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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 348
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 348" ***

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



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



{Transcriber's note: Spellings are sometimes erratic. A few obvious
misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling has
been retained. Accents in the French phrases are inconsistent, and have
not been standardised. Greek phrases have been transliterated, and are
enclosed in + signs +anekdotoi+.}


BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCXLVIII.    OCTOBER, 1844.    VOL. LVI.


CONTENTS.

    THE LIFE OF A DIPLOMATIST,                              401

    POEMS AND BALLADS OF GOETHE. NO. II.,                   417

    THE GREAT DROUGHT,                                      433

    A TENDER CONSCIENCE,                                    454

    THIERRY'S HISTORY OF THE GAULS,                         466

    THE WITCHFINDER. CONCLUSION,                            487

    MY LAST COURTSHIP; OR, LIFE IN LOUISIANA,               507

    GREECE UNDER THE ROMANS.                                524

       *       *       *       *       *

    EDINBURGH:
    WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
    AND 22, PALL-MALL, LONDON.

_To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._

SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCXLVIII.    OCTOBER, 1844.    VOL. LVI.



THE LIFE OF A DIPLOMATIST.{A}


This is one of those curious memoirs which, from time to time, start
forth from the family archives of public men, for the illustration of
the past and the wisdom of the future. Nothing can be more important to
either the man of office or the man of reflection. Avoiding all the
theoretical portion of history, on which all men may be mistaken, they
give us its facts, on which no one can be deceived; detailing the course
of personal events, they supply us with the views of the most
intelligent minds directly employed in the transactions, exhibit the
portraits of those minds, and point out to those who are to follow, the
effect of vigour, intrepidity, and knowledge, in overcoming the
difficulties of nations.

The work on which we are about to make some remarks, is one of those
productions which do especial honour to the English aristocracy. It is
the diplomatic career of the founder of a peerage; compiled and
published by the third in succession to the earldom. The noble editor,
professing to have done but little in this office of reverence and duty,
has done much--he has paid due honour to a manly, wise, and vigorous
ancestor; and he has set a striking example to the young nobility of his
time. The libraries of every noble family of England contain similar
records of the highest value; and nothing could be at once more
honourable to the memory of the gallant and renowned who have passed
away, or more important to posterity, than to give those documents to
the light, illustrated by the recollections of their noble descendants,
and brought before the public with the natural advantages of
authenticity and authority.

Lord Malmesbury's career continued through one of the most interesting
portions of the last century; that which was the preparative for the
great catastrophe of its close, the overthrow of the French monarchy. He
was in the service of his country, as a diplomatist, from 1768 to 1797;
and for many succeeding years was in connexion with all the leading
political characters of a time singularly fertile in remarkable men. He
was born at Salisbury in 1746, the descendant of an old English family,
possessed of property in Wiltshire. His father was an eminent scholar,
the author of _Hermes_, and other well known treatises on literary and
philosophical subjects. But the scholar was also a man of active public
life. Entering into parliament, he was appointed a lord of the treasury
in 1763, and secretary and comptroller of the Queen's household some
years after. A _bon-mot_ of one of the Townsends is recorded, on his
taking his seat.

"Who is the new member?" asked Townsend.

"A Mr Harris, who has written on grammar and harmony."

"Then what brings him here, where he will hear _neither_?"

The son of such a man had public life before him as his natural source
of distinction; and Lord Malmesbury, late in life, (in 1800,) thus
gracefully commemorated his gratitude. "To my father's precepts and
example I owe every good quality I have. To his reputation and his
character, I attribute my more than common success in life. It was those
that introduced me with peculiar advantage into the world. It was as his
son that I first obtained friends and patrons. I had nothing in myself;
and I speak, at the distance of thirty-five years, not from affected
modesty, but from a powerful recollection of what there was to entitle
me to notice. Once, indeed, placed in a conspicuous and responsible
situation, I was anxious to act becomingly in it. And even here I recur
with pleasure to the same grateful source; for while my father lived,
which was during the first twelve years of my public life, the strongest
incentive I had to exert myself was in the satisfaction I knew he would
derive from any credit I might acquire; and the many and distinguished
honours which I have since received, have suffered a great diminution in
my esteem, from his being no longer a witness to them."

He was sent to Winchester, where he remained till he was sixteen. From
Winchester he was transferred to Oxford, where the discipline at that
period was so relaxed, that his only surprise in after life was at the
success of so many of his companions, among whom were Charles Fox, North,
Bishop of Winchester, Lord Robert Spenser, Lord Auckland, and others, who
had risen to rank of various kinds. He left Oxford in 1765, and passed
thirty-five years on the Continent. His lordship here makes a striking
observation on his own experience, which has been authenticated by every
intelligent and honest mind under the same circumstances--remarking that
his foreign residence was so far from making him undervalue England, that
it raised it still higher in his estimation. He adds--"Here I will make
an assertion, grounded on experience and conviction, and which may be
applied as a never-failing test, that an Englishman who, after a long
absence from England, returns to it with feelings and sentiments partial
to other countries, and adverse to his own, has no _real_ mind--is
without the powers of discernment and plain easy comparison--and has no
title to enjoy the superior moral and local advantages to which he is
born, but of which he is insensible and unworthy."

As diplomacy was evidently the career marked out for him by his father,
he was sent to study at Leyden, where he remained a year. In the
commencement of the century, Holland was the central point of all
European negotiations; and its schools became famous for languages and
the study of international law. The society among the higher orders of
the country was the most intelligent in Europe, consisting of
ambassadors and scholars of the first character. After this year of
vigorous study, and some brief stay at home, he returned to the
Continent, and made an extensive tour of the north. In the autumn of
this year he received his first diplomatic appointment, in the mission
to Spain. His success in the Falkland Island negotiation recommended him
to government, and he was appointed minister at Berlin--a very unusual
distinction for a diplomatist only twenty-four years old. But a still
more important distinction now awaited him. In 1777 he was sent as
minister to the court of the Empress Catharine, where he found himself
involved in all the craft of diplomacy with two of the most artful
sovereigns that ever lived, Frederick and Catharine. But difficulties
only place talents in a more conspicuous point of view, and he received
from his government the highest reward then conferred upon a foreign
minister, the Order of the Bath, in 1780. The climate of Russia was at
length found too severe for his health, and he petitioned for his
recall, which was granted, but with the honourable offer of his choice
of a mission either to Spain or the Hague; the former was the higher in
rank, but the latter the more important in activity. He unhesitatingly,
and wisely, chose the embassy to the Hague. In 1784, the Foxite
administration fell, and Pitt was in the ascendant. Harris had been at
all times connected with Fox, and had constantly voted with him in the
House; but so high was the public sense of his ability, and such was the
impartiality of Pitt's sense of public duty, that he offered him the
re-appointment to the Hague, which Harris, after consulting Fox and the
Duke of Portland as his political leaders, accepted. His services were
peculiarly required at this period, from the violent discussions which
had arisen in Holland; and he either originated, or perfected, the
treaty of alliance between England, Holland, and Prussia, which saved
the Stadtholder for the time, and Holland probably from being made a
French province. His conduct was regarded with so much approbation by
the allies, that he received from the Prussian king leave to add the
Prussian eagle to his arms, and from the Stadtholder, his motto, "_Je
maintiendrai_." From England he received the more substantial rewards of
the peerage, by the title of Baron Malmesbury, and the appointment of
ambassador. But though he was a Whig, he was one on the old English
principle, and not on the new. In 1793, when in the midst of
revolutionary horrors, and after the murder of the unfortunate French
king, Fox, in the spirit of infatuation, declared himself ready to
acknowledge the French republic, all the chief leaders of the Whigs
retired from the Opposition bench. The Duke of Portland, Lord
Loughborough, Sir Gilbert Elliott, Lord Spenser, and Lord Malmesbury,
joined those distinguished persons; yet without any apparent loss of
friendship with Fox, whose manners retained personal friends even when
he had lost their political confidence. Frederick William, king of
Prussia, a prince of singularly undecided character, though of loud
professions, being at this time suspected of a leaning towards the
revolutionists, Lord Malmesbury was immediately sent by Pitt to Berlin,
for the purpose of holding him to his good faith. He succeeded, to the
extent of making the king sign an additional treaty with England and
Holland.

His next mission, if not one of more importance, was of still greater
delicacy--it was to ask the hand of the Duke of Brunswick's daughter for
the Prince of Wales. This was a marriage by compulsion, and the wrath of
the prince fell upon the noble negotiator. He never forgave Lord
Malmesbury, and he quickly alienated himself from the princess: the
unfortunate result is fully known. In 1796, and 1797, Lord Malmesbury
was engaged in the most important negotiation of his life. The French
Directory, probably for the purpose of exciting dissensions between
Austria and England, made a secret proposal of peace, which led to the
mission of an ambassador. But while Napoleon was pursuing his conquests
in Italy, France had no actual desire of pacification. The purpose was
evidently to gain time; and Lord Malmesbury, on discovering the true
nature of the transaction, demanded his passports, and returned to
England. It cannot be imputed to Pitt, that he was ever negligent of
those who had done the state service. Lord Malmesbury had already
obtained the Order of the Bath, and a barony; he was now raised to an
earldom, with a viscounty, by the title of Lord Fitzharris; and it was
in Pitt's contemplation to send him once more to Paris, when his
ministry was suddenly brought to a conclusion, and Mr Addington was
appointed premier; by whom the peace, or rather the unlucky truce of
Amiens, was made. His political life was now at an end. He had been for
some time suffering under deafness, which increased so much, that he
regarded it as incapacitating him from public employment; yet he still
loved society, and, dividing his time between London and his seat near
Henley, he passed a pleasant and cheerful time, mingling with the chief
characters of the rising political generation. For the last ten years of
his life, his thoughts seem to have been much directed to religious
subjects; and he kept what he entitled a "self-controlling journal," in
which he registered his thoughts. We have probably reason to regret that
the scrupulous delicacy of his biographer has hitherto withheld it from
the public. The few sentences transcribed from it, give a strong
conception of the piety and clear-headedness of the noble author. They
were written within a fortnight of his death. They describe him as
"having completed his 74th year, and having thus lived longer than any
of his ancestors for the last two centuries; that his existence had been
without any great misfortune, and without any acute disease, and that he
owed all praise and thanksgiving to the Supreme Being; that the next
step would probably be his last; that he was now too much exhausted,
both in mind and body, to be of service to his country, but was
fortunate in leaving his children well and happy; and that he now waited
the Divine will with becoming resignation."

He died without disease, and through mere exhaustion of nature, in his
75th year, in 1820, and was buried in Salisbury cathedral.

Lord Malmesbury's reputation ranked very high in the diplomatic circles
of the Continent. He was a clear-headed, well-informed, and active
minister--sagacious enough to see his way through difficulties which
would have perplexed inferior men, and bold enough to act according to
his own opinion, where feebler minds would have ruined all, by waiting
for the tardy wisdom of others. Talleyrand, a first-rate judge on such
subjects, said of him, in his epigrammatic style--"I think that Lord
Malmesbury was the ablest minister whom you had in his time. It was
hopeless to get before him; all that could be done was to follow him
close. If one let him have the last word, he contrived always to have
the best of the argument." He seems to have been a thorough Englishman
in the highest sense of the word, and to have had the loftiest opinion
of the power and principles of England; not from any fantastic
prejudice, but from the experience of a long life, with the best
opportunities of forming an unprejudiced judgment. We have already
mentioned his declared opinion after living long abroad, and as a great
diplomatic functionary, living under the most advantageous circumstances
of foreign society; that any Englishman who, after a residence abroad,
prefers the Continent to his own country, is beyond all question a man
of gross and contemptible mind, and incapable of taking a "common-sense
view" of the subject. We have his constant testimony, that "as there is
nothing equal to England on the face of the earth, so no exertion on the
part of her people can be too great in defence of her freedom and
honour." In conformity with this matured conviction, and reigning
principle of his heart, he chose as the motto for his coronet--

    "Ubique patriam reminisci."{B}

Mr Harris's first visit to the Continent was in 1767, when he set out on
a tour to Holland, Prussia, and Poland, remaining for some time at
Berlin, where he had the advantage of seeing the cleverest, though the
most eccentric, of all sovereigns, Frederick the Great. A number of
traits of character are given, of various degrees of force, but all
expressive. The king's chief amusement was playing on the flute, on
which he performed very well for an amateur, though, compared with the
professional performers, he necessarily made rather an unkingly figure.
Frederick, who was afraid of nothing else, was so much afraid of failure
in his flute playing, that whenever he had a new piece of music, he shut
himself up in his closet some hours beforehand, to practise it; and
although no one was permitted to be present at those concerts except a
very few select friends, he was always observed to be remarkably nervous
at the commencement. He had a fine collection of flutes, all made by the
same man, and for which he paid a hundred ducats a-piece. He had an
attendant whose sole office was to keep those flutes in order. During
the war, when his finances were reduced to so low an ebb that he paid
bad coin to every one, he took care that his flute-maker should be paid
in good coin, lest, for bad money, he should give him bad flutes. Royal
architecture is not always fortunate. It is observed that Louis XIV.
built his famous Versailles in a swampy hollow, when he had the noble
terrace of St Germain before him. Frederick built his Sans-Souci in a
marshy meadow, while he had a fine hill within sight. Unhappily _we_
have but little to boast of in the location of our modern palaces. The
site of Buckingham Palace seems to have been chosen with no other object
than to discover which was the superior annoyance, the smoke of
steam-engines or the vapours of a swamp; and this was chosen with one of
the finest possible situations within half a mile of it, in the centre
of Hyde Park. Her Majesty's palace at Brighton has been located with
exactly the same curious perversion of taste; the hills to the north of
that very handsome town offering one of the noblest situations that can
be conceived--a fine land view, and an unobstructed sweep of the ocean:
but the evil genius of building prevailed, and the palace is fixed in a
gloomy bottom, from which it can be overlooked by every body, and from
which nothing can be seen. Frederick, though sometimes superb in his
expenses, was habitually penurious. He seems to have thought that war
was the only thing on which it was worth his while to spend money. The
salaries of his gentlemen and attendants were all on the narrowest
scale. Lord Malmesbury observes that even the Prince of Dessau's
marriage, at which he was present, exhibited this penury. All the
apartments, except those immediately used for supper or cards, were
lighted with a single candle. The supper had no dessert; the wines were
bad; their quantity stinted. On his asking, after dancing, for some wine
and water, he was answered--"the wine is all gone, but you may have some
tea;" and this was a peculiarly distinguished party. He saw the king
himself directing the servants in lighting up the ball-room, and telling
them where to put the candles. Whilst this operation was performing, the
queen, the royal family, and the company, were waiting literally in the
dark; as the king did not begin this ceremony till supper was finished,
and no one dared to give orders to have it done. Frederick, when a young
man, was intended for the husband of a British princess. This was a
match of his mother's construction. But the old king, who hated George
II., threatened to cut off his son's head for his presumption. The
English king called the Prussian "my brother the sergeant;" the Prussian
retaliated by calling the English king "my brother the dancing-master."
This hostility amounted to a mixture of the profane and the ludicrous.
When the old king was seized with his mortal illness, he asked whether
"it was necessary to forgive all his enemies." On receiving the proper
answer, he said to the Queen--"Dorothy, write to your brother that I
forgive him all the evil that he has done me; but wait till I'm dead
first." A good repartee of Sir Andrew Mitchell on the battle of Quebec,
is mentioned. "Is it true," said the king to him, "that, after all, you
have taken Quebec?" "Yes, sire," said Sir Andrew Mitchell the envoy, "by
the help of Providence." "What!" said the king, "is Providence among
your allies?" "Yes," said the envoy, "and the only one among then who
demands _no subsidy_."

Sir Charles Williams wrote to one of the queen's marshals a letter
introducing Lord Essex, ludicrously finishing with--"You may be sure
that it is not he who had his head cut off in the time of Elizabeth."
The marshal, not perfectly understanding this, but depending on his
information, introduced him in this style to her majesty--"Madam, my
Lord Essex; and I assure your majesty it is not he who was decapitated
by Queen Elizabeth."

Frederick, sending a minister to Denmark who complained of the smallness
of his salary, and said that he could keep neither an equipage nor a
table; the king's remark to him was--"You are a prodigal; you ought to
know that it is more healthy to go on foot than it is to go in a
carriage; and that, so far as eating is concerned, another man's table
is always the best."

At this period Poland was in a state of great confusion. The Empress of
Russia had marched an army into it for the purpose, as she declared, of
allowing the popular representatives to act freely, while the king
regarded himself as little better than her prisoner. Repnin, the Russian
ambassador, actually commanded every thing; and the principal nobility
of Poland were compelled to be his agents. Of course, this state of
things never could have occurred in any country where the tone of
manners was high; and Poland, though the people were brave, and the
nobility in general patriotic, unquestionably fell by its own vices.
The portrait drawn of Prince Radzivil is the reverse of flattering, but
it is characteristic:--

"Prince Radzivil, the marshal of the confederation, was one of the most
powerful princes of Poland. His revenues were nearly equal to half a
million sterling a-year, though they were at this period much diminished
by Russian ravages. He had at one time an army of eight thousand man,
with which he opposed the Imperial progress. He afterwards became the
tool of the Russian policy, and was rewarded with the first palatinate
of the kingdom. He gave a masquerade on the empress's birthday to near
three thousand masks; and it was calculated that, besides the other
wines, they drank a thousand bottles of champagne." The prodigality of a
Polish feast exceeds all comprehension. This prince kept open house on
such a scale, that his five-and-twenty cooks were scarcely able to
supply his table. The great article of luxury in Poland was Hungary
wine, which they had in great perfection, but which was very costly.
Champagne was drunk as cider. The multitude of servants in a Polish
establishment must have been ruinous. Prince Czartoriski's personal
attendants and servants amounted to three hundred and seventy-five.
Those in his country-house were still more numerous. His troops amounted
to four thousand men. Prince Repnin, though of the Greek church, which
abounds in forms and ceremonies, and in fasts exceeds all others, had so
little regard for the forms of his religion, that he ordered a play to
be acted on Ash Wednesday at Warsaw. Towards Christmas 1767, Lord
Malmesbury, then Mr Harris, was at the house of a Polish nobleman in the
hunting season. He observed to the king that he had never seen him in
better spirits. "Ah!" was the royal answer, "it is very pleasant to
delude one's self sometimes."

In 1768 Mr Harris began his diplomatic life as secretary of legation
under Sir James Gray, then British minister at the court of Madrid.

He set out from Paris on the last day of the year, and after
six-and-twenty days' journey, in which he loitered but two days on the
road, accomplished the eleven hundred miles without accident.

Though accustomed to Popish countries, the Spanish ceremonials of the
Holy Week seem to have surprised him. In the streets was kept a second
carnival, with a peculiar costume. The court and the higher orders wore
black velvet, with flame-coloured waistcoats and sleeves trimmed with
gold; the citizens left their shops, and spent the day in the streets.
The king on Holy Thursday visited seven churches, washed the feet of
twelve paupers, and afterwards served them at dinner. From Friday till
Saturday all was silence, and no coaches were permitted in the streets.
On Saturday at noon the bells rang, the people shouted, the coaches
moved again, and all was clamour. From a personal knowledge of the
people, Mr Harris pronounced that their defects arose from their
religion and from their priests; both of which, by keeping the lower
orders in a state of mendicity and the higher in a state of ignorance,
prevent the progress of the nation. Even at this period, their dislike
of the French was contemptuous and strongly marked.

The life of a diplomatic man is not unlike the life of a naval officer.
He has frequent opportunities of signalizing himself in a small way. The
cabinet is the admiral, commanding a large force, and acting on a large
scale. The diplomatist is the captain of the frigate, thrown out at a
distance to make his observations, and enabled to exhibit his
intrepidity and talent, through, from the smallness of his means, the
results may be equally small. In 1769, Sir James Gray returning to
England, left Mr Harris behind him as _chargé d'affaires_. In the next
year Spain, always jealous of any foreign approach to her South American
possessions, fitted out a fleet for the purpose of expelling the British
colony from the Falkland Isles. Harris acted spiritedly on this
occasion. He instantly made so strong a representation to the Spanish
minister, the Marquis Grimaldi, that he threw him into evident alarm.
The letter to the British ministry which Harris wrote on the subject,
satisfied them of the advantage of making a vigorous remonstrance. The
result to the country was, that the colony, which had been seized, was
restored, and that the officer who seized it was disgraced by the
Spanish government. To Harris the whole transaction was regarded as
honourable, and entitling him to the favour of his government. The
result was, his being appointed, in 1771, as minister at the court of
the most subtle and busy monarch of Europe, Frederick the Second.

We now come to the partition of Poland, the most momentous transaction
of modern times; excepting the French Revolution, if even that
revolution was not its consequence. Mr Harris makes his first
communication on this important subject in March 1772. If we read his
whole letter, the brevity of his announcement is a model even to
diplomacy. He thus states the event to Lord Suffolk, then secretary of
state.

"Just as I am going to make up my packet, I am informed that a treaty of
partition, disposing of several parts of Poland, was signed at
Petersburg on the 15th of last month, and that as soon as the
certificates can be exchanged between the courts of Vienna, Berlin, and
Russia, a congress will be held at Warsaw." A few statements respecting
the Prussian officers dispatched to the Polish frontier are given; and
this seems to be the whole announcement of one of the most atrocious
acts of perfidy and blood in the memory of Europe.

The French Revolution was begun on grounds independent of foreign
disturbances. But no man can read the annals of the French war, without
a conviction, that one of its providential purposes was the punishment
of the three monarchies which had perpetrated this atrocity. Within a
brief period from the first ruin of Polish independence, the French
armies began those sweeping conquests which were destined especially to
ravage Prussia, Austria, and Russia. The punishment seemed even to bear
something like a proportion to the degree of guilt in each of the
parties. The original proposer of the partition was Frederick, the
strenuous participator was Catharine, and the unwilling, though
consenting accomplice, was Joseph. Before that war was over, Napoleon
reduced Prussia to the lowest condition of a conquered country,
plundered her of millions of gold, held her fortresses by his garrisons,
and treated her like a province. His invasion of Russia was next in
havoc: the ravage of the country, the repulse and slaughter of her brave
and patriotic armies, and the destruction of her ancient capital, were
_her_ share of the punishment. Austria suffered, but her suffering was
of a lighter order--defeat in the field, havoc of the people, and the
double capture of her capital; yet those wounds were rapidly healed, and
the close of the war saw Austria taking a higher rank in Europe. Those
struggles and sufferings extended over nearly a quarter of a century of
unexampled bloodshed. It is remarkable that a project so fully entitled
to excite the vigilance of all courts, seems to have been almost wholly
overlooked by the English ministry; Lord Suffolk, in his confidential
answer to the ambassador, simply styling it a curious transaction; and
even in the more advanced stage of the affair, when the attention of the
cabinet was called to it by the memorials of the Polish king and people,
all that could be obtained was a verbal answer, evidently declining any
interference on the subject, and contenting itself with the avoidance of
approbation. The result of this singular negligence distinctly points
out the course which should be taken by England in her continental
policy. Her natural office is that of mediator and protector.
Entertaining no views of conquest for herself, it is her duty to repress
them in all others. If, in 1772, she had instantly issued a strong
remonstrance to the three governments, it would have acted as an appeal
to the reason of Europe. A fleet sent to the Baltic in support of that
remonstrance would have acted upon the fears of the aggressors, and
Poland would have been saved. The blood of the thousands shed in the war
of independence would have been spared--the great crime of the century
would have been partially avoided--and its punishment, in the shape of
the revolutionary war, might never have been inflicted. The diplomatic
and formal portion of this fatal event was thus announced by the
ambassador to the British cabinet:--"Berlin, 19th September 1772.--I
received a message from Count Finckenstein yesterday morning, desiring
to speak to me between twelve and one. On my waiting on him, he
informed me that his Prussian majesty having come to an agreement with
the courts of Vienna and Petersburg to renew certain ancient claims they
had on parts of the kingdom of Poland, they had instructed their
respective ministers at the court of Warsaw to signify their intentions
to the king and republic, by presenting him with a declaration on this
subject.

"That his Prussian majesty, desirous of seizing every opportunity of
showing his friendship and attention to the king, had ordered him, Count
Finckenstein, to take the earliest moment of acquainting me with this
event, and at the same time to give me a copy of the declaration, which
I here enclose--that his _chargé d'affaires_ in London had likewise
received orders to inform the king's ministers on this subject, and to
communicate to them the declaration."

The reply of the English minister to this momentous announcement,
exhibits, perhaps, one of the most extraordinary instances of
ministerial negligence on record. On a subject which might have moved
the very stones to mutiny, and which, in its consequences, involved the
interests of all Europe, the only answer of the King of England was
contained in the following note, written in French:--"The king is
willing to suppose that the three courts have convinced themselves of
the justice of their respective pretensions, although his majesty is not
informed of the motives of their conduct." "You will observe," adds Lord
Suffolk, "in the terns in which I express myself, that though this mode
of expression was preferable to an absolute silence, the utmost caution
has been used." The caution was indeed sufficiently circumspect, for it
was wholly useless; and the consequence was perfect impunity to the
perpetrators.

Frederick was the great infidel of his day. He had been so long involved
in hostilities with Austria, the most superstitious court in Europe,
that he adopted "free-thinking" as a part of his policy; and his
eagerness for European fame connected him with Voltaire and the French
infidels, whose wit and wickedness had made them the leaders of
philosophical fashion. But there is a principle of belief in human
nature which revenges itself on the infidel. There are no men more
liable to groundless fears, than those who reject the object of
legitimate awe. The man who will not believe in a deity, has often
believed in witchcraft; and those who will not acknowledge a Providence,
have often trembled before a conjurer. At this period, Frederick had
grown peculiarly anxious and irascible--a temper for which the
ambassador accounts by a sudden impulse of superstition. He
says--"Amongst several other incredible follies in so great a character,
he has that of not entirely disbelieving judicial astrology; and I am
told, from one whose authority is not despicable, that the fear of a
prediction being this year fulfilled, which was pronounced by a Saxon
fortune-teller whom his majesty was weak enough some time ago to
consult, dwells on his mind, and augments the sourness of a disposition
naturally crabbed. I should have paid no attention to these reports,
which savour so much of the nursery, had I not myself observed him
displeased at a mourning coat at his levee, and seen his countenance
visibly alter on being informed of any man's dying a sudden death."

We then have a curious letter from Lord Grantham, the ambassador at
Madrid, giving an account of an expedition to Algiers, which derives an
interest from the present state of African affairs.

"You will learn that a very unsuccessful attempt has been made at
Algiers, and that the Spanish troops have been repulsed with a loss and
disablement of upwards of 5000 men. The fleet, consisting of 450 sail,
and carrying about 40,000 men, sailed from Carthagena, and reached
Algiers the 1st inst., (July 1775.) On the night of the 7th, the
infantry, and two detachments of about 8000 men each, landed. The first
detachment advanced too eagerly, could not be supported to any purpose,
and, after thirteen hours' engagement, all that could regained the
ships. But the loss of killed and wounded, first estimated at 3000,
certainly exceeded five or six. The transports with the army are
returned to Carthagena and Alicante. I leave you to judge how deep an
impression this severe failure makes here. The Marquis de la Romana is
killed--all the generals, except Buck, are wounded. Among the wounded
are twenty-eight officers of the Spanish guards, and twelve out of
seventeen engineers."

The court of Frederick would form a singular contrast to what is called
the British Household, composed of the great officers of state. "You are
not ignorant," says Harris, writing to William Eden, "that the great
officers of the court are merely titular, and never allowed to have any
authority annexed to their office. This is given to some menial
servants, who are constantly about the king's person, and his treasurer
was a Russian named Deiss, in whom his Majesty placed more confidence
than he appears to have deserved; since for maladministration, or some
equally notorious fault, his majesty a few days ago, dismissed him from
his high post, and ordered him to be employed as a drummer in a marching
regiment. Deiss affected to submit patiently to his sentence, and, on
being arrested, begged leave of the officer only to go into his room,
adjoining the king's writing-closet, to fetch his hat. This being
granted, he immediately locked the door, took a pistol from his pocket,
and shot himself through the head. The king heard and was alarmed by the
report of a pistol so near him, and being told what had happened, he
pitied Deiss, said that he was out of his senses, and ordered all that
he died worth to be distributed equally among his children. Deiss had
charged the pistol with small-shot and crooked nails, and put the muzzle
of it into his mouth."

A striking anecdote is given of General Seidlitz, the officer who formed
the Prussian cavalry. When only a lieutenant, he happened to be near the
king on a bridge which crossed the Oder. The king asked him, "if both
the avenues of the bridge were possessed by the enemy, what he would do
to disengage himself." Seidlitz, without making an answer, immediately
leaped his horse over the rails into the river, and notwithstanding its
breadth and rapidity, swam safe ashore. The king, who took it for
granted that he must be drowned, on seeing him come towards him, said in
French, "_Major_, I beg of you not to run such hazards in future."

Despotic power has certainly great advantages, in its rapid
administration of justice, and sometimes in its reaching offences which
would altogether baffle trial by jury. Frederick was ridiculously fond
of exhibiting his musical attainments; and among the other preparatives
for the reception of the Russian grand-duke (afterwards the Emperor
Paul) at Berlin, was a piece of music composed by the king. The husband
of the first singer at the opera, the well-known Madame Mara, was
imprudent enough to observe of this performance, that "the composer knew
more about soldiers than music." The king ordered him to be instantly
made over to the _corps-de-garde_, with orders to punish him, enough to
make him more cautious of criticism in future. The soldiers accordingly,
as there happened to be no punishment in the military regulations for
impertinent remarks on royal amateurs, took the affair into their own
hands. They began by dressing him in a uniform, covering his face with a
huge pair of whiskers, and loading him with the heaviest firelock which
they could find, they then made him perform the manual exercise for two
hours--accompanying the lesson with all the usual discipline of the
cane--then ordered him to dance and sing, finishing their discipline by
making the surgeon take from him a large quantity of blood, obviously to
reduce the heat of temper which had given rise to such impertinence.
After this lesson he was sent back to his wife. Severe as it may have
appeared, Harris regarded it as earned by many previous impertinences of
the same kind, but of which it may fairly be presumed this was the last.

At last the grand-duke arrived, and was received with the most unusual
pomp and ceremony by the Prussian court. By some curious instance of
choice, Sunday is selected on the Continent as the day for every thing
in the shape of show. The Russian prince made his public entry into
Berlin on Sunday, and was met by the trading companies in uniform, by
escorts of cavalry, and the equipages of the king and royal family. In
the evening, after a sumptuous dinner, there was a concert and ball.
The rest of the week was similarly occupied. The grand-duke had come to
demand the Princess of Wirtemberg in marriage. When we recollect the
fate of this unhappy monarch, murdered on the Russian throne, and
contrast it with the brilliancy of his early reception in the world, and
his actual powers when master of the diadem, a deeper lesson of the
instability of human fortune has seldom been given to man.

A laughable anecdote of Russian and Prussian discipline is told. All the
domestics belonging to the Imperial family of Russia have military rank;
the grand-duke's coachman and the king's going one evening to drink
together, a dispute arose about precedence. "What is your rank?" said
the Prussian. "A lieutenant-colonel," said the other. "Ay, but I am a
colonel," said the German, and walked first into the ale-house. This
came to the king's ears. The _colonel_ was sent for three days to
prison, and received fifty blows of the cane.

The ambassador now obtained a new instance of the favour of his court.
He was recalled from Prussia in 1776, and shortly after was appointed to
the most important of our embassies at that period, the embassy to
Russia.

The politics of England at this period bore an appearance of perplexity,
which evidently alarmed her cabinet, and which as evidently excited the
hopes of her enemies. At this period she had two enemies in Europe,
hostile in every thing except to the extent of open war--France, always
jealous and irreconcilable; and Prussia, which, from her dread of
England's interference in her Polish usurpations, pretended to believe
that England was conspiring with Austria against the safety of her
dominions. The feebleness with which the American war was carried on,
had deceived Europe into the belief that the power of England was really
on the point of decay. Foreigners are never capable of appreciating the
reality of English power. In the first place, because they prefer the
romantic to the real; and in the next, because, living under despotisms,
they have never seen, nor can comprehend, the effect of liberty upon
national resources. Thus, when they see a nation unwilling to go to
war--or, what is the next thing to reluctance, waging it tardily--they
imagine that this tardiness has its origin in national weakness; and it
is not until the palpable necessity of self-defence calls out the whole
energy of the people, that the foreigner ever sees the genuine strength
of England. The capture of two small armies in America, neither of them
more numerous than the advanced guard of a continental army, had given
the impression that the military strength of England was gone for ever.
Thus the European courts thought themselves entitled to insult her; and
thus so diminutive a power as Prussia, however guided by an able and
politic prince, was suffered to despise her opinion. But the English
ministry themselves of that day palpably shared the general delusion;
and, to judge from their diplomatic correspondence, they seemed actually
to rely for the safety of England on the aid of the foreign courts. They
had yet to learn the lesson, taught them by the Revolutionary war, that
England is degraded by dependence of any kind; that she is a match for
the world in arms; that the cause of Europe is dependent on _her_; and
that the more boldly, directly, and resolutely she defies France, and
its allies and slaves, the more secure she is of victory. In the pursuit
of this false policy of conciliation and supplication, Harris was sent
to Petersburg, to counteract Prussia with the empress, and to form an
offensive and defensive alliance with Catharine. Count Panin was at that
time prime minister--a man of the old ministerial school, who regarded
diplomacy as the legitimate science of chicane, was a master of all the
littleness of his art, and was wholly under the influence of the King of
Prussia. The count was all consent, and yet contrived to keep the
ambassador at arm's-length; while the empress, equally crafty, and
equally determined not to commit herself, managed him with still greater
subtlety.

In speaking of the Empress Catharine, it is impossible to avoid alluding
to the scandals of her court. The death of her husband, suspicious as it
was, had left her sole mistress of an empire, and of the power of public
opinion, in a country where a sneer might send the offender to Siberia.
The wretchedly relaxed religion of the Greek church, where a trivial
penance atones for every thing, and ceremonial takes the place of
morals, as it inevitably does wherever a religion is encumbered with
unnecessary forms, could be no restraint on the conduct of a daring and
imperious woman. By some of that easy casuistry which reconciles the
powerful to vice, she had fully convinced herself that she ought, for
the sake of her throne, never to submit to matrimonial ties again; and
she adopted the notorious and guilty alternative of living with a
succession of partners. The ambassador's letters frequently allude to
this disgraceful topic, and always with the contempt and reprobation
which were so amply its due. "The worst enemies"--such is his
expression--"which the empress has, are flattery and her own passions.
She never turns a deaf ear to the first, let it be ever so gross; and
her inclination to gratify the latter appears to grow upon her with
age."

The policy of Russia had two grand objects, both of them wholly
inconsistent with the policy of England; and therefore rendering the
ambassador's zeal wholly useless. The King of Prussia favoured both, and
therefore commanded the highest influence with the empress. It was thus
the impossible task of the unfortunate diplomatist, to convince a
haughty and self-sufficient woman against her will. Of course, failure
was the necessary consequence. But in the mean time, dining and dancing,
feasting and frivolity, went on with Asiatic splendour. The birth of the
grand-duke's son, "Constantine," (expressly so named with a view to
Turkish objects,) gave occasion to fêtes which it tasked the whole power
of Russian panegyric to describe. The empress gave one in the period of
the Carnival, ultra-imperially magnificent. The dessert and supper were
set out with jewels to the amount of upwards of two millions sterling!
and at the tables of macao, the fashionable game, besides the stake in
money, a diamond of fifty rubles' value was given by her majesty to each
of those who got _nine_, the highest point of the game. One hundred and
fifty diamonds were distributed in this manner.

But a new event occurred to stir the lazy politics of Europe--that act of
infinite treachery on the part of the French government--the breach of
treaty with England, and the alliance with America. The menaces of war
which are held out at this moment by the Jacobin party, and its insolent
eagerness to turn every trivial incident into a mortal quarrel, give a
new and additional interest to this former act of desperate perfidy. But
let it be remembered with what tremendous vengeance that perfidy was
punished--that the American alliance was the precursor of the French
republic; and that the long train of hideous calamities which broke down
the French throne, banished the nobility, and decimated the population,
dates its origin from the day when that fatal treaty was signed. A letter
from Sir Gilbert Elliott (afterwards Lord Minto) to the ambassador,
(March 20, 1778,) thus briefly communicates the intelligence:--"We had
just passed the bills for repealing some of the obnoxious American acts,
and for enabling the king to appoint his commissioners to treat with
America with very large powers, when the report of the French treaty with
the colonies became very prevalent, and obtained credit here. Government,
however, had certainly obtained no authentic account of it which is
singular enough; and Lord North positively disclaimed all knowledge of
it. A loan of six millions was made on very hard terms for the public,
much owing to the report of the French treaty; the three per cent consols
being at 66½--monstrously low. The first payment was fixed for Tuesday
last. On the Friday before, the Marquis de Noailles delivered a paper to
Lord Weymouth, communicating the 'treaty of commerce and alliance' with
the colonies, and acknowledging their independency. The manner and style
of the communication were inexpressibly insolent, and were no doubt
meant as a studied affront and challenge. On Saturday, all the French in
London were sent to the opera, plays, clubs, coffee-houses, and
ale-houses, to publish the intelligence, which they did with their
natural impertinence. On Tuesday, the two Houses received a message from
the king, informing them of the communication from the French
ambassador--that he had recalled his ambassador from Versailles; and
assuring them that he would exert every means in his power to protect
the honour and interest of his kingdom. In answer to which, the two
Houses voted an address, promising to support him with our lives and
fortunes. Opposition, like _good patriots_, in answer to this message,
proposed to address the king to remove his ministers; and C. Fox assured
us, 'he thought an invasion a _much better thing_ than the continuance
of the present administration.' When this proposal was negatived, they
therefore refused their assent to our address. There is no declaration
of war yet; but as it is quite certain, and as France will undoubtedly
act immediately, I do not see what we gain by delaying it. I hope at
least we shall begin taking their ships immediately. The militia is to
be called out; credit is dreadfully low--stock was a few days ago at 60.
The French are poorer than we--that's something."

Exaggeration is a propensity which seems common to ambassadors. We
certainly have never seen an ambassadorial correspondence, in which the
most groundless views did not make a large part of its communications.
The British diplomatist in Russia was unquestionably a shrewd man, and
yet his letters abound in predictions of Russian ruin. His descriptions
run in this style:--"Great expenses, and nothing to show for them. The
army in a state of decay; the navy incomplete and ill-equipped; the
political system languid, and such as, if pursued, must ultimately
reduce this immense mass of power to that state of Asiatic
insignificancy from which it so lately emerged."

And this high-coloured and rash statement, it is to be remembered, was
not a page in a popular novel or in a summer's "Tour," but was given as
the deliberate opinion of a statesman conversant in continental
politics, and addressed to the government of this country. He seems to
have altogether overlooked the boundless territory and growing
population of Russia, her forty millions of men--a number already
exceeding that of any other kingdom in Europe--the inaccessible nature
of her dominions, the implicit and Asiatic devotion of her subjects, the
unrivaled vigour of her despotism, and the fact that she had but that
moment secured an immense tract of Polish territory, and was stripping
the Turks on the other side--that to the north she was touching on the
Vistula, and to the south had nearly reached the Danube. The subsequent
career of Russia is a still stronger refutation. Every war, instead of
shaking her power, has only given it additional strength and stability.
Like England, she has gone on with almost involuntary but rapid
progress; and the period may arrive when there will be but two nations
left in Europe--England the ruler of the seas, and Russia holding the
kingdoms of the Continent in vassalage. It is true, that the ambassador
adverts now and then to the inaccessible nature of the Russian
territory, and the success of the national arms; but the former would be
but a negative source of power, and the latter he uniformly attributed
to good-luck. He ought to lave attributed them to the causes which would
have produced the same effect in any age of the world--to the mastery of
an immense population; to the daring of a head of empire possessed of
remarkable ability, and filled with projects of unbounded supremacy; and
to the growth of a new generation of soldiers and statesmen, encouraged
to the highest exertion of their talents by the most munificent
rewards--the policy of the empress making the evidence of courage and
genius in the soldier the only requisite for promotion; and exhibiting
the strongest personal interest of the sovereign in the elevation of
those able servants of the crown. The consequence was, success in all
the enterprises of Catharine, the rapid advance of the nation in
European influence, the establishment of an insecure throne on the
strongest footing of public security, the popularity of a despotism, the
comparative civilization of a people half Asiatic, and who but half a
century before had been barbarians, and the personal attachment of the
nation to Catharine in a degree scarcely less than adoration. The chief
cause of this triumphant state of things, beyond all question, was the
high spirit, the generosity, and the affability of the empress. The
unhappy transactions of her private life are matters of painful record;
and the letters of the ambassador are full of the reprobation which the
memoirs of the time authenticate. But we have no gratification in
dwelling on such topics. We infinitely prefer paying the tribute due to
great talents splendidly exercised, to the public achievements of a
powerful intellect, and to the superiority which this munificent
promoter of the genius of all classes of her people exhibited to all the
haughty, exclusive, and selfish sovereigns of her time.

The ambassador now found it necessary to look for support against the
Prussian propensities of the minister; and he had recourse to Potemkin
and the Orloffs, as the antagonists of Panin. Potemkin was one of the
most extraordinary men whom the especial circumstances of the court and
country raised into public distinction. He had been but a cornet of
cavalry on the memorable night when Catharine, uncertain whether she was
mounting a throne or a scaffold, put herself at the head of the guards,
and deposed her husband. As she rode along, observing that she had not a
military plume in her hat, she turned to ask for one; the cornet
instantly plucked out his own, and presented it to her--as Raleigh threw
his cloak on the ground for Elizabeth to walk over. These gallant acts
are never lost upon a woman of the superior order of mind. The favour of
the throne followed alike in both instances; and Potemkin soon became
the guide of the Russian councils. It was the custom of the French
memoir writers--a race who always aimed at pungency of narrative in
preference to truth, and who, for their generation, performed the part
of general libellers--to represent Potemkin as a savage, devoted to
drinking, and whose influence was solely the result of his grossness.
But the conferences which he held with this British ambassador, and the
extracts of his opinions given in these letters, show him to have been a
man of remarkable clearness of comprehension, dexterity of resource, and
readiness of knowledge. It is obvious that nothing but the exertion of
distinguished skill in the ways of courts, could have accomplished the
objects which no other man of his time attained with such complete
success. In a court of contention and favouritism, he retained supreme
influence to the last; released from the labours of office, he possessed
more than the power of a minister--and nominally a subject, he was
scarcely less than emperor. Boundless wealth, the highest rank, and
every honour which the empire could lavish on its first noble, were the
prizes of Potemkin.

People at home are in the habit of looking upon the diplomatic body
abroad as a collection of very subtle and sagacious personages--a
collection of sages. A nearer view sometimes strips the idea down to
humble dimensions. Sir James Harris (he had now obtained the Order of
the Bath, which he seems to have deserved by his diligence) thus
sketches the new ambassadorial body--a general change having just taken
place. "The Imperial, Danish, French, Prussian, and Spanish ministers
are all altered, and one from Naples is added to our corps." The
Neapolitan he describes as "utterly unfit for business;" Count Cobenzel,
the Austrian ambassador, "as a man of excellent parts and great
activity;" Goertz, the Prussian, "a very able and artful man." So far as
this point, the honour of the corps is sustained; but then come the
ciphers. Monsieur Verac, the cunning French envoy, is "more amiable in
company than formidable in cabinet." The Swede and the Saxon ministers,
"most perfectly insignificant and overpowered with debts." The Dutch
resident, Swartz, "a man neither of birth nor character, totally
improper for the post he fills. The Swiss resident, having no other
business than the lawsuits of his countrymen," &c.

Of the culpable habits of the empress we shall say no more. The respect
which this country feels for the character of Emperor Nicholas, and the
total contrast which that character presents to the especial failings of
his ancestor, justly prevent our wandering into those observations. But
we have a curious instance of the skill and adroitness of this memorable
woman, in an interview in which she was wholly left to herself, and yet
succeeded perfectly in what is presumed to be the _chef-d'oeuvre_ of
diplomacy--the art of disguising her intentions. The British
ambassador, after a long period of comparative failure, had succeeded in
obtaining an audience through Potemkin--who always pretended to be
powerless, yet who could do every thing which he desired. The
appointment to meet the ambassador was made, and Potemkin prefaced his
service by the following singular sketch of his sovereign. "Do not
expect that it is in the power of any living being to prevent her from
concluding her favourite plan of armed neutrality. Content yourself with
destroying the effects--the resolution is immovable. As it was conceived
by _mistake_ and perfected by _vanity_, it is maintained by _pride_ and
_obstinacy_. You well know the hold of those passions on a _female
mind_; and if you attempt to slacken, you will only tighten the knot."

One of the imperial valets then came to lead the ambassador to the
interview; which he gives in French, and which he commenced in a strain
which we hope will never be imitated again by any cabinet of England.

"I have come to represent to your imperial majesty the _critical
situation_ in which our affairs are at present. You know our reliance on
you. We venture to _flatter_ ourselves that you will _avert the storm_,
and reassure us as to our fears of having lost your friendship." If the
expressions were not in print, we should scarcely have thought it
possible that such crouching language could have been used. The
ambassador, of course, is but the mouthpiece of his government. The
blame must fall, not on the intelligent servant, but on the feeble
masters. Who can wonder if the daring and haughty spirit of Catharine
scoffed at the remonstrances, and despised the interests of a country,
whose cabinet adopted language so unfitting the dignity and real power
of the mighty British empire? The expressions of this dialogue would
have been humiliating to the smallest of the "square-league"
sovereignties of the Continent. The answer of the empress was precisely
what she might have addressed to the envoy of Poland or the Crimea.
"Sir, you are aware of my sentiments relative to your nation; they are
equally sincere and invariable. But I have found so little return on
your part, that I feel I ought not to consider you any longer among my
friends."

To this haughty tone, what is the reply of the ambassador?

"It is in the hope that those sentiments were not _entirely effaced_,
that I wished to address myself directly to your Majesty. But it was not
_without fear_ that I approached you. Appearances only too strongly
prove the impressions which you have received from our enemies." And so
goes on the dialogue, like a scene in a play, see-sawing through six
intolerable pages. How differently would Pitt's cabinet have acted, and
how differently did it act! When the Russian councils menaced the
seizure of even a paltry Turkish fortress on the Black Sea, the great
minister ordered a fleet to be ready as _his_ negotiators; and though
the factiousness of Opposition at the time prevented this manly
demonstration of policy and justice, the evidence was given, in the
reign of Paul, when a British fleet crushed the armed neutrality--that
trick of French mountebanks imposing on the ambition of the north--and
restored Russia to so full a sense of the power and the honour of
England, that she sent her fleet into her safe keeping at the approach
of Napoleon's invasion, and has been her fast and honourable ally ever
since. "Cromwell's ambassador" is the true one for England at all times.
A stout British squadron sent to the Baltic in 1780 would have
wonderfully solved the difficulties of the British negotiation, have
completely cleared the empress's conscience, have enlightened Count
Panin's brains, and have convinced even the wily Potemkin himself that
the art of political delusion was too dangerous a game to be tried
against England.

But the true value of history is to instruct the future. We are now in
nearly the same relative position to France in which we were sixty-four
years ago relative to Russia. We are exhibiting the same dilatoriness
which we exhibited then, and we shall be fortunate if we escape the same
consequences. A strong fleet sent to the Mediterranean would do more to
calm the elements of strife effectually, than all the remonstrances of
all our negotiators. Or, if the French were foolish enough to provoke a
battle, a repetition of the 1st of June or the 21st of October would be
the tranquillizer of a restless people, who can never suffer Europe to
rest in peace but when they themselves have been taught the miseries of
war.

In justice to the cabinet of 1780, it must be acknowledged that the
personal tone of the ambassador was criticised; and we thus find him
making his diplomatic apology to Lord Stormont, then secretary for
foreign affairs:--

"I have often been conscious of the remark your lordship makes, and have
myself felt that I was not acting up to the character of an English
minister, in bestowing such _fulsome incense_ on the empress. But here,
too, I was drawn from my system and principles by the conduct of my
adversaries. They ever addressed her as a being of a superior nature;
and as she goes near to think herself infallible, she expects to be
approached with all the reverence due to a divinity." No excuse could be
more unsatisfactory. If other men chose to bow down, there would have
only been the more manliness, and the more effect too, in refusing to
follow such an example.

In 1783, the ambassador obtained permission to return to England. His
correspondence at the period immediately previous, is remarkably
interesting; and it is striking to see that the successive secretaries
for the foreign department, under all changes of administration, formed
the same view of the substantial policy of England. When, in 1783, Fox
assumed the foreign seals, he thus writes to Harris, in the course of a
long letter on the foreign policy of the cabinet:--"You will readily
believe me, that my system of foreign politics was too deeply rooted to
make it likely that I should have changed it. Alliances with the
northern powers _ever have been, and ever will be, the system of every
enlightened Englishman_."

In the year following, Sir James Harris was appointed by Pitt to the
Dutch embassy, to which he had been previously nominated by Fox, his
friend and political leader. The appointment by the new cabinet was thus
the strongest testimony to his talents. His letters from the Hague
contain a very intelligent statement of the parties and principles which
agitated Holland in 1787. The object was the establishment of a
democracy and the extinction of the Stadtholderate, or at least its
suppression as a hereditary dignity. The court of France was busy in
this democratic intrigue; and its partial success unquestionably added
new combustibles to the pile on which that unfortunate monarchy, in the
hour of infatuation, was preparing to throw itself. The ambassador's
language on this occasion is characteristic and memorable. In one of his
despatches to the Marquis of Carmarthen, then secretary of state, he
thus says:--

"The infamy and profligacy of the French make me long to change my
profession, and to fight them with a sharper instrument than a pen. It
must be with those (not our pens, but our swords) that we must carry the
mediation through, if we mean it should be attended with any success.
There are strong reports of a popular insurrection in France:"--"_Si_
Dieu voulait les punir par où ils ont peché, comme j'admirerais la
justice divine!" The remark was natural; it was almost prophetic; and it
was on the eve of realization. In 1789, but two years after, the
Revolution began.

These volumes contain a great deal of extremely curious material,
especially important to every man who may in future be employed in the
foreign service of our diplomacy. They supply a model of the manner in
which those offices may be most effectively sustained. We have already
expressed dissatisfaction at the submissive style used in addressing the
Russian empress. But in other instances, the language of the ambassador
seems to have been prompt and plain. It is remarkable that England has,
at the present time, arrived at a condition of European affairs bearing
no slight resemblance to that of the period between 1783 and 1789. It is
true that there will be no second French Revolution; one catastrophe of
that terrible extent is enough for the world. But there are strong
symptoms of those hostilities which the Bourbons were endeavouring to
kindle against this country, for at least a dozen years before the
Revolution which crushed their monarchy.

Without any provocation on the part of England, any actual claim, or
any desire whatever of war, this country finds itself suddenly made an
object of perpetual insult on the part of all the active mind of France.
The cry from every organ of public opinion seems to be, war with
England, whether with or without cause. A violent clamour is raised for
our national ruin; the resources of France are blazoned in all quarters;
and the only contemplation popular in France is, how most suddenly and
effectually French armies may be poured on our shores, our fields
ravaged, our maritime cities burned, and our people massacred! It must
be hoped that this detestable spirit does not reach higher than the
Jacobin papers, and the villains by whom that principal part of the
French press is conducted. Yet we find but little contradiction to it in
even the more serious and authentic portion of the national sentiments.
In such circumstances, it is only right to be prepared. We find also the
still more expressive evidence of this spirit of evil, in the general
conduct of the agents of France in her colonies--a habit of sudden
encroachment, a growing arrogance, and a full exhibition of that bitter
and sneering petulance, which was supposed to have been scourged out of
the French by their desperate defeats towards the close of the war. All
this insolence may, by possibility, pass away; but it also may go on to
further inflammation, and it may be necessary to scourge it again; and
this discipline, if once begun, must be carried through more effectually
than when the Allies last visited Paris. The respect felt for the French
king and his prime minister, as the friends of peace, naturally
restrains the language with which aggression deserves to be reprobated.
But the French government, if it desires to retain that respect, must
exhibit its sincerity in making some substantial effort to preserve
peace. No man of sense in Europe can believe in the necessity of the
seizure of Algiers, nor in the necessity of the war with Morocco. But
every man can see the influence of both on the freedom of the
Mediterranean. The seizure of the British consul at Otaheite shows a
spirit which must be summarily extinguished, or the preservation of
peace will be impossible. In the mean time, we hear from France nothing
but a cry for steam-ships, and threats of invasion. We ask, what has
England done? Nothing to offend or injure: there is not even an
allegation of any thing of the kind. But if war must come, woe be to
those by whom it is begun! The history of all the wars of England with
France, is one of French defeat. We have beaten the French by land, we
have beaten them by sea; and, with the blessing of Heaven on the
righteous cause and our own stout hands, we shall always beat them. We
have beaten them on the soil of the stranger--we have beaten them on
their own. From the fourteenth century, when English soldiers were
masters of the half of France, down to Waterloo, we have always beaten
France; and if we beat her under Napoleon, there can be no fear of our
not beating her under a race so palpably his inferiors. All England
deprecates war as useless, unnatural, and criminal. But the crime is
solely on the head of the aggressor. Woe to those who begin the next
war! It may be final.

The late visit of the Emperor of Russia to this country, which so much
perplexed the political circles of both France and England, now probably
admits of elucidation. The emperor's visit has been followed by that of
the ablest and most powerful diplomatist in his dominions, the Count
Nesselrode, his foreign minister. For this visit, too, a speedy
elucidation may be found. The visits of the King of Saxony, and the
Princes of Prussia and Holland, also have their importance in this point
of view; and the malignant insults of the French journals may have had a
very influential share in contributing to the increased closeness of our
connexion with the sovereignties of Germany and Russia. The maxim of
Fox, that the northern alliances are the true policy of England, is as
sound as ever. Still, we deprecate war--all rational men deprecate war;
and we speak in a feeling which we fully believe to be universal in
England, that nothing would be a higher source of rejoicing in Great
Britain, than a _safe_ peace with France, and harmony with all the
nations of the world.


FOOTNOTES:

{A} _Diaries and Correspondence of James Harris, First Earl of
Malmesbury._ Edited by his GRANDSON, the Third Earl. 2 vols.

{B} "Every where to remember his country."



POEMS AND BALLADS OF GOETHE.

No. II.


Goethe's love for the Fine Arts amounted almost to a passion. In his
earlier years, he performed the painter's customary pilgrimage through
Italy, and not merely surveyed, but studied with intense anxiety, the
works of the great modern masters. A poet, if he understands the theory
of his own calling, may learn much from pictures; for the analogy
between the sister arts is very strong. The secret of preserving
richness without glare, fulness without pruriency, and strength without
exaggeration, must be attained alike by poet and painter, before either
of them can take their rank among the chosen children of immortality. It
is a common but most erroneous idea, that an artist is more indebted for
success to inspiration, than to severe study. Unquestionably he must
possess some portion of the former--that is, he must have within him the
power to imagine and to create; for if he has not that, the fundamental
faculty is wanting. But how different are the crude shapeless fancies,
how meagre and uncertain the outlines of the mental sketch, from the
warm, vivid, and glowing perfection of the matured and finished work! It
is in the strange and indescribable process of moulding the rude idea,
of giving due proportion to each individual part, and combining the
whole into symmetry, that the test of excellence lies. _There_
inspiration will help but little; and labour, the common doom of man in
the loftiest as well as the lowest walks of life, is requisite to
consummate the triumph.

No man better understood, or more thoroughly acted upon the knowledge of
this analogy, than Goethe. He wrought rigidly by the rule of the artist.
Not one poem, however trifling might be the subject, did he suffer to
escape from his hands, until it had received the final touches, and
undergone the most thorough revision. So far did he carry this
principle, that many of his lesser works seem absolutely mere
transcripts or descriptions of pictures, where the sentiment is rather
inferred than expressed; and in some, for example that which we are
about to quote, he even brings before the reader what may be called the
process of mental painting.


CUPID AS A LANDSCAPE PAINTER

      Once I sate upon a mountain,
    Gazing on the mist before me;
    Like a great grey sheet of canvass,
    Shrouding all things in its cover,
    Did it float 'twixt earth and heaven.

      Then a child appear'd beside me;
    Saying, "Friend, it is not seemly,
    Thus to gaze in idle wonder,
    With that noble breadth before thee.
    Hast thou lost thine inspiration?
    Hath the spirit of the painter
    Died within thee utterly?"

      But I turn'd and look'd upon him,
    Speaking not, but thinking inly,
    "Will he read a lesson now!"

      "Folded hands," pursued the infant,
    "Never yet have won a triumph.
    Look! I'll paint for thee a picture
    Such as none have seen before."

      And he pointed with his finger,
    Which like any rose was ruddy,
    And upon the breadth of vapour
    With that finger 'gan to draw.

      First a glorious sun he painted,
    Dazzling when I look'd upon it;
    And he made the inner border
    Of the clouds around it golden,
    With the light rays through the masses
    Pouring down in streams of splendour.
    Then the tender taper summits
    Of the trees, all leaf and glitter,
    Started from the sullen void;
    And the slopes behind them rising,
    Graceful-lined in undulation,
    Glided backwards one by one.
    Underneath, be sure, was water;
    And the stream was drawn so truly
    That it seem'd to break and shimmer,
    That it seem'd as if cascading
    From the lofty rolling wheel.

      There were flowers beside the brooklet;
    There were colours on the meadow--
    Gold and azure, green and purple,
    Emerald and bright carbuncle.
    Clear and pure he work'd the ether
    As with lapis-lazuli,
    And the mountains in the distance
    Stretching blue and far away--
    All so well, that I, in rapture
    At this second revelation,
    Turn'd to gaze upon the painter
    From the picture which he drew.

      "Have I not," he said, "convinced thee
    That I know the painter's secret?
    Yet the greatest is to come."

      Then he drew with gentle finger,
    Still more delicately pointed,
    In the wood, about its margin,
    Where the sun within the water
    Glanced as from the clearest mirror,
    Such a maiden's form!
    Perfect shape in perfect raiment,
    Fair young cheeks 'neath glossy ringlets,
    And the cheeks were of the colour
    Of the finger whence they came.

      "Child," I cried, "what wond'rous master
    In his school of art hath form'd thee,
    That so deftly and so truly,
    From the sketch unto the burnish,
    Thou hast finish'd such a gem?"

      As I spoke, a breeze arising
    Stirr'd the tree-tops in the picture,
    Ruffled every pool of water,
    Waved the garments of the maiden;
    And, what more than all amazed me,
    Her small feet took motion also,
    And she came towards the station
    Where I sat beside the boy.

      So, when every thing was moving,
    Leaves and water, flowers and raiment,
    And the footsteps of the darling--
    Think you I remain'd as lifeless
    As the rock on which I rested?
    No, I trow--not I!

This is as perfect a landscape as one of Berghem's sunniest.

An artist is, to our mind, one of the happiest creatures in God's
creation. Now that the race of wandering minstrels has passed away, your
painter is the only free joyous denizen of the earth, who can give way
to his natural impulses without fear of reproach, and who can indulge
his enthusiasm for the bright and beautiful to the utmost. He has his
troubles, no doubt; for he is ambitious, and too often he is poor; but
it is something to pursue ambition along the natural path with unwarped
energies, and ardent and sincere devotion. As to poverty, that is a
fault that must daily mend, if he is only true to himself. In a few
years, the foot-sore wanderer of the Alps, with little more worldly
goods than the wallet and sketch-book he carries, will be the royal
academician, the Rubens or the Reynolds of his day, with the most
_recherché_ studio in London, and more orders upon his list than he has
either time or inclination to execute. Goethe has let us into the secret
of the young German artist's life. Let us look upon him in the dawnings
of his fame, before he is summoned to adorn the stately halls of Munich
with frescoes from the Niebelungen Lied.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE ARTIST'S MORNING SONG.

    My dwelling is the Muses' home--
      What matters it how small?
    And here, within my heart, is set
      The holiest place of all.

    When, waken'd by the early sun,
      I rise from slumbers sound,
    I see the ever-living forms
      In radiance group'd around.

    I pray, and songs of thanks and praise
      Are more than half my prayer,
    With simple notes of music, tuned
      To some harmonious air.

    I bow before the altar then,
      And read, as well I may,
    From noble Homer's master-work,
      The lesson for the day.

    He takes me to the furious fight,
      Where lion warriors throng;
    Where god-descended heroes whirl
      In iron cars along.

    And steeds go down before the cars;
      And round the cumber'd wheel,
    Both friend and foe are rolling now,
      All blood from head to heel!

    Then comes the champion of them all,
      Pelides' friend is he,
    And crashes through the dense array,
      Though thousands ten they be!

    And ever smites that fiery sword
      Through helmet, shield, and mail;
    Until he falls by craft divine,
      Where might could not prevail.

    Down from the glorious pile he rolls,
      Which he himself had made,
    And foemen trample on the limbs
      From which they shrank afraid.

    Then start I up, with arms in hand,
      What arms the painter bears;
    And soon along my kindling wall
      The fight at Troy appears.

    On! on again! The wrath is here
      Of battle rolling red;
    Shield strikes on shield, and sword on helm,
      And dead men fall on dead!

    I throng into the inner press,
      Where loudest rings the din;
    For there, around their hero's corpse,
      Fight on his furious kin!

    A rescue! rescue! bear him hence
      Into the leaguer near;
    Pour balsam in his glorious wounds,
      And weep above his bier.

    And when from that hot trance I pass,
      Great Love, I feel thy charm;
    There hangs my lady's picture near--
      A picture yet so warm!

    How fair she was, reclining there;
      What languish in her look!
    How thrill'd her glance through all my frame!
      The very pencil shook.

    Her eyes, her cheeks, her lovely lips,
      Were all the world to me;
    And in my breast a younger life
      Rose wild and wantonly.

    Oh! turn again, and bide thee here,
      Nor fear such rude alarms;
    How could I think of battles more
      With thee within my arms!

    But thou shalt lend thy perfect form
      To all I fashion best;
    I'll paint thee first, Madonna-wise,
      The infant on thy breast.

    I'll paint thee as a startled nymph,
      Myself a following fawn;
    And still pursue thy flying feet
      Across the woodland lawn.

    With helm on head, like Mars, I'll lie
      By thee, the Queen of Love,
    And draw a net around us twain,
      And smile on heaven above.

    And every god that comes shall pour
      His blessings on thy head,
    And envious eyes be far away
      From that dear marriage-bed!

There is abundance of spirit here. For once, in describing the battle
and fall of Patroclus, Goethe seems to have caught a spark of Homeric
inspiration, and the lines ring out as clearly as the stroke of the
hammer on the anvil. There is no rhyme in the original, which, we
confess, appears to us a fault; more especially as the rhythm is that of
the ordinary ballad. We have, therefore, ventured to supply it, with as
little deviation otherwise as possible. It is for the reader to judge
whether the effect is diminished.

Our next selection shall be "The God and the Bayaderé"--a poem which is
little inferior in beauty to the Bride of Corinth, and which, from its
structure, opposes to the translator quite as serious a difficulty. The
subject is taken from the Hindoo mythology, and conveys a very touching
moral of humanity and forbearance; somewhat daring, perhaps, from its
novelty, and the peculiar customs and religious faith of an eastern
land, yet, withal, most delicately handled.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE GOD AND THE BAYADERÉ.

AN INDIAN LEGEND.

    I.

        Mahadeh, earth's lord, descending
          To its mansions comes again,
        That, like man with mortals blending,
          He may feel their joy and pain;
        Stoops to try life's varied changes,
          And with human eyes to see,
        Ere he praises or avenges,
          What their fitful lot may be.
    He has pass'd through the city, has look'd on them all;
    He has watch'd o'er the great, nor forgotten the small,
    And at evening went forth on his journey so free.

    II.

        In the outskirts of the city,
          Where the straggling huts are piled,
        At a casement stood a pretty
          Painted thing, almost a child.
        "Greet thee, maiden!" "Thanks--art weary?
          Wait, and quickly I'll appear!"
        "What art thou?"--"A Bayaderé,
          And the home of love is here."
    She rises; the cymbals she strikes as she dances,
    And whirling, and bending with grace, she advances,
    And offers him flowers as she undulates near.

    III.

        O'er the threshold gliding lightly
          In she leads him to her room.
        "Fear not, gentle stranger; brightly
          Shall my lamp dispel the gloom.
        Art thou weary? I'll relieve thee--
          Bathe thy feet, and soothe their smart;
        All thou askest I can give thee--
          Rest, or song, or joy impart."
    She labours to soothe him, she labours to please;
    The Deity smiles; for with pleasure he sees
    Through deep degradation a right-loving heart.

    IV.

        And he asks for service menial,
          And she only strives the more,
        Nature's impulse now is genial
          Where but art prevail'd before.
        As the fruit succeeds the blossom,
          Swells and ripens day by day,
        So, where kindness fills the bosom,
          Love is never far away.
    But he, whose vast motive was deeper and higher,
    Selected, more keenly and clearly to try her,
    Love, follow'd by anguish, and death, and dismay.

    V.

        And her rosy cheeks he presses,
          And she feels love's torment sore,
        And, thrill'd through by his caresses,
          Weeps, that never wept before.
        Droops beside him, not dissembling,
          Or for passion or for gain,
        But her limbs grow faint and trembling,
          And no more their strength retain.
    Meanwhile the still hours of the night stealing by,
    Spread their shadowy woof o'er the face of the sky,
    Bringing love and its festival joys in their train.

    VI.

        Lately roused, her arms around him,
          Waking up from broken rest,
        Dead upon her breast she found him,
          Dead--that dearly-cherish'd guest!
        Shrieking loud, she flings her o'er him,
          But he answers not her cry;
        And unto the pile they bore him,
          Stark of limb and cold of eye.
    She hears the priests chanting--she hears the death-song,
    And frantic she rises, and bursts through the throng.
    "Who is she? what seeks she? why comes she so nigh?"

    VII.

        But the bier she falleth over,
          And her shrieks are loud and shrill--
        "I _will_ have my lord, my lover!
          In the grave I seek him still.
        Shall that godlike frame be wasted
          By the fire's consuming blight?
        Mine it was--yea mine! though tasted
          Only one delicious night!"
    But the priests, they chant ever--"We carry the old,
    When their watching is over, their journeys are told;
    We carry the young, when they pass from the light!

    VIII.

        "Hear us, woman! Him we carry
          Was not, could not be, thy spouse.
        Art thou not a Bayaderé?
          So hast thou no nuptial vows.
        Only to death's silent hollow
          With the body goes the shade;
        Only wives their husbands follow:
          Thus alone is duty paid.
    Strike loud the wild turmoil of drum and of gong!
    Receive him, ye gods, in your glorious throng--
    Receive him in garments of burning array'd!"

    IX.

        Harsh their words, and unavailing,
          Swift she threaded through the quire,
        And with arms outstretch'd, unquailing
          Leap'd into the crackling fire.
        But the deed alone sufficeth--
          Robed in might and majesty,
        From the pile the god ariseth
          With the ransom'd one on high.
    Divinity joys in a sinner repenting,
    And the lost ones of earth, by immortals relenting,
    Are borne upon pinions of fire to the sky!

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now take a poem of the Hartz mountains, containing no common
allegory. Every man is more or less a Treasure-seeker--a hater of
labour--until he has received the important truth, that labour alone can
bring content and happiness. There is an affinity, strange as it may
appear, between those whose lot in life is the most exalted, and the
haggard hollow-eyed wretch who prowls incessantly around the crumbling
ruins of the past, in the belief that there lies beneath their
mysterious foundations a mighty treasure, over which some jealous demon
keeps watch for evermore. But Goethe shall read the moral to us himself.


THE TREASURE-SEEKER.

    I.

    Many weary days I suffer'd,
      Sick of heart and poor of purse;
    Riches are the greatest blessing--
      Poverty the deepest curse!
    Till at last to dig a treasure
      Forth I went into the wood--
    "Fiend! my soul is thine for ever!"
      And I sign'd the scroll with blood.

    II.

    Then I drew the magic circles,
      Kindled the mysterious fire,
    Placed the herbs and bones in order,
      Spoke the incantation dire.
    And I sought the buried metal
      With a spell of mickle might--
    Sought it as my master taught me;
      Black and stormy was the night.

    III.

    And I saw a light appearing
      In the distance, like a star;
    When the midnight hour was tolling,
      Came it waxing from afar:
    Came it flashing, swift and sudden;
      As if fiery wine it were,
    Flowing from an open chalice,
      Which a beauteous boy did bear.

    IV.

    And he wore a lustrous chaplet,
      And his eyes were full of thought,
    As he stepp'd into the circle
      With the radiance that he brought.
    And he bade me taste the goblet;
      And I thought--"It cannot be,
    That this boy should be the bearer
      Of the Demon's gifts to me!"

    V.

    "Taste the draught of pure existence
      Sparkling in this golden urn,
    And no more with baneful magic
      Shalt thou hitherward return.
    Do not dig for treasures longer;
      Let thy future spellwords be
    Days of labour, nights of resting;
      So shall peace return to thee!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Pass we away now from the Hartz to Heidelberg, in the company of our
glorious poet. We all know the magnificent ruins of the Neckar, the
feudal turrets which look down upon one of the sweetest spots that ever
filled the soul of a weary man with yearning for a long repose. Many a
year has gone by since the helmet of the warder was seen glancing on
these lofty battlements, since the tramp of the steed was heard in the
court-yard, and the banner floated proudly from the topmost turret; but
fancy has a power to call them back, and the shattered stone is restored
in an instant by the touch of that sublimest architect:--


THE CASTLE ON THE MOUNTAIN.

    There stands an ancient castle
      On yonder mountain height,
    Where, fenced with door and portal,
      Once tarried steed and knight.

    But gone are door and portal,
      And all is hush'd and still;
    O'er ruin'd wall and rafter
      I clamber as I will.

    A cellar with many a vintage
      Once lay in yonder nook;
    Where now are the cellarer's flagons,
      And where is his jovial look?

    No more he sets the beakers
      For the guests at the wassail feast;
    Nor fills a flask from the oldest cask
      For the duties of the priest.

    No more he gives on the staircase
      The stoup to the thirsty squires,
    And a hurried thanks for the hurried gift
      Receives, nor more requires.

    For burn'd are roof and rafter,
      And they hang begrimed and black;
    And stair, and hall, and chapel,
      Are turn'd to dust and wrack.

    Yet, as with song and cittern,
      One day when the sun was bright,
    I saw my love ascending
      With me the rocky height;

    From the hush and desolation
      Sweet fancies did unfold,
    And it seem'd as we were living
      In the merry days of old.

    As if the stateliest chambers
      For noble guests were spread,
    And out from the prime of that glorious time
      A youth a maiden led.

    And, standing in the chapel,
      The good old priest did say,
    "Will ye wed with one another?"
      And we smiled and we answer'd "Yea!"

    We sung, and our hearts they bounded
      To the thrilling lays we sung,
    And every note was doubled
      By the echo's catching tongue.

    And when, as eve descended,
      We left the silence still,
    And the setting sun look'd upward
      On that great castled hill;

    Then far and wide, like lord and bride,
      In the radiant light we shone--
    It sank; and again the ruins
      Stood desolate and lone!

       *       *       *       *       *

We shall now select, from the songs that are scattered throughout the
tale of Wilhelm Meister, one of the most genial and sweet. It is an
in-door picture of evening, and of those odorous flowers of life which
expand their petals only at the approach of Hesperus.


PHILINE'S SONG.

    Sing not thus in notes of sadness
      Of the loneliness of night;
    No! 'tis made for social gladness,
      Converse sweet, and love's delight.

    As to rugged man his wife is,
      As his fairest half decreed,
    So dear night the half of life is,
      And the fairest half indeed.

    Canst thou in the day have pleasure,
      Which but breaks on rapture in,
    Scares us from our dreams of leisure
      With its glare and irksome din?

    But when night is come, and glowing
      Is the lamp's attemper'd ray,
    And from lip to lip are flowing
      Love and mirth, in sparkling play;

    When the fiery boy, that wildly
      Rushes in his wayward mood,
    Calms to rest, disporting mildly,
      By some trivial gift subdued;

    When the nightingale is trilling
      Songs of love to lovers' ears,
    Which, to hearts with sorrow thrilling,
      Seem but sighs and waken tears;

    Then, with bosom lightly springing,
      Dost thou listen to the bell,
    That, with midnight's number ringing,
      Speaks of rest and joy so well?

    Then, dear heart, this comfort borrow
      From the long day's lingering light--
    Every day hath its own sorrow,
      Gladness cometh with the night!

We are somewhat puzzled as to the title which we ought to prefix to our
next specimen. Goethe rather maliciously calls it "Gegenwart," which may
be equivalent to the word "Presentiality," if, indeed, such a word
belongs to the English language. We, therefore, prefer dedicating it to
our own ladye love; and we could not find for her any where a sweeter
strain, unless we were to commit depredation upon the minor poems of Ben
Jonson or of Shakspeare.


TO MY MISTRESS.

    All that's lovely speaks of thee!
      When the glorious sun appeareth,
    'Tis thy harbinger to me:
      Only thus he cheereth.

    In the garden where thou go'st,
      There art thou the rose of roses,
    First of lilies, fragrant most
      Of the fragrant posies.

    When thou movest in the dance,
      All the stars with thee are moving,
    And around thee gleam and glance,
      Never tired of loving.

    Night!--and would the night were here!
      Yet the moon would lose her duty,
    Though her sheen be soft and clear,
      Softer is thy beauty!

    Fair, and kind, and gentle one!
      Do not moon, and stars, and flowers
    Pay that homage to their sun
      That we pay to ours?

    Sun of mine, that art so dear--
      Sun, that art above all sorrow!
    Shine, I pray thee, on me here
      Till the eternal morrow.

Another little poem makes us think of "poor Ophelia." We suspect that
Goethe had the music of her broken ballad floating in his mind, when he
composed the following verses:--


THE WILD ROSE.

    A boy espied, in morning light,
        A little rosebud blowing.
    'Twas so delicate and bright,
    That he came to feast his sight,
        And wonder at its growing.
    Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
        Rosebud brightly blowing!

    I will gather thee--he cried--
        Rosebud brightly blowing!
    Then I'll sting thee, it replied,
    And you'll quickly start aside
        With the prickle glowing.
    Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
        Rosebud brightly blowing!

    But he pluck'd it from the plain,
        The rosebud brightly blowing!
    It turn'd and stung him, but in vain--
    He regarded not the pain,
        Homewards with it going.
    Rosebud, rosebud, rosebud red,
        Rosebud brightly blowing!

We are sure that the votaries of Wordsworth will thank us for the next
translation, which embodies a most noble idea. See how the eye of the
poet is scanning the silent march of the heavens, and mark with what
solemn music he invests the stately thought!


A NIGHT THOUGHT.

    I do not envy you, ye joyless stars,
    Though fair ye be, and glorious to the sight--
    The seaman's hope amidst the 'whelming storm,
    When help from God or man there cometh none.
    No! for ye love not, nor have ever loved!
    Through the broad fields of heaven, the eternal hours
    Lead on your circling spheres unceasingly.
    How vast a journey have ye travell'd o'er,
    Since I, upon the bosom of my love,
    Forgot all memory of night or you!

Let us follow up these glorious lines with a conception worthy of
Æschylus--indeed an abstract of his master-subject. It were out of place
here to dilate upon the mythical grandeur of Prometheus, and the heroic
endurance of his character, as depicted by the ancient poet. To our mind
and ear, the modern is scarcely inferior.


PROMETHEUS.

    Curtain thy heavens, thou Jove, with clouds and mist,
    And, like a boy that moweth thistles down,
    Unloose thy spleen on oaks and mountain-tops;
    Yet canst thou not deprive me of my earth,
    Nor of my hut, the which thou didst not build,
    Nor of my hearth, whose little cheerful flame
    Thou enviest me!

    I know not aught within the universe
    More slight, more pitiful than you, ye Gods!
    Who nurse your majesty with scant supplies
    Of offerings wrung from fear, and mutter'd prayers,
    And needs must starve, were't not that babes and beggars
    Are hope-besotted fools!

    When I was yet a child, and knew not whence
    My being came, nor where to turn its powers,
    Up to the sun I bent my wilder'd eye,
    As though above, within its glorious orb,
    There dwelt an ear to listen to my plaint,
    A heart, like mine, to pity the oppress'd.

    Who gave me succour
    Against the Titans in their tyrannous might?
    Who rescued me from death--from slavery?
    Thou!--thou, my soul, burning with hallow'd fire,
    Thou hast thyself alone achieved it all!
    Yet didst thou, in thy young simplicity,
    Glow with misguided thankfulness to him
    That slumbers on in idlesse there above!

    I reverence thee?
    Wherefore? Hast thou ever
    Lighten'd the sorrows of the heavy-laden?
    _Thou_ ever stretch'd thy hand to still the tears
    Of the perplex'd in spirit?
    Was it not
    Almighty Time, and ever-during Fate--
    My lords and thine--that shaped and fashion'd me
    Into the MAN I am?

    Belike it was thy dream,
    That I should hate life--fly to wastes and wilds,
    For that the buds of visionary thought
    Did not all ripen into goodly flowers?

    Here do I sit, and mould
    Men after mine own image--
    A race that may be like unto myself,
    To suffer, weep; to enjoy, and to rejoice;
    And, like myself, unheeding all of thee!

We shall close this Number with a ballad of a different cast, but, lest
the transition should be too violent, we shall interpolate the space
with a very beautiful lyric. We claim no merit for this translation,
for, to say the truth, we could not have done it half so well. Perhaps
the fair hand that penned it, will turn over the pages of Maga in
distant Wales, and a happy blush over-spread her cheek when she sees,
enshrined in these columns, the effort of her maiden Muse.

       *       *       *       *       *


NEW LOVE, NEW LIFE.

    Heart--my heart! what means this feeling?
    Say what weighs thee down so sore?
    What new life is this revealing!
    What thou wert, thou art no more.
    All once dear to thee is vanish'd,
    All that marr'd thy peace is banish'd,
    Gone thy trouble and thine ease--
    Ah! whence come such woes as these?

    Does the bloom of youth bright-gleaming--
    Does that form of purest light--
    Do these eyes so sweetly beaming,
    Chain thee with resistless might?
    When the charm I'd wildly sever--
    Man myself to fly for ever--
    Ah! or yet the thought can stir,
    Back my footsteps fly to her.

    With such magic meshes laden,
    All too closely round me cast,
    Holds me that bewitching maiden,
    An unwilling captive fast.
    In her charméd sphere delaying,
    Must I live, her will obeying--
    Ah! how great the change in me!
    Love--O love, do set me free!

One other mood of love, and we leave the apprentice of Cornelius Agrippa
to bring up the rear. Goethe is said to have been somewhat fickle in his
attachments--most poets are--but here is one instance where passion
appears to have prevailed over absence.

       *       *       *       *       *


SEPARATION.

    I think of thee whene'er the sun is glowing
              Upon the lake;
    Of thee, when in the crystal fountain flowing
              The moonbeams shake.

    I see thee when the wanton wind is busy,
              And dust-clouds rise;
    In the deep night, when o'er the bridge so dizzy
              The wanderer hies.

    I hear thee when the waves, with hollow roaring,
              Gush forth their fill;
    Often along the heath I go exploring,
              When all is still.

    I am with thee! Though far thou art and darkling,
              Yet art thou near.
    The sun goes down, the stars will soon be sparkling--
              Oh, wert thou here!

If we recollect right--for it is a long time since we studied the occult
sciences--Wierius, in his erudite volume "De Prestigiis Demonum,"
recounts the story which is celebrated in the following ballad.
Something like it is to be found in the biography of every magician; for
the household staff of a wizard was not complete without a _famulus_,
who usually proved to be a fellow of considerable humour, but endowed
with the meddling propensities of a monkey. Thus, Doctor Faustus of
Wittenburg--not at all to be confounded with the illustrious
printer--had a perfect jewel in the person of his attendant Wagner; and
our English Friar Bacon was equally fortunate in Miles, his trusty
squire. Each of these gentlemen, in their master's absence, attempted a
little conjuring on their own account; but with no better success than
the nameless attendant of Agrippa, whom Goethe has sought to
immortalize. There is a great deal of grotesque humour in the
manufacture, agility, and multiplication of the domestic Kobold.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE.

    Huzzah, huzzah! His back is fairly
      Turn'd about, the wizard old;
    And I'll now his spirits rarely
      To my will and pleasure mould!
    His spells and orgies--ha'n't I
      Mark'd them all aright?
    And I'll do wonders, sha'n't I?
      And deeds of mickle might.
          Bubble, bubble;
          Fast and faster!
          Hear your master,
          Hear his calling--
          Water! flow in measures double,
          To the bath in torrents falling!

    Ho, thou batter'd broomstick! take ye
      This old seedy coat, and wear it--
    Ah, thou household drudge, I'll make ye
      Do my bidding; ay, and fear it.
    Stand on legs, old tramper!
      Here's a head--I've stuck it--
    Now be off--hey, scamper
      With the water-bucket!
          Bubble, bubble;
          Fast and faster!
          Hear your master,
          Hear his calling--
          Water! flow in measure double,
          To the bath in torrents falling!

    See, 'tis off--'tis at the river--
      In the stream the bucket flashes;
    Now 'tis back--and down, or ever
      You can wink; the burden dashes.
    Again, again, and quicker!
      The floor is in a swim,
    And every stoup and bicker
      Is running o'er the brim.
          Stop, now stop!
          For you've granted
          All I wanted
          Well and neatly--
          Gracious me! I'm like to drop--
          I've forgot the word completely!

    Oh, the word, so strong and baleful,
      To make it what it was before!
    There it skips with pail on pailful--
      Would thou wert a broom once more!
    Still new streams he scatters,
      Round and ever round me--
    Oh, a hundred waters
      Rushing in have bound me!
          No--no longer
          Can I bear it.
          No, I swear it!
          Gifts and graces!
          Woe is me, my fears grow stronger,
          Look what grinnings, what grimaces!

    Wilt thou, offspring of the devil,
      Soak the house to please thy funning?
    Even now, above the level
      Of the door the water's running.
    Broom accurst, that will not
      Hear, although I roar!
    Stick! be now, and fail not,
      What thou wert before!
          You will joke me?
          I'll not bear it,
          No, I swear it!
          I will catch you;
          And with axe, if you provoke me,
          In a twinkling I'll dispatch you.

    Back it comes--will nought prevent it?
      If I only turn me to thee,
    Soon, O Kobold! thou'lt repent it,
      When the steel goes crashing through thee.
    Bravely struck, and surely!
      There it goes in twain;
    Now I move securely,
      And I breathe again!
          Woe and wonder!
          As it parted,
          Up there started,
          'Quipp'd aright,
          Goblins twain that rush asunder.
          Help, oh help, ye powers of might!

    Deep and deeper grows the water
      On the stairs and in the hall,
    Rushing in with roar and clatter--
      Lord and master, hear me call!
    Ah, here comes the master--
      Sore, sir, is my straight;
    I raised this spirit faster
      Far than I can lay't.
          "To your hole!
          As you were, be
          Broom! and there be
          Still; for none
          But the wizard can control,
          And make you on his errands run!"



THE GREAT DROUGHT.


In the spring and summer of 1844 rain began to fail, and the first
things that perished for want of water died that year. But the moisture
of the earth was still abundant, and the plants which took deep root
found sustenance below; so that the forest trees showed an abundance of
foliage, and the harvest in some kinds was plentiful. Towards the autumn
rain returned again, and every thing appeared to be recovering its
former order; but the dry winter, the dry spring, dry summer of the next
year, told upon the face of creation. Many trees put forth small and
scanty leaves, and many perished altogether; whole species were cut off;
for instance, except where they were artificially preserved, one could
not find a living ash or beech--few were kept alive by means of man; for
water began to be hoarded for the necessaries of life. The wheat was
watered, and, where such a thing was possible, the hay-fields also; but
numbers of animals died, and numbers were killed this year--the first
from thirst, and the last to reduce the consumers of the precious
element. Still the rich commanded the necessaries, and many of the
luxuries of life; and the arts which required a consumption of water
were carried on as yet, and continued in practice even longer than
prudence warranted: so strong was the force of habit, and the pressure
of the artificial necessities which they supplied. The railroads were as
yet in activity, and when water failed along the line, it was brought
from the sea by the rich companies concerned in the traffic; only the
fares were raised, and the trains which ran for pleasure merely, were
suspended. But, in the midst of business and interest, there was a deep
gloom. Projects which affected the fortunes of nations were in suspense,
because there was no rain. Cares for the succession of crowns, and the
formation of constitutions, might all be futile, if there should be no
rain: and it seemed as if there never would be any; for this was now the
third year, and the earth had not received a shower. And now, ceasing to
be supplied from their usual sources, the springs and rivers withered
and shrank. Water became in many places not dear, but unattainable. The
greatest people of the land left it, and used their wealth in chasing
the retreating element from place to place on the earth. In some cases,
among these luxurious spirits there were scenes of extravagant revelry
still; they had no employment except to live, and they endeavoured to
make the act of living as exciting as their old amusements had been. But
accounts of foreign countries came more and more rarely to England; for
when the fourth rainless year arrived, drought and famine had slain
three-fourths of its inhabitants, and commerce and agriculture were
alike suspended. When a vessel came as far up in the mouth of a river as
the sinking waters permitted, it brought tidings of desolation from
whatever port it had left. Stories began to spread of dry land in parts
of the ocean where it had never been seen before; marks which had stood
in the deep of the sea might now be walked round at all times of the
tide, and thick crusts of salt were beginning to spread upon tracts of
the great deep. These tidings from foreign lands came at long intervals,
and at long intervals was a ship sent from any English haven. The few
dwellers of the coast knew not if there were still any dwellers of the
interior: for England was become like the desert; and there were no
beasts to carry one across it, and no water to be hoarded in skins for
the passage. Traffic of every kind ceased; industry was gone; the
secrets of science, and the cultivated mind of the philosopher, were all
bent to the production of water; and many a precious object was resolved
back into its elements, and afforded a scanty supply to a few parched
mouths. The lingering inhabitants had the produce of past years only to
live upon, which nothing replenished as it diminished, and to renew
which the baked earth was wholly incompetent.

In the heart of this desert, there was a family which had hitherto
survived the destruction of life around them. It consisted of a father
and mother, and two young children, Charles and Alice; the last of whom,
the girl, was but a few months old when the Great Drought began. They
had lived in Derbyshire, near the range of low hills called the Peak;
and they and other inhabitants of that region had found water longer
than many others, from the sides of the hills, and from excavations
which they had made in the rocks. The strong hope and expectation of
rain had kept them lingering on as long as any supply lasted; and
Paulett, who in the days when ranks existed, had been a great landlord,
had used both his knowledge and his influence to supply the wants of the
people, and to postpone their destruction. But those days were gone by;
his possessions were so much dust: he wanted water, and nobody wanted
any thing else. He was a mere man now, like those who are born naked and
die naked, and had to struggle with the needs of nature, even as every
one else. Meantime his education availed him; and the resources which it
taught him prolonged the lives of his family and himself. But he was
soon obliged to limit himself to this sole care; for the supply he
obtained was scanty, and he knew how precarious it must be. He had
explored the cavern of the Peak with great attention, and he bored the
rock in various places, and used means suggested by his knowledge of
natural causes, which had procured a slender flow of water into a basin
which he had made. The fury of thirsty men for water was so great, that
he was obliged to keep his secret with the utmost care; and towards the
end of the fourth year, he removed his wife and children to the cavern
itself, and blocked up the entrance, in such a manner that he could
defend it against any chance survivor. There was no want of the luxuries
of furniture in the cavern--all the splendours of the land were at the
command of those who would take them; and Paulett brought there whatever
had adorned his home when the earth was a fit dwelling-place for man.
There was velvet and down to lie upon; there were carpets on which the
little Alice could roll; there were warm dresses, and luxurious
ornaments of the toilette; whatever could be used for comfort he had
brought, and all other precious things he had left in his open house,
locking himself and his family up with only water. At first there would
come sometimes a miserable man or woman, tracing the presence of living
creatures, and crying for water. Paulett or his wife supplied several,
and when they had been refreshed, they revealed the secret to others;
or, being strengthened themselves, felt the desperate desire of life
revive, and attempted violence to get at the treasure. After this the
inhabitants of the cavern fell back to mere self-preservation; and the
father and mother were able to harden their hearts against others, by
looking at the two creatures whom they had born into the world, and who
depended upon them. But, indeed, life seemed to shrink rapidly to
nothing over the face of the country. It was very rare to see a moving
form of any kind--skeletons of beasts and men were in plenty, and their
white bones lay on the arid soil; or even their withered shapes, dried
by the air and the sun, were stretched out on the places where they had
ceased to suffer: but life was most rare, and it became scarcely
necessary to use any precaution against an invader of their store. The
dreadful misery was, that this store diminished. The heart of the earth
seemed drying, and was ceasing to be capable of yielding moisture, even
to the utmost wrenching of science. There was so little one hot day,
that Paulett and Ellen scarcely moistened their lips after their meal of
baked corn, and warned their children that the draught they received was
the only one that could be given them. Charles was now seven years old,
and had learned to submit, but his longing eyes pleaded for more; little
Alice was clamorous, and the mother felt tears overflow her eyes to
think that there was no possibility of yielding to that childish
peevishness, and that the absolute non-existence of water must punish
her poor child's wilfulness. When Paulett had set his instruments to
work, to renew if possible the supply, and when Ellen had removed the
silver cups and dishes which had held their corn and water, he and she
sat down at the mouth of the cavern, and the little ones got their
playthings, and placed them on piece of rock not far off. The mouth of
the cave is lofty, and there is a sort of terrace running along one
side, at the foot of which lay the channel of the stream, that was now
dry. The view is down the first reach of a narrow valley, which turns
presently afterwards, and so shuts out the world beyond from sight; and
the hill on each side rises high, and from its perpendicularity seems
even higher than it is. The shade of the cavern was deep and cool, but
the sky glowed with the heat and light of the sun, and there was not a
cloud to hinder him from burning up the earth. The hill-sides, the
channel where the brook had flowed, the stones of the cave, were all
equally bare; there was no sound of voice, or bird, or insect--no cool
drop from the ceiling of the cave--no moisture even in the coolness of
the shadow. Ellen leaned her head on her husband, and Paulett pressed
his arm round her--both of them were thinking of the basin empty of
water.

"Ellen," said Paulett, "I think the time is come when the elements shall
melt with fervent heat. It seems like the conflagration of the world;
not indeed as we have always fancied it, with flames and visible fire,
but not the less on that account the action of heat. It is perhaps the
Last Day."

"I hope it is," said Ellen, "I hope it is; I wish those precious
creatures may be among those that are alive and remain, and may be
spared the torments of this thirsty death."

"You and I could bear it, if they were gone," said Paulett, glancing at
them and withdrawing his eyes.

"Oh, yes!" said Ellen, pressing near to him, and taking his hand in both
hers. They were silent, and they heard the children talking as they
played.

"There is King Alexander," said Charles, setting up a pebble--"he is
going to dinner. Put the dinner, Alice."

Alice set out several other pebbles before King Alexander.

"And he has got a great feast. There is plenty of water, more than he
can drink; and he drinks, drinks, as much as he likes, and still there
is plenty of water when he goes to bed."

"Poor children! I can't bear it," said Ellen.

"Oh, Ellen, it would have been better never to have given them birth!"
said Paulett.

"No--not that," said Ellen, sitting down again; "though they must
suffer, they are better to be; when this suffering has dissolved their
bodies--on the other side of these mortal pains there is ease and
happiness."

"True, true, dear Ellen," said Paulett; "it is only difficult to die."

He held her hand; and while he did so, his eye fastened on a diamond
ring which she wore. She observed his fixed look.

"You gave me that when we little thought how it was we should part--when
I was a bride--and there was all the pleasure and business of the world
round us. It hardly seems as if we were the same creatures."

"No, we are not; for I am thinking, concerning that ring which you were
never to part with, whether I could not convert the diamond into water."

"How, Paulett?"

"I can't explain it to you; but it has just crossed my mind that it is
possible; and if so, there are still plenty of jewels in the world to
keep us alive."

He drew off the ring as he spoke, and went into the interior of the
cave, whither Ellen followed him. There was a fire, and some apparatus
belonging to Paulett, which he had used in experiments upon the
decreasing water of the basin. He knocked the stone out of its setting,
and applied himself to decompose it over the fire. He put forth all his
skill and all his power, and was successful; the diamond disappeared,
and there remained a few drops of water. He looked at his wife and
smiled; she raised her eyes to his, astonished and pleased, took the cup
from his hand, and looked at the precious metamorphosis.

"I'll give it the children," she said, and was going away; but he
stopped her. "No, Ellen, there is not enough to do any good; you and I
will drink each other's health in it; and he put the cup first to her
lips and then to his own. God bless you, my Ellen!" he said, "my wife--I
pledge you again with that diamond. The first drop of water comes from
the stone that plighted my faith to you, and may it bring you health and
happiness yet."

"God bless you, my husband! If we could but die now!"


CHAPTER II.

Paulett now exerted himself to collect all the diamonds that remained
without owners in the neighbourhood. First he visited his own forsaken
home, and took thence the jewels, which he had neglected in his retreat
from it, but which were now as precious as water. He found no great
store even after ransacking all the houses within reach, and determined
to undertake a longer journey in search of more. The basin in the cavern
continued to yield a scanty supply of water; and Paulett extracted a
small quantity from his stones. He made what provision he could for his
family before setting out; and for his own necessities took the smallest
possible portion, in a silver vessel, which was most preciously secured,
and concealed about his person. It was a strange parting between his
wife and him, both of them feeling and saying, that alive they should
probably not meet again: yet death was so near them constantly, and was
so far better than life, that his presence had grown familiar; and it
was only the mode in which he would come that made them anxious. Paulett
perishing alone of thirst was the fearful image to Ellen, and Ellen and
her children waiting for him in vain, and dying one after the other for
want of his help, was the dread of Paulett. They stood in the cavern,
and embraced each other silently, and blessed their children with the
same prayer for the last time. The little ones received and returned his
caress, and Paulett quitted the cavern and set out on his uncertain
expedition.

The face of the country was so much changed that he had some difficulty
in making his way. The vivid colours of the earth were all gone, and in
place of them was the painful greyness of the dead trees, and the yellow
of the parched soil. Nothing was overthrown in ruin, but all stood dead
in its place. The shapes of men and animals only lay strewn upon the
earth. The human beings were comparatively rare; they were the last
survivors of the destroying drought whom there had been none to bury;
but these at length had died by hundreds, and in places their bones were
seen whiter than any other object; or if any where over the surface
there hung a vapour, it came from some collection of dead bodies which
had not yet been resolved into the elements. Those whom he found there
were mostly in heaps--the beasts had died singly; near what had been
water-courses he saw more than once signs of struggle, and the last
battles of earth had been fought for possession of its waters. He traced
out many a pathetic story among the dry bones and faded garments.
Women's dresses were there; and fallen into a shapeless heap on what had
been their bosom, were little forms, and the raiment of children. Where
the dry air and the sun had preserved the face, he beheld the fallen
estate of those who had been men in the uncovered shame of death; the
wide open lips, the sunken eyes, over which the eyelid was undrawn, the
swollen tongue, the frame writhed into an expression of anguish,
revealed all the pain and shame of death. But here and there, the hand
of some one who had been a survivor, was visible in the attempt to
conceal all this. In one place there was a shallow grave, into which a
body had been rolled, and lay on its side; and close by, on a heap of
clothes, out of which bones appeared, there was a spade with which the
unfinished work had been attempted. In another, a female body was
covered from sun and moon by a man's cloak; and a few paces off lay a
man, whom nothing shielded. There was an infant's skeleton wrapped in a
woman's shawl, under what had been a hawthorn hedge; the mother had
either perished attempting to find water, or had laid her child down,
and gone away, like Hagar in the desert, not to see it die. The poor
innocent's skull was turned on its shoulder; its cheek must have rested
there while the face remained. It was too young to have struggled much.
Paulett thought of his little Alice; of her unconsciousness to the fate
around her; of what would be her and Charles's and poor Ellen's fate, if
he failed in his search, or perished by the way. He roused himself from
looking on all these sorrowful objects, and went on his dreary way. The
second day after he left the cavern, he came to a stately pile of
building, which he determined to explore for the life-giving stones he
was in search of. It stood upon its terraces, surrounded by its
colonnades and garden-steps, in all its old pride and beauty. Its
forests were withered indeed, its gardens burned, its fountains dry; but
the palace glanced back the sunlight, and was as steadfast and perfect
as in the days of the living. Paulett drew near, and found, as he came
close, signs of the last days of life in it. The doors were opened to
the air; and a few marks of objects removed, remained in the outer
rooms. There was scoring and dragging on the marble floor; and Paulett
doubted for a moment what had left these marks, till he saw on one side
of a gilded table, a barrel, lying there empty, from which the top, as
it seemed, had been accidentally knocked, and the liquor had flowed out.
The marble bore the stain of wine, and where it had flowed, the slabs
were broken in two places, perhaps from the violence of the struggle of
those who saw the liquid flow, to wet each one his own parched lips.
Paulett thought the lord of the castle had probably deserted it before
the worst crisis arrived, and had tried to remove what was most valuable
in his possession. He went on through long galleries and magnificent
rooms, all silent as death, statues, which represented man in his glory
and his strength; books, which were the work of that high spirit, now
extinguished under the pressure of bodily wants; luxurious
superfluities, which were for better days of the world--all was
valueless, all open; he might go where he would, till at length one door
resisted his efforts, and seemed to have been barred with a certain care
from within. Paulett's heart beat high. Was there some one still living
like himself; another human creature struggling for existence in this
great world, and guarding, as he had done in his cavern, his treasure of
water? Should he have another companion to speak with; another, with
whom, perhaps, to get over the evil days; to whom to communicate his
secret of producing water from diamonds? For the first time since he
left the cavern, he spoke aloud--he called--he called in the great
silence of the earth, but nothing answered him. If any one were still
alive, he might be afraid of another living creature--had not he himself
left pistols loaded for his poor Ellen, to defend her life and her
children, if any human being should come near her? He gently shook the
door; then proceeded to more violence, and forced it open. It was the
door of a great dining-room, on whose lofty ceiling, as he entered it,
wreaths of smoke rolled, which the air had put in motion, and a heavy
smell, as of burned charcoal, struck him as he entered. There were no
living creatures--the inhabitants were all dead in the last posture of
life. The table was covered with silver and gold vessels, and among them
were dead flowers and fruits, dried by the close chamber. It should seem
they had drunk deeply before they died here--perhaps they had collected
the last liquids, and resolved to perish when they had once more
feasted: for there was wine still in some of the vessels, nay, in one
there was water; and the ghostly shapes were adorned and fantastically
covered with jewels and velvet, and all sort of rare and exquisite
ornaments. Some were still on chairs, some fallen forward on the table,
some prostrate, as if they had lain down to sleep. There were fragments
of shivered glass on the floor; there was a statue broken to pieces on
the table, on the pedestal of which was written "Patience;" there were
pieces of torn paper in the hands of one, which seemed a letter; all
these faint shadowings of long stories, and of a scene of which there
remained no witness, struck Paulett's eye. One had sunk down by the
silver tripod in which the charcoal had burned, and the match that fired
it was amongst his garments. One face was there, resting on a sofa,
still perfect enough to show it had been a beautiful woman; and roses,
artfully made close to nature, crowned the long hair which fell upon
arms from which the flesh had withered. On the neck were diamonds, on
the hands diamonds--diamonds had confined the ringlets--diamonds
sparkled on the feet. Paulett shuddered as he took them away. The
spirit, indeed, was gone; but here was the last act of the spirit before
it plunged into an unknown region, it knew not where. Paulett asked
himself where. "A little longer," said he, "and they must have died;
could not they wait their time, and take patience with death? Must they
die in drunkenness, in madness; worse than beasts?" Then his own thirsty
eyes fixed on the table, where, in the light of the sun, the water
sparkled, and gave rainbow rays. He forgot all beside, in the impulse
which urged him to seize and drink--to drink the first draught--to
satiate his throat with water. He drank and revived; and then blamed
himself for yielding so passionately to the impulse which was now passed
away; and as it passed, the horror of the scene around him acquired
greater force, and he longed to be out of its influence. He made haste
to collect all the jewels around him, and when he had done, found that
his burden was as much as he could safely carry. He went hastily out of
the room, as if any of these figures could rise and follow him, and
fastened the door again, where the crime had been wrought. He hastily
crossed the marble halls and gilded rooms, and came out in the
sunlight--the splendid, solemn sunlight that looked upon a burnt-up
world!


CHAPTER III.

Meantime, poor Ellen waited anxiously in the cavern, and as soon as the
first possible moment for Paulett's return was passed, her fears grew
strong. There was so much danger for him in the bare desert, with his
scanty supply of water, that she might well listen to fear as soon as it
had any reason to make itself heard; and with this dread, when she next
drew water from her scanty supply, came the horrible torment of the
anticipated death by thirst, which seemed descending upon her children
and her. The day she had thought he would return rose and set, and so
did another and another; and from fearing, she had begun to believe,
indeed, that Paulett's earthly hours were passed. Yet hope would not be
subdued entirely; and then she felt that perhaps by prolonging their
lives another day only, she should save them to welcome him, and to
profit by his hard-earned treasure. The store of water was sacredly
precious. She dealt it out in the smallest portions to her children, and
she herself scarcely wetted her lips; she hardened her heart to see her
boy's pale face, her girl's feverish eye; she checked even the motherly
tenderness of her habits, lest the softening of her heart should
overcome her resolution; and so she laid them in their beds the third
night of her dread, when indeed there was scarce another day's supply.
She herself lay on hers, but deadly anxiety kept her from sleeping, and
her ears ached with the silence which ought to have been broken by a
step. And at last, oh joy! there was a foot--yes, a few moments made
that certain, which from the first indeed she believed, but which was so
faint that it wanted confirmation to her bodily sense. Up sprang Ellen,
and darted to meet him. She held forward the candle into the air, and,
lo! it was a woman. Ellen screamed aloud; the woman had seen her before
and said nothing, only pressed forward. "Who are you?" cried Ellen; "are
you alive?" "Yes, just alive; and see here," said the woman, uncovering
the face of her young child--"my child is just alive too; give me water
before it dies." "Then my children will perish," said Ellen. "No, no,"
said the woman; "how are you alive now unless you have plenty? All mine
are gone but this one; my husband died yesterday; ours has been gone for
days." "My husband is dead, too," said Ellen, "and I have only one
draught left." "Then I will take it," said the mother, rushing forward.
Ellen caught her and struggled with her; the poor child moaned in its
mother's arms, and a pang shot through the heart of Ellen. "For God's
sake, miserable woman," she said, "do not go near that basin! You are
mad with want; you will leave none for my children. Stay here, and I
will bring your child water. You and I can want, and yours and mine
shall drink." But the desperate woman pressed on; her eyes fixed on the
water, and dilated with intense desire; her lips wide open, dying almost
for the draught. Ellen's soul was concentred in the fear, that the last
hope of her boy and girl's life was about to be lost; she struggled with
the woman with all her might; she screamed aloud; she lost her hold; she
seized a pistol from the table, and close as she was to her adversary,
fired it full at her. The mother fell, with a shriek. Ellen started
forward and broke her fall, and laid hold on the child to free it from
her dying grasp. "Give him me, give him me!" said the mother, struggling
to lift herself up, and stretching her hands out for the boy. The
trembling Ellen stooped to give him to her, but the child's head dropped
on one side as she held him out; he made no effort to get into his
mother's arms. Ellen wildly raised his face, and he was dead too. The
shot had gone through his breast to his mother's, and a little blood
began to steal from his lips. "He's dead!" said the mother, who was
herself passing away. "Oh, my boy!" and then feebly, with her
fast-failing strength, she raised him, after more than one effort, in
her arms, and pressed her lips to his twice, with all the passion that
death left in her. The wasted form of the child lay there, all pale and
withered, the straight brown hair was parted on his thin forehead; the
mother's uncovered breast, where his head rested, was white, and the
hands delicate; the raiment was luxurious; that head had not been reared
in the expectation of dying on a bed of rock. Ellen burst into floods of
tears, and wrung her hands as she stood by, looking on what she had
done. The woman lifted her eyes, and tried to form her lips into a
smile; she no longer felt any vehement passion, and the torment of
thirst was now only one of the pangs of death. Her eyes wandered to the
water, but when Ellen moved to fetch some, she stopped her.

"No; it was for him. He is at ease now. You did right. Don't grieve."

"Forgive me," said Ellen, kneeling down at her side.

"Oh yes! the poor precious babe suffers no more. I was mad; you said
truly in that. I nursed him at my breast till his lips grew dry even
there; we lived not far from your cavern, and I have seen you, and been
glad you had water. We had some. _We?_ Yes, is not my husband dead; and
my boy is dead too! See, there is blood on his face; wipe it away; he
will die else." Ellen's sobs caught her wandering attention. "I remember
now, you killed him; oh, good angel, guardian angel! you have killed
him, and there is only I to suffer. He is gone from this dear, dear
body; I wish it did not look so like him still--and it looks in pain
too--it looks thirsty."

Ellen hid her own face on the mother's shoulder for an instant.--Her
children had awakened at the noise of the pistol, and they were out of
bed and clinging around her; her sorrow roused theirs, and the sound of
their lamentation reached the dying woman's ear.

"There are my children crying. Alas! I thought they had all been dead."

"They are mine," said Ellen. "Yours are at rest, yours _are_ all dead."

"Thank God!" said the mother; and though the words were earnest, the
voice was faint; all the effort of nature was in them, but they came
feebly from her lips. After that, indistinct sounds and murmured names
only were heard; her breath came in gasps, and at longer and longer
intervals; till the faint shuddering of her limbs ceased by degrees,
and after it had been insensible to the world for a while, the spirit
quitted it for ever. Ellen's heart died within her; her senses were
troubled, and she pressed herself in Paulett's arms without knowing when
he came, or being surprised that he was there. "Oh, Paulett!" she said
at last, "I have not done wrong, but it is so dreadful!" Paulett soon
gathered from her all that had happened; and gazed with pity on what had
once been a beautiful form, but rejoiced that it suffered no longer.
Ellen, shuddering, arranged the dress, composed the limbs, and, with a
thousand tears, placed the infant on that breast which had been so
faithfully its mother to the last. And there they slept, mother and
child--the day of trouble ended for both.

"My poor Ellen," said Paulett, "I wish it were thou and my children who
were there at rest!" and Ellen pressed her Charles and her Alice to her
heart, and would have been glad if they had indeed been dead.


CHAPTER IV.

In that time of trouble and of unexampled events, the mind received
impressions in a different manner from what it had ever done before. The
stern gloom that hung over the future, the hazard upon which life was
suspended, the close contact with universal death, and the desperate
struggle by which it was staved off, gave to all things a new character;
and the scene of the last chapter was but one of the series of deadly
and dreadful excitements which were now the habit of every day. The
solemn frame of mind which it induced in Ellen, was of a piece with the
solemn nature of their existence; and she could talk of it with her
husband at any time, and not disturb the natural bent which their
conversation took. They searched the immediate neighbourhood for the
habitation of the unhappy mother and her family; and the marks of her
footsteps on the dust of the soil enabled them to trace her to Hope, a
village in the plain, two miles, or rather more, from the Peak. She and
her husband had used the church for their habitation, and it seemed had
employed the same kind of precaution as Paulett to defend it and conceal
that it was their dwelling. One entrance only was left, and the other
apertures blocked up; but all care was useless now, for death had set
them free from pain and fear. On a bed beside the altar lay the body of
a man, over which as spread a cloak of fur and velvet, which in the
lifetime of the world would have been most precious. His eyes were
decently closed, the curtains of the bed drawn round him, and the pillow
which supported his head was marked with the pressure of another head,
and with moisture which could have been only the tears of his wife. The
floor of the church was in confusion, like the dwelling of one too much
distracted with trouble to attend to what did not relate to it; but
there was corn which had served for food, and fuel heaped on the stone
which had been a hearth--there was the drawing of a lovely woman and of
a beautiful place: but these were cast into a corner, probably by the
irritable hand of despair. On a table stood empty cups, which had long,
perhaps, been dry--the glass of one had been shivered, and the fragments
lay on the floor; there were also a few books, neglected and covered
with dust. In the churchyard were the marks of three recent graves--one
of them had a stone at its head, on which was carved with care the name
of Alfred, and the soil was fenced and supported with sticks, so as to
preserve its shape over the body--probably it was that of the first
child whom the parents had committed to dust. Another was more hastily
prepared, and no superfluous labour had been bestowed on it. This must
be the last, when heart and health were both failing. Paulett and Ellen
kneeled and prayed beside them, and rejoiced that the mother, too, was
at rest after the long misery of this scene. They returned to their
cave, and, under the shadow of the rock near the old course of the
brook, laid both mother and child, covering their bodies with stones,
and thinking more of the probable reunion, in some unknown scene, of
the spirits of that family, than of the distance which separated their
graves on this earth.

And now, with good store of diamonds, and with increasing skill and
success in the resolution of them into water, both Paulett and Ellen
looked upon the lives of all as safe for the present, and their thoughts
were at liberty to wander to some other subject. They believed that they
and their children were alone in the world, for every sign of life from
other countries, as well as their own, had ceased. It was very long
since any human tidings had come, and though, after men had done with
each other, birds continued their migrations, these had now long been
over, and the years passed away without bringing or sending a single
wing. The course of the seasons, too, was strange and unnatural. It
seemed as if the earth performed its usual course in the heavens, and
kept its place and functions in the movements of the planets; days and
nights varied in their length according to the season, and the heat of
the sun was at one time of the year great and at another weak: but much
that depended hitherto upon the constitution of the globe was suspended.
There were no clouds in the sky, no dews dropping from the air, no
reproduction in the earth. It seemed decayed and dying of old age. Yet
Paulett said, a new existence would, perhaps, arise on this same scene,
and from these same elements. Once before, the earth had been reduced to
eight persons by the action of water; and now the absence of the same
element had brought it to four. Charles and Alice might be the destined
parents of a new race, and those names that were so familiar now, might
become the venerable appellations of the founders of the third race of
man. Ellen smiled and shook her head, looking at the boy and girl, who
were building a house of pebbles; and both parents listened for a while
to what they were saying. Charles recollected the house he had dwelt in
before the great shipwreck of human life drove then to the cavern; and
he was teaching Alice that there were rooms below and rooms above, and
that he had heard how people like their father had carried great stones,
and put them one on another to make these rooms. Alice persisted in
making her house one hollow cavern; and the other she called Charles's
house, and did not understand his recommendation.

"Charles is taking the part already of a teacher, in whom remains the
traditionary knowledge of an old world," said Paulett; "and Alice
represents the new inhabitants, who have their own rude copies of
natural objects, but who will be open to the training of the learned
man."

"The learned man will be their father," said Ellen; "they will gladly
take their notions from him."

"Yes; but if it should be so destined, the first generation must work
hard merely to live--they must be very long ignorant of every thing
except a paternal government, and such habitations as can be raised or
appropriated most easily. They will be children in comparison to Charles
all their lives, if we can but succeed in giving him the ideas of the
age we have lived in. Fancy them, Ellen, increased to perhaps fifty
inhabitants before he dies, a very old man, coming round his chair to
hear of the wonderful steam-engine, and the use of the telescope, and to
learn the art of printing, and the list of different languages which
Romans, Frenchmen, Germans, Greeks, used; and what lions were, and
horses."

"Or tell them how he and Alice escaped from the great drought," said
Ellen. "But, alas! it is far more likely he and she will perish in it,
and then of what use is this knowledge to him?"

"Why--his soul. 'It is a thing immortal like thyself;' and if what he
knows is of no use here, it will be useful elsewhere."

"What!" said Ellen, smiling--"are there railroads and telescopes in
another world?"

"For aught I can tell. At all events, the powers that contrive them here
may contrive something from the same principles hereafter."

"But we can tell nothing about the other world," said Ellen.

"Nay, this is _another world_ to the stars; and, if we know nothing
about our destiny, the only way we have to judge is by what we actually
are, and tend to be, now. So, while life remains, I will teach my boy
all I know, and go on as a man of this world ought to do; then we shall
be ready for every thing."

Accordingly, Paulett every day carried on his son's education, as far as
the boy's age permitted, and instructed him in all that he would have
learned had the world been as it was formerly. Only, like a man in a
shipwreck looking forward to a desert island as his best hope, he dwelt
most upon what would be usefullest, supposing Charles (being preserved)
to have to provide for the physical necessities of a new race of man.
Next in order came science and arts; and it was easier to make him feel
the merits of these than of the exploits of men, especially when they
consisted of valour, and of the deeds of conquerors; for the heroic
virtues seemed to take a new character in the present circumstances of
the world; and whereas they used to kindle and blaze in personal danger,
and at the sound of the applause of men, they now burned brightly in the
endurance of a world's dissolution, which, with all its terrors and
prolonged impressions, must be met by the calm, self-sustaining spirit,
rising superior to the greatest excess of physical injury. The boy's
soul replied to the call upon it. He learned to look on the dangers
before him, and to consider the possibility of escape with quiet
calculation of chances. He inured himself to privation readily, and
eagerly tried to spare his mother and Alice from it. He and his father,
hand in hand, walked over the desolate land, realizing the idea that
they were in fact spirits, superior to all physical things, and divided
from spirits and their sphere only by their frail connexion with a body.
They talked of virtue and duty, and how good it was to dwell in these
painful bodies, since they were the place wherein virtue was practised
and duty learned; and the father taught the son that the opportunities
occurred, not only in enduring the dissolution of the frame of present
things, and in the untiring exertion to aid and support life in those
who were of weaker sex than they, but in abiding with even and cheerful
temper the vexations of every day, and in adorning as far as possible,
as well as preserving, life. The mother was heroic, good, and patient,
too. She brought her children, night and morning, to the mouth of the
cavern, and there they all kneeled by Paulett, who prayed aloud with
them and for them. Then Ellen made ready their meal, which must all be
prepared without water, and which consisted of the stores from former
harvests, of which there was abundance laid up in various houses; and
the little Alice, who could run at her mother's side, learned to be
useful in some matters, and patient and obedient. Charles played with
her and taught her; and he himself, mere child as he was, grew merry in
his play, and earnest; and many a time the profound silence of the earth
was broken by the hearty laugh of children, which would ring out through
the cavern, and reverberate against its walls. They grew, and were
perfect and beautiful in shape; their minds developed, and talents and
virtues filled them. They were types of man and woman--the one bold and
protecting, the other seeking for affection and defence. They flourished
when means appeared inadequate to their support; and, amid a paralysed
world, it was in them only that body and spirit seemed to unfold.


CHAPTER V.

Time passed on, and there was no change in the state of things. Still an
unclouded sun--still the deep, intense blue sky--winds on the earth but
no moisture; and the whole frame of nature seemed crumbling into chaos.
Paulett felt the strife with fate to be unequal indeed, and could
scarcely comprehend that he and his family were truly survivors amid
such destruction; but he resolved not to give in, while the means
remained to him, but to fight the fight out till overpowered by the
material universe. He told Ellen that they must move to some place
where they might hope to find more diamonds, and Ellen agreed--wishing
with Paulett that the strife were over and the last agony suffered, and
that they were among the free and disembodied spirits. London was their
object; for there they might hope to find most of the materials of what
was now the most precious of all things, water; and providing as well as
they could for their necessities by the way, they quitted the cavern,
and set off on their journey.

First came the father, carrying the little Alice in his arms; the boy
held his mother by the hand; and they followed Paulett on his path.
There was the delicate woman, the mother of all that remained alive of
the human race, setting out on the desert, which she remembered, but a
few years before, the scene of luxury and abundance. On her shoulder she
carried a burthen containing corn for their sustenance; and the brave
boy took his share by bearing the jar of water which had been provided
for their support on the journey; and thus the last family of mankind
set out on their pilgrimage over the desolated earth. The unmitigated
sun had made great rents in the sides of the hills, and, together with
the wind, had broken up the roads, between which and the parched fields
there was scarcely now any difference. Where there had been inclosures
and hedges, the withered sticks had in most places yielded to the winds,
and were scattered about the spot where they had stood. Here and there
were the marks of fire, which had run along the country till some
interval of previous desolation had stopped it; and where this had been
the case, the black unsightly remains lay strewn over the surface, one
further step advanced in dissolution than the dead world around. There
was no want of habitations for their nightly shelter. Palaces and
cottages, all alike, were open; all alike were silent and tenantless
habitations. They might choose where they would. And the first day they
did not go far, for Ellen and her children, with stout hearts, had not
bodily strength for great fatigue, and were unused to the strong
exertion they were now compelled to make. Towards evening, therefore,
when they reached a house with which Paulett and Ellen had once been
familiar, they determined to rest there for the night. They pushed open
the gates, which still swung on their hinges, and which admitted them to
what had been a park, filled once with trees, and bathed with waters. A
large wood covered the hill which rose on one side, and which now, under
a summer sun, stood perfectly bare, and all of one uniform grey colour
as far as the view extended. On the other side, the eye looked over a
tract of country varied with hill and dale, but desolate of every colour
that used to shine forth in light and shade. The setting sun shone among
the leafless branches, casting long brilliant rays of light. The
unclouded sky met the sparkling earth, and both glittered with unnatural
brilliancy. To Paulett and Ellen, every thing spoke of desolation and
death; and an exclamation escaped Ellen, in a low tone, that it was a
piteous and horrible spectacle. But Charles, standing still at their
side as they looked on the scene, cried it was beautiful; the colours of
the sun were so splendid on the fine white trees, and one could see so
far, and every thing was so white and shining on the earth. The parents
felt that ideas were ceasing to be in common between the last and the
first members of the old and the new generation; and far from
contradicting their boy, they tried to partake his pleasure and enter
into his impressions. They moved on up to the old familiar door and
entered the open silent hall, where they remembered the ceremonies and
the courtesies of life. They chose among the rooms which had been those
of friends, and recognised familiar objects of their everyday existence.
It was a conceit of Paulett's, for which he smiled at himself, to wind
up the clock in the hall, and set it to tell out the time again for
another week. There were musical instruments in a room adjoining, and
over one of these Ellen timidly passed her fingers. It was out of tune,
and the sounds, though sweet in themselves, all jarred with one another.

"That's the last music of the world, perhaps," said Ellen; "and all
discord too."

They found some small store of corn in one of the rooms; they prepared
and ate it, and lay down to sleep; forgetting in fatigue all their
dismal feelings, and in their dreams seeing the old state of things and
dead persons--nay, a dead world--without wondering that they were come
to life again. All the days of their journey wore an uniform character;
and they kept on and on through waste and ruin, glad to leave the
country behind them, and expecting, as some relief, the aspect of
streets and a town. They halted, at length, within a few miles of
London, and lay down to rest, thankful to be so near their bourne; for
they had suffered as much fatigue as they could well bear, and their
stock of diamonds was waxing very low and needed replenishment. Paulett
continued busy preparing water from part of those that remained, after
his wife and children were asleep. His own frame scarcely felt the
exertion of the journey, and he was full of the thoughts with which the
approaching sight of what had been once the great metropolis filled him.
The vast untenanted dwelling-place, the solitude of the habitation of
crowds, the absence of mind and talent from the scene they had so
filled; all these things excited his feelings, and gaining ground in the
solitude of the night he felt at last that he could not willingly delay
his first meeting with the bereaved city, and that he should be pleased
to have an opportunity of indulging alone the highly-wrought emotion
with which he expected the sight of it. Accordingly, when the light
began to break, he wrote word to Ellen that she should wait for him a
few hours, and that he would be back again in that time to lead her and
the children to their journey's end; and then, softly leaving the house,
set forward eagerly on his way.

It was evening before he returned. He came in pale and excited; he took
his children in his arms as usual, and seemed like one upon whom a thing
which he has seen has made a deep impression, but who either doubts the
power of words to convey the same impression, or thinks that he himself
is over-excited by it.

"Ellen," he said at last, "London is burned to the ground."

The sudden flush on her face, and her clasped hands, while she spoke
not, showed that the event touched her, too, as deeply as him; and then
he went on freely--

"Oh, Ellen! if you had seen it! It stands there, all in ruins--the whole
city in ruins! It has been the work of some great storm which fired it
when all were gone or dead; for there has been no pulling down, no
pillage, no aid, no attempt to stop the fire! All the palaces, all the
museums, all the stores of learning and art, the streets, the crowded
houses; they are gone, Ellen--they are all gone!"

His wife had never before in all their misery seen him so deeply
moved--so nearly overpowered by any thing that had occurred. His
excitement communicated itself to her, and she caught the full bearing
of his narration. She felt for the long ages of story, and the monuments
of human skill, buried in the great city. Irretrievable ruin! The work
which men, and years, and glowing knowledge, had slowly raised up, all
dead, all annihilated so suddenly. They sat talking of it very long
before Ellen said,

"And what must _we_ do now, Paulett?"

"We must go on, Ellen; we must travel further. The rest we hoped for is
destroyed with the city, and we must press forward if we are to save our
lives."

"That seems less and less possible," said Ellen; "and in all this
destruction why should we be preserved?"

"Perhaps because we have as yet avoided the stroke, by using all our
human skill; perhaps because a new race is to spring from us, who shall
reign in another mighty London! Alas, London!--alas, the great city!"

Several times during the night Ellen heard Paulett murmur to himself
words of lament over the fallen city; and when he slept, his rest was
agitated, and his frame seemed trembling under the emotions of the day.

It was resolved that Ellen should rest a little while in their present
habitation, before undertaking the toils of further travel. They
intended to make for the coast, sure of a dry channel to the opposite
shore, and hoping to reach some of the great continental towns before
their store of diamonds should be utterly exhausted. In the meantime,
Paulett was bent upon taking his boy through the ruins of London, and
impressing upon him the memory of the place, and its great events. So
the next day, leaving Ellen and the little Alice together, he and
Charles began their pilgrimage through the mighty ruins. The event must
have occurred very many months ago, for the ruins were perfectly cold,
and the winds had toppled down the walls of all the more fragile
buildings; so that the streets lay in confusion over one another, and it
was impossible, except by other marks, to recognise the localities.
Paulett and Charles clambered over the fallen walls, and would have been
bewildered among heaps of masonry, and houses shaken from their base and
blackened by fire--only that over the desolate prospect they saw, and
Paulett marked the bearings of St Paul's, the chief part of whose dome
rose high in the air, though a huge rent let the daylight through it,
and threatened a speedy fall. There was here and there a spire, rising
perfect over the ruins; there were remains of Whitehall, strong though
blackened, seen over a long view of prostrate streets; and in the
distance beyond, fragments of Westminster Abbey showed themselves in the
sunlight, though defaced and crumbled, as if the frame had been too
ancient to resist the fire. Guided by these landmarks, Paulett traced
out the plan of the city, and by degrees recognised where the great
streets had run, where the palaces had stood, where the river had
flowed. And all was silent, all an absolute stillness, where there had
been such ceaseless voices, and sounds of life; the libraries were
burned, the statues calcined, the museums in ashes; the mind of man,
which triumphs over the body, had here been subdued by matter, and left
no trace of itself.

"Oh! London, London! So much talent, so much glory and beauty; such
mighty hearts, such mighty works; such ages of story--all buried in one
black mass! Piteous spectacle!" cried Paulett, striking his breast, and
stretching forth his arms over the skeleton of what was once a sovereign
in the world.

He took his son by the hand, and led him over the confused masses,
telling him as they went along what were the ruins by which they passed.

"This great heap of building which has fallen into a square, must be the
palace of our kings. It is that St James's, where they dwelt till nobler
buildings rose with the improving times. See here, Charles--there is
less ruin here. This opener space was park and garden; and time has been
that I have heard the buzz of men filling all this place, when the
sovereigns came to hold their courts in that building. I think that this
dreadful fire must have taken place before life was quite extinct; for
see, there are heaps of bones here, as though men had fled together to
avoid it; and it either overtook them with long tongues of fire, such as
a burning city would send forth, or smothered them before they could
escape, with its smoke. Ha! I see almost a palace there--a wonder of
modern art. It is the house I once saw, and only once, for it was built
during the years of the great drought."

"Who could build in those days, father?" said Charles; "I thought no one
had any heart for doing more than we do, and that is but just keeping
ourselves alive."

"Nay, it was very long before the persuasion came that those were the
last days. We all believed that rain would come again and restore the
earth to its old order, and whoever possessed the means, builded and
projected still. You may see this magnificent place suffered violence
before the fire; for its ornaments are torn from the walls, and its
statues mutilated by other means than the bare fall. It was the property
of a man called Jephcot, who, when the water began to fail, contrived
means to bring it into London from great distances, and thus to secure a
supply when the ordinary means were useless. He kept his contrivance
secret, and supplied the city when other men's resources were exhausted;
and he grew exceedingly rich by this exercise of his ingenuity, and
built himself the palace which you see there. But when the failure of
water amounted to absolute famine, the rich people naturally were the
last who wanted; they gave his price, and he supplied them before he
would supply others who had no money to bring. This was endured with
murmurs, which might have gone on a little longer, had not Jephcot, in
the midst of this distress, given a banquet to the great people of
London.

"It was in the second year of the drought, when little thinking what the
end was to be, we all continued to live, as far as possible, as we had
done before. I was in London where the parliament was then sitting, and
among others I was invited to this house, and still remember the scene
of luxury and profusion of these bare rooms. In the midst of the noise
of a crowded assembly, some of us heard sounds outside, which were such
as you will never hear, even if you live--sounds of the feet and voices
of thousands of human beings. Among this tumult, we began to distinguish
individual voices, chiefly those of women, crying out, "water!" We paid
little attention, and those who did, said the police and soldiers were
called out and would prevent violence; but before long it was whispered
that these forces, pressed by extreme want, and seeing their families
perishing, had joined the mob, and were exciting violence. There fell a
silence over all the assembly; every one left the tables, and gathered
together to hear and to consult: and while we did so, there came an
assault on the front of the house, and the voices of the populace all
broke out at once into shouting. They were irresistible; they forced
their way in, and came pouring up the staircase; they uttered cries of
vengeance for imaginary wrongs, saying that the waters of London had
been kept for the rich, and that there was abundance for both rich and
poor, and threatened the lives of Jephcot and his family, even more
eagerly than they demanded water. He tried to address them, but they
caught him down from the head of the staircase where he stood, and flung
him at once over the marble banisters. This was the signal for attack on
all sides. We rushed forward to rescue his body and revenge him, they to
possess themselves of the treasure they so much coveted. Of course we
were overpowered, for we were one to fifty; and that night there fell a
hundred of the nobles of England. The women were respected by the mob,
and except one lady who was shot accidentally, and another who saw her
son fall, and stood over him till he ceased to breathe, then fell
wounded and dying herself, all escaped. Your mother was not there. When
our party was quite vanquished, I found myself in the midst of the mob,
bleeding to death as I thought; but they flung me on one side, and I
recovered. They pulled the house to the ground, after they had satiated
themselves with drinking. And that was the first great calamity which
overthrew the government of the country."

"And how did that come about, father?" said Charles, eagerly holding him
by the hand, and sharing his excitement.

Paulett led him on, telling him, at one ruined monument after another,
what steps had been taken at each, in the destruction of the order of
things. They came to the dry channel of the Thames, a deep and wide
trench, whose bottom showed objects that had lain there when the waters
flowed above, and which would once have been as precious as now they
were unregarded. Here as a bridge from side to side; and a little way
above, stood part of the walls of a noble building, partly black with
smoke, partly white with the polish and beauty of stones newly built
together.

"These are the Houses of Parliament," said Paulett, "the work of many
years, which were to replace those burned in 1834. See how beautiful
they were, what excellent design, what exquisite finish; how strong and
stable, to last for a thousand ages, and to crown the river which then
flowed in this dusty channel. When matters were come almost to the
worst, and there were convulsions all over the country in consequence of
the famine, the queen, for the first time, came to these houses to open
the last parliament that ever assembled. There were no beasts of
burthen left alive in the country; it had been found impossible to
appropriate water enough to those which had been reserved in the royal
stables; and the queen, surrounded by a certain number of the court,
walked along yonder street to the House. The sight of so young a woman,
and so great a sovereign, thus leveled by physical necessity with the
meanest, excited some of the old enthusiasm with which she used to be
greeted: the populace themselves, with their squalid faces, and in their
extreme misery, greeted her; but the greatest feeling was aroused among
the nobles and gentry who surrounded her, and who seemed to make a point
of offering more homage, the less outer circumstances commanded it.
There was assembled in the House all that remained alive of the nobles
of England, and the sovereign; and they proposed to deliberate upon the
possibility of any means remaining to provide water. But a demagogue of
the people, Matthison by name, roused their fury and their madness, and
they burst in, accusing their superiors of their calamities. The queen's
life was in danger;--and then occurred a gallant action, which is worthy
to live if man lives. A Churchill, a descendant of that Marlborough who
fought Blenheim, came to the hall whither they had broken in, and
required in the queen's name to know what they wanted. He meant to gain
time; for other nobles had effected an exit at a private door for her,
and were hurrying her away to a place of security, till she could escape
from England. They answered Churchill, that water was monopolized; that
Matthison must be minister; that they must speak to the queen face to
face, and have her hostage for the accomplishment of what they wished.
Churchill pretended to deliberate for an instant with some one in the
adjoining chamber; and then returning, said, 'If the queen do not speak
with you in ten minutes, you may tear me in pieces.' Some of the mob
cried that he was saying this to give her time to escape. Others said,
if it were so, he should assuredly suffer the penalty. Churchill
answered nothing, only smiled; and then the majority said he could not
be so foolhardy, and they would grant the queen ten minutes.

"The time passed, and Matthison eagerly cried, 'The time is gone, yet we
don't see the queen.'

"'Then tear me in pieces,' said Churchill; and the mob, finding their
prey had escaped, did so indeed; the gallant man falling where he stood,
and not another word came from his lips."

"The brave man!" cried Charles; "the good man! Were there many such
brave, good men in the old world, father?"

"Ay, that there were," said Paulett; "many a glorious one; some known
and some unknown, who did things which made one know one's-self a
glorious, an immortal creature. See there that ruined abbey--there lie
the ashes of brave and good; these are their crumbled monuments--'that
fane where fame is A spectral resident!' Alas, there is no fame, no name
left!"

Paulett and Charles went down among the ruins of the abbey, and there,
amidst the fallen stones and broken aisles, saw monumental marbles, old
known names, and funeral inscriptions, contrasting strongly by their
quiet character with the confusion around.

"Never forget them, Charles," said Paulett. "These are names which the
world has trembled at, and which are now like to be such as those before
the Flood, barbarous to those who are building up a new order of things,
and known merely as a barren catalogue of names. Yet, if you live,
remember Edward the king here; remember the Black Prince; remember the
days and heroes of Elizabeth; remember the poetry and the romance of the
old world."

"Ay, father, and I'll remember the great name of him who taught you to
print, and of Wicliffe the reformer, and of the man who gave you the
steam-engine."

Paulett smiled and sighed; he felt that his own ideas of things heroic
were as much contrasted with those of Charles, as their notions of the
beautiful. But he thought not to stem the stream.

"See here," he said, pointing to some new monuments, which, like the
old, were cracked by fire; "there were many brave and good actions
done, and one of those who did best was laid here. He was a clergyman,
his name Host, and during the pestilence which came on in the fourth
year, he was more like an inspired messenger of good than any mortal
creature. You must know, Charles, that the teachers of religion at this
time were greatly divided among themselves, and they had led a great
portion of the lay world into their disputes. One party, in an age of
reasoning, and when nothing in science was taken upon trust, gave up
their reason altogether, and followed authority as blindly as they
could--still, however, feeling the influence of the age; for they would
argue upon the existence or non-existence of authority, and would fit it
unconsciously each man to his own conceit. Indeed, superstition was the
disease of the age, and while the healthy part of the community employed
and enjoyed the freest use of their reason, this same infirmity appeared
among other people in other forms; so that some men took up the notion
that the human mind might act independently of sense, and see without
eyes, and know intuitively what existed at a distance. Other parties,
among professors of religion, allowed nothing in religion that they
allowed daily in the evidence of other matters. They gave no weight to
research, and thought, about religious facts; and dreamed that each one
among themselves gained a kind of spiritual knowledge by inspiration. It
was a time of conceits and quackery; but there was a better spirit
abroad, of which this good man Host was the representative. He began in
the pestilence, and went to all houses indifferently, whether they were
princes or peasants; and there was a common-sense in what he did and
said, a universal character in his religion, which struck men in these
evil days. They drew nearer to each other under his influence; and I
recollect this great building thronged in one of the last months that
men continued here, with a congregation of all orders and all divisions
of opinion, who met to pray together, and listen to Host. He stood
yonder, Charles, as nearly there, I think, as I can tell from the ruins;
he was rapt by his own discourse, and his face was as the face of an
angel. And truly three days after, he was dead; and here they buried
him--the last sound of the organ, the last service of this church, being
for him. Here is his name still on the tombstone--

         'Host.
    Pio. dilecto. beato.
    Populus miserrimus.'"

Charles's memory was deeply impressed with this history, and he followed
his father, much engrossed and animated by what he had heard. Not so
Paulett; for the ruins of London occupied his mind, and filled him with
deep pity and regret for the fair world destroyed: and so they returned
to their temporary habitation, the father sorrowful, the son exulting;
one full of the old world, one dreaming great actions for the new.

After another day's rest, the sole surviving family of mankind set forth
again on their pilgrimage. Paulett again carried his Alice, and Ellen
and Charles walked hand in hand with such a basket of necessaries as
they could support. Paulett secured about his person a large packet of
diamonds, collected in palaces and noble dwellings near London, and the
apparatus he required for transmuting them into water; and searching for
and finding the remains of the railroad to the coast, at Dover, they
kept on in that track, which, from its evenness, offered facility to
their journey. But in several places it had been purposely broken up,
during the commotions which preceded the final triumph of the drought,
and the tunnel near Folkestone had fallen in the middle from want of the
necessary attention to the masonry. These difficulties seemed harder to
bear than those which they had met with in the beginning of their
pilgrimage, when their hopes of reaching a certain bourne were more
secure. The destruction of London had thrown a deep gloom over all their
expectations; and besides that help was removed to a much greater
distance, they could not but feel it very probable that a similar fate
might have befallen the other places they looked to. Nevertheless, none
of them murmured. They went steadfastly though sadly on; and the two
children, with less knowledge of what was to be feared, were encouraged
by their parents whenever they broke into a merrier strain. Alice was
the happiest of the party, for she knew least. She was the one who
suffered least also; for every one spared her suffering, and contrived
that what remained on earth of luxury should be hers. She had the first
draught of water; she was carried on her father's shoulder; she ran to
find pebbles, and whatever shone and glittered on their path; and when
the others were silent, they heard with joy her infant voice singing,
without words like a bird, in a covered tone, as they got wearily over
mile by mile of their way. Ellen suffered most, though Paulett tried, by
all means that remained, to lighten her fatigue and cheer her spirit.
She bore up steadfastly; but her frame was slight, and her feelings were
oppressed by the fearful aspect of things around her. They made a deep
and deeper impression, and she was fain to look steadfastly on the faces
of the few living, to recover from the effects of such universal death.

Paulett himself was shaken more than he knew, though he was as energetic
as ever; but Charles was vigorous and advanced beyond his years, and
took more than his share in aiding and in comforting. They came at last
to what had been sea-coast, and to that part of the road which ran along
the face of the cliff overlooking the sea; and here they paused, and
gazed upon the wild and strange view before them. Where the sea had
stretched all glorious in motion, expanse, and colour, there was now a
deep valley, the bottom of which was rough with rocks, black for the
most part, but in places glittering with the white salt from which the
water had evaporated, and which the winds had rolled together. Further
out from the coast, where the sea had been deepest, there seemed tracks
of sand; and far away over this newly exposed desert, rose other hills,
clearly seen through the unclouded atmosphere, and which they knew to be
the rocks of France. And if they should arrive there, what was the hope
they offered? Scarce any. Nothing but more pilgrimage, further
wandering. Paulett and Ellen sat apart, while the children lay sleeping
side by side, for an hour or two, at this point of their journey, and
talked over the desolation before them.

"Yet," said Paulett, "the more terrible is the appearance which material
things put on, the greater I feel the triumph of the spirit to be. The
worse it looks, the more immortal I feel; and when a perishing world
shows itself most perishable, I exult most that you and I, Ellen, have
borne it so far."

"Yes, I am glad too," said Ellen; "your strength strengthens me. In the
midst of this desolation the mind rises, for an hour at least, higher
perhaps than it would have ever done if we had been prosperous."

"Yet we might have used our prosperity to the same good end," said
Paulett. "It is not necessary to be miserable in order to be noble.
Millions have died before us, some in agony, some before the struggle
began; some hardly, some at ease: they had all their chances; all had
their occasions of virtue, if they used them; and some used them, some
failed: ours is not over yet; we have to struggle on still; and let us
do it, dear Ellen, and be ready for the good day when we too may be
allowed to die." And thus talking for a while, they rested themselves in
sight of the desert they had to traverse; then with renewed strength and
steadfast resolution, when the children woke, descended the cliffs, and
prepared to trace out a path through what had been the bottom of the
sea. The first part of the journey was infinitely difficult: the rocks
over which foot of man had never passed; the abrupt precipices over
which had flowed the even surface of the ocean, and then the height to
climb again, again to find themselves on ledges and shelves of
rocks--all these seemed at times hardly passable impediments. And when
they got to a distance from what had been the shore, the unnatural place
where they found themselves pressed upon the imagination. There was a
plain of sand, about which at irregular distances rose rocks, which,
north and south, stretched out beyond the reach of the eye; and this
sand, which had been at such a depth that it never felt the influence
of the waves, was covered in places with shells, the inhabitants of
which had perished when the waters gradually dried away. There lay mixed
with these some skeletons of fishes; here a huge heap, and there small
bones which looked less terrible; and masses of sea-weed, dried and
colourless, under which, as it seemed, the creeping things of the ocean
had sheltered for a while, and some had crawled to the surface when
about to perish. But it was not only the brute creation which had died
here: there was in the middle a pile of rocks, on one side of which they
came suddenly to a pit, so deep and dark that they perceived no bottom;
and here probably there had been seawater longer than elsewhere, for
there were human bones about it, and skulls of men, and human garbs,
which the sun had faded, but which were not disturbed by waves. There
was a cord and a metal jar attached to it, for lowering into the pit;
but Paulett, as he looked at the attitudes of the remaining skeletons,
and observed how they seemed distorted in death, fancied that they must
have brought up either poisoned water, or waters so intensely salt as to
drive them mad with the additional thirst; and that some had died on the
instant, some had lingered, some had sought to succour others, and
yielded sooner or later to the same influence. Ellen and he would not
dwell on the sight after the first contemplation of it; they passed on,
shuddering, and made toward the great wall of rock which they saw rising
to the south, and which must be their way to the land of France. But
before they reached it the sun began to decline, and without light it
was in vain to attempt to seek a path. There was a wind keener than they
had felt of late, which came from the west, and the little Alice pressed
on her father's bosom to shield her from it. He wrapped her closer in a
cloak, and they resolved to put themselves under the shelter of the
first rock they reached, and pass the night in the channel of the sea.
They pressed on, and found at last the place they sought; a cliff which
must once have raised its head above the waves, and which now stood like
some vast palace wall, bare and huge, upon the ocean sand. Screened from
the wind, they collected an abundance of the dried vegetation of the
sea, partly for warmth and to roast their corn, partly for Paulett to
dissolve some of the diamonds into water; and here they rested, here
they slept, many fathoms below that level over which navies used to
sail. At times during the night Paulett fancied, when the wind abated,
that he heard a sound like thunder, or like what used to be the rushing
of a distant torrent; and occasionally he thought he felt a vibration in
the earth as if it were shaken by some moving body. The region he was in
was so strange that he knew not what might be here, or what about to
happen; the sounds so imperfect that he tormented himself to be sure of
them, or to be sure they were not; and when the time for action came he
was beginning to disbelieve them altogether; but Alice brought all back
again by saying, "My rock" (for her cradle was a rock) "shook my head,
father." The child could explain herself no further; but the vibration
he had fancied seemed to be what she had felt. And now they climbed
again, and again descended weary rock after rock; it was a strange
chaos, which the tides had swept and moulded, and which had in places
risen to the surface, and caused the wreck of many a vessel. Fragments
of these lay under the rocks they had split upon, but the wandering
family had no thoughts for them; wonder and pity had been exhausted
among exciting and terrific scenes. They thought only of forcing their
way over the rocks, and feared to think how much of this they had to
traverse before they should come to what had been the shore, and to
towns.

Suddenly, as they toiled forward, Paulett said in a low voice to Ellen,
"Don't you hear it?"

"I have heard it a long time," said Ellen in the same tone; and Charles
stopping as well as they, said, "Father, what is that?"

"I can't tell, my boy," said Paulett, listening.

"Water?" asked Ellen.

Paulett shook his head, yet they all pressed forward, and there grew a
thundering sullen sound. There was a valley and a ridge of rock before
them, and they had to clamber first down the rugged precipice they were
upon, then to cross the valley, and then to struggle up the opposite
side, a trembling motion growing perceptible as they advanced, before
they stood on a sort of broad ledge, which they perceived at the angles
that jutted out, went down straight into a depth, and opposite which was
another broad table-land of rock, between which and that they were upon
was a rent, wider and narrower in various parts, and running along as
far as they could see to right and left. Paulett rushed on to the brink,
and stood looking. He put his hand out to keep Ellen back when he heard
her close behind; but she also sprang to the edge, and when she had seen
turned to catch Charles in her arms. Rushing past was a torrent, but not
water. It was dark, thick, pitchy; it sent up hot steams to the edge: it
was one of the secrets of nature, laid bare when the ocean was taken
away. Fire seemed to be at work below, for occasionally it would boil
with more violence, and rush on with an increased, increasing noise,
then sullenly fall back to the first gloomy sound. It bewildered the
sense; and though it could threaten no more than death, yet it was death
with so many horrors around it, that the body and mind both shrank from
it. How was it possible, too, to cross it? Yet their way lay over it;
for behind was certain destruction, and before it was not yet proved
impossible that they might find the element of water. Paulett felt that
it would not do to linger on the brink; he drew his family away from the
sight, and he himself went up and down to find some narrower place, and
some means by which to make a bridge over the abyss; and it was not till
their assistance could avail him that he returned for them, and brought
them to the place where he hoped to get over. It was a fearful point,
for in order to reach a space narrow enough to have a chance of throwing
a plank over, it was necessary to go down the broken side of the
precipice some twenty feet, and there, high above the seething lava, to
cross on such a piece of wood as could be got to span the abyss, and
then clamber up the rugged opposite side. Paulett had been down to the
point he selected, and had got timber, which a wrecked vessel had
supplied, to the edge, so that Ellen and Charles might push a plank down
to him, and he might try, at least, to cast it to the opposite bank. His
head was steady, his hand strong; no one of them spoke a word while he
stood below, steadying himself to receive the plank. Ellen's weak arm
grew powerful; her wit was ready with expedients, to aid him in this
necessity. Her frame and spirit were strung to the very uttermost, and
she was brave and silent, doing all that could be done. No word was
spoken till Paulett said, "I have done it;" and Ellen and Charles had
seen him place the plank, and secure it on his own side of the abyss
with stones. Then they held their breath, beholding him cross it; but
his firm foot carried him safely, and he heaped stones on the other side
also. He came over again, sprang up the side, and now smiled and spoke.

"After all it is but a mountain torrent, Ellen," he said, "and the water
would have destroyed us like yonder seething flood; yet we have crossed
many a one and feared nothing. Now Charles shall go over; then Alice,
and he shall take care of her; and then my Ellen. The ground beyond is
better; we shall get on well after this."

Ellen took the girl in her arms, and stood, not trembling, not weeping;
seeing and feeling every motion; all was safe that time again, Charles
was on the opposite bank, and his father waved his hand to Ellen. He
came back for Alice, whom her mother tied on his shoulders, for hands as
well as feet were wanted to scramble down and up the banks. And now
Ellen followed to the brink, and forgot, in watching her husband and
child pass over, that the black torrent was seething beneath her eyes.
When they were quite safe, she felt again that it was there, and that
her eyes were growing dizzy, and her hands involuntarily grasping about
for support. She did not take time to feel more, but sprang upon the
plank, and over it, and found Paulett's hand seizing hers, and drawing
her up the opposite bank.

And once there, with all the three round her, she burst into
tears--tears which had not overcome her through many miseries--and
embracing them alternately, blessed them that they were all so far safe.
Paulett suffered this emotion to spend itself before he said that he
must cross the plank again. To be more at liberty to assist them, he had
left the diamonds on the other side, till they should be over. Ellen
offered no remonstrance. The times had so schooled them all, that
selfish or unreasonable thoughts either did not come at all, or were
suppressed at once; and she did not oppose, even with a word, this
necessary step. But the renewal of fear, after the excited energy had
subsided, did her more harm than all that had gone before; and she stood
on the brink exhausted, yet palpitating again, while Paulett made the
passage. He himself was wearied; but he had reached the plank, and was
upon it on his way back to safety, when one of those ebullitions which
stirred the dark fluid began roaring down the cleft rock, and with
stunning noise sent up dark and clouding vapour. Paulett seemed
suffocating--he could not be heard--he could but just be seen--he
reeled! Has he fallen? Oh, he has fallen! No--no! he has got his footing
again; he forces himself up the bank; he is safe--but the diamonds are
in the bottom of the pit.


CHAPTER VI.

The exhausted family toiled with difficulty over the remaining passage
to what had been the mainland, and reached a village on the former
coast, under a roof of which they entered, and lay down on the floor of
the first room they came to. Their supply of water was almost out; the
materials for producing more were gone; and there seemed little chance
of finding any in the neighbourhood. "Death was here;" and yet the
exhaustion of their frames led them to sleep before they died, and to
seek and enjoy a taste of that oblivion which was soon to fall upon them
with an impenetrable shroud. All but Ellen were soon asleep; but she,
the most wearied of all, could not close her eyes and admit rest to her
overwrought frame. There was a burning thirst in her throat, which the
small portion of water she and the rest had shared--being all that
remained for them--had failed to slake. She had not complained of it;
but she rejoiced when she heard them asleep, that she could rise and
move restlessly about. The night was hot, and yet the west wind
continued to blow strongly; the moon shone, but scarcely with so bright
a light as usual--there was a film upon it, or perhaps, Ellen thought,
it was the dimness of her own weary eyes. She came softly up to Paulett,
and watched his frame, half naked in the unconsciousness of sleep, and
upon which none of the ravages of want and exertion were now concealed.
The flesh was wasted; the strong chest showed the bones of the skeleton;
the arms which had so strained their powers were thin, and lay in an
attitude of extreme exhaustion. His sleep was deep; his lips open; his
eyelids blue; he would wake in want; and soon he would be able to sleep
no more, till the last sleep of all came in torment and anguish. Poor
Charles lay by him, his head on his father's body for a pillow, his
limbs drawn somewhat together, his clusters of brown hair parted off his
pale thin cheek; and Alice, the darling Alice, with more colour in her
face than any of them, slept in deep repose, destined, perhaps, to live
last, and to call in vain on those whose cares had hitherto kept her
healthier and happier than themselves. The mother groaned with anguish;
she measured what these were about to suffer, by all she began to suffer
herself; and the sight of them seemed to sear the burning eyes which
could no longer weep. She sat down on the floor by Alice; her head fell
against the wall; she caught at a little rosary which hung near her, and
pressed it in her mouth, the comparative coolness of the beads giving
her a little ease; her face fell on her bosom.

When Paulett woke out of his deep sleep, and as soon as he stirred, the
little Alice came on tiptoe across the floor to him, and said, "Hush,
father! my mother is asleep at last."

"At last, my Alice! What! Could not she sleep?"

"I think she could not sleep. I woke up, and there was my mother; and
Charles woke presently, and she said Charles should go out and try to
bring back some cold stones in a cup, and then presently she sat down
again, and went to sleep."

He rose softly, and taking the little girl by the hand, came up to
Ellen's side, and looked upon her. She was lying at full length on the
floor; her head was toward him, but her face was turned upon the ground,
and her hair further hid it; her right arm was fallen forward, and the
back of that hand lay in the palm of the other. He did not hear nor see
her breathe. "Is it so, my Ellen?" he said. "Art thou at rest? Is there
no farewell for me?" He kneeled and stooped lower and lower. His lip did
not venture to feel hers; he longed that she might be free, yet shrank
from knowing that she was gone. But no; she had not ceased to suffer; a
low sigh came at last, and her parched mouth opened.

"Water!" she said; then lifted her eyes and saw Paulett, and remembered
all by degrees. "Is not there a little? Oh, no--none! Nay, I shall not
want it soon!" She turned her face on Paulett's breast, and soon after
tried to rise and push herself from him. "Leave me, dear husband; kiss
me once, and leave me; try to save _them_!"

But Paulett folded his arms round her. "Not so, my Ellen; the chances of
life are so little, that it is lawful for me to give them up, unless we
can all seek them together. Alas! all I can do is but to see thee die!
Oh, if I could give thee one minute's ease!"

"Alas! you must all die like this," said Ellen, who was perishing like
one of the flowers that had died in the drought for want of rain. Water
would have saved that life, spared those sufferings. That burning hand,
those gasping lips, those anxious eyes, revealed what the spirit passing
away in that torment would fain have concealed. "Alice, come near me;
hold my hand, Alice. Are you thirsty, poor child? Oh, do not grieve your
father! It will be but a short time, my little girl--be patient." Ellen
tried to kiss her; her husband kneeled and raised her head on his
shoulder, bending his face on her forehead, and murmuring the last
farewell--the last thanks--the agony of his pity for her suffering. The
poor child threw herself on her mother, gazing upward in want, and
grief, and bewilderment, in her face. "My Charles," said the mother,
feeling about with the other hand, but she did not find his head to
bless it. "My Charles," she repeated in a fainter tone, and her eyelids
drooped over the hot eyes.

Paulett saw nothing but his suffering wife, heard nothing except her
painful breath. At that moment the door opened, and Charles stood there,
paler than ever, with glittering eyes. He held the cup towards his
father. "Father," he said, "there is water coming down from heaven!"

Paulett looked up and cried, "O God, it rains!"



A TENDER CONSCIENCE.


I have a story to tell you, my dear Eusebius, of a tender conscience. It
will please you; for you delight to extract good out of evil, and find
something ever to say in favour of the "poor wretches of this world's
coinage," as you call them; thus gently throwing half their errors, and
scattering them among a pretty large society to be responsible for them;
provided only they be wretches by confession, that dare not hide
themselves in hypocrisy. In all such cases you show that you were born
with the genius of a beadle, and (strange conjunction) the tenderest of
hearts. I believe that you would stand an hour at a pillory, and see
full justice done to a delinquent of that caste; and would as willingly,
in your own person, receive the missiles that you would attempt to ward
off from the contrite wretch, whose sins might not have been woefully
against human kindness. Could you choose your seat in the eternal
mansions, it would be among the angels that rejoice over one sinner that
repenteth. You can distinguish in another the feeblest light of
conscience that ever dimly burned, and see in it the germ of a beautiful
light, that may one day, by a little fanning and fostering, shine as a
star, and shed a vital heat that may set the machinery of the heart in
motion to throw off glorious actions. But let not the man that shams a
conscience come in your way. I have seen you play off such an one till
he has burst forth--up, up, up, aiming at the skies, nothing less, in
his self-glorification; and how have you despised him, and exhibited him
to all bystanders as nothing but a poor stick in his descent! These
human rockets are at their best but falling stars--cinders incapable of
being rekindled. Commend me to the modest glow-worms, that shine only
when they think the gazing world is asleep, and dwell in green hedges,
and fancy themselves invisible to all eyes but those of love.

There are persons, and of grave judgments too, who verily believe that
the quantity of conscience amongst mankind is not worth speaking of, and
treat of human actions as entirely independent of it. And this fault
honest Montaigne finds with Guicciardini:--"I have also," says he,
"observed this in him, that of so many persons and so many effects, so
many motives and so many counsels as he judges of, he never attributes
any one of them to virtue, religion, or conscience, as if all those were
utterly extinct in the world; and of all the actions, however brave an
outward show they make, he always throws the cause and motive upon some
vicious occasion, or some prospect of profit. It is impossible to
imagine but that, amongst such an infinite number of actions as he makes
mention of, there must be some one produced by the way of reason. No
corruption could so universally have affected men, that some of them
would not have escaped the contagion, which makes me suspect that his
own taste was vicious; from whence it might happen that he judged other
men by himself." You, Eusebius, will be perfectly of Montaigne's
opinion. We would rather trust that there are few in whom this moral
principle has no vitality whatever. The wayside beggar, when he divides
his meal--which, perhaps, he has stolen--with his dog, acts from its
kind impulse; and see how uncharitable I am at my first impulse, to
suppose, to suggest that the meal is stolen--so ready are we to steal
away virtues, one after the other, and in our judgments to be thieves
upon a large scale. And so a better feeling pricks me to charity. I
doubt if we ought even to say that the parliamentary reprobate, who
openly confessed "that he could not afford to keep a conscience," had
none--he was but dead to some of its motions. If it were not that it
must be something annexed to an immortal condition, would you not,
Eusebius, say that the beggar's dog conscientiously makes his return of
service and gratitude for the scraps thrown to him? See him by the
gipsies' tent: how safely can the infant children be left to his sole
care by the roadside! It is a beautiful sight to see the sagacious, the
faithful creature, watching while they sleep, and lying upon the outer
fold of the blanket that enwraps them. Has he not a sense of duty--a
sort of bastard conscience? And what is truly wonderful, is, that
animals have often a sense of duty against their instincts. If it be
said that they act through fear of punishment, it is a punishment their
instincts would teach them to avoid; and, after all, this fear of
punishment may be a mighty ingredient in most men's consciences. We
learn that immense numbers of ducks are reared by that part of the
Chinese population who spend their lives in boats upon the rivers; and
these birds, salted and dried, form one of the chief articles of diet in
the celestial land. They are kept in large cages or crates, from which,
in the morning, they are sent forth to seek their food upon the river
banks. A whistle from their keeper brings them back in the evening; and
as, according to Tradescent Lay, the last to return receives a flogging
for his tardiness, their hurry to get back to the boats, when they hear
the accustomed call, is in no small degree amusing. I cannot but think
that there must be something like a sense of duty in these poor
creatures, that they thus of themselves, and of good-will return to the
certainty of being salted and dried. This may sound very ridiculous,
Eusebius, but there is matter in it to muse upon; and if we want to know
man, we must speculate a little beyond him, and learn him by similities
and differences. He has best knowledge of his own home and country who
has wandered into a _terra incognita_, and studied the differences of
soil and climate. And besides that every man is a world to himself, and
may find a _terra incognita_ in his own breast, it is not amiss to look
abroad into other wildernesses, where he will find instincts that are
not so much any creature's but that they have something divine in them,
and so, in their origin at least, akin to his own. He will find
conscience of some sort growing in the soil of every heart. It is not
amiss to discover where it grows most healthily, and by what deadly
nightshade its virtue may be suffocated, and its nicer sense not thrive.

Surprising is the diversity;--were not nature corrupted, there would be
no diversity. Now, truth and right is one; and yet we judge not one
thing, we think not aright. Yet is the original impulse true to its
purpose, but, in its passage through the many channels of the mind, is
strangely perverted. It is eloquently said by a modern writer, a deep
thinker, "Thus does the conscience of man project itself athwart
whatsoever of knowledge, or surmise, or imagination, understanding,
faculty, acquirement, or natural disposition he has in him; and, like
light through coloured glass, paint strange pictures on the rim of the
horizon and elsewhere. Truly this same sense of the infinite nature of
duty, is the central part of all within us; a ray as of eternity and
immortality immured in dusky many-coloured Time, and its deaths and
births. Your coloured glass varies so much from century to century--and
in certain money-making, game-preserving centuries, it gets terribly
opaque. Not a heaven with cherubim surrounds you then, but a kind of
vacant, leaden, cold hell. One day it will again cease to be opaque,
this coloured glass; now, may it not become at once translucent and
uncoloured? Painting no pictures more for us, but only the everlasting
azure itself. That will be a right glorious consummation." If it were
only the painting pictures! but we act the painted scenes. And strange
they are, and of diversity enough. It was the confession of an apostle,
that he "thought with himself that he ought to do many things contrary"
to his master. There are national consciences how unlike each other;
there are consciences of tribes and guilds, which, strange to say,
though they be composed of individuals, bear not the stamp of any one
individual conscience among them. They apologise to themselves for
iniquity by a division and subdivision of the responsibility; and thus,
by each owning to but a little share collectively, they commit a great
enormity. It is the whole and sole responsibility of the individual,
responsibility to that inner arbiter sitting _foro conscientiæ_, and the
sight of those frowning attendants of the court, Nemesis and Adraste,
ready with the scourge to follow crime, that keep the man honest. Put
not confidence, Eusebius, in bodies, in guilds, and committees. Trust
not to them property or person; they may be all individually good
Samaritans, but collectively they will rather change places with the
thieves than bind up your wounds. In this matter, "Experto crede
Roberto."

But of this diversity.--The Turk will split his sides with laughter,
against the very nature, too, of his Turkish gravity, should he witness
the remorse of the subdued polygamist. We read of nations who, from a
sense of duty, eat their parents, and would shudder at the crime of
burying them in the earth, or burning them. So is there a cannibalism of
love as well as of hatred. Sinbad's terror at the duty of being buried
alive with his deceased wife, the king's daughter, was no invention
beyond the probability of custom. The Scythians, as Herodotus tells us,
thought it an honourable act and no _murders_ committed, when they
slaughtered the king's councillors and officers of state, and guards and
their horses, on which they stuck them upright by skewers, to be in
death the king's attendants. The suttee is still thought no wrong. There
is habit of thought that justifies habit of deed. Southey, in his
_History of the Brazils_, tells a sad tale of a dying _converted_
Indian. In her dying moments, cannibalism prevailed over Christian
conscience; and was the Pagan conscience silent? She was asked by those
standing about her, if they could do any thing for her. She replied,
that she thought she _could_ pick the bones of a little child's hand,
but that she had no one now who would go and kill her one. I dare to
say, Eusebius, she died in peace. The greater part of the world die in
peace. Their conscience may be the first part of then that departs--it
is dead before the man--most say, I have done no harm. I have known a
man die in the very effort of triumphant chuckling over his unfortunate
neighbours, by his successful fraud and over-reaching; yet, perhaps,
this man's conscience was only dead as to any sense of right and wrong
in this particular line; very possibly he had "compunctious visitings"
about "mint and cumine"--and oh! human inconsistency, some such have
been known to found hospitals--some spark of conscience working its way
into the very rottenness of their hearts, that, like tinder, have let
out all their kindred and latent fire, till that moment invisible, all
but _in posse_ non-existent. But for any thing like a public conscience
so kindling since the repentance of the Ninevites, it is not to be
thought of. The pretence of such a thing is a sign of the last state of
national hypocrisy. It was not that sense which emancipated the Negroes
and forbade the slave trade. Take, for example, the Portuguese, and
their "board of conscience" at Lisbon, which they set up to quiet the
remorse, if any should exist, of those who had bought the miserable
natives of Reoxcave, when they sold themselves and their children for
food. This very convenient scruple was started in "the court, to
sanction the purchase, that if these so purchased slaves were set free,
they might _apostatize_!" Now, who were the judges in such a court? Oh!
the villany of the whole conclave!--yet was each individual, perhaps, of
demure and sanctimonious manners, to whom the moral eye of a people
looked--villains all in the guise of goodness:--

    "Vir bonus, omne forum quem spectat et omne tribunal,
    Quandocuncque Deos vel porco vel bove placat,
    Jane Pater, clare, clare, cum dixit, Apollo,
    Labra movet metuens audiri--Pulchra Laverna,
    Da mihi fallere, da justum sanctumque videri,
    Noctem peccatis et fraudibus objice nubem."

We are told that there is such a disease as a cannibal madness, and that
it was common among the North American savages; that those seized with
it have a raving desire for human flesh, and rush like wolves upon all
they meet. Now, in what was this court of conscience better than these
cannibals? Better! a thousand times worse--for wolves are honest. Now I
well know, Eusebius, how I have put a coal under the very fountain of
your blood--and it is boiling at a fine rate. Let me allay it, and
follow the stage directions of "soft music;" only on this occasion we
omit the music, and take the rhyme. So here do I exhibit conscience in
its playful vein. Our friend S., the other day, repeated me off the
following lines; he cannot remember where he had them--he says it was
when a boy that he met with them somewhere. Call it the Conscientious
Toper; yet that is too common--it is the characteristic of all
topers--never was one that could not find an excuse. Drink wonderfully
elicits moral words, to compound for immoral deeds. Call it then--


THE CONTROVERSY.

    No plate had John and Joan to hoard--
      Plain folks in humble plight--
    One only tankard graced their board,
      But that was fill'd each night;

    Upon whose inner bottom, sketch'd
      In pride of chubby grace,
    Some rude engraver's hand had etch'd
      A baby angel's face.

    John took at first a moderate sup--
      But Joan was not like John--
    For when her lips once touch'd the cup,
      She swill'd till all was gone.

    John often urged her to drink fair,
      But she cared not a jot--
    She loved to see that angel there,
      And therefore drain'd the pot.

    When John found all remonstrance vain,
      Another card he play'd,
    And where the angel stood so plain
      He had a devil portray'd.

    Joan saw the horns, Joan saw the tail,
      Yet still she stoutly quaff'd,
    And when her lips once touch'd the ale,
      She clear'd it at a draught.

    John stood with wonder petrified,
      His hair stood on his pate,
    "And why dost guzzle now," he cried,
      "At that enormous rate?"

    "Oh, John!" she said, "I'm not to blame--
      I _can't in conscience_ stop--
    For sure 'twould be a burning shame
      To leave the devil a drop."

Changeable, versatile, inconstant Eusebius, where is now your burst of
philanthropy--where is all your rage? Pretty havoc you would but now have
made, had you been armed with thunder--thunder, I say, for yours would
have been no silent devastation among the villains. No Warnerian silent
blazeless destruction would suit your indignation--in open day, and with
a shout, would you do it, and in such wise would you suffer, if needs
must, with Ajax's prayer in your mouth--"+En de Phaei kai olesson+."
But for a grand picture of a sweeping indignation, there is nothing so
grand as that fine passage in the Psalms--"Let them be as the dust before
the wind, and the angel of the Lord scattering them." Men and all their
iniquities, once so mighty, so vast, but as grains less than grains of
dust--all the clouds of hypocrisy dispersed in atoms before the fury of
the storm of vengeance. You were, as you read, Eusebius, in honest rage.
I could see you as in a picture, like the figure with the scourge in hand
flying off the very ground, in Raffaelle's noble fresco, the Heliodorus;
and now are you far more like a merryandrew in your mirth, and the
quaint sly humour of the tale in verse has made you blind to the
delinquencies of the quaffing Joan. Blind to their delinquencies! Stay
your mirth a moment, Eusebius--are you not blind to your own? Now I
remember me, you are a thief, Eusebius, however you may have settled
that matter with your conscience. Have you read the proposed "Dog-bill?"
Here's a pretty to do!--Eusebius convicted of dog-stealing--subject to
the penalty of misdemeanour! "I!" you will say. Yes, you. You put it
down, doubtless, in the catalogue of your virtues, as you did when you
boasted to me that you had, by a lucky detection in probably the
criminal's first offence, saved a fellow-creature from a course of
crime. Do you remember your dog Chance? yes, _your_ dog, for so you
called him--and, pray, how came you by him? This was your version. A
regiment was marching by your neighbourhood, at the fag-end of which a
soldier led a very fine spaniel by a piece of cord. You always loved
dogs--did you not, you cunning Eusebius? You can put two and two
together as well as most people. The dog had no collar. Oh, oh! thought
you--the master of so fine a dog would have collar and chain, too, for
him. This fellow must have stolen him--it is my duty (your virtuous
duty, indeed) to rescue this fine creature, and perchance save this
wretched man from such wicked courses. So thus you proceed--you look
indignant, and accost the soldier, "Holloa, you fellow--whose dog's
that?" Soldier--"What's that to you?" Eusebius--"What's the name of your
captain, that I may instantly appeal to him on the subject?" Soldier
alarmed--"I beg your honour's pardon, but the dog followed me. I don't
know to whom he belongs." What made you, then, so particularly enquire
where he came from, and whereabouts he met with him? Your virtue
whispered to you, "Ask these questions, that you may be able to find out
the owner." Another imp whispered, "It might be useful." So you seize
the rope, lecture the man upon the enormity of his intentions, quietly
take the dog to your stable, and walk away with, as you flatter
yourself, the heartfelt satisfaction of having saved a fellow-creature
from the commission of a theft. To do you justice, you did, I verily
believe, for two whole days make decent enquiries, and _endeavour_, if
that be not too strong a word--_endeavour_ to find out the owner. But at
the close of every day question Rover himself; and questioning Rover led
you to look into each other's faces--and so you liked Rover's looks, and
Rover liked your looks--and when you said to Rover, I should like to
know who your master is? Rover looked with all his eyes, as much as to
say, "Well now, if ever I heard the like of that! If my name is Rover,
yours must be Bouncer"--then you patted him for a true and truth-telling
dog; and he wagged his tail, and looked again at you, till you perfectly
mesmerized each other, and understood each other, and he acknowledged
that you, and no other, could be his master--and so you mastered him,
and he mastered your conscience--and then you and your conscience began
to have a parley. I fear you had sent her to a bad boarding-school, and
had just brought her home for the holidays, with a pretty many more
niceties and distinctions than she took with her--and had come back
"more nice than wise." "Have you found the owner?" quoth she. "It is
time he were found," replied you. "Why?" quoth she. "Because," you
rejoin, "the shooting season is fast approaching." "That is true." "The
dog will be spoiled for want of practice." "That will be a pity." "Thank
you, conscience--won't it be a sin?" Conscience is silent, so you take
that for granted. "Hadn't I better take out a license this year?" "Oh!
it wouldn't be right you should go without one." "Certainly not,
(somewhat boldly;) I _will_ get my license directly. Poor
Rover!--well--how very fond that dog is of me--it would be highly
ungrateful not to make a return even to a dog. I ought to be fond of
him. I--am--very fond of him." Then you confess, Eusebius, that you
should be very sorry to part with him. Conscience says, "Do you mean to
say you should be sorry to find out the real owner?" "Really,
conscience," you reply, "there can be no harm in being sorry; but you
are becoming very impertinent, and asking too many questions." Here
conscience nods--is asleep--is in a coma, Eusebius--fairly mesmerized by
you, and follows you at your beck wherever you choose to lead her. And
so you take her to your stable to look at Rover: and you want a
suggestion how you can stop Rover's wandering propensities; and
conscience, being in a state of _clairvoyance_, bids you tie him up. You
ask how--"by the teeth;" so you order him a good plate of meat inside,
your stable-door locked, and you replenish that plate for a week or
more, and have a few conferences with Rover in your parlour--and the dog
is tied. Then you didn't like the name of Rover--but liked Chance.
Conscience suggested the name as a palliative, as something between true
proprietorship and theft--it gave you a protective right, and took away
the sting of the possession. You fortified yourself in this position, as
cunningly as the French at Tahiti. But how happened it, Eusebius, that
when any friend asked you if you had found the owner, you turned off the
subject always so ingeniously, or denied that you had a Rover, but one
Chance, certainly a fine dog?--and how came it that you never took him
in the direction of the country from whence the regiment had come? And
yet, if the truth could be known, would it not turn out, Eusebius, that
fears did often come across your pleasures, and your affection for
Chance? and had a child but asked you, as you might have been crossing a
stile, in quest, with Chance before you, as you did the soldier, "whose
dog's that?" you would have stammered a little--and almost, in your
affection, have gone down upon your knees to have begged him as a gift;
and it is fearful to think what a sum any knave as cunning as yourself
had been, would have got out of you. Now, my dear Eusebius, I entreat
you, when you shall read or hear read--"Is thy servant a dog, that he
should do this thing," that you think of Chance, and not of _his doing_,
but _yours_. I dare to say, you have never quite looked at the affair in
this light; we all are apt to wash our hands of a troublesome affair,
and think we come with them clean into court.

Take care you don't resemble the monkey with the meal-tub. His master
thrashed him when he caught him at the theft, and showed him his hands
covered with meal, that he might understand the reason of his
punishment. Monkey, after the next theft, took care to wash his hands,
and when his master came to punish him, extended them to show how clean
they were. His master smiled, and immediately brought him a
looking-glass--his face and whiskers were powdered with meal: and there
you have the origin of the adage, "You have washed your hands but not
your face." There will still be a monitor, Eusebius, to hold the
looking-glass to you, and the like of you: and look to your face; and
whenever you find that you have _put a good face_ upon any doubtful
matter, take the trouble then to look at your hands; and if they be
clean, look again and see if your face and hands are clean together. And
that will be the best _tableau-vivant_ you or any one else can study.

Now, however, that conscience seems so thoroughly gone to the dogs,
without any personal allusion to your case, Eusebius, I cannot resist
telling you an anecdote by which you will see how Neighbour Grace of
M----n ingeniously touched the conscience of Attorney B., who was
supposed to have none--upon the matter of a dog-theft, and how Attorney
B. was a match for Neighbour Grace.

"I am come to thee, Friend B.," said Grace, "to ask thee a question.
Suppose my dog should go into thy kitchen, and run off with a neck of
mutton, dost thee think I ought to pay thee for the neck of mutton?"

"Without doubt," said Lawyer B.

"Then I'd thank thee to pay me three and fourpence; for it was thy dog
stole my neck of mutton, and that's the cost of it."

"Perfectly right," said Attorney B., coolly drawing out a bill and
receipt. "So, Neighbour Grace, you must pay me three and fourpence, and
that settles the matter."

"How so?"

"Why, as you asked my opinion, my charge for that is six and
eightpence--deduct value of neck of mutton, three and fourpence, and
just so much remains." And Lawyer B. got the best of it, and made him
pay too. Now this it was to probe another's conscience, without knowing
the nature of the beast you stir up; not considering that when
conscience thus comes down, as it were, with "a power of attorney," it
is powerful indeed--"recalcitrat undique tutus." There are many such big
swelling consciences, that grow up and cover the whole man--like the
gourd of Jonah, up in a night and down in a night--a fine shelter for a
time from the too-searching sun; but there is a _worm_ in it, Eusebius,
and it won't last.

It is a very odd thing that people commonly think they can have their
consciences at command, and can set them as they do their watches, and
it is generally behind time: yet will they go irregularly, and sometimes
all of a run; and when they come to set them again, they will bear no
sort of regulation. Some set them as they would an alarum, to awaken
them at a given time; and when this answers at all, they are awakened in
such an amazement that they know not what they are about. Such was the
case with the notorious Parisian pawnbroker, who all in a hurry sent for
the priest; but when the crucifix was presented to him, stammered out
that he could lend but a very small matter upon it. So consciences go by
latitudes and longitudes--slow here and fast there. They have, too,
their antipodes--it is night here and sunshine there. And so of ages and
eras: and thus the same things make men laugh and tremble by turns. What
unextinguishable laughter would arise should Dr Howley, Archbishop of
Canterbury, go in procession with his clergy to Windsor, each armed with
scissors, to clip the moustaches of the prince and his court! Yet a like
absurdity has in other days pricked the consciences of king and
courtiers to a sudden and bitter remorse. I read the other day in that
very amusing volume, the _Literary Conglomerate_, in an "Essay on Hair,"
how Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, went so far as to pronounce an
anathema of excommunication on all who wore long hair, for which pious
zeal he was much commended; and how "Serlo, a Norman bishop, acquired
great honour by a sermon which he preached before Henry I. in 1104,
against long curled hair, with which the king and his courtiers were so
much affected, that they consented to resign their flowing ringlets of
which they had been so vain. The prudent prelate gave them no time to
change their minds, but immediately pulled a pair of shears out of his
sleeve, and performed the operation with his own hand." A canon is still
extant, of the date of 1096, importing that such as wore long hair
should be excluded from the church whilst living, or being prayed for
when dead. Now, the very curates rejoice in ringlets and macassar. It
would be curious to trace the heresy to its complete triumph in
full-bottomed wigs, in which, it was ignorantly supposed, wisdom finally
settled, when it was not discovered elsewhere. Thus it is, Eusebius,
that folly, the vile insect, flies about--just drops a few eggs in the
very nest of conscience, and is off, and a corruption of the flesh
followeth. Those, therefore, who take out license to shoot folly as it
flies, should be made to look after the eggs likewise.

Alas, Eusebius, that any thing should take the name of this nice sense
that is not replete with goodness, that is not the true _ductor
substantium_! The prophet of an evil which wounds his very soul will
take offence if it come not to pass and spare not. Was not Jonah grieved
that the whole city was not destroyed as he had said? That nice and
inner sense was more ingenious on the side of bold justice, than
prodigal to mercy; and so had he not "a conscience void of offence;"
and thus this honourable feeling not always acts unfettered, but is
intercepted and hurried on, spite of itself, into courses of action in
which there is too much of passion, and, plunging into error with this
outward violence, is forced upon ingenious defences. The story of Piso
is in point. He thought to act the conscientious judge, when he
condemned the soldier to death who had returned from forage without his
companion, under the impression that he had killed him; but as he is
upon the point of execution, the man supposed to have been murdered
returns, all the soldiery present rejoice, and the executioner brings
them both to the presence of Piso. And what did the conscientious Piso?
His conscience would not so let him put by justice; so, with a
surprising ingenuity of that nice faculty in its delirium, he orders
execution upon all three--the first soldier, because he had been
condemned--the second, who had lost his way, because he was the cause of
his companion's death--and the executioner, because he had disobeyed his
orders. He had but to pretend to be greatly grieved at his vagary, to
have the act lauded as an instance of Roman virtue. I look upon the
famed Brutus, when he thought it a matter of conscience to witness, as
well as order, his sons' execution, to have been a vain unfeeling fool
or a madman. Let us have no prate about conscience proceeding from a
hard heart; these are frightful notions when they become infectious. A
handful of such madmen are enough, if allowed to have their way, to
enact the horrors of a French Revolution. All this you know, Eusebius,
better than I do, and will knit your brows at this too serious vein of
thought. I will come, therefore, a little nearer our common homes. You
shall have a scene from domestic life, as I had it the other day, from a
lady with whom I was conversing upon this subject, who tells me it is a
veritable fact, and took place some seventy years back. "It will want
its true power," said my friend, "because that one solitary trait could
give you no idea of the rich humour of the lady, the subject of this
incident--her simplicity, shrewdness, art, ignorance, quickness,
mischief, made lovely by exceeding beauty, and a most amusing
consciousness of it. Seventy years ago, too, it happened--there are no
such ladies in the better ranks of society now. She lived at Margate. It
came to pass that the topping upholsterer there got a new-shaped chest
of drawers from London--the very first that had appeared in Margate--and
gave madam, she being one of the high top-families, the first sight of
it. With the article she fell in love, and entreated her husband to buy
it; but the sensible gentleman, having his house capitally and fully
furnished, would not. The lady still longed, but had not money enough to
make the purchase--begged to have her _quarter_ advanced. This was not
granted. She pouted a little, and then, like a wise woman, made up her
mind to be disappointed, and resumed her more than wonted cheerfulness;
but, alas! she was a daughter of Eve, as it will be seen. Christmas-day
came--it was the invariable custom of the family to receive the
sacrament. Before church-time she sent for her husband. She had a sin on
her conscience--she must confess before she could go to the altar. Her
husband was surprised. "What is it?" "You must promise not to be very
angry." "But what is it? Have you broken my grandmother's china
tea-pot?" "Oh! worse than that." "Have you thrown a bank-note in the
fire?" "Worse than that." "Have you run in debt to your abominable
smuggling lace-woman?" "Worse than that." "Woman!" quoth he sternly, and
taking down an old broadsword that hung over the chimney-piece, "confess
this instant;" and he gave the weapon a portentous flourish. "Oh! dear
Richard, don't kill me, and I'll tell you all at once. Then I, (sob,) I,
(sob,) have cribbed (sob) out of the house-money every week to buy that
chest of drawers, and you've had bad dinners and suppers this month for
it; and (sobbing) that's all." He could just keep his countenance to
say--"And where have you hid this accursed thing?" "Oh, Richard! I have
never been able to use it; for I have covered it over with a blanket
ever since I had it, for fear of your seeing it. Oh! pray, forgive me!"
You need not be told how she went to church with a "clean breast," as
the saying is. It is an unadorned fact. Her husband used to tell it
every merry Christmas to his old friend-guests." Here you have the
story, Eusebius, as I had it thus dramatically (for I could not mend it)
from the lips of the narrator.

Is it your fault or your virtue, Eusebius, that you positively love
these errors of human nature? You ever say, you have no sympathy with or
for a perfect monster--if such there be--which you deny, and aver that
if you detect not the blot, it is but too well covered; and by that very
covering, for aught you know to the contrary, may be all blot. You would
have catalogued this good lady among your "right estimable and lovely
women!" and if you did not think that chest of drawers must be an
heirloom in the family, you would set about many odd means to get
possession of it. Yet I do verily believe that there are brutes that
would not have forgiven in their wives this error--that would argue
thus, You may sin, madam, against your Maker; but you shall not sin
against me. Is there not a story somewhere, of a wretched vagabond at
the confessional--dreadful were the crimes for which he was promised
absolution; but after all his compunctions, contortions, self-cursings,
breast-beatings, hand-wringings, out came the sin of sins--he had once
spit by accident upon the priest's robe, though he only meant to spit
upon the altar steps. Unpardonable offence! Never-to-be-forgiven wretch!
His life could not atone for it. And what had the friars, blue and grey,
been daily, hourly doing? You have been in Italy, Eusebius.

I have not yet told you the story for the telling which I began this
letter; and why I have kept it back I know not--it is not for the
importance of it; for it is of a poor simple creature. But I must stay
my hand from it again; for here has one passed before my window that can
have no conscience. It is a great booby--six foot man-boy of about
nineteen years. He has just stalked by with his insect-catcher on his
shoulder; the fellow has been with his green net into the innocent
fields, to catch butterflies and other poor insects. Many an hour have I
seen you, Eusebius, with your head half-buried in the long blades of
grass and pleasant field-weeds, partially edged by the slanting and
pervading sunbeams, while the little stream has played its song of
varied gentleness, watching the little insect world, and the golden
beetles climbing up the long stalks, performing wondrous feats for your
and their own amusement--for your delight was to participate in all
their pleasures; and some would, with a familiarity that made you feel
akin to all about you, walk over the page of the book you were reading,
and look up, and pause, and trust their honest legs upon your hand,
confiding that there was one human creature that would not hurt them.
Think of those hours, my gentle friend, and consider the object for
which that wretch of a booby is out. How many of your playmates has he
stuck through with pins, upon which they are now writhing! And when the
wretch goes home murder-laden, his parents or guardians will greet him
as a most amiable and sweet youth, who wouldn't for the world misspend
his time as other boys do, but is ever on the search after knowledge;
and so they swagger and boast of his love of entomology. I'd rather my
children should grow up like cucumbers--more to belly than head--than
have these scientific curiosity-noddles upon their poles of bodies, that
haven't room for hearts, and look cold and cruel, like the pins they
stick through the poor moths and butterflies, and all innocent insects.
Good would it be to hear you lecture the parents of these heartless
bodies for their bringing up, and picture, in your eloquent manner, the
torments that devils may be doomed to inflict in the other world on the
cruel in this; and to fix them writhing upon their forks as they pin the
poor insects. What would they do but call you a wicked blasphemer, and
prate about the merciful goodness of their Maker, as if one Maker did
not make all creatures? Yet what do such as they know of mercy but the
name? These are they that kill conscience in the bud.

Men's bosoms are like their dwellings--mansions, magnificent and
gorgeous--full of all noble and generous thoughts, with room to
expand--or dwellings of pretensions, show, and meanness--or hovels of
all dirt and slovenliness; yet is there scarcely one in which conscience
does not walk in and out boldly, or steal in cautiously, though she may
not always have room to move her arms about her, and assert her
presence. Yet even when circumscribed by narrowness, and immured in all
unseemly things, will she patiently watch her time for some appropriate
touch, or some quiet sound of her voice. Her most difficult scene of
action, however, is in the bosom of pretension; for there the trumpet of
self-praise is ever sounding to overwhelm her voice, and she is kept at
arm's-length from the touch of the guilty hearts, by the padding and the
furniture that surround them. But oh! the hypocrites of this life--they
almost make one weary of it; they who walk with their hands as if ever
weighing, by invisible scales, with their scruples of conscience their
every thought, word, and action. Shall I portray the disgusting effigies
of one? "Niger est--hunc tu, Romane, caveto." I will, however, tell you
somewhat of one that has lately come across my path, and I will call him
Peter Pure; for he is one of those that, though assuming a quietness, is
really rabid in politics, and has ever upon his lips "purity of
election," and the like cant words. A few years ago his circumstances not
being very flourishing, he got the ear of our generous friend of the
Grange; through his timely assistance, and a pretty considerable loan, he
overcame his difficulties, and is now pretty well to do. At the last
contest for the borough, our friend T. of the Grange, with others, waited
upon Peter Pure; and Peter, with large professions of gratitude--as how
could he do less for so kind a benefactor?--unhesitatingly promised his
vote. At this time, be it observed, there was not the slightest
appearance of the contest which afterwards came, and with that storm a
pretty good shower of bribery. What quantity of this shower fell to Peter
Pure's share, was never discovered; but it is easy to conjecture that so
nice, so grateful a conscience was not overcome for nothing. Peter never
liked cheap sins. The contest came, the election takes place, and Peter
Pure's plumper weighs down the adversary's scale. Soon after this he had
the impudence to accost his benefactor thus:--"My dear friend and
benefactor, and worthy sir, I wished for this opportunity of explaining
to you, with the utmost sincerity and confidence, what may have appeared
to you like--yes--really like a breaking of my word. It is true I did
promise you my vote: but then, you know, voting being a very serious
matter, I thought it necessary to read my oath which I should be called
upon to take; and I found, my good friend, to my astonishment, that I was
bound by it not to vote from '_favour and affection_.' Yes, those are the
words. Now, it unfortunately--only unfortunately in this instance, mind
me--happens, that there is not a man in the world so much in my
affection and my favour as yourself; to vote, therefore, as you had
wished me to vote, would, after reading the oath, have been downright
perjury; for I certainly should have voted 'through favour and
affection.' That would have been a fearful weight upon my conscience."
Here was a pretty scoundrel, Eusebius. I should be sorry to have you
encounter him in a crowd, and trust his sides to your elbows, lest you
should be taken with one of those sudden fits of juvenility that are not
quite in accordance with the sedateness of your years. You will not be
inclined to agree with an apologist I met the other day, who simply said
that Satan had thrown the temptation in his way. There is no occasion
for such superfluous labour, nor does the arch-fiend throw any of his
labour away. Your Peter Pures may be very well left to themselves, and
are left to themselves; their own inventions are quite sufficient for
all their trading purposes; there is no need to put temptations in their
way--they will seek them of themselves.

You will certainly lay me under the censure that Montaigne throws upon
Guicciardini. Let me then make amends, and ascribe one action to a
generous, a conscientious motive. There cannot be found a better example
than I have met with in reading some memoirs of the great and good
Colston, the founder of those excellent charities in London, Bristol,
and elsewhere. I find this passage in his life. It happened that one of
his most richly-laden vessels was so long missing, and the violent
storms having given every reason to suppose she had perished, that
Colston gave her up for lost. Upon this occasion, it is said, he did not
lament his unhappiness as many are apt to do, and perpetually count up
the serious amount of his losses; but, with dutiful submission, fell
upon his knees, and with thankfulness for what Providence had been
pleased to leave him, and with the utmost resignation relinquished even
the smallest hope of her recovery. When, therefore, his people came soon
afterwards to tell him that his ship had safely come to port, he did not
show the signs of self-gratulation which his friends expected to see. He
was devoutly thankful for the preservation of the lives of so many
seamen; but as for the vessel and her cargo, they were no longer his--he
had resigned them--he could not in conscience take them back. He looked
upon all as the gift of Providence to the poor; and, as such, he sold
the ship and merchandize--and most valuable they were--and, praying for
a right guidance, distributed the proceeds among the poor. How beautiful
is such charity! Here is no false lustre thrown upon the riches and
goods of this world, that, reflected, blind the eyes that they see not
aright. The conscience of such a man as Colston was an arbiter even
against himself, sat within him in judgment to put aside his worldly
interest, and made a steady light for itself to see by, where naturally
was either a glare or an obscurity, that alike might bewilder less
honest vision.

Some such idea is gloriously thus expressed by Sir Thomas Browne in his
admirable _Religio Medici_.{A} "Conscience only, that can see without
light, sits in the areopagy and dark tribunal of our hearts, surveys our
thoughts, and condemns our obliquities. Happy is that state of vision
that can see without light, though all should look as before the
creation, when there was not an eye to see, or light to actuate a
vision--wherein, notwithstanding, obscurity is only imaginable
respectively unto eyes. For unto God there was none. Eternal light was
for ever--created light was for the creation, not himself; and as He saw
before the sun, He may still also see without it."

A case of conscience came to be discussed not long since, in which I
took a part. We had been speaking of the beauty of truth, and that
nothing could justify the slightest deviation from the plain letter of
it. This was doubted; and the case supposed was, that of a ruffian or a
madman pursuing an innocent person with intent to murder. You see the
flight and pursuit; the pursuer is at fault, and questions you as to the
way taken by the fugitive. Are you justified in deceiving the pursuer by
a false direction of the way his intended victim had taken? Are you to
say the person went to the right, when the way taken was the left? The
advocate for the downright truth maintained that you were not to
deceive--though you felt quite sure that by your telling the truth, or
by your silence altogether, immediate murder would ensue. The advocate
declared, that without a moment's hesitation he should act upon his
decision. He would have done no such thing. People are better than their
creeds, and, it should seem, sometimes _better_ than _their_ principles.
In which case would his conscience prick him most, when the heat was
over--as accessory to the murder or as the utterer of untruth? I cannot
but think it a case of instinct, which, acting before conscience, _pro
hac vice_ supersedes it. The matter is altogether and at once, by an
irresistible decree, taken out of the secondary "Court of Conscience"
and put into the primary "Court of Nature."

Truth, truth! well may Bacon speak of it thus--"'What is truth?' said
laughing Pilate, and wouldn't wait for an answer." If there be danger in
the deviation shown in the case stated, what a state are we all in? All,
as we do daily in some way or other, putting our best legs foremost.
Look at the whole advertising, puffing, quacking, world--the flattering,
the soothing, the complimenting. Virtues and vices alike driving us more
or less out of the straight line; and, blindfolded by habit, we know not
that we are walking circuitously. And they are not the worst among us,
perhaps, who walk so deviatingly--seeing, knowing--those that stammer
out nightly ere they rest, in confession, their fears that they have
been acting if not speaking the untrue thing, and praying for strength
in their infirmity, and more simplicity of heart; and would in their
penitence shun the concourse that besets them, and hide their heads in
some retired quiet spot of peace, out of reach of this assault of
temptation. And this, Eusebius, is the best prelude I can devise to the
story I have to tell you. It is of a poor old woman; shall I magnify her
offence? It was magnified indeed in her eyes. Smaller, therefore, shall
it be--because of its very largeness to her. But it will not do to
soften offences, Eusebius. I see already you are determined to do so. I
will call it her crime. Yes, she lived a life of daily untruth. She
wrote it, she put her name to it--"litera scripta manet." We must not
mince the matter; she spoke it, she acted it hourly, she took payment
for it--it was her food, her raiment. Oh! all you that love to stamp the
foot at poor human nature, here is an object for your contempt, your
sarcasm, your abuse, your punishment; drag her away by the hair of her
head. But stay, take care you do not "strain at a gnat and swallow a
camel;" examine yourselves a little first. She has confessed, perhaps
you have not. Remember, no one knew it; no one guessed it. It is she
herself has lifted up the lantern into the dark recesses of her own
heart; or rather, it is true religion in her hath done it: and dark
though it was there, you ought to see clearly enough that her heart is
not now the den wherein falsehood and hypocrisy lurk; search well--you
see none. She has made a "clean breast of it," and you had better do the
same, and drop the stone you were about to fling so mercilessly at her
dying head. Are you out of patience, Eusebius? and cry--Out with it,
what did she do? You shall hear; 'tis but a simple anecdote after all. I
have learned it from a parish priest. He was sent for to attend the
deathbed of poor old village dame, or schoolmistress. She had a sin to
confess; she could not die in peace till she had confessed it. With
broken speech, she sobbed, and hesitated, and sobbed again.

"I--I--I," she stammered out, and hid her face again. "There, I must, I
must tell it; and may I be forgiven! You know, sir, I have kept school
forty years--yes, forty years--a poor sinful creature--I--I"----

"My good woman," said the parish priest, "take comfort; it will be
pardoned if you are thus penitent. I hope it is not a very great sin."

"Oh yes!" said she, "and pray call me not _good_ woman. I
am--not--good;" sobbing, "alas, alas!--there, I--will out with it! I put
down that I taught grammar--and (sobbing) I, I, _did not know it
myself_."

Eusebius, Eusebius, had you been there, you would have embraced the old
dame. The father of lies was not near her pillow. This little sin, she
had put it foremost, and, like the little figure before many nothings,
she had made a million of it; and one word, nay one thought, before
confession was uttered, had breathed upon and obliterated the whole
amount. Where will you see so great truth? And this, you will agree with
me, was a case of _Tender Conscience_.


FOOTNOTES:

{A} _Religio Medici_, a new edition, with its sequel, _Christian Morals_,
and resemblant passages from Cowper's _Task_. By Mr Peace, Bristol. The
text of this inestimable author is here cleared of its many errors, and
the volume contains a useful verbal index.



THIERRY'S HISTORY OF THE GAULS.{A}


'Tis a pleasant thing to turn from the present, with its turmoil and its
noise, its clank of engines and its pallid artizans, its political
strife and its social disorganization, to the calm and quiet records of
the past--to the contemplation of bygone greatness: of kingdoms which
have passed away,--of cities whose site is marked only by the mouldering
column and the time-worn wall--of men with whose name the world once
rang, but whose very tombs are now unknown. If there is any thing
calculated to enlarge the mind, it is this; for it is only by a careful
study of the past that we come to know how duly to appreciate the
present. Without this we magnify the present; we imagine that the future
will be like unto it; we form our ideas, we base our calculations upon
it alone; we forget the maxim of the Eastern sage, that "this too shall
pass away." It is by the study of history that we overcome this
otherwise inevitable tendency; we learn from it, that other nations have
been as great as we, and that they are now forgotten--that a former
civilization, a fair and costly edifice which seemed to be perfect of
its kind, has crumbled before the assaults of time, and left not a trace
behind. There is a still small voice issuing forth from the ruins of
Babylon, which will teach more to the thinking mind than all the dogmas
and theories of modern speculators.

When we turn to the study of ancient history, our attention is
immediately riveted on the mighty name of Rome. Even the history of
Greece cannot compare with it in interest. Greece was always great in
the arts, and for long she was eminent in arms: but the arms of her
citizens were too often turned against each other; and the mind gets
fatigued and perplexed in attempting to follow the endless maze of
politics, and the constant succession of unimportant wars. There are,
indeed, many splendid episodes in her history--such as the Persian war,
the retreat of the Ten Thousand, a few actions in the Peloponnesian
contest, and the whole of the Theban campaigns of Epaminondas; but the
intervening periods have but a faint interest to the general reader,
till we come down to the period of the Macedonian monarchy. This,
indeed, is the great act in the drama of Grecian history. Who can peruse
without interest the accounts of the glorious reign of Alexander; of
that man who, issuing from the mountains of Macedonia, riveted the
fetters of despotism on Greece, which had grown unworthy of freedom, and
carried his victorious arms over the fertile plains of Palestine, till
he stood a conqueror amidst the palaces of Persepolis, and finally
halted only on the frontiers of Hindostan, arrested in his progress not
by the arms of his enemies but by the revolt of his soldiers? He flung a
halo of glory around the last days of Greece, like the bright light of a
meteor, whose course he resembled equally in the rapidity and brilliancy
of his career. With him dies the interest of Grecian story: the
intrigues and disputes of his successors, destitute of general interest,
served but to pave the way for the progress of a mightier power.

Of greater interest even than this is the history of Rome. Her conquests
were not merely the glorious and dazzling achievements of one man, which
owed their existence to his talents, and crumbled to pieces at his
death; they were slow and gradual in their progress--the effects of a
deep and firm policy: they were not made in a day, but they endured for
a thousand years. No country presents such interest to the politician
and the soldier. To the one, the rise and progress of her constitution;
her internal struggles; the balance of political power in the state; her
policy, her principles of government; the administration and treatment
of the many nations which composed her vast empire, must ever be the
subject of deep and careful study: while to the other, the campaigns of
Hannibal, the wars of Cæsar, and the long line of her military annals,
present a wide field for investigation and instruction--an inexhaustible
topic for philosophic reflection.

But there is one subject connected with the progress of the Roman empire
which has been unduly neglected, and without a perfect understanding of
which we cannot justly appreciate either the civil or military policy of
that state. We mean the history of the nations who came in contact with
her--viz. the Carthaginians, the Gauls, the Spaniards. The ancient
historians belonged exclusively to Greece or Rome: they looked upon all
other nations except themselves as barbarous; and they never related
their history except incidentally, and in so far as it was connected
with that of those two countries. Modern historians, following in their
track, and attracted by the splendour of their names, deviated not from
the beaten path; and a thick veil still hung over the semi-barbarous
neighbours and enemies of Rome. The history of no one of those nations
was more interesting, or in many points involved in greater obscurity,
than that of the GAULS.

Nowhere amongst the ancient writers could any connected account of the
origin or progress of this nation be found; scattered notices of them
alone could be discovered interspersed incidentally amongst other
matter, and these notices were frequently inconsistent. This is
particularly the case as regards their early history: in later times,
when they came into more immediate contact with the Romans, a more
connected and minute account of them has been preserved. In the lively
pages of Livy, and in the more accurate narrative of Polybius, a
considerable mass of information on this subject maybe found; while a
clear light has been thrown on many parts of their latter history by the
narrative of Appian, the Lives of Plutarch, and, above all, by the
Commentaries of Cæsar. But all this information, scattered over a
multiplicity of authors, could give us no conception of their history as
a people. An author was still wanting to collect all these together, so
as to present us with something like a continuous history. But to do
this was no easy task: the materials were scanty and often
contradictory; they were all written in a spirit hostile to the Gauls; a
deep vein of prejudice and national partiality ran through and tarnished
them all; the motives of that people were misrepresented, their actions
falsified, the historians often understood little of their institutions
and their character. From such materials it required no common man to be
able to deduce a clear and impartial narrative; it required great talent
and deep research--the accuracy of the scholar and the spirit of the
philosopher, the acuteness of the critic joined to the eye of the
painter. Such a man has been found in Amadée Thierry. His _History of
the Gauls_ is a work of rare merit--a work which must ever be in the
hand of every one who would understand the history of antiquity. It is
little to the credit of the literature of this country, that his work
has not yet appeared in an English translation.

He has traced the progress of the Gauls, from their earliest appearance
on the stage of the world till their final subjection to the Roman
power, in a manner worthy of a scholar and a philosopher. His narrative
is clear, animated, and distinct; he possesses in an eminent degree the
power of giving breadth to his pictures; of drawing the attention of his
readers to the important events, whilst the remainder are thrown into
shade. His mode of treating his authorities is perhaps the best that can
be imagined; he neither clogs his pages with long extracts, nor does he
leave them unsupported by a reference to the original authors. At the
end of each paragraph a reference is given to the authorities followed,
to whom the reader may at once turn if he wish to verify the conclusions
arrived at; and where the points are involved in obscurity, the passages
founded on are quoted generally in a note, and never in the text, except
when their importance really justified such an interruption of the
narrative. His style is always animated and graphic, occasionally rising
to elevated flights of eloquence, while his subject is one of a deep and
varied interest; for in following the checkered fortunes of the Gauls,
he is brought in contact with almost every nation of the earth. To
whatever country of the ancient world we turn, we find that the Gaul has
preceded us, either as the savage conqueror or the little less savage
mercenary. Issuing originally from the East, that boundless cradle of
the human race, we soon find him contending with the German for his
morass, with the Spaniard for his gold--traversing the sands of Africa,
and pillaging the plains of Greece--founding a kingdom in the midst of
Asiatic luxury, and bearing his conquering lance beneath the Capitol of
Rome. But a mightier spirit soon rose to rule the storm. In vain the
courage of the Gaul, allied with the power of Carthage, and directed by
the genius of Hannibal, maintained for years a desperate and doubtful
contest in the heart of Italy. The power of Rome kept steadily
advancing: Greece soon fell beneath her conquering arm; and the fleets
of Carthage no longer ruled the wave. The Spaniard, after many a
hard-fought field, at last sank into sullen submission; and the
Galatians, degenerating under the influence of Asiatic manners, proved
unequal to the contest; the Gaul, instead of inundating the land of the
foreigner, could with difficulty maintain his own; and soon the eagle of
the Capitol spread its wings over a Transalpine province. But the free
spirit of the Gaul now made a mighty effort to rend asunder the bonds
which encircled it; and a countless multitude, after ravaging Spain,
poured down into Italy: the Roman empire rocked to its foundation, when
Marius, hastening over from his African conquests, saved his country by
the glorious and bloody victory of Aquæ Sextiæ. Yet a little while and
the legions of Rome, under the orders of Cæsar, traversing with fire and
sword their country, retaliated on the Gaul the calamities he had often
inflicted on others, subdued his proud spirit, and forged for him,
amidst seas of blood, those fetters which were finally riveted by the
policy of Augustus. Such is a brief outline of the heart-stirring story
of this singular and interesting race.

One of the most interesting parts of Thierry's work is the Introduction.
He there gives a brief view of the character of the Gaulish race; its
division into two great branches, the Gaul and the Kimry, and the
periods into which the history of this people naturally divides itself.
A considerable part of it is taken up in proving that this people do in
reality consist of two great branches, the Gaul and the Kimry. This, we
think, he has clearly and satisfactorily shown, by evidence drawn both
from the language and from the historical accounts which have been
preserved to us regarding them. His character of the Gauls as a people
is ably and well given; but here we must let him speak for himself:--

     "The salient characteristics of the Gaulish family--those which
     distinguish it the most, in my opinion, from the other races of
     men--may be thus summed up:--A personal bravery unequaled amongst
     the people of antiquity; a spirit frank, impetuous, open to every
     impression, eminently intelligent; but joined to that an extreme
     frivolity, want of constancy, a marked repugnance to the ideas of
     discipline and order so strong in the German race, much
     ostentation--in fine, a perpetual disunion, the consequence of
     excessive vanity. If we wish to compare, in a few words, the
     Gaulish family with that German family to whom we have just
     alluded, we may say that the personal sentiment, the individual I,
     is too much developed amongst the former, and that amongst the
     latter it is not sufficiently so. Thus we find, in every page of
     Gaulish story, original characters who strongly excite and
     concentrate upon themselves our sympathy, causing us to forget the
     masses; whilst, in the history of the Germans, it is generally the
     masses who produce the effect. Such is the general character of the
     people of the Gaulish blood; but in that character itself, an
     observation of facts leads us to recognise two distinct shades
     corresponding to two distinct branches of the family, or to use the
     expression consecrated by history, to two distinct races. One of
     those races--that which I designate by the name of the
     Gauls--presents in the most marked manner all the natural
     dispositions, all the faults and all the virtues, of the family; to
     it belong, in their purest state, the individual types of the Gaul.
     The other, the Kimry, less active, less spiritual perhaps,
     possesses in return more weight and stability: it is in its bosom
     principally that we remark the institutions of classification and
     order; it is there that the ideas of theocracy and monarchy longest
     maintain their sway."--(I. iv. vi.)

How important and how little attended to is this character of the
different races of men! How perfectly is it preserved under all
situations and under all circumstances! No lapse of time can change, no
distance can efface it. Nowhere do we see this more distinctly than in
America: there how marked is the difference of the Spanish race in the
south and the Anglo-Saxon in the north! And from this we may draw a
deeply important practical lesson; viz. the danger of attempting to
force on one race institutions fitted to another. Under a free
government, the Anglo-Saxon in the north flourished and increased, and
became a mighty people. Under a despotic sway, the Spaniard in the south
was slowly but surely treading that path which would ultimately have led
to national greatness, when a revolution, nourished by English gold, and
rendered victorious by English arms, inflicted what was to him the curse
of free institutions. Under their influence, commerce has fled from the
shores of New Spain; the gold-mines of Peru lie unworked; population has
retrograded; the fertile land has returned to a state of nature; and
anarchy, usurping the place of government, has involved the country in
ruin and desolation. Nor is this the only instance of the effect of free
institutions on the Spanish race. In Old Spain the same experiment has
been tried, and has produced the same result. Under their withering
effect, the empire of Spain and the Indies has passed away; the mother
country, torn by internal dissensions, has fallen from her proud estate,
and can with difficulty drag on a precarious existence amidst all the
tumult and blood of incessant revolutions. How long will it be ere we
learn that free institutions are the Amreeta cup of nations--the
greatest of all blessings or the greatest of all curses, according to
the race on which it is conferred!

The history of the Gauls, in Thierry's opinion, divides itself naturally
into four great periods: his brief _resumé_ of the state of the nation,
during each of those periods, is so animated that we cannot refrain from
quoting his own words:--

     "The first period contains the adventures of the Gaulish nations in
     the nomad state. No race of the West has accomplished a more
     agitated and brilliant career. Its wanderings embrace Europe, Asia,
     and Africa: its name is inscribed with terror in the annals of
     almost every people. It burned Rome: it conquered Macedonia from
     the veteran phalanxes of Alexander, forced Thermopylæ, and pillaged
     Delphi: afterwards it planted its tents on the ruins of ancient
     Troy, in the public places of Miletus, on the banks of the
     Sangarius, and on those of the Nile: it besieged Carthage,
     threatened Memphis, reckoned among its tributaries the most
     powerful monarchs of the East: on two occasions it founded in Upper
     Italy a mighty dominion, and it raised up in the bosom of Phrygia
     that other empire of the Galatians which so long ruled Asia Minor.

     "In the second period--that of the sedentary state--we observe the
     same race every where developing itself, or permanently settled,
     with social, religious, and political institutions, suited to its
     particular character--original institutions, and civilization full
     of life and movement, of which Transalpine Gaul offers a model the
     purest and the most complete. One would say, to follow the animated
     scenes of that picture, that the theocracy of India, the feudality
     of the Middle Ages, and the Athenian democracy, had resorted to the
     same soil, there to combat and rule over one and other in turn.
     Soon that civilization mixes and alters: foreign elements introduce
     themselves, imported by commerce, by the relations of vicinity, by
     the reaction of the conquered population. Hence various and other
     strange combinations: in Italy it is the Roman influence which
     makes itself felt in the manners of the Cisalpines: in the south of
     Transalpine Gaul it is at first the influence of the Greeks of
     Massalia, afterwards that of the Italian colonies: and in Galatia
     there springs up the most singular combination of Gaulish, Phrygian
     and Greek civilization.

     "Next follows the period of national strife and of conquest. By a
     chance worthy of notice, it is always under the sword of the Roman
     that the power of the Gaulish nations falls: in proportion as the
     Roman dominion extends, the Gaulish dominion, up to that time
     firmly established, recoils and declines: one would say that the
     conquerors and the conquered from the Allia followed one and other
     to all points of the earth to decide the old quarrel of the
     Capitol. In Italy the Cisalpines are subjugated, but only after two
     centuries of the most determined resistance: when the rest of Asia
     accepted the yoke, the Galatians defended still, against Rome, the
     independence of the East. Gaul yields, but only from exhaustion,
     after a century of partial contests, and nine years of a general
     war under Cæsar: in fine, the names of Caractac and Galgac render
     illustrious the last and fruitless efforts of British liberty. It
     is every where the unequal combat of a military spirit, ardent and
     heroic, but simple and unskilful, against the same spirit
     disciplined and persevering. Few nations show in their annals so
     beautiful a page as that last Gaulish war, written nevertheless by
     an enemy. Every effort of heroism, every prodigy of valour, which
     the love of liberty and of country ever produced, there displayed
     themselves in spite of a thousand contrary and fatal passions:
     discords between the cities, discords in the cities, enterprises of
     the nobles against the people, licentiousness of democracy,
     hereditary enmities of race. What men were those Bitunyes who in
     one day burned twenty of their towns! What men were those Camutes,
     fugitives, pursued by the sword, by famine, by winter, and whom
     nothing could conquer! What variety of character is there amongst
     their chiefs--from the druid Divitiac, the good and honest
     enthusiast of the Roman civilization, to the savage Ambio-rix,
     crafty, vindictive, implacable, who admired and imitated nothing
     save the savageness of the German: from Dumno-rix, that ambitious
     but fierce agitator, who wished to make the conqueror of the Gauls
     an instrument, but not a master, to that Vercingeto-rix, so pure,
     so eloquent, so true, so magnanimous in misfortune, and who wanted
     nothing to take a place amongst the greatest men, but to have had
     another enemy, above all another historian, than Cæsar!

     "The fourth period comprises the organization of Gaul into a Roman
     province, and the slow and successive assimilation of Transalpine
     manners to the manners and institutions of Italy--a labour
     commenced by Augustus, continued with success by Claudius,
     completed in latter times. That transference from one civilization
     to another was not made without violence and without checks:
     numerous revolts are suppressed by Augustus--a great insurrection
     fails against Tiberius. The distractions and the impending ruin of
     Rome during the civil wars of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of
     Vespasian, gave room for a sudden explosion of the spirit of
     independence to the north of the Alps. The Gaulish nations again
     took up arms, the senates reformed themselves, the proscribed
     druids reappeared, the Roman legions cantoned on the Rhine are
     defeated or gained over, an empire of the Gauls is constructed in
     haste: but soon Gaul perceives that it is already at bottom
     entirely Roman, and that a return to the ancient order of things is
     no longer either desirable for its happiness, or even possible; it
     resigns itself therefore to its irrevocable destiny, and reunites
     without a murmur into the community of the Roman empire."--(I.
     6-10)

Here indeed is a noble field for history--many such exist not in the
world; it joins the colours of romance to the truth of narrative--it
embraces within its range all countries, from the snow-clad mountains of
the north to the waterless deserts of the south.

When the first light of history dawns upon the Gallic race, we find them
settled in that territory which is bounded by the Rhine, the Alps, the
Mediterranean, the Pyrenees, and the ocean, and in the British isles.
There they lived, leading a pastoral life, wandering about from place to
place, and ready to descend with their flocks and herds wherever
cupidity might lead, or fancy direct them. They first turned their
footsteps towards Spain; tribe after tribe crossed the Pyrenees, and
either expelled or amalgamated with the aboriginal inhabitants. Their
efforts were principally directed towards the centre and west; in
consequence of which, the native Spaniards, displaced and driven back
upon the Mediterranean coast, soon opened a way for themselves across
the eastern passes of the mountains, and, traversing the shores of
southern Gaul, entered Italy. There they took the name of the Ligures,
and established themselves along the whole line of sea-coast from the
Pyrenees to the mouth of the Arno. The road to Italy being thus laid
bare by the Spaniards, the Gauls soon followed on their footsteps, and,
crossing the Alps, poured down into the fertile plains and vine-clad
hills of the smiling south: but they were encountered and overcome by
the Etruscans. Internal convulsions in the centre of Gaul, however,
hurled new hordes across the Alps. The Kimry, from the Palus Moeotis,
entered the north-eastern portion of Gaul, and expelled from their
territory many of the tribes who were settled there: these, uniting in
large hordes, precipitated themselves upon Italy. The Kimry, too, joined
in the incursion; race followed race, and the whole of northern Italy
was soon peopled by the Gaulish race, who long threatened the nations of
the south with entire subjugation and destruction. The empire of the
Gauls in Italy, known by the name of Cisalpine Gaul, was productive of
the greatest calamities to that unhappy country; every year there issued
forth from it bands of adventurers, who wasted the fields and stormed
the cities of Etruria, of Campania, and of Magna Græcia. But an
expedition on a larger scale was at last undertaken. Pressed by the
increasing population in their rear, a large band determined to abandon
their present homes, and seek new conquests, and acquire new booty. They
first directed their march to Clusium; but soon the torrent rolled with
resistless force upon the walls of Rome. Defeated at the Allia, the
Romans abandoned their city, leaving, however, a garrison in the
Capitol; this garrison, reduced to the last extremities by famine, was
obliged to capitulate, and to purchase the departure of their foes by an
enormous ransom. The Gauls, crowned with success and loaded with
plunder, departed; and the Romans, taking courage at their retreat,
harassed their rear and cut off their supplies.

Such is the truth regarding this famous invasion, which has been the
subject of a falsification probably without a parallel in the annals of
history; by it defeat was transformed into victory, and the day when
Rome suffered her greatest humiliation by the ransom of her capital, was
turned into almost the most famous day of her existence, when her most
successful enemy was humbled to the dust. In the pages of a Greek
historian the truth has been preserved; while the annals of the state
are filled with a very different tale, embellished with all the
eloquence and genius of the national historian. Such a sacrifice of
historical veracity, in order to appease the insatiable cravings of
national vanity, naturally casts a shade of doubt and suspicion on all
the early records of her victories and triumphs. Freed from her enemies,
Rome revived and emerged unconquered from the strife; she had been
forced to bend before misfortune, but she was not broken by adversity: a
new city sprung up on the ruins of the old, and the legions once more
issued from the ramparts to carry her victorious banners to the capitals
of a conquered world. We have not space to trace the various fortunes of
Cisalpine Gaul during the early struggles which it carried on with the
now increasing power of Rome. Suffice it to say, that when the Latins
united in a league against her, the Cisalpines joined them; an
engagement took place at Sentinum, where victory crowned the efforts of
the Romans; but though defeated, the Gauls maintained their high
character for valour during that fatal day. This success was followed up
by a vigorous attack on the powerful Gaulish tribe of the Senones, who
were almost exterminated, and on their territory was established a Roman
colony: this was the first permanent settlement made by that people
amongst the Gaulish tribes of Italy.

We must refer the reader to M. Thierry's work for the account of the
causes which led the Gauls and Kimry to press upon, and finally invade
northern Greece, and the relation of the defeat of their first attack
under the Brenn. We shall dwell somewhat longer on their second
invasion, which forms one of the most interesting episodes of their
history:--

     "In the year 280 B.C., the Gauls, under a celebrated chief whose
     title was the Brenn, prepared to invade Greece. Their army,
     composed of various tribes of Gauls and Kimry, amounted to 152,000
     infantry and 61,000 cavalry. When this immense array reached the
     frontiers of Macedonia, a division broke out amongst their chiefs,
     and 20,000 men, detaching themselves from the main army, advanced
     into Thrace. The remainder, under the Brenn, precipitated
     themselves on Macedonia, routed the army which endeavoured to
     arrest their progress, and forced the remnant of the regular forces
     who survived, to take refuge in the fortified cities. During six
     months they ravaged with fire and sword the open country, and
     destroyed the unfortified towns of Macedonia and Thessaly. At the
     approach of winter, the Brenn collected his forces and established
     his camp in Thessaly, at a position near Mount Olympus. Thessaly is
     separated from Epirus and Ætolia by the chain of Pindus; and on the
     south, the almost impenetrable range of Mount Oeta divides it
     from the provinces of Hellas. The only pass by which an army can
     march into Greece is that of Thermopylæ, which is a long narrow
     defile, overhung on the right by the rocks of Mount Oeta, and
     flanked on the left by impassable morasses, which finally lose
     themselves in the waters of the gulf of Mulia. A few narrow and
     difficult tracts traverse the ridge of Oeta; but these, though
     passable to a small body of infantry, present insurmountable
     obstacles to the advance of an army. To the pass of Thermopylæ, in
     the spring of the year 280 B.C., the Brenn directed his march.
     Aware of its vital importance, the Athenians, Boeotians,
     Locrians, Phocians, and Megarians, who had formed a league against
     the northern invaders, collected a force of about 26,000 men, who,
     under the orders of Calippus, advanced to and occupied the strait,
     whilst 305 Athenian galleys, anchored in the bay of Mulia, were
     ready to operate upon the flank of the enemy. In his approach to
     this position, the Brenn had to pass the river Sperchius, to defend
     which Calippus had detached a small force: the Brenn, by a
     stratagem, directed their attention from the real point of attack,
     and crossed the river without loss. He then advanced to Heraclea,
     and laid waste the surrounding country. The day after his arrival
     at this place, he marched upon Thermopylæ. Hardly had the Gauls
     begun to involve themselves in the pass, when they were encountered
     by the Greeks in its classic defile. With loud cries, and in one
     enormous mass, the Gauls rushed impetuously on; in silence, and in
     perfect order, the Greeks advanced to the charge. The phalanx of
     the south proved impenetrable to the sabre of the north; the pass
     was soon covered with their dead bodies; the Gallic standards were
     unable to advance. Meanwhile the Athenian galleys, forcing their
     way through the marshes, poured in an incessant volley of arrows
     and darts on the long and unprotected flank of the invaders. Unable
     to withstand this double attack, the Gauls were forced to retreat.
     This they did in the utmost confusion; large numbers perished,
     trodden to death by their companions--still more were drowned in
     the morasses. Seven days after this severe check, a small party
     having attempted to cross Mount Oeta, they were attacked when
     involved in a narrow and difficult pass, and cut to pieces. To
     raise the drooping spirits of his men, and to separate the forces
     of his adversaries, the Brenn detached a corps of 40,000 men, under
     the command of Comlutis, with orders to force their way into
     Ætolia. This diversion proved eminently successful. Comlutis,
     finding the passes of Mount Pindus unguarded, traversed that range,
     and entered Ætolia, the whole of which he laid waste with fire and
     sword without opposition, as the whole military force of that
     country had marched to the defence of Thermopylæ. On hearing of
     this invasion, the Ætolians immediately separated from the allied
     army, and hastened to the defence of their country. On their
     approach Comlutis retreated; but whilst involved in the mountain
     passes, his rear was overtaken by the regulars, and his flanks were
     assailed by the enraged peasantry; so severe was his loss, that
     hardly one-half of his force rallied at the camp of Heraclea. The
     day after the departure of the Ætolians, the Brenn led on the main
     body of his troops to attack the pass of Thermopylæ; whilst a
     strong detachment received orders to force one of the mountain
     paths, the knowledge of which had been betrayed to him by the
     inhabitants; being guided by one of whom, and their movements being
     concealed from view by a thick mist, which enveloped them, this
     detachment succeeded in surprising the troops who were entrusted
     with its defence, and, moving rapidly on, they fell on the rear of
     the main body of the allies, who were engaged at Thermopylæ.
     Assaulted both in front and rear, the Greeks would have been
     totally destroyed, had it not been for the presence of the Athenian
     fleet, who afforded a safe refuge to their shattered ranks. Freed
     from the presence of his opponents, the Brenn immediately pushed on
     to Elatia at the head of 65,000 men, from whence he directed his
     march on Delphi. The town of Delphi was built on the slope of one
     of the peaks of Parnassus, in the midst of a natural excavation,
     and being almost entirely surrounded with precipices, it was left
     unprotected by any artificial fortifications: above the town, on
     the north, was situated the magnificent temple of Apollo, filled
     with native offerings of the Greeks. The possession of this
     treasure was the main object of the Brenn. The Gaulish army, on
     their arrival before Delphi, dispersed over, and pillaged the
     surrounding country for the remainder of the day; thus losing the
     most favourable opportunity of assaulting the town."

The _dénouement_ of the tragedy we shall give in Thierry's own words:--

     "During the night, Delphi received from all sides, by the mountain
     paths, numerous reinforcements from the neighbouring people. There
     arrived successively 1200 well-armed Ætolians, 400 heavy-armed men
     from Amplussa, and a detachment of Phocians, who, with the citizens
     of Delphi, formed a body of 4000 men. At the same time, they
     learned that the brave Ætolian army, after having defeated
     Comlutis, had retaken the road to Elatia, and, increased by bands
     of the Phocians and Boeotians, laboured to prevent the junction
     of the Gaulish army of Heraclea with the division which besieged
     Delphi.

     "During the same night, the camp of the Gauls was the theatre of
     the greatest debauchery; and when day dawned, the greater portion
     of them were still intoxicated: nevertheless, it was necessary to
     make the assault without loss of time, for the Brenn already
     perceived how much the delay of a few hours had cost him. He drew
     out his troops then in battle array, enumerating to them anew all
     the treasures which they had before their eyes, and those which
     awaited them in the temple: he then gave the signal for the
     escalade. The attack was vigorous, and was sustained by the Greeks
     with firmness. From the summit of the narrow and steep slope by
     which the assailants had to ascend in order to approach the town,
     the besieged poured down a multitude of arrows and stones, not one
     of which fell harmless. Several times the Gauls covered the ascent
     with their dead; but every time they returned to the charge with
     courage, and at last forced the passage. The besieged, obliged to
     beat a retreat, withdrew to the nearest streets of the town,
     leaving the approach which conducted to the temple free: the
     Gaulish race rushed on: soon the whole multitude was occupied in
     pillaging the oratories which adjoined the temple, and, in fine,
     the temple itself.

     "It was then autumn, and during the combat one of those sudden
     storms so frequent in the lofty chains of Hellas had gathered;
     suddenly it burst, discharging on the mountain torrents of rain and
     hail. The priests attached to the temple of Apollo, seized upon an
     incident so fitted to strike the superstitious spirit of the
     Greeks. With haggard eyes, with disheveled locks, with frenzied
     minds, they spread out through the town, and through the ranks of
     the army, crying that the god had arrived. 'He is here!' said they;
     'we have seen him pass across the vault of the temple, which is
     cloven beneath his feet; two armed virgins, Minerva and Diana,
     accompany him. We have heard the whistling of their bows, and the
     clang of their lances. Hasten, O Greeks! upon the steps of your
     gods, if you wish to partake of their victory!' That spectacle,
     those exhortations pronounced amidst the rolling of the thunder,
     and by the glare of the lightning, filled the Hellenes with a
     supernatural enthusiasm; they reformed in battle array, and
     precipitated themselves sword in hand upon the enemy. The same
     circumstances operated not less strongly, but in a contrary way,
     upon the victorious bands; the Gauls believed that they recognised
     the power of a divinity, but of an enraged divinity. The
     thunderbolts had frequently struck their battalions, and its
     reports, repeated by the echoes, produced around them such a
     reverberation, that they no longer heard the commands of their
     chiefs. Those who penetrated into the interior of the temple, had
     felt the pavement tremble under their steps; they had been seized
     by a thick and mephitic vapour, which overpowered them, and threw
     them into a violent delirium. The historians relate, that amidst
     this tumult they beheld three warriors of a sinister aspect, of
     more than human stature, covered with old armour, and who
     slaughtered the Gauls with their lances, appear. The Delphians
     recognised, say they, the shades of three heroes, Hyperochus and
     Zorodocus, whose tombs adjoined the temple, and Pyrrhus the son of
     Achilles. As to the Gauls, a wild panic hurried them in disorder to
     their camp, which they attained only with great difficulty,
     overwhelmed by the arrows of the Greeks, and by the fall of
     enormous rocks, which rolled over upon them from the summit of
     Parnassus. In the ranks of the besiegers, the loss was doubtless
     considerable.

     "To that disastrous day succeeded, for the Kimry-Gauls, a night not
     less terrible; the cold was excessive, and snow fell in abundance;
     besides, fragments of rock falling incessantly in their camp, which
     was situated too near the mountain, crushed the soldiers not by one
     or two at a time, but by bodies of thirty and forty, as often as
     they assembled to maintain guard or to seek repose. The sun no
     sooner rose, than the Greeks who were within the town made a
     vigorous sally, whilst those who were in the country fell upon the
     rear of the enemy. At the same time, the Phocians, crossing the
     snow by paths known but to themselves, took them in flank, and
     assailed them with arrows and stones, without exposing themselves
     to the slightest danger. Hemmed in on all sides, discouraged, and,
     moreover, extremely incommoded by the cold, which had cut off many
     of their number during the night, the Gauls began to yield. They
     were sustained for some time by the intrepidity of the chosen band
     who combated around the Brenn, and acted as his guard. The
     strength, the stature, the courage of that guard, struck the Greeks
     with astonishment. In the end, the Brenn having been dangerously
     wounded, those brave men dreamed only of making a rampart of their
     bodies for him, and of carrying him from the field. The chiefs then
     gave the signal of retreat, and to prevent the wounded from falling
     into the hands of the enemy, they caused those who were not in a
     condition to follow, to be put to death. The army halted when the
     night overtook it.

     "The first watch of that second night had hardly commenced, when
     the soldiers who were on guard imagined that they heard the tumult
     of a night march, and the distant tramp of horses. The darkness,
     already profound, did not permit them to discover their mistake;
     they gave the alarm, and cried out that they were surprised--that
     the enemy was upon them. The famine, the dangers, and the
     extraordinary occurrences which had befallen them during the last
     two days, had much shattered all their imaginations. At that cry,
     'The enemy is at hand!' the Gauls, suddenly aroused, seized their
     arms, and believing the camp already entered, they threw themselves
     upon, and mutually slaughtered, each other. Their consternation was
     so great, that they believed that each word which struck their ears
     was uttered in Greek; as if they had forgotten their own proper
     tongue. Besides, the darkness of the night did not permit them
     either to recognise each other, or to distinguish the shape of
     their bucklers. Day put an end to that frightful _mêlée_; but
     during the night the Phocian shepherds, who remained in the fields
     to watch their flocks, ran to inform the Greeks of the disorder
     which was evident in the Gaulish camp. They attributed so
     unexpected an event to the intervention of the god Pan, from whom,
     according to the religious faith of the Greeks, alarms without any
     real cause proceeded; full of ardour and of confidence, they
     attacked the rearguard of the enemy. The Gauls had already resumed
     their march, but with languor, as men discouraged, worn out by
     diseases, famine, and fatigue. On their line of march the
     population carried off the cattle and provisions, so that they
     could not procure any subsistence without the utmost difficulty,
     and at the point of the sword. The historians reckon at 10,000 the
     number of those who sank under these misfortunes; the cold and the
     nocturnal combat had cut off as many more, and 6000 had perished at
     the assault of Delphi: there remained then to the Brenn no more
     than 35,000 men when he rejoined the main body of his army, in the
     plains watered by the Cephisus, on the day after his departure from
     Thermopylæ."--(I. 171-178.)

The Brenn, overwhelmed with grief at his misfortune, no sooner saw his
army free from immediate danger than he put himself to death. His
successor, following his dying advice, slaughtered 10,000 of the
wounded, and continued his retreat:--

     "As he approached Thermopylæ, the Greeks, issuing forth from an
     ambuscade, threw themselves on his rearguard, which they cut to
     pieces. It was in this miserable state that the Gauls gained the
     camp of Heraclea. They remained there for a few days before setting
     out on their northward route. All the bridges of the Sperchius had
     been broken down, and the left bank of the river was occupied by
     the Thessalians, who had collected _en masse_; nevertheless, the
     Gaulish army forced a passage. It was in the midst of a population
     all armed, and thirsting for vengeance, that they traversed, from
     one extremity to the other, Thessaly and Macedonia, exposed to
     perils, to sufferings, to privations, daily increasing, combating
     without intermission during the day, and at night having no other
     shelter than a cold and watery sky. They gained at last the
     northern frontier of Macedonia. There the distribution of the body
     took place: afterwards the Kimry-Gauls divided into many bands;
     some returned to their country, others sought in different
     directions new food for their turbulent activity."--(I. 180.)

A band of Tectosages joined to the Tolistoboies, and a horde of Gauls,
united, and traversing Thrace with fire and sword, passed over into Asia
Minor. They found it distracted by the quarrels of Alexander's
successors. Summoned in an evil hour by Nicomedes to aid him and the
Greek states of Asia Minor in their struggle against the Seleucidæ, they
soon established him on the throne of Bithynia. But they now turned
their victorious arms against the nations of that unhappy country. Their
armies, increased by reinforcements drawn from Thrace, had divided
themselves into three hordes: the Tectosages, the Tolistoboies, and the
Trocmes. To avoid dispute, they distributed the whole of Asia Minor into
three parts: of these the Trocmes possessed the Hellespont and Troas;
the Tolistoboies, Æolida and Ionia; the Tectosages, the coast of the
Mediterranean from the west of Mount Taurus. They now overran and
subdued all Asia Minor; every country, every town, was obliged to pay
them tribute; or soon the fertile land was reduced to an arid desert,
watered only by the blood of its inhabitants, and the costly city,
stormed by the fierce warriors of the north, became a heap of smoking
ruins. At last the Tectosages came in contact with Antiochus, king of
Syria, and were totally defeated at the battle of the Taurus; the Syrian
king, following up his victory, compelled them to resign their
conquests, and to establish themselves on the banks of the Halys, near
the town of Ancyra, in Upper Phrygia, where they dwelt, too weak again
to enter on the career of conquest. Internal war prevented the Asiatics
for some time from pursuing their successes, and the Trocmes and
Tolistoboies continued still to pillage and oppress all the maritime
provinces. Nay, their power was actually increased by those wars, as
each of the contending parties purchased the mercenary services of large
bands of those brave, though turbulent warriors. But the end of the
Gaulish rule in Asia Minor was at hand. The small state of Pergamus,
under the able rule of Eumenes, emerged from its obscurity, and
inflicted a severe wound upon the Gauls by the defeat of Antiochus, king
of Syria, with whom a great number of them served as mercenaries. His
son Attalus, on his accession to the throne, immediately marched against
and defeated the Tolistoboies. Ionia, which had long groaned under their
oppression, seizing the opportunity, rose up against them; the
Tolistoboies, beaten in several engagements, were driven beyond Mount
Taurus; and the Trocmes, after a vain attempt to maintain themselves in
Troas, were forced to retreat and unite with their defeated countrymen.
Attacked now by the whole population of Asia Minor, the two hordes were
driven by degrees into Upper Phrygia, where the Tectosages had formerly
settled. Here the three hordes united, and here they founded the empire
of Galatia.

     "Thus ended in Asia Minor the dominion of this people in their
     character of nomad conquerors; another period of existence now
     commenced for them. Abandoning their wandering life, they mixed
     with the indigenous population, who were themselves a mixture of
     Greek colonists and Asiatics. That blending together of three
     races, unequal in power and in civilization, produced a mixed
     nation, that of the Gallo-Greeks, whose civil, political, and
     religious institutions, carry the triple stamp of Gaulish, Greek,
     and Phrygian manners. The regular influence which the Gauls are
     destined to act in Asia Minor, as an Asiatic power, will prove not
     to be inferior to that of which they have been deprived; and we
     shall see them defend, almost to the last, the liberty of the East
     against the Roman arms."--(I. 203-204.)

We have not space to follow M. Thierry in his very interesting account
of the exploits of the Gaulish mercenaries in Greece--in particular of
those who served in the army of Pyrrhus; or who, acting in the pay of
Carthage, contributed so much to the victories of that powerful and
wealthy people, and who took that lead in the famous insurrection of the
mercenaries, which so nearly brought about their ruin. We must pass over
too, unnoticed, the desperate struggle between the Romans and Gauls in
Cisalpine Gaul, which ended in the defeat of the Boian confederacy at
the battle of the Telama, and their submission, and the subjugation of
the Insubrians by Marcellus. The whole of Cisalpine Gaul thus seemed to
be finally subdued, when a new enemy suddenly appeared in the field, and
again led the Gaulish standards into the heart of southern Italy.

Hardly had the Cisalpines laid down their arms, when there arrived
amongst them emissaries sent by Hannibal to excite them to a renewal of
the war, and to engage them in an alliance with Carthage, by promising
to guarantee to them the liberty of their country, and by exciting their
cupidity with the prospect of the spoils of Rome and southern Italy.
They were well received, and secret armaments soon began to take place,
especially amongst the Boian confederacy. But what immediately caused
the outbreak was an attempt of the Romans to found two colonies, one at
Cremona, and the other at Placentia. Enraged at this, the Boians took up
arms, and attacking the colonists of Placentia, dispersed them, whilst
the Insubrians expelled those who had advanced to Cremona. The Boians
and Insubrians now uniting their forces, laid siege to Mutina, but in
vain. This check, however, was more than counterbalanced by the defeat
of a Roman army under the orders of Manlius. While affairs were in this
state, the columns of Hannibal, descending from the Alps, arrived on the
Insubrian territory. The result of the late successes of the Gauls in
their disposition towards Hannibal, is well explained by Thierry:--

     "Two factions then divided all Cisalpine Gaul. The one composed of
     the Venetes, the Cremonas, and the Ligures of the Alps, gained over
     to the Roman cause, opposed with vigour every movement in favour of
     Hannibal. The other, which included the Ligures of the Apennines,
     the Insubrians, and the people of the Boian confederation, had
     embraced the Carthaginian side, but without much ardour. The
     affairs of Gaul had undergone a great change. At the time when the
     propositions of Hannibal were received with enthusiasm, Gaul was
     humiliated and conquered; Roman troops occupied her
     territory--Roman colonies assembled in her towns. But since the
     dispersion of the colonies of Cremona and Placentia--since the
     defeat of L. Manlius in the forest of Mutina, the Boians and
     Insubrians, satisfied at having recovered their independence with
     their own forces, cared little to compromise themselves for the
     advantage of strangers, whose appearance and numbers inspired them
     with but slight confidence."--(I. 284-285.)

Hannibal felt all the importance of deciding the wavering sentiments of
this people; on them his future success or defeat depended; to do this
nothing but victory was requisite. He accordingly advanced rapidly
against the Romans, and first engaged them in a cavalry action at the
Ticinus. Victory declared for the Carthaginians. The horse of Numidia
routed the cavalry of Rome. This success, unimportant as it was,
revealed Hannibal to the eyes of the Gauls; influenced by it, the
Insubrian chiefs hastened to supply him with provisions and troops.
Hardly had the Carthaginians arrived in sight of the Roman camp at
Placentia, when a large body of the Gaulish contingent revolted from
Scipio, and contrived, though much reduced in numbers, to cut their way
through in spite of all opposition, and join Hannibal. The famous battle
of the Trebia--the first of those great victories which have rendered
immortal the genius of the Carthaginian chief--soon followed; it at once
decided the course of Cisalpine Gaul. Its immediate and ultimate effects
on the power and operations of Hannibal are well developed by our
author:--

     "The fortune of Hannibal was then consolidated; more than 60,000
     Boians, Insubrians, and Ligures flocked in a few days to his
     standards, and raised his forces to 100,000 men. With such a
     disproportion between the nucleus of the Carthaginian army and its
     auxiliaries, Hannibal was in reality but a Gaulish chief; and if,
     in the moments of danger, he had no cause to repent his new
     situation, more than once, nevertheless, he cursed with bitterness
     its inconveniences. Nothing could equal the courage and devotion of
     the Gaulish soldier in the dangers of the battle-field; but under
     the tent he had neither the habit nor the taste of military
     subordination. The lofty conceptions of Hannibal surpassed his
     comprehension; he could not understand war, unless such as he
     himself carried it on--as a bold and rapid plundering excursion, of
     which the present moment reaped the whole advantage. He would have
     wished to march instantly on Rome, or at least to pass the winter
     in some of the allied or subject provinces--in Etruria or in
     Umbria--there to live at discretion in pillage and license. Did
     Hannibal represent that it was necessary to spare the provinces in
     order to gain them over to the common cause, the Cisalpines broke
     forth into murmurs; the combinations of prudence and genius
     appeared in their eyes but a vile pretext to deprive them of the
     advantages which they had legitimately won."--(I. 292-293.)

We cannot follow the steps of the great conqueror in his memorable
campaigns--in his fatal march over the fens of Etruria, or through the
glorious field of Thrasymene. But the share which the Gauls had in the
mighty victory of Cannæ, and the change of the seat of war, with the
results which followed from it, are of such importance, and the remarks
made upon them by M. Thierry are so just, that we shall give the whole
of his account of this event at full length:--

     "From the field of Thrasymene Hannibal passed into southern Italy,
     and gave battle a third time to the Romans, near the village of
     Cannæ, on the banks of the Aufidus, now called the Offanto. He had
     then under his banners 40,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry; and of
     these 50,000 combatants, at least 30,000 were Gauls. In his order
     of battle, he placed their cavalry on the right wing, and in the
     centre their infantry, whom he united to the Spanish infantry, and
     whom he commanded in person: the Gaulish foot, as was their custom
     on all occasions when they were determined to conquer or die, threw
     off their tunic and sagum, and fought naked from their waist
     upwards, armed with their long and pointless sabres. They commenced
     the action; and their cavalry and that of the Numidians terminated
     it. We know how dreadful the carnage was in that celebrated
     battle--the most glorious of the victories of Hannibal--the most
     disastrous of the defeat of Rome. When the Carthaginian general,
     moved with pity, called to his soldiers 'to halt, and to spare the
     vanquished,' without doubt the Gauls, bloodthirsty in the
     destruction of their mortal enemies, carried to that butchery more
     than the ordinary irritation of wars, the satisfaction of a
     vengeance ardently wished for, and long deferred. There 70,000
     Romans perished; the loss on the side of the conquerors was 5500,
     of which 4000 were Gauls. Out of 60,000 Gauls, whom Hannibal had
     enumerated around him after the combat of the Trebia, 25,000 only
     remained; battle, sickness, above all, the fatal passage over the
     marshes of Etruria, had cut off all the rest; for up to this period
     they had supported almost exclusively the weight of the war. The
     victory of Cannæ brought to the Carthaginians other auxiliaries; a
     crowd of men from Campania, Lucania, Brutium, and Apulia, filled
     his camp; but it was not that warlike race which he formerly
     recruited on the banks of the Po. Cannæ was the term of his
     success; and assuredly the fault ought not to be imputed to his
     genius, more admirable even in adverse than in good fortune--his
     army only had changed. For two thousand years history has accused
     him with bitterness for his inaction after the battle of Aufidus,
     and for his delay at Capua; perhaps it might reproach him more
     justly for having removed from the north of Italy, and for having
     allowed his communications with the soldiers who had conquered
     under him at Thrasymene and Cannæ, to be cut off. Rome perceived
     the fault of Hannibal, and hastened to profit by it. Two armies in
     _échelon_, the one to the north, and the other to the south,
     intercepted the communication between the Cisalpines and Magna
     Græcia. That of the north, by its incursions and by its threatening
     attitude, occupied the Gauls at their own hearths, whilst the
     second made head against the Carthaginians."--(I. 297-300.)

It has been said by the most renowned conqueror of modern times, that,
give him but the Gallic infantry and the Mameluke cavalry, and he would
subdue the world. And it cannot fail to strike the attentive reader with
astonishment, to learn that the severest blow ever given to the power of
Rome was inflicted by the Gaulish foot and the Numidian horse. It is
curious, as exemplifying the unchanging characters of race, to observe
that the greatest general of antiquity triumphed at the head of an army,
composed of those very nations whom Napoleon, after the lapse of two
thousand years, declared best fitted to pursue the blood-stained paths
of military greatness.

The efforts of the Gauls did not cease with the battle of Cannæ; they
defeated an army under Posthumius, which invaded their territory. When
Hasdrubal led his ill-fated expedition to strew their bodies on the
Italian plains, he was accompanied by large bands of those brave
adventurers; and when Carthage, making a last effort to succour her
general, disembarked 14,000 men under the command of Mago, Hannibal's
brother, at Genoa, numerous bodies of Gauls flocked to his standards.
And this general, though unable to effect his junction with Hannibal,
yet maintained his ground for ten years, till at last, defeated in the
territory of the Insubrians, he retired to Genoa. There he received
orders to return to the defence of Africa:--

     "His brother also, recalled by the Carthaginian senate, was obliged
     to embark at the other extremity of Italy. The Gaulish and Ligurian
     soldiers, who had faithfully served Hannibal during seventeen
     years, abandoned him not in his days of misfortune; re-united to
     their compatriots who had followed Mago, they formed still a third
     part of the Carthaginian army at Zama, in the celebrated day which
     terminated that long war to the advantage of the Romans, and
     displayed to the world the genius of Hannibal humbled before the
     fortune of Scipio. The ferocity with which the Gauls fought has
     been recorded by the historian: 'They showed themselves,' says
     Titus Livy, 'inflamed with that inborn hate against the Roman
     people, peculiar to their race.'"--(I. 310-311.)

The war in Cisalpine Gaul did not cease with the departure of Hannibal.
Under the orders of Carthaginian officer, the Gauls again took the
field--Placentia fell beneath their arms; but they received a severe
defeat from L. Furius, in the year 200 B.C., when the Carthaginian
general Amilcar perished. From this period till the year 191 B.C., the
Gaulish nations were involved in a constant succession of wars, in
which, though occasionally victorious, they were upon the whole
unsuccessful. Exposed to the incessant incursions of the Romans, their
strength gradually wasted away; each year left them in a state more
exhausted and unfit to renew the war than the preceding. Nation after
nation laid down their arms in despair, till at last the Boian
confederacy stood alone in its resistance of a foreign yoke; but their
ravaged lands and reduced numbers were unequal to the struggle, and
when, in the year 190 B.C., the Roman armies advanced into the heart of
their exhausted territory, the few remaining inhabitants determined to
abandon the land of their birth, and to seek, amidst ruder nations, and
beneath a more ungenial sky, for that liberty in defence of which their
fathers had so often bled. Accordingly, the wreck of a hundred and
twelve Boian tribes, rising _en masse_, united, and wending their weary
steps over the snow-clad summits of the Alps, and through the pathless
forests of Germany, they found at last, on the banks of the distant
Danube, a resting-place far removed from the hated name of Rome.

All resistance from Cisalpine Gaul now ceased. Occasionally, indeed, a
few tribes from the Transalpine would cross the Alps and descend into
Italy, but they could not withstand the shock of the legions. The
conquered territory was declared a Roman province, which it ever
afterwards remained.

We have not space to follow M. Thierry in his account of the progress
and fall of that strange Gaulish kingdom of Galatia. From the year 241
to the year 190 B.C., it maintained its independence unshaken, amidst
the degenerate sons of Greece and the effeminate Asiatics. But the Roman
power, beneath which the Gaulish race was ever doomed to bend, overtook
them even amidst the mountains of Asia Minor. The Galatians had
furnished some troops to Antiochus the Great, and then, for the first
time, they came in contact with the eagle of the Capitol. The first
encounter is thus alluded to by our author:--

     "The Romans had annihilated, at Magnesia, the Asiatic and Greek
     forces: yet the conquest of the country appeared to them still
     incomplete. They had encountered, beneath the banners of Antiochus,
     some bands of a force less easily conquered than the Syrians or the
     Phrygians: by the armour, by the lofty stature, by the yellow or
     reddish locks, by the war-cry, by the rattling clash of arms, by
     the dauntless valour above all, the legions had easily recognised
     that old enemy of Rome whom they had been brought up to fear.
     Before deciding any thing as to the lot of the vanquished, the
     Roman generals then determined to carry the war into Galatia."--(I.
     360-361.)

Accordingly, in the spring of 189 B.C., Cn. Manlius, with 22,000
legionaries and an auxiliary army furnished by the King of Pergamus,
invaded Galatia: at his approach the Tolistoboies and Tectosages
intrenched themselves upon Mount Olympus, and the Trocmes upon Mount
Megalon, and there awaited the attack. The consul first advanced to
Mount Olympus. He led his troops to attack the Gaulish position in three
columns; the principal column, under his own orders, was to advance on
the Gauls in front, the other two were to try and turn their position on
either flank. The column which he led first engaged.

     "His _velites_ advanced in front of the standards, with the Cretan
     archers of Attalus, the slingers, and the corps of Trulles and of
     the Thracians. The infantry of the legions followed with slow
     steps, as the steepness of the declivity rendered necessary,
     sheltered beneath their bucklers, so as to avoid stones and arrows.
     At a considerable distance the combat began with discharges of
     arrows, and at first with equal success. The Gauls had the
     advantage in position, the Romans in the number and variety of
     their arms. The action continued, the equality no longer remained.
     The narrow and flat bucklers of the Gauls protected them
     insufficiently: soon having expended their darts and javelins, they
     found themselves altogether disarmed: for at that distance their
     sabres were useless. As they had made no selection of flints and
     stones beforehand, they seized the first which chance threw in
     their way, which were for the most part too large to be easily
     wielded, or for inexperienced arms to throw with effect. The
     Romans, meanwhile, poured down upon them a murderous hail of
     arrows, javelins, and leaden balls, which wounded them, without
     their having any possibility of avoiding the approach. * * * * A
     great number had bit the dust, others adopted the course of rushing
     right on the enemy, and they, at least, did not perish unavenged.
     It was the corps of the Roman _velites_ who did them most harm.
     These _velites_ carried on their left arm a buckler three feet in
     size, in their right hand javelins, which they threw from afar, at
     their girdle a Spanish sword; when it was necessary to engage in
     close contact, they transferred their javelins to the left hand,
     and drew their sword. Few Gauls now remained on foot: seeing then
     the legions advance to the charge, they fled precipitately to their
     camp, which the alarm of the multitude of women, children and old
     men who were shut up within it, already filled with tumult and
     confusion."--(I. 373-376.)

The other two columns had, from the difficult nature of the ground, been
unable to make any progress. Manlius now led on his legionaries to
assault the intrenchment, which they carried at the sword's point. A few
days after this victory, Manlius advanced with his triumphant army to
attack the Trocmes, who were intrenched on Mount Megalon. This battle
resembled much, both in its progress and in its termination, the one
which preceded it. The Trocmes were driven with slaughter from the
field, and their camp taken. Dispirited by this double defeat, the
Galatians, who had rallied their scattered forces behind the Halys, sued
for peace. The Romans, desiring rather to conciliate than to irritate
this warlike people, merely exacted that they should surrender the land
which they had taken from the allies of Rome, and that they should give
up their wandering and predatory habits, so injurious to all their
neighbours. Under the influence of the forced peace in which the
subjection of Asia to the Romans kept the Galatians, their manners
rapidly changed. Asiatic luxury took the place of northern barbarity;
the worship of the national gods was abandoned, and the idols of the
stranger were substituted in their room; the coarse garments of ancient
days, gave place to vestments of purple and gold: yet a little while,
and the loss of national manners was followed by the loss of political
privileges; the magistracies, formerly elective, now became hereditary;
the families who usurped this privilege formed, in course of time, a
bright and all-powerful aristocracy. Ambition limited the number of
these magistracies; from twelve they were reduced to four; at last they
were centred in a single hand: so that when Galatia was united as a
province to the Roman empire, it was governed by a hereditary king. Yet,
amidst this usurpation of the sovereign power, the national council of
the Three Hundred still continued to exist, and assist in the government
of the state.

During twenty years peace subsisted between the Galatians and their
Asiatic neighbours. At the end of that period, however, a war broke out,
and pillaging bands once more began to traverse the plains of Asia
Minor; when Rome interposed, and by her mediation peace was restored.
Mithridates, uniting beneath his sway all the powers of the East, drove
back for a while the Roman eagles, and seemed about to restore their
ancient glory to the Asiatics. The Galatians joined with him; but their
fidelity became suspected, and he seized upon sixty of their nobles as
hostages. Enraged at this treatment, they formed a plot to assassinate
him; it was frustrated, and the conspirators were almost all
treacherously put to death at a banquet. His troops then advancing, took
possession of Galatia, which was governed by one of his officers with
insolence and oppression for twelve years. At last a revolt broke out;
his armies were driven from the country; Galatia was once more free. The
defeat of Mithridates by the Roman arms ensured their independence for a
short time; but the rest of Asia was now subject to the Romans.
Surrounded, enveloped on all sides by their power, Galatia yielded at
last, and was reduced to the form of a Roman province in the time of
Augustus.

Here M. Thierry ends the first part of his History of the Gauls; and
thus far we have followed him step by step, because we considered this
both the least known and the most interesting portion of Gaulish
history. The two periods which follow are more familiar to historical
readers: because, during them, Rome was the great enemy of the Gauls;
and if she has often palliated her defeats, she has at least never
failed to chronicle her victories. Henceforth, therefore, we shall no
longer attempt to follow the thread of his narrative. The victories of
Marius, the campaigns of Cæsar, stand in no need of our attention being
directed to them, as to the wars of the Brenn in Greece, or the
conquests of the horde in Asia Minor. Here we take leave of the Gaul as
the conquering nomad; we have seen him wandering through the land of the
stranger with fire and sword; but the hour of vengeance has now come,
and we shall see him bleed in vain on his native soil for that liberty
of which he had so often deprived others.

M. Thierry opens his history of the second period with an exceedingly
interesting account of the state of Gaul during the second and third
centuries before our era. Gaul was then inhabited by three distinct
families or races. By the Iberian family--divided into the Aquitains and
the Ligures. By the Gaulish family--divided into the Gauls, the Kimry,
and the Belgians. And by the Ionian-Greek family, or the inhabitants of
the powerful and flourishing maritime and commercial state of Massalia.
The Iberian and Ionian-Greeks, families occupying comparatively but a
small portion of Gaul, need not detain us. With the Gauls we have more
to do. Our author gives the following account of the way in which their
territory was divided amongst the three different bands of this
family:--

     "A line which, setting out from the mouth of the Tann, follows the
     course of that river, then that of the Rhone, the Iser, the Alps,
     the Rhine, the Vosges, the Ædnian hills, the Loire, the Vienne, and
     comes at last to rejoin the Garonne, by turning the plateau of
     Arvernia: that line would nearly circumscribe the possessions of
     the Gallic race. The territory situated to the east of that limit
     belonged to the race of the Kimry; it was in time divided into two
     portions by the line of the Seine and the Marne, the one northern
     and the other southern. To the south, between the Seine and the
     Garonne, lived the Kimry of the first invasion, intermingled with
     Gallic blood, or the Gallo-Kimry. To the north, between the Seine
     and the Rhine, the Kimry of the second invasion, or Belgians. The
     Gauls numbered twenty-two nations; the Gallo-Kimry, seventeen; and
     the Belgians, twenty-three. These sixty-two nations were subdivided
     into many hundred tribes."--(I. 28.)

He then enters into a long and most interesting description of the
domestic manners, and political and religious institutions, of the
Gauls.

After having traced the Gaul for so long in the field, we love to follow
him into his cabin--to observe his appearance, his pursuits, his
habits--to mark the manly figure, the fair complexion, the flowing
yellow locks, the glittering helmet surmounted with the antlers of the
stag, the buckler covered with all the colours of the rainbow, the
polished cuirass flashing back the rays of the morning sun, the heavy
sabre hanging from the gold-bespangled belt, the precious necklace, the
rich armlets, the bright and variegated hues of the martial sagum or
mantle, of the noble Gaulish warrior. We follow him as he turns away
from his clay-built mansion, and, regardless of the silent tears and
entreating looks of his submissive, perhaps ill-used wife, hurries into
the noise and excitement of the battle-field. Observe the wild frenzy
that there seems to seize him, as he rushes with dauntless courage on
the bristling phalanx of his enemies; as, amidst the clouds of dust
which float overhead, and the horrid cries which resound on all sides,
he tears and widens with savage ferocity the fearful gash he has just
received; as, a moment after, overcoming in personal conflict yon
stalwart chief, he decapitates, with one blow of his heavy sabre, the
yet palpitating corpse, and waves the gory head with demoniac triumph in
the air; and as he returns home, yet reeking with blood and intoxicated
with victory, and suspends above his threshold the ghastly trophy. Look
again--the scene is changed--the glittering arms are flung aside. With
his mantle floating in the breeze, his light spear quivering in his
hand, he plunges into the pathless forest; with fearless step he pursues
his way through the leafy shade, and traverses the treacherous surface
of the morass. Beneath yon giant oak he has encountered the fiercest
inhabitant of those solitudes--the wild bull; but it has fallen beneath
his javelin, which yet protrudes from it bushy neck, and, as it lies
struggling on the greensward, making the wood ring again with its
bellowings, his dagger is raised to give it the final stroke.--Observe
him once more in the council of his nation. The warriors stand in an
attentive circle leaning on their arms; he has risen to address them;
his action is animated, his words are vehement; the polished accents,
the finished periods of the Greek, flow not from his lips, but there is
eagerness in his eye, there is earnestness in his speech, his language
is figurative in the extreme, a thousand picturesque and striking images
illustrate his meaning; his metaphors, drawn from the battle and the
chase, thrill to the bosom of all his listeners; and the clash and clang
of their arms, amidst which he sits down, proclaims alike their assent
to his proposition and their admiration of his eloquence. It is amidst
scenes like these that we love to follow the Gaul, to picture to
ourselves an old race and an old civilization, which combined in so
strange a way the greatness and the savageness, the heroism in danger
and weakness under temptation, of primeval and half-civilized man.

To comprehend clearly the internal and external history of the Gauls, we
must understand the political condition of their country. This is
unfolded in a clear and masterly manner by our author, in the following
passage:--

     "In Gaul, two privileged orders ruled the rest of the people--the
     elective order of the priests, who recruited themselves
     indiscriminately from all ranks, and the hereditary order of the
     nobles or knights. This latter was composed of the ancient royal
     families of the tribes, and of those men who had been recently
     ennobled, either by war or by the influence of riches. The
     multitudes were divided into two classes--the people of the
     country, and the people of the town. The first formed the tribes or
     the clans of the noble families. The client belonged to his patron,
     whose domains he cultivated, whose standard he followed in war,
     under whom he was a member of a little patriarchal aristocracy; his
     duty was to defend him to the death from, and against all: to
     abandon his patron in circumstances of danger, passed for the
     consummation of disgrace, and even for a crime. The people of the
     towns, from their situation, removed from the influence of the old
     hierarchy of the tribes, enjoyed greater liberty, and fortunately
     found themselves in a situation to maintain and to defend it.
     Beneath the mass of the people came the slaves, who do not appear
     to have been very numerous. The two privileged orders caused the
     yoke of their despotism to weigh, turn by turn, upon Gaul. Turn by
     turn they exercised absolute authority, and lost it by a series of
     political revolutions. The history of the government of the Gauls
     offers, then, three very distinct periods: that of the reign of the
     priests, or of the theocracy--that of the reign of the chiefs of
     the tribes, or of the military aristocracy--lastly, that of the
     popular constitutions, founded on the principle of election, and on
     the will of the majority. The epoch which we are about to treat of,
     accomplished that last and great revolution; and popular
     constitutions, although still ill assured, at last ruled over all
     Gaul at the commencement of the first age."--(II. 71-73.)

M. Thierry recognises in the Gauls the traces of two distinct religions.
He says--

     "When we examine attentively the character of the facts relative to
     the religious belief of the Gauls, we are led to recognise two
     systems of ideas, two bodies of symbols and superstitions
     altogether distinct--in a word, two religions: the one altogether
     sensible, derived from the adoration of natural phenomena, and by
     its forms, as well as by its literal development, reminding us of
     the polytheism of the Greeks; the other founded upon a material
     pantheism, metaphysical, mysterious, sacerdotal, and presenting the
     most astonishing conformity with the religions of the East. That
     last has received the name of druidism, from the druids who were
     its founders and priests. We shall give to the first the name of
     the Gaulish polytheism."--(II. 73-74.)

Thierry thinks that this polytheism originally prevailed amongst the
Gauls, but that the Kimry introduced druidism, which soon became the
dominant religion over the whole of Gaul, though the original polytheism
ingrafted upon it more or less, in different places, some of its tenets
and ceremonies. The great seat of the religion of the druids was
Armorika, and, above all, Britain; there existed the most powerful of
their sacerdotal colleges--there were celebrated the most secret of
their mysteries.

It is wondrous thing, that religion of the ancient druids! A solemn
mystery enshrouds it--all the efforts of modern science cannot lift the
veil. When we look on yon circle of stones which, grey with the lapse of
ages, stands in lonely majesty upon the dreary moor, near which no sound
is ever heard, save the distant and sullen roar of the ocean, as it
breaks in sheets of foam on the rock-bound coast--the fitful cry of
curlew, as it wings over them its solitary way--or the occasional low
moaning of the wind, as, stealing through amidst the rocks, it seems to
pour forth a mournful dirge for the shades of departed greatness:--when
we look on a scene like this, we have before our gaze all that is known
of these men of the olden time. Their blood-stained rites, their solemn
mysteries, are forgotten; but their simple temples still stand
imperishable as the God to whom they were erected. From the study of the
ancient authors little or no information can be gleaned; a few
descriptions of their bloody sacrifices, an account of some of their
more public ceremonials, is all that they have handed down to us. But
the real nature of their religion is unknown: more of its spirit is
taught to us by those silent stones than by all other accounts put
together. The choice of the situations for those sacred monuments amidst
the melancholy waste, or buried deep in the recesses of some vast
forest, where the wide-spreading branches of their sacred tree (the oak)
casts its deep shadows over the consecrated spot, with no canopy save
the heavens, shows the dark and gloomy spirit of their faith. They
worshipped the God of the thunder-storm, not the God of peace; and it
was amidst the thunder-storm that their horrid rites appeared most
horrid. When, illuminated by the lurid glare of the lightning, the
gigantic osier figure filled with human beings sank into the
flames--when the shouts of the multitude who stood in a dense circle
around the spot, the frenzied chants of the druids, and the despairing
shrieks of the dying victims, were drowned in the sullen roar of the
thunder--then must the fearful nature of their creed have stood forth in
all its horrors. Yet with all this, there was a sort of grandeur in the
seclusion and simplicity of their worship. All was not blood; and though
they bowed down to the Unknown God in an erring and mistaken spirit, yet
must their conception of him been fine. The God of nature and the
wilderness--the God of the tempest and the storm--was a nobler idea than
the immortalized humanities of Greek and Roman mythology, though both
had wandered equally far from the true God of Mercy and of Peace.

When Massalia was hard pressed by two Gaulish nations, she summoned, in
an evil hour, Rome to her aid. By the Roman arms her assailants were
repelled, but these allies maintained their footing in the country. They
soon subdued Liguria, and founded the town of Aquæ Sextiæ; the Gaulish
nation of the Ædues united with the strangers; a defensive league
entered into by the Allobroges and the Arvernes to drive them from their
shores, was defeated. The territory acquired by these victories was
organized into a Transalpine province; this province gradually went on
increasing; its communications with Italy were assured, by the Romans
obtaining possession of the passes of the Alps. In the year 118 B.C.,
the first Roman colony in Gaul was founded at Narbonne; hither, in
course of time, came the great maritime commerce which had raised
Massalia to her greatness; hither, too, flowed much of the internal
traffic of Gaul. The ships of Massalia lay rotting in her harbours, her
extensive quays lost their busy multitudes. In the fall of her naval
power, in the loss of her commercial policy, she received a just reward
for having wafted to her shores, and assisted with her forces, the
stranger who was destined to rule over the Gaulish people. The
organization of the province was completed; and from Narbonne, Roman
emissaries issuing forth, laboured, by augmenting the quarrels and
dissensions of the native tribes, to afford an opportunity for her to
extend the limits of the empire.

Driven from the shores of the Baltic by an inroad of the ocean, the two
tribes of the Kimry and the Teutones uniting, precipitated themselves,
to the number of 300,000 fighting men, upon the more southern countries.
In the course of their wanderings they came upon the Roman province of
Norica, which they laid waste with fire and sword, and where they
defeated the consul, Papirius Carbon, with great loss. Without taking
advantage of this opportunity to enter Italy, which now lay open to
their attack, they entered the country of the Helvetii, where they were
joined by the tribes of that people, the Ambrones, the Tigurines, and
the Teutones; descending now upon Gaul like a devastating torrent, they
wasted it as far as the Belgian frontier; here, however, the resistance
of the inhabitants prevented them from advancing further. Turning now
upon the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, they defeated three Roman
armies under Silanus, Cassius, and Scaurus; and here they were joined by
that portion of the Tectosages who had formerly returned from the
disastrous invasion of Greece. The Roman generals, Cepio and Manlius,
who had advanced against them, were utterly routed, and great part of
the province laid waste. From hence the Kimry penetrated into Spain,
where they remained for two years, pillaging and wasting the country,
till, having received a check from the Celtiberians, they repassed the
Pyrenees, and united with their confederated in the plains of Gaul. The
united bands now prepared to march upon Italy; this they did in two
divisions: one, consisting of the Kimry and the Tigurines, directed its
steps through Helvetia and Norica and by the Tridentine Alps; while the
other, consisting of the Ambrones and the Teutones, moved on the route
which leads to Italy by the Maritime Alps: both divisions had appointed
a common rendezvous on the banks of the Po.

Rome was not unprepared for this invasion; to meet it, Marius had been
recalled from his command in Africa, and invested with the consular
power. When the division of the Ambrones and the Teutones reached the
Maritime Alps, they found that general encamped in a position which lay
directly in their line of march. Assaulted for three successive days,
the Romans maintained themselves in their intrenchments: at last the
Gauls, giving up the attempt to force them, passed on and soon reached
Aquæ Sextiæ, whither they were followed by Marius. Marius encamped on a
hill opposite the quarter of the Ambrones; between them flowed a river.
The sutlers of the Roman army having descended to obtain water,
encountered, in the bed of the torrent, some Gauls. A skirmish began;
the Ambrones flocked in great numbers to support their comrades; soon
they assembled their whole force and advanced upon the Romans. In
crossing the stream they were vigorously opposed by the auxiliaries.
Marius, seeing the favourable opportunity, led down his legions to the
attack. Unable to withstand the shock, the Ambrones were driven back
with great loss; the river ran red with their blood; the plain was
covered with fugitives; and their routed forces halted not till they
reached the neighbouring quarter of the Teutones. In their camp the
Romans experienced more resistance from the women, who, rather than fall
into the hands of their enemies, flung themselves on the hostile ranks,
or perished by their own hands. Marius drew off his troops before night,
and retreated to his former position on the hill. The next night he sent
round 3000 men to occupy a wood in the rear of the position of the
Teutones. The following morning he drew out his legions in battle array
upon the slope of the hill, and sent forward his cavalry to skirmish
with the enemy, and induce them to engage with him. They fell into the
snare: pursuing his cavalry, they advanced to the river's edge, and
there, in an evil hour, crossed it and attacked the Roman army. The
contest which ensued was long and desperate; the Gauls had the advantage
in numbers, the Romans in discipline and position. But while victory
still hung in the balance, the 3000 Romans, issuing forth from their
ambuscade, fell upon the rear of the Teutones: this produced
irremediable confusion in the ranks of the Gauls. The Romans redoubled
the energy of their attack, and the victory was no longer doubtful. Many
perished in the field, more in the pursuit; the remainder were cut off
in detail by the peasants, who assailed them on all sides.

Meanwhile the other divisions of the Gauls, consisting of the Kimry and
the Tigurines, after traversing Helvetia and Norica, arrived at the
Tridentine passes of the Alps at the end of winter. To keep possession
of these passes the Tigurines halted upon the summits of the ridge,
while the Kimry, continuing their march, descended into the valley of
the Adige. On their approach the consul Catulus, who was charged with
the defence of this part of Italy, retreated behind the Adige; and when
the Gauls advanced to attack him, his legions were seized with such a
panic, that, abandoning their camp, they fled, and halted not till they
had placed the Po between themselves and the enemy. The Kimry now spread
themselves over the whole territory beyond the Po, and occupied the land
without opposition: here they determined to await the arrival of the
other column. This delay saved Italy; for it afforded time for Marius
and his army to cross the Alps, and effect a junction with Catulus and
his troops. In the July of 101 B.C., Marius and Catulus advanced to meet
the Kimry on the banks of the Po. On the 30th of July the hostile armies
met to decide the fate of Italy in the Campus Ranolius. The battle which
ensued was long and bloody; but overcome by the heat of the day and the
immense clouds of dust, and exposed by their imperfect defensive armour
to all the strokes of the enemy, the Kimry were in the end totally
defeated. When the Romans, in the course of the pursuit, came to their
camp, the same scene occurred as that which took place at Aquæ Sextiæ;
as the women, after defending themselves for some time, at last put an
end to their existence with their own hands. On receiving news of this
defeat, the Tigurines abandoned the passes of the Alps, and retreated to
their native country, Helvetia. Thus ended the last invasion of Italy by
the Gauls. Rome acknowledged the danger she had run by the gratitude she
displayed to Marius, who received the title of the third Romulus, and
his triumph was celebrated with all the enthusiasm of a grateful
country.

We pass in silence over the various occurrences in Gaul till we come to
the year 58 B.C. This was the year when Cæsar commenced his career of
victory. His first achievement was the defeat of the Helvetii, who,
rising _en masse_, wished to abandon their sterile country, and gain by
the sword a more fertile land. He next advanced against Ariovistus and
his Germans, who were ravaging with fire and sword the eastern portions
of Gaul: these he likewise totally routed--thus delivering the
inhabitants from a withering scourge. But their joy at this event was
soon changed into sadness, when they saw that the Romans had no
intention of retreating from their territory. Establishing himself
amongst the Sequanes, Cæsar levied contributions and collected
provisions from all the neighbouring nations. Their discontent soon
burst forth; they flew to arms, and prepared to make a desperate fight
in defence of their liberties. We have no room to follow the Roman
through his various campaigns; to trace the long and gallant stand made
by the Gauls in defence of their native land; or the great and admirable
genius of Cæsar, nowhere displayed so greatly as in his Gaulish
campaigns, though perfidy sometimes tainted his councils, and torrents
of innocent blood too often stained his arms. Suffice it to say, that
after three campaigns, the north and west had submitted to his forces,
and he had made his first descent on the British shores. In his fourth
campaign he undertook his second expedition against Britain, and subdued
some more of the continental tribes. But a general movement now took
place over nearly the whole of Gaul against the Romans, who at first
suffered some severe checks; but the military skill of Cæsar, in the
course of a fifth campaign, again triumphed. Though so often vanquished,
these brave people were not yet subdued. A new league was entered into
by their cities; the war broke out afresh; and an able general,
Vercingeto-rix, now directed their movements. It was during the course
of his sixth campaign, which now followed, that Cæsar ran the greatest
danger and achieved the greatest triumphs. The surprise of Genatum, the
capture of Avaricum, seemed at first to promise a speedy victory to his
arms; but a repulse which he suffered before the walls of Geronia was
the signal for the whole of Gaul to unite with the insurgents. A victory
which he gained over Vercingeto-rix soon afterwards, checked for the
moment, but did not dispirit, the Gauls; and the whole weight of the war
was soon collected around the ramparts of Alexia. Both parties felt that
the contest which would now ensue must decide the fate of the campaign,
and both made the most strenuous exertions to prepare for it. The
gigantic lines of Cæsar were soon surrounded by the whole force of the
enemy, and a combined attack was made upon them both from within and
without. Great and imminent was the peril; but the steadiness of the
legions, and the gallantry of their chief, surmounted it, and the
banners of Rome finally waved triumphant over the hard-fought field. The
fruits of this victory were immense. Alexia capitulated; the Gaulish
nations who had been most active in the war submitted; and
Vercingeto-rix was given up to the conquerors. Yet was a great part of
the country still unsubdued; and when in the ensuing year, B.C. 51,
Cæsar took the field in his seventh and last campaign in this country,
he found a powerful and numerous confederacy in arms. Taught by the
experience of the past, they no longer attempted to unite their whole
forces and defeat him in general engagements, but endeavoured to exhaust
his resources, and wear out his troops by a protracted defensive
warfare. They fortified and garrisoned their towns so as to impose on
him the necessity of innumerable sieges; whilst the country, on his
line of march, was laid waste, and his troops were harassed by the
incessant attacks of their skirmishers. But Cæsar overcame all
difficulties: if they met him in battle, they were vanquished; if they
retreated to their fortifications, they were driven from them by
escalade; if they took refuge in their marshes, he pursued and overtook
them even there. Dispirited by these constant defeats, the Gauls, for
the last time, laid down their arms. The conquered territory was
organized as a new province of the Roman empire, and Cæsar laboured to
attach it to his person by the lenity and moderation of his government.
In this he succeeded; nor had he ever reason to repent of having done
so; for, during the civil wars which raised him to the imperial power,
he received no inconsiderable assistance from the courage and devotion
of its inhabitants. Here, as a free people, ends the history of the
Gauls. We shall not follow M. Thierry in his account of the last period
of their annals, which embraces the subjugation of the Britons; the
organization of Gaul into a subject province; the gradual loss of their
nationality by its inhabitants; the spread of Roman manners and Roman
civilization amongst them; their transition from an independent people
to an integral part of the Roman empire. Here we take leave of them:
their arms have just dropped from their hands; liberty has just fled
from their shores; the fetters of conquest sit strangely on their
free-born limbs; they have not yet learned the vices of a subject race:
after having followed them in their career of conquest, and through the
hard-fought struggle in their native land, we love not to dwell on the
crushing of their haughty spirit.

Throughout the whole of his history, Thierry sustains the interest well;
but nowhere is his narrative more animated than in his account of the
wars of Cæsar; and no wonder, for a nobler field could not lie before
him. His book is altogether one of the most curious and interesting
which we possess on the history of ancient times. A great work it cannot
be called. M. Thierry is more a man of talent than of genius; and
accordingly, in his work, we are more struck with the interest of his
narrative than with the profoundness of his reflections: it contains not
the philosophy of Guizot, nor the originality of Michelet, yet it is a
valuable addition to modern literature. Would that we saw a few more
such in our own country!


FOOTNOTES:

{A} _Histoire des Gaulois_, par M. AMADÉE THIERRY. 3 tomes. Paris: 1835.



THE WITCHFINDER.

CONCLUSION.


At the upper end of the large Gothic room, forming the interior of the
town-hall of Hammelburg, which was formally prepared as a court of
trial, sat upon a raised part of the flooring in his chair of state, the
Ober-Amtmann; before him were placed, at a velvet-behung table, his
_schreibers_ or secretaries; beside him sat, upon a low cushioned stool,
his daughter, the fair Fraulein Bertha, surrounded by her tirewomen, who
remained standing behind her.

The presence of the young Fraulein was of rare occurrence upon occasions
of judicial ceremony in the old town-hall. But a solemn appeal to her
testimony had been made by the witchfinder; and her father, whose sense
of justice considered that a matter of accusation of so heavy and
serious a nature as that of witchcraft, should be investigated in all
its bearings, had commanded her presence. Her heart, full of the purest
milk of human kindness, revolted, however, from witnessing the progress
of such terrible proceedings--the justice of which her simple mind,
tutored according to the dark prejudices of the age, never once doubted,
but which curdled her blood with horror. And she sat pale and sad, with
downcast eyes, scarcely daring to raise them upon the crowd that filled
the hall, much less upon the most conspicuous object in the scene before
her--the unhappy being against whom all curses, all evil feelings, all
insane desires of blood and death, were then directed. Perhaps there was
another reason also, which, almost unconsciously, caused her to keep her
eyes fixed upon the earth; perhaps she feared that they might meet two
other mild blue eyes, the expression of which was that of a deep--far
too deep--an interest; for it caused her heart to beat, and her spirit
to be troubled; and her bosom to heave and sigh, she knew not wherefore:
unless, indeed, she were, in truth, bewitched.

In the centre of the hall was placed the accused woman. She was seated
upon a rude three-legged stool, which was firmly fixed upon a raised
flooring, elevated about three feet from the ground--her face turned
towards her judge. A slight chain passed round the middle of her body,
and fastened her down to her seat. She was still attired in the dark
hood and cloak which had been her customary dress, and sat, with head
bent downwards, and her hands clasped languidly upon her knees, as if
resigned, in the bitterness of her despair, to meet the cruel fate that
awaited her.

Below, was a compact and turbulent crowd of the lower orders of the
town, which was with difficulty kept, by the pikemen, within the limits
assigned to it; and which, from time to time, let forth low howls
against the supposed sorceress, that increased, like the _crescendo_ of
distant thunder, and then died away again.

On either side, towards the upper end, were ranged upon benches some of
the more reputable _bourgeois_ and their spouses, all decked out in
their finest braveries, as if they were present at a theatrical show, or
a church mystery: and, in truth, the representation about to be given,
was but little more in their own eyes, than a sort of show got up for
their especial gratification.

Guarded by two pikemen, stood the cripple--his teeth set firmly,
although his lips quivered with excitement--his light eyes glaring
fiercely around with an air of savage exultation, and gleaming, as it
were, with a pale phosphoric fire, from out of the dark ground of his
swarthy face and lank black hair. He moved restlessly and uneasily upon
his withered limbs, clenching by fits and starts his rosary from his
bosom, and murmuring a hasty, and--to judge by the wildness of his eyes,
that showed how his mind was fixed upon far other thoughts--a vain
prayer. He rolled also his head and the upper part of his body
continually backwards and forwards, like a wild beast fretting in his
cage.

Among the more prominent of the crowd, whom the favour of the guards
had allowed to push beyond the assigned limits, or whom reasons,
connected with the trial, required to come forwards, stood "Gentle
Gottlob." His brow was overclouded with sadness, for he felt in how
fearful a pass this horrible denunciation had placed the woman whom he
had so long regarded with attachment. His mild blue eye was more
melancholy than of wont; and yet, in spite of the trouble of his mind,
he was unable to withdraw his looks from that bright loadstone of his
affections, whose sadness seemed to sympathize with his own. At least,
his heart would fain persuade him that there was mysterious sympathy in
their mutual dejection.

The principal personages concerned in the awful question at issue,
occupied, thus, their respective positions in the old town-hall; when,
after a long and troubled pause, during which silence was with
difficulty obtained among the more tumultuous portion of the crowd at
the lower end of the hall, one of the _schreibers_ rose, and read, from
an interminable strip of parchment which he held in his hand, the act of
accusation against the female known under the popular designation of
"Mother Magdalena," as attainted of the foul crime of witchcraft, of the
casting of spells and malefices to the annoyance and destruction of her
fellow-creatures, of consorting with spirits of darkness, and of
lascivious intercourse with the arch-fiend himself. For so ran, at that
time, the tenor of the accusation directed against the unhappy women
suspected of this imaginary crime.

The act of accusation was long, and richly interlarded with all those
interminable complications of legal phraseology, which seem ever, at all
times, and in all nations, to have been the necessary concomitants of
all legal proceedings. The reading of the act, however, being at last
terminated, the town-beggar, commonly known by the familiar name of
Black Claus the witchfinder, Schwartzer-Claus, or Claus Schwartz, as he
was usually designated among the people, was summoned to stand forward
as the denouncer of the aforesaid Magdalena, and to substantiate his
charge.

Thus called upon, the cripple gave a start forward, like a lion let
loose upon the gladiator's arena, through the barred gates of which he
has already sniffed the odour of blood; and then, raising one of his
long arms towards the stool of penitence, on which the criminal had been
placed, he again repeated, with an eagerness amounting to frenzy, his
accusation against her.

As the witchfinder's hoarse voice was heard, a visible shudder passed
through Magdalena's frame; but she raised not her head, moved not a
limb, spoke not; and it was only when called upon by the chief
_schreiber_ to declare what she had to say against this accusation, that
she lowly murmured--"God's will be done!" but still with bowed head and
downcast eyes.

In support of his denunciation, the cripple proceeded to state how he
had watched the mysterious female called "Mother Magdalena," and had
observed that she never would enter any consecrated building; how she
would daily advance up the steps of the church, and then pause before
the threshold, as if she feared to pass it, and then throw herself down
upon the stones before the gate, where she would lie in strange
convulsions, and at last return without having penetrated into the
building--an evident proof that the devil she served had forbidden her
to put her foot into any sacred dwelling, but had taught her,
nevertheless, to approach near enough to treat the awful mysteries of
the Christian religion, performed within, with mockery and contempt. To
this accusation, which was confirmed by the acclamation of several
persons present in the court, Magdalena, when called upon to speak,
proffered no denial; she contented herself with the meek reply, that God
alone knew the motives of the heart--that it was for him alone to judge.
The words were still uttered in the same low despairing tone, and
without the slightest movement of her head from its sunken posture.

The partially monastic dress, which was her habitual attire, was next
brought forward against her as a proof of her desire to treat with
contempt the dress of the religious orders: and to this absurd
accusation, when asked why she had adopted a costume resembling that of
the holy sisterhood of penitents, the old woman still refused any reply.

The events of the previous afternoon, when she had been openly seen to
throw her staff at the Amtmann's unoffending daughter, and wound her on
the neck, and then break into pieces the image of the Holy Cross, were
then recapitulated, as facts known upon the positive evidence of a
hundred witnesses.

These matters disposed of, the cripple proceeded to detail his own
peculiar grievances, and attributed, as he had done in the cases of the
seven unhappy women who had already fallen victims of his frantic
delusion, the severe pains that had racked his poor distorted limbs to
the malefic charms of the sorceress. He related how, on the last night
on which he had met Mother Magdalena, he had found her sitting by the
well in the market-place, casting a spell upon the spring, and turning
the waters to poison and blood--as a proof of which, he swore to have
himself tasted in the water of the bucket the taste of blood; how, in
revenge for his warning to her to desist from her foul practices, she
had pointed up her finger to the sky, and immediately brought down upon
his head all the combined waters of heaven; how she had vanished from
his sight in this storm, he knew not how; and how immediately intense
pains began to torture his joints, until he became half frantic with
agony, and had been compelled, by hideous visions, to quit the shelter
he had sought, in order to be exposed to all the peltings of the storm.
He had since suffered, he declared, the tortures of the damned in all
his limbs, with occasional fits of shuddering, sometimes of hot fever,
sometimes of the most freezing cold, which were evidently torments
worked upon him by the powers of darkness. And as he spoke, the unhappy
wretch was again seized by one of his fearful fits of ague, during the
convulsions of which the clamours of the crowd grew terrible against the
sorceress.

"What sayest thou to this accusation, woman?" said the chief
_schreiber_. "Thou see'st how even now he suffers."

"I have never willed evil to any man--not even to him," was Magdalena's
only reply.

When recovered from his fit, the cripple again raised his head--it was
to cast a glance at the object of his denunciation, in which hatred and
triumph were blended together, in one of those occasional flashes of
wildness which showed that there was a vein of insanity running through
all the frenzied zeal of the witchfinder. He had now arrived at a period
of his narration, when the most damning proof of all was to overwhelm
the accused woman.

It was not without an unaffected expression of horror, that he went on
to relate how he had wandered around the building by the Watergate, in a
lower cell of which he had discovered that she dwelt, seeking in vain to
find an entrance or a peep-hole, that might enable him to penetrate into
the interior; how he had, at last, dragged his crippled limbs up into a
tree upon the river's bank, overlooking an upper chamber of the
building; how he had, at first, seen Mother Magdalena in conversation
with the young illuminator; how, upon his departure, she had flung
herself down upon her knees, and after spitting upon one of the books of
holy writ upon the table, had made wild gestures of conjuration, upon
which the demon himself, attired in a dark robe, had suddenly appeared
by supernatural means, for he had not entered by the door; how the foul
hag had fallen down and worshipped the arch-fiend; and how, after a
conference of short duration, during which the woman at his feet
appeared to supplicate with earnestness, probably a prolongation of her
wretched term of power to work ill, and afterwards kissed his hand in
token of adoration and submission, the demon had vanished as suddenly as
he had appeared.

A low murmur of horror ran through the assembly, as Black Claus related
this fearful story. All eyes were turned upon the handmaiden of Satan.
For a moment she had raised her head, horror-struck at this
interpretation of the interview she had in Gottlob's chamber with the
stranger--for a moment she seemed to have a desire to speak. But then,
clasping her hands before her face, she murmured--"O God! it cannot be!
But this is terrible!"

Gottlob, who, during the whole accusation, had listened with much
impatience, could now no longer restrain his generous feelings. He
started forward with the words--"No, no, it is impossible! Speak,
Magdalena--say how false is this man's tale."

"God knows that it is false!" said Magdalena.

"I knew it could not be. There could be no one with thee in my chamber,
and he lies."

"No," replied Magdalena sadly, "thus far is true:--There was a stranger
by me in your chamber."

"But who then?--speak, Magdalena," urged Gottlob. "Clear yourself of the
foul stigma of his tale."

"I may not say!" replied the unhappy woman. "But God will prove my
innocence in His own right time."

"Why hesitate," again cried the eager young man, "when with a word you
could disprove him?"

"I have already said it cannot be," said the accused woman, sinking her
head upon her breast.

Gottlob himself drew back with a shudder; for a moment he knew not what
to think; the strange answers of Magdalena perplexed and troubled him.
He began himself to doubt of the woman, who, in return for his
benevolence, had showed him the attachment of a mother. He pulled his
cloak over his face with both his hands, and stood for a time
overwhelmed.

"It needs no further questions upon this point, I presume," said the
chief _schreiber_, turning to the Ober-Amtmann. "The wretched woman has
already admitted a part of the truth;" and, with a sign to the
denouncer, he bade him proceed.

The witchfinder paused for a moment, and gave one long look of
tenderness and pity--as far, indeed, as his harsh, rudely-stamped
features could express such feelings--at the pale face of Bertha. Then,
fixing his eye keenly upon the Ober-Amtmann, as if to fascinate his
attention, he burst into a fresh accusation against the sorceress, as
having, in the first place, cast her spells upon the noble Fraulein
Bertha, for the purpose of sowing the seeds of death within her frame;
and as having, in the second place, employed the young man called
"Gentle Gottlob" to be an involuntary agent in her work of ill.

Upon hearing the first part of this charge, Magdalena had raised her
head to give, unconsciously as it were, a deprecating look at the fair
girl--as if to assure her, with that one long concentrated look of deep
feeling, that, far from desiring her evil, she contended only with the
overpourings of kindness and love for her; and then, as though she had
already expressed more than her conscience could approve, she bowed
again her head, murmuring only--"O God! support me. Thou knowest how
false is the raving of that wretched man." The second part of the charge
excited other and very varied feelings among those present. Magdalena
again started, but with evident surprise, and made a hasty gesture of
denial. Gottlob sprang forward, horrified at being thus involved, even
as an involuntary agent, in the hideous denunciation, and indignant at
the supposition that he could work ill to the Amtmann's lovely daughter;
and he protested, with all the vehemence which gentle natures, when
roused into excitement, will display, against so unfounded and
calumnious an accusation; whilst Bertha, joining together her small
hands, as if in supplication, turned her face, with anxious expression,
to her father, crying--"No, no--it cannot be!"

Astounded at so unexpected a revelation, the Ober-Amtmann seemed at
first not to know what to think. He gazed alternately upon Gottlob and
Bertha, as if to read upon their faces the secret of a connexion between
them; and then, satisfied of the impossibility that the noble
Ober-Amtmann's daughter could have the slightest affinity with the
unknown youth before him, he drew a long breath, and passed his hand
over his brow, as if to drive away ideas so absurd.

"Peace, youth--peace!" he cried to Gottlob; "we will hear thee anon. It
is not thou who art accused. And thou, my child be calm. Cripple! what
mean thy words? What proof bringest thou of their truth?"

"Ask of the suffering angel by thy side, my noble lord," replied the
cripple with emotion. "Let her tell how, of late, her cheek has grown
pale, her limbs have become weary, her very life's-blood languid and
oppressed. I have watched her day by day, and I have seen these changes.
I have watched her with a careful and a cunning eye; and I have
felt--there, in my heart--that the spell was upon her: and this it was
that urged me to denounce that wretched hag."

"Speak, my child," said the Ober-Amtmann, in trouble and anxiety. "What
this man says, is it true? Hast thou suffered lately? Indeed, I do
remember thy cheek has been paler than of wont--thy appetite has left
thee--thou hast been no longer so cheerful or so active as of old.
Speak, my child--hast thou really suffered?"

"Oh, no! my father, I have not suffered," replied the agitated girl in
much confusion; "and yet I have not been as formerly I was. I have been
sad, I knew not why, and wept in the silence of my chamber without
cause; and I have found no pleasure in my embroidery, nor in my flowers,
nor in my falcons. I have felt my foot fall weary. I have sought to
rest, and yet, when reposing, I have felt unable to remain in quiet, and
I have longed for exercise abroad. But yet I have not suffered; and
sometimes I have even hugged with pleasure the trouble of my mind and
body."

"These seem, indeed, the symptoms of a deadly spell upon thee, my poor
child," exclaimed her father. "Such, they say, are the first evidences
of the working of those charms that witches breathe over their victims."

"And let the Fraulein Bertha tell," cried the witchfinder, "how it has
been yonder youth who has seemed to exercise this influence of ill upon
her."

Again Gottlob sought to spring forward and speak; but a sign from the
Ober-Amtmann to the guards caused them to place their pikes before him,
and arrest him in his impulse.

"How and what is this, my child?" said the Ober-Amtmann. "Knowest thou
that youth? and in what has he, consciously or unconsciously, done thee
ill?"

"He has done me no ill," replied the innocent girl in still greater
confusion, as her bosom heaved, and the blood suffused her cheeks. "I am
sure he would not do me ill for all the treasures of the world!"

"Thou knowest him then?" said her father, somewhat more sternly.

"No, I know him not," replied Bertha in trouble; "but I have met him
sometimes in my path, and I have seen him"--she hesitated for a moment,
and then added, with downcast eyes, "at his window, which overlooks our
garden."

"Why then this trouble, Bertha?" continued the Ober-Amtmann, in a tone
that rendered their conversation inaudible beyond their own immediate
circle.

"I cannot tell myself, my father. I feel troubled and sad, it is true;
and yet I know not why. I have no cause"----

"And when thou hast met yonder youth, as thou sayest, hast thou felt
this trouble before?"

"Alas! yes, my father. I remember now that at his aspect my heart would
beat; my head grow giddy, and my ears would tingle; and then a faintness
would come over me, as though it were a pain I felt, and yet it was a
pleasant pain. There was nothing in him that could cause me ill; was
there, father?"

The Ober-Amtmann's brow grew dark as Bertha proceeded; but, after a
moment's reflection, he murmured to himself--"Love! oh, no! It is
impossible! She and he! The noble's daughter and the low-born youngster.
It could not be! There is no doubt! Witchcraft has been at work! How
long has it been thus with thee, my child?" he added with solicitude.

"I cannot tell, my father. Some five or six months past it came upon me.
I know not when or how!"

"Bears he no charm upon him?" exclaimed the Ober-Amtmann aloud.

"He bears a charm upon him!" cried the witchfinder in triumph. "And ask
who bound it round his neck?"

"It is false! I bear no charm!" cried Gottlob eagerly. "She herself
denied that it was such."

"Of what does he speak?" cried the Ober-Amtmann.

"It was but a gift of affection, and no charm. She gave me this ring,"
said Gottlob, pointing to the ring hung by a small riband round his
neck; "and I have worn it, as she requested, in remembrance of some
unworthy kindness I had shown her."

"And how long since was it," enquired the Ober-Amtmann, "that she
bestowed this supposed gift upon you?"

"Some five or six months past," was Gottlob's unlucky answer; "not long
after I first brought her to reside with me in my poor dwelling."

During this examination the agitation of Magdalena had become extreme;
and when, upon the Ober-Amtmann's command that the ring should be handed
up to him, Gottlob removed it from his neck, and gave it into the hands
of one of the guards, she cried, in much excitement, "No, no; give it
not, Gottlob!"

The ring, however, was passed on to the Ober-Amtmann; and Magdalena,
covering her face with her hands, fell back, with a stifled groan, into
her former crouching position.

The sight of the ring seemed indeed to have the power of a necromancer's
charm upon the Ober-Amtmann. No sooner had his eyes fallen upon it, than
his cheek grew pale--his usually severe and stern face was convulsed
with agitation--and he sank back in his chair with the low cry, "That
ring! O God! After so many years of dearly-sought oblivion!"

At the sight of the Ober-Amtmann's agitation and apparent swoon, a howl
of execration burst from the crowd below, mingled with the cries of
"Tear the wretch in pieces! She has poisoned him! Tear her in pieces!"
Consternation prevailed through the whole assembly. Bertha sprang to her
father's side; but the Ober-Amtmann quickly rallied. He waved his
daughter back with the remark, "It was nothing--it is past;" and raising
himself in his chair, looked again upon the ring.

"There is no doubt," he murmured, "it is that same ring--that Arabic
ring, brought me from the East, and which I gave--oh, no!--impossible!"
he hurriedly exclaimed, as a horrible thought seemed to cross him. "She
has been dead many years since. Did not my own brother assure me of her
death? It cannot be!"

After a moment's pause to recover from his agitation, he gave orders to
one of the guards to remove the hood from Magdalena's head, that he
might see her features. With the crooked end of a pike's head, one of
them tore back her hood; while another, with the staff of his pike,
forced her hands asunder. Magdalena's careworn and prematurely withered
face was exposed to the gaze of all, distorted with emotion.

"Less rudely, varlets!" cried the Ober-Amtmann, with a feeling of sudden
forbearance towards the wretched woman which surprised all present; for
they could not but marvel at the slightest symptom of consideration
toward such an abhorred outcast of humanity as a convicted witch; and as
such the miserable Magdalena was already regarded.

For a moment the Ober-Amtmann considered Magdalena's careworn, withered,
and agitated face with painful attention; and then, as if relieved from
some terrible apprehension, he heaved a bitter sigh, and murmured to
himself--"No, no, there is no trace of that once well-known face. I knew
it could not be. She is no more. It was a wild and foolish thought! but
this ring--'tis strange! Woman, dost thou know me?" he asked aloud, with
some remaining agitation.

"I know you not," replied Magdalena with a low and choked voice; for she
now trembled violently, and the tears gushed from her eyes.

"How camest thou then by this ring? Speak! I command thee," continued
the Ober-Amtmann.

Magdalena bowed her head with a gesture of refusal to answer any further
question.

"Wretched woman! Hast thou violated the repose of the dead? Hast thou
torn it from the grave? How else came it in thy possession?"

The unhappy woman replied not. She had again covered her face with her
hands, and the tears streamed through her meagre fingers.

"Speak, I tell thee! This ring has conjured up such recollections, that
were there but one human link between thee and one who has long since
rested from all sorrow in the grave, it might ensure thy safety."

No answer was returned by Magdalena; although, to judge by the convulsed
movement of her body, the struggle within must have been bitter and
heavy to bear.

"Die then in thy obstinacy, miserable woman," cried the Ober-Amtmann in
a suppressed voice--"Let justice take its course!"

"Denouncer!" said the chief _schreiber_ to the witchfinder, "hast thou
further evidence to offer?"

"Needs it more to convict a criminal of the foul and infernal practices
of witchcraft?" cried Black Claus with bitterness.

The chief _schreiber_ turned to the Ober-Amtmann, as if to consult his
will. For a moment the Ober-Amtmann passed one hand across his brow, as
though to sweep away the dark visions that were hovering about it; and
then, waving the other, as if he had come to a resolution which had cost
him pain, said with stern solemnity--"Let the workers of the evil deeds
of Satan perish, until the earth be purged of them all."

This customary formula implied the condemnation of the supposed
sorceress.

"To the stake! to the stake!" howled the crowd, upon hearing the
delivery of this expected sentence.

After enjoining silence, which was with difficulty enforced, the chief
_schreiber_ rose, and addressed to Magdalena the accustomed question,
"Woman, dost thou demand the trial by water, and God's issue by that
trial?"

"I demand but to die in peace," replied the miserable woman; "and God's
will be done!"

"She refuses the trial by water," said the chief _schreiber_, in order
to establish the fact, which was put down in writing by the adjuncts.

"To the stake! to the stake!" howled the crowd.

"And hast thou nothing to urge against the justice of thy sentence?"
asked the official questioner.

"Justice!" cried Magdalena, with a start, which caused the chain around
her waist to clank upon the wretched stool on which she sat. "Justice!"
she cried in a tone of indignation. For a moment the earthly spirit
revolted. But it gleamed only for an instant. "May God pardon my unjust
judge the sins of his youth,"--she paused, and added, "as I forgive him
my cruel death!" With these words, the last spark of angry feeling was
extinguished for ever. "May God pardon him, as well as those who have
thus cruelly witnessed against me; and may He bless him, and all those
who are most near and dear to him," she continued--her voice, as she
spoke, growing gradually more subdued, until it was lost and choked in
convulsive sobbings.

Again a thrill of horror passed through the Ober-Amtmann; for the sound
of the voice seemed to revive in his mind memories of the past, and
recall a vision he had already striven to dispel from it. His frame
shuddered, and again he fell back in his chair.

"It is a delusion of Satan!" he muttered, pressing his hands to his
ears, and closing his eyes.

Bertha's eyes streamed with tears; her pitying heart was tortured by
this scene of sadness.

"Blessings instead of curses upon those who have condemned her! Can that
be guilt?" said gentle Gottlob to himself. "Can that be the spirit of
the malicious and revengeful agent of the dark deeds of Satan? No--she
is innocent; and I will still save her, if human means can save!"

After thus parleying with himself, Gottlob began to struggle to make his
way from the court.

"The blessings of the servants of the fiend are bitter curses," said the
infatuated witchfinder, on the other hand; "and she has blessed me. God
stand by me!"

"To the stake!--to the stake!" still howled the pitiless, the
bloodthirsty crowd.

The refusal of the unhappy Magdalena to abide by the issue of the
well-known trial by water, had so much abridged the customary
proceedings, that orders were given, and preparations made, for the
execution of the ultimate punishment for the crime of witchcraft--burning
at the stake--shortly after daybreak on the morrow.

It was yet night--a short hour before the breaking of the dawn. The pile
had been already heaped in the market-place of Hammelburg--the stake
fixed. All was in readiness for the hideous performance about to take
place. The guards paced backwards and forwards before the grated
doorway, which opened under the terrace of the old town-hall; for there,
in that miserable hole, was confined the wretched victim of popular
delusion. The soldiers kept watch, however, upon their prisoner at such
a distance as to be as far as possible out of the reach of her malefic
spells. The heavy clanking of their pikes, as they rested them from time
to time upon the pavement, or paused to interchange a word, alone broke
the silence of the still sleeping town--sleeping, to awake shortly like
a tiger thirsty for blood. The light of a waning moon showed
indistinctly the dark mass in the centre of the market-place--the stage
upon which the frightful tragedy was about to be enacted--when one of
the sentinels all at once turning his head in that direction, descried a
dark form creeping around the pile, as if examining it on all sides.

"What's that?" he cried in alarm to his comrade, pointing to this dark
object. "Is it the demon himself, whom she has conjured up, and who now
comes to deliver her? All good spirits"--and he crossed himself with
hurried zeal.

"Praise the Lord!" continued the other, completing the usual German form
of exorcism, and crossing himself no less devoutly.

"Challenge him, Hans!" said the first; "at the sound of a Christian
voice, mayhap, he may vanish away; and thou art ever boasting to Father
Peter that thou are the most Christian man of thy company."

"Challenge him thyself," replied Hans, in a voice that did not say much
for the firmness of his conscience as a Christian.

"Let's challenge him both at once," proposed the other soldier.
"Perhaps, between us, we may muster up goodness enough to drive the foul
fiend before us."

"Agreed!" replied Hans, with somewhat better courage; and upon this
joint-stock company principle of piety, both the soldiers raised their
voices at once, and cried, in a somewhat quavering duet, "Who goes
there?"

A hoarse laugh was the only answer received to this challenge; and the
dark form seemed to advance towards them across the market-place.

So great appeared the modesty of each of the soldiers with regard to his
appreciation of his own merits as a good Christian--so little his
confidence in his own powers of holiness to wrestle with the fiend of
darkness in the shape which now approached them--that they seemed
disposed rather humbly to quit the field, than encounter Sir Apollyon in
so glorious a contest; when the dim light of the moon revealed the
figure, as it came forward, to be that of the witchfinder.

"It is Claus Schwartz!" said Hans, taking breath.

"Or the devil in his form," pursued his fellow-sentinel with more
caution. "Stand back!" he shouted, as the witchfinder came within a few
yards, "and declare who thou art."

"Has the foul hag within there bewitched thee?" cried Black Claus; "or
has she smitten thee with blindness? Canst thou not see? The night is
not so dark but good men may know each other."

"What wouldst thou here?" said Master Hans, completely recovered from
his spiritual alarm.

"I cannot rest," replied the witchfinder with bitterness. "Until her
last ashes shall have mingled with the wind, I shall take no repose,
body or mind. I cannot sleep; or, if I close my eyes, visions of the
hideous hags, who have already perished there, float before my
distracted eyes. It is she that murders my rest, as she has tormented my
poor limbs--curses on her! But a short hour, a short hour more, and she
too shall feel all the tortures of hell--tortures worse than those she
has inflicted on the poor cripple. The flames shall rise, and lap her
body round--the bright red flames. Her members shall writhe upon the
stake. The screams of death shall issue from her blackened lips; until
the lurid smoke shall have wrapped her it its dark winding-sheet, and
stifled the last cry of her parting soul, as it flies to meet its
infernal master in the realms of darkness. Oh, it will be a glorious
sight!" And the cripple laughed, with an insane laugh of malice and
revenge, which made the soldiers shudder in every limb, and draw back
from him with horror.

It seemed as if the fever of his excitement had pressed so powerfully on
his brain as to have driven him completely into madness. After a moment,
however, he pulled his rosary from his bosom, and kissed it, adding, in
a calmer tone, "Yes, it will be a glorious sight--for it will be for the
cause of the Lord, and of his holy church."

Little as they comprehended the witchfinder's raving, the soldiers again
crossed themselves, and looked upon him with a sort of awe.

"What wouldst thou?" said one of them, as Claus advanced towards the
prison door.

"I would look upon her, there--in her prison," said the cripple, with an
expression that denoted a malicious eagerness to gloat upon his victim.

The soldiers interchanged glances with one another, as if they doubted
whether such a permission ought to be allowed to the witchfinder.

"Ah, bah!" said Hans. "It is not he that will aid her to escape. Let him
pass. They'll make a fine sport with one another, the witchfinder and
the witch--dog and cat. Zist, zist!" continued the young soldier,
laughing and making a movement and a sound as if setting on the two
above-mentioned animals to worry each other.

"Take care," said his more scrupulous companion. "Jest not with such
awful work. Who knows but it may be blasphemy; and what would Father
Peter say?"

The two sentinels continued their pacing up and down, but still at some
distance from the prison doorway, in order, as Hans's companion
expressed it, "to keep as much as possible out of the devil's clutches;"
while Black Claus approached the grating of the door.

As the witchfinder peered, with knitted brow, through the bars of the
grating, it seemed to him at first, so complete was the darkness within,
as though the cell was tenantless; and his first movement was to turn,
in order to warn the guards of the escape of their prisoner. But as he
again strained his eyes, he became at last aware of the existence of a
dark form upon the floor of the cell; and as by degrees his sight became
more able to penetrate the obscurity within, he began plainly to
perceive the form of the miserable woman, crouched on her knees upon the
damp slimy pavement of the wretched hole. She was already dressed in the
sackcloth robe of the penitents condemned to the stake, and her poor
grey hairs were without covering. So motionless was her form that for a
moment the witchfinder thought she was dead, and had fallen together in
the position in which she had knelt down; and the thought was like a
knife in his revengeful heart, that she might thus have escaped the
tortures prepared for her, and thwarted the gratification of his insane
and hideous longings. A second thought suggested to him that she was
sleeping. But this conjecture was scarcely less agonizing to him than
the former. That she, the sorceress, should sleep and be at rest, whilst
he, her victim, could find no sleep, no rest, no peace, body or mind,
was more than his bitter spirit could bear. He shook the bars of the
door with violence, and called aloud, "Magdalena!"

"Is my hour already come?" said the wretched woman, raising her head so
immediately as to show how far sleep was from her eyelids.

"No, thou hast got an hour to enjoy the torments of thy own despair,"
laughed the witchfinder, with bitter irony.

"Let me, then, be left in peace, and my last prayers be undisturbed,"
said Magdalena.

"In order that thou mayst pray to the devil thou servest to deliver
thee!" pursued Black Claus, with another mocking laugh. "Ay--pray--pray;
but it will be in vain. He is an arch-deceiver, the fiend, thy master.
He promises and fulfils not. He offers tempting wages to those who sell
to him their souls, and then deserts his servants in the hour of
trouble. So prayed all the filthy hags who sat there before thee,
Magdalena; but they prayed in vain."

"Leave me, wretched man!" said Magdalena, who now became aware that it
was the cripple who addressed her. "Hast thou not sufficiently sated thy
thirst for evil, that thou shouldst come to torment me in my last
moments? Go! tempt not the bitterness of my spirit in this supreme hour
of penitence and prayer. Go! for I have forgiven thee; and I would not
curse thee now."

"I defy thy curses, witch of hell!" cried the cripple with frantic
energy. "Already the first pale streaks of dawn begin to flicker in the
east. A little time, and thy power to curse will be no more; a little
time, and nothing will remain of thee but a heap of noisome ashes; and a
name, which will be mingled with that of the arch-enemy of mankind, in
the execrations of thy victims--a name to be remembered with horror and
disgust--as that of the foul serpent--in the thoughts of the tormented
cripple, and of the pure angel of brightness, upon whom thou hast sought
to work evil and death."

"O God! make not this hour of trial too hard for me to bear!" exclaimed
the unhappy woman; and then, raising her clasped hands to Claus in
bitter expostulation, she cried, "Man! what have I done to harm thee,
that thou shouldst heap these coals of fire on my soul?"

"What thou hast done to harm me?" cried the witchfinder. "Hast thou not
tormented my poor cripple limbs with thy infernal spells? Hast thou not
caused me to suffer the tortures of the damned? But it is not vengeance
that I seek. No--no. I have vowed a holy vow--I have sworn to spend my
life in the good task of purging from the earth such workers of evil as
thou, and those who served the fiend by their foul sorceries, were it
even at the risk of exposing my body to pain and suffering, and even
death, from the revengeful malice of their witchcrafts. And God knows I
have suffered in the holy cause."

And the cripple clenched again within his right hand, the image attached
to the rosary in his bosom, as if to satisfy himself by its contact of
the truth and right of those deeds, which he strove to qualify as holy.

"What thou, or such as thou, have done to harm me!" he continued with
bitter spite. "I will tell thee, hag! I was once a young and happy boy.
I was strong and well-favoured then. I had a father--a passionate but a
kind man; and I had a mother, whom I loved beyond all created things.
She was the joy of my soul--the pride of my boyish dreams. I was happy
then, I tell thee. I called myself by another name. No matter what it
was. Black Claus is the avenger's name, and he will cleave to it. One
day there came an aged beggar-woman to our cottage, and begged. My
mother heeded her not. I know not why; for she was ever kind. My father
drove her from the door; and, as she turned away, she cursed us all. I
never can forget that moment, nor the terror of my youthful mind, as I
heard that curse. And the curse clave to us; for she--_was a witch_; and
it came upon us soon and bitterly. My mother was in the pride of her
beauty still, when a gay noble saw her in her loveliness, and paid her
court. Then came a horrible night, when the witch's curse was fearfully
fulfilled. My father was jealous. He attacked the young noble as he came
by the darkness of night; and it was he--my father--who was killed. I
saw him die, weltering in his blood. My poor mother, too, was spirited
away; the fell powers of witchcraft dragged her from that bloody hearth.
Yes; witchcraft it was--it must have been; for she was too pure and good
to listen to the voice of the seducer--to follow her husband's murderer.
She died, probably, of grief--my poor wretched mother; for I never saw
her more. For days and nights I sought her, but in vain; suffering cold
and hunger, and sleeping oft-times in the cold woods and dank morasses.
Then fell the witches curse on _me_ also; and I began to suffer these
pains, which thy foul tribe have never ceased to inflict upon me since.
The tortures of the body were added to the tortures of the mind. My
limbs grew distorted and withered. I became the outcast of humanity I
now am; and then it was I vowed a vow to pursue, even unto death, all
those hideous lemans of Satan, who, like her who cursed us, sell their
wretched souls but to work evil, and destruction, and death to their
fellow-creatures. And I have kept my vow!"

In spite of herself, Magdalena had been obliged to listen to the
witchfinder's tale, which, with his face pressed against the iron bars
of the grating, he poured, with harsh voice, into her unwilling ear. As
he proceeded, however, she appeared fascinated by the words he uttered,
as the poor quivering bird is fascinated by the serpent's eye. Her
eyeballs were distended--her arms still outstretched towards him, as she
had first raised them to him in her cry of expostulation; but the hands
were desperately clenched together--the arms stiffened with the extreme
tension of the nerves.

"Oh no!" she murmured to herself as he yet spoke; "that were too
horrible!" and when he paused, it was with a smothered scream of agony,
still mixed with doubt, that she cried "Karl!"

"Karl!" repeated the witchfinder, clenching the bars with still firmer
grasp, and raising himself with the effort to the full height of his
stature, as though his limbs had on a sudden recovered all their
strength--"Karl! Ay, that was my name! How dost thou know it, woman?"

"O God!" exclaimed the wretched tenant of the cell, "was my cup of
bitterness not yet full? Hast thou reserved me this?" She wrung her
hands in agony, and then, looking again at the cripple, cried in a tone
of concentrated misery, "Karl! they told me that thou wast dead--that
thou, too, hadst died after that night of horrors!"

"Who art thou, woman?" cried the cripple again, with an accent of
horror, as if a frightful thought had for the first time forced itself
upon his brain. "Who art thou, that thou speakest to me thus, and
freezest the very marrow of my bones with fear? Who art thou that criest
'Karl' with such a voice--a voice that now comes back upon my ear, as if
it were a damning memory of times gone by? Who art thou woman?--speak!
Let not this dreadful thought, that blasts me like lightning, strike me
utterly to the earth."

"Who I am?" sobbed the miserable woman. "Thy wretched and guilty mother,
Karl!"

"Guilty!" shouted the cripple. "Then thou art not she! My mother was not
guilty--she was all innocence and truth!"

"I am thy guilty mother, Karl," repeated the kneeling woman, "who has
striven, by long years of penitence and prayer, to expiate the past.
Alas, in vain! for Heaven refuses the expiation, since it has reserved
the wretched penitent this last, most fearful blow of all!"

"Thou!--oh no!--say it not! Thou my mother!" cried the witchfinder.

"Thy mother--Margaret Weilheim!"

"Horrible!--most horrible!" repeated the agonized son, letting go the
bars, and clasping his bony hands over his face. "Thou, my once beloved
mother, the wretched being of misery and sin--the accomplice of the
spirits of darkness--and _I_ thy denouncer! O God! This is some fearful
delusion!"

"The delusion is in thy own heart, my poor, distracted, infatuated son,"
pursued the miserable mother. "Happy and blessed were I, were no greater
guilt upon my soul than that of the crime for which I am this day
condemned to die. Bitter it is to die; but I had accepted all as the
will of Him above, and he knows my innocence of all dealings with the
powers of hell."

"Innocent!" cried the witchfinder in frightful agitation. "Were it
possible! And is it I, thy own child, who strikes the blow--I, who am
thy murderer--I, who, to avenge the mother, have condemned the mother to
the stake? Horrible! And yet those proofs--those fearful proofs!"

"Hear me, for my time is short now in this world," said the poor woman,
known by the name of Magdalena. "I will not tell thee how I listened to
the voice of the serpent, and how I fell. My pride in my fatal beauty
was my pitfall. All that the honied words of passion and persuasion
could effect was used to lure me on to my destruction--and at last I
fled with my seducer. I knew not then, I swear to thee, Karl--God knows
how bitterly it costs the mother to reveal her shame to her own son; but
bitter if it be, she accepts is as an expiation, and she will not
deceive him--I swear to thee, I knew not then that thy father had fallen
in that unhappy night, and had fallen by the hand of him whom I madly
followed. It was long after that the news reached me, and had nearly
driven me distracted. The same tale told me, but falsely, the death of
my first-born--my Karl. Remorse had long since tortured my heart. I was
not happy with the lover of my choice--I never had been happy with him;
but now the stings of my conscience became too strong to bear. Tormented
by my bitter self-reproaches, I decided upon quitting my seducer, who
had long proved cold and heartless. But I had borne him a child--a
daughter; and to quit my offspring, the only child left to me, was
agony; to take it with me, to bear it away to partake a life of poverty
and wretchedness, was still greater agony to the mother's mind. The
great man who was its father--for he was of noble rank, and highly
placed--when he found me determined to leave him and the world for
ever--and he saw me part from him, the heartless one, without
regret--offered to adopt my darling infant as his legitimate child; to
bring it up to all the honours, wealth, and consideration of the world;
to ensure it that earthly happiness the mother's heart yearned to give
it. But, as I have told thee, he was cold and worldly-minded, and he
exacted from me an oath--a cruel oath--that I never should own my child
again--that I never should address it as my offspring--that I never
should utter the word 'daughter,' never hear the cry of 'mother' from
its lips. He would not that his daughter, the noble Fraulein, should be
brought to shame, by being acknowledged as the offspring of a peasant
wife. All I desired was the welfare--the happiness--of my child.

"I stifled all the more selfish feelings of a mother's heart and I
consented. I took that oath. I kissed my child for the last time, and
tore myself away. I hoped to die; but God reserved me for a long and
bitter expiation of my sin. I still found upon earth, however, one kind
and pitying friend. He was the brother of my noble lover, and himself
among the highest in the land. He was a priest; and, in his compassion,
he found me refuge in a convent, where, though I deemed myself unworthy
to receive the veil, I assumed the dress of the humblest penitent, and
took the name of the repentant one--the name of Magdalen. I desired to
cut myself off completely from the world; and I permitted the father of
my child to believe a report that I was no more. In the humility of my
bitter repentance, I vowed never to pass the gates of the holy house of
God--never to put my foot upon the sacred ground--never to profane the
sanctuary with my soul of sin--to worship only without, and at the
threshold, until such time as it should seem to me that God had heard my
repentance, and accepted my expiation. Now, thou knowest why I have
never dared to enter the holy building."

The witchfinder groaned bitterly, clenching, in agony, the folds of his
garment, and tearing his breast.

"My spiritual adviser was benevolent and kind; but he was also stern in
his calling. He imposed upon me such penitence as, in his wisdom, he
thought most fit to wash out my crime; and I obeyed with humble
reverence. But there was one penance more cruel than the rest--the
mortification of my only earthly affection--the driving out from my
heart all thought of the child of my folly and sin--the vow never to
seek, to look upon her more. But the love of the world was still too
strong upon the wretched mother. At the risk of her soul's salvation,
she fled the convent to see her child once again. It was in the frenzy
of a fever-fit, when I thought to die. I forgot all--all but my oath--I
never sought to speak to my darling child; but I followed her wherever I
could--I watched for her as she passed--I gazed upon her with love--I
prayed for blessings on her head."

"Alas! I see it all now. It is, as it were, a bandage fallen from my
eyes. Fool--infatuated fool!--monster that I was!" cried the
witchfinder. "Bertha was your daughter--my sister; and I have smitten
the mother for the love she bore her child. And he--her father--he was
that villain! Curses on him!"

"Peace! Peace! my son!" continued Magdalena, "and curse no more. Nor can
I tell thee that it was so. I have sworn that oath never to divulge my
daughter's birth; and cruel, heartless, as was the feeling that forced
it on me, I must observe it ever. And thus I continued to live
on--absorbed in the one thought of my child and her happiness--heedless
of the present--forgetful of my duty; when suddenly, but two days ago,
he who has been the kind guardian of my spiritual weal, appeared before
me in the chamber where, alone and unobserved, I wept over the picture
of my child. He came, I presume, by a passage seldom opened, from the
monastery, whither his duties had called him. He chid me for my
flight--recalled me to my task of expiation--and, bidding me return to
the convent, left me, with an injunction not to say that I had seen him.
Nor could I reveal the fact of my mysterious interview with him, or tell
his name, without giving a clue to the truth of my own existence, and
the discovery of all I had sworn so binding an oath ever to conceal.
Thou sawest him also--but, alas! with other thoughts."

"Madman that I have been!" exclaimed the witchfinder. "Or is it now that
I am mad? Am I not raving? Is not all this insane delusion? No--thou are
there before me--closed from my embraces by these cruel bars that I have
placed between us. Thou! my mother--my long-lost--my beloved--most
wretched mother, in that dreadful garb!--condemned to die by thy own
infatuated son! Would that I _were_ mad, and that I could close my brain
to so much horror! But thou shalt not die, my mother--thou shalt not
die! Thou are innocent! I will proclaim thy innocence to all! They will
believe my word--will they not? For it was I who testified against thee.
I, the matricide! I will tell them that I lied. Thou shalt not die, my
mother! Already! already!--horror!--the day is come!"

The day _was_ come. The first faint doubtful streaks of early dawn had
gradually spread, in a cold heavy grey light, over the sky. By degrees
the darkness had fled, and the market-place, the surrounding gables of
the houses, the black pile in the midst, had become clearer and clearer
in harsh distinctness. The day _was_ come! Already a few narrow
casements had been pushed back in their sliding grooves, and strange
faces, with sleepy eyes, had peered out, in night attire, to forestall
impatient curiosity. Already indistinct noises, a vague rumbling, an
uncertain sound from here or there had broken up the utter silence of
the night, and told that the drowsy town was waking from its sleep, and
stirring with the faint movement of new life. The day _was_ come! The
sentinels paced up and down more quickly, to dissipate that feeling of
shivering cold which runs through the night-watcher during the first
hour of the morn. During the colloquy between the cripple and the
prisoner, they had been more than once disturbed by the loud tones of
passionate exclamation that had burst from the former; but Hans had
contrived to dispel his comrade's scruples as to what was going forward
at the prison door, by making light of the matter.

"Let them alone. They are only having a tuzzle together--the witchfinder
and the witch! And if the man, as the weaker vessel in matters of
witchcraft, do come off minus a nose or so, it will never spoil Black
Claus's beauty, that's certain. Hark! hark! they are at it again! To it,
devil! To it, devil-hunter! Let them fight it out between them, man. Let
them fight it out. It's fine sport, and it will never spoil the show."
And Hans stamped with his feet, and hooted at a distance, and hissed
between his teeth, with all the zest of a modern cockfighter in the
sport, rather to the scandal and shame of his more cautious and
scrupulous companion. But when the cripple, in his despair, shook, in
his nervous grasp, the bars of the grating in the door, as if he would
wrench it from its staples, and flung himself in desperation against the
strongly-ironed wooden mass, with a violence that threatened, in spite
of its great strength, to burst it open, the matter seemed to become
more serious in their eyes.

"Hollo, man! witchfinder! Black Claus! What art thou doing?" cried the
sentinels, hurrying to the spot. "Does the devil possess thee? Art thou
bewitched? Wait! wait! they'll let her out quick enough to make her
mount the pile. Have patience, man!"

"She is innocent!" cried the cripple, still grappling with the bars in
his despair. "She is innocent! Let her go free!"

"He is bewitched," said the one soldier. "See what comes of letting them
be together."

"He has had the worst of it, sure enough," said Hans.

"I am not bewitched, fools!" cried the frantic man. "There's no
witchcraft here! She is innocent, I tell ye! O God! these bells! they
announce their coming! Bid them cease! bid them cease! they drive me
mad!"

At that moment a merry chime from the church-bells burst out joyously
upon the morning air, to announce that a fête was about to take place in
the town; for such a gratifying show as the burning of a witch, was a
fête for the inhabitants of Hammelburg.

"These bells! these bells!" again cried Claus in agony, as their merry
chime came in gusts along the rising wind, as if to mock his misery and
despair. "How often, during this long night, I have longed to hear their
joyous sound; and now they ring in my ears like the howlings of fiends!
But she shall not die! I will yet save her," continued the distracted
man; and he again shook the prison door with a force which his crippled
limbs could scarcely have been supposed to possess.

With difficulty could the now alarmed sentinels, who shouted for help,
cause the cripple to release his hold. Fresh guards rushed to the spot,
and assisted to seize the desperate man. But in vain he protested the
innocence of the supposed sorceress--in vain he cried to them to release
her. He was treated as bewitched; and it was only when at last, overcome
by the violence of his struggles, he ceased to resist with so much
energy, that they allowed him to remain unbound, and let fall the cords
with which they had already commenced to tie his arms.

"The Ober-Amtmann will come," he said at last, with a sort of sullen
resignation. "He must--he shall hear me. He shall know all--he will
believe her innocent."

In the meanwhile, the market-place had already begin to fill with an
anxious crowd. In a short time, the press of spectators come to witness
the bloody spectacle, began to be great. The throng flowed on through
street and lane. There were persons of all ages, all ranks, of both
sexes--all hurrying, crowding, squeezing to the fête of horror and
death. Manifold and various were the hundreds of faces congregated in a
dense mass, as near as the guards would admit them round the pile--all
moved by one feeling of hideous curiosity. Little by little, all the
windows of the surrounding houses were jammed with faces--each window a
strange picture in its quaintly-carved wooden frame. The crowd was
there--the living crowd eager for death--palpitating with
excitement--each heart beating with one pitiless feeling of greedy
cruelty. And the bells still rang ceaselessly their merry, joyous,
fête-like peal.

And now with difficulty the soldiers forced a way through the throng for
the approaching officer of justice; the great officiating dignitary of
the town, who was to preside over the ceremony. He neared the town-hall,
to order the unlocking of the prison-door, when the wretched witchfinder
again sprang forward, crying, "Mercy! mercy! she is innocent. Hear me,
noble Ober-Amtmann!" But he again started back with a cry of despair--it
was not the Ober-Amtmann. He had been obliged, by indisposition, to give
up the office of superintending the execution, and the chief _schreiber_
had been deputed to take his place.

"Where is the Ober-Amtmann?" cried Claus in agony. "I must see him--I
must speak with him! She is innocent--I swear she is! He will save her,
villain as he has been, when he hears all."

The general cry that Black Claus had been bewitched by the sorceress,
was a sufficient explanation to the chief _schreiber_ of his seemingly
frantic words.

"Poor man!" was his only reply. "She has worked her last spell upon him.
Her death alone can save his reason."

In spite of the struggles and cries of the infuriated cripple, the door
was opened, and the unhappy Magdalena was forced to come forwards by the
guards. She looked wretchedly haggard and careworn in her sackcloth
robe, with her short-cut grey hairs left bare. A chain was already bound
around her waist, and clanked as she advanced. As her eyes fell upon her
miserable son she gave one convulsive shudder of despair; and then,
clasping her hands towards him with a look of pity and forgiveness, she
murmured with a tone of resignation--"It is too late. Farewell!
farewell! until we meet again, where there shall be no sorrow, no care,
no pain--only mercy and forgiveness!"

"No, no--thou shalt not die!" screamed the cripple, whom several
bystanders, as well as guards, now held back with force, in awe as well
as pity at his distracted state.--"Thou shalt not die! She is my
mother!" he cried like a maniac to the crowd around. "My mother--do ye
hear? She is innocent. What I said yesterday was false--utterly false--a
damning lie! She is not guilty--you would murder her! Fools! wretches,
assassins! You believed me when I witnessed against her; why will ye not
believe me now? She is innocent, I tell you. Ye shall not kill her!"

"He is bewitched! he is bewitched! To the stake with the sorceress!--to
the stake!" was the only reply returned to his cries by the crowd.

In truth the miserable man bore all the outward signs of a person who,
in those times, might be supposed to be smitten by the spells of
witchcraft. His eyes rolled in his head. His every feature was distorted
in the agony of his passion. His mouth foamed like that of a mad dog.
His struggles became desperate convulsions.

But he struggled in vain. The procession advanced towards the stake.
Between two bodies of guards, the condemned woman dragged her suffering
bare feet over the rough stones of the market-place. On one side of her
walked the executioner of the town; on the other, his assistant, with a
lighted torch of tow, besmeared with resin and pitch, shedding around in
a small cloud, the lurid smoke that was soon about to arise in a heavy
volume from the pile. The chief _schreiber_ had mounted, with his
adjuncts, the terrace before the door of the town-hall, whence it was
customary for the chief dignitary of the town to superintend such
executions. The bells rang on their merry peal.

And now the unhappy woman was forced on to the pile. The executioner
followed. He bound her resistless to the stake, and then himself
descended. At each of the four corners of the pile, a guard on horseback
kept off the crowd. There was a pause. Then appeared, at one end of the
mass of wood and fagots, a slight curling smoke--a faint light. The
executioner had applied the torch. A few seconds--and a bright glaring
flame licked upwards with a forked tongue, and a heavier gush of smoke
burst upwards in the air. The miserable woman crossed her hands over her
breast--raised her eyes for a moment to heaven, and then, closing them
upon the scene around her, moved her lips in prayer--in the last prayer
of the soul's agony. The crowd, which, during the time when the
procession had advanced towards the pile, had howled with its usual
pitiless howl, was now silent, breathless, motionless, in the extreme
tension of its excitement. But still the merry peal of bells rang on.

The smoke grew thicker and thicker. The flame already darted forward, as
if to snatch at the miserable garment of its victim, and claim her as
its own, when there was heard a struggle--a cry--a shout of frantic
despair. The cripple, in that moment when all were occupied with the
fearful sight, had broken on those who held him, and before another hand
could seize him, had staggered through the crowd, and now swung himself
with force upon the pile. A cry of horror burst from the mass of
spectators. They thought him utterly deprived of reason, and determined,
in his madness, to die with the sorceress. But in a moment his bony
hands had torn the link that bound the chain--had unwound the chain
itself--had snatched the woman from the stake. Before, in the surprise
of the moment, a single person had stirred, his arm seized, with firm
and heavy gripe, the collar of the nearest horseman, who found himself
in his seat on horseback upon a level with the elevation of the pile. He
knocked him with violence from the saddle. The guard reeled and fell;
and in the next instant Claus had flung himself on to the horse, and in
his arms he bore the form of the half-fainting Magdalena.

With a cry--a yell--a wild scream--he shouted, "To the sanctuary! to the
sanctuary! she shall not die--room! room!" Trampling right and left to
the earth the dense crowd, who fled from his passage as from an
infuriated tiger in its spring, he dashed upon the animal over the
market-place, and darted in full gallop down the street leading to the
Bridge-gate of the town.

"After him!" cried a thousand voices. The three other horsemen had
already sprung after the fugitive. The guards hastened in the same
direction. Several of the crowd rushed down the narrow street. All was
confusion. Part of those who passed on impeded the others. Groans arose
from those who had been thrown down by the frantic passage of Claus, and
who, lying on the stones, prevented the pushing forwards of the others.

"Follow! After him! to the sanctuary!" still cried a thousand voices of
the crowd.

At the same moment a noise of horsemen was heard coming from the
entrance of the town in the opposite direction to that leading to the
bridge. Those who stood nearest turned their heads eagerly that way. The
first person who issued on the street, at full gallop, was Gottlob,
without a covering to his head--his fair hair streaming to the wind--his
handsome face pale with fatigue and excitement.

"Stop! stop!" he shouted as he advanced, and his eye fell upon the
burning pile. "I bring the prince's pardon! Save her!"

In a few moments, followed by a scanty train of attendants, appeared the
Prince Bishop of Fulda himself, in the dress--half religious, half
secular--that he wore in travelling. His mild benevolent face looked
haggard and anxious, and he also was very pale; for he had evidently
ridden hard through a part of the night; and the exertion was too much
for his years and habits. As he advanced through the crowd, who drew
back with respect from the passage of their sovereign, he eagerly
demanded if the execution had taken place. The general rumour told him
confusedly the tale of the events that had just occurred. Gottlob was
soon again by his side, and related to him all that he had heard.

"Where is my brother?" cried the bishop. "Is he not here?"

A few words told him that he had not appeared on this occasion.

"I will to the palace, then," he continued. "And the poor wretched
woman, which way has that maniac conveyed her?"

"To the sanctuary upon the mountain-side, in the path leading to your
highness's castle of Saaleck, as he was heard to cry," was the answer.

"But the torrents have come down from the hills," exclaimed others, "and
the inundations sweep so heavily upon the bridge, that it is impossible
to pass it without the utmost danger."

"Save that unhappy woman!" exclaimed the bishop in agitation. "A reward
for him who saves her!" and followed by his attendants, he took the
direction of the street leading to the palace.

It was true. The torrents had come down from the hills during the night,
and the waters swept over the bridge with fury. The planked flooring of
the bridge, raised in ordinary circumstances some feet above the stream,
was now covered by the raging flood; and the side parapets, which
consisted partly of solid enclosure, partly of railing, tottered,
quivered, and bent beneath the rushing mass of dark, dun-coloured,
whirling waters. The river itself, swelled far beyond the usual extent
of the customary inundations, for the passage of which the extreme
length of the bridge had been provided, hurried in wild eddies round the
walls of the town, like an invading army seeking to tear them down. But
the frantic Claus heeded not the violence of the waters, and dashed
through the town-gate towards the bridge with desperation. The
frightened horse shied at the foaming stream, struggled, snorted; but
the cripple seemed to possess the resistless power of a demon--a power
which gave him sway over the brute creation. He urged the unwilling
animal, with almost superhuman force, on to the tottering bridge.

The guards who had galloped after him, stopped suddenly as they saw the
roaring torrent. None dared advance, none dared pursue. Others, on foot,
clogged the gateway, and stood appalled at the sight of the rushing
flood. The more eager of the crowd soon mounted on to those parts of the
town-walls that flanked the gate, and watched, with excited gesture, and
shouts of wonder or terror, the desperate course of the cripple.

Pressing his mother in his arms, with his body stretched forward in wild
impatience upon the struggling horse, Black Claus had urged his way into
the middle of the stream. The bridge shook fearfully beneath the burden:
he heeded it not. It cracked and groaned still louder than the roaring
of the stream: he heard it not. He strove to dash on against the almost
resistless force of the sweeping current. His eye was strained upon the
first point of the dry path on the highway beyond. Before him lay, at a
short distance, the road towards the castle of Saaleck, up the mountain
side. Halfway up the height stood, embowered in trees, the chapel he
sought to reach--the sanctuary of refuge for the condemned. That was his
haven--there his wretched mother would be in safety. He pressed her more
tightly to his breast, and shouted wildly. His shout was followed by a
loud fearful crash, a roaring of waters, and a straining of breaking
timbers. In another instant, the centre of the bridge was fiercely borne
away by the torrent, and all was wild confusion around him.

A general cry of horror burst from the crowd at the gate and on the
walls. All was for a moment lost to sight in the whirl of waters. Then
was first seen the snorting head of the poor horse rising from the
stream. The animal was struggling in desperation to reach the land.
Again were whirled upwards the forms of the cripple and the female,
still tightly pressed within his arms; and then a rush of waters, more
powerful than the son's frantic grasp, tore them asunder. Nothing now
was visible but a floating body, which again disappeared in the eddying
flood; and now again the form of the witchfinder rose above the mass of
waters. His long arms were tossed aloft; his desperate cries were heard
above the roaring of the torrent.

"Mercy! mercy!" he screamed. "Save me from these flames! this stifling
smoke. I burn, I burn!"

As he shouted these last words of mad despair, the icy cold waters swept
over him for ever.

All had disappeared. Upon the boiling surface of the hurrying flood was
now seen nothing more than spars and fragments of timber, remnants of
the bridge, whirled up and down, and here and there, and dashing along
the stream.

Among the foremost of the crowd, who had pressed down the narrow lane
leading to the water's edge, between the premises of the Benedictine
monastery and the palace garden, eager to gain an unoccupied point
whence they might watch the flight, stood "Gentle Gottlob."

From under the small water-gate, the stone passage of which was
partially flooded by the unusually rising waters, he had seen the
frightful catastrophe which had accompanied the sweeping away of the
bridge. He stood overwhelmed with grief at the fate of the poor woman,
whom he had uselessly striven to save; his eye fixed upon the roaring
waters, without seeing distinctly any thing but a sort of wild turmoil,
which accorded well with his own troubled reflections; when a cry from
the crowd, which still lingered on the spot, recalled him to himself.

"Look, look!" cried several voices. "There it is again! It is a body!"

On the dark surface of the waters, Gottlob saw a form whirled by the
force of the current towards the water-gate.

"It is the witch! it is the witch!" again cried the crowd, as the
sackcloth garment of the unhappy Magdalena showed itself above the
stream.

In another moment Gottlob had rushed into the water, to seize the body
as it was whirled past the water-gate, and was almost dashed against the
stone-piles.

"Touch her not!" screamed again the bystanders. "It is the witch! it is
the witch!"

But Gottlob heeded not the shouts of the crowd. Holding by one hand on
the trunk of a tree overhanging the water, in order to bear up against
the violence of the stream, he grasped with the other the dress of the
floating female before it again sank beneath the whirling eddy. He
pulled it towards him with force; and, after with difficulty struggling
against the force of the current, at length succeeded in bearing the
lifeless form of Magdalena under the gateway.

Streaming himself with water, he laid the cold wet body down upon the
stones, and bent over it, to see whether life had fled from it for ever.
The crown drew back with horror, uttering cries of vain expostulation.

"Thank Heaven! she still breathes," said Gottlob at last, as, after some
moments, a slight convulsive movement passed over the frame of the poor
woman. "Aid me, my friends. She still lives. Help me to transport her to
some house." But the crowd drew back in horror. "I will convey her to my
own chamber close by. Send for a leech! Are ye without pity?" he
continued, as, instead of assisting him, the crowd held back, and
answered his entreaties only with exclamations of disgust and scorn.
"Are ye Christian men, that ye would see the poor woman die before your
eyes for want of aid? She is no witch. Good God! will no one show a
heart of bare humanity?" But the crowd still held back; and if they did
not still scoff at him, were silent.

The kind youth, finding all hope of assistance vain, from the miserable
prejudices of the people, had at last contrived to raise the still
senseless Magdalena in his arms, with the intention of conveying her
into his own dwelling; and already murmurs began to arise among the
crowd, as if they intended to oppose his purpose; when a door,
communicating from the palace-gardens with the narrow lane, opened, and
the stately form of an aged man, of benevolent aspect, stood between
Gottlob, who remained alone under the water-gate with the lifeless form
of Magdalena on his arm, and the murmuring crowd which had drawn back
into the lane. He stood like a guardian spirit between the fair youth
and the senseless mass of angry men. All snatched off their furred hats,
and bowed their bodies with respect. It was their sovereign, the Prince
Bishop of Fulda. His attendants followed him to the threshold of the
garden gate.

"Thank God!" was his first simple exclamation at the sight of Magdalena
in Gottlob's arms. "You have contrived to save her, have you? I was
myself hurrying hither to see what could be done. Does she still live?"

Upon an affirmative exclamation from Gottlob, he raised his eyes to
heaven with a short thanksgiving; and then, turning to the crowd with a
stern air, he asked--

"What were these cries and murmurs that I heard? Why were those
threatening looks I saw? Would ye oppose a Christian act of charity due
to that unhappy woman, even were she the miserable criminal she is not?
Have ye yet to be taught your Christian duties in this land? God forgive
me; for then _I_ have much to answer for!"

After this meek self-rebuke, he again looked seriously upon the
bystanders, and waved his hand to disperse the crowd, who slunk away
before him; then, hastily giving orders that Magdalena should be
conveyed into the palace, he himself stopped to see her borne into the
garden, and followed anxiously.

Every means with which the leech-craft of the times was acquainted for
the recovery of the apparently drowned, was applied in the case of
Magdalena, and with some success; for, after a time, breath and warmth
were restored--her eyes opened. But the respiration was hurried and
impeded--the eyes glazed and dim--the sense of what was passing around
her, confused and troubled. A nervous tremour ran through her whole
frame. She lay upon a mattrass, propped up with a pile of cushions, in
a lower apartment of the palace. By her side knelt the kind Bishop of
Fulda, watching with evident solicitude the variation of the symptoms in
the unfortunate woman's frame. Behind her stood the stately form of the
Ober-Amtmann--every muscle of his usually stern face now struggling with
emotion--his hands clenched together--his head bowed down; for he had
learned from his brother the Prince, that the female lying before
him--the woman whom he had himself condemned to the stake, was really
the mistress of his younger years--the seduced wife of the man whom he
had killed--his victim, Margaret Weilheim. On the other side of the
prostrate form of Magdalena bent a grave personage in dark attire, who
held her wrist, and counted the beating of her pulse with an air of
serious attention. In answer to an enquiring look from the Prince
Bishop, the physician shook his head.

"There is life, it is true," he said; "but it is ebbing fast. The
fatigue and emotions of the past day were in themselves too much for a
frame already shattered by macerations, and privations, and grief; this
catastrophe has exhausted her last force of vitality. She cannot live
long."

The Ober-Amtmann wrung his hands with a still firmer gripe. The tears
trembled upon the good old bishop's eyelids.

"See!" said the leech; "she again opens her eyes. There is more sense in
them now."

The dying Magdalena in truth looked around her, as if she at length
became conscious of the objects on which her vision fell. She seemed to
comprehend with difficulty where she was, and how she had come into the
position in which she lay. Feebly and with exertion she raised her
emaciated arm, and passed her skinny hand over her brow and eyes. But at
length her gaze rested upon the mild face of the benevolent bishop, and
a faint smile passed over her sunken features.

"Where am I?" she murmured lowly. "Am I in paradise?--and you, reverend
father, are also with me?"

In a few kind words, the bishop strove to recall her wandering senses,
and explain to her what had happened. At last a consciousness of the
past seemed to come over her; and she shuddered in every limb at the
fearful recollection.

"And he! where is he?" she asked with an imploring look. "He! Karl!"

The old man looked at her with surprise, as though he thought her senses
were still wavering.

"He carried me off, did he not?" she continued feebly; "or was it a
dream? Was it only a strange dream? No, no! I remember all--how we flew
through the air; and then the rushing waters. Oh! tell me; where is he?"

The bishop now comprehended that she spoke of the witchfinder; and said,
"He is gone for ever, to his last great account."

Magdalena groaned bitterly, and again closed her eyes. But it was
evident that she still retained her consciousness; for her lips were
moving faintly, as if in prayer.

"Is there no hope?" enquired the bishop in a whisper of the physician.
"Nothing can be done?"

"No hope!" replied the leech. "I have done all that medical skill can
do; _I_ can do no more, your highness."

At a sign from the bishop, the physician withdrew.

Shortly after, the dying woman again unclosed her eyes, and looked
around her at the strange room in which she lay. A recollection of the
past seemed to come across her, slowly and painfully; and she again
pressed her feeble hand to her brow.

"Why am I here?" she murmured. "Why do I again see this scene of folly
and sin? O Lord! why bring before my thus, in this last hour, the living
memory of my past transgressions?"

As if to complete the painful illusion of the past, a voice now murmured
"Margaret" in her ear. The poor woman started, turned her head with
difficulty, and saw, kneeling by her side, the heartless lover of her
youth. She gave him one look of fear and shame, and then turning again
her eyes to the bishop's face, exclaimed, "May God forgive me!--Pray for
me, my father!"

"It is I who seek for mercy, Margaret!" cried the Ober-Amtmann. "I who
need thy forgiveness for all the wrong I have done thee!"

"Mercy and forgiveness are with God," said the dying woman solemnly.
"All the wrong thou hast done me I have long since forgiven, as far as
such a sinner as myself can forgive. My time is short; my breath is fast
leaving me. I feel that I am dying," she added after a pause. "Father, I
would make my shrift; and, if God and your reverence permit one earthly
thought to mingle with my last hopes of salvation, I would confide to
you a secret on which depends the happiness of her I love, and you
perhaps might secure her peace of mind. Alas, I cannot speak! O God!
give me still breath."

These words were uttered in a low and feeble tone. With a hasty gesture
the bishop signed to his brother to retire, and bent his ear over the
mouth of the gasping woman.

After some time he rose, and first reassuring the dying mother that all
he could do for her child's welfare should be done, pronounced the
sublime words of the church that give the promise of forgiveness and
salvation to the truly penitent sinner.

"Oh, might I look upon her once more!" sobbed Magdalena with convulsive
effort. "One last look! not a word shall tell her--it is--her unhappy
mother--who gives her--a last blessing!"

The Ober-Amtmann left the room. In a few minutes he returned, leading
Bertha by the hand. But Magdalena was already speechless. The fair girl
knelt by the side of the mattrass, sobbing bitterly--she herself
scarcely knew why. Was it only the sight of death, of the last parting
of the soul, that thus affected her? Was it affliction that her own
error should have contributed to hasten that unhappy woman's end? Or was
not there rather a powerful instinct within her, that, in that awful
moment, bound her by a sympathetic tie to her unknown mother, and
conveyed a portion of that last agony of the departing woman to her own
heart?

Magdalena, although she could not speak, was evidently aware of the
presence of the gentle girl. She still moved her lips, as if begging a
blessing on her head, and fixed upon that mild face, now bathed in
tears, the last look of her fading eyes. And now the eyes grew dim and
senseless, although the spirit seemed still to struggle within for
sight; now they closed--the whole frame of the prostrate woman
shuddered, and Margaret Weilheim--the repentant Magdalena--was a corpse.

Some time after these events, the Ober-Amtmann retired from his high
office, and after a seclusion of some duration with his brother, at
Fulda, finally betook himself to a monastery, where he remained until
his death.

Before his retirement from the world, however, he had consented, not
without some difficulty, to the union of Bertha and Gottlob. The Prince
Bishop, unforgetful of the claims of the unfortunate Magdalena, had
urged upon his brother the duty of making this concession to the dying
wishes of the wronged mother, as well as to the evident affection of
Bertha for the young artist, which, although unknown even to herself,
was no less powerful. As Gottlob, although of a ruined and impoverished
family, was not otherwise than of noble birth, the greatest difficulty
of these times was surmounted; and the Prince Bishop, by bestowing upon
the young man a post of honour and rank about his person, in which the
gentle youth could still continue the pursuit of his glorious art, and
march on unhindered in his progress to that eminence which he finally
attained, smoothed the road to the Ober-Amtmann's consent.

On the day of Bertha's marriage, the good Prince Bishop promulgated an
edict, that for the future no one should suffer the punishment of death
for the crime of witchcraft in his dominions. But, after his decease,
the edict again fell into disuse; and the town of Hammelburg, as if the
spirit of Black Claus, the witchfinder, still hovered about its walls,
again commenced to assert its odious reputation, and maintain its
hideous boast, of having burned more witches than any other town in
Germany.



MY LAST COURTSHIP; OR, LIFE IN LOUISIANA.


CHAPTER THE FIRST.

A VOYAGE ON THE RED RIVER.

It was on a sultry sunny June morning that I stepped on board the Red
River steamboat. The sun was blazing with unusual power out of its
setting of deep-blue enamel; no wind stirred, only the huge mass of
water in the Mississippi seemed to exhale an agreeable freshness. I gave
a last nod to Richards and his wife who had accompanied me to the shore,
and then went down into the cabin.

I was by no means in the most amiable of humours. Although I had pretty
well forgotten my New York disappointment, two months' contemplation of
the happiness enjoyed by Richards in the society of his young and
charming wife, had done little towards reconciling me to my
bachelorship; and it was with small pleasure that I looked forward to a
return to my solitary plantation, where I could reckon on no better
welcome than the cold, and perhaps scowling, glance of slaves and
hirelings. In no very pleasant mood I walked across the cabin, without
even looking at the persons assembled there, and leaned out of the open
window. I had been some three or four minutes in this position, chewing
the cud of unpleasant reflections, when a friendly voice spoke close to
my ear--

"_Qu'est ce qu'il y a donc, Monsieur Howard? Etes-vous indisposé? Allons
voir du monde._"

I turned round. The speaker was a respectable-looking elderly man; but
his features were entirely unknown to me, and I stared at him, a little
astonished at the familiar tone of his address, and at his knowledge of
my name. I was at that moment not at all disposed to make new
acquaintances; and, after a slight bow, I was about to turn my back upon
the old gentleman, when he took my hand, and drew me gently towards the
ladies' cabin.

"_Allons voir, Monsieur Howard._"

"_Mais que voulez-vous donc?_ What do you want with me?" said I somewhat
peevishly to the importunate stranger.

"_Faire votre connaissance_," he replied with a benign smile, at the
same time opening the door of the ladies' saloon. "Monsieur Howard,"
said he to two young girls who were occupied in tying up a bundle of
pine-apples and bananas to one of the cabin pillars, just as in the
northern States, or in England, people hang up strings of onions, "_Mes
filles, voici notre voisin, Monsieur Howard._"

The damsels tripped lightly towards me, welcoming me as cordially as if
I had been an old acquaintance, and hastened to offer me some of their
fragrant and delicious fruit. Their greeting and manners were really
highly agreeable. Had they been two of my own dear countrywomen, I might
have lived ten years with them without being so well and frankly
received, or invited to spoil my dinner in so agreeable a manner, as by
these fair Pomonas. I could not refuse an invitation so cordially given.
I sat down, and, notwithstanding my dull and fretful humour, soon found
myself amused in my own despite by the lively chatter of the Creoles. An
hour passed rapidly in this manner, and a second and third might
possibly have been wiled away as agreeably, had not my stiff Virginian
feeling of etiquette made me apprehensive that a longer stay might be
deemed intrusive.

"You will come back and take tea with us?" said the young ladies as I
left the cabin.

I bowed a willing assent; and truly, on reaching the deck, I found
reason to congratulate myself on having done so. The company there
assembled was any thing but the best. A strange set of fellows! I could
almost have fancied myself in old Kentuck. Drovers and cattle-dealers
from New Orleans proceeding to the north-western countries; half-wild
hunters and trappers, on their way to the country beyond Nacogdoches,
with the laudable intention of civilizing, or, in other words, of
cheating the Indians; traders and storekeepers from Alexandria and its
neighbourhood; such was the respectable composition of the society on
board the steamer. A rough lot they were, thick-booted, hoarse-voiced,
hard-fisted fellows, who walked up and down, chewing and smoking, and
spitting with as much exactness of aim as if their throats had been
rifle-barrels.

We were just coming in sight of a large clump of foliage. It was the
mouth of the Red River, which is half overarched by the huge trees that
incline forward over its waters from either bank. What a contrast to the
Mississippi, which flows along, broad, powerful, and majestic, like some
barbarian conqueror bursting forth at the head of his stinking hordes to
overrun half a world! The Red River on the other hand, which we are
accustomed to call the Nile of Louisiana--with about as much right and
propriety as the Massachusetts cobbler who christened his son Alexander
Cæsar Napoleon--sneaks stealthily along through forest and plain, like
some lurking and venomous copper-snake. Cocytus would be a far better
name for it. Here we are at the entrance of the first swamp, out of
which the infernal scarlet ditch flows. It is any thing but a pleasant
sight, that swamp, which is formed by the junction of the Tensaw, the
White and Red Rivers, and at the first glance appears like a huge mirror
of vivid green, apparently affording solid footing, and scattered over
with trees, from which rank creepers and a greasy slime hang in long
festoons. One would swear it was a huge meadow, until, on looking rather
longer, one sees the dark-green swamp lilies gently moving, while from
amongst them are protruded numerous snouts or jaws, of a sickly
greyish-brown, discoursing music which is any thing but sweet to a
stranger's ears. These are thousands of alligators, darting out from
amongst the rank luxuriance of their marshy abode. It is their breeding
time, and the horrible bellowing they make is really hideous to listen
to. One might fancy this swamp the headquarters of death, whence he
shoots forth his envenomed darts in the thousand varied forms of fever
and pestilence.

We had proceeded some distance up the Red River, when the friendly old
Creole came to summon me to the tea-table. We found one of his daughters
reading Bernardin de St Pierre's novel, a favourite study with Creole
ladies; while the other was chatting with her black-skinned,
ivory-toothed waiting-maid, with a degree of familiarity that would have
thrown a New York _élégante_ into a swoon. They were on their way home,
their father told me, from the Ursuline Convent at New Orleans, where
they had been educated. It can hardly have been from the holy sisters,
one would think, that they acquired the self-possessed and scrutinizing,
although not immodest gaze, with which I at times observed them to be
examining me. The eldest is apparently about nineteen years of age,
slightly inclined to _embonpoint_. It was really amusing to observe the
cool, comfortable manner, in which she inspected me in a large mirror
that hangs opposite to us, as if she had been desirous of seeing how
long I could stand my ground and keep my countenance.

It would fill a book to enumerate all the items of baggage and effects
which my new friends the Creoles had crowded into the state-cabin.
Luckily, they were the only inmates of the latter, and had,
consequently, full power in their temporary dominions. Had there been
co-occupants, a civil war must have been the inevitable result. The
ladies had a whole boat-load of citrons, oranges, bananas, and
pine-apples; and their father had at least three dozen cases of
Chambertin, Laffitte, and Medoc. I at first thought he must be a
wine-merchant. At any rate he showed his good taste in stocking himself
with such elegant and salutary drinkables, instead of the gin, and
whisky, and Hollands to which many of my countrymen would have given the
preference--those green and brown compounds, elixirs of sin and disease,
concocted by rascally distillers for the corruption and ruin of Brother
Jonathan.

The tea was now ready. Monsieur Ménou (that was the name of my new
friend) seemed inclined to reject the sober beverage, and stick to his
Chambertin. I was disposed to try both. The young ladies were all that
was gay and agreeable. They were really charming girls, merry and
lively, full of ready wit, and with bright eyes and pleasant voices,
that might have cheered the heart of the veriest misanthrope. But there
are moments in one's life when the mind and spirits seem oppressed by a
sort of dead dull calm, as enervating and disheartening as that which
succeeds a West Indian hurricane in the month of August. At those times
every thing loses its interest, and one appears to become as helpless as
the ship that lies becalmed and motionless on the glassy surface of a
tropical sea. I was just in one of those moments. I had consulted any
thing but my own inclination in leaving the hospitable roof and pleasant
companionship of my friend Richards, to return to my own neglected and
long-unvisited plantation, where I should find no society, and should be
compelled to occupy myself with matters that for me had little or no
interest. Had I, as I hoped to do when in New York, taken back a partner
of my joys and sorrows, some gentle creature who would have cheered my
solitude and sympathized with all my feelings, I should have experienced
far less repugnance or difficulty in returning to my home in the
wilderness; but as it was, I felt oppressed by a sense of loneliness
that seemed to paralyse my energies, and that certainly rendered me any
thing but fit society for the lively, talkative party of which I now
found myself a member. I strove to shake off the feeling, but in vain;
and at last, abandoning the attempt, I left the cabin and went on deck.

The night was bright and starlight; the atmosphere perfectly clear, with
the exception of a slight white mist that hung over the river. The
hollow blows of the steam-engine seemed to be echoed in the far distance
by the bellowing of the alligators; while the plaintive tones of the
whip-poor-will were heard at intervals in the forest through which we
were passing. There was no sign of life on the banks of the river; it
was a desert; not a light to be seen, save that of millions of
fireflies, which threw a magical kind of _chiaroscuro_ over the trees
and bushes. At times we passed so near the shore that the branches
rattled and snapped against the side of the boat. Our motion was rapid.
Twelve hours more, and I should be in my Tusculum. Just then the captain
came up to me to say, that if I were disposed to retire to rest, the
noisy smokers and drinkers had discontinued their revels, and I might
now have some chance of sleeping. I had nothing better to do, so
descended the stairs and installed myself in my berth.

When I rose the next morning, a breeze had sprung up, and we were
proceeding merrily along under sail as well as steam. The first person I
met was Monsieur Ménou, who wished me a _bon-jour_ in, as I thought, a
somewhat colder tone than he had hitherto used towards me, and looked me
at the same time enquiringly in the face. It seemed as if he wished to
read there whether his courtesy and kindness were likely to be requited
by the same ungracious stiffness that I had shown him on the preceding
day. Well, I will do my best to obliterate the bad impression I have
apparently made. They are good people, these Creoles--not particularly
bashful or discreet; but yet I like their forwardness and volatility
better than the sly smartness of the Yankees, in spite of their
ridiculous love of dancing, which even the first emigrants could not lay
aside, amidst all the difficulties of their settlement in America. It
must have been absurd enough to see them capering about, and dancing
minuets and gavottes in blanket coats and moccasins.

Whilst I was talking to the Ménous, and doing my best to be amiable, the
bell rang, the steam was let off, and we stopped to take in firing.

"_Monsieur, voilà votre terre!_" said the father pointing to the shore,
upon which a large quantity of wood was stacked. I looked through the
cabin window; the Creole was right. I had been chatting so diligently
with the young ladies that the hours had flown like minutes, and it was
already noon. During my absence, my overseer had established a depot of
wood for the steamboats. So far so good. And yonder is the worthy Mr
Bleaks himself. The Creole seems inclined to accompany me to my house.
I cannot hinder him certainly, but I sincerely hope he will not carry
his politeness quite so far. Nothing I dread more than such a visit,
when I have been for years away from house and home. A bachelor's Lares
and Penates are the most careless of all gods.

"Mr Bleaks," said I, stepping up to the overseer, who, in his Guernsey
shirt, calico inexpressibles, and straw hat, his hands in his pockets
and a cigar in his mouth, was lounging about, and apparently troubling
himself very little about his employer. "Mr Bleaks, will you be so good
as to have the gig and my luggage brought on shore?"

"Ha! Mr Howard!" said the man, "is it you? Didn't expect ye so soon."

"I hope that, if unexpected, I am not unwelcome," replied I, a little
vexed at this specimen of genuine Pennsylvanian dryness.

"You ain't come alone, are you?" continued Bleaks, examining me at the
same time out of the corners of his eyes. "Thought you'd have brought us
a dozen blackies. We want 'em bad enough."

"_Est-il permis, Monsieur?_" now interposed the Creole, taking my hand,
and pointing towards the house.

"And the steamer?" said I, in a tone as drawling as I could make it, and
without moving a pace in the direction indicated.

"Oh! that will wait," replied Ménou, smiling.

What could I do with such a persevering fellow? There was nothing for it
but to walk up with him to the house, however unpleasant I found it so
to do. And unpleasant to me it certainly was, in the then state of my
habitation and domain. It was a melancholy sight--a perfect abomination
of desolation. Every thing looked so ruined, decayed, and rotten, that I
felt sick and disgusted at the prospect before me. I had not expected to
find matters half so bad. Of the hedge round the garden only a few
sticks were here and there standing; in the garden itself some
unwholesome-looking pigs were rooting and grubbing. As to the house!
Merciful heavens! Not a whole pane in the windows! all the frames
stopped and crammed with old rags and bunches of Indian corn leaves! I
could not expect groves of orange and citron trees--I had planted none;
but this! no, it was really too bad. Every picture must have its shady
side, but here there was no bright one; all was darkness and gloom. We
did not meet a living creature as we walked up from the shore, winding
our way amongst the prostrate and decaying tree-trunks that encumbered
the ground. At last, near the house, we stumbled upon a trio of black
little monsters, that were rolling in the mud with the dogs, half a
shirt upon their bodies, and dirty as only the children of men possibly
can be. The quadrupeds, for such they looked, jumped up on our approach,
stared at us with their rolling eyes, and then scuttled away to hide
themselves behind the house. Ha! Old Sybille! Is it you? She was
standing before a caldron, suspended, gipsy-fashion, from a triangle of
sticks--looking, for all the world, like a dingy parody of one of
Macbeth's witches. She, too, stared at us, but without moving. I must
introduce myself, I suppose. Now she has recognised me, and comes
towards us with her enormous spoon in her hand. I wonder that her
shriveled old turkey's neck--which cost me seventy-five dollars, by the
by--has not got twisted before now. She runs up to me, screaming and
crying for joy. There _is_ one creature, then, glad to see me. It is
amusing to observe the anxiety with which she looks at the caldron, and
at three pans in which ham and dried buffalo are stewing and grizzling;
she is evidently quite unable to decide whether she shall abandon me to
my fate, or the fleshpots to theirs. She sets up her pipe and makes a
most awful outcry, but nobody answers the call. "_Et les chambres_,"
howls she, "_et la maison, et tout, tout!_" I could not make out what
the deuce she would be at. She looked at my companion, evidently much
embarrassed.

"_Mais, mon Dieu!_" croaked she, "_pourrai-je seulement un moment? Tenez
là_, Massa!" she continued in an imploring tone, holding out the spoon
to me, and making a movement as if she were stirring something, and
then again pointing to the house.

"_Que diable as tu?_" cried I, out of all patience at this
unintelligible pantomime.

The rooms wanted airing and sweeping, she said; they were not fit to
receive a stranger in. She only required a quarter of an hour to put
every thing to rights; and mean time, if I would be so good, for the
sake of the honour of the house, just to stir the soup, and keep an eye
upon the ham and buffalo flesh.

Mentally consigning the old Guinea-fowl to the keeping of the infernal
deities, I walked towards the house. My only consolation was, that
probably my companion's residence was not in a much better state than
mine, if in so good a one; those Creoles above Alexandria still live
half like Redskins. Monsieur Ménou did not appear at all astonished at
my slovenly housekeeping. When we entered the parlour, we found, instead
of sofas and chairs, a quantity of Mexican cotton-seed in heaps upon the
floor; in one corner was a dirty tattered blanket, in another a
washing-tub. The other rooms were in a still worse state: one of the
negroes had taken up his quarters in my bed-chamber, from which the
musquitto curtains had disappeared, having passed, probably, into the
possession of the amiable Mrs Bleaks. I hastened to leave this scene of
disorder, and walked out into the court, my indignation and disgust
raised to the highest pitch.

"_Mais tout cela est bien charmant!_" exclaimed the Creole.

I looked at the man; he appeared in sober earnest, but I could not
believe that he was so; and I shook my head, for I was in no jesting
humour. The wearisome fellow again took my arm, and led me towards the
huts of my negroes and the cotton-fields. The soil of the latter was of
the richest and best description, and in spite of negligent cultivation,
its natural fertility and fatness had caused the plants to spring up
already nearly to the height of a man, though we were only in the month
of June. The Creole looked around him with the air of a connoisseur, and
in his turn shook his head. Just then, the bell on board the steamer
rang out the signal for departure.

"Thank Heaven!" thought I.

"_Monsieur_," said Ménou, "the plantation is _très charmante, mais ce_
Mistère Bleak is nothing worth, and you--you are _trop gentilhomme_."

I swallowed this equivocal compliment, nearly choking as I did so.

"_Ecoutez_," continued my companion; "you shall go with me."

"Go with you!" I repeated, in unbounded astonishment. "Is the man mad,"
I thought, "to make me such a proposition within ten minutes after my
return home?"

"_Oui, oui, Monsieur_, you shall go with me. I have some very important
things to communicate to you."

"_Mais, Monsieur_," replied I, pretty stiffly, "I do not know what you
can have to communicate to me. I am a good deal surprised at so strange
a proposition"----

"From a stranger," interrupted the Creole, smiling. "But I am serious,
Mr Howard; you have come here without taking the necessary precautions.
Your house is scarcely ready for your reception--the fever very
dangerous--in short, you had better come with me."

I looked at the man, astonished at his perseverance.

"Well," said he, "yes or no?"

I stood hesitating and embarrassed.

"I accept your offer," I exclaimed at last, scarcely knowing what I
said, and starting off at a brisk pace in the direction of the steamer.
Mr Bleaks looked on in astonishment. I bid him pay more attention to the
plantation, and with that brief injunction was about to step on board,
when my five-and-twenty negroes came howling from behind the house.

"Massa, Gor-a-mighty! Massa, Massa, stop with us!" cried the men.

"Massa, dear good Massa! Not go!--Mr Bleaks!" yelled the women.

I made sign to the captain to wait a moment.

"What do you want?" said I, a little moved.

One of the slaves stepped forward and bared his shoulders. Two others
followed his example. They were hideously scarred and seamed by the
whip.

I cast stern glance at Bleaks, who grinned a cruel smile. It was a
right fortunate thing for my honour and conscience that my poor negroes
had thus appealed to me. In the thoughtlessness of my nature, I should
have followed the Creole, without troubling myself in the least about
the condition or treatment of the five-and-twenty human beings whom I
had left in such evil hands. I excused myself hastily to Monsieur Ménou,
promised an early visit, to hear whatever he might have to say to me,
and bade him farewell. Without making me any answer, he hurried on
board, whispered something to the captain, and disappeared down the
cabin-stairs. I thought no more about him, and was walking towards the
house, surrounded by my blacks, when I heard the splashing of the
paddles, and the steamer resumed its voyage. At the same instant,
somebody laid hold of my arm. I looked round--it was the Creole.

"This is insupportable!" thought I. "I wonder he did not bring his two
daughters with him. That would have completed my annoyance."

"You will want my assistance with that _coquin_," said Ménou, quietly.
"We will arrange every thing to-day; to-morrow my son will be here; and
the day after you will go home with me."

I said nothing. What would have been the use if I had? I was no longer
my own master. This unaccountable Creole had evidently taken the
direction of my affairs entirely into his own hands.

My poor negroes and negresses were crying and laughing for joy, and
gazing at me with expectant looks. I bid then go to their huts; that I
would have them called when I wanted them.

"D--n those blackies!" said Mr Bleaks as they walked away: "they want
the whip; it's too long since they've had it."

Without replying to his remark, I told old Sybille to fetch Beppo and
Mirza, and signed to the overseer to leave me. He showed no disposition
to obey.

"This looks like an examination," said he sneeringly, "and I shall take
leave to be present at it."

"None of your insolence, Mr Bleaks," said I; "be so good as to take
yourself off and wait my orders."

"And none of your fine airs," replied the Mister. "We're in a free
country, and you ain't got a nigger afore ye."

This was rather more than I could stomach.

"Mr Bleaks," said I, "from this hour you are no longer in my employment.
Your engagement is out on the 1st of July; you shall be paid up to that
date."

"I don't set a foot over the threshold till I have received the amount
of my salary and advances," replied the man dryly.

"Bring me your account," said I. My blood was beginning to boil at the
fellow's cool impudence.

Bleaks called to his wife, who presently came to the room door. They
exchanged a few words, and she went away again. Meanwhile I opened my
portmanteau, and ran my eye over some accounts, letters, and receipts.
Before I had finished, Mrs Bleaks reappeared with the account-books,
which she laid upon the table, and planting herself, with arms akimbo,
in the middle of the room, seemed prepared to witness whatever passed.
Her husband lounged into the next apartment and brought a couple of
chairs, upon which he and his better half seated themselves. Truly,
thought I, our much-cherished liberty and equality have sometimes their
inconveniences and disagreeables.

"The 20th December, twenty-five bales cotton, four hogsheads tobacco in
leaf, delivered to Mr Merton," began the overseer; "the 24th January,
twenty-five bales cotton and one hogshead tobacco-leaves."

"Right," said I.

"That was our whole crop," said the man.

"A tolerable falling off from the former year," I observed. "There were
ninety-five bales and fifty hogsheads."

"If it doesn't please the gentleman, he ought to have stopped at home,
and not gone wandering over half the world instead of minding his
affairs," retorted Mr Bleaks.

"And leaving us to rot in this fever hole, without money or any thing
else," added his moiety.

"And further?" said I to the man.

"That's all. I've received from Mr Merton 600 dollars: 300 more are
still comin' to me."

"Very good."

"And moreover," continued Bleaks, "for Indian corn, meal, and hams, and
salt pork, and blankets, and cotton stuffs, I have laid out 400 dollars,
making 700, and 4000 hedge-stakes for mending fences, makes a total of
740 dollars."

I ran into the next room, found a pen and ink upon my dilapidated
writing-table, wrote an order on my banker, and came back again. At any
price I was resolved to get rid of this man.

"Allow me," said the Creole, who had been a silent witness of all that
had passed, but who now attempted to take the paper from my hand.

"Pardon me, sir," said I, vexed at the man's meddling; "on this occasion
I wish to be my own counsellor and master."

"Wait but one moment, and allow me to ask a few questions of your
overseer," continued the Creole, no way repulsed by my words or manner.
"Will Mr Bleaks be so good as to read over his account once more?"

"Don't know why I should. Mind your own business," was the churlish
answer.

"Then I will do it for you," said Ménou. "The 20th December, twenty-five
bales cotton, and four hogsheads tobacco-leaves, delivered to Mr Merton.
Is it not so?"

Mr Bleaks made no answer.

"The 23d December, twenty bales cotton, and one hogshead tobacco, to
Messrs Goring. Is it not so?"

The overseer cast a fierce but embarrassed look at the Creole. His wife
changed colour.

"The 24th January, twenty-five bales and one hogshead to Mr Groves, and
again, on the 10th February, twenty-two bales and seven hogsheads to
Messrs Goring. Is not that the correct account?"

"D----d lies!" stammered the overseer.

"Which I shall soon prove to be truth," said the other. "Mr Howard, you
have a claim on this man for upwards of 2000 dollars, of which he has
shamefully cheated you. I shall also be able to point out another fraud
to the extent of 500 dollars."

My faithless servants were pale with rage and confusion; I was struck
dumb with surprise at this unexpected discovery, and at the way in which
it was made.

"We must lose no time with these people," whispered the Creole to me,
"or they will be off before you can look round you. Send immediately to
Justice T---- for a warrant, and give the sheriff and constables a hint
to be on the look-out. He cannot well escape if he goes down stream, but
he will no doubt try to go up."

I immediately took the needful measures, and sent off Bangor, one of my
smartest negroes, to the justice of peace. "We must write immediately to
Goring's house," said the Creole.

In an hour all was ready. At the end of that time the Montezuma steamer
came smoking down the river. We got the captain to come on shore, told
him briefly what had happened, gave him our letters, and were just
accompanying him back to his vessel, when we saw a figure creep
stealthily along behind the hedge and wood-stack, and go on board the
steamer. It was Mr Bleaks, who had imagined that, under existing
circumstances, a trip to New Orleans might be of service to his health.
We found the worthy gentleman concealed amongst the crew, busily
converting himself into a negro by the assistance of a handful of soot.
His intended excursion was, of course, put an end to, and he was
conveyed back to his dwelling. We took precautions against a second
attempt at flight; and the following morning he was placed in safe
custody of the authorities.

"But, my dear Monsieur Ménou," said I to the Creole, as we sat after
dinner discussing the second bottle of his Chambertin, of which the
excellent man had not forgotten to bring a provision on shore with
him--"whence comes it that you have shown me so much, and such
undeserved sympathy and interest?"

"Ha, ha! You citizen aristocrats cannot understand that a man should
take an interest in any one, or any thing, but himself," replied Ménou,
half laughing, half in earnest. "It is incomprehensible to your stiff,
proud, republican egotism, which makes you look down upon us Creoles,
and upon all the rest of the world, as beings of an inferior order. We,
on the other hand, take care of ourselves, but we also occasionally
think of our neighbours. Your affairs are perfectly well known to me,
and I hope you do not think I have made a bad use of my knowledge of
them."

I shook the worthy man heartily by the hand.

"We are not, in general, particularly fond of you northern gentlemen,"
continued he; "but you form an exception. You have a good deal of our
French _étourderie_ in your blood, and a good deal also of our
generosity."

I could not help smiling at the _naïve_ frankness with which this sketch
of my character was placed before me.

"You have stopped too long away from your own house, and from people who
would willingly be your friends; and if all that is said be true, you
have no particular reason to congratulate yourself upon the result of
your wanderings."

I bit my lips. The allusion was pretty plainly to my misfortune at New
York.

"Better as it is," resumed the Creole, with a very slight and
good-humoured smile. "A New York fine lady would be strangely out of her
element on a Red River plantation. But to talk of something else. My son
will be here to-morrow; your estate only wants attention, and a small
capital of seven or eight thousand dollars, to become in a year or two
as thriving a one as any in Louisiana. My son will put it all in order
for you; and, meanwhile, you must come and stop a few months with me."

"But, Monsieur Ménou"----

"No _buts_, Monsieur Howard! You have got the money, you must buy a
score more negroes; we will pick out some good ones for you. To-morrow
every thing shall be arranged."

On the morrow came young Ménou, an active intelligent youth of twenty.
The day was passed in visiting the plantation, and in a very few hours
the young man had gained my full confidence. I recommended my interests
and the negroes to his care; and the same evening his father and myself
went on board the Ploughboy steamer, which was to convey us to the
residence of the Ménous.


CHAPTER THE SECOND.

CREOLE LIFE.

The good Creole had certainly behaved to me in a more Christian-like
manner than most of my own countrymen would have done; and of this I had
before long abundant proof. A little after nightfall, the steamboat
paused opposite the house of the justice of peace; and I went on shore
to communicate with him concerning my faithless steward. Although so
early, the functionary was already going to bed, and came out to me in
his nightshirt.

"Knew it all, dear Mr Howard," said he with the utmost _naïveté_; "saw
every bale that they stole from you, or tried to steal from you."

"And for Heaven's sake, man!" I exclaimed, "why did you not put a stop
to it?"

"It was nothing to me," was the dry answer.

"If you had only given information to my attorney!"

"No business of mine," returned the man. Then fixing his eyes hard upon
me, he commenced a sort of lecture, for which I was by no means
prepared.

"Ah!" said he, pushing his nightcap a little over his left ear, "you
young gentlemen come out of the north with your dozen blackies or so,
lay out some two or three thousand dollars in house and land, and then
think you can play the absentee as much as you like, and that you do us
a deal of honour when you allow us to collect and remit your income, for
you to spend out of the country. I'm almost sorry, Mr Howard, that you
didn't come six months later."

"In order to leave the scoundrel time to secure his booty, eh?"

"At any rate, he has worked, and has wife and child, and has been
useful to the land and country."

"The devil!" I exclaimed, mighty indignant. "Well--for a judge, you have
a singular idea of law!"

"It mayn't be Bony's code, nor yet Livingston's, but I reckon it's
justice," replied the man earnestly, tapping his forehead with his
forefinger.

I stared at him, but he returned my gaze with interest. There was a deal
of backwoods justice in his rough reasoning, although its morality was
indefensible. It was the law of property expounded _à la_ Lynch. What is
very certain is, that in a new country especially, absenteeism ought to
be scouted as a crime against the community. In my case my ramblings had
been very near costing me three thousand hard dollars. As it was,
however, they were saved--thanks to Ménou--and the money still in the
hands of Messrs Goring, whose standard of morality on such subjects was
probably not much more rigid than that of the worthy Squire Turnips, and
who would, I doubt not, have bought my cotton of the Evil One himself,
if they could have got it half-a-cent a pound cheaper by so doing. I
gave the squire the necessary papers and powers for the adjustment of my
affairs with Bleaks; we shook hands, and I returned on board.

In the grey of the morning the steamboat stopped again. I accompanied
Ménou on shore, and we found a carriage waiting, which, in spite of its
singularly antique construction, set off with us at a brisk pace. I had
just fallen asleep in my corner, when I was awakened by a musical voice
not ten paces off, exclaiming, "_Les voilà!_" I looked up, rubbed my
eyes--it was Louise, the Creole's youngest daughter, who had come out
under the verandah to welcome us. Where should we find one of our
northern beauties who would turn out of her warm bed at six in the
morning, to welcome her papa and a stranger guest, and to keep hot
coffee ready for them, to counteract the bad effects of the morning air
on the river? Monsieur Ménou, however, did not seem to find any thing
extraordinary in his daughter's early rising, but began enquiring if the
people had had their breakfasts, and were at work. On this and various
other subjects, Louise was able to give him all the information he
desired. She must have made astonishingly good use of the twenty-four
hours that had elapsed since her return home, to be versed in all
particulars concerning her sable liege subjects, and to be able to
relate so fluently how Cato had run a splinter into his foot, Pompey had
a touch of fever, and fifty other details, which, although doubtless
very interesting to Ménou, made me gape a little. I amused myself by
looking round the dining-room, in which we then were, the furniture and
appearance of which rather improved my opinion of Creole civilization
and comfort. The matting that covered the floor was new and of an
elegant design--the sideboard solid and handsome, although prodigiously
old-fashioned--tables, chairs, and sofas were of French manufacture. On
the walls were suspended two or three engravings; not the fight at New
Orleans, or Perry and Bainbridge's victories over the British on
Champlain and Erie, but curiosities dating from the reigns of Louis the
Fifteenth and Sixteenth. There was a Frenchified air about the whole
room, nothing of the republic, the empire, or the restoration, but a
sort of odour of the genuine old royalist days.

By the time I had completed my inspection, Louise had answered all her
father's enquiries; and we went out to take a look at the exterior of
the house. It was snugly situated at the foot of a conical hillock, the
only elevation of any kind to be found for miles around. South, east,
and west, it was enclosed in a broad frame of acacia and cotton trees;
but to the north it lay open, the breath of Boreas being especially
acceptable in our climate. A rivulet, very bright and clear, at least
for Louisiana, poured its waters from the elevation before mentioned,
and supplied a tannery, which doubtless contributed much to the
healthiness of the neighbourhood. The house consisted of three parts,
built at different times by grandfather, father, and son, and now united
into one. The last and largest portion had been built by the present
proprietor; and it would have been as easy, it struck me, to have
pulled down the earlier erections and have built one compact house. The
reason the Creole gave for not having done so, did honour, I thought, to
his heart. "I wish my children constantly to remember," said he, "how
hard their ancestors toiled, and how poorly they lived, in order to
ensure better days to those who should come after them."

"And they will remember it," said a voice close behind us. I turned
round.

"_Madame Ménou, j'ai l'honneur de vous présenter notre voisin, Monsieur
Howard._"

"_Qui restera longtems chez nous_," cried the two girls, skipping
forward, and before I had time to make my bow to the lady, taking me by
both hands and dragging me into the house, and through half a dozen
zigzag passages and corridors, to show me my room. This was a sexagonal
apartment, situated immediately over a small artificial lake, through
which flowed the rivulet before mentioned. It was the coolest and most
agreeable chamber in the house, on which account it had been allotted to
me. After I had declared my unqualified approval of it, my fair
conductresses took me down stairs again to papa and mamma, the latter of
whom I found to be a ladylike woman, with a countenance expressive of
good nature, and manners that at once made one feel quite at home. She
received me as if she had known me for years, without compliments or
ceremonious speeches, and without even troubling herself to screw her
features into the sort of holiday expression which many persons think it
necessary to assume on first acquaintance. I was soon engaged in a
conversation with her, in the middle of which a lady and two gentlemen
came out under the verandah and joined us. Their olive complexions and
foreign appearance at once attracted my attention, and I set them down
as Spaniards or of Spanish extraction. In this I was not mistaken. The
men were introduced to me as Señor Silveira and Don Pablo. The lady, who
was the wife of the former, was a remarkably lovely creature, tall and
elegant in person, with dark eyes, an aquiline and delicately-formed
nose, a beautiful mouth, enclosing pearl-like teeth. Hitherto I had held
our American fair ones to be the prettiest women in the world; but I now
almost felt inclined to alter my opinion. I was so struck by the fair
stranger's appearance that I could not take my eyes off her for some
moments; until a sharp glance from her husband, and (as I fancied) the
somewhat uneasy looks of the other ladies, made me aware that my gaze
might be deemed somewhat too free and republican in its duration. I
transferred my attention, therefore, to the breakfast, which, to my no
small satisfaction, was now smoking on the table, and to which we at
once sat down. The strangers appeared grave and thoughtful, and ate
little, although the steaks were delicious, the young quails
incomparable, and the Chambertin worthy of an imperial table.

"Who are those foreigners?" said I to Ménou, when the meal was over, and
we were leaving the room.

"Mexicans," was the reply; "but who they are I cannot tell you."

"What! do you not know them?"

"I know them perfectly well," he answered, "or they would not be in my
house. But even my family," whispered he, "does not know them."

Poor wretches! thought I, some more sacrifices on freedom's altar;
driven from house and home by the internal commotions of their country.
Things were going on badly enough in Mexico just then. On the one hand,
Guerrero, Bustamente, Santa Anna; on the other, a race of men to whom,
if one wished them their deserts, one could desire nothing better than
an Austrian schlague or a Russian knout, to make them sensible of the
value of that liberty which they do not know how to appreciate.

Meanwhile Julie and Louise were busy, in the next room, passing in
review, for the third or fourth time at least, the thousand-and-one
purchases they had made at New Orleans. It was a perfect picture of
Creole comfort to see the mamma presiding at this examination of the
laces, gros de Naples, Indiennes, gauze, and other fripperies, which
were passed rapidly through the slender fingers of her daughters, and
handed to her for approval. She found every thing charming; every
thing, too, had its destination; and my only wonder was, how it would be
possible for those ladies to use the hundreds of ells of stuffs that
were soon spread out over chairs, tables, and sofas, and that, as it
appeared to me, would have been sufficient to supply half the women of
Louisiana with finery for the next five years. This Creole family was
really a model of a joyous innocent existence; nothing constrained or
artificial; but a light and cheerful tone of conversation, which,
however, never degenerated into license, or threatened to overstep the
limits of the strictest propriety. Each person fulfilled his or her
allotted task thoroughly well, and without appearing to find it an
exertion. The housekeeping was admirable; to that point the excellence
of the breakfast had borne witness. I recollect once falling violently
in love with a Massachusetts beauty, possessed of a charming face, a
sylph-like figure, and as much sentimentality as would have stocked half
a dozen flaxen-haired Germans. It was my ninth serious attachment if I
remember rightly, and desperately smitten I was and remained, until one
unlucky day when the mamma of my _adorata_ invited me to a dinner _en
famille_. The toughness of the mutton-chops took the edge off my teeth
for forty-eight hours, and off my love for ever. As regards the Ménous,
however, I have hardly known them long enough to form a very decided
opinion concerning them. In a few days I shall be able to judge better.
Meanwhile we will leave the ladies, and accompany Monsieur Ménou over
his plantation. It is in excellent order, admirably situated, and
capitally irrigated by trenches cut through the cotton and maize fields.
There are above three hundred acres in cultivation--the yearly crop two
hundred and fifty bales: a very pretty income. Only three children, and
the plantation comprising nearly four thousand acres. Not so bad--might
be worth thinking of. But what would the world say to it? The
aristocratic Howard to marry a Creole, with, perhaps, a dash of Indian
blood in her veins! Yet Ménou has threescore negroes and negresses,
besides a whole colony of ebony children, and the two girls are not so
ill to look at. Roses and lilies--especially Louise. Well, we will think
about it.

"Apropos!" said the Creole, as we were walking along a field path. "You
have three thousand dollars with Gorings?"

I nodded.

"And eight thousand with Mr Richards?"

"How do you know that, my dear M. Ménou?"

I must observe, by way of parenthesis, that I had lent these eight
thousand dollars to Richards some five years previously; and although,
on more than one occasion during that time, the money would have been of
considerable use to me, I had been restrained from asking it back by my
natural indolence and laziness of character, added to the nonsensical
notion of generosity and devotion in friendship that I had picked out of
waggon-loads of novels. Richards, I must observe, had never hinted at
returning the money. I now felt rather vexed, I cannot exactly say why,
at Ménou's being acquainted with the fact of this debt, which I had
fancied a secret between Richards and myself.

"And how do you know that, my dear M. Ménou?"

Ménou smiled at my question. "You forget," said he, "that I am only just
returned from New Orleans. One hears and learns many things when one
opens one's ears to the gossip of the _haut-ton_ of the capital."

"Ha, ha!" said I, a little sarcastically, and glancing at the man's
straw hat, and unbleached trousers and jacket; "Monsieur Ménou--the
plain and unsophisticated Monsieur Ménou, also a _haut-ton_ man?"

"My wife was a M----y; my grandfather was president of the Toulouse
parliament," replied the Creole quietly, to my somewhat impertinent
remark.

I bowed. My suspicions concerning Indian blood were unfounded then.

"And have my proceedings and follies really served as tea-table talk to
the New Orleans' gossips?" said I.

"Don't let that annoy you," replied Ménou. "Let the world talk; and you,
on your part, prove to it that you are a more sensible man than it
takes you for. Will you put yourself for a while entirely under my
guidance?"

"Very willingly," said I.

"And promise to abide by my advice."

"I promise to do so."

"Then," continued Ménou, "you must let me have, to use as I think
proper, eight out of the eleven thousand dollars which you have lying
idle."

"And Richards?" said I.

"Can do without them better than you can. It is very well to be
generous, but not to the extent of injuring yourself. Here is a receipt
for the sum in question. I will account to you for its expenditure."

And with these words he handed me the receipt. He had evidently laid a
little plot to force me to my own good. It went decidedly against the
grain with me to requite Richards' hospitality and friendship by
claiming back the money I had lent him, and for which he no doubt had
good use. At the same time, it would have been rather Quixotic to let my
own plantation go to rack and ruin for want of the funds by which he was
profiting; and moreover, I had given Ménou my word to be guided by him;
so I put the receipt and my romantics in my pocket, and returned to the
house to give my adviser an order for the money.

Julie and Louise scarcely seemed to observe our entrance. Both had their
hands full--the one with cookery and domestic matters, the other with
the ginghams and muslins, which she was rending and tearing with a
vigour that caused the noise to be heard fifty yards off. At supper,
however, they were as merry as ever, and there was no end to their mirth
and liveliness. It seemed as if they had thrown off the burden of the
day's toils, and awakened to a new and more joyous existence. The three
Mexicans, with their gravity and grandeur, did not seem to be the least
restraint upon the girls, who at last, however, towards eight o'clock,
appeared to grow impatient at sitting so long still. They exchanged a
whisper, and then, rising from table, tripped into a adjoining room.
Presently the harmonious tones of a pianoforte were audible.

"We must not linger here," said the Creole. "_Les dames nous en
voudraient._"

And we all repaired to the drawing-room, an elegant apartment, where the
Mexican lady was already seated at the piano, while the two girls were
only waiting partners to begin the dance. Julie took possession of her
father, Silveira stood up with Madame Ménou, Louise fell to my share;
and a cotillon was danced with as much glee and spirit as if both
dancers and lookers-on had been more numerous. Between dancing, music,
and lively conversation, eleven o'clock came before we were aware of it.

"_Voici notre manière Créole_," said Ménou, as he left me at my bed-room
door. "With us every thing has its time; laughing, talking, working,
praying, and dancing: each its appointed season. We endeavour so to
arrange our lives that no one occupation or amusement should interfere
with another. It is only by that means that our secluded domestic
existence can be rendered agreeable and happy. As it is, _nous ne nous
ennuyons jamais_. Good-night."


CHAPTER THE THIRD.

QUITE UNEXPECTED.

Eight weeks had flown by like so many hours. I had become domesticated
in the family circle of the Ménous, and was getting so frugal and
economical, that I scarcely knew what a dollar or a bank-note looked
like. Time passed so lightly and pleasantly, and there was something so
patriarchal and delightful in this mode of life, that it was no
difficult matter to forget the world, with its excitements, its
pleasures, and its cares. I, at least, rarely bestowed a thought upon
any thing but what was passing immediately around me; whole piles of
newspapers lay unread upon my table, and I became every day more and
more of a backwoodsman. I rose early, slipped into my linen jacket and
trousers, and accompanied M. Ménou about his fields and cotton presses.
The afternoon passed in looking over accounts, or in reading and
laughing at the discussions and opinions of Colonel Stone and Major
Noah, as set forth in the well-known papers, the _Morning Courier_ and
_Commercial Gazette_, while the evening of each day was filled up by an
_impromptu_ of some kind, a dance, or a merry chat.

We were sitting one night at supper, when M. Ménou proposed a stag-hunt
by torchlight. I caught eagerly at the idea, and he at once gave orders
to make the needful preparations. The two Mexicans begged to be allowed
to accompany us; but almost before they had proffered the request, the
lady interfered to oppose it.

"Don Lop----!" she exclaimed, and then checked herself in the middle of
the word she was about to utter. "_Te suplico_," she continued in
Spanish, after a momentary pause, "I implore you not to go to-night."

There was something inexpressibly anxious and affectionate in her manner
and tone. Her husband begged her not to make herself uneasy, and
promised he would not go; at the same time, it was evident that he was
vexed not to accompany us. I assured the lady there was no danger.

"No danger!" repeated she, in her sonorous Castilian. "No danger! Is
nobody aware of the intended hunt?" said she to Ménou.

"Nobody," was the reply.

It just then occurred to me, that during the whole period of my
residence with the Ménous, neither the Mexican nor his wife had ever
gone out of the house and garden. This circumstance, in combination with
the anxiety now shown by the lady, struck me forcibly, and I gazed at
Silveira, while I vainly endeavoured to conjecture whence arose the
mystery that evidently environed him. He was a man of about thirty years
of age, with handsome features, a high forehead, and a pale, but not
unhealthy complexion. The expression of his eyes particularly struck me;
at times there flashed from them a fire, indicative of high purposes and
strong resolution. There was a military and commanding air about him,
which was very apparent, though he evidently did his utmost to conceal
it; and it was this same manner which had hitherto caused me to treat
him rather coolly, and rendered me little disposed to cultivate his
intimacy. His companion, Don Pablo, was a tolerably insignificant
person, who seemed to look up to Silveira and his wife with a respect
and reverence almost amounting to idolatry. Beside him, their suite was
composed of four attendants.

"And is there really no danger?" said the Señora to Ménou. The Creole
assured her there was none. She whispered a few words to her husband,
who kissed her hand, and repeated his request to be of our party--this
time without any opposition on his wife's part.

Supper over, we put on our shooting coats, took our guns, and mounted
the horses that had been prepared for us. Six negroes with pitch-pans,
and a couple of dogs, had gone on before. The clock struck ten as we set
out. It was a dark sultry night; towards the south distant thunder was
heard, betokening the approach of one of those storms that occur almost
daily at that season and in that country. During the first twenty
minutes of our ride, the atmosphere became stiflingly oppressive; then
suddenly a strong wind rushed amongst the trees and bushes, the thunder
drew nearer, and from time to time a flash of forked lightning
momentarily illumined the forest. Again a flash, more vivid than the
preceding ones, and a clap, compared to which our northern thunder would
sound like the mere roll of a drum; the dogs began to whine, and kept as
near to the horses as they could. We pushed onward, and were close to a
laurel thicket, when the leading hound suddenly came to a stand, and
pricked up his ears. We dismounted, and walked forward--the negroes
preceding us with the pitch-pans. Some twenty pace before us we
perceived four small stars, that glittered like diminutive
fire-balls--they were the eyes of two stags that awaited our approach,
in astonishment at the unusual spectacle offered to them. We took
aim--the Creole and myself at one, two Mexicans at the other. "_Feu!_"
cried Ménou. There was the crack of the four rifles, then a crashing
noise amongst the branches, and the clatter of hoofs, succeeded by cries
of _Sacre!_ and Damn ye! and _Diabolo!_ and _San Jago!_ The six
pitch-pans lay smoking and flaring on the ground; the Creole and I had
sprung on one side, the negroes had thrown themselves on their faces in
great terror, and the two Dons lay beside them, overthrown by the rush
of one of the stags.

"_Santa Virgen!_" shouted Don Pablo, mightily alarmed and angry;
"_Maldito bobo, Señor don Manuel!_"

And scrambling to his feet, he proceeded in desperate haste to raise his
companion from the ground, on which he lay motionless, and apparently
much hurt.

"_Maldito sea el dia! Nuestro Libertador! Santa Anna! Ay de mi!_"

"_Calla te_--hold your tongue!" said Silveira to his alarmed adherent.

On the first appearance of danger, M. Ménou had jumped behind a tree,
which had afforded a sufficient shelter against the mad rush of the
terrified stag; but his cry of warning had come too late for the young
Mexican, who had less experience in this kind of chase, and who,
standing full in the path of the furious beast, was knocked down, and
run over. I pushed Pablo, who was howling and wringing his hands, on one
side, and with Ménou, proceeded to investigate the hurts which the other
Mexican had received. His coat was torn, and both legs were bleeding,
having been rent by the deer's antlers. Fortunately the wounds were not
deep, or he might have had serious reason to regret the bad aim he had
taken. We placed him on his horse, and turned towards home.

It was midnight when we reached the house with the wounded man, and the
carcass of the deer that Ménou and I had shot. The sight of a white
figure at the window of the apartment occupied by the Mexican, warned us
that his wife was watching for his arrival. At the sound of our horses'
feet, she came hurrying down stairs, and out of the house to meet us;
and upon beholding her husband, pale, exhausted, and supported on his
horse by couple of negroes, she uttered a shrill cry, and with the word
"_Perdido!_" sank, almost fainting, on the door steps.

"Gracious God!" cried a second female voice at that moment. "A
misfortune! Is it Howard?"

It was Louise, who at that moment made her appearance in her nightdress,
breathless with terror.

"_Mon Dieu_, it is only the Mexican! Thank God!" lisped she, in an
accent of infinite joy and relief.

"Thanks, dearest Louise! for those words," said I; "they make me very
happy."

I caught her in my arms, and pressed a kiss upon her lips. She struggled
from my embrace, and, blushing deeply, hurried back into her chamber.

I now followed Ménou into the apartment of the Mexican, whose wife was
hanging over him, speechless with grief and anxiety. Ménou had much
trouble to get her away from him, in order that he might examine and
dress his hurts. I do not know where the worthy Creole had learned his
surgery, but he was evidently no tyro in the healing art; and he cut out
the flesh injured by the antler, washed and bandaged the wounds, with a
dexterity that really inspired me with confidence in him. The wounds
were not dangerous, but might easily have become so, taking into
consideration the heat of the weather, (the thermometer stood at
eighty-six,) and the circumstance of their having been inflicted by a
stag's horn. In a short half hour the patient was comfortably put to
bed, and the afflicted Donna Isabella consoled by Ménou's positive
assurance, that in a very few days her husband would be well again. She
received this piece of comfort with such a thoroughly Roman Catholic
uplifting of her magnificent eyes, that I could scarcely help envying
the saints for whom that look was intended.

I had held the candle for Ménou during the operation; and as I put it
down upon the table, my eyes fell upon a beautifully executed miniature
of the Mexican set in brilliants. Beside it were lying letters addressed
to Don Lopez di Santa Anna, Marischal de Campo; one or two had the
superscription, Lieutenant-general. It was no other than the celebrated
Mexican leader, the second in rank in the would-be republic, who had
been sojourning in Monsieur Ménou's house under the assumed name of
Silveira. This discovery afforded me matter for reflection as I repaired
to my bed-chamber; reflections, however, which were soon forced to make
way for other thoughts of a more personally interesting nature. It was
the graceful form of Louise that now glided forward out of the
background of my imagination. She had watched, then, anxiously for our
return; and the first rumour of a mishap had drawn from her lips the
name of him for whom her heart felt most interested. During the whole
time of my residence with the Ménous, I had never once dreamed of
falling in love with either of the sisters. There was so much activity
and occupation in and out of the house, that I seemed to have had no
time to indulge in sentimental reveries. Now, however, they came
crowding upon me. It was so consolatory to an unlucky bachelor, only
just recovering from a recent disappointment, to find himself an object
of tender interest a lovely and innocent girl of seventeen.

At breakfast, the next morning, Louise did not dare to look me in the
face. Without distressing her, however, I managed to look at her more
than I had ever before done; and I really wondered what I had been
thinking about, during the preceding two months, not to have sooner
found out her manifold charms and perfections. Her elder sister was too
stout for my taste, altogether on too large a scale, and with too little
of the intellectual in the expression of her features; but Louise is
unquestionably a charming creature, slender and graceful, with a sweet
archness in her countenance, and hands and feet that might serve for
models. In short, I began to think seriously that all past
disappointments would be more than compensated by the affection of such
a woman. I must see first about setting my house in order, thought I.

"Will you be so kind as to lend me your carriage to go as far as the
river?" said I to the Creole.

"With much pleasure. A mere ride, I suppose?"

"No; a little more. I wish to see how things are getting on at my
plantation."

"You are going away?" exclaimed Madame Ménou and Julie. Louise said
nothing, but she raised her eyes to mine for the first time that
morning.

"It is necessary that I should do so; but, if you will allow me, I will
pay you another visit before very long."

The roses had left the cheeks of poor Louise, and I fancied I saw a tear
glittering in her eyes. Several minutes elapsed without any body's
speaking. At last the silence was broken by the Creole.

"You seemed very happy here, I thought," said he. "Has any thing
happened?"

"Yes; something of great importance to me. I must really leave you
immediately," was my answer.

Mean time, Louise had left the room. I hurried after her, and overtook
her before she reached her chamber.

"Louise!" said I. She was weeping. "I leave you to-day."

"So I heard."

"In order to arrange my house."

"My brother is doing that already," said she. "Why leave us?"

"Because I would fain see with my own eyes if all is ready and fitting
for the reception of my Louise. When I have done so, will you follow me
home as my beloved wife?"

For one second she looked in my face, her features lighted up with a
beam of confiding joy, and then her gaze fell in timid confusion on the
ground.

"Take her, dear Howard!" said her father, who had followed us
unperceived. "She is the best of daughters, and will make as good a
wife."

Louise sank into my arms. An hour later I was on my way homewards.

At last, then, I was irrevocably pledged, and my bachelorship drew near
its close. I felt that I had made a judicious choice. Louise was an
excellent girl, sensible, prudent, active, and cheerful--uniting, in
short, all the qualities desirable in a backwoodsman's wife. It was
strange enough that all this should only have occurred to me within a
few hours. I had been living two months under the same roof with her,
and yet the idea of her becoming my wife had never entered my head till
the preceding night.

It was four in the afternoon when I reached my plantation, which I was
very near passing without recognising it, so great was the change that
had taken place since my last visit. The rubbish and tree-trunks that
had then encumbered the vicinity of the house had disappeared--the
garden had been increased in size, and surrounded by a new and elegant
fence--a verandah, under which two negro carpenters were at work, ran
along the front and sides of the house. As I walked up from the boat,
young Ménou came to meet me. I shook him heartily by the hand, and
expressed my gratitude for the trouble he had taken, and my wonder at
the astonishing progress the improvements of all kinds had made.

"How have you possibly managed to effect all these miracles?" said I.

"Very easily," replied Ménou. "You sent us fifteen negroes; my father
lent me ten of his. With these, and the twenty-five you had before, we
were able to make progress. We are now putting the finishing-stroke to
your cotton press, which was fearfully out of order."

I walked with a thankful heart through the garden, and stepped into the
verandah. The rooms that looked out upon it were all fitted up in the
most comfortable manner. In the principal bedroom, a negro girl was
working at the elegant musquitto curtains. Old Sybille, in a calico gown
of the most glaring colours, her face shining with contentment, was
brushing away some invisible dust from the furniture in the parlour.

"By the by," said young Ménou, opening a writing-desk, "here are several
letters that have come for you within the last few days, and that amidst
my various occupations I have quite forgotten to forward."

I sat down and opened them. Two were from Richards, the earliest in
date, inviting me to go and stay with him again. The more recent one
renewed the invitation, and expressed the writer's surprise at my having
become on a sudden so domestic a character. In a postscript he added, as
a sort of inducement to me to visit him, that he was daily expecting a
friend of his wife's, the beautiful Emily Warren. Not a syllable,
however, about the eight thousand dollars, which surprised me not a
little; for Richards was by no means a man to remain silent on a subject
affecting his worldly interest, and I fully expected he would have felt
and expressed some pique or resentment at my sudden withdrawal of my
funds. But, on the contrary, the letter I had given to Ménou, in which I
requested Richards to pay over the money in question to the Creole, was
not even alluded to.

"There are matters in these letters," said I to young Ménou, "which
oblige me to return immediately to your father's house."

"Indeed!" cried the young man, much astonished.

"Yes," replied I. "I hear a steamboat coming down the river--I will be
off at once."

He looked at me in great surprise; Sybille shook her head. But my
character is so impatient and impetuous, that when I have resolved on
any thing, I can never bear to defer its execution a moment. Besides,
there was really nothing to detain me at my plantation. The arrangements
and improvements that I had reckoned on finding only half effected were
complete; and every moment that now elapsed before I could welcome
Louise as mistress of my house and heart, seemed to me worse than
wasted. I hurried down to the river and hailed the steamer. It was the
same that had brought me home two months previously.

"Mr Howard," said the captain joyously, as I stepped on board the
vessel, "I am right glad to see you on my deck again. Your plantation
looks quite another thing. You are really a worker of wonders."

I hardly knew how to accept this undeserved praise. One of the best
points in our American character is the universal respect paid to
industry and intellect. The wealthy idler who carries thousands in his
pocket-book, may, amongst us, look in vain for the respect and flattery
which a tithe of his riches would procure him in many other countries;
while the less fortunate man, who makes his way and earns his living by
hand and head work, may always reckon on the consideration of his
fellow-citizens. On my return to Louisiana I had been thought nothing
of. I was a drone in the hive--with money, but without skill or
perseverance. My overseer was more looked up to than myself; but the
recent change in the state of my plantation, attributed, however
wrongly, to my presence, had caused a revolution in people's ideas; and
I was now met on all sides with open hands and smiling countenances. The
change, I must confess, was a gratifying one for me.

The Ménous were at breakfast the next morning, when I arrived, heated by
my walk from the river, opposite to the parlour window. I was received
with a cry of welcome.

"So soon back! Nothing wrong, I hope?" said Ménou.

"Nothing," replied I dryly; "I have only forgotten something."

"And what is that?"

"My Louise," was my answer, as I seated myself beside the blushing girl.
"On arriving at my wilderness," I continued, "I found it converted into
so blooming a paradise, that I should really be heartbroken if it were
to remain any longer without its Eve. To-morrow, please God, we will
start for New Orleans, to put in requisition the service of Père Antoine
and the worthy rector."

There was a cry of consternation from the papa and mamma.

"There is nothing ready--_point de trousseau_--nothing in the world. Do
not be so unreasonable, dear Howard."

"Our Yankee damsels," replied I, laughing, "if they have only got a pair
of shoes and a gown and a half, consider themselves perfectly ready to
be married."

"Well, let him have his way," said Ménou. "We can manage, I daresay, to
equip the bride a little better than that."

"Apropos," said I to Ménou, while the ladies were consulting together,
and recovering from the flurry into which my precipitation had thrown
them--"the eight thousand dollars? Richards says nothing about them."

"It was only an experiment I tried with you," replied my future
father-in-law, smiling. "I wished to see if you have sufficient firmness
of character to ensure your own happiness. Had you not come victoriously
out of the little ordeal, Louise should never have been wife of yours,
if all the plantations on the Mississippi had called you master. As to
the money, I advanced what was wanted. You can settle with Mr Richards
in the way most agreeable to yourself."

The next morning we set off for New Orleans--Ménou and Louise, Julie,
who was to act as bridesmaid, and myself. Madame Ménou remained at home.
I could have wished to have had young Ménou as my bridesman; but his
presence was necessary at the plantation, and we were obliged to content
ourselves with receiving his good wishes as we passed. After a twenty
hours' voyage we reached the capital, and took up our quarters in the
house of a sister of Ménou's.

I was hurrying to find Father Antoine, when, in turning the corner of
the cathedral, I ran bolt up against Richards. After the first greeting,
and without giving him time to ask me questions--

"Wait for me at the Merchant's Coffeehouse," said I; "in a quarter of an
hour I will meet you there."

And I left him in considerable astonishment at my desperate haste. I
found Father Antoine and the rector, and then hurried off to keep my
appointment.

"Do you know," said I to Richards, as I dragged him through the streets,
"that I am thinking seriously of becoming a Benedict?"

"Well," said he, "you must come home with me then. Emily Warren is
arrived. She is a charming girl, and a great friend of my wife's. You
will be sure of Clara's good word, and I really think Emily will exactly
suit you."

"I am afraid not," replied I, as I turned into the church.

Richards opened his eyes in amazement when he saw Louise, with her aunt,
sister, and the whole of the bridal party, walking up the aisle, and
Father Antoine standing at the altar in his robes.

"What does this mean?" said he.

I made no answer, but let matters explain themselves. Ten minutes after,
Louise Ménou was my wife.



GREECE UNDER THE ROMANS.{A}


What is called _Philosophical History_ we believe to be yet in its
infancy. It is the profound remark of Mr Finlay--profound as we
ourselves understand it, _i.e._, in relation to this philosophical
treatment, "That history will ever remain inexhaustible." How
inexhaustible? Are the _facts_ of history inexhaustible? In regard to
the _ancient_ division of history with which he is there dealing, this
would be in no sense true; and in any case it would be a lifeless truth.
So entirely have the mere facts of Pagan history been disinterred,
ransacked, sifted, that except by means of some chance medal that may be
unearthed in the illiterate East, (as of late towards Bokhara,) or by
means of some mysterious inscription, such as those which still mock the
learned traveller in Persia, northwards near Hamadan, (Ecbatana,) and
southwards at Persepolis, or those which distract him amongst the
shadowy ruins of Yucatan (Uxmal, suppose, and Palenque,)--once for all,
barring these pure godsends, it is hardly "in the dice" that any
downright novelty of fact should remain in reversion for this 19th
century. The merest possibility exists, that in Armenia, or in a
Græco-Russian monastery on Mount Athos, or in Pompeii, &c., some authors
hitherto +anekdotoi+ may yet be concealed; and by a channel in that
degree improbable, it is possible that certain new facts of history may
still reach us. But else, and failing these cryptical or subterraneous
currents of communication, for us the record is closed. History in that
sense is come to an end, and sealed up as by the angel in the
Apocalypse. What then? The facts _so_ understood are but the dry bones
of the mighty past. And the question arises here also, not less than in
that sublimest of prophetic visions, "Can these dry bones live?" Not
only they can live, but by an infinite variety of life. The same
historic facts, viewed in different lights, or brought into connexion
with other facts, according to endless diversities of permutation and
combination, furnish grounds for such eternal successions of new
speculations as make the facts themselves virtually new. The same Hebrew
words are read by different sets of vowel points, and the same
hieroglyphics are deciphered by keys everlastingly varied.

To us we repeat that oftentimes it seems as though the _science_ of
history were yet scarcely founded. There will be such a science, if at
present there is not; and in one feature of its capacities it will
resemble chemistry. What is so familiar to the perceptions of man as the
common chemical agents of water, air, and the soil on which we tread?
Yet each one of these elements is a mystery to this day; handled, used,
tried, searched experimentally, in ten thousand ways--it is still
unknown; fathomed by recent science down to a certain depth, it is still
probably by its destiny unfathomable. Even to the end of days, it is
pretty certain that the minutest particle of earth--that a dewdrop,
scarcely distinguishable as a separate object--that the slenderest
filament of a plant will include within itself secrets inaccessible to
man. And yet, compared with the mystery of man himself, these physical
worlds of mystery are but as a radix of infinity. Chemistry is in this
view mysterious and spinosistically sublime--that it is the science of
the latent in all things, of all things as lurking in all. Within the
lifeless flint, within the silent pyrites, slumbers an agony of
potential combustion. Iron is imprisoned in blood. With cold water (as
every child is now-a-days aware) you may lash a fluid into angry
ebullitions of heat; with hot water, as with the rod of Amram's son, you
may freeze a fluid down to the temperature of the Sarsar wind, provided
only that you regulate the pressure of the air. The sultry and
dissolving fluid shall bake into a solid, the petrific fluid shall melt
into a liquid. Heat shall freeze, frost shall thaw; and wherefore?
Simply because old things are brought together in new modes of
combination. And in endless instances beside we see the same Panlike
latency of forms and powers, which gives to the external world a
capacity of self-transformation, and of _polymorphosis_ absolutely
inexhaustible.

But the same capacity belongs to the facts of history. And we do not
mean merely that, from subjective differences in the minds reviewing
them, such facts assume endless varieties of interpretation and
estimate, but that objectively, from lights still increasing in the
science of government and of social philosophy, all the primary facts of
history become liable continually to new theories, to new combinations,
and to new valuations of their moral relations. We have seen some kinds
of marble, where the veinings happened to be unusually multiplied, in
which human faces, figures, processions, or fragments of natural scenery
seemed absolutely illimitable, under the endless variations or
inversions of the order, according to which they might be combined and
grouped. Something analogous takes effect in reviewing the remote parts
of history. Rome, for instance, has been the object of historic pens for
twenty centuries (dating from Polybius); and yet hardly so much as
twenty years have elapsed since Niebuhr opened upon us almost a new
revelation, by recombining the same eternal facts, according to a
different set of principles. The same thing may be said, though not with
the same degree of emphasis, upon the Grecian researches of the late
Ottfried Mueller. Egyptian history again, even at this moment, is seen
stealing upon us through the dusky twilight in its first distinct
lineaments. Before Young, Champollion, and the others who have followed
on their traces in this field of history, all was outer darkness; and
whatsoever we _do_ know or _shall_ know of Egyptian Thebes will now be
recovered as if from the unswathing of a mummy. Not until a flight of
three thousand years has left Thebes the Hekatompylos a dusky speck
in the far distance, have we even _begun_ to read her annals, or to
understand her revolutions.

Another instance we have now before us of this new historic faculty for
resuscitating the buried, and for calling back the breath to the frozen
features of death, in Mr Finlay's work upon the Greeks as related to the
Roman empire. He presents us with old facts, but under the purpose of
clothing them with a new life. He rehearses ancient stories, not with
the humble ambition of better adorning them, of more perspicuously
narrating, or even of more forcibly pointing their moral, but of
extracting from them some new meaning, and thus forcing them to arrange
themselves, under some latent connexion, with other phenomena now first
detected, as illustrations of some great principle or agency now first
revealing its importance. Mr Finlay's style of intellect is appropriate
to such a task; for it is subtle and Machiavelian. But there is this
difficulty in doing justice to the novelty, and at times we may say with
truth to the profundity of his views, that they are by necessity thrown
out in continued successions of details, are insulated, and in one word
_sporadic_. This follows from the very nature of his work; for it is a
perpetual commentary on the incidents of Grecian history, from the era
of the Roman conquest to the commencement of what Mr Finlay, in a
peculiar sense, calls the Byzantine empire. These incidents have nowhere
been systematically or continuously recorded; they come forward by
casual flashes in the annals, perhaps, of some church historian, as they
happen to connect themselves with his momentary theme; or they betray
themselves in the embarrassments of the central government, whether at
Rome or at Constantinople, when arguing at one time a pestilence, at
another an insurrection, or an inroad of barbarians. It is not the fault
of Mr Finlay, but his great disadvantage, that the affairs of Greece
have been thus discontinuously exhibited, and that its internal changes
of condition have been never treated except obliquely, and by men _aliud
agentibus_. The Grecian _race_ had a primary importance on our planet;
but the Grecian name, represented by Greece considered as a territory,
or as the original seat of the Hellenic people, ceased to have much
importance, in the eyes of historians, from the time when it became a
conquered province; and it declined into absolute insignificance after
the conquest of so many other provinces had degraded Hellas into an
arithmetical unit, standing amongst a total amount of figures, so vast
and so much more dazzling to the ordinary mind. Hence it was that in
ancient times no complete history of Greece, through all her phases and
stages, was ever attempted. The greatness of her later revolutions,
simply as changes, would have attracted the historian; but, as changes
associated with calamity and loss of power, they repelled his curiosity,
and alienated his interest. It is the very necessity, therefore, of Mr
Finlay's position, when coming into such an inheritance, that he must
splinter his philosophy into separate individual notices; for the
records of history furnish no grounds for more. _Spartam, quam nactus
est, ornavit._ But this does not remedy the difficulty for ourselves, in
attempting to give a representative view of his philosophy. General
abstractions he had no opportunity for presenting; consequently we have
no opportunity for valuing; and, on the other hand, single cases
selected from a succession of hundreds would not justify any
_representative_ criticism, more than the single brick, in the anecdote
of Hierocles, would serve representatively to describe or to appraise
the house.

Under this difficulty as to the possible for ourselves, and the just for
Mr Finlay, we shall adopt the following course. So far as the Greek
people connected themselves in any splendid manner with the Roman
empire, they did so with the eastern horn of that empire, and in point
of time from the foundation of Constantinople as an eastern Rome in the
fourth century, to a period not fully agreed on; but for the moment we
will say with Mr Finlay, up to the early part of the eighth century. A
reason given by Mr Finlay for this latter state is--that about that time
the Grecian blood, so widely diffused in Asia, and even in Africa,
became finally detached by the progress of Mahometanism and Mahometan
systems of power from all further concurrence or coalition with the
views of the Byzantine Cæsar. Constantinople was from that date thrown
back more upon its own peculiar heritage and jurisdiction, of which the
main resources for war and peace lay in Europe and (speaking by the
narrowest terms) in Thrace. Henceforth, therefore, for the city and
throne of Constantine, resuming its old Grecian name of Byzantium, there
succeeded a theatre less diffusive, a population more concentrated, a
character of action more determinate and jealous, a style of courtly
ceremonial more elaborate as well as more haughtily repulsive, and
universally a system of interests, as much more definite and selfish, as
might naturally be looked for in a nation now every where surrounded by
new thrones gloomy with malice, and swelling with the consciousness of
youthful power. This new and final state of the eastern Rome Mr Finlay
denominates the Byzantine empire. Possibly this use of the term may be
capable of justification; but more questions would arise in the
discussion than Mr Finlay has thought it of importance to notice. And
for the present we shall take the word _Byzantine_ in its most ordinary
acceptation, as denoting the local empire founded by Constantine in
Byzantium early in the fourth century, under the idea of a translation
from the old western Rome, and overthrown by the Ottoman Turks in the
year 1453. In the fortunes and main stages of this empire, what are the
chief arresting phenomena, aspects, or relations, to the greatest of
modern interests? We select by preference these.

I. First, this was the earliest among the kingdoms of our planet _which
connected itself with Christianity_. In Armenia, there had been a
previous _state_ recognition of Christianity. But _that_ was neither
splendid nor distinct. Whereas the Byzantine Rome built avowedly upon
Christianity as its own basis, and consecrated its own nativity by the
sublime act of founding the first provision ever attempted for the
poor, considered simply as poor, (_i.e._ as objects of pity, not as
instruments of ambition.)

II. _Secondly, as the great ægis of western Christendom_, nay, the
barrier which made it possible that any Christendom should ever exist,
this Byzantine empire is entitled to a very different station in the
enlightened gratitude of us western Europeans from any which it has yet
held. We do not scruple to say--that, by comparison with the services of
the Byzantine people to Europe, no nation on record has ever stood in
the same relation to any other single nation, much less to a whole
family of nations, whether as regards the opportunity and means of
conferring benefits, or as regards the astonishing perseverance in
supporting the succession of these benefits, or as regards the ultimate
event of these benefits. A great wrong has been done for ages; for we
have all been accustomed to speak of the Byzantine empire with scorn,{B}
as chiefly known by its effeminacy; and the greater is the call for a
fervent palinode.

III. _Thirdly._ In a reflex way, as the one great danger which
overshadowed Europe for generations, and against which the Byzantine
empire proved the capital bulwark, Mahometanism may rank as one of the
Byzantine aspects or counterforces. And if there is any popular error
applying to the history of that great convulsion, as a political effort
for revolutionizing the world, some notice of it will find a natural
place in connexion with these present trains of speculation.

Let us, therefore, have permission to throw together a few remarks on
these three subjects--1st, on the remarkable distinction by which the
eldest of Christian rulers proclaimed and inaugurated the Christian
basis of his empire: 2dly, on the true but forgotten relation of this
great empire to our modern Christendom, under which idea we comprehend
Europe and the whole continent of America: 3dly, on the false
pretensions of Mahometanism, whether advanced by itself or by
inconsiderate Christian speculators on its behalf. We shall thus obtain
this advantage, that some sort of unity will be given to our own glances
at Mr Finlay's theme; and, at the same time, by gathering under these
general heads any dispersed comments of Mr Finlay, whether for
confirmation of our own views, or for any purpose of objection to his,
we shall give to those comments also that kind of unity, by means of a
reference to a common purpose, which we could not have given them by
citing each independently for itself.

I. First, then, as to that memorable act by which Constantinople (_i.e._
the Eastern empire) connected herself for ever with Christianity; viz.
the recognition of pauperism as an element in the state entitled to the
maternal guardianship of the state. In this new principle, introduced by
Christianity, we behold a far-seeing or proleptic wisdom, making
provision for evils before they had arisen; for it is certain that great
expansions of pauperism did not exist in the ancient world. A pauper
population is a disease peculiar to the modern or Christian world.
Various causes latent in the social systems of the ancients prevented
such developments of surplus people. But does not this argue a
superiority in the social arrangements of these ancients? Not at all;
they were atrociously worse. They evaded this one morbid affection by
means of others far more injurious to the moral advance of man. The case
was then every where as at this day it is in Persia. A Persian
ambassador to London or Paris might boast that, in his native Irân no
such spectacles existed of hunger-bitten myriads as may be seen every
where during seasons of distress in the crowded cities of Christian
Europe. "No," would be the answer, "most certainly not; but why? The
reason is, that your accursed form of society and government
_intercepts_ such surplus people, does not suffer them to be born. What
is the result? You ought, in Persia, to have three hundred millions of
people; your vast territory is easily capacious of that number. You
_have_--how many have you? Something less than eight millions." Think of
this, startled reader. But, if _that_ be a good state of things, then
any barbarous soldier who makes a wilderness, is entitled to call
himself a great philosopher and public benefactor. This is to cure the
headache by amputating the head. Now, the same principle of limitation
to population _à parte ante_, though not in the same savage excess as in
Mahometan Persia, operated upon Greece and Rome. The whole Pagan world
escaped the evils of a redundant population by vicious repressions of it
beforehand. But under Christianity a new state of things was destined to
take effect. Many protections and excitements to population were laid in
the framework of this new religion, which, by its new code of rules and
impulses, in so many ways extended the free-agency of human beings.
Manufacturing industry was destined first to arise on any great scale
under Christianity. Except in Tyre and Alexandria, (see the Emperor
Hadrian's account of this last,) there was no town or district in the
ancient world where the populace could be said properly to work. The
rural labourers worked a little--not much; and sailors worked a little;
nobody else worked at all. Even slaves had little more work distributed
amongst each ten than now settles upon one. And in many other ways, by
protecting the principle of life, as a mysterious sanctity, Christianity
has favoured the development of an excessive population. There it is
that Christianity, being answerable for the mischief, is answerable for
its redress. Therefore it is that, breeding the disease, Christianity
breeds the cure. Extending the vast lines of poverty, Christianity it
was that first laid down the principle of a relief for poverty.
Constantine, the first Christian potentate, laid the first stone of the
mighty overshadowing institution since reared in Christian lands to
poverty, disease, orphanage, and mutilation. Christian instincts, moving
and speaking through that Cæsar, first carried out that great idea of
Christianity. Six years was Christianity in building Constantinople, and
in the seventh she rested from her labours, saying, "Henceforward let
the poor man have a haven of rest for ever; a rest from his work for one
day in seven; a rest from his anxieties by a legal and a fixed relief."
Being legal, it could not be open to disturbances of caprice in the
giver; being fixed, it was not open to disturbances of miscalculation in
the receiver. Now, first, when first Christianity was installed as a
public organ of government, (and first owned a distinct political
responsibility,) did it become the duty of a religion which assumed, as
it were, the _official_ tutelage of poverty, to proclaim and consecrate
that function by some great memorial precedent. And, accordingly, in
testimony of that obligation, the first Christian Cæsar, on behalf of
Christianity, founded the first system of relief for pauperism. It is
true, that largesses from the public treasury, gratuitous coin, or corn
sold at diminished rates, not to mention the _sportulæ_ or stated doles
of private Roman nobles, had been distributed amongst the indigent
citizens of Western Rome for centuries before Constantine; but all these
had been the selfish bounties of factious ambition or intrigue.

To Christianity was reserved the inaugural act of public charity in the
spirit of charity. We must remember that no charitable or beneficent
institutions of any kind, grounded on disinterested kindness, existed
amongst the Pagan Romans, and still less amongst the Pagan Greeks. Mr
Coleridge, in one of his lay sermons, advanced the novel doctrine--that
in the Scriptures is contained all genuine and profound statesmanship.
Of course he must be understood to mean--in its capital principles:
for, as to subordinate and executive rules for applying such principles,
these, doubtless, are in part suggested by the local circumstances in
each separate case. Now, amongst the political theories of the Bible is
this--that pauperism is not an accident in the constitution of states,
but an indefeasible necessity; or, in the scriptural words, that "the
poor shall never cease out of the land." This theory, or great canon of
social philosophy, during many centuries, drew no especial attention
from philosophers. It passed for a truism, bearing no particular
emphasis or meaning beyond some general purpose of sanction to the
impulses of charity. But there is good reason to believe, that it
slumbered, and was meant to slumber, until Christianity arising and
moving forwards should call it into a new life, as a principle suited to
a new order of things. Accordingly, we have seen of late that this
scriptural dictum--"The poor shall never cease out of the land"--has
terminated its career as a truism, (that is, as a truth, either obvious
on one hand, or inert on the other,) and has wakened into a polemic or
controversial life. People arose who took upon them utterly to deny this
scriptural doctrine. Peremptorily they challenged the assertion that
poverty must always exist. The Bible said that it was an affection of
human society which could not be exterminated: the economists of 1800
said that it was a foul disease, which must and should be exterminated.
The scriptural philosophy said, that pauperism was inalienable from
man's social condition in the same way that decay was inalienable from
his flesh. "I shall soon see _that_," said the economist of 1800, "for
as sure as my name is M----, I will have this poverty put down by law
within one generation, if there's law to be had in the courts at
Westminster." The Scriptures had left word--that, if any man should come
to the national banquet declaring himself unable to pay his
contribution, that man should be accounted the guest of Christianity,
and should be privileged to sit at the table in thankful remembrance of
what Christianity had done for man. But Mr M---- left word with all the
servants, that, if any man should present himself under those
circumstances, he was to be told, "The table is full"--(_his_ words, not
ours;) "go away, good man." Go away! Mr M----? Where was he to go to?
Whither? In what direction?--"Why, if you come to _that_," said the man
of 1800, "to any ditch that he prefers: surely there's good choice of
ditches for the most fastidious taste." During twenty years, viz. from
1800 to 1820, this new philosophy, which substituted a ditch for a
dinner, and a paving-stone for a loaf, prevailed and prospered. At one
time it seemed likely enough to prove a snare to our own
aristocracy--the noblest of all ages. But that peril was averted, and
the further history of the case was this: By the year 1820, much
discussion having passed to and fro, serious doubts had arisen in many
quarters: scepticism had begun to arm itself against the sceptic: the
economist of 1800 was no longer quite sure of his ground. He was now
suspected of being fallible; and, what seemed of worse augury, he was
beginning himself to suspect as much. To one capital blunder he was
obliged publicly to plead guilty. What it was, we shall have occasion to
mention immediately. Meantime it was justly thought that, in a dispute
loaded with such prodigious practical consequences, good sense and
prudence demanded a more extended enquiry than had yet been instituted.
Whether poverty would ever cease from the land, might be doubted by
those who balanced their faith in Scripture against their faith in the
man of 1800. But this at least could not be doubted--that as yet poverty
_had_ not ceased, nor indeed had made any sensible preparations for
ceasing, from any land in Europe. It was a clear case, therefore, that,
howsoever Europe might please to dream upon the matter when pauperism
should have reached that glorious euthanasy predicted by the alchemist
of old and the economist of 1800, for the present she must deal actively
with her own pauperism on some avowed plan and principle, good or
evil--gentle or harsh. Accordingly, in the train of years between 1820
and 1830, enquiries were made of every separate state in Europe, what
_were_ those plans and principles. For it was justly said--"As one step
towards judging rightly of our own system, now that it has been so
clamorously challenged for a bad system, let us learn what it is that
other nations think upon the subject, but above all what it is that they
_do_." The answers to our many enquiries varied considerably; and some
amongst the most enlightened nations appeared to have adopted the good
old plan of _laissez faire_, giving nothing from any public fund to the
pauper, but authorizing him to levy contributions on that gracious
allegoric lady, Private Charity, wherever he could meet her taking the
air with her babes. This reference appeared to be the main one in reply
to any application of the pauper; and for all the rest they referred him
generally to the "ditch," or to his own unlimited choice of ditches,
according to the approved method of public benevolence published in 4to
and in 8vo by the man of 1800. But there were other and humbler states
in Europe, whose very pettiness had brought more fully within their
vision the whole machinery and watchwork of pauperism, as it acted and
re-acted on the industrious poverty of the land, and on other interests,
by means of the system adopted in relieving it. From these states came
many interesting reports, all tending to some good purpose. But at last,
and before the year 1830, amongst other results of more or less value,
three capital points were established, not more decisive for the
justification of the English system in administering national relief to
paupers, and of all systems that reverenced the authority of Scripture,
than they were for the overthrow of Mr M----, the man of 1800. These
three points are worthy of being used as buoys in mapping out the true
channels, or indicating the breakers on this difficult line of
navigation; and we now rehearse them. They may seem plain almost to
obviousness; but it is enough that they involve all the disputed
questions of the case.

_First_, That, in spite of the assurances from economists, no progress
whatever had been made by England or by any state which lent any
sanction to the hope of ever eradicating poverty from society.

_Secondly_, That, in absolute contradiction of the whole hypothesis
relied on by M---- and his brethren, in its most fundamental doctrine, a
legal provision for poverty did _not_ act as a bounty on marriage. The
experience of England, where the trial had been made on the largest
scale, was decisive on this point; and the opposite experience of
Ireland, under the opposite circumstances, was equally decisive. And
this result had made itself so clear by 1820, that even M---- (as we have
already noticed by anticipation) was compelled to publish a recantation
as to this particular error, which in effect was a recantation of his
entire theory.

_Thirdly_, That, according to the concurring experience of all the most
enlightened states of Christendom, the public suffered least, (not
merely in molestation but in money,) pauperism benefited most, and the
growth of pauperism was retarded most, precisely as the provision for
the poor had been legalized as to its obligation, and fixed as to its
amount. Left to individual discretion the burden was found to press most
unequally; and, on the other hand, the evil itself of pauperism, whilst
much less effectually relieved, nevertheless through the irregular
action of this relief was much more powerfully stimulated.

Such is the abstract of our latest public warfare on this great question
through a period of nearly fifty years. And the issue is this--starting
from the contemptuous defiance of the scriptural doctrine upon the
necessity of making provision for poverty as an indispensable element in
civil communities, the economy of the age has lowered its tone by
graduated descents, in each one successively of the four last
_decennia_. The philosophy of the day as to this point at least is at
length in coincidence with Scripture. And thus the very extensive
researches of this nineteenth century, as to pauperism, have re-acted
with the effect of a full justification upon Constantine's attempt to
connect the foundation of his empire with that new theory of
Christianity upon the imperishableness of poverty, and upon the duties
corresponding to it.

Meantime Mr Finlay denies that Christianity had been raised by
Constantine into the religion of the state; and others have denied that,
in the extensive money privileges conceded to Constantinople, he
contemplated any but political principles. As to the first point, we
apprehend that Constantine will be found not so much to have shrunk back
in fear from installing Christianity in the seat of supremacy, as to
have diverged in policy from our modern _methods_ of such an
installation. Our belief is, that according to _his_ notion of a state
religion, he supposed himself to have conferred that distinction upon
Christianity. With respect to the endowments and privileges of
Constantinople, they were various; some lay in positive donations,
others in immunities and exemptions; some again were designed to attract
strangers, others to attract nobles from old Rome. But, with fuller
opportunities for pursuing that discussion, we think it would be easy to
show, that in more than one of his institutions and his decrees he had
contemplated the special advantage of the poor as such; and that, next
after the august distinction of having founded the first Christian
throne, he had meant to challenge and fix the gaze of future ages upon
this glorious pretension--that he first had executed the scriptural
injunction to make a provision for the poor, as an order of society that
by laws immutable should "never cease out of the land."

_Secondly_, Let us advert to the value and functions of Constantinople
as the tutelary genius of western or dawning Christianity.

The history of Constantinople, or more generally of the Eastern Roman
empire, wears a peculiar interest to the children of Christendom; and
for two separate reasons--_first_, as being the narrow isthmus or bridge
which connects the two continents of ancient and modern history, and
_that_ is a philosophic interest; but, _secondly_ which in the very
highest degree is a practical interest, as the record of our earthly
salvation from Mahometanism. On two horns was Europe assaulted by the
Moslems; first, last, and through the largest tract of time, on the horn
of Constantinople; there the contest raged for more than eight hundred
years, and by the time that the mighty bulwark fell (1453,) Vienna and
other cities upon or near the Danube had found leisure for growing up;
so that, if one range of Alps had slowly been surmounted, another had
now slowly reared and embattled itself against the westward progress of
the Crescent. On the western horn, _in_ France, but _by_ Germans, once
for all Charles Martel had arrested the progress of the fanatical Moslem
almost in a single battle; certainly a single generation saw the whole
danger dispersed, inasmuch as within that space the Saracens were
effectually forced back into their original Spanish lair. This
demonstrates pretty forcibly the difference of the Mahometan resources
as applied to the western and the eastern struggle. To throw the whole
weight of that difference, a difference in the result as between eight
centuries and thirty years, upon the mere difference of energy in German
and Byzantine forces, as though the first did, by a rapturous fervour,
in a few revolutions of summer what the other had protracted through
nearly a millennium, is a representation which defeats itself by its own
extravagance. To prove too much is more dangerous than to prove too
little. The fact is, that vast armies and mighty nations were
continually disposable for the war upon the city of Constantine; nations
had time to arise in juvenile vigour, to grow old and superannuated, to
melt away, and totally to disappear, in that long struggle on the
Hellespont and Propontis. It was a struggle which might often intermit
and slumber; armistices there might be, truces, or unproclaimed
suspensions of war out of mutual exhaustion, but peace there could _not_
be, because any resting from the duty of hatred towards those who
reciprocally seemed to lay the foundations of their creed in a
dishonouring of God, was impossible to aspiring human nature. Malice and
mutual hatred, we repeat, became a duty in those circumstances. Why had
they _begun_ to fight? Personal feuds there had been none between the
parties. For the early caliphs did not conquer Syria and other vast
provinces of the Roman empire, because they had a quarrel with the
Cæsars who represented Christendom; but, on the contrary, they had a
quarrel with the Cæsars because they had conquered Syria, or, at the
most, the conquest and the feud (if not always lying in that exact
succession as cause and effect) were joint effects from a common cause,
which cause was imperishable as death, or the ocean, and as deep as are
the fountains of animal life. Could the ocean be altered by a sea fight?
or the atmosphere be tainted for ever by an earthquake? As little could
any single reign or its events affect the feud of the Moslem and the
Christian; a feud which could not cease unless God could change, or
unless man (becoming careless of spiritual things) should sink to the
level of a brute.

These are considerations of great importance in weighing the value of
the Eastern Empire. If the cause and interest of Islamism, as against
Christianity, were undying--then we may be assured that the Moorish
infidels of Spain did not reiterate their trans-Pyrenean expeditions
after one generation--simply because they _could_ not. But we know that
on the south-eastern horn of Europe they _could_, upon the plain
argument that for many centuries they _did_. Over and above this, we are
of opinion that the Saracens were unequal to the sort of hardships bred
by cold climates; and there lay another repulsion for Saracens from
France, &c., and not merely the Carlovingian sword. We children of
Christendom show our innate superiority to the children of the Orient
upon this scale or tariff of acclimatizing powers. We travel as wheat
travels through all reasonable ranges of temperature; they, like rice,
can migrate only to warm latitudes. They cannot support our cold, but we
_can_ support the countervailing hardships of their heat. This cause
alone would have weatherbound the Mussulmans for ever within the
Pyrenean cloisters. Mussulmans in cold latitudes look as blue and as
absurd as sailors on horseback. Apart from which cause, we see that the
fine old Visigothic races in Spain found them full employment up to the
reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, which reign first created a kingdom of
Spain; in that reign the whole fabric of their power thawed away, and
was confounded with forgotten things. Columbus, according to a local
tradition, was personally present at some of the latter campaigns in
Grenada: he saw the last of them. So that the discovery of America may
be used as a convertible date with that of extinction for the Saracen
power in western Europe. True that the overthrow of Constantinople had
forerun this event by nearly half a century. But then we insist upon the
different proportions of the struggle. Whilst in Spain a province had
fought against a province, all Asia militant had fought against the
eastern Roman empire. Amongst the many races whom dimly we descry in
those shadowy hosts, tilting for ages in the vast plains of Angora, are
seen, latterly pressing on to the van, two mighty powers, the children
of Persia and the Ottoman family of the Turks. Upon these nations, both
now rapidly decaying, the faith of Mahomet has ever leaned as upon her
eldest sons; and these powers the Byzantine Cæsars had to face in every
phasis of their energy, as it revolved from perfect barbarism, through
semi-barbarism, to that crude form of civilization which Mahometans can
support. And through all these transmigrations of their power we must
remember that they were under a martial training and discipline, never
suffered to become effeminate. One set of warriors after another _did_,
it is true, become effeminate in Persia: but upon that advantage
opening, always another set stepped in from Torkistan or from the Imaus.
The nation, the individuals melted away; the Moslem armies were
immortal.

Here, therefore, it is, and standing at this point of our review, that
we complain of Mr Finlay's too facile compliance with historians far
beneath himself. He has a fine understanding: oftentimes his
commentaries on the past are ebullient with subtlety; and his fault
strikes us as lying even in the excess of his sagacity applying itself
too often to a basis of facts, quite insufficient for supporting the
superincumbent weight of his speculations. But in this instance he
surrenders himself too readily to the ordinary current of history. How
would _he_ like it, if he happened to be a Turk himself, finding his
nation thus implicitly undervalued? For clearly, in undervaluing the
Byzantine resistance, he _does_ undervalue the Mahometan assault.
Advantages of local situation cannot _eternally_ make good the
deficiencies of man. If the Byzantines (being as weak as historians
would represent them) yet for ages resisted the whole impetus of
Mahometan Asia, then it follows, either that the Crescent was
correspondingly weak, or that, not being weak, she must have found the
Cross pretty strong. The _facit_ of history does not here correspond
with the numerical items.

Nothing has ever surprised us more, we will frankly own, than this
coincidence of authors in treating the Byzantine empire as feeble and
crazy. On the contrary, to us it is clear that some secret and
preternatural strength it must have had, lurking where the eye of man
did not in those days penetrate, or by what miracle did it undertake our
universal Christian cause, fight for us all, keep the waters open from
freezing us up, and through nine centuries prevent the ice of
Mahometanism from closing over our heads for ever? Yet does Mr Finlay
(p. 424) describe this empire as labouring, in A.D. 623, equally with
Persia, under "internal weakness," and as "equally incapable of offering
any popular or national resistance to an active or enterprising enemy."
In this Mr Finlay does but agree with other able writers; but he and
they should have recollected, that hardly had that very year 623
departed, even yet the knell of its last hour was sounding upon the
winds, when this effeminate empire had occasion to show that she could
clothe herself with consuming terrors, as a belligerent both defensive
and aggressive. In the absence of her great emperor, and of the main
imperial forces, the golden capital herself, by her own resources,
routed and persecuted into wrecks a Persian army that had come down upon
her by stealth and a fraudulent circuit. Even at that same period, she
advanced into Persia more than a thousand miles from her own metropolis
in Europe, under the blazing ensigns of the cross, kicked the crown of
Persia to and fro like a tennis-ball, upset the throne of Artaxerxes,
countersigned haughtily the elevation of a new _Basileus_ more friendly
to herself, and then recrossed the Tigris homewards, after having torn
forcibly out of the heart and palpitating entrails of Persia, whatever
trophies that idolatrous empire had formerly wrested from herself. These
were not the acts of an effeminate kingdom. In the language of
Wordsworth we may say--

    "All power was giv'n her in the dreadful trance;
    Infidel kings she wither'd like a flame."

Indeed, no image that we remember can do justice to the first of these
acts, except that Spanish legend of the Cid, which assures us that, long
after the death of the mighty cavalier, when the children of those Moors
who had fled from his face whilst living, were insulting the marble
statue above his grave, suddenly the statue raised its right arm,
stretched out its marble lance, and drifted the heathen dogs like snow.
The mere sanctity of the Christian champion's sepulchre was its own
protection; and so we must suppose, that, when the Persian hosts came by
surprise upon Constantinople--her natural protector being absent by
three months' march--simply the golden statues of the mighty Cæsars,
half rising on their thrones, must have caused that sudden panic which
dissipated the danger. Hardly fifty years later, Mr Finlay well knows
that Constantinople again stood an assault--not from a Persian hourrah,
or tempestuous surprise, but from a vast expedition, armaments by land
and sea, fitted out elaborately in the early noontide of Mahometan
vigour--and that assault, also, in the presence of the caliph and the
crescent, was gloriously discomfited. Now if, in the moment of triumph,
some voice in the innumerable crowd had cried out, "How long shall this
great Christian breakwater, against which are shattered into surge and
foam all the mountainous billows of idolaters and misbelievers, stand up
on behalf of infant Christendom?" and if from the clouds some trumpet of
prophecy had replied, "Even yet for eight hundred years!" could any man
have persuaded himself that such a fortress against such
antagonists--such a monument against a millennium of fury--was to be
classed amongst the weak things of this earth? This oriental Rome, it is
true, equally with Persia, was liable to sudden inroads and incursions.
But the difference was this--Persia was strongly protected in all ages
by the wilderness on her main western frontier; if this were passed, and
a hand-to-hand conflict succeeded, where light cavalry or fugitive
archers could be of little value, the essential weakness of the Persian
empire then betrayed itself. Her sovereign was assassinated, and peace
was obtained from the condescension of the invader. But the enemies of
Constantinople, Goths, Avars, Bulgarians, or even Persians, were strong
only by their weakness. Being contemptible, they were neglected; being
chased, they made no stand; and _thus_ only they escaped. They entered
like thieves by means of darkness, and escaped like sheep by means of
dispersion. But, if caught, they were annihilated. No; we resume our
thesis; we close this head by reiterating our correction of history; we
re-affirm our position--that in Eastern Rome lay the salvation of
Western and Central Europe; in Constantinople and the Propontis lay the
_sine-quâ-non_ condition of any future Christendom. Emperor and people
_must_ have done their duty; the result, the vast extent of generations
surmounted, furnish the triumphant argument. Finally, indeed, they fell,
king and people, shepherd and flock; but by that time their mission was
fulfilled. And doubtless, as the noble Palæologus lay on heaps of
carnage, with his noble people, as life was ebbing away, a voice from
heaven sounded in his ears the great words of the Hebrew prophet,
"Behold! YOUR WORK IS DONE; your warfare is accomplished."

III. Such, then, being the unmerited disparagement of the Byzantine
government, and so great the ingratitude of later Christendom to that
sheltering power under which themselves enjoyed the leisure of a
thousand years for knitting and expanding into strong nations; on the
other hand, what is to be thought of the Saracen revolutionists? Every
where it has passed for a lawful postulate, that the Saracen conquests
prevailed, half by the feebleness of the Roman government at
Constantinople, and half by the preternatural energy infused into the
Arabs by their false prophet and legislator. In either of its faces,
this theory is falsified by a steady review of facts. With regard to the
Saracens, Mr Finlay thinks as we do, and argues that they prevailed
through the _local_, or sometimes the _casual_, weakness of their
immediate enemies, and rarely through any strength of their own. We must
remember one fatal weakness of the Imperial administration in those
days, not due to men or to principles, but entirely to nature and the
slow growth of scientific improvements--viz. the difficulties of
locomotion. As respected Syria, Egypt, Cyrenaica, and so on to the most
western provinces of Africa, the Saracens had advantages for moving
rapidly which the Cæsar had not. But is not a water movement speedier
than a land movement, which for an army never has much exceeded fourteen
miles a-day? Certainly it is; but in this case there were two desperate
defects in the Imperial control over that water service. To use a fleet,
you must have a fleet; but their whole naval interest had been starved
by the intolerable costs of the Persian war. Immense had been the
expenses of Heraclius, and annually decaying had been his Asiatic
revenues. Secondly, the original position of the Arabs had been better
than that of the emperor, in every stage of the warfare which so
suddenly arose. In Arabia they stood nearest to Syria, in Syria nearest
to Egypt, in Egypt nearest to Cyrenaica. What reason had there been for
expecting a martial legislator at that moment in Arabia, who should fuse
and sternly combine her distracted tribes? What blame, therefore, to
Heraclius, that Syria--the first object of assault, being also by much
the weakest part of the empire, and immediately after the close of a
desolating war--should in four campaigns be found indefensible? We must
remember the unexampled abruptness of the Arabian revolution. The year
622, by its very name of Hegira, does not record a triumph but a
humiliation. In that year, therefore, and at the very moment when
Heraclius was entering upon his long Persian struggle, Mahomet was yet
prostrate, and his destiny was doubtful. Eleven years after, viz. in
633, the prophet was dead and gone; but his first successor was already
in Syria as a conqueror. Such had been the velocity of events. The
Persian war had then been finished by three years, but the exhaustion of
the empire had perhaps, at that moment, reached its maximum. We are
satisfied, that ten years' repose from this extreme state of collapse
would have shown us another result. Even as it was, and caught at this
enormous disadvantage, Heraclius taught the robbers to tremble, and
would have exterminated them, if not baffled by two irremediable
calamities, neither of them due to any act or neglect of his own. The
first lay in the treason of his lieutenants. The governors of Damascus,
of Aleppo, of Emesa, of Bostra, of Kinnisrin, all proved traitors. The
root of this evil lay, probably, in the disorders following the Persian
invasion, which had made it the perilous interest of the emperor to
appoint great officers from amongst those who had a local influence.
Such persons it might have been ruinous too suddenly to set aside, as,
in the event, it proved ruinous to employ them. A dilemma of this kind,
offering but a choice of evils, belonged to the nature of any Persian
war; and that particular war was bequeathed to Heraclius by the
mismanagement of his predecessors. But the second calamity was even more
fatal; it lay in the composition of the Syrian population, and its
original want of vital cohesion. For no purpose could this population be
united: they formed a rope of sand. There was the distraction of
religion, (Jacobites, Nestorians, &c.;) there was the distraction of
races--slaves and masters, conquered and conquerors, modern intruders
mixed, but not blended with, aboriginal mountaineers. Property became
the one principle of choice between the two governments. Where was
protection to be had for _that_? Barbarous as were the Arabs, they saw
their present advantage. Often it would happen from the position of the
armies, that they could, whilst the emperor could not, guarantee the
instant security of land or of personal treasures; the Arabs could also
promise, sometimes, a total immunity from taxes, very often a diminished
scale of taxation, always a remission of arrears; none of which demands
could be listened to by the emperor, partly on account of the public
necessities, partly from jealousy of establishing operative precedents.
For religion, again, protection was more easily obtained in that day
from the Arab, who made war on Christianity, than from the Byzantine
emperor, who was its champion. What were the different sects and
subdivisions of Christianity to the barbarian? Monophysite, Monothelite,
Eutychian, or Jacobite, all were to him as the scholastic disputes of
noble and intellectual Europe to the camps of gypsies. The Arab felt
himself to be the depository of one sublime truth, the unity of God. His
mission therefore, was principally against idolaters. Yet even to _them_
his policy was to sell toleration for tribute. Clearly, as Mr Finlay
hints, this was merely a provisional moderation, meant to be laid aside
when sufficient power was obtained; and it _was_ laid aside, in after
ages, by many a wretch like Timour or Nadir Shah. Religion, therefore,
and property once secured, what more had the Syrians to seek? And if to
these advantages for the Saracens we add the fact, that a considerable
Arab population was dispersed through Syria, who became so many
emissaries, spies, and decoys for their countrymen, it does great honour
to the emperor, that through so many campaigns he should at all have
maintained his ground, which at last he resigned only under the
despondency caused by almost universal treachery.

The Saracens, therefore, had no great merit even in their earliest
exploits; and the _impetus_ of their movement forwards, that principle
of proselytism which carried them so strongly "ahead" through a few
generations, was very soon brought to a stop. Mr Finlay, in our mind,
does right to class these barbarians as "socially and politically little
better than the Gothic, Hunnish, and Avar monarchies." But, on
consideration, the Gothic monarchy embosomed the germs of a noble
civilization; whereas the Saracens have never propagated great
principles of any kind, nor attained even a momentary grandeur in their
institutions, except where coalescing with a higher or more ancient
civilization.

Meantime, ascending from the earliest Mahometans to their prophet, what
are we to think of _him_? Was Mahomet a great man? We think not. The
case was thus: the Arabian tribes had long stood ready, like dogs held
in a leash, for a start after distant game. It was not Mahomet who gave
them that impulse. But next, what was it that had hindered the Arab
tribes from obeying the impulse? Simply this, that they were always in
feud with each other; so that their expeditions, beginning in harmony,
were sure to break up in anger on the road. What they needed was, some
one grand compressing and unifying principle, such as the Roman found in
the destinies of his city. True; but this, you say, they found in the
sublime principle that God was one, and had appointed them to be the
scourges of all who denied it. Their mission was to cleanse the earth
from Polytheism; and, as ambassadors from God, to tell the nations--"Ye
shall have no other gods but me." That was grand; and _that_ surely they
had from Mahomet? Perhaps so; but where did he get it? He stole it from
the Jewish Scriptures, and from the Scriptures no less than from the
traditions of the Christians. Assuredly, then, the first projecting
impetus was not impressed upon Islamism by Mahomet. This lay in a
revealed truth; and by Mahomet it was furtively translated to his own
use from those oracles which held it in keeping. But possibly, if not
the _principle_ of motion, yet at least the steady conservation of this
motion was secured to Islamism by Mahomet. Granting (you will say) that
the launch of this religion might be due to an alien inspiration, yet
still the steady movement onwards of this religion through some
centuries, might be due exclusively to the code of laws bequeathed by
Mahomet in the Koran. And this has been the opinion of many European
scholars. They fancy that Mahomet, however worldly and sensual as the
founder of a pretended revelation, was wise in the wisdom of this world;
and that, if ridiculous as a prophet, he was worthy of veneration as a
statesman. He legislated well and presciently, they imagine, for the
interests of a remote posterity. Now, upon that question let us hear Mr
Finlay. He, when commenting upon the steady resistance offered to the
Saracens by the African Christians of the seventh and eighth
centuries--a resistance which terminated disastrously for both
sides--the poor Christians being exterminated, and the Moslem invaders
being robbed of an indigenous working population, naturally enquires
what it was that led to so tragical a result? The Christian natives of
those provinces were, in a political condition, little favourable to
belligerent efforts; and there cannot be much doubt, that, with any
wisdom or any forbearance on the part of the intruders, both parties
might soon have settled down into a pacific compromise of their feuds.
Instead of this, the cimeter was invoked and worshipped as the sole
possible arbitrator; and truce there was none until the silence of
desolation brooded over those once fertile fields. How savage was the
fanaticism, and how blind the worldly wisdom, which could have
co-operated to such a result! The cause must have lain in the
unaccommodating nature of the Mahometan institutions, in the bigotry of
the Mahometan leaders, and in the defect of expansive views on the part
of their legislator. He had not provided even for other climates than
that of his own sweltering sty in the Hedjas, or for manners more
polished, or for institutions more philosophic, than those of his own
sun-baked Ishmaelites. "The construction of the political government of
the Saracen empire"--says Mr Finlay, (p. 462-3)--"was imperfect, and
shows that Mahomet had neither contemplated extensive foreign conquests,
nor devoted the energies of his powerful mind to the consideration of
the questions of administration which would arise out of the difficult
task of ruling a numerous and wealthy population, possessed of property,
but deprived of civil rights." He then shows how the whole power of the
state settled into the hands of a chief priest--systematically
irresponsible. When, therefore, that momentary state of responsibility
had passed away, which was created (like the state of martial law) "by
national feelings, military companionship, and exalted enthusiasm," the
administration of the caliphs became "far more oppressive than that of
the Roman empire." It is in fact an insult to the majestic Romans, if we
should place them seriously in the balance with savages like the
Saracens. The Romans were essentially the leaders of civilization,
according to the possibilities then existing; for their earliest usages
and social forms involved a high civilization, whilst promising a
higher: whereas all Moslem nations have described a petty arch of
national civility--soon reaching its apex, and rapidly barbarizing
backwards. This fatal gravitation towards decay and decomposition in
Mahometan institutions, which, at this day, exhibits to the gaze of
mankind one uniform spectacle of Mahometan ruins, all the great Moslem
nations being already in a _Strulbrug_ state, and held erect only by the
colossal support of Christian powers, could not, as a _reversionary_
evil, have been healed by the Arabian prophet. His own religious
principles would have prevented _that_, for they offer a permanent
bounty on sensuality; so that every man who serves a Mahometan state
faithfully and brilliantly at twenty-five, is incapacitated at
thirty-five for any further service, by the very nature of the rewards
which he receives from the state. Within a very few years, every public
servant is usually emasculated by that unlimited voluptuousness which
equally the Moslem princes and the common Prophet of all Moslems
countenance as the proper object of human pursuit. Here is the mortal
ulcer of Islamism, which can never cleanse itself from death and the
odour of death. A political ulcer would or might have found restoration
for itself; but this ulcer is higher and deeper:--it lies in the
religion, which is incapable of reform: it is an ulcer reaching as high
as the paradise which Islamism promises, and deep as the hell which it
creates. We repeat, that Mahomet could not effectually have neutralized
a poison which he himself had introduced into the circulation and
life-blood of his Moslem economy. The false prophet was forced to reap
as he had sown. But an evil which is certain, may be retarded; and
ravages which tend finally to confusion, may be limited for many
generations. Now, in the case of the African provincials which we have
noticed, we see an original incapacity of Islamism, even in its palmy
condition, for amalgamating with any _superior_ culture. And the
specific action of Mahometanism in the African case, as contrasted with
the Roman economy which it supplanted, is thus exhibited by Mr Finlay in
a most instructive passage, where every negation on the Mahometan side
is made to suggest the countervailing usage positively on the side of
the Romans. O children of Romulus! how noble do you appear when thus
fiercely contrasted with the wild boars who desolated your vineyards!
"No local magistrates elected by the people, and no parish priests
connected by their feelings and interests both with their superiors and
inferiors, bound society together by common ties; and no system of legal
administration, independent of the military and financial authorities,
preserved the property of the people from the rapacity of the
government."

Such, we are to understand, was _not_ the Mahometan system: such _had_
been the system of Rome. "Socially and politically," proceeds the
passage, "the Saracen empire was little better than the Gothic, Hunnish,
and Avar monarchies; and that it proved more durable, with almost equal
oppression, is to be attributed to the powerful enthusiasm of Mahomet's
religion, which tempered for some time its avarice and tyranny." The
same sentiment is repeated still more emphatically at p. 468--"The
political policy of the Saracens was of itself utterly barbarous; and it
only caught a passing gleam of justice from the religious feeling of
their prophet's doctrines."

Thus far, therefore, it appears that Mahometanism is not much indebted
to its too famous founder: it owes to him a principle, viz. the unity of
God, which, merely through a capital blunder, it fancies peculiar to
itself. Nothing but the grossest ignorance in Mahomet, nothing but the
grossest non-acquaintance with Greek authors on the part of the Arabs,
could have created or sustained the delusion current amongst that
illiterate people--that it was themselves only who rejected Polytheism.
Had but one amongst the personal enemies of Mahomet been acquainted with
Greek, _there_ was an end of the new religion in the first moon of its
existence. Once open the eyes of Arabs to the fact, that Christians had
anticipated them in this great truth of the divine unity, and
Mahometanism could only have ranked as a subdivision of Christianity.
Mahomet would have ranked only as a Christian heresiarch or schismatic;
such as Nestorius or Marcian at one time, such as Arius or Pelagius at
another. In his character of _theologian_, therefore, Mahomet was simply
the most memorable of blunderers, supported in his blunders by the most
unlettered of nations. In his other character of _legislator_, we have
seen, that already the earliest stages of Mahometan experience exposed
decisively his ruinous imbecility. Where a rude tribe offered no
resistance to his system, for the simple reason that their barbarism
suggested no motive for resistance, it could be no honour to prevail.
And where, on the other hand, a higher civilization had furnished strong
points of repulsion to his system, it appears plainly that this
pretended apostle of social improvement had devised or hinted no readier
mode of conciliation than by putting to the sword all dissentients. He
starts as a theological reformer, with a fancied defiance to the world
which was no defiance at all, being exactly what Christians had believed
for six centuries, and Jews for six-and-twenty. He starts as a political
reformer, with a fancied conciliation to the world which was no
conciliation at all, but was sure to provoke imperishable hostility
wheresoever it had any effect at all.

We have thus reviewed some of the more splendid aspects connected with
Mr Finlay's theme; but that theme, in its entire compass, is worthy of a
far more extended investigation than our own limits will allow, or than
the historical curiosity of the world (misdirected here as in so many
other cases) has hitherto demanded. The Greek race, suffering a long
occultation under the blaze of the Roman empire, into which for a time
it had been absorbed, but again emerging from this blaze and reassuming
a distinct Greek agency and influence, offers a subject great by its own
inherent attractions, and separately interesting by the unaccountable
neglect which it has suffered. To have overlooked this subject, is one
amongst the capital oversights of Gibbon. To have rescued it from utter
oblivion, and to have traced an outline for its better illumination, is
the peculiar merit of Mr Finlay. His greatest fault is to have been
careless or slovenly in the niceties of classical and philological
precision. His greatest praise, and a very great one indeed, is--to have
thrown the light of an _original_ philosophic sagacity upon a neglected
province of history, indispensable to the _arrondissement_ of Pagan
archæology.


FOOTNOTES:

{A} _Greece under the Romans._ BY GEORGE FINLAY, K.R.G. William Blackwood
& Sons. Edinburgh and London. 1844.

{B} "_With scorn._"--This has arisen from two causes: one is the habit of
regarding the whole Roman empire as in its "decline" from so early a
period as that of Commodus; agreeably to which conceit, it would
naturally follow that, during its latter stages, the Eastern empire must
have been absolutely in its dotage. If already declining in the second
century, then, from the tenth to the fifteenth it must have been
paralytic and bed-ridden. The other cause may be found in the accidental
but reasonable hostility of the Byzantine court to the first Crusaders,
as also in the disadvantageous comparison with respect to manly virtues
between the simplicity of these western children, and the refined
dissimulation of the Byzantines.


       *       *       *       *       *

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._





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