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Title: My Life as an Author
Author: Tupper, Martin Farquhar, 1810-1889
Language: English
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[Illustration: Martin F. Tupper. _Elliott & Fry, Photographers._]



Martin Tupper's Autobiography



MY LIFE

AS AN AUTHOR

BY

MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER
D.C.L. F.R.S.

_Viri, vivo, vivam._

LONDON:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON
CROWN BUILDINGS, 188 FLEET STREET, E.C.
1886

[_All rights reserved_]



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.
                                                                  Page
Preliminary--Sonnet--Public Life, not Private--Benjamin
Franklin--Samples from Books--Self-judgment                        1-6


CHAPTER II.

Infancy and Schooldays--Parentage--Germany and Guernsey,
America and Canada--Winsor's Patent Gaslights--King George
III.'s Blessing--My Father's Dream--Second
Sight--Heredity--First School at Brentford--Next at Brook
Green--Third Charterhouse--Dr. Russell--Parson
Schoolmasters--Coins and Hoops--Andrew
Irvine--Cockshies--Harpies at the Feast--Dr.
Stocker--Holt's--M'Neile--Harold Browne                           7-25


CHAPTER III.

Young Authorship in Verse and Prose--Melite--Rough
Rhymes--Carthage--Umbrella Sapphics--Height of Honesty--Holkar
Hall--Melrose Abbey--Heidelberg--Pterodactyles--The
Buckstone--Scotch Journal--Vitrified Forts--Ireland--Kingston
Caverns--Cornish Letter and Sketches--Penzance--The
Logan--Land's End--St. Michael's Mount--Rapid Travel             26-51


CHAPTER IV.

College Days--Voice from the Cloister--Gladstone--Aristotle
Class--Giants in those Days--Studentship--A
Reading-Man--College Larks--D.C.L.--Dr. Bliss                    52-61


CHAPTER V.

Failure as to Orders--Stammering--Blewbury Vicarage--Lincoln's
Inn--Lewin's Critique--Brodie's Cacography--Inkpen's
Entomology--Duke of Wellington--Walters'--Letter as to
India--Barrister and Benedict--A Hoax--Theodore Hook--Old Lady
Cork                                                             62-71


CHAPTER VI.

Stammering--Man's Privilege of Speech--Chess
Playing--Anecdotes--Angling--Fishing Sonnets                     72-78


CHAPTER VII.

Oxford Prize Poems--Verses in the Schools--Parodies--Rhyme
and Rhythm--Scriptural Science--Classic Parallels                79-85


CHAPTER VIII.

Sundry Providences--The Small Semisuicide--A Concussion--Horse
Accidents--Perils by Land and Sea--Lydstep Cavern                86-89


CHAPTER IX.

Yet more Escapes--White Cross Guild--Evils and
Temptations--Potipheras--Heresies--Creeds                        90-94


CHAPTER X.

Fads and Fancies--Vegetarian--Teetotalism--The
Anglo-Saxon--Opera Colonnade--Moderation--America
Revisited--Poem on Temperance and Total
Abstinence--Gough--Dr. Hodgkin--A Martyr--Clerical Letter
on Pharisaism                                                   95-104


CHAPTER XI.

Sacra Poesis--Geraldine--Critiques--John and Tom
Hughes--Donnington Priory--Little Providences                  105-110


CHAPTER XII.

Origin of "Proverbial Philosophy"--M'Neile and Stebbing--N.P.
Willis--Harrison Ainsworth--Hatchard's--Moxon's--Cassell's--A
Prophecy--My Father's Letter and Gift--Sixty
Times--Politeuphuia--Parallels--Mr. Orton's Volume--American
Laudations, and English--As to _per contra_--Copyright
Question--Wedding Gifts--An Elizabethan Author--Seldom
Seen, and Few Adventures                                       111-133


CHAPTER XIII.

A Modern Pyramid--The Vision--A Fearful
Flight--Imagination--The Crystal Cubes and Mud
Bricks--Sonnets and Sonneteering--Mackay and Shakespeare's     134-144


CHAPTER XIV.

An Author's Mind--Prefatory Ramble--Addled Eggs--The Mental
Cathedral--Probabilities--Job's Trials                         145-152


CHAPTER XV.

The Crock of Gold--Dramatised in Boston and London--Origin
of the Story--The Twins--Heart: drawn from Living
Models--Critiques from Ollier and St. John                     153-158


CHAPTER XVI.

Æsop Smith--Mudie's--Rabelaisian Hints--The Early
Gallop--Alfred, or Albert Order--Fables                        159-162


CHAPTER XVII.

Stephan Langton--King Alfred's Poems--The Silent Pool--Hard
Reading for the History--The Book still in Print--Curious
Metrical Translation of Anglo-Saxon Poetry--The Jubilee at
Wantage and at Liverpool                                       163-169


CHAPTER XVIII.

Shakespeare Commemoration--Lord Carlisle--Lord Houghton,
Leigh Court--Stratford Church--The Baptismal Font--An
American Autograph Hunter--Sonnet                              170-172


CHAPTER XIX.

Translations and Pamphlets--Homer, _lib._ A.--Tennyson's
Vivien--Classical Versions--Hymn for All Nations--Protestant
Ballads--Fifteen Pamphlets                                     173-179


CHAPTER XX.

Paterfamilias's Diary--Courier Pierre--Devil's
Bridge--Major Hely--Guernsey--The Haro that saved Castle
Cornet--Night-Sail in the Race of Alderney--Durham's
Statue of Prince Albert--Isle of Man--King Orry--Walter
Montgomery--Bishop Powys                                       180-189


CHAPTER XXI.

Never Give Up, at Dr. Kirkland's--Harvest Hymns--Gordon
Ballads--The Good Earl--John Brown--My Brother--Memory--Evil
not Endless                                                    190-199


CHAPTER XXII.

Protestant Ballads--"So help me, God!"--Nun's Appeal, &c.      200-203


CHAPTER XXIII.

Plays--Alfred--Raleigh--Washington--Twelve Scenes--Family
Records                                                        204-207


CHAPTER XXIV.

Antiquariana--Lockhart and my Coin Article in
the _Quarterly_--Farley Finds--Mummy Wheat and Faraday         208-212


CHAPTER XXV.

Honours--_Times'_ Letter--A Peerage and Baronetcy--Prussian
Medal and Chevalier Bunsen's Letter--Authorship a Rank by
Itself--Many Inventions and Literary Discoveries, as Punch,
Humpty Dumpty, 666, &c.                                        213-220


CHAPTER XXVI.

Courtly: Prophetic Sonnet on our Empress--Many Royal
Poems--Modern Court Suit _v._ Queen Anne's--A Greeting
to Prince Albert Victor                                        221-228


CHAPTER XXVII.

F.R.S.--Lord Melbourne's Carelessness--Spectrum
Analysis--Spiritualism--Vivisection--Painted
Windows--Parabolic Teaching                                    229-233


CHAPTER XXVIII.

Personation--Bignor--The Greyhound--Alibis--A Rescue
on Snowdon--Fraudulent Collections--Forged
Authorials--Boston Unitarianism--Pictures Falsely Signed       234-237


CHAPTER XXIX.

Hospitalities--Farnham Castle--Orchids and Pines--Bishop
Sumner--Garibaldi at Gladstone's--Parham and
Curzon--Ghosts--Purple Parchments--Uncut
Elzevirs--Shenstone's Leasowes--"Little
Testy"--Sonnet--Isle of Wight--Sojourns--City
Feasts--Ostentatious Hospitality                               238-244


CHAPTER XXX.

Social and Rural--No Scandals--Hawthorne's Visit--Alexander
Smith's--Jerdan's Haycock--Otto Goldschmidt and
Macdougall--Dark Visitors--Liberian Gold
Medal--Noviomagians--Lucky Angling--Albury Waltz--Rustic
Stupidity--Redmen--The Drinking Fountain--Our House a
Hive of Bees--Foxhunt in Drawing-room--The Donkey
Burglar--Anthony Devis--Irvingism                              245-256


CHAPTER XXXI.

American Ballads: "Ho, Brother! I'm a Britisher"--The
Quasi-Inspiration--"Thirty Noble Nations," and
Thirty-three--Many Others--Ground-baiting the Transatlantic    257-259


CHAPTER XXXII.

First American Visit--Too Temperate for 1851; not Temperate
enough for 1876--Grand Dinner at Baltimore, and Great
Speech--The Astor Dinner--"Amice Davis"--Mayor Kingsland and
the Mile-long Procession--Willis, at Golden Square--The
Fillmore Dinner at the White House--Jenny Lind's
Concert--Gordon Bennet--Squier--Barnum                         260-270


CHAPTER XXXIII.

Second American Visit--Extreme
Gold--Talmage--Bryant--Cooper--"Immortality" at the
Tabernacle--Lotus Club--Lord Rosebery--Dr. Levis--Mr.
Pettit's Portrait--The Listers at Hamilton--Toronto--Sir
Charles Tupper--Elgin--Dufferin--Mackay and Sleighing--Dawson
and Eozoa--Vaughan-Tuppers--The Grand John Hopkins'
Banquet--Charleston Tuppers--My Palinode to the South--Visit
to Williams Middleton--Parting Stanzas--Ruined
Mansion--Valete                                                271-280


CHAPTER XXXIV.

English and Scotch Readings, very rapid, from Isle of Wight
to Peterhead--My Entrepreneur D.: his Experiences: I Failed
with Him, but Succeeded Alone--Specimen of Readings--Local
Critiques--Many Friends Unrecorded--Miscellaneous Poems--Mr.
Gall's Primeval Man--Arbroath--Mill the Atheist--Mr.
Boyd's Piety--Hamilton Mausoleum--Wild Cattle--Burns's
Country--James Baird the Millionaire and the Hodman            281-288


CHAPTER XXXV.

Electrics--Sir Culling Eardley at Erith--Atlantic
Telegraph--The First Message--Meddlesome Revisers--Antique
Telegraphy--Addison and Strada--Professor Morse--A
Telegram-Sonnet                                                289-295


CHAPTER XXXVI.

The Rifle, a Patriotic Prophecy in 1845--Early
Pamphlet--Defence not Defiance--Albury Club--Blackheath
Review--Lord Lovelace--Alarums--Drummond's Scare--A
Lucky Shot                                                     296-303


CHAPTER XXXVII.

Autographs and Advertisements--Worth Eighteenpence each--A
Hundred at Once--Photographs--Oil Paintings--Locks of
Hair--Interviewers--Puffs and Anti-puffs                       304-311


CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Kindness to Animals--Louis Napoleon and
Alfort--Vivisection--Pontrilas Court--The Omnibus
Hack--Divers Ballads                                           312-315


CHAPTER XXXIX.

Orkney and Shetland--Our Voyage--Wick Herring Fair--Balfour
at Shapinshay--Kirkwall--Aytoun--Gulf Stream--Snuff-Boxes
and Corals--Fair Isle Hosiery--Stennis--Scalloway--Lerwick
Literature--Artificial Flora--Thurso Castle--Robert
Dick--Cape Wrath--Stornoway--Callanish--Pipers--The brooch
of Lorne, &c.                                                  316-321


CHAPTER XL.

Literary Friends--Mrs. Somerville, Miss Granville, Mrs.
Jameson, Mrs. Beecher Stowe, Ouida, Miss Braddon, Mrs.
Carter Hall, Mrs. Grote, Lady Wilde, Miss Mackay, Rogers,
Carlyle, Haweis, Tennyson, Browning, Mortimer Collins,
Dickens and Son, Owen, Austen, Pengelley, Bowerbank, S.
Mackenzie, M. Arnold, S. Brooks, Albert Smith, Mark Lemon,
Tenniel, Cooper, P.B. Cole, E. Yates, Frank Smedley, J.G. Wood,
Cuthbert Collingwood, Mr. and Mrs. Zerffi, Birch, Miss Hooper,
Miss Barlee, G. MacDonald, Ronald Gower, Fred. Burnaby,
Charles Marvin--A Diner-Out--A Mormon Guest--Apostles--Frank's
Ranche--Twelve Anecdotes--Thackeray and Leech,
Longfellow, C. Kingsley, Ainsworth, Lord Elgin                 322-350


CHAPTER XLI.

Some Older Friendships--Nightingale, and Farley Heath--Walter
Hawkins--His Tomb--Anchor--Anagrams--Christmas Largesse--Sham
Antiques--Joseph Durham--Alice's Statue--"Sir
Joe" and the Noviomagians--Prince Albert at St. Peter's
Port--Baroness Barnekow--Swedish Proverbial--King Oscar's
Poems--Geo. Metivier--French Proverbial--John Sullivan--Canon
Jenkins--Barnes, De Chatelain, De Pontigny--Correspondents,
&c.                                                            351-362


CHAPTER XLII.

Political--A Dark Horse--No Party-Man--Gladstone--Ambidextrous
Stanzas--Liberal and Tory--The One-Vote System--Fancy
Franchises--The Voter's Motto--Fair Trade _v._ Free
Trade--Radically Conservative--Strikes, &c.                    363-372


CHAPTER XLIII.

A Cure for Ireland--Racial Difficulties--The Unsunned
Corner--Æsop Smith's Prescription--An Irish Balmoral in
1858--My Anti Celtic Ballads--Adventures                       373-379


CHAPTER XLIV.

Some Spiritist Experiences--Not a Spiritualist, but an Honest
Recorder of Facts--Alexis--Howell--Vernon's Mesmerised
Child--Mrs. Cora Tappan--Chauncey Townsend's
Book--Spirit-Drawings--Planchette--Showers of Flowers, and
Sugar-Plums, and Pearls--Mr. Home--Prayer before
_Séance_--The Table in the Air--Live Coals in My Hand--The
Vitalised Accordion--The Colonel's Ghost--Iamblicus--Query
Electrical Influence--Our Mysterious Key--Miss
Hudson--Thought-Reading                                        380-399


CHAPTER XLV.

Fickle Fortune--Losses and Failures--Testimonial--"L'espoir
est ma force"--My _Levée_ in 1851--The Missed Codicil--Life
and Death                                                      400-403


CHAPTER XLVI.

Henry De Beauvoir, killed in Africa--Archdeacon Kitton--Our
Old Chancery Suit: A Lost Fortune--Belgravian Five Fields,
another Missed Chance--Earl Grosvenor                          404-407


CHAPTER XLVII.

Flying: my Lecture at the Royal Aquarium with Fred. Burnaby
as Chairman--Henry Middleton's Invention--De Lisle Hay's
"Conquest of the Air"--Ezekiel's Angels--Ovid, and
Tennyson--Claude Hamilton--Extracts                            408-412


CHAPTER XLVIII.

Luther--The Peroration as to his Life and
Exploits--Anniversary Stanzas, in many Languages--Bullinger's
Music--Wycliffe Ballad--Wondrous Parallel                      413-416


CHAPTER XLIX.

Final--Whatever is, is Right--Sick-bed
Repentance--Intuitions--What We Shall Be--Protest Against
Atheism--The Infinities--A Childlike Hymn--Eternal
Hope--Mercy for Ever--The Assurance of Ovid                    417-431



MY LIFE AS AN AUTHOR.



CHAPTER I.

PRELIMINARY.


I have often been asked to prepare an autobiography, but my objections
to the task have ever been many and various. To one urgent appeal I sent
this sonnet of refusal, which explains itself:--

    "You bid me write the story of my life,
      And draw what secrets in my memory dwell
      From the dried fountains of her failing well,
    With commonplaces mixt of peace and strife,
    And such small facts, with good or evil rife,
      As happen to us all: I have no tale
        Of thrilling force or enterprise to tell,--
      Nothing the blood to fire, the cheek to pale:
        My life is in my books: the record there,
    A truthful photograph, is all I choose
    To give the world of self; nor will excuse
      Mine own or others' failures: glad to spare
    From blame of mine, or praise, both friends and foes,
    Leaving unwritten what God only knows."

In fact I always rejected the proposal (warned by recent volumes of
pestilential reminiscences) and would none of it; not only from its
apparent vainglory as to the inevitable extenuation of one's own faults
and failures in life, and the equally certain amplification of
self-registered virtues and successes,--but even still more from the
mischief it might occasion from a petty record of commonplace troubles
and trials, due to the "changes and chances of this mortal life," to the
casual mention or omission of friends or foes, to the influence of
circumstances and surroundings, and to other revelations--whether
pleasant or the reverse--of matters merely personal, and therefore more
of a private than a public character.

Indeed, so disquieted was I at the possible prospect of any one getting
hold of a mass of manuscript in old days diligently compiled by myself
from year to year in several small diaries, that I have long ago
ruthlessly made a holocaust of the heap of such written self-memories,
fearing their posthumous publication; and in this connection let me now
add my express protest against the printing hereafter of any of my
innumerable private letters to friends, or other MSS., unless they are
strictly and merely of a literary nature.

Biography, where honest and true, is no doubt one of the most
fascinating and instructive phases of literature; but it requires a
higher Intelligence than any (however intimate) friend of a man to do it
fairly and fully; so many matters of character and circumstance must
ever be to him unknown, and therefore will be by him unrecorded. And
even as to autobiography, who, short of the Omniscient Himself, can take
into just account the potency of outward surroundings, and still more of
inborn hereditary influences, over both mind and body? the bias to good
or evil, and the possession or otherwise of gifts and talents, due very
much (under Providence) to one's ancient ancestors and one's modern
teachers? We are each of us morally and bodily the psychical and
physical composite of a thousand generations. Albeit every individual
possesses as his birthright a freewill to turn either to the right or to
the left, and is liable to a due responsibility for his words and
actions, still the Just Judge alone can and must make allowance for the
innate inclinings of heredity and the outward influences of
circumstance, and He only can hold the balance between the guilt and
innocence, the merit or demerit, of His creature.

So far as my own will goes, I leave my inner spiritual biography to the
Recording Angel, choosing only to give some recollections and memories
of my outer literary life. For spiritual self-analysis in matters of
religion and affection I desire to be as silent as I can be; but in such
a book as this absolute taciturnity on such subjects is practically
impossible.

For the matter, then, of autobiography, I decline its higher and its
deeper aspects; as also I wish not to obtrude on the public eye mere
domesticities and privacies of life. But mainly lest others less
acquainted with the petty incidents of my career should hereafter take
up the task, I accede with all frankness and humility to what seems to
me like a present call to duty, having little time to spare at
seventy-six, so near the end of my tether,--and protesting, as I well
may, against the charge of selfish egotism in a book necessarily spotted
on every page with the insignificant letter I; and while, of course on
human-nature principles, willing enough to exhibit myself at the best,
promising also not to hide the second best, or worse than that, where I
can perceive it.

That shrewd old philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, thus excuses his own
self-imposed task of "autobiography," and I cannot do better than quote
and adopt his wise and just remarks:--

"In thus employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination so natural
to old men, of talking of themselves and their own actions, and I shall
indulge it without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age,
might conceive themselves obliged to listen to me, since they will
always be free to read me or not. And (I may as well confess it, as the
denial would be believed by nobody) I shall, perhaps, not a little
gratify my own vanity. Indeed, I never heard or saw the introductory
words, 'Without vanity I may say,' &c., but some vain thing immediately
followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they may
have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with
it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the
possessor, and to others who are within his sphere of action; and
therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man
were to thank God for his _vanity_ among the other comforts of life.

"And now I speak of thanking God, I desire, with all humility, to
acknowledge that I attribute the happiness of my past life to His divine
providence, which led me to the means I used, and gave the success. My
belief of this induces me to _hope_, though I must not _presume_, that
the same goodness will still be exercised towards me in continuing that
happiness or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience
as others have done; the complexion of my future fortune being known to
Him only in whose power it is to bless us, even in our afflictions."

Thus speaketh the honest wisdom of Benjamin Franklin.

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not see that a better plan can be chosen for carrying out the title
of this book than the one I have adopted, namely, tracing from the
earliest years to old age the author's literary lifework, illustrated by
accounts of, and specimens from, his various books and writings,
especially those which are absolutely out of print, or, haply have never
been published. No doubt, in such excerpts, exhibited at their best, the
critical accusations of unfairness, self-seeking, and so forth, will be
made, and may be met by the true consideration that something of this
sort is inevitable in autobiography. However, for the matter of vanity,
all I know of myself is the fact that praise, if consciously undeserved,
only depresses me instead of elating; that a noted characteristic of
mine through life has been to hide away in the rear rather than rush to
the front, unless, indeed, forced forward by duty, when I can be bold
enough, if need be; and that one defect in me all know to be a dislike
to any assumption of dignity--surely a feeling the opposite to
self-conceit; whilst, if I am not true, simple, and sincere, I am worse
than I hope I am, and all my friends are deceived in their kind judgment
of me.

But let this book speak for itself; I trust it is honest, charitable,
and rationally religious. If I have (and I show it through all my
writings) a shrinking from priestcraft of every denomination, that
feeling I take to be due to some ancient heredity ingrained, or, more
truly, inburnt into my nature from sundry pre-Lutheran confessors and
martyrs of old, from whom I claim to be descended, and by whose spirit I
am imbued. Not but that I profess myself broad, and wide, and liberal
enough for all manner of allowances to others, and so far as any narrow
prejudices may be imagined of my idiosyncrasy, I must allow myself to be
changeable and uncertain--though hitherto having steered through life a
fairly straight course--and that sometimes I can even doubt as to my
politics, whether they should be defined Whig or Tory; as to my
religion, whether it is most truly chargeable by the epithet high or
low; as to my likings, whether I best prefer solitude or society; as to
literature, whether gaieties or gravities please me most. In fact, I
recognise good in everything, though sometimes hidden by evil, right (by
intention, at least) in sundry doctrines and opinions otherwise to my
judgment wrong, and I am willing to believe the kindliest of my
opponents who appear to be honest and earnest. This is a very fair creed
for a citizen of the world, whose motto is Terence's famous avowal,
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto."



CHAPTER II.

INFANCY AND SCHOOLDAYS.


In a short and simple way, then, and without any desire ostentatiously
to "chronicle small beer," as Iago sneers it, I suppose it proper to
state very briefly when and where I was born, with a word as to my
parentage. July 17, 1810, was my birthday, and No. 20 Devonshire Place,
Marylebone, my birthplace, at that time the last house of London
northward. My father, Martin Tupper, a name ever honoured by me, was an
eminent medical man, who twice refused a baronetcy (first from Lord
Liverpool, and secondly, as offered by the Duke of Wellington); my
mother, Ellin Devis Marris, being daughter of Robert Marris, a good
landscape artist, of an old Lincolnshire family, and made the heiress,
as adopted child, of her aunt, Mrs. Ellin Devis, of Devonshire Place and
Albury.

My father's family have sojourned 336 years in Guernsey, having migrated
thither from Thuringia, _viâ_ Hesse Cassel, owing to religious
persecution in the evil days of Charles V., our remote ancestors being
styled Von Topheres (chieftains, or head-lords) of Treffurth (as is
recorded in the heraldic MSS. of the British Museum), that being the
origin of our name.

Of my mother's family (in old time Maris, as "of the sea," with mermaids
for heraldry), I have the commissions of one who was an Ironside
cavalry officer, signed by Cromwell and Fairfax; and several of her
relatives (besides her father) were distinguished artists. In
particular, her uncle (my wife's father), Arthur William Devis, the
well-known historical painter, and her great-uncle, Anthony Devis, who
filled Albury House with his landscapes.

Some of our old German stock crossed the Atlantic in Puritan times, and
many of the name have attained wealth and position both in Canada and
the United States; notably Sir Charles Tupper northwards, and sundry
rich merchants in New York, Virginia, and the Carolines southwardly.

Of my infancy let me record that I "enjoyed" very delicate health,
chiefly due, as I now judge, to the constant cuppings and bleedings
whereby "the faculty" of those days combated teething fits, and (perhaps
with Malthusian proclivities) killed off young children. I remember,
too, that the broad meadows, since developed into Regent's Park and
Primrose Hill, then "truly rural," and even up to Chalk Farm, then
notorious for duels, were my nursery ramblings in search of cowslips and
new milk. Also, that once at least in those infantile days, my father
took me to see Winsor's Patent Gaslights at Carlton House, and how he
prognosticated the domestic failure of so perilous an explosive, more
than one blowing-up having carelessly occurred.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another infantile recollection is memorable, as thus. My father's annual
holiday happened one year to be at Bognor, where a patron patient of
his, Lord Arran, rented a pleasant villa, and he had for a visitor at
the time no less a personage than George the Third: it must have been
during some lucid interval, perhaps after the Great Thanksgiving at St.
Paul's. My father took his little boy with him to call upon the Earl,
not thinking to see the King; but when we came in there was his
kind-hearted Majesty, who patted my curls and gave me his blessing! How
far the mysterious efficacy of the royal touch affected my after career
believers in the divine rights and spiritual powers of a king may
speculate as they please. At all events I got a good man's blessing.

I remember also in my nursery days to have heard this curious story of a
dream. My father, when a young man, was a student at Guy's Hospital,
from which school of medicine he went to Yarmouth to attend the wounded
after the battle of Copenhagen. He was on one occasion leaving Guernsey
for Southampton in the clumsy seagoing smack of those days, when, on the
night before embarking, he dreamt that on his way to the harbour he
crossed the churchyard and fell into an open grave. Telling this to his
parents at "The Pollet," they would not let him go, with a sort of
superstitious wisdom; for, strangely enough, the smack was seized on its
voyage by a privateer, and all the crew and passengers were
consigned--for twelve years--to a French prison! I have heard my father
tell this tale, and noted early how true was Dr. Watts' awkward line,
"On little things what great depend." I might say more about warnings in
dreams and other somnolencies, whereof we all have experiences. For
instance, my "Dream of Ambition" in Proverbial Philosophy was a real
one. And this reminds me now of another like sort of spiritual monition
alluded to in my Proverbial Essay on "Truth in Things False," which has
several times occurred to myself, as this, for example: Years ago, in
Devonshire, for the first time, I was on the top of a coach passing
through a town--I think it was Crediton--and I had the strange feeling
that I had seen all this before: now, we changed horses just on this
side of a cross street, and I resolved within myself to test the truth
of the place being new to me or not, by prophesying what I should see
right and left as we passed; to my consternation it was all as I had
foreseen,--a market-place with the usual incidents. Now, if reasonably
asked how to account for this (and most of us have felt the like), I
reply that possibly in an elevated state of health and spirits the soul
may outrun the body, and literally foresee coming events both real and
ideal. But we must leave this to the Psychical Society for a judgment
upon the famous Horatian philosophy of "more things in heaven and
earth," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Mr. Galton's topic of hereditary talent I have little to report as to
myself. Neither father nor mother had any leanings either towards verse
or prose; but my mother was an excellent pianiste and a fair landscape
painter both in oils and water-colour; also she drew and printed on
stone, and otherwise showed that she came of an artistic family. As to
my father's surroundings, his brother Peter, a consul-general in Spain,
wrote a tragedy called Pelayo; and I possess half-a-dozen French songs,
labelled by my father "in my late dear father's handwriting," but
whether or not original, I cannot tell. As a Guernseyman, he might well
be as much French as English. They seem to me clever and worthy of
Beranger, though long before him: possibly they are my grandsire's. A
very fair judge of French poetry, and himself a good Norman poet, Mr.
John Sullivan of Jersey writes and tells me that the songs are
excellent, and that he remembers them to have been popularly sung when
he was a boy.

About the matter of hereditary bias itself, we know that as with animals
so with men, "fortes creantur fortibus, et bonis;" this so far as bodies
are concerned; but surely spirits are more individual, as innumerable
instances prove, where children do not take after their parents. If,
however, I may mention my own small experience of this matter, literary
talent, or at all events authorship, _is_ hereditary, especially in
these days of that general epidemic, the "cacoethes scribendi."

       *       *       *       *       *

I wrote this paper following originally for an American publication; and
as I cannot improve upon it, and it has never been printed in England, I
produce it here in its integrity.

A true and genuine record of what English schools of the highest class
were more than sixty-five years ago cannot fail to have much to interest
the present generation on both sides of the Atlantic; if only because we
may now indulge in the self-complacency of being everyway wiser, better,
and happier than our recent forebears. And in setting myself to write
these early revelations, I wish at once to state that, although at times
necessarily naming names (for the too frequent use of dashes and
asterisks must otherwise destroy the verisimilitude of plain
truth-telling), I desire to say nothing against or for either the dead
or the living beyond their just deserts, and I protest against any
charge of unreasonable want of charity as to my whilom "schools and
schoolmasters." It is true that sometimes I loved them not, neither can
I in general respect their memory; but the causes of such a feeling on
my part shall be made manifest anon, and I am sure that modern parents
and guardians will rejoice that much of my childhood's hard experience
has not been altogether that of their own boys.

I was sent to school much too soon, at the early age of seven, having
previously had for my home tutor a well-remembered day-teacher in
"little Latin and less Greek" of the name of Swallow, whom I thought a
wit and a poet in those days because one morning he produced as an
epitaph on himself the following effusion:

    "Beneath this stone a Swallow lies,
    No one laughs and no one cries;
    Where he is gone or how he fares
    No one knows and no one cares."

At this time of day I suspect this epigram not to be quite original, but
it served to give me for the nonce a high opinion of the pundit who read
with me Cornelius Nepos and Cæsar and some portions of that hopeless
grammar, the Eton Greek, in the midst of his hard-breathing consumption
of perpetual sandwiches and beer.

The first school chosen for me (though expensive, there could not have
been a worse one) was a large mixed establishment for boys of all ages,
from infancy to early manhood, belonging to one Rev. Dr. Morris of
Egglesfield House, Brentford Butts, which I now judge to have been
conducted solely with a view to the proprietor's pocket, without
reference to the morals, happiness, or education of the pupils committed
to his care. All I care to remember of this false priest (and there were
many such of old, whatever may be the case now) are his cruel
punishments, which passed for discipline, his careful cringing to
parents, and his careless indifference towards their children, and in
brief his total unfitness for the twin duties of pastor and teacher. A
large private school of mixed ages and classes is perilously liable to
infection from licentious youths left to themselves and their evil
propensities, and I can feelingly recollect how miserable for nearly a
year was that poor little helpless innocent of seven under the
unrestricted tyranny of one Cooke (in after years a life convict for
crime) who did all he could to pollute the infant mind of the little fag
delivered over to his cruelty. Cowper's Tirocinium well expresses the
situation:--

    "Would you your son should be a sot or dunce,
    Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once,
    Train him in public with a mob of boys,
    Childish in mischief only and in noise,
    Else of a mannish growth and, five in ten,
    For infidelity and lewdness, men."

My next school was more of a success; for Eagle House, Brookgreen, where
I was from eight to eleven, had for its owner and headmaster a most
worthy and excellent layman, Joseph Railton. Mr. Railton was gentle,
though gigantic, fairly learned, just and kindly. His school produced,
amongst others eminent, the famous naval author Kingston, well known
from cabin-boy to admiral; there was also Lord Paulet, some others of
noble birth, and the two Middletons, nick-named Yankees, whom years
after I visited at their ruined mansion in South Carolina after the
Confederate War. Through the personal good influence of honest "Old
Joe," and his middle-aged housekeeper, Mrs. Jones, our whole
well-ordered company of perhaps a hundred boys lived and learned, worked
and played purely, and happily together: so great a social benefactor
may a good school chieftain be.

I have little to regret in my Brook Green recollections; the annual fair
was memorable with Richardson's show and Gingel's conjuring, and the
walks for mild cricketing at Shepherd's Bush, and the occasional Sundays
at home; and how pleasant to a schoolboy was the generous visitor who
tipped him, a good action never forgotten; and the garden with its
flowering tulip-tree, and the syringas and rose-trees jewelled with the
much-prized emerald May-bugs; for the whole garden was liberally thrown
open to us beyond the gravelled playground; all being now given over to
monks and nuns. Then I recollect how a rarely-dark annular eclipse of
the sun convulsed the whole school, bringing smoked glass to a high
premium; and there was a notable boy's library of amusing travels and
stories, all eagerly devoured; and old Phulax the house-dog, and good
Mr. Whitmore an usher, who gave a certain small boy a diamond
prayer-book, greatly prized then, though long since lost, and suitably
inscribed for him "_Parvum parva decent_;" and the speech days, wherein
the same small boy always signalised himself, to the general
astonishment, for he was usually a stammerer, owing much to the early
worries of Brentford; all these are agreeable reminiscences.

My next school at eleven was Charterhouse, or as my schoolfellow
Thackeray was wont to style it, Slaughterhouse, no doubt from the cruel
tyranny of another educational D.D., the Rev. Dr. Russell. For this man
and the school he so despotically drilled into passive servility and
pedantic scholarship, I have less than no reverence, for he worked so
upon an over-sensitive nature to force a boy beyond his powers, as to
fix for many years the infirmity of stammering, which was my affliction
until past middle life. As for tuition, it must all have grown of itself
by dint of private hard grinding with dictionaries and grammars, for the
exercises, themes, and other lessons were notoriously difficult, and
those before me would be inextricable puzzles now; however, we had to do
them, and we did them, unhelped by any teacher but our own industry. As
for the masters in school, two more ignorant old parsons than Chapman
and "Bob Watki" could not readily be found; and though the four others,
Lloyd, Dickens, Irvine, and Penny were somewhat more intelligent, still
all six in the lower school were occasionally summoned to a "concio," if
the interpretation of any ordinary passage in Homer or Virgil or Horace
was haply in dispute between a monitor and his class. In the upper
school the single really excellent teacher and good clergyman, Edward
Churton, had but one fault, a meek subserviency to the tyrannic Russell,
who domineered over all to our universal terror; and I remember kindly
Mr. Churton once affected to tears at the cruelty of his chief. What
should we think nowadays of an irate schoolmaster smashing a child's
head between two books in his shoulder-of-mutton hands till the nose
bled, as I once saw? Or, in these milder times when your burglar or
garotter is visited with a brief whipping, what shall we judge of the
wisdom or equity of some slight fault of idleness or ignorance being
visited with the Reverend Doctor's terrible sentence, "Allen, three
rods, eighteen, and most severely"?

Let me comment on this line, one of a sharp satire by a boy named
Barnes, long since an Indian Judge and I suppose translated Elsewhere.
Allen was head-gown-boy, and so chief executioner, the three rods being
some five-feet bunches of birch armed with buds as sharp as thorns,
renewed after six strokes for fresh excoriation! sometimes the
exhibition was in medio, a public terror to evil-doers, or doers of
nothing, but usually in a sort of side chapel to the lower school where
the whipping-block stood. Who could tolerate such things now? and who
can wonder that I, as a lad, proclaimed that I would rather die than be
flogged, for I had resolved in that event to commit justifiable homicide
on my flogger? I do not mean Allen, who became Head of Dulwich College,
and with whom I have since dined, annually as donor of a picture there,
but Russell, concerning whom I vowed that if ever he was made a Bishop
(happily he wasn't) I would desert the Church of England; as yet I have
not, albeit it has lately become so papalised as to be little worth an
honest Protestant's adherence.

As to the exclusively classic education in my young days, to the
resolute neglect of all other languages and sciences, I for myself have
from youth upwards always protested against it as mainly waste of time
and of very little service in the battle of life. For proof of this,
before I was eighteen, I wrote that essay on Education to be seen in my
first series of Proverbial Philosophy, which long years after the
celebrated Dr. Binney of the Weigh-house in Thames Street issued with my
leave as a tractate useful to the present generation. And while there
was so much fuss made as to the criminality of a false quantity in
Greek, or a deficient acquaintance with those awkward verbs in "Mi," or
above all a false concord (every one of which derelictions in duty
involved severe punishment), let us remember that all this time
Holywell Street was suffered to infect Charterhouse with its poison (I
speak of long ago, before Lord Campbell's wholesome Act), and that our
clerical tutors and governors professionally recognised no sort of sins
or shortcomings but those committed in class! They practically ignored
everything out of school, much as a captain knows nothing of his company
off duty. It was the idle system of boys set to govern boys, that the
masters might have no damage. I think the system was called Lancastrian.

One very noticeable trait in the parson-schoolmasters of those old days
(and perhaps it still survives) was the subserviency to rank and wealth
towards any pupils likely to give them livings, whereof more anon; at
present, an appropriate instance occurs to me. I was in my thirteenth
year monitor of the playground, when one Dillon, a scion of a titled
family, hunted and killed a stray dog there, and much to their credit
for humanity a number of other boys hunted and pelted _him_ into a dry
ditch or vallum, dug for the leaping-pole under a Captain Clias who
taught us athletics. I was technically responsible for this open insult
offered to Hibernian nobility, however well disposed to look another way
and let lynch-law take its course. Accordingly, the Doctor had me up for
punishment, and he inflicted an almost impossible imposition, Book
Epsilon of the Iliad (the longest of all) to be translated word for
word, English and Greek, and to be given to him in MS. within a month
(it would have been work for a year), that or expulsion. Had Mr. Dillon
been a plebeian, no notice would have been taken of the matter, but he
was an honourable, so Russell must avenge his righteous punishment.
However, the result of this outrageous set-task was curious and worthy
of this its first and only record. All the seventy boys in Irvine's
house and others elsewhere, volunteered to do the whole imposition for
me, and within a week hundreds of pages closely written with Greek and
Latin, were sewn together, making a large quarto pamphlet, which was
duly handed by me to the wondering Doctor; who had, however, too much
shrewdness to care to inquire closely as to this popular outburst of a
general indignation, so he said nothing more about it.

For other playground reminiscences: I saw, even in those tame times for
cricket when overhand bowling was illegal, and the fierce artillery of a
Spofforth impossible, a poor lad killed in the field, one Honourable
Henry Howard; he was taken to the pump for recovery, as from a swoon,
but the ball had struck him behind the ear, stone-dead. Again as to that
pump; it was sometimes maliciously used for sousing unfortunate
day-boys, who were allowed two minutes law out of school to enable them
to escape pursuit after lessons, most unjustly, and injuriously, seeing
that old Sutton founded his Charterhouse mainly for day-boys (John Leech
was one in my time) and for pensioners ("old Cods") whereof Colonel
Newcome of Thackeray fame, was another; but both of these charity
classes were utterly despised and ignored by the reverend brigands who
kept all the loaves and fishes for themselves.

One remarkable playground experience was the fact that it helped to
develop in me antiquarian inclinations, and my own discovered
hunting-ground for Roman numismatics in the south of England, long
afterwards expanded in "Farley Heath" near Albury. At Charterhouse
there was a great slope or semi-mound which had in old times been
utilised as a wholesale grave for the victims of plague and other
epidemics. It strikes me now as most perilous, but we boys used to dig
and scratch among bones and other _débris_ for on occasional coin or
lead token, whereof I found several; it is only a wonder that we did not
unearth pestilence, but mould is fortunately very antiseptic. Another
playground peculiarity was that after the hoop season, usually driven in
duplicate or triplicate, the hoops were "stored" or "shied" into the
branching elms, from which they were again brought down by hockey-sticks
flung at them; a great boon to the smaller boys who thus gratuitously
became possessed of valuable properties. And for all else, there were
fights behind the school, in those pugilistic days scientifically
conducted with seconds and bottleholders, and some "claret" drawn, and
other like fashionable brutalities; also in its season came football,
but not quite so fiercely fought as it is now; and there was Mr.
Rackwitz, the man of sweets and pastries at the corner; and another sort
of rackets in the tennis court; and for another sort of court there was
then extant a bit of ruinous Gothic in old Rutland Court, a ghostly
entrance from Charterhouse Square, some thought haunted, and long since
cleared away.

And now crossing the Square we come to No. 41, the Queen Anne fashioned
mansion where Mr. Andrew Irvine (another Reverend Master, who like all
the rest, except Churton, almost never "did duty," and when he did
manifestly could neither read, preach, not pray) had a houseful of
pupils, whereof the writer was one. That long room is full of ancient
memories of past and gone Carthusians, though it is now humiliated into
a local charity school. I remember some humorous scenes there, chiefly
owing to the master's notorious niggardliness. Andrew had some Gruyere
cheese, easily accessible to the boyish plunderers of his larder. Now we
had complained that our slabs of butter laid between the cut sides of
the rolls often were salt and strong, so one "Punsonby" (afterwards an
earl) managed to put a piece of highly-flavoured Gruyere into a roll,
and publicly at breakfast produced it before Mr. Irvine as a proof of
the bad butter provided by the unfortunate housekeeper. He was overborne
against his own convictions, by the heroic impudence of chief big boys
whom he dared not offend, and actually pretended indignation, promising
better butter in future!

For another small scholastic recollection: Andrew's Indian brother had
brought over a lot of curiosities from the East, including a rhinoceros
skin, and bows and arrows, idols, and the like, all of which were
carelessly stored away in a cellar near the larder aforesaid. Of course
the boys made a raid upon such _spolia opima_, and divers portions of
that thick hide were exhibited as Indian rubber: but Andrew never knew
that many other things vanished, and that for example Knighton used to
walk home on Saturdays with preternaturally stiff arms, an arrow
(possibly poisoned) being hid in each sleeve! some creeses also were
appropriated by others. I wonder if any Carthusian of my time survives
as the possessor of such loot.

Let me record, too, that in those evil days (for I am not one who can
think this age as "pejor avis") boys used to go, on their Monday
mornings' return from the weekly holiday, out of their way to see the
wretches hanging at Newgate; that the scenes of cruelty to animals in
Smithfield were terrible; that books of the vilest character were
circulated in the long-room; and that both morality and religion were
ignored by the seven clergymen who reaped fortunes by neglecting five
hundred boys. If more memories are wanted of those times, here are two;
the planned famine on one occasion, when--under monitorial
inspiration--all the juniors clamoured for "more, more," seeing they had
slabbed on the underside of the tables masses of bread and butter
supposed to have been eaten-out; and on another, that lobsters,
surreptitiously obtained from out-of-bounds by the big boys were sworn
in the _débris_ of their smaller claws to be pieces of sealing-wax! and
nothing else: at least a reckless young aristocrat declared that they
were so,--and the mean-spirited Andrew, fearful of giving offence in
such high quarters, pretended to believe him.

Yet another trifle; for I find that such trivials are attractive to
homeflock readers, by whose taste I feel the more public pulse, even as
Rousseau did with his housekeeper. We, that is Knighton and Ellis and I,
used to return on Sunday night in my father's carriage by the back way
of Clerkenwell to Charterhouse in order to avoid the crowds of cattle;
and I well remember that sometimes we would utilise apples and nuts from
the dessert as missiles from our carriage window as we sped along. Alas!
on one occasion Knighton was skilful enough to smash a chemist's blue
bottle with an apple,--and on another I am aware that an oil lamp in
Carthusian Street succumbed to my only too-true cockshy: "Et hoc
meminisse _dolendum_."

Another incident was amusing in its way. Poor Mr. Irvine (who was going
to be married) mended up a very much smashed greenhouse to greet his
bride thereby with floral joy. Unluckily, the boys preferred broken
panes to whole ones, so nothing was easier than by flinging brickbats
and even mugs over the laundry wall to revel in the sweet sound of
smashed glass; moreover this would go to evidence the popular animosity
against a wretched bridegroom. Then, when he reappeared after some
temporary absence before the wedding, it was after this ridiculous
fashion. There was a wooden staircase screened off one side of the
long-room down which he would occasionally creep to listen at the door
at bottom to the tattle of the boys about him. He was heard creaking
downstairs, and some active young fellow by a round-about byway managed
to steal down behind and suddenly pushed him by the burst open door,
spread-eagle fashion, into the laughing long-room! The poor victim
pretended it was an accident, "Ye see, Mr. Yates, I was coming down the
stair, and me foot slipped." It seems that the luckless Andrew was
coming, so he averred, expressly to expostulate with the boys, to throw
himself on their generosity for a subscription towards his ruined
greenhouse, and to ask Messrs. "Punsonby," Yates, & Co. to promote it.
This they promised to do, and did after an original fashion. Several
pounds worth of pence and half-pence were distributed through the house,
so that when Andrew with his traitorous aides went round to collect
monies, it miraculously happened to be all coppers, unrelieved by a
single sparkle of silver or gold. On which, in a red rage (and he often
was in the like) he flung the whole bowlful into the long-room fire,
from the ashes whereof for days after the small boys gladly collected
hot half-pence. We must recollect that the canny Scot was a mean
over-reaching man, so perhaps he was well paid out. Soon after the
wedding, the bridegroom held high festival, and gave a grand dinner to
all the masters. Our big boys were equal to the occasion, and as the
hired waiters from the Falcon brought out the viands (all was a delusive
peace as they went in) our harpies flew upon the spoil, and each meat,
fish and fowl was cleared off the great dishes held between the helpless
hands of the astonished servitors! It was really too bad, but if a man
is so manifestly unpopular no doubt he deserves it. Rugbeians would not
have so served Arnold. Nearly all my schoolmates are dead, and I cannot
call on Charles Roe or Frank Ellis to corroborate my small anecdotes,
but I could till lately on Sir William Knighton and one or two more. In
a crowd of five hundred scholars (Russell's average number, afterwards
much diminished, until Godalming brought up the tale), there must be
many still extant and of eminence whom I would name if I did but know
them. Certainly, yes, Trevelyan was my next neighbour in the "emeriti,"
and there was Hebert, the one distinguished in the State, the other in
the Church; also Cole, and his noble chief of Enniskillen, whom I have
visited at Florence Court; and Walford, our great genealogist, with many
more; among the more recent dead, let me mention my good friend
Archibald Mathison, lately an Indian Judge, and Robert Curzon, and
Arthur Helps, the historian of Mexico. Thackeray I knew then but very
slightly, as he was a lower schoolboy, and John Leech not at all,
because he was a day boy, seeing that the upper school was made to keep
foolishly aloof from all such; however, in after years I made good
acquaintance with both of those true geniuses, and had Leech down to
Albury, and to illustrate my tales, whilst I have several times
compared judgments with Thackeray as to Doctor Birch and his young
friends and other scholia.

For the matter of my practical education at Charterhouse, I like others
went through the usual course, though without much distinction. I never
gained a prize, albeit I tried for some, by certain tame didactic poems
on the Tower, Carthage, and Jerusalem, and as I couldn't as a stammerer
speak in school, high places were out of my reach. Like others, however,
I learned by heart all Horace's odes and epodes, the Ajax and the
Antigone of Sophocles, and other like efforts of memory, almost useless
in after life, except for capping quotations, and thereby being thought
a pedant by the display of schoolboy erudition. How often have I wished
that the years wasted over Latin verses and Greek plays had been
utilised among French and German, astronomy, geology, chemistry and the
like; but all such useful educationals were quite ignored by the
clerical boobies who then professed to teach young gentlemen all that
they needed to know. Sixty years ago I perceived what we all see now
(teste Lord Sherborne) that a most imperfect classical education, such
as was then provided for us, was the least useful introduction to the
real business of life, except that it was fashionable, and gave a man
some false prestige in the circle of society. At about sixteen I left
Charterhouse for a private tutor, Dr. Stocker, then head of Elizabeth
College, Guernsey, seeing my father wished to do him a service for
kindly private reasons; I was not at the College, but a pupil in his own
house: however, as this other Rev. D.D. proved a failure, I was passed
on to a Rev. Mr. Twopeny of Long Wittenham, near Dorchester, staying
with him about a year with like little profit; when I changed to Mr.
Holt's at Albury, a most worthy friend and neighbour, with whom I read
diligently until my matriculation at Oxford, when I was about nineteen.
With Holt, my intimate comrade was Harold Browne, the present Bishop of
Winchester, and he will remember that it was our rather mischievous
object to get beyond Mr. Holt in our prepared Aristotle and Plato, as we
knew he had hard work to keep even in the race with his advanced pupils
by dint of midnight oil. With this good tutor and the excellent
ministrations of Hugh M'Neile, the famous rector of Albury, my _status
pupillaris_ comes technically to an end, Oxford being practically
independence; albeit I am sure that education can cease only with human
life, even if it be not carried further, onward and upward, through the
cycles of eternity.

As I did not care to stop the continuity of this gossiping record
(perhaps too light and too frank, but it is best unaltered) I must now
hark back for a few years, to fill in whatever small details of early
life and primitive literature happened to me, between school and
college. Truly, much of this amounts to recording trivialities; but
boyhood, not to say life also, is made up of trifles; and there is
always interest to a reader in personal anecdotes and experiences, the
more if they are lively rather than severe. Let this excuse that lengthy
account of "My Schooldays."



CHAPTER III.

YOUNG AUTHORSHIP IN VERSE AND PROSE.


Of my earliest MS., written soon after my seventh birthday, I have no
copy, and only a very confused memory: but I remember that my good
mother treasured for years and showed to many friends something in the
nature of an elegy which a broken-hearted little brother wrote on the
death of an infant sister from his first school: this is only mentioned
in case any one of my older readers may possibly supply such a lost MS.
in a child's roundhand. At school, chiefly as a young Carthusian, I
frequently broke out into verse, where prose translation was more
properly required: seeing that it pleased my indolence to be poetical
where I was not sure of literal accuracy, and (I may add) it rejoiced me
to induce a certain undermaster to suspect and sometimes to accuse this
small poetaster of having "cribbed" his metrical version from some
unknown collection of poems: however, he had always to be satisfied with
my assurance as to authenticity, for he was sure to be baffled in his
inquiries elsewhere.

One such instance is extant as thus,--for I kept a copy, as the
assembled Charterhouse masters seemed to think it too good to be
original for a small boy of twelve to thirteen. Here then, as a specimen
of one of my early bits of literature, is a genuine and unaltered poem
(for any modern improvements would not be honest) in the shape of a
translated Greek epigram from the Anthologia:--

    "Not Juno's eye of fire divine
    Can vie my Melite, with thine
      So heavenly pure and bright;
    Nor can Minerva's hand excel
    That pretty hand I know so well,
      So small and lily-white.

    "Not Venus can such charms disclose
    As those sweet lips of blushing rose
      And ivory bosom show;
    Not Thetis' nimble foot can tread
    More lightly o'er her coral bed
      Than thy soft foot of snow.

    "What happiness thy face bestows
    When smiling on a lover's woes!
      Thrice happy then is he
    Who hears thy soul-subduing song,--
    O more than blest, to whom belong
      The charms of Melite!"

I was head of the lower school then, and I remember the father of Bernal
Osborne patting my curly locks and scolding his whiskered son for
letting a small boy be above him.

Much about this time, and until I left Charterhouse at sixteen, there
proceeded from my pen numerous other mild rhymed pieces and sundry
unsuccessful prize poems; _e.g._, three on Carthage, the second Temple
of Jerusalem, and the Tower of London, whereof I have schoolboy copies
not worth notice; besides divers metrical translations of Horace,
Æschylus, Virgil; and a few songs and album verses for young lady
friends, one being set by a Mr. Sala (perhaps G.A.S. had a musical
relative) with an impromptu or two, whereof the following "On a shell
sounding like the sea" is a fair specimen for a boy:--

    "I remember the voice of the flood
      Hoarse breaking upon the rough shore,
    As a linnet remembers the wood
      And his warblings so joyous before."

Of course, this class of my juvenile lyrics was holiday work, and barely
worth a record, except to save a fly in amber, like this.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whilst I was at Charterhouse, occurred my first Continental journey,
when my excellent father took his small party all through France in his
private travelling carriage, bought at Calais for the trip (it was long
before railways were invented), and I jotted down in verse our daily
adventures in the rumble. The whole journal, entitled "Rough Rhymes," in
divers metres, grave and gay, was published by the "Literary Chronicle"
in 1826, and the editor thereof, Mr. Jerdan, says, after some
compliments, "the author is in his sixteenth year,"--which fixes the
date. Possibly, a brief specimen or two of this may please: take the
livelier first,--on French cookery: if trivial, the lines are genuine: I
must not doctor anything up even by a word.

    "Now Muse, you must versify your very best,
    To sing how they ransack the East and the West,
    To tell how they plunder the North and the South
    For food for the stomach and zest for the mouth!
    Such savoury stews, and such odorous dishes,
    Such soups, and (at Calais) such capital fishes!
    With sauces so strange they disguise the lean meat
    That you seldom, or never, know what you're to eat;
    Such fricandeaux, fricassees epicurean,
    Such vins-ordinaires, and such banquets Circean,--
    And the nice little nothings which very soon vanish
    Before you are able your plate to replenish,--
    Such exquisite eatables! and for your drink
    Not porter or ale, but--what do you think?
    'Tis Burgundy, Bourdeaux, real red rosy wine,
    Which you quaff at a draught, neat nectar, divine!
    Thus they pamper the taste with everything good
    And of an old shoe can make savoury food,
    But the worst of it is that when you have done
    You are nearly as famish'd as when you begun!"

For a more serious morsel, take the closing lines on Rouen:--

    "Yes, proud Cathedral, ages pass'd away
    While generations lived their little day,--
    France has been deluged with her patriots' blood
    By traitors to their country and their God,--
    The face of Europe has been changed, but thou
    Hast stood sublime in changelessness till now,
    Exulting in thy glories of carved stone,
    A living monument of ages gone!--
    Yet--time hath touch'd thee too; thy prime is o'er,--
    A few short years, and thou must be no more;
    Ev'n thou must bend beneath the common fate,
    But in thy very ruins wilt be great!"

More than enough of this brief memory of "Sixty Years Since," which has
no other extant record, and is only given as a sample of the rest,
equally juvenile. Three years however before, this, my earliest piece
printed, I find among my papers a very faded copy of my first MS. in
verse, being part of an attempted prize poem at Charterhouse on
Carthage, written at the age of thirteen in 1823; for auld langsyne's
sake I rescue its conclusion thus curtly from oblivion,--though no doubt
archæologically faulty:--

    "Where sculptured temples once appeared to sight,
    Now dismal ruins meet the moon's pale light,--
    Where regal pomp once shone with gorgeous ray,
    And kings successive held their transient sway;--
    Where once the priest his sacred victims led
    And on the altars their warm lifeblood shed,--
    Where swollen rivers once had amply flowed
    And splendid galleys down the stream had rowed,
    A dreary wilderness now meets the view,
    And nought but Memory can trace the clue!"

The poor little schoolboy's muse was perhaps quite of the pedestrian
order: but so also, the critics said, had been stern old Dr. Johnson's
in his "London."

Mere school-exercises (whereof I have some antique copybooks before me),
cannot be held to count for much as early literature; though I know not
why some of my Greek Iambic translations of the Psalms and Shakespeare,
as also sundry very respectable versions of English poems into Latin
Sapphics and Alcaics still among my archives, should not have been
shrined--as they were offered at the time--in Dr. Haig Brown's
Carthusian Anthology. However somehow these have escaped printer's
ink,--the only true _elixir vitæ_--and we must therefore suppose them
not quite worthy to be bracketed with the classical versification of
Buchanan or even of Mr. John Milton,--albeit actually superior to sundry
of the aforesaid Anthologia Carthusiana; so of these we will say
nothing.

Of other sorts of schoolboy literaria whereof from time to time I was
guilty let me save here (by way of change) one or two of my trivial
humoristics: here is one, not seen in print till now; "Sapphics to my
Umbrella,--written on a very rainy day," in 1827. N.B. If Canning in his
Eton days immortalised sapphically a knifegrinder, why shouldn't a young
Carthusian similarly celebrate his gingham?

    "Valued companion of my expeditions,
    Wanderings, and my street perambulations,
    What can be more deserving of my praises
            Than my umbrella?

    "Under thine ample covering rejoicing,
    (All the 'canaille' tumultuously running)
    While the rain streams and patters from the housetops,
            Slow and majestic,

    "I trudge along unwetted, though an ocean
    Pours from the clouds, as if some Abernethy
    Had given all the nubilary regions
            Purges cathartic!

    "Others run on in piteous condition,
    Black desperation painted in their faces,
    While the full flood descends in very pailfuls
            Streaming upon them.

    "Yea, 'tis as if some cunning necromancer
    Had drawn a circle magically round me,
    Till like the wretched victim of Kehama,
            (Southey's abortion)

    "Nothing like liquor ever could approach me!
    But it is thou, disinterested comrade,
    Bearest the rainy weather uncomplaining,
            Oh, my umbrella!

    "How many hats, and 'upper Bens,' and new coats,
    How many wretched duckings hast thou saved me
    Well--I have done--but must be still indebted
            To my umbrella!"

Another such trifle may be permissible, as thus: also about an umbrella,
a stolen one. On the occasion of my loss I wrote this to rebuke the
thief, "The height of honesty:"--

    "Three friends once, in the course of conversation,
      Touch'd upon honesty: 'No virtue better,'
    Says Dick, quite lost in sweet self-admiration,
      'I'm sure I'm honest;--ay--beyond the letter:
    You know the field I rent; beneath the ground
      My plough stuck in the middle of a furrow
    And there a pot of golden coins I found!
      My landlord has it, without fail, to-morrow.'
    Thus modestly his good intents he told:
      'But stay,' says Bob,' we soon shall see who's best,
    A _stranger_ left with me uncounted gold!
      But I'll not touch it; which is honestest?'
    'Your honest acts I've heard,' says Jack, 'but I
      Have done much better, would that all folks learn'd it,
    Mine is the highest pitch of honesty--
      I borrow'd an umbrella and--_return'd it!!_'".

_N.B._--I remember that Dr. Buckland, whose geological lectures I
attended, had the words "Stolen from Dr. Buckland" engraved on the ivory
handle of _his_ umbrella: he never lost it again.

In the way of prose, not printed (though much later on I have since
published "Paterfamilias's Diary of Everybody's Tour") I have kept
journals of holiday travel _passim_, whereof I now make a brief mention.
Six juvenile bits of authorship are before me, ranging through the
summers of 1828 to 1835 inclusive; each neatly written in its note-book
on the spot and at the time (therefore fresh and true) decorated with
untutored sketches, and all full of interest ab least to myself in old
memories, faded interests, and departed friends. As very rare survivals
of the past (for who cares to keep as I have done his schoolboy journals
of half a century ago?) I will give at haphazard from each in its order
of time a short quotation by way of sample,--a brick to represent the
house. My first, A.D. 1828, records how my good father took his
sons through the factories of Birmingham and the potteries of
Staffordshire, down an iron mine and a salt mine, &c. &c., thus teaching
us all we could learn energetically and intelligently; it details also
how we were hospitably entertained for a week in each place by the
magnate hosts of Holkar Hall and Inveraray Castle; and how we did all
touristic devoirs by lake, mountain, ruin, and palace: in fact, a short
volume in MS., whereof quite at random here is a specimen page. "Melrose
looks at a distance very little ruinous, but more like a perfect
cathedral. While the horses were being changed we walked to see this
Abbey, a splendid ruin, with two very light and beautiful oriel windows
to the east and south, besides many smaller ones; the architecture being
florid Gothic. The tracery round the capitals of pillars is in wonderful
preservation, looking as fresh and sharp as on the first day of their
creation; instead of the Grecian acanthus _Scotch kail_ being a
favourite ornament. Some of the images still remain in their niches. In
the east aisle is the grave of the famous wizard, Michael Scott, and at
the foot of the tombstone a grim-looking figure,--query himself? In the
ruined cloisters the tracery is of the most delicate description,
foliage of trees and vegetables being carved on them. This Abbey was
founded by David the First, but repaired by James the Fourth, which
accounts for his altered crown appearing in stone on the walls," &c. &c.
The Scotch kail is curious, as indicative of national preference: and
is the wizard still on guard? Recollect that in those days there were no
guide-books,--so every observant traveller had to record for himself
what he saw.

The next, in 1829, was a second visit to the Continent, my first having
been in 1826, with those quotations from "Rough Rhymes" which have
already met your view. In this we took the usual tour of those days,
_viâ_ Brussels and the Rhine to Switzerland, and I might quote plenty
thereof if space and time allowed. Here shall follow a casual page from
the 1829 MS. Journal, now before me.

"Heidelberg has a university of seven hundred students, who wear no
particular academicals, but are generally seen with a little red or blue
cap topping a luxuriant head of hair, a long coat, and moustaches which
usually perform the function of a chimney to pipe or cigar. All along
our to-day's route extended immense fields of tobacco, turnips, and
vegetals of every description. Most of the women seem to be troubled
with goitres, and we observed that all who have them wear rows of
garnets strung tight on the part affected, whether with the idea of
hiding the deformity, or of rendering the beauty of the swelling more
conspicuous, or of charming it away, I cannot tell. The roads in these
parts are much avenued with walnut trees: Fels, our courier, told me
that of all trees they are most subject to be struck by lightning, and
that under them is always a current of air. I insert his information, as
he is both a sensible man, and has had great opportunities of
observing," &c. &c. Here is a gap of three years.

In 1832, my journal about Dorsetshire and the Isle of Wight is chiefly
geological: as this extract shows, it was mainly a search after fossil
spoils at Charmouth:--"Would you like to see a creature with the head of
a lizard, wings of a bat, and tail of a serpent? Such things have been,
as these bones testify; they are called Pterodactyls, and are as big as
ravens. Thus, you see, a dragon is no chimera, but attested by a science
founded on observation, Geology. As their bones (known by their
hollowness) often occur in the coprolites or fossil dung of Plesiosauri,
mighty monsters of the deep like gigantic swans, it is thought they were
their special prey, for which the long and flexible neck of the
Plesiosaurus is an _à priori_ argument," &c. &c.

The 1833 journal is Welsh; and, _inter alia_, I therein drew and I now
record that recently destroyed and more recently restored Druidical
movement, the Buckstone: "A solid mass of rock, not of living adamant
but of dead pudding-stone, seemingly 'by subtle magic poised' on the
brow of a steep and high hill, wooded with oaks: the top of this mass of
rock is an area of fifty-four feet, its base being four, and the height
twelve. It was once a logan stone, but now has no rocking properties;
though most perilously poised on the side of a slope, and certainly, if
in part a work of nature, it must have been helped by art, seeing the
mere action of the atmosphere never could have so exactly chiselled away
all but the centre of gravity. The secret of the Druids, in this
instance at least, was in leaving a large mass behind, which as a lever
counteracted the preponderance of the rock." I drew on the spot two
exact views of it, taken to scale,--whereof this is one,--now of some
curious value, since its intentional destruction last year by a snobbish
party of mischievous idiots. (However, I see by the papers that, at a
cost of £500, it has been replaced.) Let this touch suffice as to my
then growing predilection for Druidism, since expanded by me into
several essays find pamphlets, touching on that strange topic, the
numerous rude stone monuments from Arabia to Mona.

[Illustration]

The 1834 journal regards Scotland,--a country I have since visited
several times, including the Orkneys and Shetlands, and the voyage round
from Thurso _viâ_ Cape Wrath to the Hebrides; whereof, perhaps, more
anon. For a specimen page of this let me give what follows; the locality
is near Inverness and the Caledonian Canal: "We now bent our steps
toward Craig Phadrick, two miles north. This is the site of one of the
celebrated vitrified forts, concerning the creation of which there has
been so much learned discussion. And verily there is room, for there is
mystery: I will detail what we saw. On the summit of a steep hill of
conglomerate rock we could trace very clearly a double oblong enclosure
of eighty yards by twenty, with entrances east and west, a space of five
yards being between the two oblongs. The mounds were outwardly of turf,
but under a thin skin of this was a thick continuous wall of molten
stone, granite, gneiss, and sandstone, bubbling together in a hotchpot!
The existence of these forts (occurring frequently on the heights and of
various shapes) is attempted to be explained by divers theories. One man
tells us they were beacons; but, first, what an enormous one is here,
one hundred and twenty-four feet by sixty of blazing wood, timber being
scarce too! next, they sometimes occur in low situations from which a
flame could scarcely be seen; thirdly, common wood fire will not melt
granite. Another pundit says they are volcanic. O wondrous volcano to
spout oblong concentric areas of stone walls! Perhaps the best
explanation is that the Celts cemented these hilltops of strongholds by
means of coarse glass, a sort of red-hot mortar, using sea-sand and
seaweed as a flux. This is Professor Whewell's idea, and with him we had
some interesting conversation on that and other subjects." Of this
Scotch tour, full of interest, thus very curtly. Turn we now to Ireland
in 1835. My record of just fifty years ago is much what it might be now,
starvation, beggary, and human wretchedness of all sorts in the midst of
a rich land, through indolence relapsed into a jungle of thorns and
briars, quaking bogs, and sterile mountains; whisky, and the idle
uncertain potato, combining with ignorance and priestcraft, to
demoralise the excitable unreasoning race of modern Celts. Let us turn
from the sad scenes of which my said diary is full, to my day at the
spar caverns of Kingston. "At the bottom of a stone quarry, we clad
ourselves in sack garments that mud wouldn't spoil, and with lit candles
descended into the abyss, hands, knees, and elbows being of as much
service as our feet. Now, I am not going to map my way after the manner
of guide-books, nor to nickname the gorgeous architecture of nature
according to the caprice of a rude peasant on the spot or the fancy of a
passing stranger. I might fill a page with accounts of Turks' tents,
beehives, judges' wigs, harps, handkerchiefs, and flitches of bacon, but
I rather choose to speak of these subterranean palaces with none of such
vulgar similarities. No one ever saw such magnificence in stalactites;
from the black fissured roofs of antres vast and low-browed caves they
are hanging, of all conceivable shapes and sizes and descriptions. Now a
tall-fluted column, now a fringed canopy, now like a large white sheet
flung over a beetling rock in the elegant folds and easy drapery of a
curtain, everywhere are pure white stalactites like icicles straining to
meet the sturdier mounds of stalagmite below; whilst in the smaller
caves slender tubes extend from top to bottom like congealed rain. One
cavern is quite curtained round with dazzling and wavy tapestry; another
has gigantic masses of the white spar pouring from its crannied roof
like boiled Brobdingnag macaroni; others like heaps of snowy linen lying
about or hanging from the ceiling. The extent of the caves is quite
unknown: eleven acres (I was told) have been surveyed and mapped, while
there are six avenues still unexplored, and you may already wander for
twenty-four hours through the discovered provinces of the gnome king."
This is not to be compared with Kentucky, perhaps not quite with
Derbyshire; but it seemed to me marvellous at the time. Let this much
suffice as hinted reference to those early journals, which, if the world
were not already more full of books than of their readers, would be as
well worth printing in their integrity as many others of their bound and
lettered brethren.

In connection with these journals, I have been specially requested to
add to the above this record following (dated forty-four years ago) as a
specimen of my letter-writing in old days: it has pen-and-ink sketches,
here inserted by way of rough and ready illustration. The whole letter
is printed in its integrity as desired, and tells its own archæological
tale, though rather voluminously; but in the prehistoric era before
Rowland Hill arose, to give us cheap stamps for short notes, it was an
economy to make a letter as long as possible to pay for its exorbitant
postage: for example, my letters to and from Oxford used to cost
eightpence--or double if in an envelope, then absurdly surcharged.


_My Cornish Expedition._

     [Illustration: [The Arms of Cornwall]

     8th and 9th of January 1840.

     "FOR ONE AND ALL"]

     [Illustration]

     [Illustration]

     My Dear Mother, and all good Domiciliars,--

     I suppose it to be the intention of our worshipful and right
     bankrupt Government that everybody write to everybody true, full,
     and particular accounts of all things which he, she, or it, may
     have done, be doing, or be about to do; and seeing I may have
     something to say which will interest you all, I fulfil the
     gossiping intentions of the Collective Wisdom, and give you an
     omnibus epistle. Now, I recommend a good map, a quiet mind, and as
     Charley says, Atten_tion_.--The bright, clear, frosty morning of
     the 8th found me at Devonport, and nine o'clock beheld the same
     egregious individual, well-benjamined, patronising with his bodily
     presence the roof of the Falmouth coach. A steam ferry-bridge took
     us across the Hamoaze, which, with its stationed hulks, scattered
     shipping, and town and country banks, made, as it always makes, a
     beautiful landscape. At Torpoint we first encountered venerable
     Cornwall; and a pretty drive of sixteen miles, well wooded, and
     watered by several intrusions of the unsatisfied sea, brought coach
     and contents to Liskeard, a clean, granite, country town, with
     palatial inn, and (in common with the whole of Devonshire and
     Cornwall) a large many gabled church, covered with carved cathedral
     windows, and shadowed by ancient elms. Not being able to accomplish
     everything, I heard of, but saw not, divers antiquities in the
     distant neighbourhood of St. Clare, such as a circle of stones, an
     old church and well, and the natural curiosity called the
     cheese-ring, being a mass of layered granite capriciously
     decomposed: these "unseen ones" (what a mysterious name for a
     three-volumed Bentleyism!) I do not regret, for I know how to
     appreciate those wonders, the only enchantment whereof is,
     distance. So suffered I conveyance to Lostwithiel, a town lying in
     a hollow under the pictorial auspices of Restormel Castle, whose
     ivied ruins up the valley are fine and Raglandish: while the rest
     were bolting a coach dinner, I betook me to ye church, and was
     charmed with a curious antique font, and the tower, an octagon
     gothic lantern with extinguisher atop, like this: as far as memory
     serves me. Onward again, through St. Blazey, and a mining district,
     not ill-wooded, nor unpicturesque, to the fair town of St. Austle,
     which the piety of Cornish ancestors has furnished with another
     splendid specimen of ecclesiastical architecture, the upper half of
     the chief tower, a square one, being fretted on every stone with
     florid carving, and grotesque devices: but what shall I say of
     Probus tower, which from top to bottom is covered with delicate
     tracery cut in granite? it rises above the miserable surrounding
     village, a satire upon neighbouring degeneracy in things religious:
     you must often have seen drawings of Probus at the Watercolour
     Exhibition, as it is a regular artists' lion. At about half-past
     six we got into Truro, a clean wide flourishing town with London
     shops, a commemorative column, a fine spired church, bridges over
     narrow streams, and, like most other West of England towns, well
     payed and gas-lighted. From this, I had intended to go to Falmouth,
     but a diligent brain-sucking of coach comrades induced me to jump
     at once into a branch conveyance to Penzance, so passing sleepy
     Redruth, Camborne, and St. Erth in the dark, I found myself safely
     housed at the Union Inn, Penzance, at half-past eleven. Talking of
     unions, the country is studded here as everywhere with them; fine
     buildings put to the pernicious use of imprisoning for life those
     whose only crime is poverty, and destined to be metamorphosed ere
     long (so I prophesy) into lunatic asylums for desperate
     ministerialists, prisons for the Chartists, veterinary colleges for
     cattle with the rot, and as one good end, hospitals for the poor.
     Near Redruth, I took notice in the moonlight of Carn-bréh, the
     remains of a British beacon or hill-fort, much of the antiquarian
     interest of which has been destroyed by a neighbouring squire
     having added to it _modern_ ruins, to make it an object from his
     hall! the whole hill, like much of the country, is sprinkled with
     granite blocks higgledi-piggledy, and it is a grand dispute among
     the pundits, whether or not the Archdruid Nature has been playing
     at marbles in these parts; I wished to satisfy myself about it, but
     couldn't stop, and so there's no use in grummering about regrets.
     I've seen enough, to be able to judge _à priori_, that father
     Noah's flood piled the hill with blocks, which have served one Dr.
     Borlase and others as occasions for earning the character of
     blockheads. One thing is man's doing, without _much_ dispute, and
     that is, an obelisk in honour of old Lord De Dunstanville, which is
     a conspicuous toothpick on the hilltop: no doubt, as in this case,
     nature brought the stones there, and man did his part in arranging
     them; poor Dr. B. would have you believe that every natural rock
     had been lifted here bodily for architectural purposes, and as
     bodily made a most elaborate and labyrinthine ruin afterwards. At
     Penzance, a broiled fish supper, and to bed by midnight, having
     ordered a twilight gig, wherein by 7 on the ninth I was traversing
     the beautiful bay. Penzance is a fine town in a splendid situation;
     the bay, bounded by the Lizard and its opposite bold
     brother-headland, inclosing St. Michael's Mount, and having a
     fertile and villa-studded background; the town full of good
     handsome shops (one like the Egyptian Hall), a large cathedralish
     church, and with a very special market-place, of light granite, in
     the form of a plain Grecian temple, surmounted at the middle by an
     imposing dome. As I had duly culled information from the natives, I
     lost no time in breakfasting, but drove off, bun in hand, to
     explore the country of the Druids. Now, if the matters I succeeded
     in visiting were in isolated and plain situations, they might have
     been less disappointing; but where the face of the whole soil is
     covered naturally with jutting rocks, and timeworn boulders of
     granite, one doesn't feel much astonishment to see some one stone
     set on end a little more obviously than the rest, or to find out by
     dint of perseverance a little arrangement, which may or may not be
     accidental: added to this, the cottages, and walls, and field
     enclosures are built of such immense blocks cleared off the surface
     of the fields, that one's mind is prepared for far more than the
     Druids ever did: many a Stonehengeified doorway, many a Titanic
     pigstye, many a "Pelion-on-Ossa" questionable-sentry box, puts one
     out of conceit with our puny ancestors. I went first to the
     Dâns-mene, a famous stone-circle; and felt not a little vexed to
     find that I, little i, am feet taller than any of the uprights
     there, not 25 in number, and no bigger than field gateposts. It is
     evidently the consecrated portion of a battlefield, for there are
     several single stones dotted about the neighbourhood, to mark where
     heroes fell; like those at Inveraray, but smaller. The habit all
     through Cornwall of setting up a stone in every field, for cattle
     to scratch themselves withal, seems to be a sly satire against
     other rubbing-stones for A.S. Ses. A few dreary miles further
     brought me to the "voonder of voonders," the Logan-Rock, which on
     the map is near Boskenna. The cliff and coast scenery is superb;
     immense masses of granite of all shapes and sizes tumbled about in
     all directions; what wonder that in such a heap of giant pebbles
     _one_ should be found ricketty? or more, what wonder that the very
     decomposing nature of coarse granite should have caused the
     atmosphere to eat away, gradually, all but the actual centre of
     gravity? both at the Logan, and Land's End, and Mount St. Michael,
     I am sure I have seen a hundred rocks wasted very nearly to the
     moving point, and I could mention specifically six, which in 20
     years will rock, or in half an hour of chiselling would. In part
     proof of what I say, the Land-End people, jealous of Logan
     customers, have just found out a great rock in their parts, which
     two men can make to move; I recommended a long-handled chisel, and
     have little doubt that my hint will be acted on; by next season,
     the Cornish antiquaries will be puzzling their musty brains over
     marks of "druidical" tools; essays will appear, to demonstrate that
     the chippings were accomplished by the consecrated golden sickle;
     the rock will be proved to have been quarried at Normandy, and
     ferried over; facsimiles of the cuts will be lithographed; and the
     Innkeeper of the "First and Last house in England" will gratefully
     present a piece of plate (a Druid "spanning" [consider Ezekiel's
     "putting the branch to the nose" as a sign of contempt]!) to the
     author of "Hints for a Chisel," "Proverbial Phil.," &c. &c. &c.
     But--_revenous à nos moutons_: to _the_ Logan: until it was
     scrupulously pointed out, by so tangible a manner as my boy-guide
     getting _on_ it, I could scarcely distinguish it from the fine
     hurlyburly of rocks around. That it moves there is no question; but
     when I tell you that it is now obliged to be artificially kept from
     falling, by a chain fixing it behind, and a beam to rest on before,
     I think you will agree with me in muttering "the humbug!" Artists
     have so diligently falsified the view, _ad captandum_, that you
     will have some difficulty in recognising so old a friend as the
     Logan: it is commonly drawn as if isolated, _thus_, and would so,
     no doubt, be very astonishing; but, when my memory puts it as
     above, stapled, and _obliged_ to remain for Cockneys to log it,
     surrounded by a much more imposing brotherhood, my wonder only is
     that it keeps its lion character, and that, considering the easy
     explication of its natural cause or accident, it should ever have
     been conceived to be man's doing; perhaps the Druids availed
     themselves of so lucky a chance for miracle-mongering, but as to
     having contrived it, you might as well say that they built the
     cliffs. It strikes me, moreover, that Cornwall could never have
     been the headquarters of Druidism, inasmuch as the soil is too
     scanty for oaks: there isn't a tree of any size, much less an oak
     tree in all West Cornwall: they must have cut samphire from the
     rocks, instead of misletoe from oaks, and the old gentlemen must
     have been pretty tolerable climbers, victim and all, to have got
     near enough to touch the Logan: to be sure it was a frosty day, and
     iron-shod shoes on icy granite are not over coalescible, but I did
     not dare scramble to it, as a tumble would have insured a
     particularly uncomfortable death; and although the interesting
     "Leaper from the Logan, or Martin Martyr" would have had his name
     enshrined in young lady sonnets, and azure albums, such immortality
     had little charms for me. I contented myself with being able to
     swear that I have seen 90 tons of stone moved by a child of ten
     years old. Near it is another, called the logging lady, a block,
     upright like its neighbours, about 12 feet high, and which the boy
     told me could only be made to log by two men with poles; in fact,
     one end is worn with levers: well, I told him to try and move it;
     no use, says he; try, said I; he did try, and couldn't; well, I
     took a sight of where I thought he could do it, and set him to
     push; forthwith, my lady tottered, and I told the boy, if he would
     only keep to himself where he pushed it would be a banknote to him.
     I mention this to illustrate what I verily believe, to wit, that,
     if a man only took the breakneck trouble to clamber and try, he
     would discover several rocking-stones; but the fact is, this would
     diminish the wonder, and Cockneys wouldn't come to see what is
     easily explained: your Druids, with imaginary dynamics, invest
     nature's freaks with mysterious interest. But away to Tol Peden
     Penwith, where there is another curiosity; in the smooth green
     middle of a narrow promontory, surrounded and terminated by the
     boldest rock-scenery, strangely drops down for a perpendicular
     hundred feet, a circular chasm, not ill named the Funnel, and which
     not even a stolid Borlase can pretend was dug by the Druids: at the
     bottom there is communication with the sea by means of a cavern,
     and in stormy weather the rush up this gigantic earth's
     chimney-must be something terrible: will this convey a rough idea?
     the scenery all round is really magnificent, and the looking down
     this black smooth stone-pit is quite fearful; it slopes away so
     deceitfully, and looks like a huge lion-ant's nest. Few people see
     this, because you can only get at it by a walk of a mile, but I
     think it quite as worth seeing as the logan-rock. My next object
     was the Land's End, where, as elsewhere, I did signalise myself by
     _not_ scribbling my autograph on a rock, or carving M.F.T. on the
     sod: the rocky coast is of the same grand character; granite bits,
     as big as houses, floundering over each other like whales at play;
     the cliffs, cavernous, castellated, mossgrown, and weatherbeaten;
     it looks _like_ a Land's end, a regular break up of the world's
     then useless ribs: an outlier of rocks in the sea, surmounted by a
     lighthouse: looks _like_ the end of the struggle between conquering
     man, and sturdy desolation. One place, where I tremble to think I
     have been, struck me as quite awful: helped by an iron-handed
     sailor, who comforts you in the dizzy scramble with "Never fear,
     sir, you shan't fall, unless I fall too," you fearfully pick your
     way to the extreme end, where it goes slick down, and lying
     prostrate on the slippery granite (which looks disjointed
     everywhere, and as if it would fall with you, bodily) with head
     strained over you see under you a dreadful cavern, open nearly to
     where you are, up which roars the white and angry sea. O brother
     David, and foot-tingling Sire, never can you take that look; and
     never would I again. Only think of tipping over! ugh.--Into the gig
     again, beside my shrewd Sam Weller driver, and away. Here and there
     about this part of Cornwall are studded rude stone crosses,
     probably of the time of St. Colomba, as they are similar to those
     at Iona: about two or three feet high, and very rude. In one place,
     I noticed what seemed to be a headless female figure, perhaps the
     Virgin, and as large as life: my Jehu said he had heard that it
     once had a head. We soon came to a small square inclosure, said to
     be a most ancient cemetery; I scrambled over the wall, and found
     among the briars and weeds one solitary tomb of a venerable and
     Runic aspect, but I soon found out that it recorded the name of
     somebody who departed Ye LYFE somewhere in 1577; nothing so
     extremely ancient. A rough rock-besprinkled hill now attracted me,
     as I heard it was called another Carn-bréh, and was surmounted by
     some mound, or ruin: so out of the gig, and up in no time. Clearly
     it had been an ancient beacon place, as atop are the remains of a
     small square-built terrace inclosing some upright stones placed
     irregularly,--a sort of huge fireplace. One of the neighbouring
     rocks presented on its surface a fine specimen of what are called
     rock basins; but unluckily for the antiquary, this excavation is on
     the side of the stone, not on the summit; so that it could not
     possibly hold water, and is clearly caused by some particular moss
     eating away the stone.--By three o'clock returned to Penzance, had
     dinner (it was breakfast too), bought a mineral memorial, and in
     the gig again, over the sands to the outlandishly named Mara Zion,
     or Market Jew, words probably of similar import. Opposite to this
     little place, and joined to it by a neck of rocks passable at
     low-water, stands that picturesque gem, Mount St. Michael. You know
     the sort of thing; an abrupt, pyramid of craggy rock, crowned with
     an edifice, half stronghold and half cathedral. It is a home of the
     St. Aubyn family, and is well kept up in the ancient style, but in
     rather a small way: a portcullised entrance, old armour hanging in
     the guard-room, a beautiful dining-hall with carved oak roof, and
     panels, and chairs; a chapel to match, with stained windows; an
     elegant Gothic drawing-room, white and gold; and everything, down
     to black-leather drinking jugs, in character with the feudal
     stronghold. I mounted the corkscrew tower, and got to the broken
     stone lantern they call St. Michael's chair; an uncomfortable job,
     but rewarded by a splendid panorama, gilt by the setting sun: in
     the chapel too, I descended into a miserable dungeon communicating
     with a monk's stall, where doubtless some self-immured penitent had
     wasted life away, only coming to the light for matins, and only
     relieved from solitary imprisonment by midnight mass. This has been
     discovered but very lately in repairing the chapel: it was walled
     up, and contained a skeleton. As a matter of course, this old
     castle contains a little hidden room, where that ubiquitous
     vagabond, the royal Charles, laid his hunted head: the poor
     persecuted debauchee sponged upon all his friends like Bellyserious
     Buggins. Back again, by water this time, to little Mara Zion, but
     ever and anon looking with admiration on that beautiful mount; the
     western rocks are really magnificent, as big as the largest
     hay-stacks, and tumbled about as loosely as an emptied sugar-basin;
     some hanging by a corner, and others resting on a casual fragment;
     I am sure of one logan-stone, if a little impertinent bit of rock
     were only moved away; and I walked under and between more Titanic
     architecture than Stonehenge can show: the Druids, for my part,
     shall have their due, but not where they don't deserve it. At nine,
     after a substantial fried-fish tea, I mounted the night coach to
     Falmouth,--outside, as there was no room in, and so, through
     respectable Helstone, remarkable for a florid Gothic arch erected
     to some modern worthy of the town, to decent Penryn, and then by
     midnight, to the narrowest of all towns, Falmouth. I longed to get
     back to my darlings, and resolved to see them by next morning, so
     booked an outside (no room inside, as before) for an immediate
     start. Now, you can readily imagine that I was by no means hot, and
     though the night of Thursday last was rather mild, still it was
     midwinter: accordingly I conceived and executed a marvellous
     calorificating plan, which even the mail-coachman had never heard
     of. Haying comforted my interiors with hot grog of the stiffest, I
     called for another shillingsworth of brandy, and deliberately
     emptied it, to the astonished edification of beholders, into my
     boots! literal fact, and it kept my feet comfortable all night
     long. And so, wrapped all in double clothing, sped I my rapid way,
     varying what I had before seen by passing through desolate Bodmin,
     and its neighbourhood of rock, moor, and sand: hot coffee at
     Liskeard, morning broke soon after, then the glorious sun over the
     sea. Hamoaze, the ferry, and Devonport at 1/2 past 8. Much as I
     longed to get home, I went forthwith into a hot bath at 102, to
     boil out all chills, and thence went spick and span to my happy
     rest, having within 48 hours seen the best part of Cornwall and its
     wonders, and rode or walked 250 miles. And so, brother David,
     commend me for a traveller. HERE ends my Cornish
     expedition. Does it recall to thee, O sire, thine own of old time,
     undertaken (if I remember rightly) with Dr. Kidd?--Mails then did
     not travel like the Quicksilver, averaging 12 miles an hour, and
     few people go 40 miles before breakfast. Now, I feel able to get
     nearer my Albury destination, and in a week or so, shall hope to be
     residing at Dorchester, near the Blandford of paternal
     recollections. Did you, dear mother, get a letter from me directed
     to Albury? I hope so, for it sets all clear: and if not, I'll set
     the nation against cheap postage. I don't feel the least confidence
     now in the Post Office, forasmuch as they have no interest in a
     letter after it is paid, and many will be mislaid from haste and
     multiplicity. Please to say if it came safely to hand, as I judge
     it important. If you, dear mother, got my last, I have nothing more
     to say, and if not, I'll blow up the Post Office: unpopularity
     would send all the letters by carriers: but whether or not, I can't
     write any more, so with a due proportion of regards rightly
     broadcast around, accept the remainder from--Your affectionate son,

                                                           M.F.T.

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CHAPTER IV.

COLLEGE DAYS.


In 1829 I was entered as a commoner at Christ Church, Oxford, and went
through the usual course of lectures with fair success. As a family we
have all favoured Oxford rather than Cambridge: my father and two
cousins, Elisha and Carré, were at Exeter College, to take the benefit
of its Sarnian Exhibitions; my brother Daniel was at Brasenose, and my
brother William gained a scholarship of Trinity. When at Christ Church I
wore the same academical gown which my father had,--and have it still; a
curious antiquity in the dress line, now some fourscore years old, and
perfect for wear and appearance,--such as would have rejoiced the Sartor
Resartus of Carlyle. At college I did not do much in the literary line,
unless it is worth mention that translations from the Greek or Latin
poets were always rendered by me in verse not prose, and that I
published anonymously "A Voice from the Cloister," being an earnest
appeal to my fellow-collegians against the youthful excesses so common
in those days.

From this pamphlet I give an extract, as it is scarce; it began with
blank verse and ended with rhyme, all being for the period courageously
moral and religious. The end is as thus:--

    "Enough, sad Muse, enough thy downward flight
    Has cleft with wearied wing the shades of night:
    Be drest in smiles, forget the gloomy past,
    And, cygnet-like, sing sweeter at the last,
    Strike on the chords of joy a happier strain
    And be thyself, thy cheerful self, again.
    Hail, goodly company of generous youth,
    Hail, nobler sons of Temperance and Truth!
    I see attendant Ariels circling there,
    Light-hearted Innocence, and Prudence fair,
    Sweet Chastity, young Hope, and Reason bright,
    And modest Love, in heaven's own hues bedight,
    Staid Diligence, and Health, and holy Grace,
    And gentle Happiness with smiling face,--
    All, all are there; and Sorrow speeds away,
    And Melancholy flees the sons of day;
    Dull Care is gladden'd with reflected light,
    And wounded Sin flies sickening at the sight.

    "My friends, whose innate worth the wise man's praise
    And the fool's censure equally betrays,
    Accept the humble blessing of my Muse,
    Nor your assistance to her aim refuse,
    She asks not flattery, but let her claim
    A kind perusal, and a secret name."

I scarcely like to mention it, as a literary accident, but being a
curious and unique anecdote it shall be stated. I had the honour at
Christ Church of being prizetaker of Dr. Burton's theological essay,
"The Reconciliation of Matthew and John," when Gladstone who had also
contested it, stood second; and when Dr. Burton had me before him to
give me the £25 worth of books, he requested me to allow Mr. Gladstone
to have £5 worth of them, as he was so good a second. Certainly such an
easy concession was one of my earliest literary triumphs.

My first acquaintance with Gladstone, whom I have known from those
college days now for more than five and fifty years, was a memorable
event, and may thus be worthy of mention. It was at that time not a
common thing for undergraduates to go to the communion at Christchurch
Cathedral--that holy celebration being supposed to be for the particular
benefit of Dean and Canons, and Masters of Arts. So when two
undergraduates went out of the chancel together after communion, which
they had both attended, it is small wonder that they addressed each
other genially, in defiance of Oxford etiquette, nor that a friendship
so well begun has continued to this hour. Not that I have always
approved of my friend's politics; multitudes of letters through many
years have passed between us, wherein if I have sometimes ventured to
praise or to blame, I have always been answered both gratefully and
modestly: but I have ever tried to hold the balance equally too,
according to my lights, and if at one time (on occasion of the great
Oxford election, 1864) I published a somewhat famous copy of verses,
ending with

    "Orator, statesman, scholar, wit, and sage,
    The Crichton,--more, the Gladstone of the age,"

my faithfulness must in after years confess to a well-known palinode
(one of my "Three Hundred Sonnets") commencing

    "Beware of mere delusive eloquence,"

and a still more caustic lyric, beginning with

    "Glozing tongue whom none can trust,"

and so forth, as a caution against a great man's special gift, so
proverbially dangerous. Some of our most honest Ministers, _e.g._,
Althorpe and Wellington, have been very bad speakers: some of our most
eloquent orators have proved very bad Ministers.

And in this place I may introduce some account, long ago in print, of
the famous Aristotle class under the tutorship of Mr. Biscoe at Christ
Church, wherein (among far nobler and better scholars) your present
confessor took the lowest seat.

Fifty years ago Biscoe's Aristotle class at Christ Church was comprised
almost wholly of men who have since become celebrated, some in a
remarkable degree; and, as we believe that so many names, afterwards
attaining to great distinction, have rarely been associated at one
lecture-board, either at Oxford or elsewhere, it may be allowed to one
who counts himself the least and lowest of the company to pen this brief
note of those old Aristotelians.

Let the central figure be _Gladstone_--ever from youth up the beloved
and admired of many personal intimates (although some may be politically
his opponents). Always the foremost man, warm-hearted, earnest,
hard-working, and religious, he had a following even in his teens; and
it is noticeable that a choice lot of young and keen intelligences of
Eton and Christ Church formed themselves into a small social sort of
club, styled, in compliment to their founder's initials, the "W.E.G."

Next to Gladstone Lord _Lincoln_ used to sit, his first parliamentary
patron at Newark, and through life to death his friend. We all know how
admirably in many offices of State the late Duke of Newcastle served his
country, and what a good and wise Mentor he was to a grateful Telemachus
in America.

_Canning_ may be mentioned thirdly; then a good-looking youth with
classic features and a florid cheek, since gone to "the land of the
departed" after having healed up the wounds of India as her
Governor-General. Next to the writer, one on each side, sat two more
Governors-General _in futuro_, though then both younger sons and
commoners, and now both also gone to their reward elsewhere; these were
_Bruce_, afterwards Lord Elgin, and _Ramsay_, Lord Dalhousie; the one
famous from Canada to China, the other noted for his triumphs in the
Punjaub. When at Toronto in 1851, the writer was welcomed to the
splendid hospitality of Lord Elgin, and the very lecture-room here
depicted was mentioned as "a rare gathering of notables." Lord
_Abercorn_ was of the class, a future viceroy; Lord _Douglas_, lately
Duke of Hamilton, handsome as an Apollo, and who married a Princess of
Baden; and if Lord _Waterford_ was infrequent in his attendance, at
least he was eligible, and should not be omitted as a various sort of
eccentric celebrity. Then _Phillimore_ was there, now our Dean of the
Arches; _Scott_ and _Liddell_, both heads of houses, and even then
conspiring together for their great Dictionary. _Curzon_ too (lately
Lord De la Zouch) was at the table, meditating Armenian and Levantine
travels, and longing in spirit for those Byzantine MSS. preserved at
Parham, where the writer has delighted to inspect them; how nearly
Tischendorf was anticipated in his fortunate find of that earliest
Scripture, no one knows better than Lord Zouch, who must have been close
upon that great and important discovery! _Doyle_, now Professor of
Poetry, _Hill_, of Mathematics, _Vaughan_, of History--all were of this
wonderful class; as also the Earl of _Selkirk_, celebrated as a
mathematician; Bishops _Hamilton_, _Denison_, and _Wordsworth_; and
_Cornewall Lewis_, late Chancellor of the Exchequer; and _Kynaston_,
Head Master of St. Paul's; and a member of Parliament or two, as, for
example, _Leader_, once popular for Westminster.

Now, other names of almost equal eminence may have been here
accidentally omitted, but the writer will not guess at more than he
actually recollects. Sometimes--for the lecture was a famous
one--members of other colleges came in; _Sidney Herbert_, of Oriel, in
particular, is remembered; and if _Robert Lowe_, of University, was only
occasionally seen, it must have been because he seldom went abroad till
twilight.

Altogether "there were giants in those days;" and, without controversy,
a casual class, containing more than a score of such; illustrious names
as are here registered, must be memorable. The lecture-room was next to
Christ Church Hall, where that delicate shaft supports its exquisite
traceried roof; the book was "Aristotle's Rhetoric," illustrated by each
reader with quotations, a record whereof is still _penes me_, and the
lecturer, now no longer living, was that able and accomplished classic,
the Reverend _Robert Biscoe_.

My college days are full of recollections of men, since become famous in
literature, art, science, or position: of these the principal are
already recorded as having been members of the Aristotle class. Let me
add here, that I lived for three weeks of my first term in the gaily
adorned rooms in Peckwater of the wild Lord Waterford; and afterwards in
Lord Ossulston's, both being then absent from college; that Frank
Buckland and his bear occupied (long after I had left) my own chambers
in Fells' Buildings; that I was a class-mate and friend of the luckless
Lord Conyers Osborne, then a comely and ruddy youth with curly hair and
gentle manners, and that I remember how all Oxford was horrified at his
shocking death--he having been back-broken over an arm-chair by the
good-natured but only too athletic Earl of Hillsborough in a wine-party
frolic; that Knighton, early an enthusiast for art, used to draw his own
left hand in divers attitudes with his right every day for weeks; and
that some not quite unknown cotemporary used to personate me at times
for his own benefit. As he has been long dead, I may now state that he
was believed to be Lord Douglas of Hamilton. Here is the true story. One
day the Dean requested my presence, and thus addressed me: "I have long
overlooked it, Mr. Tupper, but this must never occur again: indeed I
have only waited till now, because I knew of your general good conduct."

"What have I done, Mr. Dean: be pleased to tell me."

"Why, sir, the porter states that this is the fifth time you have not
come into college until past twelve o'clock."

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Dean; there is some mistake: for I have never
once been later than ten."

"Then, Mr. Tupper, somebody must have given your name in the dark: and I
request that you will do your best to discover who did this, and report
it to me."

As I failed to do it, after some days, again the Dean sent for me; and
finding after question made that I pretty well guessed the delinquent
but declined to expose him, the Dean kindly added--"This does you
credit, sir," and I left. A few days passed, and I was brought up again
with "I think you are intended for the Church, Mr. Tupper." As well as I
could manage it, I stammered out that it was impossible, as I could not
speak. Then he said he was sorry for that, as he meant to nominate me
for a studentship. This, however, never came to pass, and so the matter
dropped; until Dean Gaisford succeeded Dean Smith, and Joseph lost his
Pharaoh.

At college I lived the quiet life of a reading-man; though I varied
continually the desk and the book with the "constitutional" up
Headington Hill, or the gallop with Mr. Murrell's harriers, or the quick
scull to Iffley, or the more perilous sailing in a boat (no wonder that
Isis claims her annual victims), or the gig to Blenheim or
Newton-Courtnay,--or that only once alarming experience of a tandem when
the leader turned round and looked at me in its nostalgic longing to
return home,--or the geological ramble with Dr. Buckland's class,--or
the botanic searchings for wild rarities with some naturalist pundit
whose name I have forgotten; and so forth. In matters theological, I was
strongly opposed to the Tractarians, especially denouncing Newman and
Pusey for their dishonest "non-naturalness" and Number Ninety: and I
favoured with my approval (_valeat quantum_) Dr. Hampden. I attended Dr.
Kidd's anatomical lectures, and dabbled with some chemical
experiments--which when Knighton and I repeated at his father's house, 9
Hanover Square, the baronet in future blew us up to the astonishment of
the baronet _in præsenti_, his famous father. Also, I was a diligent
student in the Algebraic class of Dr. Short, afterwards the good Bishop
of St. Asaph; and I have before me now a _memoria technica_ of mine in
rhyme giving the nine chief rules of trigonometry, but not easily
producible here as full of "sines and cosines, arcs, chords, tangents,
and radii," though helpful to memory, and humorous at the time, ending
with

    "At least I have proved that nothing is worse
    Than Trigonometrical Problems in verse:"

there are also similarly to be recorded my mathematical _séances_ with
that worthy and clever Professor, A.P. Saunders, afterwards headmaster
of Charterhouse; and my Hebrew lectures with the mild-spoken Dr. Pusey,
afterwards so notorious; and I know not whatever else is memorable,
unless one condescended to what goes without saying about Hall and
Chapel, and Examinations: however, some frivolous larks in the Waterford
days, wherewith I need not say the present scribe had nothing to do, may
amuse. Here are three I remember; 1. An edict had gone out from the
authorities against hunting in pink,--and next morning the Dean's and
the Canons' doors in quad were found to have been miraculously painted
red in the night. 2. There was a grand party of Dons at the Deanery, and
as they hung their togas in the hall (for they couldn't conveniently
dine in them) there was filched from each proctorial sleeve that
marvellous little triangular survival of a stole which nobody can
explain, and all these collectively were nailed on the Dean's outer door
in a star. 3. A certain garden of small yews and box trees was found one
morning to have been transplanted bodily into Peckwater Quadrangle, as a
matter of mystery and defiance. And there were other like exploits; as
the immersion of that leaden Mercury into its own pond; and town and
gown rows, wherein I remember to have seen the herculean Lord
Hillsborough on one side of High Street, and Peard (afterwards
Garibaldi's Englishman) on the other, clear away the crowd of roughs
with their fists, scattering them like duplicates of the hero of
Corioli.

Of course I duly took my degrees of B.A. and M.A.,--and long after of
D.C.L., when the Cathedral chimes rang for me, as they always do for a
grand compounding Doctor.

A mentionable _curio_ of authorship on that occasion is this: whatever
may be the rule now, in those days the degree of D.C.L. involved a
three-hours' imprisonment in the pulpit of the Bodleian Chapel, for the
candidate to answer therefrom in Latin any theological objectors who
might show themselves for that purpose; as, however, the chapel was
always locked by Dr. Bliss, the registrar, there was never a possibility
to make objection. So my three hours of enforced idleness obliged me to
use pencil and paper, which I happened to have in my pocket,--and I then
and there produced my poem on "The Dead"--to be found at p. 26 of my
Miscellaneous Poems, still extant at Gall & Inglis's--a long one of
eighteen stanzas, much liked by Gladstone amongst others. I didn't
intend it certainly, but, as the poem ends with the word "bliss," it was
ridiculously thought that I had specially alluded to the registrar!



CHAPTER V.

ORDERS: AND LINCOLN'S INN.


Soon after leaving Oxford, and when some attempts to help my speech
seemed to be partially successful, my father wished me to take orders,
which also from religious motives was my own desire (for M'Neile at
Albury, and Bulteel at Oxford, had been instruments of good to me, the
first since I was 15, the other as a young collegian) and as Earl
Rivers, whom my father had financially assisted promised me a living,
and a curacy was easy where the mere licence was enough by way of
salary, I soon found myself standing for introductory approval before
Bishop Burgess at his hotel in Waterloo Place, a candidate for orders by
Examination. The good Bishop being a Hebrew scholar was glad enough to
hear that I (with however slight a smattering) had studied that
primitive tongue under Pusey and Pauli,--and I began to hope before his
awful presence. But, when he told me to read, and soon perceived my only
half-cured infirmity, he faithfully enough assured me with sorrow that I
could not be ordained unless I had my speech. So that first and sole
interview came to an untimely end: for soon after, not meaning to give
up the struggle at once, I resolved, before my next Episcopal visit, to
go down to Blewbury, the vicarage of my friend Mr. Evanson, who had
agreed to license me to his curacy, in order that by reading the lessons
in church I might practically test my competency. Of course, I prepared
myself specially by diligence, and care, and prayer, to stand this new
ordeal. But I failed to please even the indulgent vicar, though he got
his curate for nothing, and though his fair daughter amiably welcomed
the not ungainly Coelebs; and as for the severe old clerk,--he naïvely
blurted out, "Tell'ee what, sir, it won't do: you looks well,--but what
means them stops?" Alas! they meant the rebellion of tongue and lips
against every difficult letter, a _t_, or a _p_, or a far too current
_s_. And so I came to the wise conclusion that I was not to be a parson.
And perhaps it's as well I'm not; for my natural combativeness would
never have tolerated my bishop or my rector, or even the parish
churchwarden, specially in these days of Ritualism and Romanism. I was
thus thrown back upon myself: and I now see gratefully and humbly how I
was being schooled and forced into a mental era of silent
thoughtfulness, in after years the seed of several volumes as well as
innumerable ballads and poems which have flown as fly-leaves over the
world.

After this clerical failure, my good father urged me to turn to the law,
thinking that as a chamber counsel my intellectual attainments (and I
had worked hard for many years) might yet be available to society and to
myself, though on the "silent system:" but alas! verbal explanations are
as necessary in a room as at the bar; I soon perceived that all could
not be done on paper, and as I thoroughly hated law I speedily turned to
other sorts of literature, in especial the fixing of my own rhymed or
rhythmed thoughts in black and white.

There is a small chamber in the turret of No. 19 Lincoln's Inn Old
Square, on the second floor of rooms then belonging to my late friend
Thomas Lewin (afterwards a Master in Chancery, and well known not only
for his Law books, but also for his Life of St. Paul) where I used to
dream and think and jot down Proverbial morsels on odd bits of paper
which gradually grew to be a book. Lewin once, I remember, picked up
from the wastepaper basket these lines which he admired much, and asked
me where they came from:

    "For that a true philosophy commandeth an innocent life,
    And the unguilty spirit is lighter than a linnet's heart."

They occur in my Essay on Ridicule, first series, so I had to confess as
found out.

When my book appeared Lewin offered to review it for me in the _Literary
Gazette_, then edited by his friend Mr. Landon, L.E.L.'s brother. An
unusual rush of business just then coming in to him, and the editor
pressing for copy, Lewin begged me to write the Article myself, to which
I most reluctantly assented; resolving however to be quite impartial.
The result was that when I handed the critique to my busy friend, he
quickly said after a hurried glance, "Why, this won't do at all; you
have cut yourself up cruelly, instead of praising, as you ought to have
done. I must do it myself, I suppose. Here, copy out this Opinion for
me, if you can read it: it's Mr. Brodie's, and I can't." With that he
threw my MS. into the wastepaper basket, and I did his work for him,
whilst he commended me with due vigour, and sent his clerk off with a
too kind verdict in hot haste to the expectant editor.

The mention of Brodie reminds me that I spent a year copying old deeds
in his murky chamber, 49 Lincoln's Inn Fields, where nobody could read
his handwriting except his clerk (appropriately yclept Inkpen), and
when _he_ couldn't it was handed back to Mr. Brodie for exposition,
wherein if he himself failed, as was sometimes the case, he had to write
a new Opinion. Inkpen was a character, as a self-taught entomologist,
breeding in me then the rabies of collecting moths and beetles, as a
couple of boxes full of such can still prove. He lived at Chelsea, near
the Botanical Gardens there; and attributed his wonderful finds of
strange insects in his own pocket-handkerchief garden to stray
caterpillars and flies, &c., that came his way from among the packets of
foreign plants. He used also to catch small fowl on passengers' coats
and blank walls, as he passed on his daily walks to his office and back,
having pill-boxes in his pocket, and pins inside his hat to secure the
spoil. In the course of years he had amassed butterflies and beetles to
so valuable an extent, that when he was compelled by adverse fortune to
sell his cabinets by auction at Stevens's, he netted £1200 for his
collection: this he told me in later years himself; immediately after
the sale, he commenced collecting anew,--and having been made curator of
Lincoln's Inn Fields (through Mr. Brodie's interest), he soon found an
infinity of new insects,--derived perhaps from the Surgeon's Hall
Museum, or straying to the nine acres of that Garden,--is it not the
area of Cephren's Pyramid?--as a refuge for them out of smoky London.
The good man always brought a new flower to look at every morning while
at desk work; it lived in an old inkbottle of water, till one happy day
I bethought me charitably of giving him a pretty China vase,--that good
man, I say, is now long since gone to a world of light and
beauty--whence, I am sure, flowers and butterflies cannot be excluded.

About the same time this memorable matter may receive a notice. One day
at Brodie's chambers we heard a riotous noise in Lincoln's Inn Fields,
and running out, I found that the Duke of Wellington, for some political
offence, was being mobbed,--and that too on the 18th of June! He was
calmly walking his horse, surrounded by roaring roughs,--a groom being
behind him at some distance, but otherwise alone. Disgusted at the
scene, I jumped on the steps of Surgeon's Hall, and shouted
out--Waterloo, Waterloo! That one word turned the tide of execrations
into cheers, and the Iron Duke passed me silently with a military
salute: as the mob were thus easily converted ("mob" being, as we
conveyancers say, a short form for "mobilé", changeable) and escorted
our national hero to his home in safety, I really think the little
incident worth recording. We are just now in the throes of such a
mobocracy,--and know how much one firm policeman can avail to calm a
riot. While speaking of the Duke and Apsley House, let me add here
another word of some interest. My uncle, Arthur W. Devis, had painted
life-sized portraits of Blucher and Gneisenau, which his widow had given
to me: and as the Duke had always been my father's friend, I asked his
Grace if he would accept them from me; this he declined, but said, "get
Colnaghi to value them and I'll buy them"--as accordingly I did, and the
pictures are still I presume either at Apsley House or Strathfieldsaye.
My small memories of the Great Duke are summed up in these four
monosyllables, plain, blunt, firm, kind.

After Brodie's, my liberal father would give for me another hundred
pounds, this time to his cousin Mr. Walters of No. 12 in the Square, to
make me more learned as a conveyancer: but it was all of no use: "He
penned a stanza when he should engross:" however, I ate my terms and was
duly called to the Bar. At Walters' my most eminent colleague, amongst
others, was Roundel Palmer, now Lord Selborne, who, some time after,
when we both had chambers in the Inn, wanted me (but I repudiated the
idea) to be proposed as a candidate member for Oxford University, just
before Gladstone was induced to stand; I daresay he will remember it. As
to M.P.ship I may have had other chances, but I never cared for a
position of endless care and toil by night and day, to say nothing of my
impediment of speech, and as to the magic letters I rather despised
them: this being one reason. Not very many years ago my brother Charles
was offered Nottingham if he would pay £3000 for the honour,--and so I
failed to appreciate any such distinction. I think too that votes were
at one time purchasable even at Guildford, my county town: but that was
of course at a less upright and immaculate time of day than this.

At Walters' were also three of my cotemporaries,--De Morgan, who had the
business after decease of our principal, and whose brother is or was the
famous psychological philosopher; Domville, since Sir Charles, I
believe; and Gunn, a West Indian, of whom the jest was to inquire of
Walters, a very nervous man, if he liked us to have a gun in chambers:
all these, and there were more, were clever men and worthy, but as the
tide of life flows on I have lost sight of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just found an old letter of my own, dated December 28, 1839,
which (with my own permission asked and granted) I will give as to a
matter quite forgotten by me, viz., that Lady Spencer promised my
father to get me an Indian Writership,--as also that previously I had
once hopes of the Registrarship from Lord John Russell, afterwards given
to Mr. Lyster. The letter proves how much my no-speech hindered both my
good father's efforts and my own;--and explains itself. In those days it
cost 9d. between Albury and London.

     My Dearest Father,--I can fully, though not perhaps so
     fully as you can, enter into your great anxieties about your five
     great boys, and actuated by this sympathy I sit down to say a word
     more about India.--I do hope you have not yet given Lady Spencer a
     decisive answer, as the horizon seems a little to clear of its
     indigenous hurricanes. Since my last letter to you I have, I can
     truly say, made every effort to speak like a man, but, alas I too
     unsuccessfully: my tongue seems only able to say veto to the
     Church, and that speaking is a necessary qualification "needs no
     demonstration." Aunt Fanny has strongly recommended me to think
     more seriously about it, and Mr. M'Neile has also given me his
     valuable opinion on the subject, that at least I must inquire what
     I am more fitted for, and not lightly put aside those opportunities
     which Providence places in my way. However, I would by no means be
     hurried in my choice either way: I must inquire what is the office
     of a writer; whether oratorical powers be not requisite, &c., for
     as yet I have a very vague and indefinite idea of what I reject or
     choose. I really do find my impediment most truly a grievous
     impediment to what appears more desirable; but I would wish to
     consider this, as every other constitutional infirmity or
     affliction, as but an instrument in the hands of God to subserve
     some wise purpose. Let this letter therefore, if you please, serve
     as a preventive, if not too late, to your final decision about it,
     and put me, my dear father, in possession of more of the peculiar
     features, in a writer's employment if you can, I hope to be with
     you on Friday.

     Till then, and ever believe me, my dear father, your affectionate
     son,

                                                     M.F. Tupper.

     Albury, _December 28th, Wednesday._

The day after I took my degree as a barrister, I married my cousin after
a nine years' engagement; my father having resolved I should not marry
without a profession. I did my best at this vocation of the law much
against the grain, and actually achieved, with Lewin's help, a
voluminous will, and a marriage settlement, with some accessory deeds,
procured for me by my mother's friend Mr. Hunt, through one Dangerfield,
a solicitor. I have often felt anxious to know how far my conveyancing
held water; but the thought of Lewin's skill has comforted me--and
besides I have never heard a word about it now for half a century. My
fee for all was fifty guineas--pretty well for a first and last exploit
in the way of law and its rewards.

As I am just leaving my father's house for Park Village, and thereafter
Albury, here I will insert two little memories of past days when I lived
with my parents at No. 5. Here is one. Theodore Hook's famous Berners
Street hoax had lately made such exploits very catching among
schoolboys--and in my Charterhouse days it was repeated by "Punsonby &
Co." at my father's town-house. On a certain Saturday when I had my
weekly holiday at home, I marvelled to find the street crowded with
vans, coal-carts, trucks, a mourning coach, fishmongers, butchers, and
confectioners with trays, and a number of servants wanting places. All
these were crowding round No. 5, as ordered or advertised for by Mr.
Tupper: of course soon explained away, and rejected, to a general
indignation at the hoaxers. Now, as I had my suspicions, I sat unseen at
the front drawing-room window, and watched: and as more than once I had
noticed P. and his friends pass down the street on the opposite side, I
taxed them with their exploit on the Monday; and I rather think it cost
them not a trifling sum to satisfy that crowd of disappointed tradesmen.
Happily such practical joking is now long since (or ought to be) a
social outrage of the past; Hook's being first had the grace of original
humour,--but imitations are dull repetition, not to be excused. I only
once met Theodore Hook, and that was in his decadence; he looked puffy
and only semi-sober; but I recollect with how much deference and
expectation the "livener-up" was eagerly surrounded, and how sillily the
dupes laughed at every word he uttered, whether humorous or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

For another last memory of No. 5, in the dining-room whereof Lord
Sandwich, who had once lived there, is said to have invented
"sandwiches," I will record this.

In those days of long ago, how well I remember our next-door neighbour,
old Lady Cork, "The Dowager-Countess of Cork and Orrery," as her
door-plate proclaimed, some of whose peculiarities I may mention without
offence, as they were notorious and (the physicians judged) innocent
and venial. Whenever she found herself alone (and she kept profuse
hospitality three or four days a week, with her vast illuminated
conservatory full of artificial flowers and grapes and oranges tied on
everything), when those famous routs were silent, and dance music no
longer kept us awake at night, the little old lady would send in a
message, asking "neighbour Tupper to give her a dinner
to-day"--sometimes even coming unannounced. She usually appeared all in
white, even to her shoes and bonnet, which latter she would keep on the
whole evening; the only colour about her being rouged cheeks, sometimes
decorated with a piece of white paper cut into the shape of a heart, and
stuck on "to charm away the tic." Well, her ladyship was always full of
society anecdotes; and I only wish that her diary may soon be published,
as probably a more spicy record of past celebrities than even Pepys's in
old times, or Greville's in our own; but she is said to have left
instructions to her executors not to publish till every one mentioned by
her was dead: so we must wait till that tontine is over. But the
specialty of the aged countess, who died at past ninety but never owned
to more than sixty, was a propensity to annex small properties; always
it happened that next morning after a visit either her butler or her
lady's-maid would bring to us a spoon or a fork or a piece of
_bric-à-brac_ which she had carried off with her in seeming
unconsciousness; and as she never inquired for them afterwards, possibly
it was so. Let doctors decide. _Requiescat._ The forthcoming memoirs of
that once famous and lovely Miss Monckton will be interesting indeed, if
not over-edited.



CHAPTER VI.

STAMMERING AND CHESS.


One of the apparent calamities of my life (overruled, as I have long
since seen, for good) was the before-mentioned affliction of a very bad
impediment of speech, which blighted my youth and manhood from fifteen
to thirty-five, obliging me to social humiliations of many kinds, to
silence in class and on examination occasions (hence my written poetries
in lieu of spoken prose), and in early manhood preventing me from taking
orders, and thereafter from speaking in the law courts. But I was
hopelessly and practically a dumb man, except under special excitations,
when I could burst into eloquent speech which surprised third persons
more than myself; for when quite alone I could spout like Demosthenes;
it was only nervous fear that paralysed my tongue. Accordingly, my good
father placed me from time to time with well-meaning and well-paid
pretenders to make a perfect cure of my affliction, and I did many
things and suffered much from such false physicians. I am sure no one
can truly say what I can, viz., that in a purposely monotonous note and
syllable by syllable, with a crutch under my chin, and a sort of gag on
the rebellious tongue, I have read all through in a loud voice Milton's
whole Paradise Lost and Regained, and the most of Cowper's poems! That
was the sort of tongue-drill and nerve-quieting recommended and enforced
for many hours a day, through weary months, by a certain Mr. C., while
Dr. P., his successor to the well-named "patient," gave, first,
emulcents, and then styptics, and was fortunately prevented in time by
my father from some surgical experiments on the muscles of lip and
tongue. However, nobody could cure me, until I cured myself; rather, let
me gratefully and humbly confess, until God answered constant prayer,
and granted stronger bodily health, and gave me good success in my
literary life, and made me to feel I was equal in speech, as now, to the
most fluent of my fellows. So let any stammerer (and there are many
such) take comfort from my cure, and pray against the trouble as I did,
and courageously stand up against the multitude to claim before heaven
and earth man's proudest prerogative--the privilege of speech. In my
Proverbial Essay "Of Speaking" will be found two contrasted pictures
drawn from my own experiences: one of the stifled stammerer, the other
of the unbridled orator: which you can turn to as you will. As, however,
some of my old groanings after utterance are not equally accessible, I
will here give a few lines of mine from the "Stammerer's Complaint,"
printed in the medical book of one of my Galens:--

        "... And is it not in truth
    A poisoned sting in every social joy,
    A thorn that rankles in the writhing flesh,
    A drop of gall in each domestic sweet,
    An irritating petty misery,--
    That I can never look on one I love
    And speak the fulness of my burning thoughts?
    That I can never with unmingled joy
    Meet a long-loved and long-expected friend
    Because I feel, but cannot vent my feelings,--
    Because I know I ought, but must not, speak,--
    Because I mark his quick impatient eye
    Striving in kindness to anticipate
    The word of welcome strangled in its birth?
    Is it not sorrow, while I truly love
    Sweet social converse, to be forced to shun
    The happy circle, from a nervous sense--
    An agonising poignant consciousness--
    That I must stand aloof, nor mingle with
    The wise and good in rational argument,
    The young in brilliant quickness of reply,
    Friendship's ingenuous interchange of mind,
    Affection's open-hearted sympathies?
    But feel myself an isolated being,
    A very wilderness of widowed thought!"

All this is only sad stern truth; nothing morbid here: let any poor
stammerer testify to my faithfulness. Amongst others afflicted like
myself was Charles Kingsley, whom I knew well at a time when I had
overcome my calamity; whereas he carried his to the grave with him;
though he had frequent gleams of a forced and courageous eloquence,
preaching energetically in a somewhat artificial voice,--in private he
stammered much, as once I used to do, no doubt to his mortification,
though humbly acquiescing in God's will.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chess is a chief intellectual resource to the stammerer; for therein he
can conquer in argument without the toil of speech, and prove himself
practically more eloquent than the men full of talk whom he so much
envies. Accordingly, in days gone by (for of late years I have given it
up, as too toilsome a recreation) I played often at that royal game. In
these times it is no game at all,--but a wearisome if seductive
science; just as cricket is an artillery combat now, and football a most
perilous conflict, and boating breaks the athlete's heart, and billiards
can only be played by a bar-spot professional, and tranquil whist itself
has developed into a semi-fraudulent system of open rules and secret
signs; even so the honest common-sense old game of chess has come to be
so encumbered with published openings and gambits and other parasitic
growths upon the wholesome house-plant, that I for one have renounced
it, as a pursuit for which life is too short and serious (give me a
farce or a story instead), and one moreover in which any fool well up to
crammed book games may crow over the wisest of men in an easy, because
stereotyped, checkmate. However, in this connection, I recollect a small
experience which proves that positive ignorance of famous openings may
sometimes be an advantage; just as the skilled fencer will be baffled by
a brave boor rushing in against rules, and by close encounter
unconventionally pinning him straight off. When a youth, just before
matriculation, I was a guest at Culham of the good rector there, a
chess-player to his own thinking indomitable, for none of the neighbours
could checkmate him: so he thought to make quick work of a silent but
thoughtful boy-stammerer,--by tempting him at an early period of the
game to take, seemingly for nothing but advantage, a certain knight (his
usual dodge, it appeared) which would have ensured an ultimate defeat.
However, I declined the generous offer, which began to nettle my
opponent; but when afterwards I refused to answer divers moves by the
card (as he protested I ought), and finally reduced him to a positive
checkmate, he flew into such an unclerical rage that I would not play
again; his "revenge" might be too terrible. For another trivial chess
anecdote: a very worthy old friend of mine, a rector too, was fond of
his game, and of winning it: and I remember one evening that his ancient
servitor, bringing in the chessboard, whispered to me, "Please don't
beat him again, sir,--he didn't sleep a wink last night;" accordingly,
after a respectably protracted struggle, some strange oversights were
made, and my reverend host came off conqueror: so he was enabled to
sleep happily. I remember too playing with pegged pieces in a box-board
at so strange a place as outside the Oxford coach; and I think my
amiable adversary then was one Wynell Mayow, who has since grown into a
great Church dignitary. If he lives, my compliments to him.

One of the best private chess-players I used often to encounter,--but
almost never to beat, is my old life-friend, Evelyn of Wotton, now the
first M.P. for his own ancestral Deptford. It was to me a triumph only
to puzzle his shrewdness, "to make him think," as I used to say,--and if
ever through his carelessness I managed a stale, or a draw,--very seldom
a mate,--that was glory indeed. If he sees this, his memory will
countersign it.

Let so much suffice, as perhaps a not inappropriate word about the
Literary Life's frequent mental recreation, especially, where the player
is, like Moses, "not a man of words."

One day, by the by, this text in the original, "lo ish devarim anochi"
(Exod. iv. 10), came to my lot in Pusey's Hebrew class, to my special
confusion: but every tutor was very considerate and favoured the one who
couldn't speak, and Mr. Biscoe in particular used to say when my turn
came to read or to answer,--"Never mind, Mr. Tupper, I'm sure you know
it,--please to go on, Mr. So-and-So." This habitual confidence in my
proficiency had the effect of forcing my consciousness to deserve it;
and it usually happened that I really did know, silently, like
Macaulay's cunning augur, "who knew but might not tell."

Speaking of recreation, Izaak Walton's joy as a contemplative man has
been mine from youth; as witness these three fishing sonnets, just found
in the faded ink of three or four decades ago, which may give a gleam of
country sunshine on a page or two, and would have rejoiced my
piscatorial friends Kingsley and Leech in old days, and will not be
unacceptable to Attwood Matthews, Cholmondeley Pennell, and the Marstons
with their friend Mr. Senior in these. I have had various luck as an
angler from Stennis Lake to the Usk, from Enniskillen to Killarney, from
Isis to Wotton,--and so it would be a pity if I omitted such an
authorial characteristic; especially as my stammering obliged me to
"study to be quiet."

    I.

    "Look, like a village Queen of May, the stream
      Dances her best before the holiday sun,
      And still, with musical laugh, goes tripping on
    Over these golden sands, which brighter gleam
      To watch her pale-green kirtle flashing fleet
      Above them, and her tinkling silver feet
    That ripple melodies: quick,--yon circling rise
      In the calm refluence of this gay cascade
    Marked an old trout, who shuns the sunny skies,
      And, nightly prowler, loves the hazel shade:
    Well thrown!--you hold him bravely,--off he speeds,
      Now up, now down,--now madly darts about,--
    Mind, mind your line among those flowering reeds,--
      How the rod bends,--and hail, thou noble trout!"

    II.

    "O, thou hast robbed the Nereids, gentle brother,
      Of some swift fairy messenger; behold,--
      His dappled livery prankt with red and gold
    Shows him their favourite page: just such another
        Sad Galatæa to her Acis sent
      To teach the new-born fountain how to flow,
        And track with loving haste the way she went
    Down the rough rocks, and through the flowery plain,
      Ev'n to her home where coral branches grow,
    And where the sea-nymph clasps her love again:
        We the while, terrible as Polypheme,
      Brandish the lissom rod, and featly try
      Once more to throw the tempting treacherous fly
        And win a brace of trophies from the stream."

    III.

    "Come then, coy Zephyr, waft my feathered bait
        Over this rippling shallow's tiny wave
        To yonder pool, whose calmer eddies lave
    Some Triton's ambush, where he lies in wait
      To catch my skipping fly; there drop it lightly:
        A rise, by Glaucus!--but he missed the hook,--
        Another--safe! the monarch of the brook,
      With broadside like a salmon's, gleaming brightly:
        Off let him race, and waste his prowess there;
        The dread of Damocles, a single hair,
    Will tax my skill to take this fine old trout;
      So,--lead him gently; quick, the net, the net!
    Now gladly lift the glittering beauty out,
      Hued like a dolphin, sweet as violet."



CHAPTER VII.

PRIZE POEMS, ETC.


In the course of my Oxford career I tried for two Newdigate Prize poems,
"The Suttees" and the "African Desert," won respectively by Claughton,
now Bishop of St. Albans, and Rickards, whose honours of course I ought
to know, but don't. A good-looking and well-speaking friend of mine,
E.H. Abney, now a Canon, was so certain that the said prizes in those
two successive years were to fall to me, that he learnt my poems by
heart in order to recite them as my speech-substitute in the Sheldonian
Theatre at Commemoration, and he used frequently to look in upon me to
be coached in his recital. It was rumoured that I came second on both
occasions,--one of them certainly had a 2 marked on it when returned to
me, but I know not who placed it there. However, my pieces were
afterwards printed; both separately, and among my "Ballads and Poems,"
by Hall and Virtue, and are now before me. As an impartial and veteran
judge of such _literaria_, I am bold to say they are far better than I
thought, and might fairly have won Newdigate prizes, even as friend
Abney & Co. were sure they would.

At the close of my University career came, of course, the Great Go,
which I had to do as I did the Little Go, all on paper; for I could not
answer _vivâ voce_. And this rule then, whatever may be the case now,
prevented me from going in for honours, though I had read for a first,
and hoped at least to get a second. Neither of these, nor even a third
class, was technically possible, if I could not stand a two days' ordeal
of _vivâ voce_ examination, part of the whole week then exacted.
However, I did all at my best on paper, specially the translations from
classic poets in verse: whereof I'll find a specimen anon. The issue of
all was that I was offered an honorary fourth class,--which I refused,
as not willing to appear at the bottom of the list of all,
alphabetically,--and so my tutor, Mr. Biscoe, not wishing to lose the
honour for our college, managed to get it transferred to another of his
pupils, Mr. Thistlethwaite, whose father wrote to thank me for this
unexpected though not unmerited luck falling to his son.

One short presentable piece of verse-making in the schools is as below
from Virgil: there were also three odes of Horace, a chorus from
Æschylus, and more from other Greek and Latin poets.

    "Sicilian Muses, sing we loftier strains!
    The humble tamarisk and woodland plains
    Delight not all; if woods and groves we try,
    Be the groves worthy of a consul's eye.
    Told by the Sibyl's song, the 'latter time'
    Is come, and dispensations roll sublime
    In new and glorious order; spring again
    With Virgo comes, and Saturn's golden reign.
    A heavenly band from heaven's bright realm descends,
    All evil ceases, and all discord ends.
    Do thou with favouring eye, Lucina chaste,
    Regard the wondrous babe,--his coming haste,--
    For under him the iron age shall cease,
    And the vast world rejoice in golden peace," &c. &c.

I select this bit, famous for being one of the places in Virgil which
goes to prove that the Sibylline books (to which the Augustan poets had
easy access) quoted Isaiah's prophecies of Christ and the Millennium. It
will be considered that my public versifying was quite extempore, as in
fact is common with me. For other college memories in the literary line,
I may just mention certain brochures or parodies, initialed or
anonymous, whereto I must now plead guilty for the first time;
reflecting, amongst other topics, on Montgomery's Oxford, St. Mary's
theology, Mr. Rickard's "African Desert," and Garbet's pronounced and
rather absurd aestheticism as an examiner. Here are morsels of each in
order:--

    "Who praises Oxford?--some small buzzing thing,
    Some starveling songster on a tiny wing,--
    (_N.B._ They call the insect Bob, I know,
    I heard a printer's devil call it so)--
    So fondly tells his admiration vast
    No one can call the chastened strains bombast,
    Though epitheted substantives immense
    Claim for each lofty sound the _caret_ sense," &c. &c.

Next, a bit from my Low Church onslaught on St. Mary's in the Hampden
case, being part of "The Oxford Controversy":--

    "Though vanquished oft, in falsehood undismayed,
    Like heretics in flaming vest arrayed
    Each angry Don lifts high his injured head,
    Or 'stands between the living and the dead.'
    Still from St. Mary's pulpit echoes wide
    Primó, beware of truth, whate'er betide;
    Deinde, from deep Charybdis while you steer
    Lest damned Socinus charm you with his sneer,
    Watch above all, so not _Saint_ Thomas spake,
    Lest upon Calvin, Scylla's rook, you break," &c. &c.

These forgotten trivials, wherein the allusions do not now show clear,
are, I know, barely excusable even thus curtly: but I choose to save a
touch or two from annihilation. Here is another little bit; this time
from a somewhat vicious parody on my rival Rickard's prize poem: it is
fairest to produce at length first his serious conclusion to the normal
fifty-liner, and then my less reverent imitation of it. Here, then, is
the end of Rickard's poem:--

    "Bright was the doom which snatched her favourite son,
    Nor came too soon to him whose task was done.
    Long burned his restless spirit to explore
    That stream which eye had never tracked before,
    Whose course, 'tis said, in Western springs begun
    Flows on eternal to the rising sun!
    Though thousand perils seemed to bar his way,
    And all save him shrunk backward in dismay,
    Still hope prophetic poured the ardent prayer
    To reach that stream, though doomed to perish there!
    That prayer was heard; by Niger's mystic flood
    One rapturous day the speechless dreamer stood,
    Fixt on that stream his glistening eyes he kept,--
    The sun went down,--the wayworn wanderer slept!"

So much for the prize-taker; the prize-loser vented his spleen as
thus:--

    "Bright was the doom that diddled Mungo Park,
    Yet very palpably obscure and dark.
    Long burned his throat, for want of coming nigh
    That stream he long'd and pray'd for wistfully,
    Whose course, 'tis said, that no one can tell where
    It flows eternal; guessing isn't fair.
    Though miles a thousand had he tramp'd along,
    And all, save him, were sure that path was wrong,
    Still hope prophetic poured the ardent prayer
    He'd find that stream,--if it was anywhere!
    That prayer was heard, of course, though no one knows
    Where this said Niger never flowed, or flows;
    All that is known is, that a dreamer stood
    In speechless transport by a mystic flood,
    And after fixing on't his glistening eyes,
    The sun goes down, and so the dreamer dies!"

For the fourth promised specimen, the best excuse is that Garbet really
did utter the words quoted,--and the answer he received about love is
exact, and became famous:--

    "'Didst e'er read Dante!'--Never. 'Cruel man!
    Take, take him, Williams,--I--I never can.'"

_N.B._--Williams was the other examiner. Garbet went on with a further
question nevertheless,--as he was affectedly fond of Italian:--

    "'Dost know the language love delights in most?
    If thou dost not, thy character is lost.'
    'Yes, sir!'--the youth retorts with just surprise,
    'Love's language is the language of the eyes!'"

In those days, as perhaps also in these, like Pope, "I spake in
numbers," verse being almost--well, not quite--easier than prose. In
fact, some of my critics have heretofore to my disparagement stumbled on
the printed truth that he is little better than an improvisatore in
rhyme. And this word "rhyme" reminds me now of a very curious question I
raised some years after my Oxford days in more than one magazine
article, as to when rhyme was invented, and by whom: the conclusion
being that intoning monks found out how easily the cases of Latin nouns
and tenses of verbs, &c., jingled with each other, and that troubadours
and trouveres carried thus the seeds of song all over Europe in about
the ninth century, until which time rhythm was the only recognised form
of versification, rhyme having strangely escaped discovery for more than
four thousand years. Is it not a marvel (and another marvel that no one
noticed it before) that not one of the old poets, Hebrew, Greek, Latin,
and I think Sanscrit, Arabic, and Celtic too, ever (except by manifest
accident, now intentionally ignored) stumbled upon the good idea of
terminating their metres with rhyme? Where is there any ode of Horace,
or Anacreon,--where any psalm of David; any epigram of Martial, any
heroic verse of Virgil, or philosophic argument of
Lucretius,--decorated, enlivened, and brightened by the now only too
frequent ornament of rhyme?

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just found among my old archived papers, faded by nearly six
decades of antiquity, a treatise which I wrote at nineteen, styled by me
"A Vindication of the Wisdom of Scripture in Matters of Natural
Science." This has never seen the light, even in extracts; and probably
never can attain to the dignity of print, seeing it is written against
all compositor law on both sides up and down of a quarto paper book.
Therein are treated, from both the scriptural and the scientific points
of view, many subjects, of which these are some: Cosmogony, miracles (in
chief Joshua's sun and moon), the circulation of the blood revealed in
Ecclesiastes, magnetism as mentioned by Job, "He spreadeth out the
north over the empty space and hangeth the world upon nothing," the
blood's innate vitality--"which is the life thereof," the earth's
centre, or orbit, and inclination, astronomy, spirits, the rainbow, the
final conflagration of our atmosphere to purify the globe, and many
other matters terrestrial and celestial. Some day a patient scribe may
be found to decipher this decayed manuscript and set out orderly its
miscellaneous contents. I began it at eighteen, and finished it when at
Oxford.

There is also now before me another faded copybook of my early Christ
Church days containing ninety-one striking parallel passages between
Horace and Holy Writ; some being very remarkable, as Hor. _Sat._ i. 8,
and Isaiah xliv. 13, &c., about "making a god of a tree whereof he
burneth part:" also such well-known lines as "Quid sit futurum eras,
fuge quærere," and "Quis scit an adjiciant hodiernæ crastina summæ
Tempora Di superi?"--compared with "Take no thought for the morrow" and
"Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may
bring forth." With many more; in fact I collected nearly a hundred out
of Horace, besides a few from others of the classics.



CHAPTER VIII.

SUNDRY PROVIDENCES.


Carlyle somewhere gives utterance to a truism, which the present scribe
at least can most gratefully countersign, that "it takes a great deal of
providence to bring a man to threescore years and ten." Not only are we
in peril every time we take breath, both from the action of our own
uncertain hearts and from the living germs of poison floating in the
air, but from all sorts of outer accidents (so-called, whereas they all
are "well ordered and sure") wherewith our little life is compassed
from, cradle to grave; in truth, trifles seem to rule us: "the turning
this way or that, the casual stopping or hastening hath saved life or
destroyed it, hath built up or flung down fortunes." Every inch and
every instant, we are guided and guarded, whether we notice it or not:
"the very hairs of our heads are all numbered." Here shall follow some
personal experiences in proof. Nearly seventy years ago I knew a small
schoolboy of seven who accidentally slit his own throat while cutting a
slate-frame against his chest with a sharp knife; there was a knot in
the wood, the knife slipped up, a pinafore was instantaneously covered
with blood--(though the little semisuicide was unconscious of any
pain)--thereafter his neck was quickly strapped with diaculum
plaister,--and to this day a slight scar may be found on the left side
of a silvery beard! Was not this a providential escape? Again--a lively
little urchin in his holiday recklessness ran his head pell-mell blindly
against a certain cannon post in Swallow Passage, leading from Princes
Street, Hanover Square, to Oxford Street, and was so damaged as to have
been carried home insensible to Burlington Street: a little more, the
doctors said, and it would have been a case of concussion of the brain.
The post is still there "to witness if I lie," as Macaulay's Roman
ballad has it,--and here grown to twice its height, thank heaven! am I.
Then again, some ten years after, a youth is seen careering on a
chestnut horse in Parliament Street, when a runaway butcher's cart
cannoned against his shying steed, the wheel ripping up a saddle-flap,
just as the rider had instantaneously shifted his right leg close to the
horse's neck! But for that providence, death or a crushed knee was
imminent.

Yet again, after some twenty years more: "Æsop Smith" was one dark
evening creeping up a hill after a hard ride on his grey mare Brenda,
when he was aware of two rough men on the tramp before him, one of whom
needlessly crossed over so that they commanded both sides, and soon
seemed to be approximating; which when Æsop fortunately noticed, with a
quick spur into Brenda he flashed by the rascals as they tried to snatch
at his bridle and almost knocked them over right and left whilst he
galloped up the hill followed by their curses: was not this an escape
worth being thankful for?

Once more: the same equestrian has had two perilous dog-cart accidents,
noticeable, for these causes; viz.--broken ribs, and a crushed right
hand, have proved to him experimentally how little pain is felt at the
moment of a wound; which will explain the unconscious heroism of common
soldiers in battle; very little but weakness through loss of blood is
ever felt until wounds stiffen: further, a blow on the head not only
dazes in the present and stupefies further on, but also completely takes
away all memory of a past "bad quarter of an hour." At least I
remembered nothing of how my worst misadventure happened; and only know
that I crawled home half stunned by moonlight for three miles, holding
both sides together with my hands to enable me to breathe: no
wonder,--all my elasticity was gone with broken ribs. Though these two
accidents cost me, one three months, and the other much longer of a
(partly bedridden) helplessness, were they not good providences to make
one grateful? I write my mental thanksgiving with the same healed broken
hand.

So much of perils by land, by way of sample: here are three or four by
sea, to match them. Do I not remember how a rash voyager was nearly
swept off the _Asia's_ slippery deck in a storm, when a sudden lurch
flung him to cling to the side rail of a then unnetted bulwark, swinging
him back again by another lurch right over the yawning waves--like an
acrobat? Had I let go, no one would have known of that mystery of the
sea,--where and when a certain celebrity then expected in America, had
disappeared! Captain Judkin after that always had his bulwarks netted;
so that was a good result of my escape: I was the only passenger on
deck, a favoured one,--the captain being on his bridge, two men at the
wheel in their covered house, the stormy wind all round in a cyclone,
and the raging sea beneath,--and so all unseen I had been swept
away,--but for good providence.

Once again; do I not shudderingly recollect how nearly the little
Guernsey steamer was run over by an American man-of-war in the Channel,
because a tipsy captain would "cross the bows of that d---- d
Yankee:"--the huge black prow positively hung over us,--and it was a
miracle that we were not sunk bodily in the mighty waters. What more?
Well, I will here insert an escaped danger that tells its own tale in a
sonnet written at the time, the place being Tenby and the sea-anemone
caverns there, accessible only at lowest neap tide.

    "An hour of peril in the Lydstep caves:
        Down the steep gorge, grotesquely boulder-piled
        And tempest-worn, as ocean hurrying wild
    Up it in thunder breaks and vainly raves,--
        My haste hath sped me to the rippled sand
        Where, arching deep, o'erhang on either hand
      These halls of Amphitrité, echoing clear
    The ceaseless mournful music of the waves:
      Ten thousand beauteous forms of life are here;
        And long I linger, wandering in and out
        Among the seaflowers, tapestried about
      All over those wet walls.--A shout of fear!
    The tide, the tide!--I turned and ran for life,
    And battled stoutly through that billowy strife!"

Perhaps this is enough of such hairbreadth 'scapes both by land and
water: though I might (in America especially) mention many more. Then
there are all manner of the ordinary maladies of humanity, which I
pretermit. Carlyle was quite right; it _does_ require "a good deal of
providence" to come to old age.



CHAPTER IX.

YET MORE ESCAPES.


But there are many other sorts of peril in human life to which I may
briefly advert, as we all have had some experiences of the same. Who
does not know of his special financial temptation, some sanguine and
unscrupulous speculator urging him from rock to rock across the rapids
of ruin, till he is engulfed as by Niagara? Or of the manifestly
disinterested and generous capitalist, who gives to some young legatee a
junior partner's free arm-chair, only that he may utilise his money and
keep the house solvent for yet a year or two, utterly unheeding that ere
long the grateful beneficiaire must be dragged down with his chief to
poverty? Or, which of us has not had experience of some unjust will,
stealing our rights by evil influence? Or of the seemingly luckless
accident killing off our intending benefactor just before that promised
codicil? Or of the ruinous investment? Or of the bankrupt Life
Assurance? Or of the unhappy fact of your autograph, "a mere matter of
form," on the back of some dishonoured bill of one's defaulting friend?
Yet all these are providences too,--lessons of life, and parts of our
schools and schoolmasters.

And there are many like social evils besides. Let me delicately touch
one of them. I desire as an Ancient, now nearing the close of my
career, at least in this the caterpillar and soon to be chrysalis
condition of my being, to give my testimony seriously and practically to
the fact (disputed by too many from their own worse experience) that it
is quite possible to live from youth to age in many scenes and under
many circumstantial difficulties, preserving still through them all the
innocent purity of childhood. True, the crown of greater knowledge is
added to the Man; but although it be a knowledge both of evil and of
good, theoretically,--it need not practically be a guilty knowledge. If
one of any age, from the youngest to the oldest, has not the power of
self-control perpetually in exercise, and the good mental help of prayer
habitually at hand to be relied on, he is in danger, and may fall into
sin or even crime, at any hour, unless the Highest Power intervene. But,
if the senses are trained to resist the first inclinations to
unchastity, by the eye that will not look and the ear that will not
listen, then the doors of the mind are kept closed against the enemy,
and even "hot youth" is safe.

We live in a co-operative cycle of society; and amongst other
co-operations are all manner of guilds to encourage, by example,
companionship and the like, divers great virtues, and some less
important fads and fancies of the day: let me not be thought to
disparage any gatherings for prayer, or temperance, or purity; though
individual strong men may not need such congregated help as the weaker
brethren yearn for. Many a veteran now, changed to good morals from a
looser life in the past, may well hope to serve both God and man by
preaching purity to the young men around, by vowing them to a white
ribbon guild, and giving them the decoration of an ivory cross. But he
is apt to forget what young blood is, his own having cooled down apace;
anon he will find that Nature is not so easily driven back--_usque
recurrit_--and he will soon have to acknowledge that if the higher and
deeper influences of personal religion, earnest prayer, honest
watchfulness, and sincere--though it be but incipient--love of God and
desire to imitate Christ, are not chief motives towards the purification
of human passion, this brotherhood of a guild may tend to little except
self-righteousness, and it will be well if hypocrisy and secret sin does
not accompany that open boastfulness of a White Cross Order. After all
said and done, a man--or woman--or precocious child--must simply take
the rules of Christ and Paul, and Solomon, as his guide and guard, by
"Resisting," "Fleeing," "Cutting off--metaphorically--the right hand,
and putting out the right eye;" so letting "discretion preserve him and
understanding keep him;" but there is nothing like flight; it is easy
and speedy, and more a courage than a cowardice. Take a simple instance.
Some forty years ago, an author, well-known in both hemispheres, then
living in London, received by post a pink and scented note from "an
American Lady, a great admirer of his books, &c. &c.: would he favour
her by a call" at such an hotel, in such a square? Much flattered he
went, and was very gushingly received; but when the lady, probably not
an American (though comely enough to be one), after a profusion of
compliments went on to complain of a husband having deserted her, and to
throw herself not without tears on the kindness of her favourite author,
that individual thought it would be prudent to depart, and so promptly
remembering another engagement he took up his hat and--fled. He had
afterwards reason to be thankful for this escape, as for others. _I,
fac simile_; as no doubt you have done, and you will do, for there are
many Potipheras; ay, and there exist some Josephs too.

Other forms of evil in the way of heterodoxy and heresy have assailed
your confessor, as is the common case with most other people, whether
authors or not. The rashest Atheism or more cowardly Agnosticism are
rampant monsters, but have only affected my own spirit into forcing me
to think out and to publish my Essay on Probabilities, whereof I shall
speak further when my books come under review. But beyond these open
foes to one's faith, who has not met with zealous enthusiasts who urge
upon his acceptance under penalty of the worst for all eternity if
refused, any amount of strange isms,--Plymouth, Southcote, Swedenborg,
Irving, Mormon,--and of the other 272 sects which affect (perhaps more
truly infect) religion in this free land? I have had many of these
attacking me by word or letter on the excuse of my books. Who, if he
once weakly gives way to their urgent advice to "search and see for
himself," will not soon be addled and muddled by all sorts of
sophistical and controversial botherations, if even he is not tempted to
accept--for lucre if not godliness--the office of bishop, or apostle, or
prophet, or anything else too freely offered by zealots to new converts,
if of notoriety enough to exalt or enrich a sect; such sect in every
case proclaiming itself the one only true Church, all other sects being
nothing but impostors? We have all encountered such spiritual
perils,--and happy may we feel that with whatever faults and failings,
there is an orthodox and established form of religion amongst us in the
land. For my own part, I go freely to any house of prayer, national or
nonconformist, where the Gospel is preached and the preacher is capable:
all I want is a good man for the good word and work--and if he has the
true Spirit in him, I care next to nothing for his orders: though to
many less independent minds human authorisation may be a necessity. From
cradle hymns to the more serious prayings of senility, my own religion
in two words is crystallised as "Abba, Father;" my only priest being my
Divine Brother; and my Friend and Guide through this life and beyond it
the Holy Spirit, who unites all the family of God. May I die, as I have
lived, in this simple faith of childhood.

My "Probabilities" has, amongst others apposite, this sentence about the
origin of evil, and the usefulness of temptation: "To our understanding,
at least, there was no possible method of illustrating the amiabilities
of Goodness and the contrivances of Wisdom but by the infused permission
of some physical and moral evils; mercy, benevolence, design would in a
universe of Best have nothing to do; that universe itself would grow
stagnant, as incapable of progress; and the principal record of God's
excellences, the book of redemption, would have been unwritten. Is not
then the existence of evil justified in reason's calculation? and was
not such existence an antecedent probability?"



CHAPTER X.

FADS AND FANCIES.


In a recent page I have alluded to sundry "fads and fancies of the day,"
some of greater and others of lesser import, and I have been mixed up in
two or three of them. For example;--as an undergraduate at Oxford I
starved myself in the matter of sugar, by way of somehow discouraging
the slave-trade; I don't know that either Cæsar or Pompey was any the
better for my small self-sacrifice; but as a trifling fact, I may
mention that I then followed some of the more straitlaced fashions of
Clapham. Also, when in lodgings after my degree, I resolved to leave off
meat, bought an immense Cheshire cheese, and, after two months of
part-consumption thereof, reduced my native strength to such utter
weakness as quite to endanger health. So I had to relapse into the old
carnality of mutton chops, like other folk: such extreme virtue doesn't
pay.

Of course abstinence from all stimulant has had its hold on me
heretofore, as it has upon many others,--but, after a persistent six
months of only water, my nerve power was so exhausted (I was working
hard at the time as editor of "The Anglo-Saxon," a long extinct
magazine) that my wise doctor enjoined wine and whisky--of course in
moderation; and so my fluttering heart soon recovered, and I have been
well ever since.

Now about temperance, let me say thus much. Of course, I must approve
the modern very philanthropic movement, but only in its rational aspect
of moderation. In my youth, the pendulum swung towards excess, now its
reaction being exactly opposite; both extremes to my mind are wrong. And
here let me state (_valeat quantum_) that I never exceeded in liquor but
once in my life: that once serving afterwards as a valuable life lesson
all through the wine-parties of Christ Church, the abounding
hospitalities of America, both North and South, through two long
visits--and the genialities of our own Great Britain during my several
Reading Tours. If it had not been for that three days' frightful
headache when I was a youth (in that sense a good providence), I could
not have escaped so many generous hosts and seductive beverages. That
one departure from sobriety happened thus. My uncle, Colonel Selwyn,
just returned from his nine years' command at Graham's Town, South
Africa, gave a grand dinner at the Opera Colonnade to his friends and
relatives, resolved (according to the fashion of the time) to fill them
all to the full with generous Bacchus by obligatory toasts, he himself
pretending to prefer his own bottle of brown sherry,--in fact, dishonest
toast and water; but that sort of practical joke was also a fashion of
the day. The result, of course, was what he desired; everybody but
himself had too much, whilst his mean sobriety, cruel uncle! enjoyed the
calm superiority of temperance over tipsiness. However, the lesson to me
(though never intended as such) was most timely,--just as I was entering
life to be forewarned by having been for only that once overtaken. I
have ever since been thankful for it as a mercy; and few have been so
favoured; how many can truly say, only that once? But I pass on, having
a great deal more to write about temperance. On my first visit to
America in 1851, all that mighty people indulged freely in strong drinks
of the strangest names and most delicious flavours: on my second in
1876,--just a quarter of a century after,--there was almost nothing to
be got but iced water. Accordingly when I was at Charleston I took up my
parable,--and spoke through a local paper as follows: I fear the extract
is somewhat lengthy, but as an exhaustive argument (and the piece,
moreover, being unprinted in any of my books), I choose to give it here
in full, to be skipped if the reader pleases. It is introduced thus by
an editor:--

     "In these days of extreme abstinence from wine and spirits, it is
     refreshing to see what the strong common-sense of an eminent moral
     philosopher has to say about temperance. We make, then, a longish
     extract, well-nigh exhaustive of the subject, which occurs in a
     lecture, entitled 'America Revisited--1851 and 1877,' from the pen
     of Martin Tupper, explaining itself. The author introduces his
     poetic essay thus:--'Since my former visit to the States
     twenty-five years ago, few changes are more remarkable than that in
     the drinking habits of the people; formerly it was all for
     spirituous liquors, and now it is "Water, water everywhere, and
     every drop to drink!" The bars are well-nigh deserted, and the
     entrance-halls of most houses are ostentatiously furnished with
     plated beakers and goblets ensuring an icy welcome: in fact, not to
     be tedious, intemperance has changed front, and excess in water has
     taken the place of excess in wine.'" To an Englishman's judgment
     the true "part of Hamlet" in a feast is the more generous fluid,
     and the greatest luxuries are simply Barmecidal without some
     wholesome stimulant to wash them down; accordingly, my too
     outspoken honesty protested thus in print against this form of
     folly in extremes, and either pleased or offended, as friends or
     foes might choose to take it.

    "Temperance? Yes! true Temperance, yes!
    Moderation in all things, the word is express;
    'Nothing too much'--Greek, 'Meden Agan;'
    So spake Cleobúlus, the Seventh Wise Man;
    And the grand 'golden mean' was shrewd Horace's law,
    And Solomon's self laid it down for a saw
    That 'good overmuch' is a possible fault,
    As meat over-salted is worse for the salt;
    And Chilo, the Stagyrite, Peter, and Paul,
    Enjoin moderation in all things to all;
    The law to make better this trial-scene, earth,
    And draw out its strongest of wisdom and worth,
    By sagely suppressing each evil excess--
    In feasting, of course, but in fasting no less--
    In drinking--by all means let no one get drunk--
    In eating, let none be a gluttonous monk,
    But everyone feed as becometh a saint,
    With grateful indulging and wholesome restraint,
    Not pampering self, as an epicure might,
    Nor famishing self, the ascetic's delight.

    "But man ever has been, and will be, it seems,
    Given up to intemperance, prone to extremes;
    The wish of his heart (it has always been such)
    Is, give me by all means of all things too much!
    In pleasures and honours, in meats, and in drinks,
    He craves for the most that his coveting thinks;
    To wallow in sensual Lucullus's sty,
    Or stand like the starving Stylités on high,
    To be free from all churches and worship alone,
    Or chain'd to the feet of a priest on a throne,
    To be rich as a Rothschild, and dozens beside,
    Or poor as St. Francis (in all things but pride),
    With appetite starved as a Faquir's, poor wretch!
    Or appetite fattened to luxury's stretch;
    Denouncing good meats, on lentils he fares,
    Denouncing good wine, by water he swears--
    In all things excessive his folly withstands
    The wise moderation that Scripture commands.

    "This vice of excess is no foible of mine,
    Though liking and needing a glass of good wine,
    To help the digestion, to quicken the heart,
    And loosen the tongue for its eloquent part,
    But never once yielding one jot to excess,
    Nor weakly consenting the least to transgress.
    For let no intolerant bigot pretend
    My Temperance Muse would excuse or defend,
    As Martial or tipsy Anacreon might,
    An orgy of Bacchus, the drunkard's delight:
    No! rational use is the sermon I'm preaching,
    Eschewing abuse as the text of my teaching.

    "Old Pindar says slyly, that 'Water is best;'
    When pure as Bandusia, this may be confest.
    But water so often is troubled with fleas
    And queer little monsters the microscope sees;
    Is sometimes so muddy, and sometimes so mixt
    With poisons and gases, both fixt and unfixt,
    And seems so connected with juvenile pills--
    A thought which the mind with unpleasantness fills--
    That really one asks, is it safe to imbibe
    So freely the live animalcula tribe,
    Unkilled and uncooked with a little wine sauce
    Poured in, or of whisky or brandy a toss--
    And gulp a cold draught of the colic, instead
    Of something to warm both the heart and the head?

    "That Jotham-first-fable, the bramble and vine,
    Piles up to a climax the praise of good wine;
    For in Judges we read--look it up, as you can--
    'It cheereth the heart, both of God and of man;'
    And everywhere lightness, and brightness, and health,
    Gild the true temperance texts with their wealth,
    Giving strong drink to the ready to perish,
    And heavy-heartedness joying to cherish.

    "What is wanted--and let some Good Templar invent it,
    Damaging drunkenness, nigh to prevent it,
    Is a drink that is nice, warm, pleasant, and pale,
    Delicious as 'cakes,' and seductive as 'ale,'
    Like 'ginger that's hot in the mouth' and won't hurt you,
    As old Falstaff winks it, in spite of your virtue;
    A temperate stimulant cup, to displace
    Pipes, hasheesh, and opium, and all that bad race;
    Cheap as pure water and free as fresh air--
    Oh, where shall we find such a beverage--where?

    "No wine for the pure or the wise--so some teach--
    Abstinence utter for all and for each,
    Total denial of every right use,
    Because some bad fools the good creature abuse!
    As well might one vow not to warm at a fire,
    Nor give the least rein to a lawful desire,
    Because some have recklessly burnt down their houses,
    Because the rogue cheats, or the reveller carouses!
    I see not the logic, the rational logic,
    Conclusive to me, coherent and cogic,
    That since some poor sot in his folly exceeds,
    I must starve out my likings, and stint out my needs.

    "Am I _that_ brother's keeper? He is not an Abel,
    Is strange to my roof, and no guest at my table:
    I know not his mates, we are not near each other,
    He swills in the pothouse, that dissolute brother!--
    But there's your example?--The drunkards can't see it,
    And if they are told of it, scorn it and flee it;
    Example?--Your children!--No doubt it is right
    To be to them always a law and a light;
    But moderate temperance is the vise way
    To form them, and hinder their going astray;
    Whereas utter abstinence proves itself vain,
    And drunkards flare up because good men abstain.

    "The law of reaction is stringent and strong,
    A youth _in extremis_ is sure to go wrong,
    For the pendulum swings with a multiplied force
    When sloped from its even legitimate course.
    I have known--who has not?--that a profligate son
    Has been through his fanatic father undone;
    Restrained till the night of free licence arrives,
    And then he breaks out to the wreck of two lives!

    "A fierce water-fever just now is red-hot;
    Drink water, or perish, thou slave and thou sot!
    Drink water alone, and drink more, and drink much--
    But, liquors or wines? Not a taste, not a touch!
    Yet, is not this fever a fervour of thrift?
    It is wine you denounce, but its cost is your drift;
    The times are so hard and the wines are so bad
    (For good at low prices are not to be had),
    That forthwith society shrewdly shouts high
    For water alone, the whole abstinence cry!
    And, somehow supposed suggestive of heaven,
    The cup of cold water is generously given,
    But a glass of good wine is an obsolete thing,
    And will be till trade is once more in full swing!
    I hint not hypocrisy; many are true,
    They preach what they practise, they say--and they do,
    And used from their boyhood to only cold water,
    Enjoin nothing better on wife, son, and daughter;
    But surely with some it is merely for thrift,
    That they out off the wine, and with water make shift,
    Although they profess the self-sacrifice made
    As dread of intemperance makes them afraid.
    And so, like a helmsman too quick with his tiller,
    Eschewing Charybdis they steer upon Scylla,
    To perish of utter intemperance--Yes!
    The victims of water consumed to excess.

    "To conclude: The first miracle, wonder Divine,
    Wasn't wine changed to water, but water to wine,
    That wine of the Kingdom, the water of life
    Transmuted, with every new excellence rife,
    The wine to make glad both body and soul,
    To cheer up the sad, and make the sick whole.
    And when the Redeemer was seen among men,
    He drank with the sinners and publicans then,
    Exemplar of Temperance, yea, to the sot,
    In use of good wine, but abusing it not!
    We dare not pretend to do better than He;
    But follow the Master, as servants made free
    To touch, taste, and handle, to use, not abuse,
    All good to receive, but all ill to refuse!
    It is thus the true Christian with temperance lives,
    Giving God thanks for the wine that He gives."

I once heard Mr. Gough, the temperance lecturer: it was at the Brooklyn
Concert Hall in 1877. A handsome and eloquent man, his life is well
known, and that his domestic experiences have made him the good apostle
he is. I remember how well he turned off the argument against himself as
to the miracle of the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee: "Yes,
certainly, drink as much wine made of water as you can." It was a witty
quip, but is no reply to that miracle of hospitality. _Apropos_,--I do
not know whether or not the following anecdote can be fathered on Mr.
Gough, but it is too good to be lost, especially as it bears upon the
fate of a poor old friend of mine in past days who was fatally a victim
to total abstinence. The story goes that a teetotal lecturer, in order
to give his audience ocular proof of the poisonous character of alcohol,
first magnifies the horrible denizens of stagnant water by his
microscope, and then triumphantly kills them all by a drop or two of
brandy! As if this did not prove the wholesomeness of _eau de vie_ in
such cases. If, for example, my poor friend above, the eminent Dr.
Hodgkin of Bedford Square, had followed his companion's example, the
still more eminent Moses Montefiore, by mixing water far too full of
life with the brandy that killed them for him, he would not have died
miserably in Palestine, eaten of worms as Herod was! Another such
instance I may here mention. When I visited the cemetery of Savannah,
Florida, in company with an American cousin, I noticed it graven on the
marble slab of a relation of ours, a Confederate officer, to the effect
that "he died faithful to his temperance principles, refusing to the
last the alcohol wherewith the doctor wanted to have saved his life!"
Such obstinate teetotalism, I said at the time, is criminally suicidal.
Whereat my lady cousin was horrified, for she regarded her brother as a
martyr.

I cannot help quoting here part of a letter just received from an
excellent young clergyman, who had been reading my "Temperance," quite,
to the point. After some compliments he says, "I need scarcely say I
entirely agree with the scope and arguments of this vigorous poem.
Nothing is more clear, and increasingly so, to my own perception than
the terrible tendency of modern human nature to run into extremes"
(quoting some lines). "Your reference to 'thrift' is especially true. I
have often smiled at the pious fervour with which the heads of large
families with small incomes have embraced teetotalism! I have long
thought that the motto '_in vino veritas_' contains in it far more of
'_veritas_' than is dreamt of in most people's philosophy, and that the
age of rampant total abstinence is the age of special falseness. Of
course, the evils of drunkenness can scarcely be exaggerated,--and yet
they can be and are so when they are spoken of as equal to the evils of
dishonesty: the former is indeed brutal, but the latter is devilish, and
far more effectually destroys the souls of men than the former.
Nevertheless in our poor money-grubbing land, the creeping paralysis of
tricks of trade, &c., is thought little of; and the shopman who has just
sold a third-rate article for a first-class price goes home with
respectable self-complacency and glances with holy horror at the man who
reels past him in the street.

"I desire to say this with reverence and caution. For we all need the
restraining influences of the blessed Spirit of God, as well as the
atonement and example of His dear Son. But when we see the present
tendency to anathematise open profligacy, and to ignore the hidden
Pharisaism (the very opposite to our Lord's own course), and the subtle
lying of the day, it seems as if those who ponder sadly over it ought to
speak out."

Doubtless, there are many more fads and fancies, many other sorts of
perils and trials that might be spoken of as an author's or any other
man's experiences: but I will pass on.



CHAPTER XI.

"SACRA POESIS" AND "GERALDINE."


With the exception of "Rough Rhymes," my first Continental Journal as
aforesaid, and a song or two, and a few juvenile poems, my first
appearance in print, the creator of a real bound volume (though of the
smallest size) was as author of a booklet called "Sacra Poesis;"
consisting of seventy-five little poems illustrative of engravings or
drawings of sacred subjects, and intended to accompany a sort of pious
album which I wished to give to my then future wife. Most of it was
composed in my teens, though it found no technical "compositor" of a
printing sort until I was twenty-two (in 1832), when Nisbet published
the pretty little 24mo, with a picture by myself of Hope's Anchor on the
title. The booklet is now very rare, and a hundred years hence may be a
treasure to some bibliomaniac. Of its contents, speaking critically of
what I wrote between fifty and sixty years ago, some, of the pieces have
not been equalled by me since, and are still to be found among my
Miscellaneous Poems: but, many are feeble and faulty. Some of the
reviews before me received the new poetaster with kindly appreciation;
some with sneers and due disparagement,--much as Byron's "Hours of
Idleness" had been treated not very many years before: though another
cause for hatred and contempt may have operated in my case, namely
this: Ever since youth and now to my old age I have been exposed to the
"_odium theologicum_," the strife always raging between Protestant and
Papist, Low Church and High, Waldo and Dominic, Ulster and Connaught:
hence to this hour the frequent rancour against me and my writings
excited by sundry hostile partisans.

       *       *       *       *       *

My next volume was "Geraldine and other Poems," published by Joseph
Rickerby in 1838. The origin thereof was this,--as I now extract it from
my earliest literary notebook:--

"In August 1838 I was at Dover, and from a library read for the first
time Coleridge's Christabel;" it was the original edition, before the
author's afterward improvements. "Being much taken with the poem, the
thought struck me to continue it to a probable issue, especially as I
wanted a leading subject for a new volume of miscellaneous verse. The
notion was barren till I got to Heine Bay a fortnight after, and then I
put pen to paper and finished the tale. It occupied me about eight days,
an innocent fact which divers dull Zoili have been much offended withal,
seeing that Coleridge had thought proper to bring out his two Parts at a
sixteen years' interval; a matter doubtless attributable either to
accident or indolence,--for to imagine that he was diligently polishing
his verses the whole time (as some blockheads will have it) would indeed
be a verification of the _parturiunt montes_ theory. The fact is, these
things are done at a heat, as every poet knows. Pegasus is a racer, not
a cart-horse; Euterpe trips it like the hare, while dogged criticism is
the tortoise, &c." The book had a fair success, both here and in
America, and has been many times reprinted. Critiques of course were
various, for and against; the shuttlecock of fame requires conflicting
battledores: but, as I now again quote from that early notebook, "It is
amusing to notice, and instructive also to any young author who may
chance to see this, how thoroughly opposite many of the reviews are,
some extolling what others vilify; it just tends to keep a sensible man
of his own opinion, unmoved by such seemingly unreasonable praise or
censure. When Coleridge first published Christabel (intrinsically a most
melodious and sweet performance) it was positively hooted by the
critics; see in particular the _Edinburgh Review_. Coleridge left behind
him a very much improved and enlarged version of the poem, which I did
not see till years after I had written the sequel to it: my Geraldine
was composed for an addition to Christabel, as originally issued."
Another note of mine, in reply to a critic of _The Atlas_, runs
thus:--"Nobody who has not tried it can imagine the difficulties of
intellectual imitation: it is to think with another's mind, to speak
with another's tongue: I acknowledge freely that I never was satisfied
with Geraldine as a mere continuation of a story, but as an independent
poem, I will yet be the champion of my child, and think with _The
Eclectic_ that I have succeeded as well as possible: as honest Pickwick
says, 'And let my enemies make the most of it.' At this time of day it
is not worth my while by any modern replies to attempt to quench such
long extinct volcanoes as 'The Conservative' and 'The Torch,' nor to
reproduce sundry glorifications of the new poet and his verses from many
other notices, long or short, duly pasted down for future generations in
my Archive-book. As to critical verdicts in this case, black and white
are not more contradictory: _e.g._, let _Blackwood_ be contrasted with
the _Monthly Review_, or the _Church of England Quarterly_ with the
_Weekly True Sun_, &c. &c."

It is a pity (at least the author of sold-out volumes may be forgiven
for the sentiment) that most of my books are not to be bought: they are
not in the market and are only purchasable at old-literature stores,
such as Reeves' or Bickers': some day, I hope to find a publisher
spirited enough to risk money in a ten-volumed "Edition of my Prose and
Poetry complete," &c.; but in the past and present, the subscription
system per Mudie and Smith, buying up whole editions at cost price
whereby to satiate the reading public, starves at once both author and
publisher, and makes impossible these expensive crown octavo editions,
"which no gentleman's library ought to be without." Some of the beat
smaller pieces in my "Geraldine and other Poems" will be found in Gall &
Inglis's Miscellaneous Tupper before mentioned: but my two Oxford Prize
Poems, The African Desert and The Suttees, are printed only in the
Geraldine volume.

Anecdotes innumerable I could tell, if any cared to hear them, connected
with each of my books, as friends or foes have commented upon me and
mine in either hemisphere. In this place I cannot help recording one, as
it led to fortunate results. In 1839 I was travelling outside the Oxford
coach to Alma Mater, and a gentleman, arrayed as for an archery party
with bow and quiver, climbed up at Windsor for a seat beside me. He
seemed very joyous and excited, and broke out to me with this stanza,--

    "How fair and fresh is morn!
      The dewbeads dropping bright
    Each humble flower adorn,
      With coronets bedight,
    And jewel the rough thorn
      With tiny globes of light,--
    How beautiful is morn!
      Her scattered gems how bright!"

There,--isn't that charming? he said,--little aware of whom he asked the
amiable query. But when I went on with the second verse, he opened his
eyes wider and wider as I added:

    "There is a quiet gladness
      On the waking earth,
    Like the face of sadness
      Lit with chastened mirth;
    There is a mine of treasure
      In those hours of health,
    Filling up the measure
      Of creation's wealth!"

Of course, discovery of the author was unavoidable: so we collided and
coalesced, and I rejoiced to find in this "Angel unaware" no less a
celebrity than John Hughes of Donnington Priory, father of the still
greater celebrity (then a youth) Tom Hughes of Rugby and "Tom Brown's
Schooldays." Some time after I spent several pleasant days at his fine
old place in Berks, and made happy acquaintance with the brightest old
lady I ever met, his mother, who had known Burns and Byron and Scott; as
also with his pleasant good wife and her clever sons, one of whom, in
the ripeness of time, married a then charming little girl, the
heiress-ward of my host, and since well appreciated in society as a
_grande dame_; wife also to one famous for a Rugby in both hemispheres,
for rifledom, the White Horse of Wilts, and now full-fledged county
judgeship. These excellent friendships survive many long years and will
be transplanted elsewhere hereafter. All this grew from a casual
encounter outside a coach: but such is life; what we call accidents are
all providences, and we are guided inch by inch and minute by minute.
Tom Hughes succeeded as a county judge in Yorkshire my old schoolfellow,
St. John Yates, mentioned on a recent page in connection with Andrew
Irvine's turkeycock irascibility.

    "Watch little providences: if indeed
      Or less there be, or greater, in the sight
      Of Him who governs all by day and night,
    And sees the forest hidden in the seed:
    Of all that happens take thou reverent heed,
      For seen in true Religion's happier light
    (Though not unknown of Reason's placid creed)
    All things are ordered; all by orbits move,
      Having precursors, satellites, and signs,
      Whereby the mind not doubtfully divines
      What is the will of Him who rules above,
    And takes for guidance those paternal hints
      That all is well, that thou art led by Love,
    And in thy travel trackest old footprints."



CHAPTER XII.

PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPHY.


And this may well be a fitting place wherein to record the origin,
progress, and after long years the full completion of what is manifestly
my chief authorial work in life, "Proverbial Philosophy." To ensure
accuracy, and not leave all the details to oftentimes unfaithful memory,
I will give a few extracts from "a brief account" of the book, set down
in 1838, at the beginning of Volume I. of "My Literary Heirloom," now
grown to many volumes, containing newspaper cuttings, anecdotes, and
letters and scraps of all sorts relating to my numerous works.

"In the year 1828, when under Mr. Holt's roof at Albury (anno ætatis meæ
18), I bethought myself, for the special use and behoof of my cousin
Isabella, who seven years after became my wife, that I would transcribe
my notions on the holy estate of matrimony; a letter was too light, and
a formal essay too heavy, and I didn't care to versify my thoughts, so I
resolved to convey them in the manner of Solomon's Proverbs or the
'Wisdom' of Jesus the Son of Sirach: and I did so,--successively, in the
Articles first on Marriage, then Love, then Friendship, and fourthly on
Education: several other pieces growing afterwards. Whilst at Albury, my
cousin showed some of these to our rector, Hugh M'Neile, who warmly
praised them, and recommended their publication; but, regarding them as
private and personal, I would not hear of it, and in fact it was nine
years before they saw print; thus literally, though I meant it not then,
exemplifying the Horatian advice, 'nonumque premantur in annum.'
However, one day in August 1838, Mr. Stebbing, whose chapel, in the
Hampstead Road I used to attend when living at Gothic Cottage, Regent's
Park, in my first years of marriage, visiting me and urging me to write
something for the _Athenæum_, which he was then editing, I was induced
to show him these earliest essays; but I declined to _give_ them to him,
whereat he was angered; perhaps the rather in that I objected to
piecemeal publication, possibly also casting some reproach (as the
fashion of the day then was) upon magazine and journalistic literature
generally. That I made an enemy of him was evidenced by a spiteful
little notice in the _Athenæum_ of April 21st (three months after my
first series was published) stating that it was 'a book not likely to
please beyond the circle of a few minds as eccentric as the author's.'
The same false friend excluded me altogether from any notice in the
_Examiner_ wherein he had some literary influence." To this day these
reviews have been my foes, which I regret.

"Still, Mr. Stebbing did me substantial good; he praised the idea as
'new, because a resuscitation of what was very old,'--and as of my own
origination in these latter days, and as a good vehicle for thoughts on
many matters: and he promised his valuable assistance to a young
author's fame,--performing as above. So, after a last interview with him
at his house, wherein I conclusively refused him, I wrote my Preface at
once, jotting down (as I recollect at the street corner post opposite
Hampstead Road Chapel) on the back of an old letter my opening
paragraph,--

"'Thoughts that have tarried in my mind, and peopled its inner
chambers,' &c., &c.

"In ten weeks from that day I had my first series ready,--supposing it
then all I should ever write;--the same assurance of a final end having
been my delusion at the close of each of my four series. My first
publisher was Rickerby of Abchurch Lane, who produced a beautifully
printed small folio volume with ornamental initials, and now very
scarce: it came to a second edition, but brought me no money,--and the
third edition failing to sell, it was in great part sent to America;
where N.P. Willis finding a copy, fancied the book that of some
forgotten author of the Elizabethan era, and quoted it week after week
in a periodical of his, _The Home Journal_, as such: years afterwards,
when he met me in London, he was scared to find that one whom he had
thought dead three hundred years was still alive and juvenile and ruddy.

"It might be thought indelicate in me to quote at length the many
pleasant greetings of the press to my first odd volumes; suffice it to
say, that the kind critics were with few exceptions unanimous in
commendation; and some great names, as Heraud, Leigh Hunt, and St. John
particularly favoured me,--the latter prophesying a tenth edition: but I
must still condescend to pick out at the end of this paper a few of the
plums of praise wherewith my early publication was indulged, if only to
please the numerous admirers of my chief 'lifework.' One comfort is that
no one of my reviewers all my life through has ever been bought or
rewarded. As to the less fulsome style of criticism, I was supposed by
the _Spectator_ to have 'written in hexameters,'--as if David or Solomon
had ever imitated Homer or some more ancient predecessor of his; and the
_Sun_ fancied that I had 'culled from Erasmus, Bacon, Franklin, and
Saavedra,' whereas I was totally ignorant of their wisdoms: Saavedra I
have since learned is Cervantes. The _Sunday Times_ finds 'Proverbial
Philosophy' 'very like Dodsley's "Economy of Human Life,"' but I may say
I never saw that neat little book of maxims till my brother Dan gave it
to me fourteen years after my Philosophy was public property; I am also
by this critic supposed to have 'imitated the Gulistan or Bostan of
Saadi,'--whereof I need not profess my total ignorance: however, the
writer kindly says of me, 'if he fail to make himself heard, the fault
will be rather in the public than in him.' The _Metropolitan_ propounds
that 'a book like this would make a man's fortune in the East, but we
are afraid that philosophy in proverbs has no great chance in the West:
we should recommend the author to get it translated into Arabic.'" [I
have since heard that some of it has been.] Let this be enough as to
those first fruits of criticism, which might be extended to satiety; but
I decline to become "inebriated with the exuberance of my own
verbosity," as Beaconsfield has it about Gladstone.

To carry on the story of my old book, its second series was due to
Harrison Ainsworth, at all events instrumentally. For, just as he was
establishing his special magazine, he asked me to help him with a
contribution in the style of that then new popularity, my Proverbs. This
I sturdily declined; for in my young days, it was thought
ungentlemanlike to write in magazines, though dukes, archbishops, and
premiers do so now: even authorship for money was thought vulgar: but,
when there greeted me at home a parcel of well-bound books as a gift
from the author, being all that were then extant of Ainsworth's, I was
so taken aback by his kindly munificence that I somewhat penitentially
responded thereto by an impromptu chapter on "Gifts," wherewith I made
the quarrel up and he was delighted: one or two others following.
However, I was too quick and too impatient to wait for piecemeal
publication month by month,--seeing I soon had my second series ready:
and so, leaving Rickerby as an unfruitful publisher (though, as will
soon appear, he produced other books for me) I went to Hatchards; with
whom I had a long and prosperous career--receiving annually from £500 to
£800 a year, and in the aggregate having benefited both them and
myself--for we shared equally--by something like, £10,000 a piece. But
in the course of time, the old grandfather and the father of the house,
excellent men both, went severally to the Better Land, and I had
published other books elsewhere, as will be seen, anon: and, amongst
other things, Mr. Bertrand Payne, who represented the respectable poetic
house of Moxon, desired to include me in his Beauties of the Poets, and
in order to that, having previously obtained license both from me and
Messrs. Hall & Virtue to select specimens of my lyrics for his volume,
asked me to let him add a few bits of Proverbial; to this I willingly
assented, but found myself repulsed by the temporary chief at
Hatchards'--lately a subordinate--with a direct refusal to permit any
portion of my book, of which they had a three years' lease then nearly
out, to be included in the specimen volume until, the whole remainder
copies were sold off. Mr. Payne on that immediately bought all they had,
writing a cheque of £900 in payment down,--whereof I got one-half, as I
should have done if sold at Hatchards'. I then of course went equitably
over to Moxon's,--and not long after published my third series with that
house, at Mr. Payne's suggestion and solicitation: it was not a
financial success, any more than others in that quarter; but I was paid
by having my later thoughts on topics of the day so handsomely published
at no cost of mine. The house of Moxon having its reverses,--and a
fourth and final series of "Proverbial Philosophy" having grown up
meanwhile, I concluded to go to Ward & Lock, that my four series might
for wider circulation be all included in one cheap volume, beautifully
got up, and with them I have since had some small success: for though
the royalty is only about a penny a volume, the numbers licensed have
been an edition of 20,000 succeeded in the course of years by another of
30,000; and I still leave the book with them so far as that cheap issue
is concerned.

As, however, I desired to meet the wish of many friends and others of
the public who often asked for a handsomer form, suggesting a
reproduction of Hatchards' quarto, with additional illustrations for the
new matter, I applied to Cassell, and made arrangements to have the
whole four series issued piecemeal in weekly or monthly parts, so as to
meet (as Cassell's manager suggested) a certain demand from the middle
and artisan class; seeing that the aristocracy and gentry had bought the
whole volume so freely, but sixpenny parts in a wider field might bring
on a new sale. I did not then know that Cassell's had numerous serials
already on hand, and that many of them were unremunerative; and so I
was a little surprised and vexed to find that my book was after all to
appear as a whole and not in numbers, and that at a higher price,
half-a-guinea, in these cheap times quite prohibitive, I protested
vainly as to this; as I did also at the unsatisfactory character of the
illustrations to the third and fourth series, promised to be equal to
Hatchards' first and second, which had cost £2000: but Cassell's
additions were cheaply and insufficiently supplied by old German plates,
adapted as much as might be to my words for illustration. This manifest
inferiority of the last half of the volume, as well as its too great
price, stopped the sale,--and after a time with a high hand all the
copies were sold off by auction, to the loss of both publisher and
author. As I had supplied gratis the plates of Hatchards' edition,
buying up the half not mine and giving the other, I found myself thus
mulcted in a large sum, for which I have only to show in return about a
hundredweight of wood-blocks and stereotypes:--which may be bought by
any publisher at bargain price. Altogether the whole affair was
unsatisfactory and disappointing. Individuals may be genial, honest, and
considerate, but a company or a partnership simply looks to the hardest
bargain in the shrewdest way. Of all this I'll complain, vainly enough,
no more.

In their several places, many anecdotes about "Proverbial Philosophy"
shall duly appear: I may mention one or two now, as timely. When that
good old man, Grandfather Hatchard, more than an octogenarian, first saw
me, he placed his hand on my dark hair and said with tears in his eyes,
"You will thank God for this book when your head comes to be as white as
mine." Let me gratefully acknowledge that he was a true prophet. When I
was writing the concluding essay of the first series, my father (not
quite such a prophet as old Hatchard) exhorted me to burn it, as his
ambition was to make a lawyer of me, the Church idea having failed from
my stammering, and he had very little confidence, as a man of the world,
in poetry bringing fortune. However, it did not get burnt, though I had
some difficulty in persuading him to let me get it printed instead. The
dear good man lived to bless me for it, especially for my essay on
Immortality, which I know affected him seriously, and he gave me £2000
as a gift in consequence.

As I may have been only too faithfully frank in mentioning this curious
literary anecdote,--which, as known to others, I could scarcely have
suppressed,--it is only fair to the memory of my dear and honoured
father that I should here produce one of his very few letters to me,
just found among my archives and bearing upon this same subject. It was
written to me at Brighton, and is dated Laura House, Southampton,
October 16, 1842:--

     "My dearest Martin,--Anything that I could say, or any
     praise that I could give respecting your last volume would, in my
     estimation, fall very far short indeed of its merits. I shall
     therefore merely say that I look upon your chapter upon
     Immortality, not only as a most exquisite specimen of fine, sound,
     and learned composition, but as combating in the most satisfactory
     manner the _wisdom_ of infidelity, almost perfect. I only hope that
     you may receive the just tribute of the literary community: your
     own feelings as the author of that chapter must be very enviable.
     God bless you, dearest, dearest Martin.--Believe me, ever your
     affectionate father and sincere friend,

                                                  Martin Tupper."

I need not say that these are "_ipsissima verba_," and that I here
insert the letter in full, as the warmest and most honourable palinode I
could have received from a man so usually reserved and reticent as was
my revered and excellent father.

       *       *       *       *       *

The brother of my friend Benjamin Nightingale (to be more spoken of
hereafter) was so fascinated with the book that he copied it all out in
his own handwriting, word for word, and was jocularly accused of
pretending to its authorship. I once met an enthusiast who knew both the
two first series by heart,--and certainly he went on wherever I tried to
pose him from the open volume,--my own memory being far less faithful.
Similarly my more recent friend William Hawkes claims to have read the
whole book sixty times; whereof this impromptu of mine is a sort of half
proof:--

    _Impromptu_.

    "Sixty times, you tell me, friend,
    You've read my books from end to end.
    Perhaps not all my myriad rhymes,
    But all my rhythmics sixty times.
    Yes, friend, for I have heard you quote
    My old Proverbials by rote
    Page after page, and anywhere
    Have heard you spout them then and there,
    Though I myself had quite forgot
    What I had writ, and you had not.

    "Well, author surely never more
    Was complimented so before;
    For though I knew in years long past
    An amiable enthusiast,
    Who copied out in his MS.
    My whole Proverbial, as for press,
    Until he half believed that he
    Was the real Simon M.F.T.,--
    Yet thou, my worthy William Hawkes,
    Hast beaten Nightingale by chalks,--
    And, years ago, your friends for fame
    Have given you Martin Tapper's name,
    Because you constantly were heard
    Quoting Proverbial word for word!
    So then, by heart, as by the pen,
    'I live upon the mouths of men,'
    Ev'n as Ennius lived of old,
    A life worth more than gems or gold."

Two more strange anecdotes may here find their place (others will occur
elsewhere in this volume hereafter) respecting "Proverbial Philosophy."
Joseph Durham, the sculptor, a great friend of mine, had been known to
me for some years, and one day he gave me a curious little book, very
ancient and dingy-looking, entitled "Politeuphuia, Wits' Commonwealth:
London, 1667;" with this explanation, that he had picked it up at an old
bookstall, and, finding it was written somewhat in proverbs gave it to
me, adding, in his shrewd way, the humorous fancy that (until he had
read it and couldn't discover a line or thought of exact similarity)
possibly he might have checkmated me by showing me the mine from which I
had dug my wisdoms! As I have before me a memorandum pasted into the
booklet itself (it is a minute duodecimo) I will here quote exactly what
I wrote in it at the time: the date being Albury House, May 24, 1865:--

"This little book has just been given to me by Durham; it is very
scarce, so much so that the British Museum, he says, does not possess a
copy; probably there are not six in the world. I never saw it, nor
heard of it till now; just twenty-nine years after the publication of
my Proverbial Philosophy. It is a curious coincidence that the headings
of this Wits' Miscellany are similar to my own; as Of so and so
throughout; I first wrote On so and so; but did not like the sound, and
remembering it would be De in Latin, altered it to Of. The treatment
also of the subjects has some apparent similitude; but in looking all
through the book, it is strange that not one line, not one phrase, is
the same as any of mine. Travelling on the same road, and in somewhat of
the same proverbial rhythm, this is very curious; whilst it certainly
acquits me of even unintended and unconscious plagiarism. The headings
begin of God, of Heaven, of Angels, &c.,--and then of vertue, of peace,
of truth, &c., and afterwards of love, of jealousie, of hate, of beauty,
of flattery, &c., &c.,--all being aphoristic quotations from ancient
authors. As before stated, the whole was unseen by me until nearly
thirty years after I had published my independent essays on the same
theses much in a similar key."

This is a parallel case to the recent statement in a printed book with
characteristic illustrations respecting the non-originality of Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress; and Milton's Paradise Lost has been similarly
disparaged, Mr. Plummer Ward having written and shown to me a pamphlet
by himself to prove that some Italian poem seen by Milton in youth
preceded him on the same lines;--while Mr. Geikie quotes from the
Anglo-Saxon Cædmon papers nearly identical with some in Paradise Lost.
But there is no end to assertions of this sort, impugning authorial
honesty and originality: when authors write on the same topics and with
much the same stock of words and ideas both religious and educational,
it is only a marvel that the thoughts and writings of men do not oftener
collide, and seem to be plagiaristic reproductions. I have spoken of all
this at length, that if any one hereafter finds this "Politeuphuia" in
the British Museum (which is welcome to have my copy if it lacks one),
and years hence accuses my innocence of having stolen from it, he may
know that I have thus taken the bull by the horns and twisted him over.

The last anecdote I shall now inflict upon my reader in this connection
is as follows:--

One James Orton, an American gentleman whom I have never seen that I
know of (unless by possibility in some one of the crowds met
anonymously, before whom I may have read in public) was kind enough many
years ago to publish a beautifully printed and illustrated volume "The
Proverbialist and the Poet," whereof he sent me two copies; but lacking
his address, probably with the delicate object of preventing an
acknowledgment; and I am almost ashamed to state that his whole book in
different inks combines the threefold wisdoms of King Solomon, William
Shakespeare, and Martin Tupper; the title-page being decorated in
colours with views of the Temple, Stratford-on-Avon, and Albury House!
If I ventured to quote the Preface, it would beat even this as the
climax of fulsome flattery, and I think that my friends of the Comic
Press who have done me so much service by keeping up my shuttlecock with
their battledores, and so much honour by placing me prominently among
the defamed worthies of the world, would in their charity (for they have
some) pity the victim of such excruciating praise, if he failed hereby
to repudiate it.

Not but that poor human nature delights in adulation. I well remember
the joy wherewith I first greeted the following from a Cincinnati paper;
so hearty too, and generous, and obviously sincere.

"The author of this book will rank, we are free to say, with the very
first spirits of the British world. It will live, in our judgment, as
long as the English language, and be a text-book of wisdom to the young
of all generations of America and England both. We would rather be the
author of it, than hold any civil or ecclesiastical office in the globe.
We would rather leave it as a legacy to our children, than the richest
estate ever owned by man. From our heart we thank the young author for
this precious gift, and, could our voice reach him, would pronounce a
shower of heartfelt blessings on his soul. When we began to read it with
our editorial pencil in hand, we undertook to mark its beautiful
passages, should we find any worthy of distinction; but, having read to
our satisfaction--indeed to our amazement--we throw down the pencil,
and, had we as much space as admiration, we would quote the whole of it.
It is one solid, sparkling, priceless gem."

I may as well add a few more such extracts, as strictly within the text
of "My Lifework."

"The author of 'Proverbial Philosophy' is a writer in whom beautiful
extremes meet,--the richness of the Orient, and the strength of the
Occident--the stern virtue of the North and the passion of the South. At
times his genius seems to possess creative power, and to open to our
gaze things new and glorious, of which we have never dreamed; then again
it seems like sunlight, its province not to create, but to vivify and
glorify what before was within and around us. Aspirations, fancies,
beliefs we have long folded in our hearts as dear and sacred things,
yet never had the power or the courage to reveal, bloom out as naturally
in his pages as wild flowers when the blossoming time is come. We are
not so much struck by the grandeur of his conceptions, or fascinated by
the elegance of his diction, as warmed, ennobled, and delighted by the
glow of his enthusiasm, the purity of his principles, and the continuous
gushing forth of his tenderness. His words form an electric chain, along
which he sends his own soul, thrilling around the wide circle of his
readers."--N.P. Willis's _Home Journal_.

"Perhaps no writer has attracted a greater degree of public attention,
or received a larger share of public praise, during the last few years,
than Martin F. Tupper,--a man of whom England may well be proud, and
whose name will eventually be one of the very noblest on the scroll of
fame."--_American Courier_.

"Everybody knows the 'Proverbial Philosophy' of Martin Tupper; a million
and a half of copies--so, publishers say--have been sold in
America."--_New York World_.

"Full of genius, rich in thought, admirable in its religious tone and
beautiful language."--_Cincinnati Atlas_.

"'Apples of gold set in pictures of silver' is the most apposite
apophthegm we can apply to the entire work. We have rarely met a volume
so grateful to the taste in all its parts, so rich in its simplicity, so
unique in its arrangements, and so perfect in all that constitutes the
perfection of style, as the volume before us. It must live like immortal
seed, to produce a continual harvest of profitable
reflection."--(_Philadelphian_) _Episcopal Recorder_.

"No one can glance at this work without perceiving that it is produced
by the inspiration of genius. It is full of glorious thoughts, each of
which might be expanded into a treatise."--_Albany Atlas_.

"We cannot express the intense interest and delight with which we have
perused 'Proverbial Philosophy.'"--_Oberlin's Evangelist_.

"The 'Proverbial Philosophy' has struck with almost miraculous force and
effect upon the minds and hearts of a large class of American readers,
and has at once rendered its author's name and character famous and
familiar in our country. It abounds in gems and apt allusions, which
display without an effort the deep practical views and the æsthetical
culture of the author."--_Southern Literary Messenger_.

Let all this suffice for America: a few from this side of the Atlantic
may be added:--

"Were we to say all we think of the nobleness of the thoughts, of the
beauty and virtuousness of the sentiments contained in this volume, we
should be constrained to write a lengthened eulogium on it."--_Morning
Post_.

"Martin Farquhar Tupper has won for himself the vacant throne waiting
for him amidst the immortals, and after a long and glorious term of
popularity among those who know when their hearts are touched, without
being able to justify their taste to their intellect, has been adopted
by the suffrage of mankind and the final decree of publishers into the
same rank with Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning."--_Spectator_.

"It is a book easily understood, and repaying the reader on every page
with sentiments true to experience, and expressed often with surprising
beauty."--_Presbyterian_.

"One of the most thoughtful, brilliant, and finished productions of the
age."--_Banner of the Cross_.

"For poetic imagery, for brightness of thought, for clear and striking
views of all the interests and conditions of man, this work has been
pronounced by the English and American press as unequalled."--_Literary
Messenger_.

"The principal work of Martin Farquhar Tupper, 'Proverbial Philosophy,'
is instinct with the spirit of genial hopeful love: and to this mainly
should be attributed the vast amount of sympathetic admiration it has
attracted, not only in this country, but also in the United
States."--_English Review_.

"We congratulate ourselves, for the sake of our land's language, on this
noble addition to her stock of what Dr. Johnson justly esteems 'the
highest order of learning.' If Mr. Tupper be not the high priest of his
profession, he is at least no undignified minister of the altar. The
spirit of a noble hope animates the exercise of his high
function."--_Parthenon_.

"We know not whether Mr. Tupper, when he was pouring forth the contents
of these glorious volumes, intended to write prose or poetry; but if his
object was the former, his end has not been accomplished. 'Proverbial
Philosophy' is poetry assuredly; poetry exquisite, almost beyond the
bounds of fancy to conceive, brimmed with noble thoughts, and studded
with heavenward aspirations."--_Church of England Journal_.

"The 'Proverbial Philosophy,' which first established Mr. Tupper's
reputation, is a work of standard excellence. It has met with
unprecedented success, and many large editions of it have been sold. It
led to the author's being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society; and the
King of Prussia, in token of his Majesty's high approbation of the
work, sent him the gold medal for science and literature."--_Glasgow
Examiner_.

"This book is like a collection of miniature paintings on ivory, small,
beautiful, highly finished, and heterogeneous: in style something
between prose and verse; not so rigid as to fetter the thought, not so
free as to exclude absolute distinctness, with the turn and phrase of
poetry."--_Christian Remembrancer_.

"There is more novelty in the sentiments, a greater sweep of subjects,
and a finer sense of moral beauty displayed by Mr. Tupper, than we
remember to have seen in any work of its class, excepting of course the
'Proverbs of Solomon.' We also discover in his 'Philosophy' the stores
of extensive reading, and the indisputable proofs of habitual and devout
reflection, as well as the workings of an elegant mind."--_Monthly
Review_.

"Have we not now done enough to show that a poet of power and of
promise,--a poet and philosopher both--is amongst us to delight and
instruct, to elevate and to guide."--_Conservative Journal_.

"This work glows and glitters all over with the effluence and lustre of
a fine imagination, and is steeped in the rich hues and pervading beauty
of a mild wisdom, and a genial and kindly morality."--_Scots Times_.

"The 'Proverbial Philosophy' contains much sound reflection, moral and
religious maxims of the highest importance, elegant figures and
allusions, sound and serious observations of life,--all expressed in
most appropriate and well-selected language."--_Gentleman's Magazine_.

"One of the most original and curious productions of our
time."--_Atlas_.

"A book as full of sweetness as a honeycomb, of gentleness as woman's
heart; in its wisdom worthy the disciple of a Solomon, in its genius
the child of a Milton. Every page, nay almost every line, teems with
evidences of profound thinking and various reading, and the pictures it
often presents to our mind are the most imaginative and beautiful that
can possibly be conceived."--_Court Journal_.

"If men delight to read Tupper both in England and America, why should
they not study him both in the nineteenth century and in the twentieth?
The judgment of persons who are more or less free from insular
prejudices is said in some degree to anticipate that which is admitted
to be the conclusive verdict of posterity."--_Saturday Review_.

"The popularity of the 'Proverbial Philosophy' of Martin Tupper is a
gratifying and healthy symptom of the present taste in literature, the
book being full of lessons of wisdom and piety, conveyed in a style
startling at first by its novelty, but irresistibly pleasing by its
earnestness and eloquence."--_Literary Gazette_.

"Mr. Mill, Mr. Herbert Spencer, Mr. Browning, Mr. Morris, Mr.
Rossetti--all these writers have a wider audience in America than in
England. So too has Mr. Tupper. The imagination staggers in attempting
to realise the number of copies of his works which have been published
abroad. Unlike most of his contemporaries, further, he has conquered
popularity in both hemispheres. He has won the suffrages of two great
nations. He may now disregard criticism."--_Daily News_.

       *       *       *       *       *

This sonnet, written and published in 1837, nearly half a century ago,
explains itself and may fairly come in here as a protest and prophecy by
a then young author. And, _nota bene_, if hyper-criticism objects that
a sonnet must always be a fourteen-liner (this being one only of twelve)
I reply that it is sometimes of sixteen, as in the one by Dante to
Madonna, which I have translated in my "Modern Pyramid:" and there are
instances of twelve, as one at least of Shakespeare's in his Passionate
Pilgrim. But this is a small technicality.

    _To my Book "Proverbial Philosophy," before Publication._

    "My soul's own son, dear image of my mind,
      I would not without blessing send thee forth
    Into the bleak wide world, whose voice unkind
      Perchance will mock at thee as nothing worth;
    For the cold critic's jealous eye may find
      In all thy purposed good little but ill,
    May taunt thy simple garb as quaintly wrought,
      And praise thee for no more than the small skill
    Of masquing as thine own another's thought:
      What then? count envious sneers as less than nought:
    Fair is thine aim,--and having done thy best,
    So, thus I bless thee; yea, thou shalt be blest!"

There were also two others afterward, in the jubilate vein; but I spare
my reader, albeit they are curiously prophetic of the wide good-doing
since accomplished.

To the above numerous commendations which indeed might be indefinitely
extended, it is only fair to add that "Proverbial Philosophy" has run
the gauntlet of both hemispheres also in the way of parody, ridicule,
plagiaristic imitation, and in some instances of envious and malignant
condemnation. It has won on each side both praise from the good and
censure from the bad: our comic papers have amused us with its
travesties--as Church Liturgies and Holy Writ have been similarly
parodied,--and some of the modern writers who are unfriendly to
Christian influences have done their small endeavour to damage both the
book and its author through adverse criticism. But their efforts are
vain. They have availed only to advance--from first to last now for some
forty-five years--the world-wide success of "Proverbial Philosophy."

If it is expected, as a matter of impartiality, that I should here print
adverse criticisms as well as those which are favourable, I simply
decline to be so foolish: a caricature impresses where a portrait is
forgotten: the _litera scripta_ in printer's ink remains and is quotable
for ever, and I do not think it worth while deliberately to traduce
myself and my book children by adopting the opinions of dyspeptic
scribes who will find how well I think of them in my Proverbial Essay
"Zoilism;" which, by the way, I read at St. Andrews, before some chiefs
of that university, with A.K.H.B. in the chair.

       *       *       *       *       *

Accordingly, I prefer now to appear one-sided, as a piece of common
sense; quite indifferent to the charge of vain-gloriousness; all the
good verdicts quoted are genuine, absolutely unpaid and unrewarded, and
are matters of sincere and skilled opinion; so being such I prize them:
the opposing judgments--much fewer, and far less hearty, as "willing to
wound and yet afraid to strike"--may as well perish out of memory by
being ignored and neglected. Here is a social anecdote to illustrate
what I mean. I once knew a foolish young nobleman of the highest rank
who--to spite his younger brother as he fancied--posted him up in his
club for having called him "a maggot;" and all he got for his pains in
this exposure was that the name stuck to himself for life! so it is not
necessary to borrow fame's trumpet to proclaim one's few dispraises.

Moreover, I have thought it only just to the many unseen lovers of
"Proverbial Philosophy" to show them how heartily their good opinions
have been countersigned and sanctioned all over the English-speaking
world by critics of many schools and almost all denominations. It is not
then from personal vanity that so much laudation is exhibited [God wot,
I have reason to denounce and renounce self-seeking]--but rather to
gratify and corroborate innumerable book friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

If there had been International Copyright in the more halcyon days of my
"Proverbial" popularity, when, as reported (see the _New York World_ on
p. 124), a million and a half copies of my book were consumed in
America, I should have been materially rewarded by a royalty of
something like a hundred thousand pounds: but the bare fact is that all
I have ever received from my Transatlantic booksellers in the way of
money has been some £80 (three thousand dollars) which Herman Hooker of
Philadelphia gave me for the exclusive privilege--so far as I could
grant it--of being my publisher. For aught else, I have nothing to
complain of in the way of praise, however profitless, of kindliness,
however well appreciated, and of boundless hospitality, however fairly
reimbursed at the time by the valuable presence of a foreign celebrity.
No doubt the public are benefited by the cheapness of books unprotected
by copyright, and the author, if he wins no royalty, gains by fame and
pleasure; but the absence of a copyright law is a great mistake,--as
well as an injustice to the authorship of both nations, by starving the
literature of each other, American publishers will not sufficiently pay
their own native bookwrights when they can appropriate their
neighbours' works for nothing; and ours in England probably enriched
themselves as vastly and cheaply by Mrs. Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's
Cabin" as many among the thirty-three States by "Proverbial Philosophy."

       *       *       *       *       *

As my handsome quarto "Proverbial" has been for two generations a common
gift-book for weddings, and has more than once appeared among the gifts
at royal marriages, it is small wonder that I have often been greeted by
old--and young--married couples as having been a sort of spiritual Cupid
on such occasions. Frequently at my readings and elsewhere ladies
thitherto unknown have claimed me as their unseen friend, and some have
feelingly acknowledged that my Love and Marriage (both written in my
teens) were the turning-points of their lives and causes of their
happiness. These lines will meet the eyes of some who will acknowledge
their truth, and possibly if they like it may write and tell me so: some
of my warmest friendships have originated in grateful letters of a
similar character.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may also be worthy of mention that on this side of the Atlantic as
well as on the other (see especially the case of N.P. Willis) it has
often been taken for granted that the author of "Proverbial Philosophy"
has been dead for generations. No doubt this is due both to the antique
style of the book and to the retiring habits of its author:
comparatively few of my readers know me by sight. I could mention many
proofs of this belief in my non-existence: here is one; a daughter of
mine is asked lately by an eminent person if she is a descendant of the
celebrated Elizabethan author? and when that individual in passing round
the room came near to the Professor, and was introduced to him as her
father, the man could scarcely be brought to believe that his
long-departed book friend was positively alive before him. The Professor
looked as if he had seen a ghost.

       *       *       *       *       *

Throughout this volume I wish my courteous readers to bear in mind that
the writer excludes from it as much as possible the strictly private and
personal element; it is intended to be mainly authorial or on matters
therewith connected. Moreover, if they will considerately take into
account that as a youth and until middle age I was, from the
speech-impediment since overcome, isolated from the gaieties of society,
as also that I religiously abstained from theatricals at a time before
Macready, who has since purified them into a very fair school of
morals,--to say less of having been engaged in marriage from seventeen
to twenty-five,--I can have (for example) no love adventures to offer
for amusement, nor any dramatic anecdotes such as Ruskin might supply.
The autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini is full of entertaining and
highly coloured incidents which could not be possible to one rather of
the Huguenot stamp than that of the Cavalier, and so I cannot compete
therewith as to any of the spicier records of hot youth: for which
indeed let me be thankful.

If then my reader finds me less lively than he had--shall I say
uncharitably?--hoped for, let him take into account that, to quote the
splendid but sensuous phrase of Swinburne, I have always been stupidly
prone to prefer "the lilies and languors of virtue" to "the roses and
raptures of vice."

I will now proceed with the self-imposed duty of recording my authorial
performances.



CHAPTER XIII.

A MODERN PYRAMID.


In 1839, Rickerby was again my publisher; the new book being "A Modern
Pyramid; to Commemorate a Septuagint of Worthies." In this volume,
commencing with Abel, and ending with Felix Neff, I have greeted both in
verse and prose threescore and ten of the Excellent of the earth.
Probably the best thing in it is the "Vision Introductory;" and, as the
book has been long out of print, I will produce it here as an
interesting flight of fancy, albeit somewhat of a long one. If an author
can be accounted a fair judge of his own writings, this is my best
effort in the imaginative line; and as it is no new brain-child (we
always love the last baby best), but was written little short of fifty
years ago, the impartial opinion of an old judge is probably a correct
one. The sun-dial is still in my garden,--and as I stood by it half a
century since, there grew up to my mind's eye this Vision:--


"I was walking in my garden at noon: and I came to the sun-dial, where,
shutting my book, I leaned upon the pedestal, musing; so the thin shadow
pointed to twelve.

"Of a sudden, I felt a warm sweet breath upon my cheek, and, starting
up, in much wonder beheld a face of the most bewitching beauty close
beside me, gazing on the dial: it was only a face; and with earnest
fear I leaned, steadfastly watching its strange loveliness. Soon, it
looked into me with its fascinating eyes, and said mournfully, 'Dost
thou not know me?'--but I was speechless with astonishment: then it
said, 'Consider:'--with that, my mind rushed into me like a flood, and I
looked, and considered, and speedily vague outlines shaped about,
mingled with floating gossamers of colour, until I was aware that a
glorious living Creature was growing to my knowledge.

"So I looked resolutely on her (for she wore the garb of woman), gazing
still as she grew: and again she said mildly, 'Consider:'--then I noted
that from her jewelled girdle upwards, all was gorgeous, glistening, and
most beautiful; her white vest was rarely worked with living flowers,
but brighter and sweeter than those of earth; flowing tresses, blacker
than the shadows cast by the bursting of a meteor, and, like them,
brilliantly interwoven with strings of light, fell in clusters on her
fair bosom; her lips were curled with the expression of majestic
triumph, yet wreathed winningly with flickering smiles; and the lustre
of her terrible eyes, like suns flashing darkness, did bewilder me and
blind my reason:--Then I veiled mine eyes with my clasped hands; but
again she said, 'Consider:'--and bending all my mind to the hazard, I
encountered with calmness their steady radiance, although they burned
into my brain. Bound about her sable locks was as it were a chaplet of
fire; her right hand held a double-edged sword of most strange
workmanship, for the one edge was of keen steel, and the other as it
were the strip of a peacock's feather; on the face of the air about her
were phantoms of winged horses, and of racking-wheels: and from her
glossy shoulders waved and quivered large dazzling wings of iridescent
colours, most glorious to look upon.

"So grew she slowly to my knowledge; and as I stood gazing in a rapture,
again she muttered sternly,--'Consider!'--Then I looked below the girdle
upon her flowing robes: and behold they were of dismal hue, and on the
changing surface fluttered fearful visions: I discerned blood-spots on
them, and ghastly eyes glaring from the darker folds, and, when these
rustled, were heard stifled meanings, and smothered shrieks as of
horror: and I noted that she stood upon a wreath of lightnings, that
darted about like a nest of young snakes in the midst of a sullen cloud,
black, palpable, and rolling inwards as thick smoke from a furnace.

"Then said she again to me, 'Dost thou not know me?'--and I answered
her,--'O Wonder, terrible in thy beauty, thy fairness have I seen in
dreams, and have guessed with a trembling spirit that thou walkest among
fears; are thou not that dread Power, whom the children of men have
named Imagination?'--And she smiled sweetly upon me, saying, 'Yea, my
son:' and her smile fell upon my heart like the sun on roses, till I
grew bold in my love and said, 'O Wonder, I would learn of thee; show me
some strange sight, that I may worship thy fair majesty in secret.'

"Then she stood like a goddess and a queen, and stretching forth her
arm, white as the snow and glittering with circlets, slowly beckoned
with her sword to the points of the dial. There was a distant rushing
sound, and I saw white clouds afar off dropping suddenly and together
from the blue firmament all round me in a circle: and they fell to the
earth, and rolled onwards, fearfully converging to where I stood; and
they came on, on, on, like the galloping cavalry of heaven; pouring in
on all sides as huge cataracts of foam; and shutting me out from the
green social world with the awful curtains of the skies.--Then, as my
heart was failing me for fear, and for looking at those inevitable
strange oncomings, and the fixt eyes of my queenlike mistress, I sent
reason from his throne on my brow to speak with it calmly, and took
courage.

"So stood I alone with that dread beauty by the dial, and the white
rolling wall of cloud came on slowly around with suppressed thunderings,
and the island of earth on which I stood grew smaller and smaller every
moment, and the garden-flowers faded away, and the familiar shrubs
disappeared, until the moving bases of those cold mist-mountains were
fixed at my very feet. Then said to me the glorious Power, standing in
stature as a giant,--'Come! why tarriest thou? Come!'--and instantly
there rushed up to us a huge golden throne of light filigree-work, borne
upon seven pinions, whereof each was fledged above with feathers fair
and white, but underneath they were ribbed batlike, and fringed with
black down: and all around fluttered beautiful winged faces, mingled and
disporting with grotesque figures and hideous imps. Then she mounted in
her pomp the steps of the throne, and sat therein proudly. Again she
said to me, 'Come!'--and I feared her, for her voice was terrible; so I
threw myself down on the lowest of the seven golden steps, and the
border of her dark robe touched me. Then was I full of dread, hemmed
about with horrors, and the pinions rustled together, and we rushed
upward like a flame, and the hurricane hastened after us: my heart was
as a frozen autumn-leaf quivering in my bosom, and I looked up for help
and pity from the mighty Power on her throne; but she spurned me with
her black-sandalled foot, and I was thrust from my dizzy seat, and in
falling clutched at the silver net-work that lay upon the steps as a
carpet,--and so I hung; my hands were stiffly crooked in the meshes like
eagle's talons, my wrists were bursting, the bones of my body ached, and
I heard the chill whisper of Death (who came flitting up to me as a
sheeted ghost) bidding my poor heart be still: yet I would live on, I
would cling on, though swinging fearfully from that up-rushing throne;
for my mind was unsubdued, and my reason would not die, but rebelled
against his mandate. And so the pinions flapped away, the dreadful
cavalcade of clouds followed, we broke the waterspout, raced the
whirlwind, hunted the thunder to his caverns, rushed through the light
and wind-tost mountains of the snow, pierced with a crash the thick sea
of ice, that like a globe of hollow glass separates earth and its
atmosphere from superambient space, and flying forward through the
airless void, lighted on another world.

"Then triumphed my reason, for I stood on that silent shore, fearless
though alone, and boldly upbraided the dread Power that had brought me
thither,--'Traitress, thou hast not conquered; my mind is still thy
master, and if the weaker body failed me, it hath been filled with new
energies in these quickening skies: I am immortal as thou art; yet shalt
thou fear me, and heed my biddings: wherefore hast thou dared--?' but my
wrathful eye looked on her bewitching beauty, and I had no tongue to
chide, as she said in the sobriety of loveliness,--'My son, have I not
answered thy prayer? yet but in part; behold, I have good store of
precious things to show thee:' with that, she kissed my brow, and I
fell into an ecstasy.

"I perceived that I was come to the kingdom of disembodied spirits, and
they crowded around me as around some strange creature, clustering with
earnest looks, perchance to inquire of me somewhat from the world I had
just left. Although impalpable, and moving through each other,
transparent and half-invisible, each wore the outward shape and seeming
garments he had mostly been known by upon earth: and my reason whispered
me, this is so, until the resurrection; the seen material form is the
last idea which each one hath given to the world, but the glorified body
of each shall be as diverse from this, yet being the same, as the
gorgeous tulip from its brown bulb, the bird of paradise from his
spotted egg, or the spreading beech from the hard nut that had
imprisoned it.--Then Imagination stood with me as an equal friend, and
spake to me soothingly, saying, 'Knowest thou any of these?'--and I
answered, 'Millions upon millions, a widespread inundation of shadowy
forms, from martyred Abel to the still-born babe of this hour I behold
the gathered dead; millions upon millions, like the leaves of the
western forests, like the blades of grass upon the prairie, they are
here crowding innumerable: yet should my spirit know some among them, as
having held sweet converse with their minds in books; only this boon,
sweet mistress, from yonder mingled harvest of the dead, in grace cull
me mine intimates, that I may see them even with my bodily eyes.' So she
smiled, and waved her fair hand: and at once, a few, a very few, not all
worthiest, not all best, came nearer to me with looks of love; and I
knew them each one, for I had met and somewhile walked with each of
them in the paths of meditation; and some appeared less beatified than
others, and some even meanly clad as in garments all of earth, yet I
loved them more than the remainder of that crowded world, though not
equally, nor yet all for merit, but in that I had sympathy with these as
my friends. And each spake kindly to me in his tongue, so that I stood
entranced by the language of the spirits. Then said my bright-winged
guide, 'Hast thou no word for each of these? they love thy greeting, and
would hear thee.' But I answered, 'Alas, beautiful Power, I know but the
language of earth, and my heart is cold, and I am slow of tongue: how
should I worthily address these great ones?'--So with her finger she
touched my lips, and in an inspiration I spake the language of spirits,
where the thoughts are as incense to the mind, and the words winged
music to the ear, and the heart is dissolved into streams of joy, as
hail that hath wandered to the tropics: in sweetness I communed with
them all, and paid my debt of thanks.

"And behold, a strange thing, changing the aspect of my vision. It
appeared to me, in that dreamy dimness, whereof the judgment inquireth
not and reason hath no power to rebuke it, that while I was still
speaking unto those great ones, the several greetings I had poured forth
in my fervour,--being as it were flowing lava from the volcano of my
heart,--became embodied into mighty cubes of crystal; and in the midst
of each one severally flickered its spiritual song, like a soul, in
characters of fire. So I looked in admiration on that fashioning of
thoughts, and while I looked, behold, the shining masses did shape up,
growing of themselves into a fair pyramid: and I saw that its eastern
foot was shrouded in a mist, and the hither western foot stood out
clear and well defined, and the topstone in the middle was more glorious
than the rest, and inscribed with a name that might not be uttered; for
whereas all the remainder had seemed to be earthborn, mounting step by
step as the self-built pile grew wondrously, this only had appeared to
drop from above, neither had I welcomed the name it bore in that land of
spirits; nevertheless, I had perceived the footmarks of Him, with whose
name it was engraved, even on the golden sands of that bright world, and
had worshipped them in silence with a welcome.

"Thus then stood before me the majestic pyramid of crystal, full of
characters flashing heavenly praise; and I gloried in it as mine own
building, hailing the architect proudly, and I grew familiar with those
high things, for my mind in its folly was lifted up, and looking on my
guide, I said, 'O Lady; were it not ill, I would tell my brethren on
earth of these strange matters, and of thy favour, and of the love all
these have shown me; yea, and I would recount their greetings and mine
in that sweet language of the spirits.'--But the glorious Wonder drew
back majestic with a frown, saying, 'Not so, presumptuous child of man;
the things I have shown thee, and the greetings thou hast heard, and the
songs wherewith I filled thee, cannot worthily be told in other than the
language of spirits: and where is the alphabet of men that can fix that
unearthly tongue,--or how shouldst thou from henceforth, or thy fellows
upon earth, attain to its delicate conceptions? behold, all these thine
intimates are wroth with thee; they discern evil upon thy soul: the
place of their sojourn is too pure for thee.'

"Then was there a peal of thunder, like the bursting of a world,
whereupon all that restless sea of shadows, and their bright abode,
vanished suddenly; and there ensued a flood of darkness, peopled with
shoaling fears, and I heard the approach of hurrying sounds, with
demoniac laughter, and shouts coming as for me, nearer and louder,
saying, 'Cast out! Cast out!' and it rushed up to me like an unseen
army, and I fled for life before it, until I came to the extreme edge of
that spiritual world, where, as I ran looking backwards for terror at
those viewless hunters, I leaped horribly over the unguarded cliff, and
fell whirling, whirling, whirling, until my senses failed me--

"When I came to myself, I was by the sun-dial in my garden, leaning upon
the pedestal, and the thin shadow still pointed to twelve.

"In astonishment, I ran hastily to my chamber, and strove to remember
the strains I had heard. But, alas! they had all passed away: scarcely
one disjointed note of that rare music lingered in my memory: I was
awakened from a vivid dream, whereof the morning remembered nothing.
Nevertheless, I toiled on, a rebel against that fearful Power, and
deprived of her wonted aid: my songs, invitâ Minervâ, are but bald
translations of those heavenly welcomings: my humble pyramid, far from
being the visioned apotheosis of that of a Cephren, bears an unambitious
likeness to the meaner Asychian, the characteristic of which, barring
its presumptuous motto, must be veiled in one word from Herodotus
(2-136),--alas! for the bathos of translation, the cabalistic--[Greek:
phêlikos], 'built up of mud.'

"Was not Rome lutea as well as marmorea? and is not beautiful Paris
anciently Lutetia, with its tile-sheds for Tuileries, and a Bourbe-bonne
for its Sovereign?"

All these sonnets, with others, were published by me elsewhere, as I
state further on. The volume also contains some of my less faulty
translations, as from Sappho, Æschylus, Pythagoras, Virgil, Horace,
Dante, Petrarch, &c. And here I will give a chance specimen out of my
"Septuagint of Worthies," to each one of whom I have appropriated a page
or two of explanatory prose besides his fourteen lines of poetry. Take
my sonnet on "Sylva" Evelyn:--

    "Wotton, fair Wotton, thine ancestral hall,
      Thy green fresh meadows, coursed by ductile streams,
      That ripple joyous in the noonday beams,
    Leaping adown the frequent waterfall,
        Thy princely forest, and calm slumbering lake
    Are hallowed spots and classic precincts all;
      For in thy terraced walks and beechen grove
      The gentle, generous Evelyn wont to rove,
        Peace-lover, who of nature's garden spake
    From cedars to the hyssop on the wall!
    O righteous spirit, fall'n on evil times,
      Thy loyal zeal and learned piety
    Blest all around thee, wept thy country's crimes,
      And taught the world how Christians live and die."

The sonnet is a form of metrical composition which has been habitual
with me, as my volume "Three Hundred Sonnets" will go to prove; and I
have written quite a hundred more. The best always come at a burst,
spontaneously and as it were inspirationally. A laboured sonnet is a
dull piece of artificial rhyming, and as it springs not from the heart
of the writer, fails to reach the heart of the reader. If the metal does
not flow out quick and hot, there never can be a sharp casting. Good
sonnets are crystals of the heart and mind, perfect from beginning to
end, and are only unpopular where poetasters make a carnal toil of them
instead of finding them a spiritual pleasure. But one who knows his
theme may write reams about sonneteering; for instance, see that
striking article on Shakespeare's sonnets in a recent _Fortnightly_ (or
was it a _Contemporary_?) by Charles Mackay, himself one of our literary
worthiest, who has so well worked through a long life for his country
and his kind: my best regards to him.

His discovery, or rather ingenious hypothesis, quite new to me, is, that
some of the one hundred and fifty-four in that collection are by other
writers than Shakespeare, though falsely printed under his name, and
that some more (though by him) were written impersonately in the
characters of Essex and Elizabeth; which would account for an awkward
confusion of the sexes hitherto inexplicable. Mackay thinks that the
publisher included any sonnets by others which he thought worthy of the
great bard, as if they were his, and so caused the injurious and wrong
appropriation; most of them are exquisite, and many undoubtedly
Shakespeare's; some I have said probably by another hand. Critically
speaking too, not one of all the one hundred and fifty-four is of the
conventional and elaborate fourteen-liner sort, with complicated rhymes;
but each is a lyrical gem of three four-line stanzas closed by a
distich. Milton's eighteen are all of the more artificial Petrarchian
sort; which Wordsworth has diligently made his model in more than four
hundred instances of very various degrees in merit.

As I am writing a short memoir of my books, I may state that my own
small quarto of sonnets grew out of the "Modern Pyramid."



CHAPTER XIV.

AN AUTHOR'S MIND: PROBABILITIES.


My next book, published by Bentley in 1841, is in some sort a
psychological curiosity,--its title being "An Author's Mind, the Book of
Title-pages;" and when I add that it contains in succession sketches of
thirty-four new brain-children, all struggling together for exit from my
occiput, it may be imagined how impelled I was to write them all down
(fixt, however briefly, in black and white) in order to get rid of them.
The book is printed as "edited" by me; whereas I wrote every word of it,
but had not then the courage to say so, as certain things therein might
well have offended some folks, and I did not wish that. I think I will
give here a bit of the prefatory "Ramble," to show how the emptying out
of my thought-box must have been a most wholesome, a most necessary
relief:--

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now, reader, one little preliminary parley with you about myself. Here
beginneth the trouble of authorship, but it is a trouble causing ease;
ease from thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, which never cease to make one's
head ache till they are fixed on paper; ease from dreams by night and
reveries by day (thronging up in crowds behind, like Deucalion's
children, or a serried host in front, like Jason's instant army),
harassing the brain, and struggling for birth, a separate existence, a
definite life,--ease, in a cessation of that continuous internal hum of
aerial forget-me-nots, clamouring to be recorded. O happy unimaginable
vacancy of mind, to whistle as you walk for want of thought! O mental
holiday, now as impossible to me as to take a true schoolboy's interest
in rounders and prisoner's base! An author's mind,--and remember always,
friend, I write in character, so judge not as egotistic vanity merely
the well playing of my _rôle_,--such a mind is not a sheet of smooth
wax, but a magic stone indented with fluttering inscriptions,--no empty
tenement, but a barn stored to bursting--it is a painful pressure,
constraining to write for comfort's sake,--an appetite craving to be
satisfied, as well as a power to be exerted,--an impetus that longs to
get away, rather than a dormant dynamic--thrice have I (let me confess
it) poured forth the alleviating volume as an author, a real author,
real, because, for very peace of mind, involuntary,--but still the
vessel fills,--still the indigenous crop springs up, choking a better
harvest, seeds of foreign growth,--still these Lernæan necks sprout
again, claiming with many mouths to explain, amuse, suggest, and
controvert, to publish invention, and proscribe error. Truly it were
enviable to be less apprehensive, less retentive,--to be fitted with a
colander-mind, like that penal cask which forty-nine Danaïdes might not
keep from leaking; to be, sometimes at least, suffered for a holiday to
ramble brainless in the paradise of fools. Memory, imagination, zeal,
perceptions of men and things, equally with rank and riches, have often
cost their full price, as many mad have known; they take too much out of
a man, fret, wear, worry him,--to be irritable is the conditional tax
laid of old upon an author's intellect; the crowd of internal imagery
makes him hasty, quick, nervous, as a haunted, hunted man--minds of
coarser web heed not how small a thorn rends one of so delicate a
texture,--they cannot estimate the wish that a duller sword were in a
tougher scabbard,--the river, not content with channel and restraining
banks, overflows perpetually,--the extortionate exacting armies of the
ideal and the causal persecute MY spirit, and I would make a
patriot stand at once to vanquish the invaders of my peace. I write
these things only to be quit of them, and not to let the crowd
increase,--I have conceived a plan to destroy them all, as Jehu and
Elijah with the priests of Baal; I feel Malthusian among my mental
nurslings; a dire resolve has filled me to effect a premature
destruction of the literary populace superfætating in my brain,--plays,
novels, essays, tales, homilies, and rhythmicals; for ethics and
poetics, politics and rhetorics, will I display no more mercy than
sundry commentators of maltreated Aristotle. I will exhibit them in
their state chaotic,--I will addle the eggs, and the chicken shall not
chirp,--I will reveal, and secrets shall not waste me; I will write, and
thoughts shall not batten on me."

The whole volume, as before-mentioned, is an epitome or quintessence of
more than thirty works,--perhaps the best being "The Prior of Marrick,"
a story of idolatry; "Anti-Xurion," a crusade against razors; and "The
Author's Tribunal," an oration; but I confess, not having looked at the
book since my hair was black (and now it is snow-white), and considering
that I wrote it forty-five years ago, I am surprised to find how well
worth reading is my old Author's Mind. It may some day attain a
resurrection: possibly even, in more than the skeleton form of its
present appearance, muscles and skin being added, in a detailed filling
up and finishing of these mere sketches, if only time and opportunity
were given to me. But I much fear at my time of life that my Tragedy of
Nero must remain unwritten, as also my Novel of Charlotte Clopton, and
that thrilling Handbook of the Marvellous; not to mention my abortive
Epic of Home, and sundry essays, satires, and other lucubrations which,
alas! may now be considered addled eggs. In a last word, I somewhat
vaingloriously claim for authorship, as thus:--

    _The Cathedral Mind._

    "Temple of truths most eloquently spoken,
      Shrine of sweet thoughts veil'd round with words of power,
    The Author's Mind in all its hallowed riches
      Stands a Cathedral; full of precious things--
    Tastefully built in harmonies unbroken,
      Cloister and aisle, dark crypt and aery tower;
    Long-treasured relics in the fretted niches
      And secret stores, and heaped-up offerings,
    Art's noblest wealth with Nature's fruit and flower.
      Paintings and Sculpture, Summer's best, and Spring's,
    Its plenitude of pride and praise betoken;
    An ever-burning lamp shines in its soul;
      Deep music all around enchantment flings;
    And God's great Presence consecrates the whole!"


Probabilities.

In this our day, Agnosticism, if not avowed Atheism, seems to be making
great way, and destroying the happiness of thousands. It may be a truth,
though partly an unpleasant one, that "he has no faith who never had a
doubt," even as "he has no hope who never had a fear." Well, in my short
day and in my own small way I seem to have been through everything, and
there was a time when I was much worried with uninvited difficulties and
involuntary unbeliefs. Such troublesome thoughts seemed to come to me
without my wish or will,--and stayed too long with me for my peace:
however, I searched them out and fought them down, and cleared my brain
of such poisonous cobwebs by writing my "Probabilities, an Aid to
Faith;" a small treatise on the antecedent likelihood of everything that
has happened, which did me great good while composing it, and has (to my
happy knowledge from many grateful letters) enlightened and comforted
hundreds of unwilling misbelievers. The book, after four editions, has
now long been out of print; however, certainly I still wish it was in
the hands of modern sceptics for their good. The scheme of the treatise
is briefly this: I begin by showing the antecedent probability of the
being of a God, then of His attributes, and by inference from His
probable benevolence, of His becoming a Creator: then that the created
being inferior to His perfection might fall, in which event His
benevolence would find a remedy. But what remedy? That Himself should
pay the penalty, and effect a full redemption. How? By becoming a
creature, and so lifting up the race to Himself through so generous a
condescension. I show that it was antecedently probable that the
Divinity should come in humble form, not to paralyse our reason by
outward glories,--that He might even die as a seeming malefactor; this
was the guess of Socrates: and that for the trial of our faith there are
likely to be permitted all manner of difficulties and mysteries for us
to gain personal strength by combating and living them down. Many other
topics are touched in this suggestive little treatise, whereanent a few
critiques are available; as thus, "The author has done good service to
religion by this publication: it will shake the doubts of the sceptical,
strengthen the trust of the wavering, and delight the faith of the
confirmed. As its character becomes known, it will deservedly fill a
high place in the estimation of the Christian world."--_Britannia._ And
similarly of other English journals, while the Americans were equally
favourable. Take this characteristic instance, one of many: the
_Brooklyn Eagle_ maintains that "the author is one of the rare men of
the age; he turns up thoughts as with a plough on the sward of
monotonous usage." And _Hunt's Magazine_, New York, commends "this
reasoning with the sceptical, showing that if they consider
probabilities simply, then all the great doctrines of our faith might
reasonably be expected."

       *       *       *       *       *

An extract from the book itself, as out of print, may be acceptable, the
more so that it takes a new and true view (as I apprehend) of Job and
his restored prosperity:--

"One or two thoughts respecting Job's trial. That he should at last give
way was only probable: he was, in short, another Adam, and had another
fall, albeit he wrestled nobly. Worthy was he to be named among God's
chosen three, 'Noah, Daniel, and Job,' and worthy that the Lord should
bless his latter end. This word brings me to the point I wish to touch
on,--the great compensation which God gave to Job. Children can never be
regarded as other than individualities, and notwithstanding Eastern
feelings about increase in quantity, its quality is, after all, the
question for the heart. I mean that many children to be born is but an
inadequate return for many children dying. If a father loses a
well-beloved son, it is small recompense of that aching void that he
gets another. For this reason of the affections, and because I suppose
that thinkers have sympathised with me in the difficulty, I wish to say
a word about Job's children lost and found. It will clear away what is
to some minds a moral and affectionate objection. Now this is the state
of the case.

"The patriarch is introduced to us as possessing so many camels and
oxen, and so forth, and ten children. All these are represented to him
by witnesses, to all appearance credible, as dead; and he mourns for his
great loss accordingly. Would not a merchant feel to all intents and
purposes a ruined man, if he received a clear intelligence from
different parts of the world at once that all his ships and warehouses
had been destroyed by hurricanes and fire? Faith given, patience
follows: and the trial is morally the same, whether the news be true or
false.

"Remarkably enough, after the calamitous time is past, when the good man
of Uz is discerned as rewarded by heaven for his patience by the double
of everything once lost--his children remain the same in number, ten. It
seems to me quite possible that neither camels, &c., nor children,
really had been killed. Satan might have meant it so, and schemed it;
and the singly coming messengers believed it all, as also did the
well-enduring Job. But the scriptural word does not go to say that these
things happened; but that certain emissaries said they happened. I think
the devil missed his mark--that the messengers were scared by some
abortive diabolic efforts; and that (with a natural increase of camels,
&c., meanwhile) the patriarch's paternal heart was more than compensated
at the last by the restoration of his own dear children. They were dead,
and are alive again; they were lost, and are found. Like Abraham
returning from Mount Calvary with Isaac, it was the resurrection in a
figure.

"If to this view objection is made, that, because the boils of Job were
real, therefore similarly real must be all his other evils; I reply,
that in the one temptation, the suffering was to be mental; in the
other, bodily. In the latter case, positive personal pain was the gist
of the matter--in the former, the heart might be pierced, and the mind
be overwhelmed, without the necessity of any such incurable affliction
as the children's deaths amount to. God's mercy may well have allowed
the evil one to overreach himself; and when the restoration came, how
double was the joy of Job over these ten dear children!

"Again, if any one will urge that, in the common view of the case, Job
at the last really has twice as many children as before, for that he has
ten old ones in heaven, and ten new ones on earth,--I must, in answer,
think that explanation as unsatisfactory to us as the verity of it would
have been to Job. Affection, human affection, is not so numerically nor
vicariously consoled--and it is, perhaps, worth while here to have
thrown out (what I suppose to be) a new view of the case, if only to
rescue such wealth as children from the infidel's sneer of being
confounded with such wealth as camels. Moreover, such a paternal reward
was anteriorly more probable."



CHAPTER XV.

THE CROCK OF GOLD, ETC.


The origin of the "Crock of Gold" is so well given in a preface, written
by Mr. Butler of Philadelphia, for his American edition of my works in
1851, that I choose here to reproduce it, as below. Our cousins over the
water were characteristically very fond of the "Crock of Gold," and some
editions of "Proverbial Philosophy" were published by them as "by the
author of the 'Crock of Gold'" on the title-page, whereof I have a copy.
Moreover, it was dramatised and acted at "the Boston Museum, Tremont
Street"--a playbill which I have announcing the twenty-first
representation, November 1, 1845; the writer sent it to me in MS., where
it lies among the chaos of my papers. In England it has been issued five
times in various forms, and a printed play thereof as adapted by
Fitzball, who wrote for Astley's and the like, was acted (without my
leave asked or granted) in November 1847, at the City of London Theatre
in the East End: I did not stop it, as on a certain private scrutiny I
saw that the influence of the play upon its crowded audiences seemed a
good one. Unseen and unknown in a private box I noted the touching
effect of Grace's Psalm (ch. viii.) and the sobs and tears all over the
theatre that accompanied it; so it was a wisdom not to interfere with
such wholesome popularity and wholesale good-doing. It was a fair
method of preaching the Gospel to the poor, for that crowd was of the
humblest.

The "Crock of Gold" has been translated complete as a _feuilleton_ both
in French and German by newspapers; and I have copies somewhere,--but I
know not who wrote the French, the German authoress having been the
Fraulein Von Lagerström.

What Mr. Butler says in his preface, no doubt after speech with me, for
I was his visitor at the time in 1851, is this:--

"All who have had the good fortune to meet Mr. Tupper during his visit
here have been struck with his characteristic impulsiveness. In
accordance with this feature of his mind, nearly all of his most
successful performances have been occasioned by something altogether
incidental and unpremeditated--the result of an impulse
accidentally--shall we not say, providentially?--imparted. It was so
with the first work in this series (four volumes) respecting the
composition of which he has given to me in conversation the following
account. Some years ago he purchased a house at Brighton. While laying
out the garden, he had occasion to have several drains made. One day
observing a workman, Francis Suter, standing in one of the trenches wet
and wearied with toil, Mr. Tupper said to him in a tone of pleasantry,
'Wouldn't you like to dig up there a crock full of gold?'--'If I did,'
said the man, 'it would do me no good, because merely finding it would
not make it mine.'--'But suppose you could not only find such a
treasure, but might honestly keep it, wouldn't you think yourself
lucky?'--'Oh yes, sir, I suppose I should--but,' after a pause, 'but I
am not so sure, sir, that it is the best thing that could happen to me.
I think, on the whole, I would rather have steady work and fair wages
all the season than find a crock of gold.'

"Here was wisdom. The remark of the honest trench-digger at once set in
motion a train of thought in the mind of the author. He entered his
study, wrote in large letters on a sheet of paper these words, 'The
Crock of Gold, a Tale of Covetousness,' and in less than a week
that remarkable story was written. By the advice of his wife, however,
he spent another week in rewriting it, and then gave it to the world in
its finished state."

In the same Butlerian volume occurs the following MS. notice written by
me (in about 1853) respecting the origins of my two other tales, the
three being issued together:--

"As in the instance of my 'Crock of Gold,' both 'The Twins' and 'Heart'
were undoubtedly the outcome in after years of early observations,
anecdotes, and incidents, whereof memory kept in silence an experimental
record. Very few artists succeed in the delineation of life without
living models; but no good one servilely will betray the forms they
rather get hints from than actually copy. Thus though I sketched Roger
Acton from one Robert Tunnel, an Albury labourer, and took the cottage
near Postford Pond as his home,--adding thereto Mr. Campion's park and
house at Danney, near Hurst (I was then living at Brighton) as the model
for Sir John Vincent's estate,--as well as Grace, Ben Burke, and so on
from persons I had seen,--I need not say that my sketches from nature
were but outlines to my finished work of art. Simon Jennings, however,
is an exact portrait of a man I knew at Brighton. So also with these
tales, and others of my writings."

About "The Twins" a curious and somewhat awkward coincidence happened,
in the fact that my totally ideal characters of General Tracey and his
family were supposed to be intended for some persons whom the cap (it
seems) fitted pretty accurately, and who then lived at the southern
watering-place I had too diaphanously depicted as Burleigh-Singleton. It
is somewhat dangerous to invent blindly. However, my total innocence of
any intentional allusion to private matters whereof I was entirely
ignorant was set clear at once by an explanatory letter; and so no harm
resulted. In the case of "Heart" similarly, I invented the bankruptcy of
a certain Austral Bank, which at the time of my tale's publication had
no existence,--the very name having been taken some years after. This is
another instance of the literary perils to which imaginative authors may
be subject; for _litera scripta manet_, especially if in printer's ink,
and, for aught I know, that offhand word might be held a continuous
libel. For all else, by way of notice, the stories speak for themselves;
as, Covetousness was the text for "The Crock of Gold," while Concealment
and False Witness are severally the _morale_ of "The Twins" and "Heart."
I once meditated ten tales, on the Ten Commandments, these three being
an instalment; and I mentally sketched my fourth upon Idolatry, "The
Prior of Marrick," but nothing came of it. The Decalogue hangs together
as a whole, and cannot be cut into ten distinct subjects without
reference to one another.

In the chapter headed "The find of the Heartless," I find a manuscript
note perhaps worth printing here:

"If I had been gifted with the true prophetic power, hereabouts should
my heartless hero have stumbled on a big nugget of gold (I wrote before
the Australian gold discovery), even as the shrewd Defoe invented for
his Robinson Crusoe in Juan Fernandez, where gold has not yet been
found, though it may be. However, I did not originally make the splendid
guess, and will not now in a future edition surreptitiously interpolate
such a suggestive incident, after the example of dishonest Murphy in his
prognostic of that coldest January 7th. It may be true enough that, for
my story's sake, I may wish I had thought of such a not unlikely find:
for the uselessness of the mere metal to a positively starving man in
the desert might have furnished comment analogous to what was uttered by
Timon of Athens; and would have been picturesque enough and
characteristic withal."

Here may follow a bit of notice for each tale from two critics of
eminence,--as copied from one of my Archive-books, for memory is
treacherous, and I must not invent. Of the "Crock of Gold" Mr. Ollier
wrote as follows:--

"A story of extraordinary power, and, which is a still greater eulogy,
of power devoted to a great and beneficent purpose. Mr. Martin Tupper
(the author) is already known to the world by his 'Proverbial
Philosophy,' and other works which indicate an extraordinarily gifted
mind and an originality of conception and treatment rare indeed in these
latter days,--but he has never demonstrated these qualities to such
perfection as in his present deeply interesting work, wherein romance is
united to wisdom, and both to practical utility. Terror is there in its
sternest shape--the hateful lust of gold is shown in all its hideous
deformity and inconceivable meanness, and through the awful suspense
that hovers over the incidents, occasional gleams of pure and hallowed
love come to humanise the darkness. This is cue of the few fictions
constructed to stand the shocks of time."

And of the other tales we find the following from the pen of the
celebrated Mr. St. John, when he was editor of the _Sunday Times_. He
speaks of the three tales together:--

"In every page of this work there is something which a reader would wish
to bear in his memory for ever. For power of animated description, for
eloquent reflections upon the events of everyday life, and for soft,
touching, pathetic appeals to the best feelings of the heart, these
tales are worthy of a place on every library table in the kingdom. They
are well calculated to add to the author's already established
reputation."

Of this trilogy of tales, undoubtedly the best is the "Crock of Gold:"
"The Twins," though written from living models, is very inferior, as the
hero is too goody-goody and the villain too hopelessly wicked: "Heart"
has more merit, and has been much praised by a celebrated authoress for
its touching chapter on Old Maids. Much of it also is autobiographical,
as with "The Twins."



CHAPTER XVI.

ÆSOP SMITH.


"Æsop Smith's Rides and Reveries" is one of the books which, really
written by me from beginning to end, is nominally only edited. It is a
volume of self-experiences, to be read "through the lines,"--and almost
every incident and character therein is drawn from living models and
actual facts. It grew naturally out of the simple circumstance that I
used daily to ride out alone on one of my horses--more exactly,
mares--Minna and Brenda, and jotted down my cantering fancies in prose
or verse when I got home. Hurst & Blackett were its publishers in
1858,--and it soon was all sold off, but did not come to a second
edition in London, though reproduced widely in New York and
Philadelphia. The fact is that, between an independent publisher who
sells a little over cost price, and a Gargantua purchaser of thousands
at a time, like Smith or Mudie, the poor author is sacrificed: he has
received his fee for the edition (I got £100 for this first and only)
and forthwith finds himself dismissed, while the reading public is made
glad by easy perusal instead of costly purchase: and thus he is cheated
of his second edition. Most authors know how their interests are
affected wholesale by that modern system of subscription libraries: but
cheapness pleases the voracious multitude, and so in this competitive
free-trade era the units who feed those devourers are swallowed up
themselves. However, "what must be, must,"--_che sara sara_,--and I care
not even to complain of what cannot be helped, and wins fame to the one,
whilst it does good to the many, though financially unprofitable to
individual authorship.

In the scarce copy of "Æsop Smith" now before me, I find a few
manuscript notes of mine perhaps worth transcribing. One has it, "This
book is actually autobiographical; but (as Rabelais did) I often mix up
irrelevant and extraneous matter by way of gilding pills, &c., and that
&c. is like one of Coke's upon Littleton, full of hints to be
amplified." Further, "Let readers remember that this book was written
and published long before recent changes in our laws of marriage and
divorce and libel: also when no Englishman dared to go bearded, and no
civilian was permitted to be armed. In advocacy of all these things and
many more, then unheard of but now common, I was in advance of the age;
and in some degree my private notions conduced to very wholesome public
changes." Again: "When Rabelais is diffuse, or a buffoon, or worse, it
may be to throw disputers off the scent as to his real mark of satire or
philosophy. Perhaps, like Liguori, Æsop has written a book for the sake
of a sentence, and veils his true intent in a designed mist of all sorts
of miscellaneous matter. I shan't tell you clearly, but you may guess
for yourselves." The book includes a hundred and thirty original fables,
essayettes, anecdotes, tirades, songs, and musings, all of which
thronged my brain as I cantered along, and were set down in black and
white as soon as I got home. Stay: some were even pencilled in the
saddle,--in especial this, which became very popular afterwards,
particularly in the charming musical composition thereof by Mrs.
Stafford Bush, and as sung by Mr. Fox at St. James's Hall and elsewhere.
It was printed in an earliest edition of my Ballads and Poems (Hall &
Virtue), and is headed there, "Written in the saddle on the crown of my
hat." I reproduce it here for the sake of that heading, though it occurs
also in my extant volume of poems without it:--

    _The Early Gallop._

    "At five on a dewy morning,
        Before the blaze of day,
    To be up and off on a high-mettled horse,
    All care and danger scorning,
        Over the hills away,--
    To drink the rich sweet breath of the gorse,
        And bathe in the breeze of the downs.--
    Ha! man, if you can,--match bliss like this
        In all the joys of towns!

    "With glad and grateful tongue to join
        The lark at his matin hymn,
    And thence on faith's own wing to spring
        And sing with cherubim!
    To pray from a deep and tender heart
        With all things praying anew,
    The birds and the bees and the whispering trees,
        And heather bedropt with dew.--
    To be one with those early worshippers,
        And pour the carol too!

    "Then off again with a slackened rein
        And a bounding heart within,
    To dash at a gallop over the plain
        Health's golden cup to win!
    This, this is the race for gain and grace,
        Richer than vases and crowns;
    And you that boast your pleasures the most
        Amid the steam of towns,
    Come taste true bliss in a morning like this,
        Galloping over the downs!"

Among the most notable prose pieces (though it is of little use to refer
my readers to a book hopelessly out of print) there may be selected my
panacea for Ireland, to wit, a Royal Residence there to evoke the
loyalty of a warm-hearted people,--I called my fable "The Unsunned
Corner:" I mean to quote some of it in a future political page of this
book. Also other papers, as "Bits of Ribbon," suggesting as just and
wise the more profuse distribution of honours,--in particular
recommending an Alfred or an Albert Order. Also, many of my Rifle
ballads,--whereof, more anon. And "The Over-sharpened Axe"--applicable
to modern Boardschool Educationals: and Colonel Jade's matrimonial
tirades, all real life: and "The Grumbling Gimlet," a fable on Content,
&c. &c. With plenty more notabilia--which those who have the book can
turn to if they will.

I could fill many pages with the critiques _pro_ and _con_ this queer
book has provoked, but it is useless now that the world has let it die.



CHAPTER XVII.

STEPHAN LANGTON--ALFRED.


I wrote "Stephan Langton, a Story of the Time of King John," because,
1st, I had little to do in the country; 2dly, I wished to give some
special literary lift to Albury and its neighbourhood, more particularly
as my story had a geographical connection with Surrey; 3dly, I had the
run of Mr. Drummond's library, and consulted there some 300 volumes for
my novel: so it was not an idle work though a rapid one; 4thly, I wanted
to show that though in a Popish age England's heart, and especially
Langton's, was Protestant, quite a precursor of Luther. As this book is
extant, at Lasham's, Guildford, I refer my readers to it. One curious
matter is that my ideal scenes have taken such hold upon my
neighbourhood that streams of tourists come constantly through Albury to
visit "The Silent Pool" and other sites of scenes invented by me, and
have thereby enriched our village inn and the flymen, as well as given
to us a new sort of fame. The book, so cheap in the Guildford edition,
was originally published by Hurst & Blackett in 2 vols., illustrated by
Cousins: that edition is very scarce now.

The tragedy at the "Silent Pool" and the _Auto-da-fé_ are perhaps the
most dramatic scenes in the book,--as the Robin Hood gathering in Combe
Valley is the most picturesque.

       *       *       *       *       *

I quote a few particulars from one of my diaries. "This book tended to
clear my brain of sundry fancies and pictures, as only the writing of
another book could do _that_. Its seed is truly recorded in the first
chapter as to the two stone coffins still in the chancel of St.
Martha's. I began the book on November 26, 1857, and finished it in
exactly eight weeks, on January 21, 1858, reading for the work included.
In two months more it was printed by Hurst & Blackett. I intended it for
one full volume, but the publishers preferred to issue it in two scant
ones; it has since been reproduced by Lasham, Guildford, in one vol., at
one-and-sixpence; it was 14s. I consulted and partially read for it (as
I wanted accurate pictures of John's reign in England) the histories of
Tyrrell, Hollingshed, Hume, Poole, Markland, Thomson's Magna Charta,
James's Philip Augustus, Milman's Latin Christianity, Hallam's Middle
Ages, Maimbourg's Lives of the Popes, Ranke's Life of Innocent III.,
Maitland on the Dark Ages, Ritson's Life of Robin Hood, Salmon's,
Bray's, and Brayley's Surrey, Tupper's and Duncan's Guernsey, besides
the British and National and other Encyclopædias and Dictionaries as
required. It was a work of hard and quick and fervid labour, not an idle
piece of mere brain-spinning, and it may be depended on for
archæological accuracy in every detail. More than thirty localities in
our beautiful county Surrey are painted in the book; of other parts of
England twelve; of France and Italy twelve; there are more than twenty
historical characters honestly (as I judge) depicted; and some fifteen
ideal ones fairly enough invented as accessories: I preferred Stephan
to the commoner Stephen, for etymological and archæological reasons: it
is clearly nearer the Greek, and is spelt so in ancient records."

King Alfred's own Poems.

One of the rarest of the books I have written (if any bibliomaniac of
some future age desires to collect them) must always be "King Alfred's
Poems, now first turned into English metres;" for the little volume was
privately printed by Dr. Allen Giles, the edition being only of 250
copies, which soon vanished, a few of them bearing Hall & Virtue's name
on a new title, and being dated 1850,--the majority hailing from the
private press aforesaid. I constructed it purposely for the "Jubilee
Edition of the Works of King Alfred," learning as well as I could (by
the help of Dr. Bosworth's Dictionary and a Grammar) in a few weeks a
little Anglo-Saxon,--and I confess considerably assisted by Mr. Fox's
prose translation of Boethius. There are thirty-one poems in all, some
being of Alfred's own, but the major part rendered by the wise king out
of Latin into the language of his own people to help their teaching. I
turned it into English verse in thirty-one different metres, each being
as nearly as I could manage in the rhythm of the original: there were no
rhymes in those days; alliteration was the only sort of jingle: in the
judgment of Mr. Fox and some other Anglo-Saxon critics my version was
fairly close, and for the poetical part of my own production at least
nothing is of the slipshod order of half rhymes or alternate prose and
verse--too common, especially in our hymnology--but honest double
rhyming throughout. Without transcribing the little volume I could not
give a true idea of it: but here shall come three or four samples:--

    "Lo, I sang cheerily
      In my bright days,--
    But now all wearily
      Chaunt I my lays,--
    Sorrowing tearfully,
      Saddest of men,
    Can I sing cheerfully
      As I could then?" &c. &c.

Here is a verse of another:--

    "O Thou that art Maker of heaven and earth,
    Who steerest the stars, and hast given them birth,
    For ever thou reignest upon Thy high throne,
    And turnest all swiftly the heavenly zone," &c.

Yet another:--

    "What is a man the better,
      A man of worldly mould,
    Though he be gainful getter
      Of richest gems and gold,
    With every kind well fillèd
      Of goods in ripe array,
    And though for him be tillèd
      A thousand fields a day?" &c.

Again:--

    "I have wings like a bird, and more swiftly can fly
    Far over this earth to the roof of the sky,
    And now must I feather thy fancies, O mind,
    To leave the mid earth and its earthlings behind," &c.

And for a last word:--

    "Thus quoth Alfred--'If thou growest old
    And hast no pleasure, spite of weal and gold,
    And goest weak,--then thank thy Lord for this,
    That He hath sent thee hitherto much bliss,
    For life and light and pleasures past away;
    And say thou, Come and welcome, come what may.'"

These are little bits taken casually: to each of the poems I have added
suitable comment in prose. Mr. Bohn in his well-known series has added
my verse to Mr. Fox's prose Boethius.

The Anglo-Saxon preface to that volume commences thus: "Alfred, King,
was the translator of this book: and from book-Latin turned it into Old
English, as it is now done. Awhile he put word for word; awhile sense
for sense. He learned this book, and translated it for his own people,
and turned it into song, as it is now done." His Old English song, that
is, Anglo-Saxon alliteration, is all now modernised in this curious
little book of English metres. It was well praised by many critics; but
at present is out of the market. When I am "translated" myself, all
these old works of mine will rise again in a voluminous complete
edition.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Alfred Jubilee," on that great king's thousandth year, 1848, is one
of the exploits of my literary life, undertaken and accomplished by Mr.
Evelyn, the brothers Brereton, Dr. Giles, and myself in the year 1848,
chiefly at Wantage, where Alfred was born. We arranged meetings and
banquets in several places, notably Liverpool, where Mr. Bramwell Moore,
the mayor, gave a great feast in commemoration, a medal was struck, the
Jubilee edition of King Alfred's works was at least begun at Dr. Giles's
private printing-press, whilst at Wantage itself 20,000 people collected
from all parts for old English games, speeches, appropriate songs, such
as "To-day is the day of a thousand years" from my pen, collections for
a local school and college as a lasting memorial, and--to please the
commonalty--a gorgeous procession and an ox roasted whole, with gilded
horns and ribbons,--the huge carcase turned like a hare on a gigantic
spit by help of a steam-engine before a furnace of two tons of blazing
coal; and that ox was consumed after a most barbaric Abyssinian fashion
in the open air. My Anglo-Saxon Magazine came out strong on the
occasion,--but it is obsolete now; and I care not to use up space in
reprinting patriotic indignation: for let me state that, considered as a
national commemoration of the Great King, the chief founder of our
liberties, this Wantage jubilee was all but a failure; the British lion
slumbered, and it was flogging a dead horse to try to wake him up; very
few of the magnates responded to our appeal: but we did our best,
nevertheless, as independent Englishmen, and locally achieved a fair
success.

If I went into the whole story with anecdotical detail, I should weary
my reader: let me only reproduce my song at the grand Liverpool banquet,
by way of ending cheerily.

    _The Day of a Thousand Years._

    "To-day is the day of a thousand years!
    Bless it, O brothers, with heart-thrilling cheers!
    Alfred for ever!--to-day was He born,
    Day-star of England, to herald her morn,
    That, everywhere breaking and brightening soon,
    Sheds on us now the full sunshine of noon,
    And fills us with blessing in Church and in State,
    Children of Alfred, the Good and the Great!
      _Chorus_--Hail to his Jubilee Day,
                        The Day of a thousand years.

    "Anglo-Saxons!--in love are we met,
    To honour a Name we can never forget!
    Father, and Founder, and King of a race
    That reigns and rejoices in every place,--
    Root of a tree that o'ershadows the earth,
    First of a Family blest from his birth,
    Blest in this stem of their strength and their state,
    Alfred the Wise, and the Good, and the Great!
      _Chorus_,--Hail to his Jubilee Day,
                        The Day of a thousand years!

    "Children of Alfred, from every clime
    Your glory shall live to the deathday of Time!
    Hereafter in bliss still ever expand
    O'er measureless realms of the Heavenly Land!
    For you, like him, serve God and your Race,
    And gratefully look on the birthday of Grace:
    Then honour to Alfred! with heart-stirring cheers!
    To-day is the Day of a thousand years!
      _Chorus_,--Hail to his Jubilee Day,
                        The Day of a thousand years!"

This song was set to excellent music, and went well, especially in the
chorus. Several Americans were of our company, in particular, Richmond,
a literary friend of mine. At the dinner I had to make a principal
speech, and my cousin Gaspard of the Artillery (now General) answered
for the Army.



CHAPTER XVIII.

SHAKESPEARE COMMEMORATION.


On the three-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare at Stratford-on-Avon I
contributed an ode, to be found in my extant book of poems. Among the
notabilia of the feastings and celebration, I remember how Lord Houghton
raised a great laugh by his pretended indignation when the glee singers
greeted the guests at dinner as "Ye spotted snakes with double
tongue!"--Doubtless it was a Shakespearean old English piece of
music,--but stupidly enough selected for a complimentary greeting. My
ode was well received, but I'll say no more of that, as it can speak for
itself. Lord Leigh made us all very welcome at his splendid Palladian
mansion, and there I met Lord Carlisle, then Viceroy of Ireland, who
kindly told me that as he had known my father, and knew me, and my son
was then in Ireland (he was a captain in the 29th Regiment), he would
put him on his staff, as a third generation of the name. I am not sure
if this happened, for my son soon was sent elsewhere; and he has long
since gone to the Better Land. But Lord Carlisle's kindness was all the
same. At the ball I remember Lord Carlisle's diamonds hanging like a
string of glass chandelier drops at his button-hole with a Shakespeare
favour, and jingling perilously for chippings as he danced: for size
those half-dozen Koh-i-noors must be--foolishly--invaluable.

At Stratford Church, either then or some while after, I strangely was
the means of saving Shakespeare's own baptismal font from destruction,
as thus: the church had been "restored,"--_i.e._, all its best patina
was polished away; and among the "improvements," I noticed a brand new
font. "Where is the old one?" "O sir, the mason who supplied the new one
took it away." So I called and found this font--quite sacred in
Shakespearean eyes as where their idol had been christened--lying broken
in a corner of the yard. Then off I went to the rector, I think it was a
Mr. Granville, expostulating; and (to make the matter short) with some
difficulty I got the font mended and put back again, as it certainly
never should have been removed. I have since been to Stratford, and find
that they use the new font, and have put the old one in a corner of the
nave.

An odd thing happened to me in the church, where at the vestry I had
just signed my name as other visitors did. An American, utterly unknown
to me as I to him, came eagerly up to me as I was inspecting that
unsatisfactory bust and inscription about Shakespeare, and said, "Come
and see what I've found,--Martin Tupper's autograph,--he must be
somewhere near, for he has just signed: do tell, is he here?" I rather
thought he might be. "I've wished to see him ever since I was a small
boy. Do you know him, sir?" Well, yes, a little. "Show him to me, sir,
won't you? I'd give ten dollars for his autograph." After a word or two
more, my good nature gave him the precious signature without the
dollars,--and I shan't easily forget his frantic joy, showing the
document to all around him, whilst I escaped.

Besides a Pindaric Ode to Shakespeare, to be found in my Miscellaneous
Poems, wherein many of his characters are touched upon, I wrote the
following sonnet, now out of print:--

    _The Stratford Jubilee._

    "Went not thy spirit gladly with us then,
      Most genial Shakespeare!--wast thou not with us
      Who throng'd to honour thee and love thee thus,
    A few among thy subject fellow-men?
    Yea,--let me truly think it; for thy heart
    (Though now long since the free-made citizen
    Of brighter cities where we trust thou art)
    Was one, in its great whole and every part,
      With human sympathies: we seem to die,
    But verily live; we grow, improve, expand,
    When Death transplants us to that Happier Land;
      Therefore, sweet Shakespeare, came thy spirit nigh,
    Cordial with Man, and grateful to High Heaven
    For all our love to thy dear memory given."



CHAPTER XIX.

TRANSLATIONS AND PAMPHLETS.


The best of my unpublished MSS. of any size or consequence is perhaps my
translation of Book Alpha of the Iliad, quite literal and in its
original metre of hexameters: hitherto I have failed to find a publisher
kind enough to lose by it; for there are already at least twelve English
versions of Homer unread, perhaps unreadable. Still, some day I don't
despair to gain an enterprising Sosius; for my literal and hexametrical
translation is almost what Carthusians used to call "a crib," and
perhaps some day the School Board or their organ, Mr. Joseph Hughes's
_Practical Teacher_, may adopt my version. Its origin and history is
this: finding winter evenings in the country wearisome to my homeflock,
I used to read to them profusely and discursively. Amongst other books,
a literary daughter suggested Pope's Homer; which, as I read, after a
little while, I found to be so very free and incorrect a translation (if
my memory served me rightly) that I resolved to see what I could do by
reading from the original Greek in its own (English) metre. I soon found
it quite easy to be both terse and literal; and having rhythm only to
care for without the tag of rhyme, I soon pleased my hearers and in some
sort myself, reading "off the reel" directly from the Greek into the
English.

This version is still unblotted by printer's ink: if any compositor
pleases he is welcome to work on the copy; which I can supply gratis:
only I do not promise to do more than I have done, Book Alpha. Life is
too short for such literary playwork.

Here followeth a sample: quite literal: line for line, almost word for
word: my translation renders Homer exactly. I choose the short bit where
Thetis pleads with Jove for her irate son, because I am sure Tennyson
must have had this passage in his mind when he drew his word-picture of
Vivien with Merlin.

    "But now at length the twelfth morn from the first had arrived;
        and returning
    Came to Olympus together the glorious band of immortals,
    Zeus the great king at their head. And Thetis, remembering the
        cravings
    Of her own son, and his claims, uprose to the surface of ocean,
    And through the air flew swift to high heaven, ascending Olympus.
    There she found sitting alone on the loftiest peak of the mountain
    All-seeing Zeus, son of Kronos, apart from the other celestials.
    So she sat closely beside him, embracing his knees with her
        left hand,
    While with her right she handled his beard, and tenderly stroked it,
    Whispering thus her prayer to Zeus, the great king, son of
        Kronos," &c. &c.

Let that suffice with a _cætera desunt_.

I need not say that I have written innumerable other, translated pieces,
from earliest days of school exercises to these present. There is
scarcely a classic I have not so tampered with: and (though a poor
modern linguist) I have touched--with dictionary and other help, a few
bits of Petrarch, Dante, &c.; examples whereof may be seen in my "Modern
Pyramid," as already mentioned.


Sundry Pamphlets.

My several publications in pamphlet shape may ask for a page or
two,--the chief perhaps (and therefore I begin with it) being my "Hymn
for All Nations" in thirty languages, issued at the time of the first
great exhibition in 1851, due to a letter I wrote to the Bishop of
London on November 22, 1850, urging such a universal psalm. Mr.
Brettell, a printer, issued this curiosity of typography: for it has all
the strange types which the Bible Society could lend; and several other,
versions than the fifty published (some being duplicated) are in a great
volume before me, unprinted because neither England, nor Germany, nor
America could supply types for sundry out-of-the-way languages
contributed by missionaries in the four quarters of the world. My hymn
was "a simple psalm, so constructed as scarcely to exclude a truth, or
to offend a prejudice; with special reference to the great event of this
year, and yet so ordered that it can never be out of season." "This
polyglot hymn at the lowest estimate is a philological curiosity: so
many minds, with such diversity in similitude rendering literally into
all the languages of the earth one plain psalm, a world-wide call to man
to render thanks to God." Dr. Wesley and several others contributed the
music, and the best scholars of all lands did the literature: the mere
printing of so many languages was pronounced a marvel in its way; and I
have a bookful of notices, of course laudatory, where it was not
possible to find fault with so small a piece of literature. It may be
well to give the hymn admission here, as the booklet is excessively
scarce.

The title goes--"A Hymn for all Nations," 1851, translated into thirty
languages (upwards of fifty versions).

    "Glorious God! on Thee we call,
    Father, Friend, and Judge of all;
    Holy Saviour, heavenly King,
    Homage to Thy throne we bring!

    "In the wonders all around
    Ever is Thy Spirit found,
    And of each good thing we see
    All the good is born of Thee!

    "Thine the beauteous skill that lurks
    Everywhere in Nature's works--
    Thine is Art, with all its worth,
    Thine each masterpiece on earth!

    "Yea,--and, foremost in the van,
    Springs from Thee the Mind of Man;
    On its light, for this is Thine,
    Shed abroad the love divine!

    "Lo, our God! Thy children here
    From all realms are gathered near,
    Wisely gathered, gathering still,--
    For 'peace on earth, towards men goodwill!'

    "May we, with fraternal mind,
    Bless our brothers of mankind!
    May we, through redeeming love,
    Be the blest of God above!"

Beside this, I give from memory a list of others of the pamphlet sort,
perhaps imperfect:--

1. "The Desecrated Church," relating to ancient Albury,--whereof this
matter is remarkable; I had protested against its demolition to Bishop
Sumner, and used the expression in my letter that the man who was doing
the wrong of changing the old church in his park for a new one elsewhere
would "lay the foundation in his first-born and in his youngest son set
up its gates" (Josh. vi. 26); and the two sons of the lord of the manor
died in succession as seemingly was foretold.

2. "A Voice from the Cloister," whereof I have spoken before.

3. "A Prophetic Ode,"--happily hindered from proving true, only because
the Rifle movement drove away those vultures, Louis Napoleon's hungry
colonels, from our unprotected shores. There are also in the poem some
curious thoughts about the Arctic Circle, its magnetic heat, and
possible habitability; also others about thought-reading and the like;
all this being long in advance of the age, for that ode was published by
Bosworth in 1852. Also, I anticipated then as now--

        "To fly as a bird in the air
        Despot man doth dare!
    His humbling cumbersome body at length
      Light as the lark upsprings,
    Buoyed by tamed explosive strength
      And steel-ribbed albatross wings!"

With plenty of other curious matter. That ode is extinct, but will
revive.

4. So also with "A Creed, &c.," which bears the imprint of Simpkin &
Marshall, and the date 1870. Its chief peculiarities are summed up in
the concluding lines:--

    "So then, in brief, my creed is truly this;
    Conscience is our chief seed of woe or bliss;
    God who made all things is to all things Love,
    Balancing wrongs below by rights above;
    Evil seemed needful that the good be shown,
    And Good was swift that Evil to atone;
    While creatures, link'd together, each with each,
    Of one great Whole in changeful sequence teach,
    Life-presence everywhere sublimely vast
    And endless for the future as the past."

For I believe in some future life for the lower animals as well as for
their unworthier lord; and in the immortality of all creation. Some
other poems and hymns also are in this pamphlet.

5. My "Fifty Protestant Ballads," published, by Ridgeway, will be
mentioned hereafter.

6. "Ten Letters on the Female Martyrs of the Reformation," published by
the Protestant Mission.

7 and 8. "Hactenus" and "A Thousand Lines," most whereof are in my
"Cithara" and Miscellaneous Poems.

9. A pamphlet about Canada, and its closer union to us by dint of
imperialism and honours, dated several years before these have come to
pass.

10. Sundry shorter pamphlets on Rhyme, Model Colonisation, Druidism,
Household Servants, My Newspaper, Easter Island, False Schooling, &c.
&c. Not to mention some serial letters long ago in the _Times_ about the
Coronation, Ireland, and divers other topics. Every author writes to the
_Times_.

11. As a matter of course I have written both with my name and without
it (according to editorial rule) in many magazines and reviews, from the
_Quarterly_ of Lockhart's time to the _Rock_ of this, not to count
numerous reviews of books _passim_, besides innumerable fly-leaves,
essayettes, sermonettes, &c. &c., in the _Rock_ and elsewhere.

12. I was editor for about two years of an extinct three-monthly, the
_Anglo-Saxon_: in one of which I wrote nine articles, as the
contributions received were inappropriate. I never worked harder in my
life; but the magazine failed, the chief reason being that the monied
man who kept it alive insisted upon acceptance when rejection was
inevitable.

13. Some printed letters of mine on Grammar, issued in small pamphlet
form at the _Practical Teacher_ office; and sundry others unpublished,
called "Talks about Science," still in MS.

14. "America Revisited," a lecture, in three numbers, of _Golden Hours_.

15. Separate bundles of ballads in pamphlet form about Australia, New
Zealand, Church Abuses, The War, &c. &c.

Besides possibly some other like booklets forgotten.



CHAPTER XX.

PATERFAMILIAS, GUERNSEY, MONA.


When I returned in the autumn of 1855 from my principal continental
tour, wherein for three months I had conducted my whole family of eleven
(servants inclusive) all through the usual route of French and Swiss
travel,--I committed my journal to Hatchard, who forthwith published it;
but not to any signal success,--for it was anonymous, which was a
mistake: however, I did not care to make public by name all the daily
details of my homeflock pilgrimage. The pretty little book with its fine
print of the Pass of Gondo as a frontispiece, nevertheless made its way,
and has been inserted in Mr. Gregory's list of guide-books as a
convenience if not a necessity to travellers on the same roads, though
in these days of little practical use: indeed, wherever we stopped, I
contrived to exhaust, on the spot all that was to be seen or done, with
the advantages of personal inspection, and therefore of graphic and true
description. The book has been praised for its interest and includes
divers accidents, happily surmounted, divers exploits in the milder form
of Alpine climbing (as the Mauvais Pas, which I touch experimentally at
the end of Life's Lessons, in "Proverbial Philosophy," Series IV.),
divers grand sights, as the Great Exhibition, close to which we lived
for some weeks in the Champs Élysées, and many pleasant incidents, as
greetings with friends, old and new, and other usual _memorabilia_.
Among these let me mention the honest kindliness of Courier
Pierre,--always called Pere by my children, with whom he was a great
favourite--the more readily because he has long gone to "the bourne
whence no traveller returns," so he needs no recommendation from his
late employer. This, then, I say is memorable. At Lucerne, as my
remittance from Herries failed to reach me, I seemed obliged to make a
stop and to return; but Pierre objected, saying it was "great pity not
to pass the Simplon and see Milan,--and, if Monsieur would permit him,
he could lend whatever was needful, and could be paid again." Certainly
I said this was very kind, and so I borrowed at his solicitation:--it
was £100, as I find by the journal; our travel was costing us £40 a
week. Well, to recount briefly, when, after having placed in our
_repertoire_ Bellinzona, Como, Milan, &c. &c., I found myself at Geneva,
and with remittances awaiting me, my first act was to place in Pierre's
hands £105,--and when he counted the notes, he said, "Sare, there is one
five-pound too many."--"Of course, my worthy Pierre, I hope you will
accept that as interest."--"Non, Monsieur, pardon; I could not, I always
bring money to help my families:"--and he would not. Now, if that was
not a model courier, worthy to be commemorated thus,--well, I hope there
are some others of his brethren on the office-books of Bury Street, St.
James's, who are equally duteous and disinterested. "Some people are
heroes to their valets; my worthy help is a hero to me:" so saith my
journal. Here's another extract, after two slight earthquakes at Brieg,
and Turtman (Turris Magna);--"Again a bad accident. One of our spirited
wheelers got his hind leg over the pole in going down a hill: at once
there was a chaos of fallen horses and entangled harness, and but for
the screw machine drag locking both hind-wheels we must have been upset
and smashed,--as it was, the scrambling and kicking at first was
frightful; but Paterfamilias dragged the younger children out into the
road, and other help was nigh at hand, and the providential calm that
comes over fallen horses after their initiatory struggle was at hand
too, and in due time matters were righted: that those two fiery
stallions did not kick everything to pieces, and that all four steeds
did not gallop us to destruction, was due, under Providence, to the
skill and courage of our good Pierre and the patient
Muscatelli."--Railways have since superseded all this peril, and cost,
and care: and trains now go _through_ the Simplon, instead of "good
horses, six to the heavy carriage, four to the light one," pulling us
steadily and slowly _over_ it: thus losing the splendid scenery climaxed
by the Devil's Bridge: but let moderns be thankful. "Paterfamilias's
Diary" has long been out of print, and its author is glad that he made
at the time a full record of the happy past, and recommends its perusal
to any one who can find a copy anywhere. My friend, the late Major Hely,
who claimed an Irish peerage, was very fond of this "Diary," and thought
it "the best book of travels he had ever read."


Guernsey.

Guernsey is another of the spots where your author has lived and
written, though neither long nor much. He comes, as is well known, of an
ancient Sarnian family, as mentioned before. As to any writings of mine
about insular matters while sojourning there occasionally, they are
confined to some druidical verses about certain cromlechs, a few other
poems, as one given below--"A Night-Sail in the Race of Alderney,"--and
in chief that in which I "Raised the Haro," which saved the most
picturesque part of Castle Cornet from destruction by some artillery
engineer. Here is the poem, supposing some may wish to see it:
especially as it does not appear in my only extant volume of poems, Gall
& Inglis. It occurs (I think solely) in Hall & Virtue's extinct edition
of my Ballads and Poems, 1853, and is there headed "'The Clameur de
Haro,' an old Norman appeal to the Sovereign, 1850":--

    "Haro, Haro! à l'aide, mon Prince!
      A loyal people calls;
    Bring out Duke Rollo's Norman lance
    To stay destruction's fell advance
      Against the Castle walls:
    Haro, Haro! à l'aide, ma Reine!
    Thy duteous children not in vain
    Plead for old Cornet yet again,
      To spare it, ere it falls!

    "What? shall Earl Rodolph's sturdy strength,
    After six hundred years, at length
      Be recklessly laid low?
    His grey machicolated tower
    Torn down within one outraged hour
    By worse than Vandals' ruthless power?--
      Haro! à l'aide, Haro!

    "Nine years old Cornet for the throne
    Against rebellion stood alone--
      And honoured still shall stand,
    For heroism so sublime,
    A relic of the olden time,
    Renowned in Guernsey prose and rhyme,
      The glory of her land!

    "Ay,--let your science scheme and plan
      With better skill than so;
    Touch not this dear old barbican,
      Nor dare to lay it low!

    "On Vazon's ill-protected bay
    Build and blow up, as best ye may,
    And do your worst to scare away
      Some visionary foe,--
    But, if in brute and blundering power
    You tear down Rodolph's granite tower,
    Defeat and scorn and shame that hour
    Shall whelm you like an arrowy shower--
      Haro! à l'aide, Haro!"

When my antiquarian cousin Ferdinand, the historian of "Sarnia" and our
"Family Records," saw these lines, he positively made serious
objection--while generally approving them--against my saying "six
hundred years," whereas, according to him, it was only five hundred and
ninety-three! he actually wanted me to alter it, or at all events insert
"almost,"--so difficult is it to reconcile literal accuracy with
poetical rhyme and rhythm. I seem to remember that he wrote to the local
papers about this. However, it is some consolation to know that these
heartfelt verses forced the War Office to spare Castle Cornet: the
Norman appeal by Haro being a privilege of Channel-Islanders to bring
their grievances direct to the Queen in council. As I have continually
the honour "Monstrari digito prætereuntium" in the _rôle_ of a
"Fidicen," I suppose that poetries in such a self-record as this are not
positive bores--they can always be skipped if they are--so I will even
give here a cheerful bit of rhyme which I jotted down at midnight on the
deck of a yacht in a half-gale off Cherbourg, when going with a
deputation from Guernsey to meet the French President in 1850:--

    _A Night-Sail in the Race of Alderney._

    I.

    "Sprinkled thick with shining studs
      Stretches wide the tent of heaven,
    Blue, begemmed with golden buds,--
        Calm, and bright, and deep, and clear,
        Glory's hollow hemisphere
    Arch'd above these frothing floods
      Right and left asunder riven,
    As our cutter madly scuds,
      By the fitful breezes driven,
        When exultingly she sweeps
        Like a dolphin through the deeps,
        And from wave to wave she leaps
      Rolling in this yeasty leaven,--
        Ragingly that never sleeps,
      Like the wicked unforgiven!

    II.

    "Midnight, soft and fair above,
      Midnight, fierce and dark beneath,--
    All on high the smile of love,
      All below the frown of death:
    Waves that whirl in angry spite
    With a phosphorescent light
    Gleaming ghastly on the night,--
      Like the pallid sneer of Doom,
    So malicious, cold, and white,
      Luring to this watery tomb,
    Where in fury and in fright
    Winds and waves together fight
      Hideously amid the gloom,--
    As our cutter gladly sends,
      Dipping deep her sheeted boom
        Madly to the boiling sea,
    Lighted in these furious floods
    By that blaze of brilliant studs,
    Glistening down like glory-buds
        On the Race of Alderney!"

A few more words as to my Sarnian literaria. Victor Hugo, when resident
in Guernsey, had greatly offended my cousin (the chief of our clan) by
stealing for his hired abode the title of our ancestral mansion, Haute
Ville House: and so, when I called on him, the equally offended
Frenchman would not see me, though I was indulged with a sight of the
_bric-à-brac_ wherewith he had filled his residence, albeit deprived of
access to its inmate. Hugo was not popular among the sixties at that
time. Since then, Mr. Sullivan of Jersey published on his decease some
splendid stanzas in French, which by request I versified in English: so
that our spirits are now manifestly _en rapport_.

I wrote also (as I am reminded) an ode on the consecration of St.
Anne's, Alderney, when I accompanied the Bishop to the ceremony: and
some memorable stanzas about the decent expediency of the Bailiff and
Jurats being robed for official uniform, since ornamentally adopted; but
before I wrote they wore mean and undistinguished "mufti."

I had also much to do on behalf of my friend Durham, the sculptor, in
the matter of his bronze statue to Prince Albert,--advocating it both in
prose and verse, and being instrumental in getting royal permission to
take a duplicate of the great work now at South Kensington. My cousin
the Bailiff, the late Sir Stafford Carey, dated his knighthood from the
inauguration of the statue, now one of the chief ornaments of St.
Peter's Port,--the other being the Victoria Tower, also a Sarnian
exploit.


Isle of Man.

Under such a title as this, "My Life as an Author," that author being
chiefly known for his poetry, though he has also written plenty of
prose, it is (as I have indeed just said) not to be reasonably objected
that the volume is spotted with small poems. Still, I must do it, if I
wish to illustrate by verse, or other extracts from my writings
(published or unprinted), certain places where the said author has had
his temporary _habitat_: now one of these is the Isle of Man,--where I
and mine made a long summer stay at Castle Mona. The chief literary
productions of mine in that modern Trinacria, whose heraldic emblem,
like that of ancient Sicily, is the Three legs of Three promontories,
are some antiquarian pieces, principally one on the sepulchral mound of
Orry the Dane:--

    "In fifty keels and five
      Rushed over the pirate swarm,
    Hornets out of the northern hive,
      Hawks on the wings of the storm;
    Blood upon talons and beak,
      Blood from their helms to their heels,
    Blood on the hand and blood on the cheek,--
      In five and fifty keels!

    "O fierce and terrible horde
      That shout about Orry the Dane,
    Clanging the shield and clashing the sword
      To the roar of the storm-tost main!
    And hard on the shore they drive
      Ploughing through shingle and sand,--
    And high and dry those fifty and five
      Are haul'd in line upon land.

    "And ho! for the torch straightway,
      In honour of Odin and Thor,--
    And the blazing night is as bright as the day
      As a gift to the gods of war;
    For down to the melting sand
      And over each flaring mast
    Those fifty and five they have burnt as they stand
      To the tune of the surf and the blast!

    "A ruthless, desperate crowd,
      They trample the shingle at Lhane,
    And hungry for slaughter they clamour aloud
      For the Viking, for Orry the Dane!
    And swift has he flown at the foe--
      For the clustering clans are here,--
    But light is the club and weak is the bow
      To the Norseman sword and spear:

    "And--woe to the patriot Manx,
      The right overthrown by the wrong,--
    For the sword hews hard at the staggering ranks,
      And the spear drives deep and strong:
    And Orry the Dane stands proud
      King of the bloodstained field,
    Lifted on high by the shouldering crowd
      On the battered boss of his shield!

    "Yet, though such a man of blood,
      So terribly fierce and fell,
    King Orry the Dane had come hither for good,
      And governed the clans right well;
    Freedom and laws and right,
      He sowed the good seed all round--
    And built up high in the people's sight
      Their famous Tynwald Mound;

    "And elders twenty and four
      He set for the House of Keys,
    And all was order from shore to shore
      In the fairest Isle of the Seas:
    Though he came a destroyer, I wist
      He remained as a ruler to save,
    And yonder he sleeps in the roadside kist
      They call King Orry's Grave."

It was at Castle Mona that I first met Walter Montgomery, who read these
very lines to great effect at one of his Recitations, and thereafter
produced at Manchester my play of "Alfred." He was, amongst other
accomplishments, a capital horseman, and when he galloped over the sands
on his white horse, he would jump benches with their sitters, calling
out "Don't stir, we shall clear you!" It would have required no small
coolness and courage to have abided his charge, and though I saw him do
this once, I question if he was allowed to repeat the exploit.

In Douglas was also my artist-friend Corbould, visiting at the romantic
place of his relatives the Wilsons, who had to show numerous paintings
and relics of John Martin, with whom in old days I had pleasant
acquaintance at Chelsea and elsewhere. I remember that on one occasion
when I asked him which picture of his own he considered his
_chef-d'oeuvre_ I was astonished at his reply, "Sardanapalus's
death,--and therein his jewels." Martin's Chelsea garden had its walls
frescoed by him to look like views and avenues,--certainly effective,
but rather in the style of Grimaldi's garden made gay by artificial
flowers and Aladdin's gems, _à la mode_ Cockayne. At Bishop's Court too
we had a very friendly reception from Bishop Powys, and in fact
everywhere as usual your confessor found a cordial author's welcome in
Mona.



CHAPTER XXI.

NEVER GIVE UP, AND SOME OTHER BALLADS.


Sundry of my short lyrics have gained a great popularity: in particular
"Never give up," whereof there are extant--or were--no fewer than eight
musical settings. Of this ballad, three stanzas, I have a strange story
to tell. When I went to Philadelphia, on my first American tour in 1851,
I was taken everywhere to see everything; amongst others to Dr.
Kirkland's vast institute for the insane: let me first state that he was
not previously told of my coming visit. When I went over the various
wards of the convalescents, I noticed that on each door was a printed
placard with my "Never give up" upon it in full. Naturally I thought it
was done so out of compliment. But on inquiry, Dr. Kirkland didn't know
who the author was, and little suspected it was myself. He had seen the
verses, anonymous, in a newspaper, and judging them a good moral dose of
hopefulness even for the half insane, placed them on every door to
excellent effect. When to his astonishment he found the unknown author
before him, greatly pleased, he asked if I would allow the patients to
thank me; of course I complied, and soon was surrounded by kneeling and
weeping and kissing folks, grateful for the good hope my verses had
helped them to. And twenty-five years after, in 1876, I, again without
notice, visited Dr. Kirkland at the same place, scarcely expecting to
find him still living, and certainly not thinking that I should see my
old ballad on the doors. But, when the happy doctor, looking not an hour
older, though it was a quarter of a century, took me round to see his
convalescents, behold the same words greeted me in large print,--and
probably are there still: the only change being that my name appears at
foot. I gave them a two hours' reading in their handsome theatre, and I
never had a more intensely attentive audience than those three hundred
lunatics. The ballad runs thus,--if any wish to see it, as for the first
time:--

    "Never give up! it is wiser and better
      Always to hope than once to despair;
    Fling off the load of Doubt's heavy fetter
      And break the dark spell of tyrannical care:
    Never give up! or the burden may sink you,--
      Providence kindly has mingled the cup,
    And, in all trials or troubles, bethink you
      The watchword of life must be Never give up!

    "Never give up! there are chances and changes
      Helping the hopeful a hundred to one,
    And through the chaos High Wisdom arranges
      Ever success, if you'll only hope on:
    Never give up! for the wisest is boldest,
      Knowing that Providence mingles the cup,
    And of all maxims the best as the oldest
      Is the true watchword of Never give up!

    "Never give up! though the grapeshot may rattle
      Or the full thunderbolt over you burst,
    Stand like a rock,--and the storm or the battle
      Little shall harm you, though doing their worst:
    Never give up!--if Adversity presses,
      Providence wisely has mingled the cup,
    And the best counsel in all your distresses
      Is the stout watchword of Never give up!"

I can quite feel what a moral tonic and spiritual stimulant these
sentiments would be to many among the thousand patients under Dr.
Kirkland's care.

I recollect also now, that once when I read at Weston-super-Mare, with
Lord Cavan in the chair, a military man among the audience, on hearing
me recite "Never give up," came forward and shook hands, showing me out
of his pocket-book a soiled newspaper cutting of the poem without my
name, saying that it had cheered him all through the Crimea, and that he
had always wished to find out the author. Of course we coalesced right
heartily. Some other such anecdotes might be added, but this is enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

Year by year, for more than a dozen, I have given a harvest hymn to the
jubilant agriculturists: they have usually attained the honour of a
musical setting, and been sung all over the land in many churches.
Perhaps the best of them is one for which Bishop Samuel Wilberforce
wrote to "thank me cordially for a real Christian hymn with the true
ring in it." There are, or were, many musical settings thereof, the best
being one of a German composer.

    "O Nation, Christian Nation
      Lift high the hymn of praise!
    The God of our salvation
      Is love in all His ways;
    He blesseth us, and feedeth
      Every creature of His hand,
    To succour him that needeth
      And to gladden all the land.

    "Rejoice, ye happy people,
      And peal the changing chime
    From every belfried steeple
      In symphony sublime:
    Let cottage and let palace
      Be thankful and rejoice,
    And woods and hills and valleys
      Re-echo the glad voice!

    "From glen, and plain, and city
      Let gracious incense rise;
    The Lord of life and pity
      Hath heard His creatures' cries:
    And where in fierce oppression
      Stalk'd fever, fear, and dearth,
    He pours a triple blessing
      To fill and fatten earth!

    "Gaze round in deep emotion;
      The rich and ripened grain
    Is like a golden ocean
      Becalm'd upon the plain;
    And we who late were weepers,
      Lest judgment should destroy,
    Now sing, because the reapers
      Are come again with joy!

    "O praise the Hand that giveth,
      And giveth evermore,
    To every soul that liveth
      Abundance flowing o'er!
    For every soul He filleth
      With manna from above,
    And over all distilleth
      The unction of His love.

    "Then gather, Christians, gather,
      To praise with heart and voice
    The good Almighty Father
      Who biddeth you rejoice:
    For He hath turned the sadness
      Of His children into mirth,
    And we will sing with gladness
      The harvest-home of Earth."

My "Song of Seventy," published more than forty years ago, has been
exceedingly popular; and I here make this extract from an early
archive-book respecting it:--"Dr. Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, was so
pleased with this said 'Song of Seventy' that he posted off to
Hatchards' forthwith (after seeing it quoted anonymously in the
_Athenæum_) to inquire the author's name." It was published in "One
Thousand Lines." I composed it during a solitary walk near
Hurstperpoint, Sussex, in 1845, near about when I wrote "Never give up."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of my several ballads upon Gordon (I think there were nine of them) I
will here enshrine one, printed in the newspapers of May 1884, and
perhaps worthiest to be saved from evanescence:--

      "If England had but spoken
        With Wellesley's lion roar,
      Or flung out Nelson's token
        Of duty as of yore,
    We should not now, too late, too late,
      Be saddened day by day,
    Dreading to hear of Gordon's fate,
      The victim of delay.

      "He felt in isolation
        '_Civis Romanus sum_,'
      And trusted his great nation
        Right sure that help would come:
    Could he have dreamt that British power
      Which placed him at his post,
    In peril's long-expected hour
      Would leave him to be lost?

      "He lives alone for others,--
        Himself he scorns to save,
      And ev'n with savage brothers
        Will share their bloody grave!
    Woe! woe to us! should England's glory,
      To our rulers' blame,
    Close gallant Gordon's wondrous story,
      England! in thy shame."

This was half prophetic at the time, and we all have grieved for
England's Christian hero ever since.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Lord Shaftesbury's lamented death lately touched the national
heart, I felt as others did and uttered this sentiment accordingly:--

    _The Good Earl._

    "Grieve not for him, as those who mourn the dead;
    He lives! Ascended from that dying bed,
    Clad in an incense-cloud of human love,
    His happy spirit met the blest above;
    And as his feet entered the golden door,
    With him flew in loud blessings of the poor;
    While in a thrilling chorus from below--
    Millions of children, saved by him from woe,
    With their sweet voices joined the seraphim
    Who thronged in raptured haste to welcome him!

    "For God had given him grace, and place, and power
    To bless the destitute from hour to hour;
    And from a child to fourscore years and four,
    All knew and lov'd the Helper of the poor,
    O coal-pit woman-slave! O factory child!
    O famished beggar-boy with hunger wild!
    O rescued outcast, torn from sin and shame!
    Ye know your friend--by myriads bless his name!
    We need not utter it--The Good, The Great,
    These are his titles in that Blest Estate."

I was much touched and pleased with this little anecdote to the purpose.
Speaking casually to a bright-looking boy of the Shoeblack Brigade about
Lord Shaftesbury (the boy didn't know me from Adam), to find out how far
he felt for his lost friend, with tears in his eyes he quoted to my
astonishment part of the above, and told me that he and many of his
mates knew it by heart, having seen it in some paper. I never said who
wrote it (probably he wouldn't have believed me if I had) but left him
happy with some pears.

Perhaps I may here add (and all this has been part of "My Life as an
Author") a couple of stanzas I wrote, (but never have published till
now) on another worthy specimen of humanity, mourned in death by our
highest:--

    _In Memoriam J.B._

    "Simple, pious, honest man,
      Child of heaven while son of earth,
    We would praise, for praise we can,
      Thy good service, thy great worth;
    Through long years of prosperous place
      In the sunshine of the Crown,
    With man's favour and God's grace
      Humbly, bravely, walked John Brown.

    "Faithful to the Blameless Prince,
      Faithful to the Widowed Queen,
    Loved,--as oft before and since
      Truth and zeal have ever been,--
    His no pedigree of pride,
      His no name of old renown,
    Yet in honour lived and died
      Nature's nobleman, John Brown."

Also, I will here give, as it appears nowhere else, a few lines to a
dying brother, for the sake of recording his hopeful last three words:--

    _Dear Brother Dan's Latest Whisper._

    "'Life unto life!' This was the whispered word
    That from my dying brother's lips I heard
    Faintly and feebly uttered, in the strife
    Of Nature's agony,--'Life--unto--life!'
    Yea, brother! for thou livest; death is dead,
    And life rejoiceth unto life instead;
    No sins, no cares, no sorrows, and no pains,--
    But deep delights, unutterable gains,
    Now are thy portion in that higher sphere,
    The heritage of God's own children here
    Who loved their Lord awhile on earth, and now
    Live to Him evermore in love--as thou!"

And in this connection I will print here a psychological poem of mine,
not to be found in any other of my books:--

    _Memory._

    I.

    "When the soul passes Eternity's portal,
      In that Hereafter of Being Elsewhere,
    When this poor earthworm becomes an Immortal,
      Risen to Life Incorruptible There;
    If in some semblance of spirit and feature,
      Still to be recognised one and the same,
    Not in its entity quite a new creature,
      But as a growth of the world whence it came,--

    II.

    "Oh, what a river of gladness or sadness
      Then must gush out from quick memory's well,
    Infinite ecstasy, uttermost madness,
      As the quick conscience greets Heaven--or Hell!
    Whilst he reviews old scenes and past travels,
      Grained in himself and engraved on his soul,
    As the knit robe of his timework unravels
      And his whole life is unmeshed to its goal.

    III.

    "Yea, for within him, far more than without him,
      Works ever following, evil or good,
    Happiness, misery, circling about him,
      Plant a man's foot in the soil where he stood:
    If he was sensual, sordid, and cruel,
      Sensual, cruel, and base let him be,
    If he have guarded his soul as a jewel,
      Holy and happy and blessed be he!

    IV.

    "For that the seeds both of Hell and of Heaven
      Darnel or wheat-corn, crowd memory's mart,
    And though all sin be repented, forgiven,
      Yet recollections must live in the heart:
    Still resurrected each moment's each action
      Comes up for conscience to judge it again,
    Joy unto peace or remorse to distraction,
      Growing to infinite pleasure or pain.


    V.

    "Thy many sins were the ruin of others,
      Though the chief sinner's own guilt may be waived:
    What! shall the doom of those sisters and brothers
      Not be a sorrow to thee that art saved?
    Can utter selfishness be God's Nirwana,
      Blest--with our brethren of blessing bereft?
    Must not His Heaven seem poorer and vainer,
      Where one is taken and others are left?

    VI.

    "Oh, there is hope in His mercy for ever--
      Yea, for the worst, after ages of woe,
    Till on this side of the uttermost Never,
      Even the devils His mercy may know!
    Punished and purified, Justice and Reason
      Well would rejoice if the Judge on His throne
    Grant His salvation to all in full season,
      Ruling, in bliss, all His works as His own.

    VII.

    "Every creature, redeemed and recovered
      Through the One sacrifice offered for all,
    Where sin and death so fatally hovered,
      Mercy triumphant in full o'er the fall!
    Thus shall old memories harmonise sweetly
      With the grand heavenly anthem above,
    As this sad life that was shattered so fleetly,
      Then is made whole in the Infinite Love."

It may count as one of my heresies in an orthodox theological sense, but
I certainly cling to the great idea of Eternal Hope; and, after any
amount of retributive punishment for purifying the "lost" soul, I look
for ultimate salvation to all God's creatures. This short and partial
trial-scene of ours is not enough to make an end with: we begin here and
progress for ever elsewhere. Evil must die out, and good must survive
alone for ever.



CHAPTER XXII.

PROTESTANT BALLADS.


Among my many fly-leaves, scattered by thousands from time to time in
handbills or in newspapers all over the world, those in which I have
praised Protestantism and denounced the dishonesty of our ecclesiastic
traitors have earned me the highest meed both of glory and shame from
partisan opponents. Ever since in my boyhood, under the ministerial
teaching of my rector, the celebrated Hugh M'Neile, at Albury for many
years, I closed with the Evangelical religion of the good old Low Church
type, I have by my life and writings excited against me the theological
hatred of High Church, and Broad Church, and No Church, and especially
of the Romanizers amongst our Established clergy. Sundry religious
newspapers and other periodicals, whose names I will not blazon by
recording, have systematically attacked and slandered me from early
manhood to this hour, and have diligently kept up my notoriety or fame
(it was stupid enough of them from their point of view) by quips and
cranks, as well as by more serious onslaughts, about which I am very
pachydermatous, albeit there are pasted down in my archive-books all the
paragraphs that have reached me. But, even as in hydraulics, the harder
you screw the greater the force, so with my combative nature, the more I
am attacked the more obstinately I resist. Hence the multitude and
variety of my polemical lucubrations,--mostly of a fragmentary character
as Sibylline leaves: some, however, appear in my "Ballads and Poems"
(among them a famous "Down with foreign priestcraft," circulated by
thousands in the Midlands by an unknown enthusiast),--and Ridgeway of
Piccadilly has published in pamphlet form my "Fifty Protestant Ballads
and Directorium," which originally appeared in the _Daily News_, and
_The Rock_: I have certainly written as many more, and among these one
which I will here reproduce as now very scarce, and lately of some
national importance: seeing that it was sent by my friend Admiral
Bedford Pim to every member of the two Houses of Legislature on the
Bradlaugh occasion, and was stated to have turned the tide of battle in
that celebrated case.

    _"So Help Me, God!"_

    "'So help me, God!' my heart at every turn
      Of life's wide wilderness implores Thee still
      To give all good, to rescue from all ill,
    And grant me grace Thy presence to discern.

    "'So help me, God!' I would not move a yard
      Without my hand in Thine to be my guide,
      Thy love to bless, Thy bounty to provide,
    Thy fostering wing spread over me to guard.

    "'So help me, God!' the motto of my life,
      In every varied phase of chance and change,
      So that nought happens here of sad or strange
    But 'peace' is written on each frown of strife.

    "For Thou dost help the man that honoureth Thee!
      Ay, and Thy Christian-Israel of this land
      That hitherto hath recognised Thy hand,
    How blest above the nations still are we!

    "Yet now our Senate schemes to spurn aside
      (On false pretence of liberal brotherhood)
      The Heavenly Father of our earthly good,
    Because one atheist hath his God denied!

    "What, shall this wrong be done? Must all of us
      Groan under coming judgment for the sin
      Of welcoming avowed blasphemers in
    To vote with rulers who misgovern thus?

    "So help us, God! it shall not: England's might
      Stands in religion practised and profest;
      For so alone by blessing is she blest,
    Christian and Protestant in life and light."

To gratify an eminent friend who wished not to exclude Jews and
Mahometans from an open profession of godliness as they viewed the
question, I altered, in subsequent reprints, the last line, "Christian
and Protestant in life and light," to "Loving and fearing God in faith
and light:" though personally my sturdy Orangeism inclined to the
original. I will in this place give a remarkable extract in a letter to
me from Gladstone, to whom my faithfulness had appealed, exhorting him,
as I often have done, to be on the right side: we know how he quoted
Lucretius on the wrong: against which I wrote a strong protest in the
_Times_. I like not to show private letters,--but this is manifestly a
public one. He says: ... "I thank you for your note, and I can assure
you that I believe the promoters of the Affirmation Bill to be already
on the side you wish me to take, and its opponents to be engaged in
doing (unwittingly) serious injury to religious belief." It is strange
to see how much intellectual subtlety combined with interested
partisanship can be self-deceived, even in a man who believes himself
and is thought by others thoroughly conscientious.

Amongst other of my recent notorious ballads of the polemic sort, I
ought to name a famous couple--"The Nun's Appeal," and "Open the
Convents"--which were written at the request of Lord Alfred Churchill,
and given to Edith O'Gorman, the Escaped Nun (otherwise the excellent
and eloquent Mrs. Auffray), to aid her Protestant Lectures everywhere:
she has circulated them over the three kingdoms, and is now doing the
like in Australia and New Zealand.

In reply to some excellent members of the Romish Church, who have
publicly accused me of maligning holy women and sacred retreats, my
obvious answer is that I contend against the evil side both of nunneries
and monkeries, whilst I may fairly admit some good to be found in both.
My real protest is for liberty both to mind and body, and against
coercion of any kind, material or spiritual. Given perfect freedom, I
would not meddle with any one's honest convictions: "to a nunnery go" if
thou wilt; only let the resolve be revocable, not a doom for ever.



CHAPTER XXIII.

PLAYS.


One of my latest publications is that of my "Trilogy of Plays," with
twelve dramatic scenes,--issued by Allen & Co., of Waterloo Place. The
first of the three, "Alfred," was put upon the stage at Manchester by
that ill-starred genius, Walter Montgomery, who was bringing it out also
at the Haymarket, a very short time before his lamentable death. He was
fond of the play and splendidly impersonated the hero-king, in the
opening scene having trained his own white horse to gallop riderless
across the stage when Alfred was supposed to have been defeated by the
Danes. The vision in act ii. scene i. was thrillingly effective; and the
whole five acts went very well from beginning to end, the audience being
preternaturally quiet,--which disconcerted me until my theatrical mentor
praised the silence of that vast crowd, as the best possible sign of
success: they were held enthralled as one man till the end came, and
then came thunder. Not thinking of what was expected of me in the way of
thanks for the ovation their concluding cheers assailed me with, I got
out of the theatre as quick as I could, and was half way to my hotel
when two or three excited supers rushed after me with a "Good God, Mr.
Tupper, come back, come back, or the place will be torn down!" so of
course I hurried to the front--to encounter a tumult of applause;
although I must have looked rather ridiculous too, crossing the stage in
my American cloak and brandishing an umbrella! However, no one but
myself seemed to notice the incongruity, and as I had humbly obeyed the
people's will, they generously condoned my first transgression. I ought
to record that my heroine Bertha was charmingly acted by Miss Henrietta
Hodgson, now Mrs. Labouchere, who will quite recollect her early triumph
in Martin Tupper's first play. My best compliments and kindly
remembrance I here venture to offer to her.

The second play, "Raleigh," is very differently constructed; for whereas
the time of action in "Alfred" was three days,--that of "Raleigh" was
sixty years: in fact with the former I dramatised a single conquest,
with the latter the varied battles of a long life. I have several times
read all my plays before audiences at my readings, and know the points
that tell. In "Raleigh" the introduction of Shakespeare, the cloak
incident, the trial scene, Elizabeth's death, and the terrible climax of
the noble victim's execution on the stage, seemed chiefly to interest
and excite the audience.

I wrote "Washington" principally to please my many friends in America,
whither I was going for a second time; but it rather damped me to find,
when at Philadelphia during its Grand Exhibition, and was giving
"Readings out of my own Works" through the Star Company, that my
_entrepreneur_ stoutly objected to my proposal to read this new play of
mine, with the remark,--"No, sir, our people are tired of George
Washington,--he's quite played out: give us anything else of yours you
like." As he was my financial provider, and paid well, of course I had
to acquiesce.

Perhaps the most interesting thing in the play was the account of my
discovery of Washington's heraldry: here is part of the passage; the
whole being too long to quote: one asks "Coat-of-arms?--what was this
coat-of-arms?" and Franklin answers,--

                      "I'll tell you, friends,
    I've searched it out and known it for myself,
    When late in England there, at Herald's College
    And found the Washingtons of Wessyngton
    In county Durham and of Sulgrave Manor,
    County Northampton, bore upon their shield
    Three stars atop, two stripes across the field
    Gules--that is red--on white, and for the crest
    An eagle's head upspringing to the light,
    It's motto, Latin, "Issue proveth acts."
    The architraves at Sulgrave testify,
    And sundry painted windows in the hall
    At Wessyngton, this was their family coat.
    They took it to their new Virginian home:
    And at Mount Vernon I myself have noted
    An old cast-iron scutcheoned chimney-back
    Charged with that heraldry."

In my first American Journal will be found more about this discovery of
mine--in 1851--then quite new even to Americans. Here in London, Mr.
Tuffley of Chelsea and Northampton has popularised the original
coat-of-arms with a view to ornamental jewellery for our Transatlantic
cousins.

Among my twelve dramatic scenes, the most appropriate to mention in this
volume of personalia, are the two which detail certain perilous matters
affecting the lives of two ancient ancestors, the one on my mother's
side, the other on my father's. The latter records the historic incident
whereby John Tupper saved the Channel Islands for William and Mary
(receiving from them a gold collar and medal, now in our heraldry) and
enabling Admiral Russell to win his naval victory at La Hogue. The
former shows how nearly an Arthur Devis at Preston paid the penalty of
death owing to his strange resemblance to Charles Edward the Young
Pretender, for whom the savage Government of the time offered a reward
of £30,000 to any one who could catch him alive or dead. My mother's
ancestor was thus very nearly murdered in 1745 for his good looks, as a
life-sized portrait at Albury, and an ivory miniature here at Norwood,
help to prove. If any wish to know more about these matters, I dare say
that Messrs. Allen aforesaid have _one_ copy left: if not, consult
Mudie, that virtuous philanthropist who benefits the reading public at
the cost of the private author.



CHAPTER XXIV.

ANTIQUARIANA.


My most literary antiquarianism was an article I wrote for the
_Quarterly Review_ on Coins, accepted by Lockhart and inserted in one of
the Nos. for 1843; he protested that "I could not be the Proverbial
Philosopher, as my looks were too like David's,--it must be my
father."--No, I replied, it is my father's son. However, when he read
and approved my Coin article, he began to be convinced. I give here his
letter to me on his acceptance:--

     "Sir,--I am at present terribly overburdened with MSS.,
     and know not whether I can send a proof of your paper for some
     weeks; but I like it much, and it shall be put into type as soon as
     I can manage. I assure you I am greatly pleased, and sincerely your
     obliged

                                                  "J.G. Lockhart.

     "Sussex Place, _February 16, 1843_."

I expostulated with him as to divers omissions for space' sake, and for
some unauthorised alterations; but editors are nothing if not
autocratic, as we all know. My article (I find it noted) was written on
the numismatic works of Cardwell and of Akerman, and took me ten days in
its composition, I tried Lockhart with a second article on "Ancient
Gems," but it failed to please. I never had an interview with him but
once, and then he seemed to me brusque and cynical at first, warming a
little afterwards. I have written also on Druidism; and the mystery of
Easter Island, which I take to be the remains of a submerged Pacific
continent, with its deified statues on the top of an extinct volcano.
And I have flung my pen into many other _mélées_ of discussion both old
and new; for it may be stated as a feature in my literary life that I
have had, one after another, all the ologies on my brain, and have
personally made small collections of minerals, fossils, insects, and the
like: special hobbies having been agates picked up in my rambles on
every beach from Yarmouth to Sidmouth, and coins at Roman stations
wherever I found them; besides a host of numismatic treasures bought at
Sotheby's auction-room, but long since sold again, as well as sundry
Egyptian and other antiquities. In particular, the Roman discoveries at
Farley Heath in the neighbourhood of Albury were mainly due to my
juvenile antiquarianism, when as a student along with Harold Browne (now
Bishop of Winchester) we used to search for coins there, and found one
happy day a Gallienus: all which I recorded years after in a now scarce
booklet, "Farley Heath, and its Roman Remains," published, with
illustrations, by Andrews, Guildford. Ultimately the finds of coin (from
Nero to Honorius), some being rare and finely patinated, as well as
several small bronzes, and old British money, were given by Mr. Drummond
(who as lord of the manor employed labourers in the search for many
months) to the British Museum, where they fill a niche near the
prehistoric room.

Some of our finds were very curious, _e.g._, we were digging in the
black mould of the burnt huts round the wall-foundations (all above
ground of said hectagonal wall having since been ruthlessly utilised by
parochial economists in making a road across the heath), and found
amongst other spoil a little green bronze ring,--which I placed on the
finger of our guest of the day, Mrs. Barclay of Bury Hill: oddly enough
it had six angles exactly like one of gold she wore as her
wedding-guard. Again; we had picked up some pieces of pottery decorated
with human finger-tips,--just as modern cooks do with pie-crust; a son
of mine said, perhaps we shall find a dog's foot on some tile,--and just
as he said it, up came from the spade precisely what he was guessing at,
the large footprint of dog or wolf stamped fifteen centuries ago on the
unbaked clay. Again; I was leaving for an hour a labourer in whose
industry and honesty I had not the fullest faith. So in order to employ
him in my absence, I set him to dig up an old thorn bush and told him to
give me when I returned the piece of money he would find under it. To my
concealed but his own manifest astonishment, he gave me when I came back
a worn large brass of Nero, saying with a scared face, "However could
you tell it was there, sir?" I looked wise, and said nothing.

Among the rarest copper coins was one of Carausius (our English Carew),
with two heads on it symbolling the ambition of our native usurper to
assert empire over East as well as West, and among more treasure-trove
was a unique gold coin of Veric,--the Bericus of Tacitus; as also the
rare contents of a subterranean potter's oven, preserved to our day, and
yielding several whole vases. Mr. Akerman of numismatic fame told me
that out of Rome itself he did not know a richer site for old-world
curiosities than Farley; in the course of years we found more than 1200
coins, besides Samian ware, and plenty of common pottery, as well as
bronze ornaments, enamelled fibulæ, weapons of war, household
implements, &c., both of the old British and the Roman, the Anglo-Saxon,
and more recent periods; Farley having been a prætorian station on the
Ikenild highway. This is quite a relevant episode of my literary
antiquariana. As also is another respecting "My Mummy Wheat," a record
of which found its way into print and made a stir many years ago. It
grew from seeds given to me by Mr. Pettigrew out of an Amenti vase taken
from a mummy pit by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, and very carefully
resuscitated by myself in garden-pots filled with well-sifted mould at
Albury; it proved to be a new and prolific species of the semi-bearded
Talavera kind, and a longest ear of 8-1/2 inches in length (engraved in
an agricultural journal) was sent by me to Prince Albert, then a zealous
British farmer.

Here I will add a very interesting letter to me on the subject from
Faraday, the original being pasted among my autographs. It will be seen
that he excuses having published my letter to him, and refuses to be
called Doctor:--

                             "Royal Institution, _June 11, 1842_.

     "My dear Sir,--Your note was a very pleasant event in my
     day of yesterday, and I thank you heartily for it, and rejoice with
     you at the success of the crop. It so happened that yesterday
     evening was the last of our meetings, and I had to speak in the
     lecture-room. The subject was Lithotint: but I placed the one ear
     in the library under a glass case, and after my first subject was
     over read the principal part of your letter--all that related to
     the wheat: and the information was received with great interest by
     about 700 persons. Our President, Lord Prudhoe, was in the chair,
     and greatly desirous of knowing the age of the wheat. You know he
     is learned in Egyptian matters, and was anxious about the label or
     inscription accompanying the corn. I hope I have not done wrong,
     but I rather fear your letter will be published, or at least the
     wheat part, for a gentleman asked me whether he might copy it, and
     I instantly gave him leave, but found that he was connected with
     the press, the _Literary Gazette_. I hope you will not object since
     without thought on my part the matter has gone thus far. The news
     is so good and valuable that I do not wonder at the desire to have
     it,--Ever your obliged servant,

                                                     "M. Faraday.

     "M.F. Tupper, Esq.,
         &c. &c. &c.

     "_P.S._--I am happy to say that I am plain Mr. Faraday, and if I
     have my wish shall keep so.--M.F."

An early volume of my so-called "Critica Egotistica" has many letters
and printed communications on this subject: but as not being a
recognised agriculturist myself, I did not wish it called by my
name,--so it is only known in the markets (chiefly I have heard in
Essex) as "Mummy Wheat." Talking of declined honours in nomenclature, I
may here mention that a new beetle, found by Vernon Wollaston and urged
by him to be named after the utterly "unsharded" me (who had however
gratified that distinguished entomologist by my poem on Beetles) was
respectfully refused the prefix of my name, as scarcely knowing a
lepidopt from a coleopt. _Ne sutor ultra crepidam._ If honour is to be
given, let it be deserved.



CHAPTER XXV.

HONOURS--INVENTIONS.


Authorship reaps honour in these latter days quite as much as it did in
the classic times of Augustus with Virgil and Horace for his intimates,
and of Petrarch crowned at the Capitol laureate of all Italy during the
vacancy of a popedom in the Vatican. Not but that, with or without any
titular distinction, authorship is practically the most noticeable rank
amongst us. Many will pass by a duke who would have stopped and waited
to have looked at a Darwin when he was in this lower sphere; and I am
quite sure that the grand presence of Alfred Tennyson would attract more
affectionate homage than that of any other ennobled magnate in the land.
As to his title, I was glad that his good taste and wisdom elected to be
called by his own honourable patronymic rather than haply Farringford or
Hazlemere: how can great names consent to be eclipsed in such obscure
signatures as Wantage or Esher, Hindlip or Glossop, Dalling or
Grimsthorpe? One gets quite at a loss to know who's who.

My letter to the _Times_ of December 19, 1883, headed "Literary
Honours," in praise of Tennyson's elevation to the House of Lords, and
showing how in every age all nations except our own have given honours
to authors, literally "from China to Peru," elicited plenty both of
approval and of censure from journals of many denominations. As a matter
inevitable when Baron Tennyson was gazetted, the less euphonious Tupper
was stigmatised in the papers as desiring to be a Baron too,--at all
events, the _Echo_ said so, and the _Globe_ good-humouredly observed
that "he deserved the coronet." They little knew that in the summer of
1863 (as paragraphs in my tenth volume of "Archives" are now before me
to show) the same derided scribe was seriously announced as "about to be
raised to the peerage" all over England and America: see two available
and respectable proofs in the _British Controversialist_ (Houlston &
Wright) for July 1863, p. 79,--and Bryant's _Evening Post_ for September
17, 1863. I name these, as the reverse of comic papers,--and publishing
what they supposed true, as in fact was told me by the editors when
inquired of. At the time I repudiated the false rumour openly;--with all
the greater readiness, inasmuch as I dispute both the justice of
hereditary honour and the wisdom of hereditary legislation; to say less
of the "_res angusta domi_" which, in our Mammonite time and clime,
obliges money to support rank, even if, as in sundry late cases of
raising to the peerage, it does not purchase it.

It is fair also to state as a fact, that when my father for the second
time refused his baronetcy, I, as eldest son, gave the casting vote
against myself, not to impoverish my four younger brothers,--all now
gone before me to the better world,--and that, for reasons mentioned
above, I certainly could not take it now. Let this suffice as my reply
to some recent sneers and strictures.

As for letters of the alphabet attached to one's name, almost any one
nowadays may have any amount of them by paying fees or subscriptions; in
particular, America has given me many honorary diplomas. And for the
matter of gold medals, who can covet them, when even the creators of
baking-powder and sewing-machines are surfeited therewith. My poor
Prussian medal looks small in comparison. And then, as for knighthood,
that ancient honour has been lately so abused that vanity itself could
scarcely desire it, and even modesty now might hesitate in its
acceptance.

Albeit I have thus spoken only incidentally and with seeming
carelessness about my Prussian medal, I am reminded that it will
interest readers if I here extract the Chevalier Bünsen's letter to me
on the occasion. It runs thus in its integrity:--

                       "4 Carlton Terrace, _26th September 1844_.

     "My Dear Sir,--I owe you many apologies for not having
     answered earlier your letter of the 2d of August. The fact is that
     since that time I have been travelling all over England with the
     Prince of Prussia. As to your work, I laid it myself before the
     King, who perused it with great pleasure, when I was at Berlin. I
     am now charged by His Majesty not only to express to you his thanks
     for having thought of him in sending him a book replete with so
     much Christian wisdom and experience, but also to present to you,
     in his Royal name, the _gold medal_ for science and literature, as
     a particular sign of regard. The medal will be delivered to you, or
     a person authorised by you, at the office of the Prussian Legation,
     any morning from 11 to 1 o'clock, Sunday of course excepted.

     "Allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you my
     own thanks and the expression of my high regard, and believe me,
     yours sincerely,

                                                         "Bünsen.

     "M.F. Tupper, Esq."

Accordingly, I called myself and received the medal from the Chevalier,
with whom afterwards I had half-an-hour's talk, chiefly about German
history, in which by good fortune I was fairly posted, perhaps with a
prescience that the ambassador might allude to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

An author, if he be a good man and a clever, worthy of his high
vocation, already walks self-ennobled, circled by an aureola of
spiritual glory such as no king can give, nor even all-devouring time,
"_edax rerum_," can take away. He really gains nothing by a title--no,
not even Tennyson; as in the next world, so in this, "his works do
follow him," and the "Well done, good and faithful" from this lower
world which he has served is but the prelude of his welcome to that
higher world wherein he hears the same "good and faithful" from the
mouth of his Redeemer.


Inventions.

It may be worth a page if I record here sundry inventions of mine,
surely bits of authorship, which I found out for myself but did not
patent, though others did. As thus:--

1. A simple and cheap safety horse-shoe,--secured by steel studs
inserted into the ordinary soft iron shoes.

2. Glass screw-tops to bottles.

3. Steam-vessels with the wheels inside; in fact, a double boat or
catamaran, with the machinery amid-ships.

4. The introduction of coca-leaf to allay hunger, and to be as useful
here as in Chili.

5. A pen to carry its own ink.

6. The colouring of photographs on the back.

7. Combined vulcanite and steel sheathing.

There were also some other small matters wherein authorial energy busied
itself. But although I had models made of some, and wrote about others,
no good results accrued to me. 1. As for the horse-shoes, blacksmiths
did _not_ want to lose custom by steel saving the iron. 2. For the
glass-stoppers, I had against me all the cork trade, and the
wine-merchants too, who recork old wines. 3. The steamers were never
tried on a large scale, and models are pronounced deceptive. 4. The coca
loses most of its virtues when in a dried state. 5. The pen (I had it
made in silver, a long hollow handle ending with a conical point) either
grew clogged if the ink was too thick, or emitted blots when too thin.
6. An establishment in Leicester Square has since worked on this idea.
7. I also troubled the Ordnance Office, and had an interview with Sidney
Herbert about two more futile inventions! one a composite cannon missile
of quoits tied together: another of a thick vulcanite sheathing for
ships, over either wood or iron. I have letters on these to and from
the office. Briefly, I did not gain fortune as an inventor: though I
urged my horse-shoe at least as a valuable thought, and one worth a
trial, to save our poor horses on asphalte pavements and in hard frosts.
It is a losing game to attempt to force an invention: so many vested
interests oppose, and so many are the competitors: moreover, some one
always rushes into the pool of Bethesda before you.

I thought also that there might as well be "essence of tea," as well as
of coffee; but nothing came of it. Also amongst other of my addled eggs
of invention, I may mention that in my chemistry days as a youth I
suggested to a scientific neighbour, Dr. Kerrison, that glass might be
rendered less fragile by being mixed in the casting with some chemical
compound of lead,--much as now has come out in the patent toughened
glass. Also we initiated mild experiments about an imitation of volcanic
forces in melting pounded stone into moulds,--as recently done by Mr.
Lindsay Bucknall with slag:--but unluckily we found that the manufacture
of basalt was beyond our small furnace power: I fancied that apparently
carved pinnacles and gurgoyles might be cast in stone; and though beyond
Dr. Kerrison and myself, perhaps it may still be done by the hot-blast
melting up crushed granite.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among these small matters of an author's natural inventiveness, I will
preserve here a few of the literary class: _e.g._, (1.) I claim to have
discovered the etymology of Punch, which Mark Antony Lower in his
Patronymica says is "a name the origin of which is in total obscurity."
Now, I found it out thus,--when at Haverfordwest in 1858 I saw over the
mantel of the hostelry, perhaps there still, a map of the Roman
earthwork called locally Punch Castle; and considering how that the
neighbouring hills are named Precelly (Procella, storm) as often drawing
down the rain-clouds,--that Caer Leon is Castrum Legionis, and that
there is a Roman bridge over the little river there still styled Ultra
Pontem--I decided at once that Pontii Castellum was the true name for
Punch Castle. Of course, Pontius Pilate and Judas appear in the mediæval
puppet-plays as Punch and Judy,--while Toby refers to Tobit's dog, in a
happy confusion of names and dates. The Pontius of the Castle was Prater
of the Second Legion. (2.) Similarly, I found out the origin of "Humpty
Dumpty sat on a wall," &c., to refer to the death of William the
Conqueror (_L'homme qui dompte_), who was ruptured in leaping a burnt
wall at Rouen; being very stout,--"he had a great fall," and burst
asunder like Iscariot, while "all the king's horses and all the king's
men couldn't set Humpty Dumpty up again." We must remember that the wise
Fools of those days dared not call magnates by their real names,--nor
utter facts openly: so accordingly (3) they turned Edward Longshanks
into "Daddy Longlegs,"--and (4) sang about King John's raid upon the
monks, and the consequent famine to the poor, in "Four and twenty
blackbirds baked in a pie," &c.,--the key to this interpretation being
"a dainty dish to set before the king," John being a notorious glutton.
My friends at Ledbury Manor, where there is a gallery full of my uncle
Arthur's Indian pictures, will remember how I expounded all this to them
some years ago. In this connection of literary discovery, let me here
give my exposition of the mystic number in Revelations, 666,--which,
"_more meo_" I printed thus on a very scarce fly-leaf, as one of my
Protestant Ballads not in any book:--

     "Here is wisdom--Let him that hath understanding count the number
     of the Beast--for it is the number of a Man--and his number is six
     hundred threescore and six."--Rev. xiii. 18.

    "Count up the sum of Greek numeral letters
      'Kakoi Episkopoi'--bishops all ill;
    Strangely I note that those mystical fetters
      Bind in their number this mystery still--
    Six hundred threescore and six is the total,
      Spelling the number and name of a man,
    Chief of bad bishops and lies sacerdotal,
      That of all wickedness stands in the van.

    "Antichrist! what? can a feeble old creature,
      Pope though they style him, be rank'd in his place
    As the Goliath in fashion and feature
      Warring gigantic with God and His grace?
    Is he so great--to be dreaded, abhorrèd,
      Single antagonist, braving God's wrath,
    Bearing foul Babylon's seal on his forehead,
      Chosen Triumvir with Sin and with Death?

    "Yea; the presumption of priestly succession
      Make the _all one_ a whole Popedom of Time,
    So that each head for his hour of possession
      Wears the tiara of ages of crime:
    Rome is infallible, Rome is eternal,
      Rome is unchangeable, cruel, and strong,
    Leagued with the legions of darkness infernal,
      Crushing all right and upholding all wrong."

     Note.--The value of the Greek letters, as numerals, in the
     two words above, is as follows:--The three kappas = 60, the three
     omicrons = 210, the three iotas = 30, the two pis = 160, the one
     sigma = 200, the one epsilon = 5, and the one alpha = 1; in all
     exactly making 666. This is "a private interpretation" of the
     writer's own discovery, not to be found elsewhere, and quite as
     convincing as Lateinos and the inscription on St. Peter's.

My friend Evelyn contributed to the perfection of the discovery. It was
he who suggested Kakoi to Episcopoi, to make up the number. There are
also some who say that our eccentric Premier's name sums up ominously to
the same three sixes.



CHAPTER XXVI.

COURTLY AND MUSICAL.


My several royal poems, some twenty in number, may deserve a short and
special notice; though it is far from my intention to detail any
gracious condescensions of a private nature. I may however state, as a
curiosity of literature, that the 35th of my "Three Hundred Sonnets,"
published by Virtue in 1860, is headed "India's Empress," written
certainly twenty years before such a title was thought of, even by Lord
Beaconsfield in his pupa phase of D'Israeli. As very few have the
volume, long out of print, I will here produce that fortunate prophecy;
the "way chaotic" is the Sepoy Mutiny:--

    "Our Empress Queen!--Victoria's name of glory
      Added as England's grace to Hindostan:
    O climax to this age's wondrous story,
      Full of new hope to India, and to Man
    In heathendom's dark places! For the light
      Of our Jerusalem shall now shine there
      Brighter than ever since the world began:--
    Yet by a way chaotic, drear and gory
    Travelled this blessing; as a martyr might
      Wrestling to heaven through tortures unaware:
      Our Empress Queen! for thee thy people's pray'r
    All round the globe to God ascends united,
      That He may strengthen thee no guilt to spare
    Nor leave one act of goodness unrequited."

Another such curiosity of literature may this be considered: namely,
that the same versifier who in his youth fifty years ago saw the
coronation from a gallery seat in Westminster Abbey, overlooking the
central space, and wrote a well-known ode on the occasion, to be found
in his Miscellaneous Poems, is still in full force and loyalty, and
ready to supply one for his Queen's jubilee,--whereof words for music
will be found anon. Human life has not many such completed cycles to
celebrate, albeit I have lately had a golden wedding; alas! in a short
month after, closed by the good wife's sudden death: "So soon trod
sorrow on the heels of joy!" But I will not speak of that affliction
here and now: my present errand is more cheerful.

With reference, then, to the many verses of mine which I have reason to
hope are honoured by preservation in royal albums, I wish only to say
that if some few have appeared among my other poetries in print, they
shall not be repeated here: though I may record that whatever I have
sent from time to time have been graciously acknowledged, and that I
have heretofore met with palatial welcomes.

Perhaps I may say a word or two about my having for the best part of
half a century occasionally made my duteous bow at Court; which I
thought it right to do whenever some poetic offering of mine had been
received; in particular at the Princess Royal's marriage, when Prince
Albert specially invited me to Buckingham Palace, presenting me kindly
to the heir of Prussia, and bidding, "Wales come and shake hands with
Mr. Tupper" (my genial Prince will recollect it); and above all adding
the honour of personal conversation with Her Majesty.

Of these thus briefly: also I might record (but I forbear) similar
condescensions at Frogmore; as also with reference to my little Masques
of the Seasons, and the Nations--wherein Corbould was pictorially so
efficient, and Miss Hildyard so helpful in the costumes--both at Osborne
and at Windsor. In gracious recognition of these Her Majesty gave me
Winterhalter's engravings of all the royal children, now at Albury, as
well as some gifts to my daughters. The Masques will be found among my
published poems.

At Court I frequently met Lord Houghton, known to me in ancient days as
Monckton Milnes; and I remember that we especially came together from
sympathy as to critical castigation, _Blackwood_ or some other Scotch
reviewer having fallen foul of both of us, then young poets (and
therefore to be hounded down by Professor Wilson), in an article pasted
in an early volume of Archives, spitefully disparaging "Farquhar Tupper
and Monckton Milnes."

Until these days every one wore the antiquated Queen Anne Court suit,
now superseded by modern garments, perhaps more convenient but certainly
not so picturesque. Bagwig and flowered waistcoat, and hanging
cast-steel rapier, and silken calves and buckled shoes,--and above all
the abundant real point lace (upon which Lord Houghton more than once
has commented with me as to the comparative superiority of his or
mine,--both being of ancestral dinginess, and only to be washed in
coffee)--these are ill exchanged for boots and trousers and straight
black sword, and everything of grace and beauty diligently tailored
away. When I last attended at St. James's in honour of Prince Albert
Victor's first reception, I was, among twelve hundred, one of only three
units who paid our respects in the stately fashions of Good Queen Anne:
and I was glad to be complimented on my social courage as almost alone
in those antiquated garments, and on my profusion of snow-white hair so
suitably suggestive of the powdered polls of our ancestors. I remember
my father in powder.

On this last occasion it was, as I have said, especially to pay my
respects to the young Prince at his first _levée:_ both he and his
father with great kindness cordially shaking hands with the author of
the following stanzas. The young Prince stood between his father and his
kinsman, the Duke of Cambridge.

    "Albert Victor! words of blessing
      Bright with omens of the best,
    Truly one such names possessing
      Shall be throned among the blest;
    Albert,--sainted now and glorious,
      Long time in his heavenly rest;
    Victor,--everyway victorious
      Like our Empress east and west!

    "Prince! to-day the Court bears witness
      How, thy Royal Sire beside,
    With due graciousness and fitness,
      Dignity devoid of pride,
    Thou (thy gallant kinsman near thee)
      Dost with homage far and wide,
    And the praise of all to cheer thee,
      Humbly meet that glittering tide!

    "Prince, accept an old man's greeting,
      Now some threescore and fifteen,
    Who can testify how fleeting
      Life and all its joys have been:
    I have known thy Grandsire's favour,
      And thy Parents' grace have seen;
    And I note the same sweet savour
      In the Grandson of my Queen!"

As this is the Jubilee year, and I may not live to its completion,--for
who can depend upon an hour?--I will here produce what has just occurred
to my patriotism as a suitable ode on the great occasion. If short, it
is all the better for music, and I humbly recommend its adoption as
_libretto_ to some chief musical composer.

    _Victoria's Jubilee: for Music._

    I.

    (_Major forte._)

    "Rejoice, O Land! Imperial Realm, rejoice!
      Wherever round the world
      Our standard floats unfurl'd,
    Let every heart exult in music's voice!
      Be glad, O grateful England,
      Triumphant shout and sing, Land!
        As from each belfried steeple
          The clanging joy-bells sound,
        Let all our happy people
          The wandering world around,
    Rejoice with the joy this jubilee brings,
    Circling the globe as with seraphim wings!"

    II.

    (_Minor piano._)

    "Lo, the wondrous story,
        Praise all praise above!
    Fifty years of glory,
        Fifty years of love!
    Chastened by much sadness,
        Mid the dark of death,
    But illumed with gladness
        By the sun of faith:
    What a life, O Nations,
        What a reign is seen
    In the consummations
        Crowning Britain's Queen!"


    III.

    (_Finale.--Crescendo._)

    "Riches of Earth, and Graces of Heaven,
    God in His love hath abundantly given,
    More by a year than seven times seven,
        Blessing our Empress, the Queen!
    Secrets of Science, and marvels of Art,
    Health of the home, and wealth of the mart,
    All that is best for the mind and the heart,
        Crowded around her are seen.
    Honour, Religion, and Plenty are hers,
    Peace, and all heavenly messengers,
    While loyalty every spirit upstirs
        To shout aloud, God save the Queen!"

Here the words end, as brevity is wisdom. But the music, as a majestic
finale, might include touches of Rule Britannia, Luther's Hymn, and the
National Anthem.

I have asked my friend Mr. Manns if he will set my words to music, but
his modesty declines, as he professes to be mainly a conductor rather
than a composer; and he recommends me to apply to some more famous
musician, as perhaps Sullivan, or Macfarren, or haply Count Gleichen.
All I can say is, nothing would be more gratifying to my muse than for
either of those great names to adapt my poetry to his melody.

Suitably enough, I may here insert a page as to my own musical
idiosyncrasy as a bit of author-life.

       *       *       *       *       *

Keble is said to have had no ear for a tune, however perfect as to rhyme
and rhythm; and there are those who suppose my tympanum to be similarly
deficient, though I persistently dispute it. Living (when at Norwood)
within constant free hearing of the best music in the world, at the
Crystal Palace, I ought to be musical, if not always so accredited; but
I do penitentially confess to occasional weariness in over long repeated
symphonies, where the sweet little _motif_ is always trying to get out
but is cruelly driven back,--in the endlessness of fugues, and what
seems to my offended ear the useless waste of tone and power in extreme
instrumentation, and in divers other disinclinings I cannot but
acknowledge as to what is called classical music. Accordingly, no one
can accuse me of being _fanatico per la musica_; albeit I am transported
too by (for example) Handel's largo in G, by the Prayer in Mosé in
Egitto, the Lost Chord, Rossini's Tell, Weber's Freischutz and Oberon,
Tannhauser, Semiramide, and all manner of marches, choruses, ballads,
and national airs. In fact, I really do like music, especially if
tuneful and melodious, in spite of Wagner's apothegm, but some
symphonies might be better if curtailed,--except only Schubert's,--but
then his best is the Unfinished, and so the shortest. In my youth I
learnt the double flageolet, and could play it fairly.

All this (wherein I am but the honest spokesman for many who do not like
to confess as much) is introductory in my authorial capacity to this
short poem, not long since pencilled in the concert-room and given to
Mr. Manns as soon as clearly written. I insert it here very much to give
pleasure to one who so continually ministers to the pleasure of
thousands; and I hope some day soon to greet him Sir August, as he well
deserves a knighthood.

    _A Music Lesson._

    "Marvellous orchestra! concert of heaven,
    Mingling more notes than the musical seven,
    Harmonious discords of treble and base
    In strange combinations of guilt and of grace--
    O whose is the ear that can hear you aright,
    And note the dark providence mixt with the light?
    Where, where is the eye that is swift to discern
    This lesson in music the dull ear should learn,--
    That all, from the seraphim harping on high
    Down, down to the lowest, fit chords can supply
    To the pæan of praises in every tone,
    With thunders and melodies circling the Throne!

    "We are each a brief note in that wonderful hymn,
    And to us its Oneness is hazy and dim;
    We hear the few sounds from the viol we play,
    But all the full chorus floats far and away:
    Our poor little pipe of an instant is drown'd
    In the glorious rush of that ocean of sound;
    The player hears nothing beyond his own bars,
    Whilst all that grand symphony reaches the stars:
    Yet, though our piping seems but little worth
    It adds to the Anthem Creation pours forth,
    And, whether we know it or not, we can give
    Not a note more or less in the life that we live.

    "Ah me! we are nothing--or little at best--
    But duty with greatness the least can invest:
    One note on the flute or the trumpet may seem
    A poor petty work for ambition's fond dream,--
    But what if that note be a need-be to blend
    And quicken the score from beginning to end?
    To show forth the mind of the Master, who guides
    With baton unerring Time's mixture of tides,
    The good with the evil, the blessing and bane,
    The Amazon rushing far into the main,
    Until, from this skill'd combination of notes,
    Bound earth to the heavens His overture floats!"



CHAPTER XXVII.

F.R.S.


A page or two about my connection with the Royal Society may have some
small interest. When my father (who had long been a Fellow) died in
1844, I wished to give to the Society his marble bust by Behnes as a
memorial of honour to him; but my mother preferred to keep it, as was
natural. Meanwhile, however, some of my father's friends, and in
particular his old patron, Lord Melbourne, then recently elected, put me
up as a candidate, and as I find recorded in my Archive-book, vol. ii.,
my certificate "was signed by Argyll, Bristol, Henry Hallam, Thomas
Brande, Dr. Paris, P.B.C.S., Sir C.M. Clarke, and Sir Benjamin Brodie:
in due time I was elected, and on the 8th of May 1845 was admitted by
Lord Northampton." At my election occurred this very strange and
characteristic incident. There was only one ball against me among
twenty-seven for me in the ballot-box; the meetings were then held at
Somerset House, the Society on a less numerous scale than at present,
and the elections easier and more frequent. When the President announced
the result, up jumped Lord Melbourne, begging pardon for his mistake in
having dropped his ball into the wrong hole!--an amusing instance of the
_laissez-faire_ carelessness habitual to that good-humoured Minister.

As I have now been more than forty years a Fellow, I ought to be ashamed
to confess that I never contributed a Paper to its learned Proceedings;
all of which as they come to me I give appropriately enough to the
famous Wotton Library, belonging to my excellent friend Evelyn, heir and
successor to the celebrated John Evelyn of the Sylva, one of the
Society's founders. That I have seldom even read them is also a pitiful
truth; for the mysterious nomenclature of modern chemistry, the
incomprehensibility (to my ignorance) of the higher mathematics, the
hopeless profundity of treatises on the tides, dynamics, electricity,
and microscopic anatomicals, are, I am free to avow, worse to me than
"heathen Greek," nay (for I _can_ in some sort tackle that), more
difficult than the clay tablets of Assyria or a papyrus of Rameses II.
So I must confess to being an idle drone among the working bees.

Only thrice have I ventured to ask questions of consequence, scarcely
yet answered by the pundits. One regards Spectrum Analysis: How can we
be sure that the lines indicative of gases and other elements are not
mainly due to the emanations from our own globe, swathed as it is by
more than forty miles of an atmosphere impregnated by its own salts and
acids in aerial solution? May we not be deducing false conclusions as to
the varying lights of stars and nebulæ, if all the while to our vision
they are as it were clouded by our own smoke? Telescopes have to pierce
so thick a stratum of earth's aura and ether that it is expectable they,
would show us only our own composites in those of other worlds. The
spectra are varied, I know, but so may be our wrappings of atmosphere
from one night to another. Let this ignorant query suffice about Dr.
Huggins' great discovery.

Again, I certainly (after some knowledge of strange facts) could have
wished that Mr. Crookes's philosophical spiritualism had met with a more
patient hearing than Dr. Carpenter or Mr. Huxley offered at the time;
and that Faraday's clumsy mechanical refutation of table-turning had not
been considered so conclusive. For there really are "more things in
heaven and earth, Horatio," &c., than even your omniscience is aware of;
and without pinning faith on Madame Blavatsky, or Mr. Hume, or any other
wonder-worker from America or Thibet, there doubtless are petty miracles
in what is called spiritualism (possibly some form of electricity) that
demand more scrutiny than our materialists will have the patience to
vouchsafe: I for one believe in human testimony even as to the
miraculous.

For a third and last inquiry: justly indignant at the horrors of
Continental vivisection, and especially in our own humane England at Dr.
Ferrier's red-hot wires thrust into live monkeys' brains, I have often
vainly asked _cui bono_ such terrible cruelty? The highest authorities
are at variance with each other as to the practical utility in human
therapeutics of experiments upon agonised brutes; but all must be agreed
that, so far as morals are concerned, vivisection only hardens the heart
and sears the feelings and conscience of doctors who may surround the
dying-bed of our dearest, and very possibly make capital of peculiar
symptoms in their patient, by experiments transferred from dogs and
rabbits to himself! Single votes are useless against the annual list of
selected candidates, or I for one would have at all inconvenience
testified both at Oxford and in the Royal Society against the election
of a certain Professor whose glory lies in vivisection.

For an appropriate end to these discursive sentences, let me add this
poetic morsel in my own vein. Mr. Butler of Philadelphia was quite right
in his judgment of my _indoles_: I "write by impulse on occasion." Here
is a very recent instance in point. I had lately visited Mr. Barraud's
painted-window works near Seven Dials, and when I told Mr. Herbert Rix,
our Assistant-Secretary, of what you may read below, he exhorted me to
put it into verse, which I did impromptu, and sent it to him: now thus
first printed:--

    "I saw the artist in a colour-shop
    Staining some bits of glass variously shaped
    To map the painted window of a church,
    And marvelled that the tintings all seemed wrong;
    Red, green, and brown should have been interchanged
    To show the colours right. Why did he use
    His brush so carelessly, my folly asked.
    'Wait for the fire,--the fire will make all right,
    The reds and greens and browns will change again,
    Fusing harmoniously,' so Knowledge spake;
    And thus a thought of wisdom came to me
    Touching the truth, how kindly curative
    Must be the pains and cares and griefs of life,
    For that the furnace of adversity,
    Melts to its proper good each seeming ill.
    Again, I noticed how the artist chose
    Not clear good glass, whether of plate or crown,
    But common-looking stuff, bubbled and flawed,
    As if selected for its blemishes
    Rather than for transparent purity.
    'Why not choose better glass to paint upon?'
    To this he answered, 'Wouldn't do at all.
    My faces mustn't look lifeless and dull,
    But, as instinct with motion, light and life,
    Not in enamelled uniformity:
    The sunshine cannot sparkle where all's smooth;
    I choose the most imperfect panes to make
    A perfect, vigorous picture.'--Then I learnt
    How wonderfully Providence is pleased
    To cause all evil things to help the good;
    Nay, deeper, to ordain that good itself
    Can scarcely be discerned without the harm
    Of some companion-ill; even as gold
    Is useless unalloyed; and Very Light
    Unshadowed kills, as unapproachable;
    And absolute unmitigated good
    Alone is Godhead. Every creature here
    (In this our human trial-world at least)
    Is full of faults and spots and blemishes,
    If only to set off his better self,
    His talents, graces, excellent good gifts,
    Burnt in the fire to brighter excellence
    And fused harmonious into perfect man."

I have often thought that our Great Teacher's parables were true
pictures of things around Him; He painted from living models,
"impulsively and on occasion." The prodigal son, the unjust judge, the
rich fool, the camel unladen to pass the narrow tunnel of the needle's
eye, the lost sheep, the found piece of money and the like,--all were
real incidents made use of by His wisdom, who spake as never man spake,
and did all things well.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

PERSONATION.


It has several times happened to me, as doubtless to others of my
brethren, to find that I have been personated, certainly to my
considerable discredit. Take these instances. When at Brighton, a fellow
had the effrontery to collect money in my name, and I suppose he
somewhat resembled me, as I heard more than once that I had been seen
here and there, where I undoubtedly was not, and proved an _alibi_. At
Bignor, where I went to see some Roman pavements on the property of a
Sussex yeoman of my name (very possibly a German cousin) the owner
received me with more than suspicion when I said who I was,--because
"the true Martin Tupper had been his guest for a week, and brought him a
book he had written," and one of mine then was lying on the table! But I
soon made it clear that he had been deceived, and that the real Simon
Pure was now before him. Divers other cases might be mentioned; however,
perhaps the most curious is this, and I extract the whole statement from
one of my scrap-books now before me. It is headed "An anecdote to
account for certain slanders," the date being August 1865:--

"I have heard it seriously asserted of me that I am a great pugilist!
and very far in conduct and manners from what one might expect, and so
forth. Now it has just come to my knowledge that a sporting publican
and dog-fancier, who called his public-house in the Waterloo Road 'The
Greyhound' (my crest), and has my name over the lintel, has claimed to
be the author, and is supposed to be myself! Mr. Payne (my publisher)
told me about the 'pugilist,' and said he had heard it in the clubs that
I was a match for Sayers,--as I conclude my sporting namesake is." In
America, too, I found that my double lived at Hardwick, Worcester Co.,
N.Y., and that another Martin hailed from Buffalo. So, like poor Edgar
Poe, who had to suffer from the machinations of a profligate brother,
who gave Edgar's name whenever he got into a scrape, I may have
sometimes been credited with the sins of strangers. No one is free from
this sort of calumny. We all have heard of Sheridan's wicked witticism,
in that when taken up in Pall Mall for drunkenness, he gave his name
Wilberforce; and it is said that he got drunk on purpose to say so! My
venerable friend, Thomas Cooper, the pious and eloquent old Chartist,
has been similarly confused with Robert Cooper, the atheist, lecturer;
not but that Thomas had once been an atheist too. In this connection,
here is a curiously complicated case of _alibi_, which I abstract
_verbatim_ from one of my Archive-books.

"On Sunday, the 17th of September 1848, I was all the afternoon and
evening at my house on Furze Hill, Brighton, quietly reading and
teaching my children, &c. Next day the 'Rev. J.C. Richmond (an American
friend) called with me on the Rev. Mr. Vaughan, and in the course of
conversation the latter said to me in a good-natured tone of rebuke:
'Some of my congregation tell me they saw you yesterday afternoon
smoking a cigar in a fly on the Marine Parade.' I had hardly time to
deny the soft impeachment, which I might well have done with emphasis,
as a loather of cigars, and as little as possible a traveller on
Sundays, when Richmond broke out with 'That's impossible; for I saw him
myself in Shoreham Church (five miles distant), and noticed that he went
away in the middle of the sermon, as I supposed, to get home to Mrs.
Tupper.' Mr. Richmond says he could have made oath that I had been
there, and that he told several persons after church that I 'had heard
part of the sermon in the afternoon.' So, upon human and trustworthy
evidence, I could have been proved to have been in three places at
once."

My fetch similarly once rescued a young lady from death on Snowdon: at
least a stranger in company once came up to me, to thank me for my
prowess in having stopped his daughter's pony, which had run away down,
the mountain!--in vain I denied it:--and he addressed me by my name,
too! Somebody must have given him my card by accident.

And let me here allude (if I can without indelicacy) to another sort of
personation of more financial importance to myself. Lately, I have seen
some not very refined nor considerate paragraphs in American papers (Mr.
Bok, a Brooklyn editor, has told me that more than four hundred repeated
them) to the effect that in the battle of life I had--truly
enough--suffered reverses, and needed material help from my many
professing friends. Moreover I have heard it stated that some sort of
collection was volunteered for me. Well, this may have been the case or
not; but anyhow the fact is (and it should be announced to those who may
have given--and wonder at no acknowledgment of their kindness having
come from me) that to this hour I have received nothing from America
(except a few dollars sent by one lady, and some more from a
Transatlantic relative), either on account of my so-called testimonial,
or these more recent paragraphs. The annoyance in my own mind, and in
the suspicion of some others round me, is the awkward fancy that sundry
small collections may have been intercepted. Possibly some other Martin
Tupper has the spoil.

Another sort of dishonest personation whereto we are all liable, whether
authors or not, is the having imputed to us divers forged or garbled
sentiments, even in the immutability of print, I have now before me a
Boston copy of my first Proverbial published by one Joseph Dowe in 1840,
which, though stated to be "from the London edition," designedly omits
all allusion to the Trinity, even my whole essay thereon, for Mr. Dowe
as a Unitarian chose to make me one! Also, I have seen my name attached
to verses I never wrote, and have been claimed both by Swedenborgians
and Freemasons as a brother, while Jesuitry has otherwise traduced me.
Artists also as well as authors are similarly misrepresented; my
son-in-law, Clayton Adams, for instance, tells me that his name has been
added to landscapes he never painted, and that they sold by auction at
high prices. Modern society should punish such cheateries severely.



CHAPTER XXIX.

HOSPITALITIES--FARNHAM, ETC.


Amongst other memorabilia in no particular order, let me set down a few
visits, longer than a mere call, to sundry persons and places of note.
As these, for instance. Annually during many years I used to be a guest
from Thursday to Monday at Farnham Castle, when the good Bishop's
venison was in season. Of course, at such a table I constantly met
celebrities, but a mere list of their names would be tedious, and any
public record of private hospitalities I hold to be improper. No doubt
the kindly and courtly Bishop Sumner held high festival like an ancient
Baron, at such a rate (for those were golden times from renewed leases
for the see) as no successor with a less unlimited income could well
afford. The grandeur of Farnham Castle died with him: and my good friend
from boyhood, Bishop Harold Browne, must not be blamed if with less than
half his means he cannot compete with him.

I was enabled to gratify Bishop Sumner in a way that touched his heart,
as thus. A cousin of mine, De Lara Tupper of Rio Janeiro, a rich
merchant prince there, sent me, as a present for my Albury greenhouse,
two large bales of orchids, which, however, were practically useless to
me, as I had not that expensive luxury, a regular orchid-house. But I
knew that the dear Bishop had, and that orchid-growing was his special
hobby: accordingly all were transferred to Farnham, and I need not say
how gratefully accepted, as many roots proved to be most rare, and some
specimens quite unique. The good man gave me, _en révanche_, a splendid
Horace, in white vellum beautifully illustrated, and inscribed by him
"Gratiarum actio," now near me in a bookcase. The same South American
cousin sent me also a box of pines, oranges, and shaddocks just when
Garibaldi was our visitor at Princes Gate,--and I had the gratification
of giving many to him, not only because he mainly lived upon fruit, but
also because some of the said fruit came from the farm he and his first
wife, the well-beloved Anita, had once owned in South America. Later on,
Gladstone invited me to meet the hero at a reception in Carlton Gardens,
where I took note of Garibaldi, with his hostess on his arm, as he
walked in his simple red shirt, through a bowing lane of feathered
fashionables, whom he greeted right and left as if he had been always
used to such London high life. On that occasion I had the honour of
standing between Palmerston and Lord John Russell, who kindly conversed
with me, as also did the chief guest, specially thanking me for those
pines and oranges.


Parham.

Another notable visit of some days, was one to Parham, the ancient--and
haunted--seat of my old friend both at Charterhouse and at Christ
Church, Robert Curzon, afterwards Lord de la Zouche, the great collector
of Armenian and other missals and manuscripts. With him (alas! no more
amongst us, and his son has dropped the "de la") I spent a joyful and
instructive time: out of doors we fished in the lake and rode about the
park among the antlered deer,--three heads and horns whereof are now in
our glass-porch entrance at Albury; indoors, there was the splendid
gallery of family armour from feudal days,--several suits of which
Curzon told me he had tried to wear on some occasion, but couldn't; most
were too small for him, though by no means a tall man; and those which
he could struggle into were too heavy. Then there was the interminable
companion gallery of full-length portraits, some of whom, probably the
wicked ancestors, _walked_! and I'm sure that when I slept in a
tapestried chamber under that gallery, I did hear footsteps--could it
be, horrible fancy! in procession? When I told Curzon this, he answered
that he had often heard them himself, from boyhood, but that familiarity
bred contempt: he said also, with a twinkle in his eye, that there _was_
a room which was usually set apart for new-married couples, as such
would probably not be so much startled as lonely maids and bachelors
might be, at the whispered conversations across the bed! Moreover, evil
wings (possibly owls or bats, looking after glow-worm candles)
occasionally flapped at the casements. But Curzon was a humorist as well
as inventive. Perhaps one secret as to ghosts at Parham lay in the fact
that in the old thick walls were concealed staircases and "priests'
chambers," which possibly might be of use, even now, to vagrant lovers
(like Mr. Pickwick at Ipswich), or perhaps sleep-walkers,--or
burglarious, thieves. Anyhow, I liked to lock my bedroom door there,--as
indeed I do generally elsewhere, if lock and key are in good agreement;
for once I couldn't get out without the surgical operation of a
carpenter, having too securely locked myself in. This shall not happen
twice, if I can help it. Curzon's great glory, however, was his library,
full of rarities: he showed me, amongst other MSS., his unique purple
parchments, with gold letter types, being (if I remember rightly)
Constantine's own copy of the New Testament; and, to pass by other
curios, some tiny Elzevirs uncut: imagine his horror when I volunteered
to cut these open for him!--their chief and priceless wonder being that
no eye has ever seen, nor ever can see, the insides of those virgin
pages! I know there is such a rabies as bibliomania,--and I have myself,
at Albury, a "breeches" Bible, which belonged to a maternal ancestor, a
Faulkner, of course valued beyond its worth as a readable volume; and I
might name many other instances; but to esteem a book chiefly because it
has never been cut open, did strike my ignorance as an abnormal fatuity.
Curzon was one of our Aristotelians, as before mentioned.


Other Visits.

I am also mindful of a very pleasant week spent long ago at Shenstone's
Leasowes, a beautiful estate near Birmingham, now being dug up for coal
even as Hamilton is, where in those days some good friends of mine
resided, of whom (now departed like so many others) I have most kindly
recollections. The hostess, a charming and intelligent lady of the old
school, wearing her own white ringlets, used to have many talks with me
about Emanuel Swedenborg, a half-inspired genius whom she much favoured;
the host, a genial county magnate, did his best to enable me to catch
trout where Shenstone used to sing about them, and tried to interest me
in farm improvements: but my chief memory of those days is this. Whilst
I was there, a splendid testimonial in silver arrived in a fly from
Birmingham, well guarded by a couple of police against possible roughs,
the result of a zealous gathering from his political supporters; and
that Testimonial, "little Testy" as I called it, was a source of care
and dilemma to everybody; for care, it was immediately locked away for
fear of burglars; and as to dilemma, the white elephant was too tall for
the centre of a table, and too short to stand upon the floor. It seemed
closely to illustrate to my mind that wise text about a man's life and
his possessions. The cheerful spirit of the mansion and its inmates
seemed quite subdued by this unwelcome acquisition. When at the
Leasowes, I produced some suitable poems which were very kindly
received: here is one of them, hitherto unprinted.

    _An Impromptu Sonnet._

    _Ticked of at the Leasowes, Aug. 24, 1857, as per order._

    "And so you claim a verse of me, good friend,
      As from the inspiration of the place;
    Well then,--from pastoral trash may taste defend
      Your pleasant Leasowes, and the human race!
    The Gentle Shepherd's day has had an end,
      Nor even could melodious Shenstone here
        (False and inflated, we must all allow),
      Excite one glowing thought or pensive tear
        Unless indeed of wrath or pity now:
      Yet dearly can I love these tumbling hills
        With roughly wooded winding glens between,
      Set with clear trout pools link'd by gurgling rills
        And all so natural and calm and green,
    That served to enervate your Poetaster
    But only strengthen now their Iron Master."

I will also record a hospitable sojourn in old days at Northwood Park,
the splendid abode of Isle-of-Wight Ward (grandfather to my school and
college friend Ward of the Aristotle class and Oxonian persecution),
where I once spent a week in my father's time: and similarly a visit at
Lord Spencer's perfect villa near Ryde: and at other pleasant homes,
made to me frequently welcome, the chief being Wotton, the classic
mansion of one of my oldest friends.

Also long ago,--see a former page,--I purposely dismissed with only a
word our lengthened visits in my father's day at Inveraray Castle with
the old Duke of Argyll, and Holkar Hall with Lord George Cavendish, as
private domesticities,--whilst a casual other few as at Ardgowan,
Rozelle, Herriard, Losely, and the like, gratefully on my memory, shall
be thus briefly recorded here: Ardgowan is the magnificent abode of my
friend Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, after whose grandmother as my sponsor I
am named Farquhar; Rozelle, the hospitable mansion of Captain Hamilton,
where I sojourned many days, meeting the _élite_ of Ayr, and among them
the aged niece of Burns in the poet's own country; Herriard House, my
old school-friend Frank Ellis's heritage under his name of Jervoise, and
Losely--"of the manuscripts," where I have often visited my late
excellent friend James More Molyneux.

Of course, like everybody else who may be lifted a trifle above the
crowd, I have experienced, almost annually, the splendid hospitalities
of the Mansion House and most of the City Companies: may they long
continue, and not be spunged away by Radical meanness! all classes are
united and gratified thereby, for the poorest get the luxurious
leavings, and the feasts are paid for by benefactors long departed from
the scenes of their successful merchandise. All that seeming prodigality
and luxury have good uses. But I will mention (of course without the
hint of a name or place) one only instance of excessive splendour, quite
needless and to my mind vulgar. A great magnate (not a royalty, I need
hardly say) invited four guests to dine with his home party; the four
were my father and mother, my brother Dan and myself, humble guests
enough; and yet behind each of twelve chairs stood a gorgeous flunkey in
powder and bright livery, with my lord's gentleman superadded in
undertaker's evening trim, while the Earl himself wore his star and
garter! Of course too the buffet and the table were loaded, with
resplendent plate. That, scene of ostentation has been on the gray
matter of my brain ever since young manhood, and I relieve myself now of
the reminiscence for the first and last time. In another page I speak of
Prince Astor's pure gold service when I dined with him at New. York; and
I have grateful memory of the almost palatial splendour wherewith a rich
publisher entertained his guest at his castle under Arthur's Seat; but
in every case (and I might name others) my heart's aspiration has been,
"Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for
me." Mr. Vanderbilt was not happy with his millions; neither probably is
poor Jack without a shot in his locker.



CHAPTER XXX.

SOCIAL AND RURAL.


In such a record of personals as this, it is fortunate both for the
author and his readers if he has never been one of those literary lions
who are merely histrionic creatures of society. It is a privilege not to
have to reproduce the common small-talk of ball-rooms and
garden-parties, nor to be obliged to make the most, after a
semi-libellous fashion, of after-dinner scandals, or gossip in the
smoking-room. Not having heard them he cannot well report racy
anecdotes, whereof sundry memoirs have been too full. In the happier
condition of a partial anchoritism I have escaped clubs, London seasons,
and country mansion gaieties; as a youth and to middle manhood a
stammerer, I would not willingly court the humiliations of chattering
society, and thereafter, up to to-day, a domestic country gentleman of
literary pursuits, I have avoided (as far as possible) fashionable
gatherings of every sort, social, theological, or political. Not that I
abjure--it is far otherwise--any kind of genial intercourse with my
fellows; a few friends are my delight, but I never would belong to a
club, though sometimes specially tempted by indulgence as to terms (more
than once having been offered a free and immediate entry), nor to any
society or charity that expected of me personal publicity or active
service,--albeit, once, and once only, I had to figure as a reluctant
chairman at Exeter Hall. Privacy has ever been my preference; whence it
will clearly be inferred how much I have had to sacrifice in the way of
self-denial when forced by circumstances to enact the "old man eloquent"
before assembled hundreds, sometimes thousands, as a public reader.
People who have made themselves acquainted with my "Proverbial
Philosophy" may remember that my Essay on Speaking contrasts the misery
of the man who cannot speak with the happiness of the emancipated
orator, and I have experienced them both; whilst it may be seen in what
I have written about silence and seclusion how cordially and perhaps
foolishly, as "wearing my heart on my sleeve," I have shown that I
greatly love to be alone, especially in what I am known to call "holy
silence;" in fact, as ill-nature may like to put it, I prefer my own
quiet company to that disturbed by the talk of other people. So much,
then, as to one cause for the scantiness in this self-memoir of expected
spicy anecdotes and perilous revelations. Not but that I could make
considerable mischief, and perhaps help my publisher in sales, if I
chose to make the most of the many celebrities, both American and
English, with whom I have had intercourse both at Albury and elsewhere.
My humble hospitalities and the constant welcome I have given to
strangers, have been like their author, proverbial; but that is no
reason why our converse, free and frank as private fellowship commands,
should be produced in print; naturally the host was ever generous, and
the guest--equally, of course--appreciative.

Perhaps though, not quite always: and I am tempted here to say just one
unpleasant word about the only one of my many American guests,
hospitably, nay almost affectionately treated, who wrote home to his
wife too disparagingly of his entertainer, his son having afterwards had
the bad taste to publish those letters in his father's Life. One
comfort, however, is that in "The Memoirs of Nathaniel Hawthorne," that
not very amiable genius praises no one of his English hosts (except,
indeed, a perhaps too open-handed London one), and that he was not known
(any more than Fenimore Cooper, whom years ago I found a rude customer
in New York) for a superabundance of good nature. When at Albury,
Hawthorne seemed to us superlatively envious: of our old house for
having more than seven gables; of its owner for a seemingly affluent
independence, as well as authorial fame; even of his friends when driven
by him to visit beautiful and hospitable Wotton; and in every word and
gesture openly entering his republican and ascetic protest against the
aristocratic old country; even to protesting, when we drove by a new
weather-boarded cottage, "Ha, that's the sort of house I prefer to see;
it's like one of ours at home." That we did not take to each other is no
wonder. This, then, is my answer to the unkindly remarks against me in
print of one who has shown manifestly a flash of genius in "The Scarlet
Letter;" but, so far as I know, it was well-nigh a solitary one.

One further curious illustration of an uncongenial guest is this:
Alexander Smith wrote a "Life Drama," full of sparkling poetic gems,
which at once made him popular, apparently with justice enough. I asked
him down to Albury, made much of him, praised warmly sundry _morceaux_
of his (which I had marked in my copy), and to my astonishment received
the brusque reply, "O, you like those, do you? I shall alter them in
next edition:" as I found afterwards he did. He was a common-looking
man, with a rough manner, and a squint. As he seemed upset,--though why
I could not guess,--I tried in other ways to please him; as, by a ramble
in the woods and a drive in the waggonette: but all would not do,--his
day came to an end as gloomily as it began. Long after, I stumbled upon
the reason. I had then for the first time read Bailey's "Festus," and
found some passages therein very similar to Alexander's; thereafter,
other little bits from some other poets (I think Tennyson was one)
struck me. Little wonder, then, that I heard no more of Smith,--who
clearly had thought himself found out,--and so received my first
ignorance of his plagiaristic tendency as if I had known all about it:
and years after Aytoun had (as I was told) avenged justice by that
cleverest of spasmodic poetries, "Firmilian, by Percy Jones"--a
burlesque on Alexander Smith, and a book which the world has too
willingly let die. Let no one, however, after all this, fancy that I am
unaware of Alexander Smith's true merit. He very neatly fitted into his
mosaic word-pictures the titbits he had culled in his commonplace-book
out of many poets, and so utilised them. A self-made and self-taught
man, "elbow to elbow," as he told me, "with Jack, Tom, and Harry in a
workshop," as a designer of patterns, he had well and wisely made the
most of his scant opportunities of culture, and it is only a pity that
he did not allude to something of this in a preface.

It is not for me to recall here much about the inevitable hospitalities
of an old country house, to which a not unkindly host often invited
English and foreign friends, whom something to do with authorship had
made celebrities. Do I not pleasantly remember the jolly haymaking, when
old Jerdan, calling out, "More hay, more hay!" covered Grace Greenwood
with a haycock overturned, and had greeted a sculptor guest
appropriately and wittily enough with "Here we are, Durham, all
mustered!" the "we" being besides others, Camilla Toulmin, George
Godwin, and Francis Bennoch? Do I not remember how much surprised we
were at the melodies whereof an old piano was capable when touched by
Otto Goldsmidt? Can I forget, also, how marvellously a young Canadian,
Joseph Macdougall, of Ottawa, extemporised on the same piano as only a
genius can (Mr. Assher was another), and sent me afterwards, as a
memory, a vast volume of American photographs, whereof he had
munificently prepaid the enormous sum of £6, 18s. for postage? And was
not our village stirred to its depths by the visit to Albury House of
two black gentlemen and a blue,--all in evening dress?

It was President Roberts of Monrovia, attended by his secretary and
chief minister; for they came cordially to return thanks to one who had
helped a little in slave emancipation, under the influences of Elliott
Cresson, Dr. Hodgkin Garrison, and others,--and, moreover, had given a
gold medal for African literature, biennially to be competed for by
emancipated slaves;--whereof I have heard very little, since (by the
volunteered assistance of Mr. Taylor, the seal engraver) I gave it many
years ago: the medal was as large as a crown piece. President Benson,
also of Liberia, a magnificent ebon specimen of humanity, visited me
with his staff, not long before his lamented death--it was said, by
murder.

Let me add now a word of kindly memory for some good friends long gone
to a better world, but once welcome guests at Albury. There was Benjamin
Nightingale, the enthusiastic antiquary; there was his _fidus Achates_,
Akerman, secretary to the Numismatic, whom I greatly pleased by enabling
him to catch a trout near my carriage gate; there was Chief Baron
Pollok, head of the Noviomagians: the eloquent Edwards Lester of
America, whose speech at a Literary Fund dinner to which I had treated
him was hailed by Hallam, Dickens, and others on the spot as _the_
speech of the Society: and the Warrens of Troy, N.Y., about whose casual
visit this singular thing happened. For the first and only time in life
I had had the strange luck to catch at Netley Pond three perch of nearly
a pound each, and a fine trout of about two: I little knew then the
final cause thereof: in those days we could not easily get fish in the
country, unless indeed we caught it: now my eminent Transatlantic
stranger friends came on a Friday, and proved to be Roman Catholics:
could any piscatorial luck have been more timely?

When a few days after I told of my sport to a neighbour (it was Captain
Russell of the Cleveland family), a great angler, he, of course, without
imputation of my veracity, hinted that he wished I might have such luck
again, as he would then come and dine with me. I answered at once, "Come
to-morrow, and see what I may have caught." He did,--and I produced from
the same old mill-head a three-pound trout,--to his astonishment, as it
had been my own to have caught it. I have never had such luck before or
since, though always a zealous angler in an unprofessional way.

Let me not forget here also the beautiful "Albury Waltz," composed in
my drawing-room by Miss Armstrong, and published--it must be twenty
years ago now--by Robert Cocks, New Burlington Street: wherein by
request I originated the idea of song words for the dancers. This
singing as you danced has been often done since, but I suppose no one
then thought of it but myself since King David. I need say little more
about Albury visitors:--for many years there were plenty of them,--but
if one put down a tenth part of what even the faithless memory of old
age still retains, there would be no end to such inexhaustible
recordings.

And here is an Alburian anecdote which may amuse, as illustrative of the
mental calibre of some of those myriads of untutored rustics whom our
partisan governors have made politically equal with the wisest in the
land. Three young friends came to spend a day with us, and for fun
brought in their pockets the absurd noses popular at Epsom races. We
came upon some turf-diggers, and my visitors mounted their masks to
mystify them. The clodpoles looked scared and very quiet, till I went up
to one of them who knew me,--of course I was in my natural
physiognomy,--and I said to him, "My friend, these are foreigners:" and
the poor ignoramus staring at those portentous noses said seriously,
"Ees, I sees they be." Clearly he thought all "furriners" were so
featured.

Another specimen of agricultural intelligence is this: A labourer in my
field one day said to me, "Master, please to tell me where Jerusalem is,
because me and my mates have been disputing about it, and I says as its
in Ireland, because the Romans goes there!" He meant the Roman
Catholics! and he might have heard also that St. John's Pat-mos was in
fact an Irish bog, Pat's-moss: many of our legislative constituency
being found to believe _that_.

But not only is the common labourer thus dense: take these two instances
of country guests at my table. One whom I had asked to meet two
Americans told me of his disappointment at not finding them--red men!
And another (this time a provincial parson) wanted me to expostulate
with my friend Hatchard (afterwards Bishop of Mauritius) because he
meditated in his philanthropy giving a drinking fountain to Guildford.
"Only think, a drinking fountain! surely you cannot approve?" The poor
man supposed it was one of those pumping apparatuses for spirits
presided over by barmaids! It is manifest that the schoolmaster was not
so much abroad a few years ago as he has been since board schools have
arisen.

Amongst other specialities of ancient Albury House, which has 1561 on a
weathercock and 1701 on a kitchen wing, is the same peculiarity which
Tennyson told me at Farringford vexes him in his own less ancient
dwelling,--and which Pindar of old declared to be the privilege of
poets. We are, and have been for generations, a very house-hive of bees:
the whole front of two gables has them under its oak floors and panelled
walls throughout,--and when guests sleep in certain rooms they have to
be forewarned that the groans at midnight are not those of perturbed
spirits, but the hum and bustle of multitudinous bees. We cannot drive
them away, nor destroy them utterly,--as often has been attempted; and
if we did, the worry would be only worsened, as in that case hornets
would come and succeed to the sweet heritage of bee-dom. When the
stuccoed front of our house was demolished, to show the oaken pattern
(but it had to be re-roughcast to keep out the weather), there were
pailsful of honey carried off by the labourers, of course not without
wounds and strife: but in ordinary times it is a strange fact that our
bees never sting their hosts; be careful only to remain quiet, and there
is no war between man and bee. Two years ago a great comb was built
outside an eaveboard, probably because there was no room for more comb
inside. It is curious that it should have survived two hard winters. Is
not all this apposite, as suited (let Pindar and Tennyson bear witness)
to a poet's home?

In this zoological connection (for bees are zoa) let me record that
there is a legend of a fox having been killed in our drawing-room (on
the ground-floor with French windows) during some tenancy in my
absence,--only fancy the havoc of such a strife! but all had been
cleared up before our return. Also, it is memorable (and I saw it
myself) that a hard-pressed stag from Sir Gilbert Heathcote's hunt took
refuge in our harness-room,--to the extreme horror of a gardener's boy,
who thought it was a mad donkey,--and no wonder, for as those brave
barbarian sportsmen get the antlers sawn off for fear of wounds to
themselves or their nobler dogs, the poor scared creature with its
uncrowned head and loppity ears is very donkey-like.

Let me give another like homely anecdote of past days.

We are all now so wrapt in security as country dwellers, guarded by the
rural police everywhere, that the following ludicrous incident may seem
hardly worth a word; but in the good old days, when poor Jack was such a
highway brigand that my nurses feared to take the children off the
premises, and when burglars were not infrequent callers at remote
residences, what happened long ago, on a certain dark winter's night, at
Albury, may amuse. Long after all had gone to bed, we heard with
trepidation stealthy steps crunching the snow round the house, and
_something_ that now and then touched the ground-floor doors and
windows, as if quietly trying to get in: at last _it_ fumbled at the
ancient hanging handle of the outside kitchen-door! Now was the time for
Paterfamilias to show his pluck, in the universal scare; so, armed
_cap-a-pied_, with candles held in the rear by the terrified household,
he valorously drew the bolts and flung open the heavy oaken door,--to
greet--his children's donkey, escaped somehow from its stable, and
trying to get indoors that cold night for warmth. Laugh as we might, and
as you may, the test of courage was all the same; and if this donkey
story is pounced upon by some critic or comic as a weak link in my chain
of autobiography, I only hope he will behave as bravely if a real
ruffian tries his doors and windows by night; by no means an improbable
hypothesis in these days of communistic radicalism.

The old house itself may deserve a word. It came to me as a--shall I
say?--matrimony, from my mother; if patrimony means from a father, why
not matrimony from a mother? her great-uncle, Anthony Devis, having
bought it in 1780. He was a remarkable man in his way and before his
age; a good landscape painter (as Pilkington avouches), a collector of
pictures and curiosities,--mostly sold by executors at his death, aged
eighty-nine, though a full gallery remains at Albury; a carver too, and
a constructor of cabinets,--whereof two fine specimens (inlaid with
brecciated jaspers, and made of ebony and cedar from his own
turning-lathe) decorate our large drawing-room; and the oldest folk in
our village still remember the good old gentleman who always had
gingerbread in his pockets for them as children, and who was known by
them as the "man mushroom," seeing he was the first who ever had an
umbrella in the place! There was, however, another and a better reason
for this name, inasmuch as he built for himself an outer painting-room
on a hilltop near which he called Mushroom Hall, because it was just
like one (as a picture in our drawing-room testifies), being a circular
turret surmounted by a flat broad dome, with overshadowing eaves all
round. This strange summer-house has long vanished.

Anthony came of a good old stock paternally, as the civic archives of
Preston, in Lancashire, testify; and his mother was Ann Blackburne, of
Marrick Abbey, Yorkshire,--the title-deeds whereof, old slip parchments
and maps from Henry II. to Henry VIII., I found in a chest at Albury,
and years after transmitted them to Lord Beaumont, the present owner;
albeit, as a boy, I had been allowed to cut off the seals and paste them
in a copy-book! All these deeds, and the history thereof, I had printed
in Nichols's Antiquariana.

       *       *       *       *       *

The prominent feature of our village, so far as religion is concerned,
has for nearly fifty years been the fact of its being the headquarters
of the party originated by Edward Irving,--a full history whereof,
impartially and ably written by Mr. Miller of Bicester (whose
hospitality I have enjoyed for some days at Kineton), will be found at
Kegan Paul's, if any wish to read it. I have always lived on kindly
terms with my neighbours, though not quite of their faith; excellent
are many of them, and I am glad to number such among my friends,
specially as on neither side we meddle with each other's peculiar
opinions. I have known nearly all their twelve apostles, men of mark and
learning (especially John Tudor, a great Hebraist, and who was skilled
even in Sanscrit and the arrow-headed characters), and eleven of them
are among the dead, one only surviving in a vigorous old age to meet
(may it be so) the Lord at His coming.



CHAPTER XXXI.

AMERICAN BALLADS.


My American Ballads, perhaps after "Proverbial Philosophy," the chief
cause of my Transatlantic popularities, had their origin at Albury. The
first of these and the most famous, as it induced several friendly
replies from American poets, was one whereof this below is the first
stanza. I wrote it in 1850, and read it after dinner to four visitors
from over the Atlantic to their great delectation, and of course they
sent MS. copies all over the States. It begins--

    _To Brother Jonathan._

    "Ho! brother, I'm a Britisher,
      A chip of heart of oak,
    That wouldn't warp or swerve or stir
      From what I thought or spoke;
    And you--a blunt and honest man,
      Straightforward, kind, and true,
    I tell you, brother Jonathan,
      That you're a Briton too!"

I would copy more here, but as the whole ballad (equally with the two
just following) is printed in my Miscellaneous Poems and still extant at
Paternoster Square, I refer my reader thereto if he wants more of it.
The next of note was one headed "Ye Thirty Noble Nations," and is
remarkable for this strange fact, viz., that I composed about the half
of those eighteen eight-line stanzas in a semi-slumber. I was as I
thought asleep, but I got out of bed and pencilled the ballad (or most
of it, for I added and amended afterwards) straight off, and went to bed
again, of course to sleep profoundly; when I got up next morning and
found the MS. on my table, it seemed like a dream, but it wasn't. Those
who are curious may look out this piece of "_quasi_ inspiration" in that
poem-book aforesaid. But here is the opening verse for those who cannot
get the volume in bulk:--

    "Ye thirty noble Nations
      Confederate in one,
    That keep your starry stations
      Around the Western sun,--
    I have a glorious mission,
      And must obey the call,
    A claim!--and a petition!
      To set before you all."

The claim being love for Mother Britain; the petition for freedom to the
slave. It was published in 1851.

A third is chiefly noticeable for this. America had since my last
address to her as "Thirty Nations" added three more States; and I was
challenged to include them: which I did as thus; here are three of the
Stanzas in proof:--

    "Giant aggregate of Nations,
      Glorious Whole of glorious Parts,
    Unto endless generations
      Live United, hands and hearts!
    Be it storm or summer weather,
      Peaceful calm, or battle jar,
    Stand in beauteous strength together,
      Sister States, as Now ye are!

    "Charmed with your commingled beauty
      England sends the signal round,
    'Every man must do his duty'
      To redeem from bonds the bound!
    Then indeed your banner's brightness
      Shining clear from every star
    Shall proclaim your joint uprightness,
      Sister States, as Now ye are!

    "So a peerless constellation
      May those stars together blaze!
    Three and ten-times threefold Nation
      Go ahead in power and praise!
    Like the many-breasted goddess
      Throned on her Ephesian car,
    Be--one heart in many bodies,
      Sister States, as Now ye are!"

There are also several other like balladisms, and sundry sonnets, all of
which I had from time to time to greet my American audiences withal. And
thus before I paid my visits over there, the land was salted with ore
and the water enriched with ground-bait, so that when the poetaster
appeared he was welcomed by every class as a promoter of International
Kindliness.



CHAPTER XXXII.

AMERICAN VISITS.


A vast volume is before me containing my first American journal, which I
sent over piecemeal in letters and newspaper clippings to Albury, where
my wife and daughters arranged them and kept them safely, till on my
return after three months travel I pasted them duly into this big book.
If I were to record a tithe of the myriad memorabilia there entered, the
present volume now in progress would not afford space even for a tithe
of that: and after all, the result would only appear as a record of
numerous private hospitalities (which I object to making public), of
sundry well-appreciated kindnesses, compliments, and tokens of honour
from stranger friends in many cities, and the numerous incidents that a
tourist visitor ordinarily experiences; most of which, although
paragraphed in a gossiping fashion through hundreds of the 3000 American
papers, are not worth recording here. In fact, I look at this enormous
volume with despair,--the more so that there is its other equally bulky
brother about my second visit,--and so intend to give only some samples
of both. The world is too full of books, and does not call out for
another American Journal. The main social interest of my two visits
consisted in the contrast shown between the one in 1851 and that in
1876, just a quarter of a century after; between in fact the extreme
drinking habits of one generation and the extreme temperance of another:
mainly due, amongst other causes, to the overflowing prosperities of the
middle of this century and the comparative adversities of its declining
years. "Jeshurun once waxed fat, and kicked,"--but since then he has
become one of the "lean kine:" wines and spirits were formerly in
abundance as well as hard dollars, but have now been replaced by the
cheaper water and discredited paper. Moreover, such shrewd and caustic
writers as the Trollopes and Dixon and Charles Dickens have done great
good service to their sensible and sensitive American brothers,--who,
far from resenting strictures which for the moment stung, took the best
advantage of their utterance in self-improvement. My first visit was
hospitably redolent of all manner of seductive drinks,--wherein,
however, I was (as they thought) too temperate; my second was as
hospitably plentiful so far as eating went, but iced water (wherein I
was temperate too) appeared solitarily for the universal beverage:
though even in the most teetotal homes this English guest was always
generously allowed his port or Madeira or even his whisky if he wished
it. Temperance was a fashion, a _furore_, on my second visit, as its
opposite had been on my first: and on each occasion, I persisted in a
middle course, the golden mean,--which I know to be proverbially a
wisdom though not at present universally so accepted.

It is hopeless for me to look through the multitudinous large quarto
pages of my first diary and its letters, comments, paragraphs, &c.; they
are only too full of compliments and kindnesses from friends in many
instances passed away: and I will simply record two or three of the more
public hospitalities which greeted me.

One of these was a grand dinner with the Maryland Historical Society at
Baltimore, May 13, 1851, my late friend Mr. Kennedy in the chair as
president, while Sir Henry Bulwer and myself supported him right and
left, some hundreds of other guests also being present. Of course all
was very well done, luxuriously and magnificently; but perhaps the best
thing I can do (if my reader's patience and my present tired penmanship
will approve it) is to extract from a newspaper, the _Baltimore Clipper_
of the above date, a _précis_ of my speech on the occasion. Some
distinguished gentleman having proposed my health,--"This brought to his
feet Mr. Tupper, who, having expressed his thanks in an appropriate
manner, and acknowledged his superior gratitude to the Author of all
good, alluded to that international loving-kindness which he avowed to
be one main errand of his life; and he very happily brought in Horace's
prophetical description of England and America in their relation of
mother and child, 'O matre pulchrâ filia pulchrior.' He followed by
relating some striking incidents of the good feeling which pervades the
old country in favour of her illustrious offspring. One we cannot fail
to give was that the Royal Naval School at Greenwich had inserted his
well-known ballad 'To Brother Jonathan' in a collection published for
the use of the Royal Navy. The speaker then paid an eloquent compliment
to the literature of America--her poets, statesmen, historians, and
divines. He rejoiced that 'Insular America and Continental England' were
so intimately and inseparably intermingled in the authorial productions
of the human mind, as well as bound together by the strongest ties of
nature and religion, of lineage, laws, and language. Adverting to the
wise piety of such associations as the one before him, he exhorted to
keep together the records of the past, that they may sanctify the
present and be an encouragement to good and a warning against evil for
the future. He commented severely upon the vandal act of the British
troops under General Ross in burning the national archives at
Washington. In this connection he introduced the beautiful lines from
Milton:--

    'Lift not thy spear against the Muse's bower;
    The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
    The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
    Went to the ground.'

In conclusion, Mr. Tupper related an interesting fact, which in his mind
suggested what should be to Americans a pleasing idea--possibly a
discovery--as to the origin of the national flag. On making a pilgrimage
just lately to Mount Vernon, he was forcibly struck by the circumstance
that the ancient family coat-of-arms of the illustrious Washington
consisted of three stars in the upper portion of the shield, and three
stripes below; the crest represented an eagle's head, and the motto was
singularly appropriate to American history, 'Exitus acta probat.' Mr.
Tupper said he could not but consider this a most interesting
coincidence. He thought the world might well congratulate America upon
being the Geographical Apotheosis of that great unspotted character,
who, while he yet lived, was prospectively her typical impersonation.
The three stars by a more than tenfold increase have expanded into
thirty-three; the glorious Issue has abundantly vindicated every
antecedent fact; and your whole emergent eagle, fully plumed, is now
long risen from its eyrie and soars sublimely to the sun in heaven." I
may venture as an end to all this to quote a bit from my home letter.
"At 6 o'clock, and thereafter till 12, I was the honoured guest at the
enclosed splendid banquet. Our English ambassador sat on one side of the
chairman and I on the other; the newspaper will save me all the trouble
of a long account; but it was altogether one of the best triumphs I have
ever achieved: see the papers. My dinner was very light, terrapin soup,
_paté de foie gras aux truffes_, and sweetbread: with a deluge of iced
water, and very little wine. My two speeches raised whirlwinds of
applause, and took the company by storm. It was a most important
opportunity for me, and, by God's help, I met it manfully. All the
principal people of Maryland were there, besides our own minister; with
Lady Bulwer in a side room and that nice young fellow Lytton; and there
were many other distinguished strangers. You should have heard the
shouts and cheers which greeted the points of my speech, and the after
congratulations crowded about me. I begin to feel that if I had had
common chances I should have been an orator. When I kindle up, my
steam-horse goes off, and carries all his audience with him. While I was
speaking, the people moved up _en masse_, and they gave me three cheers
upstanding when I had done."

       *       *       *       *       *

Another memorable event was a grand dinner given to Washington Irving
and myself, as chief guests amongst others, by Prince Astor at his
palatial residence in New York. As for the profusion of gold plate,
glittering glass, innumerable yellow wax-candles in ormolu chandeliers,
and general exhibition of splendid and luxurious extravagance, and all
manner of costly wines and rarest gourmandise, I never have seen its
like before or since; and more than this (if I may state the fact
without much imputation of vaingloriousness), the intellectual treat
was, to my _amour propre_ at least, of a still more exquisite character,
when our host protested to his company in a generous and genial speech
that, if he could make the exchange, he would give all his wealth for
half the literary glory of Washington Irving and Martin Tupper! We
whispered to each other we heartily wished he could. I strangely missed
visiting Irving at his own home, though urgently invited to it; but
somehow other pressing engagements hindered, and so it was not to be.

On the same day with the Astorian dinner, Mr. Davis, a man of high
social position, had urged me to dine with him, but I could not come as
engaged till the evening. Now he, a local poet himself, had asked me in
divers stanzas of fair rhyme; and so, not willing either to beat him in
versification or to let him beat me, I made this epigrammatic reply in
dog-Latin, which was taken to be rather 'cute:--

      "Certes, amice Davis,
      Ibo quocunque mavis,
    Sed princeps Astor primo
      Me rapuit ad prandium;
    Cum me relinquit, imo
      In me videbis handyum."

This skit was well appreciated. I met at his house divers celebrities,
as indeed I did at many other splendid mansions, especially at the
Mayor's, Mr. Kingsland: I hear he is the third personage in rank in the
United States, and he lives with the grandeur of our London Lord Mayor.
I went with him on the 22d of March 1851 to one of the most magnificent
affairs I ever attended. Here is an extract from my home-letter journal
of same date:--

"Mr. Kingsland, the Mayor, came early to invite me to a grand day, being
the inauguration of the Croton Waterworks. Went off with him at 10 from
the City Hall in a carriage and four followed by forty new omnibuses and
four, some with six horses, and caparisoned with coloured feathers and
little flags, besides a number of private carriages; a gay procession,
nearly a mile long, containing all the legislature and magnates of New
York State and of the city--several hundreds." They visited in turn
divers public institutions, and at most of them I had to speak or to
recite my ballads, especially at a Blind Asylum, where, after an address
from a blind lady (the name was Crosby), "at the request of the Governor
of the State and the Mayor, I answered on the spur of the moment in a
speech and a stave that took the room by storm," &c. &c. And so on for
other institutions, and to the opening of the Croton Aqueduct. But there
is no end to this sort of vainglorious recording. As Willis says in his
_Home Journal_ at the time, "Mr. Tupper is among us, feeling his way
through the wilderness of his laurels, and realising his share of
Emerson's 'banyan' similitude,--the roots that have passed under the sea
and come up on this side of the Atlantic rather smothering him with
their thriftiness in republican soil." I suppose by thriftiness he meant
thrivingness.

My first acquaintance with N.P. Willis arose in this, way. He had (as I
have mentioned before) been in the habit of quoting month after month in
his own paper passages from my "Proverbial Philosophy," believing that
book to be an obscure survival of the Shakespearean era, and that its
author had been dead some three centuries. When he came to town, I
called upon him at his lodging near Golden Square, walking in plainly
"_sans tambour et trompette_" but simply announcing the then
young-looking author as his old Proverbialist! I never saw a man look so
astonished in my life; he turned pale, and vowed that he wouldn't
believe that this youth could be his long-departed prophet; however, I
soon convinced him that I was myself, and carried him off to dine in
Burlington Street. Afterwards we improved into a friendship till he went
the way of all flesh in Heaven's good time.

Perhaps another notable matter to record is that President Fillmore
invited me to meet his Cabinet at dinner in the White House, and that I
there "met and conversed immensely with Daniel Webster, a colossal
unhappy beetle-browed dark-angel-looking sort of man, with a depth for
good and evil in his eye unfathomable; also with Home Secretary Corwen,
a coarse but clever man, who had been a waggon-driver; and with Graham,
Secretary of the Navy, and with Conrad, Secretary at War, both gentlemen
and having lofty foreheads; and with many more, including above all the
excellent President," &c. &c. It was no small honour to meet such men on
equal terms.

If I allowed myself to quote more from my first visit to America, it
could only amount to variations of the same theme,--the great kindness
of all around me to one, however humble, who had shown himself their
friend both by tongue and pen. My books and my ballads had made the way
to their affections, and so the author thereof reaped their love.

A little before my departure on this first visit this notable matter
happened, and I will relate it in an extract from my last letter
homeward.

"The happy thought occurred to me to call on Barnum, as I had brought
him a parcel from Brettell; and, through him, to leave a card of respect
for Jenny Lind. Barnum received me most graciously, and favoured me with
two tickets for Jenny's concert to-night, whereof more anon. Meanwhile I
thought of sending to Jenny, through Barnum, a pretty little copy of
'Proverbial Philosophy,' with a pretty little note,--whereof also more
anon. Called on Edwards by good providence, and found that J.C. Richmond
had misled me--he isn't to be married till next week. A nice visit to
Major Kingsland and his good wife:--I find that my oratory has gone
everywhere, and has made quite a sensation. Think of my stammering
tongue having achieved such triumphs.--I do hope you get the papers I
send. A card at Lester's, Union Hotel, as to Mary M. Chase.--Dined.--A
full feast of reason with George Copway, the Redman chief, a gentleman,
an author, and a right good fellow. Meeting also Gordon Bennett, the
great New York Heraldist, who sat next me at dinner, when we had plenty
of pleasant talk together; also Squier, the celebrated American Layard,
who has discovered so much of Indian archæology, a small, good-looking,
mustachioed, energetic man: also Tuckerman, the amiable poet: also
Willis, a good sort of man, just now much calumniated for having shown
up English society in his books,--but a kindly and a clever every way.
Mrs. Willis called and carried off Willis, and I took Tuckerman under my
wing to the monster concert at Castle Garden. The immense circular
building, full of heads (it holds 8000!) and lighted by 'cressets' of
gas, put me in mind of Martin's illustration of Satan's Throne in
Milton! The concert, as per programme, was a cold and dull affair
enough,--though Lind did terrible heights and depths in the Italian
execution line,--but after the concert came this beautiful episode.
Barnum hunted me out from the two or three acres of faces,--because the
fair and melodious Jenny had expressed to him an urgent wish to see me.
When I got to her boudoir, where Barnum introduced me, I really thought
she would have cried outright,--as feeling herself a stranger in a
foreign land, and in the presence of an old unseen book-friend; for it
seems,--as she told me in beautiful slightly broken English,--that my
poor dear 'Proverbial Philosophy,'--which I never thought she had seen
till I gave it to her,--has been to her 'such a comfort, such a comfort,
many days;' and she was 'so glad, so ver glad,' to see me,--and she
looked so unhappy,--though the immense hall was still echoing with those
tumults of applause,--and she clasped my hand so often, and would hardly
let it go, and made me sit and talk with her, for I was 'her friend,'
and really seemed like a child clinging to its elder brother. I was
quite sorry to leave her,--and when, putting aside all idle musical
compliments, I tried to cheer her by the thought,--how nobly and
generously for many good purposes she was using the melodious gift of
God to her, poor Jenny only looked up devoutly, and shook her head, and
sighed, and seemed unhappy. However, it was time to go, so with another
hearty shake-hands, and 'my love to _dear_ England,' Jenny Lind and I
took leave. This testimony as to my book's good use for comfort,--she
will 'read more now she sees me,'--is very pleasing,--it is much to do
poor Jenny good, who does good to so many others. I think I've forgotten
to say that great old Webster, the Secretary of State, avows that he
'always after hard work refreshes his mind' with that book: and--I might
fill volumes with the same sort of thing. God has blessed my writings to
millions of the human race! And from prince to peasant good has been
done through this hand, incalculable.--God alone be praised."



CHAPTER XXXIII.

SECOND AMERICAN VISIT.


After the long interval of five-and-twenty years, filled up with many
more such volumes and fly-leaves, I called again by pressing invitation
on my American constituency, and found them as warm and generous and
hospitable as before. This time I was six months a guest among
them,--literally so, for I found myself passed on from home to home, and
almost never took my bed at an hotel. The chief feature of this visit
was that I posed everywhere as a public "reader from my own works," and
met with generally good success, in spite of the terrific winter weather
manfully encountered half the time. Everybody knows what extremities of
cold are endured both in the North-Eastern States and in Canada. At
Baltimore I have seen the snow piled almost man-high on each side of the
middle lane dug for the tramway,--in New York men skated to their
offices; at Ottawa the thermometer was 25° below zero, and at Montreal
it was everywhere deep snow (glorious for sleighing), icicles yard long
outside the windows,--and of course smaller audiences to a frozen-up
lecturer. Yet many came nevertheless, and I am pleased to remember among
them good Bishop Oxenden and his family. In spite, then, of positively
Arctic influences, as I had to do it, I did it bravely; and sent home
needful dollars, and came back with a pocket full too. All this is
surely part of an author's lifework; so I am writing appositely.

Among notabilia of this second visit, which was crowded like the former
with abundance of private hospitality and of public honours,--I may
record these briefly. Dr. Talmage, my kind and liberal host for two
lengthened visits, gave a grand reception on October 26, 1876, to
William Cullen Bryant and myself, which was attended by Peter Cooper,
Judges Neilson and Reynolds, Mayor Schroeder, Professors Crittenden and
Eaton, with some hundred more; the chief features of the evening being
Bryant's poetical recitations and mine. On another occasion I read my
Proverbial Essay on Immortality at the Tabernacle before 7000 people at
Dr. Talmage's special request: and of course at Chickering Hall, the
Brooklyn Theatre, and other places I had to give Readings to large
audiences. The Lotos Club and other genial hosts gave me complimentary
dinners. Mr. Hulbert, the well-known editor, made a _partie carrée_
(only four of us to consume some of the rarest delicacies) for Lord
Rosebery, Mr. Barnum and myself: and in fact my journal overflows with
elaborate hospitalities. It was the Centennial Year, and at Philadelphia
I found abundant welcome, especially as an inmate of the genial homes of
Mr. Roberts, the eminent Dr. Levis, the excellent Mrs. Fisher, and of
Mr. Pettit, the clever artist who painted my portrait complimentarily.
Of course I did the Great Exhibition thoroughly, and was quite surprised
at its splendour and extent; I think that the thirty-three States were
represented by no fewer than 180 ornamental edifices full of special
products and treasures. At Niagara I stayed twice for a week each, with
the kindest of hosts, the Rev. Mr. Fessenden and his good wife, and saw
the great cataract in all the magnificence of winter as well as autumn.
Also at the pleasant homes, of Mr. Lister in Hamilton, at Toronto,
Kingston, and above all Montreal, my new but old book friends were full
of liberal greetings, and everywhere I had to exhibit myself as a Reader
from my own works; a specialty not common, as combining both author and
orator. At Toronto, the ministers, Mr.--now Sir John--Macdonald, and
Dr.--now Sir Charles--Tupper were my principal welcomers; and I dined
then with the Cabinet, as in 1851 I had with Lord Elgin's in (I think)
the same hall. At Ottawa I found myself full of friends, and visited
Lord Dufferin. At Montreal the wealthy merchant, Mr. Mackay of Kildonan
(since departed and gone up higher), was my generous host: and there in
one of the hardest winters known I often made acquaintance with the
splendid gallop of his sleighs, all furs and colour and delightful
excitement: on one occasion having nearly had nose and ears frost-bitten
till my neighbour with his fur gloves and snow rubbed life into them
again. With Dr. Dawson of M'Gill University I had plenty of geological
talk, especially about the new found Eozoa of the St. Lawrence
stratum,--and with his clever son, and my cousin, Professor Selwyn.
Thereafter I went south, the welcome guest of other cousins, the
Vaughan-Tuppers of Brooklyn, among my most hospitable friends over
there: and we routed out all about our family in America, as recorded
for ten generations in Freeman's "History of Massachusetts." And I
feasted at Mr. Trocke's on trout from "Tupper Lake" in the
Adirondacks,--the name coming from an ancestor, not as after me, though
sometimes thought so; and I met with many points both of family and of
authorial interest. Then I was entertained by the New England Society,
which, amongst abounding luxuries, still produces as a characteristic
dish the frugal pork and beans of Puritan times. And the Century and
other Clubs made me free of them. And of course Longfellow, Bryant,
Fields, Biglow, O.W. Holmes, and many others, opened their houses and
hearts to me. And I met and dined in company with General Grant and all
sorts of other celebrities,--and so did all I hoped to do. Going south,
Brantz Mayer at Baltimore, my cousin the Rev. Dr. Tupper (Bishop of the
Baptists), and many others are memorable. Stay, I will give a casual
extract from my home-letter, No. 39, of my second visit, giving several
names.

"Jan. 18, 1877, evening. Took an oyster tea at Brantz Mayer's, and read
to a party several things by request, especially as to the souls of
animals. Judge Bond called for me there in his carriage, and took me (as
invited by the President) to a great assemblage of Baltimore magnates
(inaugurating the John Hopkins University), where I had casually quite
an ovation, meeting literally hundreds of friends: I cannot pretend to
remember many names, but these will remind me of others: General
McClellan, General Ellicott (cousin to our Bishop), Carroll, the State
Governor, no end of professors, among them Sylvester, who knew my
brother Arthur at the Athenæum, plenty of judges, presidents of
institutions, doctors, journalists, lawyers, and many fine figure-heads
of elderly magnates; each and all knew me as an early book friend, and I
had quite to hold a court for two hours, receiving each as introduced,
and having to say something pretty to him. Mr. Weld (of Lulworth),
married to a rich Baltimorean, takes to me monstrously, and with Mr.
President Gilman is going to manage a Reading here for me on my return
from the South. He took me after the great event to the Maryland Club
(making me a member for a month), and we had a glass of wine together,
meeting again several of the bigwigs migrated like ourselves for
something better than iced-water! for the odd thing is that, although
the eating luxuries were profuse at this grand banquet,--whole salmons,
bolsters of truffled turkey, oysters in every form, and plenty of
terrapines, canvas-back ducks, and other costly comestibles,--not a drop
of anything but water (except indeed tea and coffee) was to be had, the
excuse being that at least some of the party would be sure to take too
much; so all are mulcted for a few as usual." But my American journals
are full of that sort of thing, and this honest extract may serve as a
sample. I never guessed how crowded up by popularities a poor author may
be till I had crossed the Atlantic and reaped the kindness of Greater
Britain.

After all this, I went down South,--where I have seen brilliant
humming-birds flying about, some two or three days after I had waded
through deep snow northwards; my chief host, and a right worthy one,
being a good cousin, S.Y. Tupper, President of the Chamber of Commerce
at Charleston, S.C. With him and his I had what is called over there a
good time, and indited several poetical pieces under his hospitable
roof, in particular "Temperance" (see a former page). Also I wrote there
another stave of mine which caused great discussion in the States,
because I, reputed a Liberian and Emancipator, was supposed to have
recanted and turned to be South instead of North; but I was only just
and true, according to my lights. Here is the peccant stave, only to be
found in Charleston and other American papers of February 1877,
therefore will I give it here:--

    _To the South_.

    "The world has misjudged you, mistrusted, maligned you,
      And should be quick to make honest amends;
    Let me then speak of you just as I find you,
      Humbly and heartily, cousins and friends!
    Let us remember your wrongs and your trials,
      Slander'd and plunder'd and crush'd to the dust,
    Draining adversity's bitterest vials,
      Patient in courage and strong in good trust.

    "You fought for Liberty, rather than Slavery!
      Well might you wish to be quit of that ill,
    But you were sold by political knavery,
      Meshed in diplomacy's spider-like skill:
    And you rejoice to see Slavery banished,
      While the free servant works well as before,
    Confident, though many fortunes have vanished,
      Soon to recover all--rich as before!

    "Doubtless, there had been some hardships and cruelties,
      Cases exceptional, evil and rare,
    But to tell truth--and truly _the_ jewel 'tis--
      Kindliness ruled, as a rule, everywhere!
    Servants, if slaves, were your wealth and inheritance,
      Born with your children, and grown on your ground,
    And it was quite as much interest as merit hence
      Still to make friends of dependents all round.

    "Yes, it is slander to say you oppressed them;
      Does a man squander the price of his pelf?
    Was it not often that he who possessed them
      Rather was owned by his servants himself?
    Caring for all, as in health so in sicknesses,
      He was their father, their patriarch chief;
    Age's infirmities, infancy's weaknesses
      Leaning on him for repose and relief.

    "When you went forth in your pluck and your bravery,
      Selling for freedom both fortunes and lives,
    Where was that prophesied outburst of slavery
      Wreaking revenge on your children and wives?
    Nowhere! you left all to servile safe keeping,
      And this was faithful and true to your trust;
    Master and servant thus mutually reaping
      Double reward of the good and the just?

    "Generous Southerners! I who address you
      Shared with too many belief in your sins;
    But I recant it,--thus, let me confess you,
      Knowledge is victor and every way wins:
    For I have seen, I have heard, and am sure of it,
      You have been slandered and suffering long,
    Paying all Slavery's cost, and the cure of it,--
      And the great world shall repent of its wrong."

I need not say what a riot that honest bit of verse raised among the
enthusiasts on both sides. I spoke from what I saw, and soon had reason
to corroborate my judgment: for I next paid a visit on my old Brook
Green school-friend, Middleton, at his burnt and ruined mansion near
Summerville: once a wealthy and benevolent patriarch, surrounded by a
negro population who adored him, all being children of the soil, and not
one slave having been sold by him or his ancestors for 200 years.
According to him, that violent emancipation was ruin all round: in his
own case a great farm of happy dependants was destroyed, the inhabitants
all dead through disease and starvation, a vast estate once well tilled
reverted to marsh and jungle, and himself and his reduced to utter
poverty,--all mainly because Mrs. Beecher Stowe had exaggerated isolated
facts as if they were general, and because North and South quarrelled
about politics and protection. Mrs. Stowe, I hear, has learnt wisdom, as
I did,--and now like me does justice to both sides. There is no end to
extracts from my journals, if I choose to make them; but I think I will
transcribe four stanzas which I gave to Williams Middleton in February
1877, on my departure, as they bring together past and present:--

    "Ancient schoolmate at Brook Green
      Half a century ago
    (Nay, the years that roll between
      Count some fifty-eight or so),--
    Oh, the scenes 'twixt Now and Then,
      Life in all its grief and joys,--
    Meeting Now as aged men
      Since the Then that saw us boys!

    "There's a charm, a magic strange,
      Thus to recognise once more,
    Changeless in the midst of change
      Mind and spirit as of yore;
    Even face and form discerned
      Easily and greeted well,
    While our hearts together burned
      At school-tales we had to tell.

    "Mostly dead, forgotten, gone,--
      Few old Railtonites of fame
    (Here and there we noted one),
      Yet we find ourselves the same!
    Sons of either hemisphere
      We can never stand apart,
    With to me Columbia dear
      And my England in your heart.

    "You, of good old English stock,--
      I--some kindred of mine own
    Pound themselves on Plymouth Rock,
      Five times fifty years agone;
    So, I come at sixty-six,
      All across the Atlantic main,
    With my kith and kin to mix,
      And to greet you once again!"

I may here record that, accompanied by Middleton, I watched at an
alligator's hole with a rifle, but the beast would not come out, perhaps
luckily for me, if I missed a stomach shot; that I was prevented from
bringing down a carrion vulture, it being illegal to kill those useful
scavengers; that I caught some dear little green tree frogs; that I
noted how the rice-fields had become a poisonous marsh; that I noticed
the extensive strata of guano and fossil bone pits, securing some large
dragon's teeth, and with them sundry flint arrow-heads, suggestive of
man's antiquity; that I lamented over the desolation of my friend's
mansion and estate, and in particular to have seen how outrageously the
Federals had destroyed his family-mausoleum, scattering the sacred
relics of his ancestors all round and about. This was simply because he
had been a Confederate magnate, and had owned patriarchally a multitude
of slaves, born on the spot through two centuries. He and his kind
brother, the Admiral,--my friendly host at Washington,--have joined the
majority elsewhere; but I heard from him and others down South the truth
about American slavery.

For remainder rapid notice. Paul Hayne the poet is remembered well; and
the fine old great-grandmother with eighty-six descendants of my name;
and thereafter came the inauguration of President Hayes, an account
whereof I wrote to the English papers; and hospitalities at the White
House, and records of plenty more Readings and receptions; and all about
Edgar Poe at Baltimore, and my acquaintance with Henry Ward Beecher, and
my final New York hospitalities, and my pamphlet "America Revisited,"
written on board the return steamer the _Batavia_,--and so an end
hurriedly.

This was my last farewell to my million friends, published in Bryant's
paper;--

    _Valete!_

    "A last Farewell--O many friends!
      I leave your love with saddened heart;
    And so my grateful spirit sends
      This answering love before we part:
    I thank you tenderly each one,
      I praise your goodness, dear to tell,
    And, well-remembered when I'm gone,
      Alike will yearn on you as well.

    "A last Farewell--O my few foes!
      I fear'd you not, by mouth or pen,
    But to the battle bravely rose,
      A man to fight his fight with men:
    And though the gauntlet I have run
      You shall not say he fail'd or fell,
    Truly recording when I'm gone,
      He fought and won his victories well.

    "My last Farewell--O brothers both!
      No foes at all, but friends all round;
    Albeit now homeward, little loth,
      To dear old England I am bound--
    Accept this short and simple prayer
      (A cheerful verse, no parting knell),
    To every one and everywhere
      My thankful blessing, and Farewell!"



CHAPTER XXXIV.

ENGLISH AND SCOTCH READINGS.


I have another vast volume before me, recounting my English and Scotch
Reading Tours, with full details of innumerable home kindnesses and
hospitalities, from Ventnor in the South to Peterhead in the North,
which I need not particularise. I gave twenty-one "Readings from my own
Works" southward, in a dozen towns with a regular _entrepreneur_, who
was my _avant courier_ everywhere, making all arrangements, placarding,
advertising, hiring halls, engaging reporters, and the like; when all
was ready, I used to come forward, as the General does at a review,--and
then succeeded the sham-fight and division of the spoils of war--if any;
for, to say truth, our partnership did not prove lucrative, so we parted
with mutual esteem, and I resolved to accomplish all the rest of my
projected tour alone; a great effort and a successful one, for I
"orated" all through Scotland, from Ayr to Peterhead (far north of
Aberdeen), often to very large audiences (as at Glasgow, where the
number was said to be three thousand) and always to fair ones, the
Scotch being much more given to literature than the West of England. I
could give innumerable anecdotes of the splendid as well as kindly
welcome I received from great and small,--for as I now had no attending
agent I was all the more eagerly treated as a solitary guest,--and I
found myself handed on from one rich host to another all through the
land, with numerous book friends everywhere ready and willing to make
all arrangements freely at each town and city. So the tour paid better
every way, albeit the toil and excitement of being always to the front,
either on platforms or at dinner-parties, was excessive though not
exhausting. It is astonishing what one can do if one tries, and if the
sympathy of friends and a really good success are at hand to cheer one.
I wish there was space here to say more about all this; but the great
book before me would print up into several volumes. I will only, add, as
below, an interesting extract from this diary, just before I had parted
with my worthy agent aforesaid:--"He has told me some curious anecdotes
about eminent _artistes_ whom he has chaperoned, _e.g._ Thackeray came
to Clifton to give four readings on the Georges; the first reading had
only three auditors, the second not one; so Thackeray went away. Bellew
is uncertain; sometimes having empty benches, sometimes overflowing
ones, according to the programme, whether serious or laughable. Tom Hood
gave a lecture on Humour, which was so dull that the audience left him.
Miss Glyn Dallas often reads 'Cleopatra,' magnificently too, to empty
benches. Sims Reeves draws a vast audience, but sometimes at the last
moment refuses to sing (probably paying forfeit) because he is always
afraid of something giving way in his throat. Dickens, though with
crowded audiences, was not liked, nor nearly so good as Mr.----
expected: he carried about with him a sort of show-box, set round with
lights and covered with purple cloth, in the midst of which he appeared
in full evening costume with bouquet in button-hole, and, as Mr.----
said, 'very stiff.' Mr.---- has just engaged Madame Lemmens Sherrington
and six others for sixty-three concerts at a cost of £4000, for he says
that good music--after low humour--is the best thing to pay. May his
spirited speculation prosper!" Thus much for my quotation of Mr.---- 's
experiences.

It may interest a reader if I give, quite at haphazard, a list of one of
my readings: "Welcome; Adventure; Yesterday, To-day, and To-morrow;
All's for the Best; Energy; Success; Warmth; Be True; Of Love; The Lost
Arctic; The Way of the World; Cheerfulness." All these may be found in
my Miscellaneous Poems and "Proverbial Philosophy." I varied the
programme--of about an hour and a half each (sometimes two)--frequently
through my fifty readings on this side of the Atlantic, as well as
through my hundred over there. How strange that the stammerer should
have so become the orator!--I thank God for this.

Before a final end to this brief record of my home-readings, I will add
another page of short extracts from this diary: "Though I continually
read for nearly two hours at a stretch (and that sometimes twice a day
too) I take no intervals, and hardly anything but a sip of water. Energy
and electrical effort are stimulants enough." "I always exert myself
quite as much for few as for many; perhaps more so." "No one ever can
read well or hold his audience if he doesn't feel what he reads." "Some
of the clergy are no great friends of mine; one told me to-day that
'perpetual dearly beloved brethren had spoilt him for eloquence, and he
didn't care to hear mine.'" This was at Salisbury, in a coffee-room.
"Cathedral towns are always dullest and least sympathetic with
lecturing laymen; for example, at Bristol, Salisbury, Worcester,
Gloster, and the like. Are the clerics jealous of lay spouters?
Dissenting ministers and Presbyterians seem far more genial." "I
travelled about fifteen hundred miles by rail, besides coaches and
carriages. My aggregate of paying hearers was about sixteen thousand,
the bulk being old book-likers. The gain was nearly four times as much
as the cost, good hospitality having been the rule." "I read publicly
(private readings additional, as often asked after dinners, &c.)
twenty-nine proverbial essays and thirty-eight poems; repeated according
to popularity by request to two hundred." I only do not name some of my
generous Scotch and English hosts for fear of seeming to have forgotten
others by omission; and the list is too lengthy for full insertion; as
also is the long story of my adventures and experiences in the
hospitable North.


Miscellaneous Poems.

Before dismissing thus curtly, my great Scottish exploit (which, by the
way, anticipated by three years my second American visit, but I would
not disjoin that from my first) I ought to give some account of the
publication of my Miscellaneous Poems by Gall & Inglis at Edinburgh, and
of some few of the hospitalities connected therewith, though not
revealing domesticities, as against my wholesome rule.

An odd thing happened to me at Mr. Inglis's dinner-table, where I met
several literary celebrities. I had just read, and was loud in my
praises of a then anonymous work, "Primeval Man Unveiled," and I asked
my neighbour, an aged man, if he knew that extraordinary book?
Whereupon the whole table saluted the questioner with a loud guffaw; for
I was speaking to its author, whom I had innocently so bepraised.
However, my mistake was easily forgiven, as may be imagined. I found
that the said author was Mr. Inglis's near relative, Mr. Gall,--so my
new publisher and I were immediately _en rapport_.

There are two simultaneous editions of this book of my poetry--one
called the Redlined and the other the Landscape; the first on thick
paper, and with eight steel engravings, the latter having every page
decorated in colours with beautiful borderings of scenery. The volume
contains about one-half or less of all the mass of lyrics I have
written, some of the pieces having been in earlier books of my poetry,
as Ballads and Poems, Cithara, Lyrics of the Heart and Mind, Hactenus, A
Thousand Lines, &c. &c.; and they date, though not printed in systematic
order, from my fifteenth year to beyond my sixtieth. Fly-leaf lyrics
have been continually growing ever since now to my seventy-sixth.

Here are a few further random, extracts from my Scotch
diary:--"Arbroath, _Sunday, Nov. 2, 1873_.--What a comfort it
is for once to feel utterly unknown; for even my luggage has only a
monogram, and here at the White Hart I am No. 15, and a commercial gent
to all appearance: really, it is quite a relief to be some one else than
Martin Tupper."

"Read J.S. Mill's autobiography; poor wretch! from his cradle brought up
as an atheist by a renegade father, he can have been hardly more
responsible for his no faith than a born idiot. However, in these
infidel last times, and with our very broad-church and no-church
teachings, a man has only to be utterly godless (so he be moral) to
make himself a name for pure reason. I'd sooner be the most
unenlightened Christian than such a false philosopher. Let a Goldsmith
say of me, 'No very great wit, he believed in a God,' for I refuse to
deny one, like the Psalmist's fool." "I throw myself so into my
readings, that I almost forget my audience, till their cheering, as it
were, wakes me up,--and I feel every word I say: if I didn't, that word
would fall dead. There is a magnetism in earnestness,--an electric
power; I am in a way full of it when reciting, and I am aware of it
flowing through the mass of my audience." "It was a touching thing to me
to hear the aged Mr. B---- conduct his family worship, singing like an
old Covenanter the harmonious Puritan dirgy hymn, reading the Bible most
devoutly, and praying (as only Presbyterians can pray) from the heart
and not from a formal liturgy, earnestly and eloquently; he prayed also
for me and mine, and I thank God and him for it." "My host at Ayr drove
me in his waggonette to see the mausoleum at Hamilton Palace, with its
wonderful bronze doors after Ghiberti, and its inlaid marble floor, much
of which is of real verd antique in small pieces. Then we went down
among the dead men, and inspected the coffins of nearly all the Dukes of
Hamilton. It is an outrage to have expended so much (£100,000) on this
senseless mausoleum, and to have left close by and within sight of the
great Grecian palace those filthy crowded streets of poverty and
disease--the wretched town of Hamilton--as a contrast to profuse
extravagance. The last Duke, the very Lord Douglas who was in the same
class with me at Christ Church, and is supposed to have personated me in
Tom Quad, has a very graceful temple of Vesta all to himself, with his
bust in the middle: his father lies, of all heathenish absurdities, in a
real antique Egyptian sarcophagus, into which it is said he was fitted
by internal scoopings, the Duke being taller than its former tenant, the
Pharaoh. All this done, we drove through some rugged parts of the High
Park, to see magnificent oaks, much like some at Albury, in hopes of
coming upon the famous wild cattle, grey, with black feet, ears, tail,
and nose, and stated to be untameable. To our great satisfaction we did
see a herd of thirty-four feeding quietly enough; had we been walking
instead of driving we might have fared poorly as hunted ones: though I
confess I saw at first no fierceness in the lot of them; but when the
herd sighted us, and began ominously to commence encircling our gig,
under the guidance of a terrible bull, we turned and fled, as the
discreeter part of wisdom; Captain Hamilton, my host, telling me that if
they charged us we must jump out and swarm up a tree! I was glad to be
out of such a fearful escapade as that." "As to diversities in the
Scotch Church, after seeing many clerical specimens of each kind, I
judge that (generally) the Established Scotch gives itself the superior
airs of the Established English; the Frees are the most intellectual;
the U.P.s most pious; the Scottish Episcopal getting excessively high;
and some other varieties growing far too broad and pantheistic. I don't
wonder to hear Papists say that Protestantism is breaking up; no two
parsons are agreed on all points, some on none."

As for social hospitalities, I found them either splendid or kindly--or
both--everywhere; and will only name Captain Hamilton of Rozelle, Sir
Michael Shaw Stewart of Ardgowan, Mr. Boyd of Glasgow, Mr. Gall and Mr.
Nelson of Edinburgh, Mr. Arthur of Paisley, and such other millionaire
hosts as James Baird, William Dickson, and the like, as among my
wealthiest and kindest welcomers.

Of course, when a guest for a week at Rozelle, I paid due homage to
Burns in his own territory; visiting his natal cottage, his funeral
cenotaph, Alloway Kirk, the Auld Brig, &c. &c.--all these in company
with the millionaire iron-master and most enthusiastic admirer of
Tam-o'-Shanter, Mr. James Baird. When he took me to his magnificent
castle hard by, he said to me "Ye're vera welcome to ma hoose,"--and I
entered to inspect his gallery of pictures: among them I noticed, with
surprise at such an incongruous subject for a painting, an ugly red
factory in course of building, and a man on a ladder leaning against it,
with a hod on his shoulder. To my inquiry about this, he replied, "Yon's
mysel',--I'm proud to say; that's what I was, and this is what I am." He
had made, while yet a workman, some discovery about cold blast or hot
blast (I don't know which) and gained enormous wealth thereby. He is the
man who gave half a million of money to the Scotch Established Church.



CHAPTER XXXV.

ELECTRICS.


I have something of interest to say about the first laying of the
electric telegraph across the Atlantic. Sir Culling Eardley invited a
number of savants, among them Wheatstone and Morse, and others, both
English and American, to a great feast inaugurating the completion of
the cable: and I, amongst other outsiders, had the honour of being
asked. I had written, and after dinner I read, the verses following,
which had the good and great effect of originating the first message
(see the seventh stanza) which was adopted by acclamation and sent off
at once; being only preceded, for courtesy-sake, by a short friendly
greeting from Queen to President, and President to Queen. The heading
runs in my book as "The Atlantic Telegraph."

    "World! what a wonder is this,
      Grandly and simply sublime,--
    All the Atlantic abyss
      Leapt in a nothing of time!
    Even the steeds of the sun
      Half a day panting behind,
    In the flat race that is run,
      Won by a flash of the mind!

    "Lo! on this sensitive, link--
      It is one link, not a chain--
    Man with his brother can think
      Spanning the breadth of the main,--
    Man to his brother can speak
      Swift as the bolt from a cloud,
    And where its thunders were weak
      There his least whisper is loud!

    "Yea; for as Providence wills,
      Now doth intelligent man
    Conquer material ills,
      Wrestling them down as he can,--
    And lay one weak little coil
      Under the width of the waves,
    Distance and Time are his spoil,
      Fetter'd as Caliban slaves!

    "Ariel?--right through the sea
      We can fly swift as in air;
    Puck?--forty minutes shall be
      Sloth to the bow that we bear:
    Here is Earth's girdle indeed,
      Just a thought-circlet of fire,--
    Delicate Ariel freed
      Sings, as she flies, on a wire!

    "Courage, O servants of light,
      For you are safe to succeed;
    Lo! you are helping the Right,
      And shall be blest in your deed.
    Lo! you shall bind in one band,
      Joining the nations as one,
    Brethren of every land,
      Blessing them under the sun!

    "This is Earth's pulse of high health
      Thrilling with vigour and heat,
    Brotherhood, wisdom and wealth,
      Throbbing in every beat;
    But you must watch in good sooth
      Lest to false fever it swerve,--
    Touch it with tenderest truth
      As the world's exquisite nerve!

    "Let the first message across--
      High-hearted Commerce, give heed--
    Not be of profit or loss,
      But one electric indeed:
    Praise to the Giver be given,
      For that He giveth man skill,
    Glory to God in the Heaven!
      'Peace upon earth, and goodwill!'"

Another Electric poem of mine called "The First Message," also in Gall's
edition, was sent over by telegraph to America. What a miserable muddle,
by the way, those meddlesome revisers have made of The Angel's
Message;--preferring a dubious sigma to a comma, they have utterly
spoilt that sublime trilogy by making "Peace upon earth, goodwill
towards men," read "Peace upon earth among men in whom he is well
pleased." How clumsy and how ungrammatical, _in_ whom! The whole dear
Bible has been terribly damaged by their 36,000 needless alterations in
the New Testament (not 100 having been really necessary), and I know not
how many more myriads in the Old, but happily their Version falls dead,
and will soon be as forgotten as Dr. Conquest's "Bible with 20,000
emendations," whereof I now possess a somewhat scarce copy in the
library at Albury. I have less than no patience with those principally
clerical revisers; albeit for their chairman, Dr. Ellicott, I retain a
pleasant memory from Orkney recollections in old days.

       *       *       *       *       *

But this is a digression, wrung from me by my righteous wrath against
those who have done their worst to spoil for us The Angel's Message, the
first word uttered by the telegraphic wire under the sea.

Returning to the subject of Electrics I have something of interest to
say which will be news to my readers. One day when casually dipping into
Addison's _Spectator_ at Albury, I made the following discovery which I
recorded in the newspapers at the time, and give the extract now fully
as thus:--

In the 241st No. of Addison's _Spectator_, bearing date Thursday,
December 6th, 1711, and as signed "C." (one of the letters of the mystic
Clio), by the great Joseph Addison himself, occurs the following
remarkable anticipation of our presumably most modern discovery. Those
who have access to the London edition of the _Spectator_ of 1841,
published by J.J. Chidley, 123 Aldersgate Street, can verify the
verbatim faithfulness of the following extract from page 274:--

"Strada, in one of his Prolusions (Lib. II. prol. 6), gives an account
of a chimerical correspondence between two friends by the help of a
certain loadstone, which had such virtue in it, that if it touched two
several needles, when one of the needles so touched began to move, the
other, though at never so great a distance, moved at the same time, and
in the same manner. He tells us that the two friends, being each of them
possessed of one of those needles, made a kind of dial-plate, inscribing
it with four-and-twenty letters, in the same manner as the hours of the
day are marked upon the ordinary dial-plate. They then fixed one of the
needles on each of these plates in such a manner that it could move
round without impediment, so as to touch any of the four-and-twenty
letters.

"Upon their separating from one another into distant countries, they
agreed to withdraw themselves punctually into their closets at a certain
hour of the day, and to converse with one another by means of this
their invention.

"Accordingly, when they were some hundred miles asunder, each of them
shut himself up in his closet at the time appointed, and immediately
cast his eye upon his dial-plate. If he had a mind to write anything to
his friend, he directed his needle to every letter that formed the words
which he had occasion for, making a little pause at the end of every
word or sentence, to avoid confusion.

"The friend in the meanwhile saw his own sympathetic needle moving of
itself to every letter which that of his correspondent pointed at. By
this means they talked together across a whole continent, and conveyed
their thoughts to one another in an instant over cities or mountains,
seas or deserts.

"If Monsieur Scudery, or any other writer of romance, had introduced a
necromancer, who is generally in the train of a knight-errant, making a
present to two lovers of a couple of these above-mentioned needles, the
reader would not have been a little pleased to have seen them
corresponding with one another when they were guarded by spies and
watchers, or separated by castles and adventures.

"In the meanwhile, if ever this invention should be revived or put in
practice, I would propose that upon the lover's dial-plate there should
be written not only the four-and-twenty letters, but several entire
words which have always a place in passionate epistles, as flames,
darts, die, language, absence, Cupid, heart, eyes, hang, drown, and the
like. This would very much abridge the lover's pains in this way of
writing a letter, as it would enable him to express the most useful and
significant words with a single touch of the needle.--C."

Thus far Addison, a hundred and seventy years ago, and Strada (whoever
he may be, for ordinary biographical dictionaries ignore him), perhaps
fifty before him, and the two unknown experimentalists, perhaps twenty
beyond that, making in all two hundred and forty or fifty years ago as
the date of electrical invention: whereof we see no further mention in
the _Spectator_. But is it not also among the "Century of the Marquis of
Worcester's Inventions"?--as is possible; the scarce volume is not near
me for reference. Let the curious reader who can, turn to it and see.
Meanwhile, how strangely Addison and Strada have anticipated the
dial-plate, and the needles, and the letters, and the short forms for
common words, all so familiar to our telegraphists. Verily there is
nothing new under the sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from my Archive-book, No. 8. Date October 15, 1856.

"I was again an electric guest, this time at the Great Albion dinner
(Liverpool) to Mr. Morse, whom I had met at Erith and in America. A day
or two afterwards I sent him a letter of invitation to Albury, enclosing
the sonnet below; and not knowing his London address I posted it to my
brother Charles in London for him to read and forward. Lucky enough that
I did so, for Mr. Morse had just sailed for America: so Charles had both
prose and poetry telegraphed to him in New York,--and the Company would
not charge any money for it! This is perhaps the only time a sonnet
ever travelled by telegraph, and certainly the only time it ever so
travelled gratis."

Here it is, for which I had a very complimentary and grateful note from
"Samuel F.B. Morse, as an ardent admirer," &c. As never in print till
now, I trust it will be acceptable to my readers. Mr. Morse's published
speech was religiously high-minded and true-hearted, as indicated in the
sonnet.

    _To Professor Morse, in pleasant memory of October 10, 1856,
    at the Albion._

    "A good and generous spirit ruled the hour;
      Old jealousies were drowned in brotherhood,
    Philanthropy rejoiced that skill and power,
      Servants to science, compass all men's good;
      And over all Religion's banner stood,
      Upheld by _thee_, true Patriarch of the plan
    Which in two hemispheres was schemed to shower
      Mercies from God on universal man.
        Yes, this electric chain from East to West
      More than mere metal, more than Mammon can,
        Binds us together kinsmen, in the best
      As most affectionate and frankest bond,
      Brethren at one, and looking far beyond
        The world in an electric union blest."



CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE RIFLE: A PATRIOTIC PROPHECY.


There is an extinct pamphlet, now before me, published by Routledge in
1860, entitled "The Rifle Movement Foreshown in Prose and Verse from
1848 to the Present Time,"--from my pen,--which proves that, in
conjunction with my friend Evelyn and a few others, I may justly claim
to have originated that cheap defence of England, at Albury, more than a
dozen years before it was thought of anywhere by any one else. Take the
trouble to read the following longish extract from the fifth edition of
the above, and please not to omit the leash of ballads wherewith it
ends.

"And now, next, about this Rifle pamphlet. Every page carries its date
honestly, and several very curiously. In some of the editions there
appears a rifle ballad of mine, written in 1845, and published in 1846
(in the first issue of my Ballads and Poems--Hall & Virtue) with the
strange title "Rise Britannia, _a Stirring Song for Patriots in the Year
1860_:" an anticipation by fourteen years of the actual date of the
Rifle Movement. In all the editions, the papers on 'Cheap Security'
(being Talks between Naaman Muff (a Quaker), Till (a commercial gent),
Dolt (a philanthropist), Funker (an ordinary unwarlike paterfamilias),
and a certain Tom Wydeawake (patriotic but peculiar)) contain detailed
allusions, though written several years before any definite existence,
to the National Rifle Association, and to exactly such annual prize
gatherings of riflemen as those at Wimbledon Common and Brighton Downs,
and this latest at Blackheath. The discouragements of Tom Wydeawake and
his few compeers were remarkable. He himself might fairly have claimed
the honours of origination, discussed some two or three years ago, but
he left them to others--_Sic vos non vobis_, &c."

"Without mentioning names, several--since distinguished as prominent in
Rifledom--were once, to my certain knowledge, and still to be evidenced
by their extant letters, bitterly opposed to the whole movement,--and I
cannot conclude these remarks better or more appositely than by adding
here, with real dates, the three following ballads, which tell their own
tale briefly and suggestively." I print them here, as they are now to be
found nowhere else.

The first, published in newspapers during June 1859 (following several
others of a like character, with my name or without it), was the origin
of the Volunteers' motto--being headed

    _Defence not Defiance._

    "Nearer the muttering thunders roll,
      Blacker and heavier frowns the sky,--
    Yet our dauntless English soul
      Faces the storm with a steady eye;
    Hands are strong where hearts are stout;
    Our rifles are ready--look out!

    "No one wishes the storm to roll here--
      No one cares such a devil to raise,--
    And in brotherhood, not in fear,
      Only for peace an Englishman prays,--
    Yet he may shout in the midst of the rout,
      Our rifles are ready--look out!

    "Keep to your own, like an honest man,
      And here's our hand, and here's our heart,
    Let the world see how wisely you can
      Play to the end a right neighbourly part,--
    But if mischief is creeping about,
    Our rifles are ready--look out!

    "No defiance is on our lips,
      Nothing but kindliness greets you here;
    Still, in the storm our dolphin ships
      Round the Eddystone dart and steer,--
    And on shore--no doubt, no doubt--
    Our rifles are ready--look out!

    "Not Defiance, but only Defence,
      Hold we forth for humanity's sake,--
    And, with the help of Omnipotence,
      We shall stand when the mountains quake:
    Only in Him our hearts are stout;
    Our rifles are ready--look out!"

    _A Rhyme for Albury Club._

    "A rhyme for the Club, for the brave little Club
      That stoutly went forward when others held back,
    And, reckless of many a sneer and a snub,
      Steer'd manfully straight upon Duty's own tack,--
    Though quarrelsome peacemongers did their small worst,
      In spite of their tongues and in spite of their teeth,
    We stood up for England among the few first,
      With rifles and targets on Surrey Blackheath!

    "Time was when Tom Wydeawake, ten years agone,
      Toil'd to arouse dull old Britain betimes,
    By example--he shouldered his rifle alone,
      By precept--he showered his letters and rhymes,--
    With bullets he peppered old Sherborne's hillside,
      With ballads and articles worried the Press,--
    The more he was sneer'd at, the stronger he tried,
      And would not be satisfied short of Success.

    "And now is his Fancy the front of the van,
      And England an archer, as in the past years,
    And stout middle age carries arms like a man,
      And all the young fellows are smart Volunteers:
    And Herbert, and Elcho, and Spencer, and Hay,
      And Mildmay, and all the best names in the land
    On a national scale achieve grandly to-day
      What Wydeawake schemed with his brave little band!

    "Then cheers for the Queen! for the Club! and the Corps!
      For Grantley, and Evelyn, and Sidmouth, and all;
    With Franklin, and Mangles, and six dozen more,
      The first to spring forth at Britannia's call!
    And long may we live with all peaceably here--
      For olive, not laurel, is Glory's true wreath--
    But if the wolf comes, he had better keep clear
      Of a Club of crack shots upon Surrey Blackheath!"

    _July 1860._

And the third is a small record of our Easter Monday's Review, 1864,
alluding to the present universality of the Rifle Movement contrasted
with its originally small beginnings on the same spot.

    _Surrey Blackheath._

    "Surrey Blackheath! old scene of beginnings
      Humble enough some dozen years back,
    Gather to-day's rich harvest of winnings,
      Sprung of that sowing in Memory's track;
    Reap your revenges in honour and pleasure;--
      Thousands of riflemen arm'd to the teeth--
    Crowds by ten thousands, in holiday leisure,
      Throng the wild beauties of Surrey Blackheath!

    "We were the first our rifles to shoulder,
      First to wake England (though voted a bore);
    First in this nation who roused her, and told her
      She must go arm'd to be safe, as of yore!
    Those were the days before corps and their drilling,
      When the true patriot was check'd with a snub,--
    So, on Blackheath, devotedly willing,
      Stood your first riflemen--Albury Club!

    "Yes, we stood _here_, in spite of their coldness,
      Duty's first marksmen--whate'er should betide,--
    Conquering Success--the sure fruit of boldness--
      World-witnessed now by this field-day of pride!
    And though they laugh'd at Tom Wydeawake's fancies,
      Olives and laurels combine in his wreath;
    For, the world's peace--in England's and France's--
      Sprung of that sowing on Surrey Blackheath!"

    _March 5, 1864._

Lord Lovelace will remember how much he opposed our rifle-club,--as in
those days illegal, and so the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey might not
sanction it: but now his Lordship is our leading volunteer. Besides the
three ballads above, I wrote seven others which rang round the land, and
some of them, as "Hurrah for the Rifle," and "In days long ago when old
England was young," have been sung at Wimbledon and other gatherings.

It may be worth while, seeing the ballads are hopelessly out of print,
if I here transcribe a few stanzas from divers other staves I penned in
the early days of Rifledom. First, from "Rise, Britannia," before
mentioned, which was "written and printed in 1846, and then headed, by a
strange anticipation, a stirring song for patriots in the year 1860:"
reproduced in my now extinct "Cithara," in 1863: I wrote it to be sung
to the tune of "Wha wouldna fecht for Charlie:" even as afterwards I
adapted my "In days long ago when old England was young" to "The
roast-beef of old England," published with my own illustration by Cocks
& Co.:--

    "Rise! ye gallant youth of Britain,
      Gather to your country's call,
    On your hearts her name is written,
      Rise to help her, one and all!
    Cast away each feud and faction,
      Brood not over wrong nor ill,
    Rouse your virtues into action,
      For we love our country still,
    Hail, Britannia! hail, Britannia!
      Raise that thrilling shout once more,
    Rise, Britannia! rule, Britannia!
      Conqueror over sea and shore!"

After three stanzas which I will omit, the last is

    "Rise then, patriots I name endearing,--
      Flock from Scotland's moors and dales,
    From the green glad fields of Erin,
      From the mountain homes of Wales,--
    Rise! for sister England calls you,
      Rise! our commonweal to serve,
    Rise! while now the song enthrals you
      Thrilling every vein and nerve,--
    Hail, Britannia! hail, Britannia!
      Conquer, as thou didst of yore;
    Rise, Britannia! rule, Britannia!
      Over every sea and shore!"

Another noted alarum, sounded in January 1852, commences thus:--

    "Englishmen, up! make ready your rifles!
      Who can tell now what a day may bring forth?
    Patch up all quarrels, and stick at no trifles,--
      Let the world see what your loyalty's worth!
    Loyalty?--selfishness, cowardice, terror
      Stoutly will multiply loyalty's sum,
    When to astonish presumption and error
      Soon the shout rises--the brigands are come!"

After four stanzas of happily unfulfilled prognostication, the last is--

    "Up then and arm! it is wisdom and duty;
      We are too tempting a prize to be weak:
    Lo, what a pillage of riches and beauty,
      Glories to gain and revenges to wreak!
    Run for your rifles, and stand to your drilling;
      Let not the wolf have his will, as he might,
    If in the midst of their trading and tilling
      Englishmen cannot--or care not to--fight!"

One only stanza more, the last of another also in 1852.

    "Arm then at once! If no one attack us
      Better than well, for the rifle may rust;
    But if the pirates be coming to sack us,
      Level it calmly, and God be your trust!
    Only, while yet there's a moment, keep steady;
      Skilfully, duteously, quickly prepare,--
    Then with a nation of riflemen ready,
      Nobody'll come because no one will dare!"

In those days of a generation back, so great was the scare everywhere of
Napoleon's rabid colonels a-coming that I remember my brother Arthur
counselling me to sink our plate down a well for safety; and Mr.
Drummond in a pamphlet exhorted the creation of refuges round the coast
by getting the owners of mansions to fortify them as strongholds,
filling the windows with grates and mattresses, and loopholing
garden-walls for shots at marauders on the roads!

Yet, so sleepy was the British Lion that neither Drummond nor I, nor
even the _Times_, which I invoked, could wake him up for many years: and
the Volunteer movement did not take effect till Louis Napoleon kindly
urged Palmerston to check his rabid colonels by a bold front of
preparation.

I am minded to finish with a mild anecdote which carries its moral. Now,
understand that I never pretended to be a crack shot, though I did make
fair practice through "the Indian twist," the sling supporting one's
arm; if I hit the target occasionally, I was satisfied. But it once
happened (at Teignmouth, where I was a casual visitor) that, seeing a
squad of volunteers practising at a mark on the beach, I went to look
on, and was courteously offered a shot, being not unknown by fame to
some of them. The target was at some 500 yards (say about a third of a
mile), so it was not likely I could hit it, with a chance rifle, perhaps
carelessly sighted; yet, when I did let fly, to the loud admiration of
the others and to my own astonishment (which of course I did _not_
reveal), the marker signalled for a bull's eye! Entreated to do it
again, this prudent rifleman modestly declined, for he remembered Sam
Slick's lucky shot at the floating bottle; it was manifestly his wisdom
not to risk fame won by a fluke. So the moral is, don't try to do twice
what you've done well once.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

AUTOGRAPHS AND ADVERTISEMENTS.


A word or two about autographs, surely a topic suitable to this book: in
fact, I have sometimes preferred to spell it authorgraphs: most public
men are troubled nowadays with this sort of petty homage, and I more
than suspect that some collectors make merchandise of them; "my valuable
collection" being often the form in which strangers solicit the
flattering boon. Once I had a queer proof as to the money value of my
own,--as thus: I went quite casually into an auctioneer's in Piccadilly,
to a book-sale; a lot of some half-dozen volumes were just being knocked
down for next to nothing (such is our deterioration in these newspaper
days) when the wielder of Thor's fateful hammer, dissatisfied at the
price, asked for the lot to look at,--and coming amongst others to a
certain book with handwriting in it, said, "Why, here's one with Martin
Tupper's autograph,"--on which a buyer called out, "I'll give you
eighteenpence more for that,"--suggestive to me of my auction value,--as
I have sometimes said. If, however, the more than hundreds (thousands) I
have been giving for these fifty years, really have so easily gratified
friends known or unknown, I am glad to be in that way so much a gainer.
Americans in particular ask frequently, and sometimes with wisely
enclosed stamped and addressed envelopes, which is a thing both
considerate and praiseworthy; but a very different sort and not easily
to be excused are those who send registered albums by post for one's
handwriting, expecting to have them returned similarly at no small cost.
Longfellow told me of this kind of young lady taxation, and mentioned
that he once had to pay twelve shillings for a registered return quarto.
I dare say that our popular Laureate has had similar experiences.

The most "wholesale order" for my signature was at New York in 1851,
when at a party there my perhaps too exacting hostess put a large pack
of plain cards into my hand, posted me at a corner table with pen and
ink, and flatteringly requested an autograph for each of her 100 guests!
of course, even this was graciously conceded,--though rather too much of
a good thing, I thought.

There is wisdom (some have hinted to me) in preferring a card to a sheet
of paper; not only because "I promise to pay" might possibly be written
_ab extra_ over one's signature, but also because (and far more
probably) any special "fad," political, social, or religious, might be
added above--to all seeming--your written approbation: _e.g._, I was
told in America that my autographed opinion in favour of Unitarianism
had been so seen at Boston. Some zealots for a "cause" even go so far as
that. My safe course is to write "the handwriting of so-and-so," where
from total ignorance of my correspondent I cannot honestly say "I am
truly yours."

Other forms of authorial homage are to be met with in the way of
complimentary photographs, and oil or water-colour portraits. Like all
other book celebrities, I have had to stand for minutes or sit for days,
dozens of times; and seeing that, wherever I have been on my Reading
Tours, on this side of the Atlantic or the other, photographic "artists"
have continually "solicited the honour," the result has been that I used
to keep "a book of horrors," proving how variously and oftentimes how
vulgarly one's features come out when the impartial sun portrays them.
As with the contradictory critiques about one's writings, so also is it
with the conflicting apparitions of comeliness or ugliness in the
heliotyped exploits of different--some of them
indifferent--photographers. Several, however, have succeeded well with
me; as Sarony in New York, Elliott & Fry of Baker Street and Brighton,
Negretti & Zambra at the Crystal Palace, and divers others; but one need
not reckon up "our failures," as Brummell's valet has it.

As to the several oil portraitures of me, there is extant a splendid
full-length of myself and my brother Dan, with large frilled collars and
the many-buttoned suits of the day, when we were severally ten and nine
years old, now hanging at Albury, painted by my great-uncle, Arthur
William Devis, the celebrated historical painter: this has been
exhibited among works of the British old masters in Pall Mall. Also,
there is one by T.W. Guillod, in my phase as an author at twenty-seven;
another is by the older Pickersgill, so dark and lacking in Caucasian
comeliness that the engraving therefrom in one of my books makes me look
like a nigger, insomuch that some Abolitionists claimed me as all the
more their favourite for my black blood! On the other hand, Mr. Edgar
Williams has made me much too florid; while recently that rising young
artist, Alfred Hartley, has caught my true likeness, and has depicted me
aptly and well, as may now be seen in the picture-gallery of the Crystal
Palace. Then Mr. Willert Beale (Walter Maynard by literary _nom de
pinceau et de plume_, for he is both a painter and an author) has lately
portrayed me in crayons, life-sized, an unmistakable likeness; and years
ago Monsieur Rochard, in a large water-coloured drawing, made me look
very French, quite a _petit-maitre_, in which disguise I was engraved
for some book of mine: all the above, except Rochard's, having been done
complimentarily. In America Mr. Pettit's life-sized oil portrait is the
most noticeable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two queer anecdotes I must give about another form of author-worship to
which we poor vain mortals are occasionally exposed, viz., what Pope
called in Belinda's case "The Rape of the Lock." I can remember (as once
by Lady---- in London) more than one such ravishment attempted if not
accomplished; but most especially was I in peril at the Philadelphian
Exhibition when three duennas who guarded some lady exhibitors (too
modest to ask themselves) pursued a certain individual, scissors in
hand, like Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, in vain hope of sheared
tresses; had they been, like many of our American sisters, both juvenile
and lovely, very possible success might have crowned their daring; or,
instead of the three seductive graces, had they posed as three
intellectual muses, I might have succumbed; but a leash of fates obliged
a rapid retreat. And for a second queer anecdote take this: a 'cute
negro barber had persuaded me to have my hair cut, to which suggestion,
as it was hissing hot weather, I agreed. He had a neat little shop close
to a jeweller's; next morning I passed that shop and noticed my name
placarded there, surrounded by gold lockets, for that cunning nigger and
his gilded friend were making a rich harvest of my shaved curls. Sambo
can be as sharp as Jonathan, when a freeman, if he likes.

"Interviewing" is another sort of homage nowadays to popular authorship;
in America it is very rife,--and I never came to any city but,
immediately on arrival, two or three representatives of opponent editors
would call, and very courteously request to be allowed to turn me inside
out, and then to report upon me: I only remember one or two cases (which
I will not specify) wherein my inquisitor was not all I could have
wished, or treated his patient victim more unkindly than perhaps a
venial native humour might make necessary. Almost always the scribes
were fair and gentlemanly. And in next morning's papers it was a
pleasing excitement to find that one's extorted opinions on all manner
of topics--social, religious, and political--were published by tens of
thousands in conflicting newspapers, which took partisan views of the
_obiter dicta_ of an illustrious being. I have many of these recorded
conversations and comments thereon pasted down in the scrap-books
aforesaid. In England, also, one does not escape; and indeed the
pleasure of being examined for publication is here less mixed; for on
this side of the Atlantic it has been found dangerous to report what
might be damaging to a man socially or financially; although, however,
no judicial notice is taken of ridicule or false criticism; and therein
an author (however little he may care for it) can be libelled to any
extent and without all remedy. Not but that some of the society papers
have treated my unworthiness generously enough,--in particular, Edmunds'
_World_, which, with too great severity and too little justice, has been
taught to tell all truths charitably, if smartly,--and therefore I was
glad to welcome his pleasant accredited interviewer, Mr. Becker, a year
or two ago at Albury, who compliments me, not quite accurately perhaps,
on "good looks and a passion for heart's-eases." Also, the gentleman who
represents the _Glasgow Mail_ did his work wisely and kindly: and Mr.
Meltzer of the _New York Herald_; and I might name some others, not
excepting my Sydenham friend, Mr. Leyland, who lately wrote a very
pleasant paper about me at Norwood for a Philadelphian journal.


As to Advertising.

A word about advertisements, surely an authorial topic. The absurdly
extravagant profusion in which thousands of pounds are now being
continually flung away in advertising, is one which was never approved
by me, and as long as my books remained in print, at my suggestion they
all got sold without it. At present there are almost none in the market
except Proverbial Philosophy, my Poems, Stephan Langton, and Dramas, and
these still live and sell as before, after a silent life of many years.
I suppose advertising must answer, or it would not be persisted in; and
certainly the newspapers (that chiefly live thereby) exhort all to crowd
their columns, if they wish to win fortune: but how the perpetual and
reiterated obtrusion of such single words as Oopack, or Syndicates, or
Beecham's Pills, or Argosy Braces, or Grateful and Comforting, &c. &c.,
can prove seductive baits, I do not see nor feel: the shameless amount
of space they fill in our newspapers, and especially the impertinent way
in which they intrude upon us while reading, as interleaved into books
and magazines, so entirely disgusts me that I have often declared I
would rather go without "tea, coffee, tobacco, or snuff" (this is a
phrase, for the two latter I abominate) than deign to patronise those
persistent advertisers A, B, C, D, or E. And yet I do know a splendid
church at Eastbourne wholly built of pills,--and Professor Holloway's
ointment has produced a palatial institute, and another wholesale
advertiser tells me he spends £30,000 a year on notices and paragraphs,
to gain thereby £50,000,--and so one cannot but acquiesce in Carlyle's
cynical dictum, so cruelly alluded to by Dean Stanley in his funeral
sermon at Westminster, that there are in our community "26,000,000,
mostly fools," otherwise how can folks be weak enough to be forced to
pay for "goods," or "bads," merely by dint of reiteration?

There is, however, one form of advertisement which I have found to
pay,--and that is not praise, but abuse. A certain article, written as I
was told by Alaric Watts, and stigmatising my readers as idiots, and
their author as a bellman, was said to have actually sold off 3000
copies at a run; and Hepworth Dixon's attack in some other paper--I
forget the name--was so lucrative to me in its results that I entreated
him at Moxon's one day to do it again.

Once I took it into my head to collect and publish a page of adverse
criticisms (if I can find a copy it shall be printed here) to excellent
sale-effect as regarded my tales. And I remember hearing at a
publisher's, that when a book didn't sell through puffing, their Herald
of Fame upstairs was directed to abuse it, and in one case a society
novel by a lady of title was prosecuted (by management) for libel, in
order to get off the edition. That publishing-house used to advertise in
"five figures"--that is, upwards of £10,000 a year, and was
professionally antagonistic to another, from which it had sprung
originally. The critical organs of the one house always used to run down
the publications of the other. And I daresay other Sosii are aware of
the like mutual warfare going on even now.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

KINDNESS TO ANIMALS.


As to my several efforts in print to hinder cruelty to animals, beside
and beyond what a reader may already find in my published books, let me
chiefly mention these two fly-leaves, widely circulated by the Humane
Society in Jermyn Street; to wit, "Mercy to Animals," and my "Four
anti-Vivisection Sonnets." The latter I must preface with an interesting
anecdote. Before Louis Napoleon was Emperor, I accompanied a deputation
from Guernsey to Cherbourg, met him, had pleasant speech with him, and
gave him a book ("Proverbial Philosophy"), thus making his personal
acquaintance; which many years after I utilised as thus. The horrors of
that infernal veterinary torture-house at Alfort, where disabled cavalry
horses were on system vivisected to death, had been known to us by
letters in the _Times_, of course denouncing the criminality: I remember
reading that one poor old horse survived more than threescore
operations, and used to be led in daily strapped with bandages and
plaisters amid the cheers of the demoniacal students!--and this excited
me to make a strong personal effort to stop the outrages at Alfort.
Accordingly I wrote from Albury a letter to the Emperor (if I kept and
can find a copy I will print it here) as from one gentleman to another
fond of his horse and dog, exhorting him to interfere and hinder such
horrors. I told him that I purposely did this in a private way, and not
through any newspaper or minister, because I wished him to cure,
_proprio motu_, a crying evil whereof he was ignorant and therefore
innocent: leaving the issue of my appeal to his own generous feeling and
to Providence, but otherwise not expecting nor requesting any reply. I
therefore got none; but (whether _post hoc_ or _propter hoc_ I do not
know) the result was that vivisection at Alfort was suspended at once,
though how long for is unknown to me. As, after all this, many may like
to see my four sonnets before-mentioned, I have no room to place here
more than one: it is fair to state that they are easily procurable for a
penny at the S.P.C.A. office in Jermyn Street. They were written by me
in the train between Hereford and London, at the request of a lady, the
chatelaine of Pontrilas Court, for a bazaar at Brighton.

    "If ever thou hast loved thy dog or horse,
      Or other favourite affectionate thing,
    If thou dost recognise in God the source
      Of all that live, their Father and their King,
    Stand with us on this rescue;--for the force
      Of sciolists hath legal right to seize
    Such innocents to torture as they please,
      Alive and sentient, with demoniac skill;
    Ungodly men! hot with the lawless lust
      Of violating Nature's holiest fane,
    Breaking it open at your wicked will,--
      Yet shall ye tremble!--for the Judge is just;
    To Him those victims do not plead in vain,
      On you for æons crowd their hours of pain."

When I was last at Boston my spirit was stirred by what I have poetised
below: it has only appeared in some American papers, but I hope will be
acceptable here.

    _The Omnibus Hack._

    "Worn, jaded, and faint, plodding on in the track,
    I praise your great patience, poor omnibus hack;
    In whose sad gentle eyes my spirit can trace
    The gloom of despair in that passionless face,
    While way-wearied muscles, strain'd out to the full
    And cruelly check'd by the pitiless pull,
    With little for food, but of lashes no lack,
    Force me to pray for you, omnibus hack!

    "Yes I--if I can pity you, omnibus hack,
    For nerves all atremble and sinews awrack,
    How should not his Maker, the Father above,
    Be just to His creature, and grant him His love?
    Why may not His mercy give somewhat of bliss
    In some better world to compensate for this,
    By animal pleasure for animal pain,
    Receiving their lives but to give them again?

    "And which of us isn't an omnibus hack,
    With galls on his withers and sores on his back,--
    Buckled to circumstance, driven by fate,
    And chain'd on the pole of a oar that we hate--
    Yon ponderous Past which we drag fast or slow
    On the coarse-mended Present, this dull road we go,
    Hard-curb'd on the tongue and no bearing-rein slack,
    Ah! who of us isn't that omnibus hack?

    "Yet great is the comfort considering thus
    That God doth take thought as for him so for us;
    That we shall find rest, reward, and relief
    Outweighing, outpaying all pain and all grief;
    That all things are kindly remembered elsewhere,
    The shame and the wrong and the press and the care,
    The evils that keep all better aback,
    And make one feel now but an omnibus hack.

    "An omnibus hack?--and only a drudge?--
    Is Duty no more in the eyes of the Judge?
    He set thee this toil; His providence gave
    These bounds to His freedman; yes, free--not a slave!
    And if thou wilt serve Him, content with thy lot,
    Cheerfully working and murmuring not,
    Be sure, my poor brother--whose skies are so black--
    Thou art His dear child, though an omnibus hack!"

My "Mercy to Animals," a simple handbill, has done great good, as it has
prose instructions about loading, harnessing, &c. It also is to be had
for a penny at Jermyn Street aforesaid: here is the first verse:--

    "O boys and men of British mould,
      With mother's milk within you!
    A simple word for young and old,
      A word to warn and win you;
    You've each and all got human hearts,
      As well as human features,
    So hear me, while I take the parts
      Of all the poor dumb creatures."

For my own part I have done it all my life. Those of my book-friends who
have my Miscellaneous Poems may refer in this connection to verses
therein on "A Dead Dog" and "A Dead Cat," and to those on "Cruelty."
Also in "Proverbial Philosophy," especially as to the "Future of
Animals," and their too shameful treatment in this world, one good
reason for a compensative existence.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

ORKNEY AND SHETLAND.


I took my family to these Northern Isles of the Sea in 1859, sailing
from Aberdeen in a once-a-week steamer; some of our passengers were
notable, as Dasent of the Norse Tales (since Sir George) and his sons,
Day the Oxonian in Norway, Ellicott, now Bishop of Bristol, Biot
Edmondstone, and some others, inclusive of our noble selves. It was a
dark night and a dense fog, and we had perilously to thread our careful
way through the herring-fleet, fog-horns blowing all night, whilst our
distinguished party bivouacked on deck, every cabin having been secured
by folks crowding to the Kirkwall fair; and so we enjoyed a seagoing
experience which, however cold and dark, was warmed and brightened by
the conversation of clever friends all night through.

Next day, jumping into a boat on the top of a wave (it was very rough
weather), I and a few others landed at Wick, and witnessed the
extraordinary scene of a herring harvest being cured. Much as at
Cincinnati they say pigs walk in, and come out at the other end of a
long gallery salted and smoked,--live herrings are within some three
minutes killed, cleaned, pickled, and tubbed by the fishermen's wives
and daughters in their brightest caps and jewellery, for the whole scene
is a fair and a festival.

In due time we arrived at Kirkwall, where we stayed a fortnight, in the
course of which we were soon invited to Mr. Balfour's castle at
Shapinshay. I call to mind in that mediæval-looking stronghold (but it
is a modern structure) his splendid banqueting-room, lighted by the
illuminated points of twelve stags' heads, each having twelve tynes,
thus 144 of them, ranged on the sides of that baronial hall: the castle,
of grey granite in the Norman style, having its own gasometer, all the
light was gas; this struck me as a remarkable feature inside: on the
outside was one quite as memorable. Those sterile-looking isles of the
North Sea are so swept by stormy winds as to be absolutely treeless:
insomuch that it is jocularly said, that for cutting down a tree at
Kirkwall, the penalty is _death!_ simply because no trees exist there.
Well, the wealthy Baron of Shapinshay conquers nature thus; he has dug
round the castle vast hollow gardens (not a continuous moat) in which
flourishes a profusion of flowers and shrubs and even trees,--till
arboriculture is cut shear off, if it dares to look over the mounds. I
put it thus:--

    "When to the storm-historic Orcades
      The wanderer comes, he marvels to find there
      A stately palace, towering new and fair,
    Bedded in flowers, though unbanked by trees,
    A feudal dream uprisen from the seas:
      And when his wonder asks,--Whose magic rare
    Hath wrought this bright creation?--men reply,
      Balfour's of Balfour: large in mind and heart,
      Not only doth his duteous care reclaim
    All Shapinshay to new fertility,
      But to his brother men a brother's part
      Doing, in always doing good,--his fame
    Is to have raised an Orcade Arcady,
      Rich in gems of Nature as of Art."

At Kirkwall we could not help noticing what a fine race of men and
women, blue-eyed and yellow-haired, many of these Northerners are; at
St. Magnus Cathedral they trooped in looking like giants, seeming taller
perhaps because the pews are on a dead level with the floor. Of course
we duly did all the sights of the place, in the way of the ruinous
bishop's palace and so forth, and received hearty welcomes from both
high and low, the isolation of those parts conducing to the popularity
of strangers; to say less of any greed for the cash of tourists.

I made there good acquaintance also with Aytoun, the poet of Dundee and
Montrose, of whom it is rememberable that he used to read all through
Scott's novels every year. I thought it a marvellous feat, but at any
rate he told me so. He was sheriff of all those northern regions; and
writer, amongst other things, of "Hints for Authors" in _Blackwood_,
which for their wit and sense ought to be reprinted: but when I urged it
in Princes Street, I found such a booklet was not to be--nor "Firmilian"
either--which is a pity, as both are admirable for humour. He was a
zealous florist and fruitist; the white currants trained by him upon
walls were as large as grapes.

Among these Isles of Thule palpable evidences of the Gulf Stream are
frequent; besides that it warms the northern seas so well that snow and
ice are not too common there as in much lower latitudes they are with
us--it is the fact that most of the seafaring men have for snuff-boxes
the large brown circular beans from Mexico floated on tropical seaweed,
full of hand coral, and found on the island beaches westwardly. Another
notable matter in these Orcades is the strange disproportion between the
sexes, eleven women to one man, as Mr. Hayes, the Lerwick banker, told
me; this being due to the too frequent drowning of whole boat's crews:
hence, one often sees women at the oar. A pleasanter thing to mention is
the Fair Isle hosiery, the patterns whereof in the woven worsted are
distinctly Moorish, just like those at Tangiers; said to be a survival
of some wreck from the Spanish Armada cast upon the shore, with of
course its crew and contents, the local manufacture of said patterns
having been kept up ever since, with dyes derived from seaweeds, and
from flowers. I frequently observed how diligent in knitting the island
women were (reminding me of those notable spinsters of Herodotus)
working the needles all the while they tended cattle, and with the pile
of some costly shawl upon their heads while they fidget at the fringe;
its various devices being of natural unstained wools, white, grey, or
brown. In those interesting islands I can dimly recall many other
noticeable things and people, everywhere having received the warm
welcome which is usually the privilege of a bookwright all the world
over; visiting the Stones of Stennis with Mr. Petrie, the Celtic tower
of Scalloway with Aytoun, and divers similar antiquities, as Maeshow and
other refuges of the Picts and Troglodytes.

At Lerwick two of the boatmen who took us to shore from the steamer
surprised me by quotations from my old book--even the common folk being
full of literature. They are so separate from the great world, and have
so little to do, that they cannot help being hard readers,--even of me.
A haberdasher told me that though there are in the short summer plenty
of simple wild-flowers, there is naturally a dearth all the year round
of the brighter and more highly-coloured cultivated kinds; and so these
being scarce and female vanity rather common, there is a large trade in
artificial fuchsias, pinks, and roses, &c., thus constantly making
chapel and church quite gay; the same ladies who so bedizen themselves
on the Sabbath going about all the week carrying burdens of peat,
bare-footed and kilted to the knee on account of the bogs, among which
they have to chase those small shaggy equines, the Shetland ponies. By
the way Mr. Balfour at Oronsay had a special breed of his own, and
showed us a pair of little darlings which he valued at £100 apiece. The
true race, stunted and shaggy from climate, is rare in these days; and I
suspect may be picked up cheaper at Aldridge's than at Shapinshay.

On our return voyage we skirted the whole north of Scotland, having had
the rare chance of the steamer which once a year is chartered to take
back the herring-fishers from Thurso to the Hebrides. But first Sir
George Sinclair most hospitably entertained us at Thurso Castle, whose
grim battlements frown flush over the Arctic Sea: all within the walls
luxurious warmth, and without them wrecks and desolation. So also with
the garden; on one side of the high wall greenhouses and flower-beds in
the Italian style,--on the other, in strange contrast, the desolate wild
ocean, which you see through windows of thick plate-glass let into the
walls. At Thurso town I conversed with the local genius, Robert Dick,
made of world-wide fame since by that kind-hearted and clear-minded
author, Samuel Smiles, the said genius being a noted self-taught
naturalist, who as a small baker struggled with poverty through life, to
be inconsistently rewarded after death by a national monument; his
fellow-townsmen let the living starve to deify him when dead. Cervantes
and his like have met the same fate elsewhere. Leaving Thurso for the
Hebrides, in company with no fewer than 700 Gaelic fishermen, we passed
the magnificent cliffs of Cape Wrath in a pleasant calm,--which next day
when we had reached Stornoway turned to a furious storm: had we
encountered it with those 700 loading the deck it would infallibly have
wrecked us,--as it did many other vessels on that night.

Sir James Matheson was our great host at Stornoway, who treated me and
mine with magnificent hospitality. If I had wished to shoot a buck or to
catch a salmon (the kilted gillie stood ready with his tackle), I might
have done so and welcome; but there was no time to spare for anything
but a visit to the prehistoric temple of Callanish, where the stones
strangely enough are set in the form of a cross instead of the ordinary
circle; and to a Pictish tower, and other antiquities,--which I
preferred to sport.

Sir James's piper always wakes the guests a'mornings, parading round the
terraces with his bagpipes, and after dinner, as usual at the feasts of
Highland magnates, he marches round the table in kilt and flying tartans
with his drone-like dirge or furious slogan,--being rewarded on the spot
with whisky from the chief.

Here I will cease my quick reminiscence of that pleasant northern
travel, though I might recount many noticeable matters about Skye and
its dolomite Cuchullins, Staffa, Iona, and Oban, where The MacDougal
allowed us to see and handle (an unusual honour) the famous brooch of
Lorne, the loss of which saved The Bruce's life, when he broke away from
his captor, the then MacDougal; leaving tartan and shoulder-brooch in
his grasp.



CHAPTER XL.

LITERARY FRIENDS.


Among the many literary men and women of my acquaintance there are some
(for it is not possible to enumerate all) of whom I should like to make
some mention; and, _place aux dâmes_, let me speak of the ladies first.
In my boyhood I can recollect that astronomical wonder of womankind,
_Mrs. Mary Somerville_, a great friend of my father's; she seemed to me
very quiet and thoughtful, and so little self-conscious as to be humbly
unregardful of her genius and her fame. Strangely enough I first met her
in the same drawing-room in Grafton Street (she lived and died at
Chelsea) where I acted a silent part years after in some private
theatricals with _Miss Granville_ (met during my American visit in her
then phase of a German Baroness), herself an authoress and a cantatrice,
daughter of Dr. Granville, the well-known historian of Spas. I
recollect, too, in those early times, _Mrs. Jameson_, then a celebrated
writer, and a vivacious leader of literary society; and much nearer this
day, _Mrs. Beecher Stowe_, whom I found too taciturn, and as if scared
at the notice she excited, quite to realise one's expectation of a
famous lioness. With her I have since broken a lance in the interest of
Byron, whom I considered maligned in the matter of his "sweet sister,"
and accordingly wrote on his behalf a vindicatory fly-leaf of poetic
indignation. Another lance, too, have I broken in favour of _Ouida_, as
against a newspaper critic who had tried to crush her "Moths;" I had met
her before that, and did my little best in her defence, receiving from
her from Italy a charming letter of acknowledgment. "Ouida" is not
generally known to have been the nursery name of "Louisa" de la Ramenay,
just as "Boz" was of Dickens. Both "Ouida" and _Miss Braddon_, whom also
I have seen as Mrs. Maxwell, remind me of that great and not seldom
unfairly judged genius, Georges Sand. There remains a worthy duplicated
friendship of later years, _Mr._ and _Mrs. Carter Hall_, of whose
geniality and kindness I have often had experience; also _Mr._ and _Mrs.
Grote_, my learned and agreeable neighbours at Albury; also _Lady
Wilde_, admirable both for prose and poetry on Scandinavian subjects,
and her eloquent son _Oscar_, famous for taste all the world over; and
as another duplicate the Gaelic historian and cheerful singer, _Charles
Mackay_, with his charming daughter, the poetess.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of celebrated men whom I have not previously mentioned in this volume,
there is _Rogers_, the poet, with whom I once had an interview at his
artistic house in St. James's Place; _Carlyle_, of course, well known to
me by books, but personally only in a single visit, when I found him in
Cheyne Row cordially glad to greet me;--after a long talk, taking my
leave with a hearty "God bless you, sir," his emphatic reply, as he saw
me to the door, was, "And good be with you!"

It was a coincidence, proving (as many things do) the narrowness of the
world, that he was living very near to the house where in my young days
I had wooed my cousin.

Near at hand also (in Cheyne Walk) I have visited _Haweis_, the eloquent
preacher of St. James's, Marylebone; he lives in the picturesque
old-fashioned house that was Rossetti's, and when I called there last
Mr. Haweis showed me the strangest and most unwieldy testimonial that
any public man surely ever received, in the shape of a ton-weight bell
hung in its massive frame and placed in his sanctum, which, when
touched, gave out melodious thunder. This giant-gift had been sent to
him from Holland in recognition of his musical genius, especially in the
matter of campanology. And this word "musical" reminds me of Mr.
Haweis's noble self-sacrifice in giving up his idolised violin that he
might concentrate all his energies on religious teaching; when I asked
to see his famous "Straduarius," worth three hundred guineas, and found
it unstrung, I expressed my disappointment at not having had the chance
of hearing its dulcet tones drawn out by himself, but it lies dumb,
though he is eloquent. Of course I have visited the great _Tennyson_ at
Farringford, and remember him showing me the tree overhanging his garden
fence, which "Yankees" climb to have a look at him. _Browning_ also,
_tantum vidi_, I met at Moxon's, a grandly rugged poet; contrasted with
the Laureate he seems to me as Wagner is to Mendelssohn. _Mortimer
Collins_ has given us "a happy day" at Albury, coming in _à pied poudre_
on one of his dusty walks through Surrey, as recorded in his book; how
he enjoyed his tumbler of cool claret and the ramble with my son through
the Albury woods as a most genial Bohemian! _Dickens_ I have met several
times, and he gave me good hints on my first American visit; a man full
of impulsive kindliness and sincerely one's friend. His son _Charles_
also I have occasionally met, the worthy successor to his illustrious
father: I may here state that many of the articles and poems in
_Household Words_ are from the pen of my youngest daughter. _Richard
Owen_, too, now worthily K.C.B., our most famous comparative anatomist,
I am privileged to number among my true friends; he was one of those who
stood sponsor to me when I was to receive a civil service pension. Also
I knew for many years my late Surrey neighbour, _Godwin Austen_, the
geologist; and I have met _Pengelly_, with whom I searched Kent's
Cavern; and _Dr. Bowerbank_, the great authority as to sponges, and my
then hobby choanites; he gave me certain microscopic plates of Bacilli
which I was glad to transfer to my worthy and eminent friend, _Stephen
Mackenzie_, Physician and Lecturer to the London Hospital. _Matthew
Arnold_ also, with whose celebrated father I was in early youth nearly
placed as a pupil, I have sometimes encountered; and _Shirley Brooks_,
_Albert Smith_, and _Mark Lemon_, once a chief of _Punch_, who acted
Falstaff without padding; and the genial _John Tenniel_, our most
exquisite limner in outline; the venerable _Thomas Cooper_ also, now in
his old age the zealous preacher of a faith he once as zealously
attacked: an excellent man, and vigorous both in prose and verse. My old
friend from boyhood, _Owen Blayney Cole_, must not be forgotten; year
after year for some forty of them he has sent me reams of his poetry.
_Edmund Yates_, than whom a kindlier, cleverer, and better-hearted man
does not exist, I have known for years; his father and mother having
been frequent guests at our house in Burlington Street; and I
sympathised indignantly with him in his recent editorial trouble wherein
he was used so hardly. I remember also how he dropped in upon me at
Albury one morning just as I happened to be pasting into one of my
Archive-books a few quips and cranks anent my books from _Punch_: he
adjured me "_not_ to do it! for Heaven's sake, spare me!" covering his
face with his hands. "What's the matter, friend?" "_I_ wrote all these,"
added he, in earnest penitence, "and I vow faithfully I'll never do it
again!" "Pray, don't make so rash a promise, Edmund, and so unkind a one
too: I rejoice in all this sort of thing,--it sells my books,
besides--'I'se Maw-worm,--I likes to be despised!'" "Well, its very
good-natured of you to say so; but I really never will do it again:" and
the good fellow never did--so have I lost my most telling advertisement.
I must also not forget to praise that humorous novelist, the late _Frank
Smedley_,--a remarkable instance of the triumph of a strong and cheerful
mind over a weak and crippled body, with whom I have many reminiscences
as a brother author. It was wonderful to see how he enjoyed--from his
invalid chair--"the dances and delights" he could not take part in; and
one day I remember finding him unusually exhilarated, as he was just
come from a wedding-breakfast,--"rehearsing, rehearsing," he laughingly
shouted. Poor fellow,--the victim of an accident in infancy, he lived
strapped and banded with steel springs,--but as a gracious compensation
Heaven gave him a seeming unconsciousness of his helpless condition, and
added the happy mind to make the best of this world while looking
forward to a better. And let me not neglect to record, however
slightly, a few more recent authorial friendships much valued by me
among my Norwood neighbours. I will begin with _J.G. Wood_, perhaps our
best naturalist, especially in matters entomological. Never were there
more humorous no less than instructive lectures than his, illustrated
admirably as they are by his own graphic chalk-sketches on the spot: and
if any one wishes to be convinced that animals have souls, let him read
the said Rev. J.G. Wood's "Man and Beast." Next will I mention _Dr.
Cuthbert Collingwood_, famous as a naturalist and voyager among the
China seas, a poet also, well proved by his "Vision of Creation," and a
thoughtful writer on religion and metaphysics. There is _Dr. Zerffi_,
too, whose varied orations on history and other topics have filled our
Crystal Palace with his advanced wisdom for fifteen years. There is
_Birch_ the sculptor, author of the "Godiva" and "The Last Call,"
exhibited here, and well appreciated by me as another _Durham_,--really
a metempsychosis of character. Among literary ladies here I may mention
as my friends _Madame Zerffi_, _Miss Mary Hooper_, and _Miss Ellen
Barlee_,--all noted in their several departments, the first as an
eloquent lecturer like her husband, the second known by her domestic
essays, and the third for religious writings. I will add as casually
encountered by me hereabouts _George MacDonald_, whose magnificent
presence in the pulpit is as memorable as his conversation at the
dinner-table, and the interest of his books; and _Lord Ronald Gower_,
creator of that finest group of modern statuary "the Apotheosis of
Shakespeare," exhibited at the Crystal Palace, where, as well, as by
correspondence, I have had with him much pleasant intercourse.

And here may come a brief memory I wrote lately of Colonel Fred. Burnaby
for an American editor.

"I am asked to give a short note of personal reminiscence about my
lately departed friend, Colonel _Fred. Burnaby_, with whom I was
intimate for three years before his death. Every one has read his
popular life, and heard of his many exploits; how alone in mid-air he
navigated a balloon across the Channel; how he accomplished, in spite of
State telegrams to the contrary, his adventurous and patriotic ride to
Khiva in dead winter and defying perils of all sorts; how he stood six
feet four in his stockings (with another foot to be added to that
magnificent specimen of manhood when in jack-boots and in his plumed
helmet); how he was strong enough to bind a kitchen poker round his
neck, to crack cobnuts in his fingers, and to carry a pair of Shetland
ponies upstairs under his arms,--how also the genial giant, quite the
Arac of Tennyson's Princess, was the gentlest and kindest and least
dangerous of knights-errant (unless, indeed, his just wrath was aroused
by anything mean or insolent, when doubtless he could be terrible), and
how he was the idolised of men, especially his own brother giants of the
Royal Regiment of Blues, and naturally was also the adored of women
wherever he showed himself. This Admirable Crichton had every social
accomplishment, but as he was also gifted with a knowledge of many
tongues, even to Turkish and Arabic, beyond the more familiar French,
German, Italian, and Spanish, of course he must dare all sorts of
perilous travel, if only to prove that he was no carpet-knight, no mere
'gold stick' at court, or silver-casqued statue at the Horse Guards. So
he fearlessly risked his life in all ways on every possible occasion
which the War Office routine gave him on holiday.

"Khiva and Kars, and of late at last the fatal Mahdi war, had
fascinations for him of danger which his thirst for active service (too
much refused to him as obliged officially to be a stay-at-home) had not
power to resist; and we all know how gallantly, if indeed too rashly, he
fought and fell on what his Viking blood loved best as a deathbed, the
field of battle. For he came of an old Teutonic family, and on his
mother's side was also a direct descendant, as he told me himself, of
our heroic and gigantic King Edward III., whom he is said greatly to
have resembled, as the portrait at Windsor Castle proves. We were
talking about ancestry and the anecdote came out naturally enough.

"In politics a strong Conservative, he, with characteristic antagonism,
chose radical Birmingham for his coveted seat in Parliament, but alas!
he has not lived to hazard the election. He was a neat, fluent, and
epigrammatic speaker, as potent with his tongue as with his sword; and
as for the pen (albeit his handwriting must have puzzled compositors),
the myriads of readers who have enjoyed his stirring books in print, can
testify how brilliant and eloquent he was for the matter of authorship.
He told me of a new novel--of the satirico-political sort--which he had
written for the press, but as yet we hear nothing definite of its
publication.

"My own personal acquaintance with the familiar 'Fred. Burnaby' was
confined to several hospitable dinner-parties at the house of his
relative, Lady W----, my near neighbour and friend at Norwood, about
which I might anecdotise to any extent; but I never allow myself to
record private conversation nor to reveal domesticities. All such are
sacred in my memory, and on principle I despise the modern
mischief-maker whose reminiscences are practically reminuisances. On a
certain public occasion, however, Burnaby stood by me, to my great
pleasure and advantage, and let me record his kindness thus. When I gave
my lecture on Flying at the Royal Aquarium, he most appropriately took
the chair, and made some excellent remarks. Altogether, let my
testimony, however brief, however inadequate, to the merits of Fred.
Burnaby be this: I lost in his too sudden death a friend, as I had
hoped, for many years to come, and my regrets are for him as one of the
noblest of mankind. Let me add a word further, as the worthy witnessing
of one, quite a kindred spirit, whose acquaintance I made some long time
back, and look for great things from his energy and enterprise, and
multifarious talents,--_Charles Marvin_, then the famous Eastern
Pioneer, who in his book on Asia, says: "Yes, our Burnabys, our Bakers,
our MacGregors, our Gordons--these are the real pillars of the Empire.
These are the men who confer provinces upon England, who risk their
lives to guard them. When the world is a little older, and the working
man's vote is worth more than the statesman's opinion, then the splendid
achievements of such men will be more generously appreciated: and the
warm English feeling expended to-day on torpid, stupid, unpatriotic
party politicians will be directed towards heroes whose steady undaunted
patriotism, in face of public indifference and bureaucratic disdain,
conveys a moral as grand as their careers."


A Dining-out Anecdote.

As I have before said, not having been much given to society, nor
therefore a professional parasite of Amphitryon (though sometimes
tempted to his side as "a lion," but more often vainly, for I always
refused if I could), I have an instructive anecdote to give about a
celebrated conversationist, whom I will not name nor indicate even by
initials. One evening I found myself compelled to accompany him to a
great man's banquet--_nota bene_, it was after I had well recovered
speech--and so I found myself at his chambers perhaps ten minutes too
soon. He called to me from his dressing-room, bidding me to amuse myself
till he was ready. Now, on the study table were laid several books,
open, with weights to keep them so: and I glanced from one to another to
while away the time. Then up came his brougham, and off we went. At
dinner my "diner-out" started a topic, whereof innocently enough I
remembered instantly a suitable epigram. Not long after another subject
gave me occasion to tell a witty story, which somehow came to me at the
moment. My "friend" asked me with a keen glance where I had read it, and
at once I recollected those open books and understood the position,
resolving mischievously to outflank the manæuverer. Accordingly, at each
opportunity, with seeming innocence, I "wiped his eye," as they say at a
_battue_, and certainly reaped the anecdotic "_kudos_" Mr. So-and-so had
cunningly contrived and hoped to achieve for himself. I confess it was
vicious of me, but who could help taking the benefit of such a chance?
Hosts should beware of wits who cram their jokes and anecdotes. Years
after I met the same gentleman at another entertainer's table, where I
found him in my presence not quite the livener-up they had expected, and
he seemed a little shy of me; probably he thought me an omniscient, for
I never told the poor man I had found him out. I fear he has departed
to a world where genuine truthfulness is more accepted as a virtue than
in this.


A Mormon Guest.

Quite recently I have had a visit from a young American, who brought me
a letter from a so-called cousin--at all events a namesake--in the Far
West, asking me to tell her about her German ancestry. My visitor was
good-looking, well-dressed, fair-spoken, and gentlemanly; also well-bred
and well-to-do. I will not indicate his name, but I may state that he is
a near relative of the eminent electrician who illuminates so
magnificently the fountains at South Kensington. Of course, as pleased
with his manners and deportment, I kept him to luncheon; and finding
that he hailed from Utah, naturally asked if he knew Salt Lake City and
the Mormons there. Certainly; he lived not a hundred miles from the
city, and those were his own people: as a Mormon himself from infancy,
he had nothing but good to say of them, and we in England had been very
much misled by Mrs. Stenhouse and other travellers. As to plurality of
wives, not two per cent. of their whole 200,000 had more than one wife.
His own father, a rich merchant and a church-hierarch, a "stake" of the
tabernacle (much as we should say a pillar), had but one--his own dear
mother--and he scarcely knew any one with more. It was quite a European
misjudgment that many followed Brigham Young's doctrine, which never had
been Joseph Smith's,--and the present chief, Taylor, had but one. He
showed us many cabinet photographs of Salt Lake City, his own family,
leading Mormons, and the like: especially of the Old Tabernacle, like a
monstrous tortoise, and one from a finished drawing of the new, of even
more tasteless architecture, being the most gigantic piece of
perpendicular ever perpetrated, and full of unsightly windows. When
asked about the golden book,--well he had never seen it, but believed in
it thoroughly; because all the twelve apostles had seen it and he
trusted their testimony. Eleven of those apostles were now dead, one
only surviving. (Just as with our friends of Mr. Irving's sect at
Albury, which arose in the same year as Mormonism.) We had never set
eyes on the originals of our own Scriptures--in fact, they did not
exist--but believed the witnessing of others, as he did. He himself was
not a missionary, but would go if he was sent by the Church; though he
mightn't like it, he was bound to, obey, authority, &c. &c.

I had plenty more talk with him, and found him intelligent, modest, and
in every way a remarkably agreeable young fellow: and I added to my
mental _repertoire_ of better judgments that on Mormonism,--even as
heretofore Mr. Sinnett has taught me not utterly to despise Buddhism,
Dr. Wilkinson to revere Swedenborgianism, and a few other people I might
name who are true believers, to be charitable as to other sorts of
strange isms: once I met a very religious clergyman who still held by
Johanna Southcote; and we have all heard how Lady Hester Stanhope had an
Arab horse always ready saddled for Messiah when He is to ride into
Jerusalem; and how some other person had a gold spoon and fork laid
daily at his table for the sudden coming of a Divine Guest! Our personal
lesson is to be tolerant of all manner of innocent enthusiasms, to hear
both sides and bear with all opinions,--sometimes finding to our
astonishment that black sheep may after all be whiter than they looked,
and that uncharitable prejudice is but another name for ignorant folly.
Before taking leave of my Mormon guest, I ought to report that he was
teetotal, handsome, taciturn rather than talkative, a hunter among the
Rockies, an author himself, and of course an old book-friend, so I made
him happy with some autographic poetries.

With reference to "Joe Smith's" own theological creed, there is a very
neat and notable _précis_ of it on p. 171 of a bright little book I have
lately read, titled "Frank's Ranche, or my Holiday in the Rockies,"
easily accessible. That creed is so good that when I read it aloud to my
homeflock they said, "Why, we believe all that!"--and as to the evil
matter of many wives, not only did the original Joseph repudiate that
doctrine, but his namesake son, still a chief among the Mormons, does
the same, and so far has seceded from the Brigham heresy: which a son of
mine says is not bigamy, but Brighamy.

A few forgotten anecdotes may here find place: take these twelve as
samples of many more such trivials which memory may have at the bottom
of her well, if she only dipped for them.

1. A banknote experience: when a very small child I used to be taken to
the Postford paper-mill at Albury by my nurse, who had a follower (or a
followed) in the foreman there. While they talked together, I was
deputed to amuse myself by making banknote paper, as thus: a spoonful of
pulp put into a shallow tray of wire and shaken deftly made a small
oblong of paper duly impressed with Britannia and water-marked: being
then dried on a flannel pad. Many years after, when I was preparing for
Oxford under Mr. Holt at Postford House, there was discovered a secret
cupboard in the wall of his drawing-room which was found to contain
several forged plates for printing banknotes: and this discovery
accounted for the recent suicide of a Mr. H----, a previous owner of the
paper-mill, who evidently feared exposure and conviction. No one now is
allowed to make banknote paper, except the honourable firm of Messrs.
Portal, which has the monopoly thereof: but when I was a child, any one
might do it, and if there was a forger handy, fraud was possible to any
extent. Our "Newland's Corner" on Merrow Downs is so called from Abraham
Newland, whose name is printed on old banknotes as F. May is on new
ones, and who owned Postford Mill. Hence the word "Sham-Abram" for a
forged note.

2. A noted piscatorial editor wishes me to record now I once caught a
trout with its own eye--as thus: I was whipping the Tillingbourne, and
hooked a fish foul, for it dropped off leaving an eye on the hook. In my
vexation I made a cast again over the same spot where I had thrown, and
actually caught that eager wounded fish with its own eye.

3. When I was a guest of Captain Hamilton at Rozelle, Ayr, he told me
that he and all the crew had seen the sea-serpent!--but that his admiral
had interdicted all mention of it in the log for fear of ridicule: on
which I told him what I had seen of the same sort. When crossing the
great Herring Pond in the _Arctic_, the passengers were all summoned on
deck from dinner to see that mystery of the deep, the sea-serpent. It
was very rough at the time, and certainly within a little distance some
apparent monster hundreds of feet long was rolling on the top of the
waves: _but_ as some portions of it spouted, we soon saw there nothing
but a school of whales, the big bull leading and the cows and calves
following in a line. This looked like the real thing,--but wasn't. From
other evidence, however, and the Rev. J.G. Wood supplies one, I do
believe there are such monsters of the deep whose nest is in the
Sargasso Sea.

4. Here is a curious item of my biography. When I was in Canada in 1851,
at an hotel in Kingston, the waiter comes to tell me that two persons
wanted to see me on special business. Admitted, there appeared a very
decent man and woman dressed in their best, and with ribbons and
flowers. What might they want with me? Please, Mr. Tupper, that you
would marry us! My good man, I can't, I'm not a clergyman. Oh but, sir,
you write religion, and we like your books, and we've come across from
New York State to Canada to get married,--so please, &c. &c. Of course,
I did not please, and as to marriage at all gave them Punch's celebrated
advice to persons about to marry, Don't. On which the hapless pair
departed sorrowfully. If I _had_ read the service over them, possibly
their respectable consciences might have been satisfied,--and as with
Romeo and Juliet a lay friar Lawrence would have sufficed. Moreover,
there's no penalty from one State to another: and even on board ship the
captain may read services, and on land the Consul marries.

5. A picture story. I am invited to a dinner where a rich New Yorker has
asked some connoisseur friends to inspect his new purchase, a Raffaelle
Madonna and child, for which he has just given a fabulous amount of
dollars. I was asked for special judgment as an artistic Englishman.
Well: the drawing was perfect; but I didn't like the colouring: I knew
the picture, having seen the original somewhere on the Continent: but
this couldn't be a copy, as it was less than life-size; so, while most
of the other guests praised profusely, I requested to withhold my
opinion of its merits till I could examine it in daylight,--which, as I
was to sleep in the house, was easy next morning. When my eager host
appeared, I took him alone after breakfast into his study, and proved to
him what, alas! I had too truly suspected, that however well painted
with the over-accuracy of a miniature and absolutely correct as was the
drawing,--his prize Raffaelle was after all only an oil-coloured
engraving! This he wouldn't believe, triumphantly showing me the ancient
canvas at the back: but when I told him that between that canvas and the
paint he would find paper, and when a penknife scratch under the
frame-edge proved it,--he naturally stormed at the dealer who had taken
him in, until I suggested a disgorging of the dollars, and promising my
own silence as to the discovery, left him a wiser man and a grateful.

6. How often the poor letter H has crushed oratory and destroyed
eloquence! Do I not remember how notably a late Lord Mayor raised the
echoes of the Egyptian Hall to an explosion of laughter, by commencing
grandiloquently, "When hi survey the dignity of my 'igh position," &c.
&c.; and similarly what a disastrous effect a certain preacher caused in
church by the announcement, "This is the hare, come let us kill him?"
But we all know the mysteries of H and W: Æsop Smith wrote a fable about
them, whereof this is the finale: "H," said King Cadmus, "one of my
oldest friends! never can I spare your respectable presence; your
ancestor is the throat-uttered Heth of Moses; even as you, dear W, are
descended from the stately digamma of Homer. Believe me, I value both of
you all the more for graceful ambiguities: mystery is priceless to your
king, and your usage is obscure: therefore do I lay upon you higher
honour. Henceforth, ye vowel magnates, and you my faithful commons
consonants, take heed that no one be accounted literate or eloquent who
places these my oldest friends in a dilemma. Their right use is a
mystery; so be it; but woe be unto those whose innate want of taste
profanes that mystery. Honour be to H, and worship be to W; and let
those who misuse their secret excellences dread the vengeance of King
Cadmus!"

7. Yet a seventh whimsical anecdote rises to the surface. When Prince
Albert was made a fellow of Lincoln's Inn, and dined in the New Hall, I
was present at the banquet. There was a roast joint and one bottle of
port to each mess of four barristers: one would think a supply more than
ample: however, some thirsty souls wanted more wine for the great
occasion, and the complaint found utterance ludicrously thus. When the
National Anthem was sung, some young lawyer who gave the solos, with a
good tenor voice and no end of dry humour, raised a gale of laughter and
applause by singing very devoutly--

    "Long to reign over us
    _Happy and glorious,_
    _Three half-pints 'mong four of us,_
                  God save the Queen!"

Of course, plenty more bottles were the result,--and the genial Prince
Albert laughed as heartily as the rest of us.

8. Yet another anecdote, in these days of professional mendicancy not
uninstructive. One day when calling on the Rev. Robert Anderson, at
Brighton, a begging visitor came in, calling himself a Polish refugee,
and speaking broken English: Mr. Anderson in his kindness was just about
to open his purse, when I said to both of them, "I happen to know a
little Polish, and wish to ask a few questions:" accordingly, I rapped
out at intervals, with an interrogating air, the opening lines of the
Antigone of Sophocles! on which that "banished lord," stammering out
that he had been out of Poland so many years that he had forgotten the
language, bowed himself from the room as a--discovered, impostor.

9. The recent lamentable fire at Kegan Paul's, wherein so much authorial
wealth was cremated,--and especially no fewer than six of the works of
that clever authoress, Emily Pfeiffer,--reminds me of an irrevocable
loss sustained by "Proverbial Philosophy" owing to Oudinot's capture of
Rome in 1849: for it so happened that the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna
had, as instructress to his nieces, a lady who afterwards became Mrs.
Robinson of South Kensington Museum: she, a great admirer of the work,
translated my book for them into Italian, and had it printed at Rome,
where unluckily both the whole MS. and the finished sheets were all
burnt in the city's bombardment. I have since asked Mrs. Robinson if she
could possibly reproduce it: but--the occasion passed, there is now
neither time nor need for it, and so my Italian version has no
existence, except possibly as photographed on the "blue ether" whither
Professor Tyndall hopes to go. A similar fatality, we may remember,
affected Sir Isaac Newton through his little dog Diamond: and my friend
in old days, Gilbert Burnett, the botanist, had to rewrite his index, a
heartrending labour, because a careless housemaid lit a fire with it.

10. And this further reminds me of the perils to which an author's MSS.
are perpetually exposed; _e.g._, before I put a spring lock on my study
at Albury (where, by the way, I wrote several of my early Proverbial
chapters with a child on my knee) I used to find my papers regularly put
out of order by the maid arranging the room; and upon my cautioning her
not to destroy anything, I was horrified by the unconscious Audrey's
instant reply, "O sir! I never burns no papers but what is spoilt by
being written on." Again, I remember to have cautioned my Suffolk
friend, Mrs. Crabtree, who had a fine library, not to keep her servants
short of firepaper, as they might possibly help themselves out of bound
books; whereat she was indignant, as if I was traducing a favourite
menial: however, I went round with her, unfortunately proving the
delinquency by exhibiting several handsome volumes with middle leaves
torn out!--Once more, in the prehistoric days when we sported with loose
powder and shot and paper wadding, I was a guest for some days in
September with James Maclaren at Ticehurst, and recollect his horror at
finding that the luncheon sandwiches were wrapped in some of his most
precious MSS.--for he was writing a treatise on finance, and these
leaves were covered with calculations--and that his shooting-party were
ramming down their charges with the recorded labour of his brains! It
was at Maclaren's that I once tasted squirrel; his woods were infested
with the pretty creatures, which the keeper shot, and after keeping the
skin gave the carcase to the cook: it tasted like very nutty rabbit: but
I protested it was a greater outrage than lark-pudding, which I had
recently seen at the Judges' Sentence dinner at Newgate, and said it was
a shame to eat the sweet songsters. At Maclaren's I learnt the origin of
"high" as applied to eatables. His game-larder was a tower of many bars,
the lowest containing a to-day's shooting, the next yesterday's, and so
forth, always moving up; hence the stalest were at the top, and so most
serviceable as least fresh. Trench on words would approve this reason
for "high" game.

    11. _Providence._

    I.

    "Lo! we are led; we are guided and guarded
      Carefully, kindly, by night and by day;
    Punish'd belike, or haply rewarded,
      As we go wrong or go right on the way;
    Wisdom and Mercy, twin angels of kindness,
      Take by both hands the child lost in the night,
    Leading him safely, in spite of his blindness,
      Guiding him well through the dark to the light.

    II.

    "All things are ordered,--the least as the greatest;
      Motes have their orbits as fixt as a star,--
    And thou may'st mark, if humbly thou waitest,
      Providence working in all things that are:
    Nothing shall fail in its ultimate object,
      Good must outwrestle all evil at last;
    God is the King, and creation His subject,
      And the great future shall ransom the past.

    III.

    "Ay, and this present,--perplexing, degrading--
      None may despise it as futile or worse;
    Swift as it flieth, dissolving and fading,
      'Tis the wing'd seed of some blessing or curse.
    Telescope, microscope,--which hath most wonder?
      Infinite great, or as infinite small?
    Musical silence, or world-splitting thunder?--
      He that made all things inhabits them all.

    IV.

    "Yea; for this present,--each inch and each second
      Hath its own soul in a thought or a word;
    Ev'n as I watch, God's finger hath beckon'd,
      Ev'n as I wait, God's whisper is heard!
    Trifles, some judge them, that finger, that whisper,--
      But on such pivots vast issues revolve;
    Those are the watchful reminders of Mizpah,
      Jazer and Bethel, Life's secret to solve!

    V.

    "Mizpah,--for carefulness, honour, uprightness;
      Jazer,--by penitence, meekness, and faith;
    Bethel,--in foretastes of gladness and brightness,--
      These are the keynotes to life out of death:
    Providence bidding, and prudence obeying,
      Thou shalt have peace from beginning to end,--
    Thankfully, trustfully, instantly praying,
      Walking with God as thy Father and Friend."

12. Apropos to my mention of Mortimer Collins' visit to Albury on
another page, I make this extract from his "Pen Sketches by a Vanished
Hand," vol. i. pp. 167, 168:--

"_A Walk through Surrey._

"At Albury I called upon a poet,--one whom critics love to assail, but
who derides critics and arrides the public. Pleasant indeed is the fine
old house, with emerald lawn and stately trees, wherein he resides. Not
Horace in his Sabine farm, nor Catullus at Tiburs, had a more poetic
retreat than the author of "Proverbial Philosophy" at Albury. But, like
Catullus, the advent of May had set the poet longing for a flight far
away:

    "'Jam ver egelidos refert tepores,
    Jam coeli furor æquinoctialis
    Jucundis Zephyri silescit auris;
    Jam mens prætrepidans avet vagari
    Jam læti studio pedes vigescunt.'

And he was about to take wing for sea-side resorts, and the soft
cyclades of the Channel, beloved by Victor Hugo.

"Right hospitable was he; a bottle of cool claret cheered the dusty
wayfarer, and an hour's pleasant talk was even more cheering. Hence I
walked through Albury Park towards Gomshall."

The exquisite bit from Catullus will best excuse my otherwise
egotistical quotation.

A few more anecdotes about literary men and things may here find place.
Take these respecting _Thackeray_, and _Leech_, both of which immortal
humorists were my schoolfellows at the Charterhouse; but, as I have
said, they having the misfortune to be merely lower-form boys, and your
present scribe ranging as a dignified Emeritus, of course there was then
a great gulf between us, pleasantly to be bridged over in after life.
Thackeray's career has long been fully detailed in public, and I can
have little to add of much consequence; but I call to mind how that
quiet small cynic--so gigantic in all senses afterwards--used to
caricature Bob Watki and the other masters on the fly-leaves of his
classbooks, to the scandal of myself and other responsible monitors;
these illustrated classics having since been sold by auction at high
prices. But "My School-Days" have recorded all that.

As to Leech, who probably adorned his books similarly, he, being a
day-boy and allowed for safety to scuttle out of the playground before
school broke up, came not equally under our surveillance in those days;
but long years after, when that genial and witty friend and true
gentleman was my guest at Albury, I had great delight in his company,
and he helped cleverly to illustrate (along with divers other artists)
my "Crock of Gold" and "Proverbial Philosophy," and in part "The
Anglo-Saxon." I remember a characteristic little anecdote about him, as
thus:--

We went angling together to Postford Pond, on a fine hot day, thinking
less of possible sport than of sandwiches and sherry, and an idle lounge
on a sloping bank in the shade, and haply (though for myself I am no
smoker) the calmly contemplative cigar. As we lay there, in
_dolce-far-niente_ fashion, all at once Leech jumped up with a vigorous
"Confound that float! can't it leave me at peace? I've been watching it
bobbing these five minutes, and now it's out of sight altogether--hang
it!" With that hearty exclamation of disgust pulling up a brilliant
two-pound perch, the glory of the day! Next week's _Punch_ had a
pleasant comic sketch of this petty incident, thereby immortalised by
the famous "bottled leech."

It always struck me that Tenniel and he were a well-matched pair, in
kindliness, cleverness, and good looks; and I never can think of one
without the other--_arcades ambo; par nobile fratrum_.

Thackeray lived to have his full revenge of Dr. Birch, in our day the
reigning tyrant of Charterhouse; and Russell well deserved his
castigation both by pen and pencil.

Let me also give a brace of home sketches of Longfellow. I have had two
principal interviews with him in his beautiful home at Cambridge,
Massachusetts, at the wide interval between those visits of twenty-five
years. Of the first of these I record a few words from my American MS.
journal in 1851, adding some unwritten thoughts and recollections. On
April 16th, then, in the year just named, Longfellow wrote to me
cordially, and with much kindly appreciation, and soon after, calling on
me at Boston, took me off in his carriage over the flooded lowlands to
the ancient (for America) University of Cambridge, where the Queen
Anne-like colleges are nestled in fine old elms. He treated me, of
course, most hospitably, and had asked several friends to meet the
traveller; but one, a chief guest, was otherwise engaged, and so I
missed Lowell, to my great disappointment. It is not my "form" to detail
private conversation, nor to describe the Lares and Penates of sacred
domesticity; but I may reveal generally that I spent several golden
hours of intellectual communion with the Abbott Laurences, Ticknor,
Fields, Prescott, and Everett--illustrious names, which will
sufficiently indicate the reception they gave me. At this time of day I
cannot remember the thousand "winged speeches" that flew about that
genial board, and, as I failed, from conscientious motives, to record
them in my journal, I will not invent, after thirty-four years have
passed over my memory, with their crowds of other words and fancies. Be
this enough: I recollect to have asked Longfellow why he wrote
Excelsi_or_, and not the more grammatical Excelsi_us_, as the title to
one of his most famous poems. The reason is a curious one; he wrote
those stirring verses, by request, on the motto for the New York
coat-of-arms, which is legended not quite accurately, Excelsi_or_. And
when, in the same line of thought, I inquired why he named a German
story "Hyperion," with no apparent reason from classical associations,
he pertinently enough answered me by pronouncing the name _huper-iown_,
("going higher"), the story being a tale of progress in human character.

And now to leap over twenty-five years, at which interval I paid my
second visit to America in 1876, when again I had the privilege of being
Longfellow's guest in the same historic abode where Washington had once
his headquarters. My kind-hearted host insisted on my occupying the same
arm-chair I had before, and which since, he said, had been the throne of
Dickens and Thackeray, and every book-celebrity that had visited
Cambridge. Among invited guests unable to come was Oliver Wendell
Holmes, but I soon after made up for this loss by having a long talk
with that shrewd and amusing writer at Boston; and once more, alas! no
Lowell, whom I missed again, though I had waited for him that quarter of
a century! Longfellow, out of compliment (so he kindly said) to his
English guest, had specially provided pheasants and Stilton cheese,
among such more Transatlantic delicacies as wild venison (from Tupper
Lake, in the Adirondacks), and canvas-back ducks from Baltimore; to say
less of terrapin soup, whereof the unhatched eggs of tortoises are the
_bonne-bouche_! After dinner he gave me an apple from Beaupré,
Evangeline's farm, the pips whereof I sent to Albury for planting.
Longfellow was much interested to hear that my collateral ancestor had
married Martha, the heiress of "the Vineyard" in Rhode Island. Mr.
Fields, on this festive occasion, recited some of Mark Twain's humour,
and I had to give sundry of my American ballads, and the host himself
his exquisite "Psalm of Life;" my "Venus," in reply to his "Mars,"
having appeared, and been praised by him, some years before. And this
meagre record is all I care, or have space, to give of that feast of
reason and flow of soul.

With _Charles Kingsley_, however seldom we met, I had strong sympathy in
many ways, as a man of men, to be loved and admired; but chiefly we
could feel for each other in the matter of stammering,--a sort of
affliction not sufficiently appreciated. Kingsley conquered his
infirmity, as I did mine, and rose to frequent eloquence in his public
ministrations: privately his speech would often fail him, and was his
"thorn in the flesh" to the end.

I remember a most pleasant day spent with him about the fishponds and
cascades of Wotton,--and I noted how skilfully he threw the fly some
five-and-twenty feet under the bushes, to the wonder of a gaping trout,
soon to find its lodging in the creel: and our kind host may still
recollect, as I do, how charming was our intercourse that day with the
genial author of "Yeast," "Alton Lock," "Hypatia," "Westward ho!" and
other of our favourites. I have met Kingsley later, in his cloistered
nest, as Canon of Westminster, and remember how heartily he expressed
his abundant charity for all sorts of miserable sinners, especially
about one of whom I came to speak, for there never lived a more
universal excuser of human imperfection than Charles Kingsley. His bust,
very like him, is in a side chapel of the Abbey, near the west door.
With the learned and eloquent Canon Farrar, too, I have held converse in
the same Broad Sanctuary, though but briefly. Harrison Ainsworth has
often crossed my orbit. In particular, as a very early contributor to
his magazine (wherein, by the way, my "Flight upon Flying" originally
appeared, to be afterwards reproduced at the Royal Aquarium a year or
two ago), I was among his invited guests at Kensal Manor house, for the
inauguration of his magazine, meeting Douglas Jerrold, Blanchard, Albert
Smith, and others of like note. Also, at Lord Mayor's feasts we have
periodically met, and at Literary Fund dinners. I may mention that when
we came near one another a few years since, at the Mansion-House, an
American friend with me was startled at the resemblance between
Ainsworth and myself: in fact, our photographic portraits have often
been mutually sold for each other, and I remember in a shop window
seeing my name written under a photo clearly not myself, however like;
and my daughter with me said "It must be a mistake, for you never had
such a waistcoat as that," it being a brilliant plaid: so we went in to
set matters right, and the shopman, in correcting the mistake, observed
he didn't wonder, we were so alike: furthermore, on the outside cover of
a cheap edition of Ainsworth's "James II.," his portrait is the very
counterpart of one painted, by Rochard, long years ago, of myself.

I was well acquainted, fifty-five years ago, with three eminent men, who
afterwards became viceroys, as their fellow classman and collegian at
Christ Church. At that time two of them were only younger sons in their
"pupa" or pupil phases of Ramsay and Bruce, and wore the same commoner's
gown as myself; the third, though a "tuft" by courtesy, had not yet come
to his heritage. All these three succeeded one another in the high
position of a Governor-General of India, and were famous architects of
our imperial greatness. I remember on either side of me in Biscoe's
memorable Aristotle class before mentioned, the young Ramsay, afterwards
Dalhousie, that great pro-consul who annexed a third of our Indian
Empire; and the young Bruce, afterwards Elgin, famous from Canada to
China; the former slim, ascetic, and reserved; the latter a perfect
contrast, being stout, genial, and outspoken; while Canning, tall and
good-looking, with curly dark hair and florid complexion, is mentionable
also for his fluency of speech and cordiality of manner--hereditaments,
doubtless, of his distinguished father. Of Lord Elgin I have many
pleasant memories, especially when he hospitably received me at Toronto,
whither he had recently migrated from Montreal (as I thought unwisely),
because the French Canadians there had insulted him. In this connection
I may give an anecdote to the point. Soon after my return from America
in 1851 I dined with my neighbour at Albury, Henry Drummond, the
humoursome M.P., always not a little good-naturedly mischievous. He knew
that I had not approved of Lord Elgin's petulant removal of his
viceroyal establishment from Montreal to Toronto, and cunningly resolved
to draw me out before witnesses on the matter. Now I had taken in to
dinner an elderly Scotch lady unknown to me, and sat next to her of
course. Soon my lively host somewhat unfairly asked me about my visit to
Canada, and what I thought of the then notorious flight of the Governor
to far distant Toronto,--forcing me to express my disapproval, which
naturally as an honest man I did, on which my left-hand neighbour, a
lady of rank whom I knew, whispered "Mind what you are saying, you took
in his mother." Accordingly, I had frankly to turn and say, "And I'm
sure Lady Elgin will agree with me, and you too, Mr. Drummond, for no
captain should fly from his post because he's laughed at." This candid
speech was fortunately applauded all round the table, and not least by
the friendly Countess and the baffled mischief lover.

Lord Elgin most kindly interested himself in the restoration of the
Brock monument at Queenstown Heights, which had then recently been
damaged by gunpowder, and is since rebuilt: my good reason for asking
his aid being that Sir Isaac Brock was my near relative (his mother
bearing my name), and that he had saved Canada by his death in victory.



CHAPTER XLI.

A FEW OLDER FRIENDSHIPS.


It is only fair and right that I make special mention of some
friendships of many years, connected more or less with literary matters.
Among such names in the past occurs one, if not very eminent, to me at
least very kindly, that of Benjamin Nightingale, an antiquarian friend
for nearly forty years. We first became acquainted in Sotheby's auction
room, where I perceived at once his generous nature, by this token: we
had been competing for a miscellaneous lot of coins, which he
bought,--and then lifting his hat he asked me which of them I had
specially wanted; these I indicated, of course thinking that he meant me
to buy them of him,--but he immediately insisted upon giving them, if I
would allow him. This fair beginning led to better acquaintance, often
improved under our mutual roof-trees. It was his ambition to be my
Boswell, as he has sometimes told me; and probably there are bundles
somewhere of _his_ MSS. and of _our_ antiquarian letters (he wrote very
well), about which I have vainly made inquiry of a near relative, who
knew nothing about them. Some day they'll turn up.

Nightingale was much pleased to find himself recorded in my "Farley
Heath," as to both verse and prose. He has been in the Better World some
twelve years, and his widow gave me the collections he called his
Tupperiana.

I confess that the following poem wherein my genial friend figures,--and
which many judges have liked as among my best balladisms, is one reason
for this record of B.N.

    _Farley Heath._

    "Many a day have I whiled away
      Upon hopeful Farley Heath,
    In its antique soil digging for spoil
      Of possible treasure beneath;
    For Celts, and querns, and funereal urns,
      And rich red Samian ware,
    And sculptured stones and centurions' bones
      May all lie buried there!

    "How calmly serene, and glad have I been
      From morn till eve to stay,
    My men, no serfs, turning the turfs
      The happy livelong day;
    With eye still bright, and hope yet alight,
      Wistfully watching the mould,
    As the spade brings up fragments of things
      Fifteen centuries old!

    "Pleasant and rare it was to be there
      On a joyous day of June,
    With the circling scene all gay and green
      Steep'd in the silent moon;
    When beauty distils from the calm glad hills,
      From the downs and dimpling vales;
    And every grove, lazy with love,
      Whispereth tenderest tales!

    "O then to look back upon Time's old track,
      And dream of the days long past,
    When Rome leant here on his sentinel spear
      And loud was the clarion's blast;--
    As wild and shrill from Martyr's Hill
      Echoed the patriot shout;
    Or rush'd pell-mell with a midnight yell
      The rude barbarian rout!

    "Yes; every stone has a tale of its own,
      A volume of old lore;
    And this white sand from many a brand
      Has polish'd gouts of gore;
    When Holmbury Height had its beacon light,
      And Cantii held old Leith,
    And Rome stood then with his iron men
      On ancient Farley Heath!

    "How many a group of that exiled troop
      Have here sung songs of home,
    Chanting aloud to a wondering crowd
      The glories of old Rome!
    Or lying at length have basked their strength
      Amid this heather and gorse,
    Or down by the well in the larch-grown dell
      Water'd the black war-horse!

    "Look, look! my day-dream right ready would seem
      The past with the present to join,--
    For see! I have found in this rare ground
      An eloquent green old coin,
    With turquoise rust on its Emperor's bust--
      Some Cæsar, august lord,
    And the legend terse, and the classic reverse,
      'Victory, valour's reward!'

    "Victory--yes! and happiness,
      Kind comrade, to me and to you,
    When such rich spoil has crown'd our toil
      And proved the day-dream true;
    With hearty acclaim how we hail'd by his name
      The Cæsar of that coin,
    And told with a shout his titles out,
      And drank his health in wine!

    "And then how blest the noon-day rest,
      Reclin'd on a grassy bank,
    With hungry cheer and the brave old beer,
      Better than Odin drank;
    And the secret balm of the spirit at calm,
      And poetry, hope, and health,--
    Ay, have I not found in that rare ground
      A mine of more than wealth?"

Another long-time friend also of the antiquarian sort was Walter
Hawkins, with whom I was intimate for many years. His private collection
of coins and curiosities was even larger and costlier than
Nightingale's, and was given by his administratrix to the United Service
Museum, where I believe the bulk of it (perhaps morally mine) still
remains in cases not yet unpacked. He died suddenly, to my great
financial loss; for he was very fond of me, offering himself sponsor and
giving his name to a son of mine; and as a rich old bachelor he used, to
make humorously half promises of benefits to come. In fact, he had
called in his lawyer to take instructions for a new will, and partly at
least had erased or destroyed the old one of a twelve years agone, when,
one raw and wintry morning, he insisted upon seeing a lady from and to
her carriage without his hat (punctilio being his _forte_ and his
fault), caught cold, took to his bed, and was dead in four days!
Accordingly a relative with whom he had not been on the best of terms
for years, administered to his half will, and succeeded to his
possessions. Such is life and its futile expectations.

Walter Hawkins had many peculiarities: one was this. At great cost he
was long building for himself a tomb at Kensal Green, which he would not
let me see till it was finished: he then triumphantly exhibited to my
astonished eyes a domed marble temple with four bronze angels blowing
trumpets east, west, north, and south,--and waited for my approval,
which honestly I could not give. I heard nothing more of this small
mausoleum, for he was a taciturn man: but when, some year or two after,
I went to his funeral and looked in vain for the temple-tomb, I found it
had vanished, and in its stead was a plain marble slab with his simple
name and birthday on it, and a blank left for the date of his death.
Manifestly he had repented of the vaingloriousness of those herald
angels and their dome; and practically took the hint of my dispraise in
the adoption of that humbler tombstone.

Here is another characteristic trait: some navvy had found an old rusty
anchor near the Thames Tunnel, one of Brunel's ruinous follies,--now, as
we all know, finished and utilised by a railway. This anchor, a small
one, probably lost by some "jolly young waterman," Mr. Hawkins
maintained was Roman; and he had made for it a superb crimson case lined
with satin, which hung on his drawing-room wall at Hammersmith as a
decoration. He was also proud of possessing the paw of the Arctic bear
which had attacked Captain Parry, but from which he escaped, as also did
the bear, for no one is said to have shot the beast: however, there was
the paw in proof: and there were divers other uncommon properties.

One of the most curious matters about my friend was this: the anagram of
his name in full (and he always wrote Esquire and not Esq.) exactly
describes him, with his peculiarity of greeting one with "_Oh_, I'm so
glad to see you!" and with his usual signature "W.H.," which also he
put on a medal for good conduct to youths, and gave my son one of those
"W.H. medals." Now the words "Oh, Walter Hawkins, Esquire," makes
anagrammatically, "W.H., who likes rare antiques!" exactly his
idiosyncrasy as a man and a collector.

We all know how strangely "The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone,
M.P.," spells, "I am the Whig M.P. who'll be a traitor to England's
rule:"--may it not prove to be prophetic. And still more strange is the
fact that the words "William Ewart Gladstone" spell "Erin, we will go
mad at last!" which seems only too likely. Another curious anagram is
this,--in a far different vein: "Christmas comes but once a year," makes
"So by Christ came a rescue to man." There's no end to these petty word
miracles.

But to revert to our theme and to conclude it. As a West India merchant,
Mr. Hawkins one day sent me down to Albury a hogshead of sugar and some
sacks of rice, to be given (or, as he preferred it, sold at half price
for honour's sake and not to pauperise) to my poorer neighbours for a
Christmas gift. Well, to please him, I tried to sell, and only raised
the rancour of the shopkeepers, who declared I was competing with them
as a grocer: then I gave, with the same experience that soup charity had
before taught me, to wit, that poor quarrelled with poorer, and both
with me, for more or less given. So I was glad when it all came to an
end. It is very difficult, as many a Lady Bountiful knows, to be
charitable on a wide scale: _e.g._ once, in my country life, I tried to
recommend brown bread and oatmeal; and got nothing by it but ill-will,
as if wishing to starve the poor by denial of wheat-flour.

Most of us have been checked in such silly efforts to do good through
forgetfulness of the fact that usually the poorest are the proudest.
Even the luxurious _débris_ of London Club kitchens must be flung into
swill-barrels for pigs, because starving men and women will not demean
themselves to ask for it at the buttery-hatch. Moreover, that such are
often extravagant too, everybody has found out--here's an instance: In
my legal days, I now and then of course relieved poor folk, and
sometimes passed through Seven Dials: casually, I looked in upon an old
couple to whom I had occasionally given a trifle, believing them to be
near starvation; and I found them roasting a brace of partridges--or was
it quails? for they were waistcoated with bacon,--and I had the charity
to hope they had _not_ stolen them! Anyhow, I never called there again.
And, while I am in Seven Dials, let me record another useful small
experience. There was a lapidary handy, who had at times cut my
beach-found choanites for me. One day I found him making scarabæi out of
bits of agate and lapis lazuli. "Who gave you an order for these," said
I. "Well, sir, I don't rightly know his name; but he was a furriner."
"Was the name Signor----?" "That's it, sir." Then I set off straight to
Sotheby's where I knew the Signor's Egyptian antiquities were soon to be
sold, and duly forewarned the auctioneer of these forgeries. I need not
detail how at the sale he put buyers on their guard, exposing the fraud,
and condemning the peccant scarabæi to extinction. I wonder how many
Grecian bronzes and copper Buddhas have been cast in Birmingham!

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet another old friend for many years, so far literary in that he was a
sculptor, is to be recorded in Joseph Durham: it was he who, more than
thirty years ago, modelled in life and made in marble after death my
beautiful three-year old daughter, little Alice, epitaphed in my poems.
Of Durham's nobleness of character I can here give a charming trait. I
used to go about once a week--sometimes less often--to Alfred Place to
see how Durham was getting on with the statue (a sleeping infant), and
one day, to my astonishment, I perceived that instead of any progress
having been made in the work, it had, miraculously to me, retrograded;
not half so near completion as it was last week. As I was wondering and
perhaps not well pleased, Durham said, "I had hoped you would not call,
till I had made it look as it did last week,--and then you needn't have
known it." "Known what, friend?" "Well, only this; I came to a stain in
the marble, and as I resolved you should have everything of the best,--I
took another block, and have worked at it night and day, in hopes you
wouldn't find me out. There's the other figure, under that cloth." Now,
considering that the new block involved a cost of some twenty
pounds,--and that the old one might have been artificially doctored, and
that anyhow the risk and loss were equitably as much, mine as his,--and
further that the young sculptor had little more than daily bread, if
that,--I do say all this proves Durham to have been the noble fellow I
found him to be for years. He is long gone, like so many other friends,
to that Brighter World. His life-story in this was a touching one, as he
told it to me; and I think known to very few besides myself. In youth he
loved and was beloved; but friends and circumstances hindered; so she
married some one else who, to Durham's constant horror and indignation,
treated his wife brutally: till, one happy day, he died in some fit,
probably from his own excesses. And then--here comes the sad
climax--when Durham, having achieved fortune and fame, offered himself
to his old love, the now rich widow, she deliberately turned away with a
refusal, and broke his heart! Was it any wonder that his grief sometimes
sought the solace of voluntary forgetfulness, or that certain false
friends of his I wot of have in their teetotal Pharisaism made the evil
most of an occasional infirmity, and have blackened even with printer's
ink the memory of one of God's and Nature's true noblemen! Besides my
little daughter in marble (so charmingly asleep that, in the Royal
Academy, we heard one lady whisper to another, Hush, don't talk so loud,
you'll wake her!)--besides _that_, his _chef-d'oeuvre_, as I always
think, he modelled the bust of her father, now in the Crystal Palace
Gallery,--but would not accept any payment for it! So like Durham,--who
in many secret ways was ever generous and trying to do good: he was
always self-forgetful and only too modest. _Apropos_, I remember that
when Lord Granville asked the sculptor of Prince Albert's statue at
South Kensington "Whether the Queen, who was so well pleased, could do
anything for him"--suggestive, no doubt, of a knighthood--the dear
unselfish Durham replied, "Thank you, my Lord,--if her Majesty's
pleased, I'm satisfied." So that chance for a title was thrown
heedlessly away,--but we always called him "Sir Joe" ever after:
specially among the "Noviomagians," a band of antiquaries who used to
dine together jovially at many pretended and picturesque sites of the
undiscoverable Noviomagus, and among them I have met and numbered as my
friends Chief Baron Pollok, George Godwin, Francis Bennoch, Thomas
Wright, Thornbury and Fairholt and other noted names, some of them still
among the living.

It gave me great pleasure as a Guernseyman to have been chiefly
accessory to a duplicate in bronze of the Good Prince's statue by Durham
being set up at the Pierhead of St. Peter's Port. Interest was exerted
by me to get royal permission for a new cast from the original,
Government giving the metal of old cannons; a collection from house to
house was made throughout the island, granite to any extent was on the
spot, meetings were held, and I had the pleasure to see Durham's grand
work inaugurated there, and to find him welcomed by all the
"Sixties"--ay, and the "Forties" too--with the hospitality for which
Sarnia was in those days proverbial.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this brief record of my literary life, I ought not to ignore sundry
true and constant book-friends known to me only by correspondence, and
that in some cases through many years. I cannot touch them all, and
shrink even from mentioning one or two, for fear of seeming to omit
others; but I will endeavour to do my best and wisest in the matter.

Foremost, then, among those unseen favourers of your author is the
Baroness Stanislas von Barnekow, of Engelholme, in Sweden; with whom
during fifteen years I have interchanged certainly fifty letters, if not
more, hers at least being full of the utmost kindliness, cleverness, and
(for a foreigner) even truly poetic eloquence. This tribute to her
talents and warm feelings is only a debt of gratitude. She it was who
voluntarily translated into Swedish my two first series of "Proverbial
Philosophy," and many of my lyrics in "Cithara;" and naturally I was
willing to answer her in kind (for the Baroness is an excellent and
well-known poetess in her own land), but, as unfortunately the Swedish
tongue is not among my few accomplishments, I was glad to turn to a
diligent and authorial eldest daughter of mine, who learnt the language
for me, and responded to our unseen friend with many of her poems
rendered into English verse, as she had similarly favoured mine in
Swedish. My said daughter afterwards improved upon the idea by several
more like translations, since published in book-form, as some from the
Sagas, and in particular many original poems of much merit from the pen
of King Oscar and Princess Eugenie, which greatly pleased them, as their
photographs and autographs testified; the Baroness's brother, Count Von
Wrede, who is the King's Chamberlain, having kindly given facilities. I
trust that my old "friend unseen," Stanislas, will not be displeased by
this proof that I remember with appreciation her many expressions of
esteem for my unworthiness.

Next, I do not know that I have mentioned the late learned Norman poet,
_George Métivier_, as having long ago translated my "Proverbial
Philosophy" into French; he died at a great age, I think past ninety,
and was highly honoured by his native Guernsey, through life and death;
I remember him with much gratitude for his labour of love in respect of
my book. Through many years also I have corresponded with another Norman
poet, _John Sullivan_, whose very clever French poems I have often
versified into English for him, and he has returned the compliment by
sending translated fly-leaves of mine over the Gallic world.

Let one more in this authorial category be the excellent and learned
_Canon R.C. Jenkins_, whom I have known from his childhood, and who in
these latter years has routed out for me, chiefly out of Zedler's
"Genealogical Encyclopædia," the heraldry and ancestry of my own
Thuringian pedigree; the Canon being one of our keenest antiquaries in
that line, and having German at his fingers' ends. He comes, as I do,
from old Lutheran stock, and is full both of prose and poetry of a high
class. My best regards to him and his.

The _Rev. Wm. Barnes_, of Dorset dialect fame, is another memory; as
also in years past the late _Chevalier de Chatelain_, a relative of my
Norwood friend, _Victor de Pontigny_, a well-known musical authority.

No doubt I have corresponded with most of the literary men of my day,
from Tennyson to--well, I will not sound a bathos, but I do not publish
private notes without permission, and in fact there would be no end of
such printed amenities of literature battledored and shuttlecocked from
one to another. I may, however, mention as a good habit of mine (is it
not a good one?) that, whenever I like a book, I take leave to thank its
author, and have usually received, _en révanche_, warm letters of their
gratitude from many, especially if young ones. Surely it is proper in a
veteran so to encourage a juvenile or even a mature brother, should he
seem to deserve it. As also, be it known, that sometimes I have taken up
the pen faithfully and honestly to rebuke: in these realistic and
atheistic days there are some modern writers, both of prose and poetry,
older or younger, who have reason to thank me for timely
expostulations,--if they have attended to my friendly strictures.



CHAPTER XLII.

POLITICAL.


Throughout my lengthened spell of life I never was anything of a zealous
politician. Well acquainted, as I have been, with many men of all manner
of opinions, and having had much the schooling of Ulysses, who had "seen
the cities of many men and had known their minds," I know perfectly well
that there are in every school of thought good men, and bad men too,
whatever may be their alleged principles, and I am quite willing to
believe in an _honest_ man, and stand by him if need be. In that spirit,
for many years when I was a West Surrey voter (indeed I am so still), I
used to give one of my votes to Briscoe, the Whig, and the other to
Drummond, the Tory, because I knew and trusted both of them for upright
men as well as personal friends, and they sat together as our
Parliamentary representatives. As a matter of course, nobody understood
my duplex voting,--for they were partisans and I was not,--so in that as
in some other matters I have always been a dark horse, quite
independent, and of the broadgauge pattern rather than of the narrow.
For instance, having known him from youth to age, I do not even yet
despair of Gladstone; though I have remained much where we both began,
whilst he has gone down lower, step by step, to a zero of--what is
it?--inverted ambition, whither I cannot willingly descend with him;
and yet, I do not count him an enemy: he follows his conscience, as I do
mine. Here was my judgment of the Man thirty years since, printed in No.
53 of my "Three Hundred Sonnets":

    "Gladstone, through youth and manhood many a year
      My constant heart hath followed thee with praise
      As 'good and faithful;' in thy words and ways
    Pure-minded, just, and simple, and sincere:
        And as, with early half prophetic ken
      I hailed thy greatness in my college days,
        The coming man to guide and govern men,
        How gladly that instinctive prescience then
    Now do I see fulfill'd--because, thou art
      Our England's eloquent tongue, her wise free hand
    To pour, wherever is her world-wide mart,
      The horn of plenty over every land;
    Because, by all the powers of mind and lip
    Thou art the crown of Christian statemanship."

That high praise was once well-deserved, and was cordially given: but
since, alas! according to my lights I have seen fit more than once to
"palinode." The great man's rock of peril, whereon to wreck both his
country and himself, is that fatal eloquence by which all are captured,
but (as with birdlime) are captured to their loss. But I will not
reproduce invidiously--as if false to a fifty years' friendship--any
harsh reproach, however conscientious, whereby I may have publicly
withdrawn my praise. Rather will I pass on,--and after my own fashion
will here show my ambidextrous muse in a brace of political unpublished
lyrics on either side.

    "_Popularis Aura._"

    "Liberty! dragg'd from the fetters of kings,
      Liberty! dug from the cell of the priest--
    Rise to thy height upon zenith-borne wings!
      Spread to thy breadth from the west to the east!
    Slow, through the ages, unbound limb by limb,
      Thou hast been rescued from tyranny's maw,
    Only glad service still yielding to Him
      Who ruleth in love by the sceptre of law!

    "Nations have torn thee by fierce civil strife
      From the usurpers who trod them to mud;
    Saints at the stake gave up agonised life
      That superstitions be drown'd in hot blood!
    Theirs was the battle--the conquest is ours--
      Free souls and bodies the death-wrestled prize
    Won from bad kingcraft, despoiled of its powers,
      Wrench'd from false priestcraft in spite of its lies!

    "God made the freeman, but man made the slave,
      Forcing his brother the shackle to wear;
    But all those fetters are loosed in the grave,
      King, priest, and serf meeting equally there;
    Here, too, and now, in these swift latter days,
      Freedom all round is humanity's right;
    Thought, speech, and action, enfranchised all ways,
      Eager for service in Liberty's might."

That may be truly labelled Liberal: the next, in honour of Beaconsfield,
may be fairly ticketed Tory:

    I.

    "Great Achiever, first in place
    England's son of Israel's race!
    Man whom none could make afraid,
    Self-reliant and self-made,--
    Potent both by tongue and pen
    In the hearts and mouths of men,
    Wielder in each anxious hour
    Of the mighty people's power,
    Wise to scheme, and bold to do,
    Who can this be,--history, who?

    II.

    "Heaper of a new renown
    Even on Victoria's crown,
    Mightiest friend of blessed peace
    By commanding wars to cease,
    Paralysing faction still,
    Swift in act and strong of will,
    Forcing every foe to cower
    Under Britain's patient power,
    Like himself, firm, frank, and true,
    Who can this be,--justice, who?"

For other of my politicals, take this common-sense essay from my pen,
hitherto unpublished:--

       *       *       *       *       *

IS THE ONE-VOTE SYSTEM RIGHT OR WRONG?

In a nation self-governed through its own representatives, it seems
reasonable to admit that each citizen should have a vote; each citizen,
we say, simply as such; whether male or female, labourer, pauper, civil,
military, naval, or official, every one not convicted of crime nor an
attested lunatic, of full age, of sufficient capacity (evidenced by
being able to read and write), celibate or married, rich or poor,--every
person in our commonwealth should equitably, it may well be conceded,
have his or her single vote in the government of the country. Poverty is
no crime, therefore the Workhouse should not disfranchise; sex is no
just disqualification, therefore the woman should have her vote as
freely as the man, for surely marriage ought not to suffer derogation
and disgrace by denial of the common right of citizenship as its
penalty; the soldier, sailor, policeman, government-official, and any
other class which may now be deprived of their birthright by law or
custom, should certainly be admitted to the poll like other patriotic
citizens; in short, manhood suffrage, it may be theoretically argued, is
just and wise--manhood of course including womanhood, as suggested
above; for even a wife either sides with her husband or controls him in
common cases; and in the less usual instances where he rules, there need
be no more tyranny about political matters than about domesticities, and
so the home would scarcely be any the worse even for partisan zeal.

However, whilst admitting the theoretical propriety of a one vote for
each citizen in the state, there remains to be considered the higher
practical justice of many having more than one. Numbers alone are not
the strength of a people; if of inferior quality they are rather its
weakness. For the Parliament of England representation is demanded of
all the virtues, talents, and acquirements, not certainly of the vice,
ignorance, poverty, and other evils more rife among the lower rungs of
the social ladder than to those above them. The single vote system (so
far as the franchise has any influence at all) depresses and demoralises
every class, as reducing all to one dead level. The ballot plan is now
law and cannot well be done away with; but it is manifestly a
humiliation for intelligence to have to sign with "his mark" in order
that ignorance may thus feel itself on an equality; and for honest
geniality to be hushed into silent secresy, that it may not put to shame
the cunning fraud of a partizan who wishes to hide his real opinion.
However, it is now too late to mend the ballot-box: let it be, and let
the single voter use it if he pleases.

Another and a wiser scheme presents itself, practically (if possible)
even now to avert the national ruin wrought by the machinations of a
rash and blind self-seeking spirit of party, often, seen "hoist by its
own petard," though too liable to destroy the foundations of society in
the explosion. Shortly and simply, the scheme is this. Let every man,
high or low, add to his one vote others as he may and can. Be there a
vote for the Victoria Cross, another for the Albert Medal, another for
long good-service in the household or the farm, another for any such
intellectual exploits among the poor as Samuel Smiles has recorded; all
these being accessible to the humblest, and so elevating them thus far.
And now to ascend a few rungs, let additional votes be given to owners
of a stated number of acres, to possessors of a certain amount of money,
to those who have been deemed worthy of public honours, and the like. A
little further, let every mayor of a town have his official vote, and
the Presidents of the Royal Society and Royal Academy, and perhaps two
or three other chiefs of science and art; and so forth.

Thus, then, we might get, by way of counterpoise to the voting power of
a bare and overwhelming proletariat, the worthier and far sweeter voices
of those who have virtues and excellences of various kinds to recommend
them,--so that if the lowest constituent counts for one, the highest may
add up to six or eight. And thus, while no one of the mob is denied his
one vote, those who rise above the crowd receive the more than one they
have earned by good-doing or position, and plump them all accordingly to
the worthiest candidate.

The method of ascertaining and ensuring such votes might be this. Let
each man who has more than his single suffrage apply for the paper
specially prepared to indicate the additional votes. They might be much
as thus:--

_Surplus Claims--One Vote each._

For the Victoria Cross                   Signature of Claimant.
For the Albert Medal                                     ditto.
For faithful domestic service in one
  family twenty-five years                               ditto.
For field-work on the same farm thirty years             ditto.
As a famous self-taught naturalist                       ditto.
As owner in fee of 50 acres                              ditto.
As possessed of £1000 in Government funds                ditto.
As publicly selected for honour by the Queen             ditto.
As mayor of such a city                                  ditto.
As President of the Royal Society                        ditto.
As President of the Royal Academy                        ditto.
        &c. &c. &c.

Heavy penalties should attach to false claimants, who would be readily
found by their own signatures.

All these surplus votes, openly avowed, of course, and not kept secret
as the single one in the ballot-box, would be counted up in the scores
of the several candidates.

The surplus-voting papers should be applied for, be supplied, and be
returned when filled up--by post, and so all such voting be accomplished
on paper, as in the elections for Oxford University, &c. It is a
barbarism and anachronism at this time of day to insist on the great
cost and inconvenience of a personal appearance, in many cases
impossible.

If our people in every class, and our legislators of whatever party, are
dissatisfied with the present system of representation as by no means
showing the nation at its best, and thus practically a mistake, let
them consider this suggestion; one made long ago by the writer as proved
by his published works.

    _The Voter's Motto._

    I.

    For Church and State! our father's honoured toast;
    Dear England's ancient bulwark and her boast:
    Must we now cease to build and man the wall
    At base Sanballat's and Tobiah's call?
    Shall Atheistic scorn and Jesuit guile
    Make Nehemiah quit his work awhile,
    That their Arabian host may tear all down,
    And trample in the dust our Zion's crown?
    May God avert it! No surrender! No!
    We will not yield the battle to the foe,
    Nor shall the children of our fathers thus
    Betray the heritage they left to us!

    II.

    For Church and State! While so we dread no storm,
    Let no man shrink from wise and just Reform;
    But with a firm and faithful, yet kind, hand,
    Prune cankers and corruptions from the land:
    Humble the pride of priestcraft! we are each
    Brother to him who doth Christ's gospel preach,
    And--though a trivial shibboleth offend--
    One who serves God and man shall be my friend:
    Ay, and some loaves and fishes should be given
    By the rich state to Ministers of Heaven!
    So shall both Church and State survive this strife,
    And dwell at peace with all, as man and wife.

    III.

    For Church and State!--Yea: though the King of Heaven
    As bridegroom to the Church Himself was given,
    Yet is He symbolled in this earth-bound sphere
    By the throned presence of our Sovereign here;
    And, ev'n as man and wife in figure show
    Christ and his spiritual spouse below,
    So by the eye of faith we gladly scan
    Our double duty--both to God and man--
    In yielding hearts to love, minds to obey
    Religion's mandate and the Ruler's sway,
    Defending timely, ere it be too late,
    Our threatened fortresses of Church and State!

As to the disputed matter of Protection, I am for Free Trade so far only
as regards the matter of provisions; but I desire Fair Trade on the
reciprocity system where manufactured articles and their raw material
are concerned. We absolutely require free food,--but are being ruined by
the bad bargain of one-sided Free Trade otherwise. Our ships (Mr.
Brockelbank tells me) go out empty, and return full; exports fail, but
imports are redundant.

As a final word about my politics, which I suppose may be called
Liberal-Conservative, I am free to confess that I am only too
half-hearted and am rather of Talleyrand's mind in the matter, "surtout
point de zêle." However, I heartily side with any one who protests
against hereditary pensions, especially in the case of royal
illegitimates, as also against the glaring impropriety of ceasing to
exact legacy and probate duties beyond a certain sum, thus favouring the
millionaire, as well as of excusing the highest of our society from all
manner of taxation. These pieces of favouritism to the rich and great
are only too reasonable causes of popular discontent, and must ere long
cease. I would shut up half the public-houses in spite of all the
brewers in the Lords and Commons; and for Church matters, parishioners
should have some control over their pastors. If ever our Establishment
is overthrown, that catastrophe will be due to clerical faults and
defaults, rather than to lay apathy or hostility. If rectors were less
tyrannical, congregations would love them better; and if curates were
more inclined to Luther than to Rome, the Protestant heart of England
would the gladlier appreciate their zeal and capabilities. As to the
social mischief of Trades' Unions, an organised conspiracy of employed
against employers, fatal to both, I have often exposed that evil in
newspapers, though anonymously. It is an outrage on the honest working
man with a family, that even in starving times he is obliged by paid
demagogues to refuse work and wages unless he will give the least labour
for the most pay, as the worst of his mates are glad to be forced to do:
while the wicked absurdity of strikes, smashing factory windows and
destroying machinery in order to coerce unfortunate masters to pay
higher wages than they can afford, is climaxed by those brigand
processions of idle roughs who go about bawling, "We've no work to do,
and wouldn't do it if we had." The British workman (of course with many
exceptions) has become a byword for everything unpleasant, which both
large contractors and small employers avoid if they can: drink, bank
holidays, radical spouters, the conceit of being better than their
betters, and above all that suicidal iniquity of strikes, seem in these
latter days to have generally demoralised a race of citizens of whose
virtues our commonwealth once was proud. No wonder that John Bull had to
go to Germany to finish his Law Courts.



CHAPTER XLIII.

A CURE FOR IRELAND.


In connection with the above, I will here print for the first time a
paper written long ago on the now rife subject of a cure for Irish
misery; at all events partially. Ireland has been with me a theme for
many kinds of literature; from that usual sort of authorship, letters in
the _Times_, to journalising on occasion, balladising in or out of
season, and now and then a political squib or graver article. I have
known that hapless land well in old days from Giant's Causeway to Cape
Clear; have been a guest in several noted homes, as with geological
Enniskillen and astronomical Crampton; know the natives well, and how
they have been taught by priests and demagogues to hate the Sassenach,
and, like most well-meaning men, who, after every kind effort, find
themselves utterly misunderstood, am (as a merely private and quite
unprejudiced politician) entirely at a loss to know how to please that
impracticable people, or to mend their miserable condition. However,
that in my authorial fashion I _have_ tried, let the following paper
prove; written and published nearly thirty years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Nations think and feel and act much as individuals do; for, after all,
the largest crowd of men is, only an aggregate of units. If contempt
provokes a man to anger, and avowed neglect forces him into indolence
and hopelessness, we shall see the same result in masses as we do in
single persons; and the causes which may have generated hatred and
despair will everywhere and everywhen find cures in their contraries,
honour being accorded in the place of contempt, and kindly care instead
of cold indifference. Thus, the far too common phrase, 'No Irish need
apply,' has doubtless wrought infinite ill-feeling; and the Levite's
chilling rule of 'passing by on the other side' evermore arouses
indignation nationally no less than individually.

"Now, it cannot be denied in an ethnological sense that the Celtic
nature is peculiarly sensitive; any more than it can be denied
historically that its good feelings have been too often systematically
crushed, and its generous impulses seared. If the Teutonic mind
illustrates in sterner traits the manhood of human intelligence, the
Celt shows its gayer youthfulness, if not indeed the lighter phases of
its reckless childhood: and it has been a second nature for the Saxon to
hold mastery over the Celt, as a weaker race is everywhere subject to a
strong one. Moreover, opposition in religious creed has had its evil
influences, scarcely yet extinct, however caustically such a cure may in
vain have been hitherto attempted.

"We must take nations as we find them: the Keltoi and the Sakai, always
at contrariety, do not seem to have altered in character from the
earliest prehistoric reports of old Herodotus even to our own times,
more than three thousand years. Racial peculiarities are known to
survive the actual transplantation to new lands; see in especial the
Irish of America; as the Roman poet has it, 'Those who cross the sea
may change their sky, but not their mind.' Therefore it is that a
far-seeing and philosophical statesmanship should ever deal
specifically--and as if individually--with national character; for
example, if we would convert the typical Irish mind from (must we say
it?) hatred of England to the love of her, we must commence as we would
in domestic life, by somehow managing to please our too sensitive
sister, by showing her our sympathies, and by treating her with honour
instead of contemptuous indifference; thus investing her with 'the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.'"

It is a quarter of a century since the writer of this paper published in
the course of a book of his, now somewhile out of print ("The Rides and
Reveries of Æsop Smith"), the following short chapter, on page 322, here
reproduced textually. It was headed "The Unsunned Corner," and runs
thus:--

Ireland came upon the _tapis_, and Æsop said, when his turn came to
speak: One of my fields, on the wrong slope of a hill-side and
surrounded by trees, scarcely ever sees the sun; and by consequence its
crops are short when arable, and when in pasture its grass sour, and the
hay musty.

And why then, he went on to say, shouldn't Ireland have a palace--a
Balmoral at Killarney, or another Osborne at Killiney?

Poor Erin is that unsunned corner of our Empire's field; and it seems a
thousand pities that the kingdom of Ireland should be denied some such
special royal home as is even found rather superfluously at the camp at
Aldershot. What if one of those lovely arbutus-wooded islands at the
foot of M'Gillicuddy's Reeks were fitted with a Swiss cottage for the
Queen? Or if Bantry Bay supplied its marble for a royal castle near Cape
Clear? Or if the railroad to Galway were supplied with a gilt carriage
or two to waft Majesty and children to some western palace in Connemara?

Think you such gleams of sunshine wouldn't fertilise that poor neglected
field, nor make its crops abundant, and its peasants happy? Think you
that the gold mine of Royal bounty, and the graciousness of Royal
favour, would not work a blessed change for grateful Ireland? Try it, O
good Queen!--a Viceregal Court, excellent as ours is now, is but a sorry
substitute for the real Majesty, nickel for silver, electrotyped plate
instead of the true golden buffet: not without snobbism too, and
toadyism and vulgarism and other detestable small heresies. If but once
in three years Victoria's rural Court were housed in an Irish palace,
her presence would do more for happiness, prosperity, and patriotism
than all of these that Maynooth grants have ever hindered.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus Æsop Smith in 1858 delivered his mind on the matter. It is by no
means pretended or supposed that a palatial residence would of itself
cure Irish evils and misfortunes; but it might be a step towards this
good result, and at any rate would remove one very allegible accusation
of neglect: Ireland should enjoy the like privileges with her sister
kingdoms England and Scotland: and however inadequate, _per se_, such a
simple prescription may seem as "Æsop Smith" suggests, his advice
contains at least one very obvious and easy cure for Irish disaffection;
and I am not aware that either by pamphlet or in Parliament it has yet
been seriously mooted. The Celts are a folk of essentially loyal
instincts; but (much as Americans often are heard to complain in their
own behalf) they have, as an independent nation, no seen and known
object for their loyalty. Since the days of Brian Boroime at his mythic
court of Tara, the Irish people have hardly set eyes upon the monarch of
their country: perhaps (if we except the conquering William of the
Boyne) our elderly Adonis, George the Fourth, was the sole specimen of
English Majesty that has illuminated Ireland; until our gracious Queen
herself made two very short but notable visitations in 1849 and 1853:
yet even in the Georgian instance, unfavourable as personally it must
have been, the enthusiastic reception he met with some sixty years ago
at the hands of his Irish subjects is still remembered after two
generations with a grateful and effusive loyalty. Imagine, if only from
such an example as this, what might be the beneficent effect of our good
Queen periodically visiting her kingdom of Ireland, and permanently
having there some such happy homestead as Osborne or Balmoral; if also,
in her absence, one of the princes of our Royal house represented his
Imperial mother as Viceroy; and if in their train the tide of
aristocracy, wealth, and fashion flowed in upon impoverished Ireland. It
is not easy to calculate the advantages of such a social revolution as
this; and surely, in spite of many obvious objections, such an
experiment might be worth the trial.

A beginning might avowedly be made in the right direction, by building
or purchasing some suitable castle as a permanent palace for Ireland's
Queen; say, for old association's sake, at Tara, if anyhow
adaptable,--or any other picturesque neighbourhood connected with some
ancient chieftain of the Irish quasi-heptarchy; wherein a Royal
Establishment might be commenced, in present proof of the serious
intention as to an early future residence: the mind of the people might
be thus prepared for the speedy coming of their Sovereign and her Court,
and would be softened and gratified by the evident confidence and
good-feeling thus shown; as well as their condition materially benefited
by the necessary expenditure that must be laid out locally in labour and
materials, giving work to the needy, and so helping to cure Erin's chief
disease,--poverty to the verge of famine. As to actual
life-peril,--every due precaution being taken,--the happy result of such
a humanising experiment might fairly be left to the generous native
loyalty of a kindly treated people, and to the gracious guardianship of
God's good providence. I am sure that present Royalty would neither be
boycotted nor burked. We remember with what generous cordiality our
Prince and Princess were received by all classes and creeds in their
recent brave visit to Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot honestly pretend to have always taken quite so amiable a view
of Celtic matters. I plead guilty to having more than once assailed in
print Daniel O'Connell and his kind, and to have written a pair of once
famous poetical fly-leaves, "Erin go bragh" and "Hurrah for Repeal!"
copies of which (beyond my archived ones) can now only be found in the
Ballad Collection of the British Museum, which I used to supply with my
Sibyllines, at a chief librarian's request: I forget the name, but he
collected such placards. I fear the two above were not very
complimentary: but what can one do for a perverse people, who complain
of it as a wrong that they are excused the Queen's taxes? Also I wrote
certain famous letters on Ireland, especially four long ones signed
"T.," in the _Times_ of January 1847.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Ireland I have caught a salmon at Killarney and cooked it too on an
arbutus stake; I have bruised my shins at the Giant's Causeway; I have
been an honoured guest at classical Florence Court; have picked up
native gold at Avoca; have done the Round Towers, possibly Phoenician
Baal-temples; have handled Brian Boroime's harp; and have been shocked
everywhere by the poverty and degradation of that musical barbarian's
miserable because idle people. What can be done for those who will not
help themselves?



CHAPTER XLIV.

SOME SPIRITUALISTIC REMINISCENCES.


Having often been asked to put on record my few and far-between
experiences of spiritualism, as on several occasions I have verbally
related them, I have hitherto neglected or declined to do so, on account
of having really seen little, whereas many others have seen far more.
And on the whole it is to me rather an unwelcome task from several
considerations; first, because I have never wished to add, by my
apparent testimony, to the rising tide of unwholesome superstition in
that or any other direction; secondly, because I had always a crowd of
more important matters to look after, and, perhaps, was inclined to
indolence in the "_dolce far niente_" respecting things of less
consequence to myself; and thirdly, in chief, because, albeit I have
seen and heard a few of the petty miracles (avouched for otherwise by
thousands of better witnesses) inexplicable to my own reason, I yet
entirely abjure and renounce this so-called spiritualism as any part of
my personal belief. In particular, it seems to me quite an inconclusion
to give to the spirits of the dead, or to any other existences, good or
evil (unless, indeed, by possibility to ourselves as magnetically and
sympathetically influenced by some metaphysical potencies whereof we
know next to nothing), the seemingly miraculous powers exhibited,
however weakly and childishly, in numberless _séances_, privileged to
possess among the company an ecstatic medium between (as is assumed)
themselves and beings immaterial.

The little I have seen and heard shall, however, now, upon a reasonable
call, be related simply and honestly, without any theory beyond what is
parenthetically alluded to in my last sentence, and with no attempt at
explanation, but only the expression of this truth, viz., that no
collusion apparently was possible (according to my judgment) in any of
the following manifestations, and that I promise only to state plain
facts, however, others may seek to expound them. Of course, where
cunning and dishonesty may contrive conjuring tricks it is not worth
while to treat such "manifestations" seriously, but I speak of what
seemed to be genuine, if trifling, marvels.

To begin, then, with my earliest experience, written down the same
evening, and sent to the _Brighton Gazette_, from which I give an
extract. The date is Thursday, January 25th, 1849; the host, the late
Mr. Howell, of Hove; the performer, Alexis, pupil of M. Marcillet, who
accompanied him. After clairvoyance, induced by passes, Alexis is
blindfolded carefully, and then, with the host's own pack of cards, wins
blindfolded at games of écarté with myself. Next, a French book, brought
by an incredulous physician, was placed open upon the forehead of
Alexis, who read aloud some lines of it. This experiment, with
variations, was several times repeated. The third was my own test. I had
sealed up something unknown to all the world but myself in twelve
envelopes of white paper. Alexis, placing the parcel on his forehead, in
broken and difficult enunciation, said "it was writing, two names, both
commencing with M; one of them an English name, the other French, or
some language not English; that the first contained four letters, the
second six (being really nine)," but he failed to give the names, which
were Mary Magdalene. It was suggested that if they had been written in
French his mind might have more easily discerned them. After this,
several locks of hair and sealed-up parcels, watches, and lockets, were
(with some unsuccessful attempts) guessed at, seemingly to the
satisfaction of the ladies and gentlemen who had respectively brought
them for explanation. The last experiment regarded a large bon-bon box
covered up, in which the host himself had concealed a mystery. Alexis
described it as wrapped in several folds, graven all round, oval, a
portrait of a young person of eighteen, but done a long time ago, set in
gold, "femme habillée en blanc; elle est morte, la tête au droit." In
all these respects the object was faithfully described, in particular to
the "long time ago," which, by a date on the portrait, was found to be
1769. And there were some other experiments, but Alexis, as appearing to
be well-nigh worn out with mental exertion, was then mercifully
unmesmerised.

I may mention, by the way, that the said host at whose house Alexis
attended was a firm believer in the power of the human will, and as
connected therewith, in mesmerism, whereby he used to cure people of
headaches and other infirmities; and, at length, through his
philanthropic and energetic attraction to himself of other folks'
disorders (for he fancied he imbibed for his own behoof the pains he
drained _ab extrâ_), he unhappily became a paralytic, dying not long
after. One of his less perilous attempts at the miraculous, I remember
was this: he brought a street Arab into his drawing-room, and put a
half-crown down on the carpet for him to pick up if he could, and keep
for himself; however, this the boy found, to his wonderment, to be
practically impossible, seeing that Mr. Howell had secretly willed that
he could not and should not pick up the prize. But such efforts of a
man's strong will are well evidenced in numerous other instances, and
serve to prove that no spiritual interferences beyond our noble selves
are essential to such mysteries.

Amongst other reminiscences of the marvellous, I may refer to a private
exhibition in the Berners Street Hotel, to which I was invited by Mrs.
Washington Phillips (of whom more anon), to investigate Mr. Vernon's
influence over a little girl some twelve years old. The child's
specialty was an alleged capability of reading without eyesight, the
back of her head low down on the nape doing duty in the way of vision.
To omit numerous other successful examples (some failing, which I
thought so far evidences of the absence of collusion), I will detail my
own conclusive experiment. But let me anticipate an objection relating
to the exhibitor himself. Some of our party, a very distinguished one,
and known to each other, kept Mr. Vernon in conversation at a distance,
while the child was reading our thoughts, or the actual words of print
unknown to ourselves, quite independently of his manipulations; he
having first comatised her into a mesmeric state of trance. The invited
guests were told, as in the Alexis case, that we might bring our own
tests; and I had put into my pocket a small volume of Milton, from which
she might read on the nape of her neck, if she could. We had previously
bandaged her eyes, even to plaistering them up; and were only bidden to
be careful not to let the handkerchief cover the place of reverted
seeing on her neck. I stood behind the child, and, without knowing where
I opened my little Milton, placed the expanded volume on the back of her
head; and forthwith, slowly and with difficulty, as a child might, she
read two lines of blank verse, which I and all immediately verified!
Now, I state a fact which I cannot explain; for I myself had not seen
the lines, so my own brain was not read: neither could Mr. Vernon nor
any one else have been concerned in the matter. I believe this sort of
thing to be well-known to spiritualists, and they may, for aught I know,
refer it to angelic or necromantic interposition: whereas, what
physicians tell us of hypochondria is, perhaps, a mysterious explanation
nearer the mark.

The same child, refreshed into an abnormal ecstasy, taking the hands of
several of our party professed to read their thoughts, with admitted
success in some instances. With me she failed, but then I was not
considered _en rapport_. Female believers are always much more
susceptible than masculine sceptics. However, I certainly had proof of
the child's marvellous power in this slight matter following. Two young
ladies had successfully brought her in spirit, into their mother's
drawing-room in Berkeley Square, the child graphically explaining all
she saw as she was mentally led along, and on being asked if she noticed
anything new and pretty on the mantel-piece, she got up and placed
herself in an attitude of dancing, and she said there was a figure and
it was clothed in lace. This was true; it was a bisque statuette of
Taglioni. On being led round the room, still in spirit and
clairvoyante, the child strangely described wax-flowers under a glass,
and laughed heartily at "Taffy riding his goat,"--a china ornament which
she could have known nothing of.

With respect to the lady who invited us, I can relate a strange story
wherewith the Brighton doctors in 1848 were familiar. Mrs. P. had an
invalid daughter subject to violent headaches, and as she had read of
the remedial powers of mesmerism from Chauncey Townsend's book,
privately resolved to try and cure her, and soon set her to sleep by the
usual "passes." However, when after twelve and even eighteen hours the
girl could not be awakened, Mrs. P. and her husband (a clergyman, who
knew nothing of the cause) were alarmed and summoned doctor after
doctor, to wake her, if they could. But all was in vain, until some one
turning to the peccant and magical volume found that by the simple
process of reversing the passes the abnormal slumber might be made to
cease. This was done at once, and all came more than right, for the girl
woke up without her usual headache, and was cured from that hour. At
this time of day, after thirty years and more, society having become
wiser, and bur medical men more physiologically hygienic, we all now wot
of mesmerism, and innumerable cases of cure through that mysterious form
of catalepsy.

For another small experience, I have several times been among a crowd of
others at public exhibitions of those who speak off-hand in prose or
verse, "inspirationally" as they call it, but as the outer world prefer
to believe, improvisatorially, and certainly amid such gifted persons
Mrs. Cora Tappan stands out prominently in my memory. At the Brighton
Pavilion I gave her for a theme to be versified on the spot extempore
my own heraldic motto, "L'espoir est ma force," and to my astonishment,
in a burst of rhymed eloquence she rolled off at least a dozen four-line
stanzas on Hope and its spiritual power. Some one else among the
audience gave the subject of cremation, and forthwith the lady descanted
with terrific force on funeral pyres and the horrors of Gehenna; whilst
a male performer affected to personate sundry well-known dead orators of
past days (for as the inspirers were supposed to be disembodied spirits
no living orators were allowable), and he certainly imitated both voices
and topics with singular success. But everybody has heard of this sort
of thing, sufficiently remarkable as a mental effort; and we have all
similarly witnessed the more material marvels of Maskelyne and Cook,
known to be mechanical contrivances which are still riddles to the
world.

Again, there are those who draw and paint in a condition of spiritual
ecstasy; and I remember visiting a public exhibition in Bond Street,
exclusively of most curious and intricate pictures, asserted to have
been inspired by dead artists, some being elaborate flourishings of
scenes and figures, said to be thus depicted as with lightning speed. As
to living artists, there are in existence several excitable youths and
damsels who write and draw very rapidly in an ecstatic state; and I
myself possess a dreamy conglomerate of microscopic faces crowded
together, and stated to have been drawn thus instantaneously to prove to
us "the cloud of witnesses," "the innumerable company of angels," by
whom we are continually surrounded.

I pretermit with brief mention sundry inexplicable wonders, such as
those wherewith the spiritualistic papers are frequently full, only
stating that I was one of those who investigated the case of the Rev.
Mr. Vaughan's pew-opener, at St. James's, Brighton, whose daughter was
thought to be "bewitched." Certainly, strange knockings accompanied her
when she came in at my call, much like those I heard many years ago at
Rochester, U.S.; and her mother (a pious and credible widow) assured me,
with tears of unfeigned anxiety, that the chairs and stools followed her
about!--a statement only half credible, when we reflect that there is an
animal magnetism as well as a mineral one, and that we know nothing of
the reasons of either. Our ignorance on such matters is so profound that
we may fairly be credulous unless we obstinately refuse altogether our
belief in human testimony; but if we dare to do this, higher interests
are endangered than spiritualistics. Our religion is mainly based upon
credible evidence.

There is certainly much that is mysterious in the toy they call
"Planchette," a triangular thin slab of polished wood on a couple of
small wheels, with a pencil at the apex. Hands laids upon this by two
persons properly conditioned, will give apparent vitality and volition
to the small machine, and make the pencil seem to write of itself in
answer to expressed (or meditated) questions. At a wealthy mansion in
South Kensington, for instance, I saw two charming young Italian ladies,
sisters, covering rapidly sheet after sheet with the abstrusest essays
on occult subjects, given to them to write upon inspirationally; and the
chief wonder was (as a learned friend by me well observed) where the
knowledge came from, so seemingly infused into two unscientific young
girls. Afterwards the said learned friend tried Planchette with me, and
we were considerably startled to find that when I asked of the
so-called spirits, "What think ye of Christ?" the pencil under our
unconsciously-guided hands made answer, "With the utmost reverence!" I
need not assure mankind that neither my friend nor I (both incredulous
and unwilling witnesses) lent ourselves or one another to any deception,
and were mentally inclined, if at all, to the expectation that the
"spirits" might rather blaspheme than bless. It is right to mention
that, beyond the pair of young ladies and our two selves, only the host
and hostess were in the room; of whom I have this further wonder to
report, viz., that the host, whom I must not specify by name without his
leave, is afflicted with blindness, notwithstanding which and his
alleged incompetence towards poetry as an old naval officer, his wife
showed me several copybooks full of blank verse written by him in a hand
unlike his own, and supposed by them to be inspired by Young, as a
continuation of his "Night Thoughts." The captain and his lady also told
us how frequently flowers and sweetmeats (!) were showered on them from
the ceiling at their domestic dual _séances_: and on another occasion a
lady showed my wife and me a paper of seed pearls, alleged to have been
flung into her lap from the heavens--through the ceiling--by her
departed lord and master! Similarly, a lady well known in the
professedly spiritualistic circles, deposited round her chair, in the
dark, at Mr. S.C. Hall's, a profusion of bouquets--probably from Covent
Garden;--and that, notwithstanding the hostess had herself searched the
lady before the _séance_, as it was known that Mrs. G's special gift
from the spirits was the multitudinous creation of flowers! Really,
there must be a stand somewhere made to credulity; but, at all events,
the venerable host and hostess believed this, on what seemed to them
reasonable evidence, and quite forgave me for not believing it too.

And this brings me, naturally enough, to give a detailed account of the
two best and last _séances_ I ever took the trouble to attend; for I
have, during many years, entirely avoided such exhibitions, as generally
childish, mentally unwholesome, and to some people dangerously
seductive. I had several times asked my worthy friends last alluded to,
to give me and a friend of mine, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, the
privilege of "assisting" at a _séance_ under their experienced guidance:
and accordingly we were invited to meet Mr. Home, the high priest of
spiritualism, a quiet, well-mannered gentlemanly person enough, known to
our host from his birth. The other guests were a countess, the widow of
a colonel, and a distinguished physician; in all we numbered eight. My
friend and I were requested privately, by our host, to conceal our
probable incredulity if we desired the favour of the "spirits" in the
way of manifestations; and as these were what we came for, besides our
own polite desire to do at Rome as the Romans do, we readily assented to
the reasonable request. After the usual greetings and small talk of the
day, and tea and coffee and so forth, we all took seats round the
drawing-room circular table, a very weighty one, as I proved afterwards,
on a gigantic central pillar, and covered with a heavy piece of velvet
tapestry; and before commencing the special business we came for, I was
pleased to hear our host propose that we should all kneel round the
table and offer up prayer: this he did, simply and beautifully, in some
words, extemporary, closing with a Church collect and the Lord's
Prayer. On my expressed approval of this course, when we rose, Mr. Home
said it was always his custom, as a precautionary measure against the
self-intrusion of evil spirits: admittedly a wisdom, even if it seemed
somewhat unwise and perilous to be more or less courting the company of
such unpleasant guests, if a _séance_ (as experienced afterwards) did
not happen to be made safe by exorcism. And now the gaslights bracketed
round the room were put as low as possible, making a dim, religious
semi-darkness; however, as there was a bright fire in the grate, and
some small scintillæ of gas, and one's eyesight soon gets accustomed to
any diminution of light, we could soon see nearly as well as usual. This
"gloaming" is a common condition in _séances_, and for aught any one
knows may be an electrical _sine quâ non_ as needed for animal
magnetism; albeit some paid professionals may possibly find darkness a
very useful veil for cheatery. While we were chatting round the
table,--and Mr. Home enjoined this as better than the silent sobriety I
looked for--suddenly the table shuddered, and a cold wind swept over our
hands laid upon it. "They are coming now," said Mr. Home, which
everybody seemed glad of, though that cold wind felt to me not a little
"uncanny," but I said nothing in disparagement, for fear of stopping a
"manifestation." Soon loud knocks were heard, apparently from the middle
of the table, and on sundry spirits being alleged to be present, Mr.
Home proceeded to question them through the ordinary clumsy fashion, of
the alphabet, and some unimportant answers were elicited, which I fail
to remember and in common honesty must not invent. We were soon to see
stranger things; and I suppose the _séance_ was exceptionally
successful, as I afterwards noticed some of it in print. For while we
were looking and expecting, suddenly the table began to tilt this way
and that, and then as if by an effort the ponderous mass, with all our
hands still upon the velvet pall, positively mounted slowly into the
air, insomuch that we were obliged to rise from our chairs and stand to
reach the surface. I could see it at least two feet from the carpet, and
Mr. Home invited me to take especial notice that none of the company
could possibly be lifting the table; indeed, the strength of all of us
combined would have been barely enough for such a heavy task. Of course,
every one else but myself and friend supposed that the "spirits" had
kindly done this miracle to please us; but I unfortunately said "Oh!
Mrs. Hall! it will crush your chandelier!" (one of Venice glass, very
precious)--at which unbelieving remark, probably, the spirits took
umbrage, for at once the table ceased ascending, and with a slow
oscillation descended very gently on to the carpet. This sort of petty
miracle is a frequent experience among the spiritualists, and how it is
effected I cannot imagine. There could be no contrivance or machinery in
our host's drawing-room, as must be the case imitatively at the Egyptian
Hall; none of the company could be conspiring to deceive, and more than
all, that huge, heavy table rising up against the law of gravitation was
enough to chase away all incredulity. One fact is stronger than fifty
theories; and one reliable success overweighs a thousand failures. I
testify to that which I have seen.

But more, and more wondrous, was to follow. All at once Mr. Home flung
himself back in his chair, looking wild and white; and then rising
slowly and solemnly, went to the still bright fire, into which he
thrust his unprotected hands, and taking out a double handful of live
coals, placed them--as a fire offering--upon Mr. Hall's snow-white head,
combing the hair over them with his fingers, all which our host appeared
to receive more than patiently--religiously. Thereafter Mr. Home placed
them in the Countess's blonde-lace cap, and carried them, as a favour
vouchsafed by the spirits, to each of us, to hold in our hands. When he
came to me, Mr. Hall said: "My friend, have faith." "Yes," I answered,
"and courage, too;" whereupon I was blest with a good handful of those
wonderful coals, still hot enough to burn any skin; but, somehow or
other, I felt no pain and had no mark. Here was another law of nature
put to shame, in the miraculous fact that fire was seemingly deprived of
the power of burning. How this could be, I cannot guess; but I record
manfully the fact as witnessed. After this, an accordion held under the
table by Mr. Home with one hand, the other being upon the table,
positively played a tune of itself--"Ye banks and braes o' bonnie
Doon"--requested by Dr. Chambers, "that being the tune his dead child
loved so." I was requested to look under the table to see the
"spirit-hand" operating near the carpet; but I saw nothing except the
vitalised accordion expanding and contracting of itself, being held
tightly at the upper handle by Mr. Home. Some of the company, however,
claimed to see and to shake hands with the child, and Mr. Home requested
me to ask for a similar favour by placing my hand open under the table;
this, accordingly, I ventured to do, with the result of feeling my thumb
sensibly touched and thrilled, which I was told was a good sign of
favour from the spirits--albeit in my own mind I remembered what our
omniscient Shakespeare sings at the mouth of one of the Macbeth
witches,

    "By the pricking of my thumbs
    Something wicked this way comes"--

and failed to feel quite comfortable. Soon, however, Mr. Home said: "The
accordion is leaving my hand;" and I saw the mysterious thing crawling
on the floor like a lame dog till it got into a corner. Of course, I
suspected a secret string; but all at once it moved out and came back,
moaning Æolianly as it went, and stood up beside the chair of Mrs.
Colonel N.S., who patted it lovingly; thence passing behind me it went
and stood beside the Countess, who also caressed it; and then Mr. Home
said: "Now ask the spirit to come to you;" whereto I acceded, and the
accordion crept near me, as if unwillingly, and stood up; but when I
touched it the thing shrank from my unsympathetic hand, and fell down
flop.

After this, I noticed that my naval friend was staring with all his eyes
at something over our military widow's head, and that his hair (it is
red, which colour is very spiritualistic) stood on end as with fear.
"What's the matter, P.?" I asked. "Don't you see it?" responded he.
"What?" "The grey figure behind Mrs. N.S., bearded like an Egyptian
Sphinx." "That's the Colonel!" exclaimed Mr. Hall, and the widow bowed
religiously, with a "Dear! is it you?" On this, as my friend was
terribly frightened, we soon took leave; and when we went home, I found
that he was so pursued by "spirits" rapping all about him, that he
actually vacated his own room and slept in mine, for protection against
the invisible, on two chairs till morning broke; when he feared the
spirits no longer. I may mention that this insight into an immaterial
world (he having been inclined before to pyrrhonism) quite altered his
career, and that soon after he took holy orders. In this connection I
may state, that according to a printed account I have seen, both Mr. and
Mrs. Hall were converted from avowed materialism by spirit
manifestation, and that when the question of "_Cui bono?_" is raised,
his experience and that of divers others (the aforesaid Dr. Chambers in
particular) will avouch for the practical usefulness of these
inexplicable marvels.

But I must have done, with only one other reminiscence soon after that
at Ashley Place. This time the venue is Fitzroy Square, and the company
(to omit needless detail) was a polyglot one, consisting chiefly of a
German merchant, a Hebrew financier, a French governess, my naval friend
aforesaid, who was quick at Latin, and I, who more or less remembered my
Greek. Of course English was represented in the two only other guests;
and it will be seen how strangely philology enters into this my next and
concluding anecdote. After plenty of other rappings and noises (I
noticed by the way that all the metal things in the room, as castors and
cruets--it was a dining-room--and wine coolers and bronze chandelier,
were clicked and clanged), and after the usual stupid alphabet questions
and answers had been exhibited; after also the heavy mahogany table on
five substantial pillars had been miraculously moved about the room and
tilted, as we failed to effect at the _finale_ when we tried; all at
once a thundering knock quite shook the table and startled us, on which
Dr. Connell, our (unprofessional) medium for the nonce, as he had seen
more of spiritualistics than we had, called for the alphabetical test
to ascertain who it could be that knocked so furiously, for the blows
were often repeated. So then, by the slow method of letter by letter, he
made out the name "Jamblic," and then gave it up in despair, as he said
it was a mischievous imp that was sporting with us; but the knocks still
continued, and some one suggested that perhaps this strange name was
foreign, and that his own language would please the incensed spirit
better than English. Accordingly, he was addressed by the assembled
circle severally in French, German, Hebrew, and Latin, all in vain; when
I bethought me of Greek and the Pythagoreans and spoke out "_Ei su
Iamblicos_" (Art thou Iamblicus?)--on which, as if with joy at having
been discovered, there was a rush of noises and knocks all round the
room (my perfervid imagination fancied the flapping of wings), and
immediately after there ensued a dead silence! So we soon broke up and
went home. Opening my classical dictionary at Iamblicus, I read what I
certainly had not seen or thought of for more than thirty years, that he
was an author on "the mysteries of the Egyptians," and was bracketed
with Porphyry as a professor of the black art. Was then this unpleasant
visitor to Fitzroy Square no other than that magician redivivus? An
awkward possibility.

And now to bring these scattered reminiscences to a practical
conclusion. What can I, what can my readers decide, on a rational
consideration of the whole matter? It is, no doubt, very baffling to
judge how rightly to think about it. I have stated a few facts that have
come under my own personal knowledge; but there are thousands of others
similar and even more extraordinary, which numerous persons quite as
credible as I am can vouch for in like manner to be true facts while
remaining unexplained miracles. For myself, I must suspend judgment;
waiting to see what in these wonderful times--some further development
of electricity, for example, may haply produce for us. After recent
marvels of the telephone, microphone, photophone, and I know not what
others, why should not some Edison or Lane Fox stumble upon a form of
psychic force emanating from our personal nervous organisation, and
capable of operating physically on all things round us, the immaterial
conquering the material it pervades? Some such vague theory as to
spiritualistic manifestations may be a far more rational as well as
pleasing explanation of these modern marvels than to suppose that our
dead friends come at any medium's summons to move tables, talk bad
grammar, and play accordions; or that angels, good and evil, are allowed
to be employed in mystifying or terrifying the frivolous assisters at a
_séance_.

Beyond and after this, I might add, but for its too great length, the
indisputable testimony of certain friends of mine as to inexplicable
writings on locked slates and paper, the revelation of secrets, nay
visible apparitions, and both records of the secret past and revelations
of the still more secret future afterwards fulfilled,--to all which I
cannot, as an honest man and a believer in human evidence, refuse to
give a distinct testimony, even though conjurors perpetually baffle our
confused judgment.

In this connection I will extract from one of my Archive-books the
curious story of a mysterious key in which my family are still
interested: for the secret is not yet solved. In the fourteenth volume,
then, of my Archives occurs this long note, accompanied by the drawing
which I made years ago of the weird-looking key: with a loose ring
handle, a threefold staircase body, and a strangely ringed column.

"My father died in his sleep, December 8, 1844, at Southwick House, in
Windsor Park, on the same night after its owner, Lord Limerick, had also
died there in his arms, my father having been his medical friend for
thirty years. My father used to carry in his pocket a strange key,
whereof the figure was very unusual, as it folded up, and though large
he carried it in his pocket habitually: and he used to say in his
quietly humorous and reserved manner, 'under that key lies a fortune;'
my mother and I and others remember this well. When I came to be
executor, there was nearly nothing to guide me as to the amount of my
father's property,--and I certainly did not succeed in realising all
that he was supposed to have acquired. It was wonderful that with his
large income he left so little. So, we all thought that some hoard
locked by this key contained the missing treasure; my father's habitual
taciturnity, and secretiveness favouring this idea. But, nowhere could
the lock to fit it be found; nowhere either at banks or lawyers or
anywhere about our old house in Burlington Street or at Albury, appeared
the chest or cupboard containing the fancied accumulations; and to this
hour, June 12, 1873, nearly thirty years after my father's sudden death,
has the mystery not been cleared up. Once, on an occasion of a
spiritualistic _séance_ at Mr. Carter Hall's, I handed the said key to
Mr. Home when entranced, and he shuddered at it, and uttered the name
'Elizabeth Henderson,'--which I thought at the time a bad guess, as one
utterly unknown to me: but oddly enough it proved to be the name of the
Queen's housekeeper at Windsor. However, on inquiry nothing further came
of this, for she was not in office when my father died at the Park.
To-day I have taken the key to a Miss Hudson, a clairvoyante, who never
saw me before, nor was told my name, nor my errand, except that I laid
that key silently before her. She can tell me very little, except that
the mystery is soon to be cleared up, and that certain spirits (from
description possibly my mother and brother William) much wish it. I gave
no sort of clues, but the medium guessed at my father's character, and
at the long lapse of time since the loss of the chest, and at the hiding
of it in some 'bank,'--whether underground or at a banker's did not
appear. The medium's 'attendant spirit'--one 'Daisy, an Indian
papoose'--says it is 'in a dark place, like a vault, and mouldy.' I am
urged to inquire further. Miss Hudson, a common-looking but respectable
woman of about thirty,--living in a lodging near Bloomsbury
Square,--utterly ignorant who I was and all about me,--said (in her
spirit voice) that I was a writer of books, and did great good, and was
inspired by two spirits, one of the fair and lively sort all in white,
and the other an old philosopher--a strange guess at my mixed medley of
writings. Miss Hudson promised me that I should soon know the secret of
the key, because the spirits wished it, and because there was a blue
magnetic circle round the key."

       *       *       *       *       *

_P.S._--It is only proper to state that up to this present writing,
January 13, 1886, I have heard nothing at all from the spirits
aforesaid, and that the family key is as mysterious as ever. My own
reasonable explanation of the medium's half true guesses is that she
might have read my own dim thoughts about the matter: naturally I would
think of my dead mother and brother and myself; and thought-reading is a
form of animal magnetism which some people possess more than others.

Of late, as we all know, Mr. Cumberland and others have exhibited their
mysterious powers of perceiving and expounding the secret thoughts of
those who chose to be thus mentally vivisected: and I myself have this
small experience to record. Asked in a drawing-room to think of
something, the hostess answered my thought by "I don't know what it
means, but there's a great deal of green with a white star going round
and round in it." "Quite true," was my reply, "I was thinking of Ewhurst
windmill."

In my anonymous prophetic ode, "Things to Come" (Bosworth, 1852, long
out of print), at its eleventh section, thought-reading and other like
metaphysicals are strangely anticipated, ending with--

    "Into some other wicked man's mind
    His foolish brother is peeping to find,
    Caught in foul excitement's snare,
    The Lying Future there!"



CHAPTER XLV.

FICKLE FORTUNE.


Ever since Schiller wrote his famous song about a poet's heritage (ay,
and long before that, as it will be long years hence), authorship has
been noted for anything rather than wealth; albeit, nowadays, we have
had such fortunate scribes as Dickens and Thackeray and Trollope, who
severally have left piles of well-earned money behind them; though they
all had encountered previous mischances before. Accordingly, in this
true record of my life, I must not omit its reverses, for, though born
with a silver spoon in my mouth (perhaps a bismuth one, such as in my
chemical days I melted in hot tea), and always having had plentiful
surroundings, there has been often much also of financial embarrassment,
though not always nor usually from the author's fault. I am not going to
accuse others any more than myself, only hinting that it has been costly
to be a sleeping-partner, especially when the chief fails; that it is
discouraging to economic thrift when the investments wherein you place
your savings come to an untimely end; that in particular the Albert Life
Insurance was a notorious swindle, wherein more than twenty years' of
banked-up prudent earnings, besides the original policy, vanished in an
hour; that my early efforts to win fortune were stumped from impediment
of speech; and that some of those on whom I depended, as well as others
dependent on me, met with misfortunes, deserved or undeserved. Anyhow, I
have just now no reason to complain of bursting barns or inflated
money-bags. Everybody knows (so I need not blink it) that some time ago
a few friends kindly got up a so-called testimonial for my benefit; but
that sort of thing had been overdone in other instances; and it is small
wonder that (although certainly not quite such a fiasco as with Ginx's
Baby) the trouble and care and humiliation are scarcely compensated
where the costs and defaults are considerable: however, I desire
heartily to thank its promoters and contributors, one and all; even
those who promised but never paid.

With reference to other efforts, my two Transatlantic visits, and divers
reading tours at home, show that self-help never was neglected, as,
indeed, former pages will have proved. Accordingly, as Providence helps
those who help themselves, or at all events endeavour to do so, I still
lean on the heraldic motto, given to General Volkmar von Tophere by
Henri Quatre, "L'espoir est ma force." I will here add two American
anecdotes whereby it might seem that heretofore I have unwittingly
jilted Fortune when she would have blest me with her favour.

I had just landed in New York after a stormy fortnight in the _Asia_ (it
was A.D. 1851) and taken up my quarters at the Astor House, to
rest before friends found me out. But my arrival had been published, and
before, in private, I had taken my first refreshment, the host, a
colonel of course, came and asked if I would allow a few of my admirers
to greet me. Doubtless, natural vanity was willing, and through my
room, having doors right and left, forthwith came a stream of
well-wishers all shaking hands and saying kind words for an hour and
more; at last they departed, all but one, who had come first and boldly
had taken a chair beside me: when the crowd were gone, he bluntly (or
let it be frankly) said, "I'm one of the richest men in New York, sir,
and I know authors must be poor; I like your books, and have told my
bankers (naming them) to honour any cheques on me you may like to draw."
"My dear sir," I replied, "you are most considerate, and all I can say
is, if I have the misfortune to lose this packet (it was a roll of
Herries's circular notes) I shall gladly accept your offer; but just now
I have more than I want--£300." "Well then, sir, come and stay at my
house, Fifth Avenue." "This is very kind, but several friends here have
specially invited me, so I am compelled to decline." "Then, sir, my
yacht in the harbour is at your service." "Pardon me, but I would rather
forget all memories of the sea at present,--with due thanks." "Then,
sir, my carriage has been waiting at the hotel all this time, let me
have the honour of taking you to see Mrs. So-and-so, who is anxious to
meet you." Of course I could not refuse this, nor the occasional loan of
his handsome turn-out whenever other friends let me go. Who knows how
nearly I then missed smiles from the blind goddess, by my sturdy refusal
of her favours, for I heard afterwards that the wealthy Mr.---- was
childless! Again, at Baltimore, after my Historical dinner (see a former
page), comes up to me a very shabby-looking man, as I thought to beg. He
sidled up and whispered that he wanted me to go home with him. I'm
afraid I rather snubbed him; but was sorry for it afterwards, when told
that he was the rich old miser So-and-so, who had never taken a fancy to
any one before. What a dolt I must have been to snub away the possible
codicil of a millionaire!

       *       *       *       *       *

On page 3 of this book I proposed no mention of private domesticities or
of personal religious experiences--the one being of interest merely to
my family, the other a matter between God and the soul. However, the
recent sudden death of one for fifty years my faithful friend and
companion in marriage, urges me to record here simply her many excellent
qualities, which must not be passed by without a regretful word as if I
were a Stoic, or as if my dear good wife of half a century could be
silently forgotten by her bereaved husband and children. I began this
biography when she was in her usual health and spirits, but soon after
its commencement a fit of apoplexy took her unconsciously from our happy
circle,--and we are made to feel by this affliction, as also by another
over leaf, how truly "in the midst of life we are in death." Her body
awaits the Resurrection in Albury Churchyard, and her spirit lives with
us in affectionate remembrance.



CHAPTER XLVI.

DE BEAUVOIR CHANCERY SUIT: AND BELGRAVIA.


My lamented son, Henry de Beauvoir, active and athletic, was killed in
South Africa by the most unlikely accident of being jolted off the front
seat in a rutty road and crushed to death under the wheel of an
ox-waggon creeping at two miles an hour! This sad event occurred on May
31, 1871: and the newspapers at the time, both British and South
African, fully recorded not only the accident but the heroism of the
brave youth, the kind but unavailing assiduities of friends, and the
municipal honours accorded to him at his funeral, when the mayor and
council, the volunteers and chief inhabitants of King William's Town
(every window shuttered) followed him to the grave, where Archdeacon
Kitton read the solemn service; and some months after, a marble
headstone was placed over his remains. His two brothers have written
some touching stanzas to his memory: but they are private.

I mention all this sadness now by way of publicly acknowledging the
kindness of Archdeacon Kitton and, other friends at King William's Town,
not forgetting a most friendly officer of the American navy, from whom
we have received many excellent letters and presents from all round the
world, ever since he was among the first to break to us the death of my
son, now fifteen years ago: I desire, then, cordially to thank T.G. for
these kindnesses: as also Mr. Robertson, of Brechin, N.B., whose son
was Henry's African comrade, with him at the time of the catastrophe,
and following him to the grave.

Henry having been for good ancestral reasons christened de Beauvoir,
reminds me of a memorable matter of our family history which, as it is
on record, I will here relate. In the days of King James I. (to quote
with pedantic omissions from a pedigree), one Peter de Beauvoir,
descended from a younger branch of the ducal house of Rutland, had an
eldest son, James, whose daughter Rachel married Pierre Martin (my
spiritual sponsor after Martin Luther), and her daughter married a Carey
of Guernsey, whose descendant married my grandfather. Peter's second
son, Richard, married a Priaulx, also related to us, and her daughter
married a Benyon, in Charles II.'s time, whose descendant is now the
millionaire, Sir Richard Benyon de Beauvoir of Reading, &c. &c. Now,
this is the strange fact which has always puzzled me as well as others.
The old De Beauvoir was a very thrifty miser, and died two hundred years
ago possessed of great wealth, which has increased enormously up to our
day, seeing he had landed property in the north of London, now including
De Beauvoir Town.

In the second generation, his grand-daughters Rachel Martin of the elder
branch and Marie Priaulx of the younger, contended at law for the
inheritance after some intestacy: and a terrible lawsuit raged in
Chancery for 150 years, between the Tuppers and the Benyons,--and was
carried even to the House of Lords, being finally decided in my memory
for the Benyons. I remember my uncle saying he would not take thirty
thousand pounds for his individual chance,--but my less sanguine father
cared not to join in the lawsuit,--saying he would not "throw good
money after bad." For my own judgment, and I can speak as an old
conveyancing barrister (though without business or experience) of nearly
fifty years' standing, our side as the elder had the best right, though
the two sisters might well and wisely have shared in a compromise. But
somehow it came to be decided that the younger claimant of that vast
property must have _all_,--and the elder be strangely left out in the
cold. After the conclusion of the Lords, further litigation was
hopeless: so those whom I now represent (as almost the "last of the
Abruzzi") must acquiesce in getting nothing, while the opponent side has
the good luck to possess, as Dr. Johnson has it, "wealth beyond the
dreams of avarice." Such is life,--and law: the most obstinate and the
richest win: the less pertinacious and the poorer are allowed to fail:
it is a process of Darwin's survival of the fittest. All this is now
"too late to mend:" but I do hope that if ever I go to Engelfield
Castle, Sir Richard will be kindly and genial to his far-off cousin, who
(but for some legal quibble unknown) might have dispossessed him.

My father numbered among his patients the Duke of Rutland, and I have
heard him say that they half-humorously called each other cousins.


A Lost Chance in Belgravia.

In this connection of possible good luck that never happened, let me
record this.

Another of my father's patients was the long deceased Earl Grosvenor,
grandfather of the present Duke of Westminster; and about him I have a
tale to tell, which shows how nearly we might have been possessed of
another vast property--but we missed it. One day in my boyhood, I
remember my father coming home after his round and telling my mother
that he had a great mind to buy "the five fields" of Lord Grosvenor's,
because he thought London might extend that way. Those five fields are
now covered with the palatial streets of Belgravia,--but were then a
dismal marshy flat intersected by black ditches, and notorious for
highway robbery, as a district dimly lit with an oil lamp here and
there, and protected by nothing but the useless old watchman in his box:
it is the tract of land between Grosvenor Place and Sloane Street. His
lordship had a reputation for parsimony, and he fancied it a bargain if
he could sell to my father those squalid fields for £2000,--so he
offered them to him at that price. When my mother heard of this, she was
dead against so extravagant an outlay for that desolate region; so much
dreaded by her whenever her aunt's black horses in the old family coach
ploughed their way through the slush (MacAdam had not then arisen to
give us granite roads) to call on an ancient relative, Mr. Hall, who
possessed a priceless cupboard of old Chelsea china, and lived near the
hospital. A tradition existed that the said family waggon had once been
"stopped" thereabouts by some vizored knight of the road, and this
memory confirmed my mother's disapproval of the purchase. So my father
was dissuaded, and declined the Earl's offer. I don't suppose that if he
had accepted it the property would long have been his, but must have
changed hands directly he had doubled his investment: otherwise, imagine
what a bargain was there!--However, nobody can foresee anything beyond
an inch or a minute, and so this other chance of "wealth beyond the
dreams of avarice" long ago faded away.



CHAPTER XLVII.

FLYING.


A lecture which I gave at the Royal Aquarium on September 28, 1883, on
the Art of Human Flight, attracted at the time a good deal of newspaper
notice; my friend Colonel Fred. Burnaby being in the chair, supported by
several other aeronautical notables. From a rough copy by me I have
thought fit to preserve the exordium here, just as spoken.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Tis sixty years since,"--as the title-page to Waverley has it,--'tis
sixty years since a little Charterhouse schoolboy of thirteen called on
one Saturday afternoon (his half-holiday) at a shabby office up a court
in Fleet Street, with a few saved-up shillings of pocket-money in his
hand. His object was secretly to bribe a balloon agent to give him a
seat in the basket on the next flight from Vauxhall: however as, either
from prudential humanity or commercial greed, the clerk stated that five
pounds was the fixed price for a place, and as the aforesaid little
gentleman could only produce ten shillings, the negotiation came to
nothing,--and I, who had coveted from my cradle the privilege that a
bird enjoys from his nest, was fortunately refused that juvenile voyage
in the clouds: whereof when I told my excellent mother, her tearful joy
that I had _not_ made the perilous ascent affectionately consoled my
disappointment.

So it is that, as often happens throughout life, and I am a living proof
of it, our Failures prove to be the best Successes: for certainly if my
boyish whim had been granted, and I had thereafter taken habitually to
such aeronautical flights, at once perilous and unsettling, that young
Carthusian would scarcely have stood before you this day as an ancient
Proverbial Philosopher.

However, let that pass: I only acted--as oftentimes I since have longed
to act--on the desire we all feel to have "the wings of a dove, and fly
away and be at rest,"--floating afar from the dross and dust of earth
into the blue expanse of the heavenly ether:--a thing yet to be
accomplished!--or I will confess to be no prophet: in these days of
electricity, concentrated and accumulative after the fashion of M.
Faure, aided perhaps by some lighter gas, some condensed form of tamed
dynamite,--these elevating and motive powers being helped by exquisite
mechanism either as attached to the human form (if the flier be an
athlete) or quickening a vehicle with flapping wings impelled by
electricity, in which he might sit (if said flier is as burdened with
"too solid flesh" as some of us)--these mixed potencies, I say, of
electricity and gas, ought at this time of the day to be so manipulated
by our chemists and mechanicians as to issue--very soon too--in the
grand invention than would supersede every other sort of
locomotion,--human flight.

I once met at Baltimore, and since elsewhere, a clever young American
mathematician and engineer, Henry Middleton by name, who showed me, at
his father's place in South Carolina, parts of a model energised by the
motive-powers of gas and electricity, which he hoped would successfully
solve the problem of flying; but the Patent Office at Washington was
burnt down soon after, and in it I fear was his machine. At all events I
have heard nothing of his project since.

I may mention, too, that I believe I have among my audience this evening
Mr. De Lisle Hay, the author not only of that recent very graphic book
"Brighter Britain," but also of another, more cognate to our present
topic, entitled "Three Hundred Years Hence," now out of print, though
published only three years ago. In this latter work he has a chapter on
"Our Conquest of the Air," and imagines a lighter gas called by him
"lucegene," as also a bird-like human flight very much as I had
conceived it forty-one years ago. He tells me also that the best vehicle
for flying might be an imitation of the sidelong action of a flat fish
in water; but how far he has worked upon this idea I know not. Possibly,
if in the room, he may tell us after I release you.

It is most worthy of notice, that in the almost solitary Biblical
instance of winged angels (see Isaiah vi. 2, and a corresponding passage
in Ezekiel--all other angelic ministers being represented as
etherealised men) these are somewhat like birds in outline, though
having more wings,--with twain covering the head so as to cleave the
air, with twain to cover the feet so as to be a sort of tail or rudder,
while with twain they did fly: even as Blake, and Raffaelle, and some
other painters have depicted them. I mentioned this once to Professor
Owen, our great natural philosopher, in a talk I had with him on human
flight, and he thought such seraphim very remarkable in the light of
analogous comparative anatomy.

Ovid also in a passage before me advocates our imitation of birds if we
would fly bodily: in his "De Icari Casu," he says (with omissions)--

    "Naturamque novat: nam ponit in ordine pennas
    A minimâ coeptas, longam breviore sequenti: ...
    Sic imitentur aves: geminas libravit in alas
    Ipse suum corpus, motâque pependit in aurâ."

Which, being interpreted, means this,--

    "Nature he reproduces, ranging fine
    From least to longest feathery plumes aline,
    Thus imitating birds, that on the air
    With balanced wings are poised in lightness there."

Whilst our noble Laureate in "Locksley Hall" goes in for aerial
machines, "Argosies of magic sails," and "airy navies grappling in the
central blue."

As to that essay of mine published in the first number of Ainsworth's
Magazine, August 1842, long before the Patent Aerial Company started
their projects, and very much noticed at the time,--Mr. Claude Hamilton
ingrafted it in his work on Flying; the Duke of Argyll in a note before
me commends this principle of copying nature as the true one; a Signor
Ignazio of Milan in 1877 adopted almost exactly my Flying Man,--which
was for the lecture enlarged from Cruikshank's etching of my own sketch:
an aerial flapping machine, a sort of flying wheelbarrow, was some
twenty years ago exhibited at Kensington: whilst in the _Daily
Telegraph_ for July 10, 1874, you will find recorded the untimely death
of one M. de Groof, the Flying Man, who unhappily perished at Cremorne
after a successful flight of 5000 feet. All these are on record.

Extract from Proverbial Philosophy (Series iv. p. 375).

    _Of Change and Travel._

    "All of us have within us the wandering Crusoe spirit;
    We come of Norse sea-rovers, and adventurers full of hope:
    And man was bade to tame his earth, to rule it and subdue it,--
    Whereby our feet-soles tingle at an untrod Alpine peak--
    But shall we not fly anon with wings, to shame these creeping paces,
    Even as steam hath worked all speed on land and sea before?
    Is not this firmament of air part of the human heritage,
    Which man must conquer duteously, as first his Maker willed?
    There needeth but a lighter gas, well-tutored to our skill,
    The springing spirit to some shape of delicate steel and silk,--
    A bird-like frame of Daedalus, and gummed Icarian plumes,
    Ancient inventions, long forgotten, to be found anew!
    When shall the chemist mix aright this rarer lifting essence
    To make the lord of earth but equal to his many sparrows?
    When will discovery help us to such conquest of the air,
    And teach us swifter travel than our creeps by land and water?"

And finally from my "Three Hundred Sonnets" hear Sonnet No. 189--

    "_Spirit._"

    "Throw me from this tall cliff,--my wings are strong,
      The hurricane is raging fierce and high,
    My spirit pants, and all in heat I long
      To fly right upward to a purer sky,
      And spurn the clouds beneath me rolling by;
        Lo thus, into the buoyant air I leap
    Confident and exulting, at a bound
        Swifter than whirlwinds happily to sweep
    On fiery wing the reeling world around:
      Off with my fetters!--who shall hold me back?
      My path lies there,--the lightning's sudden track
        O'er the blue concave of the fathomless deep,--
      O that I thus could conquer space and time,
      Soaring above this world in strength sublime!"



CHAPTER XLVIII.

LUTHER.


I gave a second lecture, one on Luther, at the same place, and on the
like solicitation of Mr. Le Fevre, President of the Balloon Society; the
date being November 9, 1883.

Of this lecture, not to be tedious, I will here give only the
peroration.

"And now, in conclusion, let us answer these reasonable questions: What
has Martin Luther done and suffered that we at this distant interval of
four centuries should reverence his memory with gratitude and
admiration? What was the lifework he was raised up to do, and how did he
do it? and what influence have his labours of old on the times in which
we live?--We must remember that in the sixteenth century priestcraft had
culminated to its rankest height of fraud, cruelty, vice, and
superstition: the lay-folk everywhere were its serfs and victims, not to
mention also numbers of the worthier clerics who hated but could, not
break their bonds. Luther was the solitary champion to head and lead
both the remonstrant layman and the better sort of monk up to the then
well-nigh forlorn hope of combating Antichrist in his stronghold: Luther
broke those chains for ever off the necks of groaning nations,--freeing
to this day from that bitter bondage not alone Germany, Sweden, France,
and England, but the very ends of the earth from America to China:
without the energies of Luther nearly four hundred years ago, and the
living spirit of Luther working in us now, we should be still in our own
persons adding to the Book of Martyrs in the flames of the Inquisition,
still immersed in blankest ignorance, with the Bible everywhere
forbidden, and scientific research condemned, still cringing slaves at
the feet of confessors who fraudulently sell absolution for money, still
both spiritually and politically the mean vassals of an Italian priest
instead of brave freemen under our English Queen. Luther relit the
well-nigh, extinguished lamp of true religion, and it shines for him all
the more gloriously to this hour: Luther refreshed the gospel salt that
had through corruption lost its savour, until now it is more antiseptic
than ever as the cure of evil, more purifying than ever as the quickener
of good: Luther, under God's good grace and providence, has rescued the
conscience and reason of our whole race from the thraldom of
self-elected spiritual despots, who worked upon the superstitious fears
of men as to another-world in order to strengthen their own power in
this: Luther, for the result of his great labours, is more to us now
than ever was the fabulous Hercules of old,--for he has cleansed the
real Augæan stable,--more than any mythical William Tell,--for he has
ensured the boon of everlasting liberty, more to us than a whole army of
so-called heroes in conquest, patriotism, or even local
philanthropy,--for the enemies he fought and vanquished were our
spiritual foes,--the country he opened to us is the heavenly one,--the
good-doing, he inaugurated is wide as the world, and shines an electric
universal threefold light of faith, hope, and charity."

    _Luther._

    _Written by request, for the four-hundredth anniversary of his
    birth._

    "Martin Luther! deathless name,
    Noblest on the scroll of Fame,
    Solitary monk,--that shook
    All the world by God's own book;
    Antichrist's Davidian foe,
    Strong to lay Goliath low,
    Thee, in thy four-hundredth year,
    Gladly we remember here.

    "How, without thy forceful mind,
    Now had fared all human kind,--
    Curst and scorch'd and chain'd by Rome,
    In each heart of hearth and home?
    But for thee, and thy grand hour,
    German light, and British power,
    With Columbia's faith and hope,
    All were crush'd beneath the Pope!

    "God be thank'd for this bright morn,
    When Eisleben's babe was born!
    For the pious peasant's son,
    Liberty's great fight hath won,--
    When at Wittenberg he stood
    All alone for God and good,
    And his Bible flew unfurl'd,
    Flag of freedom to the world!"

The Reverend E. Bullinger set this to excellent music; and it was
translated for Continental use into German, French, Swedish, and
Hungarian in the same metre.

As quite a cognate subject here shall be added my ballad on Wycliffe,
also written by request:--

    _Wycliffe._

    "Distant beacon on the night
      Full five centuries ago,--
    Harbinger of Luther's light,
      Now four hundred years aglow,--
    Priest of Lutterworth we see
    All of Luther-worth in thee!

    "Lo, the wondrous parallel,--
      Both gave Bibles to their land;
    While, the rage of Rome to quell,
      Princes stood on either hand,
    John of Gaunt, and Saxon John,
    Cheered each bold confessor on.

    "Both are rescuers of souls,
      Cleansing those Augæan styes--
    Superstition's hiding holes,
      Nunneries and monkeries;
    Both gave liberty to men,
    Bearding lions in their den!

    "Wycliffe, Luther! glorious pair,
      Great Twin Brethren of mankind;
    Conscience was your guide and care,
      Purifying heart and mind;
    Both before your judges stood,
    'Here I stand, for God and good.'

    "Each had liv'd a martyr's life,
      Still protesting for the faith;
    Yet amid that fiery strife,
      Each escap'd the martyr's death;
    Rescued from the fangs of Rome,
    Both died peacefully at home."



CHAPTER XLIX.

FINAL.


A few last words as to sundry life-experiences. Whether we notice it or
not, we are guided and guarded and led on through many changes and
chances to the gates of death in a marvellously predestined manner; if
we pray about everything, we shall see and know that, as Pope says,

    "In spite of wrong, in erring reason's spite,
    One truth is clear, whatever is, is right;"

and the trustful assurance that the highest wisdom and mercy and power
orders all things will give us comfort under whatever circumstances. I
believe in prayer as the universal panacea, philosophically as well as
devoutly; and that "walking with God" is our highest wisdom as well as
our deepest comfort.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let no man think that a sick-bed is the best place to repent in. When
the brain is clouded by bodily ailment there is neither capacity nor
even will to mend matters; a man is at the best then tired, lazy, and
dull, but if there is pain too all is worse. Listen to one of my old
sonnets, and take its good advice:--

    "Delay not, sinner, till the hour of pain
      To seek repentance: pain is absolute,
    Exacting all the body, all the brain,
      Humanity's stern king from head to foot:
      How canst thou pray, while fever'd arrows shoot
        Through this torn targe,--while every bone doth ache,
          And the soared mind raves up and down her cell
        Restless, and begging rest for mercy's sake?
          Add not to death the bitter fear of hell;
        Take pity on thy future self, poor man,
        While yet in strength thy timely wisdom can;
          Wrestle to-day with sin; and spare that strife
        Of meeting all its terrors in the van
          Just at the ebbing agony of life."

I have great faith in first impressions of intuitive liking or
disliking. Second thoughts are by no means best always nor even often.
Charity sometimes tries to induce, one to think better of such a person
or such a situation than a first feeling shrinks from,--but it won't do
for long: the man or the place will continue to be distasteful. My
spirit apprehends instinctively the right and the true; and through life
I have relied on intuitions; which some have called a rashness,
recommending colder cautions; but these latter have seldom paid their
way. A country parson was right in his diagnosis of Iscariot's character
as that of "a low mean fellow;" and he judged reasonably that all the
patient kindliness of One who strove to make such His "own familiar
friend" was so much charity almost thrown away, except indeed as to
spiritual improvement of the charitable.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is right that in a book of self-revelations, like this genuine
autobiography, some special recognition should be made before its close
of gratitude to the Great Giver of all good, and of the spiritual
longings of His penitent. These feelings I prefer to show after the
author's poetic custom in verse. Let the first be a trilogy of
unpublished sonnets lately written on

    _What We Shall Be._

    I.

    "We--all and each--have faculties and powers
      Here undeveloped, lying deep within,
      Crush'd by the weight of circumstance and sin;
    Latent, as germs conceal their hidden flowers,
    Till some new clime, with genial suns and showers
      Give them the force consummate life to win:
    Even so we, poor prisoners of Time,
      Victims of others' evil and our own,
    Cannot expand in this tempestuous clime,
      But full of excellences in us sown,
      Must wait that better life, and there, full blown,
    In spiritual perfectness sublime
      The prizes of our nature we shall gain,
      Which now we struggle for in vain--in vain!"

    II.

    "Who does not feel within him he could be
      Anything, everything, of great and good?
      That, give him but the chance, he could and would
    Soar on the wings of triumph strong and free?
    And think not this is vanity, for he,
      If one of Glory's heirs, is of the band
      'I said that ye are gods!'--on this we stand
        Through the eternal ages infinite,
        Growing like Christ in hope and love and light
    As grafted into Him: there shall we see,
      And know as we are known; no hindrance then
        Shall bind our wings, or shut our eyes or ears;
        Led upward, onward, through ten million years,
      We shall expand in spirit,--but still be Men."

    III.

    "Each hath his specialty; we see in some
      Music or painting, eloquence or skill,
      With, or without, an effort of the will,
    As by spontaneous inspiration come
      Ev'n in this mingled crowd of good and ill,
    To make us hail a Wonder:--but Elsewhere
      Without or let or hindrance we shall use
    Forces neglected here, but nurtured there;
      Till all the powers of every classic Muse,
      Ninefold, may dwell in each--as each may choose:
        Since Heaven for creatures must have creature gifts,
    Not only love, religion, gratitude,
        But also light, and every force that lifts
    Man's spirit to the heights of Great and Good."

For a second take my recent open protest against the pestilential
atheism so rife in our midst:--

    I.

    "My Father! everpresent, everwise, and everkind,--
    The Life that pulses at my heart, the Light within my mind,--
    My Maker, Guardian, Guide, and God, my never-failing Friend,
    Who hitherto hast blest me, and wilt bless me to the end,--
    How should I not acknowledge Thee in all my words and ways,
    And bring my doubts to Thee in prayer, the prayer that turns to
        praise?
    How can I cease to trust Thee, who hast guided me so long,
    And been from earliest childhood to old age my strength and song?

    II.

    "My Father! Great Triunity! For Thou art One in Three,
    The mystery of mysteries, a threefold joy to me,--
    What deep delight to dwell upon the philosophic plan
    Of Thy divine self-sacrifice in God becoming man,
    And taking on Thyself in Christ the sins and woes of all
    Redeemed to higher glory from the ruin of their fall,
    As humbled and enlightened and enlivened into love,
    By the Pure Spirit of sweet peace, the-heart-indwelling Dove!

    III.

    "My Father, Abba, Father! For Thou callest me Thy child,
    As in Thy holy Jesus and Good Spirit reconciled,--
    O Father, in this evil day when atheism is found
    Dropping its poison seeds about in all our fallow-ground,
    Shall I keep coward silence, and ungenerously forget
    The Friend that hitherto hath helped me--and shall help me yet?
    Shall unbelief, all unabashed, proclaim that God is Not,--
    Nor faith with honest zeal be quick this hideous lie to blot?

    IV.

    "Ho! Christian soldier,--to the front! and boldly speak aloud
    The dear old truths denied by yonder Sadducean crowd,--
    That every inch and every instant we are guided well
    By Him who made, and loved, and loves us more than tongue can tell;
    That, though there be dread mysteries of cruelty and crime,
    And marvellous long-suffering patience with these wrongs of time,
    Still, wait a little longer, and we soon shall know the cause
    For every seeming error in the Ruler's righteous laws!

    V.

    "A little longer, and our faith and hope and works of love
    Shall reap munificent reward in those blest orbs above,
    Where He (who being God of old became our brother here)
    Shall welcome us and speed us on' from glorious sphere to sphere,
    Until before His Father's throne the Spirit with the Son
    Shall give to every Christian then the crown his Lord hath won;
    And through the ages in all worlds our wondrous ransomed race
    Shall bless the Universal King of Providence and Grace!"

For a third, my testimony as to the wonders that surround us: I have
called this poem The Infinities.

    I.

    "Lift up your eyes to yon star-jewelled sky,
    Gaze on that firmament caverned on high,--
    Marvellous universe, infinite space,
    Studded with suns in fixt order and place,
    Each with its system of planets unseen,
    Meshed in their orbits by comets between,
    Worlds that are vaster than mind may believe,
    Whirling more swiftly than thought can conceive,
    O ye immensities! Who shall declare
    The glory of God in His galaxies there?

    II.

    "Look too on this poor planet of ours,
    Torn by the storms of mysterious powers,
    Evil contending with good from its birth,
    Wrenching in battle the heartstrings of earth,--
    Ah! what infinities circle us here,
    Strangeness and wonderment swathing the sphere!
    Providence ruleth with care most minute,
    Yet is fell cruelty torturing the mute,
    Infinite marvels of wrong and of right,
    Blessing and blasting each day and each night.

    III.

    "All things in mystery; riddles unread;
    Nothing but dimness of guesses instead;
    Only beginning, where none see the end,
    Nor where these infinite energies tend;
    Saving that chrysalis-creatures are we,
    Till we grow wings in that æon-to-be!
    Everything infinite: Nature, and Art,
    The schemes of man's mind, and the throbs of his heart;
    Infinite cravings for better, and best,
    Tempered by infinite longings for rest.

    IV.

    "Then, as the telescope's miracle drew
    Infinite Heaven's vast worlds into view,
    So doth the microscope's marvel display
    Infinite atomies, wondrous as they!
    A mere drop of water, a bubble of air,
    Teems with perfections of littleness there;
    Infinite wisdom in exquisite works
    All but invisible everywhere lurks,
    While we confess as in great so in small,
    Infinite skill in the Maker of all.

    V.

    "And there be grander infinities still,
    Where, in Emmanuel, good has quench'd ill;
    Infinite humbleness, highest and first,
    Choosing the doom of the lowest and worst;
    Infinite pity, and patience,--how long?
    Infinite justice, avenging all wrong,
    Infinite purity, wisdom, and skill,
    Bettering good through each effort of ill,
    Infinite beauty and infinite love,
    Shining around and beneath and above!"

And let this simple hymn be the old man's last prayer, bridging over the
long interval of well-nigh fourscore years between cradle and grave with
a child's first piety:--

    _Love and Life._

    "'My son, give Me thine heart;'
      Yes, Abba, Father, yes!
    Perfect in goodness as Thou art,
      I will not give Thee less.

    "But I am dark and dead,
      And need Thy grace to live;
    Father, on me Thy Spirit shed,
      To me that sunshine give!

    "Thus only can I say
      When Thou dost ask my love,
    I will return in earth's poor way
      Thy gift from heaven above.

    "There is no good in me
      But droppeth from on high,
    Then quicken me with life from Thee,
      That I may never die.

    "For if I am a son--
      O grace beyond compare!--
    A child of God, with Jesus one,
      In Him I stand an heir;

    "In Him I live and move,
      And only so can give
    An immortality of love,
      To Thee by whom I live.

    "Then melt this heart of stone,
      And grant the heart of flesh,
    That all I am may be Thine own,
      Renewed to love afresh."

About the much-vexed question of Eschatology and the final state of the
dead, I have long since grown to the happy doctrine of Eternal
Hope--ultimately for all; perhaps even siding with Burns, who (as the
only logical way of eliminating evil) gives a chance to the "puir Deil:"
albeit the path for some must be through the terrible Gehenna of fire to
purify, and with few stripes or many to satisfy conscience and evoke
character. As for that text in Ecclesiastes about the "tree lying where
it fell," commonly supposed to prove an unchanging state for ever,--it
is obvious to answer that when a tree _is_ cut down, its final course of
usefulness only then _begins_, by being sawn up and converted into
furniture; much as when a human being's work here is finished, he is
taken hence to be utilised elsewhere. Everlasting progress is the law of
our existence, whether here or elsewhere,--no stopping, far less
annihilation. And then the character of our Maker is Love, this Love
having satisfied Justice by self-sacrifice, and nothing is more
reiterated in the Psalms than that "His mercy endureth for ever;" which
cannot be true if bodies and spirits--even of the wicked--are to be
condemned by Him to endless torment. Adequate punishment, and that for
the wretched creature's own improvement, is only in accordance with the
voice of reason, and the voice of inspired wisdom too; for though our
Lord Christ warns against a fearful retribution (involved in the phrase
of "the undying worm and the unquenchable fire," as He was looking over
the wall of Jerusalem into Tophet and the valley of Hinnom where the
offal from the thousands of sacrifices was perpetually rotting and being
burned, so taking his parable from an incident, as usual)--He yet "went
and preached after death to the spirits in prison," probably to those
who were then enduring some such purgatorial punishment. After all, this
sentence of King Solomon as to a fallen tree, so often misapplied, is
not one of the higher forms of inspiration; even St. Paul qualifies his
own sometimes; and there are several disputable texts in Proverbs: and,
if taken literally for exposition, we all must admit that the felling,
of a tree is the immediate precursor to its further life of usefulness.
Let us, then, rationally hope that the dead in Christ will be improved
from good to better and best; and that even those who have failed to
live for Him in this world may by some purifying education in the next
come finally to the happy far-off end of being saved by Him at last.

The words everlasting and forever are continually used in Scripture to
indicate a long time,--not necessarily an eternity (see Cruden for many
proofs). Moreover, if all hope of improvement ends with this life (a
doctrine in which such extremes as Atheism and Calvinism strangely
agree), what becomes of all the commonest forms of humanity, its
intermediate failures, too bad for a heaven and too good for a hell; to
say less of insane, idiotic, and other helpless creatures; and the
millions of the untaught in Christendom, who never have had a chance,
and billions of the Heathen brutalised through the ages by birth and
evil custom? Yes; for all there must be in the near hereafter continuous
new chances of improvement and hopes of better life.

There is one poem in the volume superadded to my Dramatics which I will
introduce here, as it is quite a _tour de force_ in its way of double
rhyming throughout, and has, moreover, excellent moral uses: so I wish
it read more widely.

    _Behind the Veil._

    "Mysteries! crowding around us,
    How ye perplex and confound us,--
    Each our ignorance screening
    Hidden in words without meaning!

    "Who knoweth aught that is certain
    Veil'd behind mystery's curtain?
    Seeing the wisest of guesses
    Foolishness only expresses.

    "Ancestry? ruthlessly moulding
    Bodies and souls in unfolding;
    How such a mixture confuses
    Judgment's indulgent excuses,--

    "While the derivative nature,
    Still a responsible creature,
    Yields individual merits,
    Biassed by what it inherits.

    "Circumstance? mighty to fashion
    Instant occasion for passion,
    Gripping with clutch of a bandit
    Weakness too weak to withstand it,--

    "What? shall it mar me or make me?
    Neither, till faith shall forsake me--
    For, with good courage to nerve me,
    Circumstance only can serve me!

    "Destiny? doth it then seem so?
    Or can the will we esteem so,
    Change the decree at a bidding,
    Us of that destiny ridding,--

    "If with no fatalist weakness,
    Battling in boldness and meekness,
    We are determined to master
    Every defeat and disaster?

    "Providence? ordering all things,
    Both of the great and the small things,
    Equally each of us guiding,
    Guarding, destroying, providing,--

    "Fixt, beyond human forecasting,
    Both as to blessing and blasting,--
    Yet, though we darkly discern Him,
    Quick'ning the prayer that may turn Him!

    "Evil?--O direst enigma,
    Whispered and terrible stigma
    By fools to the Good One imputed,
    As if everlastingly rooted!

    "How so? shall wrong to no ending
    Still with the Right be contending?
    Must not the bitterest leaven
    Melt in the mercy of Heaven?

    "Or can old Baal, the sun-god,
    Boast there are two gods, not one god,
    Satan, the rebel infernal,
    Regent with Christ the Supernal?

    "Come, blessed end, through the ages,
    When no more wickedness rages,
    When no iniquity hinders,
    But sin is burnt down to its cinders!--

    "Cruelties?--somehow permitted,--
    With its mute victims unpitied,
    Tortured in nature's defiance
    On the false pretext of science,--

    "Shall not some æon of gladness,
    Balance the throes of pain-madness,--
    Must not the crime of the cruel
    Burn into souls as its fuel?

    "Never can wisdom's creation
    Be stultified annihilation,
    But every poor unit that liveth
    Shall live in the life that He giveth,--

    "Yea, for that æon of glory,
    Revealed in millennial story,
    When earth with beatified features,
    Shines the new Heaven of creatures.

    "Death? Is it all things, or nothing?
    Either the Spirit unclothing
    Unto new living for ever,--
    Or the dread penalty--never!

    "Death,--if thou art but the portal,
    Leading to glories immortal,
    Why should we tremble to near thee,
    How be the cowards to fear thee,

    "Since the worlds blazing above us,
    Peopled by angels who love us,
    Stand our fatherly mansions,
    Fitted for spirits' expansions?

    "Where are the dead? and what doing?
    Still their old trifles pursuing?
    Or in the trance of a slumber,
    Crowded by dreams without number?--

    "Dreams of unspeakable sadness,
    Breams of ineffable gladness,--
    As the quick conscience remembers
    Evil and good in their embers,--

    "As it lives over in quiet,
    Time and its orgies of riot,
    Or the good gifts and good graces,
    Bright'ning its happier phases,--

    "As it sees photograph'd clearly,
    Crystalised sharply and nearly,
    Life and its million transactions,
    Fancies and feelings and factions,--

    "Every prayer ever uttered,
    Every curse ever muttered,
    All the man's lowest and highest,--
    These are thyself, when thou diest!

    "Filling thee, after thy measure,
    From the full river of pleasure,
    Or, as the fruit of thy sowing,
    Pangs of remorse ever growing,--

    "In thee all Heaven upspringing,
    Or its dread opposite flinging
    Blackness and darkness about thee,--
    Both are within, not without thee!

    "Yet,--in that darkness, we grope for
    Somewhat far off, yet to hope for,
    That through some future repentance,
    Justice may soften its sentence.

    "Ere from the dead He had risen,
    'He preached to the spirits in prison,'--
    Is this a text that His aid is
    Still to be hoped for in Hades?

    "'Wrath may endure for a season,'
    Both in religion and reason,--
    But if its end must be never,
    Where is His mercy for ever'?

    "Ay,--after long retribution,
    Mercy may drag from pollution
    Souls that have suffered for ages,
    Working out sin's bitter wages,--

    "So that the end shall be glorious,
    Good over evil victorious,
    And this black sin-night of sorrow,
    Blaze into gladness to-morrow!"

And so I make an end of this autobiography, with the humble prayer that
I may have grace given to finish my course in this life usefully and
with honour, at peace with God and man; mindful of that caution of
Tellus, the Athenian, as recorded by Herodotus, "not to judge any man
happy until he is dead;"--the Christian adds, "and is alive again!"

Let me conclude with some noble lines of Ovid in his Epilogue to the
Metamorphoses, which I have Englished below:--

    "Jamque opus exegi: quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignes,
    Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
    Cum volet illa dies, quæ nil nisi corporis hujus
    Jus habet, incerti spatium mihi finiat ævi,--
    Parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis
    Astra ferar: nomenque erit indelebile nostrum.
    Quaque patet domitis Romana potentia terris,
    Ore legar populi; perque omnia sæcula famâ
    Si quid habent veri vatum præsagia VIVAM."

    "Now have I done my work: which not Jove's ire
    Can make undone, nor sword nor time nor fire.
    Whene'er that day, whose only powers extend
    Against this body, my brief life shall end,
    Still in my better portion evermore
    Above the stars undying shall I soar.
    My name shall never die; but through all time
    Whenever Rome shall reach a conquer'd clime,
    There, in that people's tongue, shall this my page
    Be read and glorified from age to age:--
    Yea, if the bodings of my spirit give
    True note of inspiration, I shall live!"

THE END.



Transcriber's Notes

Page 44: added closing parenthesis after "contempt]!"
Page 296: added closing parenthesis after "patriotic but peculiar"
Page 297: removed opening parenthesis after "Rifledom--were once to a
  comma"





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