up to this time, despised these barbarians.
Demosthenes, in the third Philippic, reproaches his countrymen with
enduring insult and outrage from a vile barbarian out of Macedon, whence
formerly not even a respectable slave could be obtained. It is indeed
doubtful whether the world has ever seen a man, placed in a position
of great power, more capable of seizing every opportunity and of using
every agency, fair or foul, for accomplishing his ambitious purposes,
than was Philip of Macedon. The Greeks were most unfortunate in their

Philip understood the Greek people thoroughly. He had received his early
training among them while a hostage at Thebes. He found in their petty
feuds, in their indolence and corruptibility, his opportunity to carry
into effect his matured plans of conquest. His energy never slept; his
influence was ever present. When he was far away, extending his
boundaries among the barbarians, his money was still active in Athens
and elsewhere. His agents, often among the ablest men in a community,
were busy using every cunning means at the command of the wonderful
Greek ingenuity to conceal the danger or to reconcile the fickle people
to a change that promised fine rewards for the sale of their liberty.
Then he began to trim off one by one the outlying colonies and
dependencies of the Greek States. His next step was to be the obtaining
of a foothold in Greece proper.

The chief obstacle to Philip's progress was Athens, degenerate as she
was, and his chief opponent in Athens was Demosthenes. This Philip
understood very well; but he treated both the city and the great
statesman always with a remarkable leniency. More than once Athens,
inflamed by Demosthenes, flashed into her old-time energy and activity,
and stayed the Macedonian's course; as when, in his first bold march
towards the heart of Greece, he found himself confronted at Thermopylæ
by Athenian troops; and again when prompt succor from Athens saved
Byzantium for the time. But the emergency once past, the ardor of the
Athenians died down as quickly as it had flamed up.

The Social War (357-355 B.C.) left Athens stripped almost bare of
allies, and was practically a victory for Philip. The Sacred War
(357-346 B.C.) between Thebes and Phocis, turning upon an affront
offered to the Delphian god, gave Philip the eagerly sought-for
opportunity of interfering in the internal affairs of Greece. He became
the successful champion of the god, and received as his reward a place
in the great Amphictyonic Council. He thus secured recognition of his
claims to being a Greek, since none but Greeks might sit in this
council. He had, moreover, in crushing the Phocians, destroyed a
formidable power of resistance to his plans.

Such were the times and such the conditions in which Demosthenes entered
upon his strenuous public life. He was born most probably in 384 B.C.,
though some authorities give preference to 382 B.C. as the year of his
birth. He was the son of Demosthenes and Cleobule. His father was a
respectable and wealthy Athenian citizen, a manufacturer of cutlery and
upholstering. His mother was the daughter of Gylon, an Athenian citizen
resident in the region of the Crimea.

Misfortune fell early upon him. At the age of seven he was left
fatherless. His large patrimony fell into the hands of unprincipled
guardians. Nature seems almost maliciously to have concentrated in him a
number of blemishes, any one of which might have checked effectually the
ambition of any ordinary man to excel in the profession Demosthenes
chose for himself. He was not strong of body, his features were
sinister, and his manner was ungraceful,--a grievous drawback among a
people with whom physical beauty might cover a multitude of sins, and
physical imperfections were a reproach.

He seems to have enjoyed the best facilities in his youth for training
his mind, though he complains that his teachers were not paid by his
guardians; and he is reported to have developed a fondness for oratory
at an early age. In his maturing years, he was taught by the great
lawyer, Isæus; and must often have listened to the orator and
rhetorician Isocrates, if he was not indeed actually instructed by him.
When once he had determined to make himself an orator, he set himself to
work with immense energy to overcome the natural disadvantages that
stood in the way of his success. By hard training he strengthened his
weak voice and lungs; it is related that he cured himself of a painful
habit of stammering; and he subjected himself to the most vigorous
course of study preparatory to his profession, cutting himself off from
all social enjoyments.

His success as an orator, however, was not immediate. He tasted all the
bitterness of failure on more than one occasion; but after temporary
discouragement he redoubled his efforts to correct the faults that were
made so distressingly plain to him by the unsparing but salutary
criticism of his audience. Without doubt, these conflicts and rebuffs of
his earlier years served to strengthen and deepen the moral character of
Demosthenes, as well as to improve his art. They contributed to form a
man capable of spending his whole life in unflagging devotion to a high
purpose, and that in the face of the greatest difficulties and dangers.
The dominant purpose of his life was the preservation of the freedom of
the Greek States from the control of any foreign power, and the
maintenance of the pre-eminent position of Athens among these States. In
this combination of a splendid intellect, an indomitable will, and a
great purpose, we find the true basis of Demosthenes's greatness.

When at the age of eighteen he came into the wreck of his patrimony, he
at once began suit against Aphobos, one of his unfaithful guardians. He
conducted his case himself. So well did he plead his cause that he
received a verdict for a large amount. He seems, however, owing to the
trickery of his opponent, never to have recovered the money. He became
now a professional writer of speeches for clients in private suits of
every kind, sometimes appearing in court himself as advocate.

In 355-354 B.C. he entered upon his career as public orator and
statesman. He had now found his field of action, and till the end of his
eventful life he was a most prominent figure in the great issues that
concerned the welfare of Athens and of Greece. He was long
unquestionably the leading man among the Athenians. By splendid ability
as orator and statesman he was repeatedly able to thwart the plans of
the traitors in the pay of Philip, even though they were led by the
adept and eloquent Æschines. His influence was powerful in the
Peloponnesus, and he succeeded, in 338 B.C., in even uniting the bitter
hereditary enemies Thebes and Athens for one final, desperate, but
unsuccessful struggle against the Macedonian power.

Demosthenes soon awoke to the danger threatening his country from the
barbarian kingdom in the north, though not even he understood at first
how grave was the danger. The series of great speeches relating to
Philip--the First Philippic; the three Olynthiacs, 'On the Peace,' 'On
the Embassy,' 'On the Chersonese'; the Second and Third
Philippics--show an increasing intensity and fire as the danger became
more and more imminent. These orations were delivered in the period
351-341 B.C.

When the cause of Greek freedom had been overwhelmed at Chæronea, in the
defeat of the allied Thebans and Athenians, Demosthenes, who had
organized the unsuccessful resistance to Philip, still retained the
favor of his countrymen, fickle as they were. With the exception of a
short period of disfavor, he practically regulated the policy of Athens
till his death in 322 B.C.

In 336 B.C., on motion of Ctesiphon, a golden crown was voted to
Demosthenes by the Senate, in recognition of certain eminent services
and generous contributions from his own means to the needs of the State.
The decree was not confirmed by the Assembly, owing to the opposition of
Æschines, who gave notice that he would bring suit against Ctesiphon for
proposing an illegal measure. The case did not come up for trial,
however, till 330 B.C., six years later. (The reason for this delay has
never been clearly revealed.)

When Ctesiphon was summoned to appear, it was well understood that it
was not he but Demosthenes who was in reality to be tried, and that the
public and private record of the latter would be subjected to the most
rigorous scrutiny. On that memorable occasion, people gathered from all
over Greece to witness the oratorical duel of the two champions--for
Demosthenes was to reply to Æschines. The speech of Æschines was a
brilliant and bitter arraignment of Demosthenes; but so triumphant was
the reply of the latter, that his opponent, in mortification, went into
voluntary exile. The speech of Demosthenes 'On the Crown' has been
generally accepted by ancients and moderns as the supreme attainment in
the oratory of antiquity.

It is evident that a man the never-swerving champion of a cause which
demanded the greatest sacrifice from a people devoted to
self-indulgence, the never-sleeping opponent of the hirelings of a
foreign enemy, and a persistent obstacle to men of honest conviction who
advocated a policy different from that which seemed best to him, would
of necessity bring upon himself bitter hostility and accusations of the
most serious character. And such was the case. Demosthenes has been
accused of many crimes and immoralities, some of them so different in
character as to be almost mutually exclusive. The most serious charge is
that of receiving a bribe from Harpalus, the absconding treasurer of
Alexander. He was tried upon this charge, convicted, fined fifty
talents, and thrown into prison. Thence he escaped to go into a
miserable exile.

How far and how seriously the character of Demosthenes is compromised by
this and other attacks, it is not possible to decide to the satisfaction
of all. The results of the contest in regard to the crown and the trial
in the Harpalus matter were very different; but the verdict of neither
trial, even if they were not conflicting, could be accepted as decisive.
To me, the evidence,--weighed as we weigh other evidence, with a just
appreciation of the source of the charges, the powerful testimony of the
man's public life viewed as a whole, and the lofty position maintained
in the face of all odds among a petulant people whom he would not
flatter, but openly reproved for their vices,--the evidence, I say, read
in this light justifies the conclusion that the orator was a man of high
moral character, and that in the Harpalus affair he was the victim of
the Macedonian faction and of the misled patriotic party, co-operating
for the time being.

When the tidings of the death of Alexander startled the world,
Demosthenes at once, though in exile, became intensely active in
arousing the patriots to strike one more blow for liberty. He was
recalled to Athens, restored to his high place, and became again the
chief influence in preparing for the last desperate resistance to the
Macedonians. When the cause of Greek freedom was finally lost,
Demosthenes went into exile; a price was set upon his head; and when the
Macedonian soldiers, led by a Greek traitor, were about to lay hands
upon him in the temple of Poseidon at Calauria, he sucked the poison
which he always carried ready in his pen, and died rather than yield
himself to the hated enemies of his country.

It remains only to say that the general consensus of ancient and modern
opinion is, that Demosthenes was the supreme figure in the brilliant
line of orators of antiquity. The chief general characteristics in all
Demosthenes's public oratory are a sustained intensity and a merciless
directness. Swift as waves before a gale, every word bears straight
toward the final goal of his purpose. We are hardly conscious even of
the artistic taste which fits each phrase, and sentence, and episode, to
the larger occasion as well as to each other. Indeed, we lose the
rhetorician altogether in the devoted pleader, the patriot, the
self-forgetful chief of a noble but losing cause. His careful study of
the great orators who had preceded him undoubtedly taught him much; yet
it was his own original and creative power, lodged in a far-sighted,
generous, and fearless nature, that enabled him to leave to mankind a
series of forensic masterpieces hardly rivaled in any age or country.

[Illustration: Signature: Robert Shark]



     This speech was delivered about three months after the second
     Philippic, while Philip was advancing into Thrace, and threatening
     both the Chersonese and the Propontine coast. No new event had
     happened which called for any special consultation; but
     Demosthenes, alarmed by the formidable character of Philip's
     enterprises and vast military preparations, felt the necessity of
     rousing the Athenians to exertion.

Many speeches, men of Athens, are made in almost every Assembly about
the hostilities of Philip, hostilities which ever since the treaty of
peace he has been committing as well against you as against the rest of
the Greeks; and all, I am sure, are ready to avow, though they forbear
to do so, that our counsels and our measures should be directed to his
humiliation and chastisement: nevertheless, so low have our affairs been
brought by inattention and negligence, I fear it is harsh truth to say,
that if all the orators had sought to suggest and you to pass
resolutions for the utter ruining of the commonwealth, we could not
methinks be worse off than we are. A variety of circumstances may have
brought us to this state; our affairs have not declined from one or two
causes only: but if you rightly examine, you will find it chiefly owing
to the orators, who study to please you rather than advise for the best.
Some of whom, Athenians, seeking to maintain the basis of their own
power and repute, have no forethought for the future, and therefore
think you also ought to have none; others, accusing and calumniating
practical statesmen, labor only to make Athens punish Athens, and in
such occupation to engage her that Philip may have liberty to say and do
what he pleases. Politics of this kind are common here, but are the
causes of your failures and embarrassment. I beg, Athenians, that you
will not resent my plain speaking of the truth. Only consider. You hold
liberty of speech in other matters to be the general right of all
residents in Athens, insomuch that you allow a measure of it even to
foreigners and slaves, and many servants may be seen among you speaking
their thoughts more freely than citizens in some other States; and yet
you have altogether banished it from your councils. The result has been,
that in the Assembly you give yourselves airs and are flattered at
hearing nothing but compliments; in your measures and proceedings you
are brought to the utmost peril. If such be your disposition now, I must
be silent: if you will listen to good advice without flattery, I am
ready to speak. For though our affairs are in a deplorable condition,
though many sacrifices have been made, still if you will choose to
perform your duty it is possible to repair it all. A paradox, and yet a
truth, am I about to state. That which is the most lamentable in the
past is best for the future. How is this? Because you performed no part
of your duty, great or small, and therefore you fared ill: had you done
all that became you, and your situation were the same, there would be no
hope of amendment. Philip has indeed prevailed over your sloth and
negligence, but not over the country; you have not been worsted; you
have not even bestirred yourselves.

If now we were all agreed that Philip is at war with Athens and
infringing the peace, nothing would a speaker need to urge or advise but
the safest and easiest way of resisting him. But since, at the very time
when Philip is capturing cities and retaining divers of our dominions
and assailing all people, there are men so unreasonable as to listen to
repeated declarations in the Assembly that some of us are kindling war,
one must be cautious and set this matter right: for whoever moves or
advises a measure of defense is in danger of being accused afterwards as
author of the war.

I will first then examine and determine this point, whether it be in our
power to deliberate on peace or war. If the country may be at peace, if
it depends on us (to begin with this), I say we ought to maintain peace;
and I call upon the affirmant to move a resolution, to take some
measure, and not to palter with us. But if another, having arms in his
hand and a large force around him, amuses you with the name of peace
while he carries on the operations of war, what is left but to defend
yourselves? You may profess to be at peace if you like, as he does; I
quarrel not with that. But if any man supposes this to be a peace, which
will enable Philip to master all else and attack you last, he is a
madman, or he talks of a peace observed towards him by you, not towards
you by him. This it is that Philip purchases by all his expenditure--the
privilege of assailing you without being assailed in turn.

If we really wait until he avows that he is at war with us, we are the
simplest of mortals: for he would not declare that, though he marched
even against Attica and Piræus; at least if we may judge from his
conduct to others. For example, to the Olynthians he declared when he
was forty furlongs from their city, that there was no alternative, but
either they must quit Olynthus or he Macedonia; though before that time,
whenever he was accused of such an intent, he took it ill and sent
ambassadors to justify himself. Again, he marched toward the Phocians as
if they were allies, and there were Phocian envoys who accompanied his
march, and many among you contended that his advance would not benefit
the Thebans. And he came into Thessaly of late as a friend and ally, yet
he has taken possession of Pheræ; and lastly he told these wretched
people of Oreus that he had sent his soldiers out of good-will to visit
them, as he heard they were in trouble and dissension, and it was the
part of allies and true friends to lend assistance on such occasions.
People who would never have harmed him, though they might have adopted
measures of defense, he chose to deceive rather than warn them of his
attack; and think ye he would declare war against you before he began
it, and that while you are willing to be deceived? Impossible. He would
be the silliest of mankind, if whilst you the injured parties make no
complaint against him, but are accusing your own countrymen, he should
terminate your intestine strife and jealousies, warn you to turn against
him, and remove the pretexts of his hirelings for asserting, to amuse
you, that he makes no war upon Athens. O heavens! would any rational
being judge by words rather than by actions, who is at peace with him
and who at war? Surely none. Well then, tell me now: when he sends
mercenaries into Chersonesus, which the king and all the Greeks have
acknowledged to be yours, when he avows himself an auxiliary and writes
us word so, what are such proceedings? He says he is not at war; I
cannot however admit such conduct to be an observance of the peace; far
otherwise: I say, by his attempt on Megara, by his setting up despotism
in Euboea, by his present advance into Thrace, by his intrigues in
Peloponnesus, by the whole course of operations with his army, he has
been breaking the peace and making war upon you; unless indeed you will
say that those who establish batteries are not at war until they apply
them to the walls. But that you will not say: for whoever contrives and
prepares the means for my conquest, is at war with me before he darts or
draws the bow. What, if anything should happen, is the risk you run? The
alienation of the Hellespont, the subjection of Megara and Euboea to
your enemy, the siding of the Peloponnesians with him. Then can I allow
that one who sets such an engine at work against Athens is at peace with
her? Quite the contrary. From the day that he destroyed the Phocians I
date his commencement of hostilities. Defend yourselves instantly, and I
say you will be wise: delay it, and you may wish in vain to do so
hereafter. So much do I dissent from your other counselors, men of
Athens, that I deem any discussion about Chersonesus or Byzantium out of
place. Succor them,--I advise that,--watch that no harm befalls them,
send all necessary supplies to your troops in that quarter; but let your
deliberations be for the safety of all Greece, as being in the utmost
peril. I must tell you why I am so alarmed at the state of our affairs,
that if my reasonings are correct, you may share them, and make some
provision at least for yourselves, however disinclined to do so for
others; but if in your judgment I talk nonsense and absurdity, you may
treat me as crazed, and not listen to me either now or in future.

That Philip from a mean and humble origin has grown mighty, that the
Greeks are jealous and quarreling among themselves, that it was far more
wonderful for him to rise from that insignificance than it would now be,
after so many acquisitions, to conquer what is left: these, and similar
matters which I might dwell upon, I pass over. But I observe that all
people, beginning with you, have conceded to him a right which in
former times has been the subject of contest in every Grecian war. And
what is this? The right of doing what he pleases, openly fleecing and
pillaging the Greeks, one after another, attacking and enslaving their
cities. You were at the head of the Greeks for seventy-three years, the
Lacedæmonians for twenty-nine; and the Thebans had some power in these
latter times after the battle of Leuctra. Yet neither you my countrymen,
nor Thebans, nor Lacedæmonians, were ever licensed by the Greeks to act
as you pleased; far otherwise. When you, or rather the Athenians of that
time, appeared to be dealing harshly with certain people, all the rest,
even such as had no complaint against Athens, thought proper to side
with the injured parties in a war against her. So, when the
Lacedæmonians became masters and succeeded to your empire, on their
attempting to encroach and make oppressive innovations a general war was
declared against them, even by such as had no cause of complaint. But
wherefore mention other people? We ourselves and the Lacedæmonians,
although at the outset we could not allege any mutual injuries, thought
proper to make war for the injustice that we saw done to our neighbors.
Yet all the faults committed by the Spartans in those thirty years, and
by our ancestors in the seventy, are less, men of Athens, than the
wrongs which in thirteen incomplete years that Philip has been uppermost
he has inflicted on the Greeks: nay, they are scarcely a fraction of
these, as may easily be shown in a few words. Olynthus and Methone and
Apollonia, and thirty-two cities on the borders of Thrace, I pass over;
all which he has so cruelly destroyed, that a visitor could hardly tell
if they were ever inhabited; and of the Phocians, so considerable a
people exterminated, I say nothing. But what is the condition of
Thessaly? Has he not taken away her constitutions and her cities, and
established tetrarchies, to parcel her out, not only by cities, but also
by provinces, for subjection? Are not the Euboean States governed now
by despots, and that in an island near to Thebes and Athens? Does he not
expressly write in his epistles, "I am at peace with those who are
willing to obey me?" Nor does he write so and not act accordingly. He is
gone to the Hellespont; he marched formerly against Ambracia; Elis, such
an important city in Peloponnesus, he possesses; he plotted lately to
get Megara: neither Hellenic nor barbaric land contains the man's

And we the Greek community, seeing and hearing this, instead of sending
embassies to one another about it and expressing indignation, are in
such a miserable state, so intrenched in our separate towns, that to
this day we can attempt nothing that interest or necessity requires; we
cannot combine, or form any association for succor and alliance; we look
unconcernedly on the man's growing power, each resolving, methinks, to
enjoy the interval that another is destroyed in, not caring or striving
for the salvation of Greece: for none can be ignorant that Philip, like
some course or attack of fever or other disease, is coming even on those
that yet seem very far removed. And you must be sensible that whatever
wrong the Greeks sustained from Lacedæmonians or from us was at least
inflicted by genuine people of Greece; and it might be felt in the same
manner as if a lawful son, born to a large fortune, committed some fault
or error in the management of it; on that ground one would consider him
open to censure and reproach, yet it could not be said that he was an
alien, and not heir to the property which he so dealt with. But if a
slave or a spurious child wasted and spoiled what he had no interest
in--Heavens! how much more heinous and hateful would all have pronounced
it! And yet in regard to Philip and his conduct they feel not this,
although he is not only no Greek and no way akin to Greeks, but not even
a barbarian of a place honorable to mention; in fact, a vile fellow of
Macedon, from which a respectable slave could not be purchased formerly.

What is wanting to make his insolence complete? Besides his destruction
of Grecian cities, does he not hold the Pythian games, the common
festival of Greece, and if he comes not himself, send his vassals to
preside? Is he not master of Thermopylæ and the passes into Greece, and
holds he not those places by garrisons and mercenaries? Has he not
thrust aside Thessalians, ourselves, Dorians, the whole Amphictyonic
body, and got pre-audience of the oracle, to which even the Greeks do
not all pretend? Yet the Greeks endure to see all this; methinks they
view it as they would a hailstorm, each praying that it may not fall on
himself, none trying to prevent it. And not only are the outrages which
he does to Greece submitted to, but even the private wrongs of every
people: nothing can go beyond this! Still under these indignities we are
all slack and disheartened, and look towards our neighbors, distrusting
one another instead of the common enemy. And how think ye a man who
behaves so insolently to all, how will he act when he gets each
separately under his control?

But what has caused the mischief? There must be some cause, some good
reason why the Greeks were so eager for liberty then, and now are eager
for servitude. There was something, men of Athens, something in the
hearts of the multitude then which there is not now, which overcame the
wealth of Persia and maintained the freedom of Greece, and quailed not
under any battle by land or sea; the loss whereof has ruined all, and
thrown the affairs of Greece into confusion. What was this? Nothing
subtle or clever: simply that whoever took money from the aspirants for
power or the corrupters of Greece were universally detested; it was
dreadful to be convicted of bribery; the severest punishment was
inflicted on the guilty, and there was no intercession or pardon. The
favorable moments for enterprise which fortune frequently offers to the
careless against the vigilant, to them that will do nothing against
those that discharge all their duty, could not be bought from orators or
generals; no more could mutual concord, nor distrust of tyrants and
barbarians, nor anything of the kind. But now all such principles have
been sold as in open market, and those imported in exchange, by which
Greece is ruined and diseased. What are they? Envy where a man gets a
bribe; laughter if he confesses it; mercy to the convicted; hatred of
those that denounce the crime; all the usual attendants upon corruption.
For as to ships and men and revenues and abundance of other materials,
all that may be reckoned as constituting national strength--assuredly
the Greeks of our day are more fully and perfectly supplied with such
advantages than Greeks of the olden time. But they are all rendered
useless, unavailable, unprofitable, by the agency of these traffickers.

That such is the present state of things, you must see without requiring
my testimony; that it was different in former times I will demonstrate,
not by speaking my own words, but by showing an inscription of your
ancestors, which they graved on a brazen column and deposited in the
citadel, not for their own benefit (they were right-minded enough
without such records), but for a memorial and example to instruct you
how seriously such conduct should be taken up. What says the
inscription then? It says:--"Let Arthmius, son of Pythonax the Zelite,
be declared an outlaw and an enemy of the Athenian people and their
allies, him and his family." Then the cause is written why this was
done: because he brought the Median gold into Peloponnesus. That is the
inscription. By the gods! only consider and reflect among yourselves
what must have been the spirit, what the dignity of those Athenians who
acted so. One Arthmius a Zelite, subject of the king (for Zelea is in
Asia), because in his master's service he brought gold into
Peloponnesus,--not to Athens,--they proclaimed an enemy of the Athenians
and their allies, him and his family, and outlawed. That is not by the
outlawry commonly spoken of: for what would a Zelite care, to be
excluded from Athenian franchises? It means not that; but in the
statutes of homicide it is written, in cases where a prosecution for
murder is not allowed, but killing is sanctioned, "and let him die an
outlaw," says the legislator; by which he means that whoever kills such
a person shall be unpolluted. Therefore they considered that the
preservation of all Greece was their own concern (but for such opinion,
they would not have cared whether people in Peloponnesus were bought and
corrupted); and whomsoever they discovered taking bribes, they chastised
and punished so severely as to record their names in brass. The natural
result was, that Greece was formidable to the barbarian, not the
barbarian to Greece. 'Tis not so now: since neither in this nor in other
respects are your sentiments the same. But what are they? You know
yourselves; why am I to upbraid you with everything? The Greeks in
general are alike, and no better than you. Therefore I say, our present
affairs demand earnest attention and wholesome counsel.

There is a foolish saying of persons who wish to make us easy, that
Philip is not yet as powerful as the Lacedæmonians were formerly, who
ruled everywhere by land and sea, and had the king for their ally, and
nothing withstood them; yet Athens resisted even that nation, and was
not destroyed. I myself believe that while everything has received great
improvement, and the present bears no resemblance to the past, nothing
has been so changed and improved as the practice of war. For anciently,
as I am informed, the Lacedæmonians and all Grecian people would for
four or five months during the season, only, invade and ravage the land
of their enemies with heavy-armed and national troops, and return home
again; and their ideas were so old-fashioned, or rather national, that
they never purchased an advantage from any; theirs was a legitimate and
open warfare. But now you doubtless perceive that the majority of
disasters have been effected by treason; nothing is done in fair field
or combat. You hear of Philip marching where he pleases, not because he
commands troops of the line, but because he has attached to him a host
of skirmishers, cavalry, archers, mercenaries, and the like. When with
these he falls upon a people in civil dissension, and none (through
mistrust) will march out to defend the country, he applies engines and
besieges them. I need not mention that he makes no difference between
winter and summer, that he has no stated season of repose. You, knowing
these things, reflecting on them, must not let the war approach your
territories, nor get your necks broken, relying on the simplicity of the
old war with the Lacedæmonians; but take the longest time beforehand for
defensive measures and preparations, see that he stirs not from home,
avoid any decisive engagement. For a war, if we choose, men of Athens,
to pursue a right course, we have many natural advantages; such as the
position of his kingdom, which we may extensively plunder and ravage,
and a thousand more; but for a battle he is better trained than we are.

Nor is it enough to adopt these resolutions and oppose him by warlike
measures: you must on calculation and on principle abhor his advocates
here, remembering that it is impossible to overcome your enemies abroad
until you have chastised those who are his ministers within the city.
Which, by Jupiter and all the gods, you cannot and will not do! You have
arrived at such a pitch of folly or madness or--I know not what to call
it: I am tempted often to think that some evil genius is driving you to
ruin--that for the sake of scandal or envy or jest or any other cause,
you command hirelings to speak (some of whom would not deny themselves
to be hirelings), and laugh when they abuse people. And this, bad as it
is, is not the worst; you have allowed these persons more liberty for
their political conduct than your faithful counselors; and see what
evils are caused by listening to such men with indulgence. I will
mention facts that you will all remember.

In Olynthus some of the statesmen were in Philip's interest, doing
everything for him; some were on the honest side, aiming to preserve
their fellow-citizens from slavery. Which party, now, destroyed their
country? or which betrayed the cavalry, by whose betrayal Olynthus
fell? The creatures of Philip; they that, while the city stood,
slandered and calumniated the honest counselors so effectually that the
Olynthian people were induced to banish Apollonides.

Nor is it there only, and nowhere else, that such practice has been

What can be the reason--perhaps you wonder--why the Olynthians were more
indulgent to Philip's advocates than to their own? The same which
operates with you. They who advise for the best cannot always gratify
their audience, though they would; for the safety of the State must be
attended to; their opponents by the very counsel which is agreeable
advance Philip's interest. One party required contribution, the other
said there was no necessity; one were for war and mistrust, the other
for peace, until they were ensnared. And so on for everything else (not
to dwell on particulars); the one made speeches to please for the
moment, and gave no annoyance; the other offered salutary counsel that
was offensive. Many rights did the people surrender at last, not from
any such motive of indulgence or ignorance, but submitting in the belief
that all was lost. Which, by Jupiter and Apollo, I fear will be your
case, when on calculation you see that nothing can be done. I pray, men
of Athens, it may never come to this! Better die a thousand deaths than
render homage to Philip, or sacrifice any of your faithful counselors. A
fine recompense have the people of Oreus got, for trusting themselves to
Philip's friends and spurning Euphræus! Finely are the Eretrian commons
rewarded, for having driven away your ambassadors and yielded to
Clitarchus! Yes; they are slaves, exposed to the lash and the torture.
Finely he spared the Olynthians! It is folly and cowardice to cherish
such hopes, and while you take evil counsel and shirk every duty, and
even listen to those who plead for your enemies, to think you inhabit a
city of such magnitude that you cannot suffer any serious misfortune.
Yea, and it is disgraceful to exclaim on any occurrence, when it is too
late, "Who would have expected it? However--this or that should have
been done, the other left undone." Many things could the Olynthians
mention now, which if foreseen at the time would have prevented their
destruction. Many could the Orites mention, many the Phocians, and each
of the ruined States. But what would it avail them? As long as the
vessel is safe, whether it be great or small, the mariner, the pilot,
every man in turn should exert himself, and prevent its being overturned
either by accident or design: but when the sea hath rolled over it,
their efforts are vain. And we likewise, O Athenians, whilst we are
safe, with a magnificent city, plentiful resources, lofty
reputation--what must we do? Many of you, I dare say, have been longing
to ask. Well then, I will tell you; I will move a resolution; pass it,
if you please.

First, let us prepare for our own defense; provide ourselves, I mean,
with ships, money, and troops--for surely, though all other people
consented to be slaves, we at least ought to struggle for freedom. When
we have completed our own preparations and made them apparent to the
Greeks, then let us invite the rest, and send our ambassadors everywhere
with the intelligence, to Peloponnesus, to Rhodes, to Chios, to the
king, I say (for it concerns his interests not to let Philip make
universal conquest); that, if you prevail, you may have partners of your
dangers and expenses in case of necessity, or at all events that you may
delay the operations. For since the war is against an individual, not
against the collected power of a State, even this may be useful; as were
the embassies last year to Peloponnesus, and the remonstrances with
which I and the other envoys went round and arrested Philip's progress,
so that he neither attacked Ambracia nor started for Peloponnesus. I say
not, however, that you should invite the rest without adopting measures
to protect yourselves; it would be folly, while you sacrifice your own
interest, to profess a regard for that of strangers, or to alarm others
about the future, whilst for the present you are unconcerned. I advise
not this; I bid you send supplies to the troops in Chersonesus, and do
what else they require; prepare yourselves and make every effort first,
then summon, gather, instruct the rest of the Greeks. That is the duty
of a State possessing a dignity such as yours. If you imagine that
Chalcidians or Megarians will save Greece, while you run away from the
contest, you imagine wrong. Well for any of those people if they are
safe themselves! This work belongs to you; this privilege your ancestors
bequeathed to you, the prize of many perilous exertions. But if every
one will sit seeking his pleasure, and studying to be idle himself,
never will he find others to do his work; and more than this, I fear we
shall be under the necessity of doing all that we like not at one time.
Were proxies to be had, our inactivity would have found them long ago;
but they are not.

Such are the measures which I advise, which I propose; adopt them, and
even yet, I believe, our prosperity may be re-established. If any man
has better advice to offer, let him communicate it openly. Whatever you
determine, I pray to all the gods for a happy result.

     Translation of Charles R. Kennedy.


This, you must be convinced, is a struggle for existence. You cannot
overcome your enemies abroad till you have punished your enemies, his
ministers, at home. They will be the stumbling-blocks which prevent you
reaching the others. Why, do you suppose, Philip now insults you? To
other people he at least renders services though he deceives them, while
he is already threatening you. Look for instance at the Thessalians. It
was by many benefits conferred on them that he seduced them into their
present bondage. And then the Olynthians, again,--how he cheated them,
first giving them Potidæa and several other places, is really beyond
description. Now he is enticing the Thebans by giving up to them
Boeotia, and delivering them from a toilsome and vexatious war. Each
of these people did get a certain advantage; but some of them have
suffered what all the world knows; others will suffer whatever may
hereafter befall them. As for you, I recount not all that has been taken
from you, but how shamefully have you been treated and despoiled! Why is
it that Philip deals so differently with you and with others? Because
yours is the only State in Greece in which the privilege is allowed of
speaking for the enemy, and a citizen taking a bribe may safely address
the Assembly, though you have been robbed of your dominions. It was not
safe at Olynthus to be Philip's advocate, unless the Olynthian
commonalty had shared the advantage by possession of Potidæa. It was not
safe in Thessaly to be Philip's advocate, unless the people of Thessaly
had secured the advantage by Philip's expelling their tyrants and
restoring the Synod at Pylæ. It was not safe in Thebes, until he gave up
Boeotia to them and destroyed the Phocians. Yet at Athens, though
Philip has deprived you of Amphipolis and the territory round
Cardia--nay, is making Euboea a fortress as a check upon us, and is
advancing to attack Byzantium--it is safe to speak in Philip's behalf.


Do not go about repeating that Greece owes all her misfortunes to one
man. No, not to one man, but to many abandoned men distributed
throughout the different States, of whom, by earth and heaven, Æschines
is one. If the truth were to be spoken without reserve, I should not
hesitate to call him the common scourge of all the men, the districts,
and the cities which have perished; for the sower of the seed is
answerable for the crop....

I affirm that if the future had been apparent to us all,--if you,
Æschines, had foretold it and proclaimed it at the top of your voice
instead of preserving total silence,--nevertheless the State ought not
to have deviated from her course, if she had regard to her own honor,
the traditions of the past, or the judgment of posterity. As it is, she
is looked upon as having failed in her policy,--the common lot of all
mankind when such is the will of heaven; but if, claiming to be the
foremost State of Greece, she had deserted her post, she would have
incurred the reproach of betraying Greece to Philip. If we had abandoned
without a struggle all which our forefathers braved every danger to win,
who would not have spurned you, Æschines? How could we have looked in
the face the strangers who flock to our city, if things had reached
their present pass,--Philip the chosen leader and lord of all,--while
others without our assistance had borne the struggle to avert this
consummation? We! who have never in times past preferred inglorious
safety to peril in the path of honor. Is there a Greek or a barbarian
who does not know that Thebes at the height of her power, and Sparta
before her--ay, and even the King of Persia himself--would have been
only glad to compromise with us, and that we might have had what we
chose, and possessed our own in peace, had we been willing to obey
orders and to suffer another to put himself at the head of Greece? But
it was not possible,--it was not a thing which the Athenians of those
days could do. It was against their nature, their genius, and their
traditions; and no human persuasion could induce them to side with a
wrong-doer because he was powerful, and to embrace subjection because it
was safe. No; to the last our country has fought and jeopardized herself
for honor and glory and pre-eminence. A noble choice, in harmony with
your national character, as you testify by your respect for the
memories of your ancestors who have so acted. And you are in the right;
for who can withhold admiration from the heroism of the men who shrank
not from leaving their city and their fatherland, and embarking in their
war-ships, rather than submit to foreign dictation? Why, Themistocles,
who counseled this step, was elected general; and the man who counseled
submission was stoned to death--and not he only, for his wife was stoned
by your wives, as he was by you. The Athenians of those days went not in
quest of an orator or a general who could help them to prosperous
slavery; but they scorned life itself, if it were not the life of
freedom. Each of them regarded himself as the child not only of his
father and of his mother, but of his country; and what is the
difference? He who looks on himself as merely the child of his parents,
awaits death in the ordinary course of nature; while he who looks on
himself as the child also of his country, will be ready to lay down his
life rather than see her enslaved....

Do I take credit to myself for having inspired you with sentiments
worthy of your ancestors? Such presumption would expose me to the just
rebuke of every man who hears me. What I maintain is, that these very
sentiments are your own; that the spirit of Athens was the same before
my time,--though I do claim to have had a share in the application of
these principles to each successive crisis. Æschines, therefore, when he
impeaches our whole policy, and seeks to exasperate you against me as
the author of all your alarms and perils, in his anxiety to deprive me
of present credit is really laboring to rob you of your everlasting
renown. If by your vote against Ctesiphon you condemn my policy, you
will pronounce yourselves to have been in the wrong, instead of having
suffered what has befallen you through the cruel injustice of fortune.
But it cannot be; you have not been in the wrong, men of Athens, in
doing battle for the freedom and salvation of all: I swear it by your
forefathers, who bore the battle's brunt at Marathon; by those who stood
in arms at Platæa; by those who fought the sea fight at Salamis; by the
heroes of Artemisium, and many more whose resting-place in our national
monuments attests that, that as our country buried, so she honored, all
alike--victors and vanquished. She was right; for what brave men could
do, all did, though a higher power was master of their fate.




[Illustration: THOMAS DE QUINCEY.]

De Quincey's popular reputation is largely due to his autobiographical
essays,--to his 'Confessions.' Whatever may be the merits of his other
writings, the general public, as in the case of Rousseau, of Dante, of
St. Augustine, and of many another, has, with its instinctive and
unquenchable desire for knowledge of the inner life of men of great
emotional and imaginative power, singled out De Quincey's 'Confessions'
as the most significant of his works. There has arisen a popular legend
of De Quincey, making him (not unlike Dante, who had seen hell with his
bodily eyes) a man who had felt in his own person the infernal pangs and
pleasures consequent upon enormous and almost unique excesses in the use
of that Oriental drug which possesses for us all such a romantic
attraction. He became the "English Opium-Eater"; and even the most
recent and authoritative edition of his writings, that of the late
Professor Masson, did not hesitate in advertisements to avail itself of
a title so familiar and so sensational.

To a great degree, this feeling on the part of the public is natural and
proper. De Quincey's opium habit, begun in his youth under circumstances
that modern physicians have guessed to be justifiable, and continued
throughout the remainder of his life,--at first without self-restraint,
at last in what was for him moderation,--has rendered him a striking and
isolated figure in Western lands.

We have a right eagerly to ask: On this strongly marked temperament, so
delicately imaginative and so keenly logical, so receptive and so
retentive, a type alike of the philosopher and the poet, the scholar and
the musician--on such a contemplative genius, what were the effects of
so great and so constant indulgence in a drug noted for its power of
heightening and extending, for a season, the whole range of the
imaginative faculties?

Justifiable as such feelings may be, however, they tend to wrong De
Quincey's memory and to limit our conceptions of his character and
genius. He was no vulgar opium drunkard; he was, to all appearances,
singularly free even from the petty vices to which eaters of the drug
are supposed to be peculiarly liable. To be sure, he was not without his
eccentricities. He was absent-mindedly careless in his attire, unusual
in his hours of waking and sleeping, odd in his habits of work,
ludicrously ignorant of the value of money, solitary, prone to whims, by
turns reticent and loquacious. But for all his eccentricities, De
Quincey--unlike Poe, for example--is not a possible object for pity or
patronage; they would be foolish who could doubt his word or mistrust
his motives. He was "queer," as most great Englishmen of letters of his
time were; but the more his at first enigmatic character comes to light,
through his own letters and through the recollections of his friends,
the more clearly do we see him to have been a pure-minded and well-bred
man, kind, honest, generous, and gentle. His life was almost wholly
passed among books,--books in many languages, books of many kinds and
times. These he incessantly read and annotated. And the treasures of
this wide reading, stored in a retentive and imaginative mind, form the
basis of almost all his work that is not distinctly autobiographical.

De Quincey's writings, as collected by himself (and more recently by
Professor Masson), fill fourteen good-sized volumes, and consist of
about two hundred and fifteen separate pieces, all of which were
contributed to various periodicals between 1813, when at the age of
thirty-eight he suddenly found himself and his family dependent for
support on his literary efforts, to his death in 1859. Books, sustained
efforts of construction, he did not except in a single instance, and
probably could not, produce; his mind held rich stores of information on
many subjects, but his habit of thought was essentially non-consecutive
and his method merely that of the brilliant talker, who illumines
delightfully many a subject, treating none, however, with reserved power
and thorough care. His attitude toward his work, it is worth while to
notice, was an admirable one. His task was often that of a hack writer;
his spirit never. His life was frugal and modest in the extreme; and
though writing brought him bread and fame, he seems never, in any
recorded instance, to have concerned himself with its commercial value.
He wrote from a full mind and with genuine inspiration, and lived and
died a man of letters from pure love of letters and not of worldly gain.

As we have noticed, it is the autobiographical part of De Quincey's
writing--the 'Confessions' of one who could call every day for "a glass
of laudanum negus, warm, and without sugar"--that has made him famous,
and which deserves first our critical attention. It consists of four or
five hundred pages of somewhat disconnected sketches, including the
'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater' and 'Suspiria de Profundis.' De
Quincey himself speaks of them as "a far higher class of composition"
than his philosophical or historical writings,--declaring them to be,
unlike the comparatively matter-of-fact memoirs of Rousseau and St.
Augustine, "modes of impassioned prose, ranging under no precedents
that I am aware of in any literature." What De Quincey attempted was to
clothe in words scenes from the world of dreams,--a lyric fashion, as it
were, wholly in keeping with contemporary taste and aspiration, which
under the penetrating influence of romanticism were maintaining the
poetical value and interest of isolated and excited personal feeling.

Like Dante, whose 'Vita Nuova' De Quincey's 'Confessions' greatly
resemble in their essential characteristics of method, he had lived from
childhood in a world of dreams. Both felt keenly the pleasures and
sorrows of the outer world, but in both contemplative imagination was so
strong that the actual fact--the real Beatrice, if you will--became as
nothing to that same fact transmuted through idealizing thought. De
Quincey was early impressed by the remarkable fashion in which dreams or
reveries weave together the separate strands of wakeful existence.
Before he was two years old he had, he says, "a remarkable dream of
terrific grandeur about a favorite nurse, which is interesting to myself
for this reason,--that it demonstrates my dreaming tendencies to have
been constitutional, and not dependent on laudanum." At the same age he
"connected a profound sense of pathos with the reappearance, very early
in the spring, of some crocuses." These two incidents are a key to the
working of De Quincey's mind. Waking or sleeping, his intellect had the
rare power of using the facts of life as the composer might use a song
of the street, building on a wandering ballad a whole symphony of
transfigured sound, retaining skillfully, in the midst of the new and
majestic music, the winning qualities of the popular strain. To such a
boy, with an imaginative mind, an impassioned nature, and a memory which
retained and developed powerfully year by year all associations
involving the feelings of grandeur, magnificence, or immensity,--to such
a boy, life and experience were but the storing up of material which the
creative mind might weave into literature that had the form of prose and
the nature of poetry.

De Quincey shared Dante's rare capacity for retaining strong visual
images, his rare power of weaving them into a new and wonderful fabric.
But De Quincey, though as learned and as acute as Dante, had not Dante's
religious and philosophical convictions. A blind faith and scholastic
reason were the foundations of the great vision of the 'Divine Comedy.'
De Quincey had not the strong but limited conception of the world on
which to base his imagination, he had not the high religious vision to
nerve him to higher contemplation, and his work can never serve in any
way as a guide and message to mankind. De Quincey's visions, however,
have the merit of not being forced. He did not resolve to see what faith
and reason bade him.

While all controlled reasoning was suspended under the incantation of
opium, his quick mind, without conscious intent, without prejudice or
purpose, assembled such mysterious and wonderful sights and sounds as
the naked soul might see and hear in the world of actual experience. For
De Quincey's range of action and association was not as narrow as might
seem. He had walked the streets of London friendless and starving, saved
from death by a dram given by one even more wretched than he, only a few
months after he had talked with the king. De Quincey's latent images are
therefore not grotesque or mediæval, not conditioned by any
philosophical theory, not of any Inferno or Paradise. The elements of
his visions are the simple elements of all our striking experiences: the
faces of the dead, the grieving child, the tired woman, the strange
foreign face, the tramp of horses' feet. And opium merely magnified
these simple elements, rendered them grand and beautiful without giving
them any forced connection or relative meaning. We recognize the traces
of our own transfigured experience, but we are relieved from the
necessity of accepting it as having an inner meaning. De Quincey's
singular hold on our affection seems, therefore, to be his rare quality
of presenting the unusual but typical dream or reverie as a beautiful
object of interest, without endeavoring to give it the character of an
allegory or a fable.

The greater part of De Quincey's writings however are historical,
critical, and philosophical in character rather than autobiographical;
but these are now much neglected. We sometimes read a little of 'Joan of
Arc,' and no one can read it without great admiration; the 'Flight of
the Tartars' has even become a part of "prescribed" literature in our
American schools; but of other essays than these we have as a rule only
a dim impression or a faint memory. There are obvious reasons why De
Quincey's historical and philosophical writings, in an age which devotes
itself so largely to similar pursuits, no longer recommend themselves to
the popular taste. His method is too discursive and leisurely; his
subjects as a rule too remote from current interest; his line of thought
too intricate. These failings, from our point of view, are the more to
be regretted because there has never been an English essayist more
entertaining or suggestive than De Quincey. His works cover a very wide
range of subject-matter,--from the 'Knocking on the Gate in Macbeth' to
the 'Casuistry of Roman Meals' and the 'Toilet of a Hebrew Lady.' His
topics are always piquant. Like Poe, De Quincey loved puzzling
questions, the cryptograms, the tangled under sides of things, where
there are many and conflicting facts to sift and correlate, the points
that are now usually settled in foot-notes and by references to German
authorities. In dealing with such subjects he showed not only that he
possessed the same keen logic which entertains us in Poe, but that he
was the master of great stores of learned information. We are never
wholly convinced, perhaps, of the eternal truth of his conclusions, but
we like to watch him arrive at them. They seem fresh and strange, and we
are dazzled by the constantly changing material. Nothing can be more
delightful than the constant influx of new objects of thought, the
unexpected incidents, the seemingly inexpugnable logic that ends in
paradox, the play of human interest in a topic to which all living
interest seems alien. There is scarcely a page in all De Quincey's
writings that taken by itself is actually dull. In each, one receives a
vivid impression of the same lithe and active mind, examining with
lively curiosity even a recondite subject: cracking a joke here and
dropping a tear there, and never intermitting the smooth flow of acute
but often irrelevant observation. The generation that habitually
neglects De Quincey has lost little important historical and
philosophical information, perhaps, but it has certainly deprived itself
of a constant source of entertainment.

As a stylist De Quincey marked a new ideal in English; that of
impassioned prose, as he himself expresses it,--prose which deliberately
exalts its subject-matter, as the opera does its. And it was really as
an opera that De Quincey conceived of the essay. It was to have its
recitatives, its mediocre passages, the well and firmly handled parts of
ordinary discourse. All comparatively unornamented matter was, however,
but preparative to the lyric outburst,--the strophe and antistrophe of
modulated song. In this conception of style others had preceded
him,--Milton notably,--but only half consciously and not with sustained
success. There could be no great English prose until the eighteenth
century had trimmed the tangled periods of the seventeenth, and the
romantic movement of the nineteenth added fire and enthusiasm to the
clear but conventional style of the eighteenth. Ruskin and Carlyle have
both the same element of _bravura_, as will be seen if one tries to
analyze their best passages as music. But in De Quincey this lyric
arrangement is at once more delicate and more obvious, as the reader may
assure himself if he re-read his favorite passages, noticing how many of
them are in essence exclamatory, or actually vocative, as it were. In
this ideal of impassioned prose De Quincey gave to the prose of the
latter part of the century its keynote. Macaulay is everywhere equally
impassioned or unimpassioned; the smooth-flowing and useful canal,
rather than the picturesque river in which rapids follow the long
reaches of even water, and are in turn succeeded by them. To conceive of
style as music,--as symmetry, proportion, and measure, only secondarily
dependent on the clear exposition of the actual subject-matter,--that is
De Quincey's ideal, and there Pater and Stevenson have followed him.

De Quincey's fame has not gone far beyond the circle of those who speak
his native tongue. A recent French critic finds him rough and rude,
sinister even in his wit. In that circle however his reputation has been
high, though he has not been without stern critics. Mr. Leslie Stephen
insists that his logic is more apparent than real: that his humor is
spun out and trivial, his jests ill-timed and ill-made. His claim that
his 'Confessions' created a new _genre_ is futile; they confess nothing
epoch-making,--no real crises of soul, merely the adventures of a truant
schoolboy, the recollections of a drunkard. He was full of contemptuous
and effeminate British prejudices against agnosticism and Continental
geniuses. "And so," Mr. Stephen continues, "in a life of seventy-three
years De Quincey read extensively and thought acutely by fits, ate an
enormous quantity of opium, wrote a few pages which revealed new
capacities in the language, and provided a good deal of respectable
padding for the magazines."

Not a single one of the charges can be wholly denied; on analysis De
Quincey proves guilty of all these offenses against ideal culture. Rough
jocoseness, diffusiveness, local prejudice, a life spent on details, a
lack of philosophy.--these are faults, but they are British faults,
Anglo-Saxon faults. They scarcely limit affection or greatly diminish
respect. De Quincey was a sophist, a rhetorician, a brilliant talker.
There are men of that sort in every club, in every community. We forgive
their eccentricity, their lack of fine humor, the most rigid logic, or
the highest learning. We do not attempt to reply to them. It is enough
if the stream of discourse flows gently on from their lips. A rich and
well-modulated vocabulary, finely turned phrases, amusing quips and
conceits of fancy, acute observations, a rich store of recondite
learning, these charm and hold us. Such a talker, such a writer, was De
Quincey. Such was his task, to amuse, to interest, and at times to
instruct us. One deeper note he struck rarely, but always with the
master's hand, the vibrating note felt in passages characteristic of
immensity, solitude, grandeur; and it is to that note that De Quincey
owes the individuality of his style and his fame.

There are few facts in De Quincey's long career that bear directly on
the criticism of his works. Like Ruskin, he was the son of a well-to-do
and cultivated merchant, but the elder De Quincey unfortunately died too
early to be of any help in life to his impulsive and unpractical boy,
who quarreled with his guardians, ran away from school, and neglected
his routine duties at Oxford. His admiration for Wordsworth and
Coleridge led him to the Lake country, where he married and settled
down. The necessity of providing for his family at last aroused him from
his life of meditation and indulgence in opium, and brought him into
connection with the periodicals of the day. After the death of his wife
in 1840 he moved with his children to the vicinity of Edinburgh, where
in somewhat eccentric solitude he spent the last twenty years of his
uneventful life.

[Illustration: Signature]


From 'Biographical Essays'

It sounds paradoxical, but is not so in a bad sense, to say that in
every literature of large compass some authors will be found to rest
much of the interest which surrounds them on their essential
_non_-popularity. They are good for the very reason that they are not in
conformity to the current taste. They interest because to the world they
are _not_ interesting. They attract by means of their repulsion. Not as
though it could separately furnish a reason for loving a book, that the
majority of men had found it repulsive. _Prima facie_, it must suggest
some presumption _against_ a book that it has failed to gain public
attention. To have roused hostility indeed, to have kindled a feud
against its own principles or its temper, may happen to be a good sign.
_That_ argues power. Hatred may be promising. The deepest revolutions of
mind sometimes begin in hatred. But simply to have left a reader
unimpressed is in itself a neutral result, from which the inference is
doubtful. Yet even _that_, even simple failure to impress, may happen at
times to be a result from positive powers in a writer, from special
originalities such as rarely reflect themselves in the mirror of the
ordinary understanding. It seems little to be perceived, how much the
great Scriptural idea of the _worldly_ and the _unworldly_ is found to
emerge in literature as well as in life. In reality, the very same
combinations of moral qualities, infinitely varied, which compose the
harsh physiognomy of what we call worldliness in the living groups of
life, must unavoidably present themselves in books. A library divides
into sections of worldly and unworldly, even as a crowd of men divides
into that same majority and minority. The world has an instinct for
recognizing its own, and recoils from certain qualities when exemplified
in books, with the same disgust or defective sympathy as would have
governed it in real life. From qualities for instance of childlike
simplicity, of shy profundity, or of inspired self-communion, the world
does and must turn away its face towards grosser, bolder, more
determined, or more intelligible expressions of character and intellect;
and not otherwise in literature, nor at all less in literature, than it
does, in the realities of life.

Charles Lamb, if any ever was, is amongst the class here contemplated;
he, if any ever has, ranks amongst writers whose works are destined to
be forever unpopular, and yet forever interesting; interesting moreover
by means of those very qualities which guarantee their non-popularity.
The same qualities which will be found forbidding to the worldly and the
thoughtless, which will be found insipid to many even amongst robust and
powerful minds, are exactly those which will continue to command a
select audience in every generation. The prose essays, under the
signature of "Elia," form the most delightful section amongst Lamb's
works. They traverse a peculiar field of observation, sequestered from
general interest: and they are composed in a spirit too delicate and
unobtrusive to catch the ear of the noisy crowd, clamoring for strong
sensations. But this retiring delicacy itself, the pensiveness checkered
by gleams of the fanciful, and the humor that is touched with cross
lights of pathos, together with the picturesque quaintness of the
objects casually described, whether men, or things, or usages; and in
the rear of all this, the constant recurrence to ancient recollections
and to decaying forms of household life, as things retiring before the
tumult of new and revolutionary generations;--these traits in
combination communicate to the papers a grace and strength of
originality which nothing in any literature approaches, whether for
degree or kind of excellence, except the most felicitous papers of
Addison, such as those on Sir Roger de Coverley, and some others in the
same vein of composition. They resemble Addison's papers also in the
diction, which is natural and idiomatic even to carelessness. They are
equally faithful to the truth of nature; and in this only they differ
remarkably--that the sketches of Elia reflect the stamp and impress of
the writer's own character, whereas in all those of Addison the personal
peculiarities of the delineator (though known to the reader from the
beginning through the account of the club) are nearly quiescent. Now and
then they are recalled into a momentary notice, but they do not act, or
at all modify his pictures of Sir Roger or Will Wimble. _They_ are
slightly and amiably eccentric; but the Spectator himself, in describing
them, takes the station of an ordinary observer.

Everywhere, indeed, in the writings of Lamb, and not merely in his
'Elia,' the character of the writer co-operates in an undercurrent to
make the effect of the thing written. To understand in the fullest sense
either the gayety or the tenderness of a particular passage, you must
have some insight into the peculiar bias of the writer's mind, whether
native and original, or impressed gradually by the accidents of
situation; whether simply developed out of predispositions by the action
of life, or violently scorched into the constitution by some fierce
fever of calamity. There is in modern literature a whole class of
writers, though not a large one, standing within the same category; some
marked originality of character in the writer becomes a coefficient with
what he says to a common result; you must sympathize with this
_personality_ in the author before you can appreciate the most
significant parts of his views. In most books the writer figures as a
mere abstraction, without sex or age or local station, whom the reader
banishes from his thoughts. What is written seems to proceed from a
blank intellect, not from a man clothed with fleshly peculiarities and
differences. These peculiarities and differences neither do, nor
(generally speaking) _could_ intermingle with the texture of the
thoughts so as to modify their force or their direction. In such
books--and they form the vast majority--there is nothing to be found or
to be looked for beyond the direct objective. (_Sit venia verbo!_) But
in a small section of books, the objective in the thought becomes
confluent with the subjective in the thinker--the two forces unite for a
joint product; and fully to enjoy the product, or fully to apprehend
either element, both must be known. It is singular and worth inquiring
into, for the reason that the Greek and Roman literature had no such
books. Timon of Athens, or Diogenes, one may conceive qualified for this
mode of authorship, had journalism existed to rouse them in those days;
their "articles" would no doubt have been fearfully caustic. But as they
failed to produce anything, and Lucian in an after age is scarcely
characteristic enough for the purpose, perhaps we may pronounce Rabelais
and Montaigne the earliest of writers in the class described. In the
century following theirs came Sir Thomas Browne, and immediately after
him La Fontaine. Then came Swift, Sterne, with others less
distinguished; in Germany, Hippel the friend of Kant, Harmann the
obscure, and the greatest of the whole body--John Paul Friedrich
Richter. In him, from the strength and determinateness of his nature as
well as from the great extent of his writing, the philosophy of this
interaction between the author as a human agency and his theme as an
intellectual reagency might best be studied. From him might be derived
the largest number of cases, illustrating boldly this absorption of the
universal into the concrete--of the pure intellect into the human nature
of the author. But nowhere could illustrations be found more
interesting--shy, delicate, evanescent--shy as lightning, delicate and
evanescent as the colored pencilings on a frosty night from the Northern
Lights, than in the better parts of Lamb.

To appreciate Lamb, therefore, it is requisite that his character and
temperament should be understood in their coyest and most wayward
features. A capital defect it would be if these could not be gathered
silently from Lamb's works themselves. It would be a fatal mode of
dependency upon an alien and separable accident if they needed an
external commentary. But they do _not_. The syllables lurk up and down
the writings of Lamb, which decipher his eccentric nature. His character
lies there dispersed in anagram; and to any attentive reader the
re-gathering and restoration of the total word from its scattered parts
is inevitable without an effort. Still it is always a satisfaction in
knowing a result, to know also its _why_ and _how_; and in so far as
every character is likely to be modified by the particular experience,
sad or joyous, through which the life has traveled, it is a good
contribution towards the knowledge of that resulting character as a
whole to have a sketch of that particular experience. What trials did it
impose? What energies did it task? What temptations did it unfold? These
calls upon the moral powers, which in music so stormy many a life is
doomed to hear,--how were they faced? The character in a capital degree
molds oftentimes the life, but the life _always_ in a subordinate degree
molds the character. And the character being in this case of Lamb so
much of a key to the writings, it becomes important that the life should
be traced, however briefly, as a key to the character.


From 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'

Then suddenly would come a dream of far different character--a
tumultuous dream--commencing with a music such as now I often heard in
sleep, music of preparation and of awakening suspense. The undulations
of fast gathering tumults were like the opening of the Coronation
Anthem; and like that, gave the feeling of a multitudinous movement, of
infinite cavalcades filing off, and the tread of innumerable armies. The
morning was come of a mighty day--a day of crisis and of ultimate hope
for human nature, then suffering mysterious eclipse, and laboring in
some dread extremity. Somewhere, but I knew not where,--somehow, but I
knew not how,--by some beings, but I knew not by whom,--a battle, a
strife, an agony, was traveling through all its stages,--was evolving
itself, like the catastrophe of some mighty drama; with which my
sympathy was the more insupportable from deepening confusion as to its
local scene, its cause, its nature, and its undecipherable issue. I (as
is usual in dreams, where of necessity we make ourselves central to
every movement) had the power, and yet had not the power, to decide it.
I had the power, if I could raise myself to will it; and yet again had
not the power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon me, or the
oppression of inexpiable guilt. "Deeper than ever plummet sounded," I
lay inactive. Then like a chorus the passion deepened. Some greater
interest was at stake, some mightier cause than ever yet the sword had
pleaded or trumpet had proclaimed. Then came sudden alarms; hurryings to
and fro; trepidations of innumerable fugitives, I knew not whether from
the good cause or the bad; darkness and lights; tempest and human faces;
and at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the
features that were worth all the world to me; and but a moment
allowed--and clasped hands, with heart-breaking partings, and
then--everlasting farewells! and with a sigh such as the caves of hell
sighed when the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of Death,
the sound was reverberated--everlasting farewells! and again, and yet
again reverberated--everlasting farewells!

And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud, "I will sleep no more!"


From 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'

On the day after my sister's death, whilst the sweet temple of her brain
was yet unviolated by human scrutiny, I formed my own scheme for seeing
her once more. Not for the world would I have made this known, nor have
suffered a witness to accompany me. I had never heard of feelings that
take the name of "sentimental," nor dreamed of such a possibility. But
grief even in a child hates the light, and shrinks from human eyes. The
house was large, there were two staircases; and by one of these I knew
that about noon, when all would be quiet, I could steal up into her
chamber. I imagine that it was exactly high noon when I reached the
chamber door; it was locked, but the key was not taken away. Entering, I
closed the door so softly that although it opened upon a hall which
ascended through all the stories, no echo ran along the silent walls.
Then turning around, I sought my sister's face. But the bed had been
moved, and the back was now turned. Nothing met my eyes but one large
window wide open, through which the sun of midsummer at noonday was
showering down torrents of splendor. The weather was dry, the sky was
cloudless, the blue depths seemed the express types of infinity; and it
was not possible for eye to behold or for heart to conceive any symbols
more pathetic of life and the glory of life.

Let me pause for one instant in approaching a remembrance so affecting
and revolutionary for my own mind, and one which (if any earthly
remembrance) will survive for me in the hour of death,--to remind some
readers, and to inform others, that in the original 'Opium Confessions'
I endeavored to explain the reason why death, _cæteris paribus_, is more
profoundly affecting in summer than in other parts of the year; so far
at least as it is liable to any modification at all from accidents of
scenery or season. The reason, as I there suggested, lies in the
antagonism between the tropical redundancy of life in summer and the
dark sterilities of the grave. The summer we see, the grave we haunt
with our thoughts; the glory is around us, the darkness is within us.
And the two coming into collision, each exalts the other into stronger
relief. But in my case there was even a subtler reason why the summer
had this intense power of vivifying the spectacle or the thoughts of
death. And recollecting it, often I have been struck with the important
truth, that far more of our deepest thoughts and feelings pass to us
through perplexed combinations of _concrete_ objects, pass to us as
_involutes_ (if I may coin that word) in compound experiences incapable
of being disentangled, than ever reach us _directly_ and in their own
abstract shapes. It had happened that amongst our nursery collection of
books was the Bible, illustrated with many pictures. And in long dark
evenings, as my three sisters with myself sate by the firelight round
the guard of our nursery, no book was so much in request amongst us. It
ruled us and swayed us as mysteriously as music. One young nurse, whom
we all loved, before any candle was lighted would often strain her eye
to read it for us; and sometimes, according to her simple powers, would
endeavor to explain what we found obscure. We, the children, were all
constitutionally touched with pensiveness; the fitful gloom and sudden
lambencies of the room by firelight suited our evening state of
feelings; and they suited also the divine revelations of power and
mysterious beauty which awed us. Above all, the story of a just man--man
and yet _not_ man, real above all things and yet shadowy above all
things, who had suffered the passion of death in Palestine--slept upon
our minds like early dawn upon the waters.

The nurse knew and explained to us the chief differences in Oriental
climates; and all these differences (as it happens) express themselves
in the great varieties of summer. The cloudless sun-lights of
Syria--those seemed to argue everlasting summer; the disciples plucking
the ears of corn--that _must_ be summer; but above all, the very name of
Palm Sunday (a festival in the English Church) troubled me like an
anthem. "Sunday!" what was _that_? That was the day of peace which
masked another peace, deeper than the heart of man can comprehend.
"Palms!" what were they? _That_ was an equivocal word; palms in the
sense of trophies expressed the pomps of life; palms as a product of
nature expressed the pomps of summer. Yet still, even this explanation
does not suffice; it was not merely by the peace and by the summer, by
the deep sound of rest below all rest, and of ascending glory, that I
had been haunted. It was also because Jerusalem stood near to those deep
images both in time and in place. The great event of Jerusalem was at
hand when Palm Sunday came; and the scene of that Sunday was near in
place to Jerusalem. Yet what then was Jerusalem? Did I fancy it to be
the _omphalos_ (navel) of the earth? That pretension had once been made
for Jerusalem, and once for Delphi; and both pretensions had become
ridiculous as the figure of the planet became known. Yes, but if not of
the earth, for earth's tenant Jerusalem was the _omphalos_ of mortality.
Yet how? There on the contrary it was, as we infants understood, that
mortality had been trampled under foot. True; but for that very reason,
there it was that mortality had opened its very gloomiest crater. There
it was indeed that the human had risen on wings from the grave; but for
that reason, there also it was that the Divine had been swallowed up by
the abyss; the lesser star could not rise before the greater would
submit to eclipse. Summer therefore had connected itself with death, not
merely as a mode of antagonism, but also through intricate relations to
Scriptural scenery and events.

Out of this digression, which was almost necessary for the purpose of
showing how inextricably my feelings and images of death were entangled
with those of summer, I return to the bedchamber of my sister. From the
gorgeous sunlight I turned round to the corpse. There lay the sweet
childish figure, there the angel face; and as people usually fancy, it
was said in the house that no features had suffered any change. Had they
not? The forehead indeed,--the serene and noble forehead,--_that_ might
be the same; but the frozen eyelids, the darkness that seemed to steal
from beneath them, the marble lips, the stiffening hands laid palm to
palm as if repeating the supplications of closing anguish,--could these
be mistaken for life? Had it been so, wherefore did I not spring to
those heavenly lips with tears and never-ending kisses? But so it was
_not_. I stood checked for a moment; awe, not fear, fell upon me; and
whilst I stood, a solemn wind began to blow,--the most mournful that ear
ever heard. Mournful! that is saying nothing. It was a wind that had
swept the fields of mortality for a hundred centuries. Many times since,
upon a summer day, when the sun is about the hottest, I have remarked
the same wind arising and uttering the same hollow, solemn, Memnonian,
but saintly swell; it is in this world the one sole _audible_ symbol of
eternity. And three times in my life I have happened to hear the same
sound in the same circumstances; namely, when standing between an open
window and a dead body on a summer day.

Instantly, when my ear caught this vast Æolian intonation, when my eye
filled with the golden fullness of life, the pomps and glory of the
heavens outside, and, turning, when it settled upon the frost which
overspread my sister's face, instantly a trance fell upon me. A vault
seemed to open in the zenith of the far blue sky a shaft which ran up
forever. I in spirit rose, as if on billows that also ran up the shaft
forever, and the billows seemed to pursue the throne of God; but _that_
also ran before us and fled away continually. The flight and the pursuit
seemed to go on for ever and ever. Frost, gathering frost, some Sarsar
wind of death, seemed to repel me; I slept--for how long I cannot say;
slowly I recovered my self-possession, and found myself standing as
before, close to my sister's bed.

O flight of the solitary child to the solitary God--flight from the
ruined corpse to the throne that could not be ruined!--how rich wert
thou in truth for after years! Rapture of grief that, being too mighty
for a child to sustain, foundest a happy oblivion in a heaven-born
dream, and within that sleep didst conceal a dream; whose meaning, in
after years, when slowly I deciphered, suddenly there flashed upon me
new light; and even by the grief of a child, as I will show you, reader,
hereafter, were confounded the falsehoods of philosophers.

In the 'Opium Confessions' I touched a little upon the extraordinary
power connected with opium (after long use) of amplifying the dimensions
of time. Space also it amplifies, by degrees that are sometimes
terrific. But time it is upon which the exalting and multiplying power
of opium chiefly spends its operation. Time becomes infinitely elastic,
stretching out to such immeasurable and vanishing termini that it seems
ridiculous to compute the sense of it, on waking, by expressions
commensurate to human life. As in starry fields one computes by
diameters of the earth's orbit, or of Jupiter's, so in valuing the
_virtual_ time lived during some dreams, the measurement by generations
is ridiculous--by millennia is ridiculous; by æons, I should say, if
æons were more determinate, would be also ridiculous. On this single
occasion, however, in my life, the very inverse phenomenon occurred. But
why speak of it in connection with opium? Could a child of six years old
have been under that influence? No, but simply because it so exactly
reversed the operation of opium. Instead of a short interval expanding
into a vast one, upon this occasion a long one had contracted into a
minute. I have reason to believe that a _very_ long one had elapsed
during this wandering or suspension of my perfect mind. When I returned
to myself, there was a foot (or I fancied so) on the stairs. I was
alarmed; for I believed that if anybody should detect me, means would be
taken to prevent my coming again. Hastily, therefore, I kissed the lips
that I should kiss no more, and slunk like a guilty thing with stealthy
steps from the room. Thus perished the vision, loveliest amongst all the
shows which earth has revealed to me; thus mutilated was the parting
which should have lasted forever; thus tainted with fear was the
farewell sacred to love and grief, to perfect love and perfect grief.

O Ahasuerus, everlasting Jew! fable or not a fable, thou, when first
starting on thy endless pilgrimage of woe,--thou, when first flying
through the gates of Jerusalem and vainly yearning to leave the pursuing
curse behind thee,--couldst not more certainly have read thy doom of
sorrow in the misgivings of thy troubled brain, than I when passing
forever from my sister's room. The worm was at my heart; and confining
myself to that state of life, I may say, the worm that could not die.
For if when standing upon the threshold of manhood, I had ceased to feel
its perpetual gnawings, _that_ was because a vast expansion of
intellect,--it was because new hopes, new necessities, and the frenzy of
youthful blood, had translated me into a new creature. Man is doubtless
_one_ by some subtle _nexus_ that we cannot perceive, extending from the
new-born infant to the superannuated dotard; but as regards many
affections and passions incident to his nature at different stages, he
is _not_ one: the unity of man in this respect is coextensive only with
the particular stage to which the passion belongs. Some passions, as
that of sexual love, are celestial by one half of their origin, animal
and earthly by the other half. These will not survive their own
appropriate stage. But love which is _altogether_ holy, like that
between two children, will revisit undoubtedly by glimpses the silence
and the darkness of old age; and I repeat my belief--that unless bodily
torment should forbid it, that final experience in my sister's bedroom,
or some other in which her innocence was concerned, will rise again for
me to illuminate the hour of death.


From 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'

Oftentimes at Oxford I saw Levana in my dreams. I knew her by her Roman
symbols. Who is Levana? Reader, that do not pretend to have leisure for
very much scholarship, you will not be angry with me for telling you.
Levana was the Roman goddess that performed for the new-born infant the
earliest office of ennobling kindness,--typical, by its mode, of that
grandeur which belongs to man everywhere, and of that benignity in
powers invisible which even in pagan worlds sometimes descends to
sustain it. At the very moment of birth, just as the infant tasted for
the first time the atmosphere of our troubled planet, it was laid on the
ground. _That_ might, bear different interpretations. But immediately,
lest so grand a creature should grovel there for more than one instant,
either the paternal hand as proxy for the goddess Levana, or some near
kinsman as proxy for the father, raised it upright, bade it look erect
as the king of all this world, and presented its forehead to the stars,
saying perhaps in his heart, "Behold what is greater than yourselves!"
This symbolic act represented the function of Levana. And that
mysterious lady, who never revealed her face (except to me in dreams),
but always acted by delegation, had her name from the Latin verb (as
still it is the Italian verb) _levare_, to raise aloft.

This is the explanation of Levana. And hence it has arisen that some
people have understood by Levana the tutelary power that controls the
education of the nursery. She that would not suffer at his birth even a
prefigurative or mimic degradation for her awful ward, far less could be
supposed to suffer the real degradation attaching to the non-development
of his powers. She therefore watches over human education.

Therefore it is that Levana often communes with the powers that shake
man's heart: therefore it is that she dotes upon grief. "These ladies,"
said I softly to myself, on seeing the ministers with whom Levana was
conversing, "these are the Sorrows; and they are three in number, as the
_Graces_ are three, who dress man's life with beauty; the _Parcæ_ are
three, who weave the dark arras of man's life in their mysterious loom
always with colors sad in part, sometimes angry with tragic crimson and
black; the _Furies_ are three, who visit, with retributions called from
the other side of the grave, offenses that walk upon this; and once even
the _Muses_ were but three, who fit the harp, the trumpet, or the lute,
to the great burdens of man's impassioned creations. These are the
Sorrows, all three of whom I know." The last words I say _now_; but in
Oxford I said, "One of whom I know, and the others too surely I _shall_
know." For already in my fervent youth I saw (dimly relieved upon the
dark background of my dreams) the imperfect lineaments of the awful
sisters. These sisters--by what name shall we call them?

If I say simply "The Sorrows," there will be a chance of mistaking the
term; it might be understood of individual sorrow,--separate cases of
sorrow,--whereas I want a term expressing the mighty abstractions that
incarnate themselves in all individual sufferings of man's heart; and I
wish to have these abstractions presented as impersonations; that is, as
clothed with human attributes of life, and with functions pointing to
flesh. Let us call them therefore _Our Ladies of Sorrow_.

The eldest of the three is named _Mater Lachrymarum_, Our Lady of
Tears. She it is that night and day raves and moans, calling for
vanished faces. She stood in Rama, where a voice was heard of
lamentation.--Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be
comforted. She it was that stood in Bethlehem on the night when Herod's
sword swept its nurseries of Innocents, and the little feet were
stiffened forever, which, heard at times as they tottered along floors
overhead, woke pulses of love in household hearts that were not unmarked
in heaven.

Her eyes are sweet and subtile, wild and sleepy, by turns; oftentimes
rising to the clouds, oftentimes challenging the heavens. She wears a
diadem round her head. And I knew by childish memories that she could go
abroad upon the winds, when she heard that sobbing of litanies, or the
thundering of organs, and when she beheld the mustering of summer
clouds. This sister, the elder, it is that carries keys more than papal
at her girdle, which open every cottage and every palace. She, to my
knowledge, sate all last summer by the bedside of the blind beggar, him
that so often and so gladly I talked with: whose pious daughter, eight
years old, with the sunny countenance, resisted the temptations of play
and village mirth to travel all day long on dusty roads with her
afflicted father. For this did God send her a great reward. In the
springtime of the year, and whilst yet her own spring was budding, he
recalled her to himself. But her blind father mourns forever over _her_;
still he dreams at midnight that the little guiding hand is locked
within his own; and still he wakens to a darkness that is _now_ within a
second and a deeper darkness. This _Mater Lachrymarum_ also has been
sitting all this winter of 1844-5 within the bedchamber of the Czar,
bringing before his eyes a daughter (not less pious) that vanished to
God not less suddenly, and left behind her a darkness not less profound.
By the power of her keys it is that Our Lady of Tears glides, a ghostly
intruder, into the chambers of sleepless men, sleepless women, sleepless
children, from Ganges to the Nile, from Nile to Mississippi. And her,
because she is the first-born of her house, and has the widest empire,
let us honor with the title of "Madonna."

The second sister is called _Mater Suspiriorum_, Our Lady of Sighs. She
never scales the clouds, nor walks abroad upon the winds. She wears no
diadem. And her eyes, if they were ever seen, would be neither sweet nor
subtile; no man could read their story; they would be found filled with
perishing dreams, and with wrecks of forgotten delirium. But she raises
not her eyes; her head, on which sits a dilapidated turban, droops
forever, forever fastens on the dust. She weeps not. She groans not. But
she sighs inaudibly at intervals. Her sister Madonna is oftentimes
stormy and frantic, raging in the highest against Heaven, and demanding
back her darlings. But Our Lady of Sighs never clamors, never defies,
dreams not of rebellious aspirations. She is humble to abjectness. Hers
is the meekness that belongs to the hopeless. Murmur she may, but it is
in her sleep. Whisper she may, but it is to herself in the twilight.
Mutter she does at times, but it is in solitary places that are desolate
as she is desolate, in ruined cities, and when the sun has gone down to
his rest. This sister is the visitor of the Pariah; of the Jew; of the
bondsman to the oar in the Mediterranean galleys; of the English
criminal in Norfolk Island, blotted out from the books of remembrance in
sweet far-off England; of the baffled penitent reverting his eyes
forever upon a solitary grave, which to him seems the altar overthrown
of some past and bloody sacrifice, on which altar no oblations can now
be availing, whether towards pardon that he might implore, or towards
reparation that he might attempt. Every slave that at noonday looks up
to the tropical sun with timid reproach, as he points with one hand to
the earth, our general mother, but for _him_ a stepmother,--as he points
with the other hand to the Bible, our general teacher, but against _him_
sealed and sequestered; every woman sitting in darkness, without love to
shelter her head or hope to illumine her solitude, because the
heaven-born instincts kindling in her nature germs of holy affections,
which God implanted in her womanly bosom, having been stifled by social
necessities, now burn sullenly to waste like sepulchral lamps among the
ancients; every nun defrauded of her unreturning May-time by wicked
kinsmen, whom God will judge; every captive in every dungeon; all that
are betrayed, and all that are rejected; outcasts by traditionary law,
and children of _hereditary_ disgrace:--all these walk with Our Lady of
Sighs. She also carries a key; but she needs it little. For her kingdom
is chiefly amongst the tents of Shem, and the houseless vagrant of every
clime. Yet in the very highest ranks of man she finds chapels of her
own; and even in glorious England there are some that, to the world,
carry their heads as proudly as the reindeer, who yet secretly have
received her mark upon their foreheads.

But the third sister, who is also the youngest--! Hush! whisper whilst
we talk of _her_! Her kingdom is not large, or else no flesh should
live; but within that kingdom all power is hers. Her head, turreted like
that of Cybele, rises almost beyond the reach of sight. She droops not;
and her eyes rising so high _might_ be hidden by distance. But being
what they are, they cannot be hidden; through the treble veil of crape
which she wears, the fierce light of a blazing misery, that rests not
for matins or for vespers, for noon of day or noon of night, for ebbing
or for flowing tide, may be read from the very ground. She is the defier
of God. She also is the mother of lunacies, and the suggestress of
suicides. Deep lie the roots of her power; but narrow is the nation that
she rules. For she can approach only those in whom a profound nature has
been upheaved by central convulsions; in whom the heart trembles and the
brain rocks under conspiracies of tempest from without and tempest from
within. Madonna moves with uncertain steps, fast or slow, but still with
tragic grace. Our Lady of Sighs creeps timidly and stealthily. But this
youngest sister moves with incalculable motions, bounding, and with a
tiger's leaps. She carries no key; for though coming rarely amongst men,
she storms all doors at which she is permitted to enter at all. And
_her_ name is _Mater Tenebrarum_,--Our Lady of Darkness.

These were the _Semnai Theai_, or Sublime Goddesses, these were the
_Eumenides_, or Gracious Ladies (so called by antiquity in shuddering
propitiation) of my Oxford dreams. Madonna spoke. She spoke by her
mysterious hand. Touching my head, she beckoned to our Lady of Sighs;
and _what_ she spoke, translated out of the signs which (except in
dreams) no man reads, was this:--

"Lo! here is he whom in childhood I dedicated to my altars. This is he
that once I made my darling. Him I led astray, him I beguiled, and from
heaven I stole away his young heart to mine. Through me did he become
idolatrous; and through me it was, by languishing desires, that he
worshiped the worm, and prayed to the wormy grave. Holy was the grave to
him; lovely was its darkness; saintly its corruption. Him, this young
idolator, I have seasoned for thee, dear gentle Sister of Sighs! Do thou
take him now to _thy_ heart, and season him for our dreadful sister. And
thou,"--turning to the _Mater Tenebrarum_, she said,--"wicked sister,
that temptest and hatest, do thou take him from _her_. See that thy
sceptre lie heavy on his head. Suffer not woman and her tenderness to
sit near him in his darkness. Banish the frailties of hope, wither the
relenting of love, scorch the fountains of tears, curse him as only thou
canst curse. So shall he be accomplished in the furnace, so shall he see
the things that ought _not_ to be seen, sights that are abominable, and
secrets that are unutterable. So shall he read elder truths, sad truths,
grand truths, fearful truths. So shall he rise again _before_ he dies.
And so shall our commission be accomplished which from God we had,--to
plague his heart until he had unfolded the capacities of his spirit."


From 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater'

God smote Savannah-la-mar, and in one night by earthquake removed her,
with all her towers standing and population sleeping, from the steadfast
foundations of the shore to the coral floors of ocean. And God
said:--"Pompeii did I bury and conceal from men through seventeen
centuries; this city I will bury, but not conceal. She shall be a
monument to men of my mysterious anger, set in azure light through
generations to come; for I will enshrine her in a crystal dome of my
tropic seas." This city therefore, like a mighty galleon with all her
apparel mounted, streamers flying, and tackling perfect, seems floating
along the noiseless depths of ocean; and oftentimes in glassy calms,
through the translucid atmosphere of water that now stretches like an
air-woven awning above the silent encampment, mariners from every clime
look down into her courts and terraces, count her gates, and number the
spires of her churches. She is one ample cemetery, and has been for many
a year; but in the mighty calms that brood for weeks over tropic
latitudes, she fascinates the eye with a _Fata Morgana_ revelation as of
human life still subsisting, in submarine asylums sacred from the storms
that torment our upper air.

Thither, lured by the loveliness of cerulean depths, by the peace of
human dwellings privileged from molestation, by the gleam of marble
altars sleeping in everlasting sanctity, oftentimes in dreams did I and
the Dark Interpreter cleave the watery veil that divided us from her
streets. We looked into the belfries, where the pendulous bells were
waiting in vain for the summons which should awaken their marriage
peals; together we touched the mighty organ keys, that sang no
_jubilates_ for the ear of Heaven, that sang no requiems for the ear of
human sorrow; together we searched the silent nurseries, where the
children were all asleep, and had been asleep through five generations.
"They are waiting for the heavenly dawn," whispered the Interpreter to
himself: "and when that comes, the bells and the organs will utter a
_jubilate_ repeated by the echoes of Paradise." Then turning to me he
said:--"This is sad, this is piteous; but less would not have sufficed
for the purpose of God. Look here. Put into a Roman clepsydra one
hundred drops of water; let these run out as the sands in an hour-glass,
every drop measuring the hundredth part of a second, so that each shall
represent but the three-hundred-and-sixty-thousandth part of an hour.
Now count the drops as they race along; and when the fiftieth of the
hundred is passing, behold! forty-nine are not, because already they
have perished; and fifty are not, because they are yet to come. You see
therefore how narrow, how incalculably narrow, is the true and actual
present. Of that time which we call the present, hardly a hundredth part
but belongs either to a past which has fled, or to a future which is
still on the wing. It has perished, or it is not born. It was, or it is
not. Yet even this approximation to the truth is _infinitely_ false. For
again subdivide that solitary drop, which only was found to represent
the present, into a lower series of similar fractions, and the actual
present which you arrest measures now but the thirty-six-millionth of an
hour; and so by infinite declensions the true and very present, in which
only we live and enjoy, will vanish into a mote of a mote,
distinguishable only by a heavenly vision. Therefore the present, which
only man possesses, offers less capacity for his footing than the
slenderest film that ever spider twisted from her womb. Therefore also
even this incalculable shadow from the narrowest pencil of moonlight is
more transitory than geometry can measure, or thought of angel can
overtake. The time which _is_, contracts into a mathematic point; and
even that point perishes a thousand times before we can utter its birth.
All is finite in the present; and even that finite is infinite in its
velocity of flight towards death. But in God there is nothing finite;
but in God there is nothing transitory; but in God there _can_ be
nothing that tends to death. Therefore it follows that for God there can
be no present. The future is the present of God, and to the future it is
that he sacrifices the human present. Therefore it is that he works by
earthquake. Therefore it is that he works by grief. Oh, deep is the
plowing of earthquake! Oh, deep"--(and his voice swelled like a
_sanctus_ rising from the choir of a cathedral)--"Oh, deep is the
plowing of grief! But oftentimes less would not suffice for the
agriculture of God. Upon a night of earthquake he builds a thousand
years of pleasant habitations for man. Upon the sorrow of an infant he
raises oftentimes from human intellects glorious vintages that could not
else have been. Less than these fierce plowshares would not have stirred
the stubborn soil. The one is needed for earth, our planet,--for earth
itself as the dwelling-place of man; but the other is needed yet oftener
for God's mightiest instrument,--yes" (and he looked solemnly at
myself), "is needed for the mysterious children of the earth!"


From 'Miscellaneous Essays'

Bishop of Beauvais! thy victim died in fire upon a scaffold--thou upon a
down bed. But for the departing minutes of life, both are oftentimes
alike. At the farewell crisis, when the gates of death are opening, and
flesh is resting from its struggles, oftentimes the tortured and
torturer have the same truce from carnal torment; both sink together
into sleep; together both, sometimes, kindle into dreams. When the
mortal mists were gathering fast upon you two, bishop and shepherd
girl,--when the pavilions of life were closing up their shadowy curtains
about you,--let us try, through the gigantic glooms, to decipher the
flying features of your separate visions.

The shepherd girl that had delivered France--she from her dungeon, she
from her baiting at the stake, she from her duel with fire, as she
entered her last dream saw Domrémy, saw the fountain of Domrémy, saw the
pomp of forests in which her childhood had wandered. That Easter
festival which man had denied to her languishing heart, that
resurrection of springtime which the darkness of dungeons had
intercepted from her, hungering after the glorious liberty of forests,
were by God given back into her hands, as jewels that had been stolen
from her by robbers. With those, perhaps (for the minutes of dreams can
stretch into ages), was given back to her by God the bliss of childhood.
By special privilege, for _her_ might be created in this farewell dream,
a second childhood, innocent as the first; but not, like that, sad with
the gloom of a fearful mission in the rear. The mission had now been
fulfilled. The storm was weathered, the skirts even of that mighty storm
were drawing off. The blood that she was to reckon for had been exacted;
the tears that she was to shed in secret had been paid to the last. The
hatred to herself in all eyes had been faced steadily, had been
suffered, had been survived.

Bishop of Beauvais! because the guilt-burdened man is in dreams haunted
and waylaid by the most frightful of his crimes; and because upon that
fluctuating mirror, rising from the fens of death, most of all are
reflected the sweet countenances which the man has laid in ruins;
therefore I know, bishop, that you also, entering your final dream, saw
Domrémy. That fountain of which the witnesses spoke so much, showed
itself to your eyes in pure morning dews; but neither dews nor the holy
dawn could cleanse away the bright spots of innocent blood upon its
surface. By the fountain, bishop, you saw a woman seated, that hid her
face. But as _you_ draw near, the woman raises her wasted features.
Would Domrémy know them again for the features of her child? Ah, but
_you_ know them, bishop, well! Oh mercy! what a groan was _that_ which
the servants, waiting outside the bishop's dream at his bedside, heard
from his laboring heart, as at this moment he turned away from the
fountain and the woman, seeking rest in the forests afar off. Yet not
_so_ to escape the woman, whom once again he must behold before he dies.
In the forests to which he prays for pity, will he find a respite? What
a tumult, what a gathering of feet is there! In glades where only wild
deer should run, armies and nations are assembling; towering in the
fluctuating crowd are phantoms that belong to departed hours. There is
the great English Prince, Regent of France. There is my lord of
Winchester, the princely cardinal that died and made no sign. There is
the Bishop of Beauvais, clinging to the shelter of thickets. What
building is that which hands so rapid are raising? Is it a martyr's
scaffold? Will they burn the child of Domrémy a second time? No; it is a
tribunal that rises to the clouds; and two nations stand around it,
waiting for a trial. Shall my Lord of Beauvais sit upon the judgment
seat, and again number the hours for the innocent? Ah! no; he is the
prisoner at the bar. Already all is waiting; the mighty audience is
gathered, the Court are hurrying to their seats, the witnesses are
arrayed, the trumpets are sounding, the judge is taking his place. Oh!
but this is sudden. My lord, have you no counsel?--"Counsel I have none;
in heaven above, or on earth beneath, counselor there is none now that
would take a brief from _me_; all are silent." Is it indeed come to
this? Alas! the time is short, the tumult is wondrous, the crowd
stretches away into infinity; but yet I will search in it for somebody
to take your brief: I know of somebody that will be your counsel. Who is
this that cometh from Domrémy? Who is she in bloody coronation robes
from Rheims? Who is she that cometh with blackened flesh from walking
the furnaces of Rouen? This is she, the shepherd girl, counselor that
had none for herself, whom I choose, bishop, for yours. She it is, I
engage, that shall take my lord's brief. She it is, bishop, that would
plead for you: yes, bishop, SHE--when heaven and earth are silent.



[Illustration: Paul Déroulède]

Paul Déroulède received his education in Paris, where he was born. In
accordance with the wishes of his friends, he was educated for the law;
but before even applying for admission to the bar he yielded to the
poetic instinct that had been strong in him since boyhood, and began,
under the name of Jean Rebel, to send verses to the Parisian
periodicals. When only twenty-three years of age he wrote for the
Académie Française a one-act drama in verse, 'Juan Strenner,' which
however was not a success. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in
the same year roused his martial spirit; he enlisted, and at once
entered active service, in which he distinguished himself by acts of
signal bravery. A wound near the close of the hostilities took him from
the field; and it was during the retirement thus enforced that he wrote
the lyrics, 'Songs of the Soldier,' that first made him famous
throughout his native country.

Not since the days of the 'Marseillaise' had the fighting spirit of the
French people found such sympathetic expression; his songs were read and
sung all over the country; they received the highest honor of the
Academy, and their popularity continued after peace was declared, nearly
one hundred and fifty editions having been exhausted up to 1895.
Déroulède now devoted himself to literature and politics. 'New Songs of
the Soldier' and a volume of 'Songs of the Peasant,' almost as popular
as the war songs, were interspersed with two more dramatic works, also
in verse, one of which, 'L'Hetman,' was received on the stage with great
favor. A cantata, 'Vive la France,' written in 1880, was set to music by
Gounod. He also wrote a novel and some treatises dealing with armies and
fighting, but his prose works did not attract much attention.

Déroulède's best verses are distinguished for their inspiration and
genuine enthusiasm. Careless of form and finish, not always stopping to
make sure of his rhymes or perfect his metre, he gave the freest vent to
his emotions. Some of the heart-glow which makes the exhilaration of
Burns's poems infectious is found in his songs, but they are generally
so entirely French that its scope is limited in a way that the Scotch
poet's, despite his vernacular, was not. The Frenchman's sympathy is
always with the harder side of life. In the 'Songs of the Soldier' he
plays on chords of steel. These verses resound with the blast of the
bugle, the roll of the drum, the flash of the sword, the rattle of
musketry, the boom of the cannon; and even in the 'Songs of the Peasant'
it is the corn and the wine, as the fruit of toil, that appeal to him,
rather than the grass and the flowers embellishing the fields.


From 'Chants du Paysan'

     The wheat, the hardy wheat is rippling on the breeze.
       'Tis our great mother's sacred mantle spread afar,
       Old Earth revered, who gives us life, in whom we are,
     We the dull clay the living God molds as he please.

     The wheat, the hardy wheat bends down its heavy head,
       Blessèd and consecrate by the Eternal hand;
       The stalks are green although the yellow ears expand:
     Keep them, O Lord, from 'neath the tempest's crushing tread!

     The wheat, the hardy wheat spreads like a golden sea
       Whose harvesters--bent low beneath the sun's fierce light,
       Stanch galley-slaves, whose oar is now the sickle bright--
     Cleave down the waves before them falling ceaselessly.

     The wheat, the hardy wheat ranged in its serried rows,
       Seems like some noble camp upon the distant plain.
       Glory to God!--the crickets chirp their wide refrain;
     From sheaf to sheaf the welcome bread-song sweeping goes.

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,' by Thomas


From 'Poèmes Militaires'


     Good old woman, bother not.
     Or the place will be too hot:
     You might let the fire grow old--
     Save your fagots for the cold:
       I am drying through and through.

     But she, stopping not to hear,
     Shook the smoldering ashes near:
       "Soldier, not too warm for you!"

     Good old woman, do not mind;
     At the storehouse I have dined:
     Save your vintage and your ham,
     And this cloth--such as I am
       Are not used to--save it too.

     But she heard not what I said--
     Filled my glass and cut the bread:
       "Soldier, it is here for you!"

     Good old woman--sheets for me!
     Faith, you treat me royally:
     And your stable? on your hay?
     There at length my limbs to lay?
       I shall sleep like monarchs true.

     But she would not be denied
     Of the sheets, and spread them wide:
       "Soldier, it is made for you!"

     Morning came--the parting tear:
     Well--good-by! What have we here?
     My old knapsack full of food!
     Dear old creature--hostess good--
       Why indulge me as you do?

     It was all that she could say,
     Smiling in a tearful way:
       "I have one at war like you!"

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,' by Thomas


From 'Poèmes Militaires'

     The Kroumirs leave their mountain den;
       Sing, bullets, sing! and bugles, blow!
     Good fighting to our gallant men,
     And happy they who follow, when,
       Brothers in arms so dear, these go.

     Yea, happy they who serve our France,
       And neither pain nor danger fly;
     But in the front of war's advance
     Still deem it but a glorious chance,
       To be among the brave who die!

     No splendid war do we begin,
       No glory waits us when 'tis past;
     But marching through the fiery din,
     We see our serried ranks grow thin,
       And blood of Frenchmen welling fast.

     French blood!--a treasure so august,
       And hoarded with such jealous care,
     To crush oppression's strength unjust,
     With all the force of right robust,
       And buy us back our honor fair:--

     We yield it now to duty's claim,
       And freely pour out all our store;
     Who judges, frees us still from blame;
     The Kroumirs' muskets war proclaim:--
       In answer let French cannon roar!

     Good fighting! and God be your shield,
       Our pride's avengers, brave and true!
     France watches you upon the field.
     Who wear her colors never yield,
       For 'tis her heart ye bear with you!

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,' by Katharine


From 'Poèmes Militaires'

     A grave for me--a grave--and why?
       I do not wish to sleep alone:
     Let me within the trenches lie,
       Side by side with my soldiers thrown.

     Dear old comrades of wars gone by,
     Come, 'tis our final "halt" is nigh:
       Clasp your brave hearts to my own.

     A sheet for me--a sheet--and why?
       Such is for them on their beds who moan:
     The field is the soldier's place to die,
       The field of carnage, of blood and bone.

     Dear old comrades of wars gone by,
     This is the prayer of my soul's last sigh:
       Clasp your brave hearts to my own.

     Tears for me--these tears--and why?
       Knells let the vanquished foe intone!
     France delivered!--I still can cry,
       France delivered--invaders flown!

     Dear old comrades of wars gone by,
     Pain is nothing, and death--a lie!
       Clasp your brave hearts to my own!

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,' by Thomas



[Illustration: RENÉ DESCARTES.]

The broad scope of literature is illustrated by its inclusion of the
writings of René Descartes (Latinized, Renatus Cartesius). Deliberately
turning away from books, and making naught alike of learned precedent
and literary form, he yet could not but avail himself unconsciously of
the heritage which he had discarded.

This notable figure in seventeenth-century philosophy was born of
ancient family at La Haye, in Touraine, France, March 31st, 1596; and
died at Stockholm, Sweden, February 11th, 1650. From a pleasant student
life of eight years in the Jesuit college at La Flèche, he went forth in
his seventeenth year with unusual acquirements in mathematics and
languages, but in deep dissatisfaction with the long dominant scholastic
philosophy and the whole method prescribed for arriving at truth. In a
strong youthful revolt, his first step was a decision to discharge his
mind of all the prejudices into which his education had trained his
thinking. As a beginning in this work he went to Paris, for observation
of facts and of men. There, having drifted through a twelvemonth of
moderate dissipation, he secluded himself for nearly two years of
mathematical study, as though purposing to reduce his universe to an
equation in order to solve it. The laws of number he could trust, since
their lines configured the eternal harmony.

At the age of twenty-one he entered on a military service of two years
in the army of the Netherlands, and then of about two years in the
Bavarian army. From 1621, for about four years, he was roaming as an
observer of men and nature in Germany, Belgium, and Italy, afterward
sojourning in Paris about three and a half years. In 1629 he began
twenty years of study and authorship in practical seclusion in Holland.
His little work, 'Discours de la Méthode' (Leyden, 1637), is often
declared to have been the basis for a reconstitution of the science of
thought. It would now perhaps be viewed by the majority of critics
rather as a necessary clearing of antiquated rubbish from the ground on
which the new construction was to rise. Next to it among his works are
usually ranked 'Meditationes de Prima Philosophia,' and 'Principia

The long sojourn in Holland was ended in September 1649, in response to
an urgent invitation from the studious young Queen Christina of Sweden,
who wanted the now famous philosopher as an ornament to her court. After
some hesitancy he sailed for Stockholm, where only five months afterward
he died.

It has been said of Descartes that he was a spectator rather than an
active worker in affairs. He was no hero, no patriot, no adherent of any
party. He entered armies, but not from love of a cause; the army was a
sphere in which he could closely observe the aspects of human life. He
was never married, and probably had little concern with love. His
attachment to a few friends seems to have been sincere. For literature
as such he cared little. Erudition, scholarship, historic love, literary
elegance, were nothing to him. Art and æsthetics did not appeal to him.
Probably he was not a great reader, even of philosophic writers. He
delighted in observing facts with a view to finding, stating, and
systematizing their relations in one all-comprehending scheme. He never
allowed himself to attack the Church in either its doctrine or its
discipline. As a writer, though making no attempt at elegance in style,
he is deemed remarkably clear and direct when the abstruseness of his
usual themes is considered.

Descartes's method in philosophy gives signs of formation on the model
of a process in mathematics. In all investigations he would ascertain
first what must exist by necessity; thus establishing axioms evidenced
in all experience, because independent of all experience. The study of
mathematics for use in other departments drew him into investigations
whose results made it a new science. He reformed its clumsy
nomenclature, also the algebraic use of letters for quantities; he
introduced system into the use of exponents to denote the powers of a
quantity, thus opening the way for the binomial theorem; he was the
first to throw clear light on the negative roots of equations; his is
the theorem by use of which the maximum number of positive or negative
roots of an equation can be ascertained. Analytical geometry originated
with his investigation of the nature and origin of curves.

His mathematical improvements opened the way for the reform of physical
science and for its immense modern advance. In his optical
investigations he established the law of refraction of light. His
ingenious theory of the vortices--tracing gravity, magnetism, light, and
heat, to the whirling or revolving movements of the molecules of matter
with which the universe is filled--was accepted as science for about a
quarter of a century.

In mental science Descartes's primary instrument for search of truth was
Doubt: everything was to be doubted until it had been proved. This was
provisional skepticism, merely to provide against foregone conclusions.
It was not to preclude belief, but to summon and assure belief as
distinct from the inane submission to authority, to prejudice, or to
impulse. In this process of doubting everything, the philosopher comes
at last to one fact which he cannot doubt--the fact that he exists; for
if he did not exist he could not be thinking his doubt. _Cogito, ergo
sum_ is one point of absolute knowledge; it is a clear and ultimate

The first principle of his philosophy is, that our consciousness is
truthful in its proper sphere, also that our thought is truthful and
trustworthy under these two conditions--when the thought is clear and
vivid, and when it is held to a theme utterly distinct from every other
theme; since it is impossible for us to believe that either man who
thinks, or the universe concerning which he thinks, is organized on the
basis of a lie. There are "necessary truths," and they are discoverable.

A second principle is, the inevitable ascent of our thought from the
fragmentary to the perfect, from the finite to the infinite. Thus the
thought of the infinite is an "innate idea," a part of man's potential
consciousness. This principle (set forth in one of the selections given
herewith) is the Cartesian form of the _a priori_ argument for the
Divine existence, which like other _a priori_ forms is viewed by critics
not as a proof in pure logic, but as a commanding and luminous appeal to
man's entire moral and intellectual nature.

A third principle is, that the material universe is necessarily reduced
in our thought ultimately to two forms, extension and local
movement--extension signifying matter, local movement signifying force.
There is no such thing as empty space; there are no ultimate indivisible
atoms; the universe is infinitely full of matter.

A fourth principle is, that the soul and matter are subsistences so
fundamentally and absolutely distinct that they cannot act in reciprocal
relations. This compelled Descartes to resort to his strained
supposition that all correspondence or synchronism between bodily
movements and mental or spiritual activities is merely reflex or
automatic, or else is produced directly by act of Deity. For relief from
this violent hypothesis, Leibnitz modified the Cartesian philosophy by
his famous theory of a pre-established harmony.

Descartes did a great work, but it was not an abiding reconstruction:
indeed, it was not construction so much as it was a dream--one of the
grandest and most suggestive in the history of thought. Its audacious
disparagement of the whole scholastic method startled Europe, upon the
dead air of whose philosophy it came as a refreshing breath of
transcendental thought. Its suggestions and inspirations are traceable
as a permanent enrichment, though its vast fabric swiftly dissolved. The
early enthusiasm for it in French literary circles and among professors
in the universities of Holland scarcely outlasted a generation. Within
a dozen years after the philosopher's death, the Cartesian philosophy
was prohibited by ecclesiastical authorities and excluded from the
schools. In the British Isles and in Germany the system has been usually
considered as an interesting curiosity in the cabinet of philosophies.
Yet the unity of all truth through relations vital, subtle, firm, and
universal, though seen only in a vision of the night, abides when the
night is gone.

With the impressive and noteworthy 'Discours de la Méthode' (Leyden,
1637), were published three essays supporting it: 'La Dioptrïque,' 'Les
Météores,' 'La Géométrie.' Of his other works, the most important are
'Meditationes de Prima Philosophia' (Paris, 1641; Amsterdam, 1642), and
'Principia Philosophiæ' (Amsterdam, 1644). A useful English translation
of his most important writings, with an introduction, is by John Veitch,
LL.D.,--'The Method, Meditations, and Selections from the Principles'
(Edinburgh, 1853; 6th ed., Blackwoods, Edinburgh and London, 1879). See
also, English translations of portions of his philosophical works, by W.
Cunningham (1877), Lowndes (1878), Mahaffy (1880), Martineau (1885),
Henry Rogers, Huxley, and L. Stephen.

For his Life, see 'Vie de Descartes,' by Baillet (2 vols. 1691);
'Descartes sa Vie,' etc., by Millet (2 vols. 1867-71); 'Descartes and
his School,' by Kuno Fischer (English translation, 1887).


From the 'Discourse on Method'

As a multitude of laws often only hampers justice, so that a State is
best governed when, with few laws, these are rigidly administered; in
like manner, instead of the great number of precepts of which Logic is
composed, I believed that the four following would prove perfectly
sufficient for me, provided I took the firm and unwavering resolution
never in a single instance to fail in observing them.

The _first_ was never to accept anything for true which I did not
clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy
and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgment than what was
presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground
of doubt.

The _second_, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into
as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate

The _third_, to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing
with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little
and little, and as it were step by step, to the knowledge of the more
complex; assigning in thought a certain order even to those objects
which in their own nature do not stand in a relation of antecedence and

And the _last_, in every case to make enumerations so complete, and
reviews so general, that it might be assured that nothing was omitted.

The long chains of simple and easy reasonings by means of which
geometers are accustomed to reach the conclusions of their most
difficult demonstrations, had led me to imagine that all things to the
knowledge of which man is competent are mutually connected in the same
way, and that there is nothing so far removed from us as to be beyond
our reach, or so hidden that we cannot discover it, provided only we
abstain from accepting the false for the true, and always preserve in
our thoughts the order necessary for the deduction of one truth from
another. And I had little difficulty in determining the objects with
which it was necessary to commence, for I was already persuaded that it
must be with the simplest and easiest to know, and, considering that of
all those who have hitherto sought truth in the Sciences, the
mathematicians alone have been able to find any demonstrations,--that
is, any certain and evident reasons,--I did not doubt but that such must
have been the rule of their investigations. I resolved to commence,
therefore, with the examination of the simplest objects, not
anticipating, however, from this any other advantage than that to be
found in accustoming my mind to the love and nourishment of truth, and
to a distaste for all such reasonings as were unsound. But I had no
intention on that account of attempting to master all the particular
sciences commonly denominated Mathematics: but observing that however
different their objects, they all agree in considering only the various
relations or proportions subsisting among those objects, I thought it
best for my purpose to consider these proportions in the most general
form possible; without referring them to any objects in particular,
except such as would most facilitate the knowledge of them, and without
by any means restricting them to these, that afterwards I might thus be
the better able to apply them to every other class of objects to which
they are legitimately applicable. Perceiving, further, that in order to
understand these relations I should sometimes have to consider them one
by one, and sometimes only to bear them in mind, or embrace them in the
aggregate, I thought that in order the better to consider them
individually, I should view them as subsisting between straight lines,
than which I could find no objects more simple, or capable of being more
distinctly represented to my imagination and senses; and on the other
hand, that in order to retain them in the memory, or embrace an
aggregate of many, I should express them by certain characters the
briefest possible. In this way I believed that I could borrow all that
was best both in geometrical analysis and in algebra, and correct all
the defects of the one by help of the other.


From the 'Discourse on Method'

Seeing that our senses sometimes deceive us, I was willing to suppose
that there existed nothing really such as they presented to us; and
because some men err in reasoning and fall into paralogisms, even on the
simplest matters of geometry, I, convinced that I was as open to error
as any other, rejected as false all the reasonings I had hitherto taken
for demonstrations; and finally, when I considered that the very same
thoughts (presentations) which we experience when awake may also be
experienced when we are asleep, while there is at that time not one of
them true, I supposed that all the objects (presentations) that had ever
entered into my mind when awake had in them no more truth than the
illusions of my dreams. But immediately upon this I observed that whilst
I thus wished to think that all was false, it was absolutely necessary
that I, who thus thought, should be somewhat; and as I observed that
this truth,--"_I think, hence I am,_"--was so certain and of such
evidence that no ground of doubt, however extravagant, could be alleged
by the skeptics capable of shaking it, I concluded that I might without
scruple accept it as the first principle of the philosophy of which I
was in search.

In the next place, I attentively examined what I was, and as I observed
that I could suppose that I had no body, and that there was no world nor
any place in which I might be; but that I could not therefore suppose
that I was not; and that on the contrary, from the very circumstance
that I thought to doubt of the truth of other things, it most clearly
and certainly followed that I was; while on the other hand, if I had
only ceased to think, although all the other objects which I had ever
imagined had been in reality existent, I would have had no reason to
believe that I existed; I thence concluded that I was a substance whose
whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that it
may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing;
so that "I"--that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am--is wholly
distinct from the body, and is even more easily known than the latter,
and is such that although the latter were not, it would still continue
to be all that it is.

After this I inquired in general into what is essential to the truth and
certainty of a proposition; for since I had discovered one which I knew
to be true, I thought that I must likewise be able to discover the
ground of this certitude. And as I observed that in the words "_I think,
hence I am,_" there is nothing at all which gives me assurance of their
truth beyond this, that I see very clearly that in order to think it is
necessary to exist,--I concluded that I might take, as a general rule,
the principle that all the things which we very clearly and distinctly
conceive are true; only observing however that there is some difficulty
in rightly determining the objects which we distinctly conceive.

In the next place, from reflecting on the circumstance that I doubted,
and that consequently my being was not wholly perfect (for I clearly saw
that it was a greater perfection to know than to doubt), I was led to
inquire whence I had learned to think of something more perfect than
myself; and I clearly recognized that I must hold this notion from some
Nature which in reality was more perfect. As for the thoughts of many
other objects external to me, as of the sky, the earth, light, heat, and
a thousand more, I was less at a loss to know whence these came; for
since I remarked in them nothing which seemed to render them superior to
myself, I could believe that if these were true, they were dependences
on my own nature in so far as it possessed a certain perfection; and if
they were false, that I held them from nothing,--that is to say, that
they were in me because of a certain imperfection of my nature. But this
could not be the case with the idea of a Nature more perfect than
myself: for to receive it from nothing was a thing manifestly
impossible; and because it is not less repugnant that the more perfect
should be an effect of and dependence on the less perfect, than that
something should proceed from nothing, it was equally impossible that I
could hold it from myself: accordingly it but remained that it had been
placed in me by a Nature which was in reality more perfect than mine,
and which even possessed within itself all the perfections of which I
could form any idea,--that is to say, in a single word, which was

I was disposed straightway to search for other truths; and when I had
represented to myself the object of the geometers, which I conceived to
be a continuous body, or a space indefinitely extended in length,
breadth, and height or depth, divisible into divers parts which admit of
different figures and sizes, and of being moved or transposed in all
manner of ways (for all this the geometers suppose to be in the object
they contemplate), I went over some of their simplest demonstrations.
And in the first place, I observed that the great certitude which by
common consent is accorded to these demonstrations is founded solely
upon this, that they are clearly conceived in accordance with the rules
I have already laid down. In the next place, I perceived that there was
nothing at all in these demonstrations which could assure me of the
existence of their object: thus, for example, supposing a triangle to be
given, I distinctly perceived that its three angles were necessarily
equal to two right angles, but I did not on that account perceive
anything which could assure me that any triangle existed; while on the
contrary, recurring to the examination of the idea of a Perfect Being, I
found that the existence of the Being was comprised in the idea in the
same way that the equality of its three angles to two right angles is
comprised in the idea of a triangle, or as in the idea of a sphere, the
equidistance of all points on its surface from the centre, or even still
more clearly; and that consequently it is at least as certain that God,
who is this Perfect Being, is, or exists, as any demonstration of
geometry can be.


From the 'Meditations'

There only remains, therefore, the idea of God, in which I must consider
whether there is anything that cannot be supposed to originate with
myself. By the name God I understand a substance infinite, eternal,
immutable, independent, all-knowing, all-powerful, and by which I
myself, and every other thing that exists,--if any such there be,--were
created. But these properties are so great and excellent, that the more
attentively I consider them, the less I feel persuaded that the idea I
have of them owes its origin to myself alone. And thus it is absolutely
necessary to conclude, from all that I have before said, that God
exists; for though the idea of substance be in my mind owing to
this,--that I myself am a substance,--I should not however have the idea
of an infinite substance, seeing I am a finite being, unless it were
given me by some substance in reality infinite.

And I must not imagine that I do not apprehend the infinite by a true
idea, but only by the negation of the finite, in the same way that I
comprehend repose and darkness by the negation of motion and light:
since, on the contrary, I clearly perceive that there is more reality in
the infinite substance than in the finite, and therefore that in some
way I possess the perception (notion) of the infinite before that of the
finite, that is, the perception of God before that of myself; for how
could I know that I doubt, desire, or that something is wanting to me,
and that I am not wholly perfect, if I possessed no idea of a being more
perfect than myself, by comparison with which I knew the deficiencies of
my nature?

And it cannot be said that this idea of God is perhaps materially false,
and consequently that it may have arisen from nothing (in other words,
that it may exist in me from my imperfection), as I before said of the
ideas of heat and cold, and the like; for on the contrary, as this idea
is very clear and distinct, and contains in itself more objective
reality than any other, there can be no one of itself more true, or less
open to the suspicion of falsity.

The idea, I say, of a being supremely perfect and infinite, is in the
highest degree true; for although perhaps we may imagine that such a
being does not exist, we nevertheless cannot suppose that this idea
represents nothing real, as I have already said of the idea of cold. It
is likewise clear and distinct in the highest degree, since whatever the
mind clearly and distinctly conceives as real or true, and as implying
any perfection, is contained entire in this idea. And this is true,
nevertheless, although I do not comprehend the infinite, and although
there may be in God an infinity of things that I cannot comprehend, nor
perhaps even compass by thought in any way; for it is of the nature of
the infinite that it should not be comprehended by the finite: and it is
enough that I rightly understand this, and judge that all which I
clearly perceive, and in which I know there is some perfection, and
perhaps also an infinity of properties of which I am ignorant, are
formally or eminently in God, in order that the idea I have of him may
become the most true, clear, and distinct of all the ideas in my mind.

But perhaps I am something more than I suppose myself to be; and it may
be that all those perfections which I attribute to God in some way exist
potentially in me, although they do not yet show themselves and are not
reduced to act. Indeed, I am already conscious that my knowledge is
being increased and perfected by degrees; and I see nothing to prevent
it from thus gradually increasing to infinity, nor any reason why, after
such increase and perfection, I should not be able thereby to acquire
all the other perfections of the Divine nature; nor in fine, why the
power I possess of acquiring those perfections, if it really now exist
in me, should not be sufficient to produce the ideas of them. Yet on
looking more closely into the matter I discover that this cannot be; for
in the first place, although it were true that my knowledge daily
acquired new degrees of perfection, and although there were potentially
in my nature much that was not as yet actually in it, still all these
excellences make not the slightest approach to the idea I have of the
Deity, in whom there is no perfection merely potentially, but all
actually existent; for it is even an unmistakable token of imperfection
in my knowledge, that it is augmented by degrees. Further, although my
knowledge increase more and more, nevertheless I am not therefore
induced to think that it will ever be actually infinite, since it can
never reach that point beyond which it shall be incapable of further
increase. But I conceive God as actually infinite, so that nothing can
be added to his perfection. And in fine, I readily perceive that the
objective being of an idea cannot be produced by a being that is merely
potentially existent,--which properly speaking is nothing, but only a
being existing formally or actually.

And truly, I see nothing in all that I have now said which it is not
easy for any one who shall carefully consider it, to discern by the
natural light; but when I allow my attention in some degree to relax,
the vision of my mind being obscured and as it were blinded by the
images of sensible objects, I do not readily remember the reason why the
idea of a being more perfect than myself must of necessity have
proceeded from a being in reality more perfect. On this account I am
here desirous to inquire further whether I, who possess this idea of
God, could exist supposing there were no God. And I ask, from whom could
I in that case derive my existence? Perhaps from myself, or from my
parents, or from some other causes less perfect than God; for anything
more perfect, or even equal to God, cannot be thought or imagined. But
if I were independent of every other existence, and were myself the
author of my being, I should doubt of nothing, I should desire nothing,
and in fine, no perfection would be wanting to me; for I should have
bestowed upon myself every perfection of which I possess the idea, and I
should thus be God. And it must not be imagined that what is now wanting
to me is perhaps of more difficult acquisition than that of which I am
already possessed; for on the contrary, it is quite manifest that it was
a matter of much higher difficulty that I, a thinking being, should
arise from nothing, than it would be for me to acquire the knowledge of
many things of which I am ignorant, and which are merely the accidents
of a thinking substance; and certainly, if I possessed of myself the
greater perfection of which I have now spoken,--in other words, if I
were the author of my own existence,--I would not at least have denied
to myself things that may be more easily obtained, as that infinite
variety of knowledge of which I am at present destitute. I could not
indeed have denied to myself any property which I perceive is contained
in the idea of God, because there is none of these that seems to be more
difficult to make or acquire; and if there were any that should happen
to be more difficult to acquire, they would certainly appear so to me
(supposing that I myself were the source of the other things I possess),
because I should discover in them a limit to my power.




What a man stands for, in the life and literature of his day, is easily
enough estimated when his name passes current in his language for a
hitherto undesignated shade of meaning. One of the most acute and
sensitive of contemporary French critics, M. Jules Lemaître, in an
article on an evolutionary phase in modern literature, expresses its
significant characteristic to be--"L'idéal de vie intérieure, la morale
absolue,--si je puis m'exprimer ainsi, le Desjardinisme" (The ideal of
spiritual life, absolute morality,--if I may so express myself,
Desjardinism). The term, quickly appropriated by another French critic,
and one of the remarkable women of letters of her day,--the late Baronne
Blaze de Bury,--is literally interpreted as "summing up whatever is
highest and purest and of most rare attainment in the idealism of the
present hour." And she further, with the intuition of her sex, feeling a
pertinent question before it is put, singles out the vital germ of
difference which distinguishes this young writer as typical of the
idealism of the hour, and makes him its name-giver:--"What is in other
men the indirect and hidden source of their public acts, is in Paul
Desjardins the direct source of life itself--the life to be lived; and
also of the mode in which that life is to be conceived and to be made
apparent to the world." Of the life, "sincerity is its prime virtue.
Each leader proves his faith by his individual conduct, as by his
judgments on events and men. The pure passion of abstract thought fires
each to do the best that is his to do. His life is to be the
word-for-word translation of his own spirit."

The death-bed repentance of a century, born skeptical, reared decadent,
and professing practical materialism; the conversion of a literature
from the pure passion of the senses to the pure passion of abstract
thought; the assumption of an apostolic mission by journalists,
novelists, playwrights, college professors, and scientific masters, will
doubtless furnish the century to come with one of its most curious and
interesting fields of study. It is an episode in evolution which may
indeed be termed dramatic, this fifth act of the nineteenth-century epic
of France,--or it might be called, of Paris; the story of its pilgrimage
from revolution to evolution. M. Melchior de Voguë, himself one of the
apostles of the new life, or of the new work in the old life, of
France, describes the preparation of the national soil for the growth of
Desjardinism. He says:--

     "The French children who were born just before 1870 grew up in an
     atmosphere of patriotic mourning and amidst the discouragement of
     defeat. National life, such as it became reconstituted after that
     terrible shock, revealed to them on all sides nothing but abortive
     hopes, paltry struggles of interest, and a society without any
     other hierarchy but that of money, and without other principle or
     ideal than the pursuit of material enjoyment. Literature ...
     reflected these same tendencies; it was dejected or vile, and
     distressed the heart by its artistic dryness or disgusted it by its
     trivial realism. Science itself ... began to appear to many what it
     is in reality, namely, a means, not an end; its prestige declined
     and its infallibility was questioned.... Above all, it was clear
     from too evident social symptoms that if science can satisfy some
     very distinguished minds, it can do nothing to moralize and
     discipline societies....

     "For a hundred years after the destruction of the religious and
     political dogmas of the past, France had lived as best she could on
     some few fragile dogmas, which had in their turn been consecrated
     by a naïve superstition; these dogmas were the principles of
     1789--the almightiness of reason, the efficacy of absolute liberty,
     the sovereignty of the people--in a word, the whole _credo_ of the
     revolution.... In order to shake that faith [in these principles]
     ... it was necessary that human reason, proclaimed infallible,
     should turn its arms against itself. And that is what happened.
     Scientific criticism, after having ruined old dogmatism, ... made
     as short work of the revolutionary legend as of the monarchical
     one, and showed itself as pitiless for the rights of man as it had
     been for the rights of God. All these causes combined, sufficiently
     explain the nihilism and pessimism which invaded the souls of the
     young during the past ten years.... Clear-sighted boys analyzed
     life with a vigor and a precision unknown to their predecessors;
     having analyzed it, they found it bad; they turned away from life
     with fear and horror. There was heard from the peaks of
     intelligence a great cry of discouragement:--'Beware of deceitful
     nature; fear life, emancipate yourselves from life!' This cry was
     first uttered by the masters of contemporary thought,--a
     Schopenhauer, a Taine, a Tolstoy; below them, thousands of humbler
     voices repeat it in chorus. According to each one's turn of mind,
     the new philosophy assumed shades different in appearance--Buddhist
     nirvana, atheistic nihilism, mystic asceticism; but all these
     theories proceeded from the same sentiment, and all these doctrines
     may be reduced to the same formula:--'Let us depreciate life, let
     us escape from its snares.'"

Paul Desjardins, by name and family, belongs to the old _bourgeoisie_ of
France, that reserve force of Gallic virtue to which the French people
always look for help in political and moral crises. Like most of the
young men of distinction in the French world of letters, he combines
professional and literary work; he is professor of rhetoric at the Lycée
Veuves in Paris, and a member of the brilliant editorial staff of the
Journal des Débats. Paris offered to his grasp her same old choice of
subjects, to his eye the same aspects of life, which form her one
freehold for all artists, and he had but the instrument of his
guild--his pen; the series of his collected contributions to journals
and magazines bear a no more distinctive title than the hackneyed one of
'Notes Contemporaines,' but the sub-titles betray at once the trend of
originality: 'Great Souls and Little Lives,' 'The Obscure Ones,'
'Companions of the New Life'; and in the treatment of these subjects,
and especially in his sketches of character and critical essays upon the
literature of his day, Desjardins's originality resolves itself more and
more clearly into spirituality of thought, expressed in an incorruptible
simplicity of style. To quote from Madame de Bury again:--"One of the
chief characteristics of Paul Desjardins's utterances is their total
disinterestedness, their absolute detachment from self. Nowhere else
have you the same indescribable purity, the same boundless generosity of
joy in others' good, the same pervading altruism."

These writings were the expression of a mind on a journey, a quest,--not
of any one definite mind, for so completely has the personality of the
author been subdued to his mission, that his mind seems typical of the
general mind of young France in quest of spirituality, his individuality
a common one to all participants in the new movement, as it is called.

In 1892 the boldest effort of Desjardins's,--a small pamphlet, 'The
Present Duty,'--appeared. It created a sensation in the thinking world
of Paris. It marked a definite stage accomplished in the new movement,
and an arrival at one stopping-place at least. While the critics were
still diagnosing over the pamphlet as a theory, a small band of men,
avowing the same convictions as Desjardins, proceeded to test it as a
practical truth. They enrolled themselves into a "Union for Moral
Action," which had for its object to associate together, without regard
to religious or political beliefs, all serious-minded men who cared to
work for the formation of a healthy public opinion, for a moral
awakening, and for the education and strengthening of the modern
decadent or enervated will power. In general, it is common interests,
doctrines, needs, that bring men together in associations. The Union for
Moral Action sought, on the contrary, to associate men of diverse
interests and opinions--adversaries even,--into collaboration for the
common morality. In response to the interpellations, questions, and
doubts evoked by 'The Present Duty,' Desjardins published in the Débats
a series of articles on 'The Conversion of the Church.' They contributed
still more to differentiate him from the other leaders of the new
movement; in fact, few caring to share the responsibility of such
radical utterances, he has been left in literary isolation in his
advanced position: a position which, although it can but command the
admiration and respect of the press and the educational and religious
contingent of Paris, none the less attracts sarcasm and irony in the
world's centre of wit, sensual tolerance, and moral skepticism. As the
reproach of his literary confrères expresses it, the author has given
way before the apostle. The "life to be lived" commanded the sacrifice.
Desjardins makes now but rare appearances in his old journalistic
places, and in literature he has determinately severed connections
through which fame and fortune might confidently be expected. He now
gives his writings anonymously to the small weekly publication, the
official organ of the Union for Moral Action, depending for his living
upon his professorial position in the Collège St. Stanislas.

'Une Critique,' one of Desjardins's earliest essays, strikes the note of
his life and writings at a time when he himself was unconscious of its
portentous meaning to his world and his literature:--

     "Whatever deserves to be, deserves the best attention of our
     intellect. Everything calls for interest, only it must be an
     interest divested of self-interest, and sincere. But above all we
     must labor--labor hard--to understand, respect, and tenderly love
     in others whatever contains one single grain of simple intrinsic
     Goodness. Believe me, this is everywhere, and it is everywhere to
     be found, if you will only look for it....

     "The supremacy of the truly Good!--here lies the root of the whole
     teaching--the whole new way of looking at things and judging

     "New views of the universality of our world, of poetry, of
     religion, of kindness (human kindness), of virtue, of worth!...
     Think it over; these are the objects on which our new generation is
     fixing its thoughts, and trying to awaken yours. This it is which
     is so new!"

Translation of Madame Blaze de Bury.

[Illustration: signature]


There are many of us who at times have forgotten our personal troubles,
however great they were, by picturing to ourselves the moral distress of
souls around us, and by meditating on the possible remedy for this
universal ill. Some remain serene before this spectacle; they resign
themselves to fatal evil and inextricable doubt; they look with cold
blood on that which is. Others, like the one who speaks here, are more
affirmative because they are more impassioned, more wounded, knowing
neither how to forget nor how to be patient, nor yet how to despair
peaceably; they are less troubled by that which is, than by that which
ought to be; they have even turned towards that which ought to be, as
towards the salvation for which their whole heart is calling. It is
their weakness not to know how to interest themselves for any length of
time in what does not in some way assume the aspect of a duty that
concerns them. They do not contest, in fact, that it is a weakness not
to be able to look with a disinterested eye on disease, corporal or
spiritual; a weakness to feel the necessity of having something to do at
the bedside of the dying, even if that something be in vain,--to employ
the anguish of one's heart in preparing, even up to the supreme moment,
remedies in the shadow of the chamber.

We are in a state of war. It would be almost cowardly to be silent about
our intimate beliefs, for they are contradicted and attacked. We must
not content ourselves with a pacification or truce which will permit
us with facile weakness to open all the pores of our intelligence to
ideas contrary to our conviction. It is necessary on the contrary to
gird ourselves, to intrench ourselves. There is to-day, between us
and many of our contemporaries, an irreconcilable disagreement that
must be faced, a great combat in which parts must be taken. As far as
I can see this is what it is. In a word, are subjection to animal
instinct, egoism, falsehood, absolutely evil, or are they merely
"inelegances"?--that is to say, things deprecated just at present, but
which, well ornamented and perfumed with grace, might not again attract
us, satisfy us, furnish us a type of life equivalent after all to the
life of the sages and saints; for nothing shows us with certainty that
the latter is any better than the former. Are justice and love a sure
good, a sure law, and the harbor of safety? Or are they possible
illusions, probable vanities? Have we a destiny, an ideal, or are we
agitating ourselves without cause and without purpose for the amusement
of some malicious demiurge, or simply for the absurd caprice of great
Pan? This is the question that divides consciences. A great subject of
dispute; surely greater than that of the divinity of Jesus Christ, for
example, than that even of the existence of a personal God, or of any
other purely speculative question you please; and above all, one more
urgent: for there are counter-blows in it, which frighten me in my
every-day existence,--me, a man kept to the business of living from the
hour I awake to the light until the hour I go to sleep; and according to
the answer I may give myself on this point, is the spirit in which I dig
in my little garden.

Personally I have taken sides, after reflection; after experience also,
I do profess with conviction that humanity has a destiny and that we
live for something. What is to be understood exactly by this word
humanity? In short, I know not, only that this, of which I know nothing,
does not exist yet, but it is on the road to existence, on the road to
make itself known; and that it concerns me who am here. What must be
understood by this word destiny? I do not know much more; I have only,
so far, dreams about it, dreams born of some profound but incommunicable
love, which an equal love only could understand; my conscience is not
pure enough to conceive a stronger conviction; I only affirm that this
destiny of humanity, if it were known, would be such that all men,
ignorant or simple, could participate in it. It is already something to
know that, in short, I see at least by lightning-flashes, from which
side the future will shine; and I walk towards it, and live thus,
climbing up in a steep dark forest towards a point where a light is
divined, a light that cannot deceive me, but which the obtruding
branches of a complicated and apparent life hide from me. That which
will bring me nearer it is not arguing about the probable nature of the
light, but walking; I mean, fortifying in myself and others a will for
the Good....

We have on one side undecided and lukewarm allies, on the other
adversaries; and we are forced necessarily to combat. This necessity
will become clearer each day; ... it is the "antagonism of negatives and
positives--of those who tend to destroy and those who tend to
reconstruct."... There is no question here, be it understood, of knowing
whether we are deceiving ourselves in choosing such or such a particular
duty; that I would concede without trouble, having always estimated that
our moral judgments, like our acts, have need of ceaseless revision and
amelioration, according to an endless progression. There is a question
of much more; of knowing in an absolute manner whether there be a duty
for us or not.... Good is in fact that which ought to be. Like Christ,
who according to St. Paul is not a Yes and a No, but a Yes, duty is a
Yes; to slip into it the shadow of a possibility of a No is to destroy

The men of to-day are thus negatives or positives, as they range
themselves under one opinion or the other. And they must range
themselves under one of the two. They cannot escape. The question which
divides us, to know whether we live in vain, imposes itself upon every
one who opens his lips or moves his finger, upon every conscious being
who breathes. That So-and-so never speaks of it, never thinks of it, may
be; but their lives answer for them and testify loudly enough. I confess
that at first sight the negatives seem for the moment the more numerous.
They include many groups, which I shall not enumerate here. I range with
them the charming uncertain ones, like M. Renan and his melodious
disciples, the sombre and nihilistic Buddhists; all those to whom the
law of the completion of man through the good is indeed foolish and
chimerical, since their lives imply the negation of it: I mean to say
the immense multitude of those who live in any kind of way, good easy
people, refined possibly, from caprice, coquetry or laziness, but in
complete moral anæsthesia.

Now we come to the positives. They include first of all, true
Christians, and all true Jews, attached to the profound spirit of their
religion; then the philosophers and poets who affirm or sing the moral
ideal, the new disciples of Plato, the Stoics, the Kantians, famous or
unknown, to whom life alone, outside of all speculation, is a solid
affirmation of the possibility and sufficiency of the good. That the
actions of these men and women, on the way to creating themselves free
beings, human beings, have the same value as doctrine, cannot be denied.
They labor and suffer here and there, each one in his own cell; each one
making his own goodness consist in the realization of what he believes
to be the absolute good; making themselves faithful servants of
something; existing outside of themselves; the city, religion, charity,
justice, truth even, or beauty, conceived as modes of adoration.... All
these compose, it seems to me, one and the same Church, having the
philosophers and poets of duty for doctors of divinity, the heroes of
duty for congregation. These may be called by the general name of

Let our eyes be opened: everything that surrounds us is vitiated; many
of the children playing on the promenades are sickly, their little faces
are often enough marked with livid blotches, their bones are often
enough twisted, sad symptoms of the degradation of parents. At every
street corner are distributed libertine productions by traders in the
depravity of the weak. If any one wishes to recognize the furnace of
vice burning within us, let him observe merely the looks cast upon an
honest woman as she passes, by respectable men, old men. What savage
expressions intercepted under the feverish light of the electric lamps!
What tension, what spasms of covetousness! What hallucinations of
pleasure and of gold! Tragic matter here, but low tragedies _à la_
Balzac, not those acted under an open sky by heroes. A few pistol-shots
from time to time, a few poisonings, some drownings: that is all that
transpires of the interior evil. The rest passes away in suppressed
tears, brooding hatreds, in accepted shame. In such confusion the
consciences of the best, of the most disinterested ones, lose the
cleanness of their stamp. "You are smiling there at an obscenity," said
I to a friend; he protested; then reflecting, agreed with me, quite
astonished that he had not perceived it. Honest men are troubled by all
this circumjacent corruption. And rightly so, for at the bottom they are
parts of it; they are distinguished from it only by more cleanliness,
education, elegance, but not by principle.

In fact, from top to bottom, all this society lives on sensation; that
is the common trait through it all, and it is graded according to the
quality of its sensations.... Fundamentally there is only sensation,
with here and there unequally subtle nerves. There are no terms less
reconcilable one to another than research of sensation and moral
obligation. There is nothing more opposed. Therefore he who expects all
from his sensations depends absolutely on externals, upon the fortuitous
things of life, in all their incoherence; he is no longer a self-centre,
he feels himself no longer responsible, his personality is dissolved,
evaporated; it does not react, and ambient nature already absorbs him,
like some dead thing....

And this is where we are. I recognize then the evil; I see it in its
extent. Nevertheless, to paint this lamentable picture once more is not
to show our moral ideas. Our moral idea is what we believe touching the
life which shall be best; it is not exactly our life.

Ever since the antique Medea of Ovid uttered that cry, many others, one
after another, have groaned over the fact that, seeing the best and
approving it, they yet follow the worst--alas!

       *       *       *       *       *

Such a sorrow is to-day profound and universal; there where vice
abounds, sorrow superabounds. It is no longer that melancholy born of
the insufficiency of external reality, once for all recognized, that
felt by Obermann and proud romanticists; but a humble, narrow, ragged
rancor, mixed with disdain, with disgust, born of our insufficiency to
ourselves, perceived thoroughly. Never, I believe, have we been more
generally sad than in these times. And it is that which saves us; I find
here our greatness. He alone is lost who feels himself at ease and
healthful in evil; consciences without anxiety are the only hopeless
ones. Let us hope then, for it cannot be denied that we feel we are very
ill. It is apparent that we are in labor with something which shall be
our cure. The symptoms of this painful labor are not lacking. The works
which are appearing now, pre-eminent in form, but obscure and hesitating
in principles, bear signs of the stress in which they were conceived;
soon they will seem merely specious. In the poetry, romance, painting,
music, of to-day, how many exquisite works are born, not of energy
guided by love, but only of a dream of energy, a dream of love, on the
shores of inconsolable exile! The truth is, we no longer know what to
become; when any one of the antique misfortunes strikes us,--death,
abandonment, ruin,--we no longer bear it as our fathers did. We no
longer know the dignified, peaceful mournings of old; but under an
unexpected stroke, the torment, the complicated rending in the heart,
show that it has been secretly undermined. We feel indeed divided within
ourselves, and we need to be unified; but the inward unification is
possible only for the absolutely debauched or the absolutely good man;
there is no _via media_; half-virtue rends us....

Our spiritual life being in truth miracle and mystery, I do not know how
to explain what each one knows so well; I do not know how there is
developed within us that sublime state known and described under
different names by Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Epictetus, Marcus
Aurelius, St. Paul, St. Augustine, Tauler, the author of the
'Imitation,' Shelley, Emerson, Tolstoy: but I know that such a state,
which we all know by experience, merits alone the name of positive
morality.... Well then, history shows that what is true of each one of
us personally, is true of society.


While a purer spirit is visibly awakening in ailing humanity and turning
it again to Christ, the religion of Christ is rejuvenating. His church
is no longer motionless. Thus, in the midst of a great confusion, two
religious movements which correspond with one another are defining
themselves with sufficient clearness.

On the one side, men without any precise faith, and who thought
themselves without any faith, have perceived that they carry within
themselves that which they sought: an explanation of themselves, say a
principle of salvation. At whatever point these thinking men arrive, it
is apparent at the present that they are progressing in the way of the
Evangel, and following the path of the cross.... On the other side, the
Roman Catholic Church, governed by a vigilant Pope, has declared
herself. She has spoken of love, at the moment when all were thirsty for
love and self-forgetfulness; she intercedes for the suffering masses, at
the moment when others were going to do it outside of her, perhaps
against her. And more, she is resolutely to-day accenting spirituality,
after having so long accented ritual or policy. The new spiritualists
and the renewed Christians are thus pushed forward to a meeting with one
another by the need of their practical co-operation, and also perhaps by
the consciousness of their intimate kinship. They are marching from both
sides, with the same rallying cry, Fraternity and sacrifice! Here they
are flying from the city of the plain, where a material civilization
reigns, and claiming to suffice all; they are emigrating, they know not
whither, if it be only towards the heights; there they are descending
from their high, narrow, clerical, shut-in fastness.

The conversion that the Church should make is a conversion of the heart.
It must become again a school of true liberty and love. Herein lies all
the anxiety of the moment; and the great Catholic question lies not
between the Church and the Republic, but between the Church and the
People, or rather between the Church and the pure Spirit. By loving the
people in truth, and by making itself the people, it is clear that the
Catholic Church would simply be returning to its original source. Now,
returning to its original source is, in a word, all that the Church
should do; and that which, following her example, all old institutions
should do so as to live and to make us live. To last, means to be
re-born perpetually. In truth, each one of these institutions was born
in former times, from a definite need of the soul. And at first they
responded exactly to it, and that is why they prevailed; all their
strength came from the fact that they were necessary; their weakness
comes from the fact that they are no longer so. At first the religious
community was formed of the imperious necessity of a deliverance from
evil; it was not for ornament, not for the charm of burning incense
under arches; ... neither was it formed to do what kings, warriors, and
judges are sufficient to do; these last would have absorbed it, but they
cannot,--although they try to do so every day; but they can never do so,
unless the Church abandons her own functions to usurp theirs. She would
then, by forgetting her destination, commit suicide. But even then,
another church would form in response to the spiritual hunger and thirst
which never ceases. Thus the whole problem of the existence of an
institution is to remain forever necessary, and therefore faithful to
its original source.

Let us add that civil society cannot maintain itself without also
constant rejuvenation,--becoming young again; it also exists only by the
active consent of willing minds. It is essential for the harmony of the
whole that each person should be an individual and not an automaton. As
men, divided by the external accidents of habit, condition, fortune, and
united by that which is fundamental within them, the weakening of that
which is within them disintegrates them; and thence the principal cause
of our divisions comes from hardly any one to-day being in his heart
that which he appears to be. Therefore, to bring back diverse
conditions to their original source and to the reason of their being, to
re-establish the principle in the centre of the life of each, is to do
the work of unification. To say to the priests, "Be primitive
Christians, imitate the chosen Master," is, socially speaking, a good
action which all Christians and non-Christians should applaud, for the
salvation of all depends upon it. The remedy of our malady, without
doubt, lies not in having all France to mass, but first that all should
make their faith the rule of their actions. That which lies at the
bottom of our consciences is the thing by which we are brothers.


From 'Notes Contemporaines'

Two impressions have remained with me. They date from a month's
wandering in Switzerland, at a time when there are no tourists to be
met. The first is of the exquisite scenes of wintry Nature, as she shows
herself at this season, when none come to visit her--still, reposeful,
silent, veiled--how much more touching and impressive than when profaned
by the summer crowd! This is the moment when the Jura should be seen!
The pine woods on the hills are but faintly powdered with snow, and the
patches of dry rusty vegetation beneath lie on the gray stones like the
broad red stains of blood. Seeds hang here and there on the bare
branches, mixed with the tendrils of the wild vine, or with ghostly
clusters of what were the flowers of the clematis. The falling leaves
are golden; those already fallen are of an ashen gray. The delicate
tracery overhead is of infinite complexity, exquisite in its endless
detail; and the whole of this disrobed Nature, in its unadorned
simplicity, has an impress of sincerity that reminds you of the drawings
of Holbein. Flat pools of shallow water lie about, carpeted with mosses
and mirroring the sky; the smoke of the huts rises upward gaunt and
straight. No one is near; there are no passers-by; and there is no
sound, except that of a waterfall, fuller in its rush than at any other
season. Silence--a silence so fragile that the step of a single wayfarer
on the road would be enough to break it--reigns undisturbed, and covers
everything like a winding-sheet.

My second impression is of another kind, though almost as comforting, at
least by the contrast; it was given me by the conversation of the
peasant folk, plain humble mountaineers. The speech and thought of
these men is plain and direct, devoid of artifice, clear and fathomable;
they furnish you an unvarnished tale of their own simple experience--the
life experience of a man, no more! They neither invent nor disguise, and
are totally incapable of presenting either fact or circumstances in a
way that shall suggest to the hearer another or a different sense. Our
woeful habit of ridiculing what lies indeed at the bottom of our hearts
they have never learned; they copy, line by line and stroke by stroke,
the meaning that is in them, the intentions of their inner mind. In our
Parisian haunts, it seems to me that their success would be a problem;
but they are heedless of "success"; and to us, when we escape from our
vitiated centres, from an atmosphere poisoned by that perpetual
straining after effect, the pure undressed simplicity of these
"primitives" is as refreshing as to our over-excited and exhausted
nerves are the green, quiet, hidden nooks of their Alpine solitudes.
With them there is no need of imaginative expression; the trouble of
thought is useless; their words are the transparent revelation of their
beliefs. The calm brought to the hyper-civilized spirit by this
plainness and directness of Nature is absolutely indescribable; and when
I came to reflect on the profoundness of mental quietude--I might say of
consolation--that I had attained to during my wanderings, I could not
help recognizing what a cruel, fatal part is played in the lives of all
of us by irony. It is, with Frenchmen, a kind of veneer, worn even by
the most unpretentious in place of whatever may be real in them; and
where this outward seeming is absent, they are completely at a loss.

Well-bred Frenchmen rarely if ever have or pronounce an opinion, or pass
a judgment--unless with a playful obliquity of judgment, and on things
in general. They assume an air of knowing what they are talking about,
and of having probed the vanity of all human effort before they have
ever attempted or approached it; and even this indifference, this
disdain, this apparent dislike to the responsibility of so much as an
opinion,--even this is not natural, not innate; its formula is not of
its own creation; it is but the repetition of what was originated by
some one else. The truth is, that in our atmosphere all affirmative
action is difficult; it is hard either to be or to do. This habit of
irony has destroyed all healthful activity here. It is a mere instrument
of evil; if you grasp it, it turns to mischief in your hands, and either
slips from and eludes them, or wounds you, as often as not, mortally.



[Illustration: SIR AUBREY DE VERE]

At Curragh Chase, in the picturesque county of Limerick, Ireland, Aubrey
Hunt was born in 1788. On the death of his father he succeeded to the
baronetcy and took the name of De Vere. Though his deep love of nature
prompted him while very young to write descriptive verses, it was the
drama that first seriously attracted him. This form he chose for his
first painstaking work, 'Julian the Apostate.' The play opens at the
time when Julian, having renounced the faith of his household
oppressors, is allowed as a pagan worshiper to participate in the
Eleusinian mysteries; when, it is said, he consented to the
assassination of his uncle the Emperor Constantius. It found an admiring
and enthusiastic audience and received unstinted praise from the
critics. One wrote, "Lord Byron has produced nothing equal to it;" and
another, "Scott has nothing so intellectual or so elevated among his
exquisite sketches."

'Mary Tudor,' a drama written two years before his death in 1846, is his
"most considerable work," says his son, and "an expression of his
sympathy with great qualities obscured by great errors and great
calamities." The sonnet was however the form of composition he
preferred, and as a sonneteer he will be remembered. His sonnets are
mainly historical, though he wrote also some religious and descriptive
ones which Wordsworth considered "the most perfect of our age." His
earlier ones, modeled after those of Petrarch and Filicaja, are inferior
in imagery, phraseology, and nobility of thought to those produced under
the influence of Wordsworth, a poet whose genius De Vere was among the
first to acknowledge, and whose friendship he regarded as one of the
chief honors of his life.

Like his friend, De Vere was a patriot, and in his historical sonnets he
has recorded his love for the land of his remoter ancestors, whereas in
the 'Lamentations of Ireland' he has expressed with great ardor his love
for the land of his birth. In 1842 he published 'The Song of Faith,'
which with the exception of a few translations was all he gave the world
in twenty years. Devoted to his occupations as a country gentleman, and
being of a singularly modest disposition, he neither loved nor courted
fame, nor found in it any incentive to action.

Sir Aubrey De Vere was not in the modern acceptance of the term a
national poet, nor was he, as so many of his contemporaries, anti-Irish.
He modeled his poems on the great English writers, but all he wrote is
pervaded with a deep sympathy for Ireland, and that at a time when such
sympathy was rare.


     The flattering crowd wreathe laurels for the brow
       Of blood-stained chief or regal conqueror;
     To Cæsar or the Macedonian bow;
       Meteors of earth that set to rise no more:
     A hero-worship, as of old? Not now
       Should chieftain bend with servile reverence o'er
       The fading pageantry of Paynim lore.
     True heroes they whose consecrated vow
     Led them to Jewry, fighting for the Cross;
       While not by Avarice lured, or lust of power
     Inspired, they combated that Christ should reign,
     And life laid down for him counted no loss.
       On Dorylæum's plain, by Antioch's tower,
     And Ascalon, sleep well the martyred slain.


From 'The Crusaders'

     All holy influences dwell within
       The breast of childhood; instincts fresh from God
       Inspire it, ere the heart beneath the rod
     Of grief hath bled, or caught the plague of sin.
     How mighty was this fervor which could win
       Its way to infant souls!--and was the sod
       Of Palestine by infant Croises trod?
     Like Joseph went they forth, or Benjamin,
     In all their touching beauty to redeem?
       And did their soft lips kiss the Sepulchre?
     Alas! the lovely pageant, as a dream,
       Faded! They sank not through ignoble fear;
     They felt not Moslem steel. By mountain stream,
       In sands, in fens, they died--no mother near!


     Royal and saintly Cashel! I would gaze
       Upon the wreck of thy departed powers
       Not in the dewy light of matin hours,
     Nor in the meridian pomp of summer blaze,
     But at the close of dim autumnal days,
       When the sun's parting glance, through slanting showers,
       Sheds o'er thy rock-throned battlements and towers
     Such awful gleams as brighten o'er decay's
     Prophetic cheek. At such a time, methinks,
       There breathes from thy lone courts and voiceless aisles
     A melancholy moral; such as sinks
       On the lone traveler's heart amid the piles
     Of vast Persepolis on her mountain stand,
     Or Thebes half buried in the desert sand.


     Therefore when thou wouldst pray, or dost thine alms,
       Blow not a trump before thee; hypocrites
       Do thus, vaingloriously; the common streets
     Boast of their largess, echoing their psalms.
     On such the laud of man, like unctuous balms,
       Falls with sweet savor. Impious counterfeits!
       Prating of heaven, for earth their bosom beats!
     Grasping at weeds, they lose immortal palms!
     God needs not iteration nor vain cries:
       That man communion with his God might share
       Below, Christ gave the ordinance of prayer:
     Vague ambages and witless ecstasies
     Avail not: ere a voice to prayer be given,
     The heart should rise on wings of love to heaven.


     Ay, wisely do we call her Mother--she
       Who from her liberal breath breathes sustenance
     To nations; a majestic charity!
       No marble symbol cold, in suppliant glance
       Deceitful smiling; strenuous her advance,
     Yet calm; while holy ardors, fancy-free,
       Direct her measured steps: in every chance
     Sedate--as Una 'neath the forest tree
     Encompassed by the lions. Why, alas!
       Must her perverse and thoughtless children turn
         From her example? Why must the sulky breath
     Of Bigotry stain Charity's pure glass?
       Poison the springs of Art and Science--burn
         The brain through life, and sear the heart in death?


       Sad is our youth, for it is ever going,
         Crumbling away beneath our very feet;
       Sad is our life, for onward it is flowing
         In currents unperceived, because so fleet;
       Sad are our hopes, for they were sweet in sowing--
         But tares, self-sown, have overtopped the wheat;
       Sad are our joys, for they were sweet in blowing--
         And still, oh still, their dying breath is sweet;
       And sweet is youth, although it hath bereft us
         Of that which made our childhood sweeter still;
       And sweet is middle life, for it hath left us
         A nearer good to cure an older ill;
       And sweet are all things, when we learn to prize them
     Not for their sake, but His who grants them, or denies them!



Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of the chief chroniclers of the conquest
of Mexico by the Spaniards, was born at Medina del Campo in Old Castile,
about the year 1498. Concerning the date of his death, authorities
differ widely. He died in Guatemala, perhaps not long after 1570, but
some say not until 1593.

Of humble origin, he determined while still a youth to seek his fortune
in the New World. In 1514 he went with Pedrarias to Darien and Cuba. He
was a common soldier with Córdoba in the first expedition to Yucatan in
1517. He accompanied Grijalva to Mexico in the following year, and
finally enlisted under the banner of Cortés. In every event that marked
the career of that brilliant commander in Mexico, Diaz had a part; he
was engaged in one hundred and nineteen battles, and was present at the
siege and surrender of the capital in 1521. Of unswerving loyalty and
bravery, according to his own naïve statement, he was frequently
appointed by Cortés to highly important missions. When Cortés set out to
subdue the defection under Cristoval de Olid at Honduras, Diaz followed
his old chief in the terrible journey through the forests and swamps.

On his return he presumably adopted the life of a planter, although he
had complained loudly of the meagre allotment of land and laborers which
the conqueror gave him. In 1568, however, after the lapse of half a
century, when Cortés had been dead twenty-one years, we find the veteran
comfortably established as _regidor_ (a civic officer) of the city of
Guatemala, and busily engaged on the narrative of the heroic deeds of
his youth. In his introduction to the 'Historia' Diaz frankly admits
that his principal motive in taking up his pen was to vindicate the
valor of himself and others, who had been completely overshadowed by the
exaggerated reputation of Cortés.

When fairly started, he happened to run across the 'Crónica de la Nueva
España' (Saragossa, 1554) of Gomara, secretary and chaplain to Cortés,
1540-47. At first the rough old soldier threw down his pen in despair,
on noting the polished style of the scholar; but when he became aware of
the gross inaccuracies of his predecessor, who had never even set foot
in America, he determined, so he declares, to write above all things a
faithful narrative of the stirring events in which he had participated.
Thus was completed his 'Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva
España.' For some reason this valuable manuscript lay neglected in a
private library for about sixty years. Finally it fell into the hands of
Father Alonso Remor, a sagacious priest, who published it at Madrid in

The narrative of this soldier historian, although clumsy, full of
digressions and repetitions, and laying bare his ignorance, simplicity,
and vanity, will nevertheless always be read with far more interest than
the weightier works of Las Casas, Gomara, or Herrera. Prescott explained
the secret of its fascination when he said:--

     "Bernal Diaz, the untutored child of nature, is a most true and
     literal copyist of nature. He transfers the scenes of real life by
     a sort of _daguerreotype_ process, if I may so say, to his pages.
     He is among chroniclers what Defoe is among novelists.... All the
     picturesque scenes and romantic incidents of the campaign are
     reflected in his pages as in a mirror. The lapse of fifty years has
     had no power over the spirit of the veteran. The fire of youth
     glows in every line of his rude history, and as he calls up the
     scenes of the past, the remembrance of the brave companions who are
     gone gives, it may be, a warmer coloring to the picture than if it
     had been made at an earlier period."

A fairly good English translation of the work of Bernal Diaz appeared in
London in 1800, under the title of 'True History of the Conquest of


Translation of Maurice Keatinge: London, 1800


Sandoval at this moment made a signal for the flotilla to close up to
him, and perceived that Guatimotzin was prisoner to Holguin, who was
taking him to Cortés. Upon this he ordered his rowers to exert their
utmost to bring him up to Holguin's vessel, and having arrived by the
side of it, he demanded Guatimotzin to be delivered to him as general of
the whole force; but Holguin refused, alleging that he had no claim

A vessel which went to carry the intelligence of the great event,
brought also to Cortés, who was then on the summit of the great temple
in the Taltelulco, very near the part of the lake where Guatimotzin was
captured, an account of the dispute between his officers. Cortés
immediately dispatched Luis Marin and Francisco de Lugo to bring the
whole party together to his quarters, and thus to stop all litigation;
but he enjoined them not to omit treating Guatimotzin and his queen with
the greatest respect. During the interval he employed himself in
arranging a state, as well as he could, with cloths and mantles. He also
prepared a table with refreshments, to receive his prisoners. As soon as
they appeared he went forward to meet them, and embracing Guatimotzin,
treated him and all his attendants with every mark of respect.

The unfortunate monarch, with tears in his eyes, and sinking under
affliction, then addressed him in the following words:--"Malintzin! I
have done that which was my duty in the defense of my kingdom and
people; my efforts have failed, and being now brought by force a
prisoner in your hands, draw that poniard from your side and stab me to
the heart."

Cortés embraced and used every expression to comfort him, by assurances
that he held him in high estimation for the valor and firmness he had
shown, and that he had required a submission from him and the people at
the time that they could no longer reasonably hope for success, in order
to prevent further destruction; but that was all past, and no more to be
thought of it; he should continue to reign over the people as he had
done before. Cortés then inquired after his queen, to which Guatimotzin
replied that in consequence of the compliance of Sandoval with his
request, she and her women remained in the _piraguas_ until Cortés
should decide as to their fate. The general then caused them to be sent
for, and treated them in the best manner his situation afforded. The
evening was drawing on, and it appeared likely to rain; he therefore
sent the whole royal family to Cuyoacan, under the care of Sandoval. The
rest of the troops then returned to their former quarters; we to ours of
Tacuba, and Cortés, proceeding to Cuyoacan, took the command there,
sending Sandoval to resume his station at Tepeaquilla. Thus was the
siege of Mexico brought to a conclusion by the capture of Guatimotzin
and his chiefs, on the thirteenth of August, at the hour of vespers,
being the day of St. Hyppolitus, in the year of our Lord one thousand
five hundred and twenty-one. Glorified by our Lord Jesus Christ, and Our
Lady the Holy Virgin Mary his blessed mother, Amen!

Guatimotzin was of a noble appearance both in person and countenance;
his features were rather large and cheerful, with lively eyes. His age
was about twenty-three or four years, and his complexion very fair for
an Indian. His queen, the niece of Montezuma, was young and very


What I am going to mention is truth, and I swear and say amen to it. I
have read of the destruction of Jerusalem, but I cannot conceive that
the mortality there exceeded this of Mexico; for all the people from the
distant provinces which belonged to this empire had concentrated
themselves here, where they mostly died. The streets, the squares, the
houses, and the courts of the Taltelulco were covered with dead bodies;
we could not step without treading on them; the lake and canals were
filled with them, and the stench was intolerable. For this reason, our
troops, immediately after the capture of the royal family, retired to
their former quarters. Cortés himself was for some time ill from the
effect of it.


I will now proceed to describe the person and disposition of the Marquis
[Cortés]. He was of good stature and strongly built, of a rather pale
complexion and serious countenance. His features were, if faulty, rather
too small; his eyes mild and grave. His beard was black, thin, and
scanty; his hair in the same manner. His breast and shoulders were
broad, and his body very thin. He was very well limbed, and his legs
rather bowed; an excellent horseman, and dexterous in the use of arms.
He also possessed the heart and mind which is the principal part of the
business. I have heard that when he was a lad in Hispaniola he was very
wild about women, and that he had several duels with able swordsmen, in
which he always came off with victory. He had the scar of a sword wound
near his under lip, which appeared through his beard if closely
examined, and which he received in some of those affairs. In his
appearance, manners, transactions, conversation, table, and dress,
everything bore the appearance of a great lord. His clothes were
according to the fashion of the time; he was not fond of silks, damasks,
or velvets, but everything plain, and very handsome; nor did he wear
large chains of gold, but a small one of fine workmanship bearing the
image of Our Lady the Blessed Virgin with her precious Son in her arms,
and a Latin motto; and on the reverse, St. John the Baptist with another
motto. He wore on his finger a ring with a very fine diamond, and in his
cap, which according to the fashion of that day was of velvet, he bore a
medal, the head and motto of which I do not recollect; but latterly he
wore a plain cloth cap without any ornament.

His table was always magnificently attended and served, with four
major-domos or principal officers, a number of pages, and a great
quantity of plate, both gold and silver. He dined heartily at midday,
and drank a glass of wine mixed with water, of about half a pint. He was
not nice in his food, nor expensive, except on particular occasions
where he saw the propriety of it. He was very affable with all his
captains and soldiers, especially those who accompanied him in his first
expedition from Cuba. He was a Latinist, and as I have been told, a
bachelor of laws. He was also something of a poet, and a very good
rhetorician; very devout to Our Holy Virgin and to St. Peter, St. Jago,
and St. John the Baptist, and charitable to the poor. When he swore he
used to say, "By my conscience!" and when he was angry with any of us
his friends, he would say, "Oh! may you repent it." When he was very
angry, the veins in his throat and forehead used to swell, and when in
great wrath he would not utter a syllable to any one. He was very
patient under insults or injuries; for some of the soldiers were at
times very rude and abusive to him; but he never resented their conduct,
although he had often great reason to do so. In such cases he used only
to say "Be silent!" or "Go away, in God's name, and take care not to
repeat this conduct or I will have you punished." He was very determined
and headstrong in all business of war, not attending to any
remonstrances on account of danger; an instance of which he showed in
the attack of those fortresses called the Rocks of the Marquis, which he
forced us to scale, contrary to our opinions, and when neither courage,
council, nor wisdom could give any rational hope of success....

Where we had to erect a fortress, Cortés was the hardest laborer in the
trenches; when we were going into battle, he was as forward as any.

Cortés was very fond of play, both at cards and dice, and while playing
he was very affable and good-humored. He used frequently at such times
those cant expressions which are customary amongst persons who game. In
military service he practiced the most strict attention to discipline,
constantly going the rounds in person during the night, visiting the
quarters of the soldiers and severely reprehending those whom he found
without their armor and appointments and not ready to turn out;
repeating to them the proverb that "It is a bad sheep which cannot carry
its own wool."

On our expedition to Higueras I perceived that he had acquired a habit
which I had never before observed in him, and it was this: after eating,
if he did not get his siesta or sleep, his stomach was affected and he
fell sick. For this reason, when on the journey, let the rain be ever so
heavy or the sun ever so hot, he always reposed for a short time after
his repast, a carpet or cloak being spread under a tree, on which he lay
down; and having slept a short time, he mounted his horse and proceeded
on his journey. When we were engaged in the wars during the conquest of
New Spain, he was very thin and slender; but after his return from
Higueras he grew fat, and acquired a belly. He at this time trimmed his
beard, which had now begun to grow white, in the short fashion. In his
early life he was very liberal, but grew close latterly, some of his
servants complaining that he did not pay them as he ought; and I have
also to observe that in his latter undertakings he never succeeded.
Perhaps such was the will of Heaven, his reward being reserved for
another place; for he was a good cavalier, and very devout to the Holy
Virgin, and also to St. Paul and other Holy Saints. God pardon him his
sins, and me mine; and give me a good end, which is better than all
conquests and victories over Indians.


In his account of this action, Gomara says that previous to the arrival
of the main body of the cavalry under Cortés, Francisco de Morla
appeared in the field upon a gray dappled horse, and that it was one of
the holy Apostles, St. Peter or St. Jago, disguised under his person. I
say that all our works and victories are guided by the hand of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and that in this battle there were so many enemies to
every one of us, that they could have buried us under the dust they
could have held in their hands, but that the great mercy of God aided us
throughout. What Gomara asserts might be the case, and I, sinner as I
am, was not worthy to be permitted to see it. What I did see was
Francisco de Morla, riding in company with Cortés and the rest upon a
chestnut horse; and that circumstance and all the others of that day
appear to me, at this moment that I am writing, as if actually passing
in view of these sinful eyes. But although I, unworthy sinner that I
am, was unfit to behold either of those holy Apostles, upwards of four
hundred of us were present: let their testimony be taken. Let inquiry
also be made how it happened that when the town was founded on that
spot, it was not named after one or other of those holy Apostles, and
called St. Jago de la Vitoria, or St. Pedro de la Vitoria, as it was
Santa Maria, and a church erected and dedicated to one of those holy
saints. Very bad Christians were we indeed, according to the account of
Gomara, who, when God sent us his Apostles to fight at our head, did not
every day after acknowledge and return thanks for so great a mercy!
Would to heaven that it were so; but until I read the chronicle of
Gomara I never heard of it, nor was it ever mentioned amongst the
conquerors who were then present.


There was on the island of Cozumel a temple, and some hideous idols, to
which all the Indians of the neighboring districts used to go frequently
in solemn procession.... Cortés summoned all the caciques and chief
persons to come to him, and as well as he could, by signs and
interpretations, explained to them that the idols which they worshiped
were not gods, but evil things which would draw their souls down to
hell, and that if they wished to remain in a brotherly connection with
us, they must pull them down and place in their stead the crucifix of
our Lord, by whose assistance they would obtain good harvests and the
salvation of their souls; with many other good and holy reasons, which
he expressed very well. The priests and chiefs replied that they
worshiped these gods as their ancestors had done, because they were kind
to them; and that if we attempted to molest them, the gods would
convince us of their power by destroying us in the sea. Cortés then
ordered them to be prostrated, which we immediately did, rolling them
down some steps. He next sent for lime, of which there was abundance in
the place, and Indian masons, by whom under our direction a very
handsome altar was constructed, whereon we placed an image of the Holy
Virgin; and the carpenters having made a crucifix, which was erected in
a small chapel close to the altar, mass was said by the Reverend Father
Juan Diaz, and listened to by the priests, chiefs, and the rest of the
natives, with great attention.



[Illustration: CHARLES DIBDIN]

The saying, "Let me make the songs of a nation and I care not who makes
its laws," receives an interesting illustration in the sea songs of
Charles Dibdin. They were written at a momentous period in English
history. The splendid gallantry and skill of England's sailors, and the
genius of her naval commanders, had made her mistress of the seas, and
the key of all combinations against the French Cæsar. The sterling
qualities of the British seaman are the inspiration of Dibdin's songs.

Many of these were first given at Dibdin's monodramatic entertainments
at the Sans Souci Theatre in London, or as parts of his musical dramas.
They appealed at once to Englishmen, and were sung by every ship's crew;
they fired the national spirit, and played so important a part in the
quickening of English patriotism that the government, recognizing their
stirring force in animating the naval enthusiasm during the Napoleonic
wars, granted a pension of £200 a year to the "Ocean Bard of England."

Charles Dibdin was born in 1745, in a small village near the great
seaport of Southampton. His love of the salt air drew him often to the
ocean's shores, where he saw the ships of all lands pass and repass, and
heard the merry sailors' songs. And yet his own songs, upon which his
title to a place in literature rests, were incidental products of his
active mind. He was an actor, a dramatist, and a composer as well. He
wrote some thirty minor plays and the once popular operettas of 'The
Shepherd's Artifice,' 'The Padlock,' 'The Quaker,' and 'The Waterman.'
He wrote also a 'History of the Stage,' 'Musical Tour through England,'
and an autobiography which bore the title 'Professional Life.' His two
novels are now forgotten, but it is interesting to recall that for the
Stratford Jubilee in honor of Shakespeare, the words of which were by
Garrick, Dibdin composed the much admired songs, dances, and serenades.
He wrote more than thirteen hundred songs, most of which had of course
only a brief existence; but there were enough of them, burning with
genuine lyric fire, to entitle him to grateful remembrance among
England's poets.

In all of these songs, whether the theme be his native land or the
wind-swept seas that close it round, love is the poet's real
inspiration; love of old England and her sovereign, love of the
wealth-bringing ocean, love of the good ship that sails its waves. This
fundamental affection for the things of which he sings has endeared the
songs of Dibdin to the heart of the British sailor; and in this lies the
proof of their genuineness. His songs are simple and melodious; there is
a manly ring in their word and rhythm; they have the swagger and the
fearlessness of the typical tar; they have, too, the beat of his true
heart, his kindly waggery, his sturdy fidelity to his country and his
king. There is nothing quite like them in any other literature.


     I sailed in the good ship the Kitty,
       With a smart blowing gale and rough sea;
     Left my Polly, the lads call so pretty,
       Safe at her anchor. Yo, Yea!

     She blubbered salt tears when we parted,
       And cried "Now be constant to me!"
     I told her not to be down-hearted,
       So up went the anchor. Yo, Yea!

     And from that time, no worse nor no better,
       I've thought on just nothing but she,
     Nor could grog nor flip make me forget her,--
       She's my best bower-anchor. Yo, Yea!

     When the wind whistled larboard and starboard,
       And the storm came on weather and lee,
     The hope I with her should be harbored
       Was my cable and anchor. Yo, Yea!

     And yet, my boys, would you believe me?
       I returned with no rhino from sea;
     Mistress Polly would never receive me,
       So again I heav'd anchor. Yo, Yea!


     Yet though I've no fortune to offer,
       I've something to put on a par;
     Come, then, and accept of my proffer,--
       'Tis the kind honest heart of a tar.

     Ne'er let such a trifle as this is,
       Girls, be to my pleasure a bar;
     You'll be rich though 'tis only in kisses,
       With the kind honest heart of a tar.

     Besides, I am none of your ninnies;
       The next time I come from afar,
     I'll give you a lapful of guineas,
       With the kind honest heart of a tar.

     Your lords, with such fine baby faces,
       That strut in a garter and star,--
     Have they, under their tambour and laces,
       The kind honest heart of a tar?


     Go patter to lubbers and swabs, do you see,
       'Bout danger, and fear, and the like;
     A tight-water boat and good sea-room give me,
       And it ain't to a little I'll strike.
     Though the tempest topgallant-mast smack smooth should smite
       And shiver each splinter of wood,
     Clear the deck, stow the yards, and house everything tight,
       And under reef foresail we'll scud:
     Avast! nor don't think me a milksop so soft,
       To be taken for trifles aback;
     For they say there's a Providence sits up aloft,
       To keep watch for the life of poor Jack!

     I heard our good chaplain palaver one day
       About souls, heaven, mercy, and such;
     And, my timbers! what lingo he'd coil and belay;
       Why, 'twas just all as one as High Dutch;
     For he said how a sparrow can't founder, d'ye see,
       Without orders that come down below;
     And a many fine things that proved clearly to me oft
       That Providence takes us in tow:
     For, says he, do you mind me, let storms ne'er so oft
       Take the topsails of sailors aback,
     There's a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
       To keep watch for the life of poor Jack!

     I said to our Poll (for d'ye see, she would cry
       When last we weighed anchor for sea),
     What argufies sniveling and piping your eye?
       Why, what a young fool you must be!
     Can't you see the world's wide, and there's room for us all,
       Both for seamen and lubbers ashore?
     And so if to old Davy I go, my dear Poll,
       Why, you never will hear of me more.
     What then? all's a hazard: come, don't be so soft;
       Perhaps I may, laughing, come back;
     For d'ye see? there's a cherub sits smiling aloft,
       To keep watch for the life of poor Jack.

     D'ye mind me? a sailor should be every inch
       All as one as a piece of the ship,
     And with her brave the world, without offering to flinch,
       From the moment the anchor's a-trip.
     As for me, in all weathers, all times, sides, and ends,
       Naught's a trouble from duty that springs;
     For my heart is my Poll's, and my rhino's my friend's,
       And as for my life, 'tis the King's.
     Even when my time comes, ne'er believe me so soft;
       As for grief to be taken aback;
     For the same little cherub that sits up aloft
       Will look out a good berth for poor Jack.


     Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling,
       The darling of our crew;
     No more he'll hear the tempest howling,
       For Death has broached him to.
     His form was of the manliest beauty,
       His heart was kind and soft;
     Faithful below he did his duty,
           But now he's gone aloft.

     Tom never from his word departed
       His virtues were so rare;
     His friends were many and true-hearted,
       His Poll was kind and fair:
     And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly;
       Ah, many's the time and oft!
     But mirth is turned to melancholy,
           For Tom is gone aloft.

     Yet shall poor Tom find pleasant weather,
       When He who all commands
     Shall give, to call life's crew together,
       The word to pipe all hands.
     Thus Death, who kings and tars dispatches,
       In vain Tom's life has doffed;
     For though his body's under hatches,
           His soul is gone aloft.



When a great genius arises he makes his place in the world and explains
himself. Criticism does not make him and cannot unmake him. He may have
great defects and great faults. By exposing them and dwelling upon them,
the critics may apparently nibble him all away. When the critics get
through, however, he remains pretty much the force he was originally.
For real genius is a sort of elemental force that enters the human
world, both for good and evil, and leaves its lasting impression. It is
like a new river, of waters sweet and bitter, clear and muddy, bearing
on its bosom ships and wrecks, the lovely and the ugly, the incongruous
elements of human life and human contrivance. When it floods and
overflows, the critics run away; when it subsides the critics come back
and begin to analyze it, and say, "It wasn't much of a shower."

Charles Dickens is to be judged, like any other genius, by what he
created, what he brought into the world. We are not called on to say
whether he was as great as Homer, as Shakespeare, as Cervantes, as
Fielding, as Manzoni, as Thackeray. He was always quite himself, and
followed no model, though thousands of writers have attempted to follow
him and acquire the title of being Dickens-y. For over half a century he
had the ear of the English-reading public the world over. It laughed
with him, it cried with him, it hungered after him. Whatever he wrote,
it must read; whenever he read, it crowded to hear his masterly
interpretations; when he acted, it was delighted with his histrionic
cleverness. In all these manifestations there was the attraction of a
most winning personality.

He invented a new kind of irresistible humor, he told stories that went
to the heart of humanity, he amused, he warmed, he cheered the world. We
almost think that modern Christmas was his invention, such an apostle
was he of kindliness and brotherly love, of sympathy with the poor and
the struggling, of charity which is not condescension. He made pictures
of low life, and perhaps unreal shadows of high life, and vivid scenes
that lighted up great periods of history. For producing effects and
holding the reader he was a wizard with his pen. And so the world hung
on him, read him and re-read him, recited him, declaimed him, put him
into reading-books, diffused him in common speech and in all literature.
In all English literature his characters are familiar, stand for types,
and need no explanation. And now, having filled itself up with him,
been saturated with him, made him in some ways as common as the air,
does the world tire of him, turn on him, say that it cannot read him any
more, that he is commonplace? If so, the world has made him commonplace.
But the publishers' and booksellers' accounts show no diminution in his
popularity with the new generation.

At a dinner where Dickens was discussed, a gentleman won distinction by
this sole contribution to the conversation:--"There is no evidence in
Dickens's works that he ever read a book." It is true that Dickens drew
most of his material from his own observation of life, and from his
fertile imagination, which was often fantastic. It is true that he could
not be called in the narrow sense a literary writer, that he made no
literary mosaic, and few allusions to the literature of the world. Is it
not probable that he had the art to assimilate his material? For it is
impossible that any writer could pour out such a great flood about the
world and human nature without refreshing his own mind at the great
fountains of literature. And when we turn to such a tale as 'The Tale of
Two Cities,' we are conscious of the vast amount of reading and study he
must have done in order to give us such a true and vivid picture of the
Revolutionary period.

It has been said that Dickens did not write good English, that he could
not draw a lady or a gentleman, that he often makes ear-marks and
personal peculiarities stand for character, that he is sometimes turgid
when he would be impressive, sometimes stilted when he would be fine,
that his sentiment is often false and worked up, that his attempts at
tragedy are melodramatic, and that sometimes his comedy comes near being
farcical. His whole literary attitude has been compared to his boyish
fondness for striking apparel.

There is some truth in all these criticisms, though they do not occur
spontaneously to a fresh reader while he is under the spell of Dickens,
nor were they much brought forward when he was creating a new school and
setting a fashion for an admiring world. His style, which is quite a
part of this singular man, can easily be pulled in pieces and condemned,
and it is not a safe one to imitate. No doubt he wrought for effects,
for he was a magician, and used exaggeration in high lights and low
lights on his crowded canvas. Say what you will of all these defects, of
his lack of classic literary training, of his tendency to melodrama, of
his tricks of style, even of a ray of lime-light here and there, it
remains that he is a great power, a tremendous force in modern life;
half an hour of him is worth a lifetime of his self-conscious analyzers,
and the world is a more cheerful and sympathetic world because of the
loving and lovable presence in it of Charles Dickens.

A sketch of his life and writings, necessarily much condensed for use
here, has been furnished by Mr. Laurence Hutton.

[Illustration: CHARLES DICKENS.]



Charles Dickens was born at Landport in Portsea, on the 7th of February,
1812. His childhood was a very unhappy one. He describes himself in one
of his essays as "a very queer, small boy," and his biographer tells us
that he was very sickly as well as very small. He had little schooling,
and numberless hard knocks, and rough and toilsome was the first quarter
of his journey through life. Many of the passages in 'David Copperfield'
are literally true pictures of his own early experiences, and much of
that work may be accepted as autobiographical. He was fond of putting
himself and his own people into his books, and of drawing his scenes and
his characters from real life, sometimes only slightly disguised.
Tradition says that he built both Mr. Micawber and Mr. Turveydrop out of
his own father; that Mrs. Nickleby was based upon his own mother; and
that his wife, who was the Dora of 'Copperfield' in the beginning of
their married life, became in later years the Flora of 'Little Dorrit.'
The elder Dickens had unquestionably some of the traits ascribed to the
unpractical friend of Copperfield's youth, and something of the cruel
self-indulgence and pompous deportment of the dancing-master in 'Bleak
House.' And it was during his father's imprisonment for debt when the
son was but a youth, that Dickens got his intimate knowledge of the
Marshalsea, and of the heart-breaking existence of its inmates. Some
years before 'Copperfield' was written, he described in a fragment of
actual autobiography, quoted by Forster, the following scene:--

     "My father was waiting for me in the lodge [of the Debtor's
     Prison]; and we went up to his room, on the top story but one, and
     cried very much. And he told me, I remember, to take warning by the
     Marshalsea, and to observe that if a man had twenty pounds a year,
     and spent nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, he would
     be happy; but that a shilling spent the other way would make him

In these chambers Dickens afterwards put Mr. Dorrit. And while the
father remained in confinement, the son lived for a time in a back attic
in Lant Street, Borough, which was to become the home of the eccentric
Robert Sawyer, and the scene of a famous supper party given to do honor
to Mr. Pickwick "and the other chaps." "If a man wishes to abstract
himself from the world, to remove himself from the reach of temptation,
to place himself beyond the possibility of any inducement to look out of
the window, he should by all means go to Lant Street." Lant Street still
exists, as Mr. Pickwick found it, and as Dickens knew it between 1822
and 1824. He had numerous lodgings, alone and with his family, during
those hard times; all of them of the same miserable, wretched character;
and it is interesting to know that the original of Mrs. Pipchin was his
landlady in Camden Town, and that the original of the Marchioness waited
on the elder Dickens during his stay in the Marshalsea.

The story of the unhappy drudgery of the young Copperfield is the story
of the young Dickens without exaggeration.

     "No words can express the secret agony of my soul as I sunk into
     this companionship," he wrote in 1845 or 1846,--"compared these
     every-day associates with those of my happier childhood, and felt
     my early hopes of growing up to be a learned and distinguished man
     crushed in my breast. The deep remembrance of the sense I had of
     being utterly neglected and hopeless; of the shame I felt in my
     position; of the misery it was to my young heart to believe that,
     day by day, what I had learned, and thought, and delighted in, and
     raised my fancy and my emulation up by, was passing away from me,
     never to be brought back any more, cannot be written. My whole
     nature was so penetrated with the grief and humiliation of such
     considerations, that even now, famous and caressed and happy, I
     often forget, in my dreams, that I have a dear wife and children;
     even that I am a man; and I wander desolately back to that time of
     my life."

In the course of a few years, happily, the cloud lifted; and in 1831,
when Dickens was a youth of nineteen, we find him beginning life as a
reporting journalist. He wrote occasional "pieces" for the magazines,
and some faint hope of growing up to be a distinguished and learned man
rose again, no doubt, in his breast. N. P. Willis met him one day in
1835, when, as Willis expresses it, Dickens was a "paragraphist" for the
London Morning Chronicle. The "paragraphist," according to Willis, was
lodging in the most crowded part of Holborn, in an uncarpeted and
bleak-looking room, with a deal table, two or three chairs, and a few
books. It was up a long flight of stairs, this room; and its occupant
"was dressed very much as he has since described Dick Swiveller--minus
the swell look. His hair was cropped close to his head, his clothes were
scant, though jauntily cut; and after exchanging a ragged office coat
for a shabby blue, he stood by the door collarless and buttoned up, the
very personification, I thought, of a close sailer to the wind.... Not
long after this Macrone sent me the sheets of 'Sketches by Boz,' with a
note saying they were by the gentleman [Dickens] who went with us to
Newgate. I read the book with amazement at the genius displayed in it;
and in my note of reply assured Macrone that I thought his fortune was
made, as a publisher, if he could monopolize the author." This picture
is very graphic. But it must be accepted with a grain of salt.

The 'Sketches by Boz, Illustrative of Every-Day Life and Every-Day
People,' Dickens's first printed book, appeared in 1835. A further
series of papers, bearing the same title, was published the next year.
"Boz" was the nickname he had bestowed upon his younger brother
Augustus, in honor of the Moses of the 'Vicar of Wakefield.' The word,
pronounced through the nose, became "Boses," afterwards shortened to
"Boz," which, said Dickens, "was a very familiar household word to me
long before I was an author. And so I came to adopt it." The sketches,
the character of which is explained in their sub-title, were regarded as
unusually clever things of their kind. They attracted at once great
attention in England, and established the fact that a new star had risen
in the firmament of British letters.

Dickens was married on the 2d of April, 1836, to Miss Catherine Hogarth,
just a week after he had published the first shilling number of 'The
Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club: Edited by Boz.' The work
appeared in book form the next year. Its success was phenomenal, and it
brought to its author not only fame but a fixed sum per annum, which is
better. It assured his comfort in the present and in the future, and it
wiped out all the care and troubles of his past. It was in itself the
result of an accident. Messrs. Chapman and Hall, attracted by the
popularity of the Sketches, proposed to their author a series of monthly
articles to illustrate certain pictures of a comic character by Robert
Seymour, an artist in their employment. Dickens assented, upon the
condition that "the plates were to be so modified that they would arise
naturally out of the text." And so between them Mr. Pickwick was born,
although under the saddest of circumstances; for only a single number
had appeared when Seymour died by his own hand. Hablot K. Browne
succeeded him, signing the name of "Phiz"; and with "Boz" was "Phiz"
long associated in other prosperous ventures. Mr. Pickwick is a
benevolent, tender-hearted elderly gentleman, who, as the president of a
club organized "for the purpose of investigating the source of the
Hampstead ponds," journeys about England in all directions with three
companions, to whom he acts as guide, philosopher, and friend. He is an
amiable old goose, and his companions are equally verdant and
unsophisticated; but since 1837 they have been as famous as any men in
fiction. The story is a long one, the pages are crowded with incidents
and with characters. It is disconnected, often exaggerated, much of it
is as improbable as it is impossible, but it has made the world laugh
for sixty years now; and it still holds its own unique place in the
hearts of men.

From this period the pen of Dickens was never idle for thirty-three
years. 'Pickwick' was succeeded by 'Oliver Twist,' begun in Bentley's
Magazine in January, 1837, and printed in book form in 1838. It is the
story of the progress of a parish boy, and it is sad and serious in its
character. The hero was born and brought up in a workhouse. He was
starved and ill-treated; but he always retained his innocence and his
purity of mind. He fell among thieves,--Bill and Nancy Sykes, Fagin and
the Artful Dodger, to whom much powerful description is devoted,--but he
triumphed in the end. The life of the very poor and of the very degraded
among the people of England during the latter end of the first half of
the nineteenth century is admirably portrayed; and for the first time in
their existence the British blackguards of both sexes were exhibited in
fiction, clad in all their instincts of low brutality, and without that
glamour of attractive romance which the earlier writers had given to
Jack Sheppard, to Jonathan Wild, or to Moll Flanders.

Two dramatic compositions by Dickens, neither of them adding very much
to his reputation, appeared in 1836, to wit:--'The Stranger Gentleman, A
Comic Burletta in Three Acts'; and 'The Village Coquette,' a comic opera
in two acts. They were presented upon the stage towards the close of
that year, with fair success.

In 1838 Dickens edited the Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, a celebrated
clown. His share in the composition of this work was comparatively
small, and consisted of a Preface, dated February of that year. It was
followed by 'Sketches of Young Gentlemen,' and by 'The Life and
Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,' both published in 1839. To this latter
he signed his name, Charles Dickens, dropping from that period the
pseudonym of "Boz." The titular hero is the son of a poor country
gentleman. He makes his own way in the world as the usher of a Yorkshire
school, as an actor in a traveling troupe, and as the clerk and finally
the partner in a prosperous mercantile house in London. Smike, his
pupil; Crummles, his theatrical manager; Ninetta Crummles, the Infant
Phenomenon of the company, Newman Noggs, the clerk of his uncle Ralph
Nickleby, the Cheeryble Brothers, his employers, are among the most
successful and charming of Dickens's earlier creations. "Mr. Squeers and
his school," he says, "were faint and feeble pictures of an existing
reality, purposely subdued and kept down lest they should be deemed
impossible." That such establishments ceased to exist in reality in
England after the appearance of 'Nickleby,' is proof enough of the good
his pictures did in this and in many other ways.

In 1840-1841 appeared 'Master Humphrey's Clock,' comprising the two
stories of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' and 'Barnaby Rudge,' which were
subsequently printed separately. The story of Little Nell, the gentle,
lovable inmate of the Curiosity Shop, is one of the most sad and tender
tales in fiction, and Dickens himself confessed that he was almost
heart-broken when she died. Her path was crossed by Quilp, a cunning and
malicious dwarf of hideous appearance, who consumed hard-boiled eggs,
shells and all, for his breakfast; ate his prawns with their heads and
their tails on, drank scalding hot tea, and performed so many horrifying
acts that one almost doubted that he was human; and by Christopher
Nubbles, a shock-headed, shambling, awkward, devoted lad, the only
element of cheerfulness that ever came into her life. In this book
appear Richard Swiveller and his Marchioness, Sampson and Sarah Brass
and Mrs. Jarley, who to be appreciated must be seen and known, as
Dickens has drawn them, at full length.

Barnaby Rudge was a half-witted lad, who, not knowing what he did,
joined the Gordon rioters--the scenes are laid in the "No Popery" times
of 1779--because he was permitted to carry a flag and to wear a blue
ribbon. The history of that exciting period of English semi-political,
semi-religious excitement is graphically set down. Prominent figures in
the book are Grip the raven, whose cry was "I'm a devil," "Never say
die"; and Miss Dolly Varden, the blooming daughter of the Clerkenwell
locksmith, who has given her name to the modern feminine costume of the
Watteauesque style.

The literary results of Dickens's first visit to the United States, in
1842, when he was thirty years of age, were 'American Notes, for General
Circulation'; published in that year, and containing portions of 'Martin
Chuzzlewit,' which appeared in 1844. His observations in the 'Notes'
upon the new country and its inhabitants gave great offense to the
American people, and were perhaps not in the best taste. He saw the
crude and ridiculous side of his hosts, he emphasized their faults,
while he paid little attention to their virtues; and his criticisms and
strictures rankled in the sensitive American mind for many years.

Martin Chuzzlewit, the hero of the novel bearing his name, spent some
time in the western half-settled portion of America, with Mark Tapley,
his light-hearted, optimistic friend and companion. The pictures of the
morals and the manners of the men and women with whom the emigrants were
brought into contact were anything but flattering, and they served to
widen the temporary breach between Dickens and his many admirers in the
United States. The English scenes of 'Chuzzlewit' are very powerfully
drawn. Tom and Ruth Pinch, Pecksniff, Sarah Gamp, and Betsey Prig are
among the leading characters in the work.

In 1843 appeared the 'Christmas Carol,' the first and perhaps the best
of that series of tales of peace and good-will, with which, at the
Christmas time, the name of Dickens is so pleasantly and familiarly
associated. It was followed by 'The Chimes' in 1844, by 'The Cricket on
the Hearth' in 1845, by 'The Haunted Man' in 1848, all the work of
Dickens himself; and by other productions written by Dickens in
collaboration with other men. Concerning these holiday stories, some
unknown writer said in the public press at the time of Dickens's death:
"He has not only pleased us--he has softened the hearts of a whole
generation. He made charity fashionable; he awakened pity in the hearts
of sixty millions of people. He made a whole generation keep Christmas
with acts of helpfulness to the poor; and every barefooted boy and girl
in the streets of England and America to-day fares a little better, gets
fewer cuffs and more pudding, because Charles Dickens wrote."

In 1846 he produced his 'Pictures from Italy'; 'The Battle of Life, A
Love Story,' and began in periodical form his 'Dealings with the Firm of
Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Retail, and for Exportation,' published in
book form in 1847. Here we have the pathetic story of Little Paul, the
tragic fate of Carker, the amusing episode of Jack Bunsby with his
designing widow, and the devotion of Susan Nipper, Mr. Toots, Captain
Cuttle, and Sol Gills to the gentle, patient, lovable Florence.

On the 'Personal History of David Copperfield,' published in 1850, and
of Dickens's share in its plot, something has already been said here. It
is perhaps the most popular of all his productions, containing as it
does Mr. Dick, the Peggottys, the Micawbers, the Heeps, Betsey Trotwood,
Steerforth, Tommy Traddles, Dora, Agnes, and Little Emily, in all of
whom the world has been so deeply interested for so many years.

'A Child's History of England' and 'Bleak House' saw the light in 1853.
The romance was written as a protest and a warning against the law's
delays, as exhibited in the Court of Chancery; and it contains the
tragedy of Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, and the short but touching
story of Poor Jo.

'Hard Times,' a tale in one volume, was printed in 1854. It introduces
the Gradgrind family.

'Little Dorrit' appeared in 1857. In this book he returns to the
Debtor's Prison of Micawber and of his own father. Little Dorrit herself
was "the child of the Marshalsea," in which she was born and brought up;
and the whole story is an appeal against the injustice of depriving of
personal liberty those who cannot pay their bills, or meet their notes,
however small. Its prominent characters are the Clennams, mother and
son, the Meagleses, Flintwinch, Sir Decimus Tite Barnacle, Rigaud and
Little Cavalletto.

'A Tale of Two Cities,' a remarkable departure for Dickens, and unlike
any of his other works, was the book of the year 1859. It is conceded,
even by those who are not counted among the admirers of its author, to
be a most vivid and correct picture of Paris during the time of the
Revolution, when the guillotine was the king of France. Its central
figure, Sydney Carton, one of the most heroic characters in romance,
gives his life to restore his friend to the girl whom they both love.

'The Uncommercial Traveller,' a number of sketches and stories
originally published in his weekly journal All the Year Round, appeared
in 1860. They were supplemented in 1868 by another volume bearing the
same title, and containing eleven other papers collected from the same

'Great Expectations,' 1861, like 'Copperfield,' is the story of a boy's
childhood told by the boy himself, but by a boy with feelings,
sentiments, and experiences very different from those of the earlier
work. The plot is not altogether a cheerful one, but many of the
characters are original and charming; notably Joe Gargery, Jaggles,
Wemmick, the exceedingly eccentric Miss Havisham, and the very amiable
and simple Biddy.

'Somebody's Luggage,' 1862; 'Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings' 1863; 'Mrs.
Lirriper's Legacy,' 1864; 'Dr. Marigold's Prescription,' 1865, 'Mugby
Junction,' 1866; and 'No Thoroughfare,' 1867,--Christmas stories, all of
them,--were written by Dickens in collaboration with other writers.

'Our Mutual Friend,' the last completed work of Dickens, was printed in
1865. Mr. Boffin, the Golden Dustman with the great heart, Silas Wegg,
Mr. Venus, the Riderhoods, Jenny Wren, the Podsnaps, the Veneerings,
Betty Higden, Mrs. Wilfer, and the "Boofer Lady," are as fresh and as
original as are any of his creations, and show no trace of the coming

Before the completion of 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' Dickens died at
his home, Gadshill Place, literally in harness, and without warning, on
the 9th of June, 1870.

But six numbers of this last work appeared, in periodical form. Its
author left no notes of what was to follow, and the Mystery has never
been solved. Mr. Charles Collins, Dickens's son-in-law, however, in a
private letter to Mr. Augustin Daly of New York, who had proposed to
dramatize the tale, gave some general outline of the scheme for 'Edwin
Drood.' "The titular character," he said, "was never to reappear, he
having been murdered by Jasper. The girl Rosa, not having been really
attached to Edwin, was not to lament his loss very long, and was, I
believe, to admit the sailor, Mr. Tartar, to supply his place. It was
intended that Jasper should urge on the search after Edwin, and the
pursuit of the murderer, thus endeavoring to divert suspicion from
himself, the real murderer. As to anything further, it would be purely

Besides this immense amount of admirable work, Dickens founded,
conducted, and edited two successful periodicals, Household Words,
established in March 1850, and followed by All the Year Round,
beginning in April 1859. To these he contributed many sketches and
stories. He began public readings in London in 1858; and continued them
with great profit to himself, and with great satisfaction to immense
audiences, for upwards of twelve years. He appeared in all the leading
cities of Great Britain; and he was enormously popular as a reader in
America during his second and last visit in 1868.

As an after-dinner and occasional speaker Dickens was rarely equaled;
and as an actor upon the amateur stage, in plays of his own composition,
he was inimitable.

Of his attempts at verse, 'The Ivy Green' is the only one that is held
in remembrance.

A strong argument in favor of what may be called "the staying qualities"
of Dickens is the fact that his characters, even in a mutilated,
unsatisfactory form, have held the stage for half a century or more, and
still have power to attract and move great audiences, wherever is spoken
the language in which he wrote. The dramatization of the novel is
universally and justly regarded as the most ephemeral and worthless of
dramatic production; and the novels of Dickens, on account of their
length, of the great number of figures he introduces, of the variety and
occasional exaggeration of his dialogues and his situations, have been
peculiarly difficult of adaptation to theatrical purposes. Nevertheless
the world laughed and cried over Micawber, Captain Cuttle, Dan'l
Peggotty, and Caleb Plummer, behind the footlights, years after Dolly
Spanker, Aminadab Sleek, Timothy Toodles, Alfred Evelyn, and Geoffrey
Dalk, their contemporaries in the standard and legitimate drama, created
solely and particularly for dramatic representation, were absolutely
forgotten. And Sir Henry Irving, sixty years after the production of
'Pickwick,' drew great crowds to see his Alfred Jingle, while that
picturesque and ingenious swindler Robert Macaire, Jingle's once famous
and familiar confrère in plausible rascality, was never seen on the
boards, except as he was burlesqued and caricatured in comic opera.

It is pretty safe to say--and not in a Pickwickian sense--that Pecksniff
will live almost as long as hypocrisy lasts; that Heep will not be
forgotten while mock humility exists; that Mr. Dick will go down to
posterity arm-in-arm with Charles the First, whom he could not avoid in
his memorial; that Barkis will be quoted until men cease to be willin'.
And so long as cheap, rough coats cover faith, charity, and honest
hearts, the world will remember that Captain Cuttle and the Peggottys
were so clad.

[Illustration: Signature]

from a Photograph.]


From 'Hard Times'

"Now what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts.
Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out
everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon
Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the
principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle
on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!"

The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom, and the
speaker's square forefinger emphasized his observations by underscoring
every sentence with a line on the school-master's sleeve. The emphasis
was helped by the speaker's square wall of a forehead, which had his
eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellarage in two
dark caves, overshadowed by the wall. The emphasis was helped by the
speaker's mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set. The emphasis was
helped by the speaker's voice, which was inflexible, dry, and
dictatorial. The emphasis was helped by the speaker's hair, which
bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep
the wind from its shining surface, all covered with knobs, like the
crust of a plum pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-room for the
hard facts stored inside. The speaker's obstinate carriage, square coat,
square legs, square shoulders,--nay, his very neckcloth, trained to take
him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp like a stubborn fact, as
it was,--all helped the emphasis.

"In this life we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!"

The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present,
all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of
little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial
gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thomas Gradgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and
calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are
four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for
anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, sir,--peremptorily Thomas,--Thomas
Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication
table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel
of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere
question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get
some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or
Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all
supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas
Gradgrind--no, sir!

In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether
to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In
such terms, no doubt, substituting the words "boys and girls," for
"sir," Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little
pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before
mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts,
and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one
discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim
mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be
stormed away.

"Girl number twenty," said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his
square forefinger; "I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?"

"Sissy Jupe, sir," explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and

"Sissy is not a name," said Mr. Gradgrind. "Don't call yourself Sissy.
Call yourself Cecilia."

"It's father as calls me Sissy, sir," returned the young girl in a
trembling voice, and with another courtesy.

"Then he has no business to do it," said Mr. Gradgrind. "Tell him he
mustn't. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?"

"He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, sir."

Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his

"We don't want to know anything about that here. You mustn't tell us
about that here. Your father breaks horses, don't he?"

"If you please, sir, when they can get any to break, they do break
horses in the ring, sir."

"You mustn't tell us about the ring here. Very well, then. Describe your
father as a horsebreaker. He doctors sick horses, I dare say?"

"Oh yes, sir."

"Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier, and
horsebreaker. Give me your definition of a horse."

(Sissy Jupe thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand.)

"Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!" said Mr. Gradgrind, for
the general behoof of all the little pitchers. "Girl number twenty
possessed of no facts in reference to one of the commonest of animals!
Some boy's definition of a horse. Bitzer, yours."

The square finger, moving here and there, lighted suddenly on Bitzer,
perhaps because he chanced to sit in the same ray of sunlight which,
darting in at one of the bare windows of the intensely whitewashed room,
irradiated Sissy. For the boys and girls sat on the face of the inclined
plane in two compact bodies, divided up the centre by a narrow interval;
and Sissy, being at the corner of a row on the sunny side, came in for
the beginning of a sunbeam, of which Bitzer, being at the corner of a
row on the other side, a few rows in advance, caught the end. But
whereas the girl was so dark-eyed and dark-haired that she seemed to
receive a deeper and more lustrous color from the sun when it shone upon
her, the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired that the selfsame rays
appeared to draw out of him what little color he ever possessed. His
cold eyes would hardly have been eyes, but for the short ends of lashes
which, by bringing them into immediate contrast with something paler
than themselves, expressed their form. His short-cropped hair might have
been a mere continuation of the sandy freckles on his forehead and face.
His skin was so unwholesomely deficient in the natural tinge, that he
looked as though if he were cut he would bleed white.

"Bitzer," said Thomas Gradgrind. "Your definition of a horse."

"Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth; namely, twenty-four grinders,
four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy
countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with
iron. Age known by marks in mouth." Thus (and much more) Bitzer.

"Now, girl number twenty," said Mr. Gradgrind, "you know what a horse

She courtesied again, and would have blushed deeper, if she could have
blushed deeper than she had blushed all this time. Bitzer, after rapidly
blinking at Thomas Gradgrind with both eyes at once, and so catching the
light upon his quivering ends of lashes that they looked like the
antennæ of busy insects, put his knuckles to his freckled forehead, and
sat down again.

The third gentleman now stepped forth. A mighty man at cutting and
drying, he was; a government officer; in his way (and in most other
people's too), a professed pugilist; always in training, always with a
system to force down the general throat like a bolus, always to be heard
of at the bar of his little Public-office, ready to fight all England.
To continue in fistic phraseology, he had a genius for coming up to the
scratch, wherever and whatever it was, and proving himself an ugly
customer. He would go in and damage any subject whatever with his right,
follow up with his left, stop, exchange, counter, bore his opponent (he
always fought All England) to the ropes, and fall upon him neatly. He
was certain to knock the wind out of common-sense, and render that
unlucky adversary deaf to the call of time. And he had it in charge from
high authority to bring about the great public-office Millennium, when
Commissioners should reign upon earth.

"Very well," said this gentleman, briskly smiling, and folding his arms.
"That's a horse. Now, let me ask you girls and boys, Would you paper a
room with representations of horses?"

After a pause one-half of the children cried in chorus, "Yes, sir!" Upon
which the other half, seeing in the gentleman's face that Yes was wrong,
cried out in chorus, "No, sir!"--as the custom is in these examinations.

"Of course, No. Why wouldn't you?"

A pause. One corpulent slow boy, with a wheezy manner of breathing,
ventured the answer, Because he wouldn't paper a room at all, but would
paint it.

"You _must_ paper it," said the gentleman, rather warmly.

"You must paper it," said Thomas Gradgrind, "whether you like it or not.
Don't tell _us_ you wouldn't paper it. What do you mean, boy?"

"I'll explain to you, then," said the gentleman, after another and
dismal pause, "why you wouldn't paper a room with representations of
horses. Do you ever see horses walking up and down the sides of rooms in
reality--in fact? Do you?"

"Yes, sir!" from one-half. "No, sir!" from the other.

"Of course no," said the gentleman, with an indignant look at the wrong
half. "Why, then, you are not to see anywhere what you don't see in
fact; you are not to have anywhere what you don't have in fact. What is
called Taste is only another name for Fact."

Thomas Gradgrind nodded his approbation.

"This is a new principle, a discovery, a great discovery," said the
gentleman. "Now, I'll try you again. Suppose you were going to carpet a
room. Would you use a carpet having a representation of flowers upon

There being a general conviction by this time that "No, sir!" was always
the right answer to this gentleman, the chorus of No was very strong.
Only a few feeble stragglers said Yes; among them Sissy Jupe.

"Girl number twenty," said the gentleman, smiling in the calm strength
of knowledge.

Sissy blushed, and stood up.

"So you would carpet your room--or your husband's room, if you were a
grown woman, and had a husband--with representations of flowers, would
you?" said the gentleman. "Why would you?"

"If you please, sir, I am very fond of flowers," returned the girl.

"And is that why you would put tables and chairs upon them, and have
people walking over them with heavy boots?"

"It wouldn't hurt them, sir. They wouldn't crush and wither, if you
please, sir. They would be the pictures of what was very pretty and
pleasant, and I would fancy--"

"Ay, ay, ay! But you mustn't fancy," cried the gentleman, quite elated
by coming so happily to his point. "That's it! You are never to fancy."

"You are not, Cecilia Jupe," Thomas Gradgrind solemnly repeated, "to do
anything of that kind."

"Fact, fact, fact!" said the gentleman. And "Fact, fact, fact!" repeated
Thomas Gradgrind.

"You are to be in all things regulated and governed," said the
gentleman, "by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact,
composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a
people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy
altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You are not to have in any
object of use or ornament what would be a contradiction in fact. You
don't walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon
flowers in carpets. You don't find that foreign birds and butterflies
come and perch upon your crockery; you cannot be permitted to paint
foreign birds and butterflies upon your crockery. You never meet with
quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds
represented upon walls. You must use," said the gentleman, "for all
these purposes, combinations and modifications (in primary colors) of
mathematical figures, which are susceptible of proof and demonstration.
This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste."

The girl courtesied, and sat down. She was very young, and she looked as
if she were frightened by the matter-of-fact prospect the world

"Now, if Mr. M'Choakumchild," said the gentleman, "will proceed to give
his first lesson here, Mr. Gradgrind, I shall be happy, at your request,
to observe his mode of procedure."

Mr. Gradgrind was much obliged. "Mr. M'Choakumchild, we only wait for

So Mr. M'Choakumchild began in his best manner. He and some one hundred
and forty other schoolmasters had been lately turned at the same time,
in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte
legs. He had been put through an immense variety of paces, and had
answered volumes of head-breaking questions. Orthography, etymology,
syntax, and prosody, biography, astronomy, geography, and general
cosmography, the sciences of compound proportion, algebra,
land-surveying and leveling, vocal music, and drawing from models, were
all at the ends of his ten chilled fingers. He had worked his stony way
into her Majesty's most Honorable Privy Council's Schedule B, and had
taken the bloom off the higher branches of mathematics and physical
science, French, German, Latin, and Greek. He knew all about all the
Water Sheds of all the world (whatever they are), and all the histories
of all the peoples, and all the names of all the rivers and mountains,
and all the productions, manners, and customs of all the countries, and
all their boundaries and bearings on the two-and-thirty points of the
compass. Ah, rather overdone, M'Choakumchild. If he had only learned a
little less, how infinitely better he might have taught much more!

He went to work in this preparatory lesson not unlike Morgiana in the
'Forty Thieves': looking into all the vessels ranged before him, one
after another, to see what they contained. Say, good M'Choakumchild.
When from thy boiling store thou shalt fill each jar brim-full,
by-and-by, dost thou think that then wilt always kill outright the
robber Fancy lurking within--or sometimes only maim him and distort him!


From 'Mugby Junction'

I am the boy at Mugby. That's about what _I_ am.

You don't know what I mean? What a pity! But I think you do. I think you
must. Look here. I am the Boy at what is called The Refreshment Room at
Mugby Junction, and what's proudest boast is, that it never yet
refreshed a mortal being.

Up in a corner of the Down Refreshment Room at Mugby Junction, in the
height of twenty-seven cross draughts (I've often counted 'em while they
brush the First Class hair twenty-seven ways), behind the bottles, among
the glasses, bounded on the nor'west by the beer, stood pretty far to
the right of a metallic object that's at times the tea-urn and at times
the soup-tureen, according to the nature of the last twang imparted to
its contents, which are the same groundwork, fended off from the
traveler by a barrier of stale sponge-cakes erected atop of the counter,
and lastly exposed sideways to the glare of Our Missis's eye--you ask a
Boy so sitiwated, next time you stop in a hurry at Mugby, for anything
to drink; you take particular notice that he'll try to seem not to hear
you, that he'll appear in a absent manner to survey the Line through a
transparent medium composed of your head and body, and that he won't
serve you as long as you can possibly bear it. That's me.

What a lark it is! We are the Model Establishment, we are, at Mugby.
Other Refreshment Rooms send their imperfect young ladies up to be
finished off by our Missis. For some of the young ladies, when they're
new to the business, come into it mild! Ah! Our Missis, she soon takes
that out of 'em. Why, I originally come into the business meek myself.
But Our Missis, she soon took that out of _me_.

What a delightful lark it is! I look upon us Refreshmenters as ockipying
the only proudly independent footing on the Line. There's Papers, for
instance,--my honorable friend, if he will allow me to call him so,--him
as belongs to Smith's bookstall. Why, he no more dares to be up to our
Refreshmenting games than he dares to jump atop of a locomotive with her
steam at full pressure, and cut away upon her alone, driving himself, at
limited-mail speed. Papers, he'd get his head punched at every
compartment, first, second, and third, the whole length of a train, if
he was to ventur' to imitate my demeanor. It's the same with the
porters, the same with the guards, the same with the ticket clerks, the
same the whole way up to the secretary, traffic manager, or very
chairman. There ain't a one among 'em on the nobly independent footing
we are. Did you ever catch one of _them_, when you wanted anything of
him, making a system of surveying the Line through a transparent medium
composed of your head and body? I should hope not.

You should see our Bandolining Room at Mugby Junction. It's led to by
the door behind the counter, which you'll notice usually stands ajar,
and it's the room where Our Missis and our young ladies Bandolines their
hair. You should see 'em at it, betwixt trains, Bandolining away, as if
they was anointing themselves for the combat. When you're telegraphed
you should see their noses all a-going up with scorn, as if it was a
part of the working of the same Cooke and Wheatstone electrical
machinery. You should hear Our Missis give the word, "Here comes the
Beast to be Fed!" and then you should see 'em indignantly skipping
across the Line, from the Up to the Down, or Wicer Warsaw, and begin to
pitch the stale pastry into the plates, and chuck the sawdust sangwiches
under the glass covers, and get out the--ha, ha, ha!--the Sherry,--O my
eye, my eye!--for your Refreshment.

It's only in the Isle of the Brave and Land of the Free (by which of
course I mean to say Britannia) that Refreshmenting is so effective, so
'olesome, so constitutional a check upon the public. There was a
foreigner, which having politely, with his hat off, beseeched our young
ladies and Our Missis for "a leetel gloss hoff prarndee," and having had
the Line surveyed through him by all, and no other acknowledgment, was
a-proceeding at last to help himself, as seems to be the custom in his
own country, when Our Missis, with her hair almost a-coming
un-Bandolined with rage, and her eyes omitting sparks, flew at him,
cotched the decanter out of his hand, and said, "Put it down! I won't
allow that!" The foreigner turned pale, stepped back with his arms
stretched out in front of him, his hands clasped, and his shoulders riz,
and exclaimed:--"Ah! Is it possible, this! That these disdaineous
females and this ferocious old woman are placed here by the
administration, not only to empoison the voyagers, but to affront them!
Great Heaven! How arrives it? The English people. Or is he then a slave?
Or idiot?" Another time a merry, wide-awake American gent had tried the
sawdust and spit it out, and had tried the Sherry and spit that out, and
had tried in vain to sustain exhausted natur' upon Butter-Scotch, and
had been rather extra Bandolined and Line-surveyed through, when as the
bell was ringing and he paid Our Missis, he says, very loud and
good-tempered:--"I tell Yew what 'tis, ma'arm. I la'af. Theer! I la'af.
I Dew. I oughter ha' seen most things, for I hail from the Onlimited
side of the Atlantic Ocean, and I haive traveled right slick over the
Limited, head on through Jeerusalemm and the East, and likeways France
and Italy Europe Old World, and am now upon the track to the Chief
Europian Village; but such an Institution as Yew, and Yewer young
ladies, and Yewer fixin's solid and liquid, afore the glorious Tarnal I
never did see yet! And if I hain't found the eighth wonder of
monarchical Creation, in finding Yew, and Yewer young ladies, and Yewer
fixin's solid and liquid, all as aforesaid, established in a country
where the people air not absolute Loo-naticks, I am Extra Double Darned
with a Nip and Frizzle to the innermostest grit! Wheerfur--Theer!--I
la'af! I Dew, ma'arm. I la'af!" And so he went, stamping and shaking his
sides, along the platform all the way to his own compartment.

I think it was her standing up agin the Foreigner as give Our Missis the
idea of going over to France, and droring a comparison betwixt
Refreshmenting as followed among the frog-eaters and Refreshmenting as
triumphant in the Isle of the Brave and Land of the Free (by which of
course I mean to say agin, Britannia). Our young ladies, Miss Whiff,
Miss Piff, and Mrs. Sniff, was unanimous opposed to her going: for, as
they says to Our Missis one and all, it is well beknown to the hends of
the herth as no other nation except Britain has a idea of anythink, but
above all of business. Why then should you tire yourself to prove what
is a'ready proved? Our Missis, however (being a teazer at all pints),
stood out grim obstinate, and got a return pass by Southeastern Tidal,
to go right through, if such should be her dispositions, to Marseilles.

Sniff is husband to Mrs. Sniff, and is a regular insignificant cove. He
looks arter the sawdust department in a back room, and is sometimes,
when we are very hard put to it, let behind the counter with a
corkscrew; but never when it can be helped, his demeanor towards the
public being disgusting servile. How Mrs. Sniff ever come so far to
lower herself as to marry him, I don't know; but I suppose _he_ does,
and I should think he wished he didn't, for he leads a awful life. Mrs.
Sniff couldn't be much harder with him if he was public. Similarly, Miss
Whiff and Miss Piff, taking the tone of Mrs. Sniff, they shoulder Sniff
about when he _is_ let in with a corkscrew, and they whisk things out of
his hands when in his servility he is a-going to let the public have
'em, and they snap him up when in the crawling baseness of his spirit he
is a-going to answer a public question, and they drore more tears into
his eyes than ever the mustard does, which he all day long lays on to
the sawdust. (But it ain't strong.) Once when Sniff had the
repulsiveness to reach across to get the milkpot to hand over for a
baby, I see Our Missis in her rage catch him by both his shoulders, and
spin him out into the Bandolining Room.

But Mrs. Sniff--how different! She's the one! She's the one as you'll
notice to be always looking another away from you when you look at her.
She's the one with the small waist buckled in tight in front, and with
the lace cuffs at her wrists, which she puts on the edge of the counter
before her, and stands a-smoothing while the public foams. This
smoothing the cuffs and looking another way while the public foams is
the last accomplishment taught to the young ladies as come to Mugby to
be finished by Our Missis; and it's always taught by Mrs. Sniff.

When Our Missis went away upon her journey, Mrs. Sniff was left in
charge. She did hold the public in check most beautiful! In all my time,
I never see half so many cups of tea given without milk to people as
wanted it with, nor half so many cups of tea with milk given to people
as wanted it without. When foaming ensued, Mrs. Sniff would say, "Then
you'd better settle it among yourselves, and change with one another."
It was a most highly delicious lark. I enjoyed the Refreshmenting
business more than ever, and was so glad I had took to it when young.

Our Missis returned. It got circulated among the young ladies, and it,
as it might be, penetrated to me through the crevices of the Bandolining
Room, that she had Orrors to reveal, if revelations so contemptible
could be dignified with the name. Agitation become weakened. Excitement
was up in the stirrups. Expectation stood a-tiptoe. At length it was put
forth that on our slackest evening in the week, and at our slackest time
of that evening betwixt trains, Our Missis would give her views of
foreign Refreshmenting, in the Bandolining Room.

It was arranged tasteful for the purpose. The Bandolining table and
glass was hid in a corner, a arm-chair was elevated on a packing-case
for Our Missis's ockypation, a table and a tumbler of water (no sherry
in it, thankee) was placed beside it. Two of the pupils, the season
being autumn, and hollyhocks and daliahs being in, ornamented the wall
with three devices in those flowers. On one might be read, "KEEP THE
PUBLIC DOWN"; on another, "KEEP THE PUBLIC DOWN"; on another, "OUR
REFRESHMENTING CHARTER." The whole had a beautiful appearance, with
which the beauty of the sentiments corresponded.

On Our Missis's brow was wrote Severity, as she ascended the fatal
platform. (Not that that was anythink new.) Miss Whiff and Miss Piff sat
at her feet. Three chairs from the Waiting Room might have been
perceived by a average eye, in front of her, on which the pupils was
accommodated. Behind them a very close observer might have discerned a
Boy. Myself.

"Where," said Our Missis, glancing gloomily around, "is Sniff?"

"I thought it better," answered Mrs. Sniff, "that he should not be let
come in. He is such an Ass."

"No doubt," assented Our Missis. "But for that reason is it not
desirable to improve his mind?"

"Oh, nothing will ever improve _him_," said Mrs. Sniff.

"However," pursued Our Missis, "call him in, Ezekiel."

I called him in. The appearance of the low-minded cove was hailed with
disapprobation from all sides, on account of his having brought his
corkscrew with him. He pleaded "the force of habit."

"The force!" said Mrs. Sniff. "Don't let us have you talking about
force, for Gracious's sake. There! Do stand still where you are, with
your back against the wall."

He is a smiling piece of vacancy, and he smiled in the mean way in which
he will even smile at the public if he gets a chance (language can say
no meaner of him), and he stood upright near the door, with the back of
his head agin the wall, as if he was a waiting for somebody to come and
measure his heighth for the Army.

"I should not enter, ladies," says Our Missis, "on the revolting
disclosures I am about to make, if it was not in the hope that they will
cause you to be yet more implacable in the exercise of the power you
wield in a constitutional country, and yet more devoted to the
constitutional motto which I see before me,"--it was behind her, but the
words sounded better so,--"'May Albion never learn!'"

Here the pupils as had made the motto admired it, and cried, "Hear!
Hear! Hear!" Sniff, showing an inclination to join in chorus, got
himself frowned down by every brow.

"The baseness of the French," pursued Our Missis, "as displayed in the
fawning nature of their Refreshmenting, equals, if not surpasses,
anythink as was ever heard of the baseness of the celebrated Bonaparte."

Miss Whiff, Miss Piff, and me, we drored a heavy breath, equal to
saying, "We thought as much!" Miss Whiff and Miss Piff seeming to object
to my droring mine along with theirs, I drored another to aggravate 'em.

"Shall I be believed," says Our Missis, with flashing eyes, "when I tell
you that no sooner had I set my foot upon that treacherous shore--"

Here Sniff, either busting out mad, or thinking aloud, says, in a low
voice, "Feet. Plural, you know."

The cowering that come upon him when he was spurned by all eyes, added
to his being beneath contempt, was sufficient punishment for a cove so
groveling. In the midst of a silence rendered more impressive by the
turned-up female noses with which it was pervaded, Our Missis went on:--

"Shall I be believed when I tell you, that no sooner had I landed," this
word with a killing look at Sniff, "on that treacherous shore, then I
was ushered into a Refreshment Room where there were--I do not
exaggerate--actually eatable things to eat?"

A groan burst from the ladies. I not only did myself the honor of
jining, but also of lengthening it out.

"Where there were," Our Missis added, "not only eatable things to eat,
but also drinkable things to drink?"

A murmur, swelling almost into a scream, ariz. Miss Piff, trembling with
indignation, called out, "Name!"

"I _will_ name," said Our Missis. "There was roast fowls, hot and cold;
there was smoking roast veal surrounded with browned potatoes; there was
hot soup with (again I ask, shall I be credited?) nothing bitter in it,
and no flour to choke off the consumer; there was a variety of cold
dishes set off with jelly; there was salad; there was--mark me!--_fresh_
pastry, and that of a light construction; there was a luscious show of
fruit; there was bottles and decanters of sound small wine, of every
size, and adapted to every pocket; the same odious statement will apply
to brandy; and these were set out upon the counter so that all could
help themselves."

Our Missis's lips so quivered, that Mrs. Sniff, though scarcely less
convulsed than she were, got up and held the tumbler to them.

"This," proceeds Our Missis, "was my first unconstitutional experience.
Well would it have been if it had been my last and worst. But no. As I
proceeded farther into that enslaved and ignorant land, its aspect
became more hideous. I need not explain to this assembly the ingredients
and formation of the British Refreshment sangwich?"

Universal laughter,--except from Sniff, who as sangwich-cutter, shook
his head in a state of the utmost dejection as he stood with it agin the

"Well!" said Our Missis, with dilated nostrils. "Take a fresh, crisp,
long, crusty penny loaf made of the whitest and best flour. Cut it
longwise through the middle. Insert a fair and nicely fitting slice of
ham. Tie a smart piece of ribbon round the middle of the whole to bind
it together. Add at one end a neat wrapper of clean white paper by
which to hold it. And the universal French Refreshment sangwich busts on
your disgusted vision."

A cry of "Shame!" from all--except Sniff, which rubbed his stomach with
a soothing hand.

"I need not," said Our Missis, "explain to this assembly the usual
formation and fitting of the British Refreshment room?"

No, no, and laughter; Sniff agin shaking his head in low spirits agin
the wall.

"Well," said Our Missis, "what would you say to a general decoration of
everythink, to hangings (sometimes elegant), to easy velvet furniture,
to abundance of little tables, to abundance of little seats, to brisk
bright waiters, to great convenience, to a prevailing cleanliness and
tastefulness, postively addressing the public, and making the Beast
thinking itself worth the pains?"

Contemptous fury on the part of all the ladies. Mrs. Sniff looking as if
she wanted somebody to hold her, and everybody else looking as if they'd
rayther not.

"Three times," said Our Missis, working herself into a truly
terrimenjious state,--"three times did I see these shameful things, only
between the coast and Paris, and not counting either: at Hazebroucke, at
Arras, at Amiens. But worse remains. Tell me, what would you call a
person who should propose in England that there should be kept, say at
our own model Mugby Junction, pretty baskets, each holding an assorted
cold lunch and dessert for one, each at a certain fixed price, and each
within a passenger's power to take away, to empty in the carriage at
perfect leisure, and to return at another station fifty or a hundred
miles farther on?"

There was disagreement what such a person should be called. Whether
revolutionist, atheist, Bright (_I_ said him), or Un-English. Miss Piff
screeched her shrill opinion last, in the words, "A malignant maniac!"

"I adopt," says Our Missis, "the brand set upon such a person by the
righteous indignation of my friend Miss Piff. A malignant maniac. Know,
then, that that malignant maniac has sprung from the congenial soil of
France, and that his malignant madness was in unchecked action on this
same part of my journey."

I noticed that Sniff was rubbing his hands, and that Mrs. Sniff had got
her eye upon him. But I did not take more particular notice, owing to
the excited state in which the young ladies was, and to feeling myself
called upon to keep it up with a howl.

"On my experience south of Paris," said Our Missis, in a deep tone, "I
will not expatiate. Too loathsome were the task! But fancy this. Fancy a
guard coming round, with the train at full speed, to inquire how many
for dinner. Fancy his telegraphing forward the number of diners. Fancy
every one expected, and the table elegantly laid for the complete party.
Fancy a charming dinner, in a charming room, and the head cook,
concerned for the honor of every dish, superintending in his clean white
jacket and cap. Fancy the Beast traveling six hundred miles on end, very
fast, and with great punctuality, yet being taught to expect all this to
be done for it!"

A spirited chorus of "The Beast!"

I noticed that Sniff was agin a-rubbing his stomach with a soothing
hand, and that he had drored up one leg. But agin I didn't take
particular notice, looking on myself as called upon to stimilate public
feeling. It being a lark besides.

"Putting everything together," said Our Missis, "French Refreshmenting
comes to this, and oh, it comes to a nice total! First: eatable things
to eat, and drinkable things to drink."

A groan from the young ladies, kep' up by me.

"Second: convenience, and even elegance."

Another groan from the young ladies, kep' up by me.

"Third: moderate charges."

This time a groan from me, kep' up by the young ladies.

"Fourth:--and here," says Our Missis, "I claim your angriest
sympathy,--attention, common civility, nay, even politeness!"

Me and the young ladies regularly raging mad all together.

"And I cannot in conclusion," says Our Missis with her spitefullest
sneer, "give you a completer pictur of that despicable nation (after
what I have related), than assuring you that they wouldn't bear our
constitutional ways and noble independence at Mugby Junction for a
single month, and that they would turn us to the right-about and put
another system in our places as soon as look at us; perhaps sooner, for
I do not believe they have the good taste to care to look at us twice."

The swelling tumult was arrested in its rise. Sniff, bore away by his
servile disposition, had drored up his leg with a higher and a higher
relish, and was now discovered to be waving his corkscrew over his
head. It was at this moment that Mrs. Sniff, who had kep' her eye upon
him like the fabled obelisk, descended on her victim. Our Missis
followed them both out, and cries was heard in the sawdust department.

You come into the Down Refreshment Room at the Junction, making believe
you don't know me, and I'll pint you out with my right thumb over my
shoulder which is Our Missis, and which is Miss Whiff, and which is Miss
Piff, and which is Mrs. Sniff. But you won't get a chance to see Sniff,
because he disappeared that night. Whether he perished, tore to pieces,
I cannot say; but his corkscrew alone remains to bear witness to the
servility of his disposition.


From 'Barnaby Rudge'

During the whole of this day, every regiment in or near the metropolis
was on duty in one or other part of the town; and the regulars and
militia, in obedience to the orders which were sent to every barrack and
station within twenty-four hours' journey, began to pour in by all the
roads. But the disturbances had attained to such a formidable height,
and the rioters had grown with impunity to be so audacious, that the
sight of this great force, continually augmented by new arrivals,
instead of operating as a check, stimulated them to outrages of greater
hardihood than any they had yet committed; and helped to kindle a flame
in London the like of which had never been beheld, even in its ancient
and rebellious times.

All yesterday, and on this day likewise, the commander-in-chief
endeavored to arouse the magistrates to a sense of their duty, and in
particular the Lord Mayor, who was the faintest-hearted and most timid
of them all. With this object, large bodies of the soldiery were several
times dispatched to the Mansion House to await his orders: but as he
could by no threats or persuasions be induced to give any, and as the
men remained in the open street,--fruitlessly for any good purpose, and
thrivingly for a very bad one,--these laudable attempts did harm rather
than good. For the crowd, becoming speedily acquainted with the Lord
Mayor's temper, did not fail to take advantage of it by boasting that
even the civil authorities were opposed to the Papists, and could not
find it in their hearts to molest those who were guilty of no other
offense. These vaunts they took care to make within the hearing of the
soldiers: and they, being naturally loath to quarrel with the people,
received their advances kindly enough; answering, when they were asked
if they desired to fire upon their countrymen, "No, they would be damned
if they did;" and showing much honest simplicity and good-nature. The
feeling that the military were No Popery men, and were ripe for
disobeying orders and joining the mob, soon became very prevalent in
consequence. Rumors of their disaffection, and of their leaning towards
the popular cause, spread from mouth to mouth with astonishing rapidity;
and whenever they were drawn up idly in the streets or squares there was
sure to be a crowd about them, cheering, and shaking hands, and treating
them with a great show of confidence and affection.

By this time the crowd was everywhere; all concealment and disguise were
laid aside, and they pervaded the whole town. If any man among them
wanted money, he had but to knock at the door of a dwelling-house, or
walk into a shop, and demand it in the rioters' name, and his demand was
instantly complied with. The peaceable citizens being afraid to lay
hands upon them singly and alone, it may be easily supposed that when
gathered together in bodies they were perfectly secure from
interruption. They assembled in the streets, traversed them at their
will and pleasure, and publicly concerted their plans. Business was
quite suspended; the greater part of the shops were closed; most of the
houses displayed a blue flag in token of their adherence to the popular
side; and even the Jews in Houndsditch, Whitechapel, and those quarters,
wrote upon their doors or window-shutters, "This House is a True
Protestant." The crowd was the law, and never was the law held in
greater dread or more implicitly obeyed.

It was about six o'clock in the evening when a vast mob poured into
Lincoln's Inn Fields by every avenue, and divided--evidently in
pursuance of a previous design--into several parties. It must not be
understood that this arrangement was known to the whole crowd, but that
it was the work of a few leaders who, mingling with the men as they came
upon the ground, and calling to them to fall into this or that party,
effected it as rapidly as if it had been determined on by a council of
the whole number, and every man had known his place.

It was perfectly notorious to the assemblage that the largest body,
which comprehended about two-thirds of the whole, was designed for the
attack on Newgate. It comprehended all the rioters who had been
conspicuous in any of their former proceedings; all those whom they
recommended as daring hands and fit for the work; all those whose
companions had been taken in the riots; and a great number of people who
were relatives or friends of felons in the jail. This last class
included not only the most desperate and utterly abandoned villains in
London, but some who were comparatively innocent. There was more than
one woman there, disguised in man's attire, and bent upon the rescue of
a child or brother. There were the two sons of a man who lay under
sentence of death, and who was to be executed along with three others,
on the next day but one. There was a great party of boys whose fellow
pickpockets were in the prison; and at the skirts of all, a score of
miserable women, outcasts from the world, seeking to release some other
fallen creature as miserable as themselves, or moved by a general
sympathy perhaps--God knows--with all who were without hope and

Old swords, and pistols without ball or powder; sledge-hammers, knives,
axes, saws, and weapons pillaged from the butchers' shops; a forest of
iron bars and wooden clubs; long ladders for scaling the walls, each
carried on the shoulders of a dozen men; lighted torches; tow smeared
with pitch, and tar, and brimstone; staves roughly plucked from fence
and paling; and even crutches taken from crippled beggars in the
streets, composed their arms. When all was ready, Hugh and Dennis, with
Simon Tappertit between them, led the way. Roaring and chafing like an
angry sea, the crowd pressed after them.

Instead of going straight down Holborn to the jail, as all expected,
their leaders took the way to Clerkenwell, and pouring down a quiet
street, halted before a locksmith's house--the Golden Key....

The locksmith was taken to the head of the crowd, and required to walk
between his two conductors; the whole body was put in rapid motion; and
without any shouting or noise they bore down straight on Newgate and
halted in a dense mass before the prison gate.

Breaking the silence they had hitherto preserved, they raised a great
cry as soon as they were ranged before the jail, and demanded to speak
with the governor. Their visit was not wholly unexpected, for his house,
which fronted the street, was strongly barricaded, the wicket-gate of
the prison was closed up, and at no loophole or grating was any person
to be seen. Before they had repeated their summons many times, a man
appeared upon the roof of the governor's house, and asked what it was
they wanted.

Some said one thing, some another, and some only groaned and hissed. It
being now nearly dark, and the house high, many persons in the throng
were not aware that any one had come to answer them, and continued their
clamor until the intelligence was gradually diffused through the whole
concourse. Ten minutes or more elapsed before any one voice could be
heard with tolerable distinctness; during which interval the figure
remained perched alone, against the summer evening sky, looking down
into the troubled street.

"Are you," said Hugh at length, "Mr. Akerman, the head jailer here?"

"Of course he is, brother," whispered Dennis. But Hugh, without minding
him, took his answer from the man himself.

"Yes," he said; "I am."

"You have got some friends of ours in your custody, master."

"I have a good many people in my custody." He glanced downward as he
spoke, into the jail; and the feeling that he could see into the
different yards, and that he overlooked everything which was hidden from
their view by the rugged walls, so lashed and goaded the mob that they
howled like wolves.

"Deliver up our friends," said Hugh, "and you may keep the rest."

"It's my duty to keep them all. I shall do my duty."

"If you don't throw the doors open, we shall break 'em down," said Hugh;
"for we will have the rioters out."

"All I can do, good people," Akerman replied, "is to exhort you to
disperse; and to remind you that the consequences of any disturbance in
this place will be very severe, and bitterly repented by most of you,
when it is too late."

He made as though he would retire when he had said these words, but he
was checked by the voice of the locksmith.

"Mr. Akerman!" cried Gabriel, "Mr. Akerman!"

"I will hear no more from any of you," replied the governor, turning
towards the speaker, and waving his hand.

"But I am not one of them," said Gabriel. "I am an honest man, Mr.
Akerman; a respectable tradesman--Gabriel Varden, the locksmith. You
know me?"

"You among the crowd!" cried the governor in an altered voice.

"Brought here by force--brought here to pick the lock of the great door
for them," rejoined the locksmith. "Bear witness for me, Mr. Akerman,
that I refuse to do it; and that I will not do it, come what may of my
refusal. If any violence is done to me, please to remember this."

"Is there no way of helping you?" said the governor.

"None, Mr. Akerman. You'll do your duty, and I'll do mine. Once again,
you robbers and cut-throats," said the locksmith, turning round upon
them, "I refuse. Ah! Howl till you're hoarse. I refuse."

"Stay--stay!" said the jailer, hastily. "Mr. Varden, I know you for a
worthy man, and one who would do no unlawful act except upon

"Upon compulsion, sir," interposed the locksmith, who felt that the tone
in which this was said conveyed the speaker's impression that he had
ample excuse for yielding to the furious multitude who beset and hemmed
him in on every side, and among whom he stood, an old man, quite
alone,--"upon compulsion, sir, I'll do nothing."

"Where is that man," said the keeper, anxiously, "who spoke to me just

"Here!" Hugh replied.

"Do you know what the guilt of murder is, and that by keeping that
honest tradesman at your side you endanger his life!"

"We know it very well," he answered; "for what else did we bring him
here? Let's have our friends, master, and you shall have your friend. Is
that fair, lads?"

The mob replied to him with a loud hurrah!

"You see how it is, sir," cried Varden. "Keep 'em out, in King George's
name. Remember what I have said. Good-night!"

There was no more parley. A shower of stones and other missiles
compelled the keeper of the jail to retire; and the mob, pressing on,
and swarming round the walls, forced Gabriel Varden close up to the

In vain the basket of tools was laid upon the ground before him, and he
was urged in turn by promises, by blows, by offers of reward and threats
of instant death, to do the office for which they had brought him there.
"No," cried the sturdy locksmith, "I will not."

He had never loved his life so well as then, but nothing could move him.
The savage faces that glared upon him, look where he would; the cries of
those who thirsted like wild animals for his blood; the sight of men
pressing forward, and trampling down their fellows, as they strove to
reach him, and struck at him above the heads of other men, with axes and
with iron bars; all failed to daunt him. He looked from man to man and
face to face, and still, with quickened breath and lessening color,
cried firmly, "I will not!"

Dennis dealt him a blow upon the face which felled him to the ground. He
sprang up again like a man in the prime of life, and with blood upon his
forehead caught him by the throat.

"You cowardly dog!" he said: "Give me my daughter! Give me my daughter!"

They struggled together. Some cried "Kill him!" and some (but they were
not near enough) strove to trample him to death. Tug as he would at the
old man's wrists, the hangman could not force him to unclinch his hands.

"Is this all the return you make me, you ungrateful monster?" he
articulated with great difficulty, and with many oaths.

"Give me my daughter!" cried the locksmith, who was now as fierce as
those who gathered round him; "give me my daughter!"

He was down again, and up, and down once more, and buffeting with a
score of them, who bandied him from hand to hand, when one tall fellow,
fresh from a slaughter-house, whose dress and great thigh-boots smoked
hot with grease and blood, raised a pole-axe, and swearing a horrible
oath, aimed it at the old man's uncovered head. At that instant, and in
the very act, he fell himself, as if struck by lightning, and over his
body a one-armed man came darting to the locksmith's side. Another man
was with him, and both caught the locksmith roughly in their grasp.

"Leave him to us!" they cried to Hugh--struggling as they spoke, to
force a passage backward through the crowd. "Leave him to us. Why do you
waste your whole strength on such as he, when a couple of men can finish
him in as many minutes! You lose time. Remember the prisoners! remember

The cry ran through the mob. Hammers began to rattle on the walls; and
every man strove to reach the prison, and be among the foremost rank.
Fighting their way through the press and struggle, as desperately as if
they were in the midst of enemies rather than their own friends, the two
men retreated with the locksmith between them, and dragged him through
the very heart of the concourse.

And now the strokes began to fall like hail upon the gate and on the
strong building; for those who could not reach the door spent their
fierce rage on anything--even on the great blocks of stone, which
shivered their weapons into fragments, and made their hands and arms to
tingle as if the walls were active in their stout resistance, and dealt
them back their blows. The clash of iron ringing upon iron mingled with
the deafening tumult and sounded high above it, as the great
sledge-hammers rattled on the nailed and plated door: the sparks flew
off in showers; men worked in gangs, and at short intervals relieved
each other, that all their strength might be devoted to the work; but
there stood the portal still, as grim and dark and strong as ever, and
saving for the dints upon its battered surface, quite unchanged.

While some brought all their energies to bear upon this toilsome task,
and some, rearing ladders against the prison, tried to clamber to the
summit of the walls they were too short to scale, and some again engaged
a body of police a hundred strong, and beat them back and trod them
under foot by force of numbers, others besieged the house on which the
jailer had appeared, and driving in the door, brought out his furniture
and piled it up against the prison gate to make a bonfire which should
burn it down. As soon as this device was understood, all those who had
labored hitherto cast down their tools and helped to swell the heap,
which reached half-way across the street, and was so high that those who
threw more fuel on the top got up by ladders. When all the keeper's
goods were flung upon this costly pile, to the last fragment, they
smeared it with the pitch and tar and rosin they had brought, and
sprinkled it with turpentine. To all the woodwork round the prison
doors they did the like, leaving not a joist or beam untouched. This
infernal christening performed, they fired the pile with lighted matches
and with blazing tow, and then stood by, awaiting the result.

The furniture being very dry and rendered more combustible by wax and
oil, besides the arts they had used, took fire at once. The flames
roared high and fiercely, blackening the prison wall, and twining up its
lofty front like burning serpents. At first they crowded round the
blaze, and vented their exultation only in their looks; but when it grew
hotter and fiercer--when it crackled, leaped, and roared, like a great
furnace--when it shone upon the opposite houses and lighted up not only
the pale and wondering faces at the windows, but the inmost corners of
each habitation--when, through the deep red heat and glow, the fire was
seen sporting and toying with the door, now clinging to its obdurate
surface, now gliding off with fierce inconstancy and soaring high into
the sky, anon returning to fold it in its burning grasp and lure it to
its ruin--when it shone and gleamed so brightly that the church clock of
St. Sepulchre's, so often pointing to the hour of death, was legible as
in broad day, and the vane upon its steeple-top glittered in the
unwonted light like something richly jeweled--when blackened stone and
sombre brick grew ruddy in the deep reflection, and windows shone like
burnished gold, dotting the longest distance in the fiery vista with
their specks of brightness--when wall and tower and roof and
chimney-stack seemed drunk, and in the flickering glare appeared to reel
and stagger--when scores of objects, never seen before, burst out upon
the view, and things the most familiar put on some new aspect--then the
mob began to join the whirl, and with loud yells, and shouts, and
clamor, such as happily is seldom heard, bestirred themselves to feed
the fire and keep it at its height.

Although the heat was so intense that the paint on the houses over
against the prison parched and crackled up, and swelling into boils as
it were, from excess of torture, broke and crumbled away; although the
glass fell from the window-sashes, and the lead and iron on the roofs
blistered the incautious hand that touched them, and the sparrows in the
eaves took wing, and rendered giddy by the smoke, fell fluttering down
upon the blazing pile;--still the fire was tended unceasingly by busy
hands, and round it men were going always. They never slackened in
their zeal, or kept aloof, but pressed upon the flames so hard that
those in front had much ado to save themselves from being thrust in; if
one man swooned or dropped, a dozen struggled for his place, and that,
although they knew the pain and thirst and pressure to be unendurable.
Those who fell down in fainting fits, and were not crushed or burned,
were carried to an inn-yard close at hand, and dashed with water from a
pump; of which buckets full were passed from man to man among the crowd;
but such was the strong desire of all to drink, and such the fighting to
be first, that for the most part the whole contents were spilled upon
the ground, without the lips of one man being moistened.

Meanwhile, and in the midst of all the roar and outcry, those who were
nearest to the pile heaped up again the burning fragments that came
toppling down, and raked the fire about the door, which, although a
sheet of flame, was still a door fast locked and barred, and kept them
out. Great pieces of blazing wood were passed, besides, above the
people's heads to such as stood about the ladders, and some of these,
climbing up to the topmost stave, and holding on with one hand by the
prison wall, exerted all their skill and force to cast these fire-brands
on the roof, or down into the yards within. In many instances their
efforts were successful, which occasioned a new and appalling addition
to the horrors of the scene; for the prisoners within, seeing from
between their bars that the fire caught in many places and thrived
fiercely, and being all locked up in strong cells for the night, began
to know that they were in danger of being burned alive. This terrible
fear, spreading from cell to cell and from yard to yard, vented itself
in such dismal cries and wailings, and in such dreadful shrieks for
help, that the whole jail resounded with the noise; which was loudly
heard even above the shouting of the mob and roaring of the flames, and
was so full of agony and despair that it made the boldest tremble....

The women who were looking on shrieked loudly, beat their hands
together, stopped their ears, and many fainted; the men who were not
near the walls and active in the siege, rather than do nothing tore up
the pavement of the street, and did so with a haste and fury they could
not have surpassed if that had been the jail, and they were near their
object. Not one living creature in the throng was for an instant still.
The whole great mass were mad.

A shout! Another! Another yet, though few knew why, or what it meant.
But those around the gate had seen it slowly yield, and drop from its
topmost hinge. It hung on that side by but one, but it was upright still
because of the bar, and its having sunk of its own weight into the heap
of ashes at its foot. There was now a gap at the top of the doorway,
through which could be descried a gloomy passage, cavernous and dark.
Pile up the fire!

It burned fiercely. The door was red-hot, and the gap wider. They vainly
tried to shield their faces with their hands, and standing as if in
readiness for a spring, watched the place. Dark figures, some crawling
on their hands and knees, some carried in the arms of others, were seen
to pass along the roof. It was plain the jail could hold out no longer.
The keeper and his officers, and their wives and children, were
escaping. Pile up the fire!

The door sank down again: it settled deeper in the
cinders--tottered--yielded--was down!

As they shouted again, they fell back for a moment, and left a clear
space about the fire that lay between them and the jail entry. Hugh
leaped upon the blazing heap, and scattering a train of sparks into the
air, and making the dark lobby glitter with those that hung upon his
dress, dashed into the jail.

The hangman followed. And then so many rushed upon their track that the
fire got trodden down and thinly strewn about the street; but there was
no need of it now, for inside and out, the prison was in flames.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the whole course of the terrible scene which was now at its
height, one man in the jail suffered a degree of fear and mental torment
which had no parallel in the endurance even of those who lay under
sentence of death.

When the rioters first assembled before the building, the murderer was
roused from sleep--if such slumbers as his may have that blessed
name--by the roar of voices, and the struggling of a great crowd. He
started up as these sounds met his ear, and sitting on his bedstead,

After a short interval of silence the noise burst out again. Still
listening attentively, he made out in course of time that the jail was
besieged by a furious multitude. His guilty conscience instantly arrayed
these men against himself, and brought the fear upon him that he would
be singled out and torn to pieces.

Once impressed with the terror of this conceit, everything tended to
confirm and strengthen it. His double crime, the circumstances under
which it had been committed, the length of time that had elapsed, and
its discovery in spite of all, made him as it were the visible object of
the Almighty's wrath. In all the crime and vice and moral gloom of the
great pest-house of the capital, he stood alone, marked and singled out
by his great guilt, a Lucifer among the devils. The other prisoners were
a host, hiding and sheltering each other--a crowd like that without the
walls. He was one man against the whole united concourse; a single,
solitary, lonely man, from whom the very captives in the jail fell off
and shrunk appalled.

It might be that the intelligence of his capture having been bruited
abroad, they had come there purposely to drag him out and kill him in
the street; or it might be that they were the rioters, and in pursuance
of an old design had come to sack the prison. But in either case he had
no belief or hope that they would spare him. Every shout they raised and
every sound they made was a blow upon his heart. As the attack went on,
he grew more wild and frantic in his terror; tried to pull away the bars
that guarded the chimney and prevented him from climbing up; called
loudly on the turnkeys to cluster round the cell and save him from the
fury of the rabble, or put him in some dungeon underground, no matter of
what depth, how dark it was, or loathsome, or beset with rats and
creeping things, so that it hid him and was hard to find.

But no one came, or answered him. Fearful, even while he cried to them,
of attracting attention, he was silent. By-and-by he saw, as he looked
from his grated window, a strange glimmering on the stone walls and
pavement of the yard. It was feeble at first, and came and went, as
though some officers with torches were passing to and fro upon the roof
of the prison. Soon it reddened, and lighted brands came whirling down,
spattering the ground with fire, and burning sullenly in corners. One
rolled beneath a wooden bench and set it in a blaze; another caught a
water-spout, and so went climbing up the wall, leaving a long straight
track of fire behind it. After a time, a slow thick shower of burning
fragments, from some upper portion of the prison which was blazing nigh,
began to fall before his door. Remembering that it opened outwards, he
knew that every spark which fell upon the heap, and in the act lost its
bright life and died an ugly speck of dust and rubbish, helped to entomb
him in a living grave. Still, though the jail resounded with shrieks and
cries for help,--though the fire bounded up as if each separate name had
had a tiger's life, and roared as though in every one there were a
hungry voice--though the heat began to grow intense, and the air
suffocating, and the clamor without increased, and the danger of his
situation even from one merciless element was every moment more
extreme,--still he was afraid to raise his voice again, lest the crowd
should break in, and should, of their own ears or from the information
given them by the other prisoners, get the clew to his place of
confinement. Thus fearful alike of those within the prison and of those
without; of noise and silence; light and darkness; of being released,
and being left there to die: he was so tortured and tormented, that
nothing man has ever done to man in the horrible caprice of power and
cruelty, exceeds his self-inflicted punishment.

Now, now, the door was down. Now they came rushing through the jail,
calling to each other in the vaulted passages; clashing the iron gates
dividing yard from yard; beating at the doors of cells and wards;
wrenching off bolts and locks and bars; tearing down the doorposts to
get men out; endeavoring to drag them by main force through gaps and
windows where a child could scarcely pass; whooping and yelling without
a moment's rest; and running through the heat and flames as if they were
cased in metal. By their legs, their arms, the hair upon their heads,
they dragged the prisoners out. Some threw themselves upon the captives
as they got towards the door, and tried to file away their irons; some
danced about them with a frenzied joy, and rent their clothes, and were
ready, as it seemed, to tear them limb from limb. Now a party of a dozen
men came darting through the yard into which the murderer cast fearful
glances from his darkened window; dragging a prisoner along the ground,
whose dress they had nearly torn from his body in their mad eagerness to
set him free, and who was bleeding and senseless in their hands. Now a
score of prisoners ran to and fro, who had lost themselves in the
intricacies of the prison, and were so bewildered with the noise and
glare that they knew not where to turn or what to do, and still cried
out for help as loudly as before. Anon some famished wretch, whose
theft had been a loaf of bread or scrap of butcher's meat, came skulking
past, barefooted--going slowly away because that jail, his house, was
burning; not because he had any other, or had friends to meet, or old
haunts to revisit, or any liberty to gain but liberty to starve and die.
And then a knot of highwaymen went trooping by, conducted by the friends
they had among the crowd, who muffled their fetters as they went along
with handkerchiefs and bands of hay, and wrapped them in coats and
cloaks, and gave them drink from bottles, and held it to their lips,
because of their handcuffs which there was no time to remove. All this,
and Heaven knows how much more, was done amidst a noise, a hurry, and
distraction, like nothing that we know of even in our dreams; which
seemed forever on the rise, and never to decrease for the space of a
single instant.

He was still looking down from his window upon these things, when a band
of men with torches, ladders, axes, and many kinds of weapons, poured
into the yard, and hammering at his door, inquired if there were any
prisoner within. He left the window when he saw them coming, and drew
back into the remotest corner of the cell; but although he returned them
no answer, they had a fancy that some one was inside, for they presently
set ladders against it, and began to tear away the bars at the casement;
not only that, indeed, but with pickaxes to hew down the very stones in
the wall.

As soon as they had made a breach at the window, large enough for the
admission of a man's head, one of them thrust in a torch and looked all
round the room. He followed this man's gaze until it rested on himself,
and heard him demand why he had not answered, but made him no reply.

In the general surprise and wonder, they were used to this; without
saying anything more, they enlarged the breach until it was large enough
to admit the body of a man, and then came dropping down upon the floor,
one after another, until the cell was full. They caught him up among
them, handed him to the window, and those who stood upon the ladders
passed him down upon the pavement of the yard. Then the rest came out,
one after another, and bidding him fly and lose no time, or the way
would be choked up, hurried away to rescue others.

It seemed not a minute's work from first to last. He staggered to his
feet, incredulous of what had happened, when the yard was filled again,
and a crowd rushed on, hurrying Barnaby among them. In another
minute--not so much: another minute! the same instant, with no lapse or
interval between!--he and his son were being passed from hand to hand,
through the dense crowd in the street, and were glancing backward at a
burning pile which some one said was Newgate....

When he [the hangman] had issued his instructions relative to every
other part of the building, and the mob were dispersed from end to end,
and busy at their work, he took a bundle of keys from a kind of cupboard
in the wall, and going by a private passage near the chapel (it joined
the governor's house, and was then on fire), betook himself to the
condemned cells, which were a series of small, strong, dismal rooms,
opening on a low gallery, guarded at the end at which he entered by a
strong iron wicket, and at its opposite extremity by two doors and a
thick grate. Having double-locked the wicket and assured himself that
the other entrances were well secured, he sat down on a bench in the
gallery and sucked the head of his stick with an air of the utmost
complacency, tranquillity, and contentment.

It would have been strange enough, a man's enjoying himself in this
quiet manner while the prison was burning and such a tumult was cleaving
the air, though he had been outside the walls. But here in the very
heart of the building, and moreover, with the prayers and cries of the
four men under sentence sounding in his ears, and their hands, stretched
out through the gratings in their cell doors, clasped in frantic
entreaty before his very eyes, it was particularly remarkable. Indeed,
Mr. Dennis appeared to think it an uncommon circumstance, and to banter
himself upon it; for he thrust his hat on one side as some men do when
they are in a waggish humor, sucked the head of his stick with a higher
relish, and smiled as though he would say:--"Dennis, you're a rum dog;
you're a queer fellow; you're capital company, Dennis, and quite a

He sat in this way for some minutes, while the four men in the cells,
certain that somebody had entered the gallery but unable to see who,
gave vent to such piteous entreaties as wretches in their miserable
condition may be supposed to have been inspired with; urging whoever it
was to set them at liberty, for the love of Heaven; and protesting with
great fervor, and truly enough perhaps for the time, that if they
escaped they would amend their ways, and would never, never, never again
do wrong before God or man, but would lead penitent and sober lives,
and sorrowfully repent the crimes they had committed. The terrible
energy with which they spoke would have moved any person, no matter how
good or just (if any good or just person could have strayed into that
sad place that night), to set them at liberty, and while he would have
left any other punishment to its free course, to save them from this
last dreadful and repulsive penalty; which never turned a man inclined
to evil, and has hardened thousands who were half inclined to good.

Mr. Dennis, who had been bred and nurtured in the good old school, and
had administered the good old laws on the good old plan, always once and
sometimes twice every six weeks, for a long time bore these appeals with
a deal of philosophy. Being at last, however, rather disturbed in his
pleasant reflection by their repetition, he rapped at one of the doors
with his stick, and cried,--

"Hold your noise there, will you?"...

Mr. Dennis resumed in a sort of coaxing tone:--

"Now look'ee here, you four. I'm come here to take care of you, and see
that you ain't burnt, instead of the other thing. It's no use you making
any noise, for you won't be found out by them as has broken in, and
you'll only be hoarse when you come to the speeches,--which is a pity.
What I say in respect to the speeches always is, 'Give it mouth.' That's
my maxim. Give it mouth. I've heerd," said the hangman, pulling off his
hat to take his handkerchief from the crown and wipe his face, and then
putting it on again a little more on one side than before, "I've heerd a
eloquence on them boards,--you know what boards I mean,--and have heerd
a degree of mouth given to them speeches, that they was as clear as a
bell, and as good as a play. There's a pattern! And always, when a thing
of this natur's to come off, what I stand up for is a proper frame of
mind. Let's have a proper frame of mind, and we can go through with it,
creditable--pleasant--sociable. Whatever you do (and I address myself in
particular to you in the furthest), never snivel. I'd sooner by half,
though I lose by it, see a man tear his clothes a-purpose to spile 'em
before they come to me, than find him sniveling. It is ten to one a
better frame of mind, every way!"


From 'A Tale of Two Cities'

Monseigneur, one of the great lords in power at the Court, held his
fortnightly reception in his grand hotel in Paris. Monseigneur was in
his inner room, his sanctuary of sanctuaries, the Holiest of Holiests to
the crowd of worshipers in the suite of rooms without. Monseigneur was
about to take his chocolate. Monseigneur could swallow a great many
things with ease, and was by some few sullen minds supposed to be rather
rapidly swallowing France; but his morning's chocolate could not so much
as get into the throat of Monseigneur without the aid of four strong men
besides the Cook.

Yes. It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration, and the
Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches in his
pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste fashion set by Monseigneur, to
conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur's lips. One lackey carried
the chocolate pot into the sacred presence; a second milled and frothed
the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a
third presented the favored napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold
watches) poured the chocolate out. It was impossible for Monseigneur to
dispense with one of these attendants on the chocolate and hold his high
place under the admiring heavens. Deep would have been the blot upon his
escutcheon if his chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only three
men; he must have died of two.

Monseigneur had been out at a little supper last night, where the Comedy
and the Grand Opera were charmingly represented. Monseigneur was out at
a little supper most nights, with fascinating company. So polite and so
impressible was Monseigneur, that the Comedy and the Grand Opera had far
more influence with him in the tiresome articles of state affairs and
state secrets than the needs of all France. A happy circumstance for
France, as the like always is for all countries similarly
favored!--always was for England (by way of example) in the regretted
days of the merry Stuart who sold it.

Monseigneur had one truly noble idea of general public business, which
was to let everything go on in its own way; of particular public
business, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea that it must all
go his way--tend to his own power and pocket. Of his pleasures, general
and particular, Monseigneur had the other truly noble idea, that the
world was made for them. The text of his order (altered from the
original by only a pronoun, which is not much) ran, "The earth and the
fullness thereof are mine, saith Monseigneur."

Yet Monseigneur had slowly found that vulgar embarrassments crept into
his affairs, both private and public; and he had, as to both classes of
affairs, allied himself perforce with a Farmer-General. As to finances
public, because Monseigneur could not make anything at all of them, and
must consequently let them out to somebody who could; as to finances
private, because Farmers-General were rich, and Monseigneur, after
generations of great luxury and expense, was growing poor. Hence
Monseigneur had taken his sister from a convent while there was yet time
to ward off the impending veil, the cheapest garment she could wear, and
had bestowed her as a prize upon a very rich Farmer-General, poor in
family. Which Farmer-General, carrying an appropriate cane with a golden
apple on the top of it, was now among the company in the outer rooms,
much prostrated before by mankind--always excepting superior mankind of
the blood of Monseigneur, who, his own wife included, looked down upon
him with the loftiest contempt.

A sumptuous man was the Farmer-General. Thirty horses stood in his
stables, twenty-four male domestics sat in his halls, six body-women
waited on his wife. As one who pretended to do nothing but plunder and
forage where he could, the Farmer-General--howsoever his matrimonial
relations conduced to social morality--was at least the greatest reality
among the personages who attended at the hotel of Monseigneur that day.

For the rooms, though a beautiful scene to look at, and adorned with
every device of decoration that the taste and skill of the time could
achieve, were in truth not a sound business; considered with any
reference to the scarecrows in the rags and nightcaps elsewhere (and not
so far off, either, but that the watching towers of Notre-Dame, almost
equidistant from the two extremes, could see them both), they would have
been an exceedingly uncomfortable business--if that could have been
anybody's business, at the house of Monseigneur. Military officers
destitute of military knowledge; naval officers with no idea of a ship;
civil officers without a notion of affairs; brazen ecclesiastics, of
the worst world worldly, with sensual eyes, loose tongues, and looser
lives; all totally unfit for their several callings, all lying horribly
in pretending to belong to them, but all nearly or remotely of the order
of Monseigneur, and therefore foisted on all public employments from
which anything was to be got--these were to be told off by the score and
the score. People not immediately connected with Monseigneur or the
State, yet equally unconnected with anything that was real, or with
lives passed in traveling by any straight road to any true earthly end,
were no less abundant. Doctors who made great fortunes out of dainty
remedies for imaginary disorders that never existed, smiled upon their
courtly patients in the ante-chambers of Monseigneur. Projectors who had
discovered every kind of remedy for the little evils with which the
State was touched, except the remedy of setting to work in earnest to
root out a single sin, poured their distracting babble into any ears
they could lay hold of, at the reception of Monseigneur. Unbelieving
Philosophers who were remodeling the world with words, and making
card-towers of Babel to scale the skies with, talked with unbelieving
Chemists who had an eye on the transmutation of metals, at this
wonderful gathering accumulated by Monseigneur. Exquisite gentlemen of
the finest breeding, which was at that remarkable time--and has ever
since--to be known by its fruits of indifference to every natural
subject of human interest, were in the most exemplary state of
exhaustion, at the hotel of Monseigneur. Such homes had these various
notabilities left behind them in the fine world of Paris, that the Spies
among the assembled devotees of Monseigneur--forming a goodly half of
the polite company--would have found it hard to discover among the
angels of that sphere one solitary wife who in her manners and
appearance owned to being a mother. Indeed, except for the mere act of
bringing a troublesome creature into this world--which does not go far
towards the realization of the name of mother--there was no such thing
known to the fashion. Peasant women kept the unfashionable babies close,
and brought them up; and charming grandmammas of sixty dressed and
supped as at twenty.

The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance
upon Monseigneur. In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional
people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them that
things in general were going rather wrong. As a promising way of
setting them right, half of the half-dozen had become members of a
fantastic sect of Convulsionists, and were even then considering within
themselves whether they should foam, rage, roar, and turn cataleptic on
the spot--thereby setting up a highly intelligible finger-post to the
Future for Monseigneur's guidance. Besides these Dervishes were other
three who had rushed into another sect, which mended matters with a
jargon about "the Centre of truth": holding that Man had got out of the
Centre of truth--which did not need much demonstration--but had not got
out of the Circumference, and that he was to be kept from flying out of
the Circumference, and was even to be shoved back into the Centre, by
fasting and seeing of spirits. Among these, accordingly, much
discoursing with spirits went on--and it did a world of good which never
became manifest.

But the comfort was, that all the company at the grand hotel of
Monseigneur were perfectly dressed. If the Day of Judgment had only been
ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would have been eternally
correct. Such frizzling and powdering and sticking-up of hair, such
delicate complexions artificially preserved and mended, such gallant
swords to look at, and such delicate honor to the sense of smell, would
surely keep anything going for ever and ever. The exquisite gentlemen of
the finest breeding wore little pendent trinkets that chinked as they
languidly moved; these golden fetters rang like precious little bells;
and what with that ringing, and with the rustle of silk and brocade and
fine linen, there was a flutter in the air that fanned Saint Antoine and
his devouring hunger far away.

Dress was the one unfailing talisman and charm used for keeping all
things in their places. Everybody was dressed for a Fancy Ball that was
never to leave off. From the Palace of the Tuileries, through
Monseigneur and the whole Court, through the Chambers, the Tribunals of
Justice, and all society (except the scarecrows), the Fancy Ball
descended to the Common Executioner; who in pursuance of the charm was
required to officiate "frizzled, powdered, in a gold-laced coat, pumps,
and white silk stockings." At the gallows and the wheel--the axe was a
rarity--Monsieur Paris,--as it was the episcopal mode among his brother
Professors of the provinces, Monsieur Orleans and the rest, to call
him,--presided in this dainty dress. And who among the company at
Monseigneur's reception in that seventeen-hundred-and-eightieth year of
our Lord could possibly doubt that a system rooted in a frizzled
hangman, powdered, gold-laced, pumped, and white-silk-stockinged, would
see the very stars out!

Monseigneur, having eased his four men of their burdens and taken his
chocolate, caused the doors of the Holiest of Holiests to be thrown
open, and issued forth. Then what submission, what cringing and fawning,
what servility, what abject humiliation! As to bowing down in body and
spirit, nothing in that way was left for Heaven--which may have been one
among other reasons why the worshipers of Monseigneur never troubled it.

Bestowing a word of promise here and a smile there, a whisper on one
happy slave and a wave of the hand on another, Monseigneur affably
passed through his rooms to the remote region of the Circumference of
Truth. There Monseigneur turned and came back again, and so in due
course of time got himself shut up in his sanctuary by the chocolate
sprites, and was seen no more.

The show being over, the flutter in the air became quite a little storm,
and the precious little bells went ringing down-stairs. There was soon
but one person left of all the crowd, and he, with his hat under his arm
and his snuff-box in his hand, slowly passed among the mirrors on his
way out.

"I devote you," said this person, stopping at the last door on his way,
and turning in the direction of the sanctuary, "to the Devil!"

With that, he shook the snuff from his fingers as if he had shaken the
dust from his feet, and quietly walked down-stairs.

He was a man of about sixty, handsomely dressed, haughty in manner, and
with a face like a fine mask. A face of a transparent paleness; every
feature in it clearly defined; one set expression on it. The nose,
beautifully formed otherwise, was very slightly pinched at the top of
each nostril. In those two compressions, or dints, the only little
change that the face ever showed, resided. They persisted in changing
color sometimes, and they would be occasionally dilated and contracted
by something like a faint pulsation; then they gave a look of treachery
and cruelty to the whole countenance. Examined with attention, its
capacity of helping such a look was to be found in the line of the mouth
and the lines of the orbits of the eyes, being much too horizontal and
thin; still, in the effect the face made, it was a handsome face, and a
remarkable one.

Its owner went down-stairs into the courtyard, got into his carriage,
and drove away. Not many people had talked with him at the reception;
he had stood in a little space apart, and Monseigneur might have been
warmer in his manner. It appeared, under the circumstances, rather
agreeable to him to see the common people dispersed before his horses,
and often barely escaping from being run down. His man drove as if he
were charging an enemy, and the furious recklessness of the man brought
no check into the face or to the lips of the master. The complaint had
sometimes made itself audible, even in that deaf city and dumb age, that
in the narrow streets without foot-ways, the fierce patrician custom of
hard driving endangered and maimed the mere vulgar in a barbarous
manner. But few cared enough for that to think of it a second time, and
in this matter, as in all others, the common wretches were left to get
out of their difficulties as they could.

With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of
consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage
dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming
before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of
its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its
wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a
number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.

But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have
stopped; carriages were often known to drive on and leave their wounded
behind; and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry,
and there were twenty hands at the horses' bridles.

"What has gone wrong?" said Monsieur, calmly looking out.

A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of
the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was
down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.

"Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!" said a ragged and submissive man, "it is
a child."

"Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?"

"Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis--it is a pity--yes."

The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it was,
into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man suddenly
got up from the ground and came running at the carriage, Monsieur the
Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on his sword-hilt.

"Killed!" shrieked the man in wild desperation, extending both arms at
their length above his head, and staring at him. "Dead!"

The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. There was
nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but watchfulness
and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger. Neither did the
people say anything; after the first cry they had been silent, and they
remained so. The voice of the submissive man who had spoken was flat and
tame in its extreme submission. Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over
them all as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.

He took out his purse.

"It is extraordinary to me," said he, "that you people cannot take care
of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is forever in
the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses? See! Give
him that."

He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads
craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell. The
tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, "Dead!"

He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the rest
made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his shoulder,
sobbing and crying and pointing to the fountain, where some women were
stooping over the motionless bundle and moving gently about it. They
were as silent, however, as the men.

"I know all, I know all," said the last comer. "Be a brave man, my
Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to
live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour
as happily?"

"You are a philosopher, you there," said the Marquis, smiling. "How do
they call you?"

"They call me Defarge."

"Of what trade?"

"Monsieur the Marquis, vendor of wine."

"Pick up that, philosopher and vendor of wine," said the Marquis,
throwing him another gold coin, "and spend it as you will. The horses
there; are they right?"

Without deigning to look at the assemblage a second time, Monsieur the
Marquis leaned back in his seat, and was just being driven away with the
air of a gentleman who had accidentally broken some common thing, and
had paid for it and could afford to pay for it, when his ease was
suddenly disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage, and ringing on
its floor.

"Hold!" said Monsieur the Marquis. "Hold the horses! Who threw that?"

He looked to the spot where Defarge the vendor of wine had stood, a
moment before; but the wretched father was groveling on his face on the
pavement in that spot, and the figure that stood beside him was the
figure of a dark stout woman, knitting.

"You dogs!" said the Marquis, but smoothly and with an unchanged front,
except as to the spots on his nose: "I would ride over any of you very
willingly, and exterminate you from the earth. If I knew which rascal
threw at the carriage, and if that brigand were sufficiently near it, he
should be crushed under the wheels."

So cowed was their condition, and so long and hard their experience of
what such a man could do to them, within the law and beyond it, that not
a voice, or a hand, or even an eye was raised. Among the men, not one.
But the woman who stood knitting looked up steadily, and looked the
Marquis in the face. It was not for his dignity to notice it; his
contemptuous eyes passed over her and over all the other rats; and he
leaned back in his seat again and gave the word, "Go on!"

He was driven on, and other carriages came whirling by in quick
succession; the Minister, the State-Projector, the Farmer-General, the
Doctor, the Lawyer, the Ecclesiastic, the Grand Opera, the Comedy, the
whole Fancy Ball in a bright continuous flow, came whirling by. The rats
had crept out of their holes to look on, and they remained looking on
for hours; soldiers and police often passing between them and the
spectacle, and making a barrier behind which they slunk, and through
which they peeped. The father had long ago taken up his bundle and
hidden himself away with it, when the women who had tended the bundle
while it lay on the base of the fountain sat there watching the running
of the water and the rolling of the Fancy Ball--when the one woman who
had stood conspicuous, knitting, still knitted on with the steadfastness
of Fate. The water of the fountain ran, the swift river ran, the day ran
into evening, so much life in the city ran into death according to rule,
time and tide waited for no man, the rats were sleeping close together
in their dark holes again, the Fancy Ball was lighted up at supper, all
things ran their course.

       *       *       *       *       *

A beautiful landscape, with the corn bright in it but not abundant.
Patches of poor rye where corn should have been, patches of poor peas
and beans, patches of most coarse vegetable substitutes for wheat. On
inanimate nature, as on the men and women who cultivated it, a prevalent
tendency towards an appearance of vegetating unwillingly--a dejected
disposition to give up and wither away.

Monsieur the Marquis in his traveling carriage (which might have been
lighter), conducted by four post-horses and two postilions, fagged up a
steep hill. A blush on the countenance of Monsieur the Marquis was no
impeachment of his high breeding; it was not from within; it was
occasioned by an external circumstance beyond his control--the setting

The sunset struck so brilliantly into the traveling carriage when it
gained the hill-top, that its occupant was steeped in crimson. "It will
die out," said Monsieur the Marquis, glancing at his hands, "directly."

In effect, the sun was so low that it dipped at the moment. When the
heavy drag had been adjusted to the wheel, and the carriage slid down
hill, with a cinderous smell, in a cloud of dust, the red glow departed
quickly; the sun and the Marquis going down together, there was no glow
left when the drag was taken off.

But there remained a broken country, bold and open, a little village at
the bottom of the hill, a broad sweep and rise beyond it, a church
tower, a windmill, a forest for the chase, and a crag with a fortress on
it, used as a prison. Round upon all these darkening objects as the
night drew on, the Marquis looked, with the air of one who was coming
near home.

The village had its one poor street, with its poor brewery, poor
tannery, poor tavern, poor stable-yard for relays of post-horses, poor
fountain, all usual poor appointments. It had its poor people too. All
its people were poor, and many of them were sitting at their doors,
shredding spare onions and the like for supper, while many were at the
fountain, washing leaves, and grasses, and any such small yieldings of
the earth that could be eaten. Expressive signs of what made them poor
were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax for the church, the tax
for the lord, tax local and tax general, were to be paid here and to be
paid there, according to solemn inscription in the little village, until
the wonder was that there was any village left unswallowed.

Few children were to be seen, and no dogs. As to the men and women,
their choice on earth was stated in the prospect--Life on the lowest
terms that could sustain it, down in the little village under the mill;
or captivity and Death in the dominant prison on the crag.

Heralded by a courier in advance, and by the cracking of his postilions'
whips, which twined snake-like about their heads in the evening air, as
if he came attended by the Furies, Monsieur the Marquis drew up in his
traveling carriage at the posting-house gate. It was hard by the
fountain, and the peasants suspended their operations to look at him. He
looked at them, and saw in them, without knowing it, the slow sure
filing down of misery-worn face and figure, that was to make the
meagreness of Frenchmen an English superstition which should survive the
truth through the best part of a hundred years.

Monsieur the Marquis cast his eyes over the submissive faces that
drooped before him, as the like of himself had drooped before
Monseigneur of the Court--only the difference was, that these faces
drooped merely to suffer and not to propitiate--when a grizzled mender
of the roads joined the group.

"Bring me hither that fellow!" said the Marquis to the courier.

The fellow was brought, cap in hand, and the other fellows closed round
to look and listen, in the manner of the people at the Paris fountain.

"I passed you on the road?"

"Monseigneur, it is true. I had the honor of being passed on the road."

"Coming up the hill, and at the top of the hill, both?"

"Monseigneur, it is true."

"What did you look at so fixedly?"

"Monseigneur, I looked at the man."

He stooped a little, and with his tattered blue cap pointed under the
carriage. All his fellows stooped to look under the carriage.

"What man, pig? And why look there?"

"Pardon, Monseigneur; he swung by the chain of the shoe--the drag."

"Who?" demanded the traveler.

"Monseigneur, the man."

"May the Devil carry away these idiots! How do you call the man? You
know all the men of this part of the country. Who was he?"

"Your clemency, Monseigneur! He was not of this part of the country. Of
all the days of my life, I never saw him."

"Swinging by the chain? To be suffocated?"

"With your gracious permission, that was the wonder of it, Monseigneur.
His head hanging over--like this!"

He turned himself sideways to the carriage, and leaned back, with his
face thrown up to the sky, and his head hanging down; then recovered
himself, fumbled with his cap, and made a bow.

"What was he like?"

"Monseigneur, he was whiter than the miller. All covered with dust,
white as a spectre, tall as a spectre!"

The picture produced an immense sensation in the little crowd; but all
eyes, without comparing notes with other eyes, looked at Monsieur the
Marquis. Perhaps to observe whether he had any spectre on his

"Truly, you did well," said the Marquis, felicitously sensible that such
vermin were not to ruffle him, "to see a thief accompanying my carriage,
and not open that great mouth of yours. Bah! Put him aside, Monsieur

Monsieur Gabelle was the Postmaster and some other taxing functionary,
united; he had come out with great obsequiousness to assist at this
examination, and had held the examined by the drapery of his arm in an
official manner.

"Bah! Go aside!" said Monsieur Gabelle.

"Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village
to-night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle."

"Monseigneur, I am flattered to devote myself to your orders."

"Did he run away, fellow?--where is that Accursed?"

The accursed was already under the carriage with some half-dozen
particular friends, pointing out the chain with his blue cap. Some
half-dozen other particular friends promptly haled him out, and
presented him breathless to Monsieur the Marquis.

"Did the man run away, Dolt, when we stopped for the drag?"

"Monseigneur, he precipitated himself over the hillside, head first, as
a person plunges into the river."

"See to it, Gabelle. Go on!"

The half-dozen who were peering at the chain were still among the
wheels, like sheep; the wheels turned so suddenly that they were lucky
to save their skins and bones; they had very little else to save, or
they might not have been so fortunate.

The burst with which the carriage started out of the village and up the
rise beyond was soon checked by the steepness of the hill. Gradually it
subsided to a foot pace, swinging and lumbering upward among the many
sweet scents of a summer night. The postilions, with a thousand gossamer
gnats circling about them in lieu of the Furies, quietly mended the
points to the lashes of their whips; the valet walked by the horses; the
courier was audible, trotting on ahead into the dim distance.

At the steepest point of the hill there was a little burial-ground, with
a Cross and a new large figure of our Saviour on it; it was a poor
figure in wood, done by some inexperienced rustic carver, but he had
studied the figure from the life--his own life, maybe--for it was
dreadfully spare and thin.

To this distressful emblem of a great distress that had long been
growing worse and was not at its worst, a woman was kneeling. She turned
her head as the carriage came up to her, rose quickly, and presented
herself at the carriage door.

"It is you, Monseigneur! Monseigneur, a petition."

With an exclamation of impatience, but with his unchangeable face,
Monseigneur looked out.

"How, then! What is it? Always petitions!"

"Monseigneur. For the love of the great God! My husband, the forester."

"What of your husband, the forester? Always the same with you people. He
cannot pay something?"

"He has paid all, Monseigneur. He is dead."

"Well! He is quiet. Can I restore him to you?"

"Alas, no, Monseigneur! But he lies yonder, under a little heap of poor


"Monseigneur, there are so many little heaps of poor grass!"

"Again, well?"

She looked an old woman, but was young. Her manner was one of passionate
grief; by turns she clasped her veinous and knotted hands together with
wild energy, and laid one of them on the carriage door--tenderly,
caressingly, as if it had been a human breast, and could be expected to
feel the appealing touch.

"Monseigneur, hear me! Monseigneur, hear my petition! My husband died of
want; so many die of want; so many more will die of want."

"Again, well? Can I feed them?"

"Monseigneur, the good God knows; but I don't ask it. My petition is,
that a morsel of stone or wood, with my husband's name, may be placed
over him to show where he lies. Otherwise the place will be quickly
forgotten; it will never be found when I am dead of the same malady; I
shall be laid under some other heap of poor grass. Monseigneur, they are
so many, they increase so fast, there is so much want. Monseigneur!

The valet had put her away from the door, the carriage had broken into a
brisk trot, the postilions had quickened the pace; she was left far
behind, and Monseigneur, again escorted by the Furies, was rapidly
diminishing the league or two of distance that remained between him and
his château.

The sweet scents of the summer night rose all around him, and rose, as
the rain falls, impartially, on the dusty, ragged, and toil-worn group
at the fountain not far away; to whom the mender of roads, with the aid
of the blue cap without which he was nothing, still enlarged upon his
man like a spectre as long as they could bear it. By degrees, as they
could bear no more, they dropped off one by one, and lights twinkled in
little casements; which lights, as the casements darkened, and more
stars came out, seemed to have shot up into the sky instead of having
been extinguished.

The shadow of a large high-roofed house, and of many overhanging trees,
was upon Monsieur the Marquis by that time; and the shadow was exchanged
for the light of a flambeau, as his carriage stopped, and the great door
of his château was opened to him.

"Monsieur Charles, whom I expect; is he arrived from England?"

"Monseigneur, not yet."


It was a heavy mass of building, that château of Monsieur the Marquis,
with a large stone courtyard before it, and two stone sweeps of
staircase meeting in a stone terrace before the principal door. A stony
business altogether, with heavy stone balustrades, and stone urns, and
stone flowers, and stone faces of men, and stone heads of lions, in all
directions. As if the Gorgon's head had surveyed it when it was finished
two centuries ago.

Up the broad flight of shallow steps, Monsieur the Marquis,
flambeau-preceded, went from his carriage, sufficiently disturbing the
darkness to elicit loud remonstrance from an owl in the roof of the
great pile of stable-building away among the trees. All else was so
quiet that the flambeau carried up the steps, and the other flambeau
held at the great door, burnt as if they were in a close room of state,
instead of being in the open night air. Other sound than the owl's voice
there was none, save the falling of a fountain into its stone basin; for
it was one of those dark nights that hold their breath by the hour
together, and then heave a long low sigh, and hold their breath again.

The great door clanged behind him, and Monsieur the Marquis crossed a
hall grim with certain old boar-spears, swords, and knives of the chase;
grimmer with certain heavy riding-rods and riding-whips, of which many a
peasant, gone to his benefactor Death, had felt the weight when his lord
was angry.

Avoiding the larger rooms, which were dark and made fast for the night,
Monsieur the Marquis, with his flambeau-bearer going on before, went up
the staircase to a door in a corridor. This thrown open admitted him to
his own private apartment of three rooms; his bedchamber and two others.
High vaulted rooms with cool uncarpeted floors, great dogs upon the
hearths for the burning of wood in winter-time, and all luxuries
befitting the state of a marquis in a luxurious age and country. The
fashion of the last Louis but one, of the line that was never to
break--the fourteenth Louis--was conspicuous in their rich furniture;
but it was diversified by many objects that were illustrations of old
pages in the history of France.

A supper-table was laid for two, in the third of the rooms; a round
room, in one of the château's four extinguisher-topped towers. A small
lofty room, with its window wide open, and the wooden jalousie-blinds
closed, so that the dark night only showed in slight horizontal lines of
black, alternating with their broad lines of stone-color.

"My nephew," said the Marquis, glancing at the supper preparation; "they
said he was not arrived."

Nor was he; but he had been expected with Monseigneur.

"Ah! It is not probable he will arrive to-night; nevertheless, leave the
table as it is. I shall be ready in a quarter of an hour."

In a quarter of an hour Monseigneur was ready, and sat down alone to his
sumptuous and choice supper. His chair was opposite to the window, and
he had taken his soup and was raising his glass of Bordeaux to his lips,
when he put it down.

"What is that?" he calmly asked, looking with attention at the
horizontal lines of black and stone-color.

"Monseigneur? That?"

"Outside the blinds. Open the blinds."

It was done.


"Monseigneur, it is nothing. The trees and the night are all that are

The servant who spoke had thrown the blinds wide, had looked out into
the vacant darkness, and stood, with that blank behind him, looking
round for instructions.

"Good," said the imperturbable master. "Close them again."

That was done too, and the Marquis went on with his supper. He was
half-way through it, when he again stopped with his glass in his hand,
hearing the sound of wheels. It came on briskly, and came up to the
front of the château.

"Ask who is arrived."

It was the nephew of Monseigneur. He had been some few leagues behind
Monseigneur, early in the afternoon. He had diminished the distance
rapidly, but not so rapidly as to come up with Monseigneur on the road.
He had heard of Monseigneur, at the posting-houses, as being before him.

He was to be told (said Monseigneur) that supper awaited him then and
there, and that he was prayed to come to it. In a little while he came.
He had been known in England as Charles Darnay.

Monseigneur received him in a courtly manner, but they did not shake

"You left Paris yesterday, sir?" he said to Monseigneur, as he took his
seat at table.

"Yesterday. And you?"

"I come direct."

"From London?"


"You have been a long time coming," said the Marquis, with a smile.

"On the contrary; I come direct."

"Pardon me! I mean, not a long time on the journey; a long time
intending the journey."

"I have been detained by"--the nephew stopped a moment in his
answer--"various business."

"Without doubt," said the polished uncle.

So long as a servant was present, no other words passed between them.
When coffee had been served and they were alone together, the nephew,
looking at the uncle and meeting the eyes of the face that was like a
fine mask, opened a conversation.

"I have come back, sir, as you anticipate, pursuing the object that took
me away. It carried me into great and unexpected peril; but it is a
sacred object, and if it had carried me to death I hope it would have
sustained me."

"Not to death," said the uncle; "it is not necessary to say, to death."

"I doubt, sir," returned the nephew, "whether, if it had carried me to
the utmost brink of death, you would have cared to stop me there."

The deepened marks in the nose, and the lengthening of the fine straight
lines in the cruel face, looked ominous as to that; the uncle made a
graceful gesture of protest, which was so clearly a slight form of good
breeding that it was not reassuring.

"Indeed, sir," pursued the nephew, "for anything I know, you may have
expressly worked to give a more suspicious appearance to the suspicious
circumstances that surrounded me."

"No, no, no," said the uncle pleasantly.

"But, however that may be," resumed the nephew, glancing at him with
deep distrust, "I know that your diplomacy would stop me by any means,
and would know no scruple as to means."

"My friend, I told you so," said the uncle, with a fine pulsation in the
two marks. "Do me the favor to recall that I told you so, long ago."

"I recall it."

"Thank you," said the Marquis--very sweetly indeed.

His tone lingered in the air, almost like the tone of a musical

"In effect, sir," pursued the nephew, "I believe it to be at once your
bad fortune, and my good fortune, that has kept me out of a prison in
France here."

"I do not quite understand," returned the uncle, sipping his coffee.
"Dare I ask you to explain?"

"I believe that if you were not in disgrace with the court, and had not
been overshadowed by that cloud for years past, a _lettre de cachet_
would have sent me to some fortress indefinitely."

"It is possible," said the uncle, with great calmness. "For the honor of
the family, I could even resolve to incommode you to that extent. Pray
excuse me!"

"I perceive that, happily for me, the Reception of the day before
yesterday was, as usual, a cold one," observed the nephew.

"I would not say happily, my friend," returned the uncle, with refined
politeness; "I would not be sure of that. A good opportunity for
consideration, surrounded by the advantages of solitude, might influence
your destiny to far greater advantage than you influence it for
yourself. But it is useless to discuss the question. I am, as you say,
at a disadvantage. These little instruments of correction, these gentle
aids to the power and honor of families, these slight favors that might
so incommode you, are only to be obtained now by interest and
importunity. They are sought by so many, and they are granted
(comparatively) to so few! It used not to be so, but France in all such
things is changed for the worse. Our not remote ancestors held the right
of life and death over the surrounding vulgar. From this room, many such
dogs have been taken out to be hanged; in the next room (my bedroom),
one fellow, to our knowledge, was poniarded on the spot for professing
some insolent delicacy respecting his daughter--_his_ daughter! We have
lost many privileges; a new philosophy has become the mode; and the
assertion of our station, in these days, might (I do not go so far as to
say would, but might) cause us real inconvenience. All very bad, very

The Marquis took a gentle little pinch of snuff and shook his head; as
elegantly despondent as he could becomingly be, of a country still
containing himself, that great means of regeneration.

"We have so asserted our station, both in the old time and in the modern
time also," said the nephew, gloomily, "that I believe our name to be
more detested than any name in France."

"Let us hope so," said the uncle. "Detestation of the high is the
involuntary homage of the low."

"There is not," pursued the nephew, in his former tone, "a face I can
look at, in all this country round about us, which looks at me with any
deference on it but the dark deference of fear and slavery."

"A compliment," said the Marquis, "to the grandeur of the family,
merited by the manner in which the family has sustained its grandeur.
Hah!" And he took another gentle little pinch of snuff, and lightly
crossed his legs.

But when his nephew, leaning an elbow on the table, covered his eyes
thoughtfully and dejectedly with his hand, the fine mask looked at him
sideways with a stronger concentration of keenness, closeness, and
dislike than was comportable with its wearer's assumption of

"Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear
and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs
obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts
out the sky."

That might not be so long as the Marquis supposed. If a picture of the
château as it was to be a very few years hence, and of fifty like it as
they too were to be a very few years hence, could have been shown to him
that night, he might have been at a loss to claim his own from the
ghastly, fire-charred, plunder-wrecked ruins. As for the roof he
vaunted, he might have found _that_ shutting out the sky in a new
way--to wit, forever, from the eyes of the bodies into which its lead
was fired, out of the barrels of a hundred thousand muskets.

"Meanwhile," said the Marquis, "I will preserve the honor and repose of
the family, if you will not. But you must be fatigued. Shall we
terminate our conference for the night?"

"A moment more."

"An hour if you please."

"Sir," said the nephew, "we have done wrong, and are reaping the fruits
of wrong."

"_We_ have done wrong?" repeated the Marquis, with an inquiring smile,
and delicately pointing, first to his nephew, then to himself.

"Our family; our honorable family, whose honor is of so much account to
both of us, in such different ways. Even in my father's time we did a
world of wrong, injuring every human creature who came between us and
our pleasure, whatever it was. Why need I speak of my father's time,
when it is equally yours? Can I separate my father's twin brother, joint
inheritor, and next successor, from himself?"

"Death has done that!" said the Marquis.

"And has left me," answered the nephew, "bound to a system that is
frightful to me, responsible for it but powerless in it; seeking to
execute the last request of my dear mother's lips, and obey the last
look of my dear mother's eyes, which implored me to have mercy and to
redress; and tortured by seeking assistance and power in vain."

"Seeking them from me, my nephew," said the Marquis, touching him on the
breast with his forefinger,--they were now standing by the hearth,--"you
will forever seek them in vain, be assured."

Every fine straight line in the clear whiteness of his face was cruelly,
craftily, and closely compressed, while he stood looking quietly at his
nephew, with his snuff-box in his hand. Once again he touched him on the
breast, as though his finger were the fine point of a small sword, with
which in delicate finesse he ran him through the body, and said, "My
friend, I will die perpetuating the system under which I have lived."

When he had said it, he took a culminating pinch of snuff, and put his
box in his pocket.

"Better to be a rational creature," he added then, after ringing a small
bell on the table, "and accept your natural destiny. But you are lost,
Monsieur Charles, I see."

"This property and France are lost to me," said the nephew, sadly; "I
renounce them."

"Are they both yours to renounce? France may be, but is the property? It
is scarcely worth mentioning; but is it, yet?"

"I had no intention, in the words I used, to claim it yet. If it passed
to me from you to-morrow--"

"Which I have the vanity to hope is not probable."

"--or twenty years hence--"

"You do me too much honor," said the Marquis; "still, I prefer that

"--I would abandon it, and live otherwise and elsewhere. It is little to
relinquish. What is it but a wilderness of misery and ruin!"

"Hah!" said the Marquis, glancing round the luxurious room.

"To the eye it is fair enough here; but seen in its integrity, under the
sky and by the daylight, it is a crumbling tower of waste,
mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger, nakedness,
and suffering."

"Hah!" said the Marquis again, in a well-satisfied manner.

"If it ever becomes mine, it shall be put into some hands better
qualified to free it slowly (if such a thing is possible) from the
weight that drags it down, so that the miserable people who cannot leave
it, and who have been long wrung to the last point of endurance, may in
another generation suffer less; but it is not for me. There is a curse
on it, and on all this land."

"And you?" said the uncle. "Forgive my curiosity; do you, under your new
philosophy, graciously intend to live?"

"I must do, to live, what others of my countrymen, even with nobility at
their backs, may have to do some day--work."

"In England, for example?"

"Yes. The family honor, sir, is safe for me in this country. The family
name can suffer from me in no other, for I bear it in no other."

The ringing of the bell had caused the adjoining bedchamber to be
lighted. It now shone brightly through the door of communication. The
Marquis looked that way, and listened for the retreating step of his

"England is very attractive to you, seeing how indifferently you have
prospered there," he observed then, turning his calm face to his nephew
with a smile.

"I have already said that for my prospering there, I am sensible I may
be indebted to you, sir. For the rest, it is my Refuge."

"They say, those boastful English, that it is the Refuge of many. You
know a compatriot who has found a Refuge there? A Doctor?"


"With a daughter?"


"Yes," said the Marquis. "You are fatigued. Good-night!"

As he bent his head in his most courtly manner, there was a secrecy in
his smiling face, and he conveyed an air of mystery to those words,
which struck the eyes and ears of his nephew forcibly. At the same time,
the thin straight lines of the setting of the eyes, and the thin
straight lips, and the markings in the nose, curved with a sarcasm that
looked handsomely diabolic.

"Yes," repeated the Marquis. "A Doctor with a daughter. Yes. So
commences the new philosophy! You are fatigued. Good-night!"

It would have been of as much avail to interrogate any stone fence
outside the château as to interrogate that face of his. The nephew
looked at him in vain, in passing on to the door.

"Good-night!" said the uncle, "I look to the pleasure of seeing you
again in the morning. Good repose! Light Monsieur my nephew to his
chamber, there!--And burn Monsieur my nephew in his bed, if you will,"
he added to himself, before he rang his little bell again, and summoned
his valet to his own bedroom.

The valet come and gone, Monsieur the Marquis walked to and fro in his
loose chamber-robe, to prepare himself gently for sleep, that hot still
night. Rustling about the room, his softly-slippered feet making no
noise on the floor, he moved like a refined tiger;--looked like some
enchanted marquis of the impenitently wicked sort, in story, whose
periodical change into tiger form was either just going off or just
coming on.

He moved from end to end of his voluptuous bedroom, looking again at the
scraps of the day's journey that came unbidden into his mind; the slow
toil up the hill at sunset, the setting sun, the descent, the mill, the
prison on the crag, the little village in the hollow, the peasants at
the fountain, and the mender of roads with his blue cap pointing out the
chain under the carriage. That fountain suggested the Paris fountain,
the little bundle lying on the step, the women bending over it, and the
tall man with his arms up, crying, "Dead!"

"I am cool now," said Monsieur the Marquis, "and may go to bed."

So, leaving only one light burning on the large hearth, he let his thin
gauze curtains fall around him, and heard the night break its silence
with a long sigh as he composed himself to sleep.

The stone faces on the outer walls stared blindly at the black night for
three heavy hours; for three heavy hours the horses in the stables
rattled at their racks, the dogs barked, and the owl made a noise with
very little resemblance in it to the noise conventionally assigned to
the owl by men-poets. But it is the obstinate custom of such creatures
hardly ever to say what is set down for them.

For three heavy hours the stone faces of the château, lion and human,
stared blindly at the night. Dead darkness lay on all the landscape,
dead darkness added its own hush to the hushing dust on all the roads.
The burial-place had got to the pass that its little heaps of poor grass
were undistinguishable from one another; the figure on the Cross might
have come down, for anything that could be seen of it. In the village,
taxers and taxed were fast asleep. Dreaming perhaps of banquets, as the
starved usually do, and of ease and rest, as the driven slave and the
yoked ox may, its lean inhabitants slept soundly, and were fed and

The fountain in the village flowed unseen and unheard, and the fountain
at the château dropped unseen and unheard--both melting away, like the
minutes that were falling from the spring of Time--through three dark
hours. Then the gray water of both began to be ghostly in the light, and
the eyes of the stone faces of the château were opened.

Lighter and lighter, until at last the sun touched the tops of the still
trees, and poured its radiance over the hill. In the glow, the water of
the château fountain seemed to turn to blood, and the stone faces
crimsoned. The carol of the birds was loud and high, and on the
weather-beaten sill of the great window of the bedchamber of Monsieur
the Marquis, one little bird sang its sweetest song with all its might.
At this, the nearest stone face seemed to stare amazed, and with open
mouth and dropped under-jaw, looked awe-stricken.

Now the sun was full up, and movement began in the village. Casement
windows opened, crazy doors were unbarred, and people came forth
shivering--chilled, as yet, by the new sweet air. Then began the rarely
lightened toil of the day among the village population. Some to the
fountain; some to the fields; men and women here to dig and delve; men
and women there to see to the poor live stock, and lead the bony cows
out to such pasture as could be found by the roadside. In the church and
at the Cross a kneeling figure or two; attendant on the latter prayers,
the led cow, trying for a breakfast among the weeds at its foot.

The château awoke later, as became its quality, but awoke gradually and
surely. First, the lonely boar-spears and knives of the chase had been
reddened as of old; then had gleamed trenchant in the morning sunshine;
now doors and windows were thrown open, horses in their stables looked
round over their shoulders at the light and freshness pouring in at
doorways, leaves sparkled and rustled at iron-grated windows, dogs
pulled hard at their chains and reared, impatient to be loosed.

All these trivial incidents belonged to the routine of life and the
return of morning. Surely not so the ringing of the great bell of the
château, nor the running up and down the stairs, nor the hurried figures
on the terrace, nor the booting and tramping here and there and
everywhere, nor the quick saddling of horses and riding away?

What winds conveyed this hurry to the grizzled mender of roads, already
at work on the hill-top beyond the village, with his day's dinner (not
much to carry) lying in a bundle that it was worth no crow's while to
peck at, on a heap of stones? Had the birds, carrying some grains of it
to a distance, dropped one over him as they sow chance seeds? Whether or
no, the mender of roads ran, on the sultry morning, as if for his life,
down the hill, knee-high in dust, and never stopped till he got to the

All the people of the village were at the fountain, standing about in
their depressed manner, and whispering low, but showing no other
emotions than grim curiosity and surprise. The led cows, hastily brought
in and tethered to anything that would hold them, were looking stupidly
on, or lying down chewing the cud of nothing particularly repaying their
trouble, which they had picked up in their interrupted saunter. Some of
the people of the château, and some of those of the posting-house, and
all the taxing authorities, were armed more or less, and were crowded on
the other side of the little street in a purposeless way that was highly
fraught with nothing. Already the mender of roads had penetrated into
the midst of a group of fifty particular friends, and was smiting
himself in the breast with his blue cap. What did all this portend, and
what portended the swift hoisting-up of Monsieur Gabelle behind a
servant on horse-back, and the conveying away of the said Gabelle
(double-laden though the horse was), at a gallop, like a new version of
the German ballad of Leonora?

It portended that there was one stone face too many, up at the château.

The Gorgon had surveyed the building again in the night, and had added
the one stone face wanting; the stone face for which it had waited
through about two hundred years.

It lay back on the pillow of Monsieur the Marquis. It was like a fine
mask, suddenly started, made angry, and petrified. Driven home into the
heart of the stone figure attached to it, was a knife. Round its hilt
was a frill of paper, on which was scrawled:--

"_Drive him fast to his tomb. This, from_ JACQUES."


     Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy Green,
       That creepeth o'er ruins old!
     Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
       In his cell so lone and cold.
     The wall must be crumbled, the stone decayed,
       To pleasure his dainty whim:
     And the moldering dust that years have made
       Is a merry meal for him.
         Creeping where no life is seen,
         A rare old plant is the Ivy Green.

     Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings,
       And a stanch old heart has he.
     How closely he twineth, how tight he clings,
       To his friend the huge Oak-Tree!
     And slyly he traileth along the ground,
       And his leaves he gently waves,
     As he joyously hugs and crawleth round
       The rich mold of dead men's graves.
         Creeping where grim death has been,
         A rare old plant is the Ivy Green.

     Whole ages have fled and their works decayed,
       And nations have scattered been;
     But the stout old Ivy shall never fade,
       From its hale and hearty green.
     The brave old plant in its lonely days
       Shall fatten upon the past:
     For the stateliest building man can raise
       Is the Ivy's food at last.
         Creeping on, where time has been,
         A rare old plant is the Ivy Green.


[1] In the 'Paradiso' (canto xv.) he introduces his
great-great-grandfather Cacciaguida, who tells of himself that he
followed the Emperor Conrad to fight against the Mohammedans, was made a
knight by him, and was slain in the war.

[2] From the letter already referred to, cited by Lionardo Bruni.

[3] Charles II. of Naples was the cousin of Philip III., the Bold, of
France, the father of Charles of Valois; and in 1290 Charles of Valois
had married his daughter.

[4] These decrees and the other public documents relating to Dante are
to be found in various publications. They have all been collected and
edited by Professor George R. Carpenter, in the tenth and eleventh
Annual Reports of the Dante Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1891,

[5] This decree was pronounced in a General Council of the Commune by
the Vicar of King Robert of Naples, into whose hands the Florentines had
given themselves in 1313 for a term of five years,--extended afterwards
to eight,--with the hope that by his authority order might be preserved
within the city.

[6] Among the letters ascribed to Dante is one, much noted, in reply to
a letter from a friend in Florence, in regard to terms of absolution on
which he might secure his re-admission to Florence. It is of very
doubtful authenticity. It has no external evidence to support it, and
the internal evidence of its rhetorical form and sentimental tone is all
against it. It belongs in the same class with the famous letter of Fra
Ilario, and like that, seems not unlikely to have been an invention of

[7] _Literally_, "who by the sweetness of its glory put exile behind our

[8] The sun,--a planet according to the Ptolemaic astronomy.

[9] It was a common belief that the spring was the season of the

[10] These three beasts typify the division of sins into those of
incontinence, of violence, and of fraud.

[11] Who he was and What should result.

[12] In Limbo, neither in hell nor in heaven.

[13] The heaven of the Moon, the nearest to Earth of the nine concentric

[14] The type of illuminating grace.

[15] It was Galahaut who, in the Romance, prevailed on Guinevere to give
a kiss to Lancelot.

[16] When it is sunrise at Jerusalem it is midnight in Spain, midday at
the Ganges, and sunset in Purgatory.

[17] To be buried alive.

[18] Leah and Rachel are respectively the types of the virtuous active
and contemplative life.

[19] As they come nearer home.

[20] In the preceding canto a mystic procession, symbolizing the Old and
New Dispensation, has appeared in the Earthly Paradise. At its head were
seven candlesticks, symbols of the sevenfold spirit of the Lord; it was
followed by personages representing the truthful books of the Old
Testament, and these by the chariot of the Church drawn by a griffon,
who in his double form, half eagle and half lion, represented Christ in
his double nature, human and divine.

[21] The lower septentrion, the seven stars of the Great Bear.

[22] Words from the Æneid (vi. 884), sung by the angels.

[23] The olive is the symbol of wisdom and of peace; the three colors
are those of Faith, Charity and Hope.

[24] Words from the Æneid, iv. 23.

[25] All the joy and beauty of Paradise which Eve lost, and which were
now surrounding Dante.

[26] When he had entered Purgatory.

[27] The words are from Psalm xxxi., verses 1 to 8.

[28] If the wind blow from Africa.

[29] Both devout and piteous.

[30] Through the influences of the circling heavens.

[31] From divine grace.

[32] In Hell.

[33] Not yet obliterated by the waters of Lethe.

[34] Inspired by me.

[35] Other objects of desire.

[36] Numidia, of which Iarbas was king.

[37] The beard being the sign of manhood, which should be accompanied by

[38] The one which by its attractions most diverted me from Beatrice.

[39] A solitary lady whom he had met on first entering the Earthly
Paradise, and who had accompanied him thus far.

[40] The first words of the 7th verse of the 51st Psalm: "Purge me with
hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

[41] The four cardinal virtues.

[42] The three evangelic virtues.

[43] Now with the divine, now with the human.

[44] Light in its essence; all other light is derived from it.

[45] This union of substance and accident.

[46] So overwhelming was the vision that the memory could not retain it
completely even for an instant.

[47] The wish to see the mystery of the union of the two natures, the
divine and human in Christ.

[48] That Love which makes sun and stars revolve was giving a concordant
revolution to my desire and my will.

[49] The middle aisle of St. Paul's in London was the fashionable walk.

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