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Title: The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VI (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland IV
Author: Various
Language: English
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_of the_



Associate Editor

With an Introduction, Biographical and Explanatory Notes, etc.

In Ten Volumes

Vol. VI



Funk & Wagnalls Company
New York and London
Copyright, 1909, by
Funk & Wagnalls Company

The Best of the World's Classics






JOHN HENRY NEWMAN--(Born in 1801, died in 1890.)

   I         The Beginnings of Tractarianism.
             (From the "Apologia pro Vita Sua")

   II        On His Submission to the Catholic Church.
             (From the "Apologia")

   III       Of Athens as a True University.
             (From Volume III of the "Historical Sketches")

EDWARD BULWER LYTTON--(Born in 1803, died in 1873.)

             The Descent of Vesuvius on Pompeii.
             (From "The Last Days of Pompeii")

LORD BEACONSFIELD--(Born in 1804, died in 1881.)

             Jerusalem by Moonlight.
             (From "Tancred")

CHARLES MERIVALE--(Born in 1808, died in 1893.)

             The Personality of Augustus Cæsar.
             (From the "History of the Romans Under the Empire")

ALEXANDER W. KINGLAKE--(Born in 1809, died in 1891.)

   I         On Mocking at the Sphinx.
             (From "Eothen")

   II        The Beginnings of the Crimean War.
             (From "The Invasion of the Crimea")

CHARLES DARWIN--(Born in 1809, died in 1882.)

   I         On Variations in Mammals, Birds and Fishes.
             (From "The Origin of Species")

   II        The Genesis of a Great Book.
             (From the "Autobiography," printed in Volume I of the
                "Life and Letters")

JOHN BROWN--(Born in 1810, died in 1882.)

             Rab and the Game Chicken.
             (From "Rab and His Friends")

WILLIAM M. THACKERAY--(Born in 1811, died in 1863.)

   I         The Imperturbable Marlborough.
             (From "The History of Henry Esmond")

   II        At the Ball Before the Battle of Waterloo.
             (From "Vanity Fair")

   III       The Death of Colonel Newcome.
             (From "The Newcomes")

   IV        London in the Time of the First George.
             (From the "Four Georges")

CHARLES DICKENS--(Born in 1812, died in 1870.)

   I         Sidney Carton's Death.
             (The conclusion of "A Tale of Two Cities")

   II        Bob Sawyer's Party.
             (From Chapter XXXI of "The Posthumous Papers of
               the Pickwick Club")

   III       Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness.
             (From Chapters LVII and LVIII of "The Old Curiosity Shop")

   IV        A Happy Return of the Day.
             (From Book III, Chapter IV, of "Our Mutual Friend")

CHARLOTTE BRONTE--(Born in 1816, died in 1855.)

   I         Of the Author of "Vanity Fair."
             (Preface to the second edition of "Jane Eyre")

JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE--(Born in 1818, died in 1894.)

   I         Of History as a Science.
             (From "Short Studies on Great Subjects")

   II        The Character of Henry VIII.
             (From the "History of England")

   III       Cæsar's Mission.
             (From the concluding chapter of "Cæsar--A Sketch")

JOHN RUSKIN--(Born in 1819, died in 1900.)

   I         Of the History and Sovereignty of Venice.
             (From Chapter I of "The Stones of Venice")

   II        St. Mark's at Venice.
             (From Vol. II of "The Stones of Venice")

   III       Of Water.
             (From Vol. II, Section V, of "Modern Painters")

GEORGE ELIOT--(Born in 1819, died in 1880.)

             At the Hall Farm.
             (From "Adam Bede")

HERBERT SPENCER--(Born in 1820, died in 1904.)

   I         The Origin of Professional Occupations.
             (From Volume III of "The Principles of Sociology")

   II        Self-Dependence and Paternalism.
             (From the "Essays, Moral, Political and Esthetic")

   III       The Ornamental and the Useful in Education.
             (From "Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical")

   IV        Reminiscences of His Boyhood.
             (From Part I, Chapter II, of the "Autobiography")

   V         A Tribute to E. L. Youmans.
             (From Part VII of the "Autobiography")

   VI        Why He Never Married.
             (From Part XII of the "Autobiography")

HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE--(Born in 1821, died in 1862.)

   I         The Isolation of Spain.
             (From Vol. II, Chapter VIII, of the "History of Civilization
                in England")

   II        George III and the Elder Pitt.
             (From Vol. I, Chapter VII, of the "History of Civilization
                in England")

MATTHEW ARNOLD--(Born in 1822, died in 1888.)

             The Motive for Culture.
             (From "Culture and Anarchy")

EDWARD A. FREEMAN--(Born in 1823, died in 1892.)

             The Death of William the Conqueror.
             (From "The History of the Norman Conquest")

THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY--(Born in 1825, died in 1895.)

             On a Piece of Chalk.
             (From "Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews")

FREDERIC HARRISON--(Born in 1831.)

             The Great Books of the World.
             (From an address on "The Choice of Books")

JOHN RICHARD GREEN--(Born in 1837, died in 1883.)

             George Washington.
             (From Book IV, Chapter II, of the "History of the English

JOHN MORLEY--(Born in 1838.)

             Voltaire as an Author and as a Man of Action.
             (From "Voltaire")

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON--(Born in 1850, died in 1894.)

   I         Francis Villon's Terrors.
             (From "A Lodging for the Night: A Story of Francis Villon")

   II        The Lantern Bearers.
             (From "Across the Plains, with Other Memories and Essays")




     Born in 1801, died in 1890; son of a banker; educated at
     Oxford; a Fellow of Oriel in 1822, where he was associated
     with Dr. Pusey; made a voyage to the Mediterranean in
     1832-33, returning from which he wrote "Lead, Kindly Light";
     joined the Oxford movement in 1833, writing many of the
     "tracts for the times"; formally joined the Catholic Church
     in 1845; established an Oratory in 1849; published
     "Lectures" in 1850, the "Apologia" in 1864, "Grammar of
     Ascent" in 1870; made a cardinal in 1879.



During the first years of my residence at Oriel, tho proud of my
college, I was not quite at home there. I was very much alone, and I
used often to take my daily walk by myself. I recollect once meeting
Dr. Copleston, then Provost, with one of the Fellows. He turned round,
and with the kind courteousness which sat so well on him, made me a
bow and said, _Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus_. At that time,
indeed (from 1823), I had the intimacy of my dear and true friend Dr.
Pusey, and could not fail to admire and revere a soul so devoted to
the cause of religion, so full of good works, so faithful in his
affections; but he left residence when I was getting to know him
well. As to Dr. Whately[2] himself, he was too much my superior to
allow of my being at my ease with him; and to no one in Oxford at this
time did I open my heart fully and familiarly. But things changed in
1826. At that time I became one of the tutors of my college, and this
gave me position; besides, I had written one or two essays which had
been well received. I began to be known. I preached my first
University sermon. Next year I was one of the public examiners for the
B. A. degree. In 1828 I became vicar of St. Mary's. It was to me like
the feeling of spring weather after winter; and, if I may so speak, I
came out of my shell. I remained out of it until 1841.

[Footnote 1: From the "Apologia pro Vita Sua."]

[Footnote 2: Richard Whately, Bampton lecturer at Oxford in 1822;
principal of St. Albans Hall in 1825; afterward Archbishop of Dublin;
best known for his "Logic" and "Christian Evidences." When Newman met
him, he was already famous for his "Historical Doubts Relative to
Napoleon Bonaparte," which had been published in 1814.]

The two persons who knew me best at that time are still alive,
beneficed clergymen, no longer my friends. They could tell better than
any one else what I was in those days. From this time my tongue was,
as it were, loosened, and I spoke spontaneously and without effort.
One of the two, a shrewd man, said of me, I have been told, "Here is a
Fellow who, when he is silent, will never begin to speak, and when he
once begins to speak will never stop." It was at this time that I
began to have influence, which steadily increased for a course of
years. I gained upon my pupils, and was in particular intimate and
affectionate with two of our Probationer Fellows, Robert Isaac
Wilberforce (afterward Archdeacon), and Richard Hurrell Froude.[3]
Whately then, an acute man, perhaps saw around me the signs of an
incipient party of which I was not conscious myself. And thus we
discern the first elements of that movement afterward called
Tractarian. The true and primary author of it, however, as is usual
with great motive powers, was out of sight. Having carried off, as a
mere boy, the highest honors of the University, he had turned from the
admiration which haunted his steps, and sought for a better and holier
satisfaction in pastoral work in the country.

[Footnote 3: A brother of James Anthony Froude. Richard Hurrell
Froude's influence on the founding of the Tractarian movement was
strong. He cooperated with Newman in writing the "Lyra Apostolica."
His health had long been delicate, when in 1836 he died. His "Remains"
were published in the following year, with a preface by Newman. Three
of the "Tracts for the Times" were by Froude.]

Need I say that I am speaking of John Keble?[4] The first time that I
was in a room with him was on the occasion of my election to a
Fellowship at Oriel, when I was sent for into the Tower, to shake
hands with the Provost and Fellows. How is that hour fixt in my memory
after the changes of forty-two years; forty-two this very day on which
I write! I have lately had a letter in my hands which I sent at the
time to my great friend, John William Bowden, with whom I passed
almost exclusively my undergraduate years. "I had to hasten to the
Tower," I say to him, "to receive the congratulations of all the
Fellows. I bore it till Keble took my hand, and then felt so abashed
and unworthy of the honor done to me, that I seemed desirous of quite
sinking into the ground." His had been the first name which I had
heard spoken of, with reverence rather than admiration, when I came up
to Oxford. When one day I was walking in High Street with my dear
earliest friend just mentioned, with what eagerness did he cry out,
"There's Keble!" and with what awe did I look at him! Then at another
time I heard a Master of Arts of my college give an account how he had
just then had occasion to introduce himself on some business to Keble,
and how gentle, courteous, and unaffected Keble had been, so as almost
to put him out of countenance. Then, too, it was reported, truly or
falsely, how a rising man of brilliant reputation, the present Dean of
St. Paul's, Dr. Milman, admired and loved him, adding, that somehow he
was strangely unlike any one else. However, at the time when I was
elected Fellow of Oriel, he was not in residence, and he was shy of me
for years, in consequence of the marks which I bore upon me of the
Evangelical and Liberal schools, at least so I have ever thought.
Hurrell Froude brought us together about 1828; it is one of the
sayings preserved in his "Remains"--"Do you know the story of the
murderer who had done one good thing in his life? Well, if I was ever
asked what good thing I had ever done, I should say I had brought
Keble and Newman to understand each other."

[Footnote 4: Keble, one of the chief promoters of the Oxford movement,
will long be remembered as author of "The Christian Year," published
in 1827. For ten years he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Three of
the "Tracts for the Times" were by him. He was Newman's senior by
eight years.]



I had one final advance of mind to accomplish, and one final step to
take. That further advance of mind was to be able honestly to say that
I was certain of the conclusions at which I had already arrived. That
further step, imperative when, such certitude was attained, was my
submission to the Catholic Church.

[Footnote 5: From the "Apologia." Newman, for many years, had held to
the possibility of English churchmen maintaining a middle ground
between the Catholic Church and Protestantism, but in 1843 he
abandoned this hope, resigning his living, and in 1845 formally
entered the Catholic Church. He says in the "Apologia" that "from the
end of 1841, I was on my death-bed as regards my membership with the
Anglican church, tho at the time I became aware of it only by

This submission did not take place till two full years after the
resignation of my living in September 1843; nor could I have made it
at an earlier date, without doubt and apprehension; that is, with any
true conviction of mind or certitude.

In the interval, of which it remains to speak--viz., between the
autumns of 1843 and 1845--I was in lay communion with the Church of
England: attending its services as usual, and abstaining altogether
from intercourse with Catholics, from their places of worship, and
from those religious rites and usages, such as the Invocation of
Saints, which are characteristics of their creed. I did all this on
principle; for I never could understand how a man could be of two
religions at once.

What I have to say about myself between these two autumns I shall
almost confine to this one point--the difficulty I was in as to the
best mode of revealing the state of my mind to my friends and others,
and how I managed to reveal it.

Up to January, 1842, I had not disclosed my state of unsettlement to
more than three persons.... To two of them, intimate and familiar
companions, in the autumn of 1839; to the third--an old friend too,
whom I have also named above--I suppose when I was in great distress
of mind upon the affair of the Jerusalem Bishopric. In May, 1843, I
made it known, as has been seen, to the friend by whose advice I
wished, as far as possible, to be guided. To mention it on set purpose
to any one, unless indeed I was asking advice, I should have felt to
be a crime. If there is anything that was abhorrent to me, it was the
scattering doubts, and unsettling consciences without necessity. A
strong presentiment that my existing opinions would ultimately give
way, and that the grounds of them were unsound, was not a sufficient
warrant for disclosing the state of my mind. I had no guarantee yet,
that that presentiment would be realized. Supposing I were crossing
ice, which came right in my way, which I had good reasons for
considering sound, and which I saw numbers before me crossing in
safety, and supposing a stranger from the bank, in a voice of
authority and in an earnest tone, warned me that it was dangerous,
and then was silent--I think I should be startled, and should look
about me anxiously, but I think too that I should go on, till I had
better grounds for doubt; and such was my state, I believe, till the
end of 1842. Then again, when my dissatisfaction became greater, it
was hard at first to determine the point of time when it was too
strong to suppress with propriety. Certitude of course is a point, but
doubt is a progress: I was not near certitude yet. Certitude is a
reflex action; it is to know that one knows. Of that I believe I was
not possest, till close upon my reception into the Catholic Church.
Again, a practical, effective doubt is a point too; but who can easily
ascertain it for himself? Who can determine when it is that the scales
in the balance of opinion begin to turn, and what was a greater
probability in behalf of a belief becomes a positive doubt against it?

In considering this question in its bearing upon my conduct in 1843,
my own simple answer to my great difficulty had been, Do what your
present state of opinion requires in the light of duty, and let that
doing tell; speak by acts. This I had done; my first act of the year
had been in February. After three months' deliberation I had published
my retractation of the violent charges which I had made against Rome:
I could not be wrong in doing so much as this; but I did no more at
the time: I did not retract my Anglican teaching. My second act had
been in September in the same year: after much sorrowful lingering and
hesitation, I had resigned my Living. I tried indeed, before I did so,
to keep Littlemore for myself, even tho it was still to remain an
integral part of St. Mary's.[6] I had given to it a church and a sort
of parsonage; I had made it a parish, and I loved it: I thought in
1843 that perhaps I need not forfeit my existing relations toward it.
I could indeed submit to become a curate at will of another; but I
hoped an arrangement was possible by which, while I had the curacy, I
might have been my own master in serving it. I had hoped an exception
might have been made in my favor, under the circumstances; but I did
not gain my request. Perhaps I was asking what was impracticable, and
it is well for me that it was so.

[Footnote 6: St. Mary's was the church of the University of Oxford,
Newman being its vicar. Littlemore was an outlying place attached to
St. Mary's and to which Newman withdrew on leaving Oxford in 1842.
Here, with several young men who had attached themselves to his
fortunes, he established himself in a building which came to be known
as "the Littlemore Monastery." It was here that Newman passed the
three years of meditation and anxiety which preceded his final
decision to join the Roman Church.]

These had been my two acts of the year, and I said, "I can not be
wrong in making them; let that follow which must follow in the
thoughts of the world about me, when they see what I do." And as time
went on, they fully answered my purpose. What I felt it a simple duty
to do, did create a general suspicion about me, without such
responsibility as would be involved in my initiating any direct act
for the sake of creating it. Then, when friends wrote me on the
subject, I either did not deny or I confest my state of mind,
according to the character and need of their letters. Sometimes in the
case of intimate friends, whom I should otherwise have been leaving
in ignorance of what others knew on every side of them, I invited the

And here comes in another point for explanation. While I was fighting
in Oxford for the Anglican Church, then indeed I was very glad to make
converts; and tho I never broke away from that rule of my mind (as I
may call it) of which I have already spoken, of finding disciples
rather than seeking them, yet that I made advances to others in a
special way, I have no doubt; this came to an end, however, as soon as
I fell into misgivings as to the true ground to be taken in the
controversy. For then, when I gave up my place in the movement, I
ceased from any such proceedings; and my utmost endeavor was to
tranquillize such persons, especially those who belonged to the new
school, as were unsettled in their religious views, and as I judged,
hasty in their conclusions. This went on till 1843; but at that date,
as soon as I turned my face Romeward, I gave up, as far as ever was
possible, the thought of, in any respect and in any shape, acting upon
others. Then I myself was simply my own concern. How could I in any
sense direct others, who had to be guided in so momentous a matter
myself? How could I be considered in a position, even to say a word to
them, one way or the other? How could I presume to unsettle them as I
was unsettled, when I had no means of bringing them out of such
unsettlement? And if they were unsettled already, how could I point to
them a place of refuge, when I was not sure that I should choose it
for myself? My only line, my only duty, was to keep simply to my own
case. I recollected Pascal's words, "Je mourrai seul" [I will die
alone]. I deliberately put out of my thoughts all other works and
claims, and said nothing to any one, unless I was obliged.

But this brought upon me a great trouble. In the newspapers there were
continual reports about my intentions; I did not answer them:
presently strangers or friends wrote, begging to be allowed to answer
them; and if I still kept to my resolution and said nothing, then I
was thought to be mysterious, and a prejudice was excited against me.
But what was far worse, there were a number of tender, eager hearts,
of whom I knew nothing at all, who were watching me, wishing to think
as I thought, and to do as I did, if they could but find it out; who
in consequence were distrest that in so solemn a matter they could not
see what was coming, and who heard reports about me this way or that,
on a first day and on a second; and felt the weariness of waiting, and
the sickness of delayed hope, and did not understand that I was as
perplexed as they were, and being of more sensitive complexion of mind
than myself, they were made ill by the suspense. And they too, of
course, for the time thought me mysterious and inexplicable. I ask
their pardon as far as I was really unkind to them....

I left Oxford for good on Monday, February 23d, 1846. On the Saturday
and Sunday before, I was in my house at Littlemore simply by myself,
as I had been for the first day or two when I had originally taken
possession of it. I slept on Sunday night at my dear friend's, Mr.
Johnson's, at the Observatory. Various friends came to see the last
of me: Mr. Copeland, Mr. Church, Mr. Buckle, Mr. Pattison, and Mr.
Lewis. Dr. Pusey too came up to take leave of me; and I called on Dr.
Ogle, one of my very oldest friends, for he was my private tutor when
I was an undergraduate. In him I took leave of my first college,
Trinity, which was so dear to me, and which held on its foundation so
many who had been kind to me both when I was a boy, and all through my
Oxford life. Trinity had never been unkind to me. There used to be
much snapdragon growing on the walls opposite my freshman's rooms
there; and I had for years taken it as the emblem of my own perpetual
residence, even unto death, in my University.

On the morning of the 23d I left the Observatory. I have never seen
Oxford since, excepting its spires as they are seen from the railway.



If we would know what a university is, considered in its most
elementary idea, we must betake ourselves to the first and most
beautiful home of European civilization, to the bright and beautiful
Athens,--Athens, whose schools drew to her bosom, and then sent back
to the business of life, the youth of the Western world for a long
thousand years. Seated on the verge of the continent, the city seemed
hardly suited for the duties of a central metropolis of knowledge; yet
what it lost in convenience of approach, it gained in its neighborhood
to the traditions of the mysterious East, and in the loveliness of the
region in which it lay. Hither, then, as to a sort of ideal land,
where all the archetypes of the great and the fair were found in
substantial being, and all departments of truth explored, and all
diversities of intellectual power exhibited; where taste and
philosophy were majestically enthroned as in a royal court; where
there was no sovereignty but that of mind, and no nobility but that of
genius; where professors were rulers and princes did homage,--hither
flocked continually from the very corners of the _orbis terrarum_, the
many-tongued generation, just rising or just risen into manhood, in
order to gain wisdom.

[Footnote 7: From Volume III of the "Historical Sketches."]

Pisistratus[8] had at an early age discovered and nursed the infant
genius of his people, and Cimon,[9] after the Persian war, had given
it a home; that war had established the naval supremacy of Athens; she
had become an imperial state; and the Ionians, bound to her by the
double chain of kindred and of subjection, were importing into her
both their merchandise and their civilization. The arts and philosophy
of the Asiatic Court were easily carried across the sea, and there
was Cimon, as I have said, with his ample fortune, ready to receive
them with due honor. Not content with patronizing their profession, he
built the first of those noble porticoes, of which we hear so much in
Athens, and he formed the groves, which in process of time formed the
celebrated academy. Planting is one of the most graceful, as in Athens
it was one of the most beneficent, of employments. Cimon took in hand
the wild wood, pruned and drest it, and laid it out with handsome
walks and welcome fountains. Nor, while hospitable to the authors of
the city's civilization, was he ungrateful to the instruments of her
prosperity. His trees extended their cool, umbrageous branches over
the merchants who assembled in the Agora, for many generations.

[Footnote 8: Pisistratus flourished from 605 B.C. until 527. He was a
friend of Solon, but usurped supreme power in 560; was twice expelled
and then restored to power. He is usually credited with a notable
systematic attempt to preserve the Works of Homer.]

[Footnote 9: Cimon died in 449 B.C. He was a son of Miltiades and
defeated the Persians on both sea and land in 466.]

Those merchants certainly had deserved that act of bounty; for all the
while their ships had been carrying forth the intellectual fame of
Athens to the Western world. Then commenced what may be called her
university existence. Pericles, who succeeded Cimon, both in the
government and in the patronage of art, is said by Plutarch to have
entertained the idea of making Athens the capital of federated Greece;
in this he failed; but his encouragement of such men as Phidias and
Anaxagoras led the way to her acquiring a far more lasting sovereignty
over a far wider empire. Little understanding the sources of her own
greatness, Athens would go to war; peace is the interest of a seat of
commerce and the arts; but to war she went: yet to her whether peace
or war mattered not. The political power of Athens waned and
disappeared; kingdoms rose and fell, centuries rolled away;--they did
but bring fresh triumphs to the city of the poet and the sage. There
at length the swarthy Moor and Spaniard were seen to meet the
blue-eyed Gaul; and the Cappadocian, late subject to Mithridates,
gazed without alarm at the haughty conquering Roman. Revolution after
revolution passed over the face of Europe, as well as of Greece, but
still she was there,--Athens, the city of the mind, as radiant, as
splendid, as delicate, as young, as ever she had been.

Many a more fruitful coast or isle is washed by the blue Ægean, many a
spot is there more beautiful or sublime to see, many a territory more
ample; but there was one charm in Attica, which in the same perfection
was nowhere else. The deep pastures of Arcadia, the plain of Argos,
the Thessalian Vale, these had not the gift; Boeotia, which lay to its
immediate north, was notorious for the very want of it. The heavy
atmosphere of that Boeotia might be good for vegetation, but it was
associated in popular belief with the dulness of the Boeotian
intellect; on the contrary, the special purity, elasticity, clearness,
and salubrity of the air of Attica, fit concomitant and emblem of its
genius, did that for it which earth did not;--it brought out every
bright line and tender shade of the landscape over which it was
spread, and would have illuminated the face even of a more barren and
rugged country.

A confined triangle, perhaps fifty miles its greatest length, and
thirty its greatest breadth; two elevated rocky barriers meeting at an
angle; three prominent mountains commanding the plain,--Parnes,
Pentelicus, and Hymettus; an unsatisfactory soil; some streams, not
always full;--such is about the report which the agent of a London
company would have made of Attica. He would report that the climate
was mild, the hills were limestone; there was plenty of good marble;
more pasture than at first survey might have been expected, sufficient
certainly for sheep and goats; fisheries productive; silver mines
once, but long since worked out; figs, fair; oil, first-rate; olives
in profusion. But what he would not think of noting down was, that
that olive-tree was so choice in nature and so noble in shape, that it
excited a religious veneration, and that it took so kindly to the
light soil as to expand into woods upon the open plain, and to climb
up and fringe the hills. He would not think of writing word to his
employer, how that clear air, of which I have spoken, brought out, yet
blended and subdued, the colors on the marble, till they had a
softness and harmony, for all their richness, which in a picture looks
exaggerated, yet is after all within the truth. He would not tell how
that same delicate and brilliant atmosphere freshened up the pale
olive, until the olive forgot its monotony, and its cheek glowed like
the arbutus or beech of the Umbrian Hills. He would say nothing of the
thyme and thousand fragrant herbs which carpeted Hymettus; he would
hear nothing of the hum of its bees, nor take much account of the rare
flavor of its honey, since Sozo and Minorca were sufficient for the
English demand.

He would look over the Ægean from the height he had ascended; he would
follow with his eye the chain of islands, which, starting from the
Sunian headland, seemed to offer the fabled divinities of Attica, when
they would visit their Ionian cousins, a sort of viaduct thereto
across the sea; but that fancy would not occur to him, nor any
admiration of the dark violet billows with their white edges down
below; nor of those graceful, fanlike jets of silver upon the rocks,
which slowly rise aloft like water spirits from the deep, then shiver
and break, and spread, and shroud themselves, and disappear, in a soft
mist of foam; nor of the gentle, incessant heaving and panting of the
whole liquid plain; nor of the long waves, keeping steady time, like a
line of soldiery, as they resounded upon the hollow shore--he would
not deign to notice that restless living element at all, except to
bless his stars that he was not upon it. Nor the distinct detail, nor
the refined coloring, nor the graceful outline and roseate golden line
of the jutting crags, nor the bold shadows east from Otus or Laurium
by the declining sun--our agent of a mercantile firm would not value
these matters even at a low figure. Rather we must turn for the
sympathy we seek to yon pilgrim student, come from a semi-barbarous
land to that small corner of the earth, as to a shrine, where he might
take his fill gazing on those emblems and coruscations of invisible,
unoriginate perfection. It was the stranger from a remote province,
from Britain or from Mauritania, who in a scene so different from that
of his chilly, woody swamps, or of his fiery, choking sands, learned
at once what a real university must be, by coming to understand the
sort of country which was its suitable home.

Nor was this all that a university required and found in Athens. No
one, not even there, could live on poetry. If the students at that
famous place had nothing better than bright hues and soothing sounds,
they would not have been able or disposed to turn their residence
there to much account. Of course they must have the means of living,
nay, in a certain sense, of enjoyment, if Athens was to be an _alma
mater_ at the time, or to remain afterward a pleasant thought in their
memory. And so they had: be it recollected Athens was a port and a
mart of trade, perhaps the first in Greece; and strangers were ever
flocking to it, whose combat was to be with intellectual, not physical
difficulties, and who claimed to have their bodily wants supplied that
they might be at leisure to set about furnishing their minds.

Now barren as was the soil of Attica, and bare the face of the
country, yet it had only too many resources for an elegant, nay,
luxurious abode there. So abundant were the imports of the place, that
it was a common saying that the productions which were found singly
elsewhere were brought together in Athens. Corn and wine, the staple
of existence in such a climate, came from the Islands of the Ægean;
fine wool and carpeting from Asia Minor; slaves, as now, from the
Euxine; and timber too, and iron and brass, from the coasts of the
Mediterranean. The Athenian did not condescend to manufactures
himself, but encouraged them in others, and a population of
foreigners caught at the lucrative occupation, both for home
consumption and for exportation. Their cloth and other textures for
dress and furniture, and their hardware--for instance, armor--were in
great request. Labor was cheap; stone and marble in plenty; and the
taste and skill, which at first were devoted to public buildings, as
temples and porticoes, were in course of time applied to the mansions
of public men. If nature did much for Athens, it is undeniable that
art did much more.


     Born in 1803, died in 1873; educated at Cambridge; member of
     Parliament in 1831-41, and 1852-66; Colonial Secretary in
     1858; raised to the peerage in 1866; his first work,
     "Falkland," published in 1827; "Last Days of Pompeii" in
     1834; besides many other novels, wrote volumes of verse,
     made translations and wrote dramas, including "The Lady of
     Lyons" (1838), and "Richelieu" (1839).


On the upper tier (but apart from the male spectators) sat the women,
their gay dresses resembling some gaudy flower-bed; it is needless to
add that they were the most talkative part of the assembly; and many
were the looks directed up to them, especially from the benches
appropriated to the young and the unmarried men. On the lower seats
round the arena sat the more high-born and wealthy visitors--the
magistrates and those of senatorial or equestrian dignity: the
passages which, by corridors at the right and left, gave access to
these seats, at either end of the oval arena, were also the entrances
for the combatants. Strong palings at these passages prevented any
unwelcome eccentricity in the movements of the beasts, and confined
them to their appointed prey. Around the parapet which was raised
above the arena, and from which the seats gradually rose, were
gladiatorial inscriptions, and paintings wrought in fresco, typical of
the entertainments for which the place was designed. Throughout the
whole building wound invisible pipes, from which, as the day advanced,
cooling and fragrant showers were to be sprinkled over the spectators.

[Footnote 10: From "The Last Days of Pompeii." The great theater at
Pompeii, built in the time of Augustus, was semi-circular in form,
with a diameter of 322 feet.]

The officers of the amphitheater were still employed in the task of
fixing the vast awning (or _velaria_) which covered the whole, and
which luxurious invention the Campanians arrogated to themselves: it
was woven of the whitest Apulian wool, and variegated with broad
stripes of crimson. Owing either to some inexperience on the part of
the workmen or to some defect in the machinery, the awning, however,
was not arranged that day so happily as usual; indeed, from the
immense space of the circumference, the task was always one of great
difficulty and art--so much so that it could seldom be adventured in
rough or windy weather. But the present day was so remarkably still
that there seemed to the spectators no excuse for the awkwardness of
the artificers; and when a large gap in the back of the awning was
still visible, from the obstinate refusal of one part of the velaria
to ally itself with the rest, the murmurs of discontent were loud and

The ædile Pansa,[11] at whose expense the exhibition was given, looked
particularly annoyed at the defect, and vowed bitter vengeance on the
head of the chief officer of the show, who, fretting, puffing,
perspiring, busied himself in idle orders and unavailing threats.

[Footnote 11: The house of Pansa in Pompeii, as now uncovered, shows
one of the largest and most elaborate dwellings in the city. It
measures 120 by 300 feet.]

The hubbub ceased suddenly--the operators desisted--the crowd were
stilled--the gap was forgotten--for now, with a loud and warlike
flourish of trumpets, the gladiators, marshaled in ceremonious
procession, entered the arena. They swept round the oval space very
slowly and deliberately, in order to give the spectators full leisure
to admire their stern serenity of feature--their brawny limbs and
various arms, as well as to form such wagers as the excitement of the
moment might suggest.

"Oh!" cried the widow Fulvia to the wife of Pansa, as they leaned down
from their lofty bench, "do you see that gigantic gladiator? how
drolly he is drest!"

"Yes," said the ædile's wife with complacent importance, for she knew
all the names and qualities of each combatant: "he is a retiarius or
netter; he is armed only, you see, with a three-pronged spear like a
trident, and a net; he wears no armor, only the fillet and the tunic.
He is a mighty man, and is to fight with Sporus, yon thick-set
gladiator, with the round shield and drawn sword but without body
armor; he has not his helmet on now, in order that you may see his
face--how fearless it is! By-and-by he will fight with his visor

While thus conversing, the first formalities of the show were over. To
these succeeded a feigned combat with wooden swords between the
various gladiators matched against each other. Among these the skill
of two Roman gladiators, hired for the occasion, was the most admired;
and next to them the most graceful combatant was Lydon. This sham
contest did not last above an hour, nor did it attract any very lively
interest except among those connoisseurs of the arena to whom art was
preferable to more coarse excitement; the body of the spectators were
rejoiced when it was over, and when the sympathy rose to terror. The
combatants were now arranged in pairs, as agreed beforehand; their
weapons examined; and the grave sports of the day commenced amid the
deepest silence--broken only by the exciting and preliminary blast of
warlike music.

It was often customary to begin the sports by the most cruel of all;
and some bestiarius, or gladiator appointed to the beasts, was slain
first as an initiatory sacrifice. But in the present instance the
experienced Pansa thought better that the sanguinary drama should
advance, not decrease, in interest; and accordingly the execution of
Olinthus and Glaucus was reserved for the last. It was arranged that
the two horsemen should first occupy the arena; that the foot
gladiators, paired off, should then be loosed indiscriminately on the
stage; that Glaucus and the lion should next perform their part in the
bloody spectacle; and the tiger and the Nazarene be the grand finale.
And in the spectacles of Pompeii, the reader of Roman history must
limit his imagination, nor expect to find those vast and wholesale
exhibitions of magnificent slaughter with which a Nero or a Caligula
regaled the inhabitants of the Imperial City. The Roman shows, which
absorbed the more celebrated gladiators and the chief proportion of
foreign beasts, were indeed the very reason why in the lesser towns of
the empire the sports of the amphitheater were comparatively humane
and rare; and in this as in other respects, Pompeii was the miniature,
the microcosm of Rome. Still, it was an awful and imposing spectacle,
with which modern times have, happily, nothing to compare; a vast
theater, rising row upon row, and swarming with human beings, from
fifteen to eighteen thousand in number, intent upon no fictitious
representation--no tragedy of the stage--but the actual victory or
defeat, the exultant life or the bloody death, of each and all who
entered the arena!

The two horsemen were now at either extremity of the lists (if so they
might be called), and at a given signal from Pansa the combatants
started simultaneously as in full collision, each advancing his round
buckler, each posing on high his sturdy javelin; but just when within
three paces of his opponent, the steed of Berbix suddenly halted,
wheeled round, and as Nobilior was borne rapidly by, his antagonist
spurred upon him. The buckler of Nobilior, quickly and skilfully
extended, received a blow which otherwise would have been fatal. And
the wild murmur, swelled by many a shout, echoed from side to side.

The visors of both the horsemen were completely closed (like those of
the knights in after times), but the head was nevertheless the great
point of assault; and Nobilior, now wheeling his charger with no less
adroitness than his opponent, directed his spear full on the helmet
of his foe. Berbix raised his buckler to shield himself, and his
quick-eyed antagonist, suddenly lowering his weapon, pierced him
through the breast. Berbix reeled and fell.

"Nobilior! Nobilior!" shouted the populace.

"I have lost ten sestertia," said Clodius, between his teeth.

"_Habet!_" (he has it) said Pansa deliberately.

The populace, not yet hardened into cruelty, made the signal of mercy:
but as the attendants of the arena approached, they found the kindness
came too late; the heart of the Gaul had been pierced, and his eyes
were set in death, It was his life's blood that flowed so darkly over
the sand and sawdust of the arena.

There were now on the arena six combatants: Niger and his net, matched
against Sporus with his shield and his short broad-sword; Lydon and
Tetraides, naked save by a cincture round the waist, each armed only
with a heavy Greek cestus; and two gladiators from Rome, clad in
complete steel, and evenly matched with immense bucklers and pointed

The initiatory contest between Lydon and Tetraides being less deadly
than that between the other combatants, no sooner had they advanced to
the middle of the arena than as by common consent the rest held back,
to see how that contest should be decided, and wait till fiercer
weapons might replace the cestus ere they themselves commenced
hostilities. They stood leaning on their arms and apart from each
other, gazing on the show, which, if not bloody enough thoroughly to
please the populace, they were still inclined to admire because its
origin was of their ancestral Greece.

No persons could at first glance have seemed less evenly matched than
the two antagonists. Tetraides, tho no taller than Lydon, weighed
considerably more; the natural size of his muscles was increased, to
the eyes of the vulgar, by masses of solid flesh; for, as it was a
notion that the contest of the cestus fared easiest with him who was
plumpest, Tetraides had encouraged to the utmost his hereditary
predisposition to the portly. His shoulders were vast, and his lower
limbs thick-set, double-jointed, and slightly curved outward, in that
formation which takes so much from beauty to give so largely to
strength. But Lydon, except that he was slender even almost to
meagerness, was beautifully and delicately proportioned; and the
skilful might have perceived that with much less compass of muscle
than his foe, that which he had was more seasoned--iron and compact.
In proportion, too, as he wanted flesh, he was likely to possess
activity; and a haughty smile on his resolute face, which strongly
contrasted with the solid heaviness of his enemy's, gave assurance to
those who beheld it and united their hope to their pity; so that
despite the disparity of their seeming strength, the cry of the
multitude was nearly as loud for Lydon as for Tetraides.

Whoever is acquainted with the modern prize-ring--whoever has
witnessed the heavy and disabling strokes which the human fist,
skilfully directed, hath the power to bestow--may easily understand
how much that happy facility would be increased by a band carried by
thongs of leather round the arm as high as the elbow, and terribly
strengthened about the knuckles by a plate of iron, and sometimes a
plummet of lead. Yet this, which was meant to increase, perhaps rather
diminished, the interest of the fray; for it necessarily shortened its
duration. A very few blows, successfully and scientifically planted,
might suffice to bring the contest to a close; and the battle did not,
therefore, often allow full scope for the energy, fortitude, and
dogged perseverance that we technically style _pluck_, which not
unusually wins the day against superior science, and which heightens
to so painful a delight the interest in the battle and the sympathy
for the brave.

Tetraides struck--it was as the blow of a smith on a vise; Lydon sank
suddenly on one knee--the blow passed over his head. Not so harmless
was Lydon's retaliation; he quickly sprang to his feet, and aimed his
cestus full on the broad chest of his antagonist. Tetraides
reeled--the populace shouted....

The people had been already rendered savage by the exhibition of
blood; they thirsted for more; their superstition was aided by their
ferocity. Aroused, inflamed by the spectacle of their victims, they
forgot the authority of their rulers. It was one of those dread
popular convulsions common to crowds wholly ignorant, half free and
half servile, and which the peculiar constitution of the Roman
provinces so frequently exhibited. The power of the prætor was a reed
beneath the whirlwind; still, at his word the guards had drawn
themselves along the lower benches, on which the upper classes sat
separate from the vulgar. They made but a feeble barrier; the waves of
the human sea halted for a moment, to enable Arbaces to count the
exact moment of his doom! In despair, and in a terror which beat down
even pride, he glanced his eye over the rolling and rushing crowd;
when, right above them, through the wide chasm which had been left in
the velaria, he beheld a strange and awful apparition; he beheld, and
his craft restored his courage!

He stretched his hand on high; over his lofty brow and royal features
there came an expression of unutterable solemnity and command.

"Behold!" he roared with a voice of thunder, which stilled the roar of
the crowd: "behold how the gods protect the guiltless! The fires of
the avenging Orcus burst forth against the false witness of my

The eyes of the crowd followed the gesture of the Egyptian, and beheld
with dismay a vast vapor shooting from the summit of Vesuvius in the
form of a gigantic pine-tree; the trunk, blackness--the breaches
fire!--a fire that shifted and wavered in its hues with every moment,
now fiercely luminous, now of a dull and dying red, that again blazed
terrifically forth with intolerable glare!

There was a dead, heart-sunken silence; through which there suddenly
broke the roar of the lion, which was echoed back from within the
building by the sharper and fiercer yells of its fellow beasts. Dread
seers were they of the Burden of the Atmosphere, and wild prophets of
the wrath to come!

Then there arose on high the universal shrieks of women; the men
stared at each other, but were dumb. At that moment they felt the
earth shake under their feet; the walls of the theater trembled; and
beyond in the distance they heard the crash of falling roofs; an
instant more, and the mountain cloud seemed to roll toward them, dark
and rapid, like a torrent; at the same time it cast forth from its
bosom a shower of ashes mixt with vast fragments of burning stone!
Over the crushing vines, over the desolate streets, over the
amphitheater itself; far and wide, with many a mighty splash in the
agitated sea, fell that awful shower!

No longer thought the crowd of justice or of Arbaces; safety for
themselves was their sole thought. Each turned to fly--each dashing,
pressing, crushing against the other. Trampling recklessly over the
fallen, amid groans and oaths and prayers and sudden shrieks, the
enormous crowd vomited itself forth through the numerous passages.
Whither should they fly? Some, anticipating a second earthquake,
hastened to their homes to load themselves with their more costly
goods and escape while it was yet time; others, dreading the showers
of ashes that now fell fast, torrent upon torrent, over the streets,
rushed under the roofs of the nearest houses, or temples, or
sheds--shelter of any kind--for protection from the terrors of the
open air. But darker, and larger, and mightier, spread the cloud above
them. It was a sudden and more ghastly Night rushing upon the realm of


     Born in 1804, died in 1881; son of Isaac D'Israeli; entered
     Parliament in 1837, where he opposed Peel; Chancellor of
     Exchequer and leader of the House in 1852, and again in
     1858; Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1866; carried the
     Reform bill of 1867; Prime Minister in 1868, and again in
     1874-80; made Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876; plenipotentiary
     at the Congress of Berlin in 1878; published several novels,
     including "Vivian Gray" (1826), "Henrietta Temple" (1837),
     "Coningsby" (1844), "Sybil" (1845), "Tancred" (1847), and
     "Endymion" (1880).


The broad moon lingers on the summit of Mount Olivet, but its beam has
long left the garden of Gethsemane and the tomb of Absalom, the waters
of Kedron and the dark abyss of Jehoshaphat. Full falls its splendor,
however, on the opposite city, vivid and defined in its silver blaze.
A lofty wall, with turrets and towers, and frequent gates, undulates
with the unequal ground which it covers, as it encircles the lost
capital of Jehovah. It is a city of hills far more famous than those
of Rome: for all Europe has heard of Zion and of Calvary, while the
Arab and the Assyrian, and the tribes and nations beyond, are as
ignorant of the Capitoline and Aventine mounts as they are of the
Malvern or the Chiltern hills.

[Footnote 12: From "Tancred."]

The broad steep of Zion crowned with the tower of David; nearer
still, Mount Moriah, with the gorgeous temple of the God of Abraham,
but, built, alas! by the child of Hagar, and not by Sarah's chosen
one; close to its cedars and its cypresses, its lofty spires and airy
arches, the moonlight falls upon Bethesda's pool; further on, entered
by the gate of St. Stephen, the eye, tho 'tis the noon of night,
traces with ease the Street of Grief, a long winding ascent to a vast
cupolaed pile that now covers Calvary--called the Street of Grief,
because there the most illustrious of the human, as well as of the
Hebrew race, the descendant of King David, and the divine son of the
most favored of women, twice sank under that burden of suffering and
shame which is now throughout all Christendom the emblem of triumph
and of honor; passing over groups and masses of houses built of stone,
with terraced roofs, or surmounted with small domes, we reach the hill
of Salem, where Melchisedek built his mystic citadel; and still
remains the hill of Scopas, where Titus gazed upon Jerusalem on the
eve of his final assault. Titus destroyed the temple. The religion of
Judea has in turn subverted the fanes which were raised to his father
and to himself in their imperial capital; and the God of Abraham, of
Isaac, and of Jacob is now worshiped before every altar in Rome.

Jerusalem by moonlight! 'Tis a fine spectacle, apart from all its
indissoluble associations of awe and beauty. The mitigating hour
softens the austerity of a mountain landscape magnificent in outline,
however harsh and severe in detail; and, while it retains all its
sublimity, removes much of the savage sternness of the strange and
unrivaled scene. A fortified city, almost surrounded by ravines, and
rising in the center of chains of far-spreading hills, occasionally
offering, through their rocky glens, the gleams of a distant and
richer land!

The moon has sunk behind the Mount of Olives, and the stars in the
darker sky shine doubly bright over the sacred city. The
all-prevailing stillness is broken by a breeze, that seems to have
traveled over the plain of Sharon from the sea. It wails among the
tombs, and sighs among the cypress groves. The palm-tree trembles as
it passes, as if it were a spirit of wo. Is it the breeze that has
traveled over the plain of Sharon from the sea?

Or is it the haunting voices of prophets mourning over the city that
they could not save? Their spirits surely would linger on the land
where their Creator had deigned to dwell, and over whose impending
fate Omnipotence had shed human tears. From this Mount! Who can but
believe that, at the midnight hour, from the summit of the Ascension,
the great departed of Israel assembled to gaze upon the battlements of
their mystic city! There might be counted heroes and sages, who need
shrink from no rivalry with the brightest and the wisest of other
lands; but the lawgiver of the time of the Pharaohs, whose laws are
still obeyed; the monarch, whose reign has ceased for three thousand
years, but whose wisdom is a proverb in all nations of the earth; the
teacher, whose doctrines have modeled civilized Europe--the greatest
of legislators, the greatest of administrators, and the greatest of
reformers--what race, extinct or living, can produce three such men
as these!

The last light is extinguished in the village of Bethany. The wailing
breeze has become a moaning wind; a white film spreads over the purple
sky; the stars are veiled, the stars are hid; all becomes as dark as
the waters of Kedron and valley of Jehoshaphat. The tower of David
merges into obscurity; no longer glitter the minarets of the mosque of
Omar; Bethesda's angelic waters, the gate of Stephen, the street of
sacred sorrow, the hill of Salem, and the heights of Scopas can no
longer be discerned. Alone in the increasing darkness, while the very
line of the walls gradually eludes the eye, the church of the Holy
Sepulcher is a beacon-light.

And why is the church of the Holy Sepulcher a beacon-light? Why, when
it is already past the noon of darkness, when every soul slumbers in
Jerusalem, and not a sound disturbs the deep repose except the howl of
the wild dog crying to the wilder wind--why is the cupola of the
sanctuary illumined, tho the hour has long since been numbered, when
pilgrims there kneel and monks pray?

An armed Turkish guard are bivouacked in the court of the church;
within the church itself, two brethren of the convent of Terra Santa
keep holy watch and ward; while, at the tomb beneath, there kneels a
solitary youth, who prostrated himself at sunset, and who will there
pass unmoved the whole of the sacred night.

Yet the pilgrim is not in communion with the Latin Church; neither is
he of the Church Armenian, or the Church Greek; Maronite Coptic, or
Abyssinian--these also are Christian churches which can not call him

He comes from a distant and a northern isle to bow before the tomb of
a descendant of the kings of Israel, because he, in common with all
the people of that isle, recognizes in that sublime Hebrew incarnation
the presence of a divine Redeemer. Then why does he come alone? It is
not that he has availed himself of the inventions of modern science,
to repair first to a spot, which all his countrymen may equally desire
to visit, and thus anticipate their hurrying arrival. Before the
inventions of modern science, all his countrymen used to flock hither.
Then why do they not now? Is the Holy Land no longer hallowed? Is it
not the land of sacred and mysterious truths? The land of heavenly
messages and earthly miracles? The land of prophets and apostles? Is
it not the land upon whose mountains the Creator of the Universe
parleyed with man, and the flesh of whose anointed race He mystically
assumed, when He struck the last blow at the powers of evil? Is it to
be believed that there are no peculiar and eternal qualities in a land
thus visited, which distinguish it from all others--that Palestine is
like Normandy or Yorkshire, or even Attica or Rome?

There may be some who maintain this; there have been some, and those,
too, among the wisest and the wittiest of the northern and western
races, who, touched by a presumptuous jealousy of the long
predominance of that Oriental intellect to which they owed their
civilization, would have persuaded themselves and the world that the
traditions of Sinai and Calvary were fables. Half a century ago,
Europe made a violent and apparently successful effort to disembarrass
itself of its Asian faith. The most powerful and the most civilized of
its kingdoms, about to conquer the rest, shut up its churches,
desecrated its altars, massacred and persecuted their sacred servants,
and announced that the Hebrew creeds which Simon Peter brought from
Palestine, and which his successors revealed to Clovis, were a mockery
and a fiction. What has been the result? In every city, town, village,
and hamlet of that great kingdom, the divine image of the most
illustrious of Hebrews has been again raised amid the homage of
kneeling millions; while, in the heart of its bright and witty
capital, the nation has erected the most gorgeous of modern temples,
and consecrated its marble and golden walls to the name, and memory,
and celestial efficacy of a Hebrew woman.


     Born in 1808, died in 1893; educated at Cambridge; became
     rector of a parish in 1848; dean of Ely Cathedral in 1869;
     published his "History of the Romans Under the Empire" in
     1850-62; "A General History of Rome" in 1875, "Contrast
     Between Christian and Pagan Society" in 1880.


In stature Augustus hardly exceeded the middle height, but his person
was lightly and delicately formed, and its proportions were such as to
convey a favorable and even a striking impression. His countenance was
pale, and testified to the weakness of his health, and almost constant
bodily suffering; but the hardships of military service had imparted a
swarthy tinge to a complexion naturally fair, and his eyebrows meeting
over a sharp and aquiline nose gave a serious and stern expression to
his countenance. His hair was light, and his eyes blue and piercing;
he was well pleased if any one on approaching him looked on the ground
and affected to be unable to meet their dazzling brightness. It was
said that his dress concealed many imperfections and blemishes on his
person; but he could not disguise all the infirmities under which he
labored; the weakness of the forefinger of his right hand and a
lameness in the left hip were the results of wounds he incurred in a
battle with the Iapydæ in early life; he suffered repeated attacks of
fever of the most serious kind, especially in the course of the
campaign of Philippi and that against the Cantabrians, and again two
years afterward at Rome, when his recovery was despaired of. From that
time, altho constantly liable to be affected by cold and heat, and
obliged to nurse himself throughout with the care of a valetudinarian,
he does not appear to have had any return of illness so serious as the
preceding; and dying at the age of seventy-four, the rumor obtained
popular currency that he was prematurely cut off by poison
administered by the empress.

[Footnote 13: From the "History of the Romans Under the Empire."
Merivale's purpose in writing this book was to fill in the interval
between the unfinished history by Thomas Arnold and Gibbon.]

As the natural consequence of this bodily weakness and sickly
constitution, Octavian did not attempt to distinguish himself by
active exertions or feats of personal prowess. The splendid examples
of his uncle the dictator, and of Antonius[14] his rival, might have
early discouraged him from attempting to shine as a warrior and hero;
he had not the vivacity and animal spirits necessary to carry him
through such exploits as theirs; and, altho he did not shrink from
exposing himself to personal danger, he prudently declined to allow a
comparison to to be instituted between himself and rivals whom he
could not hope to equal. Thus necessarily thrown back upon other
resources, he trusted to caution and circumspection, first to
preserve his own life, and afterward to obtain the splendid prizes
which had hitherto been carried off by daring adventure, and the good
fortune which is so often its attendant. His contest therefore with
Antonius and Sextus Pompeius was the contest of cunning with bravery;
but from his youth upward he was accustomed to overreach, not the bold
and reckless only, but the most considerate and wily of his
contemporaries, such as Cicero and Cleopatra; he succeeded in the end
in deluding the senate and people of Rome in the establishment of his
tyranny; and finally deceived the expectations of the world, and
falsified the lessons of the republican history, in reigning himself
forty years in disguise, and leaving a throne to be claimed without
challenge by his successors for fourteen centuries.

[Footnote 14: Mark Antony.]

But altho emperor in name, and in fact absolute master of his people,
the manners of the Cæsar, both in public and private life, were still
those of a simple citizen. On the most solemn occasions he was
distinguished by no other dress than the robes and insignia of the
offices which he exercised; he was attended by no other guards than
those which his consular dignity rendered customary and decent. In his
court there was none of the etiquette of modern monarchies to be
recognized, and it was only by slow and gradual encroachment that it
came to prevail in that of his successors. Augustus was contented to
take up his residence in the house which had belonged to the orator
Licinius Calvus, in the neighborhood of the Forum; which he afterward
abandoned for that of Hortensius on the Palatine, of which Suetonius
observes that it was remarkable neither for size nor splendor. Its
halls were small, and lined, not with marble, after the luxurious
fashion of many patrician palaces, but with the common Alban stone,
and the pattern of the pavement was plain and simple. Nor when he
succeeded Lepidus in the pontificate would he relinquish this private
dwelling for the regia or public residence assigned that honorable

Many anecdotes are recorded of the moderation with which the emperor
received the opposition, and often the rebukes, of individuals in
public as well as in private. These stories are not without their
importance, as showing how little formality there was in the tone of
addressing the master of the Roman world, and how entirely different
the ideas of the nation were, with regard to the position occupied by
the Cæsar and his family from those with which modern associations
have imbued us. We have already noticed the rude freedom with which
Tiberius was attacked, altho step-son of the emperor, and
participating in the eminent functions of the tribunitian power, by a
declaimer in the schools at Rhodes: but Augustus himself seems to have
suffered almost as much as any private citizen from the general
coarseness of behavior which characterized the Romans in their public
assemblies, and the rebukes to which he patiently submitted were
frequently such as would lay the courtier of a constitutional
sovereign in modern Europe under perpetual disgrace.

On one occasion, for instance, in the public discharge of his
functions as corrector of manners, he had brought a specific charge
against a certain knight for having squandered his patrimony. The
accused proved that he had, on the contrary, augmented it. "Well,"
answered the emperor, somewhat annoyed by his error, "but you are at
all events living in celibacy, contrary to recent enactments." The
other was able to reply that he was married, and was the father of
three legitimate children; and when the emperor signified that he had
no further charges to bring, added aloud: "Another time, Cæsar, when
you give ear to informations against honest men, take care that your
informants are honest themselves." Augustus felt the justice of the
rebuke thus publicly administered, and submitted to it in silence.


     Born in 1809, died in 1891; traveled in the East and
     published "Eothen; or Traces of Travel Brought Home from the
     East," in 1844; visited Algiers in 1845; went with the
     British army to the Crimea in 1854, remaining until the
     siege of Sebastopol; a member of Parliament in 1857-68;
     published his "Invasion of the Crimea" in 1863-87.



And near the Pyramids, more wondrous and more awful than all else in
the land of Egypt, there sits the lonely Sphinx. Comely the creature
is, but the comeliness is not of this world; the once worshiped beast
is a deformity and a monster to this generation, and yet you can see
that those lips, so thick and heavy, were fashioned according to some
ancient mold of beauty--some mold of beauty now forgotten--forgotten
because that Greece drew forth Cytherea from the flashing foam of the
Ægean, and in her image created new forms of beauty, and made it a law
among men that the short and proudly wreathed lip should stand for the
sign and the main condition of loveliness through all generations to
come. Yet still there lives on the race of those who were beautiful in
the fashion of the elder world, and Christian girls of Coptic blood
will look on you with the sad, serious gaze, and kiss your charitable
hand with the big pouting lips of the very Sphinx.

[Footnote 15: From "Eothen," which long since took its place as a
classic among books of travel.]

Laugh and mock if you will at the worship of stone idols; but mark ye
this, ye breakers of images, that in one regard the stone idol bears
awful semblance of Deity--unchangefulness in the midst of changes--the
same seeming will and intent for ever and ever inexorable! Upon
ancient dynasties of Ethiopian and Egyptian kings--upon Greek and
Roman, upon Arab and Ottoman conquerors--upon Napoleon dreaming of an
Eastern empire--upon battle and pestilence--upon the ceaseless misery
of the Egyptian race--upon keen-eyed travelers--Herodotus yesterday,
and Warburton to-day--upon all and more this unworldly Sphinx has
watched, and watched like a Providence with the same earnest eyes, and
the same sad, tranquil mien. And we, we shall die, and Islam will
wither away, and the Englishman straining far over to hold his loved
India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile, and sit in the
seats of the Faithful, and still that sleepless rock will lie watching
and watching the works of the new busy race, with those same sad
earnest eyes, and the same tranquil mien everlasting. You dare not
mock at the Sphinx!



Looking back upon the troubles which ended in the outbreak of war, one
sees the nations at first swaying backward and forward like a throng
so vast as to be helpless, but afterward falling slowly into warlike
array. And when one begins to search for the man or the men whose
volition was governing the crowd, the eye falls upon the towering form
of the Emperor Nicholas. He was not single-minded, and therefore his
will was unstable, but it had a huge force; and, since he was armed
with the whole authority of his empire, it seemed plain that it was
this man--and only he--who was bringing danger from the north. And at
first, too, it seemed that within his range of action there was none
who could be his equal: but in a little while the looks of men were
turned to the Bosporus, for thither his ancient adversary was slowly
bending his way.

[Footnote 16: From "The Invasion of the Crimea," one of the
masterpieces of modern historical literature, but often criticized for
its excessive bias against France as represented by Napoleon III.]

To fit him for the encounter, the Englishman was clothed with little
authority except what he could draw from the resources of his own mind
and from the strength of his own wilful nature. Yet it was presently
seen that those who were near him fell under his dominion, and did as
he bid them, and that the circle of deference to his will was always
increasing around him; and soon it appeared that, tho he moved gently,
he began to have mastery over a foe who was consuming his strength in
mere anger. When he had conquered, he stood, as it were, with folded
arms, and seemed willing to desist from strife. But also in the west
there had been seen a knot of men possest for the time of the mighty
engine of the French State, and striving so to use it as to be able to
keep their hold, and to shelter themselves from a cruel fate. The
volitions of these men were active enough, because they were toiling
for their lives. Their efforts seemed to interest and to please the
lustiest man of those days, for he watched them from over the Channel
with approving smile, and began to declare, in his good-humored,
boisterous way, that so long as they should be suffered to have the
handling of France, _so long as they would execute for him his
policy_, so long as they would take care not to deceive him, they
ought to be encouraged, they ought to be made use of, they ought to
have the shelter they wanted; and, the Frenchmen agreeing to his
conditions, he was willing to level the barrier--he called it perhaps
false pride--which divided the government of the Queen from the
venturers of the 2d of December. In this thought, at the moment, he
stood almost alone; but he abided his time. At length he saw the
spring of 1853, bringing with it grave peril to the Ottoman State.
Then, throwing aside with a laugh some papers which belonged to the
Home Office, he gave his strong shoulder to the leveling work. Under
the weight of his touch the barrier fell. Thenceforth the hindrances
that met him were but slight. As he from the first had willed it, so
moved the two great nations of the West.


     Born in 1809, died in 1882; grandson of Erasmus Darwin;
     educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge; went around the world
     on a scientific expedition in 1831-36; settled in Kent in
     1842 and thenceforth devoted his life to scientific
     research; published "The Origin of Species" in 1859, "The
     Descent of Man" in 1871, "The Emotions of Man and Animals"
     in 1872.



Not only the various domestic races, but the most distinct genera and
orders within the same great class--for instance, mammals, birds,
reptiles, and fishes--are all the descendants of one common
progenitor, and we must admit that the whole vast amount of difference
between these forms has primarily arisen from simple variability. To
consider the subject under this point of view is enough to strike one
dumb with amazement. But our amazement ought to be lessened when we
reflect that beings almost infinite in number, during an almost
infinite lapse of time, have often had their whole organization
rendered in some degree plastic, and that each slight modification of
structure which was in any way beneficial under excessively complex
conditions of life has been preserved, while each which was in any
way injurious has been rigorously destroyed. And the long-continued
accumulation of beneficial variations will infallibly have led to
structures as diversified, as beautifully adapted for various
purposes, and as excellently coordinated as we see in the animals and
plants around us. Hence I have spoken of selection as the paramount
power, whether applied by man to the formation of domestic breeds, or
by nature to the production of species. If an architect were to rear a
noble and commodious edifice without the use of cut stone, by
selecting from the fragments at the base of a precipice wedge-formed
stones for his arches, elongated stones for his lintels, and flat
stones for his roof, we should admire his skill, and regard him as the
paramount power. Now, the fragments of stone, tho indispensable to the
architect, bear to the edifice built by him the same relation which
the fluctuating variations of organic beings bear to the varied and
admirable structures ultimately acquired by their modified

[Footnote 17: From "The Origin of Species."]

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

The shape of the fragments of stone at the base of our precipice may
be called accidental, but this is not strictly correct; for the shape
of each depends on a long sequence of events, all obeying natural
laws; on the nature of the rock, on the lines of deposition or
cleavage, on the form of the mountain, which depends on its upheaval
and subsequent denudation, and lastly on the storm or earthquake which
throws down the fragments. But in regard to the use to which the
fragments may be put, their shape may be strictly said to be
accidental. And here we are led to face a great difficulty, in
alluding to which I am aware I am traveling beyond my proper province.
An omniscient Creator must have foreseen every consequence which
results from the laws imposed by Him.

But can it reasonably be maintained that the Creator intentionally
ordered, if we use the words in any ordinary sense, that certain
fragments of rock should assume certain shapes so that the builder
might erect his edifice? If the various laws which have determined the
shape of each fragment were not predetermined for the builder's sake,
can it be maintained with any greater probability that He specially
ordained for the sake of the breeder each of the innumerable
variations in our domestic animals and plants; many of these
variations being of no service to man, and not beneficial, far more
often injurious, to the creatures themselves? Did he ordain that the
crop and tail-feathers of the pigeon should vary in order that the
fancier might make his grotesque pouter and fantail breeds? Did He
cause the frame and mental qualities of the dog to vary in order that
a breed might be formed of indomitable ferocity, with jaws fitted to
pin down the bull for man's brutal sport? But if we give up the
principle in one case--if we do not admit that the variations of the
primeval dog were intentionally guided in order that the greyhound,
for instance, that perfect image of symmetry and vigor, might be
formed--no shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that
variations, alike in nature and the result of the same general laws,
which have been the groundwork through natural selection of the
formation of the most perfectly adapted animals in the world, man
included, were intentionally and specially guided. However much we may
wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief, "that
variation has been led along certain beneficial lines of irrigation."
If we assume that each particular variation was from the beginning of
all time preordained, then that plasticity of organization which leads
to many injurious deviations of structure, as well as the redundant
power of reproduction which inevitably leads to a struggle for
existence, and as a consequence, to the natural selection or survival
of the fittest, must appear to us superfluous laws of nature. On the
other hand, an omnipotent and omniscient Creator ordains everything
and foresees everything. Thus we are brought face to face with a
difficulty as insoluble as is that of free will and predestination.



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

[Footnote 18: From Darwin's "Autobiography," as printed in Volume 1 of
the "Life and Letters." Published by D. Appleton & Co.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


     Born in 1810, died in 1882; son of a Biblical scholar of the
     same name, studied medicine at Edinburgh University and
     practised medicine successfully in Edinburgh until his
     death; published the first volume of the "Horæ Subsecivæ" in
     1858, the second in 1861, and the third in 1882; one of
     these contained his best known work, "Rab and His Friends,"
     frequently printed separately since his death.


Four-and-thirty years ago Bob Ainslie and I were coming up Infirmary
Street from the Edinburgh High School, our heads together, and our
arms intertwisted, as only lovers and boys know how, or why.

[Footnote 19: From "Rab and His Friends."]

When we got to the top of the street, and turned north, we espied a
crowd at the Tron Church. "A dog fight!" shouted Bob, and was off; and
so was I, both of us all but praying that it might not be over before
we got up! And is not this boy-nature? and human nature too? and don't
we all wish a house on fire not to be out before we see it? Dogs like
fighting; old Isaac says they "delight" in it, and for the best of all
reasons; and boys are not cruel because they like to see the fight.
They see three of the great cardinal virtues of dog or man--courage,
endurance, and skill--in intense action. This is very different from a
love of making dogs fight, and enjoying, and aggravating, and making
gain by their pluck. A boy, be he ever so fond himself of fighting,
if he be a good boy, hates and despises all this, but he would have
run off with Bob and me fast enough; it is a natural, and a not wicked
interest, that all boys and men have in witnessing intense energy in

Does any curious and finely ignorant woman wish to know how Bob's eye
at a glance announced a dog fight to his brain? He did not, he could
not see the dogs fighting; it was a flash of an inference, a rapid
induction. The crowd round a couple of dogs fighting is a crowd
masculine mainly, with an occasional active, compassionate woman,
fluttering wildly round the outside, and using her tongue and her
hands freely upon the men, as so many "brutes"; it is a crowd annular,
compact, and mobile; a crowd centripetal, having its eyes and its
heads all bent downward and inward to one common focus.

Well, Bob and I are up, and find it is not over; a small,
thoroughbred, white bull-terrier is busy throttling a large shepherd's
dog, unaccustomed to war, but not to be trifled with. They are hard at
it; the scientific little fellow doing his work in great style, his
pastoral enemy fighting wildly, but with the sharpest of teeth and a
great courage. Science and breeding, however, soon had their own; the
Game Chicken, as the premature Bob called him, working his way up,
took his final grip of poor Yarrow's throat--and he lay gasping and
done for. His master, a brown, handsome, big young shepherd from
Tweedsmuir, would have liked to have knocked down any man, would
"drink up Esil, or eat a crocodile," for that part, if he had a
chance: it was no use kicking the little dog; that would only make
him hold the closer. Many were the means shouted out in mouthfuls, of
the best possible ways of ending it. "Water!" but there was none near,
and many cried for it who might have got it from the well at
Blackfriars Wynd. "Bite the tail!" and a large, vague, benevolent,
middle-aged man, more desirous than wise, with some struggle got the
bushy end of Yarrow's tail into his ample mouth, and bit it with all
his might. This was more than enough for the much-enduring,
much-perspiring shepherd, who, with a gleam of joy over his broad
visage, delivered a terrific facer upon our large, benevolent,
middle-aged friend--who went down like a shot.

Still the Chicken holds; death not far off. "Snuff! a pinch of snuff!"
observed a calm, highly-drest young buck, with an eyeglass in his eye.
"Snuff, indeed!" growled the angry crowd, affronted and glaring.
"Snuff! a pinch of snuff!" again observes the buck, but with more
urgency; whereon were produced several open boxes, and from a mull
which may have been at Culloden, he took a pinch, knelt down, and
presented it to the nose of the Chicken. The laws of physiology and of
snuff take their course; the Chicken sneezes, and Yarrow is free!

The young pastoral giant stalks off with Yarrow in his
arms--comforting him.

But the bull terrier's blood is up, and his soul unsatisfied; he grips
the first dog he meets, and discovering she is not a dog, in Homeric
phrase, he makes a brief sort of _amende_, and is off. The boys, with
Bob and me at their head, are after him: down Niddry Street he goes
bent on mischief; up the Cowgate like an arrow--Bob and I, and our
small men panting behind.

There, under the single arch of the South Bridge, is a huge mastiff,
sauntering down the middle of the causeway, as if with his hands in
his pockets; he is old, gray, brindled, as big as a little Highland
bull, and has the Shakespearean dewlaps shaking as he goes.

The Chicken makes straight at him and fastens on his throat. To our
astonishment, the great creature does nothing but stand still, hold
himself up and roar--yes, roar; a long, serious, remonstrative roar.
How is this? Bob and I are up to them. _He is muzzled!_ The bailies
had proclaimed a general muzzling, and his master, studying strength
and economy mainly, had encompassed his huge jaws in a home-made
apparatus constructed out of the leather of some ancient _breechin_.
His mouth was open as far as it could be; his lips curled up in
rage--a sort of terrible grin; his teeth gleaming, ready, from out the
darkness; the strap across his mouth tense as a bowstring; his whole
frame stiff with indignation and surprize; his roar asking us all
round, "Did you ever see the like of this?" He looked a statue of
anger and astonishment done in Aberdeen granite.

We soon had a crowd; the Chicken held on. "A knife!" cried Bob; and a
cobbler gave him his knife: you know the kind of knife, worn away
obliquely to a point, and always keen. I put its edge to the tense
leather; it ran before it; and then!--one sudden jerk of that enormous
head, a sort of dirty mist about his mouth, no noise--and the bright
and fierce little fellow is dropt, limp and dead. A solemn pause;
this was more than any of us had bargained for. I turned the little
fellow over, and saw he was quite dead; the mastiff had taken him by
the small of the back like a rat, and broken it.

He looked down at his victim appeased, ashamed, and amazed; snuffed
him all over, stared at him, and taking a sudden thought, turned round
and trotted off. Bob took the dead dog up and said, "John, we'll bury
him after tea." "Yes," said I, and was off after the mastiff. He made
up the Cowgate at rapid swing; he had forgotten some engagement. He
turned up the Candlemaker Row, and stopt at the Harrow Inn.

There was a carrier's cart ready to start, and a keen, thin,
impatient, black-a-vised little man, his hand at his gray horse's
head, looking about angrily for something.

"Rab, ye thief!" said he, aiming a kick at my great friend, who drew
cringing up, and avoiding the heavy shoe with more agility than
dignity, and, watching his master's eye, slunk dismayed under the
cart--his ears down, and as much as he had of tail down too.

What a man this must be--thought I--to whom my tremendous hero turns
tail! The carrier saw the muzzle hanging, cut and useless, from his
neck, and I eagerly told him the story, which Bob and I always
thought, and still think, Homer or King David or Sir Walter alone were
worthy to rehearse. The severe little man was mitigated, and
condescended to say, "Rab, my man, puir Rabbie"--whereupon the stump
of a tail rose up, the ears were cocked, the eyes filled, and were
comforted; the two friends were reconciled. "Hupp!" and a stroke of
the whip were given to Jess; and off went the three.

Bob and I buried the Game Chicken that night (we had not much of a
tea) in the back green of his house in Melville Street, No. 17, with
considerable gravity and silence; and being at the time in the
"Iliad," and, like all boys, Trojans, we called him Hector, of


     Born in 1811, died in 1863; lived in India until five years
     old; educated at Cambridge; began to write for newspapers in
     1833; went to Paris to study art in 1834; visited the east
     in 1844, and the United States in 1852 and 1854; published
     "Vanity Fair" in 1846-48, "Pendennis" in 1848-50, "Henry
     Esmond" in 1852, "The Newcomes" in 1853-55, "The Virginians"
     in 1857-59.



And now, having seen a great military march through a friendly
country, the pomps and festivities of more than one German court, the
severe struggle of a hotly contested battle, and the triumph of
victory, Mr. Esmond beheld another part of military duty; our troops
entering the enemy's territory and putting all around them to fire and
sword; burning farms, wasted fields, shrieking women, slaughtered sons
and fathers, and drunken soldiery, cursing and carousing in the midst
of tears, terror, and murder. Why does the stately Muse of History,
that delights in describing the valor of heroes and the grandeur of
conquest, leave out these scenes, so brutal, and degrading, that yet
form by far the greater part of the drama of war? You gentlemen of
England, who live at home at ease and compliment yourselves in the
songs of triumph with which our chieftains are bepraised; you pretty
maidens that come tumbling down the stairs when the fife and drum call
you, and huzza for the British Grenadiers,--do you take account that
these items go to make up the amount of triumph you admire, and form
part of the duties of the heroes you fondle?

[Footnote 20: From "The History of Henry Esmond."]

Our chief, whom England and all Europe, saving only the Frenchmen,
worshipt almost, had this of the god-like in him: that he was
impassible before victory, before danger, before defeat. Before the
greatest obstacle or the most trivial ceremony; before a hundred
thousand men drawn in battalia, or a peasant slaughtered at the door
of his burning hovel; before a carouse of drunken German lords, or a
monarch's court, or a cottage table where his plans were laid, or an
enemy's battery, vomiting flame and death and strewing corpses round
about him,--he was always cold, calm, resolute, like fate. He
performed a treason or a court bow, he told a falsehood as black as
Styx, as easily as he paid a compliment or spoke about the weather. He
took a mistress and left her, he betrayed his benefactor and supported
him, or would have murdered him, with the same calmness always and
having no more remorse than Clotno when she weaves the thread, on
Lachesis when she cuts it. In the hour of battle I have heard the
Prince of Savoy's officers say the prince became possest with a sort
of warlike fury, his eyes lighted up; he rushed hither and thither,
raging; shrieked curses and encouragement, yelling and harking his
bloody war-dogs on, and himself always at the first of the hunt. Our
duke was as calm at the mouth of a cannon as at the door of a
drawing-room. Perhaps he could not have been the great man he was had
he had a heart either for love or hatred, or pity or fear, or regret
or remorse. He achieved the highest deed or daring, or deepest
calculation of thought, as he performed the very meanest action of
which a man is capable; told a lie or cheated a fond woman or robbed a
poor beggar of a halfpenny, with a like awful serenity, and equal
capacity of the highest and lowest acts of our nature.

His qualities were pretty well known in the army, where there were
parties of all politics, and of plenty of shrewdness and wit; but
there existed such a perfect confidence in him, as the first captain
of the world, and such a faith and admiration in his prodigious genius
and fortune, that the very men whom he notoriously cheated of their
pay, the chiefs whom he used and injured--for he used all men, great
and small, that came near him, as his instruments alike, and took
something of theirs, either some quality or some property: the blood
of a soldier, it might be, or a jeweled hat or a hundred thousand
crowns from the king, or a portion out of a starving sentinel's three
farthings; or when he was young, a kiss from a woman, and the gold
chain off her neck, taking all he could from woman or man, and having,
as I said, this of the god-like in him, that he could see a hero
perish or a sparrow fall with the same amount of sympathy for either.

Not that he had no tears, he could always order up this reserve at the
proper moment to battle; he could draw upon tears or smiles alike, and
whenever need was for using this cheap coin. He would cringe to a
shoeblack, and he would flatter a minister or a monarch; be haughty,
be humble, threaten, repent, weep, grasp your hand, or stab you
whenever he saw occasion--but yet those of the army who knew him best
and had suffered most from him, admired him most of all; and as he
rode along the lines to battle, or galloped up in the nick of time to
a battalion reeling from the enemy's charge or shot, the fainting men
and officers got new courage as they saw the splendid calm of his
face, and felt that his will made them irresistible.

After the great victory of Blenheim, the enthusiasm of the army for
the duke, even of his bitterest personal enemies in it, amounted to a
sort of rage: nay, the very officers who cursed him in their hearts
were among the most frantic to cheer him. Who could refuse his meed of
admiration to such a victory and such a victor? Not he who writes: a
man may profess to be ever so much a philosopher, but he who fought on
that day must feel a thrill of pride as he recalls it.



There never was, since the days of Darius, such a brilliant train of
camp-followers as hung round the train of the Duke of Wellington's
army in the Low Countries, in 1815, and led it dancing and feasting,
as it were, up to the very brink of battle. A certain ball[22] which a
noble duchess gave at Brussels on the 15th of June in the above-named
year is historical. All Brussels had been in a state of excitement
about it; and I have heard from ladies who were in that town at the
period, that the talk and interest of persons of their own sex
regarding the ball was much greater even than in respect of the enemy
in their front. The struggles, intrigues, and prayers to get tickets
were such as only English ladies will employ, in order to gain
admission to the society of the great of their own nation.

[Footnote 21: From "Vanity Fair."]

[Footnote 22: Readers will recall Byron's account of this ball in
"Childe Harold."]

Jos and Mrs. O'Dowd, who were panting to be asked, strove in vain to
procure tickets; but others of our friends were more lucky. For
instance, through the interest of my Lord Bareacres, and as a set-off
for the dinner at the restaurateur's, George got a card for Captain
and Mrs. Osborne; which circumstance greatly elated him. Dobbin, who
was a friend of the general commanding the division in which their
regiment was, came laughing one day to Mrs. Osborne, and displayed a
similar invitation; which made Jos envious, and George wonder how the
deuce he should be getting into society. Mr. and Mrs. Rawdon, finally,
were of course invited, as became the friends of a general commanding
a cavalry brigade.

On the appointed night, George, having commanded new dresses and
ornaments of all sorts for Amelia, drove to the famous ball, where his
wife did not know a single soul. After looking about for Lady
Bareacres,--who cut him, thinking the card was quite enough,--and
after placing Amelia on a bench, he left her to her own cogitations
there; thinking on his own part that he had behaved very handsomely in
getting her new clothes, and bringing her to the ball, where she was
free to amuse herself as she liked. Her thoughts were not the
pleasantest, and nobody except honest Dobbin came to disturb them.

Whilst her appearance was an utter failure (as her husband felt with a
sort of rage), Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's _début_ was, on the contrary,
very brilliant. She arrived very late. Her face was radiant; her dress
perfection. In the midst of the great persons assembled, and the
eyeglasses directed to her, Rebecca seemed to be as cool and collected
as when she used to marshal Miss Pinkerton's little girls to church.
Numbers of the men she knew already, and the dandies thronged around
her. As for the ladies, it was whispered among them that Rawdon had
run away with her from out of a convent, and that she was a relation
of the Montmorency family. She spoke French so perfectly that there
might be some truth in this report, and it was agreed that her manners
were fine, and her air _distinguished_. Fifty would-be partners
thronged round her at once, and prest to have the honor to dance with
her. But she said she was engaged, and only going to dance very
little; and made her way at once to the place where Emmy sate quite
unnoticed, and dismally unhappy.

And so, to finish the poor child at once, Mrs. Rawdon ran and greeted
affectionately her dearest Amelia, and began forthwith to patronize
her. She found fault with her friend's dress, and her hair-dresser,
and wondered how she could be so _chaussée_, and vowed that she must
send her _corsetière_ the next morning. She vowed that it was a
delightful ball; that there was everybody that every one knew, and
only a _very_ few nobodies in the whole room. It is a fact that in a
fortnight, and after three dinners in general society, this young
woman had got up the genteel jargon so well that a native could not
speak it better; and it was only from her French being so good, that
you could know that she was not a born woman of fashion.

George, who had left Emmy on the bench on entering the ballroom, very
soon found his way back when Rebecca was by her dear friend's side.
Becky was just lecturing Mrs. Osborne upon the follies which her
husband was committing. "For God's sake, stop him from gambling, my
dear," she said, "or he will ruin himself. He and Rawdon are playing
at cards every night; and you know he is very poor, and Rawdon will
win every shilling from him if he does not take care. Why don't you
prevent him, you little careless creature? Why don't you come to us of
an evening, instead of moping at home with that Captain Dobbin? I dare
say he is _très aimable_; but how can one love a man with feet of such
size? Your husband's feet are darlings--here he comes. Where have you
been, wretch? Here is Emmy crying her eyes out for you. Are you coming
to fetch me for the quadrille?" And she left her bouquet and shawl by
Amelia's side, and tript off with George to dance. Women only know
how to wound so. There is a poison on the tip of the little shafts
which sting a thousand times more than a man's blunter weapon. Our
poor Emmy, who had never hated, never sneered all her life, was
powerless in the hands of her remorseless little enemy.

George danced with Rebecca twice or thrice--how many times Amelia
scarcely knew. She sat quite unnoticed in her corner, except when
Rawdon came up with some words of clumsy conversation; and later in
the evening, when Captain Dobbin made so bold as to bring her
refreshments and sit beside her. He did not like to ask her why she
was so sad; but as a pretext for the tears which were filling her
eyes, she told him that Mrs. Crawley had alarmed her by telling her
that George would go on playing.

"It is curious, when a man is bent upon play, by what clumsy rogues he
will allow himself to be cheated," Dobbin said; and Emmy said
"Indeed." She was thinking of something else. It was not the loss of
the money that grieved her.

At last George came back for Rebecca's shawl and flowers. She was
going away. She did not even condescend to come back and say good-by
to Amelia. The poor girl let her husband come and go without saying a
word, and her head fell on her breast. Dobbin had been called away,
and was whispering deep in conversation with the general of the
division, his friend, and had not seen this last parting. George went
away then with the bouquet; but when he gave it to the owner, there
lay a note, coiled like a snake among the flowers. Rebecca's eye
caught it at once: she had been used to deal with notes in early
life. She put out her hand and took the nosegay. He saw by her eyes as
they met, that she was aware what she would find there. Her husband
hurried her away, still too intent upon his own thoughts, seemingly,
to take note of any marks of recognition which might pass between his
friend and his wife. These were, however, but trifling. Rebecca gave
George her hand with one of her usual quick knowing glances, and made
a curtsey and walked away. George bowed over the hand; said nothing in
reply to a remark of Crawley's,--did not hear it even, his brain was
so throbbing with triumph and excitement; and allowed them to go away
without a word.

His wife saw the one part at least of the bouquet scene. It was quite
natural that George should come at Rebecca's request to get her scarf
and flowers,--it was no more than he had done twenty times before in
the course of the last few days; but now it was too much for her.
"William," she said, suddenly clinging to Dobbin, who was near her,
"you've always been very kind to me: I'm--I'm not well. Take me home."
She did not know she called him by his Christian name, as George was
accustomed to do. He went away with her quickly. Her lodgings were
hard by; and they threaded through the crowd without, where everything
seemed to be more astir than even in the ballroom within.

George had been angry twice or thrice at finding his wife up on his
return from the parties which he frequented, so she went straight to
bed now; but altho she did not sleep, and altho the din and clatter
and the galloping of horsemen was incessant, she never heard any of
these noises, having quite other disturbances to keep her awake.

Osborne meanwhile, wild with elation, went off to a play table and
began to bet frantically. He won repeatedly. "Everything succeeds with
me to-night," he said. But his luck at play--even did not cure him of
his restlessness; and he started up after a while, pocketing his
winnings, and went off to a buffet, where he drank off many bumpers of

Here, as he was rattling away to the people around him, laughing
loudly and wild with spirits, Dobbin found him. He had been to the
card tables to look there for his friend. Dobbin looked as pale and
grave as his comrade was flushed and jovial.

"Hullo, Dob! Come and drink, old Dob! The duke's wine is famous. Give
me some more, you sir;" and he held out a trembling glass for the

"Come out, George," said Dobbin, still gravely: "don't drink."

"Drink! there's nothing like it. Drink yourself, and light up your
lantern jaws, old boy. Here's to you."

Dobbin went up and whispered something to him; at which George, giving
a start and a wild hurray, tossed off his glass, clapped it on the
table, and walked away speedily on his friend's arm. "The enemy has
passed the Sambre," William said, "and our left is already engaged.
Come away. We are to march in three hours."

Away went George, his nerves quivering with excitement at the news so
long looked for, so sudden when it came. What were love and intrigue
now? He thought about a thousand things but these in his rapid walk to
his quarters: his past life and future chances--the fate which might
be before him--the wife, the child perhaps, from whom unseen he might
be about to part. Oh, how he wished that night's work undone! and that
with a clear conscience at least he might say farewell to the tender
and guileless being by whose love he had set such little store.

He thought over his brief married life. In those few weeks he had
frightfully dissipated his little capital. How wild and reckless he
had been! Should any mischance befall him, what was then left for her?
How unworthy he was of her! Why had he married her? He was not fit for
marriage! Why had he disobeyed his father, who had been always so
generous to him? Hope, remorse, ambition, tenderness, and selfish
regret filled his heart. He sate down and wrote to his father,
remembering what he had said once before, when he was engaged to fight
a duel. Dawn faintly streaked the sky as he closed this farewell
letter. He sealed it, and kissed the superscription. He thought how he
had deserted that generous father, and of the thousand kindnesses
which the stern old man had done him.

He had looked into Amelia's bedroom when he entered; she lay quiet,
and her eyes seemed closed, and he was glad that she was asleep. On
arriving at his quarters from the ball, he had found his regimental
servant already making preparations for his departure: the man had
understood his signal to be still, and these arrangements were very
quickly and silently made. Should he go in and wake Amelia, he
thought, or leave a note for her brother to break the news of
departure to her? He went in to look at her once again.

She had been awake when he first entered her room, but had kept her
eyes closed, so that even her wakefulness should not seem to reproach
him. But when he had returned,--so soon after herself, too,--this
timid little heart had felt more at ease; and turning towards him as
he stept softly out of the room, she had fallen into a light sleep.
George came in and looked at her again, entering still more softly. By
the pale night-lamp he could see her sweet, pale face: the purple
eyelids were fringed and closed, and one round arm, smooth and white,
lay outside the coverlet. Good God! how pure she was; how gentle, how
tender, and how friendless! and he, how selfish, brutal, and black
with crime! Heart-stained and shame-stricken, he stood at the bed's
foot and looked at the sleeping girl. How dared he--who was he, to
pray for one so spotless! God bless her! God bless her! He came to the
bedside, and looked at the hand, the little soft hand, lying asleep;
and he bent over the pillow noiselessly toward the gentle pale face.

Two fair arms closed tenderly around his neck as he stooped down. "I
am awake, George," the poor child said, with a sob fit to break the
little heart that nestled so closely by his own. She was awake, poor
soul--and to what? At that moment a bugle from the Place of Arms began
sounding clearly, and was taken up through the town; and 'midst the
drums of the infantry, and the shrill pipes of the Scotch, the whole
city awoke....

All our friends took their share and fought like men in the great
field. All day long, whilst the women were praying ten miles away, the
lines of the dauntless English infantry were receiving and repelling
the furious charges of the French horsemen. Guns which were heard at
Brussels were plowing up their ranks, and comrades falling, and the
resolute survivors closing in. Toward evening the attack of the
French, repeated and resisted so bravely, slackened in its fury. They
had other foes besides the British to engage, or were preparing for a
final onset. It came at last: the columns of the Imperial Guard
marched up the hill of Saint Jean, at length and at once to sweep the
English from the height which they had maintained all day; and spite
of all, unscared by the thunder of the artillery, which hurled death
from the English line, the dark column prest on and up the hill. It
seemed almost to crest the eminence, when it began to waver and
falter. Then it stopt, still facing the shot. Then at last the English
troops rushed from the post from which no enemy had been able to
dislodge them, and the Guard turned and fled.

No more firing was heard at Brussels--the pursuit rolled miles away.
Darkness came down on the field and city: and Amelia was praying for
George, who was lying on his face, dead, with a bullet through his



Clive, and the boy sometimes with him, used to go daily to Grey
Friars, where the colonel still lay ill. After some days the fever
which had attacked him left him; but left him so weak and enfeebled
that he could only go from his bed to the chair by his fireside. The
season was exceedingly bitter; the chamber which he inhabited was warm
and spacious: it was considered unadvisable to move him until he had
attained greater strength and still warmer weather. The medical men of
the House hoped he might rally in spring. My friend Dr. Goodenough
came to him; he hoped too, but not with a hopeful face. A chamber,
luckily vacant, hard by the colonel's, was assigned to his friends,
where we sat when we were too many for him. Besides his customary
attendants, he had two dear and watchful nurses, who were almost
always with him--Ethel, and Madame de Florac, who had passed many a
faithful year by an old man's bedside; who would have come, as to a
work of religion, to any sick couch--much more to this one, where he
lay for whose life she would once gladly have given her own.

[Footnote 23: From "The Newcomes."]

But our colonel, we all were obliged to acknowledge, was no more our
friend of old days. He knew us again, and was good to every one round
him, as his wont was; especially when Boy came his old eyes lighted
up with simple happiness, and with eager trembling hands he would seek
under his bed-clothes, or the pockets of his dressing-gown for toys or
cakes, which he had caused to be purchased for his grandson. There was
a little laughing, red-cheeked, white-headed gown-boy of the school,
to whom the old man had taken a great fancy. One of the symptoms of
his returning consciousness and recovery, as we hoped, was his calling
for this child, who pleased our friend by his archness and merry ways;
and who, to the old gentleman's unfailing delight, used to call him
"Codd Colonel." "Tell little F---- that Codd Colonel wants to see
him"; and the little gown-boy was brought to him: and the colonel
would listen to him for hours, and hear all about his lessons and his
play; and prattle, almost as childishly, about Dr. Raine and his own
early school-days. The boys of the school, it must be said, had heard
the noble old gentleman's touching history, and had all got to know
and love him. They came every day to hear news of him; sent him in
books and papers to amuse him; and some benevolent young souls--God's
blessing on all honest boys, say I--painted theatrical characters and
sent them in to Codd Colonel's grandson. The little fellow was made
free of gown-boys, and once came thence to his grandfather in a little
gown, which delighted the old man hugely. Boy said he would like to be
a little gown-boy; and I make no doubt, when he is old enough, his
father will get him that post, and put him under the tuition of my
friend Dr. Senior.

So weeks passed away, during which our dear old friend still remained
with us. His mind was gone at intervals, but would rally feebly: and
with his consciousness returned his love, his simplicity, his
sweetness. He would talk French with Madame de Florac; at which time
his memory appeared to awaken with surprizing vividness, his cheek
flushed, and he was a youth again--a youth all love and hope--a
stricken old man, with a beard as white as snow covering the noble
careworn face. At such times he called her by her Christian name of
Léonore; he addrest courtly old words of regard and kindness to the
aged lady; anon he wandered in his talk, and spoke to her as if they
were still young. Now, as in those early days, his heart was pure; no
anger remained in it; no guile tainted it: only peace and good-will
dwelt in it.

Rosey's death had seemed to shock him for a while when the unconscious
little boy spoke of it. Before that circumstance, Clive had even
forborne to wear mourning, lest the news should agitate his father.
The colonel remained silent and was very much disturbed all that day,
but he never appeared to comprehend the fact quite; and once or twice
afterward asked why she did not come to see him? She was prevented, he
supposed--she was prevented, he said, with a look of terror; he never
once otherwise alluded to that unlucky tyrant of his household who had
made his last years so unhappy.

The circumstance of Clive's legacy he never understood; but more than
once spoke of Barnes to Ethel, and sent his compliments to him, and
said he should like to shake him by the hand. Barnes Newcome never
once offered to touch that honored hand, tho his sister bore her
uncle's message to him. They came often from Bryanstone Square; Mrs.
Hobson even offered to sit with the colonel, and read to him, and
brought him books for his improvement. But her presence disturbed him;
he cared not for her books: the two nurses whom he loved faithfully
watched him; and my wife and I were admitted to him sometimes, both of
whom he honored with regard and recognition. As for F. B., in order to
be near his colonel, did not that good fellow take up his lodgings in
Cistercian Lane, at the Red Cow? He is one whose errors, let us hope,
shall be pardoned, _quia multum amavit_. I am sure he felt ten times
more joy at hearing of Clive's legacy than if thousands had been
bequeathed to himself. May good health and good fortune speed him!

The days went on; and our hopes, raised sometimes, began to flicker
and fall. One evening the colonel left his chair for his bed in pretty
good spirits; but passed a disturbed night, and the next morning was
too weak to rise. Then he remained in his bed, and his friends visited
him there. One afternoon he asked for his little gown-boy, and the
child was brought to him, and sat by the bed with a very awe-stricken
face; and then gathered courage, and tried to amuse him by telling him
how it was a half-holiday, and they were having a cricket match with
the St. Peter's boys in the green, and Grey Friars was in and winning.
The colonel quite understood about it: he would like to see the game;
he had played many a game on that green when he was a boy. He grew
excited: Clive dismissed his father's little friend, and put a
sovereign into his hand; and away he ran to say that Codd Colonel had
come into a fortune, and to buy tarts, and to see the match out. _I_,
_curre_, little white-haired gown-boy! Heaven speed you, little

After the child had gone, Thomas Newcome began to wander more and
more. He talked louder; he gave the word of command, spoke Hindustanee
as if to his men. Then he spoke words in French rapidly, seizing a
hand that was near him, and crying, "Toujours, toujours!" But it was
Ethel's hand which he took. Ethel and Clive and the nurse were in the
room with him; the nurse came to us, who were sitting in the adjoining
apartment; Madame de Florac was there with my wife and Bayham.

At the look in the woman's countenance Madame de Florac started up.
"He is very bad; he wanders a great deal," the nurse whispered. The
French lady fell instantly on her knees, and remained rigid in prayer.

Some time afterward Ethel came in with a scared face to our pale
group. "He is calling for you again, dear lady," she said, going up to
Madame de Florac, who was still kneeling; "and just now he said he
wanted Pendennis to take care of his boy. He will not know you." She
hid her tears as she spoke.

She went into the room where Clive was at the bed's foot: the old man
within it talked on rapidly for a while; then again he would sigh and
be still; once more I heard him say hurriedly, "Take care of him when
I'm in India"; and then with a heartrending voice he called out,
"Léonore, Léonore!" She was kneeling by his side now. The patient
voice sank into faint murmurs; only a moan now and then announced that
he was not asleep.

At the usual evening hour the chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas
Newcome's hands outside the bed feebly beat time. And just as the last
bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted
up his head a little, and quickly said, "Adsum!" and fell back. It was
the word we used at school when names were called; and lo, he, whose
heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his name, and
stood in the presence of The Master.



We have brought our Georges to London city, and if we would behold its
aspect may see it in Hogarth's lively perspective of Cheapside or read
of it in a hundred contemporary books which paint the manners of that
age. Our dear old Spectator looks smiling upon the streets, with their
innumerable signs, and describes them with his charming humor. "Our
streets are filled with Blue Boars, Black Swans, and Red Lions, not to
mention Flying Pigs and Hogs in Armor, with other creatures more
extraordinary than any in the deserts of Africa." A few of these
quaint old figures still remain in London town. You may still see
there, and over its old hostel in Ludgate Hill, the "Belle Sauvage" to
whom the Spectator so pleasantly alludes in that paper; and who was,
probably, no other than the sweet American Pocahontas,[25] who rescued
from death the daring Captain Smith. There is the "Lion's Head," down
whose jaws the Spectator's own letters were passed; and over a great
banker's in Fleet Street, the effigy of the wallet, which the founder
of the firm bore when he came into London a country boy.

[Footnote 24: From the "Four Georges."]

[Footnote 25: Pocahontas, after her marriage with John Rolfe in 1616,
went to England. She spent some time in London, but in March of the
following year died at Gravesend. Her exact burial place is unknown.]

People this street, so ornamented, with crowds of swinging chairmen,
with servants bawling to clear the way, with Mr. Dean in his cassock,
his lackey marching before him; or Mrs. Dinah in her sack, tripping to
chapel, her footboy carrying her ladyship's great prayer book; with
itinerant tradesmen, singing their hundred cries (I remember forty years
ago, as a boy in London city, a score of cheery, familiar cries that are
silent now). Fancy the beaux thronging to the chocolate-houses, tapping
their snuff-boxes as they issue thence, their periwigs appearing over
the red curtains. Fancy Saccharissa,[26] beckoning and smiling from the
upper windows, and a crowd of soldiers brawling and bustling at the
door--gentlemen of the Life Guards, clad in scarlet, with blue facings,
and laced with gold at the seams; gentlemen of the Horse Grenadiers, in
their caps of sky-blue cloth, with the garter embroidered on the front
in gold and silver; men of the Halberdiers, in their long red coats, as
bluff Harry left them, with their ruff and velvet flat caps. Perhaps the
King's Majesty himself is going to St. James's as we pass. If he is
going to Parliament, he is in his coach-and-eight, surrounded by his
guards and the high officers of his crown. Otherwise his Majesty only
uses a chair, with six footmen walking before, and six yeomen of the
guard at the sides of the sedan. The officers in waiting follow the king
in coaches. It must be rather slow work.

[Footnote 26: Saccharissa is the name under which Lady Dorothy Sidney
is known through some of the poems of Waller, who wrote her praises
under that name. She was of the family of Penshurst, to which belonged
Sir Philip and Algernon Sidney.]

Our _Spectator_ and _Tatler_ are full of delightful glimpses of the
town life of those days. In the company of that charming guide, we may
go to the opera, the comedy, the puppet show, the auction, even the
cockpit; we can take boat at Temple Stairs, and accompany Sir Roger de
Coverley and Mr. Spectator to Spring Garden--it will be called
Vauxhall a few years hence, when Hogarth will paint for it. Would you
not like to step back into the past, and be introduced to Mr.
Addison?--not the Right Honorable Joseph Addison, Esq., George the
First's Secretary of State, but to the delightful painter of
contemporary manners; the man who, when in good humor himself, was the
pleasantest companion in all England. I should like to go into
Lockit's with him, and drink a bowl along with Sir R. Steele (who has
just been knighted by King George, and who does not happen to have
any money to pay his share of the reckoning). I should not care to
follow Mr. Addison to his secretary's office in Whitehall. There we
get into politics. Our business is pleasure, and the town, and the
coffee-house, and the theater, and the Mall. Delightful Spectator!
kind friend of leisure hours! happy companion! true Christian
gentleman! How much greater, better, you are than the king Mr.
Secretary kneels to!

You can have foreign testimony about old-world London, if you like;
and my before-quoted friend, Charles Louis, Baron de Pöllnitz, will
conduct us to it. "A man of sense," says he, "or a fine gentleman, is
never at a loss for company in London, and this is the way the latter
passes his time. He rises late, puts on a frock and, leaving his sword
at home, takes his cane, and goes where he pleases. The park is
commonly the place where he walks, because 'tis the Exchange for men
of quality. 'Tis the same thing as the Tuileries at Paris, only the
park has a certain beauty and simplicity which can not be described.
The grand walk is called the Mall; is full of people at every hour of
the day, but especially at morning and evening, when their Majesties
often walk with the royal family, who are attended only by a
half-dozen yeomen of the guard, and permit all persons to walk at the
same time with them. The ladies and gentlemen always appear in rich
dresses, for the English, who twenty years ago did not wear gold lace
but in their army, are now embroidered and bedaubed as much as the

"I speak of persons of quality; for the citizen still contents himself
with a suit of fine cloth, a good hat and wig, and fine linen.
Everybody is well clothed here, and even the beggars don't make so
ragged an appearance as they do elsewhere." After our friend, the man
of quality, has had his morning or undress walk in the Mall, he goes
home to dress, and then saunters to some coffee-house or
chocolate-house frequented by the persons he would see. "For 'tis a
rule with the English to go once a day at least to houses of this
sort, where they talk of business and news, read the papers, and often
look at one another without opening their lips. And 'tis very well
they are so mute; for were they all as talkative as people of other
nations, the coffee-houses would be intolerable, and there would be no
hearing what one man said where there are so many. The chocolate-house
in St. James's Street, where I go every morning to pass away time, is
always so full that a man can scarce turn about in it."

Delightful as London city was, King George I liked to be out of it as
much as ever he could; and when there, passed all his time with his
Germans. It was with them as with Blucher, one hundred years
afterward, when the bold old Reiter looked down from St. Paul's, and
sighed out, "_Was für Plunder!_" The German women plundered; the
German secretaries plundered; the German cooks and intendants
plundered; even Mustapha and Mohammed, the German negroes, had a share
of the booty. Take what you can get, was the old monarch's maxim. He
was not a lofty monarch, certainly; he was not a patron of the fine
arts; but he was not a hypocrite, he was not revengeful, he was not
extravagant. Tho a despot in Hanover, he was a moderate ruler in
England. His aim was to leave it to itself as much as possible, and to
live out of it as much as he could. His heart was in Hanover. When
taken ill on his last journey, as he was passing through Holland, he
thrust his livid head out of the coach window, and gasped out
"Osnaburg, Osnaburg!"


     Born in 1812, died in 1870; became a reporter in 1835;
     visited America in 1842 and again in 1867-68; published
     "Sketches by Boz" in 1836, "Pickwick Papers" in 1836-37,
     "Oliver Twist" in 1838, "Martin Chuzzelwit" in 1843, "David
     Copperfield" in 1849, "Tale of Two Cities" in 1859; many
     years after his death appeared his "Letters" in several



They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the
peacefulest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked
sublime and prophetic.

[Footnote 27: The conclusion of "A Tale of Two Cities."]

One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same ax--a woman--had
asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed
to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given
any utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been

"I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, the Vengeance, the Juryman, the
Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the
destruction of the old, perishing by his retributive instrument,
before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city
and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles
to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long, long
years to come, I see the evil of this time and, of the previous time
of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for
itself and wearing out.

"I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful,
prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see
her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father,
aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his
healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their
friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing
tranquilly to his reward.

"I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of
their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping
for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband,
their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I
know that each was not more honored and held sacred in the other's
soul than I was in the souls of both.

"I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man
winning his way up in that path of life which was once mine. I see him
winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the
light of his. I see blots I threw upon it faded away, I see him,
foremost of just judges and honored men, bringing a boy of my name,
with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place--then fair
to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement--and I hear
him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is
a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."



When the last "natural" had been declared, and the profit and loss
account of fish and sixpences adjusted, to the satisfaction of all
parties, Mr. Bob Sawyer rang for supper, and the visitors squeezed
themselves into corners while it was getting ready.

[Footnote 28: From Chapter XXXI of "The Posthumous Papers of the
Pickwick Club."]

It was not so easily got ready as some people may imagine. First of
all, it was necessary to awaken the girl, who had fallen asleep with
her face on the kitchen table; this took a little time, and, even when
she did answer the bell, another quarter of an hour was consumed in
fruitless endeavors to impart to her a faint and distant glimmering of
reason. The man to whom the order for the oysters had been sent, had
not been told to open them; it is a very difficult thing to open an
oyster with a limp knife or a two-pronged fork, and very little was
done in this way. Very little of the beef was done either; and the ham
(which was also from the German sausage-shop round the corner) was in
a similar predicament. However, there was plenty of porter in a tin
can; and the cheese went a great way, for it was very strong. So upon
the whole, perhaps, the supper was quite as good as such matters
usually are.

After supper another jug of punch was put upon the table, together
with a paper of cigars, and a couple of bottles of spirits. Then there
was an awful pause; and this awful pause was occasioned by a very
common occurrence in this sort of places, but a very embarrassing one

The fact is that the girl was washing the glasses. The establishment
boasted four; we do not record the circumstance as at all derogatory
to Mrs. Raddle, for there never was a lodging-house yet that was not
short of glasses.

The landlady's glasses were little thin blown-glass tumblers, and
those which had been borrowed from the public house were great,
dropsical, bloated articles, each supported on a huge gouty leg. This
would have been in itself sufficient to have possest the company with
the real state of affairs; but the young woman of all work had
prevented the possibility of any misconception arising in the mind of
any gentlemen on the subject, by forcibly dragging every man's glass
away, long before he had finished his beer, and audibly stating,
despite the winks and interruptions of Mr. Bob Sawyer, that it was to
be conveyed down-stairs, and washed forthwith.

It is a very ill wind that blows nobody any good. The prim man in the
cloth boots, who had been unsuccessfully attempting to make a joke
during the whole time the round game lasted, saw his opportunity, and
availed himself of it. The instant the glasses disappeared he
commenced a long story about a great public character, whose name he
had forgotten, making a particular happy reply to another eminent and
illustrious individual whom he had never been able to identify. He
enlarged at some length and with great minuteness upon divers
collateral circumstances, distantly connected with the anecdote in
hand, but for the life of him he couldn't recollect at that precise
moment what the anecdote was, altho he had been in the habit of
telling the story with great applause for the last ten years.

"Dear me," said the prim man in the cloth boots, "it is a very
extraordinary circumstance."

"I am sorry you have forgotten it," said Mr. Bob Sawyer, glancing
eagerly at the door, as he thought he heard the noise of glasses
jingling--"very sorry."

"So am I," responded the prim man, "because I know it would have
afforded so much amusement. Never mind; I dare say I shall manage to
recollect it, in the course of half an hour or so."

The prim man arrived at this point just as the glasses came back, when
Mr. Bob Sawyer, who had been absorbed in attention during the whole
time, said he should very much like to hear the end of it, for, so far
as it went, it was, without exception, the very best story he had ever

The sight of the tumblers restored Bob Sawyer to a degree of
equanimity which he had not possest since his interview with his
landlady. His face brightened up and he began to feel quite convivial.

"Now, Betsy," said Mr. Bob Sawyer, with great suavity, and
dispersing, at the same time, the tumultuous little mob of glasses
that the girl had collected in the center of the table; "now, Betsy,
the warm water: be brisk, there's a good girl."

"You can't have no warm water," replied Betsy.

"No warm water!" exclaimed Mr. Bob Sawyer.

"No," said the girl, with a shake of the head which exprest a more
decided negative than the most copious language could have conveyed.
"Missis Raddle said you warn't to have none."

The surprize depicted on the countenances of his guests imparted new
courage to the host.

"Bring up the warm water instantly--instantly!" said Mr. Bob Sawyer,
with desperate sternness.

"No; I can't," replied the girl; "Missis Raddle raked out the kitchen
fire afore she went to bed, and locked up the kittle."

"Oh, never mind; never mind. Pray, don't disturb yourself about such a
trifle," said Mr. Pickwick, observing the conflict of Bob Sawyer's
passions, as depicted in his countenance, "cold water will do very

"Oh, admirably," said Mr. Benjamin Allen.

"My landlady is subject to some slight attacks of mental derangement,"
remarked Bob Sawyer with a ghastly smile; "I fear I must give her

"No, don't," said Ben Allen.

"I fear I must," said Bob with heroic firmness. "I'll pay her what I
owe her, and give her warning to-morrow morning." Poor fellow! how
devoutly he wished he could!

Mr. Bob Sawyer's heart-sickening attempts to rally under this last
blow communicated a dispiriting influence to the company, the greater
part of whom, with the view of raising their spirits, attached
themselves with extra cordiality to the cold brandy and water, the
first perceptible effects of which were displayed in a renewal of
hostilities between the scorbutic youth and the gentleman in the
sanguine shirt. The belligerents vented their feelings of mutual
contempt, for some time, in a variety of frownings and snortings,
until at last the scorbutic youth felt it necessary to come to a more
explicit understanding on the matter; when the following clear
understanding took place.

"Sawyer," said the scorbutic youth.

"Well, Noddy," replied Mr. Bob Sawyer.

"I should be very sorry, Sawyer," said Mr. Noddy, "to create any
unpleasantness at any friend's table, and much less at yours,
Sawyer--very; but I must take this opportunity of informing Mr. Gunter
that he is no gentleman."

"And I should be very sorry, Sawyer, to create any disturbance in the
street in which you reside," said Mr. Gunter, "but I'm afraid I shall
be under the necessity of alarming the neighbors by throwing the
person who has just spoken, out o' window."

"What do you mean by that, Sir?" inquired Mr. Noddy.

"What I say, Sir," replied Mr. Gunter.

"I should like to see you do it, Sir," said Mr. Noddy.

"You shall feel me do it in half a minute, Sir," replied Mr. Gunter.

"I request that you'll favor me with your card, Sir," said Mr. Noddy.

"I'll do nothing of the kind, Sir," replied Mr. Gunter.

"Why not, Sir?" inquired Mr. Noddy.

"Because you'll stick it up over your chimney-piece, and delude your
visitors into the false belief that a gentleman had been to see you,
Sir," replied Mr. Gunter.

"Sir, a friend of mine shall wait on you in the morning," said Mr.

"Sir, I'm very much obliged to you for the caution, and I'll leave
particular directions with the servants to lock up the spoons,"
replied Mr. Gunter.

At this point the remainder of the guests interposed, and remonstrated
with both parties on the impropriety of their conduct, on which Mr.
Noddy begged to state that his father was quite as respectable as Mr.
Gunter's father; to which Mr. Gunter replied that his father was to
the full as respectable as Mr. Noddy's father, and that his father's
son was as good a man as Mr. Noddy, any day in the week. As this
announcement seemed the prelude to a recommencement of the dispute,
there was another interference on the part of the company; and a vast
quantity of talking and clamoring ensued, in the course of which Mr.
Noddy gradually allowed his feelings to overpower him, and profest
that he had ever entertained a devoted personal attachment toward Mr.
Gunter. To this Mr. Gunter replied that, upon the whole, he rather
preferred Mr. Noddy to his own brother; on hearing which admission,
Mr. Noddy magnanimously rose from his seat, and proferred his hand to
Mr. Gunter. Mr. Gunter grasped it with affecting fervor; and everybody
said that the whole dispute had been conducted in a manner which was
highly honorable to both parties concerned.

"Now," said Jack Hopkins, "just to set us going again, Bob, I don't
mind singing a song." And Hopkins, incited thereto by tumultuous
applause, plunged himself at once into "The King, God Bless Him,"
which he sang as loud as he could, to a novel air, compounded to the
"Bay of Biscay," and "A Frog He Would." The chorus was the essence of
the song, and, as each gentleman sang it to the tune he knew best, the
effect was very striking indeed.

It was at the end of the chorus to the first verse, that Mr. Pickwick
held up his hand in a listening attitude, and said, as soon as silence
was restored:

"Hush! I beg your pardon. I thought I heard somebody calling from

A profound silence immediately ensued; and Mr. Bob Sawyer was observed
to turn pale.

"I think I hear it now," said Mr. Pickwick. "Have the goodness to open
the door."

The door was no sooner opened than all doubt on the subject was

"Mr. Sawyer--Mr. Sawyer," screamed a voice from the two-pair landing.

"It's my landlady," said Bob Sawyer, looking around him with great
dismay. "Yes, Mrs. Raddle."

"What do you mean by this, Mr. Sawyer?" replied the voice, with great
shrillness and rapidity of utterance. "Ain't it enough to be swindled
out of one's rent, and money lent out of pocket besides, and abused
and insulted by your friends that dares to call themselves men,
without having the house turned out of window, and noise enough made
to bring the fire-engines here, at two o'clock in the morning? Turn
them wretches away."

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," said the voice of Mr. Raddle,
which appeared to proceed from beneath some distant bed-clothes.

"Ashamed of themselves!" said Mrs. Raddle. "Why don't you go down and
knock 'em every one down-stairs? You would if you was a man."

"I should if I was a dozen men, my dear," replied Mr. Raddle,
pacifically, "but they've rather the advantage of me in numbers, my

"Ugh, you coward!" replied Mrs. Raddle, with supreme contempt. "Do you
mean to turn them wretches out, or not, Mr. Sawyer?"

"They're going, Mrs. Raddle, they're going," said the miserable Bob.
"I am afraid you'd better go," said Mr. Bob Sawyer to his friends. "I
thought you were making too much noise."

"It's a very unfortunate thing," said the prim man. "Just as we were
getting so comfortable too!" The fact was the prim man was just
beginning to have a dawning recollection of the story he had

"It's hardly to be borne," said the prim man, looking round. "Hardly
to be borne, is it?"

"Not to be endured," replied Jack Hopkins; "let's have the other
verse, Bob. Come, here goes."

"No, no, Jack, don't," interposed Bob Sawyer; "it's a capital song,
but I am afraid we had better not have the other verse. They are very
violent people, the people of the house."

"Shall I step up-stairs, and pitch into the landlord?" inquired
Hopkins, "or keep on ringing the bell, or go and groan on the
staircase? You may command me, Bob."

"I am very much indebted to you for your friendship and good nature,
Hopkins," said the wretched Mr. Bob Sawyer, "but I think the best plan
to avoid any further dispute is for us to break up at once."

"Now, Mr. Sawyer," screamed the shrill voice of Mrs. Raddle, "are them
brutes going?"

"They're only looking for their hats, Mrs. Raddle," said Bob; "they
are going directly."

"Going!" said Mrs. Raddle, thrusting her nightcap over the banisters
just as Mr. Pickwick, followed by Mr. Tupman, emerged from the
sitting-room. "Going! What did they ever come for?"

"My dear ma'am," remonstrated Mr. Pickwick, looking up.

"Get along with you, you old wretch!" replied Mrs. Raddle, hastily
withdrawing the nightcap. "Old enough to be his grandfather, you
villain! You're worse than any of 'em."

Mr. Pickwick found it in vain to protest his innocence, so hurried
down-stairs into the street, whither he was closely followed by Mr.
Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass. Mr. Ben Allen, who was dismally
deprest with spirits and agitation, accompanied them as far as London
Bridge, and in the course of the walk confided to Mr. Winkle, as an
especially sensible person to entrust the secret to, that he was
resolved to cut the throat of any gentleman except Mr. Bob Sawyer who
should aspire to the affections of his sister Arabella. Having exprest
his determination to perform this painful duty of a brother with
proper firmness, he burst into tears, knocked his hat over his eyes,
and making the best of his way back, knocked double knocks at the door
of the Borough Market, and took short naps on the steps alternately,
until daybreak, under the firm impression that he lived there, and had
forgotten the key.

The visitors having all departed, in compliance with the rather
pressing request of Mrs. Raddle, the luckless Mr. Bob Sawyer was left
alone to meditate on the probable events of the morrow, and the
pleasures of the evening.



As these games were very silently conducted, notwithstanding the
magnitude of the interests involved, Mr. Swiveller began to think that
on those evenings when Mr. and Miss Brass were out (and they often
went out now) he heard a kind of snorting or hard-breathing sound in
the direction of the door, which it occurred to him, after some
reflection, must proceed from the small servant, who always had a
cold from damp living. Looking intently that way one night, he plainly
distinguished an eye gleaming and glistening at the keyhole; and
having now no doubt that his suspicions were correct, he stole softly
to the door, and pounced upon her before she was aware of his

[Footnote 29: From Chapters LVII and LVIII of "The Old Curiosity

"Oh! I didn't mean any harm indeed. Upon my word I didn't," cried the
small servant, struggling like a much larger one. "It's so very dull,
down-stairs. Please don't you tell upon me; please don't."

"Tell upon you!" said Dick. "Do you mean to say you were looking
through the keyhole for company?"

"Yes, upon my word I was," replied the small servant.

"How long have you been cooling your eye there?" said Dick.

"Oh, ever since you first began to play them cards, and long before."

Vague recollections of several fantastic exercises with which he had
refreshed himself after the fatigues of business, and to all of which,
no doubt, the small servant was a party, rather disconcerted Mr.
Swiveller; but he was not very sensitive on such points, and recovered
himself speedily.

"Well--come in," he said, after a little consideration. "Here--sit
down, and I'll teach you how to play."

"Oh! I durstn't do it," rejoined the small servant; "Miss Sally 'ud
kill me, if she know'd I came up here."

"Have you got a fire down-stairs?" said Dick.

"A very little one," replied the small servant.

"Miss Sally couldn't kill me if she know'd I went down there, so I'll
come," said Richard, putting the cards into his pocket. "Why, how thin
you are! What do you mean by it?"

"It ain't my fault."

"Could you eat any bread and meat?" said Dick, taking down his hat.
"Yes? Ah! I thought so. Did you ever taste beer?"

"I had a sip of it once," said the small servant.

"Here's a state of things!" cried Mr. Swiveller, raising his eyes to
the ceiling. "She never tasted it--it can't be tasted in a sip! Why,
how, old are you?"

"I don't know."

Mr. Swiveller opened his eyes very wide, and appeared thoughtful for a
moment; then, bidding the child mind the door until he came back,
vanished straightway.

Presently he returned, followed by the boy from the public house, who
bore in one hand a plate of bread and beef, and in the other a great
pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a
grateful steam, and was indeed choice purl, made after a particular
recipe which Mr. Swiveller had imparted to the landlord at a period
when he was deep in his books and desirous to conciliate his
friendship. Relieving the boy of his burden at the door, and charging
his little companion to fasten it to prevent surprize, Mr. Swiveller
followed her into the kitchen.

"There!" said Richard, putting the plate before her. "First of all,
clear that off, and then you'll see what's next."

The small servant needed no second bidding, and the plate was soon

"Next," said Dick, handing the purl, "take a pull at that; but
moderate your transports, for you're not used to it. Well, is it

"Oh! isn't it?" said the small servant.

Mr. Swiveller appeared gratified beyond all expression by this reply,
and took a long draft himself, steadfastly regarding his companion
while he did so. These preliminaries disposed of, he applied himself
to teaching her the game, which she soon learned tolerably well, being
both sharp-witted and cunning.

"Now," said Mr. Swiveller, putting two sixpences into a saucer and
trimming the wretched candle, when the cards had been cut and dealt,
"those are the stakes. If you win you get 'em all. If I win, I get
'em. To make it seem more real and pleasant, I shall call you the
Marchioness, do you hear?"

The small servant nodded.

"Then, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller, "fire away!"

The Marchioness, holding her cards very tight in both hands,
considered which to play, and Mr. Swiveller, assuming the gay and
fashionable air which such society required, took another pull at the
tankard, and waited for her lead.

Mr. Swiveller and his partner played several rubbers with varying
success, until the loss of three sixpences, the gradual sinking of the
purl, and the striking of ten o'clock, combined to render that
gentleman mindful of the flight of time, and the expediency of
withdrawing before Mr. Sampson and Miss Sally Brass returned.

"With which object in view, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller gravely,
"I shall ask your ladyship's permission to put the board in my pocket,
and to retire from the presence when I have finished this tankard;
merely observing, Marchioness, that since life like a river is
flowing, I care not how fast it rolls on, ma'am, on, while such purl
on the bank still is growing, and such eyes light the waves as they
run. Marchioness, your health. You will excuse my wearing my hat, but
the palace is damp, and the marble floor is--if I may be allowed the

As a precaution against this latter inconvenience, Mr. Swiveller had
been sitting for some time with his feet on the hob, in which attitude
he now gave utterance of these apologetic observations, and slowly
sipped the last choice drops of nectar.

"The Baron Sampsono Brasso and his fair sister are (you tell me) at
the play?" said Mr. Swiveller, leaning his left arm heavily upon the
table, and raising his voice and his right leg after the manner of a
theatrical bandit.

The Marchioness nodded.

"Ha!" said Mr. Swiveller, with a portentous frown. "'Tis well.
Marchioness!--but no matter. Some wine there. Ho!" He illustrated
these melodramatic morsels by handing the tankard to himself with
great humility, receiving it haughtily, drinking from it thirstily,
and smacking his lips fiercely.

The small servant, who was not so well acquainted with theatrical
conventionalities as Mr. Swiveller (having indeed never seen a play,
or heard one spoken of, except by chance through chinks of doors and
in other forbidden places), was rather alarmed by demonstrations so
novel in their nature, and showed her concern so plainly in her looks
that Mr. Swiveller felt it necessary to discharge his brigand manner
for one more suitable to private life, as he asked:

"Do they often go where glory waits 'em, and leave you here?"

"Oh, yes; I believe you they do," returned the small servant. "Miss
Sally's such a one-er for that, she is."

"Such a what?" said Dick.

"Such a one-er," returned the Marchioness.

After a moment's reflection, Mr. Swiveller determined to forego his
responsible duty of setting her right, and to suffer her to talk on;
as it was evident that her tongue was loosened by the purl, and her
opportunities for conversation were not so frequent as to render a
momentary check of little consequence.

"They sometimes go to see Mr. Quilp," said the small servant with a
shrewd look, "they go to a many places, bless you."

"Is Mr. Brass a wunner?" said Dick.

"Not half what Miss Sally is, he isn't," replied the small servant,
shaking her head. "Bless you, he'd never do anything without her."

"Oh! He wouldn't, wouldn't he?" said Dick.

"Miss Sally keeps him in such order," said the small servant; "he
always asks her advice, he does; and he catches it sometimes. Bless
you, you wouldn't believe how much he catches it."

"I suppose," said Dick, "that they consult together a good deal, and
about a great many people--about me, for instance, sometimes, eh?"

The Marchioness nodded amazingly.

"Complimentary?" said Mr. Swiveller.

The Marchioness changed the motion of her head, which had not yet left
off nodding, and suddenly began to shake it from side to side with
vehemence which threatened to dislocate her neck.

"Humph!" Dick muttered. "Would it be any breach of confidence,
Marchioness, to relate what they say of the humble individual who has
now the honor to--?"

"Miss Sally says you're a funny chap," replied his friend.

"Well, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller, "that's not uncomplimentary.
Merriment, Marchioness, is not a bad or degrading quality. Old King
Cole was him a merry old soul, if we may put any faith in the pages of

"But she says," pursued his companion, "that you an't to be trusted."

"Why, really, Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller, thoughtfully, "several
ladies and gentlemen--not exactly professional persons, but
tradespeople, ma'am, tradespeople--have made the same remark. The
obscure citizen who keeps the hotel over the way, inclined strongly to
that opinion to-night when I ordered him to prepare the banquet. It's
a popular prejudice, Marchioness; and yet I am sure I don't know why,
for I have been trusted in my time to a considerable amount, and I can
safely say that I never forsook my trust until it deserted me--never.
Mr. Brass is of the same opinion, I suppose?"

His friend nodded again, with a cunning look which seemed to hint that
Mr. Brass held stronger opinions on the subject than his sister; and
seeming to recollect herself, added imploringly, "But don't you ever
tell upon me, or I shall be beat to death."

"Marchioness," said Mr. Swiveller, rising, "the word of a gentleman is
as good as his bond--sometimes better; as in the present case, where
his bond might prove but a doubtful sort of security. I am your
friend, and I hope we shall play many more rubbers together in this
same saloon. But, Marchioness," added Richard, stopping in his way to
the door, and wheeling slowly round upon the small servant, who was
following with the candle; "it occurs to me that you must be in the
constant habit of airing your eye at keyholes, to know all this."

"I only wanted," replied the trembling Marchioness, "to know where the
key of the safe was hid; that was all; and I wouldn't have taken much
if I had found it--only enough to squench my hunger."

"You didn't find it then?" said Dick. "But of course you didn't, or
you'd be plumper. Good night, Marchioness. Fare thee well, and if
forever, then forever fare thee well--and put up the chain,
Marchioness, in case of accidents."



Mr. and Mrs. Wilfer had seen a full quarter of a hundred more
anniversaries of their wedding-day than Mr. and Mrs. Lammle had seen
of theirs, but they still celebrated the occasion in the bosom of
their family. Not that these celebrations ever resulted in anything
particularly agreeable, or that the family was ever disappointed by
that circumstance on account of having looked forward to the return of
the auspicious day with sanguine anticipations of enjoyment. It was
kept morally, rather as a Fast than a Feast, enabling Mrs. Wilfer to
hold a somber darkling state, which exhibited that impressive woman in
her choicest colors.

[Footnote 30: From Book III, Chapter IV, of "Our Mutual Friend."]

The noble lady's condition on these delightful occasions was one
compounded of heroic endurance and heroic forgiveness. Lurid
indications of the better marriages she might have made, shone athwart
the awful gloom of her composure, and fitfully revealed the cherub as
a little monster unaccountably favored by Heaven, who had possest
himself of a blessing, for which many of his superiors had sued and
contended in vain. So firmly had this his position toward his treasure
become established, that when the anniversary arrived, it always found
him in an apologetic state. It is not impossible that his modest
penitence may have even gone the length of sometimes severely
reproving him for that he ever took the liberty of making so exalted a
character his wife.

As for the children of the union, their experience of these festivals
had been sufficiently uncomfortable to lead them annually to wish,
when out of their tenderest years, either that Ma had married somebody
else instead of much-teased Pa, or that Pa had married somebody else
instead of Ma.

When there came to be but two sisters left at home, the daring mind of
Bella on the next of these occasions scaled the height of wondering
with droll vexation, "what on earth Pa ever could have seen in Ma, to
induce him to make such a little fool of himself as to ask her to have

The revolving year now bringing the day round in its orderly sequence,
Bella arrived in the Boffin chariot to assist at the celebration. It
was the family custom when the day recurred to sacrifice a pair of
fowls on the altar of Hymen; and Bella had sent a note beforehand, to
intimate that she would bring the votive offering with her. So, Bella
and the fowls, by the united energies of two horses, two men, four
wheels, and a plum-pudding carriage dog with as uncomfortable a collar
on as if he had been George the Fourth, were deposited at the door of
the parental dwelling. They were there received by Mrs. Wilfer in
person, whose dignity on this, as on most special occasions, was
heightened by a mysterious toothache.

"I shall not require the carriage at night," said Bella. "I shall walk

The male domestic of Mrs. Boffin touched his hat, and in the act of
departure had an awful glare bestowed upon him by Mrs. Wilfer,
intended to carry deep into his audacious soul the assurance that,
whatever his private suspicions might be, male domestics in livery
were no rarity there.

"Well, dear Ma," said Bella, "and how do you do?"

"I am as well, Bella," replied Mrs. Wilfer, "as can be expected."

"Dear me, Ma," said Bella, "you talk as if one was just born!"

"That's exactly what Ma has been doing," interposed Lavvy, over the
maternal shoulder, "ever since we got up this morning. It's all very
well to laugh, Bella, but anything more exasperating it is impossible
to conceive."

Mrs. Wilfer, with a look too full of majesty to be accompanied by any
words, attended both her daughters to the kitchen, where the sacrifice
was to be prepared.

"Mr. Rokesmith," said she, resignedly, "has been so polite as to place
his sitting-room at our disposal to-day. You will therefore, Bella, be
entertained in the humble abode of your parents, so far in accordance
with your present style of living, that there will be a drawing-room
for your reception as well as a dining-room. Your papa invited Mr.
Rokesmith to partake of our lowly fare. In excusing himself on account
of a particular engagement, he offered the use of his apartment."

Bella happened to know that he had no engagement out of his own room
at Mr. Boffin's, but she approved of his staying away. "We should only
have put one another out of countenance," she thought, "and we do
that quite often enough as it is."

Yet she had sufficient curiosity about his room to run up to it with
the least possible delay, and make a close inspection of its contents.
It was tastefully tho economically furnished, and very neatly
arranged. There were shelves and stands of books, English, French, and
Italian; and in a portfolio on the writing-table there were sheets
upon sheets of memoranda and calculations in figures, evidently
referring to the Boffin property. On that table also, carefully backed
with canvas, varnished, mounted, and rolled like a map, was the
placard descriptive of the murdered man who had come from afar to be
her husband. She shrank from this ghostly surprize, and felt quite
frightened as she rolled and tied it up again. Peeping about here and
there, she came upon a print, a graceful head of a pretty woman,
elegantly framed, hanging in the corner by the easy chair. "Oh,
indeed, Sir!" said Bella, after stopping to ruminate before it. "Oh,
indeed, Sir! I fancy I can guess whom you think that's like. But I'll
tell you what it's much more like--your impudence!" Having said which
she decamped: not solely because she was offended, but because there
was nothing else to look at.

"Now, Ma," said Bella, reappearing in the kitchen with some remains of
a blush, "you and Lavvy think magnificent me fit for nothing, but I
intend to prove the contrary. I mean to be cook to-day."

"Hold!" rejoined her majestic mother. "I can not permit it. Cook in
that dress!"

"As for my dress, Ma," returned Bella, merrily searching in a
dresser-drawer, "I mean to apron it and towel it all over the front;
and as to permission, I mean to do without."

"You cook?" said Mrs. Wilfer. "You who never cooked when you were at

"Yes, Ma," returned Bella; "that is precisely the state of the case."

She girded herself with a white apron, and busily with knots and pins
contrived a bib to it, coming close and tight under her chin, as if it
had caught her round the neck to kiss her. Over this bib her dimples
looked delightful, and under it her pretty figure not less so. "Now,
Ma," said Bella, pushing back her hair from her temples with both
hands, "what's first?"

"First," returned Mrs. Wilfer solemnly, "if you persist in what I can
not but regard as conduct utterly incompatible with the equipage in
which you arrived--"

("Which I do, Ma.")

"First, then, you put the fowls down to the fire."

"To--be--sure!" cried Bella; "and flour them, and twirl them around,
and there they go!" sending them spinning at a great rate. "What's
next, Ma?"

"Next," said Mrs. Wilfer with a wave of her gloves, expressive of
abdication under protest from the culinary throne, "I would recommend
examination of the bacon in the saucepan on the fire, and also of the
potatoes by the application of a fork. Preparation of the greens will
further become necessary if you persist in this unseemly demeanor."

"As of course I do, Ma."

Persisting, Bella gave her attention to one thing and forgot the
other, and gave her attention to the other and forgot the third, and
remembering the third was distracted by the fourth, and made amends
whenever she went wrong by giving the unfortunate fowls an extra spin,
which made their chance of ever getting cooked exceedingly doubtful.
But it was pleasant cookery too. Meanwhile Miss Lavinia, oscillating
between the kitchen and the opposite room, prepared the dining-table
in the latter chamber. This office she (always doing her household
spiriting with unwillingness) performed in a startling series of
whisks and bumps; laying the table-cloth as if she were raising the
wind, putting down the glasses and salt-cellars as if she were
knocking at the door, and clashing the knives and forks in a
skirmishing manner suggestive of hand-to-hand conflict.

"Look at Ma," whispered Lavinia to Bella when this was done, and they
stood over the roasting fowls. "If one was the most dutiful child in
existence (of course, on the whole, one hopes one is), isn't she
enough to make one want to poke her with something wooden, sitting
there bolt upright in the corner?"

"Only suppose," returned Bella, "that poor Pa was to sit bolt upright
in another corner."

"My dear, he couldn't do it," said Lavvy. "Pa would loll directly. But
indeed I do not believe there ever was any human creature who could
keep so bolt upright as Ma, or put such an amount of aggravation into
one back! What's the matter, Ma? Ain't you well, Ma?"

"Doubtless I am very well," returned Mrs. Wilfer, turning her eyes
upon her youngest born, with scornful fortitude. "What should be the
matter with me?"

"You don't seem very brisk, Ma," retorted Lavvy the bold.

"Brisk?" repeated her parent. "Brisk? Whence the low expression,
Lavinia? If I am uncomplaining, if I am silently contented with my
lot, let that suffice for my family."

"Well, Ma," returned Lavvy, "since you will force it out of me, I must
respectfully take leave to say that your family are no doubt under the
greatest obligations to you for having an annual toothache on your
wedding-day, and that it's very disinterested in you, and an immense
blessing to them. Still, on the whole, it is impossible to be too
boastful even of that boon."

"You incarnation of sauciness," said Mrs. Wilfer, "do you speak like
that to me? On this day of all days in the year? Pray do you know what
would have become of you, if I had not bestowed my hand upon R. W.,
your father, on this day?"

"No, Ma," replied Lavvy, "I really do not; and, with the greatest
respect for your abilities and information, I very much doubt if you
do either."

Whether or no the sharp vigor of this sally on a weak point of Mrs.
Wilfer's entrenchments might have routed that heroine for the time, is
rendered uncertain by the arrival of a flag of truce in the person of
Mr. George Sampson: bidden to the feast as a friend of the family,
whose affections were now understood to be in course of transference
from Bella to Lavinia, and whom Lavinia kept--possibly in remembrance
of his bad taste in having overlooked her in the first instance--under
a course of stinging discipline.

"I congratulate you, Mrs. Wilfer," said Mr. George Sampson, who had
meditated this neat address while coming along, "on the day." Mrs.
Wilfer thanked him with a magnanimous sigh, and again became an
unresisting prey to that inscrutable toothache.

"I am surprized," said Mr. Sampson feebly, "that Miss Bella
condescends to cook."

Here Miss Lavinia descended on the ill-starred young gentleman with a
crushing supposition that at all events it was no business of his.
This disposed of Mr. Sampson in a melancholy retirement of spirit,
until the cherub arrived, whose amazement at the lovely woman's
occupation was great.

However, she persisted in dishing the dinner as well as cooking it,
and then sat down, bibless and apronless, to partake of it as an
illustrious guest: Mrs. Wilfer first responding to her husband's
cheerful "For what we are about to receive--" with a sepulchral Amen,
calculated to cast a damp upon the stoutest appetite.

"But what," said Bella, as she watched the carving of the fowls,
"makes them pink inside, I wonder, Pa! Is it the breed?"

"No; I don't think it's the breed, my dear," returned Pa. "I rather
think it is because they are not done."

"They ought to be," said Bella.

"Yes, I'm aware they ought to be, my dear," rejoined her father, "but

So, the gridiron was put in requisition, and the good-tempered cherub,
who was often as uncherubically employed in his own family as if he
had been in the employment of some of the Old Masters, undertook to
grill the fowls. Indeed, except in respect of staring about him (a
branch of the public service to which the pictorial cherub is much
addicted), this domestic cherub discharged as many odd functions as
his prototype; with the difference, say, that he performed with a
blacking-brush on the family's boots, instead of performing on
enormous wind instruments and double-basses, and that he conducted
himself with cheerful alacrity to much useful purpose, instead of
foreshortening himself in the air with the vaguest intentions.

Bella helped him with his supplemental cookery, and made him very
happy, but put him in mortal terror too by asking him when they sat
down at table again, how he supposed they cooked fowls at the
Greenwich dinner, and whether he believed they really were such
pleasant dinners as people said? His secret winks and nods of
remonstrance, in reply, made the mischievous Bella laugh until she
choked, and then Lavinia was obliged to slap her on the back, and then
she laughed the more.

But her mother was a fine corrective at the other end of the table; to
whom her father, in the innocence of his good fellowship, at intervals
appealed with: "My dear, I am afraid you are not enjoying yourself?"

"Why so, R. W.?" she would sonorously reply.

"Because, my dear, you seem a little out of sorts."

"Not at all," would be the rejoinder, in exactly the same tone.

"Would you take a merry-thought, my dear?"

"Thank you. I will take whatever you please, R. W."

"Well, but my dear, do you like it?"

"I like it as well as I like anything, R. W." The stately woman would
then, with a meritorious appearance of devoting herself to the general
good, pursue her dinner as if she were feeding somebody else on high
public grounds.

Bella had brought dessert and two bottles of wine, thus shedding
unprecedented splendor on the occasion. Mrs. Wilfer did the honors of
the first glass by proclaiming: "R. W., I drink to you."

"Thank you, my dear. And I to you."

"Pa and Ma!" said Bella.

"Permit me," Mrs. Wilfer interposed, with outstretched glove. "No. I
think not. I drank to your Pa. If, however, you insist on including
me, I can in gratitude offer no objection."

"Why, Lor, Ma," interposed Lavvy the bold, "isn't it the day that made
you and Pa one and the same? I have no patience."

"By whatever other circumstances the day may be marked, it is not the
day, Lavinia, on which I will allow a child of mine to pounce upon me.
I beg--nay, command!--that you will not pounce. R. W., it is
appropriate to recall that it is for you to command and for me to

"It is your house, and you are master at your own table. Both our
healths!" Drinking the toast with tremendous stiffness.

"I really am a little afraid, my dear," hinted the cherub meekly,
"that you are not enjoying yourself?"

"On the contrary," returned Mrs. Wilfer, "quite so. Why should I not?"

"I thought, my dear, that perhaps your face might--"

"My face might be a martyrdom, but what would that import, or who
should know it if I smiled?"

And she did smile; manifestly freezing the blood of Mr. George Sampson
by so doing. For that young gentleman, catching her smiling eye, was
so very much appalled by its expression as to cast in his thoughts
concerning what he had done to bring it down upon himself.

"The mind naturally falls," said Mrs. Wilfer, "shall I say into a
reverie, or shall I say into a retrospect? on a day like this."

Lavvy, sitting with defiantly folded arms, replied (but not audibly),
"For goodness' sake say whichever of the two you like best, Ma, and
get it over."

"The mind," pursued Mrs. Wilfer in an oratorical manner, "naturally
reverts to Papa and Mama--I here allude to my parents--at a period
before the earliest dawn of this day. I was considered tall; perhaps I
was. Papa and Mama were unquestionably tall. I have rarely seen a
finer woman than my mother; never than my father."

The irrepressible Lavvy remarked aloud, "Whatever grandpapa was, he
wasn't a female."

"Your grandpapa," retorted Mrs. Wilfer, with an awful look, and in an
awful tone, "was what I describe him to have been, and would have
struck any of his grandchildren to the earth who presumed to question
it. It was one of Mama's cherished hopes that I should become united
to a tall member of society. It may have been a weakness, but if so,
it was equally the weakness, I believe, of King Frederick of Prussia."
These remarks being offered to Mr. George Sampson, who had not the
courage to come out for single combat, but lurked with his chest under
the table and his eyes cast down, Mrs. Wilfer proceeded, in a voice of
increasing sternness and impressiveness, until she should force that
skulker to give himself up. "Mama would appear to have had an
indefinable foreboding of what afterward happened, for she would
frequently urge upon me, 'Not a little man. Promise me, my child, not
a little man. Never, never, never marry a little man!' Papa also would
remark to me (he possest extraordinary humor), 'That a family of
whales must not ally themselves with sprats.'

"His company was eagerly sought, as may be supposed, by the wits of
the day, and our house was their continual resort. I have known as
many as three copper-plate engravers exchanging the most exquisite
sallies and retorts there, at one time." (Here Mr. Sampson delivered
himself captive, and said, with an uneasy movement on his chair, that
three was a large number, and it must have been highly entertaining).
"Among the most prominent members of that distinguished circle, was a
gentleman measuring six feet four in height. He was not an engraver."
(Here Mr. Sampson said, with no reason whatever, of course not.) "This
gentleman was so obliging as to honor me with attentions which I
could not fail to understand." (Here Mr. Sampson murmured that when it
came to that, you could always tell.) "I immediately announced to both
parents that those attentions were misplaced, and that I could not
favor his suit. They inquired was he too tall? I replied it was not
the stature, but the intellect was too lofty. At our house, I said,
the tone was too brilliant, the pressure was too high, to be
maintained by me, a mere woman, in every-day domestic life. I well
remember Mama's clasping her hands, and exclaiming, 'This will end in
a little man!'" (Here Mr. Sampson glanced at his host and shook his
head with despondency.) "She afterward went so far as to predict that
it would end in a little man whose mind would be below the average,
but that was in what I may denominate a paroxysm of maternal
disappointment. Within a month," said Mrs. Wilfer, deepening her
voice, as if she were relating a terrible ghost story, "within a
month, I first saw R. W., my husband. Within a year I married him. It
is natural for the mind to recall these dark coincidences on the
present day."

Mr. Sampson, at length released from the custody of Mrs. Wilfer's eye,
now drew a long breath, and made the original and striking remark,
that there was no accounting for these sort of presentiments. R. W.
scratched his head and looked apologetically all round the table until
he came to his wife, when observing her as it were shrouded in a more
somber veil than before, he once more hinted, "My dear, I am really
afraid you are not altogether enjoying yourself?" To which she once
more replied, "On the contrary, R. W. Quite so."

The wretched Mr. Sampson's position at this agreeable entertainment
was truly pitiable. For, not only was he exposed defenseless to the
harangues of Mrs. Wilfer, but he received the utmost contumely at the
hands of Lavinia, who, partly to show Bella that she (Lavinia) could
do what she liked with him, and partly to pay him off for still
obviously admiring Bella's beauty, led him the life of a dog.
Illuminated on the one hand by the stately graces of Mrs. Wilfer's
oratory, and shadowed on the other by the cheeks and frowns of the
young lady to whom he had devoted himself in his destitution, the
sufferings of this young gentleman were distressing to witness. If his
mind for the moment reeled under them, it may be urged, in extenuation
of its weakness, that it was constitutionally a knock-knee'd mind, and
never very strong upon its legs.


     Born in 1816, died in 1855; her father a curate with whom
     most of her life was spent; married Rev. A. Nicholls, who
     survived her fifty years; published "Jane Eyre" in 1847,
     "Shirley" in 1849, "The Professor" in 1855, and "Poems" in


To that class in whose eyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears
detect in each protest against bigotry--that parent of crime--an
insult to piety, that regent of God on earth, I would suggest to such
doubters certain obvious distinctions; I would remind them of certain
simple truths.

[Footnote 31: Preface to the second edition of "Jane Eyre." "Vanity
Fair" and "Jane Eyre" were published contemporaneously--"Vanity Fair"
(serially) in 1846-48, and "Jane Eyre" in 1847.]

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion.
To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from
the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impious hand to the crown
of thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed; they are
as distinct as vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they
should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth;
narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few,
should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ.
There is--I repeat it--a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad
action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between

The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been
accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show
pass for sterling worth--to let whitewashed walls vouch for clean
shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinize and expose--to raze
the gilding, and show base metal under it--to penetrate the sepulcher,
and reveal charnel relics: but hate as it will, it is indebted to him.

Ahab did not like Micaiah, because he never prophesied good concerning
him, but evil: probably he liked the sycophant son of Chenaanah
better; yet might Ahab have escaped a bloody death, had he but stopt
his ears to flattery, and opened them to faithful counsel.

There is a man in our own days whose words are not framed to tickle
delicate ears; who, to my thinking, comes before the great ones of
society much as the son of Imlah came before the throned kings of
Judah and Israel; and who speaks truth as deep, with a power as
prophet-like and as vital--a mien as dauntless and as daring. Is the
satirist of "Vanity Fair" admired in high places? I can not tell; but
I think if some of those amongst whom he hurls the Greek-fire of his
sarcasm, and over whom he flashes the levin-brand of his denunciation,
were to take his warnings in time--they or their seed might yet escape
a fatal Ramoth-Gilead.

Why have I alluded to this man? I have alluded to him, reader,
because I think I see in him an intellect profounder and more unique
than his contemporaries have yet recognized; because I regard him as
the first social regenerator of the day--as the very master of that
working corps who would restore to rectitude the warped system of


     Born in 1818, died in 1894; educated at Oxford; Fellow of
     Exeter in 1842; associated with John Henry Newman in the
     high church movement; owing to change in his religious
     views, took up literature as a profession; came to the
     United States in 1872, where he lectured; visited Africa and
     Australia afterward; made Professor of Modern History at
     Oxford in 1892 as successor to Freeman; published his
     "History of England" in 1856-70, "Short Studies on Great
     Subjects" in 1867-77, "Cæsar" in 1879, "Reminiscences of
     Carlyle" in 1881 and "Life of Carlyle" in 1882 and following



"What is History," said Napoleon, "but a fiction agreed upon?" "My
friend," said Faust to the student, who was growing enthusiastic about
the spirit of past ages,--"my friend, the times which are gone are a
book with seven seals; and what you call the spirit of past ages is
but the spirit of this or that worthy gentleman in whose mind those
ages are reflected."

[Footnote 32: From the first chapter in Volume I of the "Short Studies
on Great Subjects," the same being a lecture delivered at the Royal
Institution in London, November 5, 1864.]

One lesson, and only one, history may be said to repeat with
distinctness; that the world is built somehow on moral foundations;
that, in the long run, it is well with the good; in the long run it is
ill with the wicked. But this is no science; it is no more than the
old doctrine taught long-ago by the Hebrew prophets. The theories of
M. Comte and his disciples advance us, after all, not a step beyond
the trodden and familiar ground. If men are not entirely animals, they
are at least half animals, and are subject in this aspect of them to
the conditions of animals. So far as those parts of man's doings are
concerned, which neither have, nor need have, anything moral about
them, so far the laws of him are calculable. There are laws for his
digestion, and laws of the means by which his digestive organs are
supplied with matter. But pass beyond them, and where are we? In a
world where it would be as easy to calculate men's actions by laws
like those of positive philosophy as to measure the orbit of Neptune
with a foot rule, or weigh Sirius in a grocer's scale.

And it is not difficult to see why this should be. The first
principle, on which the theory of a science of history can be
plausibly argued, is that all actions whatsoever arise from
self-interest. It may be enlightened self-interest, it may be
unenlightened; but it is assumed as an axiom that every man, in
whatever he does, is aiming at something which he considers will
promote his happiness. His conduct is not determined by his will; it
is determined by the object of his desire. Adam Smith, in laying the
foundations of political economy, expressly eliminates every other
motive. He does not say that men never act on other motives; still
less, that they never ought to act on other motives. He asserts merely
that, as far as the arts of production are concerned and of buying and
selling, the action of self-interest may be counted upon as uniform.
What Adam Smith says of political economy, Mr. Buckle[33] would extend
over the whole circle of human activity.

[Footnote 33: In his "History of Civilization in England."]

Now, that which especially distinguishes a high, order of man from a low
order of man--that which constitutes human goodness, human greatness,
human nobleness--is surely not the degree of enlightenment with which
men pursue their own advantage; but it is self-forgetfulness; it is
self-sacrifice; it is the disregard of personal pleasure, personal
indulgence, personal advantages remote or present, because some other
line of conduct is more right.

We are sometimes told that this is but another way of expressing the
same thing; that, when a man prefers doing what is right, it is only
because to do right gives him a higher satisfaction. It appears to me,
on the contrary, to be a difference in the very heart and nature of
things. The martyr goes to the stake, the patriot to the scaffold, not
with a view to any future reward to themselves, but because it is a
glory to fling away their lives for truth and freedom. And so through
all phases of existence, to the smallest details of common life, the
beautiful character is the unselfish character. Those whom we most
love and admire are those to whom the thought of self seems never to
occur; who do simply and with no ulterior aim--with no thought whether
it will be pleasant to themselves or unpleasant--that which is good
and right and generous.

Is this still selfishness, only more enlightened? I do not think so.
The essence of true nobility is neglect of self. Let the thought of
self pass in, and the beauty of a great action is gone, like the bloom
from a soiled flower. Surely it is a paradox to speak of the
self-interest of a martyr who dies for a cause, the triumph of which
he will never enjoy; and the greatest of that great company in all
ages would have done what they did, had their personal prospects'
closed with the grave. Nay, there have been those so zealous for some
glorious principle as to wish themselves blotted out of the book of
Heaven if the cause of Heaven could succeed.

And out of this mysterious quality, whatever it be, arise the higher
relations of human life, the higher modes of human obligation. Kant,
the philosopher, used to say that there were two things which
overwhelmed him with awe as he thought of them. One was the star-sown
deep of space, without limit and without end; the other was right and
wrong. Right, the sacrifice of self to good; wrong, the sacrifice of
good to self,--not graduated objects of desire, to which we are
determined by the degrees of our knowledge, but wide asunder as pole
and pole, as light and darkness; one, the object of infinite love; the
other, the object of infinite detestation and scorn. It is in this
marvelous power in men to do wrong (it is an old story, but none the
less true for that),--it is in this power to do wrong--wrong or right,
as it lies somehow with ourselves to choose--that the impossibility
stands of forming scientific calculations of what men will do before
the fact, or scientific explanations of what they have done after the
fact. If men were consistently selfish, you might analyze their
motives; if they were consistently noble, they would express in their
conduct the laws of the highest perfection. But so long as two natures
are mixt together, and the strange creature which results from the
combinations is now under one influence and now under another, so long
you will make nothing of him except from the old-fashioned moral--or,
if you please, imaginative--point of view.

Even the laws of political economy itself cease to guide us when they
touch moral government. So long as labor is a chattel to be bought and
sold, so long, like other commodities, it follows the condition of
supply and demand. But if, for his misfortune, an employer considers
that he stands in human relations to his workmen; if he believes
rightly or wrongly, that he is responsible for them; that in return
for their labor he is bound to see that their children are decently
taught, and they and their families decently fed and clothed and
lodged; that he ought to care for them in sickness and in old
age,--then political economy will no longer direct him, and the
relations between himself and his dependents will have to be arranged
on quite other principles.

So long as he considers only his own material profit, so long supply
and demand will settle every difficulty; but the introduction of a new
factor spoils the equation.

And it is precisely in this debatable ground of low motives and noble
emotions; in the struggle, ever failing yet ever renewed, to carry
truth and justice into the administration of human society; in the
establishment of states and in the overthrow of tyrannies; in the
rise and fall of creeds; in the world of ideas; in the character and
deeds of the great actors in the drama of life, where good and evil
fight out their everlasting battle, now ranged in opposite camps, now
and more often in the heart, both of them, of each living man,--that
the true human interest of history resides. The progress of
industries, the growth of material and mechanical civilization, are
interesting; but they are not the most interesting. They have their
reward in the increase of material comforts; but, unless we are
mistaken about our nature, they do not highly concern us after all.

Once more; not only is there in men this baffling duality of
principle, but there is something else in us which still more defies
scientific analysis.

Mr. Buckle would deliver himself from the eccentricities of this and
that individual by a doctrine of averages. Tho he can not tell whether
A, B, or C will cut his throat, he may assure himself that one man in
every fifty thousand, or thereabout (I forget the exact proportion),
will cut his throat, and with this he consoles himself. No doubt it is
a comforting discovery. Unfortunately, the average of one generation
need not be the average of the next. We may be converted by the
Japanese, for all that we know, and the Japanese methods of taking
leave of life may become fashionable among us. Nay, did not Novalis
suggest that the whole race of men would at last become so disgusted
with their impotence, that they would extinguish themselves by a
simultaneous act of suicide, and make room for a better order of
things? Anyhow, the fountain out of which the race is flowing
perpetually changes; no two generations are alike. Whether there is a
change in the organization itself we can not tell; but this is
certain,--that, as the planet varies with the atmosphere which
surrounds it, so each new generation varies from the last, because it
inhales as its atmosphere the accumulated experience and knowledge of
the whole past of the world. These things form the spiritual air which
we breathe as we grow; and, in the infinite multiplicity of elements
of which that air is now composed, it is forever matter of conjecture
what the minds will be like which expand under its influence.

From the England of Fielding and Richardson to the England of Miss
Austen, from the England of Miss Austen to the England of railways and
free trade, how vast the change! Yet perhaps Sir Charles Grandison
would not seem so strange to us now as one of ourselves will seem to
our great-grandchildren. The world moves faster and faster; and the
difference will probably be considerably greater.

The temper of each new generation is a continual surprize. The Fates
delight to contradict our most confident expectations. Gibbon believed
that the era of conquerors was at an end. Had he lived out the full
life of man, he would have seen Europe at the feet of Napoleon. But a
few years ago we believed the world had grown too civilized for war,
and the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park was to be the inauguration of a
new era. Battles bloody as Napoleon's are now the familiar tale of
every day; and the arts which have made greatest progress are the
arts of destruction. What next? We may strain our eyes into the future
which lies beyond this waning century; but never was conjecture more
at fault. It is blank darkness, which even the imagination fails to

What, then, is the use of history, and what are its lessons? If it can
tell us little of the past, and nothing of the future, why waste our
time over so barren a study?

First, it is a voice forever sounding across the centuries the laws of
right and wrong. Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall,
but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every
false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust
or vanity, the price has to be paid at last, not always by the chief
offenders, but paid by some one. Justice and truth alone endure and
live. Injustice and falsehood may be long-lived, but doomsday comes at
last to them, in French revolutions and other terrible ways.

That is one lesson of history. Another is, that we should draw no
horoscope; that we should expect little, for what we expect will not
come to pass. Revolutions, reformations,--those vast movements into
which heroes and saints have flung themselves, in the belief that they
were the dawn of the millennium,--have not borne the fruit which they
looked for. Millenniums are still far away. These great convulsions
leave the world changed,--perhaps improved, but not improved as the
actors in them hoped it would be. Luther would have gone to work with
less heart could he have foreseen the Thirty Years' War, and in the
distance the theology of Tübingen. Washington might have hesitated to
draw the sword against England, could he have seen the country which
he made as we see it now.[34]

[Footnote 34: This is a reference to the condition of this country
during the Civil War.]

The most reasonable anticipations fail us, antecedents the most
opposite mislead us, because the conditions of human problems never
repeat themselves. Some new feature alters everything--some element
which we detect only in its after-operation.

Bishop Butler says somewhere that the best book which could be written
would be a book consisting only of premises, from which the readers
should draw conclusions for themselves. The highest poetry is the very
thing which Butler requires, and the highest history ought to be. We
should no more ask for a theory of this or that period of history,
than we should ask for a theory of "Macbeth" or "Hamlet." Philosophies
of history, sciences of history,--all these there will continue to be;
the fashions of them will change, as our habits of thought will
change; each new philosopher will find his chief employment in showing
that before him no one understood anything; but the drama of history
is imperishable, and the lessons of it will be like what we learn from
Homer or Shakespeare,--lessons for which we have no words.

The address of history is less to the understanding than to the higher
emotions. We learn in it to sympathize with what is great and good; we
learn to hate what is base. In the anomalies of fortune we feel the
mystery of our mortal existence; and in the companionship of the
illustrious natures who have shaped the fortunes of the world, we
escape from the littlenesses which cling to the round of common life,
and our minds are tuned in a higher and nobler key.

For the rest, and for those large questions which I touched in
connection with Mr. Buckle, we live in times of disintegration, and
none can tell what will be after us. What opinions, what convictions,
the infant of to-day will find prevailing on the earth, if he and it
live out together to the middle of another century, only a very bold
man would undertake to conjecture. "The time will come," said
Lichtenberg, in scorn at the materializing tendencies of modern
thought,--"the time will come when the belief in God will be as the
tales with which old women frighten children; when the world will be a
machine, the ether a gas, and God will be a force." Mankind, if they
last long enough on the earth, may develop strange things out of
themselves; and the growth of what is called the Positive Philosophy
is a curious commentary on Lichtenberg's prophecy. But whether the end
be seventy years hence, or seven hundred,--be the close of the mortal
history of humanity as far distant in the future as its shadowy
beginnings seem now to lie behind us,--this only we may foretell with
confidence,--that the riddle of man's nature will remain unsolved.
There will be that in him yet which physical laws will fail to
explain,--that something, whatever it be, in himself and in the world,
which science can not fathom, and which suggests the unknown
possibilities of his origin and his destiny.



Protestants and Catholics united to condemn a government under which
both had suffered; and a point on which enemies were agreed was
assumed to be proved. When I commenced the examination of the records,
I brought with me the inherited impression, from which I had neither
any thought nor any expectation that I should be disabused. I found
that it melted between my hands, and with it disappeared that other
fact, so difficult to credit, yet as it had appeared so impossible to
deny, that English Parliaments, English judges, English clergy,
statesmen whose beneficent legislation survives among the most valued
of our institutions, prelates who were the founders and martyrs of the
English Church, were the cowardly accomplices of abominable
atrocities, and had disgraced themselves with a sycophancy which the
Roman senate imperfectly approached when it fawned on Nero.

[Footnote 35: From the "History of England."]

Henry had many faults. They have been exhibited in the progress of the
narrative: I need not return to them. But his position was one of
unexampled difficulty; and by the work which he accomplished, and the
conditions, internal and external, under which his task was allotted
to him, he, like every other man, ought to be judged. He was
inconsistent: he can bear the reproach of it. He ended by accepting
and approving what he had commenced with persecuting; yet it was with
the honest inconsistency which distinguishes the conduct of most men
of practical ability in times of change, and even by virtue of which
they obtain their success. If at the commencement of the movement he
had regarded the eucharist as a "remembrance," he must either have
concealed his convictions or he would have forfeited his throne; if he
had been a stationary bigot, the Reformation might have waited for a
century, and would have been conquered only by an internecine war.

But as the nation moved the King moved, leading it, but not outrunning
it; checking those who went too fast, dragging forward those who
lagged behind. The conservatives, all that was sound and good among
them, trusted him because, he so long continued to share their
conservatism; when he threw it aside he was not reproached with breach
of confidence, because his own advance had accompanied theirs.

Protestants have exclaimed, against the Six Articles bill; Romanists
against the Act of Supremacy. Philosophers complain that the
prejudices of the people were needlessly violated, that opinions
should have been allowed to be free, and the reform of religion have
been left to be accomplished by reason. Yet, however cruel was the Six
Articles bill, the governing classes even among the laity were
unanimous in its favor. The King was not converted by a sudden
miracle; he believed the traditions in which he had been trained; his
eyes, like the eyes of others, opened but slowly; and unquestionably,
had he conquered for himself in their fulness the modern principles
of toleration, he could not have governed by them a nation which was
itself intolerant. Perhaps, of all living Englishmen who shared
Henry's faith, there was not one so little desirous as himself of
enforcing it by violence. His personal exertions were ever to mitigate
the action of the law, while its letter was sustained; and England at
its worst was a harbor of refuge to the Protestants, compared to the
Netherlands, to France, to Spain, or even to Scotland.

That the Romanists should have regarded him as a tyrant is natural;
and were it true that English subjects owed fealty to the Pope, their
feeling was just. But however desirable it may be to leave religious
opinions unfettered, it is certain that if England was legitimately
free, she could tolerate no difference of opinion on a question of
allegiance, so long as Europe was conspiring to bring her back into
slavery. So long as the English Romanists refused to admit without
mental reservation that, if foreign enemies invaded this country in
the Pope's name, their place must be at the side of their own
sovereign, "religion" might palliate the moral guilt of their treason,
but it could not exempt them from its punishment.

But these matters have been discust in the details of this history,
where alone they can be understood.

Beyond and besides the Reformation, the constitution of these islands
now rests in large measure on foundations laid in this reign. Henry
brought Ireland within the reach of English civilization. He absorbed
Wales and the Palatinates into the general English system. He it was
who raised the House of Commons from the narrow duty of voting
supplies, and of passing without discussion the measures of the Privy
Council, and converted them into the first power in the State under
the Crown. When he ascended the throne, so little did the Commons care
for their privileges that their attendance at the sessions of
Parliament was enforced by a law. They woke into life in 1529, and
they became the right hand of the King to subdue the resistance of the
House of Lords, and to force upon them a course of legislation which
from their hearts they detested. Other kings in times of difficulty
summoned their "great councils," composed of peers, or prelates, or
municipal officials, or any persons whom they pleased to nominate.
Henry VIII broke through the ancient practise, and ever threw himself
on the representatives of the people. By the Reformation and by the
power which he forced upon them he had so interwoven the House of
Commons with the highest business of the state that the peers
thenceforward sunk to be their shadow.

Something, too, ought to be said of his individual exertions in the
details of state administration. In his earlier life, tho active and
assiduous, he found leisure for elegant accomplishments, for splendid
amusements, for relaxations careless, extravagant, sometimes
questionable. As his life drew onward, his lighter tastes disappeared,
and the whole energy of his intellect was prest into the business of
the commonwealth. Those who have examined the printed state papers may
form some impression of his industry from the documents which are his
own composition, and the letters which he wrote and received; but
only persons who have seen the original manuscripts, who have observed
the traces of his pen in side-notes and corrections, and the
handwritings of his secretaries in diplomatic commissions, in drafts
of Acts of Parliament, in expositions and formularies, in articles of
faith, in proclamations, in the countless multitude of documents of
all sorts, secular or ecclesiastical, which contain the real history
of this extraordinary reign--only they can realize the extent of labor
to which he sacrificed himself, and which brought his life to a
premature close. His personal faults were great, and he shared,
besides them, in the errors of his age; but far deeper blemishes would
be but as scars upon the features of a sovereign who in trying times
sustained nobly the honor of the English name, and carried the
commonwealth securely through the hardest crisis in its history.



There is a legend that at the death of Charles V the accusing angel
appeared in heaven with a catalog of deeds which no advocate could
palliate--countries laid desolate, cities sacked and burned, lists of
hundreds of thousands of widows and children brought to misery by the
political ambition of a single man. The evil spirit demanded the
offender's soul, and it seemed as if mercy itself could not refuse him
the award. But at the last moment the Supreme Judge interfered. The
emperor, He said, had been sent into the world at a peculiar time, for
a peculiar purpose, and was not to be tried by the ordinary rules.
Titian has painted the scene: Charles kneeling before the throne, with
the consciousness, as became him, of human infirmities written upon
his countenance, yet neither afraid nor abject, relying in absolute
faith that the Judge of all mankind would do right.

[Footnote 36: From the concluding chapter of "Cæsar--A Sketch."]

Of Cæsar too it may be said that he came into the world at a special
time and for a special object. The old religions were dead, from the
Pillars of Hercules to the Euphrates and the Nile, and the principles
on which human society had been constructed were dead also. There
remained of spiritual conviction only the common and human sense of
justice and morality; and out of this sense some ordered system of
government had to be constructed, under which quiet men could live and
labor and eat the fruit of their industry. Under a rule of this
material kind there can be no enthusiasm, no chivalry, no saintly
aspirations, no patriotism of the heroic type. It was not to last
forever. A new life was about to dawn for mankind. Poetry, and faith,
and devotion were to spring again out of the seeds which were sleeping
in the heart of humanity.

But the life which is to endure, grows slowly; and as the soil must be
prepared before the wheat can be sown, so before the kingdom of heaven
could throw up its shoots there was needed a kingdom of this world
where the nations were neither torn in pieces by violence nor were
rushing after false ideals and spurious ambitions. Such a kingdom was
the empire of the Cæsars--a kingdom where peaceful men could work,
think, and speak as they pleased, and travel freely among provinces
ruled for the most part by Gallios who protected life and property,
and forbade fanatics to tear each other in pieces for their religious
opinions. "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death," was the
complaint of the Jewish priests to the Roman governor. Had Europe and
Asia been covered with independent nations, each with a local religion
represented in its ruling powers, Christianity must have been stifled
in its cradle. If St. Paul had escaped the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, he
would have been torn to pieces by the silversmiths at Ephesus. The
appeal to Cæsar's judgment-seat was the shield of his mission, and
alone made possible his success.

And this spirit, which confined government to its simple duties, while
it left opinion unfettered, was especially present in Julius Cæsar
himself. From cant of all kinds he was totally free. He was a friend
of the people, but he indulged in no enthusiasm for liberty. He never
dilated on the beauties of virtue, or complimented, as Cicero did, a
Providence in which he did not believe. He was too sincere to stoop to
unreality. He held to the facts of this life and to his own
convictions; and as he found no reason for supposing that there was a
life beyond the grave he did not pretend to expect it. He respected
the religion of the Roman state as an institution established by the
laws. He encouraged or left unmolested the creeds and practises of the
uncounted sects or tribes who were gathered under the eagles. But his
own writings contain nothing to indicate that he himself had any
religious belief at all. He saw no evidence that the gods practically
interfered in human affairs. He never pretended that Jupiter was on
his side. He thanked his soldiers after a victory, but he did not
order Te Deums to be sung for it; and in the absence of these
conventionalisms he perhaps showed more real reverence than he could
have displayed by the freest use of the formulas of pietism.

He fought his battles to establish some tolerable degree of justice in
the government of this world; and he succeeded, tho he was murdered
for doing it.

Strange and startling resemblance between the fate of the founder of
the kingdom of this world and of the Founder of the kingdom not of
this world for which the first was a preparation. Each was denounced
for making himself a king. Each was maligned as the friend of
publicans and sinners; each was betrayed by those whom he had loved
and cared for; each was put to death; and Cæsar also was believed to
have risen again and ascended into heaven and become a divine being.


     Born in 1819, died in 1900; his father a wealthy
     wine-merchant in London; educated at Oxford; published the
     first volume of "Modern Painters" in 1843; made professor at
     Cambridge in 1858; professor at Oxford in 1869; retired to
     his estate on Coniston Lake in 1855; published "Lamps of
     Architecture" in 1849, "Stones of Venice" in 1851-53,
     followed by a large number of other works, including his
     "Autobiography" in 1887-88.



Since first the dominion of men was asserted over the ocean, three
thrones, of mark beyond all other, have been set upon its sands; the
thrones of Tyre, Venice and England. Of the first of these great
powers only the memory remains; of the second, the ruin; the third,
which inherits their greatness, if it forget their example, may be led
through prouder eminence to less pitied destruction.

[Footnote 37: From Chapter I of "The Stones of Venice."]

The exaltation, the sin, and the punishment of Tyre have been recorded
for us, in perhaps the most touching words ever uttered by the
prophets of Israel against the cities of the stranger. But we read
them as a lovely song; and close our ears to the sternness of their
warning; for the very depth of the fall of Tyre has blinded us to its
reality, and we forget, as we watch the bleaching of the rocks
between the sunshine and the sea, that they were once "as in Eden, the
garden of God."

Her successor, like her in perfection of beauty, tho less in endurance
of dominion, is still left for our beholding in the final period of
her decline: a ghost upon the sands of the sea, so weak--so quiet--so
bereft of all but her loveliness, that we might well doubt, as we
watched her faint reflection in the mirage of the lagoon, which was
city and which the shadow.

I would endeavor to trace the lines of this image before it be forever
lost and to record, as far as I may, the warning which seems to me to
be uttered by every one of the fast-gaining waves that beat like
passing bells against the stones of Venice.

It would be difficult to overrate the value of the lessons which might
be derived from a faithful study of the history of this strange and
mighty city; a history which, in spite of the labor of countless
chroniclers, remains in vague and disputable outline--barred with
brightness and shade, like the far-away edge of her own ocean, where
the surf and the sand-banks are mingled with the sky....

Venice is usually conceived as an oligarchy: She was so during a
period less than the half of her existence, and that including the
days of her decline; and it is one of the first questions needing
severe examination, whether that decline was owing in anywise to the
change in the form of her government, or altogether, as assuredly in
great part, to changes in the character of the persons of whom it was

The state of Venice existed thirteen hundred and seventy-six years,
from the first establishment of a consular government on the island of
the Rialto to the moment when the general-in-chief of the French army
of Italy[38] pronounced the Venetian republic a thing of the past. Of
this period, two hundred and seventy-six years were passed in a
nominal subjection to the cities of old Venetia, especially to Padua,
and in an agitated form of democracy of which the executive appears to
have been entrusted to tribunes, chosen one by the inhabitants of each
of the principal islands. For six hundred years, during which the
power of Venice was continually on the increase, her government was an
elective monarchy, her king or doge possessing, in early times at
least, as much independent authority as any other European sovereign,
but an authority gradually subjected to limitation, and shortened
almost daily of its prerogatives, while it increased in a spectral and
incapable magnificence. The final government of the nobles, under the
image of a king, lasted for five hundred years, during which Venice
reaped the fruits of her former energies, consumed them--and expired.

[Footnote 38: Napoleon Bonaparte.]

Let the reader therefore conceive the existence of the Venetian state
as broadly divided into two periods: the first of nine hundred, the
second of five hundred years, the separation being marked by what was
called the "Serrar del Consiglio"; that is to say, the final and
absolute distinction of the nobles from the commonalty, and the
establishment of the government in their hands to the exclusion alike
of the influence of the people on the one side, and the authority of
the doge on the other.

Then the first period, of nine hundred years, presents us with the
most interesting spectacle of a people struggling out of anarchy into
order and power; and then governed, for the most part, by the
worthiest and noblest man whom they could find among them, called
their Doge or Leader, with an aristocracy gradually and resolutely
forming itself around him, out of which, and at last by which, he was
chosen; an aristocracy owing its origin to the accidental numbers,
influence, and wealth of some among the families of the fugitives from
the older Venetia, and gradually organizing itself, by its unity and
heroism, into a separate body.

This first period includes the rise of Venice, her noblest
achievements, and the circumstances which determined her character and
position among European powers; and within its range, as might have
been anticipated, we find the names of all her hero princes--of Pietro
Urseolo, Ordalafo Falier, Domenico Michieli, Sebastiano Ziani, and
Enrico Dandolo.

The second period opens with a hundred and twenty years, the most
eventful in the career of Venice--the central struggle of her
life--stained with her darkest crime, the murder of Carrara--disturbed
by her most dangerous internal sedition, the conspiracy of
Falier--opprest by her most fatal war, the war of Chiozza--and
distinguished by the glory of her two noblest citizens (for in this
period the heroism of her citizens replaces that of her monarchs),
Vittor Pisani and Carlo Zeno.

I date the commencement of the fall of Venice from the death of Carlo
Zeno, 8th May, 1418; the visible commencement from that of another of
her noblest and wisest children, the Doge Tomaso Mocenigo, who expired
five years later. The reign of Foscari followed, gloomy with
pestilence and war; a war in which large acquisitions of territory
were made by subtle or fortunate policy in Lombardy, and disgrace,
significant as irreparable, sustained in the battles on the Po at
Cremona, and in the marshes of Caravaggio. In 1454, Venice, the first
of the states of Christendom, humiliated herself to the Turk; in the
same year was established the Inquisition of State, and from this
period her government takes the perfidious and mysterious form under
which it is usually conceived. In 1477, the great Turkish invasion
spread terror to the shores of the lagoons; and in 1508 the league of
Cambrai marks the period usually assigned as the commencement of the
decline of the Venetian power; the commercial prosperity of Venice in
the close of the fifteenth century blinding her historians to the
previous evidence of the diminution of her internal strength....

Throughout her career the victories of Venice, and, at many periods of
it, her safety, were purchased by individual heroism; and the man who
exalted or saved her was sometimes (oftenest) her king, sometimes a
noble, sometimes a citizen. To him no matter nor to her; the real
question is not so much what names they bore, or with what powers they
were entrusted, as how they were trained; how they were made masters
of themselves, servants of their country, patient of distress,
impatient of dishonor; and what was the true reason of the change from
the time when she could find saviors among those whom she had cast
into prison to that when the voices of her own children commanded her
to sign covenant with death....

The most curious phenomenon in all Venetian history is the vitality of
religion in private life and its deadness in public policy. Amidst the
enthusiasm, chivalry, or fanaticism of the other states of Europe,
Venice stands, from first to last, like a masked statue; her coldness
impenetrable, her exertion only aroused by the touch of a secret
spring. That spring was her commercial interest--this the one motive
of all her important political acts, or enduring national animosities.
She could forgive insults to her honor, but never rivalship in her
commerce; she calculated the glory of her conquests by their value,
and estimated their justice by their facility. The fame of success
remains when the motives of attempts are forgotten; and the casual
reader of her history may perhaps be surprized to be reminded that the
expedition which was commanded by the noblest of her princes, and
whose results added most to her military glory, was one in which,
while all Europe around her was wasted by the fire of its devotion,
she first calculated the highest price she could exact from its piety
for the armament she furnished, and then, for the advancement of her
own private interests, at once broke her faith and betrayed her

There are, therefore, two strange and solemn lights in which we have
to regard almost every scene in the fitful history of the Rivo Alto.
We find, on the one hand, a deep and constant tone of individual
religion characterizing the lives of the citizens of Venice in her
greatness; we find this spirit influencing them in all the familiar
and immediate concerns of life, giving a peculiar dignity to the
conduct even of their commercial transactions, and confest by them
with a simplicity of faith that may well put to shame the hesitation
with which a man of the world at present admits (even if it be so in
reality) that religious feeling has any influence over the minor
branches of his conduct. And we find as the natural consequence of all
this, a healthy serenity of mind and energy of will exprest in all
their actions, and a habit of heroism which never fails them, even
when the immediate motive of action ceases to be praiseworthy. With
the fulness of this spirit the prosperity of the state is exactly
correspondent, and with its failure her decline....

I have said that the two orders, Doric and Corinthian, are the roots
of all European architecture. You have, perhaps, heard of five orders:
but there are only two real orders; and there never can be any more
until doomsday. On one of these orders the ornament is convex: those
are Doric, Norman, and what else you recollect of the kind. On the
other the ornament is concave: those are Corinthian, Early English,
Decorated, and what else you recollect of that kind. The transitional
form, in which the ornamental line is straight, is the center or root
of both. All other orders are varieties of these, or fantasms and
grotesques, altogether indefinite in number and species.

This Greek architecture, then, with its two orders, was clumsily
copied and varied by the Romans with no particular result, until they
began to bring the arch into extensive practical service; except only
that the Doric capital was spoiled in endeavors to mend it, and the
Corinthian much varied and enriched with fanciful, and often very
beautiful imagery. And in this state of things came Christianity:
seized upon the arch as her own; decorated it, and delighted in it:
invented a new Doric capital to replace the spoiled Roman one: and all
over the Roman Empire set to work, with such materials as were nearest
at hand, to express and adorn herself as best she could. This Roman
Christian architecture is the exact expression of the Christianity of
the time, very fervid and beautiful--but very imperfect; in many
respects ignorant, and yet radiant with a strong, childlike light of
imagination, which flames up under Constantine, illumines all the
shores of the Bosporus and the Ægean and the Adriatic Sea, and then
gradually, as the people give themselves up to idolatry, becomes
corpse-like. The architecture sinks into a settled form--a strange,
gilded, and embalmed repose: it, with the religion it exprest; and so
would have remained forever--so does remain where its languor has been
undisturbed. But rough wakening was ordained for it.

The Christian art of the declining empire is divided into two great
branches, western and eastern; one centered at Rome, the other at
Byzantium, of which the one is the early Christian Romanesque,
properly so called, and the other, carried to higher imaginative
perfection by Greek workmen, is distinguished from it as Byzantine.
But I wish the reader, for the present, to class these two branches of
art together in his mind, they being, in points of main importance,
the same; that is to say, both of them a true continuance and sequence
of the art of old Rome itself, flowing uninterruptedly down from the
fountain-head, and entrusted always to the best workmen who could be
found--Latins in Italy and Greeks in Greece; and thus both branches
may be ranged under the general term of Christian Romanesque, an
architecture which had lost the refinement of pagan art in the
degradation of the empire, but which was elevated by Christianity to
higher aims, and by the fancy of the Greek workmen endowed with
brighter forms. And this art the reader may conceive as extending in
its various branches over all the central provinces of the empire,
taking aspects more or less refined, according to its proximity to the
seats of government; dependent for all its power on the vigor and
freshness of the religion which animated it; and as that vigor and
purity departed, losing its own vitality, and sinking into nerveless
rest, not deprived of its beauty, but benumbed, and incapable of
advance or change.

Meantime there had been preparation for its renewal. While in Rome and
Constantinople, and in the districts under their immediate influence,
this Roman art of pure descent was practised in all its refinement, an
impure form of it--a patois of Romanesque--was carried by inferior
workmen into distant provinces; and still ruder imitations of this
patois were executed by the barbarous nations on the skirts of the
empire. But these barbarous nations were in the strength of their
youth; and while, in the center of Europe, a refined and purely
descended art was sinking into graceful formalism, on its confines a
barbarous and borrowed art was organizing itself into strength and
consistency. The reader must therefore consider the history of the
work of the period as broadly divided into two great heads; the one
embracing the elaborately languid succession of the Christian art of
Rome; and the other the imitations of it executed by nations in every
conceivable phase of early organization, on the edges of the empire,
or included in its now merely nominal extent.

Some of the barbaric nations were, of course, not susceptible of this
influence; and, when they burst over the Alps, appear, like the Huns,
as scourges only, or mix, as the Ostrogoths, with the enervated
Italians, and give physical strength to the mass with which they
mingle, without materially affecting its intellectual character. But
others, both south and north of the empire, had felt its influence,
back to the beach of the Indian Ocean on the one hand, and to the ice
creeks of the North Sea on the other. On the north and west the
influence was of the Latins; on the south and east, of the Greeks. Two
nations, preeminent above all the rest, represent to us the force of
derived mind on either side. As the central power is eclipsed, the
orbs of reflected light gather into their fulness; and when sensuality
and idolatry had done their work, and the religion of the empire was
laid asleep in a glittering sepulcher, the living light rose upon
both horizons, and the fierce swords of the Lombard and Arab were
shaken over its golden paralysis.

The work of the Lombard was to give hardihood and system to the
enervated body and enfeebled mind of Christendom; that of the Arab was
to punish idolatry, and to proclaim the spirituality of worship. The
Lombard covered every church which he built with the sculptured
representations of bodily exercises--hunting and war. The Arab
banished all imagination of creature form from his temples, and
proclaimed from their minarets "There is no god but God." Opposite in
their character and mission, alike in their magnificence of energy,
they came from the North and from the South, the glacier torrent and
the lava stream; they met and contended over the wreck of the Roman
empire; and the very center of the struggle, the point of pause of
both, the dead water of the opposite eddies, charged with embayed
fragments of the Roman wreck, is Venice.

The ducal palace of Venice contains the three elements in exactly
equal proportions--the Roman, Lombard, and Arab. It is the central
building of the world.



Beyond those troops of ordered arches there rises a vision out of the
earth, and all the great square seems to have opened from it in a kind
of awe, that we may see it far away; a multitude of pillars and white
domes, clustered into a long low pyramid of colored light; a treasure
heap, it seems, partly of gold and partly of opal and mother-of-pearl,
hollowed beneath into five great vaulted porches, ceiled with fair
mosaic and beset with sculpture of alabaster, clear as amber and
delicate as ivory--sculpture fantastic and involved, of palm-leaves
and lilies, and grapes and pomegranates, and birds clinging and
fluttering among the branches, all twined together into an endless
network of buds and plumes; and in the midst of it the solemn forms of
angels, sceptered, and robed to the feet, and leaning to each other
across the gates, their figures indistinct among the gleaming of the
golden ground through the leaves beside them--interrupted and dim,
like the morning light as it faded back among the branches of Eden
when first its gates were angel-guarded long ago.

[Footnote 39: From "The Stones of Venice," Vol. II.]

And round the walls of the porches there are set pillars of variegated
stones--jasper and porphyry and deep-green serpentine spotted with
flakes of snow, and marbles that half refuse and half yield to the
sunshine, Cleopatra-like, "their bluest veins to kiss"--the shadow,
as it steals back from them, revealing line after line of azure
undulation, as a receding tide leaves the waved sand; their capitals
rich with interwoven tracery, rooted knots of herbage, and drifting
leaves of acanthus and vine, and mystical signs, all beginning and
ending in the Cross; and above them, in the broad archivolts, a
continuous chain of language and of life--angels, and the signs of
heaven, and the labors of men, each in its appointed season upon the
earth; and above these another range of glittering pinnacles, mixt
with white arches edged with scarlet flowers--a confusion of delight,
amidst which the breasts of the Greek horses are seen blazing in their
breadth of golden strength, and the St. Mark's Lion, lifted on a blue
field covered with stars: until at last, as if in ecstasy, the crests
of the arches break into a marble foam, and toss themselves far into
the blue sky in flashes and wreaths of sculptured spray, as if the
breakers on the Lido shore had been frost-bound before they fell, and
the sea-nymphs had inlaid them with coral and amethyst.

Between that grim cathedral of England and this, what an interval!
There is a type of it in the very birds that haunt them; for instead
of the restless crowd, hoarse-voiced and sable-winged, drifting on the
bleak upper air, the St. Mark's porches are full of doves, that nestle
among the marble foliage, and mingle the soft iridescence of their
living plumes, changing at every motion, with the tints, hardly less
lovely, that have stood unchanged for seven hundred years.

And what effect has this splendor on those who pass beneath it? You
may walk from sunrise to sunset, to and fro, before the gateway of St.
Mark's, and you will not see an eye lifted to it, nor a countenance
brightened by it. Priest and layman, soldier and civilian, rich and
poor, pass by it alike regardlessly. Up to the very recesses of the
porches, the meanest tradesmen of the city push their counters; nay,
the foundations of its pillars are themselves the seats, not "of them
that sell doves" for sacrifice, but of the venders of toys and
caricatures. Round the whole square in front of the church there is
almost a continuous line of cafés, where the idle Venetians of the
middle classes lounge and read empty journals; in its center the
Austrian bands play during the time of vespers their martial music
jarring with the organ notes--the march drowning the miserere and the
sullen crowd thickening round them--a crowd which if it had its will
would stiletto every soldier that pipes to it. And in the recesses of
the porches, all day long, knots of men of the lowest classes,
unemployed and listless, lie basking in the sun like lizards; and
unregarded children--every heavy glance of their young eyes full of
desperation and stony depravity and their throats hoarse with
cursing--gamble and fight and snarl and sleep, hour after hour,
clashing their bruised _centesimi_ upon the marble ledges of the
church porch. And the images of Christ and his angels look down upon
it continually.

That we may not enter the church out of the midst of the horror of
this, let us turn aside under the portico which looks toward the sea,
and passing round within the two massive pillars brought from St. Jean
d'Acre,[40] we shall find the gate of the baptistery: let us enter
there. The heavy door closes behind us instantly; and the light and
the turbulence of the Piazzetta are together shut out by it.

[Footnote 40: More commonly known as Acre, a seaport on the Palestine
coast, captured by Crusaders in 1104, by Saladin in 1187, and
recaptured by the Crusaders in 1191. It was thenceforth held by the
Christians for exactly one hundred years, when it became the last
Christian stronghold in Palestine to yield. In 1797 Acre was
successfully defended by Sir Sidney Smith against Napoleon.]

We are in a low vaulted room; vaulted not with arches, but with small
cupolas starred with gold and checkered with gloomy figures: in the
center is a bronze font charged with rich bas-reliefs; a small figure
of the Baptist standing above it in a single ray of light, that
glances across the narrow room, dying as it falls from a window high
in the wall--and the first thing that it strikes, and the only thing
that it strikes brightly, is a tomb. We hardly know if it be a tomb
indeed: for it is like a narrow couch set beside the window,
low-roofed and curtained; so that it might seem, but that it has some
height above the pavement, to have been drawn toward the window, that
the sleeper might be wakened early--only there are two angels who have
drawn the curtain back, and are looking down upon him. Let us look
also and thank that gentle light that rests upon his forehead forever,
and dies away upon his breast.

The face is of a man in middle life, but there are two deep furrows
right across the forehead, dividing it like the foundations of a
tower; the height of it above is bound by the fillet of the ducal
cap. The rest of the features are singularly small and delicate, the
lips sharp--perhaps the sharpness of death being added to that of the
natural lines; but there is a sweet smile upon them, and a deep
serenity upon the whole countenance. The roof of the canopy above has
been blue, filled with stars; beneath, in the center of the tomb on
which the figure rests, is a seated figure of the Virgin, and the
border of it all around is of flowers and soft leaves, growing rich
and deep as if in a field in summer.

It is the Doge Andrea Dandolo; a man early great among the great of
Venice, and early lost. She chose him for her king in his thirty-sixth
year; he died ten years later, leaving behind him that history to
which we owe half of what we know of her former fortunes.

Look round at the room in which he lies. The floor of it is of rich
mosaic, encompassed by a low seat of red marble; and its walls are of
alabaster, but worn and shattered and darkly stained with age, almost
a ruin--in places the slabs of marble have fallen away altogether, and
the rugged brickwork is seen through the rents: but all beautiful--the
ravaging fissures fretting their way among the islands and channeled
zones of the alabaster and the time stains on its translucent masses
darkened into fields of rich golden brown, like the color of seaweed
when the sun strikes on it through deep sea....

Through the heavy door whose bronze network closes the place of his
rest, let us enter the church, itself. It is lost in still deeper
twilight, to which the eye must be accustomed for some moments before
the form of the building can be traced; and then there opens before us
a vast cave, hewn out into the form of a cross, and divided into
shadowy aisles by many pillars. Round the domes of its roof the light
enters only through narrow apertures like large stars; and here and
there a ray or two from some far-away casement wanders into the
darkness, and casts a narrow phosphoric stream upon the waves of
marble that heave and fall in a thousand colors along the floor. What
else there is of light is from torches, of silver lamps, burning
ceaselessly in the recesses of the chapels: the roof sheeted with
gold, and the polished walls covered with alabaster, give back at
every curve and angle some feeble gleaming to the flames; and the
glories round the heads of the sculptured saints flash out upon us as
we pass them, and sink again into the gloom. Under foot and over head,
a continual succession of crowded imagery, one picture passing into
another, as in a dream; forms beautiful and terrible mixt together;
dragons and serpents, and ravening beasts of prey, and graceful birds
that in the midst of them drink from running fountains and feed from
vases of crystal: the passions and the pleasures of human life
symbolized together, and the mystery of its redemption; for the mazes
of interwoven lines and changeful pictures lead always at last to the
Cross, lifted and carved in every place and upon every stone;
sometimes with the serpent of eternity wrapt round it, sometimes with
doves beneath its arms and sweet herbage growing forth from its feet;
but conspicuous most of all on the great rood that crosses the church
before the altar, raised in bright blazonry against the shadow of the
apse. And altho in the recesses of the aisles and chapels, when the
mist of the incense hangs heavily, we may see continually a figure
traced in faint lines upon their marble--a woman standing with her
eyes raised to heaven, and the inscription above her "Mother of
God"--she is not here the presiding deity. It is the Cross that is
first seen, and always, burning in the center of the temple; and every
dome and hollow of its room has the figure of Christ in the utmost
height of it, raised in power, or returning in judgment.

Nor is this interior without effect on the minds of the people. At
every hour of the day there are groups collected before the various
shrines, and solitary worshipers scattered through the darker places
of the church--evidently in prayer both deep and reverent, and for the
most part profoundly sorrowful. The devotees at the greater number of
the renowned shrines of Romanism may be seen murmuring their appointed
prayers with wandering eyes and unengaged gestures: but the step of
the stranger does not disturb those who kneel on the pavement of St.
Mark's; and hardly a moment passes, from early morning to sunset, in
which we may not see some half-veiled figure enter beneath the Arabian
porch, cast itself into long abasement on the floor of the temple, and
then, rising slowly with more confirmed step, and with a passionate
kiss and clasp of the arms given to the feet of the crucifix, by which
the lamps burn always in the northern aisle, leave the church as if

It was in the hearts of the old Venetian people far more than a place
of worship. It was at once a type of the redeemed Church of God, and
a scroll for the written Word of God. It was to be to them, both an
image of the Bride, all glorious within, her clothing of wrought gold;
and the actual Table of the Law and the Testimony, written within and
without. And whether honored as the Church or as the Bible, was it not
fitting that neither the gold nor the crystal should be spared in the
adornment of it; that, as the symbol of the Bride, the building of the
wall thereof should be of jasper, and the foundations of it garnished
with all manner of precious stones; and that, as the channel of the
Word, that triumphant utterance of the Psalmist should be true of
it--"I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all
riches?" And shall we not look with changed temper down the long
perspective of St. Mark's Place toward the sevenfold gates and glowing
domes of its temple, when we know with what solemn purpose the shafts
of it were lifted above the pavement of the populous square? Men met
there from all countries of the earth, for traffic or for pleasure;
but, above the crowd swaying forever to and fro in the restlessness of
avarice or thirst of delight, was seen perpetually the glory of the
temple, attesting to them, whether they would hear or whether they
would forbear, that there was one treasure which the merchantman might
buy without a price, and one delight better than all others, in the
word and the statutes of God.



Of all inorganic substances, acting in their own proper nature, and
without assistance or combination, water is the most wonderful. If we
think of it as the course of all the changefulness and beauty which we
have seen in clouds; then as the instrument by which the earth we have
contemplated was modeled into symmetry, and its crags chiseled into
grace; then as, in the form of snow, it robes the mountains it has
made with that transcendent light which we could not have conceived if
we had not seen; then as it exists in the foam of the torrent--in the
iris which spans it, in the morning mist which rises from it, in the
deep crystalline pools which mirror its hanging shore, in the broad
lake and glancing river; finally, in that which is to all human minds
the best emblem of unwearied, unconquerable power, the wild, various,
fantastic, tameless unity of the sea; what shall we compare to this
mighty, this universal element, for glory and for beauty? or how shall
we follow its eternal changefulness of feeling: It is like trying to
paint a soul.

[Footnote 41: From "Modern Painters," Vol. II, Section V.]

To suggest the ordinary appearance of calm water--to lay on canvas as
much evidence of surface and reflection as may make us understand that
water is meant--is, perhaps, the easiest task of art; and even
ordinary running or falling water may be sufficiently rendered, by
observing careful curves of projection with a dark ground, and
breaking a little white over it, as we see done with judgment and
truth by Ruysdael. But to paint the actual play of hue on the
reflective surface, or to give the forms and fury of water when it
begins to show itself--to give the flashing and rocket-like velocity
of a noble cataract, or the precision and grace of the sea wave, so
exquisitely modeled, tho so mockingly transient--so mountainous in its
form, yet so cold-like in its motion--with its variety and delicacy of
color, when every ripple and wreath has some peculiar passage of
reflection upon itself alone, and the radiating and scintillating
sunbeams are mixt with the dim hues of transparent depth and dark rock
below;--to do this perfectly is beyond the power of man; to do it even
partially, has been granted to but one or two, even of those few who
have dared to attempt it....

Now, the fact is, that there is hardly a roadside pond or pool which
has not as much landscape _in_ it as above it. It is not the brown,
muddy, dull thing we suppose it to be; it has a heart like ourselves,
and in the bottom of that there are the boughs of the tall trees, and
the blades of the shaking grass, and all manner of hues, of variable,
pleasant light out of the sky; nay, the ugly gutter, that stagnates
over the drain bars, in the heart of the foul city, is not altogether
base; down in that, if you will look deep enough, you may see the
dark, serious blue of far-off sky, and the passing of pure clouds. It
is at your own will that you see in that despised stream, either the
refuse of the street, or the image of the sky--so it is with almost
all other things that we unkindly despise....

Stand for half an hour beside the fall of Schaffhausen, on the north
side where the rapids are long, and watch how the vault of water first
bends, unbroken, in pure, polished velocity, over the arching rocks at
the brow of the cataract, covering them with a dome of crystal twenty
feet thick--so swift that its motion is unseen except when a foam
globe from above darts over it like a falling star; and how the trees
are lighted above it under all their leaves, at the instant that it
breaks into foam; and how all the hollows of that foam burn with green
fire like so much shattering chrysoprase; and how, ever and anon,
startling you with its white flash, a jet of spray leaps hissing out
of the fall, like a rocket, bursting in the wind and driven away in
dust, filling the air with light; and how, through the curdling
wreaths of the restless, crashing abyss below, the blue of the water,
paled by the foam in its body, shows purer than the sky through white
rain-cloud; while the shuddering iris stoops in tremulous stillness
over all, fading and flushing alternately through the choking spray
and shattered sunshine, hiding itself at last among the thick golden
leaves which toss to and fro in sympathy with the wild water; their
dripping masses lifted at intervals, like sheaves of loaded corn, by
some stronger gush from the cataract and bowed again upon the mossy
rocks as its roar dies away; the dew gushing from their thick branches
through drooping clusters of emerald herbage, and sparkling in white
threads along the dark rocks of the shore, feeding the lichens which
chase and checker them with purple and silver....

When water, not in very great body, runs in a rocky bed much
interrupted by hollows, so that it can rest every now and then in a
pool as it goes along, it does not acquire a continuous velocity of
motion. It pauses after every leap, and curdles about, and rests a
little, and then goes on again; and if in this comparatively tranquil
and rational state of mind it meets with any obstacle, as a rock or
stone, it parts on each side of it with a little bubbling foam, and
goes round; if it comes to a step in its bed, it leaps it lightly, and
then after a little splashing at the bottom, stops again to take
breath. But if its bed be on a continuous slope, not much interrupted
by hollows, so that it can not rest, or if its own mass be so
increased by flood that its usual resting-places are not sufficient
for it, but that it is perpetually pushed out of them by the following
current, before it has had time to tranquilize itself, it of course
gains velocity with every yard that it runs; the impetus got at one
leap is carried to the credit of the next, until the whole stream
becomes one mass of unchecked, accelerating motion. Now when water in
this state comes to an obstacle, it does not part at it but clears it,
like a race-horse; and when it comes to a hollow, it does not fill it
up and run out leisurely at the other side, but it rushes down into it
and comes up again on the other side, as a ship into the hollow of the
sea. Hence, the whole appearance of the bed of the stream is changed,
and all the lines of the water altered in their nature. The quiet
stream is a succession of leaps and pools; the leaps are light and
springy, and parabolic, and make a great deal of splashing when they
tumble into the pool; then we have a space of quiet curdling water,
and another similar leap below.

But the stream when it has gained an impetus takes the shape of its
bed, never stops, is equally deep and equally swift everywhere, goes
down into every hollow, not with a leap, but with a swing, not
foaming, nor splashing, but in the bending line of a strong sea-wave,
and comes up again on the other side, over rock and ridge, with the
ease of a bounding leopard; if it meet a rock three or four feet above
the level of its bed, it will neither part nor foam, nor express any
concern about the matter, but clear it in a smooth dome of water,
without apparent exertion, coming down again as smoothly on the other
side; the whole surface of the surge being drawn into parallel lines
by its extreme velocity, but foamless, except in places where the form
of the bed opposes itself at some direct angle to such a line of fall,
and causes a breaker; so that the whole river has the appearance of a
deep and raging sea, with this only difference that the torrent-waves
always break backward, and sea-waves forward....

Few people, comparatively, have ever seen the effect on the sea of a
powerful gale continued without intermission for three or four days
and nights, and to those who have not I believe it must be
unimaginable, not from the mere force or size of surge, but from the
complete annihilation of the limit between sea and air. The water from
its prolonged agitation is beaten not into mere creaming foam but
into masses of accumulated yeast which hang in ropes and wreaths from
wave to wave, and where one curls over to break, form a festoon like a
drapery from its edge; these are taken up by the wind, not in
dissipating dust, but bodily, in writhing, hanging, coiling masses,
which make the air white and thick as with snow, only the flakes are a
foot or two long each; the surges themselves are full of foam in their
very bodies, underneath, making them white all through, as the water
is under a great cataract; and their masses, being thus half water and
half air, are torn to pieces by the wind whenever they rise, and
carried away in roaring smoke, which chokes and strangles like actual
water. Add to this, that when the air has been exhausted of its
moisture by long rain, the spray of the sea is caught by it as
described above, and covers its surface not merely with the smoke of
finely divided water, but with boiling mist; imagine also the low
rain-clouds brought down to the very level of the sea, as I have often
seen them; whirling and flying in rags and fragments from wave to
wave; and finally conceive the surges themselves in their utmost pitch
of power, velocity, vastness, and madness, lifting themselves in
precipices and peaks, furrowed with their whirl of ascent, through all
this chaos; and you will understand that there is indeed no
distinction left between the sea and air; that no object, nor horizon,
nor any landmark or natural evidence of position is left; that the
heaven is all spray, and the ocean all cloud, and that you see no
farther than you could see through a cataract....

But, I think, the noblest sea that Turner has ever painted, and, if
so, the noblest certainly ever painted by man, is that of the Slave
Ship,[42] the chief Academy picture of the Exhibition in 1840. It is a
sunset on the Atlantic, after prolonged storm; but the storm is
partially lulled, and the torn and streaming rain-clouds are moving in
scarlet lines to lose themselves in the hollow of the night. The whole
surface of sea included in the picture is divided into two ridges of
enormous swell, not high, nor local, but a low, broad heaving of the
whole ocean, like the lifting of its bosom by deep drawn breath after
the torture of the storm. Between these two ridges the fire of the
sunset falls along the trough of the sea, dyeing it with an awful but
glorious light, the intense and lurid splendor which burns like gold,
and bathes like blood. Along this fiery path and valley, the tossing
waves by which the swell of the sea is restlessly divided, lift
themselves in dark, indefinite, fantastic forms, each casting a faint
and ghastly shadow behind it along the illumined foam. They do not
rise everywhere, but three or four together in wild groups, fitfully
and furiously, as the under strength of the swell compels or permits
them; leaving between them treacherous spaces of level and whirling
water, now lighted with green and lamp-like fire, now flashing back
the gold of the declining sun, now fearfully dyed from above with the
indistinguishable images of the burning clouds, which fall upon them
in flakes of crimson and scarlet, and give to the reckless waves the
added motion of their own fiery flying. Purple and blue, the lurid
shadows of the hollow breakers are cast upon the mist of the night,
which gathers cold and low, advancing like the shadow of death upon
the guilty ship as it labors amidst the lightning of the sea, its thin
masts written upon the sky in lines of blood, girded with condemnation
in that fearful hue which signs the sky with horror, and mixes its
flaming flood with the sunlight,--and cast far along the desolate
heave of the sepulchral waves, incarnadines the multitudinous sea.

[Footnote 42: Turner's "Slave Ship" was long in Ruskin's possession,
if not actually his property. It afterward came to America, and in New
York was placed on public exhibition some thirty years ago. It is now
in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.]

I believe, if I were reduced to rest Turner's immortality upon any
single work, I should choose this. Its daring conception--ideal in the
highest sense of the word--is based on the purest truth, and wrought out
with the concentrated knowledge of a life; its color is absolutely
perfect, not one false or morbid hue in any part or line, and so
modulated that every square inch of canvas is a perfect composition; its
drawing as accurate as fearless; the ship buoyant, bending, and full of
motion; its tones as true as they are wonderful; and the whole picture
dedicated to the most sublime of subjects and impressions--(completing
thus the perfect system of all truth, which we have shown to be formed
by Turner's works)--the power, majesty, and deathfulness of the open,
deep, illimitable sea.


     Born in 1819, died in 1880; assistant editor of the
     _Westminster Review_ in 1851; lived with George Henry Lewes
     from 1854 until his death in 1878; married John W. Cross in
     1880; translated Strauss's "Life of Jesus" in 1846,
     published "Scenes of Clerical Life" in 1858, "Adam Bede" in
     1859, "Romola" in 1862, "Middlemarch" in 1871, "Daniel
     Deronda" in 1876.


Evidently that gate is never opened; for the long grass and the great
hemlocks grow close against it; and if it were opened, it is so rusty
that the force necessary to turn it on its hinges would be likely to
pull down the square stone-built pillars, to the detriment of the two
stone lionesses which grin with a doubtful carnivorous affability
above a coat of arms surmounting each of the pillars. It would be easy
enough, by the aid of the nicks in the stone pillars, to climb over
the brick wall with its smooth stone coping; but by putting our eyes
close to the rusty bars of the gate, we can see the house well enough,
and all but the very corners of the grassy inclosure.

[Footnote 43: From "Adam Bede."]

It is a very fine old place, of red brick, softened by a pale powdery
lichen, which has dispersed itself with happy irregularity, so as to
bring the red brick into terms of friendly companionship with the
limestone ornaments surrounding the three gables, the windows, and the
door-place. But the windows are patched with wooden panes, and the
door, I think, is like the gate--it is never opened: how it would
groan and grate against the stone floor if it were! For it is a solid,
heavy, handsome door, and must once have been in the habit of shutting
with a sonorous bang behind a liveried lackey who had just seen his
master and mistress off the grounds in a carriage and pair.

But at present one might fancy the house in the early stage of a
chancery suit, and that the fruit from that grand double row of
walnut-trees on the right hand of the inclosure would fall and rot
among the grass; if it were not that we heard the booming bark of dogs
echoing from great buildings at the back. And now the half-weaned
calves that have been sheltering themselves in a gorse-built hovel
against the left-hand wall come out and set up a silly answer to that
terrible bark, doubtless supposing that it has reference to buckets of

Yes, the house must be inhabited, and we will see by whom; for
imagination is a licensed trespasser; it has no fear of dogs, but may
climb over walls and peep in at windows with impunity. Put your face
to one of the glass panes in the right-hand window: what do you see? A
large open fireplace, with rusty dogs in it, and a bare boarded floor;
at the far end, fleeces of wool stacked up; in the middle of the
floor, some empty corn-bags. That is the furniture of the dining-room.
And what through the left-hand window? Several clothes-horses, a
pillion, a spinning-wheel, and an old box wide open, and stuffed full
of colored rags. At the edge of this box there lies a great wooden
doll, which so far as mutilation is concerned bears a strong
resemblance to the finest Greek sculpture, and especially in the total
loss of its nose. Near it there is a little chair, and the butt-end of
a boy's leather long-lasht whip.

The history of the house is plain now. It was once the residence of a
country squire, whose family, probably dwindling down to mere
spinster-hood, got merged in the more territorial name of Donnithorne.
It was once the Hall; it is now the Hall Farm. Like the life in some
coast town that was once a watering-place, and is now a port, where
the genteel streets are silent and grass-grown, and the docks and
warehouses busy and resonant, the life at the Hall has changed its
focus, and no longer radiates from the parlor, but from the kitchen
and the farm-yard.

Plenty of life there, tho this the drowsiest time of the year, just
before hay harvest; and it is the drowsiest time of the day too, for
it is close upon three by the sun, and it is half-past three by Mrs.
Poyser's handsome eight-day clock. But there is always a stronger
sense of life when the sun is brilliant after rain; and now he is
pouring down his beams, and making sparkles among the wet straw, and
lighting up every patch of vivid green moss on the red tiles of the
cow-shed, and turning even the muddy water that is hurrying along the
channel to the drain into a mirror for the yellow-billed ducks, who
are seizing the opportunity of getting a drink with as much body in it
as possible. There is quite a concert of noises: the great bull-dog,
chained against the stables, is thrown into furious exasperation by
the unwary approach of a cock too near the mouth of his kennel, and
sends forth a thundering bark, which is answered by two fox-hounds
shut up in the opposite cow-house; the old top-knotted hens,
scratching with their chicks among the straw, set up a sympathetic
croaking as the discomfited cock joins them; a sow with her brood, all
very muddy as to the legs, and curled as to the tail, throws in some
deep staccato notes; our friends the calves are bleating from the home
croft; and under all, a fine ear discerns the continuous hum of human

For the great barn doors are thrown wide open, and men are busy there
mending the harness under the superintendence of Mr. Goby the
"whittaw," otherwise saddler, who entertains them with the latest
Treddleston gossip. It is certainly rather an unfortunate day that
Alick the shepherd has chosen for having the whittaws, since the
morning turned out so wet; and Mrs. Poyser has spoken her mind pretty
strongly as to the dirt which the extra number of men's shoes brought
into the house at dinner-time. Indeed, she has not yet recovered her
equanimity on the subject, tho it is now nearly three hours since
dinner and the house floor is perfectly clean again; as clean as
everything else in that wonderful house-place, where the only chance
of collecting a few grains of dust would be to climb on the
salt-coffer, and put your finger on the high mantel shelf on which the
glittering brass candlesticks are enjoying their summer sinecure; for
at this time of year, of course, every one goes to bed while it is yet
light, or at least light enough to discern the outline of objects
after you have bruised your shins against them. Surely nowhere else
could an oak clock-case and an oak table have got to such a polish by
the hand: genuine "elbow polish," as Mrs. Poyser called it, for she
thanked God she never had any of your varnished rubbish in her house.
Hetty Sorrel often took the opportunity, when her aunt's back was
turned, of looking at the pleasing reflection of herself in those
polished surfaces, for the oak table was usually turned up like a
screen, and was more for ornament than for use; and she could see
herself sometimes in the great round pewter dishes that were ranged on
the shelves above the long deal dinner-table, or in the hobs of the
grate, which always shone like jasper.

Everything was looking at its brightest at this moment, for the sun
shone right on the pewter dishes, and from their reflecting surfaces
pleasant jets of light were thrown on mellow oak and bright
brass;--and on a still pleasanter object than these; for some of the
rays fell on Dinah's finely molded cheek and lit up her pale-red hair
to auburn, as she bent over the heavy household linen which she was
mending for her aunt. No scene could have been more peaceful, if Mrs.
Poyser, who was ironing a few things that still remained from the
Monday's wash, had not been making a frequent clinking with her iron,
and moving to and fro whenever she wanted it to cool; carrying the
keen glance of her blue-gray eye from the kitchen to the dairy, where
Hetty was making up the butter, and from the dairy to the back
kitchen, where Nancy was taking the pies out of the oven. Do not
suppose, however, that Mrs. Poyser was elderly or shrewish in her
appearance; she was a good-looking woman, not more than
eight-and-thirty, of fair complexion and sandy hair, well-shapen,
light-footed; the most conspicuous article in her attire was an ample
checkered linen apron, which almost covered her skirt; and nothing
could be plainer or less noticeable than her cap and gown, for there
was no weakness of which she was less tolerant than feminine vanity,
and the preference of ornament to utility. The family likeness between
her and her niece Dinah Morris, with the contrast between her keenness
and Dinah's seraphic gentleness of expression, might have served a
painter as an excellent suggestion for a Martha and Mary. Their eyes
were just of the same color, but a striking test of the difference in
their operation was seen in the demeanor of Trip, the black-and-tan
terrier, whenever that much-suspected dog unwarily exposed himself to
the freezing arctic ray of Mrs. Poyser's glance. Her tongue was not
less keen than her eye, and whenever a damsel came within earshot,
seemed to take up an unfinished lecture, as a barrel-organ takes up a
tune, precisely at the point where it had left off.


     Born in 1820, died in 1904; son of a schoolmaster; became a
     civil engineer in 1837, but abandoned that calling in 1845;
     assistant editor of _The Economist_ in 1848-53; published
     among many books "The Proper Sphere of Government" in 1842,
     "Principles of Psychology" in 1855, "Education" in 1860,
     "First Principles" in 1862, and other works in his "System
     of Synthetic Philosophy," later; the "Data of Ethics" in
     1879; his "Autobiography" in two volumes appearing in 1905,
     after his death.



Egypt, which, by its records and remains, exhibits so well the early
phases of social progress, shows us how at first various governmental
functions, including the professional, were mingled in the king and in
the cluster of those who surrounded the king.

[Footnote 44: From Volume III of "The Principles of Sociology."
Copyright, 1896, by D. Appleton & Co.]

No group of institutions illustrates with greater clearness the
process of social evolution; and none shows more undeniably how social
evolution conforms to the law of evolution at large. The germs out of
which the professional agencies arise, forming at first a part of the
regulative agency, differentiate from it at the same time that they
differentiate from one another; and while severally being rendered
more multiform by the rise of subdivisions, severally become more
coherent within themselves and more definitely marked off. The process
parallels completely that by which the parts of an individual organism
pass from their initial state of simplicity to their ultimate state of

Originally one who was believed by himself and others to have power
over demons--the mystery-man or medicine-man--using coercive methods
to expel disease-producing spirits, stood in the place of doctor; and
when his appliances, at first supposed to act supernaturally, came to
be understood as acting naturally, his office eventually lost its
priestly character altogether: the resulting physician class,
originally uniform, eventually dividing into distinguishable
subclasses while acquiring a definite embodiment.

Less early, because implying more developed groups, arose those who as
exhibitors of joy, now in the presence of the living ruler and now in
the supposed presence of the deceased ruler, were at first
simultaneously singers and dancers, and, becoming specialized from the
people at large, presently became distinct from one another; whence,
in course of time, two groups of professionals, whose official
laudations, political or religious, extended in their range and
multiplied in their kinds. And then by like steps were separated from
one another vocal and instrumental musicians, and eventually
composers; within which classes also there arose subdivisions.

Ovations, now to the living king and now to the dead king, while
taking saltatory and musical forms, took also verbal forms, originally
spontaneous and irregular, but presently studied and measured;
whence, first, the unrhythmical speech of the orator, which under
higher emotional excitement grew into the rhythmical speech of the
priest poet, chanting verses--verses that finally became established
hymns of praise. Meanwhile from accompanying rude imitations of the
hero's acts, performed now by one and now by several, grew dramatic
representations, which, little by little elaborated, fell under the
regulation of a chief actor, who prefigured the playwright. And out of
these germs, all pertaining to worship, came eventually the various
professions of poets, actors, dramatists, and the subdivisions of

The great deeds of the hero god, recited, chanted, or sung, and
mimetically rendered, naturally came to be supplemented by details, so
growing into accounts of his life; and thus the priest poet gave
origin to the biographer, whose narratives, being extended to less
sacred personages, became secularized. Stories of the apotheosized
chief or king, joined with stories of his companions and amplified by
narratives of accompanying transactions, formed the first histories.
And from these accounts of the doings of particular men and groups of
men, partly true but passing by exaggeration into the mythical, came
the wholly mythical, or fiction; which then and always preserved the
biographico-historical character. Add to which that out of the
criticisms and reflections scattered through this personal literature
an impersonal literature slowly emerged; the whole group of these
products having as their deepest root the eulogies of the priest

Prompted as were the medicine-men of savages and the priests of early
civilized peoples to increase their influence, they were ever
stimulated to acquire knowledge of natural actions and the properties
of things; and, being in alleged communication with supernatural
beings, they were supposed to acquire such knowledge from them. Hence,
by implication, the priest became the primitive man of science; and
led by his special experiences to speculate about the causes of
things, thus entered the sphere of philosophy: both his science and
his philosophy being pursued in the service of his religion.

Not only his higher culture, but his alleged intercourse with the
gods, whose mouthpiece he was, made him the authority in cases of
dispute; and being also, as historian, the authority concerning past
transactions and traditional usages, or laws, he acquired in both
capacities the character of judge. Moreover, when the growth of legal
administration brought the advocate, he, tho usually of lay origin,
was sometimes clerical.

Distinguished in early stages as the learned man of the tribe or
society, and especially distinguished as the possessor of that
knowledge which was thought of most value--knowledge of unseen
things--the priest of necessity became the first teacher. Transmitting
traditional statements concerning ghosts and gods, at first to
neophytes of his class only, but afterward to the cultured classes, he
presently, beyond instruction in supernatural things, gave instruction
in natural things; and, having been the first secular teacher, has
retained a large share in secular teaching even down to our own days.

As making a sacrifice was the original priestly act, and as the
building of an altar for the sacrifice was by implication a priestly
act, it results that the making of a shelter over the altar, which, in
its developed form became the temple, was also a priestly act. When
the priest, ceasing to be himself the executant, directed the
artificers, he continued to be the designer; and when he ceased to be
the actual designer, the master builder or architect thereafter
continued to fulfil his general directions. And then the temple and
the palace in sundry early societies, being at once the residence of
the apotheosized ruler and the living ruler (even now a palace usually
contains a small temple), and being the first kinds of developed
architecture, eventually gave origin to secular architecture.

A rudely carved or modeled image of a man placed on his grave gave
origin to the sculptured representation of a god inclosed in his
temple. A product of priestly skill at the outset, it continued in
some cases to be such among early civilized peoples; and always
thereafter, when executed by an artizan, conformed to priestly
direction. Extending presently to the representation of other than
divine and semidivine personages, it eventually thus passed into its
secularized form.

So was it with painting. At first used to complete the carved
representation of the severed or worshiped personage, and being
otherwise in some tribes used by the priest and his aids for
exhibiting the tribal hero's deeds, it long remained subservient to
religion, either for the coloring of statues (as it does still in
Roman Catholic images of saints, etc.), or for the decoration of
temples, or for the portraiture of deceased persons on sarcophagi and
stelæ; and when it gained independence it was long employed almost
wholly for the rendering of sacred scenes,--its eventual
secularization being accompanied by its subdivision into a variety of
kinds and of the executant artists into correlative groups.

Thus the process of professional evolution betrays throughout the same
traits. In stages like that described by Huc[45] as still existing
among the Tibetans, where "the Lama is not merely a priest, he is the
painter, poet, sculptor, architect, physician," there are joined in
the same individual, or group of individuals, the potentialities out
of which gradually arise the specialized groups we know as
professions. While out of the one primitive class there come by
progressive divergences many classes, each of these classes itself
undergoes a kindred change: there are formed in it subdivisions and
even sub-subdivisions, which become gradually more marked; so that,
throughout, the advance is from an indefinite homogeneity to a
definite heterogeneity.

[Footnote 45: Évariste Régis Huc, a French missionary and traveler in
China, born in 1813 and died in 1860. He published several books based
on his experiences in Asia.]

In presence of the fact that the immense majority of mankind adhere
pertinaciously to the creeds, political and religious, in which they
are brought up; and in presence of the further fact that on behalf of
their creeds, however acquired, there are soon enlisted prejudices
which practically shut out adverse evidence, it is not to be expected
that the foregoing illustrations, even joined with kindred
illustrations previously given, will make them see that society is a
growth and not a manufacture, and has its laws of evolution.

From prime ministers down to plowboys there is either ignorance or
disregard of the truth that nations acquire their vital structures by
natural processes and not by artificial devices. If the belief is not
that social arrangements have been divinely ordered thus or thus, then
it is that they have been made thus or thus by kings, or if not by
kings, then by parliaments. That they have come about by small
accumulated changes not contemplated by rulers is an open secret which
only of late has been recognized by a few, and is still unperceived by
the many,--educated as well as uneducated. Tho the turning of the land
into a food-producing surface, cleared, fenced, drained, and covered
with farming appliances, has been achieved by men working for
individual profit, not by legislative direction--tho villages, towns,
cities, have insensibly grown up under the desires of men to satisfy
their wants--tho by spontaneous cooperation of citizens have been
formed canals, railways, telegraphs, and other means of communication
and distribution, the natural forces which have done all this are
ignored as of no account in political thinking.

Our immense manufacturing system with its multitudinous inventions,
supplying both home and foreign consumers, and the immense mercantile
marine by which its products are taken all over the globe and other
products brought back, have been naturally and not artificially
originated. That transformation by which, in thousands of years, men's
occupations have been so specialized that each, aiding to satisfy some
small division of his fellow citizen's needs, has his own needs
satisfied by the work of hundreds of others, has taken place without
design and unobserved. Knowledge developing into science, which has
become so vast in mass that no one can grasp a tithe of it, and which
now guides productive activities at large, has resulted from the
workings of individuals prompted not by the ruling agency, but by
their own inclinations. So, too, has been created the still vaster
mass distinguished as literature, yielding the gratifications filling
so large a space in our lives. Nor is it otherwise with the literature
of the hour. That ubiquitous journalism which provides satisfactions
for men's more urgent mental wants has resulted from the activities of
citizens severally pursuing private benefits. And supplementing these
come the innumerable companies, associations, unions, societies,
clubs, subserving enterprise, philanthropy, culture, art, amusement;
as well as the multitudinous institutions annually receiving millions
by endowments and subscriptions: all of them arising from the unforced
cooperations of citizens.



The enthusiastic philanthropist urgent for some act of parliament to
remedy this evil or secure the other good, thinks it a very trivial
and far-fetched objection that the people will be morally injured by
doing things for them instead of leaving them to do things themselves.
He vividly realizes the benefit he hopes to get achieved, which is a
positive and readily imaginable thing: he does not realize the
diffused, invisible, and slowly accumulating effect wrought on the
popular mind, and so does not believe in it; or, if he admits it,
thinks it beneath consideration. Would he but remember, however, that
all national character is gradually produced by the daily action of
circumstances, of which each day's result seems so insignificant as
not to be worth mentioning, he would see that what is trifling when
viewed in its increments, may be formidable when viewed in its sum
total. Or if he would go into the nursery, and watch how repeated
actions--each of them apparently unimportant--create, in the end, a
habit which will affect the whole future life; he would be reminded
that every influence brought to bear on human nature tells, and if
continued, tells seriously. The thoughtless mother who hourly yields
to the requests: "Mama, tie my pinafore," "Mama, button my shoe," and
the like, can not be persuaded that each of these concessions is
detrimental; but the wiser spectator sees that if this policy be long
pursued, and be extended to other things, it will end in hopeless
dependence. The teacher of the old school who showed his pupil the way
out of every difficulty did not perceive that he was generating an
attitude of mind greatly militating against success in life. The
modern instructor, however, induces his pupil to solve his
difficulties himself; believes that in so doing he is preparing him to
meet the difficulties which, when he goes into the world, there will
be no one to help him through; and finds confirmation for this belief
in the fact that a great proportion of the most successful men are

[Footnote 46: From the "Essays, Moral, Political, and Esthetic." By
permission of D. Appleton & Co.]

Well, is it not obvious that this relationship between discipline and
success holds good nationally? Are not nations made of men; and are
not men subject to the same laws of modification in their adult as in
their early years? Is it not true of the drunkard, that each carouse
adds a thread to his bonds? of the trader, that each acquisition
strengthens the wish for acquisitions? of the pauper, that the more
you assist him the more he wants? of the busy man, that the more he
has to do the more he can do? And does it not follow that if every
individual is subject to this process of adaptation to conditions, a
whole nation must be so--that just in proportion as its members are
little helped by extraneous power they will become self-helping, and
in proportion as they are much helped they will become helpless? What
folly is it to ignore these results because they are not direct, and
not immediately visible. Tho slowly wrought out, they are inevitable.
We can no more elude the laws of human development than we can elude
the law of gravitation; and so long as they hold true must these
effects occur.

If we are asked in what special directions this alleged helplessness,
entailed by much state superintendence, shows itself, we reply that it
is seen in a retardation of all social growths requiring
self-confidence in the people--in a timidity that fears all
difficulties not before encountered--in a thoughtless contentment with
things as they are. Let any one, after duly watching the rapid
evolution going on in England, where men have been comparatively
little helped by governments--or better still, after contemplating the
unparalleled progress of the United States, which is peopled by
self-made men and the recent descendants of self-made men;--let such a
one, we say, go on to the Continent, and consider the relatively slow
advance which things are there making; and the still slower advance
they would make but for English enterprise.

Let him go to Holland, and see that tho the Dutch early showed
themselves good mechanics, and have had abundant practise in
hydraulics, Amsterdam has been without any due supply of water until
now that works are being established by an English company. Let him go
to Berlin, and there be told that, to give that city a water supply
such as London has had for generations, the project of an English firm
is about to be executed by English capital, under English
superintendence. Let him go to Paris, where he will if find a similar
lack, and a like remedy now under consideration. Let him go to
Vienna, and learn that it, in common with other continental cities, is
lighted by an English gas company. Let him go on the Rhone, on the
Loire, on the Danube, and discover that Englishmen established steam
navigation on those rivers. Let him inquire concerning the railways in
Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, how many of them are English
projects, how many have been largely helped by English capital, how
many have been executed by English contractors, how many have had
English engineers. Let him discover, too, as he will, that where
railways have been government made, as in Russia, the energy, the
perseverance, and the practical talent developed in England and the
United States have been called in to aid.

And then if these illustrations of the progressiveness of a
self-dependent race, and the torpidity of paternally governed ones, do
not suffice him, he may read Mr. Laing's[47] successive volumes of
European travel, and there study the contrast in detail. What, now, is
the cause of this contrast? In the order of nature, a capacity for
self-help must in every case have been brought into existence by the
practise of self-help; and, other things equal, a lack of this
capacity must in every case have arisen from the lack of demand for
it. Do not these two antecedents and their two consequents agree with
the facts as presented in England and Europe? Were not the inhabitants
of the two, some centuries ago, much upon a par in point of
enterprise? Were not the English even behind, in their manufactures,
in their colonization, and in their commerce? Has not the immense
relative change the English have undergone in this respect been
coincident with the great relative self-dependence they have been
since habituated to? And is not this change proximately ascribable to
this habitual self-dependence? Whoever doubts it is asked to assign a
more probable cause. Whoever admits it must admit that the enervation
of a people by perpetual state aids is not a trifling consideration,
but the most weighty consideration. A general arrest of national
growth he will see to be an evil greater than any special benefits can
compensate for. And, indeed, when, after contemplating this great
fact, the overspreading of the earth by the Anglo-Saxons, he remarks
the absence of any parallel phenomenon exhibited by a continental
race--when he reflects how this difference must depend chiefly on
difference of character, and how such difference of character has been
mainly produced by difference of discipline; he will perceive that the
policy pursued in this matter may have a large share in determining a
nation's ultimate fate.

[Footnote 47: Samuel Laing traveled in Norway and Sweden in 1834, and
published two books recounting his observations.]



It has been truly remarked that, in order of time, decoration precedes
dress. Among people who submit to great physical suffering that they
may have themselves handsomely tattooed, extremes of temperature are
borne with but little attempt at mitigation. Humboldt tells us that an
Orinoco Indian, tho quite regardless of bodily comfort, will yet labor
for a fortnight to purchase pigment wherewith to make himself admired;
and that the same woman who would not hesitate to leave her hut
without a fragment of clothing on, would not dare to commit such a
breach of decorum as to go out unpainted. Voyagers uniformly find that
colored beads and trinkets are much more prized by wild tribes than
are calicoes or broadcloths. And the anecdotes we have of the ways in
which, when shirts and coats are given, they turn them to some
ludicrous display, show how completely the idea of ornament
predominates over that of use. Nay, there are still more extreme
illustrations: witness the fact narrated by Captain Speke[49] of his
African attendants, who strutted about in their goatskin mantles when
the weather was fine, but when it was wet, took them off, folded them
up, and went about naked, shivering in the rain! Indeed, the facts of
aboriginal life seem to indicate that dress is developed out of
decorations. And when we remember that even among ourselves most think
more about the fineness of the fabric than its warmth, and more about
the cut than the convenience--when we see that the function is still
in great measure subordinated to the appearance, we have further
reason for inferring such an origin.

[Footnote 48: From "Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical." By
permission of D. Appleton & Co.]

[Footnote 49: John H. Speke, who, in company with Sir Richard Burton,
visited the lakes of Central Africa in 1850, and crossed the
continent, discovering the Victoria Nyanza and the main source of the
Nile in 1860-63.]

It is not a little curious that the like relations hold with the mind.
Among mental as among bodily acquisitions, the ornamental comes before
the useful. Not only in times past, but almost as much in our own era,
that knowledge which conduces to personal well-being has been
postponed to that which brings applause. In the Greek schools, music,
poetry, rhetoric, and a philosophy which, until Socrates taught, had
but little bearing upon action, were the dominant subjects; while
knowledge, aiding the arts of life, had a very subordinate place. And
in our own universities and schools at the present moment the like
antithesis holds. We are guilty of something like a platitude when we
say that throughout his after career a boy, in nine cases out of ten,
applies his Latin and Greek to no practical purposes. The remark is
trite that in his shop, or his office, in managing his estate or his
family, in playing his part as director of a bank or a railway, he is
very little aided by this knowledge he took so many years to
acquire,--so little, that generally the greater part of it drops out
of his memory; and if he occasionally vents a Latin quotation or
alludes to some Greek myth, it is less to throw light on the topic in
hand than for the sake of effect. If we inquire what is the real
motive for giving boys a classical education, we find it to be simply
conformity to public opinion. Men dress their children's minds as they
do their bodies, in the prevailing fashion. As the Orinoco Indian puts
on his paint before leaving his hut, not with a view to any direct
benefit, but because he would be ashamed to be seen without it, so a
boy's drilling in Latin and Greek is insisted on, not because of their
intrinsic value, but that he may not be disgraced by being found
ignorant of them--that he may have "the education of a gentleman"--the
badge marking a certain social position, and bringing a consequent

This parallel is still more clearly displayed in the case of the other
sex. In the treatment of both mind and body, the decorative element
has continued to predominate in a greater degree among women than
among men. Originally personal adornment occupied the attention of
both sexes equally. In these latter days of civilization, however, we
see that in the dress of men the regard for appearance has, in a
considerable degree, yielded to the regard for comfort; while in their
education the useful has of late been trenching on the ornamental. In
neither direction has this change gone so far with women. The wearing
of earrings, finger-rings, bracelets; the elaborate dressings of the
hair; the still occasional use of paint; the immense labor bestowed in
making habiliments sufficiently attractive; and the great discomfort
that will be submitted to for the sake of conformity; show how
greatly, in the attiring of women, the desire of approbation overrides
the desire for warmth and convenience. And similarly in their
education, the immense preponderance of "accomplishments" proves how
here, too, use is subordinated to display. Dancing, deportment, the
piano, singing, drawing---what a large space do these occupy! If you
ask why Italian and German are learned, you will find that, under all
the sham reasons given, the real reason is, that a knowledge of those
tongues is thought ladylike. It is not that the books written in them
may be utilized, which they scarcely ever are, but that Italian and
German songs may be sung, and that the extent of attainment may bring
whispered admiration. The births, deaths, and marriages of kings, and
other like historic trivialities, are committed to memory, not because
of any direct benefits that can possibly result from knowing them, but
because society considers them parts of a good education--because the
absence of such knowledge may bring the contempt of others. When we
have named reading, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, and
sewing, we have named about all the things a girl is taught with a
view to their direct uses in life; and even some of these have more
reference to the good opinion of others than to immediate personal

Thoroughly to realize the truth that with the mind as with the body
the ornamental precedes the useful, it is needful to glance at its
rationale. This lies in the fact that, from the far past down even to
the present, social needs have subordinated individual needs, and that
the chief social need has been the control of individuals. It is not,
as we commonly suppose, that there are no governments but those of
monarchs, and parliaments, and constituted authorities. These
acknowledged governments are supplemented by other unacknowledged
ones, that grow up in all circles, in which every man or woman strives
to be king or queen or lesser dignitary. To get above some and be
reverenced by them, and to propitiate those who are above us, is the
universal struggle in which the chief energies of life are expended.
By the accumulation of wealth, by style of living, by beauty of dress,
by display of knowledge or intellect, each tries to subjugate others,
and so aids in weaving that ramified network of restraints by which
society is kept in order. It is not the savage chief only who, in
formidable war paint, with scalps at his belt, aims to strike awe into
his inferiors; it is not only the belle who, by elaborate toilet,
polished manners, and numerous accomplishments, strives to "make
conquests"; but the scholar, the historian, the philosopher, use their
acquirements to the same end. We are none of us content with quietly
unfolding our own individualities to the full in all directions, but
have a restless craving to impress our individualities upon others,
and in some way subordinate them. And this it is which determines the
character of our education. Not what knowledge is of most real worth
is the consideration, but what will bring most applause, honor,
respect--what will most conduce to social position and influence--what
will be most imposing. As throughout life not what we are, but what we
shall be thought, is the question; so in education the question is
not the intrinsic value of knowledge so much as its extrinsic effects
on others. And this being our dominant idea, direct utility is
scarcely more regarded than by the barbarian when filing his teeth and
staining his nails.



Places where I gathered flowers and gazed with interest at the catkins
of the hazel, have now become places covered with ironworks, where
steam hammers make their perpetual thuds, and through which
railway-sidings everywhere ramify. Quiet lanes in which, during early
boyhood, I went with a companion trying to catch minnows with a
hand-net in a clear little stream running by the hedge, have been
transformed into straight roads between land-allotments, with
scattered houses built by artizans. And where I picked blackberries,
factories now stand.

[Footnote 50: From Part I, Chapter II, of the "Autobiography."
Spencer's boyhood was passed in Derby. Copyright, 1904, by D. Appleton
& Co., by whose kind permission passages from this work are printed

There was a garden of some size behind the house containing fruit
trees, and permitting a certain amount of floriculture; and my father
rented an additional piece of land close by as a vegetable-garden. Not
infrequently I had to join in gardening--more frequently, indeed, than
I liked. Often when I ought to have been busy at some task which my
father had set to me, I was otherwise occupied--throwing stones at the
birds that settled on the walls and hedges; observing the bees on the
kidney-bean flowers, piercing the base of each corolla to reach the
honey; or, at a disused pump-trough containing stagnant water,
watching the larvæ of the gnats as they came wriggling to the surface,
putting out their tails to breathe, and then descending. Most children
are instinctively naturalists, and were they encouraged would readily
pass from careless observations to careful and deliberate ones. My
father was wise in such matters; and I was not simply allowed but
encouraged to enter on natural history.

The majority of my activities, however, were those of the ordinary
schoolboy, who, on Saturday afternoons and the like occasions of
leisure, is commonly given to country rambles and the search for
hedge-side treasures. During my early years the neighboring regions of
Osmaston and Normanton were explored by me in all their details: every
hedge becoming known in the course of expeditions, now in the spring
seeking birds' nests, now gathering violets or dog-roses, and later in
the year collecting sometimes mushrooms, sometimes blackberries,
sometimes hips and haws, crab-apples and other wild products. Beyond
the pleasurable exercise and the gratification to my love of
adventure, there was gained during these excursions much miscellaneous
knowledge of things, and the perceptions were beneficially
disciplined. Of all the occupations, however, to which holidays were
devoted, I delighted most in fishing. There was the river Derwent, at
that time not the black dirty stream it is now, but tolerably clear
and containing a fair supply of various fish; and there were the
canals, which, on the whole, served better for boys' fishing. Many
happy half-days, and, during the midsummer holidays, many whole days,
were spent on their banks. Along with such exercise of skill as
fishing itself implies, there came the exercise of skill in making
fishing-tackle; for I was not so amply furnished with pocket-money
that I could buy all the appliances I required. I was, I suspect, led
by my father in that case, as in other cases, to use my own powers of
manipulation for satisfying my needs. I made my own floats, and also
"hair-tackles," as they were locally called--each some six feet of the
line next the hook, made of single horse-hair instead of silk-worm
gut. I remember I was cautious and systematic enough to use a test
before trusting any one of them....

When I was something like nine or ten years old, the love of this
sport led very nearly to loss of life. I fell into deep water in the
Derwent and was close upon drowning. It is a curious fact that whereas
dreams are, while in progress, regarded as real, the reality was in
this case taken for a dream. During the first part of my immersion I
thought to myself--"Oh, it is all a dream!"; and only after coming to
the surface once or twice discovered that I was actually in the water.
A youth of some sixteen or seventeen plunged in and rescued me. His
name was George Holme. He was at that time a mill-manager. As may be
inferred from the fact that he was the one out of a considerable
number of spectators who risked himself to save me, he was of superior
nature morally; and he turned out in after life to be also a man of
much faculty. Gradually rising, he became a wealthy manufacturer; and
was led, by the development of his business, to establish trade
connections in various parts of the world--one being pushed even into
Central Asia. When sixty he became mayor of Derby and magistrate. He
had in a high degree that which another friend of mine describes as
the business instinct--an instinct which experience tells him is quite
special, and may or may not accompany other superiorities....

I may here name the fact that I was in boyhood extremely prone to
castle-building--a habit which continued throughout youth and into
mature life: finally passing, I suppose, into the dwelling on schemes
more or less practicable. In early days the habit was such that on
going to bed it was a source of satisfaction to me to think I should
be able to lie for a length of time and dwell on the fancies which at
the time occupied me; and frequently next morning, on awaking, I was
vexed with myself because I had gone to sleep before I had reveled in
my imaginations as much as I had intended. Often these dreams,
becoming literally day-dreams, quite filled my unconsciousness when
walking. Even in the streets my state of abstraction was such that I
occasionally talked aloud as I went along: a fact of which I was from
time to time made aware by people who turned to look at me.



Some years previously I had made the acquaintance of an American whose
sympathies were enlisted on my behalf by perusal of some of my books
or essays--Mr. E. A. Silsbee, of Salem, Mass. While yet the circular
was in its unfinished state, I sent to him a copy, accompanied by the
inquiry whether he thought that subscribers might be obtained in
America. His reply, dated February 14, held out much encouragement;
and a letter of March 6, written after the circular had been sent to
New York, contained a sentence the significance of which was shown by
subsequent events. The sentence runs--"Mr. Youmans, a very popular and
intelligent lecturer on scientific subjects, well known by his works
on chemistry, physiology, etc., entered with great enthusiasm into the
project." Devoting himself with characteristic vigor to the
furtherance of my scheme, this previously unknown friend succeeded in
obtaining more than two hundred subscribers.

[Footnote 51: From Part VII of the "Autobiography." Copyright, 1904,
by D. Appleton & Co.]

The relation thus initiated was extremely fortunate; for Prof. Edward
L. Youmans[52] was of all Americans I have known or heard of, the one
most able and most willing to help me. Alike intellectually and
morally, he had in the highest degrees the traits conducive to success
in diffusing the doctrines he espoused; and from that time to this he
has devoted his time mainly in spreading throughout the United States
the doctrine of evolution. His love of wide generalizations had been
shown years before in lectures on such topics as the correlation of
the physical forces; and from those who heard him I have gathered
that, aided by his unusual powers of exposition, the enthusiasm which
contemplation of the larger truths of science produced in him was in a
remarkable degree communicated to his hearers. Such larger truths, I
have on many occasions observed, are those which he quickly
seizes--ever passing at once through details to lay hold of
essentials; and having laid hold of them, he clearly sets them forth
afresh in his own way with added illustrations. But it is morally even
more than intellectually that he has proved himself a true missionary
of advanced ideas. Extremely energetic--so energetic that no one has
been able to cheek his over-activity--he has expended all his powers
in advancing what he holds to be the truth; and not only his powers
but his means. It has proved impossible to prevent him from injuring
himself in health by his exertions; and it has proved impossible to
make him pay due regard to his personal interests. So that toward the
close of life he finds himself wrecked in body and impoverished in
estate by thirty years of devotion to high ends. Among worshipers of
humanity, who teach that human welfare should be the dominant aim, I
have not heard of one whose sacrifices will bear comparison with those
of my friend.

[Footnote 52: Spencer's debt to Professor Youmans has been well known
in America. He was not only instrumental in securing the publication
of his works here, but even more so in popularizing them through the
_Popular Science Monthly_, of which he was the editorial founder. He
had other distinction as a chemist and published a "Class Book of
Chemistry" in 1852, and an "Atlas of Chemistry," in 1854.]



Thus, if I leave out altruistic considerations and include egoistic
considerations only, I may still look back from these declining days
of life with content. One drawback indeed there has been, and that a
great one. All through those years in which work should have had the
accompaniment of wife and children, my means were such as to render
marriage impossible: I could barely support myself, much less others.
And when, at length, there came adequate means the fit time had passed
by. Even in this matter, however, it may be that fortune has favored
me. Frequently when prospects are promising, dissatisfaction follows
marriage rather than satisfaction; and in my own case the prospects
would not have been promising. I am not by nature adapted to a
relation in which perpetual compromise and great forbearance are
needful. That extreme critical tendency which I have above described,
joined with a lack of reticence no less pronounced, would, I fear,
have caused perpetual domestic differences. After all, my celibate
life has probably been the best for me, as well as the best for some
unknown other.

[Footnote 53: From Part XII of the "Autobiography." Copyright 1904, by
D. Appleton & Co.]


     Born in 1821, died in 1862; his father a wealthy ship owner
     in London; published the first volume of his "History of
     Civilization" in 1857, second volume appearing in 1861; his
     death occurred in Syria, where he was traveling for his
     health; his last words "Oh, my book; I shall never finish my



The Spaniards have had everything except knowledge. They have had
immense wealth, and fertile and well-peopled territories in all parts
of the globe. Their own country, washed by the Atlantic and
Mediterranean, and possest of excellent harbors, is admirably situated
for the purposes of trade between Europe and America, being so placed
as to command the commerce of both hemispheres. They had, at a very
early period, ample municipal privileges; they had independent
parliaments; they had the right of choosing their own magistrates, and
managing their own cities. They have had rich and flourishing towns,
abundant manufactures, and skilful artizans, whose choice productions
could secure a ready sale in every market in the world. They have
cultivated the fine arts with eminent success; their noble and
exquisite paintings, and their magnificent churches being justly
ranked among the most wonderful efforts of the human hand. They speak
a beautiful, sonorous and flexible language, and their literature is
not unworthy of their language. Their soil yields treasures of every
kind. It overflows with wine and oil, and produces the choicest fruits
in an almost tropical exuberance. It contains the most valuable
minerals, in a profuse variety, unexampled in any other part of
Europe. Nowhere else do we find such rare and costly marbles, so
easily accessible, and in such close communication with the sea, where
they might safely be shipped, and sent to countries which required
them. As to the metals, there is hardly one which Spain does not
possess in large quantities. Her mines of silver and quicksilver are
well known. She abounds in copper, and her supply of lead is enormous.
Iron and coal, the two most useful of all the productions of the
inorganic world, are also abundant in that highly favored country.
Iron is said to exist in every part of Spain, and to be of the best
quality; while the coal mines of Asturias are described as
inexhaustible. In short, nature has been so prodigal of her bounty
that it has been observed with hardly an hyperbole that the Spanish
nation possesses within itself nearly every natural production which
can satisfy either the necessity or the curiosity of mankind.

[Footnote 54: From Volume II, Chapter VIII, of the "History of
Civilization in England."]

These are splendid gifts; it is for the historian to tell how they
have been used. Certainly, the people who possess them have never been
deficient in natural endowments. They have had their full share of
great statesmen, great kings, great magistrates, and great
legislators. They have had many able and vigorous rulers; and their
history is ennobled by the frequent appearance of courageous and
disinterested patriots, who have sacrificed their all that they might
help their country. The bravery of the people has never been disputed;
while, as to the upper classes, the punctilious honor of a Spanish
gentleman has passed into a byword, and circulated through the world.
Of the nation generally, the best observers pronounce them to be
high-minded, generous, truthful, full of integrity, warm and zealous
friends, affectionate in all private relations of life, frank,
charitable, and humane. Their sincerity in religious matters is
unquestionable; they are, moreover, eminently temperate and frugal.
Yet, all these great qualities have availed them nothing, and will
avail them nothing so long as they remain ignorant....

In Spain there never has been a revolution,[55] properly so called;
there never has even been one grand national rebellion. The people,
tho often lawless, are never free. Among them we find still preserved
that peculiar taint of barbarism which makes men prefer occasional
disobedience to systematic liberty. Certain feelings there are of our
common nature, which even their slavish loyalty can not eradicate, and
which, from time to time, urge them to resist injustice. Such
instincts are happily the inalienable lot of humanity, which we can
not forfeit, if we would, and which are too often the last resource
against the extravagances of tyranny. And this is all that Spain now
possesses. The Spaniards, however, resist, not because they are
Spaniards, but because they are men. Still, even while they resist,
they revere. While they will rise up against a vexatious impost, they
crouch before a system of which the impost is the smallest evil. They
smite the tax-gatherer, but fall prostrate at the feet of the
contemptible prince for whom the tax-gatherer plies his craft; they
will even revile the troublesome and importunate monk, or sometimes
they will scoff at the sleek and arrogant priest, while such is their
infatuation that they would risk their lives in defense of that cruel
Church which has inflicted on them hideous calamities, but to which
they still cling, as it it were the dearest object of their

[Footnote 55: It is here to be borne in mind that Buckle wrote long
before the revolutionary successes achieved by Castelar, Prim and
Serrano, and the overthrow and exile of Queen Isabella in 1868.]

Connected with these habits of mind, and in sooth forming part of
them, we find a reverence for antiquity, and an inordinate tenacity of
old opinion, old beliefs, and old habits, which remind us of those
tropical civilizations which formerly flourished. Such prejudices were
once universal, even in Europe; but they began to die out in the
sixteenth century, and are now, comparatively speaking, extinct,
except in Spain, where they have always been welcomed. In that
country, they retain their original force, and produce their natural
results. By encouraging the notion that all the truths most important
to know are already known, they repress those aspirations, and dull
that generous confidence in the future, without which nothing really
great can be achieved. A people who regard the past with too wistful
an eye will never bestir themselves to help the onward progress. They
will hardly believe that progress is possible. To them antiquity is
synonymous with wisdom, and every improvement is a dangerous

In this state Europe lingered for many centuries; in this state Spain
still lingers. Hence the Spaniards are remarkable for an inertness, a
want of buoyancy, and an absence of hope, which, in our busy and
enterprising age, isolate them from the rest of the civilized world.
Believing that little can be done, they are in no hurry to do it.
Believing that the knowledge they have inherited is far greater than
any they can obtain, they wish to preserve their intellectual
possessions whole and unimpaired; inasmuch as the least alteration in
them might lessen their value. Content with what has been already
bequeathed, they are excluded from that great European movement,
which, first clearly perceptible in the sixteenth century, has ever
since been steadily advancing, unsettling old opinion, destroying old
follies, reforming and improving on every side, influencing even such
barbarous countries as Russia and Turkey, but leaving Spain unscathed.

While the human intellect has been making most prodigious and
unheard-of strides, while discoveries in every quarter are
simultaneously pressing upon us and coming in such rapid and
bewildering succession that the strongest sight, dazzled by the glare
of their splendor, is unable to contemplate them as a whole; while
other discoveries still more important, and still more remote from
ordinary experience, are manifestly approaching, and may be seen
looming in the distance whence they are now obscurely working on the
advanced thinkers who are nearest to them, filling their minds with
those ill-defined, restless, and almost uneasy feelings, which are the
invariable harbingers of future triumph; while the veil is being
rudely torn and nature, violated at all points, is forced to disclose
her secrets, and reveal her structure, her economy, and her laws to
the indomitable energy of man; while Europe is ringing with the noise
of intellectual achievements, with which even despotic governments
affect to sympathize, in order that they may divert them from their
natural course, and use them as new instruments whereby to oppress yet
more the liberties of the people; while, amidst this general din and
excitement, the public mind, swayed to and fro, is tossed and
agitated--Spain sleeps on, untroubled, unheeding, impassive, receiving
no impressions from the rest of the world, and making no impressions
upon it. There she lies at the further extremity of the Continent, a
huge and torpid mass, the sole representative now remaining of the
feelings and the knowledge of the middle ages, and, what is the worst
symptom of all, she is satisfied with her own condition. Tho she is
the most backward country in Europe, she believes herself to be the
foremost. She is proud of everything of which she should be ashamed.
She is proud of the antiquity of her opinion; proud of her orthodoxy;
proud of the strength of her faith; proud of her immeasurable and
childish credulity; proud of her unwillingness to amend either her
creed or her customs; proud of her hatred of heretics, and proud of
the undying vigilance with which she has baffled their efforts to
obtain a full and legal establishment on her soil.



To a superficial observer, the accession of George III was one of the
most fortunate events that could have occurred. The new king was born
in England, spoke English as his mother tongue, and was said to look
upon Hanover as a foreign country, whose interests were to be
considered of subordinate importance. At the same time, the last hopes
of the House of Stuart were now destroyed; the Pretender himself was
languishing in Italy, where he shortly after died: and his son, a
slave to the vices which seemed hereditary in that family, was
consuming his life in an unpitied and ignominious obscurity.

[Footnote 56: From Volume I, Chapter VII, of the "History of
Civilization in England."]

And yet these circumstances, which appeared so favorable, did of
necessity involve the most disastrous consequences. The fear of a
disputed succession being removed, the sovereign was emboldened to a
course on which he otherwise would not have ventured. All those
monstrous doctrines respecting the rights of kings, which the
Revolution was supposed to have destroyed, were suddenly revived. The
clergy, abandoning the now hopeless cause of the Pretender, displayed
the same zeal for the House of Hanover which they had formerly
displayed for the House of Stuart. The pulpits resounded with praises
of the new king, of the domestic virtues, of his piety, but, above
all, his dutiful attachment to the English Church. The result was the
establishment of an alliance between the two parties more intimate
than any had been seen in England since the time of Charles I. Under
their auspices the old Tory faction rapidly rallied, and were soon
able to dispossess their rivals of the management of the government.

This reactionary movement was greatly aided by the personal character
of George III, for he, being despotic as well as superstitious, was
equally anxious to extend the prerogative and strengthen the church.
Every liberal sentiment, everything approaching to reform, nay, even
the mere mention of inquiry, was an abomination in the eyes of that
narrow and ignorant prince. Without knowledge, without taste, without
even a glimpse of one of the sciences, or a feeling for one of the
fine arts, education had done nothing to enlarge a mind which nature
had more than usually contracted. Totally ignorant of the history and
resources of foreign countries, and barely knowing their geographical
position, his information was scarcely more extensive respecting the
people over whom he was called to rule. In that immense mass of
evidence now extant, and which consists of every description of
private correspondence, records of private conversation and of public
acts, there is not to be found the slightest proof that he knew any
one of those numerous things which the governor of a country ought to
know; or indeed, that he was acquainted with a single duty of his
position, except that mere mechanical routine of ordinary business
which might have been effected by the lowest clerk in the meanest
office in his kingdom.

The course of proceeding which such a king as this was likely to
follow could be easily foreseen. He gathered round his throne that
great party, who, clinging to the tradition of the past, have always
made it their boast to check the progress of their age. During the
sixty years of his reign, he, with the sole exception of Pitt, never
willingly admitted to his councils a single man of great ability; not
one whose name is associated with any measure of value either in
domestic or in foreign policy. Even Pitt only maintained his position
in the state by forgetting the lessons of his illustrious father, and
abandoning those liberal principles in which he had been educated, and
with which he entered public life. Because George III hated the idea
of reform, Pitt not only relinquished what he had before declared to
be absolutely necessary, but did not hesitate to persecute to the
death the party with whom he had once associated in order to obtain
it. Because George III looked upon slavery as one of those good old
customs which the wisdom of his ancestors had consecrated, Pitt did
not dare to use his power for procuring its abolition, but left to his
successors the glory of destroying that infamous trade, on the
preservation of which his royal master had set his heart. Because
George III detested the French of whom he knew as much as he knew of
the inhabitants of Kamchatka or of Tibet, Pitt, contrary to his own
judgment, engaged in a war with France by which England was seriously
imperiled, and the English people burdened with a debt that their
remotest posterity will be unable to pay. But, notwithstanding all
this, when Pitt, only a few years before his death, showed a
determination to concede to the Irish some small share of their
undoubted rights, the King dismissed him from office; and the King's
friends, as they were called, exprest their indignation at the
presumption of a minister who could oppose the wishes of so benign and
gracious a master. And when, unhappily for his own fame, this great
man determined to return to power, he could only recover office by
conceding that very point for which he had relinquished it; thus
setting the mischievous example of the minister of a free country
sacrificing his own judgment to the personal prejudices of the

As it was hardly possible to find other ministers who to equal
abilities would add equal subservience, it is not surprizing that the
highest offices were constantly filled by men of notorious incapacity.
Indeed, the King seemed to have an instinctive antipathy to everything
great and noble. During the reign of George II the elder Pitt had won
for himself a reputation which covered the world, and had carried to
an unprecedented height the glories of the English name. He, however,
as the avowed friend of popular rights, strenuously opposed the
despotic principles of the court; and for this reason he was hated by
George III with a hatred that seemed barely compatible with a sane


     Born in 1822, died in 1888; son of "Arnold of Rugby";
     educated at Rugby and Oxford; fellow of Oriel; lay inspector
     of schools in 1851: professor of poetry at Oxford in 1857;
     visited the United States in 1883 and 1886; published
     "Empedocles on Etna" in 1853, "Essays in Criticism" in 1865,
     "Literature and Dogma" in 1873, "Culture and Anarchy" in


The disparagers of culture make its motive curiosity; sometimes,
indeed, they make its motive mere exclusiveness and vanity. The
culture which is supposed to plume itself on a smattering of Greek and
Latin is a culture which is begotten by nothing so intellectual as
curiosity; it is valued either out of sheer vanity and ignorance or
else as an engine of social and class distinction, separating its
holder, like a badge or title, from other people who have not got it.
No serious man would call this culture, or attach any value to it as
culture at all. To find the real ground for the very different
estimate which serious people will set upon culture we must find some
motive for culture in the terms of which may lie a real ambiguity; and
such a motive the word curiosity gives us.

[Footnote 57: From "Culture and Anarchy."]

I have before now pointed out that we English do not, like the
foreigners, use this word in a good sense as well as in a bad sense.
With us the word is always used in a somewhat disapproving sense. A
liberal and intelligent eagerness about the things of the mind may be
meant by a foreigner when he speaks of curiosity, but with us the word
always conveys a certain notion of frivolous and unedifying activity.
In the _Quarterly Review_, some little time ago, was an estimate of
the celebrated French critic, M. Sainte-Beuve, and a very inadequate
estimate of it in my judgment it was. And its inadequacy consisted
chiefly in this: that in our English way it left out of sight the
double sense really involved in the word curiosity, thinking enough
was said to stamp M. Sainte-Beuve with blame, if it was said that he
was impelled in his operations as a critic by curiosity, and omitting
either to perceive that M. Sainte-Beuve himself, and many other people
with him, would consider that this was praiseworthy and not
blameworthy, or to point out why it ought really to be accounted
worthy of blame and not of praise. For as there is a curiosity about
intellectual matters which is futile, and merely a disease, so there
is certainly a curiosity--a desire after the things, of the mind
simply for their own sakes and for the pleasure of seeing them as they
are--which is, in an intelligent being, natural and laudable.

Nay, and the very desire to see things as they are implies a balance
and regulation of mind which is not often attained without fruitful
effort, and which is the very opposite of the blind and diseased
impulse of mind which is what we mean to blame when we blame
curiosity. Montesquieu says: "The first motive which ought to impel us
to study is the desire to augment the excellence of our nature, and
to render an intelligent being yet more intelligent." This is the true
ground to assign for the genuine scientific passion, however
manifested, and for culture, viewed simply as a fruit of this passion;
and it is a worthy ground, even tho we let the term curiosity stand to
describe it.

But there is of culture another view, in which not solely the
scientific passion, the sheer desire to see things as they are,
natural and proper in an intelligent being, appears as the ground of
it. There is a view in which all the love of our neighbor, the
impulses toward action, help, and beneficence; the desire for removing
human error, clearing human confusion, and diminishing human misery,
the noble aspiration to leave the world better and happier than we
found it--motives eminently such as are called social--come in as part
of the grounds of culture, and the main and preeminent part. Culture
is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but
as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of
perfection. It moves by the force, not merely or primarily of the
scientific passion for pure knowledge, but also of the moral and
social passion for doing good. As, in the first view of it, we took
for its worthy motto Montesquieu's words: "To render an intelligent
being yet more intelligent!" so, in the second view of it, there is no
better motto which it can have than these words of Bishop Wilson: "To
make reason and the will of God prevail!"....

The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and
light. He who works for sweetness and light works to make reason and
the will of God prevail. He who works for machinery, he who works for
hatred, works only for confusion. Culture looks beyond machinery,
culture hates hatred, culture has one great passion, the passion for
sweetness and light. It has one even yet greater!--the passion for
making them prevail. It is not satisfied till we all come to a perfect
man; it knows that the sweetness and light of the few must be
imperfect, until the raw and unkindled masses of humanity are touched
with sweetness and light. If I have not shrunk from saying that we
must work for sweetness and light, so neither have I shrunk from
saying that we must have a broad basis, must have sweetness and light
for as many as possible. Again and again I have insisted how those are
the happy moments of humanity, how those are the marking epochs of a
people's life, how those are the flowering times for literature and
art and all the creative power of genius, when there is a national
glow of life and thought, when the whole of society is in the fullest
measure permeated by thought, sensible to beauty, intelligent and
alive. Only it must be real thought and real beauty; real sweetness
and real light. Plenty of people will try to give the masses, as they
call them, an intellectual food prepared and adapted in the way they
think proper for the actual condition of the masses. The ordinary
popular literature is an example of this way of working on the masses.
Plenty of people will try to indoctrinate the masses with the set of
ideas and judgments constituting the creed of their own profession or

Our religions and political organizations give an example of this way
of working on the masses. I condemn neither way; but culture works
differently. It does not try to teach down to the level of inferior
classes; it does not try to win them for this or that sect of its own,
with ready-made judgments and watchwords. It seeks to do away with
classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world
current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness
and light, where they may use ideas, as it uses them itself,
freely--nourished, and not bound by them. This is the social idea; and
the men of culture are the true apostles of equality. The great men of
culture are those who have had a passion for diffusing, for making
prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best
knowledge, the best ideas of their time, who have labored to divest
knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract,
professional, exclusive; to humanize it; to make it efficient outside
the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remaining the best
knowledge and thought of the time, and a true source, therefore, of
sweetness and light.

Such a man was Abélard in the Middle Ages, in spite of all his
imperfections; and thence the boundless emotion and enthusiasm which
Abélard excited. Such were Lessing and Herder in Germany, at the end
of the last century; and their services to Germany were in this way
inestimably precious. Generations will pass, and literary monuments
will accumulate, and works far more perfect than the works of Lessing
and Herder will be produced in Germany; and yet the names of these
two men will fill a German with a reverence and enthusiasm such as the
names of the most gifted masters will hardly awaken.

And why? Because they humanized knowledge; because they broadened the
basis of life and intelligence; because they worked powerfully to
diffuse the sweetness and light, to make reason and the will of God
prevail. With Saint Augustine they said: "Let us not leave thee alone
to make in the secret of thy knowledge, as thou didst before the
creation of the firmament, the division of light from darkness; let
the children of thy spirit, placed in their firmament, make their
light shine upon the earth, mark the division of night and day, and
announce the revolution of the times; for the old order is passed, and
the new arises; the night is spent, the day is come forth; and thou
shalt crown the year with thy blessing, when thou shalt send forth
laborers into thy harvest sown by other hands than theirs; when thou
shalt send forth new laborers to new seedtimes, whereof the harvest
shall be not yet."


     Born in 1823, died in 1892; educated at Oxford, remaining
     there as a fellow until 1847, and later for many years an
     examiner there in Modern History; made Regius professor at
     Oxford in 1884; published his "Conquest of the Saracens" in
     1856, "Federal Government from the Foundation of the Achaian
     League to the Disruption of the United States" in 1863, this
     work being never completed; "The Norman Conquest" in
     1867-79, "Historical Essays" in 1871, "Some Impressions of
     the United States" in 1893, and many other volumes on
     general and local history.


The death-bed of William was a death-bed of all formal devotion, a
death-bed of penitence which we may trust was more than formal. The
English Chronicles,[59] after weighing the good and evil in him, sends
him out of the world with a charitable prayer for his soul's rest; and
his repentance, late and fearful as it was, at once marks the
distinction between the conqueror on his bed of death and his
successor cut off without a thought of penitence in the midst of his
crimes. He made his will. The mammon of unrighteousness which he had
gathered together amid the groans and tears of England he now strove
so to dispose of as to pare his way to an everlasting habitation. All
his treasures were distributed among the poor and the churches of his
dominions. A special sum was set apart for the rebuilding of the
churches which had been burned at Mantes, and gifts in money and books
and ornaments of every kind were to be distributed among all the
churches of England according to their rank. He then spoke of his own
life and of the arrangements which he wished to make for his dominions
after his death. The Normans, he said, were a brave and unconquered
race; but they needed the curb of a strong and righteous master to
keep them in the path of order. Yet the rule over them must by all law
pass to Robert. Robert was his eldest born; he had promised him the
Norman succession before he won the crown of England, and he had
received the homage of the barons of the Duchy. Normandy and Maine
must therefore pass to Robert, and for them he must be the man of the
French king. Yet he well knew how sad would be the fate of the land
which had to be ruled by one so proud and foolish, and for whom a
career of shame and sorrow was surely doomed.

[Footnote 58: From "The History of the Norman Conquest."]

[Footnote 59: William of Malmesbury.]

But what was to be done with England? Now at last the heart of William
smote him. To England he dared not appoint a successor; he could only
leave the disposal of the island realm to the Almighty Ruler of the
world. The evil deeds of his past life crowded upon his soul. Now at
last his heart confest that he had won England by no right, by no
claim of birth; that he had won the English crown by wrong, and that
what he had won by wrong he had no right to give to another. He had
won his realm by warfare and bloodshed; he had treated the sons of the
English soil with needless harshness; he had cruelly wronged nobles
and commons; he had spoiled many men wrongfully of their inheritance;
he had slain countless multitudes by hunger or by the sword. The
harrying of Northumberland now rose up before his eyes in all its
blackness. The dying man now told how cruelly he had burned and
plundered the land, what thousands of every age and sex among the
noble nation which he had conquered had been done to death at his
bidding. The scepter of the realm which he had won by so many crimes
he dared not hand over to any but to God alone. Yet he would not hide
his wish that his son William, who had ever been dutiful to him, might
reign in England after him. He would send him beyond the sea, and he
would pray Lafranc to place the crown upon his head, if the Primate in
his wisdom deemed that such an act could he rightly done.

Of the two sons of whom he spoke, Robert was far away, a banished
rebel; William was by his bedside. By his bedside also stood his
youngest son, the English Ætheling, Henry the Clerk. "And what dost
thou give to me, my father?" said the youth. "Five thousand pounds of
silver from my hoard," was the Conqueror's answer. "But of what use is
a hoard to me if I have no place to dwell in?" "Be patient, my son,
and trust in the Lord, and let thine elders go before thee." It is
perhaps by the light of the later events that our chronicler goes on
to make William tell his youngest son that the day would come when he
would succeed both his brothers in their dominions, and would be
richer and mightier than either of them. The King then dictated a
letter to Lafranc, setting forth his wishes with regard to the
kingdom. He sealed it and gave it to his son William, and bade him,
with his last blessing and his last kiss, to cross at once into
England. William Rufus straightway set forth for Witsand, and there
heard of his father's death. Meanwhile Henry, too, left his father's
bedside to take for himself the money that was left to him, to see
that nothing was lacking in its weight, to call together his comrades
on whom he could trust, and to take measures for stowing the treasure
in a place of safety.

And now those who stood around the dying King began to implore his
mercy for the captives whom he held in prison. He granted the

The last earthly acts of the Conqueror were now done. He had striven
to make his peace with God and man, and to make such provision as he
could for the children and the subjects whom he had left behind him.
And now his last hour was come. On a Thursday morning in September,
when the sun had already risen upon the earth, the sound of the great
bell of the metropolitan minster struck on the ears of the dying King.
He asked why it sounded. He was told that it rang for prime in the
church of our Lady. William lifted his eyes to heaven, he stretched
forth his hands, and spake his last words: "To my Lady Mary, the Holy
Mother of God, I commend myself, that by her holy prayers she may
reconcile me to her dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ." He prayed, and
his soul passed away. William, king of the English and duke of the
Normans, the man whose fame has filled the world in his own and in
every following age, had gone the way of all flesh. No kingdom was
left him now but his seven feet of ground, and even to that his claim
was not to be undisputed.

The death of a king in those days came near to a break-up of all civil
society. Till a new king was chosen and crowned, there was no longer a
power in the land to protect or to chastise. All bonds were loosed;
all public authority was in abeyance; each man had to look to his own
as he best might. No sooner was the breath out of William's body than
the great company which had patiently watched around him during the
night was scattered hither and thither. The great men mounted their
horses and rode with all speed to their own homes, to guard their
houses and goods against the outburst of lawlessness which was sure to
break forth now that the land had no longer a ruler. Their servants
and followers, seeing their lords gone, and deeming that there was no
longer any fear of punishment, began to make spoil of the royal
chamber. Weapons, clothes, vessels, the royal bed and its furniture,
were carried off, and for a whole day the body of the Conqueror lay
well-nigh bare on the floor of the room in which he died.


     Born in 1825, died in 1895; educated at Charing Cross
     Hospital, London; assistant surgeon a naval ship in 1846-50;
     professor at the Royal School of Mines and the Royal
     Institute; lord rector of Aberdeen in 1874; lecturer at
     Cambridge in 1883; president of the Royal Society in 1883;
     published, among other works, "Man's Place in Nature" in
     1868, "Lay Sermons" in 1870; "Critiques and Addresses" in
     1873, "Evolution and Ethics" in 1893.


A great chapter of the history of the world is written in the chalk.
Few passages in the history of man can be supported by such an
overwhelming mass of direct and indirect evidence as that which
testifies to the truth of the fragment of the history of the globe
which I hope to enable you to read with your own eyes to-night. Let me
add that few chapters of human history have a more profound
significance for ourselves. I weigh my words well when I assert that
the man who should know the true history of the bit of chalk which
every carpenter carries about in his breeches pocket, tho ignorant of
all other history, is likely, if he will think his knowledge out to
its ultimate results, to have a truer and therefore a better
conception of this wonderful universe, and of man's relation to it,
than the most learned student who is deep-read in the records of
humanity and ignorant of those of Nature.

[Footnote 60: From a lecture delivered to the workingmen of Norwich,
England, during the meeting of the British Association in 1868, now
included in "Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews." By permission of D.
Appleton & Co.]

The language of the chalk is not hard to learn; not nearly so hard as
Latin, if you only want to get at the broad features of the story it
has to tell: and I propose that we now set to work to spell that story
out together.

We all know that if we "burn" chalk, the result is quicklime. Chalk in
fact is a compound of carbonic-acid gas and lime; and when you make it
very hot, the carbonic acid flies away and the lime is left. By this
method of procedure we see the lime, but we do not see the carbonic
acid. If on the other hand you were to powder a little chalk and drop
it into a good deal of strong vinegar, there would be a great bubbling
and fizzing, and finally a clear liquid in which no sign of chalk
would appear. Here you see the carbonic acid in the bubbles; the lime
dissolved in the vinegar vanishes from sight. There are a great many
other ways of showing that chalk is essentially nothing but carbonic
acid and quicklime. Chemists enunciate the result of all the
experiments which prove this, by stating that chalk is almost wholly
composed of "carbonate of lime."

It is desirable for us to start from the knowledge of this fact, tho
it may not seem to help us very far toward what we seek. For carbonate
of lime is a widely spread substance, and is met with under very
various conditions. All sorts of limestones are composed of more or
less pure carbonate of lime. The crust which is often deposited by
waters which have drained through limestone rocks, in the form of what
are called stalagmites and stalactites, is carbonate of lime. Or to
take a more familiar example, the fur on the inside of a tea-kettle is
carbonate of lime; and for anything chemistry tells us to the
contrary, the chalk might be a kind of gigantic fur upon the bottom of
the earth-kettle, which is kept pretty hot below...

But the slice of chalk presents a totally different appearance when
placed under the microscope. The general mass of it is made up of very
minute granules; but imbedded in this matrix are innumerable bodies,
some smaller and some larger, but on a rough average not more than a
hundredth of an inch in diameter, having a well-defined shape and
structure. A cubic inch of some specimens of chalk may contain
hundreds of thousands of these bodies, compacted together with
incalculable millions of granules.

The examination of a transparent slice gives a good notion of the
manner in which the components of the chalk are arranged, and of their
relative proportion. But by rubbing up some chalk with a brush in
water and then pouring off the milky fluid, so as to obtain sediments
of different degrees of fineness, the granules and the minute rounded
bodies may be pretty well separated from one another, and submitted to
microscopic examination, either as opaque or as transparent objects.
By combining the views, obtained in these various methods, each of the
rounded bodies may be proved to be a beautifully constructed
calcareous fabric, made up of a number of chambers communicating
freely with one another. The chambered bodies are of various forms.
One of the commonest is something like a badly grown raspberry, being
formed of a number of nearly globular chambers of different sizes
congregated together. It is called Globigerina, and some specimens of
chalk consist of little else than Globigerinæ and granules. Let us fix
our attention upon the Globigerina. It is the spore of the game we are
tracking. If we can learn what it is and what are the conditions of
its existence, we shall see our way to the origin and past history of
the chalk.

The history of the discovery of these living Globigerinæ, and of the
part which they play in rock-building, is singular enough. It is a
discovery which, like others of no less scientific importance, has
arisen incidentally out of work devoted to very different and
exceedingly practical interests. When men first took to the sea, they
speedily learned to look out for the shoals and rocks; and the more
the burden of their ships increased, the more imperatively necessary
it became for sailors to ascertain with precision the depth of the
waters they traversed. Out of this necessity grew the use of the lead
and sounding-line; and ultimately marine surveying, which is the
recording of the form of coasts and of the depth of the sea, as
ascertained by the sounding-lead, upon charts.

At the same time it became desirable to ascertain and to indicate the
nature of the sea bottom, since this circumstance greatly affects its
goodness as holding-ground for anchors. Some ingenious tar, whose
name deserves a better fate than the oblivion into which it has
fallen, attained the object by "arming" the bottom of the lead with a
lump of grease, to which more or less of the sand or mud or broken
shells, as the case might be, adhered, and was brought to the surface.
But however well adapted such an apparatus might be for rough nautical
purposes, scientific accuracy could not be expected from the armed
lead; and to remedy its defects (especially when applied to sounding
in great depths), Lieutenant Brooke of the American Navy some years
ago invented a most ingenious machine, by which a considerable portion
of the superficial layer of the sea bottom can be scooped out and
brought up from any depth to which the lead descends. In 1853
Lieutenant Brooke obtained mud from the bottom of the North Atlantic,
between Newfoundland and the Azores, at a depth of more than 10,000
feet or two miles, by the help of this sounding apparatus. The
specimens were sent for examination to Ehrenberg of Berlin and to
Bailey of West Point; and those able microscopists found that this
deep-sea mud was almost entirely composed of the skeletons of living
organisms--the greater proportion of these being just like the
Globigerinæ already known to occur in the chalk.

Thus far the work had been carried on simply in the interests of
science; but Lieutenant Brooke's method of sounding acquired a high
commercial value when the enterprise of laying down the telegraph
cable between this country and the United States was undertaken. For
it became a matter of immense importance to know not only the depth
of the sea over the whole line along which the cable was to be laid,
but the exact nature of the bottom, so as to guard against chances of
cutting or fraying the strands of that costly rope. The Admiralty
consequently ordered Captain Dayman, an old friend and shipmate of
mine, to ascertain the depth over the whole line of the cable and to
bring back specimens of the bottom. In former days, such a command as
this might have sounded very much like one of the impossible things
which the young prince in the fairy tales is ordered to do before he
can obtain the hand of the princess. However, in the months of June
and July, 1857, my friend performed the task assigned to him with
great expedition and precision, without, so far as I know, having met
with any reward of that kind. The specimens of Atlantic mud which he
procured were sent to me to be examined and reported upon.

The results of all these operations is, that we know the contours and
the nature of the surface soil covered by the North Atlantic for a
distance of I,700 miles from east to west, as well as we know that of
any part of the dry land. It is a prodigious plain--one of the widest
and most even plains in the world. If the sea were drained off, you
might drive a wagon all the way from Valentia on the west coast of
Ireland, to Trinity Bay in Newfoundland; and except upon one sharp
incline about 200 miles from Valentia, I am not quite sure that it
would even be necessary to put the skid on, so gentle are the ascents
and descents upon that long route. From Valentia the road would lie
downhill for about 200 miles, to the point at which the bottom is now
covered by I,700 fathoms of sea-water. Then would come the central
plain, more than a thousand miles wide, the inequalities of the
surface of which would be hardly perceptible, tho the depth of water
upon it now varies from 10,000 to 15,000 feet; and there are places in
which Mont Blanc might be sunk without showing its peak above water.
Beyond this the ascent on the American side commences, and gradually
leads for about 300 miles to the Newfoundland shore.

Almost the whole of the bottom of this central plain (which extends
for many hundred miles in a north-and-south direction) is covered by a
fine mud, which when brought to the surface dries into a grayish-white
friable substance. You can write with this on a blackboard if you are
so inclined; and to the eye it is quite like very soft, grayish chalk.
Examined chemically, it proves to be composed almost wholly of
carbonate of lime; and if you make a section of it, in the same way as
that of the piece of chalk was made, and view it with the microscope,
it presents innumerable Globigerinæ imbedded in a granular matrix.
Thus this deep-sea mud is substantially chalk. I say substantially,
because there are a good many minor differences; but as these have no
bearing on the question immediately before us--which is the nature of
the Globigerinæ of the chalk--it is unnecessary to speak of them.

Globigerinæ of every size, from the smallest to the largest, are
associated together in the Atlantic mud, and the chambers of many are
filled by a soft animal matter. This soft substance is, in fact, the
remains of the creature to which the Globigerina shell, or rather
skeleton, owes its existence, and which is an animal of the simplest
imaginable description. It is, in fact, a mere particle of living
jelly, without defined parts of any kind; without a mouth, nerves,
muscles, or distinct organs, and only manifesting its vitality to
ordinary observation by thrusting out and retracting from all parts of
its surface long filamentous processes, which serve for arms and legs.
Yet this amorphous particle, devoid of everything which in the higher
animals we call organs, is capable of feeding, growing, and
multiplying; of separating from the ocean the small proportion of
carbonate of lime which is dissolved in sea-water; and of building up
that substance into a skeleton for itself, according to a pattern
which can be imitated by no other known agency.

The notion that animals can live and flourish in the sea, at the vast
depths from which apparently living Globigerinæ have been brought up,
does not agree very well with our usual conceptions respecting the
conditions of animal life; and it is not so absolutely impossible as
it might at first sight appear to be, that the Globigerinæ of the
Atlantic sea bottom do not live and die where they are found.

As I have mentioned, the soundings from the great Atlantic plain are
almost entirely made up of Globigerinæ, with the granules which have
been mentioned, and some few other calcareous shells; but a small
percentage of the chalky mud--perhaps at most some five per cent, of
it--is of a different nature, and consists of shells and skeletons
composed of silex or pure flint. These siliceous bodies belong partly
to the lowly vegetable organisms which are called Diatomaceæ and
partly to the minute and extremely simple animals termed Radiolaria.
It is quite certain that these creatures do not live at the bottom of
the ocean, but at its surface, where they may be obtained in
prodigious numbers by the use of a properly constructed net. Hence it
follows that these siliceous organisms, tho they are not heavier than
the lightest dust, must have fallen in some cases through 15,000 feet
of water before they reached their final resting-place on the ocean
floor. And considering how large a surface these bodies expose in
proportion to their weight, it is probable that they occupy a great
length of time in making their burial journey from the surface of the
Atlantic to the bottom....

Thus not only is it certain that the chalk is the mud of an ancient
sea bottom, but it is no less certain that the chalk sea existed
during an extremely long period, tho we may not be prepared to give a
precise estimate of the length of that period in years. The relative
duration is clear, tho the absolute duration may not be definable. The
attempt to affix any precise date to the period at which the chalk sea
began or ended its existence is baffled by difficulties of the same
kind. But the relative age of the cretaceous epoch may be determined
with as great ease and certainty as the long duration of that epoch.

You will have heard of the interesting discoveries recently made in
various parts of western Europe, of flint implements, obviously worked
into shape by human hands, under circumstances which show conclusively
that man is a very ancient denizen of these regions. It has been
proved that the whole population of Europe whose existence has been
revealed to us in this way, consisted of savages such as the Eskimo
are now; that in the country which is now France they hunted the
reindeer, and were familiar with the ways of the mammoth and the
bison. The physical geography of France was in those days different
from what it is now,--the river Somme, for instance, having cut its
bed a hundred feet deeper between that time and this; and it is
probable that the climate was more like that of Canada or Siberia than
that of western Europe.

The existence of these people is forgotten even in the traditions of
the oldest historical nations. The name and fame of them had utterly
vanished until a few years back; and the amount of physical change
which has been effected since their day renders it more than probable
that, venerable as are some of the historical nations, the workers of
the chipped flints of Hoxne or of Amiens are to them as they are to us
in point of antiquity. But if we assign to these hoar relics of
long-vanished generations of men the greatest age that can possibly be
claimed for them, they are not older than the drift of boulder clay,
which in comparison with the chalk is but a very juvenile deposit. You
need go no further than your own seaboard for evidence of this fact.
At one of the most charming spots on the coast of Norfolk, Cromer, you
will see the boulder clay forming a vast mass, which lies upon the
chalk, and must consequently have come into existence after it. Huge
boulders of chalk are in fact included in the clay, and have evidently
been brought to the position they now occupy by the same agency as
that which has planted blocks of syenite from Norway side by side with

Thus there is a writing upon the wall of cliffs at Cromer, and whoso
runs may read it. It tells us with an authority which can not be
impeached, that the ancient sea-bed of the chalk sea was raised up and
remained dry land until it was covered with forest, stocked with the
great game the spoils of which have rejoiced your geologists. How long
it remained in that condition can not be said; but "the whirligig of
time brought its revenges" in those days as in these. That dry land
with the bones and teeth of generations of long-lived elephants,
hidden away among the gnarled roots and dry leaves of its ancient
trees, sank gradually to the bottom of the icy sea, which covered it
with huge masses of drift and boulder clay. Sea beasts such as the
walrus, now restricted to the extreme north, paddled about where birds
had twittered among the topmost twigs of the fir-trees. How long this
state of things endured we know not, but at length it came to an end.
The upheaved glacial mud hardened into the soil of modern Norfolk.
Forests grew once more, the wolf and the beaver replaced the reindeer
and the elephant; and at length what we call the history of England


     Born in 1831; educated at Oxford; one of the founders of the
     Positivist School; Professor of Jurisprudence and
     International Law at Lincoln's Inn Hall, 1877-89; alderman
     of London in 1889-92; published "The Meaning of History" in
     1862; "The Choice of Books" in 1886; "Oliver Cromwell" in
     1889; "Victorian Literature" in 1895; a Life of Ruskin in
     1902; a book on Washington in 1902.


I say it most confidently, the first intellectual task of our age is
rightly to order and make serviceable the vast realm of printed
material which four centuries have swept across our path. To organize
our knowledge, to systematize our reading, to save, out of the
relentless cataract of ink, the immortal thoughts of the
greatest--this is a necessity unless the productive ingenuity of man
is to lead us at last to a measureless and pathless chaos. To know
anything that turns up is, in the infinity of knowledge, to know
nothing. To read the first book we come across, in the wilderness of
books, is to learn nothing. To turn over the pages of ten thousand
volumes is to be practically indifferent to all that is good....

[Footnote 61: From an address on "The Choice of Books," read before
the London Institution in the winter of 1878-79, and afterward made
the basis of Mr. Harrison's book having the same title.]

I am very far from meaning that our whole time spent with books is to
be given to study. Far from it. I put the poetic and emotional side of
literature as the most needed for daily use. I take the books that
seek to rouse the imagination, to stir up feeling, touch the heart;
the books of art, of fancy, of ideals, such as reflect the delight and
aroma of life. And here how does the trivial, provided it is the new,
that which stares at us in the advertising columns of the day, crowd
out the immortal poetry and pathos of the human race, vitiating our
taste for those exquisite pieces which are a household word, and
weakening our mental relish for the eternal works of genius! Old Homer
is the very fountain-head of pure poetic enjoyment, of all that is
spontaneous, simple, native, and dignified in life. He takes us into
the ambrosial world of heroes, of human vigor, of purity, of grace.
Now Homer is one of the few poets the life of whom can be fairly
preserved in a translation. Most men and women can say that they have
read Homer, just as most of us can say that we have studied Johnson's
Dictionary. But how few of us take him up, time after time, with fresh
delight! How few have even read the entire "Iliad" and "Odyssey"
through! Whether in the resounding lines of the old Greek, as fresh
and ever-stirring as the waves that tumble on the seashore, filling
the soul with satisfying silent wonder at its restless unison; whether
in the quaint lines of Chapman, or the clarion couplets of Pope, or
the closer versions of Cowper, Lord Derby, of Philip Worsley, or even
in the new prose version of the "Odyssey," Homer is always fresh and
rich. And yet how seldom does one find a friend spellbound over the
Greek Bible of antiquity, whilst they wade through torrents of
magazine quotations from a petty versifier of to-day, and in an idle
vacation will graze, as contentedly as cattle in a fresh meadow,
through the chopped straw of a circulating library. A generation which
will listen to "Pinafore" for three hundred nights, and will read M.
Zola's seventeenth romance, can no more read Homer than it could read
a cuneiform inscription. It will read about Homer just as it will read
about a cuneiform inscription, and will crowd to see a few pots which
probably came from the neighborhood of Troy. But to Homer and the
primeval type of heroic man in his beauty, and his simpleness, and
joyousness, the cultured generation is really dead, as completely as
some spoiled beauty of the ballroom is dead to the bloom of the
heather or the waving of the daffodils in a glade.

It is a true psychological problem, this nausea which idle culture
seems to produce for all that is manly and pure in heroic poetry. One
knows--at least every schoolboy has known--that a passage of Homer,
rolling along in the hexameter or trumped out by Pope, will give one a
hot glow of pleasure and raise a finer throb in the pulse; one knows
that Homer is the easiest, most artless, most diverting of all poets;
that the fiftieth reading rouses the spirit even more than the
first--and yet we find ourselves (we are all alike) painfully
pshaw-ing over some new and uncut barley sugar in rime, which a man in
the street asked us if we had read, or it may be some learned
lucubration about the site of Troy by some one we chanced to meet at
dinner. It is an unwritten chapter in the history of the human mind,
how this literary prurience after new print unmans us for the
enjoyment of the old songs chanted forth in the sunrise of human
imagination. To ask a man or woman who spends half a lifetime in
sucking magazines and new poems to read a book of Homer would be like
asking a butcher's boy to whistle "Adelaida." The noises and sights
and talk, the whirl and volatility of life around us, are too strong
for us. A society which is forever gossiping in a sort of perpetual
"drum" loses the very faculty of caring for anything but "early
copies" and the last tale out. Thus, like the tares in the noble
parable of the Sower, a perpetual chatter about books chokes the seed
which is sown in the greatest books in the world.

I speak of Homer, but fifty other great poets and creators of eternal
beauty would serve my argument as well. Take the latest perhaps in the
series of the world-wide and immortal poets of the whole human
race--Walter Scott. We all read Scott's romances, as we have all read
Hume's "History of England," but how often do we read them, how
zealously, with what sympathy and understanding? I am told that the
last discovery of modern culture is that Scott's prose is commonplace;
that the young men at our universities are far too critical to care
for his artless sentences and flowing descriptions. They prefer Mr.
Swinburne, Mr. Mallock, and the euphuism of young Oxford, just as some
people prefer a Dresden shepherdess to the Caryatides of the
Erechtheum, pronounce Fielding to be low, and Mozart to be _passé_. As
boys love lollipops, so these juvenile fops love to roll phrases
about under the tongue, as if phrases in themselves had a value apart
from thoughts, feelings, great conceptions, or human sympathy.

For Scott is just one of the poets (we may call poets all the great
creators in prose or in verse) of whom one never wearies, just as one
can listen to Beethoven or watch the sunrise or the sunset day by day
with new delight. I think I can read the "Antiquary," or the "Bride of
Lammermoor," "Ivanhoe," "Quentin Durward," and "Old Mortality," at
least once a year afresh. Now Scott is a perfect library in himself. A
constant reader of romances would find that it needed months to go
through even the best pieces of the inexhaustible painter of eight
full centuries and every type of man, and he might repeat the process
of reading him ten times in a lifetime without a sense of fatigue or

The poetic beauty of Scott's creations is almost the least of his
great qualities. It is the universality of his sympathy that is so
truly great, the justice of his estimates, the insight into the spirit
of each age, his intense absorption of self in the vast epic of human
civilization. What are the old almanacs that they so often give us as
histories beside these living pictures of the ordered succession of
ages? As in Homer himself, we see in this prose "Iliad" of modern
history the battle of the old and the new, the heroic defense of
ancient strongholds, the long impending and inevitable doom of
medieval life. Strong men and proud women struggle against the destiny
of modern society, unconsciously working out its ways, undauntedly
defying its power. How just is our island Homer! Neither Greek nor
Trojan sways him; Achilles is his hero; Hector is his favorite; he
loves the councils of chiefs and the palace of Priam; but the
swineherd, the charioteer, the slave girl, the hound, the beggar, and
the herdsman, all glow alike in the harmonious coloring of his peopled
epic. We see the dawn of our English nation, the defense of
Christendom against the Koran, the grace and the terror of feudalism,
the rise of monarchy out of baronies, the rise of parliaments out of
monarchy, the rise of industry out of serfage, the pathetic ruin of
chivalry, the splendid death struggle of Catholicism, the sylvan
tribes of the mountain (remnants of our prehistoric forefathers)
beating themselves to pieces against the hard advance of modern
industry; we see the grim heroism of the Bible martyrs, the
catastrophe of feudalism overwhelmed by a practical age which knew
little of its graces and almost nothing of its virtues.

Such is Scott, who, we may say, has done for the various phases of
modern history what Shakespeare has done for the manifold types of
human character. And this glorious and most human and most historical
of poets, without whom our very conception of human development would
have ever been imperfect, this manliest and truest and widest of
romancers we neglect for some hothouse hybrid of psychological
analysis, for the wretched imitators of Balzac and the jackanapes
phrasemongering of some Osric of the day, who assures us that Scott is
an absolute Philistine.

In speaking with enthusiasm of Scott, as of Homer, or of Shakespeare,
or of Milton, or of any of the accepted masters of the world, I have
no wish to insist dogmatically upon any single name, or two or three
in particular. Our enjoyment and reverence of the great poets of the
world is seriously injured nowadays by the habit we get of singling
out some particular quality, some particular school of art for
intemperate praise or, still worse, for intemperate abuse. Mr. Ruskin,
I suppose, is answerable for the taste for this one-sided and
spasmodic criticism; and every young gentleman who has the trick of a
few adjectives will languidly vow that Marlowe is supreme, or Murillo
foul. It is the mark of rational criticism as well as of healthy
thought to maintain an evenness of mind in judging of great works, to
recognize great qualities in due proportion, to feel that defects are
made up by beauties, and beauties are often balanced by weakness. The
true judgment implies a weighing of each work and each workman as a
whole, in relation to the sum of human cultivation and the gradual
advance of the movement of ages. And in this matter we shall usually
find that the world is right, the world of the modern centuries and
the nations of Europe together. It is unlikely, to say the least of
it, that a young person who has hardly ceased making Latin verses will
be able to reverse the decisions of the civilized world; and it is
even more unlikely that Milton and Molière, Fielding and Scott, will
ever be displaced by a poet who has unaccountably lain hid for one or
two centuries.

I know that in the style of to-day I ought hardly to venture to
address you about poetry unless I am prepared to unfold to you the
mysterious beauties of some unknown genius who has recently been
unearthed by the Children of Light and Sweetness. I confess I have no
such discovery to announce. I prefer to dwell in Gath and to pitch my
tents in Ashdod; and I doubt the use of the sling as a weapon in
modern war. I decline to go into hyperbolic eccentricities over
unknown geniuses, and a single quality or power is not enough to
arouse my enthusiasm. It is possible that no master ever painted a
buttercup like this one, or the fringe of a robe like that one; that
this poet has a unique subtlety, and that an undefinable music. I am
still unconvinced, tho the man who can not see it, we are told, should
at once retire to the place where there is wailing and gnashing of

I am against all gnashing of teeth, whether for or against a
particular idol. I stand by the men, and by all the men, who have
moved mankind to the depths of their souls, who have taught
generations, and formed our life. If I say of Scott, that to have
drunk in the whole of his glorious spirit is a liberal education in
itself, I am asking for no exclusive devotion to Scott, to any poet,
or any school of poets, or any age, or any country, to any style or
any order of poet, one more than another. They are as various,
fortunately, and as many-sided as human nature itself. If I delight in
Scott, I love Fielding, and Richardson, and Sterne, and Goldsmith, and
Defoe. Yes, and I will add Cooper and Marryat, Miss Edgeworth and Miss
Austen--to confine myself to those who are already classics, to our
own country, and to one form of art alone, and not to venture on the
ground of contemporary romance in general.

What I have said of Homer, I would say in a degree, but somewhat
lower, of those great Ancients who are the most accessible to us in
English--Æschylus, Aristophanes, Virgil, and Horace. What I have said
of Shakespeare I would say of Calderon, of Molière, of Corneille, of
Racine, of Voltaire, of Alfieri, of Goethe, of those dramatists, in
many forms, and with genius the most diverse, who have so steadily set
themselves to idealize the great types of public life and of the
phases of human history. Let us all beware lest worship of the
idiosyncrasy of our peerless Shakespeare blind us to the value of the
great masters who in a different world and with different aims have
presented the development of civilization in a series of dramas, where
the unity of a few great types of man and of society is made paramount
to subtlety of character or brilliancy of language.

What I have said of Milton, I would say of Dante, or Ariosto, of
Petrarch, and of Tasso; nor less would I say it of Boccaccio and
Chaucer, of Camoens and Spenser, of Rabelais and of Cervantes, of Gil
Blas and the Vicar of Wakefield, of Byron and of Shelley, of Goethe
and of Schiller. Nor let us forget those wonderful idealizations of
awakening thought and primitive societies, the pictures of other races
and types of life removed from our own: all those primeval legends,
ballads, songs, and tales, those proverbs, apologs, and maxims, which
have come down to us from distant ages of man's history--the old
idylls and myths of the Hebrew race; the tales of Greece, of the
Middle Ages of the East; the fables of the Old and the New World; the
songs of the Nibelungs; the romances of early feudalism; the "Morte
d'Arthur"; the "Arabian Nights"; the ballads of the early nations of

I protest that I am devoted to no school in particular: I condemn no
school; I reject none. I am for the school of all the great men; and I
am against the school of the smaller men. I care for Wordsworth as
well as for Byron, for Burns as well as Shelley, for Boccaccio as well
as for Milton, for Bunyan as well as Rabelais, for Cervantes as much
as for Dante, for Corneille as well as for Shakespeare, for Goldsmith
as well as Goethe. I stand by the sentence of the world; and I hold
that in a matter so human and so broad as the highest poetry the
judgment of the nations of Europe is pretty well settled, at any rate,
after a century or two of continuous reading and discussing. Let those
who will assure us that no one can pretend to culture unless he swear
by Fra Angelico and Sandro Botticelli, by Arnolpho the son of Lapo, or
the Lombardic bricklayers, by Martini and Galuppi (all, by the way,
admirable men of the second rank); and so, in literature and poetry,
there are some who will hear of nothing but Webster or Marlowe; Blake,
Herrick or Keats; William Langland or the Earl of Surrey; Heine or
Omar Khayyám. All of these are men of genius, and each with a special
and inimitable gift of his own. But the busy world, which does not
hunt poets as collectors hunt for curios, may fairly reserve these
lesser lights for the time when they know the greatest well.

So, I say, think mainly of the greatest, of the best known, of those
who cover the largest area of human history and man's common nature.
Now when we come to count up these names accepted by the unanimous
voice of Europe, we have some thirty or forty names, and amongst them
are some of the most voluminous of writers. I have been running over
but one department of literature alone, the poetic. I have been naming
those only, whose names are household words with us, and the poets for
the most part of modern Europe. Yet even here we have a list which is
usually found in not less than a hundred volumes at least.

Now poetry and the highest kind of romance are exactly that order of
literature, which not only will bear to be read many times, but that
of which the true value can only be gained by frequent, and indeed
habitual reading. A man can hardly be said to know the twelfth Mass or
the ninth Symphony, by virtue of having once heard them played ten
years ago; he can hardly be said to take air and exercise because he
took a country walk once last autumn. And so he can hardly be said to
know Scott, or Shakespeare, Molière, or Cervantes, when he once read
them since the close of his school-days, or amidst the daily grind of
his professional life. The immortal and universal poets of our race
are to be read and reread till their music and their spirit are a part
of our nature; they are to be thought over and digested till we live
in the world they created for us; they are to be read devoutly, as
devout men read their Bibles and fortify their hearts with psalms. For
as the old Hebrew singer heard the heavens declare the glory of their
Maker, and the firmament showing his handiwork, so in the long roll of
poetry we see transfigured the strength and beauty of humanity, the
dignity and struggles, the long life-history of our common kind....

In an age of steam it seems almost idle to speak of Dante, the most
profound, the most meditative, the most prophetic of all poets, in
whose epic the panorama of medieval life, of feudalism at its best and
Christianity at its best, stands, as in a microcosm, transfigured,
judged, and measured. To most men, the "Paradise Lost," with all its
mighty music and its idyllic pictures of human nature, of our
first-child parents in their naked purity and their awakening thought,
is a serious and ungrateful task--not to be ranked with the simple
enjoyments; it is a possession to be acquired only by habit. The great
religious poets, the imaginative teachers of the heart, are never easy
reading. But the reading of them is a religious habit, rather than an
intellectual effort. I pretend not now to be dealing with a matter so
deep and high as religion, or indeed with education in the fuller
sense. I will say nothing of that side of reading which is really hard
study, an effort of duty, matter of meditation and reverential


     Born in Oxford in 1837, died in 1883; graduated from Oxford
     in 1860; a curate in London in 1860; incumbent of St.
     Philip's, Stepney, in 1866; librarian at Lambeth in 1869;
     published his "Short History of the English People" in 1874,
     "A History of the English People" in 1877-80, "The Making of
     England" in 1882.


Chatham's measure was contemptuously rejected by the lords, as was a
similar measure of Burke's by the house of commons, and a petition of
the city of London in favor of the colonies by the king himself. With
the rejection of these efforts for conciliation began the great
struggle which ended eight years later in the severance of the
American colonies from the British crown. The congress of delegates
from the colonial legislatures at once voted measures for general
defense, ordered the levy of an army, and set George Washington at its
head. No nobler figure ever stood in the forefront of a nation's life.
Washington was grave and courteous in address; his manners were simple
and unpretending; his silence and the serene calmness of his temper
spoke of a perfect self-mastery. But there was little in his outer
bearing to reveal the grandeur of soul which lifts his figure, with
all the simple majesty of an ancient statue, out of the smaller
passions, the meaner impulses of the world around him. What
recommended him for command was simply his weight among his
fellow-land-owners of Virginia, and the experience of war which he had
gained by service in border contests with the French and the Indians,
as well as in Braddock's luckless expedition against Fort Duquesne.

[Footnote 62: From Book IV, Chapter II of the "History of the English

It was only as the weary fight went on that the colonists discovered,
however slowly and imperfectly, the greatness of their leader; his
clear judgment, his heroic endurance, his silence under difficulties,
his calmness in the hour of danger or defeat; the patience with which
he waited, the quickness and hardness with which he struck, the lofty
and serene sense of duty that never swerved from its task through
resentment or jealousy; that never, through war or peace, felt the
touch of a meaner ambition; that knew no aim save that of guarding the
freedom of his fellow-countrymen, and no personal longing save that of
returning to his own fireside when their freedom was secured. It was
almost unconsciously that men learned to cling to Washington with a
trust and faith such as few other men have won, and to regard him with
a reverence which still hushes us in presence of his memory. But even
America hardly recognized his real greatness while he lived. It was
only when death set its seal on him that the voice of those whom he
had served so long proclaimed him "the man first in war, first in
peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow-countrymen."


     Born in 1838; graduated from Oxford in 1859; editor of the
     _Fortnightly Review_ in 1867, and of _The Pall Mall Gazette_
     in 1880; elected to Parliament in 1883; made Chief Secretary
     for Ireland in 1886, and again in 1892; made Secretary for
     India in 1906; published "Edmund Burke" in 1867; "Voltaire"
     in 1872; "Rousseau" in 1876; a "Life of Richard Cobden" in
     1881; and a "Life of Gladstone" in 1904.


The man of letters, usually unable to conceive loftier services to
mankind or more attractive aims to persons of capacity than the
composition of books, has treated these pretensions of Voltaire with a
supercilious kind of censure, which teaches us nothing about Voltaire,
while it implies a particularly shallow idea alike of the position of
the mere literary life in the scale of things, and of the conditions
under which the best literary work is done. To have really contributed
in the humblest degree, for instance, to a peace between Prussia and
her enemies in 1759, would have been an immeasurably greater
performance for mankind than any given book which Voltaire could have
written. And, what is still better worth observing, Voltaire's books
would not have been the powers they were, but for this constant desire
of his to come into the closest contact with the practical affairs of
the world. He who has never left the life of a recluse, drawing an
income from the funds and living in a remote garden, constructing
past, present, and future, out of his own consciousness, is not
qualified either to lead mankind safely, or to think on the course of
human affairs correctly. Every page of Voltaire has the bracing air of
the life of the world in it, and the instinct which led him to seek
the society of the conspicuous actors on the great scene was
essentially a right one.

[Footnote 63: From "Voltaire."]

The book-writer takes good advantage of his opportunity to assure men
expressly or by implication that he is their true king, and that the
sacred bard is a mightier man than his hero. Voltaire knew better. Tho
himself perhaps the most puissant man of letters that ever lived, he
rated literature as it ought to be rated below action, not because
written speech is less of a force, but because the speculation and
criticism of the literature that substantially influences the world,
make far less demand than the actual conduct of great affairs on
qualities which are not rare in detail, but are amazingly rare in
combination,--on temper, foresight, solidity, daring,--on strength, in
a word, strength of intelligence and strength of character. Gibbon
rightly amended his phrase, when he described Boethius not as
stooping, but rather as rising, from his life of placid meditation to
an active share in the imperial business. That he held this sound
opinion is quite as plausible an explanation of Voltaire's anxiety to
know persons of station and importance, as the current theory that he
was of sycophantic nature. "Why," he asks, "are the ancient historians
so full of light? It is because the writer had to do with public
business; it is because he could be magistrate, priest, soldier; and
because if he could not rise to the highest functions of the state, he
had at least to make himself worthy of them. I admit," he concludes,
"that we must not expect such an advantage with us, for our own
constitution happens to be against it;" but he was deeply sensible
what an advantage it was that they thus lost.

In short, on all sides, whatever men do and think was real and alive
to Voltaire. Whatever had the quality of interesting any imaginable
temperament, had the quality of interesting him. There was no subject
which any set of men have ever cared about, which, if he once had
mention of it, Voltaire did not care about likewise. And it was just
because he was so thoroughly alive himself, that he filled the whole
era with life. The more closely one studies the various movements of
that time, the more clear it becomes that, if he was not the original
center and first fountain of them all, at any rate he made many
channels ready and gave the sign. He was the initial principle of
fermentation throughout that vast commotion. We may deplore, if we
think fit, as Erasmus deplored in the case of Luther, that the great
change was not allowed to work itself out slowly, calmly, and without
violence and disruption. These graceful regrets are powerless, and on
the whole they are very enervating. Let us make our account with the
actual, rather than seek excuses for self-indulgence in pensive
preference of something that might have been. Practically in these
great circles of affairs, what only might have been is as tho it could
not be; and to know this may well suffice for us.


     Born in 1850, died in 1894; poet and essayist; his father a
     noted lighthouse engineer; educated at Edinburgh University;
     lived in Samoa after 1889; among his first books were "An
     Inland Voyage" published in 1878; "Travels with a Donkey" in
     1879; "Virginibus Puerisque" in 1881; his works collected
     after his death.



No sooner had the theft been accomplished than Villon shook himself,
jumped to his feet, and began helping to scatter and extinguish the
embers. Meanwhile Montigny opened the door and cautiously peered into
the street. The coast was clear; there was no meddlesome patrol in
sight. Still it was judged wiser to slip out severally; and as Villon
was himself in a hurry to escape from the neighborhood of the dead
Thevenin, and the rest were in a still greater hurry to get rid of him
before he should discover the loss of his money, he was the first by
general consent to issue forth into the street.

[Footnote 64: From "A Lodging for the Night: A Story of Francis
Villon," in the volume entitled "New Arabian Nights," published in

The wind had triumphed and swept all the clouds from heaven. Only a
few vapors, as thin as moonlight, fleeted rapidly across the stars. It
was bitter cold; and by a common optical effect, things seemed almost
more definite than in the broadest daylight. The sleeping city was
absolutely still; a company of white hoods, a field full of little
Alps, below the twinkling stars. Villon cursed his fortune. Would it
were still snowing! Now, wherever he went, he left an indelible trail
behind him on the glittering streets; wherever he went he was still
tethered to the house by the cemetery of St. John; wherever he went he
must weave, with his own plodding feet, the rope that bound him to the
crime and would bind him to the gallows. The leer of the dead man came
back to him with a new significance. He snapt his fingers as if to
pluck up his own spirits, and choosing a street at random, stept
boldly forward in snow.

Two things preoccupied him as he went: the aspect of the gallows at
Montfaucon in this bright, windy phase of the night's existence, for
one; and for another, the look of the dead man with his bald head and
garland of red curls. Both struck cold upon his heart, and he kept
quickening his pace as if he could escape from unpleasant thoughts by
mere fleetness of foot. Sometimes he looked back over his shoulder
with a sudden nervous jerk; but he was the only moving thing in the
white streets, except when the wind swooped around a corner and threw
up the snow, which was beginning to freeze, in spouts of glittering

Suddenly he saw, a long way before him, a black clump and a couple of
lanterns. The clump was in motion, and the lanterns swung as tho
carried by men walking. It was a patrol. And tho it was merely
crossing his line of march he judged it wiser to get out of eyeshot
as speedily as he could. He was not in the humor to be challenged, and
he was conscious of making a very conspicuous mark upon the snow. Just
on his left hand there stood a great hotel, with some turrets and a
large porch before the door; it was half-ruinous, he remembered, and
had long stood empty; and so he made three steps of it, and jumped
into the shelter of the porch. It was pretty dark inside, after the
glimmer of the snowy streets, and he was groping forward with
outspread hands, when he stumbled over some substance which offered an
indescribable mixture of resistances, hard and soft, firm and loose.
His heart gave a leap, and he sprang two steps back and stared
dreadfully at the obstacle. Then he gave a little laugh of relief. It
was only a woman, and she dead. He knelt beside her to make sure upon
this latter point. She was freezing cold, and rigid like a stick. A
little ragged finery fluttered in the wind about her hair, and her
cheeks had been heavily rouged that same afternoon. Her pockets were
quite empty; but in her stocking, underneath the garter, Villon found
two of the small coins that went by the name of whites. It was little
enough; but it was always something; and the poet was moved with a
deep sense of pathos that she should have died before she had spent
her money. That seemed to him a dark and pitiable mystery; and he
looked from the coins in his hand to the dead woman, and back again to
the coins, shaking his head over the riddle of man's life. Henry V of
England, dying at Vincennes just after he had conquered France, and
this poor jade cut off by a cold draft in a great man's doorway,
before she had time to spend her couple of whites--it seemed a cruel
way to carry on the world. Two whites would have taken such a little
while to squander; and yet it would have been one more good taste in
the mouth, one more smack of the lips, before the devil got the soul,
and the body was left to birds and vermin. He would like to use all
his tallow before the light was blown out and the lantern broken.

While these thoughts were passing through his mind, he was feeling,
half mechanically, for his purse. Suddenly his heart stopt beating; a
feeling of cold scales passed up the back of his legs, and a cold blow
seemed to fall upon his scalp. He stood petrified for a moment; then
he felt again with one feverish movement; and then his loss burst upon
him, and he was covered at once with perspiration. To spendthrifts
money is so living and actual--it is such a thin veil between them and
their pleasures! There is only one limit to their fortune--that of
time; and a spendthrift with only a few crowns is the Emperor of Rome
until they are spent. For such a person to lose his money is to suffer
the most shocking reverse, and fall from heaven to hell, from all to
nothing, in a breath. And all the more if he has put his head in the
halter for it; if he may be hanged to-morrow for that same purse, so
dearly earned, so foolishly departed! Villon stood and curst; he threw
the two whites into the street; he shook his fist at heaven; he
stamped, and was not horrified to find himself trampling the poor
corpse. Then he began rapidly to retrace his steps toward the house
beside the cemetery. He had forgotten all fear of the patrol, which
was long gone by at any rate, and had no idea but that of his lost
purse. It was in vain that he looked right and left upon the snow:
nothing was to be seen. He had not dropt it in the streets. Had it
fallen in the house? He would have liked dearly to go in and see; but
the idea of the grizzly occupant unmanned him. And he saw besides, as
he drew near, that their efforts to put out the fire had been
unsuccessful; on the contrary, it had broken into a blaze, and a
changeful light played in the chinks of door and window, and revived
his terror for the authorities and Paris gibbet.



These boys congregated every autumn about a certain easterly
fisher-village, where they tasted in a high degree the glory of
existence. The place was created seemingly on purpose for the
diversion of young gentlemen. A street or two of houses, mostly red
and many of them tiled; a number of fine trees clustered about the
manse and the kirkyard, and turning the chief street into a shady
alley; many little gardens more than usually bright with flowers; nets
a-drying, and fisher-wives scolding in the backward parts; a smell of
fish, a genial smell of seaweed; whiffs of blowing sand at the
street-corners; shops with golf-balls and bottled lollipops; another
shop with penny pickwicks (that remarkable cigar) and the London
_Journal_, dear to me for its startling pictures, and a few novels,
dear for their suggestive names: such, as well as memory serves me,
were the ingredients of the town. These, you are to conceive, posted
on a split between two sandy bays, and sparsely flanked with
villas--enough for the boys to lodge in with their subsidiary parents,
not enough (not yet enough) to cocknify the scene: a haven in the
rocks in front: in front of that, a file of gray islets: to the left,
endless links and sand wreaths, a wilderness of hiding-holes, alive
with popping rabbits and soaring gulls: to the right, a range of
seaward crags, one rugged brow beyond another; the ruins of a mighty
and ancient fortress on the brink of one; coves between--now charmed
into sunshine quiet, now whistling with wind and clamorous with
bursting surges; the dens and sheltered hollows redolent of thyme and
southernwood, the air at the cliff's edge brisk and clean and pungent
of the sea--in front of all, the Bass Rock, tilted seaward.

[Footnote 65: From "Across the Plains With Other Memories and Essays."
Copyright, 1892, by Charles Scribner's Sons.]

There was nothing to mar your days, if you were a boy summering in
that part, but the embarrassment of pleasure. You might golf if you
wanted; but I seem to have been better employed. You might secrete
yourself in the Lady's Walk, a certain sunless dingle of elders, all
mossed over by the damp as green as grass, and dotted here and there
by the stream-side with roofless walls, the cold homes of anchorites.
To fit themselves for life, and with a special eye to acquire the art
of smoking, it was even common for the boys to harbor there; and you
might have seen a single penny pickwick, honestly shared in lengths
with a blunt knife, bestrew the glen with these apprentices. Again,
you might join our fishing parties, where we sat perched as thick as
solan geese, a covey of little anglers, boy and girl, angling over
each other's head, to the much entanglement of lines and loss of
podleys and consequent shrill recrimination--shrill as the geese
themselves. Indeed, had that been all, you might have done this often;
but tho fishing be a fine pastime, the podley is scarce to be regarded
as a dainty for the table; and it was a point of honor that a boy
should eat all that he had taken. Or again, you might climb the Law,
where the whale's jawbone stood landmark in the buzzing wind, and
behold the face of many counties, and the smoke and spires of many
towns, and the sails of distant ships. You might bathe, now in the
flaws of fine weather, that we pathetically call our summer, now in a
gale of wind, with the sand scourging your bare hide, your clothes
thrashing abroad from underneath their guardian stone, the froth of
the great breakers casting you headlong ere it had drowned your knees.
Or you might explore the tidal rocks, above all in the ebb of springs,
when the very roots of the hills were for the nonce discovered;
following my leader from one group to another, groping in slippery
tangle for the wreck of ships, wading in pools after the abominable
creatures of the sea, and ever with an eye cast backward on the march
of the tide and the menaced line of your retreat. And then you might
go Crusoeing, a word that covers all extempore eating in the open air;
digging perhaps a house under the margin of the links, kindling a
fire of the sea-ware, and cooking apples there--if they were truly
apples, for I sometimes suppose the merchant must have played us off
with some inferior and quite local fruit, capable of resolving, in the
neighborhood of fire, into mere sand and smoke and iodin; or perhaps
pushing to Tantallon, you might lunch on sandwiches and visions in the
grassy court, while the wind hummed in the crumbling turrets; or
clambering along the coasts, ear geans[66] (the worst, I must suppose,
in Christendom) from an adventurous gean tree that had taken root
under a cliff, where it was shaken with an ague of east wind, and
silvered after gales with salt, and grew so foreign among its bleak
surroundings that to eat of its produce was an adventure in itself.

[Footnote 66: Wild cherries.]

These are things that I recall with interest; but what my memory
dwells upon the most, I have been all this while withholding. It was a
sport peculiar to the place, and indeed to a week or so of our two
months' holiday there. Maybe it still flourishes in its native spot;
for boys and their pastimes are swayed by periodic forces inscrutable
to man; so that tops and marbles reappear in their due season, regular
like the sun and moon; and the harmless art of knucklebones has seen
the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the United States. It may
still flourish in its native spot, but nowhere else, I am persuaded;
for I tried myself to introduce it on Tweedside, and was defeated
lamentably; its charm being quite local, like a country wine that
cannot be exported.

The idle manner of it was this:

Toward the end of September, when school-time was drawing near and the
nights were already black, we would begin to sally from our respective
villas, each equipped with a tin bull's-eye lantern. The thing was so
well known that it had worn a rut in the commerce of Great Britain;
and the grocers, about the due time, began to garnish their windows
with our particular brand of luminary. We wore them buckled to the
waist upon a cricket belt, and over them, such was the rigor of the
game, a buttoned top-coat. They smelled noisomely of blistered tin;
they never burned aright, though they would always burn our fingers;
their use was naught; the pleasure of them merely fanciful; and yet a
boy with a bull's-eye under his top-coat asked for nothing more. The
fishermen used lanterns about their boats, and it was from them, I
suppose, that we had got the hint; but theirs were not bull's-eyes,
nor did we ever play at being fishermen. The police carried them at
their belts, and we had plainly copied them in that; yet we did not
pretend to be policemen. Burglars, indeed, we may have had some
haunting thoughts of; and we had certainly an eye to past ages when
lanterns were more common, and to certain story-books in which we had
found them to figure very largely. But take it for all in all, the
pleasure of the thing was substantive; and to be a boy with a
bull's-eye under his top-coat was good enough for us.

When two of these asses met, there would be an anxious "Have you got
your lantern?" and a gratified "Yes!" That was the shibboleth, and
very needful too; for, as it was the rule to keep our glory
contained, none could recognize a lantern-bearer, unless (like the
pole-cat) by the smell. Four or five would sometimes climb into the
belly of a ten-man lugger, with nothing but the thwarts above
them--for the cabin was usually locked, or choose out some hollow of
the links where the wind might whistle overhead. There the coats would
be unbuttoned and the bull's-eyes discovered; and in the chequering
glimmer, under the huge windy hall of the night, and cheered by a rich
steam of toasting tinware, these fortunate young gentlemen would
crouch together in the cold sand of the links or on the scaly bilges
of the fishing-boat, and delight themselves with inappropriate talk.
Wo is me that I may not give some specimens--some of their foresights
of life, or deep inquiries into the rudiments of man and nature, these
were so fiery and so innocent, they were so richly silly, so
romantically young. But the talk, at any rate, was but a condiment;
and these gatherings themselves only accidents in the career of the
lantern-bearer. The essence of this bliss was to walk by yourself in
the black night; the slide shut, the top-coat buttoned; not a ray
escaping, whether to conduct your footsteps or to make your glory
public: a mere pillar of darkness in the dark; and all the while deep
down in the privacy of your fool's heart, to know you had a bull's-eye
at your belt, and to exult and sing over the knowledge.


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