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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early
Journals.)



  Transcribers note:
  The letter o appears in this text with a macron and
  a breve above it. They have been rendered as [=o]
  and [)o] respectively.



                    BLACKWOOD'S
                EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

       *       *       *       *       *

  No. CCCLXXXIV.     OCTOBER, 1847.     VOL. LXII.

       *       *       *       *       *



  CONTENTS


  HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
    The Emperors New Clothes
  THE VISION OF CAGLIOSTRO
    Tiberius
    Agrippa
    Milton
    Mirabeau
    Beethoven
  MAGA IN AMERICA
  THE TIMES OF GEORGE II
  ART IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN AGES
  THE PORTRAIT
    Chapter I
    Chapter II
  HOUNDS AND HORSES AT ROME
    English Kennel
    The Steeple-chase
    Roman Dogs
  SONG
  MY FRIEND THE DUTCHMAN



WORKS OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.[1]


If our readers have perchance stumbled upon a novel called "The
Improvisatore" by one HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, a Dane by birth, they
have probably regarded it in the light merely of a foreign importation
to assist in supplying the enormous annual consumption of our
circulating libraries, which devour books as fast as our mills do raw
cotton;--with some difference, perhaps, in the result, for the material
can rarely be said to be worked up into any thing like substantial
raiment for body or mind, but seems to disappear altogether in the
process. As the demand, here, exceeds all ordinary means of supply, they
may have been glad to see that our trade with the North is likely to be
beneficial to us, in this our intellectual need. Its books may not be so
durable as its timber, nor so substantial as its oxen, but then they are
articles of faster growth, and of easier transportation. To free-trade
in these productions of the literary soil, not the most jealous
protectionist will object; and they have, perhaps, been amused to
observe how the mere circumstance of a foreign origin has given a cheap
repute, and the essential charm of novelty, to materials which in
themselves were neither good nor rare. The popular prejudice deals very
differently with foreign oxen and foreign books; for, whereas an
Englishman has great difficulty in believing that good beef can possibly
be produced from any pastures but his own, and the outlandish beast is
always looked upon with more or less suspicion, he has, on the contrary,
a highly liberal prejudice in favour of the book from foreign parts; and
nonsense of many kinds, and the most tasteless extravagancies, are
allowed to pass unchallenged and unreproved, by the aid of a German, or
French, or Danish title-page.

Nay, the eye is sometimes tasked to discover extraordinary beauty, where
there is nothing but extraordinary blemish. Where the shrewd translator
had veiled some absurdity or rashness of his author, the more profound
reader has been known to detect a meaning and a charm, which "the
English language had failed adequately to convey;" and he has, perhaps,
shown a sovereign contempt for "the bungling translator," at the very
time when that discreet workman had most displayed his skill and
judgment. The idea has sometimes occurred to us--Suppose one of these
foreign books were suddenly proved to be of genuine home
production--suppose the German, or the Dane, or the Frenchman, were
discovered to be a fictitious personage, and all the genius, or all the
rant, to have really emanated from the English gentleman, or lady, who
had merely professed to translate--presto! how the book would instantly
change colours! What a reverse of judgment would there be! What secret
_misgivings_ would now be detected and proclaimed! What sudden
outpourings of epithets by no means complimentary! How the boldness of
many a metaphor would be transformed into sheer impudence! How the
profundities would clear up, leaving only darkness behind! They were so
mysterious--and now, throw all the light of heaven upon them, and there
is nothing there but a blunder or a blot.

If our readers, we say, have fallen upon this, and other novels of
Andersen, they have probably passed them by as things belonging to the
literary _season_: they have been struck with some passages of vivid
description, with touches of genuine feeling, with traits of character
which, though imperfectly delineated, bore the impress of truth; but
they have pronounced them, on the whole, to be unfashioned things, but
half made up, constructed with no skill, informed by no clear spirit of
thought, and betraying a most undisciplined taste. Such, at least, was
the impression their first perusal left upon our mind. Notwithstanding
the glimpses of natural feeling and of truthful portraiture which caught
our eye, they were so evidently deficient in some of the higher
qualities which ought to distinguish a writer, and so defaced by
abortive attempts at fine writing, that they hardly appeared deserving
of a very critical examination, or a very careful study. But now there
has lately come into our hands the autobiography of Hans Christian
Andersen, "The True Story of my Life," and this has revealed to us so
curious an instance of intellectual cultivation, or rather of genius
exerting itself without any cultivation at all, and has reflected back
so strong a light, so vivid and so explanatory, on all his works, that
what we formerly read with a very mitigated admiration, with more of
censure than of praise, has been invested with quite a novel and
peculiar interest. Moreover, certain tales for children have also fallen
into our hands, some of which are admirable. We prophesy them an
immortality in the nursery--which is not the worst immortality a man can
Win--and doubt not but that they have already been read by children, or
told to children, in every language of Europe. Altogether Andersen, his
character and his works, have thus appeared to us a subject worthy of
some attention.

We insist upon coupling them together. We must be allowed to abate
somewhat of the austerity of criticism by a reference to the life of the
author. We cannot implicitly follow the unconditioned admiration of Mrs
Howitt for "the beautiful thoughts of Andersen," which she tells us in
her preface to the Autobiography, "it is the most delightful of her
literary labours to translate." We must be excused if we think that the
mixture of praise and of puff, which the lady lavishes so
indiscriminately upon the author whose works she translates, is more
likely to display her own skill and dexterity in author-craft, than
permanently to enhance the fame of Andersen. In the works which Mrs
Howitt has translated, (with the exception of the Autobiography,) there
is a great proportion of most unquestionable trash, which, we should
imagine, it must be a great affliction to render into English.

It is curious, and perhaps necessary, to watch this new relationship
which has sprung up in the world of letters, between the original author
and his translator. A reciprocity of services is always amiable, and one
is glad to see society enriched by another bond of mutual amity. The
translator finds a profitable commodity in the genius of his author; the
author, a stanch champion in his foreign ally, who, notwithstanding his
community of interest, can still praise without blushing. Many good
results doubtless arise from this alliance, but an increased chance of
impartial criticism is not likely to be one of them.

When Andersen writes _for_ childhood or _of_ childhood, he is singularly
felicitous--fanciful, tender, and true to nature. This alone were
sufficient to separate him from the crowd of common writers. For the
rest of his works, if you will look at them kindly, and with a friendly
scrutiny, you will find many a natural sentiment vividly reflected. But
traces of the higher operations of the intellect, of deep or subtle
thought, of analytic power, of ratiocination of any kind, there is
absolutely none. If, therefore, his injudicious admirers should insist,
without any reference to his origin or culture, on extolling his
writings as works submitted, without apology or excuse, to the mature
judgment and formed taste--they can only peril the reputation they seek
to magnify. They will expose to ridicule and contempt one who, if you
allow him a place apart by himself, becomes a subject of kindly and
curious regard. If they insist upon his introduction, unprotected by the
peculiar circumstances which environ him--we do not say amongst the
literary magnates of his time, but even in the broad host of highly
cultivated minds, we lose sight of him, or we follow him with something
very much like a smile of derision.

We remember being told of a dexterous stratagem, by which a lady cured
her son of what she deemed an unworthy passion for a rustic beauty. We
tell the story--for it may not only afford us an illustration, but a
hint also to other perplexed mammas, who may find themselves in the like
predicament. She had argued, and of course in vain, against his
high-flown admiration of the village belle. She was a goddess! She would
become a throne! Apparently acquiescing in his matrimonial project, she
now professed her willingness to receive his bride-elect. Accordingly,
she sent her own milliner--mantua-maker--what you will,--to array her in
the complete toilette of a lady of fashion. The blushing damsel appeared
in the most elegant attire, and took her place in the maternal
drawing-room, amongst the sisters of the enraptured lover. Alas!
enraptured no more! The rustic beauty, where could it have flown? The
belle of the village was transformed into a very awkward young lady.
Goddess!--She was a simpleton. Become a throne!--She could not sit upon
a chair. The charm was broken. The application we need hardly make.
There may be certain uncultivated men of genius on whom it is possible
to practise a like malicious kindness.

We would rather preface our notice of the life and works of Andersen, by
a motto taken from our own countryman Blake, artist and poet, and a man
of somewhat kindred nature:--[2]

  "Piping down the valleys wild,
    Piping songs of pleasant glee,
  On a cloud I saw a child,
    And he laughing said to me--

  'Pipe a song about a lamb;'
    So I piped with merry cheer.
  'Piper, pipe that song again!--'
    So I piped--he wept to hear.

  'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
    Sing thy songs of happy cheer--'
  So I sang the same again,
    While he wept with joy to hear.

  'Piper, sit thee down and _write_,
    In a book that all may read.'
  Then he vanished from my sight;
    And I plucked a hollow reed,

  And I made a rural pen,
    And I stained the water clear,
  And I wrote my happy songs,
    Every child may joy to hear."

Such was the form under which the muse may be said to have visited and
inspired Andersen. He ought to have been exclusively the poet of
children and of childhood. He ought never to have seen, or dreamed, of
an Apollo six feet high, looking sublime, and sending forth dreadful
arrows from the far-resounding bow; he should have looked only to that
"child upon the cloud," or rather, he should have seen his little muse
as she walks upon the earth--we have her in Gainsborough's picture--with
her tattered petticoat, and her bare feet, and her broken pitcher, but
looking withal with such a sweet sad contentedness upon the world, that
surely, one thinks, she must have filled that pitcher and drawn the
water which she carries--without, however, knowing any thing of the
matter--from the very well where Truth lies hidden.

We should like to quote at once, before proceeding further, one of
Andersen's tales for children. We _will_ venture upon an extract. It
will at all events be new to our readers, and will be more likely to
interest them in the history of its author than any quotation we could
make from his more ambitious works. Besides, the story we select will
somewhat foreshadow the real history which follows.

A highly respectable matronly duck introduces into the poultry-yard a
brood which she has just hatched. She has had a deal of trouble with one
egg, much larger than the rest, and which after all produced a very
"ugly duck," who gives the name, and is the hero of the story.

     "'So, we are to have this tribe, too!' said the other ducks, 'as if
     there were not enough of us already! And only look how ugly one is!
     we won't suffer that one here.' And immediately a duck flew at it,
     and bit it in the neck.

     "'Let it alone,' said the mother; 'it does no one any harm.'

     "'Yes, but it is so large and strange looking, and therefore it
     must be teased.'

     "'These are fine children that the mother has!' said an old duck,
     who belonged to the noblesse, and wore a red rag round its leg.
     'All handsome, except one; it has not turned out well. I wish she
     could change it.'

     "'That can't be done, your grace,' said the mother; 'besides, if it
     is not exactly pretty, it is a sweet child, and swims as well as
     the others, even a little better. I think in growing it will
     improve. It was long in the egg, and that's the reason it is a
     little awkward.'

     "'The others are nice little things,' said the old duck: 'now make
     yourself quite at home here.'

     "And so they did. But the poor young duck that had come last out of
     the shell, and looked so ugly, was bitten, and pecked, and teased
     by ducks and fowls. 'It's so large!' said they all; and the
     turkey-cock, that had spurs on when he came into the world, and
     therefore fancied himself an emperor, strutted about like a ship
     under full sail, went straight up to it, gobbled, and got quite
     red. The poor little duck hardly knew where to go, or where to
     stand, it was so sorrowful because it was so ugly, and the ridicule
     of the whole poultry-yard.

     "Thus passed the first day, and afterwards it grew worse and worse.
     The poor duck was hunted about by every one; its brothers and
     sisters were cross to it, and always said, 'I wish the cat would
     get you, you frightful creature!' and even its mother said, 'Would
     you were far from here!' And the ducks bit it, and the hens pecked
     at it, and the girl that fed the poultry kicked it with her foot.
     So it ran and flew over the hedge.

     "On it ran. At last it came to a great moor where wild-ducks lived;
     here it lay the whole night, and was so tired and melancholy. In
     the morning up flew the wild-ducks, and saw their new comrade; 'Who
     are you?' asked they; and our little duck turned on every side, and
     bowed as well as it could. 'But you are tremendously ugly!' said
     the wild-ducks. 'However, that is of no consequence to us, if you
     don't marry into our family.' The poor thing! It certainly never
     thought of marrying; it only wanted permission to lie among the
     reeds, and to drink the water of the marsh.

     "'Bang! bang!' was heard at this moment, and several wild-ducks lay
     dead amongst the reeds, and the water was as red as blood. There
     was a great shooting excursion. The sportsmen lay all round the
     moor; and the blue smoke floated like a cloud through the dark
     trees, and sank down to the very water; and the dogs spattered
     about in the marsh--splash! splash! reeds and rushes were waving on
     all sides; it was a terrible fright for the poor duck.

     "At last all was quiet; but the poor little thing did not yet dare
     to lift up its head; it waited many hours before it looked round,
     and then hastened away from the moor as quickly as possible. It ran
     over the fields and meadows, and there was such a wind that it
     could hardly get along.

     "Towards evening, the duck reached a little hut. Here dwelt an old
     woman with her tom-cat and her hen; and the cat could put up its
     back and purr, and the hen could lay eggs, and the old woman loved
     them both as her very children. For certain reasons of her own, she
     let the duck in to live with them.

     "Now the tom-cat was master in the house, and the hen was mistress;
     and they always said, 'We and the world.' That the duck should
     have any opinion of its own, they never would allow.

     "'Can you lay eggs?' asked the hen.

     "'No!'

     "'Well, then, hold your tongue.'

     "Can you put up your back and purr?' said the tom-cat.

     "'No.'

     "'Well, then, you ought to have no opinion of your own, where
     sensible people are speaking.'

     "And the duck sat in the corner, and was very sad; when suddenly it
     took it into its head to think of the fresh air and the sunshine;
     and it had such an inordinate longing to swim on the water, that it
     could not help telling the hen of it.

     "'What next, I wonder!' said the hen, 'you have nothing to do, and
     so you sit brooding over such fancies. Lay eggs, or purr, and
     you'll forget them.'

     "'But it is so delightful to swim on the water!' said the duck--'so
     delightful when it dashes over one's head, and one dives down to
     the very bottom.'

     "'Well, that must be a fine pleasure!' said the hen. 'You are
     crazy, I think. Ask the cat, who is the cleverest man I know, if he
     would like to swim on the water, or perhaps to dive, to say nothing
     of myself. Ask our mistress, the old lady, and there is no one in
     the world cleverer than she is; do you think that she would much
     like to swim on the water, and for the water to dash over her
     head?'

     "'You don't understand me,' said the duck.

     "'Understand, indeed! If we don't understand you, who should? I
     suppose you won't pretend to be cleverer than the tom-cat, or our
     mistress, to say nothing of myself? Don't behave in that way,
     child; but be thankful for all the kindness that has been shown
     you. Have you not got into a warm room, and have you not the
     society of persons from whom something is to be learnt? But you are
     a blockhead, and it is tiresome to have to do with you. You may
     believe what I say; I am well disposed towards you; I tell you what
     is disagreeable, and it is by that one recognises one's true
     friends.'

     "'I think I shall go into the wide world,' said the duckling.

     "'Well then, go!' answered the hen.

     "And so the duck went. It swam on the water, it dived down; but was
     disregarded by every animal on account of its ugliness.

     "One evening--the sun was setting most magnificently--there came a
     whole flock of large beautiful birds out of the bushes; never had
     the duck seen any thing so beautiful. They were of a brilliant
     white, with long slender necks: they were swans. They uttered a
     strange note, spread their superb long wings, and flew away from
     the cold countries (for the winter was setting in) to warmer lands
     and unfrozen lakes. They mounted so high, so very high! The little
     ugly duck felt indescribably--it turned round in the water like a
     mill-wheel, stretched out its neck towards them, and uttered a cry
     so loud and strange that it was afraid even of itself. Oh, the
     beautiful birds! the happy birds! it could not forget them; and
     when it could see them no longer, it dived down to the very bottom
     of the water; and when it came up again it was quite beside itself.

     "And now it became so cold! But it would be too sad to relate all
     the suffering and misery which the duckling had to endure through
     the hard winter. It lay on the moor in the rushes. But when the sun
     began to shine again more warmly, when the larks sang, and the
     lovely spring was come, then, all at once it spread out its wings,
     and rose in the air. They made a rushing noise louder than
     formerly, and bore it onwards more vigorously; and before it was
     well aware of it, it found itself in a garden, where the
     apple-trees were in blossom, and where the syringas sent forth
     their fragrance, and their long green branches hung down in the
     clear stream. Just then three beautiful white swans came out of the
     thicket. They rustled their feathers, and swam on the water so
     lightly--oh! so very lightly! The duckling knew the superb
     creatures, and was seized with a strange feeling of sadness.

     "'To them will I fly!' said it, 'to the royal birds. Though they
     kill me, I must fly to them!' And it flew into the water, and swam
     to the magnificent birds, that looked at, and with rustling plumes,
     sailed towards it.

     "'Kill me!' said the poor creature, and bowed down its head to the
     water, and awaited death. But what did it see in the water? It saw
     beneath it its own likeness; but no longer that of an awkward
     grayish bird, ugly and displeasing--it was the figure of a swan.

     "It is of no consequence being born in a farm-yard, if only it is
     in a swan's egg.

     "The large swans swam beside it, and stroked it with their bills.
     There were little children running about in the garden; they threw
     bread into the water, and the youngest cried out, 'There is a new
     one!' And the other children shouted too; 'Yes, a new one is
     come!'--and they clapped their hands and danced, and ran to tell
     their father and mother. And they threw bread and cake into the
     water; and every one said, 'The new one is the best! so young, and
     so beautiful!'

     "Then the young one felt quite ashamed, and hid its head under its
     wing; it knew not what to do: it was too happy, but yet not
     proud--for a good heart is never proud. It remembered how it had
     been persecuted and derided, and now it heard all say it was the
     most beautiful of birds. And the syringas bent down their branches
     to it in the water, and the sun shone so lovely and so warm. Then
     it shook its plumes, the slender neck was lifted up, and, from its
     very heart, it cried rejoicingly--'Never dreamed I of such
     happiness when I was the little ugly duck!'"

It is not only in writing for children that our author succeeds; but
whenever childhood crosses his path, it calls up a true pathos, and the
playful tenderness of his nature. The commencement of his serious
novels, where he treats of the infancy and boyhood of his heroes, is
always interesting. Amongst the translated works of Andersen is one
entitled "A Picture-Book without Pictures." The author describes himself
as inhabiting a solitary garret in a large town, where no one knew him,
and no friendly face greeted him. One evening, however, he stands at the
open casement, and suddenly beholds "the face of an old friend--a round,
kind face, looking down on him. It was the moon--the dear old moon! with
the same unaltered gleam, just as she appeared when, through the
branches of the willows, she used to shine upon him as he sat on the
mossy bank beside the river." The moon becomes very sociable, and breaks
that long silence which poets have so often celebrated--breaks it, we
must confess, to very little purpose. "Sketch what I relate to you,"
says the moon, "and you will have a pretty picture-book." And
accordingly, every visit, she tells him "of one thing or another that
she has seen during the past night." One would think that such a
sketch-book, or album, as we have here, might easily have been put
together without calling in the aid of so sublime a personage. But
amongst the pictures that are presented to us, two or three, where the
moon has had her eye upon children in their sports or their distresses,
took hold of our fancy. Here Andersen is immediately at home. We give
one short extract.

     "It was but yesternight (said the moon) that I peeped into a small
     court-yard, enclosed by houses: there was a hen with eleven
     chickens. A pretty little girl was skipping about. The hen chicked,
     and, affrighted, spread out her wings over her little ones. Then
     came the maiden's father, and chid the child; and I passed on,
     without thinking more of it at the moment.

     "This evening--but a few minutes ago--I again peeped into the same
     yard. All was silent; but soon the little maiden came. She crept
     cautiously to the hen-house, lifted the latch, and stole gently up
     to the hen and the chickens. The hen chicked aloud, and they all
     ran fluttering about: the little girl ran after them. I saw it
     plainly, for I peeped in through a chink in the wall. I was vexed
     with the naughty child, and was glad that the father came and
     scolded her still more than yesterday, and seized her by the arm.
     She bent her head back; big tears stood in her blue eyes. She wept.
     'I wanted to go in and kiss the hen, and beg her to forgive me for
     yesterday. But I could not tell it you.' And the father kissed the
     brow of the innocent child; and I kissed her eyes and her lips."

Our poet--we call him such, though we know nothing of his verses, for
whatever there is of merit in his writings is of the nature of
poetry--our poet of childhood and of poverty, was born at Odense, a town
of Funen, one of the green, beech-covered islands of Denmark. It bears
the name of the Scandinavian hero, or demigod, Odin; Tradition says he
lived there. The parents of Andersen were so poor that when they married
they had not wherewithal to purchase a bedstead, or at least thought it
advisable to make shift by constructing one out of the wooden tressels
which, a little time before, had supported the coffin of some
neighbouring count as he lay in state. It still retained a part of the
black cloth, and some of the funeral ornaments attached to it, when in
the year 1805 there lay upon it, not in any peculiar state, the solitary
fruit of their marriage--the little Hans Christian Andersen. He was a
crying infant, and when carried to the baptismal font, sorely vexed the
parson with his outcries. "Your young one screams like a cat!" said the
reverend official. The mother was hurt at this reflection upon her
offspring; but a prophetic god-papa, who stood by, consoled her by
saying, "that the louder he cried when a child, all the more beautifully
would he sing when he grew older."

Those who are disposed to trace a hereditary descent in mental
qualifications, will find an instance to their purpose in the case of
Andersen. His mother, we are told, was utterly ignorant of books and of
the world, "but possessed a heart full of love!" From her he may be said
to have derived a singular frankness and amiability of disposition--a
fond, open, affectionate temper. For the more intellectual qualities, by
which this temper, through the medium of authorship, was to become
patent to the world, he must have been indebted to his father. This poor
and hapless shoemaker (such was his trade) seems to have been a singular
person. To use a favourite phrase of Napoleon, "he had missed his
destiny." His parents had been country people of some substance, but
misfortune falling upon misfortune had reduced them to poverty. Finally,
the father had become insane; the mother had been glad to obtain a
menial situation in the very asylum where her husband was confined; and
there was nothing better to be done for the son than to apprentice him
to a shoemaker. Some talk there was amongst the neighbours of raising a
subscription to send him to the grammar-school, and thus give him a
start in life; but it never went beyond talk. A shoemaker he became. But
to the leather and the last he never took kindly. He would read what
books he could get--Holberg's plays and the Bible--and ponder over them.
At first he would make his wife a sharer in his reflections, but as she,
good woman, never understood a word of what he said, he learned to
meditate in silence. On Sundays he would go out into the woods
accompanied only by his child; then he would sit down, sunk in
abstraction and solitary thought, while young Hans gathered flowers or
wild strawberries. "I recollect," says the son, in his Autobiography,
"that once, as a child, I saw tears in his eyes; and it was when a youth
from the grammar-school came to our house to be measured for a new pair
of boots, and showed us his books, and told us what he learned, 'That
was the path on which I ought to have gone!' said my father; he kissed
me passionately, and was silent the whole evening."

There surely went out of the world something still undeveloped in that
poor shoemaker. At a subsequent period of the history we find him fairly
abandoning his unchosen trade. The name of Napoleon resounded even in
Odense--even in Odense could find a heart that is disquieted. He would
follow the banner of him who had "opened a career to all the talents."
But the regiment in which he enlisted got no further than Holstein.
Peace was concluded; he had to return to his native place, and fall back
as well as he could into the old routine. His march to Holstein had,
however, shaken his health, and he died shortly after his return.

"I was," says our author, "the only child, and was extremely spoilt; but
I continually heard my mother say how very much happier I was than she
had been, and that I was brought up like a nobleman's child." No
nobleman's child could, at all events, be brought up with less
restraint, or more completely left to his own fancies. Poor as were his
parents, he never felt want; he had no care; he was fed and clothed
without any thought on his part; he lived his own dreamy life, nourished
by scraps of plays, songs, and all manner of traditionary stories. There
was a theatre at Odense, and young Andersen was now and then taken to it
by his parents. He himself constructed a puppet-show, and the dressing
and drilling of his dolls was for a long time the chief occupation of
his life. As he could rarely go to the theatre, he made friends with the
man who sold the play-bills, who was charitable enough to give him one.
With this upon his knee, he would sit apart and construct a play for
himself; putting the _dramatis personæ_ into movement as well as he
could, and at all events despatching them all at the close; for he had
no idea, he tells us, of a tragedy "that had not plenty of dying."

Of what is commonly called education he had little enough. He was sent
to a charity-school, where, by a somewhat startling error of the press,
Mrs Howitt is made to say "he learned only _religion_, writing, and
arithmetic." Of the _reading_, writing, and arithmetic there taught, he
seemed to have gained little; certainly the writing, and the arithmetic
went on very slowly. To make amends, he used to present his master on
his birth-day with a poem and a garland. Both the wreath and the verses
seemed to have been but churlishly received, and the last time they were
offered, he got scolded for his pains.

It would be difficult, however, to conceive of a life more suitable to
the fostering of the imagination than that which little Hans was
leading. Besides the play-house, and the scraps of dramas read to him by
his father, himself a strange and dreamy man, we catch sight of an old
grandmother, she who resided in the lunatic asylum where her husband was
confined. Young Hans was occasionally permitted to visit her; and here
he was a great favourite with certain old crones, who told him many a
marvellous and terrible story. These stories, and the insane figures
which he caught sight of around him, operated, he tells us, so
powerfully upon his imagination that when it grew dark he scarcely dared
to go out of the house. His own mother was extremely superstitious. When
her husband was dying, she sent her son, not to the doctor, but to a
wise-woman, who, after measuring the boy's arm with a woollen thread,
and performing some other ceremonies, bade him go home by the river
side, "and if he did not see the ghost of his father, he was to be sure
that he would not die this time." He did _not_ see the ghost of his
father--which, considering all things, was rather surprising; but his
father died nevertheless.

After the death of her husband, the mother of Andersen found another
object for her affections, for that "heart so full of love." She married
again. But the stepfather was "a grave young man, who would have nothing
to do with Hans Christian's education;" refused, we presume, all
responsibility on so delicate a business. He was still left to himself.
He had now grown a tall lad, with long yellow hair, which the sun
probably had assisted to dye, as he was accustomed to go bare-headed. He
continued to amuse himself with dressing his theatrical puppets. His
mother reconciled herself to the occupation, as it formed, she thought,
no bad introduction to the trade of a tailor, to which she now destined
him. On the other hand, Hans partly reconciled himself to the idea of
being a tailor, because he should then have plenty of cloth, of all
colours, for his puppets. Meanwhile it was to a very different trade or
destiny that these puppets were conducting him.

About this time, not for the money, said the warm-hearted mother, but
that the lad, like the rest of the world, might be doing something, Hans
was sent, for a short interval, to a cloth factory. But it was fated
that he should never work. He had a beautiful voice, and could sing. The
people at the factory asked him to sing. "He began, and all the looms
stood still." He had to sing again and again, whilst the other boys had
his work given them to do. He was not long, however, at the factory. The
coarse jests and behaviour of its inmates drove out the shy and solitary
boy.

And now came the crisis. He would go forth into the world. He would be
famous. All his early aspirations for distinction and celebrity had
become, as might be expected, associated with the theatre. But as yet he
had not the least idea in what department he was to excel--whether as
actor or poet, dancer or singer--or rather he seems to have thought
himself capable of success in them all. The passion for fame, or rather
for distinction, had been awakened before the passion for any particular
art. All he knew was, that he was to be a celebrated man; by what sort
of labour, what kind of performance, he had no conception. Indeed, the
remarkable performance, the work to be done, was not the most essential
thing in his calculation. "People suffer a deal of adversity, and then
they become famous." It was thus he explained the matter to himself. He
was on the right road, at all events, for the adversity.

We must relate his going forth in his own words. Never, surely, on the
part of all the actors in it, was there a scene of such singular
simplicity.

     "My mother said that I must be confirmed, in order that I might be
     apprenticed to the tailor trade, and thus do something rational.
     She loved me with her whole heart, but she did not understand my
     impulses and my endeavours, nor, indeed, at that time did I myself.
     The people about her always spoke against my odd ways, and turned
     me into ridicule. (They only saw the ugly duckling in the young
     swan.)

     "We belonged to the parish of St Knud, and the candidates for
     confirmation could either enter their names with the provost or
     with the chaplain. The children of the so-called superior families,
     and the scholars of the grammar-school, went to the first, and the
     children of the poor to the second. I, however, announced myself as
     a candidate to the provost, who was obliged to receive me, although
     he discovered vanity in my placing myself among his catechists,
     where, although taking the lowest place, I was still above those
     who were under the care of the chaplain. I would, however, hope
     that it was not alone vanity that impelled me. I had a sort of fear
     of the poor boys, who had laughed at me, and I always felt as it
     were an inward drawing towards the scholars of the grammar-school,
     whom I regarded as far better than other boys. When I saw them
     Playing in the churchyard, I would stand outside the railings, and
     wish that I were but among the fortunate ones--not for the sake of
     the play, but for the many books they had, and for what they might
     be able to become in the world.

     "An old female tailor altered my deceased father's greatcoat into a
     confirmation suit for me; never before had I worn so good a coat. I
     had also, for the first time in my life, a pair of boots. My
     delight was extremely great; my only fear was that every body would
     not see them, and therefore I drew them up over my trousers, and
     thus marched through the church. The boots creaked, and that
     inwardly pleased me, for thus the congregation would hear that they
     were new. My whole devotion was disturbed. I was aware of it, and
     it caused me a horrible pang of conscience that my thoughts should
     be as much with my new boots as with God. I prayed him earnestly
     from my heart to forgive me, and then again I thought upon my new
     boots.

     "During the last year I had saved together a little sum of money.
     When I counted it over, I found it to be thirteen rix-dollars banco
     (about thirty shillings.) I was quite overjoyed at the possession
     of so much wealth; and as my mother now most resolutely required
     that I should be apprenticed to a tailor, I prayed and besought her
     that I might make a journey to Copenhagen, that I might see the
     greatest city in the world.

     "'What wilt thou do there?' asked my mother.

     "'I will become famous,' returned I; and I then told her all that I
     had read about extraordinary men. 'People have,' said I, 'at first
     an immense deal of adversity to go through, and then they will be
     famous.'

     "It was a wholly unintelligible impulse that guided me. I wept and
     prayed, and at last my mother consented, after having first sent
     for a so-called wise-woman out of the hospital, that she might read
     my future fortune by the coffee-grounds and cards.

     "'Your son will become a great man!' said the old woman; 'and in
     honour of him all Odense will one day be illuminated.'

     "My mother wept when she heard that, and I obtained permission to
     travel."--(p. 27.)

So, at the age of fourteen, with thirty shillings in his pocket, and his
idea of becoming famous by going through a deal of adversity, he comes
to Copenhagen--the Paris, the more than the Paris of Denmark, for, in
respect to all that a great town collects or fosters, Copenhagen is
literally Denmark. There never was a stranger history than this of young
Andersen's. It is more like a dream than a life; it is like one of his
own tales for children, where the rigid laws of probability are
dispensed with in favour of a quite free and rapid invention. The
theatre is his point of attraction: but he was by no means determined in
what department, or under what form, his universal genius shall make its
appearance. He will first try dancing. He had heard of a celebrated
_danseuse_, a Madame Schall. To her he goes with a letter of
introduction, which he had coaxed out of an old printer in Odense, who,
though he protested he did not know the lady, was still prevailed upon
to write the letter. Dressed in his confirmation suit, a broad hat upon
his head, his boots, we may be sure, not forgotten, which were worn,
however, this time under the trousers, he finds out the residence of
Madame Schall, rings at the bell, and is admitted. "She looked at me
with great amazement," writes our author, "and then heard what I had to
say. She had not the slightest knowledge of him from whom the letter
came, and my whole appearance and behaviour seemed very strange to her.
I confessed to her my heartfelt inclination for the theatre; and upon
her asking me what character I thought I could represent, I replied
Cinderella. This piece had been performed in Odense by the royal
company, and the principal character had so taken my fancy, that I could
play the part perfectly from memory. In the mean time I asked her
permission to take off my boots, otherwise I was not light enough for
this character; and then, taking up my broad hat for a tambourine, I
began to dance and sing--

  'Here below nor rank nor riches
  Are exempt from pain and wo.'

My strange gestures and my great activity caused the lady to think me
out of my mind, and she lost no time in getting rid of me."

We should think so. Only imagine some wild colt of a boy, one of those
young Savoyards, for instance, who are in the habit of dancing round the
organ they are grinding, apparently to convince the world how sprightly
the tune is--imagine a genius of this natural description introducing
himself into the drawing-room of a Taglioni or an Elssler, and
commencing forthwith, "with great activity," to give a specimen of his
talent! Just such as this must have been the part which young Andersen
performed in the saloon of Madame Schall.

As the dancing does not succeed, he next offers himself as an
actor--proceeding, quite as a matter of course, to the manager of a
theatre to ask for an engagement. The manager was facetious--said he was
"too thin for the theatre." Hans would be facetious too. "Oh," he
replied, "if you will but engage me at one hundred rix-dollars banco
salary, I shall soon get fat." Then the manager looked grave, and bade
him go his way, adding, that he engaged only people of education.

But he had many strings to his bow--he could sing. It was at the opera
evidently that he was destined to become famous. Here he met with what,
for a moment, looked like success. A voice he certainly possessed,
though uncultivated, and Seboni, the director of the Academy of Music,
promised to procure instruction for him. But a short time afterwards he
lost his voice, through insufficient clothing, as he thinks, and bad
shoe leather. (Those boots could not be new always--doubtless got sadly
worn tramping through the streets of Copenhagen.) Seboni dropped his
_protégé_, counselled him to go back to Odense, and learn a trade.

As well learn a trade in Copenhagen, if it was to come to that. He still
stayed in the capital, and still lingered round the theatre, sometimes
getting a lesson in recitation, sometimes one in dancing, and overjoyed
if only as one of a crowd of masked people he could stand before the
scenes. There never surely was so irrepressible a vanity combined with
so sensitive a temperament; never so strong an impulse for distinction
accompanied with such vague notions of the means to attain it. At this
period of his life his utter childishness, his affectionate simplicity,
his superstition, his unconquerable vanity, present a picture quite
unexampled in all biographies we have ever read. He has to make a
bargain with an old woman (no better than she should be) for his board
and lodging. She had left the room for a short time; there was in it a
portrait of her deceased husband. "I was so much a child," he says,
"that, as the tears rolled down my own cheeks, I wetted the eyes of the
portrait with my tears, in order that the dead man might feel how
troubled I was, and influence the heart of his wife."

Great as his susceptibility to ridicule, his vanity is always greater,
can surmount it, and find a gratification where a sterner nature would
have felt only mortification. In a scene of an opera where a crowd is to
be represented, he edges himself upon the stage. He is very conscious of
the ill condition of his attire: the confirmation coat did but just hold
together; and he did not dare to hold himself upright lest he should
exhibit the more plainly the shortness of the waistcoat which he had
outgrown. He had the feeling very plainly that people would be making
themselves merry with him; yet at this moment, he says, "he felt nothing
but the happiness of stepping for the first time before the footlamps."

Of his superstition he records the following amusing instance. "I had
the notion that as it went with me on New Year's Day, so would it go
with me through the whole year; and my highest wishes were to obtain a
part in a play. It was now New Year's Day. The theatre was closed, and
only a half-blind porter sat at the entrance to the stage, on which
there was not a soul. I stole past him with a beating heart, got between
the moveable scenes and the curtain, and advanced to the open part of
the stage. Here I fell down upon my knees, but not a single verse for
declamation could I recall to my memory. I then said aloud the Lord's
Prayer. I went out with the persuasion that, because I had spoken from
the stage on New Year's Day, I should, in the course of the year,
succeed in speaking still more, as well as in having a part assigned to
me."--(p. 50.)

We must quote the paragraph that immediately follows this extract,
because it shows that, after all, there was something better stirring at
his heart than this vague theatrical ambition, this empty vanity. There
was the love of nature there. "During the two years of my residence in
Copenhagen, I had never been out into the open country. Once only had I
been in the park, and there I had been deeply engrossed by studying the
diversions of the people and their gay tumult. In the spring of the
third year, I went out for the first time amid the verdure of a spring
morning. I stood still suddenly under the first large budding
beech-tree. The sun made the leaves transparent--there was a fragrance,
a freshness--the birds sang. I was overcome by it--I shouted aloud for
joy, threw my arms around the tree, and kissed it. 'Is he mad?' said a
man close behind me."

His good fortune provided him at length with a sincere and serviceable
friend in the person of Collins--conference-councillor, as his title
runs, and one of the most influential men at that time in Denmark.
Through his means a grant was obtained from the royal purse, and access
procured to something like regular education in the grammar-school at
Slagelse. His place in the school was in the lowest class amongst little
boys. He knew indeed nothing at all--nothing of what is taught by the
pedagogue. At the age of eighteen, after having written a tragedy, which
had been submitted to the theatre at Copenhagen, and we know not what
poems besides,--after having versified a dance, and recited a song, he
begins at the very beginning, and seats himself down in the lowest form
of a grammar-school.

It is not our intention to pursue the biography of Andersen beyond what
is necessary for understanding the singular circumstances in which his
mind grew up; we shall not, therefore, detain our readers much longer on
this part of our subject. His scholastic progress appears to have been
at first slow and painful; the rector of the grammar-school behaved
neither kindly nor generously towards him; and on him he afterwards took
his revenge in the character of Habbas Dahdah, in "The Improvisatore."
But he was docile, he was persevering, and passed through the school,
and afterwards the college, not discreditably. In 1829, he was launched
again into the world, a member of the educated class of society.

After supporting himself some time by his pen, he received from his
government a stipend for travelling, which, it appears, in Denmark is
bestowed on young poets as well as artists. And now he started on his
travels--evidently the best school of education for a mind like his. For
whatever use books may have been of to Andersen, in teaching him to
_write_, they have had nothing to do with teaching him to _think_. No
one portion of his writings of any value can be traced to his
acquaintance with books. What knowledge he got from this source he could
never rightly use. What his eye saw, what his heart felt--that alone he
could work with. The slowly won reflection, the linked thought--any
thing like a train of reasoning, seems to have been an utter stranger
to his mind. Throughout his life, he is an observant child. From books
he can gather nothing: severe analytic thinking he knows nothing of; he
must see the world, must hear people talk, must remember how his own
heart beat, and thus only can he find something for utterance.

What a change now in his destiny! The poor shoemaker's child, that
wandered wild in the woods of Odense, and afterwards wandered almost as
wild and as solitary in the streets of Copenhagen--who was next
imprisoned in a school with dictionary and grammar--is now free
again--may wander with wider range of vision--is a traveller--and in
Italy! But the sensitive temper of Andersen, we are afraid, hardly
permitted him to enjoy, as he might have done, his full cup of
happiness. Vanity is an unquiet companion; he should have left it behind
him at home; then the little piece of malice which he records of one of
his friends would not have disturbed him as it appears to have done.

"During my journey to Paris, and the whole month that I spent there, I
heard not a single word from home. Could it be that my friends had
nothing agreeable to tell me? At length, however, a letter arrived; a
large letter, which cost a large sum in postage. My heart beat with joy,
and yearning impatience; it was indeed my first letter. I opened it, but
I discovered not a single written word--nothing but a Copenhagen
newspaper, _containing a lampoon upon me_, and that was sent to me all
that distance with postage unpaid, probably by the anonymous writer
himself. This abominable malice wounded me deeply. I have never
discovered who the author was; perhaps he was one of those who
afterwards called me friend, and pressed my hand. Some men have base
thoughts; I also have mine."

Poor Andersen has all his life long been sorely plagued by his critics.
Those who peruse his Autobiography to the close, and every part of it is
worth reading, will find him in violent ill humour with the theatrical
public, whom he describes as taking a malicious and diabolical pleasure
in damning plays. To hiss down a piece, he declares, is one of the chief
amusements that fill the house. "Five minutes is the usual time, and the
whistles resound, and the lovely women smile and felicitate themselves
like the Spanish ladies at their bloody bull-fights." His second journey
into Italy seems to have been in part occasioned by some quarrel with
the theatre. "If I would represent this portion of my life more clearly
and reflectively, it would require me to penetrate into the mysteries of
the theatre, to analyse our æsthetic cliques, and to drag into
conspicuous notice many individuals who do not belong to publicity; many
persons in my place would, like me, have fallen ill, or would have
resented it vehemently. Perhaps the latter would have been the most
sensible."

Oh, no! Hans Christian--by no means the most sensible. Better even to
have fallen ill. An author by his quarrel with the public, whether the
reading or theatrical public, can gain nothing for himself but added
torment. The more vehemently he contests and resents, the louder is the
laugh against him. Whether the right is upon his side, time alone can
show; time alone can redress his wrongs. When the poet has written his
best, he has done all his part. If he cannot feel perfectly tranquil as
to the result, let him at least affect tranquillity--let him be silent,
and silence will soon bring that peace it typifies.

Henceforward, however, upon the whole, the career of Andersen is
prosperous, and his life genial. We find him in friendly intercourse
with the best spirits of the age. The lad who walked about Odense with
long yellow locks, bare-headed, and bare-footed, and who was half
reconciled to being a tailor's apprentice, because he should get plenty
of remnants to dress his puppets with--is seen spending the evening with
the royal family of Denmark, or dining with the King of Prussia, who
decorates him with his order of the Red Eagle! He has exemplified his
text--"people have a deal of adversity to go through, and then they
become famous."

Those who have read "The Improvisatore," the most ambitious of the
works of Andersen, and by far the most meritorious of his novels, will
now directly recognise the materials of which it has been constructed.
His own early career, and his travels into Italy, have been woven
together in the story of Antonio. So far from censuring him--as some of
his Copenhagen critics appear to have done--for describing himself and
the scenes he beheld, we are only surprised when we read "The True Story
of his Life," that he has not been able to employ in a still more
striking manner, the experience of his singular career. But, as we have
already observed, he betrays no habit or power of mental analysis; he
has not that introspection which, in the phrase of our poet Daniel,
"raises a man above himself;" so that Andersen could contemplate
Andersen, and combine the impartial scrutiny of a spectator with the
thorough knowledge which self can only have of self. So far from
censuring him for the frequent use he makes of the materials which his
own life and travels afforded him, we could wish that he had never
attempted to employ any other. Throughout his novels, whenever he
departs from these, he is either commonplace or extravagant,--or both
together, which, in our days, is very possible. If he imitates other
writers, it is always their worst manner that he contrives to seize; if
he adopts the worn-out resources of preceding novelists, it is always
(and in this he may be doing good service) to render them still more
palpably absurd and ridiculous than they were before. He has dreams in
plenty--his heroes are always dreaming; he has fevered descriptions of
the over-excited imagination--a very favourite resource of modern
novelists; he has his moral enigmas; and of course he has a witch
(Fulvia) who tells fortunes and reads futurity, and reads it correctly,
let philosophy or common sense say what it will. His Fulvia affords his
readers one gratification; they find her fairly hanged at the end of the
book.

We are far enough from attempting to give an outline of the story of
this or any other novel--such skeletons are not attractive; but the
extracts, and the observations we have to make, will best be understood
by entering a few steps into the narrative.

Antonio, the Improvisatore, is born in Rome of poor parents. He is
introduced to us as a child, living with his fond mother, his only
surviving parent, in a room, or rather a loft, in the roof of a house.
She is accidentally run over and killed by a nobleman's carriage. A
certain uncle Peppo, a cripple and a beggar, claims guardianship of the
orphan. Of this Peppo we have a most unamiable portrait. His withered
legs are fastened to a board, and he shuffles himself along with his
hands, which were armed with a pair of wooden hand clogs. He used to sit
upon the steps of the Piazza de Spagna. "Once I was witness," says the
Improvisatore, who tells his own story, "of a scene which awoke in me
fear of him, and also exhibited his own disposition. Upon one of the
lowest flights of stairs sat an old blind beggar, and rattled with his
little leaden box that people might drop a _bajocco_ therein. Many
people passed by my uncle without noticing his crafty smile and the
waivings of his hat; the blind man gained more by his silence--they gave
to him. Three had gone by, and now came the fourth, and threw him a
small coin. Peppo could no longer contain himself: I saw how he crept
down like a snake, and struck the blind man in his face, so that he lost
both money and stick. 'Thou thief!' cried my uncle, 'wilt thou steal
money from me--thou who art not even a regular cripple--cannot see--that
is all! And so he will take my bread from my mouth.'"

On great occasions Peppo could quit his board and straddle upon an ass.
And now he came upon his ass, set Antonio before him, and carried him
off to his home or den. The boy was put into a small recess contiguous
to the apartment which his uncle occupied with some of his guests. He
overheard this conversation: "Can the boy do any thing?" asked one; "Has
he any sort of hurt?"

"No; the Madonna has not been so kind to him," said Peppo; "he is
slender and well formed, like a nobleman's child."

"That is a great misfortune," said they all; and some suggestions were
added, that he could have some little hurt to help him to get his
earthly bread until the Madonna gave him the heavenly. Conversation such
as this filled him with alarm; he crept through the aperture which
served for window to his dormitory; slid down the wall, and made his
escape. He ran as fast as he could, and found himself at length in the
Coliseum.

Antonio, at this time, is a poor boy about nine or ten years old; we
have seen from what sort of guardian the terrified lad was making his
escape. Now, observe the exquisite appropriateness, taste, and judgment
of what follows. It is precisely here that the author makes parade of
the knowledge he has lately gained in the grammar-school of
Slagelse--precisely here that he throws his Antonio into a classical
dream or vision!

     "Behind one of the many wooden altars which stand not far apart
     within the ruins, and indicate the resting-points of the Saviour's
     progress to the cross,[3] I seated myself upon a fallen capital,
     which lay in the grass. The stone was as cold as ice, my head
     burned, there was fever in my blood; I could not sleep, and there
     occurred to my mind all that people had related to me of this old
     building; of the captive Jews who had been made to raise these huge
     blocks of stone for the mighty Roman Cæsar; of the wild beasts
     which, within this space, had fought with each other, nay, even
     with men also, while the people sat upon stone benches, which
     ascended step-like from the ground to the loftiest colonnade.

     "There was a rustling in the bushes above me; I looked up, and
     fancied that I saw something moving. Oh, yes! my imagination showed
     to me pale dark shapes, which hewed and builded around me; I heard
     distinctly every stroke that fell, saw the meagre black-bearded
     Jews tear away grass and shrubs to pile stone upon stone, till the
     whole monstrous building stood there newly erected; and now all was
     one throng of human beings, head above head, and the whole seemed
     one infinitely vast living giant body.

     "I saw the vestals in their long white garments; the magnificent
     court of the Cæsar; the naked bleeding gladiators; then I heard how
     there was a roaring and a howling round about, in the lowest
     colonnades; from various sides sprang in whole herds of tigers and
     hyænas; they sped close past the spot where I lay; I felt their
     burning breath; saw their red fiery glances, and held myself fast
     upon the stone upon which I was seated, whilst I prayed the Madonna
     to save me. But wilder still grew the tumult around me; yet I could
     see in the midst of all the holy cross as it still stands, and
     which, whenever I had passed it, I had piously kissed. I exerted
     all my strength, and perceived distinctly that I had thrown my arms
     around it; but every thing that surrounded me trembled violently
     together,--walls, men, beasts. Consciousness had left me,--I
     perceived nothing more. When I again opened my eyes, my fever was
     over."

Sadder trash than this it were almost impossible to write. It is
necessary to make some quotations to justify the terms of censure, as
well as of praise, which we have bestowed upon Andersen; but our readers
will willingly excuse the infliction of many such quotations; they might
be made abundantly enough, we can assure them.

On awaking from this vision, Antonio finds himself in the presence of
some worthy monks. They take charge of him, and ultimately give him over
to the protection of an old woman, a relative, Dominica, who is living
the most solitary life imaginable, in one of the tombs of the Campagna.
Here there is a striking picture presented to the imagination--of the
old woman and the little boy, shut up in the ruined tomb, in the almost
tropical heat, or the heavy rains, that visit the Campagna. He who
erewhile had visions of vestals and captive Jews, Cæsar and the
gladiators, is more naturally represented as amusing himself by floating
sticks and reeds upon the little canal dug to carry the water from their
dwelling;--"they were his boats which were to sail to Rome."

One day a young nobleman, pursued by an enraged buffalo, takes refuge in
this tomb, and thus becomes acquainted with Antonio. He is a member of
the Borghese family, and proves to be the very nobleman whose carriage
had accidentally occasioned the death of his mother. Antonio becomes the
protégé of the Borghese, returns to Rome, receives an education, and is
raised into the high and cultivated ranks of society. He is put under
the learned discipline of Habbas Dahdah--an excellent name, we confess,
for a fool--in whose person, we presume, he takes a sly revenge upon his
late rector of Slagelse. But he has not been fortunate in the invention
of parallel absurdities in his Italian pedagogue to those which he may
have remembered of some German prototype. He describes him as animated
with a sort of insane aversion to the poet Dante, whom he decries on
every occasion in order to exalt Petrarch. A Habbas Dahdah would be much
more more likely to feign an excessive admiration for the idol and glory
of Italy. However, his pupil stealthily procures a Dante; reads him, of
course _dreams_ of him; in short, there is an intolerable farago about
the great poet.

But the time now comes when the great business of all novels--love--is
brought upon the scene. And here we have an observation to make which we
think may be deserving of attention.

Antonio, the Improvisatore, is made, in the novel, to love in the
strangest fashion imaginable. He loves and he does not love; he never
knows himself, nor the reader either, whether, or with whom, to
pronounce him in love. Annunciata, the first object of this uncertain
passion, behaves herself, it must be confessed, in a very extraordinary
manner. We suppose the exigencies of the novel must excuse her; it was
necessary that her lover should be plunged in despair, and therefore she
could not be permitted to behave as any other woman would have done in
the same circumstances. She has a real affection for Antonio; yet at the
critical moment--the last moment he will be able to learn the truth, the
last time he will see her unless her response be favourable--she behaves
in such a manner as to lead him inevitably to the conclusion that his
rival is preferred to him. This Annunciata, the most celebrated singer
of her day, loses her voice, loses her beauty,--a fever deprives her of
both;--and not till her death does Antonio learn that he, and not
another, was the person really beloved. Meanwhile, in his travels,
Antonio meets with a blind girl, whom he does or does not love, on whom
at least he poetises, and whose forehead, _because she was blind_, he
had kissed. He is afterwards introduced, at Venice, to a young lady,
(Maria) who bears a striking resemblance to this blind girl. She is, in
fact, the same person, restored to sight, though he is not aware of it.
Maria loves the Improvisatore; he says, he believes that his affection
is _not_ love. He quits Venice--he returns--he is ill. Then follows one
of those miserable scenes which novelists will inflict upon us--of
dream, or delirium--what you will,--and, in this state, he fancies Maria
is dead; he finds then that he really loved; and, in his sleep or
trance, he expresses aloud his affection. His declaration is overheard
by Maria and her sister, who are watching over his couch. He wakes, and
Maria is there, alive before him. In his sleep he has become aware of
the true condition of his own heart; nay, he has leapt the Rubicon,--he
has declared it. He becomes a married man.

Now, in the confused and contradictory account of Antonio's passion, we
see a truth which the author drew from his own nature and experience,--a
truth which, if he had fully appreciated, or had manfully adhered to,
would have enabled him to draw a striking, consistent, and original
portrait. In such natures as Andersen's, there is often found a modesty
more than a woman's, combined with a vivid feeling of beauty, and a
yearning for affection. Modesty is no exclusive property of the female
sex, and there may be so much of it in a youth as to be the impediment,
perhaps the unconscious impediment, to all the natural outpouring of his
heart. The coyness of the virgin, the suitor, by his prayers and wooing,
does all he can to overcome; but here the coyness is in the suitor
himself. He has to overcome it by himself, and he cannot. He hardly
knows the sort of enemy he has to conquer. Every woman seems to him
enclosed in a bell-glass, fine as gossamer, but he cannot break it. He
feels himself drawn, but he cannot approach. His heart is yearning; yet
he says to himself, no, I do not love. A looker-on calls him inconstant,
uncertain, capricious. He is not so; he is bound by viewless fetters,
nor does he know where to strike the chain that is coiled around him.

Such was the truth, we apprehend, such the character, that Andersen had
indistinctly in view. He drew from himself, but he had not previously
analysed that self. It is, therefore, not so much a false as a confused
and imperfect representation that he has given, which the reader, if he
thinks it worth his while, must explain and complete for himself.
Perhaps, too, a fear of the ridicule which an exhibition of modesty in
man might draw down from certain slender witlings, from the young
gentlemen, or even the young ladies, of Copenhagen, may have, in part,
deterred him from a faithful portraiture. To people of reflection, who
have learned to estimate at its true value the laugh of coxcombs, and
the wisdom of the so-called man of the world--the shallowest bird of
passage that we know of--such a portrait would have been attractive for
the genuine truth it contains. It would require, indeed, a master's hand
to deal both well and honestly with it.

The descriptions of Italy which "The Improvisatore" contains are
sufficiently striking and faithful to recall the scenes to those who
have visited them; which is all, we believe, the best descriptions can
effect. What is absolutely new to a reader cannot be described to him.
If all the poets and romancers of England were to unite together in a
committee of taste, they could not frame a description which would give
the effect of mountainous scenery to one who had never seen a mountain.
The utmost the describer call do, in all such cases, is to liken the
scene to something already familiar to the reader's imagination. Though
generally faithful, we cannot say that our author never sacrifices
accuracy of detail to the demands of the novelist, never sacrifices the
actual to the ideal. For instance, his account of the _Miserere_ in the
Sistine Chapel, is rather what one is willing to anticipate it might be,
than what a traveller really finds it. To be sure, he has a right to
place his hero of the novel where he pleases in the chapel, relieve him
from the crowd, and give him all the advantages of position: still his
perfect enjoyment of all that both the arts of painting and music can
afford, and that overpowering _sentiment_ which he finds in the great
picture of the Last Judgment by Michel Angelo, (a picture which
addresses itself far more to the artist than the poet,) strikes us as a
description more from imagination than experience.

A little satire upon the travelling English seems, by the way, to be as
agreeable at Copenhagen as at Paris. Our Danish friends are quite
welcome to it; we only wish for their sakes that, in the present
instance, it had been a little more lively and pungent. Our Hans
Andersen is too weak in the wrist, has not arm strong enough "to crack
the satyric thong." Mere exaggeration maybe mere nonsense, and very dull
nonsense. The scene is at the hotel at Terracina, so well known by all
travellers.

     "The cracking of whips re-echoed from the wall of rocks; a carriage
     with four horses rolled up to the hotel. Armed servants sat on the
     seat at the back of the carriage; a pale thin gentleman, wrapped in
     a large bright-coloured dressing-gown, stretched himself within it.
     The postilion dismounted and cracked his long whip several times,
     whilst fresh horses were put to. The stranger wished to proceed,
     but as he desired to have an escort over the mountains where Fra
     Diavolo and Cesari had bold descendants, he was obliged to wait a
     quarter of an hour, and now scolded, half in English and half in
     Italian, at the people's laziness, and at the torments and
     sufferings which travellers had to endure; and at length knotted up
     his pocket-handkerchief into a night-cap, which he drew on his
     head, and then, throwing himself into a corner of the carriage,
     closed his eyes, and seemed to resign himself to his fate.

     "I perceived that it was all Englishman, who already, in ten days,
     had travelled through the north and the middle of Italy, and in
     that time had made himself acquainted with this country; had seen
     Rome in one day, and was now going to Naples to ascend Vesuvius,
     and then by the steam-vessel to Marseilles, to gain a knowledge
     also of the south of France, which he hoped to do in a still
     shorter time. At length eight well-armed horsemen arrived, the
     postilion cracked his whip, and the carriage and the out-riders
     vanished through the gate between the tall yellow rocks."--(Vol.
     ii. p. 6.)

"_Only a Fiddler_" proceeds, in part, on the same plan as "The
Improvisatore." Here, too, the author has drawn from his own early
experience; here, too, we have a poor lad of genius, who will "go
through an immense deal of adversity and then become famous;" here too
we have the little ugly duck, who, however, was born in a swan's egg.
The commencement of the novel is pretty, where it treats of the
childhood of the hero; but Christian (such is his name) does not win
upon our sympathy, and still less upon our respect. We are led to
suspect that Christian Andersen himself, is naturally deficient in
certain elements of character, or he would have better upheld the
dignity of his namesake, whom he has certainly no desire to lower in our
esteem. With an egregious passion for distinction, a great vanity, in
short, we are afraid that he himself (judging from some passages in his
Autobiography) hardly possesses a proper degree of pride, or the due
feeling of self-respect. The Christian in the novel is the butt and
laughing-stock of a proud, wilful young beauty of the name of Naomi; yet
does he forsake the love of a sweet girl Lucie, to be the beaten spaniel
of this Naomi. He has so little spirit as to take her money and her
contempt at the same time.

This self-willed and beautiful Naomi is a well-imagined character, but
imperfectly developed. Indeed the whole novel may be described as a
jumble of ill-connected scenes, and of half-drawn characters. We have
some sad imitations of the worst models of our current literature. Here
is a Norwegian godfather, the blurred likeness of some Parisian
murderer. Here are dreams and visions, and plenty of delirium. He has
caught the trick, perhaps, from some of our English novelists, of
infusing into the persons of his drama all sorts of distorted
imaginations, by way of describing the situation he has placed them in.
We will quote a passage of this nature: it is just possible that some of
our countrymen, when they see their own style reflected back to them
from a foreign page, may be able to appreciate its exquisite truth to
nature. Christian, still a boy, is at play with his companions; he hides
from them in the belfry of a church. It was the custom to ring the bells
at sunset. He had ensconced himself between the wall and the great bell,
and "when this rose, and showed to him the whole opening of its mouth,"
he found he was within a hair's breadth of contact with it. Retreat was
impossible, and the least movement exposed his head to be shattered. The
conception is terrible enough, but by no means a novel one, as all
readers conversant with the pages of this Magazine will readily allow,
by reference to the story of "The Man in the Bell," in our tenth
volume,[4] one of the late Dr Maginn's most powerful and graphic
sketches. But the natural horror of the situation by no means satisfies
this novelist; he therefore engrafts the following imaginations
thereupon, as being such as were most likely to occur to the lad,
frightened out of his senses, stunned by the roar of the bell, winking
hard, and pressing himself closer and closer to the wall to escape the
threatened blow.

     "Overpowered to his very inmost soul by the most fearful anguish,
     the bell appeared to him the jaws of some immense serpent; the
     clapper was the poisonous tongue, which it extended towards him.
     Confused imaginations pressed upon him; feelings similar to the
     anguish which he felt when the godfather had dived with him beneath
     the water, took possession of him; but here it roared far stronger
     in his ears, and the changing colours before his eyes formed
     themselves into gray figures. The old pictures in the castle
     floated before him, but with threatening mien and gestures, and
     ever-changing forms; now long and angular, again jelly-like, clear
     and trembling; they clashed cymbals and beat drums, and then
     suddenly passed away into that fiery glow in which every thing had
     appeared to him, when, with Naomi, he looked through the red
     window-panes. It burned, that he felt plainly. He swam through a
     burning sea, and ever did the serpent exhibit to him its fearful
     jaws. An irresistible desire seized him to take hold on the clapper
     with both hands, when suddenly it became calm around him, but it
     still raged within his brain. He felt that all his clothes clung
     to him, and that his hands seemed fastened to the wall. Before him
     hung the serpent's head, dead and bowed; the bell was silent. He
     closed his eyes and felt that he fell asleep. He had
     fainted."--(Vol. i. p. 59.)

Are these some of the "beautiful thoughts" which Mrs Howitt finds it the
greatest delight of her literary life to translate? One is a little
curious to know how far this beauty has been increased or diminished by
their admiring translator; but unfortunately we can boast no
Scandinavian scholarship. This novel, however, is not without some
striking passages, whether of description of natural scenery, or of
human life. Of these, the little episode of the fate of Steffen-Margaret
recurs most vividly to our recollection. Mrs Howitt, in her translation
of "The True Story of my Life," draws our attention, in a note, to this
character of Steffen-Margaret, informing us that it is the reproduction
of a personage whom Andersen becomes slightly acquainted with in the
early part of his career. She thus points out a striking passage in the
novel; but the translator of the Autobiography and of "Only a Fiddler,"
might have found more natural opportunities for illustrating the
connexion between the novel and the life of the author. There is no
resemblance whatever between the two characters alluded to, except that
they both belong to the same unfortunate class of society. Of the young
girl mentioned in the life, nothing indeed is said, except that she
received once a week a visit from her papa, who came to drink tea with
her, dressed always in a shabby blue coat; and the point of the story
is, that in after times, when Andersen rose into a far different rank of
society, he encountered in some fashionable saloon the papa of the
shabby blue coat in a bland old gentleman glittering with orders.

Christian, the hero of the novel, a lad utterly ignorant of life, has
come for the first time to Copenhagen. Whilst the ship in which he has
arrived is at anchor in the port, it is visited by some _ladies_, one of
whom particularly fascinates him. She must be a princess, or something
of that kind, if not a species of angel. The next day he finds out her
residence, sees her, tells her all his history, all his inspirations,
all his hopes; he is sure that he has found a kind and powerful
patroness. The lady smiles at him, and dismisses him with some cakes and
sweetmeats, and kindly taps upon the head. This is just what Andersen at
the same age would have done himself, and just in this manner would he
have been dismissed and comforted. There is a scene in the Autobiography
very similar. He explains to some kind old dames, whom he encounters at
the theatre, his thwarted aspirations after art; they give him
cakes;--he tells them again of his impulses, and that he is dying to be
famous; they give him more cakes;--he eats and is pacified.

The ship, however, had not been long in the harbour before his princess
visited it again. It was evening--Christian was alone in the cabin.

     "He was most strangely affected as he heard at this moment a voice
     on the cabin steps, which was just like hers. She, perhaps, would
     already present herself as a powerful fairy to conduct him to
     happiness. He would have rushed towards her, but she came not
     alone; a sailor accompanied her, and inquired aloud, on entering,
     if there were any one there. But a strange feeling of distress
     fettered Christian's tongue, and he remained silent.

     "'What have you got to say to me?' asked the sailor.

     "'Save me!' was the first word, which Christian heard from her lips
     in the cabin; she whom he had regarded as a rich and noble lady. 'I
     am sunk in shame!' said she. 'No one esteems me; I no longer esteem
     myself. Oh, save me, Sören! I have honestly divided my money with
     you; I yet am possessed of forty dollars. Marry me, and take me
     away out of this wo, and out of this misery! Take me to a place
     where nobody will know me, where you may not be ashamed of me. I
     will work for you like a slave, till the blood comes out at my
     finger-ends. Oh, take me away with you! In a year's time it may be
     too late.'

     "'Should I take you to my old father and mother?' said the sailor.

     "'I will kiss the dust from their feet they may beat me, and I will
     bear it without a murmur--will patiently bear every blow. I am
     already old, that I know. I shall soon be eight-and-twenty; but it
     is an act of mercy, which I beseech of you. If you will not do it,
     nobody else will; and I think I must drink--drink till my brain
     reels--and I forget what I have made myself!'

     "'Is that the very important thing that you have got to tell me?'
     remarked the sailor, with a cold indifference.

     "Her tears, her sighs, her words of despair, sank deep into
     Christian's heart. A visionary image had vanished, and with its
     vanishing he saw the dark side of a naked reality.

     "He found himself again alone.

     "A few days after this, the ice had to be hewed away from the
     channel. Christian and the sailor struck their axes deeply into the
     firm ice, so that it broke into great pieces. Something white hung
     fast to the ice in the opening; the sailor enlarged the opening,
     and then a female corpse presented itself, dressed in white as for
     a ball. She had amber leads round her neck, gold earrings, and she
     held her hands closely folded against her breast as if for prayer.
     It was Steffen-Margaret."

"O.T." commences in a more lively style than either of the preceding
novels, but soon becomes in fact the dullest and most wearisome of the
three. During a portion of this novel he seems to have taken for his
model of narrative the "Wilhelm Meister" of Goethe; but the calm
domestic manner which is tolerable in the clear-sighted man, who we know
can rise nobly from it when he pleases, accords ill enough with the
bewildered, most displeasing, and half intelligible story which Andersen
has here to relate.

We have occupied ourselves quite sufficiently with these novels, and
shall pass over "O.T." without further comment. Neither shall we bestow
any of our space upon "The Poet's Bazaar," which seems to be nothing
else than the Journal which the author may be supposed to have kept
during his second visit to Italy, when he also extended his travels into
Greece and Constantinople.

We take refuge in the nursery--we will listen to these tales for
children--we throw away the rigid pen of criticism--we will have a
story.

What precisely are the laws, what the critical rules, on which tales for
children should be written, we will by no means undertake to define. Are
they to contain nothing, in language or significance, beyond the
apprehension of the inmates of the nursery? It is a question which we
will not pretend to answer. Aristotle lays down nothing on the subject
in his "Poetici;" nor Mr Dunlop in his "History of Fiction." If this be
the law, if every thing must be level to the understanding of the
frock-and-trousers population, then these, and many other Tales for
Children, transgress against the first rule of their construction. How
often does the story turn, like the novels for elder people, upon a
marriage! Some king's son in disguise marries the beautiful princess.
What idea has a child of marriage?--unless the sugared plum-cake
distributed on such occasions comes in aid of his imagination. Marriage,
to the infantine intelligence, must mean fine dresses, and infinite
sweetmeats--a sort of juvenile party that is never to break up. Well,
and the notion serves to carry on the tale withal. The imagination
throws this temporary bridge over the gap, till time and experience
supply other architecture. Amongst this collection, is a story in which
vast importance is attached to a kiss. What can a curly-headed urchin,
who is kissing, or being kissed, all day long, know of the value that
may be given to what some versifier calls,

     "The humid seal of soft affections!"

To our apprehension, it has always appeared that the best books for
children were those not written expressly for them, but which,
interesting to all readers, happened to fasten peculiarly upon the
youthful imagination,--such as "Robinson Crusoe," the "Arabian Nights,"
"Pilgrim's Progress," &c. It is quite true that in all these there is
much the child does not understand, but where there is something vividly
apprehended, there is an additional pleasure procured, and an admirable
stimulant, in the endeavour to penetrate the rest. There is all the
charm of a riddle combined with all the fascination of a story. Besides,
do we not throughout our boyhood and our youth, read with intense
interest, and to our great improvement, books which we but partly
understand? How much was lost to us of our Milton and our Shakspeare at
an age when nevertheless we read them with intense interest and
excitement, and therefore, we may be sure, with great profit. Throughout
the whole season of our intellectual progress, we are necessarily
reading works of which a great part is obscure to us; we get half at
one time, and half at another.

Not, by any means, that we intend to say a word against writing books
for children; if they are good books we shall read them too. A clever
man talking to his child, in the presence of his adult friends,--has it
never been remarked, how infinitely amusing he may be, and what an
advantage he has from this two-fold audience? He lets loose all his
fancy, under pretence that he is talking to a child, and he couples this
wildness with all his wit, and point, and shrewdness, because he knows
his friend is listening. The child is not a whit the less pleased,
because there is something above its comprehension, nor the friend at
all the less entertained, because he laughs at what was not intended for
his capacity. A writer of children's tales--(If they are any thing
better than what every nursery-maid can invent for herself)--is
precisely in this position: he will, he _must_ have in view the adult
listener. While speaking to the child, he will endeavour to interest the
parent who is overhearing him; and thus there may result a very amusing
and agreeable composition.

We have met with some children's tales which, we thought, were so
plainly levelled at the parent, that they seemed little more than
lectures to grown-up people in the disguise of stories to their
children. Some of the very clever stories of Miss Edgeworth appear to be
more evidently designed for the adult listener, than to the little
people to whom they are immediately addressed. And they may perhaps
render good service in this way. Perhaps some mature matron, far above
counsel, may take a hint which she thinks was not _intended_--may accept
that piece of good advice which she fancies her own shrewdness has
discovered, and which the subtle, Miss Edgeworth had laid, like a trap,
in her path.

We are happy, we repeat, that we do not feel it incumbent upon us to
settle the rules, the critical canon, of this nursery literature. We
have no objection, however, to peep into it now and then, and we shall
venture to give our readers another of Andersen's little stories, and so
take our leave of him. We omit a sentence, here and there, where we can
without injury to the tale; yet we have no fear that our gravest readers
will think the extract too long. Our quotation is from the volume called
"Tales from Denmark." There is another collection called, "The Shoes of
Fortune;" these are higher in pretension, and inferior in merit.


THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES.

     "One day a couple of swindlers, who called themselves first-rate
     weavers, made their appearance in the imperial town of----. They
     pretended that they were able to weave the richest stuffs, in which
     not only the colours and the pattern were extremely beautiful, but
     that the clothes made of such stuffs possessed the wonderful
     property of remaining invisible to him who was unfit for the office
     he held, or was extremely silly.

     "'What capital clothes they must be!' thought the Emperor. 'If I
     had but such a suit, I could directly find out what people in my
     empire were not equal to their office; and besides, I should be
     able to distinguish the clever from the stupid. By Jove, I must
     have some of this stuff made directly for me!' And so he ordered
     large sums of money to be given to the two swindlers, that they
     might set to work immediately.

     "The men erected two looms, and did as if they worked very
     diligently; but in reality they had got nothing on the loom. They
     boldly demanded the finest silk, and gold thread, put it all in
     their own pockets, and worked away at the empty loom till quite
     late at night.

     "'I should like to know how the two weavers are getting on with my
     stuff,' said the Emperor one day to himself; 'but he was rather
     embarrassed when he remembered that a silly fellow, or one unfitted
     for his office, would not be able to see the stuff. 'Tis true, he
     thought, as far as regarded himself, there was no risk whatever;
     but yet he preferred sending some one else, to bring him
     intelligence of the two weavers, and how they were getting on,
     before he went himself; for every body in the whole town had heard
     of the wonderful property that this stuff was said to possess.

     "'I will send my worthy old minister,' said the Emperor at last,
     after much consideration; 'he will be able to say how the stuff
     looks better than anybody.'

     "So the worthy old minister went to the room where the two
     swindlers were' working away with all their might and main. 'Lord
     help me!' thought the old man, opening his eyes as wide as
     possible--'Why, I can't see the least thing whatever on the loom.'
     But he took care not to say so.

     "The swindlers, pointing to the empty frame, asked him most
     politely if the colours were not of great beauty. And the poor old
     minister looked and looked, and could see nothing whatever. 'Bless
     me!' thought he to himself, 'Am I, then, really a simpleton? Well,
     I never thought so. Nobody knows it. I not fit for office! No,
     nothing on earth shall make me say that I have not seen the stuff!'

     "'Well, sir,' said one of the swindlers, still working busily at
     the empty loom, 'you don't say if the stuff pleases you or not.'

     "'Oh beautiful! beautiful! the work is admirable!' said the old
     minister looking hard through his spectacles. 'This pattern, and
     these colours! Well, well, I shall not fail to tell the Emperor
     that they are most beautiful!'

     "The swindlers then asked for more money, and silk, and gold
     thread; but they put as before all that was given them into their
     own pocket, and still continued to work with apparent diligence at
     the empty loom.

     "Some time after, the Emperor sent another officer to see how the
     work was getting on. But he fared like the other; he stared at the
     loom from every side; but as there was nothing there, of course he
     could see nothing. 'Does the stuff not please you as much as it did
     the minister?' asked the men, making the same gestures as before,
     and talking of splendid colours and patterns, which did not exist.

     "'Stupid I certainly am not!' thought the new commissioner; 'then
     it must be that I am not fitted for my lucrative office--that were
     a good joke! However, no one dare even suspect such a thing.' And
     so he began praising the stuff that he could not see, and told the
     two swindlers how pleased he was to behold such beautiful colours,
     and such charming patterns. 'Indeed, your majesty,' said he to the
     Emperor on his return, 'the stuff which the weavers are making, is
     extraordinarily fine.'

     "It was the talk of the whole town.

     "The Emperor could no longer restrain his curiosity to see this
     costly stuff; so, accompanied by a chosen train of courtiers, among
     whom were the two trusty men who had so admired the work, off he
     went to the two cunning cheats. As soon as they heard of the
     Emperor's approach they began working with all diligence, although
     there was still not a single thread on the loom.

     "'Is it not magnificent?' said the two officers of the crown, who
     had been there before. 'Will your majesty only look? What a
     charming pattern! What beautiful colours!' said they, pointing to
     the empty frames, for they thought the others really could see the
     stuff.

     "'What's the meaning of this?' said the Emperor to himself, 'I see
     nothing! Am _I_ a simpleton! I not fit to be Emperor? Oh,' he cried
     aloud, 'charming! The stuff is really charming! I approve of it
     highly;' and he smiled graciously, and examined the empty looms
     minutely. And the whole suite strained their eyes and cried
     'Beautiful!' and counselled his Majesty to have new robes made out
     of this magnificent stuff for the grand procession that was about
     to take place. And so it was ordered.

     "The day on which the procession was to take place, the two men
     brought the Emperor's new suit to the palace; they held up their
     arms as though they had something in their hands, and said, 'Here
     are your Majesty's knee-breeches; here is the coat, and here the
     mantle. The whole suit is as light as a cobweb; and when one is
     dressed, one would almost fancy one had nothing on: but that is
     just the beauty of this stuff!'

     "'Of course!' said all the courtiers, although not a single one of
     them could see any thing of the clothes.

     "'Will your imperial Majesty most graciously be pleased to undress?
     We will then try on the new things before the glass.'

     "The Emperor allowed himself to be undressed, and then the two
     cheats did exactly as if each one helped him on with an article of
     dress, while his Majesty turned himself round on all sides before
     the mirror.

     "'The canopy which is to be borne above your Majesty in the
     procession, is in readiness without,' announced the chief master of
     the ceremonies.

     "'I am quite ready,' replied the Emperor, turning round once more
     before the looking-glass.

     "So the Emperor walked on, under the high canopy, through the
     streets of the metropolis, and all the people in the streets and at
     the windows cried out, 'Oh, how beautiful the Emperor's new dress
     is!' In short there was nobody but wished to cheat himself into the
     belief that he saw the Emperor's new clothes.

     "'But he has nothing on!' said a little child.'

     "And then all the people cried out, 'He has nothing on!'

     "But the Emperor and the courtiers--they retained their seeming
     faith, and walked on with great dignity to the close of the
     procession."


FOOTNOTES:

[1] _The Improvisatore; or, Life in Italy_, from the Danish of HANS
CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. Translated by MARY HOWITT.

_Only a Fiddler!_ and _O.T. or, Life in Denmark_, by the Author of _The
Improvisatore_. Translated by MARY HOWITT.

_A True Story of my Life_, by HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. Translated by
MARY HOWITT.

_Tales from Denmark_. Translated by CHARLES BONAR.

_A Picture-Book without Pictures_. Translated by META TAYLOR.

_The Shoes of Fortune, and other Tales_.

_A Poet's Bazaar_. Translated by CHARLES BECKWITH, Esq.

[2] See Allan Cunningham's _Lives of the Painters and Sculptors_, vol.
ii. p. 150.

[3] Not very clearly expressed by the translator. One would think that
our Saviour, in his progress to the cross, had passed through the area
of the Coliseum, and not that each of the pictures on these altars
represented one of the resting-points, &c. Mrs Howitt is sometimes hasty
and careless in her writing. And why does she employ such expressions as
these:--"many white buttons," "beside of it," "beside of us?" We have
read _a many_ English books, but never met them in anyone beside of
this.

[4] Vol. x, Nov. 1821, p. 373.



THE VISION OF CAGLIOSTRO.

     "In the horror of a vision by night, when deep sleep is wont to
     hold men, fear seized upon me, and trembling, and all my bones were
     affrighted; and when a spirit passed before me, the hair of my
     flesh stood up."--_The Book of Job._


The last, and perhaps the most renowned of the Rosicrucians, was,
according to a historical insinuation, implicated in that notorious
juggle of the Diamond Necklace, which tended so much to increase the
popular hatred towards the evil-doomed and beautiful Marie Antoinette.
Whether this imputation were correct, or whether the Cardinal Duc de
Rohan was the only distinguished person deluded by the artifices of the
Countess de la Motte, it is certain that Joseph Balsamo, commonly called
Alexandre, Count de Cagliostro, was capable of any knavery, however
infamous. Guile was his element; audacity was his breastplate; delusion
was his profession; immorality was his creed; debauchery was his
consolation; his own genius--the genius of cunning--was the god of his
idolatry. Had Cagliostro been sustained by the principles of rectitude,
he must have become the idol as well as the wonder of his
contemporaries; his accomplishments must have dazzled them into
admiration, for he possessed all the attributes of a Crichton. Beautiful
in aspect, symmetrical in proportions, graceful in carriage, capacious
in intellect, erudite as a Benedictine, agile as an Acrobat, daring as
Scævola, persuasive as Alcibiades, skilled in all manly pastimes,
familiar with the philosophies of the scholar and the worldling, an
orator, a musician, a courtier, a linguist,--such was the celebrated
Cagliostro. In his abilities, he was as capricious as Leonardo, and as
subtle as Macchiavelli; but he was without the magnanimity of the one,
or the crafty prudence of the other. Lucretius so darkened the glories
of nature by the glooms of his blasphemous imagination, that he might
have described this earth as a golden globe animated by a demon.
Fashioned in a mould as marvellous as that golden orb, and animated in
like manner by a devilish and wily spirit, was Balsamo the Rosicrucian.

Between the period of his birth in 1743, and that of his dissolution in
1795, when incarcerated in a dungeon of San Leo, at Rome, Cagliostro,
rendered himself in a manner illustrious by practising upon the
credulity of his fellow-creatures. Holstein had witnessed his pretended
successes in alchemy. Strasburg had received him with admiration, as the
evangelist of a mystic religion. Paris had resounded with the marvels
revealed by his performances in Egyptian free-masonry. Molten gold was
said to stream at pleasure over the rim of his crucibles; divination by
astrology was as familiar to him as it had been of yore to Zoroaster or
Nostradamus; graves yawned at the beck of his potent finger; their
ghostly habitants, appeared at his preternatural bidding. The
necromantic achievements of Doctor Dee and William Lilly dwindled into
insignificance before those attributed to a man who, although apparently
in the bloom of manhood, was believed to have survived a thousand
winters.

Accident had supplied Cagliostro with an accomplice of suitable
depravity. In the course of his eccentric peregrinations among the
continental cities, he had formed the acquaintance of a female,
remarkable for her consummate loveliness and her boundless sensuality.
Married to this Circe, the adventurer began to thrive beyond his most
sanguine anticipations. It must be remembered, however, that in his
nefarious proceedings, Balsamo was aided by a faculty of invention
almost miraculous in its fruitfulness, and occasionally almost sublime
in its audacity. By these means, he ultimately became the most
astonishing impostor the world had ever beheld, with the solitary
exception of Mohammed.

As a forerunner of a disastrous revolution, the appearance of this
fantastic personage in the capital of civilisation was at once dismal
and prophetic. Unconsciously, he was the prophet of disaster.
Unconsciously, he was the prelude--half-solemn, half-grotesque--of a
bloody and diabolical saturnalia. History, both profane and inspired,
tells us that when the Euphrates forsook its natural channel, and the
hostile legions trampled under its gates at nightfall; when the
revellers of Belshazzar, drunk with prolonged orgies and haggard with
the shadow of an impending doom, staggered through the marble vestibules
and out upon the marble causeways, rending their purple vestures in the
moonlight, there was weeping among the lords of Chaldea,--"Wo! wo! wo!"
was walled in the streets of Babylon. A similar destiny awaited Paris,
but as yet a different spectacle was visible; as yet the carousals of
the metropolis were at their zenith; as yet the current flowed in its
ancient channel; as yet the woes of the empire were not written on the
wall of the palace. Festivities were never conducted with more
magnificence than immediately before the downfall of the monarchy and
the general desolation of the kingdom. The pomps of the religion, the
pageantries of the court, and the munificence of the nobility, were
never before characterised by so much grandeur and profusion. The
church, the sovereign, and the oligarchy, were crowning themselves for
the sacrifice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Opposite the Rue de Luxembourg, and parallel with the Rue de Caumartin,
there stood, in the year 1782, a little villa-cottage or rustic
pavilion. It was separated from the Boulevard de la Madeleine by a green
paddock, and was concealed in a nest of laurustinus and clematis.
Autumn, that generous season, which seems in its bounty to impart a
smell of ripeness to the very leaves, had already scattered dyes of gold
and vermilion over the verdure of this shrubbery. A night-breeze,
impregnated with vegetable perfumes, and wafting before it one of these
leaves, stole between the branches--over the fragrant mould--across a
grass-plot--through an open window of the cottage. The leaf tinkled. It
had fallen upon the pages of a volume from which a man was reading by a
lamp. At that moment the clock of the Capuchins tolled out a doleful
TWO; it was answered by the numerous bells of Paris. Solemn, querulous,
sepulchral, quavering, silvery, close at hand, or modulated into a dim
echo by the distance, the voice of the inexorable hours vibrated over
the capital, and then ceased.

Alas, for the heart of Cagliostro!

The solitary watcher shuddered as the metallic sounds floated in from
the belfries. Although startled by the dropping of the leaf, he closed
the volume, leisurely placing it between the pages as a marker--_it_, so
brittle! so yellow! so typical of decay and mortality! The book
comprised the writings of Sir Cornelius Agrippa. Having tossed the old
alchemist from him with an air of overwhelming dejection, the student
abandoned himself to the most sorrowful reflections.

He had but recently returned from a masked ball, and a domino of
salmon-coloured satin still hung loosely over his shoulders. As the
feeble light of the lamp glimmered upon the jet-bugles and
steel-spangles of his costume, there was visible the perpetual contrast
of his destiny,--a mingling of the most abstruse researches and the most
extravagant frivolities. Jewels sparkled upon his hands and bosom; the
varicose veins on his temples throbbed with a feverish precision; the
fumes of the wine-cup flushed his cheek and disordered his imagination.

"Death," thought the Rosicrucian, "fills me with abhorrence; and yet
life is totally devoid of happiness. Happiness! O delusive phantom of
humanity, how art thou attainable? Through Fame? Fame is mine, and I am
wretched. Over the realms of civilisation my name is noised abroad; in
the populous cities the glory of my art resounds; when my barge glided
among the palaces of Venice, the blue Adriatic was purpled with blossoms
in my honour.--Fame? Fame brings not happiness to Cagliostro. Wealth?
Not so. Ducats, pistoles, louis-d'or, have brought no panacea to the
sorrows of Balsamo. Beauty? Nay; for, in the profligate experience of
capitals, the sage is saddened with the knowledge that comeliness, at
best, is but an exquisite hypocrisy. I have striven also, vainly, for
contentment in the luxuries of voluptuous living. The talisman of
Epicurus has evaded my grasp--the glittering bauble![5] The ravishing
ideal JOY, has been to me not as the statue to Pygmalion: I have
grovelled down in adoration at its feet, and have found it the same
immobile, relentless, unresponsive image. Youth is yet mine, but it is a
youth hoary in desolation. Centuries of anguish have flooded through my
bosom, even in the heyday of existence. The tangible and the intangible,
the visible and the invisible, the material and the immaterial, have
been at deadly strife in my conjectures. The present has been to me an
evasion, the future an enigma; the earth a delusion, the heavens a
doubt. Even the pomp of those inexplicable stars is a new agony of
indecision to my recoiling fancy[6]--so impassive in their
unchangeableness, so awful in the quiescence of their eternal grandeur.
Supreme, too, in my bewilderment, remains the problem of their
revolutions--the cause of their impulsion[7] as well as of their
creation. Baffled in my scrutiny of the sublime puzzle which is _domed_
over the globe at nightfall, dizzy with the contemplation of such
abysses of mystery, my thoughts have reverted to this earth, in which
pleasure sparkles but to evaporate. No solace in the investigation of
those infinitudes, which are only fathomable by a system revolting to my
judgment--the system of a theocratic philosophy; no consolation in the
dreamings evoked by the lore of the stupendous skies: my heart throbs
still for the detection and the possession of happiness. Nature has
endowed me with senses--five delicate and susceptible instruments--for
the realisation of bodily delight. Sights of unutterable loveliness,
tones of surpassing melody, perfumes of delicious fragrance, marvellous
sensibilities of touch and palate, afford me so many channels for
enjoyment. Still the insufficiency of the palpable and appreciable is
paramount; still the everlasting dolor interposes: the appetite is
satiated, the aroma palls upon the nostrils, the nerves are affected by
irritability, the harmony merges into dissonance; even the beautiful
becomes so far an abomination that man is 'mad for the sight of his eyes
that he did see.' Such is the sterile and repulsive penalty of the
searcher after happiness. Happiness! O delusive phantom of humanity, how
art thou attainable?"

A thrill pervaded the frame of the visionary as he paused in his
meditations. Subtle as the birth of an emotion--solemn as the presage of
a disaster--terrible as the throes of dissolution, was the pang that
agonised the Rosicrucian. His flesh crept upon his bones at the
consciousness of a preternatural but invisible presence--the presence of
an unseen visitant in the dead of the midnight! His heart quaked as it
drank in, like Eliphaz, "_the veins of_ ITS _whisper_."[8] There was no
sound or reverberation, and yet the language streamed upon the knowledge
of the listener with a distinctness beyond that of human articulation.
The stillness of his solitude was only broken by the rustling of the
night-breeze among the laurustines, and yet in the ears of Cagliostro
there was the utterance as of unsubstantial lips--the sense as of a
divine symphony--"the thunder, and the music, and the pomp" of an
unearthly Voice.[9]

"Balsamo!" it cried, "thy thoughts are blasphemy; thy lamentations are
foolishness; thy mind is darkened by the glooms of a most barren
dejection. Away! vain Sceptic, with the syllogisms of infidelity. The
glory of the immortal WILL evades thy comprehension in the depths of
infinitude. When in its natural brightness, the spiritual being of man
reflects that glory as in a mirror. _Thine_ is blurred by sensuality.
Tranquillity is denied thee, because of the concupiscence of thy
ambition. A profligate and venal career has troubled thy soul with
misgivings. Thou hast scorned even the five senses--those golden portals
of humanity! Know, O dreamer, that in them alone consists the enjoyment
of a finite existence: know that _through the virtuous use of those five
senses, earthly happiness is attainable_! Dost thou still tremble in thy
unbelief? Arise, Balsamo, and behold the teachings of eternity!"

As the last sentence resounded in the heart of Cagliostro, up into the
air floated the Rosicrucian and the Voice.


TIBERIUS.

Time and distance seemed to be conquered in that mysterious ascension,
and an impenetrable darkness enveloped the impostor as he felt himself
carried swiftly through the atmosphere. When he had somewhat recovered,
however, from his astonishment, the motion ceased, and the light of an
Italian evening beamed upon him from the heavens. A scene then revealed
itself around Cagliostro, the like of which his eyes had never before
beheld, or his imagination, in its wildest mood, conceived.

He was standing in a secluded grove in the island of Capreæ. Fountains
sparkled under the branches; blossoms of the gaudiest colours flaunted
on the brambles, or enamelled the turf; laughter and music filled the
air with a confusion of sweet sounds; and among the intricacies of the
trees, bands of revellers flitted to and fro, clad in the antique
costumes of Rome. Under the shadow of a gigantic orange-bush, upon a
couch of luxurious softness and embroidered in gorgeous arabesques,
there reclined the figure of an old man. His countenance was hideous
with age and debauchery. Sin glimmered in the evil light of his
eyes--those enormous and bloodshot eyes with which (_prægrandibus
oculis_) the historian tells us he could see even in the night-time.[10]
Habitual intemperance had inflamed his complexion, and disfigured his
skin with disgusting eruptions; while his body, naturally robust in its
proportions, had become bloated with the indolence of confirmed
gluttony. A garment (the _toga virilis_) of virgin whiteness covered his
limbs; along the edge of the garment was the broad hem of Tyrian purple
indicative of the imperial dignity; and around the hoary brow of the
epicurean, was woven a chaplet of roses and aloe-leaves.

Cagliostro recoiled in abhorrence before a spectacle at once so austere
and lascivious. His spirit quailed at the sight of a visage in which
appeared to be concentrated the infamy of many centuries. His soul
revolted at the sinister and ferocious expression pervading every
lineament, and lurking in every wrinkle. As he gazed, however, a blithe
sound startled him from the umbrage of the boughs. Quick, lively,
jocund, to the clashing of her cymbals, there bounded forth an Italian
maiden in the garb of a Bacchante. Her feet agile as the roe's, her eyes
lustrous and defiant, her hair dishevelled, her bosom heaving, her arms
symmetrical as sculpture, but glowing with the roseate warmth of youth,
the virgin still rejoiced, as it were, in the tumult of the dance.
Grapes of a golden-green relieved by the ruddy-brown of their foliage,
clustered in a garland about her temples, and leaped in unison with her
movements. Around! with her raven tresses streaming abroad in
ringlets--around! with her sandals clinking on the gravel to the
capricious beat of her cymbals--around! with her light robes flowing
back from a jewelled brooch above the knee--singing, sparkling,
undulating, circling, rustling, the Bacchante entranced the heart of the
Rosicrucian. She gleamed before him like the embodiment of enthusiasm.
She was the genius of motion, the divinity of the dance; she was
Terpsichore in the grace of her movements, Euterpe in the ravishing
sweetness of her voice. A thrill of admiration suffused with a deeper
tint even the abhorred cheek of the voluptuary.

By an almost imperceptible degree, the damsel abated the ardour of her
gyrations, her cymbals clashed less frequently, the song faded from her
lip, the flutter of her garments ceased, the vine-fruit drooped upon her
forehead. She stood before the couch palpitating with emotion, and
radiant with a divine beauty. In another instant, she had prostrated
herself upon the earth, for in the decrepit monster of Capreæ, she
recognised the lord of the whole world--Tiberius.

"Arise, maiden of Apulia," he said, with an immediate sense that he
beheld another of those innocent damsels, who were stolen from their
pastoral homes on the Peninsula to become the victims of his depravity.
"Arise, and slake my thirst from yonder goblet. The tongue of Tiberius
is dry with the avidity of his passion."

An indescribable loathing entered into the imagination of the Bacchante
even as she lay upon the grass; yet she rose with precipitation and
filled a chalice to the brim with Falernian. Tiberius grasped it with an
eager hand, and his mouth pressed the lip of the cup as if to drain its
ruby vintage to the bottom. Suddenly, however, the eyes of the old man
blazed with a raging light; the scowl of lust was forgotten; the
vindictiveness of a fiend shone in his dilated eyeballs, and, with a
yell of fury, he cast the goblet into the air, crying out that the wine
_boiled like the bowl of Pluto_. He was writhing in one of those
paroxysms of rage, which justified posterity in regarding him as a
madman. The howling of Tiberius resounded among the verdure, as the
rattle of a snake might do when it raises its deadly crest from its lair
among the flowers. Quick as thought at the first sound of those
inexorable accents, the grove was thronged with the revellers. They
jostled each other in their solicitude to minister to the cruelty of the
despot; and that cruelty was as ruthless, and as hell-born, as it was
ingenious and appalling.

Obedient to a gesture of Tiberius, the Bacchante was placed upon a
pedestal. For a moment, she stood before them an exquisite statue Of
despair--exquisite even in the excess of her bewilderment. For a moment,
she stood there stunned by the suddenness of the commotion, and frantic
with the consciousness of her peril. For a moment she gazed about her
for aid, wildly but, alas! vainly. No pity beamed upon her in that more
horrible Gomorrah. The marble trembled under her feet--a sulphurous
stench shot through its crevices--the virgin shrieked and fell forwards,
scorched and blackened to a cinder. She was blasted, as if by a
thunderbolt.[11] Cagliostro looked with horror upon the ashes of the
Bacchante. He had seen youth stricken down by age; he had seen virtue
annihilated, so to speak, at the mandate of vice; he had seen--and even
_his_ callous heart exulted at the thought--he had seen innocence
snatched from pollution, when upon the very threshold of an earthly
hell. While rejoicing in this reflection, he was aroused by the
stertorous breathing of the emperor. The crowned demon of the island was
being borne away to his palace upon the shoulders of his attendants.
Although maddened by an insatiable thirst, and by a gloom that was
becoming habitual, the monster lay upon his cushions as impotent as a
child, in the midst of his diseases and iniquities.[12]

At the feet of the Rosicrucian were huddled the bones of the virgin of
Apulia; and the babbling of the fountains was alone audible in the
solitude.

"Such," said the mournful Voice, as Cagliostro again felt himself
carried through the darkness--"such, Balsamo, are the miseries of a
debauched appetite."


AGRIPPA.

In another instant, the impostor was standing upon the floor of a
gigantic amphitheatre in Palestine. The whole air was refulgent with the
light of a summer morning, and through the loopholes of the structure,
the eye caught the blue shimmer of the Mediterranean. Banners,
emblazoned with the ciphers of Rome, fluttered from the walls of the
amphitheatre. Its internal circumference was thronged with a vast
concourse of citizens; and, immediately about the Rosicrucian, groups of
foreign traders, habited as if for some unusual ceremony, were scattered
over the arena. Expectation was evinced in every movement of the
assemblage, in every murmur that floated round the benches. The
worshippers were there, it seemed, and were awaiting the high-priest.
That high-priest was approaching, and more than a high-priest; for Herod
Agrippa, the tetrarch of Judea had descended from Jerusalem to Cæsarea,
for the celebration of warlike games in honour of the Emperor Claudius,
and, on the completion of those festivities, the deputed sovereign had
consented, at the intercession of Blastus, to receive a deputation of
certain Phenician ambassadors who were solicitous for an assurance of
his clemency. Those envoys--the merchant princes of Tyre and Sidon--were
tarrying in the public theatre of the city for the promised interview in
the presence of the people of Samaria.

Cagliostro marvelled, as he scanned the scene before him, whether it
were all a reality or a delusion of his fancy; but the lapping of the
surge upon the adjacent beach, and the perfume of Oriental spices which
impregnated the breezes from the Levant, and even the motes that swarmed
about him like phosphoric atoms, proved that it was no juggle of a
distempered imagination.

Suddenly the air was rent with acclamations; the crowd rose as if by a
single impulse; trumpets sounded in the seven porches of the
amphitheatre; again the plaudits shook the air like the concussion of
enthusiasm, and the deputation in the arena prostrated themselves in the
dust. Balsamo saw, at once, the reason of this rejoicing; he saw the
tetrarch of Judea seated upon a throne of ivory. The crown of Agrippa
glittered upon his forehead with an unnatural brightness--it was of the
purest gold, radiating from the brow in spikes, and flecked with pearls
of an uncommon size. Silent--erect--inflated with pride at his own
grandeur, and the adulation of the rabble, sate the King of Palestine.
Silent--awe-stricken--uncovered before the majesty of the representative
of Claudius, stood the people of Samaria and Phenicia. Extreme beauty of
an elevated and heroic character shone upon the features of Herod,
although his beard was grizzled with the passage of fifty-four winters.
In the midst of the silence of the populace, the morning sun rose,
almost abruptly, above the topmost arches of the edifice, and darted his
beams full upon the glorious garments of Agrippa. It played in sparkles
of intense lustre upon the jewels of his diadem; and upon the outer
robe, which was of silver tissue woven with consummate skill and
powdered with diamonds, the refraction of the sunlight produced an
intolerable splendour.[13] The Samaritans shielded their eyes from its
magnificence; they were dazzled; they were blinded; they thrilled with
admiration and astonishment.

Agrippa spoke.

At the first sound of his accents, there was a whisper of awe among the
multitude--it increased--it grew louder--it arose to the heavens in one
prolonged and jubilant shout of adoration.

"It is a God!" they cried--"it is a God that speaketh, not a man!"

As the language of that impious homage saluted the ears of Herod, his
mouth curled with a smile of satisfaction, his soul expanded with an
inexpressible tumult of emotions, he drank in the blasphemous flatteries
of the rabble, and assumed to himself the power and the dignity of the
Most High God. Yet in the very ecstasy of those sensations, his
countenance became ghastly, his lips writhed, his eyes beheld with
unutterable dismay the omen of his dissolution--the visible phantom of
an avenging Nemesis.[14] He staggered from his throne, crying aloud in
the extremity of his anguish; a sudden corruption had seized upon his
body--he was being devoured by worms.

The heart of Cagliostro quailed within him at the lamentations of the
people of Samaria, as they beheld their idol smitten down by death in
the midst of his surpassing pomp. Even the Jewish hagiographer tells us,
with pathetic simplicity, that King Agrippa himself wept at the wailings
of the adoring mob.

Again the Alchemist found himself enveloped in darkness, again the
unearthly Voice stole into his brain.

"Lo!" it said, "how the frame rots in the ermine: how the body and soul
are polluted by vicious passions! Such, Balsamo, are the penalties of
the lusts of the flesh."


MILTON.

Another scene then revealed itself to the Rosicrucian, but one
altogether different from those he had already witnessed. Instead of
being in an Oriental amphitheatre, he was standing in a rural lane;
instead of tumult he found tranquillity; instead of regal pageantries an
almost primitive simplicity. He inhaled the sweet smells of clover and
newly-turned mould with a zest hitherto unexperienced. The gurgling of a
brook by the wayside saluted his ears, as it struggled through the
rushes and tinkled over the pebbles, with a sound more agreeable than he
ever remembered to have heard from the instruments of court musicians.
For the first time nature seemed to disclose her real loveliness to his
comprehension. Every where she appeared to abound with beauties: in the
bee that lit upon the nettle and sucked the honey out of its blossom; in
the nettle that nodded under the weight of the bee; in the dew that
dropped like a diamond from the alder-bough when the thrush alighted on
its stem; in the thrush that warbled till the speckled feathers on its
throat throbbed as if its heart were in its song; in the slug that
trailed a silver track upon the dust; in the very dust itself that
twirled in threads and circles on the ground as the wind swerved round
the corner of the hedgerow. Cagliostro was entranced with the most novel
and pleasurable emotions, as he strolled on towards the building he had
already observed. From the elevation of the ground which he was
traversing, his glance roved with admiration over a wide and diversified
extent of country; over a prospect richly wooded and teeming with
vegetation; over orchards laden with fruit and knee-deep in grass; over
fields of barley bristling with golden ripeness; over distant mills,
churning the water into foam, and driving gusts of meal out through the
open doorway; over meadows where the sheep cropped the cool herbage, and
the cattle lay in the sunshine sleeping; over village steeples, over
homesteads brown with age, or hid amongst the verdure. The worldling
scanned the profusion of the panorama with an amazement that was
exquisite from its newness. He marvelled at the charms that strewed the
earth in such abundance, at the almost unnumbered forms and colours of
her vitality, at the wonderful harmony that subsisted amidst all those
various hues and shapes. Never had the joys derivable from the sense of
vision appeared of so much value as now that he gazed into the deep and
delicious magnificence of nature. His sight, with a sort of luxurious
abandonment, strayed over the contrasts, and penetrated into the
distances of the landscape; his bosom swelled with the consciousness of
a sympathy with that creation of which he felt himself to be but a
kindred unit, or, at best, a sentient atom.

It was while absorbed in these sensations, that Cagliostro paused before
the rustic dwelling-house towards which his steps had been involuntarily
directed. The building was situated at a few paces from the pathway.
There was nothing about it to arrest the attention of a passer-by,
except, perhaps, all appearance of extreme but picturesque humility. The
walls were riveted together with iron-bands in crossbars and zig-zags;
the brickwork was decayed and crumbling away in blotches; the roof was
low and thatched. Yet, in spite of these evidences of poverty, the
scholar regarded the structure with a reverential aspect, with such an
aspect as he might have presented had he contemplated the hut of Baucis
and Philemon.

The threshold of this obscure edifice formed of itself a bower of
greenery, thickly covered with the blooms of the honey-suckle. Under the
porch was seated a man of a most venerable countenance. He was muffled
in a gray coat of the coarsest texture, and his legs being crossed, a
worsted stocking and a slipper of untanned leather betrayed the meanness
of his under garments. His hair, brilliant with a whiteness like that of
milk, was parted in the centre of the forehead, and fell over his
shoulders in those negligent curls called _oreilles de chien_, which
became fashionable long afterwards, during the days of the French
Directory. Had the Alchemist remained profoundly ignorant as to the
identity of the old man, he must still have observed with interest,
features which were equally characterised by the pensiveness of the
student and the paleness of the valetudinarian. He knew, however,
instinctively, as he had done upon the two preceding occasions, that he
beheld a personage of illustrious memory. And he knew rightly, for it
was Milton. While the great plague was desolating the metropolis, he had
escaped from his residence in the Artillery Walk, and sought security
from the contagion by a temporary sojourn in Buckinghamshire.

Opposite the immortal sage stood a person of about the same years, but
of a very different deportment--it was the dearest of his few friends,
and the most ardent of his many worshippers, Richardson. The latter was
leaning against the trunk of a great maple-tree that grew close to the
parlour-lattice, stretching forth its enormous branches in all
directions, and mingling its foliage with the smoke that issued from the
chimney. Richardson had been reading aloud but a moment before, from a
volume of Boccaccio; he had placed the book, however, upon the
window-sill, in obedience to a movement from his companion, and
continued, with his arms folded and his eyelids closed, a silent and
almost inanimate portion of the domestic group. The quietude which
ensued was so contagious that Cagliostro remarked with a feeling of
listlessness, the details and accessories of the spectacle--the silk
curtains of rusty green festooned before the open window, the
tobacco-pipe lying among the manuscripts upon the table, even the
slouched-hat hanging from the back of an arm-chair. The rambling
meditations of Balsamo were soon concentrated upon a loftier theme, by
the voice of Milton singing in a subdued tone the antistrophe of a
favourite ode of Pindar. As the noble words of the Greek lyrist rolled
with an indescribable gusto from the lips of Milton, it seemed to the
Rosicrucian that he had never before comprehended the true euphony of
the language. And the visage of the old bard responded to the strain of
Pindar; it was illumined with a certain majesty of expression that
imparted additional dignity to a countenance at all times beaming with
wisdom. In appreciating the Pagan poet, the poet of Christianity
appeared to glow with enthusiasm like that which entranced his whole
soul in the moments of his own superb inspiration.[15] Nor was the
grandeur of the head diminished in any manner by the unpoetical
proportions of the body, for, to the acknowledgment of his most partial
biographer, Richardson, the stature of Milton was so much below the
ordinary height, and so much beyond the ordinary bulk, that he might
almost be described as "short and thick." Yet, notwithstanding these
peculiarities of the frame, an august radiance seemed to envelope the
brow--a brow, hoary alike from years and from misfortunes--and to invest
with a sublime air the figure of that old man huddled in that old gray
coat. Cagliostro gazed with profound interest upon Milton as the rolling
melody of Pindar streamed into his ears, when suddenly the song ceased,
and the face of the singer was raised to the resplendent light of the
heavens. Alas! those eyes turned vacantly in their sockets--those eyes
which had once looked so sorrowfully on the sightless Galileo--those
eyes which had mourned over the ashes of _Lycidas_, and rained upon them
tears transmuted by poetry into a shower of precious stones! The misery
of his blindness recurred to Milton himself at that same instant. A
cloud of grief descended upon his countenance. He experienced one of
those poignant feelings of regret which, in our own day, occasionally
oppress the heart of Augustin Thierry--for with the sensibility of a
poet he _knew_ that the hour was beautiful. Never had Cagliostro seen
human face express such exquisite but patient suffering; it seemed to be
_listening_ to the loveliness of the earth; it seemed to be _inhaling_
the glories of nature, as it were, through those channels which were not
obliterated. The stirring of the leaves, the scent of the woodbine, the
pattering of the winged seeds of the maple upon the pages of Boccaccio,
the fitful twittering of the birds--all ascended as offerings of
recompense to the blind man, but they only tended to enhance the sense
of his affliction. He caught but the skirts of the goddess of that
creation whose glories he had chanted in his celestial epic; and yet no
murmur escaped from the dejected lip of Milton!

Again darkness surrounded the Rosicrucian--again the awful voice
resounded in his imagination.

"Behold!" it said, "the sorrows of the great and virtuous when the light
is quenched: behold the divine prerogative of those who see! And know,
Balsamo, that such are the boons thou hast contemned--such are the
faculties thou hast polluted."


MIRABEAU.

After a scarcely perceptible pause, the Voice resumed: "The miseries of
those who have abused or lost the powers of seeing, of tasting, or of
feeling, have been revealed to thee, O sceptic! Thine eyes have
penetrated into the dim retrospections of the past. Look onwards,
Balsamo, and thou shalt discern the things that are germinating in the
womb of the future."

Cagliostro had scarcely heard this assurance when the curtain hitherto
impenetrable to mortal, was raised--the dread shadows of the future were
dispelled. He found himself in the upper apartment of one of the most
distinguished mansions in Paris. The chamber, which was lofty and
spacious, was enriched with the most costly furniture, and the most
gorgeous decorations. Pilasters, incrusted with marble, and enamelled
with lapis-lazuli, broke the monotony of the walls and supported the
ceiling with their capitals. Between these pilasters were pedestals
surmounted with statuary and busts; and these, again, were reflected in
the mirrors hung about the room in profusion. An almost oriental luxury
characterised the Turkish carpets, as soft as the greensward, and the
draperies of velvet which concealed the windows, and fell in graceful
folds about a bed at the opposite end of the apartment. An antique
candelabrum stood upon the mantelpiece and shed a rosy and voluptuous
light over this domestic pomp, while some odorous gums crackled in a
chafing-dish upon the hearth and loaded the air with their fragrance.

Familiar as the Rosicrucian was with splendour, his glance roved over
these appurtenances with delight, for he had never before seen the
evidences of wealth so enhanced by the evidences of refinement. He
thought that the possession of such a dwelling would be something
towards the realisation of happiness. In the very conception of that
ignoble thought, however, he received a solemn and effectual admonition.
Before him, in the silent chamber, on either side of it groups of
attendants and men robed in the costumes of the court and the barracks,
was a deathbed. It was the deathbed of an extraordinary being, the owner
of all this grandeur. It was the deathbed of Honoré-Gabriel de Mirabeau.

The patrician demagogue reposed upon the pillows in the final stage of
dissolution, and his broad forehead was already damp with the sweat of
his last agony. Cagliostro surveyed the dying tribune with emotion, for
in the very hideousness of his countenance there was a subtle and
indefinable fascination. The gigantic stature which had so often awed
the tumults of the National Assembly was prostrate. The voice, whose
brazen tones had sounded like a trumpet over the land, was hushed--that
voice which had exclaimed with such sublime significance to the
Marseillais,--"When the last of the Gracchi expired, he flung dust
towards heaven, and from this dust sprang Marius!"--that voice which had
conquered the aversion of Mademoiselle de Marignan with its seductive
melody--that voice which had been at once the oracle of the king and the
law of the rabble. Mirabeau lay before the Rosicrucian, with his natural
ugliness rendered yet more repulsive by the tokens of a terrible malady.
The touch of death imparted additional horror to the massive deformity
of his skull, to the coarseness of his pockmarked features, to his
sunken eyeballs, to his cheeks scared by disease, to his hair bristling
and dishevelled like that of a gorgon. Still, through all these
unsightly and almost loathsome peculiarities, there was perceptible a
sort of masculine susceptibility. It was that susceptibility which gave
zest to his debaucheries, and occasionally subdued into pathos the
storms of his dazzling and sonorous eloquence.

Never was a solitary life prized by so many millions, as that which was
then ebbing from the breast of Mirabeau. He seemed to be the only
guarantee for the solid adjustment of the Revolution. With his
disappearance, all hope of tranquillity and good government was prepared
to vanish. His was the intellect in which the extremes of that momentous
epoch were united. He was the antithesis of public opinion. Noble by
birth and plebeian by accident, a democrat in principle and a dictator
in ambition, the shield of the monarch and the sword of the people, he
was placed exactly between the contending powers of the age. He was the
arbiter between royalty and revolt: on the one side he acquired the
obedience of the sovereign through his fears, and on the other he
obtained the allegiance of the multitude through their aspirations. His
supremacy occupied at the same moment the palace, the legislative
chamber, and the marketplace; for all recognised _in_ him the omen of
their good fortune, and _through_ him, the realisation of their wishes.
Flattered by the minions of the monarchy, applauded by the members of
the National Assembly, and idolised by the mob, his influence rested, as
it were, upon a triple foundation. And yet, by a contradiction as
remarkable as the anomalies of his own character, all parties were
disposed to rejoice at the probability of his departure. The King was
gratified at the thought of his removal, forasmuch as Mirabeau was the
impersonation of a formidable sedition; the political adventurers
exulted in the prospect of his decease, because he monopolised
popularity, and rendered them insignificant by the contrast of his
colossal genius; the people, in like manner, were, not altogether
displeased at the notion of his extinction, because he appeared to them
the only obstacle between themselves, and the supreme authority. All
valued him as their present preserver, and all hated him as their future
impediment. Such were the conflicting sentiments entertained towards
Mirabeau, during the last incidents of his eccentric and volatile
career. And in the midst of so many antagonistic interests, he alone
remained unshaken and unappalled, his oratory rendering him still the
mouth-piece of the Revolution, his duplicity its diplomatist, and his
intellectual contrivance its statesman. Nor was he satisfied with these
successes; he sought others, and was equally fortunate. Profligacy and
legislation equally divided his enthusiasm between them, and proved him
to be not only the most daring politician, but the most debauched
citizen in France. His power and popularity had now, however, reached
their apogee, and Honoré-Gabriel Riquetti Comte de Mirabeau was
stretched upon his deathbed.

Cagliostro approached the couch and listened, for the great demagogue
was speaking. His voice was harsh even in a murmur, though it still
retained, according to Lemercier, "a slight meridional accent." The rosy
light of the candelabrum beamed upon his cadaverous lips.

"Sprinkle me with perfumes, crown me with flowers, that thus I may enter
upon eternal sleep."

Memorable words--the last words of Gabriel de Mirabeau. They embody the
spirit of his sterile philosophy, and are in unison with the
evanescence of his genius.[16] As Cagliostro observed the limbs
convulsed and the eyes glazed with a simultaneous pang, he was caught up
again into the darkness, and again his soul hearkened to the whispers of
the Holy Voice.

"Thus," it said, "are those recompensed with disease and satiety, who
are the slaves of their meanest, as of their noblest appetites; thus is
their talisman shattered in the hour of its attainment."


BEETHOVEN.

When the reproachful accents ceased, Balsamo felt his feet once more
pressing the earth, and the breezes rustling against his domino. He was
wandering in the garden of what is termed the Schwarzpanier House,
situated on a slope or glacis in the outskirts of Wahring. The evening
was so far advanced, that candles already twinkled from the upper
windows of the building, while the fires of the kitchens checkered the
shrubs and gravel with patches of glaring light. Through the flowerbeds,
and along the intricate paths of the shrubbery, the Alchemist strolled
at a languid pace, musing upon the things he had already witnessed, when
his vigilant ears caught the tones of a musical instrument. Although it
was scarcely audible from the distance, Cagliostro was struck by the
extreme beauty and _espièglerie_ of the performance. He hurried forward
in the direction from which the sounds proceeded, and at each step they
became more distinguishable and bewitching. After a momentary feeling of
indecision when he reached the walls of the Schwarzpanier, the Alchemist
ascended a flight of steps, and passed through the open casement of a
French-window into a modest sitting-room. The musician whose skill had
attracted him, was seated in the gray twilight at a piano. Cagliostro
scarcely noticed that he was a man of short stature but of muscular
proportions; he scarcely remarked, indeed, either the apartment or its
occupant; his whole consciousness was absorbed in the melody that
streamed from the instrument.

At first, the fingers of the player seemed to frolic over the keys, as
though they toyed with the vibrations of the strings. The sounds were
sportive and jocund; they rippled like laughter; they were capricious as
the merriment of a coquette. Then they merged into a sweet and warbling
cadence--a cadence of inimitable tenderness, the very suavity of which
was rendered more piquant by its lavish variations. The measure changed,
with an abrupt fling of the treble-hand: it gushed into an air quaint
and sprightly as the dance of Puck--comic--odd--sparkling on the ear
like zig-zags: it threw out a shower of notes; it was the voice of
agility and merriment; it was grotesque and fitful, droll in its absurd
confusion, and yet nimble, in its amazing ingenuity. Gradually, however,
the humorous movement resolved itself into a strain of preternatural
wildness--a strain that made the blood curdle, and the flesh creep, and
the nerves shudder. It abounded with dark and goblin passages; it was
the whirlwind blowing among the crags of the Jungfrau, and swarming with
the forms and cries of the witches of the Walpurgis; it was Eurydice,
traversing the corridors of hell; it was midnight over the wilderness,
with the clouds drifting before the moon; it was a hurricane on the deep
sea; it was every thing horrible, wierdlike, and tumultuous. And through
the very fury of these passages there would start tones of ravishing and
gentle beauty--the incense of an adoring heart wafted to the black
heavens through the lightnings and lamentations of Nineveh. Again the
musician changed the purpose of his improvisation; it was no longer
dismal and appalling, it was pathetic. The instrument became, as it
were, the organ of sadness, it became eloquent with an inarticulate wo;
it was a breast bursting with affliction, a voice broken with sorrow, a
soul dissolving with emotions. Then the variable harmonies rose from
pensiveness into frenzy, from frenzy into the noise and the shocks of a
great battle; they swelled to the din of contending armies, to the storm
and vicissitudes of warlike deeds, and soared at last into a pæan such
as that of victorious legions when--

  "Gaily to glory they come,
      Like a king in his pomp,
      To the blast of the tromp,
  And the roar of the mighty drum!"

As the triumphant tones of the instrument rolled up from its recesses,
and filled the apartment with a torrent of majestic sounds, as the
musician swayed to and fro in the enthusiasm of his sublime
inspirations, and enhanced the divine symphony by the crash of many
thrilling and abrupt discords, the Rosicrucian gazed with awe upon the
responsive grandeur of his countenance. The impetus of his superb
imagination imparted an inconceivable dignity to every lineament, to his
capacious forehead, to his broad and distended nostrils, to the fierce
protrusion of his under-lip, to the mobile and generous expression of
his mouth, to the tawny yellow of his complexion, to the brown depths of
his noble and dilated eyes. There was something in unison with the
glorious sounds that reverberated through the chamber, even in the
enormous contour of his head and the gray disorder of his hair. He
seemed to exult in the torrent of melody as it gushed from the piano and
streamed out upon the dusk of the evening. While Cagliostro was
listening in an ecstasy of admiration, he was startled by a sudden
clangour among the bass-notes--the music seemed to be jumbled into
confusion, and the ear was stunned by a painful and intolerable
dissonance. On looking more intently, he perceived that the composer had
let one hand fall abstractedly upon the key-board, while the other
executed, by itself, a passage of extraordinary difficulty and
involution. Then, for the first time, the thought struck him that the
musician was deaf.[17] Alas! the supposition was too true: Beethoven was
cursed with the loss of his most precious faculty. Those who appreciate
the full splendour of his gigantic genius, those who conceive, with a
distinguished composer now living, that "Beethoven began where Haydn and
Mozart left off;" those who coincide with an eminent critic, in saying
that "the discords of Beethoven are better than the harmonies of all
other musicians;" those, in fine, who worship his memory with the
devotion inspired by his compositions, can sympathise in that terrible
deprivation of the powers of hearing, by which his art was rendered a
blank, and the latter years of his life were imbittered. They will
remember with gratitude the joys they have derived from the effusions of
his fruitful intellect; they will call to their recollection the joyous
chorus of the prisoners in _Fidelio_,--the sublime and adoring hymn of
the "Alleluia" in _The Mount of Olives_,--the matchless pomp of the
_Sinfonia Eroica_,--the passionate beauty of the sentiment of
_Adelaida_,--the aerial grace of his quartets and waltzes,--the
thrilling and almost awful pathos of the dirge written for six
trombones,--but, above all, they will recall to mind the noblest work
ever conceived and perfected by composer, one of the greatest
achievements of the human mind, _the Mass in D_. And, bearing these
wonders in their memory, their hearts will ache for the doom of Ludwig
Von Beethoven. None of these things, however, being known to the
Rosicrucian, his sympathies were aroused solely by what he himself had
heard and witnessed. Still that was more than enough to fill his whole
soul with commiseration, especially as the sounds again burst in
bewitching concert from the instrument, and a new inspiration lit up the
visage of the musician. Cagliostro found himself, with profound sorrow,
returning into the silent darkness, and the solemn Voice stealing, for
the last time, into his brain.

"Behold, Balsamo," it said, "the pleasures that may vanish with the loss
of hearing. Behold, and shudder at the remembrance of thy blasphemies.
Recognise the goodness of Omnipotence in thy five senses--value them
beyond either rank, or wealth, or dignity, or fame, or power,--value
them as the five mysterious talismans of human life; and, in their
virtuous employment, know that earthly happiness _is_ attainable!"

While these words were resounding in his mind, the Rosicrucian felt
himself carried, with inconceivable swiftness, through the atmosphere.
Immediately they ceased he became motionless, though he was still
enveloped in the shadows of night. All that had recently occurred to
him,--all the strange and moving circumstances of which he had been a
spectator, then thronged upon his recollection, and stirred his heart
with astonishment. His imagination responded to his amazement. He
revisited again, in thought, the blooming grove of Capreæ, the
pageantries of Cesarea, the green lanes of Buckingham, the luxurious
_salon_ of Paris, and the twilight of the garden of Wahring. Italian
beauty lived again in his remembrance, but a beauty marred by
licentiousness and cruelty. He seemed to behold once more the multitudes
of Palestine, the landscapes of England, the dainty splendours of
France, and the tranquil homes of Germany. Gradually, however, his
reflections became less incoherent, and the meaning of the vision
appeared to evolve itself before him, in inductions fraught at once with
reproach and consolation. Coupling together the truths enunciated by the
Voice of his unseen visitant, and the spectacles revealed to him in
succession through its agency, the Alchemist bethought himself whether
his original impressions, as to the condition of humanity, might not, in
a great measure, have been erroneous. What he had just witnessed assured
him, in an unanswerable manner, that overt crimes or overt virtues were
merely the good or evil employment of one or other of the five senses;
that they were the bright and black spots upon the spiritual nature of
man, the _faculæ_ and the _maculæ_, as it were, on the disc of his
conscience. Satisfied, therefore, that the purity or depravity of every
mortal was merely the consequence of the different purpose to which
their senses had been directed, the Rosicrucian perceived the intimate
relationship subsisting between the immaterial being and the physical
organs. He perceived especially that those organs were the channels
through which that immaterial portion of humanity was brought into
communication with a material existence, was compelled to endure its
miseries, or was enabled to appreciate its enjoyments. In this he
recognised the veracity of that solemn assurance, that happiness is
accessible, even on this earth, to all who use their senses with a
virtuous discrimination. Nor had this consolatory truth been enforced
merely by a barren asseveration. Balsamo had been taught the inestimable
value of those senses, and the penalties of such as abused them by their
vices. Five incidents, most touching, or most appalling, had reminded
him of the exquisite pleasures derivable from created things, through
the eyes, through the nostrils, through the ears, through the palate,
and through the nerves. He had seen the anguish, moreover, of those who
suffered from the deprivation of either sense, or of those who were
tortured by the result of their own heinous misapplication. He had seen
this in the insanity of Tiberius, in the torments of Agrippa, in the
sadness of Milton, in the desolation of Mirabeau, and even in the
philosophic sorrows of Beethoven. The emperor, the tetrarch, the poet,
the demagogue, and the musician, crowded upon his memory, and appealed
to his judgment with the same melancholy distinctness. Still the
villainous predilections of the Rosicrucian contended for the mastery,
although his intellect recognised the wisdom of the Vision. A fierce
strife arose between his passions and his reason.

Suddenly his eyes opened to the splendour of an autumn morning; and as
the sunlight poured along the _Boulevard de la Madeleine_, as it gilded
every blade of grass in the paddock, and streamed in golden pencils
through the open window of the cottage, it glittered upon his cheek like
raindrops.

Cagliostro was weeping.


FOOTNOTES:

[5] Béranger has already conveyed this truth through the melody of his
delicious verse:--

  "Le vois-tu bien, là-bas, là-bas,
  Là-bas, là-bas? dit l'Espérance;
  Bourgeois, manants, rois et prelats
  Lui font de loin la révérence.
  C'est le Bonheur, dit l'Espérance.
  Courons, courons; doublons le pas,
  Pour le trouver là-bas, là-bas,
  Là-bas, là-bas."

[6] "I did not dare to breathe aloud the unhallowed anguish of my mind
to the majesty of the unsympathising stars."--See _Falkland_.

[7] "Motus autem siderum," such is the reverent and sententious remark
of Grotius, "qui eccentrici, quique epicyclici dicuntur, manifeste
ostendunt _non vim materiæ, sed liberi agentis ordinationem_."--See _De
Veritate Rel. Christ. Lib._ i. § 7.

[8] "Now, there was a word spoken to me in private, and my ears, by
stealth as it were, received the veins of its whisper."--_Job_, chap.
iv. verse 12.

[9]

  "There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
  When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
  Among immortals when a god gives sign
  With hushing finger, how he means to load
  His tongue with the full weight of utterless thought,
  With thunder, and with music, and with pomp."

Such are the majestic syllables which preface the speech of Saturn in
_Hyperion_. Keats was ridding himself of the puerilities of Cockaigne
when he wrote that fragment of an epic--a fragment which is unsurpassed
by any modern attempt at heroic composition. In reading it, the very
earth seems shaking with the footsteps of fallen divinities. Even Byron,
who, like ourselves, had no great predilection for the school in which
the poetic genius of John Keats was germinated, has emphatically said of
_Hyperion_ that "it seems actually inspired by the Titans, and is as
sublime as Æschylus."--See _Byron's Works_, vol. xv., p. 92.

[10] Thus writes Suetonius--"prægrandibus oculis, qui, quod mirum esset,
noctu etiam et in tenebris, viderent, sed ad breve, et quum primum a
somno patuissent; deinde rursum hebescebant."--_Tib._ cap. lxviii.

[11] Those who are familiar with the classic historians, will see in
this description no exaggeration whatever. Instruments for the
destruction of life yet more awful and mysterious, were employed by many
of the predecessors, and many of the successors of Tiberius, as well as
by Tiberius himself: and modern science has shown that these devices,
instead of being, as was originally conjectured, the result of
black-magic, were, in reality, the effect of hydraulic, pneumatic, and
mechanical contrivances. Even the most marvellous feats of the Egyptian
sorcerers have been latterly explained by the revelations of natural
philosophy, and a multitude of these explanations may be found by the
reader in the learned work "Des Sciences Occultes," &c. written by M.
Eusebe Salverte, and published in Paris as recently as 1843. In that
remarkable volume, M. Salverte proves that natural phenomena are more
startling than necromantic tricks, and that, in the words of Roger
Bacon, "_non igitur oportet nos magicis illusionibus uti, cum potestas
philosophica doceat operari quod sufficit._" That Tiberius was capable
of atrocities yet more terrific, and that murders of the most inhuman
kind were the consequence of almost every one of his diabolical whims,
those acquainted with the picturesque narrative of Suetonius already
know. They will remember not only how he caused his nephew Germanicus to
be poisoned by the governor of Syria, but how he ordered a fisherman to
be torn in pieces by the claws of a crab, simply because he met him, in
one of his suspicious moods, when strolling in a sequestered garden of
Capreæ.--_Sue. Tib._ c. lx.

[12] Suetonius assures us (cap. lxviii.), that the muscular strength of
Tiberius Claudius Nero was, in the prime of his manhood, almost as
supernatural as his crimes; that he could with his outstretched finger
bore a hole through a sound apple (_integrum malum digito terebraret_),
and wound the head of a child or even a youth with a fillip, (_caput
pueri, vel etiam adolescentis, talitro vulneraret._) His excesses must,
however, have enervated his frame long before his death by suffocation.

[13] His garb, writes Josephus, "was so resplendent as to spread a
horror over those that looked intently upon Him."--_Lib._ xix. c. 8.

[14] "An owl," says Josephus (xix. 8); "an angel of the Lord," angelos
Kyriou, say the scriptures, (Acts. xii. 23,)--in either case a spectral
illusion.

[15] It is impossible for anyone devoted to the study of "Paradise
Lost," of "Comus," even of "Sampson Agonistes," and especially of "Il
Pensoroso" and "L'Allegro," to doubt that their writer was carried away
at times by the _oestrum_, or _divine afflatus_, although Dr Johnson
discredits "these bursts of light, and involutions of darkness, these
transient and involuntary excursions and retrocessions of
invention."--See _Lives of the Poets_, vol. i. p. 188.

[16] Even M. Alphonse de Lamartine acknowledges of Mirabeau, that
"neither his character, his deeds, nor his thoughts, have the brand of
immortality."--_Hist. Giron._ Liv. i. chap. 3.

[17] This incident was suggested by a touching sentence in Schindler's
biography of Beethoven. After observing that the outward sense no longer
co-operated with the inward mind of the great composer, and that,
consequently, "the outpourings of his fancy became scarcely
intelligible," Schindler continues:--_"Sometimes he would lay his left
hand flat upon the key-board, and thus drown, in discordant noise, the
music to which his right was feelingly giving utterance._"--See _Life of
Beethoven, Edited by Ignace Moschelles_, ii. 175.



MAGA IN AMERICA.


                                        _New York, August_ 1847.

My Dear Godfrey--You will laugh when you hear into what a practical
blunder I was led, by a desire to gratify your curiosity concerning
Maga's Icon in America. I wondered you should ask me for a description,
when it was so easy to have ordered out the thing itself; and so
resolved to save myself the trouble of writing a long story, by duly
exporting a specimen of the American Ebony, from which you might form
your own conclusions as to its counterfeit merits, and its supposed
relations to the great question of international copyright. _Segnius
irritant_--you know! What disciple of old Plunkett's will ever forget
the difference between the _demissa per aurem_, and

  ----"quæ sunt _oculis_ subjecta fidelibus!"

I have always maintained that his illustration of this great principle
gave Dickens the hint of his Dotheboy's Hall. You remember, doubtless,
poor Harry Farmar's false quantity, and how Plunkett made him peel
onions till he cried his eyes out; asserting his confidence in Horace's
maxim, and that he had found the usual box on the ear quite incapable of
any exciting effect on Harry's mind. Who would have said that the same
Harry, surviving the operation, would have lived to hunt bisons on the
prairies of Western America, after riding on elephants in India, and
bestriding a camel's hump through the waste places of Edom! Harry's
wandering mind has developed as vagabond a habit of life as ever his
prophetic instructor ventured to predict; but he vows himself cured at
last, and that, if he ever sets foot again on England's _terra firma_,
he will at once become one of the manly hearts that guard the fair, and
settle down in contented conjugation. He it was, then, who offered to be
the bearer to yourself at C---- of any despatches, or parcels, I might
choose to send; but he affected to think me so thoroughly Americanised,
that he entered a caveat against my loading him with a consignment of
bowie knives or cotton-bales. A nicely packthreaded parcel was
accordingly put up, and duly adorned with your most Saxon name and
address, in the delusive expectation that none but your own hands would
presume

  "----to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
  And give them voice and utterance once again."

I was doomed to be quickly undeceived; and as I doubt not Harry will be
giving you his own version of the affair, over a glass of wine, some
three weeks hence, at the Hall, you shall know beforehand how much to
allow, in this matter, for his habitual unveracity, or rather love of
romance.

I waited on him yesterday and presented the packet; but you should have
seen him start, when I happened to mention its contents. Not the captors
of Guido Fawkes bounced with more consternation, when that eminent
pyrotechnist proposed to touch off his gunpowder for their especial
gratification and amusement. "What!" exclaimed our mutual friend--"Have
you lived so long in America, as to have forgotten the laws of a
civilised and Christian land! Would you have me seized as a smuggler;
posted in every newspaper as an importer of contraband goods; brutally
insulted by the officers of her Majesty's Customs; and perhaps actually
brought before a justice, and locked up where the only prospect would
be a distant view of New South Wales!" It was in vain that I
remonstrated with his eloquent horrors, at the thought of renewing his
travels at government cost: he insisted that my proposal might actually
have ensured the catastrophe; and from this appeal to my feelings,
passed to a bold invective against literary piracy, and concluded by a
generous compromise in favour of the cotton-bales, if I would pardon the
warm expressions with which he found himself compelled to decline my
extraordinary commission. You should have seen him, Godfrey! If he ever
takes that seat in Parliament which he threatens to make the sequel of
matrimony, I predict wo to the whole race of Humes, Brights, and
Cobdens, should they ever start him on a subject capable of
transatlantic illustration.

I could not but laugh, though, when I saw the true state of the case, at
the comical scene that might have ensued, had he taken my parcel without
explanations. Think of Harry's air of fearless innocence before the
inspectors of imports, till from the depths of an enormous trunk comes
forth a parcel, which those faithful officials at once lay bare, with
the professional dexterity of a private tearing his cartridge. The
officer stares, and Harry looks still more astounded, at the sight of a
familiar visage, peering forth from under the wrapper, and giving mute
but significant expressions of pain and displeasure. It is the head of
Geordy Buchanan! It is Blackwood, imported from New York! The confounded
servant of her Majesty's Customs begins to whisper contraband, and
expresses a wish for the undoubted original, which you, just stepping up
to welcome your friend, are enabled to supply. The fresh number from
your coat-skirts, and the suspicious importation from America, are set
together like the two Dromios before the duke. "Look on this picture,
and on that!" Behold the two Buchanans!

     "One of these men is genius to the other
     ----Which is the natural man,
     And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?"

Harry, to prevent the coming crisis, volunteers a confession, but
invites you to a comparison of the heads. With his outrageous Tory
hatred of the Yankees, he, of course, declares there's no comparison;
ridicules the fac-simile, and hastily seizing what he mistakes for the
counterfeit, confounds the company by a quotation from the Latin of
"Terence"--that very small fragment of the Eunuchus which Plunkett
forced into his head through the opposite pole of his person--

     "Ne comparandus hic quidem ad illum est, ille erat
     Honesta facie, et liberali!"

And finally, disgusted to find that he has ascribed the more gentlemanly
bearing to the American, he tosses the whole parcel into the docks, with
the tardy announcement that it was my friendly consignment to yourself,
as well as the very curiosity of literature which you so much desire to
see. You remember, doubtless, what I did not recollect, that there is no
port of entry in her Majesty's empire for the Icons of British copyright
property. They come with a Frenchified air from the press of Galignani;
they arrive in vulgarised costume from the cheap manufactories of New
England; but the scent of the vermin is familiar to the nose of a
collector of customs, and no rat-catching terrier, says my informant,
ever pounces upon his Norwegian with half the gusto with which such an
official snubs such an intruder. A health, I say, to the fury of this
sort of Iconoclasts!

Our friend's unusual caution has saved you the excitement of the scene I
have imagined, but it puts me to the necessity of substituting a hurried
description for the ocular satisfaction I had proposed to send you. Who
would have supposed, thirty years since, that one Maga would not be
enough for the world, and that New York would be the seat of its
flourishing double! Yet it is now twelve years since its twin started up
on this side the water, and has been battening and fattening on the
rewards of successful illegitimacy. Nay--for a portion of that period,
Maga has been "three gentlemen at once." The very pirates were pirated,
and undersold; and two reprints of Maga, both professing to be
fac-similes, were at one time supported in America, in addition to
countless republications of particular articles; such, for instance, as
the tales of "Ten Thousand a-Year," and "Caleb Stukeley"! I think I hear
you exclaim at such wholesale grand-larceny; but though not inclined to
take up the cudgels for Reprint and Co., it is but justice to tell you
what they would say in self-defence. The truth is, they would not have
known what you meant, had you told them, when their republication was
established, that there was any question as to the ethics of such a
business. The laws not only permitted, but even encouraged the
enterprise; and they do so still. The most respectable booksellers were
engaged in a similar seizure of every new novel of Bulwer's, and every
new work whatever, that had stood the experiment of success in England.
Original copies of the Magazine were rarely imported, as the importer's
charges and duties nearly doubled the first cost of each number; and
besides, it was already virtually republished, its leading articles
being constantly appropriated, in different ways, by editors of literary
periodicals, and often by the daily newspapers. Then, it must be
remembered, that England was nearly twice as far from America before the
era of steamers; and that the matter of copyright was only just
beginning to excite the attention of Parliament. As yet Lord Mahon had
not stirred up the ministry to move foreign countries to international
justice, and England was not, as now, prepared to invest their authors
with all the rights she concedes to her own. It is not surprising,
therefore, that Reprint and Co. commenced operations without any
compunctions of conscience, and were even praised for their enterprise
by honourable men. Hundreds, who could hardly forego the reading of
Maga, were unable to pay for it twice what it costs in England; and I
grant you, that when the first number was laid on my table at one-fourth
the price of an importation, I myself was not the man to throw a pebble
at the pirates, but wished them good luck and gave them my name as a
subscriber. I verily believe I did so with a virtuous delight in what
then struck me as a compliment to my favourite magazine; for somebody,
at about the same time, had started a similar republication of other
English Monthlies, and I desired to see them fairly run off the course.
You will certainly concede to the Americans some credit for a discerning
taste, when I add that Maga's competitors have long since been withdrawn
for want of backers; and she so easily walks the field, that it begins
to be a fair question whether Messrs Reprint and Co. are honestly
entitled to the purse.

I have marvelled a little, I confess, that a magazine of such
unmitigated Toryism, and of so uncomplimentary a tone towards America,
should nevertheless gain so universal a popularity in this country. I
must stand to it, Godfrey--there's a touch of the magnanimous in the
affection which exists among Americans for Christopher North, and all
his high Tory fraternity. Seldom approving, they always enjoy his
old-fashioned prejudices; and defend in Maga what, in a book of
Alison's, they would relish very little. Much is said for the kind of
affectionate regard with which they welcome to their firesides its
monthly returns, in the fact that it is the only foreign work which
American republishers have felt themselves forced, by popular feeling,
to furnish in the form of a fac-simile. It is proof of the individual
interest which it possesses, and of the rich associations which it has
imparted even to the simplicity of its outside. Every one wants old
Ebony in its own gentlemanly wear: but much as is implied in the livery
of the _Edinburgh Review_, and many as are its admirers among the
literary freethinkers of the eastern states, it is curious that no one
cares twopence to see it in any other than a semi-newspaper shape, and
that Reprint and Co. have never thought of reproducing it in all the
splendour of its popinjay surtout. In fact, I doubt whether it will long
continue in any shape at all. Its crack article is always reprinted in
another form; and oracular as its pages are deemed by the clannish
provincials of Boston, its general contents seldom go down with the
public. The truth is, no one honestly prefers porridge to roast-beef;
and in spite of a natural leaning to buff and blue, Jonathan will not be
diverted from his luxurious repasts in Maga, by anything less "hot in
the mouth."

I remember that, in one of those Ambrosial Noctes, some one remarked in
auld-lang-syne, that Maga is a ubiquity. The Shepherd assented, for he
had seen the head of Geordy alike in the hut and the hall; beaming the
same by the mirrored fire-light of the manorial villa, and "by the
peat-lowe frae the ingle o' the auld clay biggin." But think, my dear
Godfrey, what a flow of the _decalect_ would have gushed from that child
of the Yarrow, had he beheld, with me, the pirated Maga scattered
through the length and breadth of this immense republic, and devoured
with equal delight by the self-congratulating native of Massachusetts
Bay, and the home-sick immigrant of Oregon. Here, too, Maga is
ubiquitous. If you make your summer tour through the States of New
England, and stop to visit its priggish little colleges, and biggish
little schools, you shall find it on many a sophister's table, and in
many a schoolboy's hands; or, ten to one, as you pass the windows of the
barracks where they keep their terms, you will chance to hear some
full-voiced youth adding a nasal rhetoric to Maga's pages, as he retails
them, through clouds of cigar-smoke, to his assembled companions. To
your surprise, you will find Maga in every library and reading-room from
the Independent Union Lyceum of Jeffersonville, in New Hampshire, to the
Congressional lobbies at Washington. And I assure you, they not only
take it in, but they read it out and out. Often, when I have wanted but
a glimpse at its leader, I have found it, like _The Times_ at a country
inn, in the grasp of some sturdy monopolist, exploring it inch by inch,
and only pausing at intervals, to wipe his glasses, and renew his pinch
of snuff. Along the shores of the Hudson, in those snug little villas
that peep forth from the thick trees and copsewood, Maga is quite as
universal, but is found in more palmy estate. There--whether your
retreat from the city be to the banks of Westchester, to the glens of
the Highlands, or to the table-lands that underlie the Kaatskills--your
welcome you value none the less that you see volumes of old numbers in
the book-case, and the number of the month already laid on the table in
the hall; and you think of the hot noons they will help to wile away,
after the morning's sport, and before the evening drive. In homes like
these, I have usually found _Blackwood_ a favourite with the fairer
portion of American society. You shall find it lurking amongst worsteds
and flower-patterns, and very often preferred to the pretty work that
tasks a far prettier eye: or, stepping into the verandah to see a
steamer go by, you shall pick it up from a tabouret, where it lies with
a pearl-knife in its uncut pages, and the breezes playing with its
parted leaves--evidently the immediate relic of some startled and
disappearing fair one. Going south or west, you meet it on railways, and
in steamers. It is usually the companion of such travellers as are
accustomed to decline the repeated attempts of fellow-passengers to
engage them in conversation or political debate, and seems to afford
peculiar refreshment to those who have effected a retreat from the
philanthropic assaults of travelling temperance agents, and of other
affectionate inquirers as to the condition of their bodies and souls.
When you reach the Carolinas, where, in default of taverns, you may
always venture to make yourself the guest of a planter, and will be
thanked for your visit--if you would bait at noon, and turn from the
road to a hospitable-looking mansion among the pines, I'll wager that a
basking Negro, without a shirt, will start up, and take charge of your
horse, while the master of a thousand slaves gives you one open hand,
but holds in the other the ubiquitous pages, which he has been reading
in the cool of his piazza. I say then, had the Shepherd been blest with
such universal experiences as mine, with what a flow of metaphor and
illustrative wit would he have enlarged upon the proposition--Maga is an
ubiquity. Beginning with a broadside at the literary corsairs of New
York, I can fancy him bursting with indignant virtue into luxurious
comparisons between the rape of the Sabines, and that of the inimitable
Noctes--and then between Maga bodily, and her who in the field of Enna
gathering flowers, experienced a fate most gloomy; and so on till his
exuberant good-humour expands at last into an apology, as he expatiates
on the tempting character of the booty, and declares, that like apples
of gold to frolicsome schoolboys, so beautiful Maga, to covetous
Yankees, is a thing too full of relish and of beauty to be other than
pardonable plunder! Maga, like Italy, ought to be less bewitching, or
better defended. What would not some of Maga's cotemporaries give,
nevertheless, for the compliment of being perpetually ravished by the
Goths and Vandals of Letters--the merciless anti-copyright booksellers
of America? Nay--they will pout at the insinuation, and stand upon the
virtue which no one believes they possess. But assure them, dear
Godfrey, that they are in no conceivable danger. Maga shall growl, and
they shall fawn; but the republicans will not be repulsed by the honest
frankness of the one nor propitiated by the hypocritical blandishments
of the others. If they doubt it, just tell them what happened with me
the other day, and what I vouch for as fairly exhibiting the feeling of
the most intelligent Americans. I could add many other anecdotes of the
same colour and character; but I tell this as creditable to them, and
illustrative of Maga's footing among them:--

I was at the reading-rooms of "The Athenæum"--a literary club-house in
this city, which has grown out of a small society of scholars that
existed here before the Revolution--and which, I am happy to say, is
always supplied with the genuine imported Magazine. A young man, whom I
had often met at the rooms, and who had the Magazine in his hand, called
my attention to a palpable error in an article, that reflected pretty
merrily on his countrymen. "Ha!" said I, "just like old Ebony! Why don't
you banish the rabid old Tory from these most democratic tables?"

"Banish Maga!" was the reply--"what would be left fit to read?"

"You surprise me! Edinburgh, Westminster--any thing that thinks better
of Congress, and legislative eloquence--as you do, of course!"

"Why so? Mayn't a man be a republican, without recognising a _jure
divino_ majesty in a Congressman?"

"But Maga would make out some of your Solons prodigiously long in the
ears."

"Nay--rather intolerably long in the wind, which is just the intolerable
truth. Thanks to Maga for giving them the echo of their palaver! and may
the first reformed Congress vote her a gold medal for the good she has
done to the country!"

"She sometimes makes free with the nation itself, and some of the little
peculiarities of your countrymen."

"Well, well--we are not drawn more out of proportion than the Iron
Duke's nose is in _Punch_! Why should we not laugh like heroes, who are
said to grow hale of good-humour kept up by caricatures?"

"You must allow that Maga is not always good-natured, as some of her
rivals invariably are."

"There's no comparison, sir, between the sometimes irritable merriment
of King Christopher, and the professional tinkling of a jester's
cap-and-bells. I can't argue it,--only I like _Blackwood_ for all its
Toryism; and when Kit North is testy, I reflect that he's long had the
gout! Banish Geordie Buchanan's venerable old pow--did you say? Never,
Sir, never!"

Of course, I allowed the good sense of these replies, and at once
explained to myself the philosophy which gave rise to them. The truth
is, there is in human nature a deep sense of "the eternal fitness of
things," which usually gives tone to the opinions of man, where undue
prejudices do not exercise an overruling control. You know, my dear
Godfrey, how unlikely it is that an American would ever care to pay you
a second visit at the Hall, should he signalise his first by
depreciating the character of Washington, or undervaluing the many
advantages which his country really enjoys. On the same principle which
would certainly betray you into marks of cool aversion towards such a
guest from this side the Atlantic, the intelligent American despises in
his heart the Briton, whose spirit is alien to the time-honoured
institutions of his ancestors, and whose life is one long blasphemy of
all that has contributed most to the glory and greatness of an empire,
whose worst symptom of decay is the fungous existence of a race of such
blasphemers, at once the morbid fruit of a free constitution, and its
fatal and cancerous disease. Whiggery is, therefore, at a discount in
the republic; and I have been surprised to hear the confession from
American democrats, that if they were Englishmen, they would be far from
any sympathy with those who call themselves reformers. This, perhaps,
will account for it, that with all the influence of the Edinburgh
Reviewers, they have never gained, in this country, any hold of the
heart, even where they have controlled the head; whilst Maga, on the
contrary, without bending the republican opinions of Americans, has
secured no small degree of their affections, and become enshrined in
their genuine regard. You may see one proof of this in the fact, that if
you contract with Reprint & Co. for their republications, and will take
_Blackwood_ and _The Quarterly_, you can have _The Edinburgh_ and _The
Westminster_ almost thrown into the bargain; like the lying little
_Mercury_ of Æsop's statuary, which was a mere gratuity to those who
would buy a _Phoebus_, and _Pallas-Athene_. In truth, if my observation
has been correct, intelligent Americans like to be republicans
themselves, because such were the fathers of their country; but an
Englishman in blue and yellow, they regard much as they do an Indian in
shoes and stockings. He is despised, as no specimen of the noble race
from which he has degenerated and dwindled into a Whig.

To return to the republished Magazine; it is not only a republication,
but, as I have said, it professes to be a fac-simile. You will ask, if
it is cleverly done. I must answer--not very, considered as a whole; and
yet, to give the mannikin its due, the face of the thing is about as
accurate as counterfeits usually are. The colour is not often right,
however, and I suspect Reprint & Co. are ignorant that the colour is of
any consequence. The thistle-framed portrait, nevertheless, is tolerably
well copied; enough so, to deserve the greatest proportion of credit
belonging to the whole, as an imitation. You look for the familiar
imprint in vain. One would never know from the publisher's part of the
title-page that the house of Blackwood & Sons was still in existence.
Instead of the usual mark, we have that of the republishers, with an
intimation that they are assisted in the sale by booksellers in Boston,
Philadelphia, Charlestown, Baltimore, Savannah, New Orleans, and PARIS!
Why they should print Paris in capitals, rather than Boston and
Philadelphia, I am at a loss to conceive; but such an announcement does
indeed demand some note of admiration at the vastness of the enterprise
of REPRINT & Co., who, to give Mr Blackwood more time to attend to the
getting up of each successive number of his work, thus undertake to
relieve him of any share in seeing to the supply of the Continent of
Europe. In this benevolent effort to take the burthen from the
proprietors of the genuine Ebony, it is fair that the French coadjutor
should have his share of the honour. His name is given as HECTOR
BOSSANGE; and his shop, if I rightly remember, adorns the Quai Voltaire.
And, now I think of it, I advise you, dear Godfrey, to skip across the
Channel this summer, and alight on the capital, (where very likely they
will just be getting up an _emeute_ in honour of the Three Days), and
there, in Monsieur Bossange's establishment, you will be permitted to
try the merits of my description and Maga's Icon at the same time, and
with no danger from officials of the Customs. So much then for the
front, which is good, except the colour. _Nimium ne crede colori_, says
Mr Reprint; and _fronti nulla fides_, say I.

The reverse cover has, of course, an outer and inner surface, with only
the thickness of the paper between the letter-press adorning the twain.
What say you, then, to the fact, that whilst the outer half is devoted
to an advertisement of Mr Reprint's imitative publications, the _better
half_ contains a bold and faithful warning against such piracy! You
stare, but I repeat it; whilst the one side of the leaf announces Mr
Reprint's arrangements for circulating throughout the States his
imitations of Blackwood, the other indignantly announces that there are
"now in circulation in the United States, SPURIOUS and HIGHLY
PERNICIOUS IMITATIONS." Alas for the difference between those who
_instruct_ the head, and those who only _dress_ it! The imitations that
are shamelessly commended are only those of _Blackwood's Magazine_;
while those which Messrs Reprint feel called upon to hold up as shocking
to every sense of virtue,--to head with IMPORTANT INFORMATION, and to
stamp with triple marks of wonder, as FRAUDULENT COUNTERFEITS--are
imitations of Rowland's Macassar Oil! Think of that, Godfrey! I learn
from this announcement of Reprint's, that there are now in the United
States men base enough to rob the immortal Rowland of his patent right,
men who have doubtless established agencies in "Boston, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Savannah, New Orleans and PARIS," but who, as the imitation
Blackwood is circulated in just those places, will find it, by just
retribution, always in their way. _A bon chat, bon rat!_ Well, it was
wise in the agents of Rowland to employ one ubiquitous imitation to stop
another; but since the trade is much the same, it ought to be suggested
to Reprint & Co., that they do ill to expose a fellow-craftsman.
Suppose, now, the enterprising apothecaries, who do for Mr Rowland what
Reprint & Co. are doing for Mr Blackwood, should print a label for every
bottle of their "incomparable oil," warning the public that spurious
imitations of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine are now in circulation
throughout the States, which they are compelled to stamp as FRAUDULENT
COUNTERFEITS! Would not this be quite as IMPORTANT INFORMATION as the
other? Are not the public as much concerned in having the genuine
article for their brain, as in having the unadulterated article for
their hair? Yet, how would Reprint like to see such a _Rowland_ for his
Oliver?

Strange that the same leaf that thus brands a counterfeit,--which
Reprint repudiates, hinting that respectable perfumers "sell only the
genuine article,"--should within one two-hundredth part of an inch,
contain the exposure of his own counterfeit, by his own pen, ink, and
types: and that with the announcement of a "Travelling Agent, recently
appointed to procure Subscribers in the Western States, Iowa and
Wisconsin, _who will prove his identity by a certificate from the Mayor
of Cincinnati_!" Now, it strikes me, would not a certificate from his
lordship, proving _the identity of the Magazine_, be much more to the
purpose? It is called _Blackwood's_ Magazine; and if so, the Travelling
Agent would be better certified by a commission from Mr Blackwood to be
selling his property, and that would be more to the purpose still! But
think, dear Godfrey, where this certified bagman goes! Iowa and
Wisconsin are a thousand miles inland, where even so lately as when this
reprint was begun, the Indian trail was the only post-road, and the
aborigines almost the only inhabitants, and where, even at this day, the
reader of Maga, holding the cream of civilisation and refinement in one
hand, must keep the other in close contact with his rifle, and the rifle
well loaded and cocked; for should his magazine interest him more than
his safety, he might expect at any moment the pressing salutations of a
cougar, or the warm embrace of a grisly bear. Or think, I pray you, of a
circumstance still less improbable, which will illustrate what it is to
be a bagman in Iowa. Where this "Travelling Agent" goes, he often
carries his merchandise through an Indian village, and often, I'll
venture to say, has Buchanan been seen in his hand, as centre to a
circle of fierce-visaged Red-skins, with tomahawks in their girdles, and
any thing but brotherly love in their gestures. Ah, then, the
contrabandist is afraid. Among savages he first learns to wish himself
engaged in any thing but an anti-copyright expedition; and produces in
vain the proof of his identity, signed by the Mayor of Cincinnati.

I observe that there are similar agencies in the Southern and
South-western States; so that Reprint & Co. are the monopolists of Maga,
from the mouth of the St Lawrence, to the deltas of the Mississippi, and
before long will doubtless have their travelling agents pushing its
sale in the "halls of the Montezumas," or exchanging it for peltry at
the head-waters of the Colombia. It is said in one of the newspapers of
this city, that for every copy issued in Edinburgh, two copies of the
reprint are published here; and though the estimate strikes me as, at
least, unlikely, it is far from being incredible. I can pardon Mr
Blackwood should his temper be a little ruffled, when he compares his
trouble and responsibility, and limited sale, with the _sans souci_ and
universal market of Reprint & Co.; but surely, old Christopher North
should smile with inward satisfaction when, not by cannon, or carnage,
but as the result of a greatness thrust upon him, he finds his empire,
like her Majesty's, the girdle of the earth, and his sovereignty
recognised, in the world of letters, where hers can claim no subjects,
and demand no homage. That crutch is now the sceptre of bookdom. Its
shadow stretcheth over all lands, whether the dawn project it athwart
the broad Atlantic, or the Boreal light send it overland to farthest
India. Who reads not Maga? You shall find the smutched lieutenant
turning over its pages by the camp-fire, after a terrible scratch with
the Sikhs; and within the same twenty-four hours you may fairly surmise
that some green mountain volunteer, on the wrong side of the Rio Grande,
has lighted a pine-knot, and is reading one of the Marlborough articles
to his mess, with extemporary paralellisms in favour of General Taylor,
which the shade of the great Churchill must not venture to overhear.
Swinging in his hammock, the midshipman holds Blackwood to the smoky
lamp of the orlop, as he plunges and pitches around Cape Horn. Lounging
in his state-room, and bound for Hong Kong, the sea-sick passenger
corrects his nausea with the same spicy page, and bewitched with the
flavour, forgets to sigh for Madeira, which he has passed, or to look
out for St Helena, which is somewhere on his lee. It keeps the old
Admiral from the deck as his keel scrapes the coral-reefs of the South
Pacific; and a stale back number, from the bottom of a seaman's chest,
is purchased as a prize, by him who cruises among seals, icebergs, and
spermaceti whales.

          "Quis jam locus, inquit, Achate,
     Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena laboris!"

Yes--who reads not Maga? The flayed Radical of Parliament--the rasped
Balaamite of Congress--the spanked Cockney of an author--the jaundiced
Editor of some new no-go periodical--even these must cut the leaves of
each new number, if they die for it, or if their only reward be to find
their own sweet selves hung up in its pages, like sham Socrates in his
basket, but not looking on like live Socrates with philosophic
composure. And if they whimper, who will sympathise? Like the Shepherd
at Awmrose's, the testy public may now and then rebel, and rail for a
season at "the cawm, cauld, clear, glitterin' cruelty in the expression
of his een,"--but who can keep up a quarrel with North? Again, like the
Shepherd, they relax into a broad good humour, and, before they know it,
are drinking with all the honours, "Long live King Christopher!" So
then, in spite of Cockneys, chartists, coxcombs, rebels, radicals, and
rascally reformers, yea, and the whole alphabetical list of what is
whiggish, vulgar, and vexatious,--

          "Maga still sitteth on Edina's crags,
     And from her throne of beauty rules the world!"

Ah! my dear Godfrey of Godfrey Hall, in the county of Kent, Esquire,--I
know what you are thinking of. You were certainly meant for trade, and
'twas a loss to the Bank of England, that you ever wore a
shooting-jacket. There was ever a commercial crotchet in your head, and I
am sure it now suggests the rejoinder--that to rule the world is nothing,
so long as one can't rule the market. But I respectfully ask, do you go
for absolute monarchy? Would you have Maga more potent than her Majesty?
I grant there should be something coming to Mr Blackwood for the
thousands that profit by his labours in America--but if it can't be so,
let the glory suffice him, and let _Sic vos non vobis_ be his song of
patient resignation. The parallel between his case and that of the
Virgilian sufferers, is perfect. Who concentrates more pungency, or
collects more sweets than the busy bee? Who keeps more musical throats in
time than the motherly bird? Who lends the agricultural interest greater
assistance than the labouring ox; or who suffers more by the
manufacturers than the fleeced lamb? Undoubtedly, the answer is,--Mr.
Blackwood! Well then, I say, he must comfort himself by philosophy and
_Sic vos non vobis_. He may, indeed, utter one word of remonstrance
against literary and commercial piracy, like that first great sufferer by
anti-copyright,--Mr. Virgilius Maro, of Mantua--

     "Hos ego versiculos _emi_, tulit alter honores."

Or, in other words, I pay for every line and letter of Maga, and lo! Mr
Bathyllus Reprint, of New York, carries off the sesterces! Think,
Godfrey, what a charm of a life this Bathyllus must make of it! His are
all the honey, and the bird's nests, the corn-bags, and the fleeces of
the Ebony estates; and yet he has no trouble to see his banks furnished
with bees, or to preserve game in the brake; no care to drive away
crows, or to stifle the blatter of sheep. For him--to descend from the
firmament of metaphor, to the plain prose of George Street and
Paternoster Row--for him, Mr North inspects boxes of Balaam, with the
patience of a proofreader, and deciphers pages of wit and pathos with
the perseverance of a Champollion. For him, with each new moon, and
punctual to the day, comes forth the Maga of the month, the fruit of
incredible diligence, and the flower of admirable skill. For him the
foreign purveyor of all he lives by pays down the golden _honorarium_,
fifty guineas for the sheet, that he may have the whole for less than
fifty pence. For him--the same benevolent provider takes pains to
silence, by the same metallic spell, ten thousand other claims and
clamours, contingent to each lunation of Maga. All things work for him!
For him the steamer ploughs Atlantic surges; and for him, when she gains
her port, two hundred miles of wire are put into galvanic tremor,
bidding him prepare his covers, and rally his compositors. It is there
that Reprint, with a grateful sense (perhaps) of all that has been done
for him, and a still more gratifying sense of the very little that
remains for him to do, finds himself called to bestir from a fortnight's
nap, and proceed to do that little. With railway speed, and thunder
step, the Express of Harnden brings to his hand almost the only emigrant
original of _Blackwood_ that ever touches these occidental shores. No
prosy correspondence--no botheration manuscript--no rejectable
contribution--but the choicest literary matter that the genius of the
British empire can furnish, all picked, packed, and laid at his feet, in
fair white printed copy, without pains and without cost! Another's all
the toil--his, all the profits! In a turn or two of his hand the
American market is supplied. Sure sale--no risk--all clear gains, and
quick returns! I am sure Mr Bathyllus Reprint must be the happiest of
men, and the most amiable of publishers; and I can conceive that few of
the more legitimate craft would be able to stand upon dignity, or refuse
his kind invitation to meet a little company at his board--

     "At the close of the day, when the market is still,
     And mortals the sweets of comestibles prove."

But hold! When is the market still. For a fortnight after he has set it
astir with a new number, his announcements confront you as you open your
"folio of four pages." His placards smite the eye at the crossings of
the streets; they return your glance at the shop-window, and confound
your senses at every turn. "Old Ebony for the month,"--"Kit North again
in the field,"--"A racy new number of _Blackwood_,"--such are the
headings of newspaper puffs, and the bawlings of hawkers on the steps of
Astor House. They pursue you to the Boston railway-station, or to the
Hudson-river steamer; they follow you on the road to Niagara; meet you
afresh at Detroit and Chicago, and hardly provoke any additional
surprise when the bagman accosts you with the same syllables, through
the nose, as you arrive in the buffalo-season on the debateable grounds
of Oregon! To quote once more the oracular words of the Ettrick orator
and poet, "Ane gets tired o' that eternal soun'--_Blackwood's
Magazeen,--Blackwood's Magazeen_--dinnin' in ane's lugs, day and nicht!"
So vast and so varied I suppose to be the commercial relations of
Reprint & Co., and such, beyond a doubt, is Maga's empire in America.

No more by this steamer. Let me see; in ten days, perhaps, Harry will be
with you at breakfast, discussing my letter, and lamenting my lot, to
live so far from the world. For me, however, a contented disposition,
the steamers twice a-month, and _Blackwood_ monthly, do wonders. I see
as much of the world as a good man need wish to see; and at any time,
you know, it's not a fortnight's work, by God's blessing, to rejoin the
old friends and true friends, that so often go fishing under your
patronage, and tell improbable stories around your table. Wait till I
get into my own chair beside you, and I will tell stories of my sojourn
in America that will put Harry's Indian romances to the blush. He now
goes out with a stock of prairie-adventures, that out-Sinbad Sinbad, and
yet he tells them with an air of honesty that would gull Gulliver. Wait
till I rejoin you, and you shall see how a plain tale will put him down.

                                                  Yours, &c.



THE TIMES OF GEORGE II.[18]


Female authorship is beginning to flourish in England. To this
employment no rational objection can be raised. The want of occupation
for female life in the higher classes has long been a subject of
complaint, and any honest change which removes it will be a change for
the better. The quantity of time and thread which has been wasted on
chainstitch, and roundstitch, and all the other mysteries of the needle,
in the last three centuries, is beyond all calculation. If the fair
artists had been workers at the loom, they might have clothed half the
living population in "fine linen," if not in purple. If they had been
equally diligent in brickmaking, they might have built ten Babels; or if
they had devoted similar energies, on Iago's hint, "to suckle fools, and
chronicle small beer," they might have tripled the population, or
anticipated the colossal vats of Messrs Truman & Co. What myriads of
young faces have grown old over worsted parrots and linsey-wolsey maps
of the terrestrial globe! What exquisite fingers have been thinned to
the bone, in creating carnations to be sat upon, and cowslip beds for
the repose of favourite poodles! What bright eyes have been reduced to
spectacles, in the remorseless fabrication of patchwork, quilts and
flowery footstools for the feet of gouty gentlemen! Nay, what thousands
and tens of thousands have been flung into the arms of their only
bridegroom, Consumption, leaving nothing to record their existence but
an accumulation of trifles, which cost them only their health, their
tempers, their time, their charms, and their usefulness!

But the age of knitting and tambour passed away. The spinning-jenny was
its mortal enemy. The most inveterate of fringemakers, the most
painstaking devotee of patchwork, when she found that Arkwright could
make in a minute more than with all her diligence she could make in a
month, and that old Robert Peel could pour out figured muslins, by a
twist of a screw, sufficient to give gowns to the whole petticoat
population of England, had only to give in; the spinsterhood were forced
to feel that their "occupation was o'er."

Even then, however, the female fingers were not suffered to "forget
their cunning;" and the age of purse-making began. The land was
inundated with purses of every shape, size, and substance. Then
followed another change. The Berlin manufacturers had contrived to bring
back the age of worsted wonders, though, by a happy art, they saved the
fair artists all the trouble of drawing and design. We are still under a
Gothic invasion of trimmings and tapestry, of needlework nondescripts,
moonlight minstrels in canvass, playing under cross-bar balconies; and
all the signs of the zodiac brought down to the level of the ivory
fingers of womankind.

To this, we must acknowledge, that the incipient taste of the ladies for
historical publications, for diving into the trunks of family memorials,
and giving us those private correspondences which are to be found only
by the desperate determination to find something and every thing, is a
fortunate turn of the wheel.

It is true, that England boasts of many distinguished female writers;
that the works of Mrs Radcliffe opened a new vein of rich description
and solemn mystery; that the comedies of Inchbald netted her innocent
and persevering spirit some thousand pounds; and that Joanna Baillie's
tragedies entitle her to an enduring fame. We also acknowledge, with
equal sincerity and gratification, the merits of many of our female
novelists in the past half century; their keen insight into character,
their close anatomy of the general impulses of the human heart, and the
mingled delicacy and force with which they seize on personal
peculiarities, belong to woman alone. But their day, too, has gone down.
They were first rivalled by the "high-life novel," the most vulgar of
all earthly caricatures. They are now extinguished by the low-life
novel; the most intolerable of all earthly realities. The true novel,
true in its fidelity to nature, polished without affectation, and
vigorous without rudeness, now sleeps in the grave, and must sleep,
until posterity shall, with one voice, demand its revival.

Yet, until another race of genius shall arise, and the laurel of
Fielding or of Shakspeare shall descend on our female authors, we must
be grateful for their gentle labours in the rather rugged field of
history.

It must be owned, that gallantry has a good deal to do in giving these
works the name of history. They want all the vigour, all the philosophy,
and all the eloquence of history. Of course, no human being will ever
apply to them as authorities. Still, they have the merit of giving
general statements to general readers, of supplying facts in their
regular order, and probably, of inducing the multitude, who would shrink
from the formalities of Hume or Gibbon in solemn quartos and ponderous
octavos, to dip into pages having all the look and nearly all the
slightness of the modern novel. At all events, if they do nothing else,
they employ the time of pens, which might be much worse occupied; and
that pens are often much worse occupied, we have evidence from hour to
hour.

The French novels are making rapid way into our circulating libraries.
Yet nothing can be more unfortunate, for nothing can be more corrupting
than a French novel of the nineteenth century. France, always a
profligate country, always had profligate writers. But they were
generally confined to "Memoirs," "Court anecdotes," and the ridicule of
the world of Versailles; their criminality was at least partially
concealed by their good breeding, and their vice was not altogether
lowered to the grossness of the crowd.

The Revolution created a new school. All there was hatred to duty,
faith, and honour. The deepest profligacy was pictured as scarcely less
than the natural right of man; and all the abominations of the human
heart were excited, encouraged, and propagated by daring pens, sometimes
subtle, sometimes eloquent, and in all instances appealing to the most
tempting abominations of man.

But the Revolution fell, and with the ascendant of Napoleon another
school followed. War, public business, the general objects of the active
faculties, and strong ambition of a people with Europe at its feet,
partially superseded alike the frivolous taste of the monarchy, and the
rabid ferocities of revolutionary authorship. The Bulletins of the
"Grande Armée" told a daily tale of romance, to which the brains of a
Parisian scribbler could find no rival, and men with the sound of
falling thrones echoing in their ears, forgot the whispers of low
intrigue and commonplace corruption.

The "Three Glorious Days" of July 1830, have now produced another
change; and peace has given leisure to think of something else than
conquest and the conscription. The power of the national pen has turned
again to fiction, and the natural wit, habitual dexterity, and dashing
verbiage of France have all been thrown into the novel. Even the French
drama, once the pride of the nation, has perished under this sudden
pressure. A French modern tragedy is now only a rhymed melodrama. Even
French history attracts popular applause only as it approaches to a
three volume romance. Every man of name in French modern authorship has
attained it only by the rapid production of novels. But no language can
be too contemptuous, or too condemnatory, for the spirit of those works
in general. Every tie of society is violated in the progress of their
pages; and violated with the full approval of every body. Seduction is
the habitual office of the hero. Adultery is the regular office of the
heroine. In each the vice is simply a matter of course. Manly honour is
a burlesque every where, but where the criminal shoots the injured
husband in a duel. Female virtue is only a proof of dulness or decay, a
vulgar formality of mind, or an unaccountable inaptitude to adopt the
customs of polished society.

The hero is pictured with every quality which can charm the eye or ear;
he is the handsomest, the most accomplished, and the most high-spirited
of mankind, all sentiment, and all scoundrelism. The heroine, always a
wife or a widow,--in the former instance, is the "lovely victim of a
marriage in which her heart had no share," and in which she is entitled
to have all the privileges of her heart supplied. And in the latter is a
creature full of charms, about twenty-one, resolved to live for love,
but never to be "chained in the iron links of a dull and obsolete
ceremonial" again. She quickly fixes her eyes on some Adolphe, Auguste,
or Hyppolite, "_Officier de la Garde_," who has performed prodigies of
valour in Algiers, taken lions by the beard every where, and is the best
waltzer in all Paris. They meet, flame together, swear an _amitié
eternelle_, and defy the world, through three volumes.

In reprobating this detestable school, we certainly have no hope that
our remarks will reform the French novelism of the day; but we call on
the critical press of England to take up the rational and righteous task
of reforming our own.

Within these few years, the English novels are rapidly falling into the
imitation of the French. And we say it with no less regret than
surprise, that the chief imitators are females. The novels written by
men have generally some manliness, some recollection of the higher
impulses which occasionally act on the minds of men; some reluctancy in
revealing the more infirm movements of the mind; and some doubts as to
the absorption of all human nature in one perpetual whirl of
love-making.

But with the female pen in general, the whole affair is resolved into
one impulse--all is "passion." The winds of heaven have nothing to do,
but to "waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole." The art of printing is
seriously presumed to have been invented only for "some banished lover,
or some captive maid." Flirtation is the grand business of life. The
maiden flirts from the nursery, the married woman flirts from the altar.
The widow adds to the miscellaneous cares of her "bereaved" life,
flirtation from the hearse which carries her husband to his final
mansion. She flirts in her weeds more glowingly than ever. But she knows
too well the "value of her liberty" to submit to be a slave once more;
and so flirts on for life, in the most innocent manner imaginable,
taking all risks, and throwing herself into situations of which the
result would be obvious any where but in the pages of an _English_
novel.

The French have no scruples on such subjects, and their candour leaves
nothing to the imagination. Our female novelists have not yet arrived at
that pitch of explicitness, and it is to be hoped will pause before they
leap the gulf.

We attribute a good deal of this dangerous adoption to the prevalent
habit of yearly running to the Continent. The English ear becomes
familiarised to language on the other side of the Channel, which would
have shocked it here. The chief topic of foreign life is intrigue, the
chief employment of foreign life is that half idle, half infamous
intercourse, which extinguishes all delicacy even in the spectators. The
young English woman sees the foreign woman leading a life which, though
in England it would stamp her with universal shame, in France or
Germany, and above all, in Italy, never brings more than a sneer, and
seldom even the sneer. She sees this wedded or widowed profligate
received in the highest ranks; flourishing without a reproach, if she
has the means of keeping an opera-box, or giving suppers; every soul
round her acquainted with every point of her history, yet none shrinking
from her association. If she has one Cicisbeo, or ten, the whole affair
is _selon les règles_.

The young English woman who blushes at this scandalous career, or
exhibits any reluctance on the subject of the companionship or the
crime, is laughed at as a "novice," is charged with a want of the
"_savoir vivre_," is quietly reproved for "the coldness of her English
blood," and is recommended to abandon, as speedily as possible, ideas so
unsuitable to "the glow of the warm South."

She soon finds a dangler, or a dozen danglers, who, having nothing on
earth to do, and in their penury rejoiced to find any spot where they
can kill an hour, and get a cup of coffee, are daily at her command. All
those fellows, too, are counts; the title being about as common, and as
cheap, as chimney-sweepers among us, though not belonging to so valuable
fraternity.

After a month's training of this kind, the poor fool is fit for nothing
else, to the last hour of her being. She is a flirt and a _figurante_,
as long as she lives. Duty and decorum are things too icy for the
"ardour of her soul." The life of England is utterly barbarian to the
refinement of the land of macaroni.

And it is unquestionably much better that the whole tribe should remain
where they are, and roam among the lazzaroni, than return to corrupt the
decencies of English life. If this sentimentalist has money, she is sure
to be picked up by some "superb chevalier," some rambling
fortune-hunter, or known swindler, hunted from the gambling table;
probably beginning his career as a frizeur or a footman, and making
rapid progress towards the galleys. If she has none, she returns to
England, to grumble, for the next fifty years, at the climate, the
country, and the people; to drawl out her maudlin regrets for olive
groves, and pout for the Bay of Naples; to talk of her loves; exhibit a
cameo or a crucifix, (the parting pledge of some inamorato, probably
since hanged), prate papistry, and profess _liberalism_; pronounce the
Roman holidays "charming things," and long to see the carnival, and the
worship of the Virgin together, imported to relieve the _ennui_ of
London.

The subject is startling: and we recommend any thing, and every thing,
in the shape of employment, in preference to the vitiating follies of a
life of Touring.

Another tribe of female authorship ought to be extinguished without a
moment's delay. Those are the yearly travellers. A woman of this kind
scampers over the Continent, like a queen's messenger, every season; she
rushes along with the rapidity and the regularity of the "Royal Mail."
The month of May no sooner appears in the calendar, than she packs up
her trunk, and crosses to Boulogne, "to make a book." One year she takes
the north, another the south; to her, all points of the compass are
equal. But whether the _roulage_ carries her to the Baltic or the
Mediterranean, her affair is done, if she adds a page a day to her
journal. She gossips along, and scribbles, with the indefatigable finger
of a maker of bobbin lace, or a German knitter of stockings. The most
slipshod descriptions of every thing that has been described before;
sketches of peasant character taken from the beggars at the roadside;
national traits taken from the commonplaces of the _table-d'hôte_, and
court _secrets_ copied from the newspapers--all are disgorged into the
Journal. We have, unfailingly, whole pages of setting suns, moonlight
nights, effulgent stars, and southern breezes. She gloats over pictures
of enraptured monks, and sees heaven in the eyes of saints, copied from
the painter's mistresses. If she goes to Italy, she tells us of the
banditti, the gondola, and St Peter's; gazes with solemn speculation on
the naked beauties of the Belvidere Apollo; and descants in an
ultra-ecstasy on the proportions of sages and heroes destitute of
drapery; winding up by an adventure, in which she falls by night into
the hands of a marching regiment, or band of smugglers setting out on a
robbery, and leaving the world to guess at the results of the adventure
to herself.

In all this farrago, she never gives the reader an atom of information
worth the paper which she blots. We have no additional lights on
character, public life, national feeling, or national advancement. All
is as vapid as the "Academy of Compliments," and as well known as
"Lindley Murray's Grammar." But why object to all this? Why not let the
scribbler take her way--and the world know that vineyards are green, and
the sky blue, if it desires the knowledge? Our reason is this,--such
practices actually destroy all taste for the legitimate narratives of
travel. Those trading tourists talk nonsense, until intelligence itself
becomes wearisome. They strip away the interest which novelty gives to
new countries, and by running their silly speculation into scenes of
beauty, sublimity, or high recollection, would make Tempe a counterpart
to the Thames Tunnel; Mount Atlas a fellow to Primrose Hill; and
Marathon a fac-simile of the Zoological Garden or Bartholomew Fair. The
subject is pawed, and dandled, and fondled, until the very name excites
nausea; and a writer of real ability would no more touch upon it, than a
great artist would paint St George and the Dragon.

This has been the history of the decline of works of imagination in
England. No sooner had Mrs Radcliffe touched the old monasteries with
her glorious pencil, than a generation of monk-describers and
ruined-castle-builders sprang up, until the very name of convent or
castle became an abhorrence. Sir Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last
Minstrel," rich and romantic as it was, was nearly buried under an
overflow of heavy imitations, which drove his genius to other pursuits,
and which filled the public ear with such enormities of octo-syllabic
_ennui_, that it hates poetry ever since. The Helicon of which he drank
the gushing and pure stream, was stirred into mire by the slippers of
school-girls, city-apprentices, and chambermaid-poetesses of every shade
of character.

A new Malthus for the express purpose of extinguishing, by strangulation
or otherwise, the whole race of Annual Travellers in Normandy, Picardy,
up the Seine and down the Seine, up the Loire and down the Loire, on the
shores of the Mediterranean, and in the Brenner Alps, would be a
benefactor to society.

Whether England would be the wiser and the happier if, instead of being
separated from the Continent by a channel, she were separated by an
ocean, is a question which we leave to the philosopher; but there can be
no doubt of the nature of its answer by the historian. It will be found,
that the national character had degenerated in every period when that
intercourse increased, and that it resumed its vigour only in the
periods when that intercourse was restricted.

It would not be difficult to exemplify this principle, from the earliest
times of English independence. But our glance shall be limited to the
era of the Reformation, when England began first to assume an imperial
character.

Elizabeth was always contemptuous of the foreigner, and boasted of the
defiance; the national mind never rose to a higher rank than in her
illustrious reign. James renewed the connexions of the throne with
France, and Charles I. renewed the connexion of the royal line. It may
have been for the purpose of checking the national contagion of the
intercourse, that rebellion was suffered to grow up in his kingdom. But
whatever might be the origin, the effect was, to break off the
intercourse with France and her corruptions, and to exhibit a new energy
and purity in the people. Cromwell raised a sudden barrier against
France by his political system, and the nation recovered its daring and
its character in its contempt for the foreigner.

In the reign of Charles II. the intercourse was resumed, and corruption
rapidly spread from France to the court, and from the court to the
people. England, proud and powerful under the Protectorate, became
almost a rival to France in infidelity and profligacy in the course of
the Reign. Again the war of William with France closed the Continent
upon the national intercourse, and the manliness of the national
character partially revived. But with the death of Anne the intercourse
was renewed, and the result was a renewal of the corruption. The war of
the French Revolution again and utterly broke off the intercourse for
the time; and it is undeniable, that the national character suddenly
exhibited a most singular and striking return to the original virtues of
the country--to its fortitude, to its patriotism, and to the purity of
its religious feelings.

The period from the Treaty of Utrecht to the war of the French
Revolution, has always appeared to us a blot on the annals of England.
It is true that it contained many names of distinction, that it
exhibited a graceful and animated literature, that it was characterised
by striking advances in national power, and that towards its close it
gave the world a Chatham, as if to reconcile us to its existence and
throw a brief splendour over its close.

But no period of British history developed more unhappily those vices
which naturally ripen in the hot bed of political intrigue. The names of
Harley, Bolingbroke, Walpole, and Newcastle, might head a general
indictment against the manliness, the integrity, and the honour of
England. The low faithlessness of Harley, who seems to have been
carrying on a Jacobite correspondence at the foot of the throne--the
infamous treachery of his brother-minister, St John--the undenied and
undeniable corruption of Walpole, and the half-imbecility which made the
chicane of Newcastle ridiculous, while his perpetual artifice alone
saved his imbecility from overthrow,--altogether form a congeries,
which, like the animal wrecks of the primitive world, almost give in
their deformity a reason for its extinction.

There can be no question of the perpetual villany which then assumed the
insulted name of politics; none, of the utter sacrifice of public
interests to the office-hunting avarice of all the successive parties;
none, of the atrocious corruptibility of them all; none, of that general
decay of religion, morals, and national honour, which was the result of
a time when principle was laughed at, and when the loudest laugher
passed for the wisest man of his generation.

The cause was obvious. Charles II. had brought with him from France all
the vices of a court, where the grossest licentiousness found its
grossest example in the person of the sovereign. Profligate as private
life naturally is in all the dominions of a religion where every crime
is rated by a tariff, and where the confessional relieves every man of
his conscience, the conduct of Louis XIV. had made profligacy the actual
pride of the throne.

The feeble and frivolous Charles was more a Frenchman than an
Englishman; more a courtier than a king; and fitter to be a page in the
seraglio than either.

The royal robe on the shoulders of such a monarch, instead of concealing
his vices, only made them glitter in the national eyes; and the morals
of England might have been irretrievably stained, but for that salutary
judgment which interposed between the people and the dynasty, and by
driving James into an ignominious exile, placed a man of principle on
the throne. Unfortunately, the reign of William was too busy and too
brief to produce any striking change in the habits of the people. His
whole policy was turned to the great terror of the time, the daring
ambition of France. He fought on the outposts of Europe. All his ideas
were Continental. The singular constitution of his nature gave him the
spirit of a warrior, combined with the seclusion of a monk. Solitary
even in camps, what must he be in the trivial bustle of a court?--and,
engrossed with the largest interests of nations, what interest could he
attach to the squabbles of rival professors of licentiousness, to
giving force to a feeble drama, or regulating the decorum of factions
equally corrupt and querulous, and long since equally despised and
forgotten?

The reign of Anne made some progress in the national restoration. But it
was less by the influence of the Queen than by the work of time. The
"gallants" of the reign of Charles were now a past generation. Their
frolics were a gossip's tale; their showy vices were now as tarnished as
their wardrobe, and both were hung out of sight. The man who, in the
days of Anne, would have ventured on the freaks of Rochester, would have
finished his nights in the watch-house, and his years in the
plantations. The wit of the past age was also rude, vulgar, and
pointless to the polished sarcasm of Pope, or even to the reckless sting
of Swift. Yet manners were still coarse, and the Queen complained of
Harley's coming to her after dinner,--"troublesome, impudent, and
_drunk_." Her court exhibited form without dignity, and her parliaments
the most violent partisanship in politics and religion, without
sincerity or substance in either. But the long peace threw open the
floodgates of frivolity and fashion once more, and France again became
the universal model.

On glancing over the history of public men through this diversified
period, the astonishment of an honest mind is perpetually excited at the
unblushing effrontery with which the most scandalous treacheries seem to
have been all but acknowledged. France was still the great corrupter,
and French money was lavished, not more in undermining the fidelity of
public men, than in degrading the character of the nation. But when
Charles was an actual pensioner of the French King, and James a palpable
dependent on the French throne, the force of example may be easily
conceived, among the spendthrift and needy officials, one half of whose
life was spent at the gaming table.

On those vilenesses history looks back with an eye of disgust. But they
were the natural results of an age when religion was at the lowest ebb
in Europe; when our travelled gentry only brought back with them that
disregard of Christianity which they had learned in Paris and Rome, and
when Voltaire's works were found on the toilet of every woman in high
life.

The accession of George III. was, in this view, of incalculable value to
England. Contempt for the marriage tie is universally the source of all
popular corruption. The king instantly discountenanced the fashionable
levity of noble life. No man openly stigmatised for profligacy, dared to
appear before him. No woman scandalised by her looseness of conduct was
suffered to approach the drawing-room. The public feeling was suddenly
righted. The shameless forehead was sent into deserved obscurity. The
debased heart felt that there was a punishment, which no rank, wealth,
or effrontery could resist. The decorum of public manners was
effectively restored, and the nation had to thank the monarch for the
example and for the restoration.

Lady Sundon was of an obscure family, of the name of Dyves. Her portrait
represents her as handsome, and her history vouches for her cleverness.
It was probably owing to both that she was married to Mr Clayton, then
holding an appointment in the treasury, and also the agent for the great
Duke of Marlborough's estate, both of them appointments which implied a
certain degree of intelligence and character. He also at one period was
deputy-auditor of the exchequer. Mrs Clayton soon obtained the
confidence of that most impracticable of all personages, Sarah, Duchess
of Marlborough.

On the death of Queen Anne, the duke and duchess had returned to
England, but, repulsed shortly after by the ungracious manner of the
ungrateful George I., they soon abandoned public life. Still it was
difficult for so stirring a personage as the duchess altogether to
abandon court intrigue, and probably for the purpose of obtaining some
shadow of that influence which she might afterwards turn into substance,
she contrived to obtain for her correspondent and dependant, Mrs
Clayton, the place of bedchamber-woman to Caroline, wife of the
heir-apparent.

It is obvious that such a position might give all the advantages of the
most confidential intercourse, to a clever woman, who had her own game
to play. The Princess herself was in a position which required great
dexterity. She was the wife of a brutish personage whom it was
impossible to respect, and yet with whom it was hazardous to quarrel.
She was the daughter-in-law of a Prince utterly incapable of popularity,
yet singularly jealous of power. She was surrounded by a court, half
Jacobite, and wholly unprincipled; and exposed to the constant
observation of a people still dubious of the German title to the throne,
contemptuous by nature of all foreign alliances, disgusted with the
manners of the court, and still disturbed by the struggles of the fallen
dynasty.

It was obviously of high importance to such a personage, to have in her
employ so clear-headed, and at the same time so stirring an agent as Mrs
Clayton. There seems even to have been a strong similitude in their
characters--both keen, both intelligent, both fond of power, and both
exhibiting no delicacy whatever with regard to the means for its
possession. Mrs Clayton never shrank from intercourse with those
profligate persons who then abounded at court, when she had a point to
carry; and Caroline, as Queen, endured for thirty years the notorious
irregularities of her lord and master, without a remonstrance. She even
went farther. She pretended, in the midst of those gross offences, to be
even tenderly attached to him, talked of "not valuing her children as a
grain of sand in comparison with him," and not merely acquiesced in
conduct which must have galled every feeling of virtue in a pure heart,
but involved herself in the natural suspicion of playing a part for the
sake of power, and forgetting the injuries of the wife in order to
retain the influence of the Queen.

There can be no doubt that this policy had its reward. The King gave her
power, or at least never attempted to disturb the power belonging to her
rank, while it left him the full indulgence of his vices. She thus
obtained two objects--to the world she appeared a suffering angel, to
the King a submissive wife. In the mean time she managed both court and
King, possessed vast patronage, perhaps more general court popularity
than any Queen of the age; led a pleasant life, enjoying the sweets
without the responsibilities of royalty; and by judicious liberality of
purse, and equally dexterous flexibility of opinion, contrived to carry
some degree of public respect with her, while she lived, and be followed
by some degree of public regret to her grave.

But this example was productive of palpable evil. The example of the
higher ranks always operates powerfully on the lower. The toleration
exhibited by the highest female in the kingdom for the most notorious
vices, gave additional effect to that fashion of flexibility, which is
the besetting sin of polished times. If the Queen had firmly set her
face against the offences of her husband, or if she had shown the
delicacy of a woman of virtue in keeping aloof from all intercourse with
women whom the public voice had long marked as criminal, she might have,
partially at least, reformed the corruptions of her profligate period.

But this indifference to all the nobler feelings was the style of the
day. Religion was scarcely more than a form: its preachers were
partisans; its controversies were court feuds, its principles were
politics, and its objects were stoles and mitres. In an age when
Sacheverel, with his rampant nonsense, had been a popular apostle, and
Swift, with his pungent abominations, had been a church adviser of the
cabinet, and when Hoadley was regarded alternately as a pillar and as a
subverter of the faith, we may easily conjecture the national estimate
of Christianity.

Unfortunately, a considerable proportion of the correspondence in these
volumes is from clerical candidates for personal services; and if
singular eagerness in pursuit of preferment, and singular homage to the
influence of the queen's bed-chamber-woman, could stamp them with shame,
the brand would be at once broad and indelible. But it must be
remembered, that there are contemptible minds in every profession, that
these men acted in direct violation of the principles of their religion,
and that the church is no more accountable for the delinquencies of its
members, than the courts of law for the morals of the jail.

Another repulsive feature of the period was the conduct of conspicuous
females. The habits of Germany in its higher ranks were offensive to all
purity. The Brunswick Princes had brought those habits to St James's.
Born and educated in Germany, they were regardless even of the feeble
decorums of English life, and a king's mistress was an understood
portion of the royal establishment. It is to the honour of later times,
that such offences could not now be committed with impunity. But the
example of Louis XIV. had sanctioned all royal excesses, and the conduct
of his successor was an actual study of the most reckless profligacy.
The constant intercourse of the English nobility with Paris, to which
allusion has already been made, had accustomed them to such scenes, and
persons of the highest condition, of the most important offices of the
state, and even of the most respectable private character, such as
respectability was in those days, associated with those mistresses,
corresponded with them, and even submitted to be assisted by their
influence with the king.

We shall give but one example; that of Henrietta Hobart, afterwards Lady
Suffolk. A baronet's daughter, and poor, she had married in early life
the son of the Earl of Suffolk, nearly as poor as herself. In their
narrowness of means, their only resource was some court office, and to
obtain this, and probably to live cheap, they went to Hanover, to lay
the foundation of favour with the future monarch of England. To some
extent they succeeded. For, on the accession of George the First, Mrs
Howard was appointed bedchamber-woman to Caroline the Princess of Wales.

Courts, in all countries, seem to be dull places; ceremonial fails as a
substitute for animation, and dinners of fifty covers become a mere tax
on time, taste, and common-sense. Etiquette is only _ennui_ under
another name, and the eternal anticipation of enjoyment is the death of
all pleasure. Miss Burney's narrative has let in light on the sullen
mysteries of the Maid of Honour's life, and her pencil has evidently
given us only the picture of what had been in the times of our
forefathers, and what will be in the times of our posterity.

Mrs Howard was well-looking, without the invidious attribute of great
beauty, and lively, without the not less invidious faculty of wit. All
the court officials crowded her apartments in the palace. Chesterfield,
young Churchill, Lord Hervey, Lord Scarborough, all hurried to the
tea-table of the well-bred bedchamber-woman, to escape the dreary duties
and monotonous moping of attendance on the throne. Lady Walpole, Mrs
Selwyn, Mary Lepell, and Mary Bellenden, formed a part of this
coterie--all women of presumed character, yet all associating familiarly
with women of none. Of Mrs Howard, Swift observed in his acid
style--"That her private virtues, for want of room to operate, might be
folded and laid up clean, like clothes in a chest, never to be put on;
till satiety, or some reverse of fortune should dispose her to
retirement."

Then, probably in reference to the prudery with which she occasionally
covered her conduct,--"In the meantime," said he, "it will be her
prudence, to take care that they be not tarnished and moth-eaten, for
want of opening and airing, and turning, at least _once a-year_."

Those matters seem to have sought no concealment whatever. "Es regolar,"
says the Spaniard, when his country is charged with some especial
abomination. Howard, the husband, though a _roué_, at last went into the
quadrangle at St James's and publicly demanded his wife. He then wrote
to the Archbishop. His letter was given to the Queen, and by her to Mrs
Howard. Yet all this scandal never interrupted the lady's intercourse
with the highest personages of the court. Mrs Howard continued to be the
Queen's bedchamber woman; the Queen suffered her personal attendance,
her carriage was escorted by John Duke of Argyle; her husband obtained a
pension to hold his tongue; and even when the King grew tired of the
_liaison_, and wished to get rid of her, actually complaining to the
Queen, "That he did not know why she would not let him part with a deaf
old woman, of whom he was weary," the politic Caroline would not allow
him to give her up, "lest a younger favourite should gain a greater
ascendency over him." After this, we must hear no more of the delicacy
of Queen Caroline. Virtue and religion scarcely belonged to her day.

In a court of this intolerable worldliness, the worldly must thrive; and
Mrs Clayton advanced year by year in the imitation of her mistress, and
in power. She, as well as Lady Suffolk, adopted Caroline's patronage of
letters, and corresponded a good deal with the clever men of the time.
We quote one of Lady Suffolk's letters addressed to Swift, apparently in
answer to some of his perpetual complaints of a world, which used him
only too well after all.

                                        "_September_, 1727.

     "I write to you to please myself. I hear you are melancholy,
     because you have a bad head and deaf ears. These are two
     misfortunes I have laboured under these many years, and yet never
     was peevish with either myself or the world. Have I more philosophy
     and resolution than you? Or am I so stupid that I do not feel the
     evil?

     "Answer those queries in writing, if _poison_ or other methods do
     not enable you soon to appear in person. Though I make use of your
     own word, poison, yet let me tell you--it is nonsense, and I desire
     you will take more care for the time to come. Now, you endeavour to
     impose on my understanding by taking no care of your own."

The value of a keen and active confidante in a court of perpetual
intrigue was obvious, and Mrs Clayton was the double of the Queen. But a
deeper and more painful reason is assigned for her confidence. The Queen
had a malady, which is not described in her Memoirs, but which we
suppose to have been a cancer, which she was most anxious to hide from
all the world. Walpole discovered it, and the discovery exhibits his
skill in human nature.

On the death of Lady Walpole, the Queen, who was about the same age,
asked Sir Robert in many questions as to her illness; but he remarked,
that she frequently reverted to one particular malady, which had _not_
been Lady Walpole's disease. "When he came home," (his son writes) "he
said to me,--now, Horace, I know by the possession of what secret Lady
Sundon has preserved such an ascendant over the Queen."

Mrs Clayton possessed at least one merit (if merit it be) in a
remarkable degree, that of providing for her relatives. She was of a
poor family, and she contrived to get something for them all. Her three
nieces had court places, one of them that of a maid of honour; one
brother obtained a cornetcy in the Horse Guards; another a chief
clerkship in the annuity office; and her nephew was sent out with Lord
Albemarle to Spain. A more remarkable relative was Clayton, Bishop of
Clogher, who evidently knew the value of her patronage, for a more
importunate suitor, and a more persevering sycophant, never kissed
hands. Finally, she obtained a peerage for her husband, a distinction in
which, of course, she herself shared, but which probably she desired
merely to throw some _eclat_ round a singularly submissive husband.

Yet there was no slight infusion of pleasantry in the minds of some of
the royal household. When they got rid of the stately pedantry of
Caroline, and the smooth hypocrisy of her confidante,--when the gross
and formal monarch was shut out, and the younger portion of the court
were left to their own inventions, they seem to have enjoyed themselves
like children at play. There was a vast deal of flirtation, of course,
for this folly was as much the fashion of the time as rouge. But there
was also a great deal of verse writing, correspondence of all degrees of
wit, and now and then caricature with pencil and pen. Mary Lepell, in
one of those _jeux d' esprit_, described the "Six Maids of Honour" as
six volumes bound in _calf_.--The first, Miss Meadows, as mingled
satire, and reflection; the second as a _plain_ treatise on morality;
the third as a rhapsody; the fourth (supposed to be the future Lady
Pembroke) as a volume, neatly bound, of "The Whole Art of Dressing;" the
next a miscellaneous work, with essays on "Gallantry;" the sixth, a
folio collection of all the "Court Ballads." But there were some women
of a superior stamp in the court circle. One of those was Lady Sophia
Fermor, the daughter of Lady Pomfret, who seems to have been followed by
all the men of fashion, and loved by some of them. But, like other
professed beauties, she remained unmarried, until at last she accepted
Lord Carteret, a man twice her age. Yet the match was a brilliant one in
all other points, for Carteret was Secretary of State, and perhaps the
most accomplished public man of his time.

"Do but imagine," observes that prince of gossips, Horace Walpole, "how
many passions will be gratified in that family; her own ambition,
vanity, and resentment--love, she never had any; the politics,
management, and pedantry of her mother, who will think to govern her
son-in-law out of Froissart. Figure the instructions which she will give
her daughter. Lincoln, (one of her admirers) is quite indifferent, and
laughs."

While the marriage was on the _tapis_, the beautiful Sophia was taken
ill of the scarlet fever, and Lord Carteret of the gout. Nothing could
be less amatory than such a crisis. But his lordship was all gallantry;
he corresponded with her, read her letters to the Privy Council, and
tired all the world with his passion. At length both recovered, and the
lady had all the enjoyments which she could find in ambition. Carteret
obtained an earldom, lost his place, but became only more popular,
personally distinguished, and politically active. The Countess then
became the female head of the Opposition, and gave brilliant parties, to
the infinite annoyance of the Pelhams. For a while, she was the
"observed of all observers." But her career came to a sudden and
melancholy close. She had given promise of an heir, which would have
been doubly a source of gratification to her husband; as his son by a
former wife was a lunatic. But she was suddenly seized with a fever. One
evening, as her mother and sister were sitting beside her, she sighed
and said, "I feel death coming very fast upon me." This was their first
intimation of her danger. She died on the same night!

Walpole is the especial chronicler of this time. Such a man must have
been an intolerable nuisance in his day, but his piquant impertinence is
amusing in ours. He was evidently a wasp, pretending to perform the part
of a butterfly, and fluttering over all the court flowers, only to plant
his sting. As he was a perpetual flirt, he dangled round the Pomfret
family; and probably received some severe rebuke from their mother, for
he describes her with all the venom of an expelled _dilettante_.

He speaks of her as all that was prim in pedantry, and all that was
ridiculous in affectation; as, on being told of some man who talked of
nothing but Madeira, gravely asking, "What language that was;" and as
attending the public act at Oxford (on the occasion of her presenting
some statues to the University) in a box built for her near the
Vice-Chancellor, "where she sat for three days together, to receive
adoration, and hear herself for four hours at a time called Minerva." In
this assembly, adds the wit, in his peculiar style, "she appeared in all
the tawdry poverty and frippery imaginable, and in a scoured damask
robe," and wonders that "she did not wash out a few words of Latin," as
she used to _fricassee_ French and Italian; or, that "she did not
torture some learned simile," as when she said, that "it was as
difficult to get into an Italian coach, as it was for Cæsar to take
Attica, by which she meant Utica."

But Lady Pomfret is said also to have employed her talents upon more
substantial things than pedantry. She had an early intercourse with the
immaculate Mrs Clayton, with whom she was supposed to have negotiated
the appointment of Lord Pomfret as master of the horse, for a pair of
diamond rings, worth £1,400. The rumour appears to have obtained
considerable currency; for one day when she appeared at the Duchess of
Marlborough's with the jewels in her ears, the Duchess (old Sarah) said
to Lady Wortley Montague, "How can the woman have the impudence to go
about _in that bribe_!" Lady Wortley keenly and promptly
answered,--"Madam, how can people know where wine is to be sold, unless
where they see the sign?"

Another of the curiosities of this court menagerie, was Katherine,
Duchess of Buckingham. She was a daughter of James the Second by
Katherine Sedley, daughter of the wit, Sir Charles. James, who with all
his zeal for popery was a scandalous profligate, and as shameless in his
contempt of decent opinion as he was criminal in his contempt for his
coronation oath; gave this illegitimate offspring the rank of a Duke's
daughter, and the permission to bear the royal arms! She found a husband
in the Earl of Anglesea, from whom she was soon separated; the earl
died, and she took another husband, John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham,
certainly not too youthful a bridegroom. The duke, always a wit, had
been in early life one of the most dissipated men of his day, and
through all the varieties and _vexations_ of a life devoted to pleasure,
had reached his 59th year. Yet, this handsome wreck, almost the last
relic of the court of Charles the Second, lived a dozen years longer,
and left the duchess guardian of his son.

His lordly dowager afforded the world of high life perpetual amusement.
Her whole life was an unintentional caricature of royalty. Beggarly
beyond conception in her private affairs, she was as pompous in public
as if she had the blood of all the thrones of Europe in her veins. She
evidently regarded the Brunswicks as usurpers, and hated them; while she
affected a sort of superstitious homage for the exiled dynasty, and gave
them--every thing but her money. She once made a sort of pilgrimage to
visit the body of James, and pretended to shed tears over it. The monk
who showed it, adroitly observed to her, that the velvet pall which
covered the coffin was in rags, but her sympathies did not reach quite
so far, and she would not take the hint, and saved her purse.

At the opera, she appeared in a sort of royal robe of scarlet and
ermine, and everywhere made herself so supremely ridiculous, that the
laughers called her Princess Buckingham. Even the deepest domestic
calamity could not tame down this outrageous pride. When her only son
died of consumption, she sent messengers to all her circle, telling
them, that if they wished to see him lie in state, "she would admit them
by the back stairs." On this melancholy occasion, her only feeling
seemed to be, her vanity. She sent to the Duchess of Marlborough to
borrow the triumphal car which had conveyed the remains of the great
duke to the grave. This preposterous request was naturally refused by
the duchess, who replied, "that the car which had borne the Duke of
Marlborough's dead body should never be profaned by another."

On her own deathbed, she declared her wish to be buried beside her
father James the Second. "George Selwyn shrewdly said, that to be buried
by her father, she need not be carried out of England," (she was
supposed to be actually the daughter of Colonel Graham.) When she found
herself dying, she carried on the melancholy farce to the last. She sent
for Anstis, the herald, and arranged the whole funeral ceremony with
him. She was particularly anxious to see the preparations before she
died. "Why," she asked, "won't they send the canopy for me to see? Let
them send it, even though the tassels are not finished." And finally,
she exacted from her ladies a promise, that if she became insensible,
they should not sit down in the presence of her body, till she was
completely dead!

Such things told in a romance, would be criticised for their
extravagance, but nothing is too extravagant for human nature. Reared in
folly, pampered with self-indulgence, and bloated with vanity, the
wholesome discipline of adversity would have been of infinite value to
this woman and her tribe. Six months in Bridewell, varied by beating
hemp, would have been the most fortunate lesson which she could have
received from society.

Another of those persons, yet more remarkable for her position in life,
was the second daughter of George II., the Princess Amelia. She was
supposed to have been attached to the Duke of Grafton; but remaining
single, and having nothing on the earth to do, she became a torment to
the King, the Court, and every body. Idleness is the vice of high life,
and discontent its punishment. The Princess became proverbial for
peevishness, sarcasm, and scandal. Of course, fashion took its revenge;
and where every one was shooting an arrow, some struck, and struck
deep. The Princess grew masculine in her manners, and coarse in her
mind. Her appointment as ranger in Richmond Park, one of those sinecure
offices which are scattered among the dependants of the throne, made her
enemies. Little acts of authority, such as stopping up pathways, brought
the tongues of the neighbouring population and gentry upon her, until
her royal highness had the vexation of seeing an action brought against
her. After some of the usual delays of justice, she had the
mortification of being beaten, and ultimately resigned the rangership.
From this period she almost disappeared from the public eye, yet she
survived till 1786, dying at the age of 71.

Mrs Clayton still held her quiet ascendancy, and her position was so
perfectly understood, that her interest seems to have been an object of
solicitation with nearly every person involved in public difficulties.
Of this kind was her intercourse with the three sons of Bishop Burnet,
all individuals of intelligence and accomplishment, but all in early
life struggling with fortune. The character of the bishop himself is
best known from his works: gossiping, giddiness, and imprudence in
taking every thing for granted that he had heard, but honesty in telling
it, belonged to the bishop as much as to his books. The chances of the
Revolution placed him in the way of preferment; chances, however, which,
if they had turned the other way, might have cost him his head. But he
was on the right side in politics, and not on the wrong side in
religion; and he won and wore the mitre in better style than any man of
his age. His oldest son, William, was educated as a barrister; he lost
his fortune in the South Sea bubble, and was sent to America as governor
of New York. Subsequently he was removed to Boston, with which he was
discontented, and after long altercations with the General Assembly of
the province, he died of a fever, probably inflamed by vexation.
Gilbert, the second son, was appointed chaplain to George I., was a man
of clear understanding, and exhibited his knowledge of courts by siding
with Hoadley. With all the distinctions of his profession opening before
him, he died young. Thomas, the third son, differed from both his
brothers, in the superiority of his talents, and the wildness of his
temper. The manners of the time were a mixture of vulgar riot and gross
indulgence. The streets were infested with ruffianism, and a society
among the young men of rank and education, which took to itself the name
of "The Mohocks," and whose barbarous habits were worthy of the name,
insulted alike public justice and endangered personal safety. Thomas
Burnet was said to have been engaged in some of their violences, though
he, perhaps, was not one of the "affiliated." It may be naturally
supposed, that those excesses grieved so distinguished a man as his
father; and it is equally to be supposed that they led to frequent
remonstrance. If so, they operated effectively at last.

One day the bishop, observing the peculiar gravity of his son's
countenance, asked, "On what he was thinking."

"On a greater work than your 'History of the Reformation.'--_My own_,"
was the answer.

"I shall be heartily glad to see it," said the father, "though I almost
despair of it."

It was undertaken, however, and vigorously pursued. The young _roué_
became a leading lawyer, and finally attained the rank of Chief-justice
of the Common Pleas. He died in 1753.

There is, perhaps, in public history, no more curious instance of the
power which circumstances may place in the hands of a private
individual, than the deference paid to Mrs Clayton. Her whole merit
seems to have been caution, a perpetual sense of the delicacy of her
position, and an undeviating deference to the habits, opinions, and
purposes of the Queen. Those were useful qualities, but not remarkable
for dignity, and rather opposed to personal amiability of mind. Yet this
cautious, considerate, and frigid personage, was all but worshipped by
the world of fashion, of talents, and of celebrity.

Among those worshippers was the man who did the most evil, and gained
the most renown, of any man of his generation. The wit, who eclipsed all
the witty pungency of France in his sportive sarcasm; all the libellers
of royalty in his scorn of thrones; and all the grave infidelity of
England, in his restless and envenomed antipathy to all religion--the
memorable Voltaire.

He was then only beginning his mischievous career, but he had already
made its character sufficiently marked to earn an imprisonment in the
Bastille, and, on his liberation, an order to quit Paris.

In England he occupied himself chiefly with literature; published his
"Henriade," for which he obtained a large subscription; wrote his
tragedy of "Brutus," his "Philosophical Letters," and other works.

At length he was permitted to return to that spot out of which a French
wit may be scarcely said to live; and kept up his intercourse with Mrs
Clayton by the following letter:

                                        "_Paris, April_ 18, 1729.

     "Madame,--Though I am out of London, the favours which your
     ladyship has honoured me with, are not, nor ever will be, out of my
     memory. I will remember, as long as I live, that the most
     respectable lady, who waits, and is a friend to the most truly
     great queen in the world, has vouchsafed to protect me, and receive
     me with kindness while I was at London.

     "I am just now arrived at Paris, and pay my respects to your Court,
     before I see our own. I wish, for the honour of Versailles, and for
     the improvement of virtue and letters, we could have here some
     ladies like you. You see, my wishes are unbounded. So is the
     respect and gratitude I am with, Madame, your most humble, obedient
     servant,

                                                  "Voltaire."

We pass over a thousand triflings in the subsequent pages--the alarms of
court ladies for the loss of a royal smile, the sickness of a favourite
monkey, or the formidable "impossibility" of matching a set of old
china. Such are the calamities of having nothing to do. We see in those
pages instances of high-born men contented to linger round the court for
life, performing some petty office which, however, required constant
attendance on the court circle, and submitting, with many a groan, it
must be confessed, to the miserable routine of trivial duties and meagre
ceremonial, much fitter for their own footmen; while they left their own
magnificent mansions to solitude, their noble estates unvisited, their
tenantry uncheered, unprotected, and unencouraged by their residence in
their proper sphere, and finally degenerated into feeble gossips,
splenetic intriguers, and ridiculous encumbrances of the court itself.

Difficulty seems essential to the vigour of man. Difficulty seems
essential even to the vigour of nations. The old theory, that luxury is
the ruin of a state, was obviously untrue; for in no condition of the
earth could luxury ever go down to the multitude. But the true evil of
states is, the decay of the national activity, the chill of the national
ardour, the adoption of a trifling, indolent, vegetative style of being.
Into this life France had sunk, from the time of Louis XIV. Into this
life Germany had sunk, from the peace of Westphalia. Into this life
England was rapidly sinking, from the reign of Anne.

But the visitation came at last, at once to punish and to stimulate.
France, Germany, and England were plunged into war together; and fearful
as the plunge was, out of that raging torrent the three nations have
struggled to shore, refreshed and invigorated by the struggle. England
seems now to be entering on another career, more perilous than the
exigencies of war--a moral and intellectual conflict, in which popular
passions and rational principles will be ranged on opposite sides; and
the question may involve the final shape which government shall assume
in the British empire, or, perhaps, in the European world.

The characteristics of our time are wholly unshared with the past. In
calling up the recollections of the great ages of English change, we can
discover but slight evidence of their connexion with our own. To the
stately, but religious, aspect of the Republic of 1641, we find no
resemblance in the general features of our religious tolerance. To the
ardent zeal for liberty which marked the Revolution of 1688, we can find
no counterpart in the constitutional quietude of the present day. The
fiery ferocity of Continental Revolution has certainly furnished no
model to the professors of national regeneration, since the reform of
1830. And yet, a determination, a power and a progress of public change,
is now the acknowledged principle of the most active, indefatigable, and
unscrupulous portion of the mind of England.

And among the most remarkable and most menacing adjuncts of the crisis,
is the singular sense of inadequacy to resist its career, which seems to
paralyse the habitual defenders of the right cause. The consecrated
guardians of the church seem only to wait the final blow. The great
landholders in the peerage are contented with making protests. The
agricultural interest, the boast of England, and the vital interest of
the empire, has abandoned a resistance, too feeble to deserve the praise
of fortitude, and too irregular to deserve the fruits of victory. The
moneyed interest sees its gigantic opulence threatened by a
hundred-handed grasp; but makes no defence, or makes that most dangerous
of all defences, which calls in the invader as the auxiliary, bribes him
with a portion of the spoils, and only provokes his appetite for the
possession of the whole.

This condition of things cannot last. A few years, perhaps a few months,
will ripen the bitter fruit, which the meekness of undecided governments
has suffered to grow before their eyes. The Ballot, which offers a
subterfuge for every fraud; Extended Suffrage, which offers a force for
every aggression; the overthrow of all religious endowments, which
offers a bribe to every desire of avarice--above all that turning of
religion into a political tool, that indifference to the true, and that
welcoming of the false, in whatever shape it may approach, however
fierce and foul; however coldly contemptuous, or furiously fanatical,
however grim or grotesque, whose first act must be to trample all
principle under foot, and place on its altar the worship of the
passions;--those are the demands which are already made, and those will
be the trophies which the hands of political zealotry and personal
rapine, in the first hour of their triumph, will raise on the grave
where lies buried the Constitution.

Yet nothing is done by the natural defenders of the rights of
Englishmen. No leader comes forward; no new followers are to be found;
no banner is raised as the rallying point for the fugitives, already
broken. We see the approach of the evil, as the men of the old world
might have seen the approach of the Deluge; awaiting with folded hands,
and feet rooted to the ground, the surges which nothing could resist;
looking with an indolent despair at the mighty inundation, before which
the plain and the mountain alike began to disappear; and sullenly
submitting to an extinction, of which they had been long offered the
means of escape, and perishing, with the pledge of security floating
before their eyes.

We are by no means desirous of being prophets of public misfortune; but,
with the tenets publicly avowed, in the elections which have just
closed, with the strong popularity attached to the most daring opinions,
with thirty pledged _Repealers_ from Ireland, with the wildest doctrines
of trade advocated by the popular representatives in England, with sixty
subjects of the Pope sitting in a Protestant legislature, and with the
evident determination to bring into that legislature individuals (and
who shall limit their numbers, when its doors are once thrown open to
their wealth?) who pronounce Christianity itself to be an imposture,--we
can conjecture no consequences, however hazardous, which ought not to
present themselves to the soberest friend of his country. That the worst
consequences may not be inevitable, is only to hope in a higher
protection; that even out of the evil good may come, is not
unconformable to the ways of Providence; but that times are at hand in
which the noblest energy of English statesmanship will be required to
meet the conflict, we have no more doubt, than that the pilot who, in a
storm, uses neither compass nor sail, must run his ship on shore; or
that the man who walks about in clothes dipped in pestilence, will leave
his corpse as a testimony to the fact of the contagion.


FOOTNOTES:

[18] _Memoirs of Viscountess Sundon._ By Mrs THOMPSON. 2 Vols. Colburn.



ART IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN AGES.[19]


From time immemorial the German universities have been regarded as the
seats of patient, persevering, indefatigable, but also unprofitable,
erudition. They have been the homes of men whose lives were one long day
of toil--a continual course of labour, the sole reward of which was a
secret consciousness of worth, and a fame, circumscribed it is true, yet
still spreading wide amongst the elect of science in all civilised
countries. Lost, not in the day-dreams of romance, but in the depths and
amongst the mazes of science, it was but seldom that these men of the
study and the library found leisure and nerve to escape from seclusion,
and to take their share of the duties of active life in which their less
reflective brethren were feverishly engaged. And when they attempted the
competition, their failure was signal. They presented an extraordinary
exhibition of awkward genius and blundering sagacity, and exposed
themselves at once to the painful ridicule of those whose calling and
pursuits taught them to prize mere worldly wisdom above all human lore.

Their country owes them a heavy debt of gratitude. Though little known,
they ought never to be forgotten. They were unpopular, but they worked
for the popularity of science. The results of their labours are not to
be looked for in their own creations, but must rather be traced in the
productions of their children's children. Generations to come will
acknowledge them for their lawful progenitors, nor will future ages lose
by confessing the obligations which they owe to so noble an ancestry. If
our task to-day is comparatively easy, it is because the men of whom we
speak never shrank from the difficulties attending theirs. We may smile
at the childish simplicity of Neander, but we deeply venerate the
profound erudition and the subtle discernment of that extraordinary
critic's mind. We may feel shocked at the clownish sallies of a
Blumenbach, the stinginess of Gesenius, and the rude manners of Ernesti.
But with the first, we connect vast realms in natural philosophy
unconquered before him; to the second, the student of Hebrew refers with
reverential affection and gratitude; whilst we know, that the burly
demeanour of the last could never hide the treasures of a Latin style,
which, for purity and power, competes with that of Tully, and like that
may well be compared to a precious sword, pure in metal, and as lasting
as it is flexible and cutting.

The greater number of those to whom we refer have long since passed from
the silence of their study to that of the grave. They have died as they
lived--poor and honoured. Of them all, there is scarcely one whose
departure was generally lamented; not one whose death was generally
known. For the bulk of mankind, they never existed. Their works,
unpalatable to the many, had always been the delight and instruction of
the few. Yet, let not their unpopularity be quoted against them. They
knew the extent of their mission. It was to collect and hoard bullion
for future coinage and circulation. They prepared the path along which a
whole nation was hereafter to travel. They were modest but meritorious
labourers, who built a massive and powerful foundation, that another age
might be left at ease to erect the brilliant superstructure.

That other age is here. The proud fane for which they cleared the way,
and saw as the prophet of old beheld the Land of Promise, is rising now
before us. In the author of the "History of the Fine Arts in the Early
Ages of Christianity," we greet a worthy follower of those great masters
whose works have somewhat rashly been pronounced more curious than
useful. Professor Gottfried Kinkel is a true disciple and no imitator.
He understands the period which has produced him. He knows its wants.
General diffusion of knowledge is its distinguishing feature. Science
leaves the closet to communicate her benefits to the forum. Neither the
centralisation of wealth, nor that of knowledge, can now secure a nation
against poverty and ignorance. People may starve, though the royal
coffers are bursting with their weight of gold; they may be ignorant,
though their chiefs luxuriate in the possession of unbounded knowledge.
Rapid circulation of the currency has been found to constitute national
wealth. A general diffusion of knowledge is the necessary condition of
civilisation. Poesy is no longer content to dwell at court. Chemistry
has chosen the path which Bacon pointed out to her; and whilst she has
found a new field of action, has been enriched by treasures of knowledge
hitherto concealed from her view. The sneering exclamation of Persius--

     "Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter."

is the great truth and motto of this our century.

Even the universities of Germany have begun to popularise the results of
their laborious researches; although it cannot be said that they have
taken the lead of the age, we may at least affirm that they have gone
along with it. They have not lingered in the rear. They have adapted
their instruction and language to homely understandings, and have
increased rather than lessened their dignity by the condescension. They
have become more honoured and respected as the benefits of their labours
have grown more palpable to common sight; they have been more renowned
since the many have been permitted to appreciate the merits of the few.
Instruction itself has been more courted and made more welcome since it
took courage to cast aside its cumbrous wig and gown, and ventured to
appear before the world with the natural graces of pure humanity.

Professor Kinkel, to whom we owe the work whose title is placed at the
foot of the present article, is in every respect a specimen, and perhaps
a prototype, of the German professor of the nineteenth century. To the
deep and solid learning of a former generation, he adds the good taste
and social accomplishments indispensable in these more advanced times.
Thirteen years ago he was a student of theology in the university of
Bonn, and even at that period the extraordinary application and the
commanding faculties of the "studiosus Kinkel" had earned for him a
scholastic reputation, and won the respect of his fellow-students and of
the professors of the university. Indefatigable, then, in his
theological pursuits, he was the subject of general admiration on
account of the vast extent of his acquirements, and of the enthusiastic
interest with which he engaged in the sacred study of the fine arts. No
less general was the complaint that a mind so happily formed to range
through the boundless realms of philosophy, a genius so brilliant, a
soul so deeply imbued with a love of the beautiful and the great, should
be suffered to pine beneath the monotonous duties of a theological
professorship, and dissipate unparalleled energies in splitting the
straws of a controversy, or deciding the dusty quibbles of an antiquated
lore. At the close of his academical career, GOTTFRIED KINKEL was
admitted into the university as a licentiate in theology; but shortly
after his promotion, he quitted his native country, and was for some
years a wanderer amongst the splendid ruins of Italy. The treasures of
art which mock the nakedness of this ill-starred country were to him
what they are ever to the mind of the artist,--they revealed a new
world. Unlike many others, however, Kinkel was not bewildered by the
beauty which so suddenly burst upon his view. He was not surfeited. His
enthusiasm, tempered by the metallic reasoning of the Hegel school, was
closely allied with the subtlest criticism. His admiration was never an
obstacle to comparison. Whilst he admired he remembered: individual
faults or excellencies, he found to be reducible to common causes. His
conclusions he drew from the objects: he did not force the one upon the
other.

In like manner, and intent upon the same purpose, the theological
licentiate travelled through France, Belgium, and Holland; and when he
returned to Bonn, his spirit as well as his habits of life were more
than ever wedded to the critical contemplation of the results of the
creative faculty in the mind of man. The annual exhibitions of paintings
in Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Frankfort, found in him an indulgent and
impartial critic. His researches on the monuments of ancient sacred
architecture were at intervals published in _The Domban Blatt_, and
immediately secured the attention and regard of all antiquarians.

The cherished pursuits, however, were ill calculated to reconcile Kinkel
to his adopted profession. In 1845, the licentiate in theology doffed
his gown, and was forthwith appointed a professor of philosophy in the
university of Bonn. It is to his lectures in this capacity that we owe
the treatise on Art in the Early Christian Ages. This remarkable book
was written with the purpose of instructing the public mind, and of
enabling the many to participate in the intellectual enjoyment as yet
confined to a favoured few. Its objects were to vindicate the merits of
Christianity as a fosterer of the arts, and to encourage, all lovers of
art by opening new fields for exploration.

The productions of real art are the most universally instructive of all
creations. Nothing acts so powerfully on individual and national
character; nothing so beneficially. Wherever art has been without these
consequences, we may be sure that art was false. Its prophets were false
prophets. The assumption of charlatans, however, is no condemnation of
the art itself. The abuses of idolaters is no argument against religion.
M. Kinkel's introduction to the plan of his work has but one fault. It
is a national one. His mode of reasoning is conclusive; but the English
reader, less accustomed to metaphysical phraseology than his German
neighbours, will find some difficulty in grasping it. According to our
author, two conditions are necessary to true art, which he defines to be
"the incorporation of the spirit in a beautiful form." _Beauty_, then,
and _spirit_ are, the two conditions of true art. If one be wanting,
true art is likewise wanting. The spirit, separate from beauty of form,
may be religion and ethics--it can never be art. Beauty of form without
the spirit, is likewise not a work of art. It remains on a level with
matter; but the production of the artist soars higher. Hence true art is
capable of yielding more universal satisfaction both to the artist and
to the spectator than all other intellectual creations. The reason is
obvious. We express and meet with the two grand constituents of our
being; and, whilst other branches of knowledge are apter to separate
than to unite--whilst science is exclusive, and even religion herself is
sometimes productive of discord, true art asserts her right to be
regarded as the great Pantheon of mankind. No idea is _universal_
property unless expressed by art. Even the vast abyss which separates
the lower orders of men from the ranks above them is overcome by art,
for all are sensible of the joys which art produces. To know, therefore,
what and how the mind and hand of man have hitherto worked, is a
necessary, if it be not an indispensable, investigation and pursuit. "We
are not ambitious," says M. Kinkel, "to conquer fame by profound
hypotheses concerning things which, both by time and place, are indeed
far from us. It is not our object to look for art in its infancy amongst
nations which have long ceased to exist, nor shall we at once turn to
Greece and Rome. Our desire is to contemplate those creations, which
from their time and spirit are kindred to our feelings, and to speak of
that branch of art with which Christianity has been busy within the last
eighteen hundred years."

The author proceeds to point out the two grand directions in which all
original art branches off. It serves either religion or history. The
first productions of art were idols and monuments. Palaces, theatres,
paintings, are the work of progressive civilisation. Christian art has
one principal feature in common with pagan art,--its origin. They are
alike the offspring of religion. They are also similar in their
progress; they acquired an inclination towards history, and both have at
last taken a decided _realistic_ direction. But the vast difference
between Christian and antique art is no less palpable. The art of
antiquity was far more deeply imbued with the principle of nationality
than the former. Nations were isolated; each had its proper gods and its
peculiar history. The diversity of religion and of political
institutions engendered a difference of feeling. This civilised world of
ours, on the other hand, has a community of feeling, in as much as it
has one religion common to all. The Celtic, Sclavonian, and German
nations exhibit far greater diversities of origin and climate than the
inhabitants of Persia and India in ancient times; yet the artistic
productions of the former are more alike. Their religion furnishes one
point at which all meet, and in respect of which they are inseparable.
The prevalence of the ecclesiastical element in modern art, is, however,
liable to one great objection. For many years it served to exclude
historical art, which even in our own time has not attained so high a
perfection. It is true that Christianity makes amends in some degree for
the want of this historical development. A total absence of historical
facts is the great characteristic of the religions of antiquity. The Son
of David, on the contrary, is in himself the greatest of historical
facts. The Apostles are no mythical personages. The great men of Judaic
history, the family of our Saviour, and the people with whom he
conversed, all form one large group of historical personages, and
religion and history, formerly separated, are _here_ united. Christ on
the cross is an object of touching adoration, but he is also the
monument of the greatest event in the history of the world. But that
this is no national history is undeniable. Offspring of a foreign soil,
it had no connexion with the state.

The exclusively ecclesiastical character of early Christian art, is
another grand feature which at once destroys all analogy between this
art and the creations of pagan antiquity. In Hellenic paganism, we
behold the triumph of humanity. The human form in its most ideal beauty
is the type of all things divine. Christianity starts at once with the
peremptory condition of a renunciation of individual beauty and
strength. Christianity counted sensual beauty as nothing: she regarded
the mind alone. She permits the human form only as the incorporation of
some hidden thought divine. In the one instance, the _form_ was all in
all; in the other, it is the _expression_. The heathen delighted in
naked bodies, for every single part might convey the sensation of
beauty. The face sufficed for Christian art, as solely expressive of
divine beauty. And since the adopted Jewish custom excludes nudity in
life, it must needs die in art. In the new order of things, sculpture is
lost, and painting is better adapted to the narrow limits of early
Christian art.

Upon the question whether this fear of the world, as exhibited in the
rejection of the world's material forms, be truly the character of real
Christianity, Professor Kinkel answers with a decided negative. He
rather favours the opinion of those who hold the fear and hate of the
world which distinguished the early Christian ages, to have been founded
on an erroneous comprehension of the doctrine and example of the great
Founder, who, as far as we are able to learn, facilitated the creation
of real art. The misconception, so fatal to the civilising influence of
art, M. Kinkel, explains by reminding us of the fears of idolatry, so
justly entertained by Christianity in its first existence, of the
oppression and persecution which the early church experienced, and of
the natural desire entertained by the oppressed, to be as little like
the oppressors as possible.

The extreme opinions, however, could not last. They began with the fury
of persecution, and they died with it. An earnest admiration of the
beautiful is implanted deeply in the soul of man for noble purposes,
which Providence will not suffer to be thwarted. Mistaken notions of
duty, religious zeal maddened by oppression, for a time clouded the
faculty amongst the early Christians, but it soon burst forth again.
Faint at first in its appearance, it gained strength with every passing
lustre; and however sweeping the condemnation pronounced by early
believers against vain signs and images expressive of the objects of
this fleeting world, the voices of the cursers gradually hushed, and the
mind of man, asserting its prerogative, was active again with new and
regenerated power. The history of civilisation must needs count by
centuries, and it took ages to effect the transition. From our present
lofty and unprejudiced height, from that height at which modern art
strives to emulate that of antiquity, it may not be wholly uninstructive
to look back towards the first trembling attempts of the early Christian
people.

It would appear that the first attempts of the early Christians were of
a symbolical and allegorical kind. The same figures, with little or no
variation, were constantly repeated to express ideas which, whilst they
led the thoughts of the believer into the channel which to him appeared
most satisfactory, were mere forms, and void of meaning to pagan eyes.
Chief amongst these was the Cross, but without the body of Christ
affixed to it. The crucifix is an invention of the seventh century. In
the beginning, the Cross did not expose the Christians to suspicion, for
it was known to many religions of antiquity. The nations of Egypt adored
the cross as a sign of their salvation, since they placed it in the
hands of one of their idols as a key to the annual flux of the Nile. The
Persian worshippers of Mithras considered the cross a sacred symbol.
When pagan persecution finally discovered the exclusive and peculiar
signification of the sign amongst the Christians, the latter ingeniously
contrived forms of the cross translatable by the eyes of the elect
alone. To these, the image of a flying bird was a cross; the human
figure in a swimming attitude was the same thing, and so also the
cross-trees of a sailing ship; the letters Alpha and Omega are seen
frequently engraved at the extremities of these disguised emblems in
remembrance of Revelation, i. 8. Doves, ships, lyres, anchors, fishes
and fishermen, are recommended by Clemens Alexandrinus, as the most
fitting objects for Christians to contemplate, and for representation on
seals. Amongst other symbols we find the seven-branched chandelier,
though originally a Jewish sign, employed as a type of our Saviour, who
calls himself (John, viii. 12.) the "light of the world." A wreath of
flowers was expressive of the crown of life. A pair of scales, in
remembrance of the last judgment, and a house, have been occasionally
discovered on ancient grave-stones; and once, a simple _curriculum_ has
been traced with the pole thrown backwards and a whip leaning against
it,--an unmistakable allusion to a departure for that place where "the
weary are at rest." Amongst plants, the olive, the vine, and the palm
were favourite symbols, the latter being generally reserved for the
grave-stones of martyrs. Birds, too, are frequently met with on the
walls of houses: the phoenix and the peacock being emblems of
immortality. The fable of the phoenix is minutely told by Clemens
Romanus; but the common superstition which ascribes imputrescibility to
the flesh of the latter, easily rendered this bird a symbol of the
resurrection of the body. Saint Augustine is said to have subjected this
peculiar quality of the peacock's flesh to a practical test. He ordered
one to be roasted, and at the close of a twelvemonth requested it to be
served up. Tradition does not inform us whether he ate it, and with what
appetite.

The dove occurs more frequently than any other bird. Two doves bearing
olive branches, are seen on Christian grave-stones in the Cologne
museum, and on the _porta nigra_ at Treves. The meaning of the sign of a
fish will not readily occur: but the frequency of its appearance
establishes its character as a secret mark of recognition. It was used
to signify both Christ and his church. Of quadrupeds we find the
stag,[20] the ox,[21] the lion,[22] and the lamb,[23] constantly in
connexion with the cross. The lion and the lamb are typical of Christ.
The transition to his representation in human form is rendered by two
figures, which, whilst human, are still symbolical. In the catacombs of
Saint Calintus, in the Via Appia at Rome, Christ is discovered in the
character of Orpheus, whilst at other places he is represented as a
shepherd.

Two paintings were found in Herculaneum, and may at present be seen in
the Museo Borbonico at Naples, which are of undoubted Christian origin,
and present a curious specimen of Christian art in the first century.
Each of these two paintings is divided into an upper field, and into a
lower smaller one. The smaller field of one of them is destined to
expose the folly and corruption of paganism, and Egyptian mythology is
selected for the purpose. We behold temples. In front of one of them
stands a statue of Isis; another is devoted to Anubis the dog-god: two
figures of crocodiles lie stretched across the entrance. On the left, we
see a live crocodile waiting for its prey amongst the bulrushes: an ass
is in the act of walking into the open mouth of the monster, in spite of
the efforts of the driver, who vainly endeavours to pull the animal back
by its tail. This might be intended to satirize some Roman pagan, were
it not for the counterpart. To the right, and immediately opposite the
idolatries on the field already spoken of, we see a well into which a
rope is being lowered, whilst a naked man, standing by, is seeking to
cover himself. An allusion is here made to fishing and baptism. On the
left, the crocodile of the former picture is again met with, but a
warrior with lance and shield advances with the view of slaying it. In
the middle of the painting a net is spread between two trees, and behind
it, and in direct opposition to the Isis on the pagan picture, we behold
a tall and erect cross. The upper fields harmonise with the lower. The
Christian painting displays a vigorous and stately tree between two
younger palm-trees; the pagan picture has the same symbols; but the
middle tree is in the sere and yellow leaf, whilst a Dryad issuing from
the roots flourishes an axe to cut it down. The allusion is not to be
mistaken. The sun of paganism has set: the axe is already at the root.

The greater number of the symbols named, however rich they may be in
thought, are sadly deficient in form, and we can discover but little
progress in this respect from the origin of Christianity to the time of
Constantine. Architecture, and especially ecclesiastical architecture,
may be said to be the only branch of the fine arts which was
successfully cultivated, and architecture itself was insignificant for
three centuries subsequently to the birth of Christ. Painting and
sculpture could elude cruelty and take refuge beneath the cloak of
symbols: but churches could not be masked. It was difficult to hide
them. In the earliest periods of Christianity, too, their absence was
not seriously felt; people prayed where they thought proper. Scripture
tells us that the apostles taught in the temple of Jerusalem.
Christianity, a sect of Judaism in its origin, dwelt for a long time in
the synagogues. Wherever St Paul came, he preached first in the Jewish
schools. In times of persecution, the believers sought refuge in the
catacombs. They assembled in the solitude of forests to pray and to
exhort one another. When the Jews opposed themselves to the new creed,
congregations met in the houses of the more wealthy. The apartment
usually employed for divine purposes is supposed to have been the
triclinium, or large dining-room of the richer classes amongst the
Greeks and Romans. The want of churches was first experienced when
frequent conversions swelled congregations beyond the limits of a large
family; and this, as we have hinted, occurred in the course of the third
century. The existence of a church expressly devoted to Christian
worship in the reign of the Emperor Severus Alexander, has been proved
beyond a doubt. It was a reign remarkable for its spirit of toleration.
The Christians were suffered to hold offices in the state, in the army,
and even at court. Churches rose rapidly under the mild light of
toleration. Even in the western provinces of the empire, in Gaul, Spain,
and Britain, we meet with churches erected at the commencement of the
fourth century. In Nicomedia also, under the very eyes of Diocletian, a
church was built that surpassed in splendour the very palace of the
Emperor. The army of Diocletian destroyed the holy building in the last
grand persecution. It was the last convulsive effort of paganism in its
agony.

No particulars of these churches have come down to us. Of that in
Nicomedia we know nothing, save that it was splendid. None had, we are
inclined to suppose, any fixed style. The style of the original
triclinium in which believers first congregated, was, in all likelihood,
imitated. Even in private houses, these triclinia were magnificently
adorned. The walls were ornamented with rows of lofty columns, and where
the Egyptian style prevailed, two rows of columns were constructed, one
above the other; an effect of this last arrangement was the formation of
a two-storied passage between the walls and the columns. In the
beginning of the tenth century, Pope Leo III. constructed a dining-room
after this fashion. We may fairly conclude that nothing grand or
extraordinary in architecture was attempted in a period of great trouble
and poverty. The real glory of Christian architecture dates from the
reign of Constantine. Christianity, legalised by him, might venture to
display her rites and her art. Under the government of Constantine the
church was enriched. He endowed it with the spoils of defeated and
expiring paganism. In the third century, the church of Rome, when
summoned to yield its treasures, produced its poor as the only treasures
it possessed. In the fifth century, that same church appointed a
clerical commission to watch over and inspect its possessions in foreign
countries.

The change of circumstances was not without a great and lasting
influence. Paganism threatened no more. It was conquered. No further
danger was to be apprehended from the departed religion of a gloomier
age. The clerical profession, warmed and nourished by the rays of
imperial favour, was soon effectually distinguished from the crowd of
laymen which surrounded it. The desire to render this separation
systematic and all-pervading was too natural to slumber for any length
of time, and the absence of an order of architecture peculiar to the
ministers of the new religion came to be severely felt. Rank and wealth
have ever delighted in drawing towards them the eyes of the world. The
worldliness and splendour of the church have been long the subject of
violent animadversion. But how could it be otherwise? From the moment
that Christianity became a favoured creed, conversions were rapid and
frequent; but not all the neophytes converted in form, had undergone a
similar change of spirit. Millions flocked through the open gates of the
church. To teach all, before they entered, was an impossibility. If
there was time to _awe_, that was something. If general conviction was
out of the question, universal respect was easily attainable. The
charms, the sensual enjoyments of the pagan altars, were once more
offered to the heathen. The smoke of incense filled the church; the
spoils of antiquity adorned its roofs and columns; the robes of the
clergy were covered with gold; the rites of the church delighted in
colours. But decoration and ornament alone were borrowed from paganism.
The temples of the heathen could not be copied in form: they could not
serve the purposes of Christian worship.

The destination of the temple was different from that of the church. The
temple was the house of an idol: limited in extent, it received
sufficient light through the open door. The rites of paganism were
performed in the colonnade surrounding the temple, not in the temple
itself, and the crowd of spectators stood beyond the limits of the
sacred building. The sanctuary of Pandrosus at Athens, admits only of a
few persons; and even the temple of Athenæ is not to be compared for
size with our modern churches. The Christian religion is essentially
didactic. It requires space for its hearers and disciples. But its
sacraments were mysteries, and none but the elect were admitted to them.
Thus, it was necessary to separate true believers from the bulk of the
congregation. No buildings were so happily adapted to this double
purpose as the houses of public justice and traffic, which, originally
of Grecian origin, had arrived at a high state of perfection in the
Roman empire. The most ancient of such houses--called Basilika--stood in
Athens at the foot of the Pnyx. It was in such a building that Socrates
appeared before his judges, and Christ was judged by Pilate. In the
history of art, we trace the workings of omnipresent Nemesis. The sign
of curse and infamy--the cross--has for centuries graced the banners of
humanity. The Basilikon in which Christ was condemned, has lent its form
to the churches in which his name is adored.

Whilst the groundwork of the Basilikon remained unchanged, Christian art
added steeples and cupolas to increase the solemnity of the impression.
The most perfect building of the kind is, without doubt, the church of
Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. For chastity and purity of style, it can
never be surpassed. The numerous churches erected by ostentation and
devotion in basilikon form are all inferior to that incomparable temple.
Many, it is true, have been disfigured, robbed, and half-burned; but
their faults are not accidental. The greater number were built at a time
when Pagan art, their prototype, had sunk very low indeed. Moreover,
since the days of Constantine, Pagan temples had fallen into disuse.
They stood deserted, and were suffered to crumble away beneath the
influences of neglect and time. Christian builders took all they wanted
from the ruins; a fragment from this temple, a block from that. Ionian
and Corinthian columns were placed in the same line. If a pillar was too
long for its companion, it was shortened without reference to its
diameters or form. Columns of different stones were jumbled together in
a row. Thus, amongst a number of columns of purple granite in the church
of Ara Celi at Rome we discover two Ionian columns of white marble. In
Saint Peter's, granite and Parian and African marbles are grouped
together without the smallest attempt at harmony or adaptation. San
Giovanni in Porta Laterana boasts ten columns of five different kinds of
stone.

A more interesting employment cannot be found than that of watching the
slow and cautious progress of ancient painting and sculpture in
connexion with Christianity. The slowness is indeed remarkable, when we
reflect upon the high perfection which these arts had generally attained
even during the reigns of the first emperors. Christianity dealt far
differently with painting and sculpture, than with architecture. In the
latter, the Pagan form was adopted and improved; but with respect to the
former, she made a _tabula rasa_, and descended to the rudest efforts of
daubing and carving. The shapes, both of men and animals, were awkward,
cumbrous, and unnatural; every part was out of proportion, and the most
solemn scenes acquired a ludicrous grotesqueness. But the strangest
phenomenon is, that Pagan art itself, of its own accord, descended to as
low a level. The productions of Paganism in the time of Constantine were
altogether as barbarous as the clumsy attempts of the untutored hands of
Christianity. The new religion had created a new world. The forms of the
old might indeed survive for a time, but its spirit was gone. Paganism
was a corpse. Altars might be crowned with garlands, sacrifice might be
offered to the gods: but all in vain. A voice came forth from an island
in the Ægean Sea; a voice of sorrow and complaint, but of truth also. It
wailed the death of the great Pan. The mighty were indeed fallen, and so
vast was the gulf between Paganism in the days of Titus, and Paganism in
those of Constantine, that the creations of the former period could be
no lesson to the idolaters of the latter. These clung to the worship of
a departed age, but in spite of themselves. The new and mighty river of
thought swept them onward, and carried them on to the very same parting
point from which Christian art was struggling for perfection.

Christian art started with one grand error. It was warring for ever
against itself. In portraying the world, it hated it. Of all its
creations, there is not one which can be said to be really beautiful;
the effusions of symbolical enthusiasm are without all plastic truth.
Ideas were incorporated, but they did not prove men with flesh and
blood. The paintings and carvings were hieroglyphics. The same figure
expressed the same idea, and the idea once expressed, there was no
desire to extend the circle of figures or to alter their wretched
appearance. The same uncouth forms return with a killing monotony.
Centuries do not change them. The uniformity of monastic life by no
means tended to relax the inflexibility of invention. Religion, not art,
was the sculptor's or the painter's object; his production was a
creation of faith, not of beauty. Such is the character of almost all
the carvings in wood and stone which have been found in the catacombs of
Rome and Naples.

Christianity has the great merit of having discovered the poesy of the
grave. From the outset it abhorred the Pagan custom of burning the dead,
and faithful to its Jewish origin, and mindful perhaps of Christ's
burial, it renewed the old Roman custom of interring the departed. This
was the origin of the catacombs. The early Christians loved to be
deposited with, or near the Martyrs, and grounds for burial capable of
receiving a large number of the dead were wholly wanting. The population
of Rome, Naples, Alexandria, and Syracuse was so great, that there was
scarcely room enough for the living. To find new receptacles for the
dead became an urgent necessity. It is true, that digging into the
bowels of the earth for the purpose of entombing the bodies of the dead
was no new operation. Egypt and Etruria had in their time set the
example. The one idea of immortality, led to similar results in
different creeds. The early Christians found their cities of the dead
already prepared for them. Paris, in our own time, stands upon a soil
which is hollowed throughout. The limestone upon which Paris stands was
taken from beneath to supply the wants of the builders. Rome, in like
manner, has a second and subterraneous town of vast extent, with its
streets and squares in endless number. Nor is it without its
inhabitants. In this town did Christians seek refuge from Pagan
persecution, and here did they likewise inter their dead. The caves and
passages were not dug by Christian hands, but were discovered already
made. They date from the last century of the republic, when the clay
upon which Rome stands, was required by the mania then raging for
extensive and magnificent structures. The Christians took possession of
the hollows and enlarged them; the work was by no means difficult, for
the clay was soft and plastic.

It was after the time of Constantine that the catacombs came into more
general use. Martyrs were more revered subsequently to the reign of this
Emperor than before it, for martyrdom became less easy of achievement.
The chief martyrs had found a resting-place in the catacombs. Churches
rose above their remains, from which secret and sacred doors led into
the City of the Dead, the cemetery of the saints. It was at the period
to which we refer that the regularly formed spacious catacombs were
first fashioned--a fact established by the date of the coffins, all of
which belong to a time later than that of the Emperor Constantine. The
wealthier members of the community constructed small chapels in the
catacombs for the reception of the bodies of their relations and
friends. These chapels are for the most part situated at the crossing of
passages or at the end of them, in which latter case the chapel forms
the termination of one particular passage. They are most important as
indices to the development of art. Besides the curious character and
beauty of the architecture, they afford specimens of the most ancient
grave paintings that we know of. Their walls and ceilings are covered
with a thin crust of gypsum, upon which the colours were laid. Not
unfrequently we find ornaments of stucco and marble. Altars and stone
seats, too, are found in these chapels. An astonishing number of
skeletons have been discovered in the passages by which the chapels are
connected: it was not the custom, as now, to bury the dead beneath the
floor and to cover the grave with a stone slab. The bodies were placed
in niches of from three to six feet in length. Sometimes four and six
together, one above the other. The corpse of a departed brother was
thrust into one of these niches; a lamp and some tool, explanatory of
the trade he had followed in life, were placed beside him, and then the
aperture was walled up, and lastly covered with a thin marble slab,
bearing an inscription and the particulars of the life and death of the
departed.

Church service was frequently performed in the catacombs, yet not in the
days of persecution. It was after Constantine that these tombs were used
for such a purpose. On Sabbath days they were open to the public and
were much visited. Devotion, love for departed relatives, and mere
curiosity, carried vast numbers to these silent halls. Saint Jerome,
tells us of his having often explored them with his comrades whilst he
was still a student in Rome; and he lived some three hundred and fifty
years after the death of Christ. The catacombs were but badly lighted at
first, light being admitted by a few apertures only in the roofs of the
chapels. At a later period, great care was taken to prevent visitors
losing their way amidst the labyrinth of passages. The guardianship of
the catacombs was confided to a certain body of the clergy, who went
under the name of _fossores_, or grave-diggers. It was their office to
inspect the chapels and passages, to point out the places where new
passages might be formed, and to portion out and sell the spots in which
burials might take place. The water in the wells of the catacombs was
subsequently found to possess the virtue of healing to a marvellous
degree. Nay, even the use of the drinking-cups found in the catacombs
was sufficient to cure several diseases.

In later days, many of the catacombs were opened, and a vast number of
curious and interesting objects brought to light. Not the least valuable
amongst these objects were the paintings and carvings to which we have
above adverted, and which throw some light upon the history of the
portraiture of the great Founder of our religion. Still in the great
bulk of the subjects represented the symbolical prevails; and since the
earliest masters were for a long time forbidden, by a pious awe, from
producing the figure of Christ, we find in the more ancient carvings a
decided preference given to the Old Testament over the New. Noah's ark,
Abraham sacrificing his son, Moses taking off his shoes upon receiving
the tablets of the law, the destruction of Pharaoh, and the miracle of
the water starting from the rock--in short, all the subjects of our
modern illustrated Bibles are of frequent occurrence in these ancient
houses of the dead, and one and all are intended to represent the
mission and person of Christ. The suffering of Christ, in the
delineation of which the masters of later times have so much delighted,
formed no subject for the artist in the earliest selections from the
history of the New Testament. The controversy in the temple, the entry
into Jerusalem, and the most celebrated of the miracles, were subjects
that better suited the ancient master's pencil. The infancy of Christ
was an inexhaustible subject to a later age. The Nestorian controversy
brought the religious pretensions of the Holy Virgin to an issue; and
after the church in the fifth century had bestowed upon Mary the title
of Mother of God, artists took pleasure in representing her either as
lying-in, or as holding the babe in her arms. The Eastern Kings are not
unfrequently found in the Virgin's company. M. Kinkel presumes that the
number of these wise men was first determined by the early masters, who
in all probability conferred the royal dignity upon them. Holy Writ does
not inform us that these personages were kings, and in the more ancient
carvings, they wear ordinary Phrygian caps. At a later period, and no
doubt inadvertently, these caps were changed into crowns. The four
evangelists are constantly represented either as four rolls of papyrus,
or as four fountains issuing from a hill beneath the feet of Christ.
When seen in the guise of the four apocalyptical animals, they belong to
a later period. The apostles also are found on ancient coffins,
surrounding Christ, at whose left side Peter is placed, whilst Paul
stands on his right. They all wear sandals tied with ribbon to their
feet. Some paintings represent scenes of early Christian life, the
sacred rites of the Church, and the love-feasts of the first Christians.

Wherever our Saviour is found he is represented by two types. In the
earliest paintings of the catacombs he appears as a beardless youth:
this type of the Saviour was produced under the influence of antique
art. The second and later type bears those oriental features which have
been transmitted by sacred painting even to our own time. The features
of the second face so closely resemble those of the first that the early
theologians do not hesitate to proclaim them exact copies of the
original. "Christ was well proportioned," says John of Damascus in the
eighth century; "his fingers were slender, his nose mighty, and the
eyebrows joined above the same; his hair was very curly, his beard
black, and the colour of his face like his mother's,--viz. yellowish,
like unto wheat." Later western writers change the colour of the beard
and hair from black to blond. Both hair and beard are parted in the
middle. There are two pictures of Christ thus represented, one in the
cemetery of S. Calintus, and another in that of S. Ponziano. The former
is partly, the latter wholly dressed. In both, the features are strongly
marked, and the eyes are very large; the right hand is placed on the
breast, whilst the left holds a book.

Apocryphal pictures ascribed to Saint Luke have asserted a considerable
influence upon the traditions concerning the portrait of Christ. The
same has happened in the instance of the Virgin Mary, although her type
is far from attaining the degree of stability which we find in the
representations of her divine son. The fathers, however, are unanimous
in their opinion that the face of Mary bore a strong resemblance to that
of our Saviour. She is seldom found in the Catacombs, but frequently in
the Mosaic work of churches dedicated to her worship, and on Byzantine
coins from the tenth century forwards. The face is oval, similar to that
of a youthful matron of ancient Rome, and carrying always the expression
of a calm benignity. The head is covered with a veil and surrounded by a
nimbus. Next to Mary and her Son, Peter and Paul, the chief apostles of
the Pagan and Judaic world, are most frequently represented. They were
both objects of devotion, even to those who still lingered without the
pale of Christianity. The Mosaics display them more frequently than the
Catacombs. Their type is not fixed; although Peter may at times be known
by his curly hair and beard, whilst the bald forehead and the pointed
fashion of the beard render Paul at once recognisable. The other
apostles, as well as the personages of the Old Testament, have not grown
into individuality, and lack the distinguishing features by which sacred
and historical characters of antiquity become objects of real life, and
are rendered familiar to the most distant ages.

The most ancient Mosaic works of the Christian era are to be found in
the mausoleum of Constantine. The subject is strictly symbolic. It is
the vine, with birds perched on the branches and angels collecting the
grapes. One of the tendrils encompasses the head of Constantine. The
forms of the angels show a near affinity to Pagan art. Another great
Mosaic work, more ecclesiastical in thought and execution, was promoted
by Pope Sixtus III. in 443. It consists of historical representations
from the Old and New Testaments, and ornaments the space below the
windows of the Maria Maggiore. The costumes, the helmets, and cuirasses
resemble those of ancient Rome; but where priests and Levites appear,
the oriental character is followed. The composition is poor, and the
human figures are rude and awkward. That little regard is paid to
perspective is not a matter of surprise. Antique art is guilty of the
fault. It would be difficult for any Mosaic work to overcome the
difficulties which present themselves in the active scenes of real life
and history. The Mosaics in the triumphal arch of the Church of St Paul
create a favourable impression, simply because they confine themselves
to that narrow and more suitable sphere, in which alone the Mosaic art
can look to be successful.

The study of the period of Christian art, treated of and exemplified in
Professor Kinkel's book, though apparently unprofitable to the artist,
is full of interest to the curious observer, and to one who has pleasure
in beholding the development of the human mind under the most varied
circumstances. We have read the volume of the learned and accomplished
professor with infinite satisfaction, and we can safely recommend it to
the perusal of the student and the man of letters. The history of art,
in the early stages of Christianity, is the history of intellectual
cultivation in the most extraordinary period of the world's history. The
state of the world during the first centuries after the departure of
Christ, was essentially exceptional. It had never been; it never will be
again. Art and civilisation were weighed and were found wanting--a new
idea visited the earth and conquered it--old arts drooped and died:
civilisation degenerated at once into barbarism; whilst a new art and a
new civilisation, with the light of Heaven upon them, were already
preparing to claim the dominion over future centuries.


FOOTNOTES:

[19] _Geschichte der bildenden Künste bei den Christlichen Völkern_. Von
GOTTFRIED KINKEL.

[20] Psalm xlii. 1.

[21] 1 Cor. ix. 9.

[22] Rev. v. 5.

[23] John, i. 29, and Rev. v. 6.



THE PORTRAIT.

A TALE: ABRIDGED FROM THE RUSSIAN OF GÓGOL. BY THOMAS B. SHAW.

CHAPTER I.


By none of the numerous objects of interest in the busy city of St
Petersburg are the steps of the sauntering pedestrian more frequently
arrested than by the picture-shop in the Stchúkin Dvor.[24] True it is
that the specimens of art there displayed are distinguished rather by
eccentricity of design, and rudeness of execution, than by striking
evidences of genius. The paintings are for the most part in oil, coated
with green varnish, and fitted into frames of dark yellow tinsel. A
winter-piece with white trees, a ferociously red sunset, like the glow
of a conflagration, a Flemish boor with a pipe and dislocated-looking
arm--resembling a turkey-cock in ruffles, rather than a human
being,--such are the ordinary subjects. Beside them hang a few
engravings: portraits of Khosrev-Mirza in his sheepskin bonnet, and of
truculent generals with cocked hats and crooked noses. Bundles of coarse
prints, on large paper broadsides, are suspended on either side the
door. Here we have the Princess Miliktris Kirbitierna;[25] yonder the
city of Jerusalem, its houses and churches smeared with vermilion, which
gaudy colour has also invaded a part of the ground and a brace of
Russian pilgrims in huge fur gloves. If these works of art find few
purchasers, they at least attract a throng of starers; drunken
ragamuffin lacqueys on their way from the cook's shop, bearing piles of
plates with their masters' dinners, which grow cold whilst they gape at
the pictures; great-coated Russian soldiers with penknives for sale;
Okhta pedlar-women with boxes of shoes. Each spectator expresses his
admiration in his own peculiar way: peasants point with their fingers;
soldiers gaze with stolid gravity; dirty foot-boys and blackguard
apprentices laugh and apply the caricatures to each other; old serving
men in frieze cloaks stand listless and agape, indulging their
propensity to utter idleness.

A number of persons answering to the above description were assembled
before the picture-shop, when they were joined by a young man in a
threadbare cloak and shabby garments. He was a painter, named
Tchartkóff, as enthusiastic in his art as he was needy in his
circumstances and careless of his dress. Pausing before the booth, he
smiled as he glanced at the wretched pictures there displayed. The next
moment the expression of mirthful contempt faded from his thin, ardent
features, and he fell a-thinking. The question had occurred to him,
amongst what class of people could those tawdry, worthless productions
find purchasers? That Russian _mujíks_ should gaze delightedly upon the
_Yeruslán Lazarévitches_, on pictures of _Phomá_ and _Yerema_, of the
heroes of their tales and legends, was quite natural; the objects
represented were adapted to popular taste and comprehension; but who
would buy those tawdry oil-paintings, those Flemish boors, those crimson
and azure landscapes, which, whilst pretending to a higher grade of art,
served but to prove its deep degradation? Not one redeeming touch could
be traced in the senseless caricatures, to whose authors' clumsy hands
the mason's trowel would assuredly have been better adapted than the
painter's pencil. It was the very dotage of incapacity. The colouring,
the treatment, the coarse obtrusive mechanical touch, seemed those of a
clumsily constructed automaton, rather than of a human painter. Thus
musing, our artist stood for some time before the vile daubs that
excited his disgust, gazing at them long after the train of his
reflections had led him far from them; whilst the master of the shop, a
little, gray, ill-shaven fellow in a frieze cloak, chattered and
chaffered and bargained as indefatigably as if the young man had
announced himself a purchaser.

"Well now," said he, "for these mujíks and the landscape, I'll take a
white note.[26] There's painting! It hurts your eye, it's so bright;
just received from the Exchange; varnish hardly dry. Take the
winter-piece. Fifteen rubles! Frame worth the money. There's a winter,
there's snow for you!"

Here the eager trader gave a slight fillip to the canvass, as if he
expected the snow to fall off.

"Take the three. I'll send them home at once. Where does your honour
live? Boy, a cord!"

"Not so fast, my friend," cried the artist, startled from his reverie,
and perceiving the brisk dealer about to tie up the three daubs. His
first impulse was to walk away, but he felt ashamed to purchase nothing
after standing so long before the shop, and causing the hungry-looking
old salesman so large an expenditure of breath. "Wait a little," he
said. "I will see if you have any thing to suit me." And, stooping down,
he turned over a number of battered dusty old pictures heaped like
lumber upon the ground. They were chiefly old-fashioned family
portraits, likenesses of unknown and insignificant faces, with torn
canvass, and frames that had lost their gilding. Nevertheless Tchartkóff
carefully examined them, thinking it possible he might pick up something
good. He had more than once heard stories of pictures of the great
masters being met with amongst the dust and trash of such shops as this.
The dealer, perceiving he had probably nailed a customer, ceased his
bustling importunity, resumed his station at the door, and recommenced
his appeals to the passengers. He shouted, chattered, and pointed to his
wares, but without success; then he had a long chat with an
old-clothesman, whose establishment was on the opposite side of the
alley; and at last, recollecting that, all this time there was a
customer in his shop, he turned his back upon the public and walked in.

"Have you chosen anything, sir?"

The artist stood immoveable before a large portrait, whose frame had
once been richly gilt, although it now scarcely retained a few tarnished
vestiges of its former splendour. The subject was an old man, his face
swarthy and bronzed, with furrowed brow and hollow temples, and sharp
high cheekbones; a physiognomy on which the ravages of time, and
climate, and suffering were plainly legible. The figure was draped in a
flowing Asiatic costume. Defaced and injured and grimed with dirt though
the portrait was, yet, when Tchartkóff had wiped the dust from the
countenance, he perceived evident traces of the touch of a great artist.
The picture seemed to have been scarcely finished, but the force of
treatment was immense. Its most extraordinary part was the eyes; in them
the artist had concentrated all the power of his pencil. There was
vitality in those dark and lustrous orbs, they looked out of the
portrait, and in some measure destroyed its harmony by their strange and
life-like expression. When Tchartkóff took the picture to the door, he
fancied the pupils dilated. The peculiarity of the painting at once
attracted the attention of the idlers without. Some uttered exclamations
of surprise, others fell back a pace as if in terror. A pale,
sickly-looking woman of the lower classes, who suddenly found herself
face to face with this singular portrait, screamed with alarm. "It's
looking at me!" she cried, and hurried away, casting nervous glances
over her shoulder. Tchartkóff himself experienced--he could not tell
why--a sort of disagreeable sensation, and he put the portrait on the
ground.

"D'ye buy?" said the picture-dealer.

"How much?" replied the artist.

"At a word--three _tchetvertáks_."[27]

Tchartkóff shook his head. "Too much. I will give you a dougrívennoi,"
he added, moving towards the door.

"A dougrívennoi for that picture! You are pleased to joke, sir. The
frame is worth twice the money. Bid me something more, if it be only
another grivennik. Come back, sir," he shouted, running after the
painter, and detaining him by his cloak-skirt; "come back, sir. You are
my first customer to-day, and I will take your offer, for luck's sake.
But the picture is given away."

On finding his offer thus unexpectedly accepted, Tchartkóff heartily
repented his temerity in making it. The dougrívennoi he paid the dealer
was his last in the world, and he was encumbered with a lumbering old
portrait for which he had no earthly use. Cursing his own imprudence, he
took up his purchase, and trudged away with it. Its weight and size
caused it to slip perpetually from under his arm, and rendered it a most
troublesome burthen. At last, tired to death and bathed in perspiration,
he reached the house, in the fifteenth line of the Vasílievskü Ostrow,
in which he occupied a modest lodging, ascended the uncleanly staircase,
and knocked impatiently at the door of his apartment. It was opened by a
slatternly lad in a blue shirt--his cook, model, colour-grinder and
floor-sweeper, who had to thank his godfathers for the harmonious name
of Nikíta, and who united in his person the dirt incidental to three out
of his four occupations. Tchartkóff entered his ante-room, which felt
very chilly, as artists' ante-rooms usually are, and, without taking off
his cloak, walked on into his studio a square apartment, tolerably
spacious, but low in the ceiling, and with windows dimmed by the frost.
This room was littered with all kinds of artistical rubbish: fragments
of plaster of Paris, casts of hands, frames, stretched canvasses,
sketches begun and thrown aside, and drapery cast carelessly over the
chairs. Completely knocked up, Tchartkóff let his cloak fall, placed his
new purchase against the wall, and threw himself on a narrow meagre
little sofa, whose leathern cover, torn upon one side from the row of
brass nails that had formerly confined it, afforded Nikíta a convenient
receptacle for dish-cloths, old clothes, dirty linen, and any other
miscellaneous matters he thought fit to cram under. The sun had set, and
the night grew each moment darker. Our artist ordered Nikíta to bring a
candle.

"There are no candles," was Nikíta's reply.

"How!--no candles?"

"There were none yesterday," said Nikíta.

Tchartkóff remembered that there _had_ been none the night before, and
that his credit with the tallow-chandler was not such as to render it
probable a supply had been sent in that morning. So he held his tongue,
allowed Nikíta to take off his coat, waistcoat, and cravat, and wrapped
himself up as warmly as he could in a dressing gown with tattered
elbows.

"I forgot to tell you," said Nikíta, "the landlord has been here."

"For money, I suppose," said the artist, shrugging his shoulders.

"He had somebody with him. A Kvartàlnü, I think.[28] He said something
about the rent not being paid."

"Well, what can they do?"

"Don't know," replied the imperturbable Nikíta. "He said you must leave
the lodgings or pay. Will come again to-morrow."

"Let them come," said Tchartkóff gloomily. And he turned himself upon
the comfortless sofa with a feeling akin to desperation.

Tchartkóff was a young artist of considerable promise, and whose pencil
was at times remarked for its accuracy, and near approach to the
truthfulness of nature. But he had faults which procured him frequent
admonitions from the professor under whom he studied. "You have talent,"
he would say to him; "it will be a sin to ruin it by carelessness and by
pursuing erroneous ideas and principles. You are too impatient; too apt
to be fascinated by novelty, and to neglect rules hallowed by time and
experience, laws immutable as those of the Medes. Beware, lest you
become a mere fashionable painter. Your colours, I observe, are not
unfrequently selected in defiance of good taste; your drawing is often
feeble, sometimes positively incorrect; your outlines want clearness.
You run after a flashy kind of chiaro-scuro, the lighting up of your
picture is meant only to strike the eye at the first glance. And you
have a passion for the introduction of finery; a taste for dandified
costume. All this is dangerous, and may lead you into the fatal habit of
painting mere fashionable pictures, pretty portraits and the like, which
yield money, but can never give fame. Do that, and your talent is lost
and thrown away. Be patient, wait, reflect, chasten your taste by study,
and wean yourself from that hankering after prettiness and dandyism.
Leave such tricks to those who care but for gold, and propose yourself a
higher aim, the never-dying laurels of a Titian or an Angelo."

The professor meant well, and was right in the main. Tchartkóff was apt
to indulge in the flashy and the superficial. But he had sufficient
strength of mind to control this dangerous tendency, and a purer taste
was gradually but perceptibly developing itself in him. As yet he could
not quite appreciate all the depth of Raphael, but he was strongly
fascinated by the broad and rapid touch of Guido; he would stand
enchanted before Titian's portraits, and had a high appreciation of the
Flemish school. Yet the darkened and sober tone characterising old
pictures did not quite please or satisfy him; nor did he, in his
innermost mind, altogether agree with the professor, when the latter
expatiated to him on that mysterious power which places the old masters
at such immeasurable distance above the moderns. In some respects he
almost fancied them surpassed by the nineteenth century; that the
imitation of nature had somehow become, in modern times, more vivid, and
lively, and faithful: in a word, his mind was in that fluctuating
unsettled state in which the minds of young people are apt to be when
they have reached a particular point of proficiency in their art, and
feel a proud internal conviction of talent. Often was he filled with
rage when he saw some travelling French or German painter, by the mere
effect of trick and habit, by readiness of pencil and flashy colouring,
catching the multitude, and making a fortune. These impressions made
their way into his mind, not in moments when he was buried, body and
soul, in his work, and forgot food and drink and all outward things; but
when, as was often the case, necessity stared him in the face, and he
found himself without the means of buying brushes and colours, or even
bread, whilst the greedy and implacable landlord came ten times a-day to
dun him for his rent. Then his hunger-sharpened imagination would revert
to the different lot of the rich and fashionable painter; then darted
through his brain the thought that so often flits through the Russian
head, the idea of sending his art and all to the devil, and going to the
devil himself.

"Yes, wait! wait!" he exclaimed passionately; "but patience and waiting
must have an end. Wait, indeed! and where am I to seek to-morrow's
dinner? Borrowing is out of the question; and if I sell my pictures and
drawings, they will give me, perhaps, a _dougrívennoi_ for the whole
lot. They are useful to me; not one of them but was undertaken with an
object,--from each I have learned something. But what would be their
value to any body else? They are studies,--exercises; and studies and
exercises they will remain to the end of the chapter. And, besides, who
would buy them? I am unknown as an artist, and who wants studies from
the antique and sketches from the living model, or my unfinished Love
and Psyche, or the perspective sketch of my room, or my portrait of
Nikíta, though it is really better than the portraits painted by any of
your fashionable fellows? And, after all, what do I gain by this? Why
should I work myself to death, and keep plodding like a schoolboy over
his A, B, C, when I might be as famous as any of them, and have as much
money in my pockets?" As he pronounced these words, the artist
involuntarily shuddered and turned pale. He saw, looking fixedly at him,
peeping out from the shadow of a tall canvass that stood against the
wall, a face seemingly torn by some convulsive agony. Two dreadful eyes
glared upon the young man, with a strange inexplicable expression; the
lips were curled with mingled scorn and suffering; the features were
haggard and distorted. Startled, almost terrified, Tchartkóff was on the
point of calling Nikíta, who by this time sent forth from his ante-room
a Titanic snore, when he checked himself and burst into a laugh. The
object of alarm was the portrait he had bought, and which he had
completely forgotten. The bright moonbeams, streaming into the room,
partially illuminated the picture, and gave it a strange air of reality.
By the clear cold light Tchartkóff set to work to examine and clean his
purchase. When the coat of dust and filth that incrusted it was removed,
he hung the picture upon the wall, and, retiring to look at it, was more
than ever astounded at its extraordinary character and power. The
countenance seemed lighted up by the fierce and glittering eyes, which
looked out of the picture so wonderfully, and assumed, as it seemed to
him, such strange and varied and terrible expression, that he at last
involuntarily turned away his own, unable to support the gaze of the old
Asiatic. Then came into his mind a story he had once heard from his
professor, of a certain portrait of the famous Leonardo da Vinci, at
which the great master worked for many years, still counting it
unfinished, and which, nevertheless, according to Vasari, was
universally considered the most perfect and finished production of art.
But the most exquisitely finished part of it were the eyes, which
excited the wonder of all contemporaries; even the minute and almost
invisible veins were exactly rendered and put upon the canvass. But
here, on the other hand, in the portrait before him, there was something
strange and horrid. This was not art: the eyes absolutely destroyed the
harmony of the portrait. They were living, they were human eyes! They
seemed to have been cut out of a living man's face and stuck in the
picture. Instead of admiration, the portrait inspired a painful feeling
of oppression; the beholder was seized with a sort of waking nightmare,
weighing upon and overwhelming him like a moral and mysterious incubus.

Shaking off this feeling, Tchartkóff again approached the portrait, and
forced himself to gaze steadily upon its eyes. They were still fixed
upon him. He changed his place; the eyes followed him. To whatever part
of the room he removed, he met their deep malignant glance. They seemed
animated with the unnatural sort of life one might expect to find in the
eyes of a corpse, newly recalled to existence by the spell of some
potent sorcerer. In spite of his better reason, which reproached him for
his weakness, Tchartkóff felt an inexplicable impression, which made him
unwilling to remain alone in the room. He retired softly from the
portrait, turned his eyes in a different direction, and endeavoured to
forget its presence; yet, in spite of all his efforts, his eye, as
though of its own accord, kept glancing sideways at it. At last he
became even fearful to walk about; his excited imagination made him
fancy that as soon as he moved somebody was walking behind him,--at each
step he glanced timidly over his shoulder. He was naturally no coward;
but his nerves and imagination were painfully on the stretch, and he
could not control his absurd and involuntary fears. He sat down in the
corner; somebody, he thought, peeped stealthily over his shoulder into
his face. Even the loud snoring of Nikíta, which resounded from the
ante-room, could not dispel his uneasiness and chase away the unreal
visions haunting him. At last he rose from his seat, timidly, without
lifting his eyes, went behind the screen and lay down on his bed.
Through the crevices in the screen he saw his room brightly illuminated
by the moon, and he beheld the portrait hanging on the wall. The eyes
were fixed upon him even more horribly and meaningly than before, and
seemed as if they would not look at any thing but him. Making a strong
effort, he got out of bed, took a sheet and hung it over the portrait.
This done, he again lay down, feeling more tranquil, and began to muse
upon his melancholy lot,--upon the thorns and difficulties that beset
the path of the friendless and aspiring artist. At intervals he
involuntarily glanced through the crevices of the screen at the shrouded
portrait. The bright moonlight increased the whiteness of the sheet, and
he at last fancied that he saw the horrible eyes shining through the
linen. He strained his sight to convince himself he was mistaken. The
contrary effect was produced. The old man's face became more and more
distinct;--there could no longer be any doubt: the sheet had
disappeared,--the grim portrait was completely uncovered, and the
infernal eyes stared straight at him, peering into his very soul. An icy
chill came over his heart. He looked again;--the old man had moved, and
stood with both hands leaning on the frame. In a few seconds he rose
upon his arms, put forth both legs and leaped out of the frame, which
was now seen empty through the crevice in the screen. A heavy footstep
was heard in the room. The poor artist's heart beat hard and fast.
Swallowing his breath for very fear, he awaited the sight of the old
man, who evidently approached his bed. And in another moment there he
was, peeping round the screen, with the same bronze-like countenance and
fixed glittering eyes. Tchartkóff made a violent effort to cry out, but
his voice was gone. He strove to stir his limbs,--they refused to obey
him. With open mouth and arrested breath he gazed upon the apparition.
It was that of a tall man in a wide Asiatic robe. The painter watched
its movements. Presently it sat down almost at his very feet, and drew
something from between the folds of its flowing dress. This was a bag.
The old man untied it, and, seizing it by the two ends, shook it: with a
dull heavy sound there fell on the floor a number of heavy packets, of a
long cylindrical shape. Their envelope was of dark blue paper, and on
each was inscribed, 1000 DUCATS. Extending his long lean hands from his
wide sleeves, the old man began unrolling the packets. There was a gleam
of gold. Great as Tchartkóff's terror was, he could not help staring
covetously at the coin, and looked on with profound attention as it
streamed rapidly through the spectre's bony hands, glittering and
clinking with a dull thin metallic sound, and was then rolled up anew.
Suddenly he remarked one packet which had rolled a little farther than
the rest, and stopped at the leg of the bedstead, near the head. By a
rapid and furtive motion he seized this packet, gazing the while at the
old man to see whether he remarked it. But he was too busy. He collected
the remaining packets, replaced them in the bag, and, without looking at
the artist, retired behind the screen. Tchartkóff's heart beat
vehemently when he heard his departing footsteps echoing through the
room. Congratulating himself on impunity, he joyfully grasped the
packet, and had almost ceased to tremble for its safety, when suddenly
the footsteps again approached the screen; the old man had evidently
discovered that one of his packets was wanting. Nearer he came, and
nearer, until once more his grim visage was seen peeping round the
screen. In an agony of terror the young man dropped the rouleau, made a
desperate effort to stir his limbs, uttered a great cry--and awoke. A
cold sweet streamed from every pore; his heart beat so violently that it
seemed about to burst; his breast felt as tight as if the last breath
were in the act of leaving it. Was it a dream? he said, pressing his
head between both hands; the vividness of the apparition made him doubt
it. Now, at any rate, he was unquestionably awake, yet he thought he saw
the old man moving as he settled himself in his frame, his hand sinking
by his side, and the border of his wide robe waving. His own hand
retained the sensation of having, but a moment before, held a weighty
substance. The moon still shone into the room, bringing out from its
dark corners here a canvass, there a lay figure, there again the drapery
thrown over a chair, or a plaster cast on its bracket on the wall.
Tchartkóff now perceived that he was not in bed, but on his feet,
opposite the portrait. How he got there--was a thing he could in no way
comprehend. What astounded him still more was the fact that the portrait
was completely uncovered. No vestige of a sheet was there, but the
living eyes staring fixedly at him. A cold sweat stood upon his brow; he
would fain have fled, but his feet were rooted to the ground. And then
he saw (of a certainty this was no dream) the old man's features move,
and his lips protruded as if about to utter words. With a shrill cry of
horror, and a despairing effort, Tchartkóff tore himself from the
spot--and awoke. It was still a dream. His heart beat as though it would
burst his bosom, but there was no cause for such agitation. He was in
bed, in the same attitude as when he fell asleep. Before him was the
screen: the chamber was filled with the watery moonbeams. Through the
crack in the screen, the portrait was visible, covered with the sheet he
had himself laid over it. Although thus convinced of the groundlessness
of his alarm, the palpitation of his heart increased in violence, until
it became painful and alarming; the oppression on his breast grew more
and more severe. He could not detach his eyes from the sheet, and
presently he distinctly saw it move, at first gently, then quickly and
violently, as though hands were struggling and groping behind it,
pulling and tearing, and striving, but in vain, to throw it aside. There
was something mysteriously awful in this struggle of an invisible power
against so flimsy an obstacle, which it yet was unable to overcome.
Tchartkóff felt his very soul chilled with fear. "Great God! what is
this?" he cried, crossing himself in an agony of terror. And once more
he awoke. For the third time he had dreamed a dream! He sprang from his
bed in utter bewilderment, his brain whirling and burning, and at first
could not make up his mind whether he had been favoured by a visit from
the _domovói_,[29] or by that of a real apparition.

Approaching the window, he opened the _fórtotchka_.[30] A sharp frosty
breeze brought refreshment to his heated frame. The moon's radiance
still lay broadly on the roofs and white walls of the houses, and small
floating clouds chased each other across the sky. All was still, save
when, from time to time, there fell faintly upon the ear the distant
jarring rattle of a lingering drójki, prowling in search of a belated
fare. For some time our young painter remained with his head out of
the fórtotchka, and it was not until signs of approaching dawn were
visible in the heavens that he closed the pane, threw himself upon his
bed, and fell into a deep and dreamless slumber.

It was very late when he awoke with a violent headache. The room felt
close; a disagreeable dampness saturated the air, and made its way
through the crevices of the windows. Low-spirited, uncomfortable, and
cheerless as a drenched cock, he sat down on his dilapidated sofa, and
began to recall his dream of the previous night. So vivid was the
impression it had made, that he could hardly persuade himself it had
been a mere dream. Removing the sheet, he minutely examined the portrait
by the light of day. He was still struck with the extraordinary power
and expression of the eyes, but he found in them nothing peculiarly
terrific. Still an unpleasant impression remained upon his mind. He
could not divest himself of the conviction that a fragment of horrible
reality had mingled with his dream. In defiance of reason, he imagined
something peculiarly significant in the expression of the old man's
face; a something of the cautious stealthy look it had worn when he
crept round the screen, and counted his gold under the very nose of the
needy painter. And Tchartkóff still felt the print of the rouleau upon
his palm, as though it had but that instant left his grasp. Had he held
it but a little tighter, he thought, it must have remained in his hand
even after his awakening.

"Heavens!" he exclaimed, heaving a sorrowful sigh, "had I but the moiety
of that wealth!" And again in his mind's eye he saw the rouleaus
streaming from the sack. Again he read the attractive inscription,--1000
DUCATS; again they were unrolled, he heard the chink of metal, saw it
shine, burned to clutch it. But once more the blue paper was rolled
around it; and there he sat, motionless and entranced, straining his eyes
upon vacancy, powerless to divert their gaze from the imaginary
treasure--like a child gazing with watering mouth at a dish of
unattainable sweetmeats.

A knock at the door at last roused him from his reverie. It was promptly
followed by the entrance of his landlord, accompanied by the
_Nadzirátel_, or police-inspector of the quarter--a gentleman whose
appearance is, if possible, more disagreeable to the poor than the face
of a petitioner is to the rich. The landlord of the small house in which
Tchartkóff lodged, was no bad type of the class of house-owners in such
quarters as the fifteenth line of the Vasílievskü Ostrov. In his youth,
he had been a captain in the army, where he was noted as a noisy
quarrelsome fellow; transferred thence to the civil service, he proved
himself a thorough master of the art of petty tyranny, a bustling
coxcomb and a blockhead. Age had done little to improve his character.
He had been some time a widower, had long retired from the service, was
less given to quarrels and coxcombry, but more trivial and teasing. His
chief happiness consisted in drinking tea, propagating scandal, and in
sauntering about his apartment, with hands behind his back. These
intellectual occupations were varied by an occasional inspection of the
roof of his house, by ferreting his _dvòrnik_, or porter, fifty times
a-day out of the kennel in which he oftener slept than watched, and by a
monthly attack upon his lodgers for their rent.

"Do me the favour to see about it yourself, Varùkh Kusmìtch," said the
landlord, to the Kvartàlnü: "he won't pay his rent--he won't pay, sir."

"How can I, without money? Give me time, and I will pay."

"Time, my good sir! impossible! I can't hear of such a thing," said the
landlord in a rage, flourishing the key he held in his hand. "Perhaps
you don't know that Colonel Potogònkin lodges in my house--a colonel,
sir, and has lived here these seven years; and Anna Petròvna
Buchmìsteroff--a lady of fortune, sir, who rents a coach-house, and a
two-stall stable, sir, and keeps three out-door servants: these are the
sort of lodgers I have. My house, I tell you plainly, is not one of
those establishments where people live who don't pay their rent. So I
will thank you to pay yours directly, and be off bag and baggage."

"You had better pay," said the Kvartàlnü Nadzirátel, with a slight but
significant shake of the head, sticking his forefinger through a
button-hole of his uniform.

"It's very easy to say pay, but where is the money? I have not a sous."

"In that case, you can satisfy Ivàn Ivànovitch with goods, with the
produce of your profession," said the Kvartàlnü; "he will probably agree
to take pictures."

"Not I, indeed! no pictures for me! It would be all very well to take
pictures with respectable subjects, such as a gentleman could hang on
his wall; a general with a star, or the likeness of Prince Kutúzoff;
but, here I see nothing but paintings of mujíks in their shirt-sleeves,
servants, and such like cattle--a mere waste of time and colours. He has
taken the likeness of that blackguard of his, whose bones I shall
assuredly break, for the thief has pulled the nails out of all my locks
and window-hasps--a scoundrel! Just look; there's a subject for you! a
picture of the room! It would have been all very well if he had drawn it
clean, neat, and orderly; but there he has got it full of filth and
rubbish, just as it is. Only see how he has bedevilled and dirtied my
room; pretty work, indeed, when I have had colonels for lodgers seven
years together, and Anna Petròvna Buchmìsteroff! Truly there are no
worse lodgers than artists; they turn a drawing-room into a pigstye."

To all this, and much more, the poor painter was forced to listen
patiently. Meanwhile the Kvartàlnü Nadzirátel amused himself by looking
at the pictures and sketches, occasionally uttering a comment or
question.

"Not bad!" said he, pausing before a female figure: "pretty woman,
really! But what's the meaning of that black, there, under her nose? is
it snuff, or what?"

"That's the shadow," replied Tchartkóff surlily, without turning towards
him.

"You would have done better to have put it somewhere else. It is too
remarkable just under the nose," said the critical Argus. "But, whose
portrait is this?" continued he, approaching the picture that had
occasioned Tchartkóff so restless a night. "What an ugly old heathen!
And what eyes! They might belong to Belzebub himself. I must have a look
at this."

And without asking permission, or thinking it necessary to use much
ceremony with a poor devil of a painter who could not pay his rent, the
agent of the law lifted the portrait from the nails on which it hung, to
carry it to the window, and examine it at his leisure. But his hands
were stiff and clumsy, and he had miscalculated the weight of the
picture. It slipped through his fingers, and fell to the ground with a
heavy thump and slight crashing noise, upsetting some lumber that stood
against the wall, and raising a cloud of dust, which caused the man of
manacles to step back and rub his eyes. With a muttered curse on the
meddlesome official, Tchartkóff sprang forward to raise the picture. As
he did so, a small board, forming one of the sides of the frame, and
which had been cracked by the fall, gave way altogether under the
pressure of his hand, and part of it fell out. The fragment was followed
by a rouleau of dark blue paper, which emitted a dull chink as it struck
the ground. Tchartkóff's eye glanced upon an inscription; it was--1000
DUCATS. To snatch up the packet, and thrust it into his pocket, was the
work of an instant.

"Surely, I heard the sound of coin," said the Kvartàlnü, who, owing to
the dust, and to the rapidity of the painter's movement, had not caught
sight of the rouleau.

"And what business of yours is it, to know what I have in my room?"

"It's my business to tell you, that you must pay the landlord his rent;
it's my business to tell you, that I know you have money, and yet you
won't pay--that's my business, my fine fellow!"

"Well, I will pay him to-day."

"And, why did you not pay at once, without giving trouble to the
landlord, and disturbing the police?"

"Because I didn't intend to touch this money. But I will pay him this
evening, and leave his lodgings at once. I will live no longer in his
paltry garret."

"He will pay you, Ivàn Ivànovitch," said the Kvartàlnü to the landlord.
"If you neglect to do so by this evening, why then you must excuse me,
Mr Painter, if we use severer means." And resuming his cocked hat, he
departed, followed by the landlord, who hung his head, and looked
exceedingly small.

"The devil go with them!" said Tchartkóff, as he heard the outer door
shut. He looked into the ante-room, sent Nikíta out, in order to be
quite alone, locked himself in, and, with a violent palpitation of the
heart, opened his packet. It contained exactly a thousand ducats, almost
all of them quite new, and sparkling like the sun. Its appearance was
precisely the same as those he had seen in his dream. Almost frantic
with delight, he sat with the pile of gold before him, asking himself
whether he did not still dream. Long did he handle and tell the gold
before he could believe that it was real, and that he himself was awake
and in his right mind.

He then curiously and carefully examined the frame. In one side of it a
kind of cavity had been hollowed out, and afterwards closed with a
board, so neatly that if the loutish hand of the Kvartàlnü Nadzirátel
had not let the frame drop, the ducats might have remained for centuries
undisturbed. It was with gratitude and complacency, rather than
aversion, that the painter now contemplated the peculiar features and
remarkable eyes of the old Asiatic.

"Whoever you are, my old boy," said Tchartkóff to himself, "I'll put you
under glass, and give you a splendid frame for this."

At this moment his hand happened to touch the heap of gold, and the
contact made his heart beat as violently as ever. "What shall I do with
it?" he thought, fixing his eyes upon the money. "Now I am at my ease
for three years at least, I can shut myself in my studio, and work. I
can buy colours, pay for a comfortable lodging and good food. I have
enough for every thing; nobody can tease or badger me now. I'll get a
first-rate lay-figure, order a plaster torso, model feet, buy a Venus,
have engravings of all the great masters. And if I work steadily for
three years, quietly, without hurry, without being obliged to sell my
pictures for my daily bread, I shall astonish the world and achieve
fame."

Such was the artist's soliloquy, prompted by conscious talent and
honourable ambition. A far different counsel was given by his twenty-two
summers and heat of youth. He now had at his command all that he had
hitherto gazed at from afar with envying eyes. How his heart bounded and
swelled within him, as he thought of the luxuries he could now command!
how he longed to exchange rags for purple and fine linen, and fare
sumptuously after his long fast, to dwell in a splendid lodging, to
visit the theatre, the café, the ball!

Seizing his money, the young man was in the street in a moment. His
first visit was to a tailor's shop, where he dressed himself from top to
toe, and walked down the street looking at himself in every window. He
bought a huge quantity of trinkets and perfumes, an opera-glass, and a
mountain of brilliant cravats; took, without a word of bargaining, the
first lodging that he saw, a magnificent set of rooms in the Nevsku
perspective, with immense mirrors, and each window glazed with a single
pane; had his hair curled at a coiffeur's, hired a carriage, and drove
twice, without the slightest object, from one end of the town to the
other, crammed himself with bon-bons at a confectioner's, and went to a
French _restaurant_, about which he had hitherto heard only vague and
uncertain rumours, such as one hears of the Chinese empire. There he
dined, assuming the while a haughty and supercilious air, and
incessantly arranging his well-curled locks. There, too, he drank a
bottle of champagne; a liquid he had hitherto known only by reputation.
His head full of wine, he went out into the street, gay, bold, ready for
any thing--able to face the devil, as the Russians say. On the bridge he
met his former professor, and pushed coolly past him, as if he did not
observe him, leaving the poor man motionless with astonishment, a mark
of interrogation visibly printed in his countenance. All that he
possessed in the world, easels, canvasses, pictures, Tchartkóff
transported that very evening to his new and splendid lodgings. He
arranged his best pictures in the most visible situations, cast those he
thought less of into corners, and perambulated his splendid rooms,
looking at himself each minute in the mirrors. Then there arose in his
mind a restless desire to take fame by storm, instantly, without delay,
and to compel, by whatever means, the applause of the multitude. Already
the cry rang in his ears, "Tchartkóff, Tchartkóff! haven't you seen
Tchartkóff's picture? What a rapid pencil Tchartkóff has! Tchartkóff has
immense talent!" Musing, and castle-building, he paced his apartment
till a late hour of the night, and when in bed, could not sleep for
ruminating his ambitious projects.

The next morning he took a dozen ducats, and drove to the editor of a
fashionable newspaper. The introduction was efficacious. The journalist
praised his genius, professed the most ardent desire to serve him,
loaded him with compliments, shook him fervently by both hands, and
accompanied him obsequiously to the door, making minute inquiries as to
his name, his style of painting, his place of residence.

The very next day there appeared in the newspaper, immediately after an
advertisement of newly discovered candles, warranted to burn without
wicks, an article headed,

     EXTRAORDINARY TALENT OF TCHARTKÓFF.

"We hasten to congratulate the inhabitants of this polite metropolis on
what may be styled a _discovery_ of the most splendid and useful
nature. We refer to the sudden appearance of an artist of consummate
skill, possessing all the qualifications that can render a painter
worthy to transfer to the magic canvass the faces of the many beautiful
women and handsome men who adorn the cultivated circles of St
Petersburg. Ladies may now confidently rely on being transmitted to
posterity without diminution of their graces, with all their delicate
loveliness, enchanting symmetry of form, and exquisite expression of
feature--graces ephemeral, alas! as the existence of the butterfly that
hovers over the vernal flowers. Parents, ere they leave this vale of
tears, may bequeath to their sorrowing children their exact resemblance.
The warrior, the statesman, the poet, all classes of men, in short, will
pursue their career with fresh zeal and ardour, now that the brilliant
pencil of a Tchartkóff enables them to transmit to posterity their
visible features, as well as their imperishable renown. Let all hasten,
then, abandoning promenade, and party, opera, ball, and theatre, to the
splendid and luxurious studio of our artist, (Nevsku Perspective,
No.--). It is hung with portraits, the produce of his pencil, worthy a
Vandyke or a Titian. The happy connoisseur knows not what to admire most
in these exquisite works, their exact resemblance to the original, or
the extraordinary brilliancy and freshness of their handling. They must
be seen to be even imperfectly appreciated; the artist has truly drawn a
prize in the lottery of genius. Success to you, Andréi Petróvitch! (the
journalist was evidently fond of the familiar style). _Macte novâ
virtute_, and immortalise yourself and us. Glory, fortune, crowds of
sitters, in spite of the feeble and envious efforts of certain
contemporary prints, will be your speedy and unfailing reward!"

His face beaming with contentment, our artist perused this puff. He saw
his name in print,--a thing which was to him a complete novelty; and he
could not help reading the lines at least a dozen times. He was
particularly tickled with the comparison of his works to Vandyke and
Titian. The use of his baptismal name, Andréi Petróvitch, also gratified
him not a little. To be mentioned in this delightfully familiar way in
print, was to him an honour as gratifying as it was new. He could not
remain quiet a moment. Now he sat down in a chair, then threw himself
picturesquely on a sofa, rehearsing the way he would receive his
sitters; then he went to his easel, and gave a bold dashing stroke of
the brush, studying at the same time a graceful mode of wielding it.
Thus he got through the day.

The next morning, soon after breakfast, his bell rang. He hurried to the
door; a lady entered, preceded by a footman in a furred livery cloak,
and accompanied by a young girl of eighteen, her daughter.

"Monsieur Tchartkóff, I believe?" said the lady. The painter bowed.

"I have seen your name in the papers; your portraits, they say, are
incomparable." With these words the lady put her glass to her eye, and
glanced round the walls, which were bare. "But where are all your
portraits?"

"They are not arrived," said the artist, a little confused; "I have just
removed into these rooms, the pictures are still on the road--they will
soon be here."

"You have been in Italy?" said the lady, turning her eye-glass on the
painter in the absence of the paintings.

"No, I have not been there exactly--I intend to go--I have been
compelled to put it off; but pray do me the honour to sit down; you must
be tired."

"You are very kind, but I have been sitting--in my carriage. Ah, at
last, I see some of your works!" said the lady, running up to the
opposite side of the room, and levelling her glass at some canvasses
placed on the floor, studies, sketches, interiors, and portraits.
"_C'est charmant! Lise, Lise! venez ici_: there's an interior in the
manner of Teniers, see: all is in disorder, higgledy-piggledy, a table
with a bust upon it, a hand, a palette; and the dust, look how well the
dust is painted! _c'est charmant!_ And there is another canvass, a woman
washing her face--_quelle jolie figure!_ Oh, and there's a _mujík_!
Lise, Lise! a _mujík_ in a Russian shirt! look, do look--_a mujík_! So
you don't paint portraits only?"

"These are mere trifles--done for amusement, in an idle moment--mere
studies----"

"But do tell me your opinion of the portrait-painters of the present
day? Isn't it true, that we have none at present like Titian? There's
not that force of colouring, not that,----really, what a pity it is that
I cannot express what I mean in Russian." The lady was passionately fond
of painting, and had run, eye-glass in hand, over all the galleries in
Italy. "Only, I must say, that Monsieur Dauberelli--ah, how he paints!
What an extraordinary touch! I find more expression in his faces than
even in Titian's. You know Monsieur Dauberelli?"

"Dauberelli! who is he?" asked the artist.

"Such talent! He painted my daughter when she was only twelve years old.
You must come and see it, really you must. Lise, you shall show him your
album. But I want another portrait of my daughter, and that is the
motive of my visit. Can you begin at once?"

"Directly, madam, if you please." And in a moment he wheeled up his
easel, with a canvass on it, ready stretched, took his palette in his
hand and fixed his eyes on the pale childish features of the daughter.
Young as she was, they already bore traces of late hours and
dissipation. Expression they had little or none. But the artist saw in
the complexion an almost china-like transparence, exquisitely adapted to
his pencil; the neck was white and slender, the form elegant and
aristocratic. And he prepared for a triumph; he intended to show the
lightness and brilliancy of his touch, for the display of which he had
hitherto lacked opportunities. He already began to fancy to himself how
the pale but graceful little lady would come out upon the canvass.

"Do you know," said the mother, with a sentimental expression of face "I
should like--you see she has a frock on now--well, I confess I should
not like you to paint her in a frock, it's so commonplace; I should like
her to be painted simply dressed, sitting in the shade of a thicket,
with fields in the distance, and sheep or a forest in the
back-ground--simplicity, the greatest simplicity, is what I should
like."

Tchartkóff set to work, arranged the sitter in the attitude he required,
endeavoured to fix the whole subject in his mind; waved his brush in the
air before him, as if establishing the principal points; half-closed his
eyes several times, retired back a step or two, examined his sitter from
a distance, and in about an hour he finished drawing in the face.
Satisfied with the effect, he now commenced painting, and his labour
rapidly grew lighter. By this time he had forgotten he was in the
presence of two ladies of high fashion, and began to fall into a few
tricks of the painting-room, uttering half-aloud various inarticulate
sounds, and at intervals humming a tune between his teeth. Without the
slightest ceremony he from time to time signed, by a movement of his
brush, to his sitter to raise her head. At last the young lady grew
weary and restless.

"That's quite enough for the first sitting," said her mother.

"Another minute," cried the painter in an absent tone.

"Impossible! Lise, three o'clock!" said the lady, looking at her
diminutive watch. "Oh, how late!"

"Only half a second," said Tchartkóff, in the wistful and beseeching
voice of a child.

But the lady was disinclined to comply. She promised him a longer
sitting another time.

"Horridly annoying!" said Tchartkóff to himself; "just as my hand was
getting in." And he remembered that no one had ever interrupted him,
when he worked in his painting-room in the Vasílievskü Ostrov. Nikíta
would sit hour after hour without moving a muscle: you might paint him
as much as you liked; he would go to sleep in the attitude he was fixed
in. And the artist discontentedly laid his pencil and palette on a
chair, and stood pensively before the canvass. He was aroused from his
reverie by a compliment addressed to him by the fashionable lady. He
darted towards the door to show out his visitors: on the stairs he
received an invitation to dine with them the following week, and with a
cheerful air he re-entered his rooms. The aristocratic style of his
visitors had quite fascinated him. Up to this time he had held such
beings unapproachable, born only to glide about in a splendid carriage
with liveried footmen and a laced and bearded coachman, throwing a calm
indifferent glance on the humble foot-passenger as he plodded by in a
shabby cloak. And yet, here was one of these exquisite beings calling
upon him: he was painting her portrait, and had received an invitation
to dine with her. Intoxicated with vanity and delight, he treated
himself to a splendid dinner, went to the theatre in the evening, and
again, without the slightest occasion, drove about the town in a
carriage.

For some days he did nothing but arrange his rooms and listen for the
sound of his bell. At last the lady arrived, with her pale daughter. He
made them sit down, wheeled up his easel with a strong affectation of
fashionable manner, and began to paint. He saw in his delicate sitter
much that, being cleverly caught, would give high value to the portrait:
he perceived that he might produce something quite peculiar and
characteristic, if he could render it with the same accuracy and
completeness with which nature herself had placed it before him. His
heart even felt a slight tremor when he found himself expressing what no
one else perhaps had ever remarked. His attention became riveted on his
canvass, and he again forgot the aristocratic descent of his sitter.
Holding his breath from eagerness, he gradually saw the delicate
features and transparent skin come out upon his canvass. He had caught
every half-tint, even the slight ivory-like yellowness, the nearly
imperceptible blueish tone under the eyes, and was just in the act of
seizing a little mole upon the forehead, when he suddenly heard behind
him the voice of the mother, crying--"Oh, never mind that! that is not
necessary! I see, too, you have got a--here, for instance, and here,
see!--a kind of yellowish--and here and there you have, as it were,
little dark places." The artist explained that the dark and yellow tones
relieved the face, and gave a delicacy to the flesh-tints. But the
notion was scouted. He was informed that Lise had not slept well, that
there was usually no yellowness at all in her face, which struck every
body by its freshness of complexion. Sadly and reluctantly Tchartkóff
began to efface what he had taken such pains to produce. With it there
vanished of course much of the resemblance. He now began, with a feeling
of indifference, to throw over the whole a more commonplace and
hackneyed colouring, the red and white, devoid of vigour, which each
daubster has at his command. The obnoxious tint was effaced, and the
mamma was delighted. She only expressed her surprise that the work went
on so slowly. She had heard, she said, that he could completely finish a
portrait in two sittings. The ladies rose and prepared to go away.
Tchartkóff laid down his pencil, conducted them to the door, and then,
returning, stood for a while before his portrait, regretting the
delicate lines, the half-tints and airy tones, so happily caught and
pitilessly effaced. With these recollections vivid in his mind, he put
aside the portrait, and looked for a study, which had been long
abandoned, of a head of Psyche, an idea he had some time before thrown
sketchily on the canvass. It was a pretty little countenance, cleverly
and rapidly painted, but quite ideal, cold and hard, devoid of life and
reality. Scarcely knowing why, he began to work at this, endeavouring to
communicate to it all he could remember of the countenance of his
aristocratic sitter. Psyche grew more and more animated; the type of the
young fashionable lady's countenance was by degrees mingled with hers,
at the same time acquiring an expression which gave it originality and
character. Tchartkóff was able to avail himself, both in the details and
in the general effect, of all that he had obtained from his sitter, and
to incorporate it with his work. During several days he laboured hard at
his Psyche. He was still busy with it when he was interrupted by the
arrival of his former visitors. The picture was on the easel. Both
ladies uttered a cry of admiration, and clapped their hands.

"Lise! Lise! Oh, how like! _Superbe_! _Superbe!_ What an exquisite idea,
to dress her in the Grecian costume! What a truly delicious surprise!"

The artist hardly knew how to undeceive the ladies in their agreeable
mistake. He hung his head, and, with an apologetic air, said, in a low
voice, "This is Psyche."

"Painted as Psyche! _C'est charmant!_" said the mother, with a smile,
faithfully repeated by the daughter. "Don't you think so, Lise? it's
just the thing for you. Painted as Pysche! _Quelle idée délicieuse!_ But
what a picture! Quite a Correggio! I have heard and read much about you,
but I had not the least idea of your talent."

"What the deuce am I to do with them?" thought the artist. "Well, if
they will have it so, Psyche shall go;" and he said aloud--"I must
trouble you to give me a few minutes more--I should like to add a few
touches."

"You cannot improve it. Pray leave it as it is."

The painter guessed that they apprehended some more yellow tones, and he
hastened to remove their fears, saying that he was only going to
increase the brilliancy and expression of the eyes. In reality he
desired to give his picture a closer resemblance with the
original--fearing, if he did not, that he should be taxed with
unblushing flattery. In spite of the lady's reluctance, the pallid
damsel's features began to come out more clearly amid the outlines of
the Psyche.

"That will do," said the mother, less pleased by the picture as the
resemblance grew closer. The artist was rewarded for his labour with
smiles, money, compliments, a most affectionate squeeze of the hand, and
a pressing invitation to dinner; in a word, he was overwhelmed with
recompenses. The portrait made much noise in the town. The lady showed
it to all her acquaintance. Every body admired the skill with which the
painter had succeeded in preserving the resemblance, and at the same
time in giving beauty to the original. The last remark, of course, was
not made without a slight tinge of malice. Tchartkóff was besieged with
commissions. The whole town was mad to be painted by him. His door-bell
rang incessantly. Unfortunately his sitters were of the class most
difficult to manage; either persons very much occupied, or fashionable
people, who having in reality nothing to do, were, of course, far busier
than anybody else, and hurried and impatient in the highest degree.
Every body expected a good picture in less time than was necessary to do
a slovenly one. The artist saw that high finish was quite out of the
question, and that all he could do was to dazzle by the facility,
rapidity, and smartness of his execution. He had to content himself with
catching the general expression, neglecting the more delicate details,
and not attempting to attain the individuality and reality of nature.
Besides this, every sitter had some fresh fancy. The ladies required
that only their sentiment and character should be represented in their
portraits; that all the rest should be smoothed and softened; sharp
angles rounded off; defects mitigated, and even, if possible, altogether
concealed. They required, in short, to be made attractive in their
portraits, whether nature had made them so or not. Consequently many,
when they seated themselves in the painting chair, put on such looks and
expressions as absolutely astounded the artist. One struggled to give
her features an air of melancholy; another of sentimental abstraction; a
third tried desperately to make her mouth small, and pursed it up till
it resembled a round dot. And in spite of all this they expected
striking resemblance, ease, and grace. Nor were the gentlemen more
reasonable. One required to be painted with a strong energetic turn of
the head; another with uplifted eyes, full of poetic inspiration; an
ensign of the Guards declared that he should not be satisfied unless
Mars was made visible in his countenance: a civilian delicately
suggested that his face should be made as much as possible to express
incorruptible probity, mingled with imposing dignity, and that he should
be painted leaning his arm on a book, inscribed in legible characters,
"I stand for right." At first all these requests frightened and annoyed
our painter; there was so much to be harmonised, considered, and
arranged, and all in a few hours. At last he began to understand the
secret, and went on without troubling his head in the least. From the
first two or three words spoken, he perceived how the sitter wished to
be painted. The gentleman who wanted Mars was made a Mars of; he who
aped Byron received a Byronic attitude. As to the ladies, whether they
wished to be Corinnas, or Undines, or Aspasias, he was quite ready to
accommodate them, and even added, from his own imagination, a universal
air of distinction, which never does any harm, and which sometimes makes
people excuse even want of resemblance. He soon began to be astonished
at the wonderful rapidity and success of his execution. As to the
sitters, they were in ecstasies, and proclaimed him every where a genius
of the first water.

Tchartkóff became all the fashion. He drove out every day to dinner
parties, escorted ladies to exhibitions and promenades, was a consummate
puppy in his dress, and openly declared that an artist ought to be a man
of the world; that it was his duty to maintain his dignity; that
painters in general dressed like shoemakers; that their manners were
excruciatingly vulgar, and that they were people of no education. His
studio was a pattern of elegance; he kept a couple of magnificent
footmen; took a number of dandified pupils; had his hair curled; dressed
half-a-dozen times a-day in various fantastical costumes. He was
perpetually rehearsing improvements in his way of receiving visitors;
meditating on all possible means of beautifying his person, and of
producing an agreeable impression on the ladies. In short, it soon
became impossible to recognise in him the modest student who once
laboured so fervently in his garret in the Vasílievskü Ostrov.
Concerning art and artists he now rarely spoke; he asserted that the
merit of the old masters had been outrageously overrated; that, before
Raphael, their figures were rather like herrings than human beings; that
it was the imagination of the spectator only that could find in their
works that air of grandeur and dignity generally attributed to them.
Raphael himself, he said, was very unequal, and many of his productions
owed their glory only to tradition. Michael Angelo was a boaster, weakly
vain of his knowledge of anatomy, and without a particle of grace. Real
force of outline, grace of touch, and magic of colouring we must look
for, he said, in the present age. Thence the conversation easily glided
to his own pictures.

"I cannot conceive," he would say, "the obstinacy of people who drudge
at their pictures. A fellow who hangs month after month over one piece
of canvass is, in my opinion, an artisan, not an artist. Such a one has
no genius, for genius creates boldly, rapidly. Now this portrait, for
instance," he would say, "I painted in two days, this head in one day,
this in a few hours, and that other in rather more than an hour. I don't
call it art to go crawling on, line after line."

Thus he would chatter to his visitors, and the visitors would admire his
dashing rapidity, and utter exclamations of wonder when they heard how
quickly he worked; and then they would whisper to each other--"This is
genius--real genius! How well he talks! What an extraordinary talent!"

Such praise as this the painter greedily drank in, and was as delighted
as a child by the encomiums of the press, even when bought and paid for
with his own money. His fame continued to spread, and his occupation to
increase, till he grew weary of painting portraits and faces with the
same tricks and attitudes that he knew by heart. Gradually he worked
with less and less good-will, contenting himself with carelessly
sketching in the head, and leaving all the rest to be finished by his
pupils. Formerly he had taken trouble to seek new attitudes; to strike
by novelty--by effect. Now he began to grow weary even of this labour.
He entirely left off reflecting; he had neither power nor leisure for
it. His dissipated mode of life, and the society in which he played the
part of a man of fashion, severed him more and more from labour and from
thought. His touch grew cold and dull, and he insensibly confined
himself to stale, commonplace, worn-out forms. The stiff, monotonous
countenances of officers and civilians, in their graceless modern
costumes, were not very attractive subjects for the pencil. He forgot
all--his graceful draping, his easy attitudes, his power of representing
the passions. As to skilful grouping or dramatic effect in painting, all
that was quite out of the question. He had nothing before his eyes but
the eternal uniform, corset, or dress-coat--objects chilling to the
artist, and affording little scope to imagination. By and by even the
most ordinary merits disappeared, one by one, from his productions; and
they still enjoyed the highest reputation, though real judges and
artists only shrugged their shoulders as they looked at the work of his
hand.

These mute but significant criticisms of the discerning few never
reached the ears of the artist, intoxicated as he was with vanity and
false fame. He already too approached the period of maturity in age and
intellect, and was rapidly acquiring a respectable corpulence. He now
met in the journals with such expressions as these:--"Our respectable
Andréi Petróvitch--our veteran of the pencil, Andréi Petróvitch." He now
received many honorary appointments in public institutions; was
frequently invited to examinations and to committees. He began, as
people infallibly do on reaching a certain age, to stand up sturdily for
the old masters, not from any profound conviction of their wonderful
merits, but in order to throw their names in the teeth of young artists.
He did not hesitate to fly in the face of the doctrines he had advocated
some years previously. According to him, labour was every thing,
inspiration a mere name; and he affirmed that, in art, all things should
be subjected to the severest rules.

Fame can give no satisfaction to one who has not earned, but stolen it.
It produces a constant thrill only in the heart conscious of having
deserved it. Tchartkóff no longer valued fame. All his feelings and
desires were turned towards gold. Gold became his passion, his delight,
the object of his being. Bank-notes filled his portfolios, piles of gold
his coffers; but, like all avaricious men, he grew sour, selfish,
inaccessible to every thing but money--cold-hearted and penurious. He
was gradually sinking into an unhappy miser, when an event came to pass
which gave his whole moral being a terrible and awakening shock.

Returning home one day, Tchartkóff found lying on his table a letter, in
which the Academy of Arts invited him, as one of its most distinguished
members, to give his opinion of a new picture just arrived from Italy,
the work of a Russian artist who had long studied there. The painter,
who had been a schoolfellow of Tchartkóff's, imbued, even as a boy, with
a fervent passion for art, had early torn himself from home and friends,
from all the pleasures and habits of his age and country, to toil and
study in the renowned Italian city, whose very name thrills the
painter's heart. There he condemned himself to solitude and
uninterrupted labour. Men spoke of his eccentricity, of his ignorance of
the world, of his neglect of all the customs of society, of the disgrace
he cast on the artist's profession by his dress, which was beneath his
station, and by his frugality, which was almost penury. He cared nothing
for scoff and reproach. Regardless of the world's comments, he gave
himself up to his art. Unweariedly did he haunt the galleries; hour
after hour, day after day, he stood before the works of the great
masters, striving to penetrate their secrets. He never finished a
picture without comparing it many times with the productions of those
mighty teachers, and reading in their creations silent but eloquent
counsel. He engaged in no arguments or disputes, but accorded to every
school the honour it deserved; and after aiming at acquiring what was
most meritorious in each, at length addicted himself to the study of the
immortal Raphael; like a student of letters, who, after reading and
rereading the works of a multitude of authors, at last confines himself
to the writings of one whom he conceives to unite the chief beauties of
all the others, superadding graces none of them possess. After many
years of persevering application and gradual progress, the artist left
the schools, possessing pure and elevated ideas of composition, great
powers of conception, and an execution that charmed alike by its
delicacy and force. But, with the modesty of true genius, he still
allowed a considerable time to elapse before he ventured to submit a
picture to the verdict of his countrymen.

On entering the exhibition-room, Tchartkóff found it thronged with
visitors, grouped before the painting. Silence, such as is rarely met
with amongst a numerous collection of amateurs, reigned throughout the
crowd. Assuming the knowing and supercilious look of an acknowledged
connoisseur, he approached the picture, prepared to cavil and find
fault, or, at best, to damn with faint praise. But the canting phrase of
conventional criticism died away upon his lips at the sight he there
beheld. Faultless, pure, gracious, and beautiful as some fair and virgin
bride was the noble production of genius that met his astonished gaze.
With wonder and admiration he recognised the work of a pencil that
revived the glories of ancient art. A profound study of Raphael was
manifest in the noble elevation of the attitudes; there was a something
Correggian in the skilful handling and careful finish. But there was no
servile imitation of any painter; the artist had sought and found in his
own soul the divine spark that gave life to his creation. Not an object
in the picture, however trifling, but had been the subject of a profound
study; the law of its constitution had been analysed, and its internal
organism investigated. And the painter had caught that flowing roundness
of line which pervades all nature, but which no eye ever sees save that
of the creator-artist--that roundness which the mere copyist degrades
into points and angles. He had poetised, whilst faithfully representing,
the commonest objects of external nature. A feeling of awe mingled with
the admiration that kept the crowd profoundly silent. Not a whisper was
heard, not a rustle or a sound, for some time after the arrival of
Tchartkóff. All were absorbed in contemplation of the masterpiece; and
in the eyes of the more enthusiastic tears of delight were seen to
glisten. Tchartkóff himself stood open-mouthed and motionless before the
wonderful painting, whose merits and beauties the spectators at last
began to discuss. He was roused from abstraction by being appealed to
for his opinion. In vain did he strive to resume his dignified air, and
to give utterance to the musty commonplace of criticism. The
contemptuous smile was chased from his features by the workings of
emotion; his breast heaved with a convulsive sob, and after a moment's
violent but ineffectual struggle, he burst into tears and rushed wildly
from the hall.

A few minutes later he stood motionless, almost paralysed, in his own
magnificent studio. The bandage had fallen from his eyes. He saw how he
had squandered the best years of his youth; how he had trampled and
stifled the spark of that fire once burning within him, which might have
been fanned till it blazed up into grandeur and glory, and extorted
tears of gratitude and admiration from a wondering world. All this he
had sacrificed and thrown away, heedlessly, madly, brutally. There
suddenly revived in his soul those enthusiastic aspirations he once had
known. He caught up a pencil and approached a canvass. The sweat of
eagerness stood upon his brow; his soul was filled with one passionate
desire--one solitary thought burned in his brain. The zeal for art, the
thirst for fame he once so strongly felt, had suddenly returned, evoked
from their lurking-place by the mute voice of another's genius. And why,
Tchartkóff thought, should not he also excel? His hand trembled with
feverish impatience till he could scarcely hold the pencil. He took for
his subject a fallen angel. The idea was in accordance with his frame of
mind. But, alas! how soon he was convinced of the vanity of his efforts!
His hand and imagination had been too long confined to one line and
limit, and his fierce but impotent endeavour to overleap the barrier, to
break his self-imposed fetters, had no result. He had despised and
neglected the fundamental condition of future greatness--the long and
fatiguing ladder of study and reflection. Maddened by disappointment,
furious at the conviction of impotency, he ignominiously dismissed from
his studio all his later and most esteemed productions, to which places
of honour had been accorded--all his lifeless, senseless, fashionable
portraits of hussars, ladies of fashion, and privy councillors. He then
shut himself up, denied himself to all visitors, and sat down to work,
patient and eager as a young student. For a while he laboured day and
night. But how unsatisfactory, how cruelly ungrateful was all that grew
under his pencil! Each moment he found himself checked and repulsed in
the new path he fain would have trodden by the wretched mechanical
tricks to which he had so long habituated himself. They stood on his
road, an impassable barrier. In spite of himself he recurred to the old
commonplace forms; the arms would arrange themselves in one graceless
position; the head assume the old hackneyed attitude; the folds of dress
refused to drape themselves otherwise than they had so long been wont to
do in his hands. All this the unhappy artist plainly felt and saw. His
eyes were opened to his heinous faults, but he lacked the power to
correct them.

"Surely I _had_ ability!" said he to himself; "or was it mere delusion?
Could I not, under any circumstances, have done better than I have? Did
the whispers of youthful vanity mislead me?" And, to settle this doubt,
he hunted out some of his early pictures, which lay neglected in a
corner of his painting-room--pictures he had laboured at long ago, when
his heart was pure from avarice, and he dwelt in his poor garret in the
lonely Vasílievskü Ostrov, far from the world, from luxury and
covetousness. He examined them attentively, and the conviction forced
itself upon him with irresistible strength, that he had sacrificed
genius at the altar of Mammon. "I had it in me!" was his agonised
exclamation. "Every where, in all of these, I behold traces and proofs
of the power I have recklessly frittered away."

Covering his face with his hands, Tchartkóff stood silent, full of
bitter thoughts, rapidly but minutely reviewing the whole of his past
life. When he removed his hands he started, and a thrill passed over
him, for he suddenly encountered the gaze of two piercing eyes
glittering with a sombre lustre, and seeming to watch and enjoy his
despair. A second glance showed him they belonged to the strange
portrait which he had bought, many years before, in the Stchúkin Dvor.
It had remained forgotten and concealed amidst a mass of old pictures,
and he had long since forgotten its existence. Now that the gaudy,
fashionable pictures and portraits had been removed from the studio,
there it was, peering grimly out from amongst his early productions.
Tchartkóff remembered that, in a certain sense, this hideous portrait
had been the origin of the useless life he had so long led and now so
deeply deplored; that the hoard of gold discovered in its frame had
developed and fostered in him those worldly passions, that sensuality
and love of luxury, which had been the bane of his genius. Calling his
servants, he ordered the hateful picture to be taken from the room, and
bestowed where he should never again behold it. Its departure, however,
was insufficient to calm his agitation and quell the storm that raged
within him. He was a prey to that rare moral torture sometimes witnessed
when a feeble talent wrestles unsuccessfully to attain a development
above its capacity--a furious endeavour which often conducts young and
vigorous minds to great achievements, but whose result to old and
enervated ones is more frequently despair and insanity. Tchartkóff, when
convinced of the futility of his efforts, became possessed by the demon
of envy, who soon monopolised and made him all his own. His complexion
assumed a bilious yellow tint; he could not bear to hear an artist
praised, or look with patience at any work of art that bore the impress
of genius. On beholding such he would grind his teeth with fury, and the
expression of his face became that of a maniac.

At last he conceived one of the most execrable projects the human mind
ever engendered; and with an eagerness approaching to frenzy, he
hastened to put it into execution. He bought up all the best pictures he
could find in St Petersburg, and whose owners could be induced to part
with them. The prices he gave to tempt sellers were often most
extravagant. As soon as he had purchased a picture, and got it safely
home, he would set upon it with demoniac fury, tearing, scratching, even
biting it; and, when it was utterly defaced and rent into the smallest
possible fragments, he would dance and trample on it, laughing like a
fiend. The enormous fortune he had accumulated during his long and
successful career as a fashionable portrait-painter, enabled him largely
to indulge this infernal monomania. To this abominable end he,
Tchartkóff, but a short time before so avaricious, became reckless in
his expenditure. For this he untied the strings of his bags of gold, and
scattered his rubles with lavish hand. All were surprised at the change,
and at the rapidity with which he squandered his fortune, in his zeal,
as it was supposed, to form a gallery of the noblest works of art. In
the auction room, none cared to oppose him, for all were certain to be
outbid. He was held to be mad, and certainly his conduct and appearance
justified the presumption. His countenance, of a jaundiced hue, grew
haggard and wrinkled; misanthropy and hatred of the world were plainly
legible upon it. He resembled that horrid demon whom Pushkin has so ably
conceived and portrayed. Save all occasional sarcasm, venomous and
bitter, no word ever passed his lips, and at last he became universally
avoided. His acquaintances, and even his oldest friends, shunned his
presence, and would go a mile round to escape meeting him in the street.
The mere sight of him, they said, was enough to cloud their whole day.

Fortunately for society and for art, such an unnatural and agitated
existence as this could not long endure. Tchartkóff's mental excitement
was too violent for his physical strength. A burning fever and furious
delirium ravaged his frame, and in a few days he was but the ghost of
his former self. The delirium augmented, and became a permanent and
incurable mania, in some of whose paroxysms it was necessary to bind him
to his couch. He fancied he saw continually before him the singular old
portrait from the Stchúkin Dvor! This was the more strange, because
since the day he had turned it out of his studio, it had never once met
his sight. But now he raved of its terrible living eyes, which haunted
him unceasingly, and when this fancy came over him, his madness was
something terrific. All the persons who approached his bed he imagined
to be horrible portraits; copies, repeated again and again, of the old
man with the fiendish eyes. The image multiplied itself perpetually; the
ceiling, the walls, the floor, were all covered with portraits, staring
sternly and fixedly at him with living eyes. The room extended and
stretched out to a vast and interminable gallery, to afford room for
millions of repetitions of the ghastly picture. In vain did numerous
physicians seek to discover, with a view to the alleviation of the poor
wretch's sufferings, some secret connexion between the incidents of his
past life and the strange phantom that thus eternally haunted him. No
explanation or clue could be obtained from the patient, who continued to
apostrophise the portrait in disconnected phrase, and to utter howls of
agony and lamentation. At last his existence terminated in one last
horrible paroxysm. His corpse was frightful to behold; of his once
comely form, a yellow shrivelled skeleton was all that remained. A few
thousand rubles were the sole residue of his wealth; and his
disappointed heirs, beholding numerous drawers and closets full of torn
fragments that had once composed noble pictures, understood and cursed
the odious use to which their relative had applied his princely fortune.


CHAPTER II

A number of carriages, caleches, and drójkis were drawn up in the
vicinity of a handsome mansion in one of the best quarters of St
Petersburg. It had been the residence of a rich virtuoso, lately
deceased, and whose pictures, furniture, and curiosities, were now
selling by auction. The large drawing-room was filled with the most
distinguished amateurs of art in St Petersburg, mingled with brokers and
dealers on the look-out for bargains, and with a large sprinkling of
those idlers who, without intending to purchase, frequent auctions to
kill a morning. The sale was in full activity, and there was eager
competition for the lot then up. The biddings succeeded each other so
rapidly, that the auctioneer was scarcely able to repeat them. The
object so many were eager to possess, was a portrait, which could hardly
fail to attract the attention even of persons who know nothing of
pictures. This painting, which possessed a very considerable amount of
artistical merit, and had apparently been more than once restored,
repaired, and cleaned, represented the tawny features of an Oriental,
attired in a loose costume. The expression of the face was singular, and
by no means pleasant. Its most striking feature was the extraordinary
and unaccountable look of the eyes, which, by some trick of the artist,
seemed to follow the spectator wherever he went. Every one of the
persons there assembled was ready to swear that the eyes looked straight
at him; and, what was yet more unaccountable, the effect was the same
whether the beholder stood on the right, or on the left, or in front of
the picture. This peculiarity it was that had made so many anxious to
possess a portrait whose subject and painter were alike unknown.
Gradually, however, many of the amateurs ceased their biddings, for the
price had become extravagant, and at last only two continued to
compete--two rich noblemen, both enthusiastic lovers of the eccentric in
art. These still continued the contest, grew heated with their rivalry,
and were in a fair way to raise the price to something positively
absurd, when a by-stander stepped forward and addressed them. "Before
this contest goes farther," he said, "permit me to say a few words. Of
all here present, it is I, I believe, who have the best right to the
portrait in dispute."

All eyes were turned towards the speaker. He was a tall, handsome man,
of about thirty-five, with a pleasant, cheerful countenance, a careless
style of dress, and long black curls flowing down his neck. He was
personally known to many present, and the name of B----, the artist,
was circulated through the room.

"Extraordinary as my words may appear to you," he resumed, perceiving he
had fixed the general attention, "I can explain them if you are disposed
to give me five minutes' audience. I have every reason to believe that
this portrait is one I have long sought in vain."

Curiosity was expressed on every countenance; the auctioneer stood
open-mouthed and with uplifted hammer; all entreated B---- to tell his
tale. The artist at once complied.

"You are all acquainted," he said, "with the quarter of St Petersburg
known as the Kolómna, and aware that it is chiefly occupied by persons
either in poverty, or whose resources are exceedingly limited, many of
whom, compelled by unforeseen circumstances to outstrip their limited
income, frequently find themselves in want of immediate and temporary
assistance; compelled, in short, to apply to money-lenders. In
consequence of this, there has settled amongst them a particular class
of usurers, who supply petty sums on satisfactory pledges, and at
enormous interest. These pawnbrokers on a small scale are generally far
more pitiless than the aristocratic usurer, whose customers drive to his
door in their carriages. Compunction, humanity, a feeling of pity for
the unfortunates upon whose need they fatten, never by any chance enter
their breast. Amongst these callous extortioners there was one who, at a
certain period of the last century, under the reign of the Empress
Catherine II., had been settled for some years in the Kolómna. He was an
extraordinary and enigmatical personage, of whom none knew any thing; he
wore a flowing Asiatic dress, his complexion was swarthy as an Arab; but
to what nation he really belonged, whether Hindoo, or Greek, or Persian,
none could decide. His tall stature, his tawny, withered, wiry face,
with its tint of greenish bronze, his large eyes full of sullen fire,
shadowed by thick and overhanging brows; every point in his appearance,
in short, made a strong and marked distinction between him and the other
inhabitants of the quarter. His very dwelling was quite unlike the
little wooden houses which surrounded it. It was a large brick building,
in the style of those often constructed by the Genoese merchants, with
windows of different sizes disposed at irregular distances, with iron
shutters and hasps. This usurer was distinguished from all others by the
circumstance that he could always supply any sum of money required, and
would accommodate alike the needy groom and the extravagant noble. At
his door were often to be seen brilliant equipages, through whose
windows might sometimes be discerned the head of a luxurious and
fashionable lady. Rumour said that his iron chests teemed with countless
heaps of money, plate, diamonds, and all kinds of valuable pledges, but
nevertheless he was reported less greedy than the other money-lenders.
He made no difficulty, people said, to lend, and was apparently far from
oppressive in fixing the terms of payment. But on the day of reckoning,
it was observed, that by some extraordinary arithmetical calculation, he
made the interest mount up to an enormous sum: such, at least, was the
popular report. The strangest thing about him, however, and which struck
every body, was the fatality that seemed to attach to his loans; all who
borrowed of him finished their lives in an unhappy manner. Whether this
was a mere popular notion, a stupid superstitious gossip, or a rumour
intentionally disseminated, has ever remained a mystery. But it is a
fact that many things occurred to give it validity, and that within a
comparatively short period of time. Amongst the aristocracy of the day,
there was one young man who particularly attracted the attention of
society. He was of ancient descent and noble blood; had very early
distinguished himself in the service of the empire, as a warm protector
of every thing honourable and elevated, and as a passionate lover of art
and genius. He was soon distinguished by the personal notice of the
Empress, who confided to him the duties of an office peculiarly adapted
to his tastes and talents--an office which gave him power to be of the
greatest service not only to science, but to humanity itself. The young
noble surrounded himself with artists, poets, scholars, and men of
learning. To all of them he promised employment, patronage, protection.
He undertook, at his own expense, a number of important publications,
gave a multitude of orders to artists, founded prizes for excellence,
spent enormous sums in this unselfish manner, and at length got into
difficulties. Full, however, of generous enthusiasm, and unwilling to
leave his work half finished, he borrowed money in all directions, and
at length found his way to the famous usurer in the Kolómna. Having
obtained from this man a very extensive loan, the young noble all at
once underwent a complete transformation. He became, as by enchantment,
the enemy of rising intellect and talent, the persecutor of all he had
previously protected. It was just then that the French Revolution broke
out. This event gave him a handle for suspicion. In every thing he
detected some revolutionary tendency; in every word, in every expressed
opinion, he saw a dangerous hint or perfidious insinuation. The disease
gained on him till he almost began to suspect himself. He laid false
informations, fabricated the foulest charges, and caused the ruin of
numbers of innocent people. At first, his guilty manoeuvres were
undetected, and, when found out, they were thought to proceed from
insanity. Report was made to the Empress, who deprived him of his
office. But his severest sentence was the contempt he read in the faces
of his countrymen. I need not describe the sufferings of this vain and
insolent spirit, the tortures he endured from crushed pride, defeated
ambition, ruined expectations. At last his monomania--for such it must
surely have been--aggravated by regret and chagrin, became insanity, and
in a frightful paroxysm the unhappy maniac committed suicide.

"Not less remarkable than the fate of this wretched young man was that
of a lady who passed at that time for the most beautiful woman in St
Petersburg. My father has often assured me, that he never beheld any
thing to be compared to her. Possessing, besides her beauty, the not
less fascinating charms of wit, intellect, wealth, and high rank, she
was of course surrounded by a swarm of admirers. The most remarkable of
these was Prince R., the flower of all the young nobles of that day, and
to whom the palm was universally conceded, not only for beauty of
person, but for high qualities and chivalry of character. He was well
qualified for a hero of romance, or a woman's beau-ideal. Deeply and
passionately enamoured of the young countess, his affection met with as
pure and ardent a return. But her relations disapproved the match. The
prince's paternal estates had passed out of his hands,--his family was
in disgrace at court, and the derangement of his finances was no secret
to any body. Suddenly he left the capital, apparently for the purpose of
putting his affairs in order; and, after a brief absence, reappeared and
commenced a life of splendid extravagance. His balls and entertainments
were so magnificent as to attract the notice of the court, and, it was
rumoured, to mollify imperial displeasure. The countess's father became
suddenly gracious, and soon nothing was talked of in St Petersburg but
the marriage of the two lovers. Of the origin of the enormous fortune of
the bridegroom, to which this change in the sentiments of his future
father-in-law was unquestionably to be attributed, nobody could give a
distinct account, though it was pretty generally whispered that he had
entered into a compact with the mysterious money-lender of the Kolómna,
and from him obtained a large loan. Be this as it may, the wedding
formed the whole talk of the town. Bride and bridegroom were the object
of universal envy. Every body had heard of their beauty and virtues, of
their ardent and constant love; and all rejoiced that the obstacles to
their union were removed. Numerous were the prophetic pictures drawn of
the blissful existence the young couple were certain to enjoy. The event
proved very different. In one twelvemonth a total and terrible change
took place in the character of the prince. Hitherto noble, generous, and
confiding, he became, on a sudden, jealous, suspicious, impatient, and
capricious. He was the tyrant and tormentor of his wife; and, to the
unbounded astonishment of every body who had known him before his
marriage, treated her with inhuman brutality, and was even known to
strike her! In one year the beautiful and dazzling girl, who was
followed by a crowd of obedient adorers, could not be recognised in the
careworn and unhappy wife. At length, unable longer to support the cruel
yoke of such a marriage, she sought a separation. At the first
notification of this step, the prince gave way to the most uncontrolled
fury,--burst into her chamber, and would infallibly have stabbed her,
had he not been seized and removed by force. Mad with rage, he turned
his weapon upon himself, and lay a corpse at the feet of his
horror-stricken friends. Besides these two incidents, which attracted
great notice in the higher circles, a number of other instances were
cited as having occurred amongst the lower classes, where the loans of
the mysterious usurer had brought misfortune in their train. One man,
previously a sober and honest artisan, had become a confirmed drunkard,
and died in the hospital; a shopman had robbed his master; an
izvóztchik, for years noted for his honesty, had cut the throat of a
customer in order to rob him of an insignificant sum. All these persons,
and many others, who sank into misery and crime, or perished by violent
deaths, had been customers of the mysterious Asiatic, of whom these
stories, related, as they often were, with additions and exaggerations,
inspired the quiet and peaceable inhabitants of the Kolómna with an
involuntary horror. Nobody doubted the real presence of the evil spirit
in this man. They said that he exacted conditions which made one's very
hair stand on end, and which none of his unhappy clients dared disclose;
that his money had a mysterious property of attraction; that the coins
were marked with strange characters, and grew red-hot of their own
accord. In short, there were a thousand extravagant reports. But what is
most remarkable is, that this population of Kolómna, made up of
pensioners, half-pay officers, petty functionaries, obscure artists, and
others equally necessitous, preferred bearing the utmost distress to
having recourse to the dreaded money-lender. They all declared they
would rather mortify their bodies than destroy their souls. Those who
met him in the street hurried by with an uneasy sensation, making way
for him with anxious submissiveness, and looking long over their
shoulders at the tall lean figure as it lost itself in the distance. His
singular frame might well have been the receptacle of a supernatural and
unholy spirit. The wild and deeply-cut features had something different
from humanity; the extraordinary thickness of the shaggy eyebrows; the
bronzed glow of the countenance; the frightful eyes, with their steady
unsupportable glare; even the broad folds of the Oriental dress were,
each in turn, the subject of uneasy and suspicious comment. My father
told me, that when he met him he could not avoid stopping to gaze at
him; and it invariably occurred to him that he had never seen, either in
painting or life, a face that so completely came up to his notion of a
demon. But I must make you, as briefly as possible, acquainted with my
father, who is the real hero of my tale. He was a remarkable man, a
self-taught painter, seeking principles in his own mind, and
elaborating, without master or school, rules and laws of art, led onward
by the mere thirst for excellence, and advancing, under the influence of
causes which he himself, perhaps, could not have defined, along a path
marked out for him only in his own mind. He was one of those children of
genius whom contemporaries so often stigmatise as ignorant, because they
have struck out a track for themselves, and whose ardour is to be
chilled neither by censure nor failures; whence, on the contrary, they
derive fresh vigour and courage. Aided only by his own lofty instincts,
he attained to the true understanding of what historical painting should
be. Scriptural subjects, the last and loftiest step of high art, chiefly
occupied his pencil. Free from the feverish irritable vanity and paltry
envy so common amongst artists, he was a firm, upright, honourable man,
a little rough and unpolished in externals--the husk rather rugged--and
with a share of honest pride and independent feeling which sometimes
imparted to his manner an air of mingled bluntness and condescension. 'I
care nothing for your fine folks,' he would say. 'I don't work for them.
I don't paint drawing-room pictures. Those who understand my work best
reward me for it. I do not blame fashionable people for not
understanding art: how should they? They understand their cards; they
are judges of wine and horses. 'Tis enough. When they do pick up a crude
notion or two on the subject of painting, they become intolerable by
their assumption. I prefer, a thousand times, the man who honestly
confesses he knows nothing about art, to your ignoramus who comes in
with a solemn affectation of connoisseurship, claiming to be a judge,
talking about things he does not understand, and consequently talking
nonsense.' By no means a covetous man, my father painted for very modest
remuneration, contented to earn sufficient for the support of his
family, and for providing the means of exercising his art. Generous in
the extreme, his hand was ever open to less successful artists. Imbued
with a fervent and profound sense of religion, it was that, perhaps,
which enabled him to communicate to the faces he painted an elevation of
religious sentiment that the most brilliant pencils often fall to give.
In course of time, and aided by obstinate industry and unflinching
perseverance, his talent attracted the attention and commanded the
respect even of those who had at first sneered at him as a _home-made_
artist. He received numerous orders for altar-pieces and other church
pictures, and laboured incessantly. One picture, in particular, engaged
his closest attention. The subject I forget, but I know that the great
enemy of mankind was to be introduced. Long did my father meditate on
this figure; he desired to embody in the countenance the expression of
every evil passion that afflicts fallen humanity. Whilst reflecting on
the subject, and conjuring up horrible countenances in his imagination,
the strange features of the mysterious money-lender frequently recurred
to him; and, as often as they did so, he said to himself, 'The usurer
would be a fine model for my Devil.' One day, whilst he was busy
planning his great work, and making sketches, with which he had
difficulty in pleasing himself, there was a knock at his studio door,
and the next instant, to his infinite astonishment, the usurer entered
the room. My father has since told me that on beholding him he felt an
inexplicable chill and shudder come over his whole frame.

"'You are an artist?' said the intruder, abruptly.

"'I am,' replied my father, and wondered what was coming next.

"'I want my portrait painted. I have not long to live. I have no
children, and I do not wish to die altogether. Can you paint a portrait
of me that shall be exactly like life?"

"My father reflected for a moment. 'Nothing could be more opportune,'
thought he to himself; 'he comes of his own accord to sit to me for my
Devil.' And he at once agreed to satisfy his singular visitor. Hour and
price were stipulated, and the next day, my father, bearing palette and
brushes, repaired to the abode of his new sitter. The gloomy court-yard,
surrounded by high walls; the watch-dogs; the iron doors and shutters;
the arched windows; the huge coffers, covered with strange,
outlandish-looking carpets; and, above all, the grim, gloomy visage of
the master of the house, seated immoveable before him,--all these
conspired to produce a strong impression on his mind. The windows were
closed and darkened; a single pane in the upper part of one of them
admitted a strong ray of light. My father forgot the strange repute of
his sitter in zeal for his art. 'How splendidly the fellow's face is
lighted up!' he thought to himself, and set to work with furious
eagerness, as though fearful of losing the favourable moment. 'What
vigour! what light and shade!' he exclaimed, inaudibly. 'If I can get
him in only half as vigorously as he sits there, the portrait will beat
every thing I have done: he will walk out of the canvass. What
extraordinary features; what depth in the lines and furrows! he repeated
to himself, redoubling his fervour at every stroke, as he observed trait
after trait rapidly transferring itself to the canvass. But, whilst
proceeding with his work, he insensibly became aware of a strange
feeling of oppression and uneasiness that crept over him, he knew not
how or wherefore. Disregarding it, he persisted in following, with the
strictest fidelity and most scrupulous care, every line, and tone, and
shade in the extraordinary countenance of his model. To the eyes he gave
his chief attention. At first they nearly made him despair. So peculiar
and penetrating was their expression, so unlike were they to any eyes he
had ever encountered, that it seemed an almost hopeless task to attempt
to render them in a picture. Nevertheless he persevered, resolved, at
whatever cost of pains and time, to follow them in their minute details,
and thus to penetrate, if possible, the mystery and secret of their
expression. But whilst engaged in this work, whilst diving, as it were,
with his pencil, into the recesses of those mysterious orbs, the
uneasiness he had before felt rapidly increased, and there arose in his
soul such an inexplicable loathing, such an overpowering sensation of
vague horror, that he was several times obliged to suspend his work, and
it was only by a violent effort he could bring himself to resume it. At
last this unaccountable feeling fairly mastered him; he could no longer
bear to look upon those horrible eyes, whose demon-like gaze filled him
with dismay. He closed the sitting. But the next day, and the one after
that, the same thing occurred; after painting for a short time he
invariably became agitated, excited, and unable to proceed. Each day
these sensations increased in strength, until they became positive
torture, and at last my father threw down his brush, declaring he would
paint no more. Extraordinary was the effect produced upon the mysterious
usurer by this declaration. By the most touching and humble entreaties,
and by promises of munificent reward, he essayed, but in vain, to induce
my father to retract his decision and resume his task. He even
prostrated himself before him and implored him to terminate the
picture, saying that upon its completion hung his fate, and his very
existence. And then he threw out dark and confused hints of supernatural
agency, by which, if his living features were once faithfully
represented, his soul would be in some sort transferred to the portrait,
and be saved from complete annihilation, or a yet worse doom.
Terror-stricken at these strange and fearful words, my father threw down
pencil and palette and rushed from the house. He could not sleep that
night for meditating on this occurrence. The next morning he received
back the unfinished portrait, brought to his house by an old woman, the
only human being who lived with the usurer. She left also a message,
that her master returned the portrait, because he did not want and would
not pay for it. A few hours afterwards, on going out, my father learned
that the usurer of the Kolómna had died that morning. There was a
mystery in all this which my father neither was able nor desired to
solve.

"Dating from that day, a perceptible and unfavourable change took place
in my father's character. Without apparent cause he became irritable,
restless, and unhappy, and a very short time elapsed before he became
guilty of an act of which none supposed him capable. About this period,
the works of one of his pupils had attracted the attention of a small
circle of judges and amateurs of art. My father from the first had
perceived and appreciated this young man's talent, and had shown himself
particularly well-disposed towards him. Suddenly, as if by a spell, envy
and hatred were generated in his mind. The general interest excited by
the pupil became intolerable to the master, who could not hear with
patience the name of the rising genius. At length, to fill up the
measure of his mortification, he learned that the young man had been
preferred to paint a picture for a splendid church then just completed.
This drove my father frantic. Previously the most upright and honourable
of men, he now condescended to the pettiest intrigues and manoeuvres--he
who, up to that time, had regarded with horror and contempt all that
bore the semblance of intrigue. By dint of caballing, he succeeded in
obtaining an open competition for the work in question; whoever chose,
was at liberty to send in his picture, and the best would obtain the
preference. Having brought this about, he secluded himself in his studio
and applied himself to the task with intense ardour, summoning up all
his great energy, skill, and experience of art. As was to be expected,
the result was one of his very finest pictures. As a work of art, it was
unquestionably the best. When my father saw it placed beside those of
the other competitors, a smile of triumph curled his lip, and he
entertained no doubt that his would be the picture chosen to adorn the
altar. The committee appointed to decide arrived, and cast approving
glances at my father's painting. Before giving their verdict, however,
they proceeded to examine it minutely, and at last, one of the
members--an ecclesiastic of high rank, if I remember rightly--waved his
hand to secure the attention of his fellow-judges, and spoke thus: 'The
picture presented by this artist,' he said, 'has undoubtedly very high
merit as a mere work of art; but it is unsuited to the place and purpose
for which it was designed. Those countenances have nothing sacred or
holy in their expression. On the contrary, you may discern in every one
of them, and especially in the eyes, the traces, more or less modified,
of some evil passion, a something unhallowed and almost fiendish.'
Struck by this observation, all present looked at the picture: it was
impossible to deny the justice of the criticism. My father rushed
furiously forward eager to deny and disprove the unfavourable judgment.
But he saw for the first time, with feelings of intense horror, that he
had given to almost all his countenances the eyes of the money-lender.
They all looked out of the canvass with such a devilish and abominable
stare, that he himself could scarcely help shuddering. The picture was
rejected, and, with unspeakable rage and envy, he heard the prize
awarded to his former pupil. He returned home in a state of mind worthy
of a demon. He abused and even ill-treated my poor mother, who sought to
console him for his disappointment, drove his children brutally from
him, broke his easel and brushes, tore down from the wall the portrait
of the money-lender, called for a knife, and ordered a fire to be
instantly lighted, intending to cut up the picture and burn it. In this
mood he was found by a friend, a painter like himself, a careless,
jovial dog, always in good-humour, untroubled with ambition, working
gaily at whatever he could get to do, and loving a good dinner and merry
company.

"'What the deuce are you at? what are you about to burn?' said he, going
up to the portrait. 'Why, are you mad? This is one of your very best
pictures! The old money-lender, I declare. By Jove! an exquisite thing!
Admirably hit off! you have caught the old fellow's eyes to perfection.
One would almost swear you had transplanted them from the head to the
picture. They look out of the canvass.'

"'We'll see how they look in the fire,' said my father surlily, making a
movement to thrust the picture into the grate.

"'Stop, stop!' cried his friend, checking his arm. 'Give it me, rather
than burn it.' My father was at first unwilling, but at last consented;
and the jolly old painter, enchanted with his acquisition, carried off
the portrait.

"The picture gone, my father felt himself more tranquil. 'It seemed,' he
said, 'as if its departure had taken a load off his heart.' He was
astonished at his recent conduct, at the malice and envy that had filled
his soul. The more he reflected, the stronger became his sorrow and
repentance. 'Yes,' he at last exclaimed, with sincere self-reproach,
'God has punished me for my sins; my picture was really a shameful and
abominable thing. It was inspired by the wicked hope of injuring a
fellow-man, and a brother artist. Hatred and envy guided my pencil; what
better feelings could I expect it to portray?' Without a moment's delay
he went in search of his former pupil, embraced him affectionately,
entreated his forgiveness, and did all in his power to efface from the
young man's mind the remembrance of his offence. Once more his days
glided on in peaceful and contented toll, although his face had assumed
a pensive and melancholy expression, previously a stranger to it. He
prayed more frequently and fervently, was more often silent, and spoke
less bluntly and roughly to others; the rugged suffice of his character
was smoothed and softened.

"A long time had elapsed without his seeing or hearing any thing of the
friend to whom he had given the portrait, and he was one day about to go
out and inquire after him, when the man himself entered the room. But
his former joviality of manner was gone. He looked worn and melancholy,
his checks were hollow, his complexion pale, and his clothes hung
loosely upon him. My father was struck with the change, and inquired
what ailed him.

"'Nothing now,' was the reply: 'nothing since I got rid of that infernal
portrait. I was wrong, my friend, not to let you burn it. The devil fly
away with the thing, say I! I am no believer in witchcraft and the like,
but I am more than half persuaded some evil spirit is lodged in the
portrait of the usurer.'

"'What makes you think so?' said my father.

"'The simple fact, that from the very first day it entered my house, I,
formerly so gay and joyous, became the most anxious melancholy dog that
ever whined under a gallows. I was irritable, ill-tempered, disposed to
cut my own throat, and every body else's. My whole life through, I had
never known what it was to sleep badly. Well, my sleep left me, and when
I did get any, it was broken by dreams. Good Heavens! such horrible
dreams; I could not bring myself to believe they were mere dreams,
ordinary nightmares. I was sometimes nearly stifled in my sleep; and
eternally, my good sir, the old man, that accursed old man, flitted
about me. In short, I was in a pitiable state, lost flesh and appetite,
and cursed the hour I was born. I crawled about, as if drunk or stupid,
tormented with a vague incessant fear, a dread, and anticipation of
something frightful about to happen, of some uncommon danger besetting
me at every turn. At last, I bethought me of the portrait, and gave it
away to a nephew of mine, who had taken a great fancy to it. Since then
I have been much relieved; I feel as if a great stone had been rolled
off my heart; I can sleep and eat, and am recovering my former spirits.
It was a rare devil you cooked up there, my boy!'

"My father listened to his friend's confession with the closest
attention.

"'The portrait, then, is now in your nephew's possession?' he at last
inquired.

"'My nephew's! No, no! He tried it, but could stand it no better than
your humble servant. Assuredly the spirit of the old usurer has
transmigrated into the picture. My nephew declares that he walks out of
the frame, glides about the room; in short the things he tells me, pass
human understanding and belief. I should have taken him for a madman, if
I had not partly experienced the thing myself. He sold the picture to
some dealer or other; and the dealer could not stand it either, and got
it off his hands.'

"This narrative made a deep impression upon my father. About this time
he became subject to long fits of abstraction, and incessant reveries,
which gradually turned to hypochondria. At last, he was firmly convinced
that his pencil had served as an instrument to the evil spirit; that a
portion of the usurer's vitality had actually passed into the picture,
which thus continued to torment and persecute its possessors, inspiring
them with evil passions, tempting them from the paths of virtue and
religion, rousing in their breasts feelings of envy and malice and all
uncharitableness. A great misfortune which afflicted him shortly after,
the loss, by a contagious disorder, of his wife, daughter, and infant
son, he accounted a judgment of heaven upon his sin. He determined to
quit the world, and devote himself to religion and prayer. I was then
nine years of age. He placed me in the Academy of Arts, wound up his
affairs, and retired to a remote convent, where he shortly afterwards
assumed the tonsure. There, by the severity of his life, and by the
unwearied punctuality with which he fulfilled the rules of his order, he
struck the whole brotherhood with surprise and admiration. The superior
of the monastery, hearing of his skill as a painter, requested him to
execute an altar-piece for the convent chapel. But the devout brother
declared that his pencil had been polluted by a great sin, and that he
must purify himself by mortification and long penance, before he could
dare apply it to a holy purpose. He then, of his own accord, gradually
increased the austerity of his monastic life. At last, the utmost
privations he could inflict on himself appearing to him insufficient, he
retired, with the blessing of the superior, to court solitude in the
desert. There he built himself a hermitage out of the branches of trees,
lived on uncooked roots, dragged a heavy stone with him wherever he
went, and stood from sunrise to sunset with his hands uplifted to
heaven, fervently praying. His penances and mortifications were such as
we find examples of only in the lives of the saints. For many years he
followed this austere manner of life, and his brethren at the convent
had given up all hopes of again seeing him, when one day he suddenly
appeared amongst them. 'I am ready,' he said, firmly and calmly to the
superior: 'with the help of God, I will begin my task.' The subject he
selected was the Birth of Christ. For a whole year he laboured
incessantly at his picture, without leaving his cell, nourishing himself
with the coarsest food, and rigid in the fulfilment of his religious
duties. At the end of that time the picture was completed. It was a
miracle of art. Neither the brethren nor the superior were profound
critics of painting, but they were awe-struck by the extraordinary
sublimity of the figures. The sentiment of divine tranquillity and
mildness in the Holy Mother, bending over the Infant Jesus--the profound
and celestial intelligence in the eyes of the Babe--the solemn silence
and dignified humility of the three Wise Men prostrate at His feet--the
holy, unspeakable calm breathed over the whole work--the combined
impression of all this was magical. The brethren bowed the knee before
the picture, and the superior, deeply affected, pronounced a blessing on
the artist. 'No mere human art,' he said, 'could have produced a
picture like this. A power from on high has guided thy pencil, my son,
and the blessing of heaven has descended on the work of thy hands.'

"About this time I finished my education in the Academy; I received the
gold medal, and at the same time saw realised the delicious hope of
being sent to Italy--the cherished dream of the boy-artist. Before
departing, I wished to take leave of my father, whom I had not seen for
twelve years. I had heard divers reports of the extreme austerity of his
life, and expected to see the withered figure of a hermit, worn-out,
exhausted, macerated with fast and vigil. My astonishment was great when
I beheld my father. No trace of exhaustion was on his countenance, which
beamed with a joy whose source was not of this world. A beard as white
as snow, and long thin hair of silvery hue floated picturesquely down
his breast and along the folds of his black robe, and descended even to
the cord girding his monastic gown. Before we parted, I received from
his lips precepts and counsels for the conduct of my life and for my
guidance in art--precepts I have religiously remembered, and which will
ever remain indelibly engraven on my soul. Three days I abode near him;
on the third, I went to ask his blessing before my departure for the
artist's home, the distant and much-desired shores of Italy. Already, in
the course of our long communings, he had told me the story of his life,
especially dwelling on the remarkable passage I have just related. 'My
son, these were his last words, 'my conscience, tranquillised in great
measure by years of prayer and penitence, has yet its uneasy moments,
when I recall the circumstances connected with that portrait. I have
been told that it still passes from hand to hand, occasioning misery to
many, exciting feelings of envy and hatred, fostering unlawful desires
and unholy thoughts. By the memory of thy mother, and by the love thou
bearest me, I entreat thee, my son, truly and faithfully to perform my
last request. Seek out that portrait; sooner or later you must find it;
you cannot fail to recognise it by the strange expression, and by the
extraordinary fire and vividness of the eyes. Purchase it, at whatever
cost, and commit it to the flames! So shall my blessing prosper thee,
and thy days be long in the land.'

"How could I refuse the pledge thus touchingly required by the venerable
old man? Throwing myself into his arms, I swore by the silver locks that
flowed over his breast, faithfully to do his bidding. We live in a
positive age, and believers in any thing bordering on the supernatural
grow each day rarer. But my path was plain before me; I had promised,
and must perform. For fifteen years I have devoted a certain portion of
each, to a search for the mysterious picture, with constant ill-success,
until to-day--at this auction."

Here the artist, suspending his sentence, turned towards the wall where
the portrait had hung. His movement was imitated by his hearers, who,
looked round in search of the wonderful picture, concerning which they
had just been told so strange a tale. But the portrait was no longer
there. A murmur of surprise, almost of consternation, ran through the
throng.

"Stolen!" at last exclaimed a voice. And stolen the picture doubtless
had been. Some dexterous thief, profiting by the profound attention with
which the eyes of all were fixed upon the narrator, whilst all ears,
drank in his singular story, had managed to take down and carry off the
portrait. The company remained plunged in perplexity, almost doubting
whether they had really seen those extraordinary eyes, or whether the
whole thing were not a fantasy, a vision, the phantom of a brain heated
and fatigued by the long examination of a gallery of old pictures.


FOOTNOTES:

[24] A kind of bazaar or perpetual market, where second-hand furniture,
old books and pictures, earthenware, and other cheap commodities, are
exposed for sale in small open booths.

[25] A personage who figures, like two or three others afterwards
alluded to, in the popular legends and fairy tales of Russia.

[26] Twenty-five rubles.

[27] A silver coin, about the size of a shilling, the quarter of a
silver ruble (_und e nomen_) worth ninepence.

[28] The officer commanding the police of the quarter.

[29] The Russian house-spirit. This "lubber fiend" is frequently the
popular name of the nightmare.

[30] The "was-ist-das," a single pane of glass fixed in a frame, to
admit of its being opened, very necessary in a climate where double
casements are fixed during eight months out of the year.



HOUNDS AND HORSES AT ROME.

ENGLISH KENNEL.

"The Dog-Star rages!"--POPE.


To do at Rome as the Romans do, is an adage which we English can no
longer apply to our proceedings in that city; we now reverse this, and
carrying thither our games, field-sports, and other whimsies, not only
practise these ourselves, but would impose them upon her senate and
people; for a senate she still has, and the Romans take a strange
pleasure in exhibiting, on state occasions, the well-known letters,
which tell of formerly allied, but long since departed glories. What
would her ancient senate, the stern descendants of the wolf-nursed
twins--

     "Curius quid sentit, et ambo Scipiadæ?--"

have said to the subserviency of their present _mis_-representatives,
who go forth, not to give races, but to witness the feats of barbarian
jockeyship, on a turf that once resounded only to the hoofs of their own
favourite racers;

  "Whose easy triumph and transcendant speed
  Palm after palm proclaimed; whilst Victory,
  In the horse circus, stood exulting by."[31]

If the senator Damisippus once received such a castigation at the hands
of the bard of Aquinum, for merely driving his own phaeton at noon, and
for nodding _varmintly_ to a friend as he passed, how would that poet's
indignation or muse--

  "Si natura negat, facit indignatio versum--"

have dealt with you, Princes Borghese and Cesarini, Doria and Colonna,
who, changing your long robes for the scarlet jacket, (worse than any
_Trechidipna_), have learned to vie with each other in acquiring a
field-note, of which Alaric had been proud, to strive for precedence in
a fox-hunt, and to glory more in winning his brush, than ever did your
ancestors on wresting a trophy from the Sicambri. But, thanks to Popes
who have wisely prohibited satirists and satire, ye are free to follow,
unscathed by the Iambic muse, this or any other pastime you please,
however unsuited in character to the dignity of your descent. To one
merely paying a transitory visit to Rome in the grand tour of twenty
years ago, it might not have occurred as a likely contingency that a
pack of English fox-hounds should be one day kennelled close up to her
gates; but to him who witnessed the sporting monomania of some of our
countrymen, and the difficulty they found (having nothing else to
_kill_) in killing _time_, it would never have seemed improbable. The
enthusiasm which every one, gets up for the Coliseum, or the Arch of
Titus, generally expends itself on the spot, and is not afterwards to be
resuscitated. This leads many during a six weeks' sojourn in the eternal
city, (which seems to them already an eternity), to ask themselves, with
Fabricius, their business there; while some, following his example still
farther, leave it in disgust. Till certain very recent arrangements had
been completed for his equipment, no one's position was more to be
compassionated--if you adopted his own view of it--than that of the
English sportsman; it was really lamentable to hear him describe, while
it would occasionally prompt a smile to see his expedients, to relieve
it. Finding little that was congenial to his tastes or his talents in
the arts or the society of the place, he would sometimes seek to abridge
the tedium and length of his stay at Rome, by episodes of lark-shooting
at Subiaco, or by looking after wild-boars at Ostia; and some, to whom
hunting was indispensable, would hire dogs and make them chase _each
other_, while they harked on the ragged pack, on the best hacks they
could procure for the purpose. This, however, which might have proved
excellent sport had the dogs always chosen to run properly, was
oft-times tried and relinquished, in consequence of a practical
difficulty, originating in the pack itself, which refused to supply from
its ranks the necessary _quota_ of amateur hares required by the riders.
By this token, it was high time something should be done! At length the
auspicious day dawned when the sporting world (already on the alert to
contrive less unturf-like proceedings than the last mentioned) was
agreeably saved from the embarrassment of further thought on the
subject, by a spirited announcement, noticed with becoming gratitude in
_Galignani_, from Lord C---- that he had actually sent for his dogs from
England. No time was lost; the groom, despatched in haste with the
necessary instructions, returned within six weeks, leaving the kennel
and _canaille_ that accompanied it only a few days behind on the road.
One morning, shortly after, it was announced at the Vatican, that a pack
of hungry hounds was at the Popolo Gate, barking for admittance, and
apparently threatening to eat up the whole Apostolic Doganieri if they
kept them much longer. The matter pressed: a deputation of Englishmen
waited on the governor, requesting permission for the establishment of a
kennel in a spot already fixed upon for the purpose, (it was somewhere
about the site where Constantine's mother was buried, and where, by
tradition, Nero's ghost is supposed to brood, beyond the Pons Nomentana,
and the Sacred mount); and having obtained the desired leave, the dogs
were at once established in their new settlement. When they had
recovered the fatigues of their journey, a notice was posted up,
advertising the first "throw off" for the next day. On this occasion
they hunted an old fox round the Claudian Aqueduct, into the body of
which, on getting over his surprise, he scoured a retreat, thus baffling
the pursuers. The next field-day his successor was not so fortunate,
losing both brush and life at the end of a long run. The third was
distinguished by the feat of a Roman prince, who contrived to be in at
the death, and received the brush for his encouragement. After this the
weekly obituary of foxes increased permanently in number. Meanwhile a
few dogs disappeared in subterranean mystery, awkward falls occurred,
wrists and ankles were dislocated; but no brains spilt. At last forty
persons, having nothing better to do with themselves, agree to meet
regularly twice a-week and to set up a subscription. While it is yet
early in the winter, dogs come dropping in by couples, from various
well-wishers in England; while large orders in the shape of scarlet
coats and hunting-caps, duly executed and forwarded, are stopped at the
Dogana Apostolica, and after a suitable demur on account of the
Cardinalesque colour, allowed to pass, on paying a handsome duty. These
_liveries_ at first produced a great sensation in Rome, not only amongst
the hierarchy, who were jealous of the profanation, but with the
populace, both within and without the walls: from the prince to the
peasant, every body had something to say about them. As they paced along
the streets the men stared in silent admiration, while the women clapped
their hands and cried, "_Guardi! Guardi!_" When they trotted out to
cover, the delighted swine-herd whistled to his pigs to make way for
them to pass; while the mounted buffalo-driver, from some crag above the
road, would point them out with his long-spiked pole, to the man in the
sheepskin who was on foot. We do not know what comments _these_ might
make, but those of the Roman townsfolk were by no means in keeping with
the flattering admiration they expressed. "What a gay livery!" said a
Roman citizen, emerging from the Salara Gate, as a detachment of the
"red-coats" was turning in. "Cazzo! how well they ride, and what a
number too!" "Yes," said his friend at our elbow; "to whom do they
belong--_a chi appartengono_?" "'Tis the livery of a Russian prince who
came last week to Rome, and has put up at Serny's," said the other,
affecting to know all about it. "Well, to my mind, they beat Prince
Torlonia's postilions out-and-out." "_Altro_--I agree with you there;
_ma abbia pazienza_--wait a bit, and depend on it our Prince, when he
has seen them, will not be long in taking the hint!" We hope he will;
for, however we may elsewhere admire a mounted field, _here_ it shocks
every notion of propriety. That fox-hunters should have their _meeting_
where the Fabii met; Gell's map of Rome's classic topography be studied,
with no other reference than to _runs_; and Veii be scared in her lofty
citadel by the cry of hounds and harum-scarum fellows sweeping along her
ravines, are evident improprieties; while the having all one's senses
assailed and offended together by the scent of highly-ammoniated
bandy-legged fellows in fustian or corduroy, (their necessary
satellites,) who inundate street and piazza with the slang of the London
mews, is something still worse.

     "Quoi! Venue d'un peuple roi,
     Toi, reine encore du monde!"

Thou who hast taken the lead by turns, in legislature, literature, and
the fine arts, doomed at last to become the sovereign seat for
hunting--the Melton Mowbray of the South! May thy _genius loci_ forbid
it; may thy goddess of fever visit the hounds in one of her ugliest
types; loimos or limos destroy them; old Tiber rise with his yellow
waves to drown, catacombs yawn to ingulf, and aqueducts fall to crush
them! Or, should inanimate nature disregard our row, two other hopes
remain: the one, that the foxes, made aware by this time of the love
with which the Roman princes contemplate _il loro brush_, will send them
a yearly tribute of a certain number of these appendages, on condition
that they forthwith dismiss the dogs; the other, that the Dominicans,
who are well known to be jealous of our movements, will come to regard
hunting as an heretical sport, especially as here practised by
Protestant dogs and riders--and in Lent, too, against orthodox
foxes--and persuade the Pope to abolish it!


THE STEEPLE-CHASE.

In that grassy month of the Campagna, ere the sun has seared the
standing herbage into hay--when anemones, cyclamens, crocuses, and Roman
hyacinths, as prescient of the coming heat, lose no time in quickening,
and burst out suddenly in myriads to cover the plain with their
loveliness; while the towering _ferula_ conceals the sandy rock whence
it springs, with its delicate tracery yet unspecked by the solar rays;
and the stately teazle, bending under the clutch of goldfinch and
linnet, or recoiling as they spurn it, in quest of their
butterfly-breakfast, has still some sap in its veins. Early on one of
the most exhilarating mornings of this truly delicious season, (alas,
how brief in its continuance!) we are awaked by unusual sounds in the
street. These proceeded from the young Romans vociferating to their
friends to bestir themselves to procure places at the steeple-chase
programmed for this 14th of March. An hour before Aurora had opened her
_porte cochère_ to Phoebus, and those sleek piebald coursers whose
portraits are to be seen in the Ludovisi and Ruspigliosi palaces, all
the vetturini and cabmen of Rome had already opened _theirs_; and while
some were adjusting misfitting harness to every specimen of horseflesh
that could be procured for the occasion, others were trundling out from
their black recesses in stable and coach-house, every mis-shapen vehicle
that permitted of being fastened to their backs, in order to proceed out
of the Porta Salara betimes. By six all Rome was awake, and by seven, in
motion towards the race-course. On that memorable morning artists
forewent their studies, the Sapienza its wisdom, the Roman college its
theology; shopkeepers kept their windows closed; Italian masters
barouched with their pupils, mouthed Ariosto, and seemed highly
delighted; while the professions of law and physic sent as many of their
members as public safety could spare. In short, it had been long ago
settled that all the world would be present; and all the world was
present, sure enough, and long before the time. It was a lively and a
pleasing spectacle, to which novelty lent another charm, when, about
two miles beyond the Salara gate, we looked from our double-lined
procession of Broughams and Britskas, fore and aft, and saw, for miles,
scattered over that usually deserted plain, groups of peasants in the
gay costumes of the adjacent villages, now animating it in every
direction; some emerging from under the arches of aqueducts, or the
screen of ruined columbaria, alternately lost to sight and again rising
above those abrupt dips in which the ground abounds, all tending in one
direction, all bent on one object. At length our carriage, (which has
been intimating its purpose shortly to stop,) pulls up definitely, and
Joseph, having already told us that he can neither move backward nor
forward, touches his hat for orders. On such an occasion, we resigned
ourselves to wait, without any feeling of impatience, finding sufficient
amusement, both from the distant prospect and in the immediate vicinity;
sometimes watching the wheeling of those sporting characters, the
Peregrine Hawks overhead, now listening to the warbling of the loudest
lark music we ever remember to have heard; then exchanging a few words
with some roadside acquaintance, and anon giving ourselves up
exclusively to the silent enjoyment of the weather. We were kept long
enough in all conscience, waiting till even the quietly expectant
Romans, drilled by their church into habits of great forbearance, at
length began to murmur aloud disapprobation, and we could hear one
coachman ask another "_Quando quel benidetto stippel-chess_" was to be;
while the respondent, shrugging his shoulders, growled out for answer a
"_Chi lo sa_!" Meanwhile our attention was fitfully resuscitated by a
rider in costume doing a bit of turf, by an unsaddled racer led across
the ground, or by men on horseback carrying small flags to stake at the
different leaps; sometimes by an English oath, startling the _Genius
loci_ or whoever heard it; or more agreeably by a display of voluble
young countrywomen, standing tiptoe on their carriage seats, eager to
see the first fall, and permitting the young men who swaggered by to
scare them into the prettiest attitudes of dismay, by a prophetical
announcement of the bones that would be broken before the race was won.
Some little buzz there is about unfairness and jockeyship, when we
catch, from the mouth of our Anglo-Roman livery-stable-man, who chanced
to be near, that "the osses is a-saddling." It took long to saddle; long
to mount; and some time still before they started, during which interval

  "The jockeys keep their horses on the fret,
  And each gay Spencer prompts the noisy bet,
  Till drops the signal; then, without demur,
  Ten horses start,--ten riders whip and spur;
  At first a line an easy gallop keep,
  Then forward press, to take th' approaching leap:
  Abreast go red and yellow; after these
  Two more succeed; one's down upon his knees;
  The sixth o'ertops it; clattering go two more,
  And two decline; now swells the general roar."

And every horse on the right side of the hurdle strives to get his head,
and every rider is wiser than to indulge this instinct. Soon another
leap presents itself; up they all go and down again,--four close
together! Hurrah! blue and yellow! Hurrah! green and red! A third leap,
not far from the last, and no refusals! Over and on again. Another! and
this time three favourites are abreast, the fourth is a second behind,
but may still be in, for he has cleared the fence and is coming up with
the others; the motion appears smoother as they recede; the riders,
diminished to the size of birds, are still seen gliding on--on:--

  "No longer soon their colours can we trace,
  Lost in the mazy distance of the race
  Till at Salara's far-off bridge descried,
  Like coursing butterflies, they seem to glide;
  Then, dwindling farther, in the lengthening course,
  Mere floating specks supplant both man and horse;
  Till, having crossed the Columbarium gray,
  They swerve, and back retrace their airy way."

At this point of the contest we cross the road--and there far away, two
dots, a yellow and a blue one, are seen with increasing distinctness
every second; which may be in advance of the other we cannot say,
notwithstanding the clearness of the air; they _seem_, from where we
stand, in the same line of distance; the coloured dots disappear
momentarily behind a slope, and on emerging the yellow is distinctly
first; the green not far behind. Where are the others? have they broken
their necks? No! there they come, in the rear. They were a little thrown
out at the last leap, but two are making ground upon the green usurper;
and now they are once more all in full sight and full speed, while the
Roman welkin rings to strange sounds! "_Guardi il Verde_;" "_Per me
guadagna il Giallo_." "I'll take you two to one on the Maid of the
Mill." "Done." "Who's riding the bay-mare?" "Mr A. for Lord G. and a
pretty mess he's making of it." "_Das ist wunderbar, nicht wahr?_" "_Ya,
gut!_" "_Les Anglais savent manier leurs chevaux, parbleu!_" "I'll be
blowed if Lord G. don't win after all!" "Well, Miss Smith, I shall call
for my gloves to-morrow." "_Bravi tutti quanti!_" "_Cazzo! che
cavalli!_" "_Forwartz! Forwartz._" "_Allons, Messieurs! avancez._"
"_Allez! Allez!_" "_Guardi! Guardi!_" And here a distant shout, fleeter
in its journey than the fleetest of the horses that it sped onwards,
reaches our ears; another moment brings the two foremost to the last
leap, the blue hesitates--the red springs into the air, drops
_d'aplomb_, then on again swifter than before. The blue sticks close to
him, is near, nearer still; comes up--

  "Then anxious silence breaks in deafening cries,
  His whip and spur each desperate rider plies;
  The prescient coursers foaming, cheek by jowl,
  Now see the stand and guess th' approaching goal;
  True to their blood, and frantic still to win,
  Goaded, they fly, and spent, will not give in;
  Exactly matched, with fruitless efforts strain
  In rival speed, a single inch to gain.
  Once more, the fluttering Spencers urge the goad,
  Bend o'er their saddles, lift them, light their load
  Just at the goal--one spur and it is done!
  The rowel'd _Red_ starts forward, and has won!"

After this exploit, the red, green, and yellow liveries could have done
what they would with the uninitiated Romans. Captain Cooke's arrival at
Otaheite; the first steamer seen on the Nile; the introduction of gun
and gunpowder amongst people hitherto hunting or making war with bow and
arrow,--are only parallel cases of that enthusiasm mixed with awe, with
which the Romans viewed the English gentleman jockeys on this day. They
would have been delighted to have it over again six times, but had to
learn that races (unlike songs) are never _encored_.


ROMAN DOGS.

A "dog's life" has become a synonym for suffering; nor does the
associating him with another domestic animal (if a second proverbial
expression may be trusted) appear to mend his condition; but ill as he
may fare with the cat, his position is less enviable when man is
co-partner in the ménage, against whose kicks and hard usage should he
venture upon the lowest remonstrative growl, he is sure to receive a
double portion of both for his pains; and thus it has ever been, for the
condition of a dog cannot have changed materially since the creation.
Being naturally domestic in his habits, he was born to that contumely
"which patient merit from the unworthy takes," and can never have known
a golden age. "Croyez-vous," (demanda quelqu'un à Candide,) "que les
hommes ont toujours été rans?" "Croyez-vous," (repliqua Candide,) "que
les éperviers ont toujours mangé les pigeons." We entertain no more
doubt of the one than of the other, and must therefore applaud the
sagacity of Esop's wolf, who, when sufficiently tamed by hunger to think
of offering himself as a volunteer dog, speedily changed his mind, on
hearing the uses of a collar first fully expounded to him by Trusty. Not
that every dog is ill-used; no; for every rule has its exception, and
every tyrant his favourite. Man's selfishness here proves a safer ally
than his humanity, and oft-times interposes to rescue the dog from those
sufferings to which the race is subject. Thus in savage countries, where
his strength may be turned to account, size and sinew recommend him to
public notice and respect;

          "----animalia muta
     Quis generosa putat nisi fortia"

while among civilised nations, eccentricity, beauty, cleverness, or love
of sport, may establish him a lady's pet or a sportsman's companion.
Happy indeed the dog born in the kennel of a park; no canister for his
tail, no halter for his neck; physiologists shall try no experiments on
his eighth pair of nerves; his wants are liberally supplied; a Tartar
might envy him his rations of horseflesh, shut up with congenial and
select associates with whom he courses twice a-week,

  "Unites his bark with theirs; and through the vale,
  Pursues in triumph, as he snuffs the gale."

He enjoys himself thoroughly while in health, and when he is sick a
veterinary surgeon feels his pulse, and prescribes for him in dog-Latin!
Benign too the star, albeit the "dog star," under which are born those
equal rivals in their mistress' heart, the silky-eared spaniel and the
black-nosed pug, who sleep at opposite ends of a costly muff, lie on the
sofa, bow-wow strangers round the drawing-room, and take their daily
airing in the park! Nor are the several lots of the spotted dog from
Denmark, who adds importance to his master's equipage; of the ferocious
bull-dog, the Frenchman's and the butcher's friend; or of the
quick-witted terrier from Skye, less enviable. But where caprice or
interest do not plead for the dog, his condition is universally such as
fully to justify the terms in which men speak of it. To see this
exemplified, observe the misery of his _life_ and _death_, in a country
where he is neither petted nor employed. Throughout Italy, and
particularly in Rome, (where we now introduce him to the reader,) he
lives "to find abuse his only use;" to be hunted, and not to hunt; now
dropping from starvation without the gates, and now the victim of poison
within. Ye unkennelled scavengers of the Pincian Hill,--ye that have no
master to propitiate the good Saint Anthony, on his birth-day, to bless,
nor priest to asperse you with holy water, (in consequence of which
omissions, no doubt, your plagues multiply upon you)--poor friendless
wanderers, who come up to every lonely pedestrian, at once to remind him
that it is not good for man to be alone, and to alleviate his solitude
with your company; good-natured, rough, ill-favoured dogs, with whom our
acquaintance has been extensive, dull indeed would the Pincian appear,
were it deprived of your grotesque forms and awkward but well-meant
gambols! The life of a Campagna sheep-dog, kept half starved in the
sight of mutton which he dare not touch, is hard enough, but that of the
members of this large, unowned republic more so. Hungry and gaunt as
she-wolves, but with none of their fierceness, these poor animals seek
the city gates, and, molesting nobody, find a foul and precarious
subsistence from the _Immondezze_ of the streets; but when their
condition and appearance are improved, and they are beginning to think
of an establishment, the fatal edict goes forth; nux vomica is
triturated with liver, and the treacherous _bocconi_ are strewn upon the
dirt-heaps where they resort; the unsuspecting animals greedily devour
the only meal provided for them by the State, and in a few hours
experience the anguish of the slowly killing poison; an intense thirst
urges them to the fountains, but the water only serves to dilute and
render it more potent: their bodies swell, they totter, fall, try to
recover their feet, but cannot; then piteously howling are carried off
in the height of a titanic convulsion. Often on returning at this season
from an evening party, we discern dark receding forms and hear voices
too, "visæ _canes_ ululare per umbras," as _they_ glide moaning away and
are lost in the obscurity of the off streets. Occasionally they
anticipate their doom, by premature madness, when the authorities issue
orders to use steel, and sometimes fifty will perish in a single night.
It is remarkable that notwithstanding these summary proceedings, the
canine ranks, as Easter comes round again, are renewed for fresh
destruction. Some few dogs of superior cunning contrive from year to
year to elude these "_Editti fulminanti_," which make such havoc among
their companions; these, by securing the favour and protection of the
soldiers and galley-slaves of the district, obtain besides an occasional
meal from the canteens, and plenary indulgence for themselves, and for
an unsightly progeny, which they screen from public remark, and bring up
amidst the _latebræ_ of the brushwood; but aware at the same time of the
precarious tenure by which such clandestine concessions must be held,
they seek to keep alive the interest, exerted in their behalf, by the
exhibition of many strange antics, evidently got up for the occasion, by
affecting an extraordinary interest in man and his affairs, which they
cannot feel, and by the display of a most obsequious gentleness,
humouring, while they play with your favourite dog, and though his
superior in strength, lying under on purpose to give him the advantage;
but above all, they seek to make interest with the Pincian _bonnes_,
whom they readily conciliate by withdrawing the attention of the
children from any _collateral_ object of interest which may engage
theirs. Petted and patted by many little hands, which _bongré malgré_
must give up their buns to his voracity, the large quadruped, in return
for these snatched courtesies, follows the small urchin, who is learning
to trundle his hoop, barking for it to proceed, and stopping when it
stops. Any one observing their clever gambols and extreme docility,
wishes straightway that their forms were less uncouth, and might next be
tempted, as we were, to overlook external disadvantages, and to adopt
one of the ragged pack in consideration of mental endowments; the
experiment would fail if he made it; these animals resemble the
_uneducated_ negro, who shows to most advantage in difficulties--well
housed, well fed, caressed, and cared for, both forget their master and
the part he has taken in securing their prosperity. Stand forth,
ungrateful _Frate_, while, for the reader's caution, and your own
misconduct, we rehearse your history.

We met Frate at the end of the fever season upon the unhealthy heights
of Otricoli; a poor lean beast, with a penetrating gray eye, rough brown
coat, a tail with no grace in its rigid half curl, and an untidy grizzly
white beard. We had halted to bait the horses, and finding nothing for
ourselves, preceded the carriage, and were winding down the steep hill,
when he came suddenly upon us through a break in the hedge, and having
first looked all around and satisfied himself that no fellow town-dog
was in sight, raised his ill-shaped head, barked an unmistakable "_bon
giorno_;" then, turning tail on the city of his birth, ran on gambolling
a few yards in front, to look back, bark again, and encourage us to
proceed. "What an ugly brute! what a _hideous_ dog!" but as he engages
the attention of our party, these expressions become modified, and
before reaching the bottom of the hill, nobody cares about the remains
of Otricoli, nor looks any longer at the yellow reaches of the
pestiferous Tiber, that was winding far along the plain; the dog alone
occupies every thought. "Such a discerning creature! What clever eyes he
has! See how well he understands what we are saying about him; suppose
we take him on to Rome? We might get his grizzly beard shaved; his rough
coat would become sleek after a month's good feeding, his legs could be
clipped below the knees. Oh! he is full of capabilities. See! he is now
acting Sphinx, and looking up at us, as if he could delve into what is
passing in our minds, and would turn these vague suggestions to
account." Suddenly he sprang to his feet, barked, and seemed much
agitated; in a minute we, too, hear the sound of wheels, which his more
acute ear had already caught; as the carriage approached, his excitement
increased; at first he only barked back as if to entreat it not to come
on so quickly, but as it plainly did not heed his civil remonstrance,
the bow-wow became still more earnest in its expostulatory accents.
B[=o]w (long) w[)o]w (short). "Why such haste?" Then he tried his
eloquence upon us; and while reiterating his canine _accidente_ in his
own way at the horses now close at hand, his voice assumes an elegiac
whine as he turns to supplicate, in a tone that none accustomed to
Italian beggars can mistake; "_non abbandonatemi_," being plainly the
purport of its most dolorous and plaintive accents. We hesitate, the
carriage draws up, down go the steps, and lo! in a twinkling, our new
friend has darted in before us, taken possession, and there he sits
ready to kiss our hand. Such audacity was sure to succeed, so, letting
him gently down from the steps we left him to follow if he chose.
Follow! trust him for that! he bounded along the Appian way, barking to
encourage the horses, coquetting with a favourite pony, and winning over
our Joseph, by the time we had arrived at _Civita Castellana_, to let
him remain in their company for the night. Next morning he starts
betimes, nor permits the carriage to overtake him, till all fear of
being sent back is removed, by our near approach to Rome. Arrived there,
he at once finds his way to the livery stables, and establishes himself
permanently with the horses. Throughout the winter, we take with good
humour the flippant comments of _flaneurs_ and over-fastidious friends,
touching the bestowal of our patronage upon such an ill-favoured cur,
while we thought ourselves the objects of his gratitude and affection;
but Frate's character (we gave him this name from the length of his
beard, the colour of his coat, and because he had lived upon alms) did
not improve upon acquaintance. One bad trait soon showed itself, he
refused to hold communication with the less-favoured dogs of the
Pincian, turning a deaf ear to their advances, or if they yet
persevered, meeting them with set teeth and an unamiable growl; as he
filled out, his regard for his patrons diminished perceptibly;
attentions bestowed on a smaller colleague excited his jealousy; and we
began to believe the truth of a report circulated to his prejudice, that
Frate was really on the look-out for a place where no other dog was
kept, and where he might have it all his own way. No longer proud of
notice, he seldom sought our society, but was glad to slink off whenever
this could be done without observation. Toward the close of the winter,
indeed, we were deceived by some renewed advances into the belief of a
return of affection, which determined us, when we left Rome, to take him
once more in our suite; we soon, however, found out our mistake. Already
unprincipled in no ordinary degree, the society of the cafés and
table-d'hôtes at Lucca completed his corruption. His misconduct at last
became town-talk, and his misdeeds were in every body's mouth; so, when
he had lamed half-a-dozen labourers, scared the whole neighbourhood like
a second Dragon of Wantley, and fought sundry battles with dogs as ugly,
for Helens scarce better-looking than himself, we yielded to public
remonstrance, and removing our protective collar from his unworthy neck,
consigned him to a village sportsman, who hoped to turn his fierceness
to account in attacking the wild-boar. With him Frate remained for about
six weeks, by which time, tiring of the _Cacciatore's_ rough handling,
he had the temerity, two days before our departure, to present himself
again at our door. Too much disgusted to receive him after what had
passed, we showed him a whip from an open window, which to a dog of his
sagacity was enough; in one instant he was on his legs, and in the next
out of sight, but whether to return to the sportsman, or the mountain,
or to seek and find a new master to cozen, we never heard, as this was
our last visit to Lucca. The lesson inculcated by Frate's misconduct has
not been lost upon us; so whenever any queer canine scarecrow now meets
us on the Pincian, and by his dejected looks seeks to enlist our
sympathy, we cut short the appeal, stare him in the face, and then utter
the word "never" with sufficient emphasis to send him off shaking his
head, as if a brace of fleas, or a "fulminating edict" from the governor
were ringing in both ears.


FOOTNOTES:

[31] Badham's _Juvenal_, Sat. 8.



SONG,

FOR THE DINNER GIVEN TO THE EARL OF DALHOUSIE, AT EDINBURGH, 14th
SEPTEMBER 1847, BEFORE HIS PROCEEDING TO INDIA AS GOVERNOR-GENERAL.

BY DELTA.


  I.

  Long, long ere the thistle was twined with the rose,
  And the firmest of friends now were fiercest of foes,
    The flag of Dalwolsey aye foremost was seen;
  Through the night of oppression it glitter'd afar,
  To the patriot's eye 'twas a ne'er-setting star,
  And with Bruce and with Wallace it flash'd through the fray,
  When "Freedom or Death" was the shout of the day,
    For the thistle of Scotland shall ever be green!

  II.

  A long line of chieftains! from father to son,
  They lived for their country--their purpose was one--
    In heart they were fearless--in hand they were clean;
  From the hero of yore, who, in Gorton's grim caves,
  Kept watch with the band who disdain'd to be slaves,
  Down to him, with the Hopetoun and Lynedoch that vied,
  Who should shine like a twin star by Wellington's side,
    That the thistle of Scotland might ever be green!

  III.

  Then a bumper to him in whose bosom combine
  All the virtues that proudly ennoble his line,
    As dear to his country, as stanch to his Queen;
  Nor less that Dalhousie a patriot we find,
  Whose field is the senate, whose sword is the mind,
  And whose object the strife of the world to compose,
  That the shamrock may bloom by the side of the rose,
    And the thistle of Scotland for ever be green!

  IV.

  It is not alone for his bearing and birth,
  It is not alone for his wisdom and worth,
    At this board that our good and our noble convene;
  But a faith in the blessings which India may draw
  From science, from commerce, religion, and law;
  And that all who obey Britain's sceptre may see
  That knowledge is power--that the truth makes us free;
    For rose, thistle, and shamrock, shall ever be green!

  V.

  A hail and farewell! it is pledged to the brim,
  And drain'd to the bottom in honour of him
    Who a glory to Scotland shall be and hath been:
  Untired in the cause of his country and crown,
  May his path be a long one of spotless renown;
  Till the course nobly rounded, the goal proudly won,
  Fame, smiling on Scotland, shall point to her son,
    For the thistle--Her thistle!--shall ever be green!



MY FRIEND THE DUTCHMAN.


"And you will positively marry her, if she will have you?"

"Not a doubt of either. Before this day fortnight she shall be Madame
Van Haubitz."

"You will make her your wife without acquainting her with your true
position?"

"Indeed will I. My very position requires it. There's no room for a
scruple. She expects to live on my fortune; thinks to make a great catch
of the rich Dutchman. Instead of that I shall spend her salary. The old
story; going out for wool and returning shorn."

The conversation of which this is the concluding fragment, occurred in
the public room of the Hotel de Hesse, in the village of Homburg on the
Hill--an insignificant handful of houses, officiating as capital of the
important landgravate of Hesse-Homburg. The table-d'hôte had been over
some time; the guests had departed to repose in their apartments until
the hour of evening promenade should summon them to the excellent band
of music, provided by the calculating liberality of the gaming-house
keepers, and to loiter round the _brunnens_ of more or less nauseous
flavour, the pretext of resort to this rendezvous of idlers and
gamblers. The waiters had disappeared to batten on the broken meats from
the public table, and to doze away the time till the approach of supper
renewed their activity. My interlocutor, with whom I was alone in the
deserted apartment, was a man of about thirty years of age, whose dark
hair and mustaches, marked features, spare person, and complexion
bronzed by a tropical sun, entitled him to pass for a native of southern
Europe, or even of some more ardent clime. Nevertheless he answered to
the very Dutch patronymic of Van Haubitz, and was a native of Holland,
in whose principal city his father was a banker of considerable wealth
and financial influence.

It was towards the close of a glorious August, and for two months I had
been wandering in Rhine-land. Not after the fashion of deluded Cockneys,
who fancy they have seen the Rhine when they have careered from Cologne
to Mannheim astride of a steam-engine, gaping at objects passed as soon
as perceived; drinking and paying for indifferent vinegar as
Steinberger-Cabinet, eating vile dinners on the decks of steamers, and
excellent ones in the capital hotels which British cash and patronage
have raised upon the banks of the flower of German streams. On the
contrary, I had early dispensed with the aid of steam, to wander on
foot, with the occasional assistance of a lazy country diligence or
rickety _einspanner_, through the many beautiful districts that lie upon
either bank of the river; pedestrianising in Rhenish Bavaria, losing
myself in the Odenwald, and pausing, when occasion offered, to pick a
trout out of the numerous streamlets that dash and meander through dell
and ravine, on their way to swell the waters of old Father Rhine. At
last, weary of solitude--scarcely broken by an occasional gossip with a
heavy German boor, village priest, or strolling student,--I thirsted
after the haunts of civilisation, and found myself, within a day of the
appearance of the symptom, installed in a luxurious hotel in the free
city of Frankfort on the Maine. But Frankfort at that season is
deserted, save by passing tourists, who escape as fast as possible from
its lifeless streets and sun-baked pavements; so, after glancing over an
English newspaper at the Casino, taking one stroll in the beautiful
garden surrounding the city, and another through the Jew-quarter--always
interesting and curious, although any thing but savoury at that warm
season,--I gathered together my baggage and was off to Homburg. There I
could not complain of solitude, of deserted streets and shuttered
windows. It seemed impossible that the multitude of gaily dressed belles
and cavaliers, English, French, German, and Russ, who, from six in the
morning until sunset, lounged and flirted on the walks, watered
themselves at the fountains, and perilled their complexions in the
golden sunbeams, could ever bestow themselves in the two or three
middling hotels and few score shabby lodging-houses composing the town
of Homburg. Manage it they did, however; crept into their narrow cells
at night, to emerge next morning, like butterflies from the chrysalis,
gay, bright, and brilliant, and to recommence the never-varying but
pleasant round of eating, sauntering, love-making, and gambling. Homburg
was not then what it has since become. That great house of cards, the
new Cursaal, had not yet arisen; and its table-d'hôte, reading-room, and
profane mysteries of roulette and rouge-et-noir, found temporary
domicile in a narrow, disreputable-looking den in the main street, where
accommodation of all kinds, but especially for dinner, was scanty in the
extreme. The public tables at the hotels were consequently thronged, and
there acquaintances were soon made. The day of my arrival at Homburg I
was seated next to Van Haubitz; his manner was off hand and frank, we
entered into conversation, took our after-dinner cigar and evening
stroll together, and by bed-time had knocked up that sort of intimacy
easily contracted at a watering-place, which lasts one's time of
residence, and is extinguished and forgotten on departure. Van Haubitz,
like many Continentals and very few Englishmen, was one of those
free-and-easy communicative persons who are as familiar after twelve
hours' acquaintance as if they had known you twelve years, and who do
not hesitate to confide to a three days' acquaintance the history of
their lives, their pursuits, position, and prospects. I was soon made
acquainted, to a very considerable extent, at least, with those of my
friend Van Haubitz, late lieutenant of artillery in the service of his
majesty the King of Holland. He was the youngest of four sons, and
having shown, at a very early age, a wild and intractable disposition,
and precocious addiction to dissipation, his father pronounced him
unsuited to business, and decided on placing him in the army. To this
the _Junker_, (he claimed nobility, and displayed above his arms a
species of coronet, bearing considerable resemblance to a fragment of
chevaux-de-frise, which he might have been puzzled to prop with a
parchment,) had no particular objection, and might have made a good
enough officer, but for his reckless, spendthrift manner of life, which
entailed negligence of duty and frequent reprimands. Extravagant beyond
measure, unable to deny himself any gratification, squandering money as
though millions were at his command, he was constantly overwhelmed with
debts and a martyr to duns. At last his father, after thrice clearing
him with his creditors, consented to do so a fourth time only on
condition of his getting transferred to a regiment stationed in the
Dutch East Indies, and remaining there until his return had the paternal
sanction. To avoid a prison, and perhaps not altogether sorry to leave a
country where his credit was bad and his reputation worse, he embarked
for Batavia. But any pleasant day-dreams he may have cherished of
tropical luxuries, of the indulgence of a _farniente_ life in a grass
hammock, gently balanced by Javan houris beneath banana shades, of
spice-laden breezes and cool sherbets, and other attributes of a
Mahomedan paradise, were speedily dissipated by the odious realities of
filth and vermin, marsh-fever and mosquitoes. He wrote to his father,
describing the horrors of the place, and begging to be released from his
pledge and allowed to return to Holland. His obdurate progenitor replied
by a letter of reproach, and swore that if he left Batavia he might live
on his pay, and never expect a stiver from the paternal strong-box,
either as gift or bequest. To live upon his pay would have been no easy
matter, even for a more prudent and economical person than Van Haubitz.
He grumbled immoderately, blasphemed like a pagan, but remained where he
was. A year passed and he could hold out no longer. Disregarding the
paternal menaces and displeasure, and reckless of consequences, he
applied to the chief military authority of the colony for leave of
absence. He was asked his plea, and alleged ill health. The general
thought he looked pretty well, and requested the sight of a medical
certificate of his invalid state. Van Haubitz assumed a doleful
countenance and betook him to the surgeons. They agreed with the
general that he looked pretty healthy; asked for symptoms; could
discover none more alarming than regularity of pulse, sleep, appetite,
and digestion, laughed in his face and refused the certificate. The
sickly cannonier, who had the constitution of a rhinoceros, and had
never had a day's illness since he got over the measles at the age of
four years, waited a little, and tried the second "dodge," usually
resorted to in such cases. "Urgent private affairs" were now the
pretext. The general expressed his regret that urgent public affairs
rendered it impossible for him to dispense with the valuable services of
Lieutenant Van Haubitz. Whereupon Lieutenant Van Haubitz passed half an
hour in heaping maledictions on the head of his disobliging commander,
and then sat down and wrote an application for an exchange to the
authorities in Holland. The reply was equally unsatisfactory, the fact
being that Haubitz senior, like an implacable old savage as he was, had
made interest at the war-office for the refusal of all such requests on
the part of his scapegrace offspring. Haubitz junior took patience for
another year, and then, in a moment of extreme disgust and ennui, threw
up his commission and returned to Europe, trusting, he told me, that
after five years' absence, the governor's bowels would yearn towards his
youngest-born. In this he was entirely mistaken; he greatly underrated
the toughness of paternal viscera. Far from killing the fatted calf on
the prodigal's return, the incensed old Hollander refused him the
smallest cutlet, and shutting the door in his face, consigned him, with
more energy than affection, to the custody of the evil one. Van Haubitz
found himself in an awkward fix. Credit was dead, none of his relatives
would notice or assist him; his whole fortune consisted of a dozen gold
Wilhelms. At this critical moment an eccentric maiden aunt, to whom, a
year or two previously, he had sent a propitiatory offering of a
ring-tailed monkey and a leash of pea-green parrots, and who had never
condescended even to acknowledge the present, departed this life,
bequeathing him ten thousand florins as a return for the addition to her
menagerie. A man of common prudence, and who had seen himself so near
destitution, would have endeavoured to employ this sum, moderate as it
was, in some trade or business, or, at any rate, would have lived
sparingly till he found other resources. But Haubitz had not yet sown
all his wild-oats; he had a soul above barter, a glorious disregard of
the future, the present being provided for. He left Holland, shaking the
dust from his boots, dashed across Belgium, and was soon plunged in the
gaieties of a Paris carnival. Breakfasts at the Rocher, dinners at the
Café, balls at the opera, and the concomitant _petits soupers_ and
écarté parties with the fair denizens of the Quartier Lorette, soon
operated a prodigious chasm in the monkey-money, as Van Haubitz
irreverently styled his venerable aunt's bequest. Spring having arrived,
he beat a retreat from Paris, and established himself at Homburg, where
he was quietly completing the consumption of the ten thousand florins,
at rather a slower pace than he would have done at that head-quarters of
pleasant iniquity, the capital of France. From hints he had let fall, I
suspected a short time would suffice to see the last of the legacy. On
this head, however, he had been less confidential than on most other
matters, and certainly his manner of living would have led no one to
suppose he was low in the locker. Nothing was too good for him; he drank
the most expensive wines, got up parties and pic-nics for the ladies,
and had a special addiction to the purchase of costly trinkets, which he
generally gave away before they had been a day in his possession. He did
not gamble; he had done so, he told me, once since he was at Homburg,
and had won, but he had no faith in his luck, or taste for that kind of
excitement, and should play no more. He was playing another game just
now, which apparently interested him greatly. A few days before myself,
a young actress, who, within a very short time, had acquired
considerable celebrity, had arrived at Homburg, escorted by her mother.
Fraulein Emilie Sendel was a lively lady of four-and-twenty or
thereabouts, possessing a smart figure and pretty face, the latter
somewhat wanting in refinement. Her blue eyes although rather too
prominent, had a merry sparkle; her cheeks had not yet been entirely
despoiled by envious rouge of their natural healthful tinge; her hair,
of that peculiar tint of red auburn which the French call a _blond
hasardé_, was more remarkable for abundance and flexibility than for
fineness of texture. As regarded her qualities and accomplishments, she
was good-humoured and tolerably unaffected, but wilful and capricious as
a spoiled child; she spoke her own language pretty well, with an
occasional slight vulgarism or bit of green-room slang; had a smattering
of French, and played the piano sufficiently to accompany the ballads
and vaudeville airs which she sang with spirit and considerable freedom
of style. I had met German actresses who were far more lady-like off the
stage, but there was nothing glaringly or repulsively vulgar about
Emilie, and as a neighbour at a public dinner-table, she was amusing and
quite above par. As if to vindicate her nationality, she would
occasionally look sentimental, but the mood sat ill upon her, and never
lasted long; comedy was evidently her natural line. Against her
reputation, rumour, always an inquisitive censor, often a mean libeller,
of ladies of her profession, had as yet, so far as I could learn, found
nothing to allege. Her mother, a dingy old dowager, with bad teeth,
dowdy gowns, a profusion of artificial flowers, and a strong addiction
to tea and knitting, perfectly understood the duties of duennaship, and
did propriety by her daughter's side at dinner-table and promenade. To
the heart of the daughter, Van Haubitz, almost from the first hour he
had seen her, had laid persevering and determined siege.

During our after-dinner tête-à-tête on the day now referred to, my
friend the cannonier had shown himself exceedingly unreserved, and,
without any attempt on my part to draw him out, he had elucidated, with
a frankness that must have satisfied the most inquisitive, whatever
small points of his recent history and present position he had
previously left in obscurity. The conversation began, so soon as the
cloth was removed and the guests had departed, by a jesting allusion on
my part to his flirtation with the actress, and to her gracious
reception of his attentions.

"It is no mere flirtation," said Van, gravely. "My intentions are
serious. You may depend Mademoiselle Sendel understands them as such."

"Serious! you don't mean that you want to marry her?"

"Unquestionably I do. It is my only chance."

"Your only chance!" I repeated, considerably puzzled. "Are you about to
turn actor, and do you trust to her for instruction in histrionics?"

"Not exactly. I will explain. La Sendel, you must know, has just
terminated her last engagement, which was at a salary of ten thousand
florins. She has already received and accepted an offer of a new one, at
fifteen thousand, from the Vienna theatre. Vienna is a very pleasant
place. Fifteen thousand florins are thirty-two thousand francs, or
twelve hundred of your English pounds sterling. Upon that stun two
persons can live excellently well--in Germany at least."

Unable to contradict any of these assertions, I held my tongue. The
Dutchman resumed.

"You know the history of my past life; I will tell you my present
position. It is critical enough, but I shall improve it, for here," and
he touched his forehead, "is what never fails me. This letter," he
produced an epistle of mercantile aspect, bearing the Amsterdam
post-mark, "I received last week from my eldest brother. The shabby
_schelm_ declares he will reply to no more of mine, that his efforts to
arrange matters with my father have been fruitless, and that the old
gentleman has strictly forbidden him and his brothers to hold any
communication with me, a command they seem willing enough to obey. So
much for that. And now for the finances."

He took out his pocket-book, opened and shook it, a flimsy crumpled bit
of paper fell out. It was a note of the bank of France, for one thousand
francs.

"My last," said he. "That gone, I am a beggar. But it won't come to
that, either, thanks to Fraulein Emilie."

"Surely," said I, "you are too reckless of money, too extravagant and
unreflecting. Six months ago, you told me, you had twenty such notes."

"Ay, twenty-two exactly, at the end of January, when I left Amsterdam.
But whither was I bound? To Paris; and who can economize there? I've had
my money's worth, and could have had no more, had I dribbled the dirty
ten thousand florins over three years, instead of three months. I take
great credit for making it last so long. Such suppers, and balls, and
orgies, with the pleasantest fellows and prettiest actresses in Paris.
But the louis-d'or roll rapidly in that sort of society. One must be a
Russian prince, or French _feuilletoniste_, to keep it up. I never
flinched at any thing so long as the money lasted. Then, when I found
myself reduced to the last note, I got into the Frankfort mail, and came
to rusticate at this rural roulette table. My next change will be to
conjugation and Vienna."

"But if you had only a thousand francs on leaving Paris, and have got
them still, how have you lived since?"

"You don't suppose these are the same? There are not many ways of
getting through money here, unless one gambles, which I do not; but coin
has somehow or other a peculiar aptitude to slip through my fingers, and
the thousand francs soon evaporated. Meanwhile, I had written dozens of
letters to my brothers, who seldom answered, and to my father, who never
did. I promised reform and a respectable life, if they would either get
me a snug place with little to do and good pay, or make me a reasonable
yearly allowance, something better than the paltry three thousand
florins they doled out to me when I was in the artillery, and on which,
as I could not live, I was obliged to get in debt. They paid no
attention to my request, reasonable as it was. The best offer they made
me was five francs a-day, paid weekly, to live in a Silesian village.
This was adding insult to injury, and I left off writing to them. A few
days afterwards, taking out my purse to pay for cigars, a dollar dropped
out. It was my last. I paid it away, walked home, lay down upon my bed,
smoked and reflected. My position was gloomy enough, and the more I
looked at it, the blacker it seemed. From my undutiful relatives there
was no hope; the abominable Silesian project was evidently their
ultimatum. I had no friend to turn to, no resource left. I might
certainly have obtained the mere necessaries of life at this hotel,
where my credit was excellent, and have vegetated for a month or two, as
a man must vegetate, without ready money. But I had no fancy for such an
expedient, a mere protraction of the agony. I lay ruminating for two
hours, two such hours as I should be sorry to pass again, and then my
mind was made up. I had a brace of small travelling pistols amongst my
baggage; these I loaded and put in my pocket, and then, leaving the
hotel and the town, I struck across the country for some distance and
plunged into a wood. There I sat down upon a grass bank, my back against
an old beech. It was evening, and the solitary little glade before me
was striped with the last sunbeams darting between the tree-trunks. I
have difficulty in defining my sensations at that moment. I was quite
resolved, did not waver an instant in my purpose, but my head was dizzy,
and I had a sickly sensation about the heart. Determined that the
physical shrinking from death should not have time to weaken my moral
determination, I hastily opened my waistcoat, felt for the pulsations of
my heart, placed the muzzle of a pistol where they were strongest,
steadying it on that spot with my left hand. Then I looked straight
before me and pulled the trigger. There was the click of the lock, but
no report; the cap was bad, and had been crushed without exploding. That
was a horrible moment. I snatched up another pistol, which lay cocked to
my hand, and thrust the muzzle into my mouth. As before, the sharp noise
of the hammer upon the nipple was the sole result. The caps had been
some time in my possession, and had become worthless through age or
damp."

I looked at Van Haubitz, doubtful whether he was not hoaxing me. But
hitherto I had observed in him no addiction to the Munchausen vein, and
now his countenance and voice were serious; there was a slight flush on
his cheek, and he was evidently excited at the recollection of his
abortive attempt at suicide,--perhaps a little ashamed of it. I was
convinced he told the truth.

"I do not know," he continued, "whether, had I had surer weapons with
me, I should have had courage to make a third attempt upon my life.
Honestly, I think not; the self-preservative instinct was rapidly
gaining strength. I walked slowly back to the town, my brain still
confused from the agitating moments I had passed. I was unable quite to
collect my thoughts, and felt as if I had just awakened from a long
heavy sleep. It was now dark; lights streamed from the open windows of
the gambling-rooms; the voices of the croupiers, the stir and hum of the
players and jingling of money were distinctly heard in the street
without. I have already told you I am no gambler, not from scruple, but
choice. Nevertheless, I used often to stroll up to the Cursaal for an
hour of in evening, when the play was at the highest, to look on and
chat with any acquaintances I met. Mechanically, I now ascended the
stairs. On the landing-place, I found myself face to face with a man
with whom I was slightly intimate, and who, a few evenings before, had
borrowed forty francs of me. I had not seen him since, and he now
returned me the piece of gold. 'Try your luck with it,' said he; 'there
is a run against the bank tonight, every body wins, and M. Blanc looks
blue.' And he pointed to one of the proprietors of the tables, who,
however, wore a tolerably tranquil air, knowing well that what was
carried away one night, would come back with compound interest the next.
The play was heavy at the Rouge-et-noir table; a Russian and two
Frenchmen--the latter of whom, judging from their appearance, and from
the complicated array of calculations on the table before them, were
professional gamblers--extracted, at nearly every _coup_, notes or
rouleaus of gold from the grated boxes in front of the bankers. I drank
a glass of water, for my lips and mouth were dry and hot, and placing
myself as near the table as the crowd of players and spectators
permitted, watched the game. My hand was in my pocket, the forty-franc
piece still between its fingers. But in spite of the advice of him who
had paid it me, I felt no disposition to risk the coin; not that I
feared to lose it, for as my only one it was useless, but because, as I
tell you, I never had the slightest love of gambling or expectation to
win.

"A pause occurred in the game. The cards had run out, and the bankers
were subjecting them to those complicated and ostentatious shufflings
intended to convince the players of the fairness of their dealings.
During this operation, the previous silence was exchanged for eager
gossip. The game, it appeared, had come out that night in a peculiar
manner, very favourable to those who had had _nous_ and nerve to avail
themselves of it. There had been alternate long runs upon red and black.

"'_Mille noms de Dieu_!' exclaimed a hoarse cracked voice just below me.
'What a series of black! Twenty-two, and only three red! And to be
unable to take advantage of it!'

"I looked down, and recognised the gray mustache, wrinkled features, and
snuffy black coat with a ribbon of the Legion of Honour, of an old
French colonel whom you may have seen limping in and out of the Cursaal,
and who ranks amongst the antiquities of Homburg. He served under
Napoleon, was shelved at the peace, and has lived since then on a
moderate annuity, of which one-fifth procures him the barest necessaries
of existence, whilst the other four parts are annually absorbed in the
vortex of rouge-et-noir. When gambling-houses were legal at Paris, _le
colonel rapé_, the threadbare colonel, as he was called, was one of the
most punctual attendants at Frascati's and the Palais Royal. When they
were abolished, he commenced a wandering existence amongst the German
baths, and finally settled down at Homburg, giving it the preference, as
the only place where he could follow his darling pursuit alike in winter
and in summer. From the opening to the close of the play he is seen
seated at the table, a number of cards, ruled in red and black columns,
on the green cloth before him, in which he pricks with pins the progress
of the game. That evening he had been unfortunate, and had emptied his
pocket, but nevertheless continued puncturing cards with laudable
perseverance, of course discovering, like every penniless gambler, that,
had he money to stake, he should infallibly make a fortune; predicting
what colour would come out, and indulging, when he proved a true
prophet, in a little subdued blasphemy because he was unable to profit
by his acuteness.

"'Extraordinary run! to be sure,' repeated the veteran dicer.
'Twenty-two black, and only three red! There'll be a series of red now:
I feel there will, and when I don't play myself, I'm always right. I bet
this deal begins with seven red. Who bets a hundred francs to fifty it
does not?'

"Nobody accepted this sporting offer, or placed upon the colour which
the colonel's prophetic soul foresaw was to come out. The cards were now
shuffled and cut for dealing. The hell relapsed into silence.

"'_Faites le jeu, Messieurs!_' was repeated in the harsh business-like
tones of the presiding demon.

"'Red wins,' croaked the colonel. 'Seven times at the least.'

"Nearly all the players backed the black. By an idle impulse I threw
down my forty francs, my entire fortune, upon the red. The old soldier
looked round to see the judicious individual who followed his advice,
smiled grimly, and nodded approvingly. The next moment red won. I let
the money lie, and walked into the next room. Eighty francs were of no
more use to me than forty, and I felt very sure that another turn of the
card would carry off both stake and winnings. I took up a newspaper, but
soon threw it down again, for my head was not clear enough to read, and
I felt exhausted with the emotions of the day. I was about to leave the
house when I heard a loud buzz in the card-room, and the next instant
somebody clutched my arm. It was the French colonel, in a state of
furious excitement; grinning, panting, perspiring, and stuttering with
eagerness.

"'Seven reds!' was all he could say. 'Seven reds, Monsieur. Take up your
money.'

"I hastened to the table. By a strange caprice of fortune, the colonel's
prophecy had come true. Red had won seven times, and my forty francs had
become five thousand. I took up my winnings, the colonel looking on with
a triumphant smile. This was suddenly exchanged for a portentous frown
and fierce twist of the gray mustache.

"'_Mille millions de tonnerres!_ Not a dollar left to follow up that
splendid run!' And with a furious gesture, he upset his chair, and
dashed his cards upon the ground.

"I took the hint, whether intended or not. I could not do less in return
for the five thousand francs the old gentleman had put in my pocket.

"'If Monsieur,' I said, 'will allow me the pleasure of lending him--'

"'_Impossible, Monsieur!_' interrupted the colonel, looking as stern as
if about to charge single-handed a whole pult of Cossacks. But I knew my
man. He was the type of a class of which I have seen many.

"'_Cependant, Monsieur, entre militaires_, between brother-soldiers--'

"'_Ah! Monsieur est militaire!_' exclaimed the old gentleman, his
alarming contraction of brow and rigidity of feature instantaneously
dissolving into a smile of extreme benignity. 'That alters the case.
Certainly, between brothers in arms those little services may be offered
and accepted. Although, really, it is encroaching on Monsieur's
complaisance ... at the same time ... a hundred francs ... till
to-morrow ... quarters at some distance ... &c. &c.' which ended in his
picking up his chair, cards, and pin, and applying all his faculties to
break the bank with ten _louis_ which I lent him, and which I need
hardly say I have not seen from that day to this.

"Such a sudden stroke of good fortune would have made gamblers of nine
men out of ten, but I decidedly want the organ of gaming, for I have
never played since. My narrow escape from suicide had made some
impression on me, and now that I had five thousand francs in my pocket,
I looked back at the attempt as an exceedingly foolish proceeding. For a
month or more, I lived with what even you would admit to be great
economy, writing frequent letters to Amsterdam, and trying to come to
terms and an arrangement with my family. All in vain. They had no
confidence in my promises, proposed nothing I could accept, talked of
Silesian exile--roots and water in the wilderness--and the like
absurdities, until I plainly saw they were determined to cast me off,
and that if I was to be helped at all, it must be by myself. How to do
this was the puzzle. There are few things I can do, that could in any
way be rendered profitable. I can ride a horse, lay a gun, and put a
battery through its exercise; but such accomplishments are sufficiently
common not to be paid at a very high rate; and besides I had had enough
of garrison duty, even could I have got back my commission, which was
not very likely. So I put soldiering out of the question; and yet, when
I had done so, I was infernally puzzled to think of any thing better. I
had no fancy to turn rook, and rove from place to place in search of
pigeons--no uncommon resource with younger brothers of an idle turn and
exhausted means. I had fallen in with a few birds of that breed, and had
come to the conclusion that to save themselves work and trouble, they
had adopted by far the most laborious and painful of all professions. In
the midst of my doubts and uncertainties, the fair Sendel and her mother
made their appearance. The first sight of their names upon the hotel
book was a ray of light to me. Within an hour I made up my mind to
sacrifice my independence to my necessities, and become the virtuous and
domesticated spouse of the charming and well-paid Emilie. A hint and a
dollar to the waiter placed me next her at the table-d'hôte, and I
immediately opened my intrenchments, and began a siege in due form."

"Which you expect will soon terminate by the capitulation of the
garrison?" said I, laughing.

"Undoubtedly. The result of the first day or two's operations was not
very satisfactory. I rattled away, and did the amiable to a furious
extent; but the divinity was shy, and the guardian of the temple (an old
gorgon whom I shall suppress before the honeymoon is out) looked askance
at me, and pulled her daughter by the sleeve whenever she seemed
disposed to listen. They evidently thought the rattle might belong to a
snake; did me the injustice to take me for an adventurer. On the third
day, however, the ice had melted. I soon found out the cause of the
thaw. The head-waiter, whom a little well-timed liberality had rendered
my devoted slave, informed me that Madame Sendel had been making minute
inquiries concerning me of the master of the hotel. The worthy man, who
adored me because I despised _vin ordinaire_ and looked only at the
sum-total of his bills, said that I was a son of Van Haubitz, the rich
banker of Amsterdam, which was perfectly true; adding, which was rather
less so, that I was a partner in the house, and a _millionaire_. The
effect of this information upon the speculative firm of Sendel _Mère et
Fille_, was perfectly electric. Medusa smoothed her horrid looks, and
came out at that day's dinner in cherry ribands and fresh artificials.
Emilie was all smiles and suavity, laughed at my worst jokes, nearly
burst her stays by holding her breath to raise a blush at my soft
speeches, and returned from that evening's promenade talking about the
moon, and leaning with tender _abandon_, on my arm."

"With such encouragement, I am surprised you did not propose at once."

"So hasty a measure--oh, most unsophisticated of Britons!" replied Van,
with a look of grave pity for my simplicity--"would have greatly
perilled the success of my scheme. Sendel Senior, having only the
innkeeper's report to rely upon, would have had her ungenerous
suspicions re-awakened by my precipitation, and have instituted further
inquiries; have written, probably, to some friend in Holland, and
learned that the pretender to her daughter's hand, although
unquestionably a son of the wealthy banker Van Haubitz, is excluded
beyond redemption from the good graces of that respectable pillar of
Dutch finance, who has further announced his irrevocable determination
to take not the slightest notice of him in his testamentary
dispositions. The excellent Herr Bratenbengel, whose succulent dinner we
are now digesting, and whose very laudable _Rudesheimer_ stands before
us, had unwittingly laid the foundation of my success; it was for me to
raise the superstructure. Now it was that I rejoiced at my economy since
the lucky hit at the gaming-table. The greater part of my winnings still
remained to me; golden grain, which I now profusely scattered, sure that
it would yield rich harvest. On one manoeuvre I particularly pride
myself. Retaining a few napoleons for immediate use, I remitted the
remainder to a friend in Amsterdam, requesting him to return it me in a
bill on Frankfort drawn by my father's bank. I took care to have the
letter containing the draft delivered to me at dinner when seated beside
the adorable Emilie, and was equally careful to lay the bill open upon
the table, whilst I took a hasty glance at the letter. Of course my
neighbour pretended not to see the draft, and equally of course she made
herself mistress of its contents, particularly noting the drawer's name,
and communicating the same to her mother at the earliest opportunity.
This had a good effect, establishing my connexion with the rich house of
Van Haubitz; and I have taken care to confirm the favourable impression
by the profuse expenditure which you, in your ignorance, have called
extravagance, by treating money as if its abundance in my coffers made
it valueless in my eyes, and by delicate generosity in the shape of
presents to mother and daughter. The trap was too cunningly set to prove
a failure; the birds are fairly snared, and tonight, when we take our
usual romantic stroll, I shall raise the fair Sendel to the seventh
heaven of happiness by asking her to become Madame Van Haubitz."

Although the tenour and tone of these confessions had by no means tended
to elevate the Dutchman in my opinion, I could not forbear smiling at
the coolness with which they were made and at the skill of his
manoeuvres. Still there was some good about the scamp; he had his own
code of honour, such as it was, and from that he would not easily have
been induced to swerve. He would have scorned to do a dirty thing, to
cheat at cards, or leave a debt of honour unpaid; but would readily have
got in debt to tradesmen and money-lenders beyond all possibility of
reimbursement. And as regarded his present conspiracy against the
celibacy and salary of Mademoiselle Sendel, a synod of sages and
logicians would have failed to convince him of its impropriety. He
looked upon it as a most justifiable stratagem, a lawful preying upon
the spoiler, praiseworthy in the sight of men, gods, and columns, and
which he would perhaps have boasted of to a considerable extent to many
besides myself, had not secrecy been essential to the welfare of his
combinations. I, of course, did not feel called upon to betray his plot,
or to put the Sendel on her guard against this snake amongst the roses.
And whilst mentally resolving rather to diminish than increase the
intimacy which the confident and confidential artilleryman had in great
measure forced upon me, and which I, through a sort of easy-going
indolence of character, had perhaps somewhat lightly accepted, I
anticipated much diversion in watching the manoeuvres of the high
contracting parties. I considered myself as a spectator, called upon to
witness an amusing comedy in real life, and admitted behind the scenes
by peculiar favour of an actor. I resolved to watch the progress of the
intrigue, and, if possible, to be present at the _denouement_.

"Are you quite certain," said I to Van, "that Mademoiselle Sendel's
pecuniary position and prospects are so very favourable? The sum you
mentioned is a large one for an actress who has been so short a time on
the stage. Public report, very apt to take liberties with the reputation
of theatrical ladies, often endeavours to compensate them by magnifying
their salaries."

Van, I may here mention, lest the reader should not have perceived it,
had a most inordinate opinion of his own abilities and acuteness. Like
certain Yankees, he "conceited" it was necessary to rise before the sun
to outwit him, and even then your chance was a poor one. He had been in
hot water all his life, never out of difficulties and scrapes, once, as
has been shown, kept from suicide by a mere accident, and was now
reduced to the alternative of beggary or of marrying for a living. None
of these circumstances, which would have taken the conceit out of most
men, at all impaired his opinion of his talent and sharpness. Replying
to my observation merely by a slight shrug and smile of pity for the man
who thus misappreciated his foresight, he again produced his
pocket-book, and extracted from its innermost recesses a fragment of a
German newspaper, reputed oracular in matters theatrical. This he handed
to me, tapping a particular paragraph significantly with his forefinger.
The paragraph was thus conceived:--

"Theatrical Intelligence.--That promising young actress, Fraulein Emilie
Sendel--whose first appearance, in the spring of last year, at once
established her in the foremost line of the dramatic genius of the
day--has concluded her twelve months' engagement at the _Hof Theater_ of
B----, where she doubtless considered, and not without reason, that her
talents and exertions were inadequately compensated by a salary of ten
thousand florins. The gay society of that _Residenz_ will sensibly feel
the loss of the accomplished and fascinating comedian, who has accepted
an engagement at Vienna, on the more suitable terms of fifteen thousand
florins, with two months' _congé_, and other advantages. Before
proceeding to ravish the eyes and cars of the pleasure-loving population
of the _Kaiser-Stadt, la belle_ Sendel is off to the baths, under the
protecting wing of the watchful guardian who has presided at all her
theatrical triumphs."

"Clear enough, I think," said Van, when I raised my eyes from the
protracted periods of the penny-a-liner.

I had nothing to say against the lucidity of the paragraph, nor any
thing to urge, at all likely to avail, against the prosecution of Van's
designs upon the lady's hand and fifteen thousand florins, with "two
months' _congé_ and other advantages." No possible sophistry, to which I
was equal, could prove the marriage to be against his interest; and as
to trying him on the tack of delicacy--"imposition on an unprotected
woman,--degrading dependence on her exertions," and so forth--I knew the
thick skin and indomitable self-conceit of the cannonier would repel
such feather-shafts without feeling them, or that the utmost effect I
could expect to produce would be to get myself into a quarrel with the
redoubtable native of the Netherlands, a predicament in which, as a man
of peace, I was by no means anxious to find myself. So after hazarding
the fruitless hint with which the reader was made acquainted at the
commencement of this narrative, I abstained from all further
intermeddling, and retired to my apartment, leaving Van Haubitz to con
the declaration with which he was that evening to rejoice the ears of
the fair and too-confiding Sendel.

I went to bed early that night and, saw nothing more of the Hollander
till the next morning, when I was roused from a balmy slumber at the
untimely hour of seven, by his bursting into my room with more
impetuosity than ceremony, with the gestures of a maniac and shouts of
victory. Before my eyes were half open, he was more than half through
the history of his proceedings on the previous evening. His success had
been complete. Emilie had faltered, with downcast eyes, a sweet assent.
The friendly gloom of eve, and the overarching foliage, beneath whose
shade the momentous question was put, saved her the necessity of
practising upon her lungs to produce a blush. Mamma Sendel had bestowed
her blessing upon the happy pair, and in the ardour of her maternal
accolades had nearly extinguished her future son-in-law's left ogle with
the wire stalk of an artificial passion-flower. The first burst of
benevolence over, and the effervescence of feeling a little subsided,
the bridegroom elect, who could not afford delays, pressed for an early
day. Thereupon Emilie was, of course, horror-stricken, but her maternal
relative, nothing loath to land the fish thus satisfactorily hooked, and
well aware of the impediments that sometimes arise between cup and lip,
ranged herself upon the side of the eager lover, and their combined
forces bore down all opposition. Madame Sendel at first showed an
evident hankering after a preliminary jaunt to Amsterdam and a gay
wedding, graced by the presence of the bridegroom's numerous and wealthy
family. She also testified some anxiety as to the view Van Haubitz
Senior might take of his son's matrimonial project, and as to how far he
might approve of a hasty and unceremonious wedding. But the gallant
artilleryman had an answer to every thing. He pledged himself, which he
was perfectly safe in doing, that his father would not attempt in the
slightest degree to control his inclinations or interfere with his
projects, extolled the delights of an autumnal tour with his wife and
mother-in-law before returning to Holland; in short, was so plausible in
his arguments, so specious and pressing, pleading so eloquently the
violence of his love and inutility of delay, and overruling objections
with such cogent reasoning, that he achieved a complete triumph, and it
was agreed that in one week Van Haubitz should lead his adored Emilie to
the hymeneal altar. In the interval, he would have abundant time to
obtain his father's consent and the necessary papers from Amsterdam--all
of which he doubted not he should most satisfactorily procure by the
kind aid of the accommodating friend who had made him returns for his
remittance.

"There will be a small matter to arrange with respect to Emilie," said
Madame Sendel in her blandest tones, and with affectation of
embarrassment. "She has an engagement at the Vienna theatre, which must
of course now be broken off. There is a forfeit to pay, no very heavy
sum," added she--

"Not a word about that," interrupted Van, whose blood curdled in his
veins, at the mere idea of cancelling the engagement on which his hopes
were built. "There is no hurry for a few days. Let me once call Emilie
mine, and I take charge of all those matters."

Emilie smiled angelically; Madame patted her considerate son-in-law on
the shoulders, and applied to her snuff-box to conceal her emotion; and
all matters of business being thus satisfactorily settled, the evening
closed in harmony and bliss.

"Are you for Frankfort, to-day?" said Van Haubitz, when he had concluded
his exulting narrative, and without giving me time for congratulations,
which I should have been at a loss to offer. "I am off, after breakfast,
to get some diamond earrings and other small matters for my adorable. I
shall be glad of your taste and opinion."

"Diamonds!" I exclaimed. "Farewell, then, to the thousand franc note--"

"Pooh! Nonsense! You don't suppose I throw away my last cash that way.
The Frankfort jewellers know me well, or think they do, which is the
same thing. They have seen enough of my coin since I have been at
Homburg. For them, as for my excellent mother-in-law, I am the wealthy
partner in the undoubted good firm of Van Haubitz, Krummwinkel, & Co. I
never told them so; if they choose to imagine it I am not to blame. My
credit is good. The diamonds shall be paid for--if paid for they must
be--out of Madame Van Haubitz's first quarter's salary."

I was meditating an excuse for not accompanying my pertinacious and
unscrupulous acquaintance on his cruise against the Frankfort
Israelites, when he resumed--

"By the bye," he said, "you will come to church with us. I have arranged
it all. Quite private, for reasons good. Nobody but yourself, Madame
Sendel, and Emilie. You shall act as father, and give away the bride."

The start I gave, at this alarming announcement, nearly broke the bed.
This was carrying things rather too far. Not satisfied with rendering
me, by his intrusive and unsolicited confidence, a sort of tacit
accomplice in his manoeuvres, this Dutch Gil Blas would fain make me an
active participator in the swindle he was practising on the actress and
her mother. I drew at sight on my imagination, quickened by the peril,
for a letter received the previous evening from a dear and near
relative who lay dangerously ill at Baden-Baden, and to whose sick-bed
it was absolutely necessary I should immediately repair; and, jumping
up, I began to dress in all haste, rang furiously for the bill and a
carriage, and requested Van Haubitz to present my excuses to the ladies,
my unexpected departure at that early hour depriving me of the pleasure
of taking leave of them. The Dutchman swore all manner of
_donderwetters_ and _sacraments_ that he was grieved at my departure,
trusted I should find my friend better, and be able to return to
Frankfort in time for the marriage, but did not press me to do so, and
in reality was too exhilarated by the success of his machinations to
care a straw about the matter. And saying he must go and write to
Amsterdam, he shook me by the hand and left the room, whistling in loud
and joyous key the burthen of a Dutch march. In less than an hour I was
on the road to Frankfort, and that evening I reached Heidelberg, where
some friends of mine had passed the summer. I expected to find them
still there, but they had left for Baden-Baden. Thither I pursued them,
and--as if it were a judgment on me for my white lie to the
Dutchman--arrived there the morrow of their departure. Baden was
thinning, and they had gone down stream: I must have passed them on the
Rhine. Having strong reasons to see them before they left Germany, I
followed upon their trail. But their movements were rapid and eccentric,
and after tracking them to one or two of the minor baths, the chase led
me back to Frankfort. Here I made sure to catch them, or resolved to
give up the hunt.

A week had been consumed in thus travelling to and fro. I had no great
fancy for returning to Frankfort, lest my friend the Dutchman should
still be there, and press his society upon me, of which, after his
recent revelations, I was any thing but ambitious. Upon the whole,
however, I thought it likely he would have departed. I knew he would
accelerate his marriage as much as possible; I had been nine days
absent, which gave him ample time to get over the ceremony and leave the
neighbourhood. By way of precaution I resolved to keep pretty close in
my hotel during the period of my stay, which was not to exceed one or
two days.

On arriving at the "White Swan," I found my friends were staying there,
but had driven over to Homburg. Unwilling to follow them, and risk
meeting my bug-bear, I awaited their return, which was to take place to
a late dinner. As usual, there was much bustle at the "Swan;" many
goings and comings, several carriages in the court-yard, others in the
street packing for departure, a throng of greedy _lohn-kutschers_, warm
waiters, and bearded couriers, hanging about the door, and running up
and down stairs. I entered the public room. It was past noon, and the
tables were laid for dinner, but there were only two persons in the
apartment, a gentleman and a lady. They stood at a window, outside of
which a handsome Vienna-made berline, with a count's coronet on the
panels, was getting ready for a journey. As I walked up the room, the
lady turned her head, and I was instantly struck by her resemblance to
Emilie Sendel. So strong was it that I for a moment thought I had fallen
in with the very persons I wished to avoid. A second glance convinced me
of error. The likeness was certainly startling, but there were many
points of difference. Age and stature were the same, so were the hair
and complexion, save that the former was less ruddy, the latter paler
than in the case of the buxom Emilie. And there were grace and
refinement about this person, far beyond any to which the Dutchman's
lady-love could pretend. The expression of the interesting features was
rather pensive than gay, and there was something classical in the arch
of the eyebrow and outline of the face. The lady was plainly but richly
attired in an elegant travelling dress, and had her hand upon the arm of
a tall and very handsome man, about forty years of age, of singularly
aristocratic but somewhat dissipated appearance. They were talking as I
entered, and a sentence or two of their conversation reached my ear.
They spoke French, with a scarcely perceptible foreign accent.

Curious to know who these persons were, I returned to the court of the
hotel, intending to question a waiter. It was first necessary to catch
one, not easy at that busy time of day; and after several fruitless
efforts to detain the jacketed gentry, I gave the attempt, and took my
station at the gateway. Scarcely had I done so, when a carriage drove up
at a rattling pace, a small spit of a boy in a smart green suit, and
with an ambiguous sort of coronet embroidered in silver on the front of
his cap, jumped off and opened the door, and there emerged from the
vehicle, to my infinite dismay, the inevitable Van Haubitz. Retreat was
impossible, for he saw me directly; and after handing out Madame Sendel
and her daughter, seized me vehemently by both hands.

"Delighted to see you!" he cried; "I wish you had been a day sooner. We
were married yesterday," he added in a hurried voice, drawing me aside.
"Have left Homburg, paid every thing _there_, and leave this to-morrow
for Heaven knows where. Explanations must come first, (here he made a
grimace) for my purse is low, and my mother-in-law makes projects that
would ruin Rothschild. Lucky you are here to back me. Come in."

I was fairly caught, and in a pretty dilemma. My first thought was to
knock down the Dutchman, and run for it, but reflection checked the
impulse. Stammering a confused congratulation to the bride and her
mother, and meditating an escape at all hazards, I allowed Madame Sendel
to hook herself on my arm, and lead me into the hotel in the wake of the
newly wedded pair, who made at once for the public room. A magnificent
courier, in a Hungarian dress, with beard, belt, and hunting-knife,
strode past us into the apartment.

"_Herr Graf_," said the man, addressing the distinguished looking
stranger, who had attracted my attention, "the horses are ready."

The Count and his companion turned at the announcement, and found
themselves face to face with our party. There was a general start and
exclamation from the three women. The strange lady turned very pale and
visibly trembled; Madame Van Haubitz gave a slight scream; her mother
flushed as red as the poppies in her head-dress, and hung like a log
upon my arm, glaring angrily at the strangers. For one moment all stood
still; Van Haubitz and I looked at each other in bewilderment. He was
evidently struck by the extraordinary resemblance I had noticed, and
which became more manifest, now the two ladies were seen together.

"Come, Ameline," said the Count, who alone preserved complete
self-possession. And he hurried his companion from the room. Madame
Sendel released my arm, and letting herself fall upon a chair with an
hysterical giggle, closed her eyes and seemed preparing for a
comfortable swoon. Her daughter hastened to her assistance and untied
her bonnet; Van Haubitz grasped a decanter of water and made an alarming
demonstration of emptying it upon the full-moon countenance of his
respectable mother-in-law. I was curious to see him do it, for I had
always had my doubts whether the dowager's colours were what is
technically termed "fast." My curiosity was not gratified. Whether from
apprehension of the remedy or from some other cause, I cannot say, but
Madame Sendel abandoned her faint, and after two or three grotesque
contortions of countenance, and a certain amount of winking and
blinking, was sufficiently recovered to take a huge pinch of snuff, and
ascend the stairs to a private room, with her daughter and son-in-law
for supporters, and half a score waiters and chamber-maids, whom her
hysterical symptoms had assembled, by way of a tail. Seeing her so well
guarded, I thought it unnecessary to add to the escort. As she left the
room, there was a clatter of hoofs outside, and looking through the
window, I saw the coroneted berline whirled rapidly away by four
vigorous posters. Just then the dinner-bell rang, and the obsequious
head-waiter, who with profound bows had assisted at the departure of the
travellers, bustled into the room.

"Who is the gentleman who has just left?" I inquired.

"His Excellency, Count J----," replied the man. It was the name of a
Hungarian nobleman of great wealth, and of reputation almost European
as one of the most fashionable and successful Lotharios of the
dissipated Austrian capital.

"And his companion?"

"The celebrated actress, Fraulein Sendel."

Had the cunning but unlucky Van Haubitz been a regular reader of the
_Theater Zeitung_, or Journal of the Theatres, he would have seen, in
the ensuing number to that whence he derived his information respecting
Mademoiselle Sendel's confirmed popularity and advantageous engagement
the following short but important paragraph:--

"Erratum.--In our yesterday's impression an error occurred, arising from
a similarity of names. It is Fraulein _Ameline_ Sendel who has concluded
with the Vienna theatre, an engagement equally advantageous to herself
and the manager. Her elder sister, Fraulein _Emilie_, continues the
engagement she has already held for two seasons, as a supernumerary
_soubrette_. The amount stated yesterday as her salary would still be
correct, with the abstraction of a zero. Talent does not always run in
families."

This good-natured paragraph, evidently from the pen of a sulky
sub-editor, smarting under a lashing for his blunder of the preceding
day, did not come to my knowledge till some time afterwards, so that the
waiter's reply to my question concerning Count J----'s travelling
companion perplexed me greatly, and plunged me into an ocean of
conjectures. In fact, my curiosity was so strongly roused, that instead
of availing myself of the absence of the Dutchman to escape from the
hotel, I sat down to dinner, resolved not to depart till I heard the
mystery explained. I had not long to wait. Dinner was just over, when I
received a message from Van Haubitz, who earnestly desired to see me. I
found him alone, seated at a table, his chin resting on his hand, anger,
shame, and mortification stamped upon his inflamed countenance. A
tumbler half full of water stood upon the table, beside a bottle of
smelling salts; and, upon entering, I was pretty sure I heard a sound of
sobbing from another room, which ceased, however, when I spoke. There
had evidently been a violent scene. Its cause was explained to me by Van
Haubitz, at first in rather a confused manner, for at each attempt to
detail the circumstances he interrupted himself by bursts of fury. Owing
to this, it was some time before I could arrive at a clear understanding
of the facts of the case. When I did, I could scarcely help feeling
sorry for the unfortunate schemer, although in truth he richly deserved
the disappointment he had met. Never was there a more glaring instance
of excess of cunning over-reaching itself,--for no deception had been
practised by Madame Sendel and her daughter. They doubtless gave
themselves credit for some cleverness and more good fortune in enticing
a rich banker with more ducats than brains, into their matrimonial nets;
and doubtless Fraulein Emile put on her best looks and gowns, her
sweetest smiles and most becoming bonnets, to lure the lion into the
toils. But neither mother nor daughter had for a moment imagined that
Van Haubitz took the latter for the celebrated and successful actress
whose name was known throughout Germany, whilst that of poor Emile,
whose talents were of the most humble order, had scarcely ever
penetrated beyond the wings and green-room of the theatre, where she
enacted unimportant characters for the modest remuneration of a hundred
florins a month. By no means proud of her position as all actress, which
appeared the more lowly when contrasted with her sister's brilliant
success, Emilie had seldom referred to things theatrical since her
acquaintance with Van Haubitz. On his part, the 'cute Dutchman,
conscious of his real motives and anxious to conceal them, abstained
from all direct reference to Mademoiselle Sendel's great talents and
their lucrative results, contenting himself with general compliments,
which passed current without being closely scanned. If he had never
heard either his wife or mother-in-law make mention of Ameline, it was
because they were on the worst possible terms with that young lady, who
had lived, nearly from the period of her first appearance upon the
boards, under the protection of the accomplished libertine, Count
J----, over whom she was said to exercise extraordinary influence. When
she formed this connexion, Madame Sendel, who--in spite of her suspicion
of paint and artificial floriculture--had very strict notions of
propriety, wrote her a letter of furious reproach, renounced her as her
daughter, and prohibited Emilie from holding any communication with her.
Emile, against whose virtue none had ever found aught to say,
sorrowfully obeyed; and, after two or three ineffectual attempts on the
part of Ameline to soften her mother's wrath, all communication ceased
between them. Their next meeting was that at which Van Haubitz and
myself were present. Its singularity, Madame Sendel's fainting fit, and
the resemblance between the sisters, brought on inquiries and an
explanation; and the Dutchman found, to his inexpressible disgust and
consternation, that he had encumbered himself with a wife he cared
nothing for, and a mother-in-law he detested, whose joint income was
largely stated at one hundred and fifty pounds sterling per annum. In
his first paroxysm of rage he taunted them with the mistake they had
made when they thought to secure the love-sick millionaire, proclaimed
himself in debt, disinherited, and a beggar; and, finally, by the
violence of his reproaches and maledictions, drove them trembling and
weeping from the room.

Van Haubitz had sent for me to implore my advice in his present
difficult position; but was so bewildered by passion and overwhelmed by
this sudden awakening from his dream of success and prosperity, that he
was hardly in a condition to listen to reason. His regrets were so
disgustingly selfish, his invectives against the innocent cause of his
disappointment so violent and unmerited, that I should have left him to
his fate and his own devices, had I not thought that my so doing would
make matters worse for the poor girl who had thus heedlessly linked
herself to a fortune-hunter. So I remained; after a while he became
calmer, and we talked over various plans for the future. By my
suggestion, Madame Sendel and her daughter were invited to the
conference. The old lady was sulky and frightened, and would hardly open
her lips; Emilie, on the other hand, made a more favourable impression
on me than she had ever previously done. I now saw, what I had not
before suspected, that she was really attached to Van Haubitz; hitherto,
I had taken her for a mere adventuress, speculating on his supposed
wealth. She spoke kindly and affectionately to him, smiled through the
tears brought to her eyes by his recent brutality, and evidently
trembled each time her mother spoke, lest she should vent a reproach or
refer to his heartless duplicity. She tried to speak confidently and
cheerfully of the future. They must go immediately to Vienna, she said;
there she would apply diligently to her profession; the manager had half
promised her an increase of salary after another year--she was sure she
should deserve it, and meanwhile Van Haubitz, with his abilities, could
not fail to find some lucrative employment. He must get rid of his
accent, she added with a smile, (he spoke a voluble but most execrable
jargon of mingled Dutch and German) and then he might go upon the stage,
where she was certain he would succeed. This last suggestion was made
timidly, as if she feared to hurt the pride of the scapegrace by
proposing such a plan. There was not a word or an accent of reproach in
all she said, and I heartily forgave the little coquetry, affectation,
and vulgarity I had formerly remarked in her, in consideration of the
intuitive delicacy and good feeling she now displayed. Truly, thought I,
it is humbling to us, the bearded and baser moiety of humankind, to
contrast our vile egotism with the beautiful self-devotion of woman, as
exhibited even in this poor actress.

Madame Sendel by no means acquiesced in her daughter's project. The
flesh-pots of Amsterdam had attractions for her, far superior to those
of a struggling and uncertain existence at Vienna. She evidently leaned
upon the hope of a reconciliation between Van Haubitz and his father,
and hinted pretty plainly at the effect that might be produced by a
personal interview with the obdurate banker. I could see she was
arranging matters in her queer old noddle upon the approved theatrical
principle, the penitent son and fascinating daughter-in-law throwing
themselves at the feet of the melting father, who, with handkerchief to
eyes, bestows on them a blubbering benediction and ample subsidy. To my
surprise Van Haubitz also seemed disposed to place hope in an appeal to
his father, perhaps as a drowning man clutches at a straw. He may have
thought that his marriage, imprudent as it was, would be taken as some
guarantee of future steadiness, or at least of abstinence from the
spendthrift courses which had hitherto destroyed all confidence in him.
He could hardly expect his union with a penniless actress to re-instate
him in his father's good graces; but he probably imagined he might
extract a small annuity, as a condition of living at a distance from the
friends he had disgraced. He asked me what I thought of the plan. I of
course did not dissuade him from its adoption, and upon the whole
thought it his best chance, for I really saw no other. After some
deliberation and discussion, he seemed nearly to have made up his mind,
when I was called away to my friends, who had returned from their
excursion.

I was getting into bed that night, when Van Haubitz knocked at my door,
and entered the room with a downcast and dejected air, very different
from his usual boisterous headlong manner.

"I am off to Holland," he said; "'tis my only chance, bad though it be."

"I sincerely wish you success," replied I. "In any case, do not despair;
something will turn up. You have friends in your own country, I have
heard you say. They will help you to occupation."

He shook his head.

"Good friends over a bottle and a dice-box," said he, "but useless at a
pinch like this. Pleasant fellows enough, but scamps like"--myself, he
was going to add, but did not. "I am come to say farewell," he
continued. "I must be off before day-break. I have debts in Frankfort,
and if my departure gets wind, I shall have a dozen duns on my back.
Misfortunes never come alone. As for paying, it is out of the question.
Amongst us we have only about enough money to reach Amsterdam. Once
there--_à la grace de Dieu!_ but I confess my hopes are small. Thanks
for your advice--and for your sympathy too, for I saw this morning you
were sorry for me, though you did not think I deserved pity. Well,
perhaps not. God bless you."

He was leaving the room, but returned.

"I think you said you should stay at Coblenz before returning to
England."

"I shall probably be there a few days towards the end of the month."

"Good. If I succeed, you shall hear from me. What is your address
there?"

"_Poste restante_ will find me," I replied, not very covetous of the
correspondence, and unwilling to give a more exact direction.

Van Haubitz nodded and left me. At breakfast the next morning I learned
that the Dutch baron, as the waiter styled him, had taken his departure
at peep of day.

The first days of October found me still at Coblenz, lingering amongst
the valleys and vineyards, and loath to exchange them for the autumnal
fogs and emptiness of London. Thither, however, I was compelled to
return; and I endeavoured to console myself for the necessity by
discovering that the green Rhine grew brown, the trees scant of leaves,
the evenings long and chilly. I had heard nothing of Van Haubitz, and
had ceased to think of him, when, walking out at dusk on the eve of the
day fixed for my departure, I suddenly encountered him. He had just
arrived by a steamboat coming up stream; his wife and mother-in-law were
with him, and they were about to enter a fifth-rate inn, which, two
months previously, he would have felt insulted if solicited to
patronise. I was shocked by the change that had taken place in all three
of them. In five weeks they had grown five years older. Emilie had lost
her freshness, her eye its sparkle; and the melancholy smile with which
she welcomed me made my heart ache. Madame Sendel's rotund checks had
collapsed, she looked cross and jaundiced, and more snuffy than ever.
Van Haubitz was thin and haggard, his hair and mustaches, formerly
glossy and well-trimmed, were ragged and neglected, his dress, once so
smart and carefully arranged, was soiled and slovenly. My imagination
furnished me with a rapid and vivid sketch of the anxieties and
disappointments and heart-burnings, which, more than any actual bodily
privations, had worked so great a change in so short a time. Van Haubitz
started on seeing me, and faltered in his pace, as if unwilling to enter
the shabby hotel in my presence. The hesitation was momentary. "Worse
quarters than we used to meet in," said he, with a bitter smile. "I will
not ask you into this dog-hole. Wait an instant, and I will walk with
you."

Badly as I thought of Van Haubitz, and indisposed as I was to keep up
any acquaintance with such an unprincipled adventurer, I had not the
heart, seeing him so miserable and down in the world, to turn my back
upon him at once. So I entered the hotel, and waited in the public room.
In a few minutes he reappeared with the two ladies, and we all four
strolled out in the direction of the Rhine. I did not ask the Dutchman
the result of his journey. It was unnecessary. His disheartened air and
general appearance told the tale of disappointment, of humiliating
petitions sternly rejected, of hopes fled and a cheerless future. He
kept silence the while we walked a hundred yards, and then, having left
his wife and mother-in-law out of ear-shot, abruptly began the tale of
his mishaps. As I conjectured, he had totally failed in his attempt to
mollify his father, who was furious at his temerity in appearing before
him, and whose rage redoubled when he heard of his ill-omened marriage.
Unfortunately for Van Haubitz, the jeweller and some other tradesmen at
Frankfort, so soon as they learned his departure, had forwarded their
accounts to the care of the Amsterdam firm; and, although his father had
not the remotest intention of paying them, he was incensed in the
extreme at the slur thus cast upon his house and name. In short, the
unlucky artilleryman at once saw he had no chance of a single kreuzer,
or of the slightest countenance from his father. His applications to his
brothers, and one or two to more distant relatives, were equally
unsuccessful. All were disgusted at his irregularities, angry at his
marriage, incredulous of his promises of reform; and, after passing a
miserable month in Amsterdam, he set out to accompany his wife to
Vienna, whither she was compelled to repair under pain of fine and
forfeiture of her engagement. Although living with rigid economy--on
bread and water, as Van Haubitz expressed it--their finances had been
utterly consumed by their stay in the expensive Dutch capital, and it
was only by disposing of every trinket and superfluity (and of
necessaries too, I feared, when I remembered the slender baggage that
came up with them from the boat) that they had procured the means of
travelling, in the cheapest and most humble manner, and with the
disheartening certainty of arriving penniless at Vienna. Van Haubitz
told me all this, and many other details, with an air of gloomy
despondency. He was hopeless, heart-broken, desperate; and certain
circumstances of his position, which by some would have been held an
alleviation, aggravated it in his eyes. He said little of his wife; but,
from what escaped him, I easily gathered that she had shown strength of
mind, good feeling and affection for him, and was willing to struggle by
his side for a scanty and hard-earned subsistence. His selfish cares and
irritable mood prevented his appreciating or returning her attachment,
and he looked upon her as a clog and an encumbrance, without which he
might again rise in the world. He had always entertained a confident
expectation of enriching himself by marriage; and this hope, which had
buoyed him up under many difficulties, was now gone. From something he
said I suspected he had sounded Emilie on the subject of a divorce, so
easily obtained in Germany, and that she had shown determined
opposition. She evidently possessed a firmness of character more than a
match for her husband's impetuosity and violence.

"I have one resource left," said Van Haubitz. "I have pondered over it
for the last two days, and have almost determined on its adoption."

"What is it?" I asked.

"If I decide upon it," he replied, "you shall shortly know. 'Tis a
desperate one enough."

We had insensibly slackened our pace, and, at this moment, the ladies
came up. Van Haubitz made a gesture, as of impatience at the
interruption.

"Wait for me here," he said, and walked away. Without speculating upon
the motive of his absence, I stood still, and entered into conversation
with the ladies. We were on the quay. The night was mild and calm, but
overcast and exceedingly dark. A few feet below us rolled the dark mass
of the Rhine, slightly swollen by recent rains. A light from an adjacent
window illuminated the spot, and cast a flickering gleam across the
water. Unwilling to refer to their misfortunes, I spoke to Emilie on
some general topic. But Madame Sendel was too full of her troubles to
tolerate any conversation that did not immediately relate to them, and
she broke in with a long history of grievances, of the hard-heartedness
of the Amsterdam relations, the cruelty of Emilie's position, her
son-in-law's helplessness, and various other matters, in a querulous
tone, and with frightful volubility. The poor daughter, I plainly saw,
winced under this infliction. I was waiting the smallest opening to
interrupt the indiscreet old lady, and revert to commonplace, when a
distant splash in the water reached my ears. The women also heard it,
and at the same instant a presentiment of evil came over us all. Madame
Sendel suddenly held her tongue and her breath; Emilie turned deadly
pale, and without saying a word, flew along the quay in the direction of
the sound. She had gone but a few yards when her strength failed her,
and she would have fallen but for my support. There was a shout, and a
noise of men running. Leaving Madame Van Haubitz to the care of her
mother, I ran swiftly along the river side, and soon reached a place
where the deep water moaned and surged against the perpendicular quay.
Here several men were assembled, talking hurriedly and pointing to the
river. Others each moment arrived, and two boats were hastily shoved off
from an adjacent landing-place.

"A man in the river," was the reply to my hasty inquiry.

It was so dark that I could not distinguish countenances close to me,
and at a very few yards even the outline of objects was scarcely to be
discerned. There were no houses close at hand, and some minutes elapsed
before lights were procured. At last several boats put off, with men
standing in the bows, holding torches and lanterns high in the air.
Meanwhile I had questioned the by-standers, but could get little
information; none as to the person to whom the accident had happened.
The man who had given the alarm, was returning from mooring his boat to
a neighbouring jetty, when he perceived a figure moving along the quay a
short distance in his front. The figure disappeared, a heavy splash
followed, and the boatman ran forward. He could see no one either on
shore or in the stream, but heard a sound as of one striking out and
struggling in the water. Having learned this much, I jumped into a boat
just then putting off, and bid the rowers pull down stream, keeping a
short distance from the quay. The current ran strong, and I doubted not
that the drowning man had been carried along by it. Two vigorous oarsmen
pulled till the blades bent, and the boat, aided by the stream, flew
through the water. A third man held a torch. I strained my eyes through
the darkness. Presently a small object floated within a few feet of the
boat, which was rapidly passing it. It shone in the torchlight. I struck
at it with a boat-hook, and brought it on board. It was a man's cap,
covered with oilskin, and I remembered Van Haubitz wore such a one.
Stripping off the cover, I beheld in officer's foraging cap, with a
grenade embroidered on its front. My doubts, slight before, were
entirely dissipated.

When the search, rendered almost hopeless by the extreme darkness and
power of the current, was at last abandoned, I hastened to the hotel,
and inquired for Madame Sendel. She came to me in a state of great
agitation. Van Haubitz had not returned, but she thought less of that
than of the state of her daughter, who, since recovering from a long
swoon, had been almost distracted with anxiety. She knew some one had
been drowned, and her mind misgave her it was her husband. The
foraging-cap, which Madame Sendel immediately recognised, removed all
uncertainty. The only hope remaining was, that Van Haubitz, although
carried rapidly away by the power of the current, had been able to
maintain himself on the surface, and had got ashore at some considerable
distance down the river, or had been picked up by a passing boat. But
this was a very feeble hope, and for my own part, and for more than one
reason, I placed no reliance on it. I left Madame Sendel to break the
painful intelligence to her daughter, and went home, promising to call
again in the morning.

As I had expected, nothing was heard of Van Haubitz, nor any vestige of
him found, save the foraging-cap I had picked up. Doubtless, the Rhine
had borne down his lifeless corpse to the country of his birth. The next
day Coblenz rang with the death of the unfortunate Dutchman. A stranger,
and unacquainted with the localities, he was supposed to have walked
over the quay by accident. I thought differently; and so I knew did
Madame Sendel and Emilie. I saw the former early the next day. She was
greatly cast down about her daughter, who had passed a sleepless night,
was very weak and suffering, but who nevertheless insisted on continuing
her journey the following morning.

"We must go," said her mother; "if we delay, Emilie loses her
engagement, and how can we both live on my poor jointure? Weeping will
not bring him back, were he worth it. To think of the misery he has
caused us!"

I ventured to hint an inquiry as to their means of prosecuting their
journey. The old lady understood the intention, and took it kindly. "But
she needed no assistance," she said; "Van Haubitz (and this confirmed
our strong suspicion of suicide) had given their little stock of money
into his wife's keeping only a few hours before his death."

That afternoon I left Coblenz for England.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a certain Wednesday of the present year, after enjoying the excellent
acting of Bouffé in two of his best characters, I paused a moment to
speak to a friend in the crowded lobby of the St James's Theatre. Whilst
thus engaged, I became aware that I was an object of attention to two
persons, whom I had an indistinct notion of having seen before, but when
or where, or who they might be, I had not the remotest idea. One of them
was a comfortable-looking, middle-aged man, with a bald head, a smooth,
clean-shaven face, and an incipient ventral rotundity. His complexion
was clear and wholesome, his countenance good-humoured, his whole
appearance bespoke an existence free from care, nights of sound sleep,
and days of tranquil enjoyment. His face was too sleek to be very
expressive, but there was a shrewd, quick look in the eye, and I set him
down in my mind as a wealthy German merchant or manufacturer (some small
peculiarities of costume betrayed the foreigner) come to show London to
his wife--a well-favoured _Frau_, fat, fair, but some years short of
forty--who accompanied him, and who, as well as her better-half, seemed
to honour me with very particular notice. My confabulation over, I was
leaving the theatre, when a sleek soft hand was gently passed through my
arm. It was my friend the fat foreigner. I strained my eyes and my
memory, but in vain; I felt very puzzled, and doubtless looked so, for
he smiled, and advancing his head, whispered a name in my ear. It was
that of Van Haubitz.

I started, looked again, doubted, and was at last convinced. _Minus_
mustache and whisker, which were closely shaven, and half his hair, of
which the remainder was considerably grizzled; _plus_ a degree of
corpulence such as I should never have thought the slender lieutenant of
artillery capable of acquiring; his heated, sun-burnt complexion, and
dissipated look, exchanged for a fresh colour and benevolent placidity;
the Dutchman I had left on the Rhine stood beside me in the lobby of the
French theatre. I turned to the lady: she was less changed than her
companion, and now that I was upon the track, I recognised Emilie
Sendel. By this time we were in the street. Van Haubitz handed his wife
into a carriage.

"Come and sup with us," he said, "and I will explain."

I mechanically obeyed, and in less than three minutes, still tongue-tied
by astonishment, I alighted at the door of a fashionable hotel in a
street adjoining Piccadilly.

A few lines will convey to the reader the substance of the long
conversation which kept the resuscitated Dutchman and myself from our
beds for fully two hours after our unexpected meeting. I had been right
in supposing that he had thrown himself voluntarily into the river;
wrong in my belief that he meditated suicide. An excellent swimmer, he
had taken the water to get rid of his wife. He might certainly have
chosen a drier method, and have given her the slip in the night-time or
on the road; but she had shown, whenever he referred to the possibility
of their separation, such a determination to remain with him at all
risks and sacrifices, that he felt certain she would be after him as
soon as she discovered his absence. He had formed a wild scheme of
returning to Amsterdam, and haunting his family until, through mere
weariness and vexation, they supplied him with funds for all outfit to
Sumatra. There he trusted to redeem his fortunes, as he had heard that
others of no greater abilities or better character than himself had
already done. A more extravagant project was never formed, and indeed
all his acts, during the six weeks that followed his marriage, were more
or less eccentric and ill-judged. This he admitted, when relating them
to me, and probably would not have been sorry to place them to the score
of actual mental derangement. The only redeeming touch in his conduct,
at that, the blackest period of his life, was his leaving, as I have
already mentioned, what money he had to his wife and her mother,
reserving but a few florins for his own support.

With these in his pocket, he proposed proceeding on foot to Amsterdam.
After landing on the right bank of the Rhine, he walked the greater part
of the night, as the best means of drying his saturated garments. When
weariness at last compelled him to pause, it was not yet daylight, no
house was open, and he threw himself on some straw in a farm-yard. He
awoke in a high fever, the result of his immersion, of exposure and
fatigue, acting on a frame heated and weakened by anxiety and mental
suffering. He obtained shelter at the neighboring farm-house, whose
kind-hearted inhabitants carefully tended him for several weeks, during
which his life was more than once despaired of. His convalescence was
long, and not till the close of the year could he resume his journey
northwards, by short stages, chiefly on foot. Unfavourable as his
prospects were, his good star had not yet set. This very illness, as
occasioning a delay, was a stroke of good fortune. Had he at once
proceeded to Holland, his family, in hopes to get rid of him for ever,
would probably have given him the small sum he needed for an outfit to
the Indian Archipelago, and he would have sailed thither before the 31st
of December, on which day his father, a joyous liver, and confirmed
votary of Bacchus, eat and drank to such an extent to celebrate the exit
of the old year and commencement of the new, that he fell down, on his
way to his bed, in a thundering fit of apoplexy, and was a corpse before
morning. The day of his funeral, Van Haubitz, footsore and emaciated,
and reduced to his last pfenning, walked wearily into the city of
Amsterdam. There a great surprise awaited him.

"Your father had not disinherited you?" I exclaimed, when the Dutchman
made a momentary pause at this point of his narrative.

"He had left a will devising his entire property to my brothers, and not
even naming me. But a slight formality was omitted, which rendered the
document of no more value than the parchment it was drawn upon. The
signature was wanting. My father had the weakness, no uncommon one, of
disliking whatever reminded him of his mortality. He would have fancied
himself nearer his grave had he signed his will. And thus he had delayed
till it was too late. I found myself joint heir with my brothers. By far
the greater part of my father's large capital was embarked in his bank,
and in extensive financial operations, which it would have been
necessary to liquidate at considerable disadvantage, to operate the
partition prescribed by law. Seeing this, I proposed to my brothers to
admit me as partner in the firm, with the stipulation that I should have
no active share in its direction, until my knowledge of business and
steadiness of conduct gave them the requisite confidence in me. After
some deliberation they agreed to this; and three years later their
opinion of me had undergone such a change, that two of them retired to
estates in the country, leaving me the chief management of the concern."

"And Madame Van Haubitz; when did she rejoin you?"

"Immediately the change in my fortunes occurred. Reckless as I at that
time was, and utterly devoid of feeling as you must have thought me, I
could not remember without emotion the disinterested affection,
delicacy, and unselfishness she had exhibited on discovery of my real
circumstances. During my long illness I had had time to reflect, and
when I left my sick-bed in that rude but hospitable German farm-house,
it was as a penitent past offences, and with a strong resolution to
atone them. Within a week after my father's funeral, I was on my way to
Vienna, to fetch Emilie to the opulent home she had anticipated when she
married me. Her joy at seeing me was scarcely increased when she heard I
now really was the rich banker she had at first thought me."

"And Madame Sendel?"

"Returned to Amsterdam with us. There was good about the old lady, and
by purloining her artificials, limiting her snuff, and soaking her in
tea, she was made endurable enough. Until her death, which occurred a
couple of years ago, she passed her time alternately with us and her
younger daughter."

"She became reconciled to Mademoiselle, Ameline?"

"Ameline had been Countess J---- all the time. She was privately married.
For certain family reasons the Count had conditioned that their union
should for a while be kept secret. Seeing that her equivocal position
and her mother's displeasure preyed upon her health and spirits, he
declared his marriage. She left the stage to become a reigning beauty in
the best society of Austria, lady of half a dozen castles, and sovereign
mistress of as many thousand Hungarian boors."

Van Haubitz remained some time in London, and I saw him often. He was as
much changed in character as in personal appearance. The sharp lessons
received, about the period of our first acquaintance, had made a strong
impression on him; and the summer-tide of prosperity suddenly setting
in, had enabled him to realise good intentions and honourable resolves,
which the chill current of adversity might have frozen in the germ. Some
of those who read these lines may have occasion, when visiting the
country stigmatised by the snarling Frenchman as the land of _canards_,
_canaux_, and _canaille_, to receive cash in the busy counting-house,
and hospitality the princely mansion of one of its most respected
bankers. None, I am well assured, will discern in their amiable and
exemplary entertainer any vestige of the disreputable impulses and evil
passions that sullied the early life of "My Friend the Dutchman."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh._





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